Monday, May 30, 2011

What I'm Reading..

I wasn't going to do another post so soon but I just have to.

Today, I started reading Candace Cameron Bure's book "Reshaping It All". I had already heard a lot of good things about it. I follow Candace on Twitter and I am a fan of hers on Facebook. So I'd read a lot of testimonials and such from people who had read her book. Most of you know that she was "DJ Tanner" from Full House. Even if you weren't born yet or old enough to watch it when it was on TV, I'm sure you know it because you can pretty much find a re-run of it on any day of the week. It's a classic. They don't make them like that anymore...wholesome and good for the whole family.

Anyway, I've always been a fan so when I heard about her book, my curiosity was piqued. Plus, her book is about weight-loss and doing it from a Godly perspective. And my web friend Clara was featured on the blog for her book. You should check it out. You can click the link above and search through the posts. It was about a week ago, I think. So yesterday, I looked for it while out shopping but of course, Walmart nor Target had it. I was tempted to go to the mall today and look for it at Books-A-Million but I decided to check and see if it was available in e-book format for my NOOK. And it was! And it was cheaper than buying it in the store! Yay!

I ordered it and downloaded it today while Abigail was painting. I immediately started reading it. When I got to the second chapter where she really got into talking about the way we deal with food and how it effects us, I began to wonder how she knew so much about me. I mean, there was a couple of times that I felt like she was talking directly to me. I wanted to share with you an excerpt from the book that really stuck out to me because it totally summed me up, called me out, and convicted me. Here it is,

"As a result of this mind-set, many of us spend our lifetime searching for a miraculous way to keep the binge and lose the bulge. Instead of taming our uncontrolled appetite to behave like it should, we continue to nurture and spoil it over time. The morning starts off with a longing for lunch and a yearning for "just the right thing," till we get it. We complain how bloated we feel after lunch, and then within an hour we're back to discussing what dinner will be. The cycle continues until it ends somewhere around 11:00 p.m. with another snack on our lap. Sound familiar?"

I can't begin to tell you how many times in my life that this had described me. The most vivid memories are from high school. I was not "fat" in high school. I was a normal size and in my junior year, I was as fit as could be thanks to Coach Aziz and Body Sculpting class. But the behavior that led to the body I have now, started way back when. I distinctly remember sitting in homeroom, next to my best friend Whitney. Class hadn't officially started. It wasn't even 8:00 in the morning yet and we were already talking about and salivating over food. We talked about what we wanted for lunch and what we dreamed about eating. I can't tell you how many of our conversations that year in homeroom were about food. We were obsessed. Now, I must tell you that Whitney has a great body. And she does a good job of keeping it fit, eating right, and working out. Plus she's amazingly gorgeous and tall! And I just love her to death. But yeah, Candace, I'm right there with you. I can remember gorging myself on a Sunday lunch only to discuss what was for dinner before we ever got up from the table. Kinda of disgusting, right?

She goes on to say,

"One problem with our overweight society is that we've been trained to look at food as the problem rather than our approach to appetite. Food has become the focus of our culture with fast-food signs adorning every street corner. In hopes of fixing this obsession with food, we find diet plans that offer twice the binge at half the calories, or we reach for pills that will quickly shed the pounds. Sounds great when one finds out that she can still eat till her eyes are leaking and not gain a pound, but what she isn't learning in the process is how to behave as a disciplined eater, or that God calls us to moderation in all things."

Thanks Candace! Way to call me out in front of everyone! Ha! I was floored by her dead-on interpretation of my relationship with food and dieting in the past. But even more so, I was happy that the person she was talking about, was in reality, no longer me. I used to be that girl, but I'm rapidly leaving her in the dust, and finding the new me. I don't have it all figured it but I'm positive that I'm on the right track.

I can't wait to read more of her book and find out what else she has to say. I can't vouch for the rest of it but so far it's so good. Plus on NOOK it's a lend-me. Now, I'll be lending it to my mom first but if you have a NOOK and you personally know me and are interested in reading it, let me know. If not, go get a copy. I'm sure it will be worth it. She even shares some recipes.

That's all for now.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


*excerpts taken from Candace Cameron Bure's Reshaping It All e-book format, page 19. Copyright 2011 by Candache, Inc.

Tales from The Scale

Before I get into the main reason for this post, I feel like I need to clarify something about yesterday's. When I said that last week I had only lost one pound and didn't eat as well as I should. I actually meant, two weeks ago. Last week was the first week that I made a meal plan and was more conscious of my exercise. This week makes the second week of a meal plan.

Now that's out of the way....

I woke up this morning, a bit apprehensive. Today was the day that I was to meet with my archenemy...THE SCALE! It's funny how when I was at my biggest I was too scared of the scale to find out how much I truly weighed. But now, when I've been working so hard at being healthy and getting fit, I am just as scared as I was then. It's been said, "there's nothing to but to do it!" So, that's what I said to myself as I approached the ugly, black, monstrosity in the bathroom.

Here goes nothing....


Just be sure you got that - I LOST FOUR POUNDS!!! Ha! It feels so good to say that! I mean, I really worked hard last week for those four pounds. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning who I got that one present she had hoped for the most!

I must confess that there used to be a time in my life where when I was trying to lose weight, I would have rewarded myself for four pounds down. What is wrong with that you ask? Well, I would reward myself in the wrong way...with food! My reasoning was that I worked hard, I deserved to eat that greasy, disgusting hamburger and extra large curly fries. Which would in turn, start a downward spiral. Or maybe I should say upward spiral because that's what the number on the scale would do, because I would end up falling back into my old eating habits and give up.

NOT THIS TIME! I feel so empowered by those four pounds. I feel renewed and refreshed. I feel ready for another week of eating satisfying, yummy, healthy meals. I feel ready for finishing week 3 of C25K. I feel ready to hit the gym on my days off from running. I feel great!!!

