Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Moments That Take Your Breath Away

Last night, as I was driving, I heard George Strait's "The Breath You Take" and I was brought to tears. It's not the first time I've heard the song based off the quote but after the hardships of this year, it struck a chord. I remember when I first heard the quote, before the song, I assumed it was talking about the good times. That in our living we should be focused on those beautiful moments in our lives, our wedding day, the birth of our children, certain milestones, good memories and while those sentiments are true there are equally bad moments that take our breath away. That thought clicked in my mind as the song came through my radio. The struggle has been real and while the birth of a child nearly 9 months ago was breathtaking in a beautiful, miraculous way, the loss of a child three months ago was breathtaking too, in the gut wrenching, heartbreaking way. Both moments have equal value in my life. One good, one bad. Both moments shape and define my life, who I am and who I'll be in the future. Yes, breathing indicates life. If we weren't breathing we'd be dead. But the proof that you're truly alive is in the moments that define us, however breathtaking they may be.

In the midst of grief, it is hard to see the good. And I for one, am annoyed when people gloss over your pain with trivial statements, however well meaning they may be. Yes, life goes on. Yes, you will get through it. Yes, you can try for another baby. But when your breath has been taken away by pain and loss, those words can seem heartless and cruel. In these moments in life, people just need a listening ear, a good deed,  an assurance that they are not alone in their suffering. When the burden begins to lighten and they begin to breathe again the memory of that pain won't be an oppressive darkness. There will be light there and in times of remembering that pain, they will see that they didn't walk alone. And that breathtaking moment won't be so hard to bear.

I find myself in this place. I realized recently that had my baby been able to live, I would know the sex, possibly have a name picked out. I would be planning and buying and rejoicing. But those things aren't happening. Yes, it's incredibly sad. There are days when grief sneaks up and slaps me around but I can look back on that breathtaking moment and know that I'm alive and I didn't walk alone and that gives me joy amidst the pain.

My life won't be defined by how long I live but how well I lived, through the good and the bad.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Whole 30: Week 2 Review

Week two of the Whole 30 is under my belt and I've moved into week three!!!

Excuse the exclamation points. I'm really excited! :)

The physical results that I'm seeing are wonderful. It's tough not knowing what the scale says but feeling and seeing the results are just as good. Clothes that were fitting tightly and were almost unwearable a couple of weeks ago fit well or are loose now. While my stomach has a LONG way to go before it's truly flat, it is much flatter today. My skin looks great. I've always had pretty good skin, on my face at least, but over the past couple of months I had been having pimples and patches of dry skin near my mouth and chin. This was something I've never really experienced before. As a teenager, I had the occasional pimple but nothing when any sort of regularity. I'm pretty confident this was due to the poor eating habits I was following.

The sleep is amazing! I'm a person who constantly battles insomnia or if I do fall asleep quickly, I have a problem staying asleep. I either wake up a dozen times during the night or wake up and stay awake for a couple hours before being able to fall back asleep again. Not so since I started the Whole 30. It's amazing that foods can affect your sleep patterns so much. I never would have guessed. I'm sleepy by 9 PM and fall asleep quickly. I was strictly a 11 to 12 PM girl, every night. I still wake up once, but it's usually not long after I've fallen asleep. I'm not sure why I'm doing this but it happens almost every night. I have no problem going back to sleep and then I'm dead weight until morning or the baby cries. The sleep just might be my favorite change so far.

The second week was much easier than the first. The first was hard because I was just learning what things to eat and trying to figure out how to make meals that didn't include dairy or beans or grains. I had bad detox headaches and struggled to eat enough some days. We are enjoying all the meals we eat. We are eating good foods. It seems hard to cut out so many things that are staples in much of our diet but once you get the hang of it, you find yourself not missing them. Well at least not too bad. For example I made Paleo chili last night for supper. My normal chili includes lots of beans and then is topped with cheese and sour cream. We eat Doritos along with our chili. I was unsure of how I was going to like this chili as it had no beans and I couldn't include my favorite toppings. Holy cow! It was amazing and I've found a new favorite chili topping...diced avocado! Seriously, it's so good! I will say that of everything I can't eat, I still miss cheese the most.

I have to restart week 2 of C25K as I did not finish it this week. I'm disappointed but there were several things that happened out of my control, one of which was a thunderstorm during my normal run time. I don't want to do what I normally do and give up all together, so I'm hoping for a better week and being able to get my runs in like I'm supposed to. I enjoy running in the evening by myself, I absolutely HATE using the jogging stroller but I may have to switch to mornings after my oldest gets on the bus. The jogging stroller needs some work done, so I need to get the hubby on that.

