Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Carnival Party

Just today, I was reading a post from a friend of mine, who seems to have this amazingly "simple" life. Not simple in that her life is easy but simple in that she strives for simplicity, to make her time and her life count, to spend more time with her family and making memories instead of social networking and time sucking technology. She tries to save money where she can and take care of her family's health by getting back to the basics, doing things that people generations ago used to do, before the age of the supermarket and highly processed, chemically filled products and produce. She and her husband garden, make their own shampoo and deodorant, sew their own hankies instead of buying Kleenex, and I'm sure a host of other things that I don't even know about. I find it amazing and inspiring. In my heart of hearts I want to be like that but the other part of me isn't ready to let go of the "other" stuff. I won't lie. I love technology, Facebook, and Twitter. As much as I crave simplicity, I also feel the need to stay up to date, in the here and now. Some day's I want to sell everything I have, move to a farm, and live like the Amish. Other days I want to build an empire.

The part of me that wants to build an empire wants to be a party planner. I absolutely LOVE planning and organizing and seeing my plans and visions come to fruition. And, how much fun would it be to be able to do that with other people's money instead of my own! :) So, Abigail's birthday parties always end up being a big deal. I tend to go overboard and have to reign myself back in. This year was no exception. I must admit though that more time, effort, and money went into this party than any other before. Part of it was the party planner in me. The other part was feeling bad that her daddy wouldn't be there to celebrate with her and I wanted her to remember her party not that fact that she hasn't seen her daddy in months.

Ever since she was born, I've dreamed of having a carnival party for her. She loved the idea and was very specific in some of the things she wanted out of it. Some of her ideas were a little over the top but I complied as much as I could. :)


 Happy Birthday banner made by my friend Mindy Stewart of MMSDesigns.


 A special thank-you to EKP Photography for photographing the party so that I didn't have to be worried about capturing every moment but actually enjoying the moment. Emily did an amazing job!


 How cute it the birthday girl? Custom shirt to match the party theme and decor made by Sew Sweet Designs by Lindsay. I just love all the custom items she makes for kids and babies! I've ordered a ton of things from her over the last few months including a few Christmas presents!


 The birthday girl was super excited about the photo booth! Everyone had a great time having their picture made with silly props!

Most of my party planning ideas start with picking out the perfect cake and then going from there. Since we just moved to this area earlier this year, I didn't have a clue who to contact for a custom cake but thankfully my mom knew someone. This beautiful and delicious carnival cake was made by the talented Abby Kline. 


The birthday girl in front of the food table. A carnival party isn't complete without corn dogs! In addition we had natural Cheetos, Goldfish, caramel grapes, Redneck Caviar, Circus Peanuts, and Gumballs!


 And of course there must be carnival games! My daughter already had the Angry Bird bean bags so I decided to paint some cans to look like those green pigs. These were painted at warp speed the night before her party but I think they still turned out really cute! You will also notice the corn hole boards in the background. My brother made them and I helped him paint them. We also had custom made, complimenting, UGA corn hole bags made by the talented Lee Ann Bennett of L.A. Loft.


 There was also face painting, carnival tattoos, a fishing game, and a duck pond game. The signs were made by me with a free carnival font I found online.


 The whistle lips were one of the prizes for the duck pond game.



 The cute polka dot balloons and gumballs are from one of my favorite websites ever, Polka Dot Market. I discovered PDM when I was planning Abigail's first birthday party. The tissue paper poms were made by my wonderful sister-in-law, Hannah.



 The carnival boxes, clown noses, ducks, tattoos, and stickers I ordered from Oriental Trading. The rest of the party supplies and table wear are from a mix of  Party City, Walmart, The Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and The Family Dollar Store! I love getting good deals!





 And lastly the party favors! As if the kiddos didn't have enough stuff to take home after all the prizes from the games, they each received a cute popcorn box filled with a paddle ball, silly straw, clown nose, giant carnival sucker, and a carnival duck! The adults also received a thank-you for coming. Aren't those little fish in a bag, darling? These were probably one of my favorite things about the whole party. These are also what the kiddos "caught" when the went fishing! The fish are actually caramel apple, scented soaps! I found these by Brown Bag Bath Bars on Etsy.

One day I'll live that simple life I dream of but hopefully I can find a balance between living simply and partying big! :)

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy, Healthy Living

I couldn't be happier with how things are going for me in my weight loss/healthy living journey!

For the first time in a while,  I feel good. I feel really good. With almost a year of constant struggle, slipping, and sliding, it feels really good to be in control of my health again.

I'm near the end of my no sweets challenge. Only 3 days left! I'm definitely looking forward to Abba's birthday cake on Saturday! But don't worry. I don't plan on going completely crazy once this challenge is over. The whole no sweets experience was really eye opening. Processed sugar is in so MANY things that it takes constant effort to be aware of what you're actually consuming. I plan to exercise moderation now more than ever.

I'm also nearing the end of C25K...for the second time. My mom and I did week 8, day 1 yesterday. Only 5 total days left. I finally calculated how far we were running using Map My Run and I was surprised to see that I am actually much faster this time around. I'm sure that has to do with there being an almost 50 pound weight difference for me along with running with a partner this time. My mom pushes me. Honestly, sometimes I want to tell her to leave me alone and to stop encouraging me. I don't know why but my nature just seems to want to rebel against someone telling me that I can do something when I really want to believe I can't or just want to be left alone. I hate that about myself. But I am incredibly thankful for my mom! She has always been my biggest supporter and I don't know what I would do without her. I really don't even want to think about that. I love you mom!

My weight has fluctuated up and down a couple of pounds over the last couple of weeks. I'm currently hanging strong at my lowest weight yet but I'm really hoping to see some great results at the end of this week. I have a good feeling and I hope I'm right! I'm really ready to blog about meeting my first MAJOR weight loss goal!

What are you doing to meet your goals?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lentil Soup

It's been a while since I've posted any recipes but I must tell you, I have had some of the BEST, healthy food  in the last few months! I can thank Pinterest, The Food Network Magazine, and Cooking Light Magazine for majority of the recipes that I have tried recently.

Near the end of the summer, I made a deal with my parent's that I would come over in the afternoon and cook the meals, if Abigail and I could eat with them. I hated cooking for just two people and it was lonely eating by ourselves all the time when my parent's were just down the road. It has worked out beautifully. I must admit though that in the last few weeks, I haven't done as much of the work as I had been doing because my mom and I have been doing the C25K in the afternoons so it's been more of a group effort.

One of the things that we began to incorporate into our meal plans was Meatless Monday's. Every Monday we go the entire day without eating meat which means that we have to get our protein from other sources like quinoa or beans. Going meatless once a week is not only good for our health but our wallets as well! :) Some weeks it's a challenge to come up with new meatless recipes and we are always on the lookout for new things to try but we've quickly discovered some meals that are our favorites and we've tried a couple of things that we won't be eating again...like the supposed "Best Mushroom Soup You'll Ever Eat in Your Life" (gag) or the "Broccoli and White Bean Soup" that was supposed to a healthy twist on Broccoli and Cheese soup (disgusting). One of the things that constantly comes up in rotation is Giada De Laurentiis' Lentil Soup.

I had only ever tried lentil's a few times and I had only cooked them like you would regular beans and ate them over rice or quinoa but my parent's had a bag of lentils in their pantry and wanted a different way to cook them so I took to the Internet and searched out recipes. One of the first one's I came across was Giada's and I'm a huge fan of hers and the recipe was simple and didn't require a ton of ingredients. So on a Meatless Monday I made Giada's Lentil Soup. It was so good! It only needed a bit of spice, so I turned to my trusty bottle of Texas Pete Hot Sauce and a couple of dashes did the trick. We didn't waste any of that soup!

