Everything You Need to Quit Biting Your Nails

Inside: How to stop biting your nails, what to do instead. BONUS: How to take care of your nails. 

One of my first memories in school was of a teacher holding my hand during a lecture in class.
She clasped my hand in one hand and rubbed the top of my hand with her other hand.

I felt so special.
I can't remember the lesson, I think it might have been about the book we were reading, a biography of Helen Keller.

It was second grade, I really loved that teacher.
Her name was Mrs. Ouimet, and she was always so kind and warm towards her students, and I was very drawn to her.

"Ew. You shouldn't hold her hand, she bites her hands, and that's disgusting."

Me. I was disgusting. 
Tears welled up in my eyes, and I removed my hand from my kind teacher's loving hands.

I rose from my seat, went out into the hallway, and sobbed. 
I realize now, I was filled with shame.

This shame followed me for my entire life.
For years, I would hide my hands.
I even avoided painting my nails because I hated bringing attention to them.

So I tried everything to try to stop.
My parents did too.




My hands were always in my mouth. Especially when I was feeling anxious.
When something made me nervous, I'd chew on my fingers and nails.

I couldn't stop.
I would chew on my hands until they were bleeding. Then I would feel ashamed of myself and hide my hands from everyone for weeks.

When I finally started painting my nails, it would hurt because of all the open wounds around my hands. Forget nail polish remover. The pain would make it unbearable.

I can't fully explain how much shame this brought me, and how disgusted I felt with myself.
Even now I am seeing the habits I created because of this shame. I still find myself slipping my hands under my knees while sitting close to people who COULD see my hands.

What is wrong with me?

I have tried to quit for my entire life.

I put bitter apple spray -- the stuff you spray on your things so your dog won't chew on them -- on my fingertips, and it would deter me for a small amount of time, but eventually, I was so anxious the bad taste stopped bothering me.

I tried painting my nails more, and it led to my nails always being chipped, and having nail polish flakes in my teeth. Even more shame.

Imagine someone noticing you have some odd color on your front tooth. My eyes would sting with embarrassment. 

One day my daughter (who is six now) noticed me with my hands in my mouth. She asked me why. And I couldn't give her a good answer. I told her it was something I didn't like doing, but I wasn't sure how to stop.

How could I tell my sons to keep their hands out of their mouth if I couldn't do it myself?

I had to quit. I HAD to be successful this time.

But where do you start?
How do you stop doing something you've been doing your entire life?

How to Stop Biting Your Nails 

First, I tried to find what was the core issue. I knew I was chewing my hands and nails, but I didn't know why. Without knowing the trigger, I would just be putting a band-aid on. Not fixing the problem.

This is where journaling is great. When I let out what is bothering me, or what I was hurting about that day. I could find what the problem was rather quickly.

For me, it's driving to a new place -- heck even just driving in general, and interacting with people in a new place. It will probably be something different for you.

Anything can cause someone's anxiety or worry, it's all about what you perceive to be a danger in your life.

What Finally Works

Changing my mindset. 

I decided I wasn't someone who bites their nails. From today moving forward, I am not a nail biter. 

But what happens when I did chew my nails? 
When I noticed, I would stop, and mentally say "why are you doing this? You aren't a nail biter!"

Yes. This is silly. You might even laugh at yourself, I did. 

You'll begin to believe yourself, and that's where the magic sauce is. 

I saw a video on YouTube, it was a segment from "The Doctors" about nail-biting.
I don't think they're a reliable source normally -- I've seen segments from them about how to lose 20 pounds in one week . . . EYEROLL. But I found this one to be very helpful. 

They showed a picture of teeth. Exaggerated for effect, but I saw they were chipped away from years of nail-biting. 

I've seen this begin in my own teeth. It was terrifying to look in the mirror and see that in my mouth. 
I didn't want my teeth to be any more damaged than they already were. 

Maybe you've had painful teeth problems before -- I know I have had a tooth crack before -- you KNOW that tooth pain is nothing to mess around with.



