Wednesday, February 12, 2014



i kind of duck and covered for awhile. this space is for transparency and i needed a bit to balance how to do that with authenticity and grace. life has been good, rich in mercy.  life has been hard, thick with change and trials.  but today, today is time to talk about thirty.
random picture {thanks hubby for entertaining my silly requests} to celebrate a huge feat for me.  

 thirty pounds lost!!!  last week i was at twenty-two pounds lost and couldn't imagine the victory that lay ahead.
i've committed to a six week weight loss challenge called a little too fluffy by my girls carina and danielle and this is the last week.  eek.

i'm a yo-yo. i get pumped to lose weight and it lasts a day, a week at best...with real intention.  but this time, something clicked. i've had a lot of people ask me about 'what i'm doing' and so i thought a blog post was the easiest way to do that.  i also, want to document my journey...because this is it, the long haul transition to health. and plus also, it was important to get it all out while i had the guts {i'm...gulp...going to talk numbers, as in weight later} before the contest ends because the reality is no matter what happens {cliche or not} i've already won.

the first step was to make a commitment with some short & long term goals. i know that sounds obvious, but i truly would have quit without a  commitment and set goals.  the accountability of a weekly weigh in has been great and the prize money was a good motivator...especially when a series of unfortunate events started to happen mid contest like our only vehicle dying.  those are still great, but once the pounds started to shed, my clothing started to fit loosely and i started to notice things the reward took on new meaning.  my goal for the first six weeks during this contest is 32 pounds...i'm TWO away. that feels amazing.  my long term goal is 100 pounds by the end of the year, broken down into a 2-3 pound weight loss per week after the contest.

before you mathematicians start calculating and get an idea of how much i do weigh, here are the details. i am 5'7" and i started this journey at 282 pounds.  when i first sent in my weight i was blown away.  i've tipped the scales at 290 and there was no way i was going to hit 300. so let me back up a little here and talk about how i got to 282 and shed some light on how it feels to be overweight and in my case...obese.

being overweight means you constantly yank at your clothing to make sure everything is covered.  being overweight means you make sure to snag a sturdy chair in a group setting so you don't embarrass yourself.  being overweight means every clothing you have has food stains because you drip stuff when you are that far from your plate.  being overweight means you don't ride the ride, participate in the activity or join in on the fun if there is a possibility your weight will make you look foolish...or worse prevent you from participating. being overweight means your feet and back ache everyday. being overweight means you feel guilty that you are contributing to your poor health that could ultimately rob your family of their mother and wife. i could go on.

282 was my starting weight because i let every lie and every hurt and every trial become calories i consumed. a hard day for me looked like soda after soda.  a hard night for me looked like me sitting in front of the tv for mind numbing hours until i was hungry for a fourth meal and decided, what the heck let's pick the worst possible thing and eat that.

i also want to be clear, i am an addict.  i used food to numb whatever emotion i wanted to forget. food addiction isn't like drugs and alcohol. i can't stop eating, but i can change the way in which i eat and the reasons i choose to eat.

in this journey i have become fascinated with a tv show called my 600 lb life. i get a glimpse into what could have so easily become my life and i sympathize with these people who also let life's pain become the calories that they eat.  the most recent show's patient made this statement, "food may hurt you physically, but doesn't hurt you emotionally." exactly.  there is some truth to the idea of comfort food. then she said, "life isn't a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice.  once you begin to understand that you will begin to live." profound.

i love jesus, but i made food my idol and source of comfort.  the weight didn't make me ashamed, how i got to it did. but his mercy is everlasting and he sustained me even when i turned away.

and so i decided if i believed that anything is possible with god, then let's do this.  let's do the hard things.
it started with changing what i ate.  if god grew it then i can eat it. it's taken discipline, but i'm undoing years and years of bad choices. {those pork rinds are the hubby's...he's on board, with extremely slooooow baby steps.}
it's learning that i can be satisfied with foods that taste good and are good for me...i know rocket science, huh?!
it's deciding that food isn't the celebration, life is.  food is to fuel and keep my temple healthy.  and it's been fun dabbling with new things and creating different meals. {that's baked acorn squash with a black bean burger & topped with an egg}
and again and again and the hard things.  i shared this picture on instagram explaining that i had just finished playing baseball with my family.  i have six brothers, who in turn with my only sister and I, have six boys.  and they all love baseball. so much so, that we often gather on sunday afternoons to eat & play in my brother's backyard. we have dubbed it 'baseball sunday'.  i watch, i do not play...until this day.  i have zero skill, but i ran, i hit, i finished.  that was a defining moment for me.  i participated...and it was awesome.

so how does all that add up to losing thirty pounds?  well, i'll share what has worked for me, but i want to be very clear that none of this would have worked for me without choosing to change. very much like any addict it's a daily choice. sometimes it's a minute by minute choice.  but it is worth it, because i am worth it.