A few weeks later I took it to church for one of our Senior Sunday meals. My dad's church feeds the senior adult members every first Sunday of the month. It's usually a soup, salad, and sandwich deal and since my dad has been teaching a health and nutrition class on Sunday nights we try and make the meal as healthy as possible. So I took the lentil soup but this time with an addition of a can of mild Rotel tomatoes. I knew the senior adults might not like it too spicy but the soup really did need a kick. The mild tomatoes gave it just the punch it needed without being too spicy. It was a hit! After everyone took leftovers home, there wasn't any left for me to bring home! :)

So as the weather is about to cool down and the first part of next week is supposed to be pretty chilly I would suggest making this hearty but meatless meal! It will be easy on your wallet and your waistline!

Enjoy!


Lentil Soup – Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
·         2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         2 carrots, peeled and chopped
·         2 celery stalks, chopped
·         2 garlic cloves, chopped
·         Salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
·         1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
·         11 cups low-salt chicken broth
·         4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
·         2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
·         1 cup shredded Parmesan


Directions
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

*For additional spice and taste, you may add a can of Rotel tomatoes to the above recipe.
*I use a bit of dried thyme instead of fresh sprigs.
*I use a whole cup of dried whole wheat elbow pasta
*I omit the extra drizzle of olive oil. It really doesn't need it. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Choose Your Hard

My life has been utterly crazy this year. A lot of changes occurred that I honestly didn't expect to happen as last year drew to a close.

I was telling a friend the other day how last year during the holidays I was able to stay completely focused and on track with my healthy lifestyle but sometime after the first of the year, everything came to a stand still. Most people struggle during the holidays to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I mean, we are overwhelmed with parties and family gatherings, and the central theme is usually food. This food is often high fat, high calorie, and highly processed! But I stayed strong, I ate as healthy as I could and only tasted dessert if it was something I just couldn't pass up. I actually managed to lose weight in November and December last year.

About mid-January I ran smack into a brick wall and it didn't budge. I made several feeble attempts at tearing down the wall or at least climbing over it in the coming months but in the end I had nothing to show for it. I actually gained some weight back. Thankfully it was less than 10 pounds but still, that it so disheartening after so much progress. What happened?

Well...life happened! My husband enlisted into the U.S. Army, he quit his job, we moved to Florida only about three weeks before he had to report for BCT, I said goodbye to him, missed him more than words can say, learned how to solo-parent while he's away, began watching my niece on a daily basis, started home-schooling both my daughter and my niece, took my first airplane flight to see my husband graduate BCT, said goodbye again, had to deal with the heartache and loneliness again, dealt with issues with my rental house and my husband's vehicle, etc, etc, etc.... I really could go on but you get the idea. Life has been a little on the hard side this year and I let some of these things control me instead of taking charge of the situation. I ate poorly, rarely exercised, and barely slept! Again, I made some attempts to get back on track but none of them lasted very long. Truth is, although I wanted to lose more weight, my heart wasn't in it and eating the food made me feel good (until I was finished and regretted it).

Sometimes, it takes an eye-opening situation to get you over the brick wall. And I had one. It happened after I saw my husband again for the first time in over 2 months at his BCT graduation. I had told him before he left that while he was away, working so hard, that I would be doing the same thing at home. I had for a bit. I did about a month of P90X and then gave up when I didn't see the results that I had expected. There he was looking so handsome and skinny and I felt awful and disgusting. Honestly, I did. I feel yucky when I've been eating junk for too long and I really felt gross. I know my husband loves me no matter what size I am but I wanted to look as good for him as he looked and I knew I didn't. It still took me a bit after I came home to get back on track because I was still letting my emotions control me. I was tired, lonely, and depressed. Seeing him for only 2 days was awesome but torturous at the same time!

I finally realized that if I want to feel better about myself the next time I see him, I have to get my act together. Now, my healthy lifestyle is all about me...my health, how I feel, etc but there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself for your spouses sake if you are doing it in a healthy way. So I decided to do what worked for me before...The Couch to 5K. I also decided to give up sweets and processed sugar until my daughter's birthday party in  November. It was 55 days until her party on the day I decided to do it. I started C25K the same week. I am now 6 weeks into my C25K training (I still have 2 days left to do of week 6) and I only have 16 days left of no sweets! And I have made progress! Major progress...to me anyway. I hit one of my big weight loss goals a week or so ago. I'm super proud of myself for sticking with it. I have about 4 more pounds to lose to hit one of my major goals and as soon as that happens there will be a blog post about it.

I'm sort of feeling stuck again. I don't know what it is about making progress that makes you a little more lax in your eating but some how it happens to me over and over again. I'm still not indulging in sweets but I feel like I've allowed more and more other stuff into my diet over the last week or so. I'm all for having allowances in your diet but only every once in a while. So if I want to get to meet that major goal, I've got to continue to buckle down and do the hard things. Because let's face it, no matter where you are on your journey, living a healthy lifestyle is hard, life itself is hard. Choose your hard!


Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Monday, October 1, 2012

#progress #accountability #nosweets

Things are going great.

 It feels so good to be making #progress and to be losing weight again.

I'm really enjoying using Twitter for #accountability. I feel less stress. I can be straight and to the point without worrying about an entire blog post and then worrying over how many people have viewed it, if they liked it or not, why no one is leaving comments, etc. Let's face it, blogging can add pressure more than being  the outlet I wanted it to be. I still enjoy writing and getting my story out there but Twitter is less stressful. Maybe no one is reading my posts over there but for some reason, I really don't care. I tweet about what I've eaten for the day or when I've completed my workout. I retweet helpful, healthy tips from other sources and I've been able to encourage other family members on their journeys as well. So all in all, it's working out for me. Do I wish you guys would get at Twitter account and "follow" me? Of course! But I'm not stressing.

So for those of you who've missed out on the tweets and are wondering about my #progress and the use of hashtags, here ya go...

First of all, the use of hashtags over on Twitter is for making points without using up too many words or characters. You only get 140 to make your point. Second, hashtags can be used to track what sort of things people are talking about or what's "trending" at the moment. If a lot of people use the same hashtags then that particular thing starts to "trend" and you can see other people's viewpoints on the subject. So why am I using them in my blog post? Well the words that you see that has the hashtag in front of it are the words that I am using when I tweet. These words are what set apart my healthy living #accountability from my everyday musings!

As you know from my last blog post a couple of weeks ago, I started doing The Couch to 5K running plan again, along with getting my eating under control, and giving up sweets or processed sugar until my daughter's birthday party in November. Today is day 15 of my 55 day #nosweets challenge! I am doing awesome! The combination of these three things has really done wonders for my body. I am FINALLY and I repeat FINALLY, out of the rut, plateau, whatever you want to call it, that I was in. Since last Monday, I've lost 5 pounds. I'm sure the total for the last two weeks is a bit more but I never weighed the first week. My scales weren't where they were supposed to be and I kept forgetting to find them and weigh. But I did weigh last Monday and know that I'm 5 pounds down since then! Hallelujah! That's #progress!

I'm so close to one of my weight loss goals that I'm really hoping that I meet it this week! I plan to work hard and continue to use Twitter for #accountability!