Speaking of the hubby, he cheated! Last week he had...PIZZA!!! I literally wanted to cry when he told me. Not because I was upset that he hadn't been able to truly finish the Whole 30 but I was jealous! Ha! I love pizza! Like, I could eat it three times a week and not get tired of it. In his defense, with his job there are times he is unable to come home for lunch and he had already had to compromise for breakfast because he was busy. I normally make us eggs of some sort but because he wasn't able to wait for me to make them he had a Larabar and almonds that morning. No one he works with was able to leave for lunch and someone ordered pizzas for everyone. I kid him that he could have scraped the toppings off and not eaten the bread and cheese. He's not beating himself up about it because he was really doing this to support me. He isn't starting over as the Whole 30 says you should but he is continuing to eat the way I eat and trying his best to not have to cheat again.

The one thing that I forgot to do that I wish I had of done at the beginning was to take my measurements. I had every intention of doing them and just forgot but just looking at the way my body is now, I know the measurements would show a pretty good loss. So, if you are thinking about doing the Whole 30 yourself, please take your measurements on day one, you're going to want to know the difference.

Has the Whole 30 been hard? Yes. It takes a lot of preparation both physically and mentally. It does get easier and it's so worth it.

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."

Move out of your comfort zone and see what grows...or in this case, shrinks!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whole 30: Week 1 Review

I honestly can't believe that it's already been 7 days since I officially started my journey. You know sometimes, how  you start a diet, and it's horrible and you're miserable and time just seems to drag on? Well, the Whole 30 is not like that. You are filling your body with good food, with good fuel, and it feels good. The first week went by so fast!

Yesterday was the last day of my Jillian Michaels detox drink. The combination of the Whole 30 with the drink was great for my body. I can already notice some subtle changes and I like it. Today is the first day of just drinking plain water and I actually miss the detox drink. I think I'm going to continue to add a bit of the pure cranberry juice and lemon juice to my daily water. I really liked that.

My husband "cheated" and weighed himself yesterday. In one week he was down 7.5 pounds. I thought that was pretty awesome. I'm not going to lie, the scales tempt me. They are in our downstairs bathroom and I have to see them multiple times a day. I should take my friends advice and just lock them in a closet. I came very close to weighing today. I know I can see and feel results but I want a number! Ha!

I also finished week one of C25K and started week two yesterday. Last night's run was hard. Mainly because at 8 PM it was still 93 degrees outside. Also because the amount of running increased with the new week. I saw today that there is going to be a 5K at Fort Polk the beginning of September. I'm thinking about signing up even though I won't be completely finished with the C25K program. I'll run what I can and walk the rest.

The week went by fast but not without some challenges. Number one was the detox headache. Pretty much since I started on the Whole 30, I've woken up each morning with a pounding headache. It usually lasts for a few hours. About day 3, I had a terrible headache that lasted all day. At one point, I went outside and couldn't hold my eyes open because the pain was so bad. I'm honestly not sure if the morning headaches are due to detox or because I am sleeping incredibly hard at night. I've been going to sleep a bit earlier at night, not by much, but earlier is earlier, right? Normally, I can't fall asleep and once I do, I can't stay asleep. This week, however, once I'm asleep, I'm practically dead! That's how hard I'm sleeping at night. Love the sleep, not the headache so much.

Secondly, I found it hard to eat enough some days. There were a couple of days where I ate really small amounts and just felt like I was full and just had no desire to eat. I'm not sure if that's a mental block I was putting up or what was going on but I know to get the most out of the Whole 30 I need to eat and eat well.

Lastly, I took my daughter to a birthday party last night. It didn't start until 5 PM and since that's close to dinner time, I figured that it would be better to cook our dinner meal earlier in day. I had planned a steak dinner for us that night, so we instead had a late steak lunch. I figured I'd cook up a quick meal of scrambled eggs or something for dinner when we got home. I took a baggie of raw cashews with me in case I got hungry and so I would have some sort of defense against all the foods I knew would be there and would derail my progress. As soon as we walked in the door, the smell hit me. I knew it was going to be hard but I also knew that I hadn't done all this work for nothing. Luckily the mom is a friend and knew from my Facebook that I was doing a "diet" of some sort. I was glad for that because I felt like I would be offending her by not eating any of the food she had taken the time to prepare. I actually felt strong up until it was cake time. Birthday cake is my absolute favorite. I love regular birthday cake and vanilla ice cream! But the kicker wasn't the birthday cake. After the cake was brought out and the candles blown out and happy birthday sang, I heard these words, "hand me the other cake." WHAT? There were two cakes???? This one was chocolate with chocolate icing and what looked to be chocolate ganache. OH. MY. GOTCH! I quickly texted my BFF and was like, "There are TWO cakes!!! I need to get out of here!" I also told her that I really wanted to put my face in that cake and wallow around in it for a bit! Hilarity by text ensued and I got a few weird looks, especially when I snorted really loud. Oh well! Thank you Stephanie for helping me keep my sanity and my diet in tact! I love you!