Thanks again to all of you who have prayed for me, encouraged me, gave me advice, recipes, etc. You deserve some of the credit too! I love having such an awesome support system! You guys rock!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Show Me Some Love

I'm a little nervous about getting on the scale tomorrow.

Last week, I only lost one pound. Which was great! However, last week, I didn't eat as well as I could have or should have. We ate out way too many times last week. I made some healthy choices but there was a couple of times that while I didn't make the worst choice, I didn't make the best choice either.

This week was different. I started out by making a meal plan and grocery shopping for those particular items. My eating went much better this week because of it. Since I knew what I was going to be eating each day, I was prepared. I'm the type of person, who might have plenty to eat in the house, but I don't plan well enough and then it's dinner time and nothing is thawed out, and we have to go out to eat or pick something up. But planning ahead made it easier.

I also did some sort of exercise every day except Monday, which was the day that I didn't feel well. I even went to the gym on Wednesday and Saturday, for an hour each time.

But, I'm still nervous. In the past, I have eaten well and exercised and the scale didn't show my hard work. Which made me discouraged and eventually I gave up. This time is different though. Because even if the scale doesn't show me love tomorrow, I know that I am healthier. I ate well this week. That is an accomplishment. I exercised well this week. That is a success. But I'm still hoping the scale shows me some love.

This morning, I got up early and got my first day of week three of C25K in.

Last night before I went to bed, I was thinking about doing my run this morning. I wasn't sure how long the runs were this week so I got online to check. When I saw that two of the runs were three minutes each, my heart sank. I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to do it. I mean, 90 seconds were kind of a struggle at times last week. How on earth was I going to run for three minutes without stopping? Instead of psyching myself out. I decided to get some rest and just go for it.

While my intentions of getting some good rest were pure, my daughter had other plans in mind. Bedtime with her lately has been a struggle. She gets up a dozen times, with some excuse or another, before actually going to sleep. So, I actually got to sleep much later than I had planned.

When my alarm went off this morning, I considered not going for my run. But I knew that if I put it off, I might not do it this afternoon. After hitting the snooze button twice, I finally got up and got ready. As soon as I started out, I was worried. I got a catch in my side just doing my five minute warm-up walk. (Side note: I got several catches in my side today. Mostly while I was walking in Target. I was walking kind of fast and immediately it started hurting. Anybody have an idea why?) But the first run was easy, it was only 90 seconds. Then came my 90 second walk and first three minute run. Oh boy!

It came and went and I was thrilled. My last three minute run was a bit harder than the first but I made it. And I felt so accomplished! It has been a LONG time since I've been able to run three minutes without stopping. I'm sure it was high school. Ha!

I couldn't believe how hot and humid it was at 6:15 this morning. I was pretty sweaty when I was done. So I decided on a smoothie with a bit of peanut butter in it for breakfast. Yum! And what a healthy way to cool off. After I showered, I was trying to decide on what to wear to church this morning. Getting ready for church has been a bit of a downer lately. For awhile, I only had a couple of things to wear to church that fit. Now, that I've been losing some weight, I have a few more options again. :) But this morning, I decided on a dress that I bought back in February to wear when Ryan and I went out for Valentine's. It was a sleeveless dress so back then I had to wear a sweater with it but today, I figured I could do without one. I was wrong! I needed it for church because it was cold! Ha ha.

Anyway, I've worn it a couple of times since February but this morning when I put it on, there was a noticeable difference in the way it fit. At least to me. As we were headed out the door, I decided to take a quick picture and compare it to the picture I took on Vday. I can tell a difference. Can you? I had already lost some weight by February because if you remember I was my biggest in December. I started eating better in January.

 Were you able to tell a difference? If not, that's okay too. I can. And that makes me happy!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, May 26, 2011

C25K: Week 2

I did it! I finished week two today! *commence happy dance* It was challenging but it was worth it. I feel like the women in the Loreal commercials....because I'm worth it! And I am!

 My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and for the last several years, I've treated it like a trash heap. How sad! The Bible clearly says that our bodies are not our own but how often do we treat them like they don't matter. Just as you don't want to fill up your mind and spirit with junk, then why do we do our bodies that way? I think this is another blog post in itself, but that's just something that's been on my mind this week.

 Oh and one more random thought before I get into how week two was for me. For those of you who are living healthy lifestyles and making good choices when it comes to food, are you ever grossed out by what other people have in their buggies at the grocery store? I tend to feel a since of pride (in a good way) and accomplishment when I look down at my buggy and see fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good protein, etc. But when I look at the buggies of those around me and see tons of processed food, white bread, fatty, greasy, unwholesome items, I get a little nauseous. Now, I'm not being judgemental against those who aren't eating healthy because hey, I was just there not long ago. My buggy six or seven months ago would probably have looked the same. I am just thankful that I'm not there anymore. And it keeps me motivated not to let my buggy look like that again!

Back to C25K...

I ran day one on Sunday evening around 7:30 PM. First let me say, that I was running behind schedule and didn't want to get caught running in the dark, so I had to eat supper first. We had baked fish and quinoa. It was a very healthy and yummy meal. However, not so wise to eat before I ran. I had some nagging doubts about starting week two. I ran for 60 seconds last week but could I actually run for 90 seconds at a time? I started out on my brisk five minute walk and before it was over, my shins and ankles were bothering me a bit. I went into my first 90 second run and they felt like they were on fire but I pushed through. The second walk and run came and I felt better. It was a little difficult but in the end I felt good when I got back home.

I did day two on Tuesday. I was utterly exhausted on Monday and partly on Tuesday. Come to find out, my cycle was to blame. But anyway, because I had felt so tired earlier in the day, I didn't get my run in before my husband left for work. So, I took Abigail out in the jogging stroller. I knew I was in trouble during the first run. It was so HARD. Halfway through, my head was pounding and I felt like I could puke. But I pushed through, using The Biggest Loser contestants as inspiration. See my other post about that. I finished day two and I felt awful!