C25K has been a bit harder this time around. I'm running with my mom and her pace is faster than my natural pace but I try to stay up with her as best as I can. Maybe when it's said and done my 5K time will be much faster than the last time. That would be great!

#Nosweets has been harder than I thought. One thing about giving up sugar has been coming face to face with the reality of how much sugar I was consuming and some of it without really realizing it. Before starting this challenge, I would have said that I didn't eat much processed sugar and that it wasn't really a problem for me. But now, I know differently and I'm pretty sure that I can thank #nosweets for my weight loss this week. Along with the eating healthy and exercise, of course! Even if you aren't doing the #nosweets challenge with me, I want to offer you another challenge. Try and go 3 days with #nosweets and by this I mean no sugar in your coffee, fake or otherwise, no sodas, no candy, no cake, no cookies, no prepackaged products with added sugar, no peanut butter with added sugar, etc. Just try it. As you become more mindful of what you are putting into your mouth, you'll realize that some things that you consume absentmindedly or things you eat on a daily basis, have sugar or much more sugar than you thought. This challenge has been really eye opening for me!

We MUST be #accountable for what we put into our bodies! If we won't, no one else will!

If you want to be apart of my journey on a more daily basis, join me on Twitter, and follow me. I'm @jsfoster83

Otherwise, I'll meet you back over here on the blog soon!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Me Again

It's been a while. Sometimes things don't go the way you expect them to. I decided to take a break from blogging to focus more on myself and my goals. I successfully completed one month of P90X and actually enjoyed it. However, I ended up gaining a pound by the end of that month and no matter what encouragement others offered me, I got discouraged. And then I did something that I often tell you NOT to do.

I gave up.

Now, I'm not saying that I was out there shoving terrible food down my throat at all times, knocking back diet soda's (which I have given up for good), and being an all around slob. But, my eating habits weren't as spot on and I overindulged too often and I stopped exercising all together. I went almost two months without any sort of exercise. I felt tired and sluggish again but most of all I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I have continued to rise up and fall down again over and over for the last 9 months. I felt guilty that I give advice that I don't seem to be taking myself anymore. And I really felt guilty that my hubby was away at training for the Army and working so hard and I was at home sitting on my butt. When I saw him a month ago he was so skinny and while it was amazing to see him, I couldn't help feel self conscious about my size. I've lost a lot of weight in the last year and a half but I still have a ways to go. Instead of letting that propel me forward, I slipped even farther down and allowed the emotional feelings to determine what I ate and what I did, which was junk and nothing.

A couple of days ago, it was like a light went off for me again. I saw my body for what it really was. I had grown comfortable in my size. I liked the way clothes fit me now and how I looked in them and I stopped seeing the work that I still had to do. I wasn't completely delusional. I knew that there was still work and if you asked me, I would tell you that I wanted to get to my goal weight, but I wasn't really too concerned about doing anything about it. I also realized that I only have about three months until I see my hubby again and I DO NOT want to look and feel like I did when I saw him last. So instead of doing what I normally do which is do a food cleanse, start a new exercise routine, and blog about it again, I decided to do what I did to begin with. I made some goals and decided to start the Couch to 5K running program over again. It's been months and months since I've run last and I probably couldn't run a mile without feeling like I was going to die. So this time, I enlisted my mom for support and accountability. We did week one, day one yesterday...in the rain, I might add. I really didn't have to tweak my diet too much, I was still eating healthy about 80% of the time, I was just allowing too many junk food snacks. I decided to give myself a challenge. I pray that I can stick with it. The challenge I set for myself was not to eat any "sweets" until Abigail's birthday party the first of November. In this I am mostly talking about processed stuff like candies and cookies and cakes.

Now, I know your wondering about the "blog about it again" part. If she isn't going to blog about then why is she blogging about it? Ha! I know, right? Well, when I do blog it will be sporadically. Maybe once a week, maybe less. I don't intend to blog every day or every other day. I'm actually going to try something new for accountability. I'm using Twitter right now. I've had a Twitter account for a long time. I take it by spells. I might tweet daily for a while and then not use Twitter again for months. But right now, Twitter is going to be my main outlet for accountability. Why? Well, with Twitter, you only get 140 characters to say what you've got to say. It forces me to be concise and to the point but still allows me to get my message out there. If you would like to join me in this quest for accountability and healthier living, come on over. If you already have a Twitter account you can follow me, I'm @jsfoster83. If you don't have a Twitter account, consider joining me and creating one. I'm using the hash tag #accountability for all my tweets related to my healthy lifestyle. If you decide Twitter isn't for you, don't fret. Like I said, I will be updating the blog and my Facebook page but only occasionally. I hope you'll join my on Twitter for some #accountability!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Old, New Self

I'm beginning to feel like my old self again. Well, my old, new self! What am I talking about?

I'm sure you've noticed the lack of posting over the last few months and the majority of the times that I did post, I had to be honest about my walls, my pitfalls, my sin. Life got complicated a few months ago and instead of leaning on the new, healthy principles that I've learned over the past year or so, I fell back into old habits and allowed my emotions and stress to dictate what I ate and whether or not I exercised.

I say "old, new self" because I feel like my healthy lifestyle isn't so new anymore yet it's more recent than my old, fat, disgusting lifestyle. Yep, I said fat and disgusting! No matter how you sugar coat it, that's what it was. I'm not Willy Wonka so it's time to stop sugar coating everything!

Normally, when I say things like that, I get several of the, "you were beautiful before," comments. And while I appreciate the sentiment and the sincerity behind the comments, I have to say that unhealthy is not beautiful, no matter what you look like. It's time to live up to our potentials and we can't do that if we die early because of complications due to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles and habits.

I recently posted on my blog's Facebook page that I was going to start being selfish and focusing more on me because no matter how much I want to help all of you, my healthy lifestyle and weight loss journey is about ME! I have to take care of me before I can really help take care of anyone else. And I've been doing that and I will continue to do that.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been relearning some important facts about nutrition, diet, and weight loss. I've been rediscovering my love for healthy foods, cooking, and exercising. I am once again enjoying finding new recipes, coming up with new snacks, and being in control of my body again and...IT FEELS GOOD!

There are several factors that have had a part in my renewed passion for eating healthy and losing weight. One is that my husband is currently at BCT for the Army and I want to look really good when I see him again. I know that he is working hard and I want to be doing the same thing while he is gone. Second, my dad is getting ready to start teaching a health and nutrition class at church and if I'm going to be helping him with that, then I need to have my act together. Three, I recently completed a five day food cleanse that helped boost my metabolism, clear my body of toxic buildup, and reset my body to want the good stuff and not the bad stuff. Four, I'm one day away from completing my first week of P90X. It's hard but it's so rewarding when I finish a workout. It reminds me of how I felt when I completed the Couch to 5K plan last year. Every workout I complete makes me feel empowered and strong and even more determined. And lastly, I'm currently reading Bob Harper's book The Skinny Rules. Has it been earth shattering? Not really. Most of the rules are things that I had at one time or another already been doing. A couple were new but they were all things that I needed to hear again. Bob does an excellent job of backing his rules with scientific facts and examples. I'm only half way done but the latter part of the book is more or less, meal plans and recipes. If you are struggling to lose weight, I highly recommend the book!

It feels good to have my passion back. It feels good to be back to my old, new self.

Your new, healthier self is waiting but are you willing to do what it takes to find him or her?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Wall, Blue Bell Ice Cream, and Sin.

