Author: AndreaM

The One Thing I Hate About Being a Mom


There’s one thing I hate about being a mom. It’s probably not what you’re thinking, but I have a feeling you might agree…

It’s not the fact that I have only slept 6 hours straight, 4 times, in over two years.

It’s not all the poopy diapers that can sometimes totally gross me out.

It’s not the endless laundry that haunts my limited sleep.

being a mom-IPL

It’s not the constant question of  “what the hell is my toddler going to decide he is willing to eat today?” (Although it might be a close second)

It’s not getting my kids in and out of their car seats with the stupid buckles that I fight with Every. Damned. Time.

It’s not even that parenthood exacerbates all of my weaknesses, like my lack of time management and organizational skills.

And it’s not because I have little to no “me time” despite my best efforts to make it happen.

Nope. It’s none of that.

It’s something I never even considered before becoming a mom

The one thing I hate about being a mom is something I never saw coming until the day my first son was born and it hit me like a cannon ball smashing into a wall of soft, squishy, teddy bears, also known as my gut (physically and emotionally) and it ruined me forever.

It’s called “vulnerability”

And what’s worse is that this vulnerability is something from which I will never, ever recover.

being a mom-IPL

The day I became a mom, my heart was exposed to this terrible, horrible feeling of vulnerability and I am no longer who I was before, much to my dismay.

The vulnerability that comes with being a mom and loving a child is beyond agony. Knowing that one tiny person has the ability to make your heart explode with pride or suffocate with pain is almost unbearable.

It’s equally beautiful and horrifying beyond words.

Being a mom makes that area behind my eyes hurts, almost daily

Whether it’s because I am overcome by their cuteness, or because they say or do something that overwhelms me with pride. Whether I’m about to totally lose my shit while trying to reason with a stubborn toddler, or because I am questioning my ability to raise either of them successfully– the tears well up and I become that pile of soft, squishy, teddy bears that have just been pummeled by a sphere of cold, hard, lead.  And it sucks.

Fortunately it doesn’t consume or paralyze me, but I am constantly aware that my two little beings have the ability to make me— the logical, rational, data-driven human with the emotional expression of a robot, live in fear, knowing that if anything happened to either of them, my whole world would fall apart. 

Being that vulnerable is the most terrifying feeling ever, only made worse by knowing that it can never be undone.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.


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Struggles Bring On Change...and it's not a bad thing.

I had my first child 17 months ago and as it turns out, it’s been way harder than I had imagined.

It took me almost 6 months to figure out how to leave the house.

It took me 10 months to figure out how to get to the gym again. ​

It took me 12 months to figure out how to feel at least a little more in control…only to find out I was pregnant 1 month later. Ahhhh!


It took 15 months for my beautiful, sweet, adorable, smart, funny, perfect in (almost) every way, baby to figure out how to sleep through the damned night!

For those first 14 or so months I tried to keep living the same life I had pre-baby, but as it turns out, that’s not possible– despite my efforts to drive Josh to sleep so I could sit in the driveway and work on my laptop. Ugh! I’m super stubborn! (I actually wrote about my “New Mom Struggles” back in January. I think this post means I’ve finally made some progress. Finally)


I tried so hard!

I tried to maintain IPL as a business, totally and completely sleep deprived, without even so much as a nap-time to get stuff done.

I tried to fit in workouts, dropping Josh off at childcare where he wouldn’t let the worker put him down, even for a second.

I tried to be a good wife, mom, business owner, friend, daughter, grand-daughter, etc.

I tried to write, and coach, and teach, and offer all the same IPL services I’ve been providing for the last 5 years.

Pre-Josh, it wasn’t unusual for me to work 80 hours per week. How on earth did I ever imagine I’d be able to keep that up with an infant?

I was left feeling inadequate and incapable of being “super mom”– whatever that mythical creature is. (I’m pretty sure she only appears in pictures other people post on social media…Jerks.)

I took a break and made a plan

By the middle of June I found myself frustrated and almost resentful towards my sweet, yet high-maintenance, baby and it was at that point that I decided it was time for a break. I needed to take some time away from running a business; from coaching and writing and training clients, and even social media; so I automated as much as I could and took the summer off.

