Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Revising Home Recap

Day 31: These past 31 days have really pushed me to evaluate my home, my role as wife and mom, and myself.  Revising home has been a welcome challenge and I have enjoyed it so much!  Let's take a look at the highlights from this series. If you missed any of these, just click below each photo and the link will take you to that post. To see all of the 31 Days of Revising Home posts, you can go here

Revising Home: Organization

Revising Home: Seasonal Decor


Revising Home: Decor

I also started working on switching the girls' bedrooms

 Revising Home decor: shopping and getting inspired by other homes

Revising Home: Family

Revising Home: Myself
The post I spilled my guts about my weight loss struggle

And I can't do the recap without mentioning my random Wayne's Worlds shout out!

Thank you all so much for going on this journey with me! I have had a blast. Now I will go back to my normal four or five posts a week and I have some exciting things in store for Thanksgiving and the holidays including a special guest post that you will love.  Be sure to check back.  Don't miss out!  Join this site and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!  I would love to connect with you. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday #1

Whoo-hoo! Hump Daaaayy!  So excited for the very first Weigh-In Wednesday!  The fact that I am doing this on a Wednesday is a very significant thing for me.  In the past, I was always going to start a diet on Monday.  Then I'd blow it and the perfectionistic side of my personality would say, "If you can't do it exactly right, just start when you can do it right."  Therefore, if I started a diet on Monday and blew it at lunch that day, I was just done!  If I couldn't be perfect, then I might as well eat what I want for the rest of the day because I already messed up. Then came Tuesday, and I would say, "I may as well start next Monday so I can do it right."  

Totally the wrong mindset to have, but I have had that little internal dialog with myself too many times to count. I mean, it's always diet day on Monday, right? 

A couple of months ago, I spoke with my pastor and he told me to not live week to week when it comes to health choices. Not even day to day.  He said to take it meal by meal. Moment by moment.  If I slip up, don't let it blow the entire day.  I really took that to heart. I don't naturally do that, so it is something I have had to be mindful of.  

I don't know if you guys noticed last week when I spilled my guts, but I didn't tell you my starting weight.  I weighed first thing that morning to get my starting weight and I just couldn't bring myself to type it.  I was already putting myself out there more than I ever have to so many people, and I couldn't do it.  

But, I am ready now.  What a difference a week makes!  I have a positive mindset and have seen results.  I am finally crawling up out of the quicksand. 

Day 1: 304.2 lbs.

I got J to snap this picture before my morning walk last Wednesday.  

Day 8 (Today): 294 lbs.

10.2 pounds down!! In a week! Whoo-hooo!  Looking at these pics, I think I can tell in my face and chin area. But at any rate, I feel like I have accomplished something.  I have not cheated all week, and have actually found recipes that are healthy and flavorful that I love.  

Let me just say that I have not been counting calories.  I have not been measuring my food. I haven't been counting points. I have been eating foods that are not processed. I have been eating lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. No breads for now. No grains or starchy foods like rice or white potatoes. No sodas. Lots of water. Basically, my body has been on detox for a week now.

 I am generally following the Maker's Diet, which is eating foods in the state that God created them. (However, some things that are recommended I just can't do.....the author suggests goat's milk and cheese instead of cow's.  I couldn't find goat's milk, but did get some goat's cheese and it isn't something that I want to eat very often. I have had cow's cheese and greek yogurt this past week.)  Now, it would be extremely difficult for me to explain everything about The Maker's Diet. But, I would encourage anyone to read it, not only for weight loss, but for overall optimum health.     

You can order it here.


 I know my body. I know that I need to abstain from high glycemic index carbs in order to lose weight.  But, low glycemic index carbs are fine. I had sweet potatoes twice this past week, case in point. I did have headaches the first few days of not having soda, but after I pushed through that, I feel much better!  Eating fruits and veggies and nothing processed or refined has made me feel lighter, even.  Like I'm not weighed down by so much junk.  You know, that "blah" feeling you get when you eat too much junk or drink too much soda is gone. 

(Couldn't find the source for this)
This past week, I didn't go crazy with the exercising just yet. I walked most days, a couple of those days two and a half to three miles.  I also lifted free weights a couple days and did squats and wall push-ups.  

I have an ankle that gives me fits if I do too much, so I plan to stay with walking and free weights until I get some more weight off of the knees and ankles. I look forward to running again!

Again, I wanted to thank you all for your support!  I have been showered with prayers and well wishes and I truly do appreciate them all!  I heard from a lot of people, some I have never met.  I had so many tell me that my story sounds just like them. That they struggle with the exact same things. Please know that I am praying for you guys, as well.  I would love to you all succeed. 

So, how has this past week gone for you health-wise?  Any small victories we can celebrate!  Leave a comment and let me know!

*To view the post that started the weight-loss journey, click here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Breakfast Scramble

Day 29 of 31 Days of Revising Home: Revising Myself

Today is day seven for me!  No sodas and eating clean: No breads, processed foods, sugars (other than all natural like honey or fruits and only in limited quatities) rice, or white potatoes.  

That means no grabbing a Pop Tart for breakfast. Or smothering a piece of toast with Nutella.  No pre-packaged muffins or pancakes or waffles. No sugary cereals.  