I've had every intention of posting recently but my mind and heart have been torn between another, "this is my life" post or an update on my weight loss journey. Even now, I'm not sure which I would benefit from more. This last week without Ryan has been incredibly hard but things are slowly getting better. My healthy lifestyle has been in the toilet, for lack of a better word, in the last month and I'm slowly getting that back on track. So which is it going to be?

Hmm....

I guess most of you found your way to my blog because of my healthy living journey so I guess I'll start there.

Last year I really hit a stride around November. The weight was just falling off and I had my act together. I was eating healthy, working out at the gym, going for daily walks. My running had fallen off by then but I was still doing the things I needed to be doing. Along came December and knocked me on my butt. I survived the holidays without wreaking havoc on my body and lifestyle but the scale wasn't budging. I got up though and set some new goals for a new year. I started off January headed in the right direction when out of nowhere, I ran smack into a brick wall. Over the next few months, I struggled with that wall, sometimes almost making it over before falling back down again. Climbing over it wasn't getting me anywhere so I thought I'd take a shot at going around it but by this time my heart wasn't in it. I was so frustrated and upset with myself. I was making poor choices on a daily basis. I continued to walk everyday but I had stopped going to the gym all together. I started and re-started my healthy lifestyle over and over again trying to get back to that committed girl who started losing all that weight last year. Eventually, I was no longer making any progress but continuously ramming my head against the wall. And most recently, I decided that the wall wasn't worth the effort anymore and just walked away from it.

That's really where this post picks up.

Right now, I could list for you at least 5 valid excuses that I used to walk away. I say valid because as you all know, life is messy and life is hard, and things just come up sometime that get in the way of the goals and plans that we have. The problem with these excuses is that they were excuses that I thought I had already dealt with and put to rest. But even the alcoholic knows, that no matter how long they've been sober, there is always that chance that they can slip up, that life can get in the way and that a drink seems like the only answer to the problems. But in the same token, an alcoholic doesn't have to go to the liquor store and buy it. He has a choice to drive a different direction, to choose not to drink. A food addict doesn't have that luxury. Food is  essential to sustain life. I have to eat to live or I'll die. So the temptation to over-indulge, to choose the wrong foods, to allow food to comfort and alleviate stress, is there. Not just once, but multiple times a day. So, I thought that I had conquered that stronghold in my life. I thought I was finally over letting my emotions and stress dictate what I ate and how much. But sin is sneaky like that. And I say sin because I truly believe that it is. This food addiction is a stronghold in my life. I often allow food to try and do the things in my life that I should be giving over to God and letting Him deal with. It's a sin of thinking that I know better than God does. It's a sin of trying to control my own life.

I kind of feel like I'm back at square one again. But maybe that's where God needs me. Maybe I need to be here again so that I can really deal with this sin in my life. Filling my body with junk does not glorify God. Treating my body like a trash can instead of a temple does not honor God. It is a poor witness. All of this is a realization that I've had to come to myself. I know people mean well. I know there are a lot of people out there who care about me. But honestly, the more people tell me when I'm doing things wrong or that I shouldn't be eating certain foods the more my sin nature wants to rebel. As a side note, if you find yourself being one of these people, good intentions or not, please realize that saying things like that can often hurt the person more than help them. Be there with listening ears. Set the example for them in the way you eat and the way you treat your body. If things are really out of control for the other person then a loving, gentle reproach is much better than an off hand comment or snide remark. And remember just because you do things a certain way doesn't make it the gospel on how things should be done. Every person is different, they have different limitations, and their bodies respond differently.

I am so thankful for those people in my life who do encourage me. I recently ran into my friend Clara at the mall. We are living in the same town now but haven't had a chance to get together. While still in the throws of my poor decision making, I was indulging in a fried chicken sandwich and french fries at Chic-Fil-A when I saw her. And instantly I felt guilty as I saw her eating her salad with barely any dressing. When I mentioned it, she encouraged me verbally and that alone was a big push in the right direction for me. Her actions alone was all the "reproach" I needed. If she had of verbally made an off hand comment about my poor choices, I probably would have reacted differently and instead of being nudged in the right direction, I would have probably walked further away from that wall.

Clara also encouraged me to get "real" on my blog. I shared with her my low point over the past month and I'm going to share it with you here today. I've always said that I don't have it figured out but I secretly thought I did. The following scenario should keep me humble for a while...

Because of the stress of moving and my husband getting ready to leave for Basic Combat Training with the Army, I let that be an excuse to eat poorly and not exercise. My choices got worse and worse as the weeks went on. Finally, on the day that we dropped him off at the recruiters office, I hit my low point. When we made it back to Graceville, I went to the local grocery store and bought a pint of Blue Bell ice cream and a bag of Doritos. I had already purchased a Dark Chocolate Snickers bar at a gas station on our way home. I also bought a Coke Zero even though I had most recently been cutting any products with Aspartame out of my diet all together. After my daughter went to bed, I polished off the ice cream, the Snickers, the cola, and half the bag of Doritos, all in the name of a tired, sad, stressed out heart. I wasn't completely finished. When I bought the ice cream, I bought 2 pints. The next day, I polished off two more Coke Zero's, the second pint of ice cream, more Doritos, and a bunch of other food. My week continued in pretty similar fashion although no day was as bad as that Monday night. On Saturday, I ran into Clara. I wish I could say that I was finished eating junk after that but I ate some crap Sunday night before bed.

Before you eat like that, you always think it will make you feel better even though you know differently. Years of living like this has taught me that but for some reason, I have a hard time reminding myself of that when I'm at that point. So I felt bad all week. I was emotional with my husband gone. I was frustrated with my lack of discipline and I was tired. The more I thought about what I had been doing to my body the more I began to see it as sin. You know the saying, "Sin will take you farther than you planned on going, keep you longer than you planned on staying, and cost you more than you planned on paying," or something like that. Well, instead of being right up against that wall, I'm pretty far away. I didn't plan on going that far or staying that long but the longer I've stayed away the harder it is to come back and to get back on track. And of course I payed more than I wanted, I've gained a few pounds back, I feel tired and sluggish, and I'm ashamed of my behavior. I'm not cured. I may never be. This may be a lifelong struggle and I'm going to have to be okay with that. On Monday, I made myself get up and go for a walk. I had a salad for lunch. I still made mistakes. But I recognized them and tried to learn from them and tried harder the next time. Today was 3 days in a row of getting up early and going for a walk. I still struggle with my food choices but most of that comes from being lazy. I have to get back into the routine of making a meal plan and doing the prep work that needs to be done. I also have to remember why I started this journey in the first place...my daughter and setting a good example for her. And most importantly, I have to deal with this sin. I have to confess it, pray about it, turn to God when the temptations arise, and dig into God's word for wisdom and guidance.

So there it is, in all of it's ugliness. This time, there will be no trying to climb over or go around the wall. It's time to tear it down once and for all. I'm not saying that there won't be another wall but at least I'll be better prepared to deal with it.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome to the Army Life

It's been a crazy, emotional, couple of days.

Monday was by far the hardest.

You see, on Monday, we dropped Ryan off at the recruiters office in Slidell and said goodbye for at least 9 weeks.

Back in January, he enlisted in the Army. You can read all about his decision and my thoughts about it here. We've had quite a few months to get used to the idea but the truth is, no matter how long you have to prepare for a separation like that, you're never really prepared.