Yesterday was Wednesday and after church we went to the gym. I did about 30 minutes of circuit training. There was even a trainer in the area so she helped me out a lot. Basically, you do each machine for one minute doing as many reps as you can. I was worried about working out my legs too much because I didn't want anything extra hindering me when I ran on Thursday. But there were only a couple of leg machines. My arms were completely shaky though. And they are a tiny bit sore today but not too bad. After the circuit training, I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill.

I have to confess that I didn't go to bed early last night. Ryan wanted to watch a movie when we got back from the gym and since he doesn't have another day off for seven days, I figured I'd better go ahead and spend some time with him. We watched The Kings Speech. I just love Colin Firth! :)

I did day three today around 10 AM. It wasn't so hot at first considering it was overcast and breezy but halfway through my run, the sun came out full force. I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my life! Today's run was much easier but still challenging. I hope I'm ready for week three. We'll see on Sunday.

Perseverance pays off, my friends. I could have easily given up this week but I didn't. I'm committed to changing my body and my life. I absolutely love that Abigail talks about being healthy. I've tried not to stress the weight loss so much around her because she's so young and doesn't really understand but we talk all the time about making healthy choice and doing what's right for our bodies. Start'em young, right?

Cooking My Way: Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas with Black Bean and Corn Quinoa

Over in the land of Facebook, many of you have asked for the recipe for the enchiladas I made for lunch today. A friend suggested that I share recipes on my blog which sounded like a good plan to me. I hope those of you who visit my blog for recipes will stay awhile and read other posts. Maybe you'll even become a follower. I just love seeing the number of followers go up. I'm a dork, I know!

But before I share the recipe I must offer up a disclaimer. While, I've entitled this post and future recipe posts to come, "Cooking My Way," I am in NO WAY suggesting that these recipes are my own. Most of them have been handed down from my grandparents or other family members, taken from the internet or cookbooks, or passed along from friends. This particular recipe for the enchiladas was taken from Clara's blog. You can always tweek these recipes to your liking. That's what I love about cooking. You can take almost any recipe and make it your own and make it healthier!!! So no matter where the recipe comes from you can cook it your way! :)

Here we go...

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I like to buy harvest farms,organic)
1 can of plain tomato sauce
1/2 onion, diced
1 packet of taco seasoning

Place above ingredients in crockpot on low for at least four hours.

2 cups of fresh spinach, shredded or chopped (I just tear it with my hands)
6-8 whole wheat tortillas (it took all 8 for what I had in the crockpot)
1 can of green enchilada sauce (I used the red kind because Walmart was out when I went grocery shopping)
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (I used mild cheddar made from 2% milk and I actually used less than a cup, so it would be a little healthier.)
light sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease pan.
Shred chicken in crockpot, add the shredded spinach. Mix well. Spoon mixture into tortilla, roll up, place in pan seam side down. Pour can of enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover. Bake in oven for  20-25 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa
2 cups of water or chicken stock (I prefer reduced sodium chicken stock because it adds more flavor. However, today I was out so I used water and put in a chicken bullion cube.)
1 cup of quinoa
1 small can of nibblet corn, drained
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

Combine all ingredients except salsa in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook 10-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in desired amount of salsa.

In case you don't know what quinoa is, click on the link in the recipe name. Also, here is a picture of what quinoa looks like before you cook it.

Hope you enjoyed the Cooking My Way post. Let me know if you try any of my recipes and if you liked them or how you changed them to suit you. Stay tuned for more.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inspiration and Encouragement

Yesterday I had a moment of inspiration. It was not a spiritual inspiration. It was not an artistic inspiration. It was a Biggest Loser inspiration!

Without giving too much detail about my day two of week two run with C25K (I plan on doing another post about all of week two) let's suffice it to say that it was...AWFUL!!! At one point, I though I might die, puke, or both. But as I contemplated quitting, I thought about all those contestants on The Biggest Loser. I thought about how Jillian told them they couldn't quit. The only way they could quit was to puke. So, I decided that if they could do it, so could I. I decided that I would keep going until I threw up and if I threw up, I'd just walk the rest of the way home.

You know what happened? I FINISHED! I was utterly exhausted so I had to do my happy dance in my head but I was doing it!

I watched the live finale of The Biggest Loser last night after my run. I can't tell you how many times I was moved to tears which was dangerous since I was eating my dinner. I seriously liked to have choked once! While, I was beyond thrilled for all the contestants, I must say, the most inspirational ones are the ones who got voted off early and lost a ton of weight on their own. It gives someone like me the hope that I don't have to be on some show, or even have a personal trainer...I can do it! Now, I realize the need for having a support system, people who encourage you along the way, help you achieve your goals. And I am thankful for those people in my life.

A special shout-out to Ryan who recently got us a gym membership and is encouraging me in my running and working out and will eat whatever I fix. To my mom and dad, who have always encouraged me and believed in me even when I tried and failed many times. They were always there to offer their support and never criticized even when I fell off that wagon for the umpteenth time. Also, my mom is going to run my first 5K with me in July and that is a huge motivation. To my granddaddy Strickland for getting me interested in being healthy and being a constant supply of healthy and yummy recipes. To my cousin Lindsey who is on this journey with me. I look forward to your texts, emails, and phone calls everyday. I just hope that I am encouraging you as much as you are encouraging me. And to Clara, whom I've never met. I had already started my journey when I found her blog. But her constant support, emails, tips, recipes, etc. are helping more than she'll ever know. Her story alone would be inspiration enough.

There are many others out there who I know support me, pray for me, and encourage me. I can't thank you enough either. I love all the comments on my blog or on my Facebook page.