I planned to spend my mornings at the gym, taking advantage of the 2 hours of FREE childcare so I could get in a workout as well a little “me time” since I hear that’s what us moms need. This happened TWICE.


I planned to get involved in the Moms Club that I joined last September; joining play dates and attending events at the park and the library. This happened ONCE.


I planned to just spend time with my baby, taking him to the pool or splashing around in the blow-up version we set up in our backyard– especially since another baby is now on the way. This also happened TWICE. Then the blow-up pool became a breeding ground for frogs. Seriously. I think we bred at least three generations of tree frogs this summer.

I had great plans with good intentions— and then the first trimester of my pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks and I found myself right back where I was when I was pregnant with Josh; basically moving from flat surface to flat surface in my house.


Unlike last time, this time I didn’t even attempt to work out. I remember too vividly how that laid me out for three days each time I tried, before. And I knew that I couldn’t be COMPLETELY worthless since this time around I have a very active toddler depending on me.

Although that break didn’t go as planned, it turns out, it was exactly what I needed. Just taking time away from working allowed me to reevaluate my personal needs and priorities. And now I have a new plan…or at lease some new goals.

My re-prioritized plan…er…goal…

My goal is to stop running a business and get back to blogging, inspiring others by just living my own I’mperfect Life, hanging out on social media, and doing all of these things without the pressure of selling things or procuring clients or creating any steady stream of revenue.


It is important to me to continue sharing my I’mperfect Life philosophy because I have seen it literally change 1,000’s of women’s lives, so I don’t want to just quit and walk away.

Plus staying connected with you helps me stay motivated and holds me accountable to continue making progress, and focus on living my own best happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life.

And I LOVE teaching, so I do plan to offer one-off workshops both in-person and online, but seldom and using simple technology that doesn’t require dozens of hours to set up.  SO. MANY. HOURS. Ugh. Something to look forward to, yay!

I also feel that it is important for me to maintain a bit of my own identity in addition to being a mom.

Changes to be made…

With all that being said, I am making some changes. I have decided to strictly limit my coaching practice, take a year or two off from hosting the annual retreat, and I am letting go of the group programs I’ve offered in the past and had planned for the future…at least for now.

This has been a really hard decision to make but as with all tough decisions, once I made it, and committed to it, it was so freeing. I now feel like I can move forward rather than trying to hold on to unnecessary stress and self-inflicted obligation.

As our lives change it’s so important to stop and take stock of our priorities. In my case I added a whole new person to my life, and I’m getting ready to add another so it only makes sense that I need to shuffle some things around.


I wish I had figured that out 17 months ago, but like I said, I’m stubborn!

So here’s to the future!

My future as a full-time mom, and a very part-time blogger/coach. <3

And who knows, maybe, just maybe, now that my brain and my time will be freed up from the pressure to “produce” I’ll find some time and inspiration to write again…and share more of my life and random thoughts on Facebook. I miss doing those things. And I’m hoping you miss seeing them too!

I can’t wait to get these two post ideas out of my brain into (onto?) the internet…

  • The One Thing I Hate About Being a Mom
  • The Evolution of My Life and Body

Stay tuned for more posts coming soon!

And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE below!

My Weight (and size) Matters

As a “body positive” advocate and role model for thousands of women, (10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body) sometimes I get flack for saying that my weight (and size) matters.

It’s like people think that I can’t love my body if I say I want, or am trying, to lose weight. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

My weight matters to me because I love my body.

In this new world of “body love” and “body acceptance” the scale (and our size) has (have) become something to discredit, which creates a bit of a slippery slope.

Although neither body-weight, nor size, should be the deciding factor when it comes to our health and happiness, they are undeniably a factor when it comes to our quality of life.

My highest weight was 328 pounds, in 2011. My lowest weight was 163 pounds in 2013.

My current weight is 201 pounds, post baby.

My comfy, sustainable, feel-great weight is 172 pounds.

(FYI, picture above is a gross misrepresentation of my actual jumping abilities, even at 172 pounds 🙂 )

I am 5 feet and 1 inch tall.

At 172 pounds I am plus sized according to the tag in my jeans and obese according to the BMI chart.