We woke up early Monday morning and my parents picked the three of us up around 6:30 AM. We made the four hour drive to Slidell. Once we arrived we went by our friends house and picked up Ryan's car that we had left there when we moved. We then met more friends for lunch at Raising Cane's. After that, we went down the street to the recruiters office. They were waiting on another guy who was just beginning his process but was going to MEPS as well. We hung around the office with Ryan until the other guy showed up. I didn't want to be there to actually see him leave in the car with the recruiter so we stepped outside and said our goodbyes. That last "family hug" with Abigail is what did me in. I started crying and so did Abigail. Once in the car, I broke down a little, but I planned on driving us back since my dad was driving back Ryan's car and I knew I needed to pull it together. A few times in the first leg of our trip, I had to hold back tears and once we got back home and settled in our house, the tears came again. We had a dinner of "junk food" and went to bed. We both slept really good which was surprising. I think we were both worn out from the drive and the emotions of the day.

The first thing Abigail wanted when she woke up was her "kiss from daddy." On Sunday, Ryan worked on a project for Abigail that I had found on Pinterest. It's a jar filled with Hershey Kisses that says, "Kisses from Daddy!" Now, everyday she can still get a kiss from daddy even though he isn't here with us.


Luckily, we sent Ryan with his cell phone and charger even though the list said not to. I had read on a forum that you should send them anyway because some DS's let them use them when they get phone calls home and you'll get more time to talk with your spouse if they don't have to wait for a pay phone to open up. I was so glad we did because I received a couple of phone calls and texts on Monday as well as Tuesday.

When we woke up on Tuesday we got read and went over to my brother and sister-in-laws house to help paint Marlee's bedroom. Justin fixed us breakfast and we got started. We were able to completely paint the room and trim and get all of her furniture moved in and arranged. Marlee wanted Abigail to sleep in her new room with her so we stayed the night. We had a fun day and being so busy kept my mind off of Ryan being gone and not coming home anytime soon. A few times I started to get choked up when people would leave messages on my Facebook wall. You all don't realize how much all those messages and encouragements mean to me! I received the "scripted" phone call around midnight saying that he had arrived safely at Ft. Leonard Wood and would call when he could. I was glad to know he made it safely but I just wish I could have actually talked to him.

So, this morning. We got up and came back home. The house is a mess from the craziness of the few days before he left. I'm behind on laundry and I MUST get back on a good workout routine and back to eating clean. I still have at least 30 pounds left to lose and I want to look GOOD when I see Ryan for his BCT graduation sometime in August.

Thanks again for all the advice, encouragement, and prayers. Here is the last picture we took together before he left...


Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Date Night

Last night, Ryan and I went on our last date night for a good long while.

It was great! Abigail spent the night with Nana and Papa so we didn't have to worry about rushing home and we were able to just enjoy our time together. In some ways, it felt like old times, when we were just newlyweds. We lived in Graceville back then and when we went out, it was to Dothan, Alabama and those nights usually consisted of dinner out and shopping. Which was exactly what we did last night.

My wonderful husband took me to Mikata to eat. I know it isn't what he really wanted but I love that he put my desires above his own. Mikata is a Japanese steak house and it's my favorite! We shared the dinner for two which consisted of Filet Mignon and shrimp and we also shared some spicy tuna sushi! Yum! We were stuffed when we left but it was sooo good!



After dinner we spent some time browsing some stores and shopping! Ryan needed a new watch and we've been having trouble finding one that he liked. After looking at several stores last night, he finally found one. He also picked out a gift to give Abigail tomorrow night before bed since we are leaving early Monday morning to take him back to Slidell. He's giving her the Merida doll for the upcoming movie Brave. And as part of her gift from him, I will be taking her to see the movie once it comes out. We are also working on a Pinterest project that is sort of like a countdown to when she gets to see Daddy again but it won't be ready until tomorrow. I'll post pictures once we are finished.

We wanted to go see Snow White and the Huntsman but it was getting late and I'm notorious for falling asleep during late movies so we decided to pick out a movie at Target to watch when we got home. We couldn't agree on a movie so we ended up getting season one of Big Bang Theory. We love watching the re-runs on TBS but we've never seen it from the beginning. Sheldon cracks me up! It was nice watching something funny and laughing together. It also kept my mind off the fact that we only have a short time left together.

Because of being so stressed lately, I haven't really had a chance to be sad or sentimental but as I was eating my fried rice last night, I had to blink back tears. I was enjoying my rice and watching the chef cook and thinking about how this was it for a while. Our 9th anniversary is June 14 and we have to drop him off on the 11th and he flies out on the 12th. We won't get to celebrate or be together on that day and he won't be here for Father's day and it sort of all hit me at once. Even today, as Abigail is still with my parent's and we are enjoying  a quite Saturday morning, I can feel the emotions starting to build. I want to be strong for Abigail but I'm afraid that Monday is going to be a lot harder than I have been anticipating.

Thankfully, my parent's are going with us to drop Ryan off on Monday. We are making the trip there and back all in one day and I was afraid that I might not be able to drive Abigail and myself back after saying our goodbyes. Plus, we left Ryan's car at a friends house so we didn't have to pull it behind the moving truck so dad's going to drive that back and mom will drive Abigail and I, if need be.

If you think about us over the next few days, please continue to pray for us.



Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Jumbled Mess

I feel like my brain is a jumbled mess.

I have so much information floating around in there. Mix that with conflicting advice and worry and then it becomes a real problem.

By nature, I'm a worrier and a stress-er. I get easily overwhelmed and my coping mechanism is to completely shut down. However, I can't do that right now and my brain feels like it's going to explode!

We leave on Monday to take my husband back to Louisiana. We have to drop him off at the recruiters office in Slidell and say our goodbyes. We won't see him again until his graduation from boot camp sometime in August. Of course I am sad about him leaving but all the stress of getting him ready to leave keeps me from really being able to deal with that right now. I'm sure that won't really hit until the goodbyes are said and Abigail and I come home to an empty house without him.

Right now, the problem is making sure we have everything together and ready for us to leave on Monday. You know how, when you pack for a trip, you always have that nagging feeling that you left something behind that you really needed? I feel that way EVERY TIME I go out of town but I've only actually left something behind a couple of times and luckily they were things easily picked up when we got to our destination. There are so many important documents that Ryan needs to take with him when he leaves for Basic. Things that can't be picked up at a local store if we forget them. I'm a stressed out mess right now, constantly checking and re-checking the what to bring list. On top of that, we've received conflicting information on whether or not he should take the original documents or just copies. And even more on top of that, it seems like the recruiters keep losing things that we've already given them numerous times. It's all really frustrating. Especially being new to this whole Army thing, not knowing all the lingo, and feeling like you aren't really prepared even though you've watched the videos they've given you and poured through the online forums and paid close attention to the emails! I don't think I'm ready for this! I feel like there is so much that I don't know that I probably should know. Part of it's my fault because I'm also well known for my procrastination! Ugh!

So for probably the 20th time in the last couple of days, I'm about to re-check the what to bring list and hit the forums. I'm sure there will be another Wal-Mart run just to be on the safe side. By the time I'm done being overwhelmed with making sure he's ready to leave, I'll be overwhelmed with the fact that he isn't here and that I can't just call him or text him if I need to know something. I'll be waiting for that scripted phone call saying he's arrived and trying to fill mine and Abigail's days so as not to dwell on the fact he isn't here. I see a lot of trips to Hobby Lobby in my future. It's a good a time as any to start working on all those Pinterest projects that I've re-pinned!