My Children

When my children put their hands in their mouth, I realized how much of my life my children are seeing . . . the painful things you never want to see your children suffer through. 

I didn't want someone to call my children disgusting in second grade and have shame that follows them into adulthood. 

I had to lead by example. I have to quit. 

Redirection

Find something else to do with your hands. If your hands are busy, you won't be able to put them in your mouth.

I like something you can mindlessly play with.

This makes it very similar to when you mindlessly chew on your nails.

Dangly Necklaces

Fidget Spinners for women, as I like to call them. Here are a few on Amazon you might like.




It's important to have something always available for your hands to gravitate towards. If it's always available there is no excuse for your hands to mindlessly drift to your mouth.

An extra bracelet in the car might help if driving or car time is a time when you tend to falter.


These are some cute examples. The first allows you to put a drop of essential oil on it, which could help with anxiety too.

If you're interested in essential oils for anxiety, here is a great post I made just for you. Click here!

I love keeping a bracelet in my car. One time I couldn't find mine, but my daughter had a mermaid charm bracelet in the car, so I used that. It actually worked the best of all the bracelets I have tried because there are so many things for my hands to fiddle with.

It doesn't matter if it's pretty, or you love it. Its sole purpose is to provide your hands with something to do during your high anxiety times in the car.

Lipstick

Maybe you don't generally wear lipstick. I never did. Usually, because I would always peel it off or mess with my hands enough it would just look terrible.

This time I tried something that didn't come off easily. An example is LipSense, but that's not what I did. I found this bright red lipstick. There are different colors if you'd prefer.



You apply it in two steps, so it should stay all day. Unless of course, you're chewing on your hands.

It's okay if you're not successful the first day. It's important just to try.
It's not important how quickly you stop. What's important is trying again. And trying again. And trying again.

There will be times when you fail, and chew on your hands. It's okay.
Get back up on that saddle and keep going.

Moving on.

Drink More Water

I really don't know if this helped at all, but it gave me something to do with my hands.

Plus, is there any negative to drinking more water? Heck no. Just do it.

Learn to Take Care of Your Nails



You're right. I should have put this higher up on the list.
I never learned how to properly take care of my nails when I was growing up because my nails were never long enough to clip. I had always chewed them down as far as I could.

So here I am. 30 years old. Trying to learn how to take care of my nails.
Are there YouTube videos? Probably. But I went it alone this time.

Get yourself a manicure kit. Maybe you already have one, maybe not. The important part here is you have to take care of your nails.

Right now you're probably doing that with your mouth and your teeth. Let's try a different tactic, and use the right tools to properly care for your hands. This way you don't HAVE to use your teeth.

Here are a few I found that would work:



This is what I did. It might look different for you, so do what you think you need.

First things first, wash your hands. Warm water with soap. Make sure you clean out underneath your nails. Here is a nice nail brush you can use to help get dirt out from underneath your nails.

I used the biggest nail clippers first, to clip where it was too long. I tried to maintain a straight line at the end of my nail. It just seems like that's what people with long nails do? And it's the easiest to do yourself. If you like something else, by all means go for it.

Tip: Trim them while they're still damp for an easier cut.

Next you'll want to use a file to keep the end of your nail smooth, so it won't catch on anything. Remember to always go in one direction.

Here is where you'll apply lotion and cuticle oil, if that suits your fancy. I notice my cuticles (the little skin that grows over your nail at the base) stays nice and soft when I use a cuticle oil. What is cuticle oil?

I use Jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-bah) oil. You can find Jojoba Oil on Amazon here. You'll love this oil because it softens your cuticles, but you can also use it on your face and hands.

And bam! You'll have nice healthy nails in no time.

How Often Do I Need to Take Care of My Nails?

Every day is ideal, but we live in the real world. Once or twice a week should be fine. Try to wash your nails every day.

Have you successfully stopped biting your nails? How did you do it?
Leave a comment below! 