Love you all,


Monday, May 23, 2011

An Off Day

As soon as I woke up this morning, I realized that I had a headache. That should have been my first clue as to how my day would go.

 From the time I was pretty young, I've had headaches almost every day. Usually not major ones, although some of them can be. However, since I've been eating healthier and exercising, I haven't noticed them as much. But this morning was different. If you know me very well, you'll know that I HATE taking medicine and that my head has to be bothering me pretty bad to actually take Aleve or some other pain medication for it. Once I had breakfast, I immediately took two Aleve.

I had planned on starting Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD during Abigail's nap time today. It's a pretty intense workout, even on the beginner level. But as nap time approached, I just didn't feel any better. My headache was gone but I felt so tired. Which was strange because not only have my headaches subsided since beginning my healthier lifestyle but my energy has greatly increased. I used to go through the days sluggish and tired all the time. But now, I feel good during the day and have plenty of energy. As I was waiting on Abigail to fall asleep, I kept nodding off. So I decided to postpone the workout with Jillian and maybe walk later in the day.

But as the afternoon wore on and evening approached, I still didn't have anymore energy than I started with and I was once again falling asleep. So, no walk for me either. I feel OK about it though because I exercised every day last week and I do week two, day two of C25K tomorrow. I'm just hoping that I feel better tomorrow.

One of my goals is to get more sleep, which means going to bed earlier at night. I went to bed a little earlier last night but I plan to get there even sooner tonight.

On a side note: I'm not typically someone who likes smoothies. All of the ones that I have had in the past, had too many seeds and too much ice. But I've really been wanting to add smoothies to my diet. Last night, we bought one of those individual serving blenders from Walmart and I made us strawberry-banana-peanut butter smoothies. Instead of plain milk, I used almond milk which tastes amazing and is so good for you. Today for a snack, I made another smoothie. This time, the mango's I had bought over the weekend had ripened up enough so I made the same smoothie from last night but added mango to was FANTASTIC! I can definitely see a smoothie addiction coming on. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

To Go or Not to Go???

My parent's were pretty strict when it came to how you behaved in church. You did not talk, sleep, or pass notes and you most definitely did not get up and leave church...even to pee! Going to the bathroom was something done before church started. I was only allowed to go to the bathroom if it was an emergency, otherwise, I was told to hold it, and received a stern look for having even asked the question in the first place. Because, see, just by asking the question, I had broken two rules. One, I was talking in church and two, I obviously didn't go to the bathroom before church started. My parent's didn't like the distraction of people constantly getting up and leaving church and coming back.

So, you can imagine my delimma this morning when the pastor finally made it to the pulpit and started preaching. Read closely...I HAD TO PEE!!! And, I had to pee BAD! What was I going to do? A battle raged in my mind. Do I get up and go to the bathroom or do I sit here and hold it and pray that I don't have to sneeze later? After a few minutes of debating, which had me totally distracted from the sermon, I came to a conclusion. I am an adult! I can go to the bathroom if I want to! Nobody is going to reprimand me!

Still, I looked around to make sure my parent's weren't in sight, obviously they weren't,  and I got up and went to the bathroom as quietly and as obscurely as I could. I couldn't help but smile a little when I sat back down in my seat a few minutes later. The whole inner episode was quite comical. It goes to show that my parent's raised me well, considering that I was still abiding by a rule that was made years ago.

The question now is, why did I have to pee so bad? Well, if you read my post a few days ago about setting goals, you'll know that one of mine was to drink more water. I had already drunk a 16.9 oz bottle of water on the way to church and before Sunday school started, I filled a cup up with water from the fountain and drank that. AND...I went to the bathroom immediately after Sunday school was over!

I had already realized that drinking more water, made me have to go to the bathroom more but I hadn't thought about how that would affect me on Sunday mornings. Hopefully, my parent's won't read this and be upset that I left church and went to the bathroom. :) But trust me, it was less of a distraction by me going than it would have been if I hadn't and then had to sneeze later! Ha! And, I was able to fully concentrate on the sermon afterwards!

Hopefully, my body will get used to drinking more water soon and I'll be able to do a better job of "holding it" during church. Because even though I went, I secretly felt a little guilty for going! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Story Book Adventure

It is a rare occasion that Ryan and I have the same days off. I work Monday through Friday, babysitting an eight month old baby. He works whenever they tell him to work. He usually gets two days off a week but they are never the same. Every other week, I have Friday off and it so happened that he had Friday off this week too.

Hmmm....what to do?

Well, there were all sorts of options. We could be lazy and do nothing. We could go to the WWII Museum (which was my initial vote, by the way, because I've been dying to go and we have free tickets). But, we decided to do something a little more Abigail's speed. So, what is there to do in New Orleans that's on a three year old level. Well, we've already been to the LA Children's Museum (which is great) and we've been to the aquarium. What else is there to do?

How about going on an adventure with your favorite childhood characters like Captain Hook, Jack and Jill, The Old Lady Who Lives in a Shoe, Alice in Wonderland, The Three Little Pigs, etc? What three year old (and 28 and 29 year old) wouldn't love that?

And this is where our adventure begins...

 As you can see, it was a magical adventure! What a cool place. There are a ton more pictures on my Facebook page so please check them out, friends.

After we left Storyland, we let Abigail play for a few minutes at the "normal" park a little ways down and then headed to the French Quarter for lunch. We ate at a really yummy restaurant called Stanley's. The Korean BBQ po-boy was amazing! Then we walked down to my favorite place in all of NOLA...Meltdown!