Any Army wives out there with some advice?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheap Rent and the Days Ahead

Life has been stressful lately...

and it's only going to get more stressful.

If you were hoping that this was going to FINALLY be a healthy living update. Sorry. It isn't.

I know you are curious and I promise one is coming but let's just leave it at...it hasn't been going so well and I have to take full responsibility for that.

This post is more or less an update on what's been going on in my life over the last couple of months and just getting some thoughts out of my head...

Back in January, my husband joined the Army. He's been in the delayed entry program so he hasn't gone to training yet. He leaves next week.

The initial plan was for Abigail and I to continue to live in Slidell, Louisiana while he was away at training. We had discussed the possibility of us moving closer to my parent's while he was away but financially we just couldn't afford it. I was fine with our decision. We have some really great friends and a great church family in Slidell. I knew that Abigail and I would have a support system while Ryan was gone.

Skip ahead a few months...Abigail and I were visiting my parent's in Graceville, Florida. My mom works as the secretary to the Director of Student Services at The Baptist College of Florida. Many times, when local residents have a home for rent, they contact the college and ask to put up a flyer on one of the many bulletin boards around campus. These things pass through my mom's desk before going up. So, as Abigail and I were visiting her at work one day she handed me a flyer that had just been brought into her office. It was for a two bedroom house with rent that couldn't be passed up. It was $300 less than what we were currently paying for rent in Slidell. My initial reaction was to shrug it off. We weren't moving to Graceville so it really was of no use to me but then I got to thinking....maybe I should just call the owner and take a look. It couldn't hurt, right? So, I did. The place was nice and again, the rent was CHEAP! After calling Ryan and talking at length about the possibility of moving, we came to the same decision we had before, we just couldn't afford to move no matter how much we wanted to.

I relayed the decision to my mom and that was that. Or, so I thought. God has placed some really great people in my life over the years and some of those people blessed us beyond measure! I got a phone call from a close family friend and was completely shocked...they offered to pay for our moving expenses! Seriously! Who does that!? I was floored by their generosity and love for my family. Tears come to my eyes as I think about it now. I'm sitting in that little house in Graceville, Florida with the CHEAP rent all because of them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Everything fell into place. The landlord was kind enough to hold the house for us until we could move at the end of May. Abigail and I made our way back to Slidell to begin getting things ready for the move and to say goodbye to our friends. Ryan's last day at work was May 22 and thanks to the help of some wonderful friends we were able to load the truck and get on the road to Florida the very next day. My brother and his family met us at our new home in Florida to help us unload the truck. My parent's came over and helped too. That night we had everything unloaded into the house and by Thursday afternoon we were finished unpacking.

We have enjoyed the nearly three weeks we have had together as a family without Ryan having to go to work everyday. It has been so nice just being together all the time. We've spent a lot of time with my family and even Ryan's parent's came for a visit last week. We are so incredibly blessed!

We only have 5 days left together before we have to say goodbye to our wonderful husband and father! We are sad but we know that we have a great support system and that God is in control. We are proud of Ryan and his willingness to sacrifice for our country and to follow his dreams. The road ahead will be hard and lonely but God will see us through. Pray for Abigail and I as we adjust to life without Ryan for a while. Pray that I will be able to handle being a "single parent" over the next several months. Pray that Abigail will adjust to our new circumstances and that she will be brave. We've talked about being strong and brave while daddy is gone. She told me just last night that she couldn't and that she didn't know how to be brave. I reminded her that God is always with us and that He will show us how. "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!" Psalm 105:4

Pray also for Ryan. Even though he is about to embark on a journey he has dreamed about for a long time he knows that it will not be easy. Pray for his strength, his health, his witness, and his safety.

Thank you to all of you who have already checked up on me this week, offered encouragement and support, and prayed for us! We love you!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica







Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do the Works You Did at First

"Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first..." Revelation 2:5

You may be wondering where I have been lately and what the Bible verse has to do with it. The truth is, I haven't blogged in a while because I just didn't know what to say. My last several posts have been about my struggle in the recent months. I hit a plateau around the end of December and haven't been able to conquer it. I understand that reading about my struggles can be just as helpful as reading about my victories. My failures can be as inspiring as my advice but I didn't feel there was much  more to say than what I had already said.

Before I get to my use of the scripture above let me give you a brief recap of the changes I've made in my life over the last year:

* At the beginning of 2011, I decided to make a change towards a healthier lifestyle as I was overweight (obese, actually) and unhappy.

* I started slowly instead of making drastic changes all at once. I added fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet, cut way back on fast food, began to cook more at home, and did some low-impact exercises.

* I lost around 15 pounds by the end of April 2011.

* On Mother's Day 2011 I started The Couch to 5K running plan and began making more changes to my diet, and increased my level of exercise.

* I ran my first 5K in July 2011.

* By December 2011, I had lost a total of 50 pounds.

In December I set another goal for myself to lose another 30 pounds by my 29th birthday at the end of April...AND THEN I GOT STUCK. I hit a brick wall, a plateau, whatever you want to call it. The scale fluctuated every once in a while, up a pound or so, down a pound or so, but mostly it stayed at one weight. I came to terms that I probably would not reach my weight loss goal of 30 pounds in time but I was OK with that. I just never expected to still be ramming my head up against that brick wall in April. The first of April came and I STILL hadn't lost any more weight since December.

I kept making excuses but I knew the truth. I had become comfortable with the weight I was at. I looked better in the clothes that I wore so instead of giving it everything I had, I sort of coasted along. I ate healthy enough most of the week and kept a semi-consistent workout schedule so that when I indulged the other parts of the week, it didn't really affect my weight. I, however, noticed changes in my body, for the worse, even though the scale didn't register any weight gain.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my mother and I told her that I knew what it would take to get past this plateau but I just wasn't ready to commit to it. Even though I knew the answer, I wasn't mentally ready to do what it was going to take. But something changed for me right before Easter. My parent's were visiting us in Louisiana and we had gone shopping. This was the first time in a really LONG time that I tried on clothes and felt confident. It was the first time in a really LONG time that I didn't look in a mirror and feel huge or wish that I was just a little smaller so that the dress I liked would fit me. I bought an amazing Easter dress (first one in 3 years) and I felt good. I also bought the smallest size that I have worn in over 4 years...a 12! That is 6 sizes down from where I started! This confidence boost gave me what I needed mentally to keep going. Although I didn't really get started with my new plan until after Easter since I had decided to spend Easter with my family in Florida.

You're probably still wondering about the Bible verse. Today, I was marveling over the weight loss that I have been experiencing in the last week. Yes, I said weight LOSS! And this verse kept coming to my mind. I realize that this scripture is dealing with something else entirely but the truth of it resonates with what's been going on with me this week.

"Remember therefore from where you have fallen..." - last year, I was actively losing weight, changing my lifestyle, and getting healthier. So far this year, I've been coasting along, with my heart not really in it.

"repent..." - I had to take a serious look at what was going on in my mind and my heart concerning my health and weight loss and make a choice.

"and do the works you did at first..." - this was the key. I had to go back to the beginning of when I started this journey. I knew it was going to take serious commitment and serious changes in my eating and exercise habits...AGAIN!

When I first started out of this quest for a healthier lifestyle and a smaller waistline, I was eating extremely healthy...little to no processed foods, lots of lean meats and seafood, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and I was drinking a LOT of water. As of late, I hadn't been doing very much of that. There was a lot of eating out, making poor decisions, eating processed junk and snack foods. But last Friday, I started anew. This week, I have been doing the works that I did at first, eating clean, drinking lots of water, and exercising more. I also haven't had a Diet Coke since last Thursday and if you know me, you know that is huge. I have also upped my green tea consumption again.