I still have cellulite, saddlebags, love handles and rolls but at 172 pounds, my body feels better and is able to do more than where I am now– which is why I’m working to lose the baby weight. 

My weight (and size) matters because it directly affects how I feel: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physically, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I want to live the life I desire without limitations due to my weight…or corresponding size.
  • I want my joints to be pain-free and capable of doing their jobs.
  • I want to have as much energy and stamina as possible because there’s a lot that I want to do.
  • I never want a seat belt extender on a plane; or to be uncomfortable in a chair with arms; or to be too big to fit on a roller coaster, again!
  • I never want to struggle to tie my shoes or to get up and down off the floor again– at least not until I’m really old!
  • My weight (and size) matters  because I love feeling my best, physically!

Mentally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to live the life I want to live.
  • I know that I only have one body and I’m the only one who can take care of it.
  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, among other weight-related health concerns.
  • I want my son to see a mom who cares about herself, for herself and for him.
  • I value my life and my future is very important to me.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling my best, mentally!

Emotionally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I feel a great sense of pride when I care for my body
  • I don’t want to feel stressed or anxious about any of the things I mentioned above, like I used to.
  • I never want to regret the choices I’ve made when it comes to my health.
  • I enjoy feeling strong and capable.
  • I am proud of myself when I make my weight a priority because I feel good physically and mentally.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling good, emotionally!

It matters because I love my body.
It matters because I find joy in my body.
It matters because I am proud of my body.
It matters because I value my body.

It matters because I love life and I want to live my best happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life every day in my best happy, healthy (plus sized, obese, “ugly“) body for as long as I can!

I AM Making Progress!

Yesterday I posted a video on Facebook of myself  jumping onto four, 45lbs plates– the equivalent of about 12″. (WATCH HERE)

It took every ounce of courage I had to attempt it. I am vertically challenged in more ways than just my height. (5’1″)

jump2In 2014 I managed to jump onto 6 plates (about 18″) and I filmed it for all to see, it was pretty comical. (Check it out HERE)

It’s now 2017 and after two pregnancies in one year (one brief and one almost full-term with a healthy baby!) and very minimal training (if you can even call it that!) my body is a mess. (You may have read about it in my last blog post- New Mom Struggling)

My body is still holding onto 30lbs of the 50lbs I gained, and my body composition is worse.

HOWEVER, I have not given up on getting faster, better, stronger than before…

I am still focused on making progress! 

And this is why I host the I’mperfect Life #MakingProgress Challenge every year!

What progress will YOU make this year?!

JOIN THE ANNUAL I’mperfect Life 

#MakingProgress Challenge!



Although I’m behind where I was almost three years ago, and although I will likely be behind for a while, I’m not starting over!

Yesterday’s 12″ jump proves it.

When I first started Crossfit in 2012, about 20lbs heavier than I am now, it took me 14 months to lose 70lbs (that’s WITH weight loss surgery!) and more than TWO years to be able to jump 12″.

Today, I am 212lbs and I can jump 12″.


That proves right there that:

Despite the weight gain…

Despite the added fat…

Despite my lack of training…

My body is still much stronger than it was four years ago.

I may not like the way my body looks (it’s downright hard to look at the video from yesterday) but I am VERY PROUD of what it can still do.

And I love that I am still making progress!

This almost 40 year old body that used to weight 328lbs is faster, stronger, better than before.

It has made great amounts of progress…and will continue to do so as long as I continue to try. 

I hope you’re working to make progress too! 

<3 Andrea

PS: I hope to see your accomplishments this year and that I’ll be able to send YOU a medal in December!

The Truth Is I'm Experiencing the New Mom Struggle

The truth is, I’m experiencing the new mom struggle.

The truth is, I haven’t lost any baby weight despite exclusive breastfeeding.

The truth is, I’m exhausted because it’s been over 8 months since I’ve slept more than 4 hours at a time– and that has only happened twice.

The truth is, I feel frustrated…a lot, likely fueled by lack of sleep, feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and having a super high maintenance baby.

The truth is, I miss blogging, teaching, coaching, and training, because that’s a huge part of my identity and something that makes my heart happy.

The truth is, I miss my “ugly body” because it felt limitless.

