JUST ASK JO: How Do I Balance Blogging and Family Life

QUESTION: 

First, Ive been following you for awhile—I absolutely love your mission and passion you have for what you do and how much love you have for your family. Truly inspiring!

Secondly, I am a new mama and have recently started blogging, but I am having such trouble keeping my motivation to work on it (mostly because of being so focused on my sweet baby). I was wondering if you had any advice on balancing your work and family life, and how to stay motivated? 

Much love and thanks, 
Kenzie 

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ANSWER:

The ever so elusive question of balancing work and family life. First off, congrats on your blog. I know the excitement it feels to start jotting down thoughts, writing, and creating content that comes from the heart. It’s overwhelming at times especially when it begins to feel like you’re just standing in a dust storm trying to make sense of it all. Balance can feel like the same thing which is why I believe in harmony and taking things one day at a time.

The focus and motivation to work on my blog, create content, and to write ebb and flow. It’s probably one of the largest struggles that bloggers rarely talk about. If you’re like me than writing is a form of therapy and can almost be cathartic. Sometimes in your own writing you get overwhelmed add that with family life it’s a perfect cocktail for chaos.

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So here are some tangible things you can do to help balance out work/family life:

Create a schedule that works for you

If you’re freelancing, work for yourself, or have the flexibility to work from home at your 9-5 make sure to create a schedule that works for you, your work, and your family. Since working for myself I’ve adopted a 10AM - 6PM work day on most days and I love it!


My ideal day typically looks like this:

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  • 6:00AM - wake up

  • 6:30AM - go to the gym

  • 8:00AM - get back home. Hubs takes kids to school (Jonathan took on the role of stay-at-home dad when he went full time with his photography business over 8 years ago. So a lot of the drop off/pick up routines are still managed by him)

  • 9:00AM - breakfast/catch up with the hubs on the day

  • 9:30/10:00AM - start my work day

  • 12:00PM - lunch AWAY FROM MY DESK!

  • 6:00PM - dinner time

  • 7:00PM - unplugged hang time with the fam. This is so important to us and something we do our best to uphold.

  • 10:00PMish - bedtime and rinse and repeat

Set boundaries!!!

I cannot stress how important creating boundaries are for work/life balance. Boundaries are not walls. Boundaries are doors and you have the option and choice to open those doors whenever you want/need to in order to adjust to life’s constant changes. For me, boundaries aren’t actually put into place for the family, they are actually in place because I tend to be a work-a-holic and this helps me to keep my harmony while juggling both work and family.

One boundary that is pretty strict for me is the amount of time I spend working. I try really hard not to put in more than 30-35 hours a week of active work time. As a blogger/social media influencer I often get invited to social gatherings and that’s all part of the role of marketing. I also roll that time up into my work week so I don’t feel like I’m a complete slave to my work.

The other boundary that’s relatively firm is the day(s) I take coaching sessions with clients. Typically those days are Tuesday and Thursday and it really works well for me to keep that consistent.

The not so tangible…

Creative Motivation

The motivation needed to focus on work can be really difficult when you have young kids and all you want to do is hang with the babes. Listen to your instincts! If right now your focus is on your sweet baby then let it be. They are only little for a small period of time. But if you’re really looking to find motivation to write and work on your blog then maybe blocking out time to focus on two days of blogging/writing is what might work best.

Motivation can both be found external and internal. External motivation is when someone behaves in a way that is outside of that person. It often comes from parents, boss, coworkers, family, and salary or promotion (advancement). Internal motivation engages in a behavior that is personally motivating. Identifying which motivation is fueling your desire to work on your blog could be the first step to breaking out of this work slump you’re experiencing.

Celebrate the small wins!

Once you’ve broken out that slump, make sure to celebrate you. This helps create positive reinforcement to the steps you’re making towards your blogging/work goals. Celebrate even if the step happens to be opening your laptop, writing a few words, and closing it 20 minutes later. Celebrate the small wins, this applies to every area of your life.

Give yourself grace

This by far is my most important tip on regaining motivation in any area of life. Discipline gets you started on the journey, grace and self love keeps you going. Life is going to get messy and motivation, creativity, and the desire to pour into your hustle will ebb and flow. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Each area in life has a season and just like seasons they come and go.

Hope this helps!



JUST ASK JO: How do you figure out your macros?

QUESTION: 

Hey! I’ve been following you for awhile and I hear you talk about macros. How do you figure all of that out?
Thanks!

Thanks,

Emily

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ANSWER:

Macros are defined by your goal, and they have to be calculated according to your lifestyle, weight, and some other info. That's why macros are different for every individual.

