Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Al-Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love the holidays, but I think my favorite time of year has to be the first two weeks of summer. During the final quarter of the school year, I'm in survival mode.  The schedule is insane, and our house is more of a place where we sleep and change clothes than a place where we actually reside, so things fall apart and I convince myself not to worry...summer's comin'.  Now it's here, and I wish I could push the pause button.

Summer mornings are the best.  Getting up two or three hours before the kiddos means I have time to think and plan without interruption.  This morning has me focused on VBS planning (thank God for Answers In Genesis and their amazing VBS curriculum), and Pilgrim Youth Camp Bible Bowl planning (that's where I'll be this time next week).

Last summer seems like just a couple of months ago, and I've been reflecting.  Somewhere in my 30's, I realized that life is really short.  If it is to be, it is up to me.  My dreams will never become reality unless I start now.  

I wrote those words on June 9th, 2015.  Evidently, I was distracted and it became a draft that set untouched for almost two years.  Funny thing is, I opened the draft this morning not having a clue what was in it, and it reads as though I wrote it this morning.  I'm still here, preparing for next week's youth camp and next month's VBS.

This reminds me that life is full of routines and rituals.  Many of the things we do over and over aren't terribly exciting.  Some require a tremendous amount of effort.  Some become boring (did I just use that word?!), and sometimes change is good.  But many times God is honored through our faithfulness in the mundane.  So let's keep on plugging away, ok?  Whatever is on your plate this summer deserves your best.  That thing...the one you have been putting off...you know what it is, don't you?  You tackle that, and I'll be over here creating spreadsheets for Bible Bowl quiz points.  Let's get to it! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Losing Weight While Maintaining Normal Family Meals

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, "Do you eat different foods than the rest of your family?"  The short answer is, "Yes and no."

When I changed my lifestyle, I didn't tell people.  I didn't want scrutiny and pressure, and I didn't want people to feel awkward around me.  I wanted the freedom to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, and without judgment.  It was important to me that my kids not see me as being obsessed with calorie counting.  Children and adolescents are extremely impressionable, and it pains me greatly to hear moms obsess about weight in front of their kids, especially their daughters.  They are setting an example that will be permanent in the minds of their children.

Meals that I cook at home are typically a meat, a veggie or two, and a starch.  My plate will usually have a serving of meat, a double or triple serving of veggies, and a tiny (if at all) serving of the starchy food, depending on my caloric intake that particular day.  If I do a one-dish meal that is more fattening, I may fix myself something different.  It is still important to sit down together and focus on the fellowship, not on the difference in what is on our plate.  My kids know that they are growing and it is important for them to eat many more calories than I.  I stress the fact that I would like them to eat mostly healthy foods, but that I will in no way restrict the amount of food they take in.

It is possible to lose weight while raising a family.  It is beneficial to the family to see healthier options available to them.  Several times, my kids have seen me prepare something fresh and healthy for myself and they have been enticed by the beauty or the scent of the food.  They have tried and sometimes enjoyed foods that would not have even been in the house had I not changed my habits. 

Social Networking and Weight Loss

Since beginning my healthy lifestyle journey on Feb 20, I have looked to social media to help keep me motivated. When I was tracking using Livestrong, I would read the threads in the communities there. Although I didn't participate in the conversation, I found a lot of helpful information. 
Instagram has been a fun place for me to find motivation and ideas. If you search hashtags that apply to weight loss or healthy living, you'll find more info than you can process.
Weight loss groups on Facebook are abundant.  I'm not on Facebook,  but if I were, I would likely take advantage of this.
There is nothing so powerful as a before/during/after photo comparison,  and social media makes that possible.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eating the Good Stuff and Loving It


Developing healthy eating habits will, many times, involve eating a larger quantity of food and eating more often.  For me, boosting my metabolism was important.  Before Feb 20, 2014, I started almost every morning with a Starbucks bottled mocha frappucino.  There.  It’s out.  How embarrassing.  Mornings are busy for me, obviously.  I’ve never been a breakfast eater.  These bottled drinks can make you feel full for several hours, and they give a burst of energy.  Just a burst.  

 
When I changed my lifestyle, I started out with a yogurt and a piece of fruit in the morning.  Within a couple of months, I started using low cal toasted bread with a generous smear of peanut butter.  I placed a sliced banana on top, and sprinkled it with cinnamon.  This is still my favorite.  It tastes like a donut to me.  Hard boiled eggs would be a great choice if I were crazy about them.  I’m not.  I do love fried eggs, but don’t usually have time for all of that in the morning.


Because I teach, my lunch time is limited and I’m still “on duty” at lunch.  I do enjoy most of the Weight Watchers frozen meals, and I stock up on them when on sale.  If I had more time to prepare my own lunches, I could have healthier options.  This has worked for me so far, and I only eat them at school when I don’t have something healthy and filling ready to take with me.  I always take time for lunch now.  Nothing will be more important than getting my fuel.  

 
My morning and afternoon snacks are typically fresh fruit, a string cheese, a 100 cal pack of almonds, or something equivalent.  When I first started, I ate at least a bag of Fit Active microwave popcorn per day.  That was my afternoon snack and sometimes again at night.  It gave me the crunch and faint saltiness I needed.  You could add zero calorie toppings, but I didn’t want to add more sodium.