The lady who owns the place makes the most magnificent "popsicle's" you'll ever put in your mouth and best of all...they aren't bad for you! They are all made from natural, unprocessed ingredients. The fruit ones are totally vegan and the cream based one's are made with milk and cream from a local creamery without additives, etc. She buys as much local as she can. All the popsicles have a small amount of raw sugar that is grown (is sugar grown? made from a plant? idk. someone enlighten me.) locally as well. In the past I've had the pineapple-cilantro which is amazing but this time I had chocolate-sea salt. Ryan had usual! :) He had strawberry-basil and Viennese coffee. Abigail had salted caramel. On a side note: they are nothing like what you'd expect a popsicle to be. I love the fruit one's because you can totally tell that they aren't made from just fruit juice, you get all that fruit pulp goodness! Anyway, if you're ever this way, Meltdown is a must!

After cooling off a bit with our popsicles, we walked along the very swollen Mississippi River and ALL THE WAY back to Canal Street and then down Canal Street and back up 10 flights of stairs to where our vehicle was parked! We must have walked two miles, not including the stairs. Overall, it was a great family day AND a great workout! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

C25K: Week One

I did it! I officially completed week one of the Couch to 5K plan!!!

To be honest, I had my doubts. Most of you already know that I tried the plan before and thought I was going to die after day one and gave up. And, I have a pretty convincing track record of saying I'm going to do something and not following through. Not the best character trait to have, but hey, I'm being honest here. So, Sunday rolled around, the day I had planned to start and all I could think about was if I would actually do it. I had my qualms and I had some excuses lined up but I knew it was time to quit making excuses and go for it. I was only hurting myself by not following through.

I took Abigail to the park for an hour on Sunday afternoon and when we got back home, I changed clothes before I could change my mind. I only have a cheap umbrella stroller, not ideal, but it's all I had to work with and since I wasn't making excuses, I buckled Abigail in, put in my headphones, found the C25K podcast on my iPod, and headed out the door. After the five minute warm-up walk, came the first run...and it wasn't too bad. It definitely got harder as each run came up and as I fought with the umbrella stroller but before I knew it, the last run was over and it was cool down time. I had made it! I finished day one! Once we got back inside, I took stock of how I felt. Even though I was a bit winded, I didn't feel anything like I had felt that first time. I actually felt pretty good which then led to feeling great because I was so proud of myself.

I couldn't wait for Tuesday and my next run but I knew I couldn't do it again with that umbrella stroller. Well, really, I would have if I had to, but my wonderful husband agreed to watch Abigail and the baby I sit for and I headed out about 10 AM that morning. It was the perfect day for a run. The weather was cooler and the humidity was way down. It was so much easier and when I was done, I didn't feel pretty good. I didn't even feel great. I felt exhilarated, empowered, and energetic!

On Tuesday night, I went to Walmart for some groceries and decided to splurge on a few things for myself...a sports bra, some athletic socks (I had been wearing two pair of Ryan's socks), and a cute running outfit. I was so happy that the tank top had a media pocket. I really want to invest in an armband for my iPod but these tank tops are great! I was READY to run on Thursday.

Who am I? I HATE to run! At least that is what I thought. I'm sure some weeks will be tougher than others but I am determined not to give up! I WILL graduate from this program.

Well, I'm on central time and for me, it's still Thursday. So today, my husband watched the kids again and I went out and did day three. My legs were a tiny bit sore and it was warmer out today and the humidity was back up. It was a bit tougher than day two but not as bad as day one. I finished and I finished well. Oh and I looked cute doing it!

I'm ready for week two to start on Sunday!!! Did I just say that? :)

Another bit of fitness news: we got a gym membership today at an awesome gym in town. I'm so excited to try some new fitness classes and take advantage of the outdoor pool this summer. They offer childcare for two hours a day while you work out which is perfect for me to be able to go to the gym in the afternoons and I can enroll Abigail in swim lessons without any additional cost! Yay!

I went and saw a movie with my friend tonight and when I got home, Ryan had a jogging stroller waiting on me! I was SO happy! Goodbye cheap umbrella stroller. It was nice knowing you!

Oh and I've decided on my first 5K. I'm going to do the Critter Run in Dothan, Alabama on July 23. It's near my parent's and my mom is going to do it with me. I filled out the registration form today. I have to send it in with my money next week. Just another incentive to finish this program! I can do it!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I've Got Goals

Something that I've learned over the past few days is that it's important to set goals. I know. I probably should have figured this out a long time ago. I guess I'm slow! :) I've never been one to set goals...properly. I'm pretty good at setting unrealistic, unattainable, unspecific goals. Most of them were long-term goals without short-term ones to help me reach them.

As I continue on my journey to be healthier and shed some pounds, I really need goals, short-term and long-term. These goals will give me something to work toward instead of just a distant goal weight in the future. Still not sure what that is yet. Some of my goals will be tailored to do just that, help me reach a goal weight. Others will be to help me continue on in my healthy lifestyle. Others won't pertain to this journey in particular, but other areas of my life.

So, I've been mulling over what it is that I want to accomplish in all areas of my life. I'm not done. And I'm sure I won't ever be. Things in our lives are constantly changing and evolving. We have to adapt.

It's important to not just set goals but to also give yourself a realistic time limit in which to reach that goal. And if you don't meet the goal at the appointed time, don't give up, don't be discouraged. Re-evaluate. Figure out why it didn't happen. What changes should you make?

It's the same way with cooking and recipes. Sometimes, you can follow a recipe exactly but not get the same result as someone else did. Or, your tastes may be different, just like our bodies and lives are different, so you tweak or adjust the recipe to your liking, to make it work for you. As you get more comfortable with cooking and learn new techniques, expand your palate, get more creative and adventurous, what you're able to accomplish in the kitchen grows. You're repertoire of dishes grows. You're food tastes better. You become more confident. You are more willing to try new things. The same is true with goal setting. Once you get comfortable with setting goals and doing whatever it takes to reach that goal, the more you can work on yourself. And if you've ever tried to lose weight in any capacity, you know that you can't do it the same way all the time, because eventually you'll plateau, get discouraged, and head in the opposite direction. So, you have to change it up. Be flexible. Instead of being discouraged, take it as a challenge. And if you're like me, you like a good challenge. I'm very competitive!