A macronutrient is a type of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the human diet. 
— Webster Dictionary

Many people make the mistake of restricting their caloric intake to an extreme in order to achieve a specific goal. However, your body needs all the macronutrients not only to feed itself and fulfill certain biological processes but to have the necessary energy for your lifestyle and daily tasks. In addition, you can't forget about the energy you need to exercise and the nutrients you'll need to rebuild your muscles after you've trained. Especially if you're training hard!

I don't count my macros are strict as I used to like back in my competition days. But from time to time I do like to plug in my food intake into My Fitness Pal to see if my intuitive eating is aligned with science.

There are tons of Macro Calculators online, but the best one that I have found is through IIFYM (https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/). It's really easy and walks you through all the steps. You'll first want to calculate your TDEE by inputting all the required information: age, height, weight, activity level, and goals. A lot of this is based upon your daily activities and the amount of exercise you can realistically commit to.

SO YOU'VE CALCULATED YOUR MACROS NOW WHAT...

Once you've calculated your macros, the fun begins. You can either have IIFYM create a meal plan for you or you can create your own meal plans that fit your macros using My Fitness Pal.  When I was competing I had coaches who would do all the calculations for me and adjustments. As you continue on your macro counting journey you'll want to check your progress every two weeks and adjust your macros accordingly. Your body will evolve as your exercise levels continue to progress, you'll want to make sure your macronutrient intake evolves with it. 

The other thing you can do is count your macros throughout the day while keeping your eating more flexible. So what I mean by that is: plug in the macros that were calculated for you into an app like My Fitness Pal, then start inputting your food and meals throughout the day. As you do this you'll notice that your tracker will tell you how many macros you have left to "spend" for that day. Personally, I don't like this method because I don't have the control to plan out my meals ahead of time and it would probably stress me out if I had XX amount of protein left to eat and it was already 8PM and close to my bedtime. Some people love this because it's more flexible than prepping meals. For some its stress inducing. 

A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

What are macros?

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Macros are short for macronutrients. By definition, a macronutrient is a type of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the human diet. There are three main ones: proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Alcohol is considered a macronutrient as well. You can learn how to calculate that into your meal plans here.

The one thing to keep in mind is that in the world of macros, a carb is carb whether it comes from sugar or starch. But that doesn't mean to go crazy and eat candy or baked goods to meet your target macros. So use trust your intuition and go for the foods you believe will fuel you properly. I mean is a pop tart going to fuel you the same as a sweet potato or brown rice? Probably not. The same goes for fats, but we all know that there are good fats and healthy fats. Stick to the good ones

Everyone's philosophy on food is different.

The reason why our society is so confused about nutrition and food is that everyone's food philosophy is different and every diet contradicts another. Macro counting is not a diet, but it is a form of understanding your body's needs on a level that can be calculated by macronutrients.

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IN CONCLUSION

What I suggest is to test out macro counting for a few months to see if that works with your lifestyle, your goals, and keep a food-mood journal while you're counting your macros. Your food-mood journal is a tool for you to start learning how to listen to your body and it's messages. Jot down what you eat and how you feel, both right after the meal and two hours later. Try it for a week! Notice how your body feels and how the changes of certain macros affect your mood.

Hope this helps! I'd love to hear from you. Do you count your macros? Comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUST ASK JO: IS BREAD HEALTHY?

This week's JUST ASK JO we're focusing on nutrition and I'm diving into all the things you want learn about how to nourish your body. 


Question:

Hi Jo !

Just wanna ask, which is healthiest forms of bread? sourdough or rye? or are they even healthy?
Also, is buckwheat a great source of carbs if I wanna eat pasta but still want a healthy way? 

- Rika


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ANSWER: 

I believe in carbs! I think carbs are an essential source of macronutrient and we can't keep fearing it. Sadly diet culture has created such a fear around eating carbs and fats by creating low-carb foods, low-fat diets, etc. 

Foods are a combination of 3 macronutrient building blocks: carbs, fats, and proteins. Each are essential for a body to function. Foods are a combination of 3 macronutrient building blocks: carbs, fats, and proteins. Each are essential for a body to function.

Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. Though often maligned in trendy diets, carbohydrates — one of the basic food groups — are important to a healthy life. (source) Carbs provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for muscles to function.

Fill your daily diet with REAL food that came from the earth. 

GOOD CARB VS BAD CARB

There are so many resources out there that talk about ways and forms of measuring any macronutrient which is why it can get so confusing to know what is a good carb vs a bad carb. It's even starting to blur the lines of what is healthy vs what is not. 

So here's my rule about all food: Fill your daily diet with REAL food that came from the earth. Eat whole wheat vs enriched bleach flour, snack on an orange instead of orange juice. The less processed and refined the carb, the healthier. 