The truth is, I really didn’t know I could love something as much as I love my sweet baby boy.

The truth is, I miss my old self– the one who was far less vulnerable and much more rational.

The truth is, this mama stuff is way harder than I thought it would be. Go ahead, say, “I told ya so!”

The truth is, despite so much media (mass and social) depicting women as super moms, I know that these feelings are totally normal and that I will be okay.


I am a new mom, struggling.

This past year has brought a lot of change to my life– mostly in the form of a baby. A baby who has turned my world completely upside-down in ways I never imagined.

I knew being a mom would change me from the inside out. I knew that what used to be normal would be different forever.

I knew that my body would change, my routines would change, my interests would change, my relationships would change, and that my responsibilities would most definitely change.

I knew all of this– partially because people were constantly telling me while I was pregnant but also because I’ve seen so many of my friends experience these changes in their own lives as they added the title of “Mom” to their identities.

I thought knowing this would be enough to prepare me for what was to come, but I was wrong.

Although I wholeheartedly believe that knowing all of this has allowed me to accept these physical, mental, and emotional changes much better than if I had come into this blindly, there was nothing anyone could have said, nor anything I could have witnessed that would have adequately prepared me for the challenges and struggles I am working through.

New mom struggle #1…

Joshua was born in April– December 3oth marks the first time I have made it to the gym three days in one week…in over a year.

December 30th, was also the first time I was away from him for more than three hours, which has only happened one other time– see below…

31270471273_050fec9299_zBrett and I had our first “date night” on December 12th. It was the first time I was away from Josh for almost three hours.  It was the first time that I wore a REAL bra since he was born.

It was the first time I had both of my arms ALL TO MYSELF for more than 2 hours (while awake) since April 19th. I forgot what that felt like! It was blissful and freeing, along with a side of, “Good gawd I miss that kid! Can we go home now?”


I feel the mom guilt– something I had heard about but thought I’d be able to rationalize because…I AM A LOGICAL PERSON! (Or at least I used to be)

Turns out, I’m not who I used to be nor who I thought I’d be post baby.

New mom struggle #2…

My body is an absolute disaster— and if another person says to me, “you just had a baby, go easy on yourself,” I might punch them. Please don’t be that person!

Yes, yes, I know I just had a baby. Even though “just” is a relative term– and relatively speaking, he was not exactly, “just” born.” But yes, I do know that I had a baby and I am by no means beating myself up over this mess, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a wreck or that I don’t miss how it used to be.

I miss my pre-baby body, a lot– especially my pre-miscarriage body! (Two pregnancies in one year can really wreak havoc!)

I miss being strong. I miss being able to climb a rope, lift heavy things, hold my chin over a bar, and jump onto a 20″ box.

I miss being able to see the muscles in my forearms. I miss my shoulders having some undeniable definition, and I miss my traps! Oh how I miss my trapezius muscles!

I miss my legs looking strong, even if it required me to lie on my back with my toes in the air to see my quadriceps.

Although it was hard to see my strength on the outside, I knew I could do amazing things.

And yes, I know…I made a human, and yes, that is totally and completely amazing too!

I still love my body and appreciate it every day, but I miss it too.

New mom struggle #3…

I miss being able to sit down and write. I have attempted to write a thoughtful blog post so many times over the last 8 months, to no avail. Between exhaustion, distractions, and unmedicated ADD, my brain is seriously lacking in its ability to function— especially when it comes to completing thoughts, much less completing sentences that others can comprehend.

imperfectlife-com-1I miss being able to dedicate 10+ hours per day to my blog and my business. I miss having the time, organization, and energy to teach, coach and train others. I miss it so much, because that’s what fills MY cup.

Ah, the proverbial cup. I miss that too.

I mean it’s still there, kinda, and it is constantly being filled by so many things– my husband, my son, occasional workouts, chats with friends, and you! But it has a lot of holes in it right now, so it’s hard to keep it full, much less running over.

These days it’s less like a cup and more like a colander– one that’s draining pasta.

The substance (pasta) that I really need is there, but the stuff I want (the water), keeps rushing through.