10+ Irresistible Make Ahead Salads and How to Keep Them Fresh All Week



Overweight, unhappy, and more than my bowels were irritable. I was losing my patience with my children, feeling awful about myself and not myself at all. I was feeding my body garbage, and it was not happy about it. Enter: Clean eating.

I was so thrilled to start the journey and feel better. I had started right after I had my second child, and I couldn't believe how great I was feeling.

I lost a ton of weight, and I CRAVED working out. With all the crud I was eating before I didn't realize how much it was holding me back.

When my body got what it was craving (good food!) I was able to do more things around the house, feel less overwhelmed, and so so so much more patient with my children.

I fell off the wagon with it over the years, but I'm restarting again today! It's a silly realization I came to. You have to eat every day, so you might as well plan for it. That's one more decision you won't have to make daily, decision fatigue is real!
My friend April, from https://shapelyways.com/ offered to write a post for me about Mason Jar Salads, and I was thrilled to accept. Perfect timing.
She has laid out 11 amazing salads you can make ahead on a Sunday, and they'll still be fresh on Friday. *we use affiliate links, so anything you click may give me a small commission. Thanks for supporting my family!

10 Easy Low Carb Meal Prep Mason Jar Salads + Freshness Tips

Cheaper and quicker than going out to lunch, mason jar salads make healthy on-the-go meals.
Clean eating is for everyone.
No matter what your dietary preference: keto, paleo, low-carb, vegan, or vegetarian, there is a nutrient-dense salad in a jar that’s perfect for you.
If a salad recipe looks good but doesn’t fit your diet, tweak it. Don’t have the exact ingredients? Tweak it.
Salads in a jar are versatile, easy to prepare, super convenient and taste fantastic. Plus, they help you eat lots more veggies.


You might also like: Meal Planning Basics

These recipes are low-carb, paleo and keto friendly.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, a few simple substitutions allow them to fit into your personal diet too.
Before we get into these amazing salads, let’s cover some basics to help you get the most out of these salads.

Freshness Tips

Layers Are The Key To Keeping Salads In A Jar Fresh And Crisp

  • Dressing at the bottom keeps moisture away from soft veggies and lettuce.
  • Next, add any ingredients you might like to marinate in the dressing. Some examples are onions, chicken, garbanzo beans, chopped tomatoes or cucumbers.
  • Or you’ll want to add your hardier veggies like carrots, cabbage, and celery. These stay fresh when in contact with liquid.
  • The protein layer acts as a barrier between the wet ingredients and the soft veggies.
  • Soft veggies and greens on top for freshness
  • At the very top of your jar, you can add a paper towel layer to absorb moisture. Then items like herbs or bacon that need to be completely dry can go above the paper towel.
Bonus Tip:  Put a hole in the mason jar metal lid with a tack. Then put a piece of electrical tape over the hole. Finally, use a Ziploc vacuum pump to take the air out. Airtight ingredients last longer. Get your own by clicking here.



How Long Will A Salad In A Jar Keep?

Most layered Mason jar salads last 4-5 days. Your protein source helps determine how long they stay fresh.
  • Cooked meats like beef, poultry, and seafood keep fresh up to 4 days
  • Deli meats last up to 5 days
  • Hard-boiled eggs last up to 7 days
  • Whole cooked beans last up to 7 days

Containers For Salads In A Jar

Salads in a jar are usually pictured in quart size (32 oz.) wide mouth Mason jars with the dressing at the bottom.
If you avoid plastics for food storage, Mason jars are ideal. They are inexpensive and available at most major stores. You can order a set by clicking here.
If you prefer to carry your salad in something less breakable, Amazon has a wide range of plastic choices. Here is a great one, click here to find it. Here are a few options.

 

Another choice is this BPA free salad bowl from Amazon. It comes with a separate toppings tray and salad dressing container.