SOURDOUGH VS RYE

One of the things I love about a sourdough bread is that it's made by fermentation of the dough. There are over 50 million yeast germs and 5 billion lactobacilli bacteria in every teaspoon of starter sourdough. Making it packed probiotics that aid in a healthy digestive system. Some say that sourdough is also easier for them to digest. There's other research that also say that sourdough may have a better effect on blood sugar and insulin levels.

Rye bread tends to be more nutritious than wheat or barely because of the nature in comes in. It contains more fiber than wheat flour and fewer calories as well. Due to the high amount of fiber it's great for someone who needs a little help with constipation, excess gas, and can ease stomach pain and cramping. 

Between the two, I love the taste of sourdough more and I'm a huge believer of prebiotics and probiotics. If I can get it in my food, I'll go for it that way. 

IS BUCKWHEAT A GREAT SOURCE OF CARBS IF I WANT TO EAT PASTA IN A HEALTHY WAY?

Buckwheat is an awesome source of carbs and has an incredibly high level of protein and IT'S GLUTEN FREE! It's high on soluble fiber and has other micronutrients like zinc, copper, and potassium. As far as eating it for pasta, I say if you want to eat buckwheat pasta go for it. Like I mentioned I keep my rules for food very simple: Fill your daily diet with REAL food that came from the earth. Buckwheat has a slightly nutty flavor so keep that in mind when pairing it with your other foods. 

JUST ASK JO: Number 1 Tip for morning motivation.

JUST ASK JO is back! I skipped a week or two because of travel and I've got a ton of questions to get back to and I promise I will, but I needed a bit of a break. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know I had a bit of a mental meltdown and truthfully I think I'm still in the works of rewiring myself so that I can prevent them from happening. This week I'm answering questions about motivation and how I manage to get myself going for the day.

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Question:

Hi Jo,

Just wondering your tips for morning motivation? Up and out early, just how do you do it? 
Real big sticking point for me. 

Many thanks,

Lhaann


Two years ago I wrote a blog post on 10 Ways to Slay the Day, a lot of those are still something that I refer back to you these days when it comes to my day, but ultimately what keeps me motivated is to remember my WHY

When I first started this fitness journey I had a goal and that was to be the healthiest version of myself in my 30s both mentally and physically. I definitely think that when we remind ourselves of our why or our intention we're able to connect our values with our actions and then it slowly turns into a habit. It's ok to have setbacks, we all do. I've been through many ups and downs in this health journey of mine and there have even been moments where I've felt as if I failed to keep myself in shape after my competition days. But at the end of it all, I'm still the healthiest and happiest version of myself. 

Along with remembering YOUR WHY here are some other helpful tips to get you going in the morning. 

1. Get an extra hour of sleep.

Sleep is probably the most underrated tool used in our own well-being. We're so stuck in this culture of go go go, that we often forget to rest. I'm guilty of this too, but sleep is key! I always set the intention of heading to bed by 10 PM. It doesn't always happen, but I do my best to try. 

2. Prepare all the things you need for a successful morning the night before. 

When I worked my 9-5 corporate job, I would pack all the food I needed to bring to the office, my change of clothes in my gym bag, and I would go to bed with fresh workout gear or lay it out on top of my dresser or by the side of my bed in order for me to just grab it and change into it. This just helped me from wasting precious time in the morning.

3. Don't hit the snooze button. 

As painful as it is to have your alarm waking you up at 4:30 AM or 5:00 AM, don't hit the snooze button. Creating habits takes time and you've got to give yourself the opportunity to make that turn that small change into a habit. Studies say it takes 66 days to turn a new behavior into something automatic, so don't give up after the first week if you really want to make this morning routine an integrated part of your life. 

4. Ask for support!

This one was probably the hardest one for me to do. When I worked at VSCO I would commute over 30 miles to get to work and sometimes during the thick of commuter hours I would sit in traffic for up to 90 minutes. It sucked and after almost 2.5 years of silently dealing with the frustrations, I turned to my husband for some advice and help. He generously took over the morning routine with our girls, which allowed me to get up at 5AM before commuter hours to get my gym time in before work. 

5. Create a morning ritual that works for YOU.

A few weeks ago I experienced a mini mental meltdown. I realized it was caused by the lack of putting myself first before all the other responsibilities in my life. I wasn't practicing what I preached and needed to create a new morning ritual that worked for this stage in my life. Morning rituals allow you to settle into your day. It's an opportunity to set your intentions, write down your top priorities for your day, and simply DO YOU!

Remember this: success is nothing more than a few disciplines practiced daily.  You got this babe!