 
In the early months, I had eggs at least a couple of evenings each week.  A lot of people say that it is difficult to lose weight when cooking for a family.  I get that, and there were plenty of nights where I set down to a plate of eggs when I had fixed something different for everyone else.  Other options were to skip the starch (or just have a spoonful) and load up on whatever veggie and meat I had fixed, or just have a smaller amount of everything I fixed for the family.  Since I placed a high priority on being “full” when I finished my food, I typically went for the limited starch/loads of veggies approach. 

With eggs, I switch it up.  I can do them in a wrap with lite sour cream and salsa on top for a southwestern flavor.  I love them scrambled with baby spinach and roma tomatoes. 

For my sweet snacks, I typically choose a fruity yogurt sorbet bar or a frozen fudge bar.  These range from 70-120 calories, and have been a lifesaver for me. 

A favorite lunch for me in the spring and summer was a skinny bun (flat) from Aldi (100 cal), turkey breast, light mayo, light cheese (sometimes), any and all veggies on top, with a side of Fit Active cheddar flavor mini rice cakes (these are more like chips).  I would add fresh fruit to my plate, and come away very satisfied. 

Since I wasn’t a water drinker, I substituted Crystal Light for my soda addiction.  They have great flavors and I loved them as long as they were ice cold.  I realize they contain a sugar substitute and they aren’t the best option, but it was definitely better than what I was used to putting into my body. 

I have placed a high priority on not 
allowing myself to get very hungry.  If my stomach growls, I'd better find food fast! Lol!  This is an important key to me staying on track.  Most of my weight came from emergency eating...aka grabbing whatever was quick and accessible and then eating way too much of it because I felt famished.  It's safe to say, I eat far more often now than I did 60lbs ago. 

Oh, and I almost forgot...a tablespoon of peanut butter before bed.  Seriously. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Crunching the Numbers Instead of the Potato Chips :-)


One of the first things someone will ask when talking about weight loss is, “How long did it take?”  Like I said before, I didn’t really make this change to lose weight.  Once I started losing, it was a combination of seeing and feeling the results that kept me going.  Since details are fun, here ya go:

 
In the first 6 weeks, I lost 20lbs.  Understand that a lot of this was water weight and the result of cutting Starbucks bottled drinks, Coke, and Dr. Pepper out of my life.  I was drinking probably 1,000-1,200 calories a day on average.

 
During the second 6 weeks, I lost 13lbs.  This included the period of time that I went to IHC and Student Convention.  I was nervous about how I would do with traveling and being way out of routine for days at a time.  Apparently, I did fine.

 
June - 6lbs   Two weeks at church camp - I was creative in my choices, and only had cheese sticks at the snack stand 3x.  :-)

July – 4.2lbs

August – 4lbs.  This included 6 days on our Smoky Mountain vacation.  Once again, I planned my indulgences.

September – 7lbs  Interesting how going back to school probably helped me lose a little more. 

October – 6.2lbs 

November - 4lbs Thank you, Thanksgiving!

 
I set my calorie counter to lose two pounds per week, and my activity level to light activity.  Notice that in these months I was closer to a 1.5lb per week average. That’s because I’m not on a diet.  I changed my lifestyle.  I indulge.  I enjoy myself.  And I will continue to do that, even if it means I only lose 3-4lbs per month.

 
Slower weight loss is better for me for several reasons:

  • Loose skin will tighten better with slower loss
  • My clothes last longer
  • It is sustainable
*If you're just jumping into the conversation, see all posts tagged weight loss.

I'm Back - And I Lost Something!


I can’t believe that almost ten months have passed since my last post!  2014 has been such a good year so far, and I’m here to tell you a little about why it was so positive (cue the applause from all the sistas who have been waiting to read this). 


In September, I posted a success on Instagram.  It was a comparison photo of me from May/September, and marked a 50lb weight loss.  Several of you wanted details, and I’m getting to that now.  This is going to require several posts where I’ll give more specifics, but this should help encourage you or inspire you if you’re feeling ready to accept a lifestyle change.  I’ll stick mostly to facts now, and get into the rest in other posts.

 
During the month of February 2014, I became motivated to change my eating habits to see if it would help me feel better.  I was always lethargic and lacked the energy to get through a normal day, much less the somewhat demanding life of a wife/mom/Christian day school teacher.  I’m not sure what caused me to be so resolute, but I knew that something had to change or I was going to break.  I couldn’t keep going.  I really didn’t think that excess weight really had a lot to do with anything, but I knew that poor nutrition did impact me and that’s what I set out to change.  In the back of my mind, I knew that if I lost weight it would be an added bonus.  I didn’t necessarily expect it, basically because I was conditioned to think that weight loss was a tricky or difficult thing for women.  I guess all the hype about weight in our society affected me more than I realized.

 
Needless to say, I changed my eating habits (no exercise involved to date), and the pounds started melting.  Here are the facts:


  • I used Livestrong to track my caloric intake (smartphone app or computer)
  • Breakfast every single day
  • Morning snack
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon snack
  • Dinner
  • Bedtime snack
  • Cut soda (even diet soda)
  • Increased water intake (not nearly enough, but hey…anything is better than nothing!)

 
This is what I did.  Nothing spectacular.  I tracked for eight months solid, missing maybe 10 days during that time.  This is where a lot of people fail.  They say they are too busy or don’t feel like tracking.  I say if you want change, you’ll track.  ;-)

 
I reached another milestone this week.  I’m now carrying 60 less pounds around with me, and it feels amazing.  See the next post for how I learned to make better choices, cutting my caloric intake by 50% while eating filling foods.

Photo on left was within two weeks of starting, photo on right was October 15.
Feb 20-Dec 2  60+ lbs lost