I get some water here and there: moments of clarity; some deep, albeit short sleep; time to do something for myself to recharge a bit; a good workout; a meaningful conversation with a friend; or a connection with someone from the I’mperfect Life (IPL) community.

In those moments my cup most definitely runneth over– it just drains really, really fast!

New mom struggle solution???

Being a mom is hard.

It requires a complete reevaluation of priorities, some serious time-management abilities, and some creative organizational skills. None of which are strengths for me, but things I’m slowly working to improve. Slowly.

The truth is, I am evolving. My life is evolving, just as it has for the past 39 years and hopefully it will continue to evolve for at least another 39, more.

I am a new mom struggling, but I’m also adapting.32080993685_f8efdf4b3a_z

I will continue adapting to the best of my ability for as long as I’m alive— single, married, skinny (did that ever happen?), fat, employed, unemployed, self-employed, no kids, one kid, more kids (?), a colander full of pasta, rice, or quinoa, and hopefully someday (mostly dependent on consecutive nights of quality sleep) a real cup that holds as much water as I can handle!

I know that day will come, but until then, I will continue to learn and grow and adapt and be grateful for the life I get to live right now, struggles and all.

Every day I work to follow the Rules for Living an I’mperfect Life…and although I am a new mom struggling, I can say that following those 12 rules are enabling me to live my best, happy, healthy, (and tired) lifestyle.

I love my I’mperfect Life- even when it’s hard…and it’s really hard right now!

Also, I just wrote an entire blog post. It took me five full days to complete but it happened! Go me! Hooray for progress!

Creating a Dinner Menu

I cannot stress the importance of creating a dinner menu enough. If I do nothing else each week to help my home and life run smoothly, I will ALWAYS create a dinner menu. 

Creating a dinner menu at the beginning of the week helps me save time and money, and reduces stress at the end of the day. No longer do I have to think about or hear the question, “what’s for dinner?” The menu is set and posted right on the fridge for all to see!

By creating a menu, I can…

  • Shop accordingly, buying only what I need which saves money
  • Re-purpose food throughout the week to save time (brown a bunch of meat at one time for tacos on Tuesday and Meat Sauce on Thursday)
  • Remember to take frozen foods out of the freezer then night before when I glance at the menu for the next day which reduces stress

Every weekend my husband and I have a quick convo that looks like this…

“Hey babe, what do you want for dinner this week?”


“What else?”


“Anything else?”

“Umm…” — returns to whatever it was he was doing.

Which leaves me to decide what we’re going to have the other 5 days.  I have a long list of standards, one that I add to as I occasionally try new things. But for the most part I choose from about 30 different meals that I love and that he will eat. (If it were up to him we’d only eat tacos, pizza, chicken nuggets, and cheeseburgers)

The menu goes on the fridge at the beginning of the week and then it’s set. That doesn’t mean we always stick to it, verbatim, but 85% of the time we do. Sometimes we move things around based on our mood or unexpected schedule conflicts. Like if the baby is being super needy on Monday, Brett will make tacos instead of the chicken pot pie I had planned to make. Or we might need to run errands and decide to grab a bit while we’re out. 

But for the most part, we stick to the plan and it never fails us. 

You can check out my plans over time on my Facebook Page. The silver menu board I used to use is no longer available to buy so I recently changed it up so I could make a solid recommendation for alternatives. 

My new fave is this black menu board with chalk markers. It’s a bit of an investment but it’s so fun to use and looks way cool on my fridge. The simple dry erase board is great too!


This one doesn’t come with markers so you have to buy them seperately. I read a lot of reviews on both the board and the markers before making my purchase and the ones I ended up with are awesome!


This one comes with markers and an eraser and works perfectly! It is also a full magnet that sticks to the fridge. I love it!

Cook Once, Eat All Week

Clean Eating for the I’mperfect Life

Readable on your favorite electronic device!

Do you want eat foods that nourish your body but feel overwhelmed by the time, money, resources, and culinary skills that most “clean eating” plans and cookbooks require?

Do you have picky eaters, struggle with meal planning, or have a busy schedule that makes cooking feel impossible?

If your answers are: Yes, yes, yes, YES! Then this is the book for you!