So now that I've waxed philosophical about goals and doing whatever it takes, I sound like I have it figured out...I DON'T! I've just begun to set goals for myself. But for the first time, I feel like I understand better what it's going to take to be healthier and lose weight. In the past, I've struggled with the instant gratification problem. If I didn't see results immediately, it wasn't working, so why give up fast food, chicken fingers, and chimichangas. But just because you can't see something changing immediately, doesn't mean it isn't changing. I had to get my head around my problem and what was going on in my life that caused me to gain all the weight, to be complacent, defeated. In short (maybe a longer post later), I'm a food ADDICT! I didn't figure this out until recently. I don't just love food, I'm addicted to it. I crave it. If I kept an account of everywhere I spent my money over the last year, you would find that most of it was for food. Five dollars in my pocket meant I could have a double cheeseburger, large fry, and diet coke from McDonald's. More about this later...back to the original post...GOALS.

Here are a few of my immediate goals to begin working towards:

1. Drink more water, at least 64 oz a day.
2. Exercise 3-5 times a week.
3. Complete C25K training in the next 8 weeks (week 1 will be finished tomorrow. It's a 9 week program).
4. Go to bed earlier and get more sleep.
5. Eat more fruits and veggies.

These are my top five for now. I've heard it takes 28 days to create a habit. So, that's my time frame for all but the C25K since it already has it's own time frame.

I joined SparkPeople yesterday. I learned about it from Clara's blog. It's a free weight loss website that allows you to track your goals, nutrition, fitness, etc. You can also connect with others who are on the same journey as you, get recipes, and tips, and so forth. You can either put in a weight you want to be or a specific date and it calculates what date is realistic to reach your goal or what weight is realistic to reach by the specific date. I chose the date and let them choose the weight. So my first long-term goal is:

To lose 30 pounds by September 01, 2011. That will make a total of 40 pounds since March.

No matter what sort of journey you are on, set some goals, give yourself a time frame in which to reach the goal, make a plan, and get started!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Before and After: Part 1

I decided to show you a before and after picture of me from December 2010 to May 2011. There might be a better before picture on my hard drive somewhere but I took this one from my sister-in-law's Facebook page because it's the best straight forward shot. Grant it, both of these pics are only face shots but you can still tell the difference. I had my husband take some full body shots when I started the JM stuff last week. So eventually I'll post another set of Before and After pics. Here is before (December 25, 2010):

Here is AFTER (May 08, 2011):
And a little side by side action:

Healthy Living Update

I haven't done a post in a while about my healthier lifestyle so I decided to catch you up to speed today. If you are my friend on Facebook, you may already know most of this through my Facebook statuses.

Here is a brief recap:

At the end of last year, I was the biggest that I have ever been. I don't know my exact weight because I was too scared to get on the scale and see the number. (Even now, I am not comfortable sharing my weight with the world. Only a few friends and family know)

At the beginning of this year, I was completely disgusted with myself and decided to make some lifestyle changes. After years of "dieting" and trying the new fads, I knew what DIDN'T work. So this time, I decided to just eat healthier most of the time. I decided to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I decided to eat less junk food. I also decided that I would not completely cut something out of my diet unless I decided that I absolutely didn't like it or want it anymore. So, if I wanted some french fries, I'd eat them. Or, if I wanted a cookie, I'd eat it. I already knew that depriving myself of something only made me want it more and eventually led to gorging myself on it later and falling completely off the proverbial wagon. So basically, if I ate well 90% of the time, I could afford to indulge a bit 10% of the time. And you know what, it's worked. I haven't been perfect and I'm sure I probably could have lost a bit more weight if we hadn't gone on vacation and we hadn't had to move but I'm okay with where I am and I don't feel guilty. Because, really, it's all about the decisions you make!

The last time I updated you all, I had lost about 5 pounds. Well, I am happy to announce that since March I have lost 10 pounds total! And that's even with the three somewhat bad weeks I had in April with the vacation and moving.

Here is where I am now:

I'm back to cooking and making meals at home instead of eating out! Thank goodness!

When I bought groceries last week, I purchased Jillian Michael's 14 Day Jump S Cleanse and Burn Kit. I successfully completed the first week of the cleanse and yesterday, I started the burn part. This week, I am taking one pro biotic pill in the morning that restores balance to my body after the cleanse and 2 fat burner pills in the morning and 2 more with my biggest meal of the day. Now, being someone who has tried lots of different types of diet pills, I know that pills aren't the way to go. Once you stop taking them, the weight comes back on, if you haven't changed your lifestyle. Well, this is just a jump start and I've already changed my lifestyle. So, I'm not worried. Next time I feel like I need a jump start, I might try something that doesn't include pills. But we'll see. I do have to say though, that I love all the energy that I have with the fat burner pills. I'm sure some of it comes from eating healthier and exercising too.

Last week, I also ordered a pair of running shoes with the birthday money I received from my grandparents. Of course, when they came in, they were too small. My feet grew when I was pregnant and never went back to their normal size! LOL! So, I'm never sure what size I am anymore. Luckily the store in town exchanged them even though the price in the store was more than the price online. And I had to get a different color but so far I love them. I successfully started the Couch to 5K running program this week. I did the first day on Sunday all the while pushing Abigail in a cheap umbrella stroller. Not smart but my husband was working and I didn't want to use that as an excuse. So, I pushed through and persevered and wait for it....I SURVIVED! I wasn't gasping for air and I didn't feel like I was going to die like the last time I tried it. Today, I wanted to get up early and run before Abigail woke up and before the baby I sit for arrived. But I didn't sleep well last night so I couldn't make myself get up. That's always been a problem. Please read...I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!!! I was really not looking forward to having to run with the stroller again today so my wonderful husband agreed to watch Abigail and the baby so I could go out by myself. It felt amazing outside and you know what, it was easier today! I felt great when I finished! I was exhilarated! I can't believe I am saying this but I can't wait to do day three on Thursday and finish up week one! Oh and my hubby is going to buy me a jogging stroller soon! Yay!