This is a pricier version, but if it is vitally important to make sure nothing ever touches at all, this is a great alternative.
Another way to ensure your dressing doesn't touch your salad is BNTO dressing containers. They fit down into your wide mouth Mason jar.
This is perfect for those who prefer to add the dressing right before eating.
Photo: Cuppow.com
For simplicity and frugality, you can’t beat a large mouth mason jar with a plastic lid or metal canning lid.

Both of these lids are reusable after careful washing by hand or in the dishwasher.
Bonus Tip: You can often find Mason jars for pocket change at your local thrift stores. Be sure to clean them well before using, and they'll be a great addition to your lunch prep.

How To Eat A Salad In A Jar:

One bite at a time… Ba-dum-bump. Seriously though, you have some options here too.
Eat right out of the jar. Leaving some room in the top of your jar allows you to shake and mix all your ingredients and eat from the jar.  Make sure to tamp down your layers as you go to remove oxygen between layers that can cause oxidation.
Another option is to bring a bowl or plate with you to pour your salad into and mix. This allows you to pack your airtight mason jar all the way to the top for an extra crispy salad.
Either way, you can then add any topping that wouldn’t stay as fresh like avocado or sliced strawberries.

Don't forget to pack a fork.
Below you’ll find 10 of my favorite low carb salads that are full of fiber, fat, and protein to keep you full longer. Once you get the hang of layering these salads, it is easy to get creative and make your own recipes.

1. Keto Taco Salad Perfected!

Lindsey / the little pine / via thelittlepine.com
Doesn't it look incredible? My mouth is watering looking at this picture.

Savory and filling low carb taco salads are a staple when you want to avoid the tortillas and chips.

Chicken or turkey can replace the beef here. Or you can make it vegan or vegetarian by using beans and rice instead of meat and cheese.
Also delicious with a healthy ranch-style dressing.

2. Creamy Lemon Dill Shrimp Salad

Brian Kavanagh / The Sophisticated Caveman / via Whole30.com
This amazing exclusive recipe from Whole30.com and is a winner.
Full of clean whole foods, it is as pretty as it is tasty. Buy precooked shrimp and Whole30 compliant dressing for an even easier salad in a jar.
Substitutions: For those allergic to shellfish, substitute chicken, cod, or salmon.
Vegans and vegetarians can use a vegan dressing and garbanzo beans.

3. Healthy Low- Carb Greek Salad Jar

Maya / Wholesome Yum / via wholesomeyum.com
I like to add the chopped purple onions to the dressing so they pickle in the dressing. This way they aren’t so hard on the tummy. I then keep the cherry tomatoes whole and add them after the cucumbers.
Like the taco salad,  this recipe pairs well with a healthy DIY ranch dressing if you want to change things up.

4. Chopped Cob Mason Jar Salad

Tammy / Organize Yourself Skinny / via organizeyourselfskinny.com
Tammy has a helpful video with her recipe that shows the layering of ingredients.

How do you keep those avocados green for 4 days? Spray or dip them in lime juice before adding to the jar.
You can also add the bacon to the top of the jar with a paper towel placed between it and the lettuce for extra crispness.

5. Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

Sabra / This Mom’s Menu / via thismomsmenu.com
This one makes my mouth water. I have a weakness for peanuts.

If you prefer to use almond butter and whole almonds or cashews instead it is still a tasty salad.


There are a few recipes on this page, so you may find another favorite among them.
Nut allergy? Use any clean nut free Asian dressing and you are good to go.

6. Spiralized Zucchini Caprese Salad in a Jar

Sarah / Live Eat Learn / via liveeatlearn.com
Don’t have a spiralizer? No problem! Dice up your zucchini instead. Also, this is a good example of a recipe where you can leave your cherry tomatoes whole for a longer lasting salad.
This fresh, healthy tasty salad is full of veggies and nutrition. If you aren’t a pesto fan. Try a vinaigrette instead. Delish!

7. Keto Mason Jar Salad With Italian Vinaigrette

Nicole / Kale Junkie / via kalejunkie.com
This recipe makes two mason jar salads. Loaded with cruciferous veggies this powerful salad lowers inflammation and fights cancer. Full of fiber and nutrients, and it's delightfully crunchy.