That was the first time I felt a real craving or temptation during the week. I felt awesome sticking to my plan and not getting derailed when I so easily could have. We didn't get home until 7:30. I was hungry even though I ate my cashews. I also hadn't done my run for the day. I can't eat after I run. Even an hour and a half later is pushing it. I almost lost my supper a few nights ago doing that. I knew that if I didn't go run first, I wouldn't run at all. Begrudgingly, I changed clothes and headed out. I was glad I did. After a quick shower, I made a fast egg salad thanks to my hubby boiling some eggs for me while we were at the party. I basically mashed up three eggs, added a bit of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, hot sauce, and mustard. I scarfed it down along with the last of my detox water and crashed on the couch.

Tomorrow starts week two. I'm excited. I did my grocery shopping yesterday and I feel prepared for the week. Abigail goes back to school on Tuesday and so starts the getting up early. I am not a morning person, so please be kind to me if you see me this week. I will probably be struggling!

I'm off to bake some kale chips for the week.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Getting Started

It feels good to be focusing on myself again.

I've started trying to make a few small changes leading up to tomorrow when I officially start day one of my Whole30 challenge. The last few days have been filled with research, planning, grocery shopping, prepping, writing out my goals etc. For the past week, I've been eating smaller meals, not necessarily focusing on nutrition, but portion size. So from the get go, I'm already down a few pounds. Yesterday, I started day one of the Couch to 5K running plan. For those of you who have been following my blog for the last few years will know that this is not my first time doing the plan. I have successfully completed it twice and have stopped and started it several other times. I wish I could say that I've been a constant runner since finishing the program but for some reason, I haven't stuck with running at all. But I am a believer in it, because I know it works. This time, I downloaded the free C25K app which still tells me when to start and stop running but allows me to access my own playlists on my phone. I won't be blogging much about the running since I've already done that in the past. I will say this though...man, is it ever disappointing to struggle at doing something that your body used to be able to accomplish with no problem. I felt like I was dying yesterday doing day one. I wanted to beat myself up mentally because of it but negative self talk wont help me in any way so I'm just going to let it go and continue on.

Today, I'm implementing one other part of my Project Me plan...the Jillian Michaels Detox Drink. The purpose of the drink is to help you shed extra water weight which we all know means more frequent trips to the bathroom. From what I've read, you can lose up to five pounds in the seven days. My initial plan was to do this drink last week, a week before I started the Whole30 but because one of the ingredients is a little hard to find and I ended up having to order it online, I didn't receive it in the mail until Friday. Since I had already bought the stuff, I figured I would do it anyway. You are not supposed to weigh in after the first day of the Whole30 until it's over, so I won't be able to tell you if I lost the 5 pounds the first week or not but I'm sure I'll be able to tell you more about how it worked for me and what it was like. I posted a picture of my jug of water over on Facebook this morning and have already had several of you ask for the recipe so here it is...

Jillian Micahels Detox Drink

64 oz purified water
1 bag of dandelion root tea
1 tbs pure cranberry juice
2 tbs lemon juice

The dandelion root tea was the ingredient that was hard to find. I'm sure if you have a local health food store or a nice supermarket you may not have the problem I did finding it. I ordered mine from Amazon. To make the drink, fix your tea according to the package. Once it has cooled pour it in your container. Add the cranberry and lemon juice and top with remaining water. I made my drink last night so that it had time to be completely cool before consuming it today. That's it. Now, you drink one 64 oz container of your drink every day for seven days. I made two jugs last night and my hubby and I are both drinking on them today.  He's along for the ride too. He's supposed to let me post his results at the end of the 30 days as well.

You may be wondering how it tastes. It tastes like tangy lemon water to me. Not bad at all. You don't have to be on a restrictive "diet" to do the detox drink but it makes sense to eat as well as you can and to exercise along with it to get the most out of it. 