  • i love bob harper and have used a lot of these suggestions, but really try to apply the eat berries everyday and a protein at every meal.  i added eating an apple and banana everyday as well, since i heard those were good for weight loss too.
  • i cut out all sodas and have very limited caffeine {i've only had coffee 3-4 times in the last 5 weeks, as opposed to a cup or two daily}, i also cut out all alcohol. basically, i am not going to drink my calories, it isn't worth it to me.
  • because of that i drink lots of water.  i use a 20 oz insulated Starbucks tumbler to keep up with my intake.  sometimes it's low at around 40 oz and sometimes i drink 56 oz or more.
  • to break old habits, i don't eat after 8pm.  i've broke this one once in the last 5 weeks.
  • i eat as little sugar as possible.  i haven't let the amounts on my fitness pal throw me since most of my intake is natural, but i have indulged a few times but always in moderation and try to substitute agave and honey where I can.
  • mid challenge i got...stay in bed for days...sick and it threw me off my work out schedule.  it's slowly picking up.  prior to that, i tried to exercise everyday. i switch it up a lot. i walk/jog/run on my treadmill, bike on my stationary bike, biked with my son at a nearby track, wii zumba, refit dvds, yoga & pilates dvds.
  • i try to eat as whole/raw as possible. for example i will cut up 1 cup of berries, 1 apple, 1 bell pepper & a couple of baby carrots for lunch and pair that with either an egg and turkey breakfast sausage or nitrite free lunch meat that has a laughing cow cheese wedge half spread on it and raw spinach inside for a roll up. which means i am still eating processed foods, but i'm trying to be very selective based on nutrients and calories.
  • raspberry ketone three times daily with meals. i take quite a bit of vitamins as a proactive holistic approach to my health in general so this wasn't hard to add to the mix. dr. oz has spoken highly of it and is part of it's recent popularity.
  • i use my fitness pal religiously.  i haven't adjusted my dinner meal much, but i have worked on disciplining my portion control and added healthier versions of family favorites.  i typically start by entering dinner at the beginning of the day {meal planning is essential} to spread out my calories and make choices based on my calorie intake & nutrient goals.  it helps to not splurge at snack time, too.
  • one trick for adding my dinner meals to my fitness pal is using calorie count to calculate the calories since a lot of times i am throwing things together or using a recipe.
  • motivation and inspiration are big keys to my success.  my biggest inspiration has been my amazing sil, laryn.  amidst so many obstacles she has kicked weight in the teeth and has already lost SIXTY say i am proud of her is an understatement! i also have a beautiful friend marta who along with her equally stunning sisters are passionately sharing the knowledge about health and weight loss on their joint blog, four fit sisters.  i highly recommend following them on instagram for daily inspiration and monthly workout goals.  diana smith, this girl has no idea how she has motivated me!  girlfriend has lost 100 stinking pounds and isn't stopping!  she recently shared her starting & current weight and was a big reason why i felt brave enough to do the same. she is a daily source of her & so happy for her success! {catch her sharing her story on the rachel ray show tomorrow!} and this book....made to crave.  i've picked it up and put it down several times and just like the time to lose weight was now, so is this book.  the perfect companion to shift my focus off food and on the father.
  • support system.  my hubby and kids are my biggest cheerleaders.  but, i also have amazing friends and family who are my weekly check in text posse.  with this challenge requiring me to weigh weekly, i have made it a habit to send out texts to the posse and i am always encouraged by their excitement and cheers. i truly am so very well loved.

with all that said i'm human and there is some ebb and flow to those rules, i try not to get overwhelmed by them and give myself grace.  my main focus has been to get healthy.  i am not a doctor {obviously} and i am learning as i go, so if something else works for you then go for it!  i wanted an opportunity to share what has been successful for me with the hope that it can help someone else.  i will say that for me it was very important not to make this a diet.  i don't want to do this for quick results...although it is a perk, but for long term health.  my ultimate goal is to prolong my life as long as possible.  no one is guaranteed tomorrow, but it was important for me to try my best to ward off ms symptoms and give myself the best chance at a long healthy life.  for me and my family. 

i hope this helps someone looking for tips on their weight loss journey because we are all worth it.  go do the hard things friends!