Yesterday was an off day for C25K but I didn't want to be inactive, so while both kids were napping, I turned on the Wii, got out the balance board, and put in the Wii Fit game. I was a little nervous. I knew it had been a while since I had been on and if you own one you know that the balance board will make fun of you. Or so it seems!:) It had been 40 days! I couldn't believe it but there was the truth staring me in the face. Cringing, I aimed at the Body Test icon and clicked the button. I stood steady as I could while it weighed me and measured my balance and guess what...I had lost 6 pounds since I had last been on there! Making a total of about 10 pounds since March! I stepped off the board, did a little happy dance, and then got back on and did about 30 minutes of aerobics and some balance games. Balance has never been my strong point! :)

I feel great! I feel happy! I feel energetic! I also feel encouraged! I came across a blog a few weeks ago written by a woman with whom I have a mutual friend. Plus, my mom knows her. I had already learned from my mom about what an incredible weight loss journey she had been on. I read a few posts when I first learned of the blog but last night as I was watching the Braves, I decided to google weight loss blogs. I read some snippets from a few but nothing was written as well as the posts I had read from the woman named Clara. So I searched through my friends Facebook page until I found the link and between last night and today, I read EVERY single post that she had written over the last year and a half. It was amazing, insightful, encouraging, emotional, inspiring, and the list could go on. If you are interested, take a look. She is amazing. Click here for her blog.

I learned a lot from Clara and plan on implementing some of her tips and ideas. This post is long enough for now so...

Check back often for updates and to find out about life as I know it!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day, Ryan had to work so Abigail and I were able to spend some quality time together! Not much different from most days. I absolutely LOVE being a SAHM. There is nothing better than doing what God has designed and called me to do. I don't always get it right. But I don't always get it wrong either! :) Motherhood is such a joy and a blessing. It also comes with it's trials and difficulties. I prefer to forget about the potty training days and the temper tantrums (hers not mine-ha!). But even when it's hard, it's wonderful and rewarding! I would do it again in a heartbeat! And I want to, but it just hasn't happened again for us. I rest in the fact that everything is in God's hands and His timing but sometimes I get down and discouraged. And some days I swing the total opposite direction and I'm sure that Abigail will be an only child. But then I pass the baby section at Target or hear about a friend who is pregnant and my heart swings the other way again. I try not to worry and stress over it. I know there are other women out there who yearn for a baby and don't even have one. So I choose to be thankful for the blessing that God gave to me over three years ago and if He so chooses to bless me with another, I'll be grateful then too!

So, what did I do on Mother's Day you ask? Well, first we went to church and then had lunch at the Times Grill. They have some of the yummiest hamburgers around! After lunch we headed home. Ryan had to leave for work and Abigail needed a nap. I took that opportunity to relax, read some, and watch a little TV, something other than PBS or Nickelodeon! After Abigail's nap, we walked down to the park near our house and Abigail played for about an hour. Afterwards, we came back home, got baths, heated up leftovers for supper, and I watched the Celebrity Apprentice. I love that show! :)

Overall, it was a great, relaxing Mother's Day. Oh, I almost forgot. I've been begging Ryan for a printer so he bought me a printer, some paper, and the new Harry Potter DVD for Mother's Day. And he and Abigail gave me the funniest card. On the front, it said, "Good mom's let their kids lick the beaters..." On the inside, it said, "Great mom's turn the beaters off first!" LOL!

Abigail and I on Mother's Day 2011

Life in Pictures: We've Moved!

Saturday April 30th, dawned a bright and sunny day. Not too hot, not too cool. It was my 28th birthday. Another year closer to 30, another birthday without my family. Last year was the first year that I've ever spent a birthday where I wasn't with either my parents or Ryan's parents. It was hard but nothing compared to this year. Not only was my family over 4 hours away, we were moving across town. What fun...NOT! But this is not the purpose of my post. If you want to hear more about my moving day blues, click here.

Otherwise, just look below at the pictures of our new place. We have really been enjoying living here and the central heating and air, I can't say enough good things about it! :) Enjoy!

The Cross is Bare, the Tomb is Empty, the Throne is Occupied

Hallelujah! What a statement! What a truth! The title of this post is taken from the lyrics to a song by Ron and Patricia Owens. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of our Savior, but what good would His birth have been if it wasn't for His death? But not just His death, His resurrection! Hallelujah, oh what a Savior!

Celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord is what makes Easter so special for Christians. It's not about a mythical Easter bunny, hunting eggs, Easter baskets, etc. But while remembering what Christ has done for us, we often participate in some of the other traditions. As we did this year with my family.

Before going to church, we gave Abigail her Easter basket from us. No Easter bunny myths for her. :) Her basket this year was actually a Georgia beach bucket, designed by, Just Say It Signs. A friend of mine, who I played softball with growing up, is part owner of the business. Check out their Facebook page here. Anyway, the bucket was filled with a Dora beach blanket, Tangled, and her favorite Easter candy, Reese Pieces Eggs and Robin Eggs. She was so excited about the towel most but loved it all. In addition, she had already received an Easter basket from her Meme and Granddaddy and would receive another Easter basket from Nana and Papa after lunch. Can you say, SPOILED?!

It was so great to go to church with my family this year on Easter. It is always a privilege to sit under my dad's preaching and so it was on Easter Sunday. Check out his blog here. After church, we headed back to Gracville, changed clothes, and went over to my brother, Justin's house to eat lunch. We had a smoked turkey, ribs, potato salad, deviled eggs, peas, corn fritters, green bean bundles, and maybe some more stuff. I can't remember. We had an Easter cake for dessert.