Tomorrow starts my "official" journey. I'm excited to be focusing on not just losing weight but my health again as well. You'll find me here on my blog for most of the 30 days, staying accountable and letting you all know how it's going. Join me?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Back Burner

I am a giver by nature. My mom used to say, that I'd give someone my last dollar and she's right. I totally would. If you're family or friend, you've probably at some point, been the recipient of a gift that didn't come on your birthday or holiday. I most likely saw something that reminded me of you and couldn't resist buying it. Giving in a tangible sense, hasn't always been an option due to our financial circumstances at times, but when it is, I seriously cannot help myself. It drives my husband nuts but it's part of who I am. But I'm not someone who just gives presents, I like to think that I give my time and "talents" when I can. I often put other people first before myself. It's not that I think that I don't matter but I just naturally find myself concerned for the well-being and care of others and like to do what I can when I can. As wonderful as this all is, it means that I put myself on a back burner many of times. I don't even realize that I'm doing it. Mostly that's because I truly receive more of a blessing as a giver. The thing about back burners is that they are hardly used and when they are it's for the less important part of the meal or for something that doesn't need much attention. It's often forgotten and when it's finally remembered, the results aren't always pleasant. I've been on the back burner too long.

Sometimes being on that back burner is intentional. It comes from a place of not wanting to be noticed or not wanting to deal with things in your life. That's why I've been there lately. It's mostly been survival mode. If I can say one thing about 2014, is that it's been full of some hard times. It's been much easier to focus on other things and other people than myself. If you've read my blog at all in the last few months you'll know what I'm talking about. From being alone with two kids waiting for my husband to return from Afghanistan to essentially having to abort my child due to an ectopic pregnancy, things have not been easy. I've had to deal with the emotions that come from these hard times. The easiest way to feel some sort of normalcy was to eat my feelings. I found myself slipping back into old eating habits that I thought I had finally conquered. One of the worst being waiting till my family was all in bed to indulge in junk food without having to feel guilty, at least for the time being. Guilt from over-indulging always comes. I blogged for a while after my surgery but I could never get over this nagging feeling that people just wanted me to suck it up and get over it already. So I tried that. I didn't really get over it. I'm still not over it. I just pretend to be. The truth is, I've got so many dang emotions bottled up inside right now, that I hope no one lights my fuse because it won't be pretty. But I'm trying to deal.

In the midst of all of this, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Of course, I see myself at some point, in a mirror everyday but that doesn't mean I'm always really looking and when I am, I put on my denial glasses or I say that I'll deal with it later. Well, later came in the glimpse and it was like a sucker punch to the gut. The disgusting, over-sized gut that hadn't been there just a couple months ago. The heartbreaking truth was that I had done it to myself, again. I had no one else to blame. I had put myself on the back burner, intentional or not, it was the way that I have survived the last couple of months. It's the way I survived most of last year. By putting everyone else above myself. Because, if I thought of me, I'd have to deal with the heartbreak of my husband being overseas, of being alone when my daughter arrived by c-section, of moving back to a place with no friends or family, of having my baby and part of myself taken from me. Dealing with me meant truly dealing with all of the hardness of life of late and it was easier to focus on everyone else than to do that. But that glimpse made me focus in on myself and I didn't like what I saw. The last few days have been especially hard as I've had to take a close look at myself, deal with the pains of life, and try to put things behind me so that I can move on and become a better me. I have a lot of work to do physically but it's not just that. I have a lot of work to do mentally and spiritually for myself as well.

I'm taking back control of my life. At least the parts that I have control over. I'm moving myself to the front burner. Don't get me wrong. It's OK to be on the back burner every now and then, as long as your mindful of the pot, keep it stirred, and take it off when it needs to be moved. It's not OK to put yourself on the back burner and leave yourself there until you no longer recognize who you are. That's where I feel like I've been so I'm moving myself forward. The rest of this year is about a better me and taking care of myself so that I can continue to be there for my family and those in my life. Today, I wrote down my goals and a game plan to achieve them. I'll write more about those later.

If you're struggling with being on the back burner or life has been hard lately, take a glimpse whether that be physically, mentally, or spiritually. Really take the time to look at yourself. Have you lost control? Have you allowed your circumstances to define you instead of dealing with them? There's always time for a change. Give it all to God and make a plan. Start small. Do the things you know to do and do them well. We can do this.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelo

Peace, Love, & Healthy Living,


Monday, July 28, 2014

Emptiness and Project Me


That's the word I would use to describe how I feel right now.

For the past few weeks my home has been filled with people I love. As our friends were packing for their move, the kitchen was one of the first things to be put away. Once I discovered they planned on eating sandwiches for their remaining time, I was having none of it. There was no way that I was going to toss out food on a regular basis while they ate poorly for a few weeks.

 It was decided that I would cook each evening and they would come have dinner with us. What was designed to be a blessing to them turned out to be the greater blessing for me. I enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed the planning and cooking. I enjoyed the conversations over dinner. I enjoyed it when they lingered after dinner was finished and the kitchen was clean and we played games or goofed around. I enjoyed having my home filled with love and laughter.