I am so happy to share with you that I have torn down that brick wall and I'm moving forward. Since Friday,  I have lost 4 pounds and it feels GOOD!

I'm definitely no where near my goal for April but that's OK. I have less than two week until my birthday, so let's see how much I can lose (safely) til then!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Monday, March 19, 2012

Still Struggling...

In my last post I told you that I was stuck. I've just had a really hard time since the beginning of the year. I had a couple of weeks where I just ate whatever I wanted and rarely exercised. Then I tried to get it back together and ended up losing the few pounds that I had gained. But ever since then, I have been stuck at this one weight. I know that I've got to do something different than what I've been doing and I also know that I've got to be more consistent with my eating. One of my problems right now is that I eat great about 5 days a week but I indulge a little too much about 2 days a week. Here lately, I've also been having days where no matter what I eat I can't seem to fill up. I am constantly hungry though out the day. And not just the I'm bored so I think I'm hungry. I'm talking that my stomach hurts and I feel sick because I'm so hungry. It's just plain weird.

Last week, I had a really bad day where I couldn't shake the negative feelings about my body. I had worked very hard the week before, upping my exercise and eating well consistently for all 7 days and the scale did not reward me. Once I gave in to those negative feelings, my emotions were all over the place and the negative feelings took root in other areas of my life. I no longer felt bad just about my weight and my body but about many other things. Luckily I have some great friends who encouraged me and gave me some sound advice and I was able to push those negative thoughts out and replace them with better ones.

I'm still struggling. I am so sick of the scale. At times the temptation is there to throw in the towel and give in. I'm not perfect. I don't have this figured out. But I do know that I've come too far to quit. I feel like if I can lose the next five pounds and get out of the slump that I am in that I will be able to focus better and continue on. But right now, I am stressed about the scale and maybe that's the problem. I've always been a stress eater. It's a struggle to eat healthy when I'm stressed. I still crave a big, greasy, sloppy hamburger when I feel that way. So I'm going to do some things differently. It will be trial and error until I can figure this out. I may end up gaining weight (I hope not) trying to figure it out but I've got to find something that works for me and soon.

The first thing that I am going to do is retire the scale...for two weeks. I weighed this morning so that I would have a true starting weight but after that I'm going to resist the temptation to step on it. I have to remember that I am not defined by a number on a scale. Yes, the scale is a measuring stick on how well I am doing with my healthy living and yes, I still have weight to lose so I'm going to need that scale but it's time for the two of us to take a break.

Secondly, I've contacted the head of personal training at my gym. I gave him a brief background on myself and what I am looking for and I'm waiting to hear back from him. I may not be able to afford any personal training at this time but I am hoping to get some advice and a little help from a professional.

Third, I've got to get over some fears. The gym can be intimidating. I'm a people watcher so don't give me that crap that nobody is paying any attention to me because I'm sure that I'm not the only person that goes to the gym and watches other people. There is also the fear of failure AND the fear of success. I'm sure you can understand why the fear of failure is there but success, really? Yes, what happens if I succeed? What happens if I get to my goal weight? Will I be able to maintain? What if I slip up and gain weight back? It's time to stop being afraid. Easier said than done though, right?

And fourthly, I've got to do some serious tweaking to my diet. I am hoping to get some advice on this when I sit down with the trainer at the gym. I've never been one to count calories. I hated counting points when I was doing Weight Watchers online a few years ago. I like things to be simple and easy but I may have to get over what I want and do what I need to do.

Living a healthy lifestyle is NOT easy. It's seriously one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I've had to change so much about my life. It's all been worth it and the truth is that even though it's been hard, I've enjoyed it. My friend Clara who recently had an epiphany about her weight loss journey and the plateau she had been experiencing likes to use this quote and I find it very appropriate:



CHOOSE YOUR HARD.

Peace,  Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica


Monday, March 5, 2012

Stuck Like Glue

I'm sorry that I didn't tell you beforehand but I've been on a blogging break. I intentionally neglected you! Sorry about that! I had to.

Why?

Well, it seems that I had gotten really good about giving advice but not so good at taking it.

Have you ever been stuck? I mean, literally, stuck? Children get stuck all the time because they try to fit there bodies into spaces that aren't big enough for them. I can't tell you how many times over the last four years that I've answered the cry of my daughter only to find her stuck somewhere she wasn't supposed to be in the first place. I recall a time, not too long after my husband and I were married, that I got stuck.

Underneath the edges of our small kitchen table was this decorative "metal." The pattern on the inside of it was sort of loopy and open. One day, while having a discussion with my husband, I absentmindedly put my hand through one of the loops. It was a tight fit but I got in through there and then I couldn't get it back out. Now, I have a tendency to panic but at first, I calmly tried to pull my hand back out and couldn't and that's when the panic set in. I interrupted our conversation and begged my husband to help get me out. Well, he wasn't helping me fast enough and the panic kicked up a notch and I began to cry for him to get my daddy. I wasn't married long enough yet to realize that I should allow my husband to help me and not go calling for my daddy. But hey, my daddy can fix anything, and I wanted to get my hand back. I now know that my husband is great at fixing things. He is completely calm and level headed in any situation and I'm most definitely not. He got my hand out just fine.

Have you ever noticed that the majority of the time you are stuck, just like a child, it was because you were somewhere you weren't supposed to be. My hand wasn't supposed to be in the metal part of the table.

I haven't been stuck anywhere physically lately but I've been stuck mentally. One of my main goals for 2012 was to lose 30 pounds by my 29th birthday at the end of April. I am here to tell you that I've only lost 3 pounds towards that goal. In the last few weeks I have gained and lost 2 of those pounds over and over and over again. I've been stuck in my weight loss. Why? The answer is the same as before. I was somewhere I wasn't supposed to be. I was doing something I wasn't supposed to do.

The somewhere I wasn't supposed to be was...the couch. I was supposed to be outside running, or at the gym, or even inside doing a workout video but most recently I've been on the couch. The something I wasn't supposed to be doing was...eating things that are bad for me. I've grown completely slack in how I eat. Instead of enjoying things in moderation every once in a while, I've been enjoying the "bad" things on too much of a consistent basis.

I've been giving advice and not taking it. I know the right things to say and I know the right things to do but knowing something and doing it are two very different things. I've grown comfortable where I am. I feel better about myself, I look better in the mirror, and even though I've said it before that I don't have it figured out, the truth is I thought I did. I was not only comfortable but I was cocky. And that my friends, is a dangerous place to be. It was.

Over the last few weeks, even months, I've struggled with my love for food. I've struggled with my addiction to food. I DO NOT HAVE IT FIGURED OUT and I probably never will.

I had planned on not blogging again until I had finally gotten out of the 160's and back on track. After a long conversation with my  mom over the weekend she reminded me that people need to hear my struggles. After all, that's probably why most of you started reading my blog in the first place. I know that the advice is good and helpful but sometimes just knowing that someone else struggles the same way you do and doesn't have it figured out is a much better help than any advice.

I don't want to be stuck anymore and I'm doing my best to get unstuck. The thing about being stuck is that most often you can't get yourself out, you need help. Here is me asking for help. If you think about me this week, pray for me. Leave me a comment. Send me a message. We're in this together.