After we ate, the men hid some eggs for Abigail and Marlee to hunt. They had so much fun hunting eggs together. After the egg hunt was over, we took some family pics, ate some cake, and Ryan, Abigail, and I headed back home to Pearl River. The next week would be super busy for us because we were moving the very next weekend.

Overall, we had a great vacation and Easter Sunday with family. Here are some pics from the day.

Abigail and her Easter basket.
The girls in their Easter dresses both from Etsy.
The girls with their loot from Nana and Papa! :)

Hunting Easter eggs.

 A family picture.

And last, the yummy Easter cake that we ate before we left. Cake courtesy of Hannah's parents who spent Easter day with us as well.

Life in Pictures: Vacation (Part 2)

We said goodbye to Ryan's family and left Fernandina on Friday (April 22) and made our way back to Graceville to spend Easter weekend with my family. I was beyond excited because since Abigail has been born, we have not spent an Easter together with my family. First on the agenda was some outdoor play with Marlee. I love this pic of Marlee. She wasn't happy with me because I kept telling her to stop and say cheese!

On Saturday, my mom and I went grocery shopping. The girls wanted to go so we told them if they stayed with Hannah, we'd bring them back a surprise.
Later, it was time for some fun in the sun and water. The water was still a bit too cold but the girls had fun running around in their bathing suits and being silly.

Before supper, we let the girls dye some Easter eggs. They had so much fun picking which colors they wanted to use and dropping the eggs into the cups. Abigail was a little too enthusiastic on the first one and ended up cracking her egg.

We had a really busy day. After supper we took the girls down to Heritage Village and took some pictures of them in the matching outfits Nana bought for them. Here are a few of my favorites.

The girls were troopers and did such a great job getting their pictures taken. I thought the results were great for a basic digital camera. One day, maybe, I'll finally get to own a DSLR and take my photography to another level. I'll keep taking pictures anyway.

After pictures, we went back to Nana and Papa's house and ate some cupcakes that I made, recipe courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network. I can't remember what they are called but in short, you mix one box of chocolate brownie mix according to the cake-like brownies. I used the dark chocolate brownie mix. Put cupcake papers in a cupcake pan. Fill papers up half way, then add a layer of peanut butter chips, finish filling up paper with more brownie mix. Bake according to directions on box. I added some cream cheese frosting to mine and they were delish!

After cupcakes, the girls got a bath and were ready for bed. We had to get to bed early because Easter was the next day! Blog coming soon!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am Not a Runner (But I Hope to Be)

While I still have a few posts waiting on me to write them, I wanted to share with you my upcoming journey.

A year or so ago, I heard about a program called Couch-To-5K or C25K. It's a running program that is supposed to take you from a non-runner to running a 5K in 9 weeks. I AM NOT A RUNNER. I was doubtful, but several friends were doing it and it was working for them. So I decided to give it a try. I did the first day and thought I was going to die. I blamed the cold weather and gave up. Even in grade school, I hated being made to run in P.E. during the winter months. I hate that burn in my chest. I convinced myself I would take it up again when it warmed up some. We moved to Louisiana a month or so later and here we are.

Over a year has gone by and I haven't run the first time. I've had an on again, off again, relationship with exercise for a long time. In a recent post, I told you about making some different food choices and trying to be healthier. I have to say that I've done a fairly good job. However, vacation and moving, put a strain on my new lifestyle and often over the past two weeks convenience won over being healthy. I'm not proud of it, but instead of being defeated, I'm just going to pick myself up and keep going

. I finally made it to the grocery store on Saturday. I'm still not sure why I wait to go to Walmart until Saturday. It's practically a suicide mission. Anyway, I bought groceries, healthy options, of course and I also purchased Jillian Michaels JumpStart 14 Day Cleanse and Burn kit. I also ordered some running shoes online. I plan on starting the cleanse and burn kit tomorrow and as soon as my new shoes come in, I'm going to start the C25K program. I've already gotten my ipod charged and week one's podcast downloaded. I love that someone is going to be telling me when to walk and when to run.

So be on the look out for updates and so forth along the way.

Here is a picture of me today, Mother's Day. Hopefully, I'll be able to see a difference soon:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life In Pictures: Vacation

A few weeks ago, we took a vacation to see family and friends. Stopping off in Graceville first to break up our driving time, spending most of the week in Fernandina, and then back to Graceville for Easter before returning home. Here is our trip in pictures:

Abigail with her Meme when we went to see Rio. It was a really cute movie.

 We were finally able to have family pictures taken while we were in Fernandina. A while back we won a free photo shoot with Brittany Brock Photography and on this trip it worked out for us. Please check out her blog and see what an amazing photographer she is. Some of our pictures are on there too.

My wonderful Mother-in-law took me shopping for my birthday. It was such a nice treat to be able to buy some new things for myself. We also stopped off at Teavana which is my new addiction :) Afterwards, we had a yummy lunch at Mimi's Cafe. If you ever get the chance to eat there you must try there corn chowder. Delicious!

We enjoyed a lot of family time with Ryan's family. This was the night we ate at Slider's. I just love Ronnie and Jonathan's faces. You can tell where Ryan and Jon get their craziness from, right? The only thing missing was Mimi...and Granddaddy. Such a bittersweet time.

A visit to the the Pippi Longstocking house was a must. They filmed "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" in Fernandina and this was the house they used as the Villa Villekulla. I was obsessed with Pippi Longstocking as a child and I LOVE that Abigail has taken interest in her as well.

Our last night there Ronnie and Lavoyne took us to Kabuki to eat. I LOVE Japanese food so it was an awesome treat!

What's the perfect way to end a vacation in Fernandina? With a cupcake from Bliss Cupcakery in Yulee. They were to die for!

For more pictures from our vacation, friends can check them out on my Facebook page.

Coming soon: a blog about Easter and the rest of our trip in Graceville.