Buy Now

Starving Children in Africa Don't Eat Sushi

If you’re a member of the clean-your-plate club I urge you to read this blog entry; not because I am the end-all-be-all or because I am so full of wisdom that you must listen and follow every word I say but because what I’m about to tell you is something that I struggle with every day and you probably do too.

Starving children in Africa would be grateful for that meal!

We’ve all heard it, “there are starving children in Africa who would be grateful to eat that!”  My mom, your mom, our grandmothers…all the mothers in the world have mutter these words.

Eating out of guilt was one of the many reasons that I packed on an extra 165lbs which is why one of my personal guidlines for living a happy, healthy I’mperfect Life is to remember that no one wants my leftovers, not even me!

its-time-to-leave-the-clean-your-plate-clubWhat’s constitutes leftovers?  Leftovers are anything that didn’t get eaten the first go round, whether it’s food that I prepare myself (with a few exceptions) or to-go boxes from restaurants.  I’d like to say that I’m totally militant about this, but I’d be lying if I said that.  However, I am pretty strict with myself about this rule.

Part of my happy, healthy lifestyle is ENJOYING good food, not just eating it– there’s a difference.

When food is prepared properly it is served with the best texture, proper consistency and at the right temperature- none of which can be perfectly recreated when a food is re-heated no matter what means you use to do it.

The real joy of eating a prepared meal is then diminished to just eating something that tastes…okay.  This means you’re eating it because it’s easy, or because you paid for it and don’t want it to go to waste or worse… just because it’s there.  None of these reasons are good enough to feed your body sub-par food.  What’s worse is when these leftovers come from a restaurant.  What’s worse than that? It’s when the food was a splurge.

Typically we’re not going to bring home leftover salad from date-night last night.  We know that the lettuce will be wilted and the other veggies will be soggy, right? But if we splurged and ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo, chances are we’re going to box that sh!t up and eat it for lunch or maybe dinner tomorrow.

There are lots of books, magazines, health gurus, etc., that will tell you that this is what you’re supposed to do.  Some will tell you to ask for a box when your food is delivered to your table then box half of it immediately to take home and enjoy later to avoid over eating.

This is great in theory but what are we really doing?

While this concept is a good idea to prevent over eating at one meal, it doesn’t solve the problem of eating healthy for the next meal.  You’re still eating the entire meal, you’re just spreading it out over the next couple of days.  Instead, enjoy the meal you orderd until you are full and then THROW THE REST AWAY!

Call it good.

Don’t worry about the children in Africa, they don’t want your leftovers.

Don’t worry about getting your money’s worth- the amount you DID eat and ENJOYED was worth it

As soon as you are full ask the server to remove the plate.  Don’t pick at it and don’t give into him asking if you’d like a box.  The answer is, “No thank you!”

If you really can’t justify paying for the food then try these options:

  • Don’t order it.
  • Order something else- a couple of sides or a half portion if the restaurant will allow it.
  • If you are dining with someone else try to convince them to split something.

Enjoy your food the first time you eat it.  Savor the intended flavors and textures and don’t feel guilty about throwing the rest away.  The starving children in Africa won’t mind. I promise. There are other, more effective, non-self-destructive ways to help them and others.

You could start by donating the time or money (that you might spend on pizza) with organizations such as Mercy Corps which help make a real difference in our world that doesn’t include you packing on the pounds.

Related Content

Eating for Pleasure

10 Tips for Eating Out

How I Got so Awesome

Yes, I said that, I am AWESOME

First of all, EVERYONE is awesome!  I’m not just saying that to patronize you; I truly mean it.  We are all awesome in our own ways.  The problem is that we have a hard time seeing it because we’re too busy comparing ourselves to others and beating ourselves up because we aren’t meeting our own expectations.  It’s only after we stop doing these things that we are finally able to see what we have accomplished, which allows us to realize what we are capable of achieving.

For my awesome, I credit this book right here:

The Four Agreements

These 160 pages opened a world for me that I never knew existed.  This teeny, tiny book changed my entire way of thinking and ultimately changed my life.  I only read it once back in 2008, but those Four Agreements stuck with me (partially because I wrote them down and posted them in my bathroom), and I eventually made them my own.  I learned to apply them to every area of my life—my relationships, my career, my health and myself.  I have used these Four Agreements to change how I perceive life and the way I handle anything it throws at me.  