I'm off to take advantage of this beautiful weather and go for a walk with my daughter.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Confession and a Trip Down Memory Lane

So, I've been out of town recently and have neglected my blog. Sorry!

If you've been on my blogs Facebook page today then you sort of know some of this already. But in the spirit of confession, I must tell you I've had a bit off time off from the 30 Day Shred and Jillian Michaels. It wasn't intentional. In the beginning, I missed a couple of days because of my parent's little apartment being crowded with people and having no privacy to do the DVD. I had no desire to humiliate myself in front of my family. :) And then I forgot my DVD at my parents house the night I stayed at my brother's house and then from then on out it was a downward cycle into inactivity all together. What can I say? It happens.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not perfect. I don't have it all figured out. I am constantly learning, re-evaluating, picking myself up, and pushing on. Today, the temptation was there to continue to do nothing. I had plenty of excuses. But the truth is, the hardest move you'll make is the one where you put on your shoes and go for it. Whatever form of exercise you choose, making the decision to do it and sticking to it is the hardest part. I'm not saying that whatever activity you do will be easy. Jillian Michaels is a crazy lady! I find myself saying that out loud many times while I am doing her workout. "She's crazy!" "She's insane if she thinks I can do that!" "Seriously!" These are all comments you'll hear if you're anywhere near me while the Shred is happening because it's so darn hard! So as I sat down on the couch to put on my shoes, I was thinking about how much I really didn't want to do it. I would much rather sit back on the couch, relax, and watch a movie with my daughter. It was so hard to lace up those shoes but once I had them on and the DVD in, I didn't look back. Even while sweat was dripping off my face and my arms could barely hold my weight in the plank position one second longer, I didn't regret my decision. I posted this picture on Facebook recently and it totally sums up what I'm trying to say here...


I made a few goals for myself for this week to help me get back on track and to get the scale moving again. Here they are:

1. Go to bed no later than 10 PM every night this week.
2. Drink, drink, drink water.
3. Have a least 3 cups of green tea every day.
4. No unnecessary snacking
5. Start level two of the 30 Day Shred over.
I'm one cup shy of my third cup of green tea for the day and I'd better hurry up and finish this post if I want to be in bed by 10 PM but other than that, I've stuck to my goals for today. That's a great start!

As you all well know, tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I tried to drop some not-so-subtle hints to my hubby today. I'm not sure if he got them or not! :) But as I was thinking about Valentine's day, I decided to take a trip through memory lane. I looked through my pictures on Facebook from the February of the last two years. Sometimes I am still shocked at what I see in pictures from the last couple of years. I know that I've worked hard and lost a lot of weight but sometimes that "other" me seems so foreign! My friend Clara spliced together three pictures of me. The first is from February 12, 2010. The second is from February 14, 2011. And the final is from February, 2012...Saturday. It's pretty hard to look at the face of the girl in the first pic. I am so thankful that I decided to change my life and that the first picture is no longer my reality!

Hope you all have a fabulous Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Thursday, February 2, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Days 8-10

Well friends, today I completed level one of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred!!!

Man is she tough! Day one was brutal. I thought I might faint, puke, die, or all three! Today, on day 10, my heart rate was up and I was drenched in sweat when I was done but I felt great!

I'm a little nervous about starting level two tomorrow. I know it's going to be much harder but I know my body is ready for it. I'm really hoping to see some great results at the end of these 30 days.

This weekend will prove to be challenging to my lifestyle and routine. We have more family coming into town for my niece's birthday party on Saturday. This means more people in my parent's small apartment which means less time to get in a workout, especially if you don't want an audience while you do it! Trust me. It ain't pretty! :) This also means dealing with a weakness for me...birthday cake! I LOVE birthday cake! The key is moderation. I will be having a cupcake on Saturday! I'll only have one and I'll be sure that I eat well the rest of the time.

I hope you've been being active this week. It can be hard to stay committed when your out of town. The old me would have left my workout clothes at home and made excuses not to do any sort of exercise. The old me would eat whatever my heart desired whether it was good for me or not because, well, "I'm on vacation!" The new me, nearly had to bring an extra bag just for my workout gear! That's cool! I love the new me!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Days 3-7

Hi all! I am sorry that I haven't blogged in a while. My computer died recently and I'm currently out of town visiting my family. Both have been factors in my delay in blogging.

I am officially a week into the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and I feel great! Today should have been day 8 but we spent the whole day at church yesterday and I wasn't feeling well most of the day so I skipped my workout. I started back up again today.

The difference in my endurance from day 1 to day 7 is amazing. On day one, I was panting and barely able to complete the modified versions of each exercise. Today, on day 7, I was still breathing hard but I was able to complete the full version of each exercise, except push ups. I still have to do girl ones. Push ups are sooo hard for me! I'm hoping that by the end of this program, I can do real ones! :)

I am spending most of this week and next with my parent's. It's hard being out of your own routine but I am sticking to my plans and goals. My mom is a great motivator and helps keep me in line with my workouts while I'm here. I mean, she gets up at 5 or 5:30 every morning just to be sure she gets in her workout before work. She suffers with fibromyalgia which makes even sleep difficult for her most nights. If she can still get up and workout then I can too! And I don't have to worry about what we are going to be eating while I am here because they eat the same way I do! That is a huge blessing!

It's a new day, a new week. How are you going to be active this week? How are you going to eat healthier? How are you going to change your life? In the end, it's up to you! You can read all about my weight loss success, you can read stories from other blogger's too. You can know all the right things to do but until you DECIDE that YOU want it and YOU are willing to work HARD to get it, nothing is going to change. Take my advice: start TODAY, start SMALL, and stay COMMITTED!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Day 2

Yesterday I completed day 2 of the 30 Day Shred.

When I woke up yesterday, my whole body was sore. I knew the workout was intense but I had no idea I would feel like that the next day. I also woke up with a massive headache that didn't help matters. I wondered how in the world I would be able to complete day 2. But when nap time came, I put my daughter to bed and popped in the DVD.

I was surprised. It wasn't easy but I could actually do a few more "pushups" yesterday. I must confess, I have terribly weak arms. I always have. It took me a whole semester in high school to be able to do a few real pushups. I can barely do a girl one. I'm sure if Jillian could actually see me doing the "pushups" she would yell and curse at me, but oh well. I'm still getting a good workout and I'll get there eventually!

At the end of the workout, I was shaky and nauseated just as the day before. Is it weird to say that I actually like that feeling? I mean, I of course don't really like to feel like I need to vomit but feeling that worn out after a workout means that I gave it everything I had.

I remembered to take measurement's yesterday. I'm really excited to see changes take place in my body especially since it will be time to buy a new bathing suit before too long. I most definitely cannot wear the one that I've had for the past couple of years. I can't remember the last time that I was actually a little bit excited about trying on bathing suits. Maybe a new bathing suit will be my reward for completing the challenge.

I think it's a good thing to challenge ourselves, especially when you're trying to lose weight. It's easy to get stuck in a routine and eventually plateau with our weight loss. That's where I was. I did the same workouts pretty much every day, never really making it any harder. Our bodies respond to hard work and a variety of movements. If you are seeing the results that you want, I challenge you to change it up. Try a new class at the gym, get a new workout DVD, push yourself even if you think you can't give anymore. Your body and the scale will thank you!

I'll do day 3 later today. I wonder how long it will take before level one starts to seem easier? I had planned to stay on level one for the whole 30 days and then realized that the program was designed to increase to a different level after 10 days. So, I'll be doing that.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Jessica

I'm linking up with...