8. Garden Salad In a Jar

Melissa / Bless This Mess Please / via blessthismessplease.com
One of the easiest and most versatile Mason jar salads you can make is a regular ol’ side salad or garden salad.

Enjoy this salad when you want to eat more veggies, but aren't sure where to start. I like to throw any extra veggies I have in the fridge into this salad.


Also, great to keep in the fridge to add as a side salad to any meal or add leftovers from dinner for tomorrow’s lunch.
This next recipe comes from Melissa as well.

9. Mediterranean Salad In A Jar

Melissa / Bless This Mess Please / via blessthismessplease.com
This salad and the next has higher carbs because of the garbanzo beans. Although, a large amount of fiber in the beans and veggies helps offset the carb count.
Garbanzo beans are a good source of protein and fiber. They are also high in vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.
If you need to keep your carbs down for health reasons, you could substitute chicken for beans here.

10. Antipasto Italian Mason Jar Salad

Carly Paige / Fit Living Eats / via fitlivingeats.com
I love an antipasto salad loaded with Italian meats and cheeses. This clean version has all the flavor with none of the dairy or chemicals of deli meats. From Beth Ann: This type of salad is an old family favorite. We get a huge plate and stand around the table and toss all the ingredients layer by layer, and dig in as a tangy appetizer. I remember putting the olives on my fingers as a child and lots of laughs and happiness as a family.

11.Bonus: Keto Avocado Chocolate Chia Pudding In A Jar

Lauren Kelly / Lauren Kelly Nutrition / via laurenkellynutrition.com
Pre-made healthy desserts help keep me on track with clean eating. So, we are ending with an easy, healthy, on-the-go Mason jar dessert.
Perfect for when you want a little something sweet without the guilt.
To make this recipe easier and simpler, use these substitutes.
  • 2 Tbl of cocoa powder is chocolate-a-plenty, omit the unsweetened baking chocolate.
  • A good pinch of sea salt brings out the sweet and chocolate flavors.
  • No need to grind your chia seeds. Increase the amount to 1 Tbl and let your mini food processor or blender do the blending and grinding for you. Enjoy!

There You Have It! 11 Delicious Mason Jar Salads. What Now?

Making one of your meals a balanced clean salad makes a huge difference in your health.

A salad in a jar is an easy way to make this happen on the regular when time is short and your schedule is full.
There is a lot to keep track of in life and so many responsibilities to juggle. Preparing a weeks worth of salads is a simple way to make low carb, clean eating a daily habit.


You May Also Like: How To Have Healthy Snacks Ready To Go.


Do you eat salads every day? Have you tried making a salad in a jar? What are some of your tips and tricks for freshness and flavor?

Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living which makes healthy ways – shapely ways.
Thank you for being here. I look forward to any questions or comments you might have.
Xoxo,
April



Homeschool mom of 4 boys, April uses her love of teaching and learning to help women focus on new habits and a positive mindset to achieve lasting health and weight loss. She shares the tips and tricks she’s learned (and is still learning!) so women have practical tools and resources to work towards their healthiest self. As important she provides encouragement and a plan to get back on track when life doesn't go as planned. Connect with her at shapelyways.com




More from The Life of a Navy Nuke Wife:

Conquer Negativity and Restore A Positive Mindset

Inside: Why Mindset and Emotional Well Being go hand in hand. 
Disclaimer: We use affiliate links, which means when you click on a link, we might get a commission. Thanks for your support. 

Mindset is like my son's baseball pants. It's so easy for those things to get dirty.
They're nice and pristine white.
Why would a team decide to give a bunch of five-year-old boys white pants is BEYOND me.

They get smudged pretty quickly and easily. My son always tossing the red clay dirt on himself whenever they have a game. It makes him happy, so I don't mind much.