Everything seems so quiet now. So empty. The rest of my family seems to be taking it pretty well but I'm struggling. Much more so than I ever imagined. It actually feels a lot like grief. I look around and see things left behind or things that remind me of them and the tears come unbidden. Yesterday morning as we drove to church, we passed by their old apartment, only a few away from ours. My heart was sad. I felt alone. You don't realize how much you need other people in your life. I was used to being alone and not having any friends. Now it sucks going back to that. My husband has people that he works with. After lunch he went out with a few to shoot his bow. I'm glad for him but it makes my loneliness feel sharper.  I think the thing that bothers me the most is the feeling of being alone. Of course I have my own family but knowing that there were others who would be there for you, to have your back, made living here away from our own families much, much easier.  I know it's part of life, especially military life, but as  I've said before, knowing something and actually experiencing it are two totally different things.

I know it will get easier. Abigail starts back to school in a few weeks and our lives will be back on a routine. Once they are settled I fully expect FaceTime to be a huge part of our lives. And we are planning a trip to see them just after Christmas. Five months feels like a really long time but life has away of passing by in a hurry so it will be here before we know it.

One of the best ways of getting over things is to immerse yourself into a project. This time the project is me. I've neglected myself long enough. Since my hubby has been home and I lost the baby, I've slipped back into some really old and bad habits, mostly emotional eating which equals weight gain. I'm thoroughly disgusted with myself. I worked so hard to lose weight and get my life on track only to allow circumstances to control me instead of the other way around. So today, I'm getting back to the basics. I'm setting goals and writing them down. Starting with the larger goals and then smaller ones to help me attain the bigger ones. It's time to find myself again, to feel better. My posts will most likely be more frequent and more about weight loss and healthy living again. Those posts are more for me than anything else. I find that I need that accountability to stay on track. I hope you'll join me on my journey. Either by starting one of your own or by reading through mine.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What They Don't Tell You

There's a lot of things they don't tell you about military life when your spouse is being recruited. They give you the highlight reel and tell you that having watched Army Wives on tv doesn't matter because it's nothing like that. And about that they are right.

People will tell you that every post is different. Every unit is different. And your personal experience with the military really depends on where you land. Everyone's experience is not the same.

Disappointed is not strong enough a word to describe my feelings when I learned that we were headed back to the state of Louisiana for Ryan's first duty station. I mean when you join the military you imagine getting to go places you've never been. We had just spent the last two years living and mostly being miserable in Louisiana. And as I researched Fort Polk it was very hard to find anyone who said anything good about it. But getting my husband back after being gone to training most of the year, I would have went to Timbuktu, gladly.

So, we found ourselves in a new place surrounded by new people being newbies to the army life. The unit my husband was stationed with had been rumored to be deploying later that year and my worst fear was confirmed. We spent the majority of our first six months here with my husband being in the field, working late nights, and rarely seeing him except for the weekends. I remember being angry because I distinctly remember the recruiter stressing that "family" was a main priority for the army. As far as I could see, it wasn't. They didn't care that I had cooked dinner and kept it warm for over two hours. They didn't care that my husband had only been home a few minutes before being called back in to work. It was all very frustrating. Add in the fact that I didn't know anyone and it could be pretty miserable.

They also tell you how many friends you'll make. Maybe things were different in the military of yesteryear but most people aren't very nice or friendly. I seriously have a neighbor whom I always smile and speak to when I see her and all I get are icy glares and a mumbled reply. I've never had a full conversation with her so I can't imagine why she's like that. In those first 6 months, I was utterly alone.

It wasn't until I returned to Fort Polk in anticipation of my husbands return from Afghanistan that I made any friends. You can read more about that here. They aren't the only ones but they are my closest and dearest friends here. In the words of my six year old, "they're are our friends but more like family." It's a running joke about how quickly and how closely Stephanie and I became friends but there are just some people you click with, some people you are just meant to be friends with.  These are my people.

So let me tell you one other thing they don't tell you about in their highlight reel...how hard saying goodbye is.

This is their last week here. I'm an emotional being. I feel everything in a big way no matter what the emotion. So, today, I find myself on the verge of tears. I'm not ready to say goodbye. It's so completely selfish. They've done their time in this hole and they are getting to go to a place closer to home. It's a good move. So I really just feel sorry for myself. It's hard to imagine people taking up so much room in your heart when you haven't known them that long but it's just the way it is.

Military life may not be everything I imagined it would be but for the most part it's been a blessing. Had we not gotten those orders to Fort Polk, I would have missed out on making some lifelong friends. So in the words of Winnie the Pooh...