If you are struggling to see YOUR awesome, I encourage you to read this book.  The principles it teaches provided me with true peace and authentic joy by…

  • Being honest and truthful with myself and others
  • Being kind to myself and others
  • Not going through life thinking anyone (everyone) is out to get me
  • Making sure that I am understood when I’m communicating with others
  • Making sure that I fully understand others when they are communicating with me without jumping to conclusions
  • No longer wasting my energy by overanalyzing, stressing or giving too much attention to things that are out of my control, especially the mythical “crystal ball” of what-ifs that are impossible to know
  • Realizing that not everything someone says to or about me is necessarily a reflection of me
  • Remembering that people have their own lives that don’t involve me and that’s okay
  • Always doing my best and, most importantly, realizing that my best is going to change from day-to-day and situation-to-situation

A Mind Shift

I spent so many years of my life thinking I wasn’t good enough: beating myself up, assuming I was incapable of success in any aspect of my life and, in turn, making half-assed attempts at my goals.  It was only recently that I finally figured out how to NOT be that way.  

It’s been a long process and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but these days I can look in the mirror and not just say the words “I am awesome” but actually believe it…not because I’ve lost a bunch of weight, or because I have a popular blog, or bunch of fans on Facebook or a husband who loves me—

I am awesome because I of who I am!  

I am Andrea Matthes, and I am proud of what I’ve achieved physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  

I am awesome!

And I bet you are too!

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How I Lost Half My Body Weight

I lost half my body weight

The simple answer that people want to hear is that I lost weight because I had gastric bypass surgery, but let me tell you right now that was only one piece of a very complicated puzzle.

What ultimately led to my weight loss and successful maintenance was creating healthy habits:

  • eating mostly plants, plenty of protein, sufficient amounts of starch to maintain good blood sugar levels and enough fat to feel satiated
  • drinking plenty of water
  • getting enough sleep
  • moving hard and fast, as often as possible (AKA CrossFit)
  • enjoying indulgences when I choose to, because I am in control

But it was mostly the weight loss surgery, right?

Sure, but not for reasons you may think.  First of all it’s important to know that I did NOT have the overnight drastic results that many people have with weight loss surgery.  It took me almost a year to lose my first 100 lbs and it took two years to get to my doctor’s goal weight of 165lbs (I’m 5’1” tall). There are many people who lose way more weight than that, in less time, without surgery!

My body was, and still is, very resistant when it comes to letting go of its precious fat.  Even now, I still have plenty of fat on my body and can very easily gain 8 lbs in one week with too many indulgences.  In fact, I have done just that many times over the last few years.  (Fortunately, I’ve also been able to lose them as soon as I get back to my healthy habits). So it’s important to recognize that while I did have weight loss surgery and it was certainly an important piece of my weight loss puzzle, it was only analogous to the outer edge pieces…you know, the ones that get you started when you’re putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Lessons I Learned

  • Weight fluctuations are normal even when I do everything “right”.
  • When I eat better, I feel better.
  • Consistency is key.
  • Goals are good, but they only work if I have a plan.
  • There’s no such thing as starting over, just moving forward.
  • Plateaus happen and they suck; it’s how I respond to them that determines my success.
  • An overindulgent meal, day, week or month doesn’t mean I’ve failed, even if I gain weight.

During those two years that it took me to lose 164lbs, I “dieted” constantly.  By about six months post-op I could easily eat too much food (especially the high calorie, nutritionally deficient stuff) throughout any given day if I allowed myself to.  So it was important for me to be very strict with what and how much I ate.

I counted calories, I counted carbs, I tried the Whole 30, I detoxed, I tried Paleo and I even went the ketogenic route.  I did all of these things, trying to find the one “diet” that would get me to my goal the fastest.  Unfortunately, none of them actually got me there because I never stuck with any ONE long enough, but they all provided results…meaning they all work.  I just couldn’t stick with any of them for long periods of time, because…well, because I don’t do well with restriction.  Tell me I can’t have something and I want it even more.  That’s just the way I operate.