The first time I brought his pants home to clean them, I threw them in the washer and didn't think anything of it.

When they came out of the dryer, they were still that reddish brown color, not white at all.


What is Mindset?

Mindset is a set of attitudes held by someone, or the way they feel about things.

So easy to tarnish.
And we happily destroy our mindset, just like my son happily throws dirt on his beautiful new pants.

Just like my son though, we don't mean to destroy it, we are just doing what makes us happy, or fulfills our current need.

Mindset controls our perspective.
As a military spouse, I see it all the time with spouses.

"Ew. We are getting sent to Norfolk. I'm going to hate it."

Spoiler: Those people DID hate it. Then went into it with a bad attitude, and hated every second of it.

They were miserable and unhappy the entire time they were there, and lots of them even ended up in divorce because they couldn't come to terms with living someplace their spouse was required to live.

Think about it. If you go into this inevitable situation thinking:

"I'm so excited. I've never been to Virginia before, and I hear the beaches are amazing."

You're going to love it.

If both spouses end up in the same situation they're going to see things a lot differently, too.



Say they go to a grocery store, and they don't have the coffee brand they like. Spouse one is likely to blame their situation:

"Of COURSE Virginia doesn't have my Peet's Coffee! It's so terrible here, I can't wait to leave!"

Spouse two will likely have a different response:

"Man. This store doesn't have Peet's. What is this Kroger brand? Kona? This looks promising!"

Can you see the difference?

PerspectiveMindset.


The first spouse has been throwing dirt on the clean white pants this whole time.
Nothing will ever be good enough, because they've already decided this.

The second spouse might not have loved the idea of moving away from their hometown to a weird little apartment complex in Virginia, but she found happiness, anyway. Her life threw dirt on her white pants, so she used extra detergent, and she got those things clean.

Mindset directly affects your emotional well-being. You wouldn't think they'd be connected
but when negative thoughts and emotions creep their way in, they affect your whole perspective.

This can wreck your mental clarity, your view of the world, and your nice clean white pants.
When you allow yourself to maintain a positive mindset, you can rewire your brain to be happier, more content, improve your outlook, quality of life and keep those pants clean.

All it takes is some extra detergent.

Negativity is Dirty.

We have all had the mornings where we didn't want to get out of bed. Your little was up all night, or your spouse has to get up TOO early, and you just binge watched Amazon Prime shows all night.

On top of that, you have a dentist appointment, you have to run to the store,
and you hear your dog puking in the hallway.

It's downhill from there. By thinking about how awful your day is going to be, you're inviting that negativity in to stay for a while. You're rubbing that red clay dirt into your pants.

You think the day is going to be bad, so it is.

The children nag you for yogurt even though you didn't buy any yet (it's grocery day!)
Your spouse tells you today is a late day.
Every step you take your view gets a little more shrouded in negativity until you fall apart.

You find yourself stuck in the middle of a dark forest without a path out.



Once you're there, it's easy to stick around, because you don't know how to leave.
This can lead to irrational thinking, a lack of confidence, and unhealthy self-talk
-- I'm a horrible mother.

This downward spiral affects so much of your life. Most importantly, your mental health.

Think about what negativity brings with it.
Stress.
Anxiety.
Conflict.
Lack of motivation.
Depression.

The list goes on, but the main point here is your quality of life is more important than
those negative feelings.

When you choose to refrain from negativity in unexpected events -- such as orders in a military life -- you'll reinforce those pathways in your brain.

Meaning you'll have more control over your knee jerk reactions, and you'll be able to look at a situation with a positive perspective, no matter what it is.

It will change your life.

A positive mindset can be the most important thing you ever give yourself.
As humans, it's easy to dwell on the bad feelings. Being miserable is easy, but happiness takes work.

Just like those white pants.
With a little extra detergent and the right settings, you'll keep those pants white.

No one can keep their pants white 100% of the time.


You'll need to wash them because life happens. But when you know the right way to get them back to clean, you won't worry when a little dirt gets on them.



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