Through all of this trial and (sort of) error, I learned a lot!  I learned about nutrition and how the body processes (breaks down and uses) different types of foods.  I learned that any diet will work as long as you stick with it.  I learned that even though my body is totally weird (you know that whole waiting for famine thing), it’s also REALLY smart!  And when I stop and listen to it, it will tell me exactly what I need.

By learning to listen to my body I can now:

  • tell the difference between head hunger and legitimate hunger
  • know when I need to eat vs when I need to drink water
  • realize when my blood sugar is low and that my body is in need of carbohydrates
  • recognize when I feel “empty,” which means it needs fat
  • understand that some days my body actually REQUIRES more calories
  • understand that other days my body will need FEWER calories
  • feel confident that when I take care of it, it takes care of me

As for the benefits of weight loss surgery…

Weight loss surgery gave me hope.  After a lifetime of being fat, I didn’t think anything else was possible.  It also allowed me to not give up when the scale didn’t move, or worse, when the number on the scale would go up.  And let me tell you, both of those things happened frequently throughout those two years of constant diligence.  I was not immune to the ups and downs of conventional weight loss.  But in those first six months when my pooch (stomach) was at its smallest, I couldn’t just throw in the towel and eat a whole pizza or run to Taco Bell and eat one of everything on the menu.  Weight loss surgery provided me with an opportunity to create healthy habits…habits that I lean on solely these days to avoid getting back to where I was.



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Buying in Bulk to Save!


Since most of us live on a budget let’s talk about ways to save a buck when trying to eat a diet that allows us to feel our best, physically, mentally and emotionally!

There are few easy ways to save, like…

  • Switching brand name items for generic or store brands of staple items like rice, oats, pasta, and canned goods.
  • Letting go of the idea that “organic is best” — while sometimes this is true, it’s not ALWAYS true, and no matter what, a non-organic peach is always going to be better for you than say…a Snickers bar, right?
  • Planning your meals for the week ahead of time and shopping only for what you need rather than just buying what looks good or what’s on sale with the idea that you’ll figure it out later.
  • Shopping local, at places like a farmers market or neighborhood fruit stand for fresh produce.
  • Buying in bulk at your favorite big box wholesale store like…Costco!

Bulk buying can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming and maybe even a little daunting, but it’s a great way to not just save money, but to make sure you have your go-to foods on-hand at all times– especially things like fresh meats, peanut butter, cheese, granola bars and those delicious Premier Protein Shakes!

How I Buy in Bulk

About once a month I make the hour-long trek to Costco to stock up on ground beef, stew meat, chicken, peanut butter (I eat a LOT of peanut butter!) blocks of cheese, granola bars and shakes!

As soon as I get home I take the 5-6lbs packages of fresh meat that I but and divide them into 8oz portions. I put each 8 oz portion into individual quart sized zip top freezer bags and then put them in a bin in my freezer. These are perfect for Brett and I because I don’t have to think about portion sizes when I cook, the portioning is already done! Here’s a stack of ground beef packets…

I do the same with the stew meat, chicken and even bacon!

I also buy large blocks of cheese and cut them in to halves or quarters depending on the size and freeze them too! Just wrap each individual chunk in cling wrap, followed by foil and then put all of them in a gallon sized freezer bag. Don’t forget to label them!

Peanut butter just gets eaten…fast!

Granola bars get placed in various locations these days as they are often times my “OMG I need food right this second” while nursing requirement. I’ve got them stashed in my night stand, on my desk, in the pantry and next to my “nursing chair” in the living room.

Then of course there’s the Premier Protein Shakes! Buying them in cases of 18 saves BIG TIME! Especially right now (8/4-8/18) while they are $5.00 off! That makes them only $1.11 each! Can’t beat that!

BONUS: I’m told the Caramel flavor is available too! I’ll be grabbing some of those when I go this weekend, for sure!

Don’t forget to pick up some bars, too!


I’ve had memberships at all the big wholesale stores (I have 2 right now!) and Costco is by far my favorite for variety and quality. My only complaint is that it’s too far away! If it was closer I’d ditch my “other” membership and be a Costco exclusive but for now, I will have to settle for once a month, shopping wisely and stocking up as best I can!

Do you buy in bulk, if so, what are you tips? How much do you love Costco and Premier?!