I had to come up with something I could eat.  And a plain egg with turkey bacon everyday wasn't that appealing to me.  I wanted flavor. I wanted a healthy breakfast I would look forward to.

A couple of weeks ago, before I started my journey to health, I popped into Subway for breakfast before heading out for the day.  It took me a couple of minutes debating what kind of bread I wanted; a flatbread or the regular wheat bread I usually get.   The lady who worked there said, "Well, you're not watching your calories are you?"  Gees, lady. Was it that obvious?  

I went for the flatbread. 

The sandwich was delicious.  It had egg white, ham, green bell pepper, onion, and southwest sauce.  I decided on day one of my weight loss journey I would try to recreate the flavors of that sandwich into a dish I could eat guilt free.    

This has been the typical breakfast for me virtually everyday. It is so yummy and healthy, too!

Turkey Pepper Egg Scramble (because I am terrible at making omelets)

1. Start with dicing one green onion, some red and green bell pepper, and some all natural, no preservatives added turkey lunch meat. 

2. Saute vegetables in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.  

3. Add the turkey. 

4. Then add two eggs. Scramble.

5. Top with a little cheese and enjoy. 

Guys, it is so yummy!  I have also done a spinach variation.  I saute fresh baby spinach with a green onion and a little fresh garlic in olive oil. Then I add eggs and top with a little cheese. 

I have also been taking living multi-vitamins.  In The Maker's Diet, which I am following for the most part, the author Jordan Rubin recommends these two types of vitamins for the overall health benefits. I found them at the health food store.  

And look what I found at the supermarket!  Skinny Girl Organic Stevia.  I use the all natural calorie-free sweetener in my one cup of coffee in the morning.  So good!

So that has been my typical breakfast this past week.  It does take a little more prep time in the mornings, but it is worth it.  

So, how are you all doing on your journeys toward health?  How has it been going since last week?  You all have been in my prayers and I have been so thankful for yours!

I am looking forward to tomorrow for the very first Weigh-In Wednesday!  I can't wait to share with you the progress during week one!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Revising the Side Entry

Day 28: 

I am remiss to say that I have missed that last couple of days during the Revising Home series, but we are almost to the finish line and I am going to finish strong.  Today, I thought I would share with you a small change I made in the side entry that makes big impact. (or bigger than before.)

I started with this: 

The problem:  The white mirror is too small for that space and hung too high.  I love, love, love my $3 mirror I found at a garage sale.  I snatched it up and brought it home and painted it white.  It will have to find a new home somewhere else.  Also, while I have a place to hang my purse, coats, backpacks, or scarves, I had nowhere to hang my keys.  

And here is what I ended up with:

The Solution: Sorry about the shaded pic. I couldn't seem to get the light right this morning.  Anywho, I added a larger window frame to fill up the space better. 

I made a fresh Magnolia wreath to hang on the frame for seasonal flare.  I hung it with burlap I painted gold polka dots on. 

My hubby added the hooks to the frame for me so we would have somewhere to hang our keys.  And the arrow is a find from The Chapel Market.  

So went from this......

To this.....

Better? I think so. More functional? Yes!  Do you have a space in your home that needs revising?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Family Friday: Halloween Costumes

***Thank you all so much for your outpouring of encouragement and support for My Struggle post. I hardly could keep up with all of the comments on Facebook, emails, and texts I received!  I heard from those of you I know and don't know.  I found that A LOT of women struggle with the exact same thing! Thanks for sharing your struggles with me and please know that I am praying for you ladies and I appreciate so much your prayers for me.  And thank you so much for the accountability that I now have!  I am so excited for this journey and can't wait to see where it takes me!

Halloween costumes are a big deal to my girls this year.  More than ever before, they have big opinions about what they want to dress up as.  And I'm running behind getting their costumes made. 

Two years ago, We did simple costumes. A ballerina and a cowgirl.  We already had the dance clothes and we borrowed the cowgirl outfit from my sister-in-law. 

And last year, I made a cupcake costume to go with K's "baker" outfit that my best friend made for her. It really wasn't that hard to make the cupcake costume. I started with a small, round laundry basket. I covered it with paper and pink tulle.  Then I rolled batting around and around to make the frosting. The sprinkles are felt that I hot glued on.  I used a stretchy headband to hold the topping. The cherry is made out of a ball and a twig I glued together and spray painted red.  I mean, there has to be a cherry on top, right? 

But this year K wants to be Minnie Mouse and A wants to be Batgirl.  The Minnie Mouse costume will be easy.....mouse ears we got at Disney World, black leotard and tights, and a red tulle skirt with white polkadots (that I have yet to start making.) 

The Batgirl costume will require more effort.  I wanted to make a custom one rather than buying one.  It will also sport a tulle skirt to make it a little more girly, but I am using thrift store finds to make the rest.  I can't wait to show you when I get finished!  

So, it's off to buy tulle and get started on the costumes for these girls of mine! Hope you all have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Struggle

I do not want to write this post. In fact, it downright scares me.  In order for this post to mean anything at all, I have to lay it all out there.  I have to be open and vulnerable and honest with you guys and myself.  

But I have to do it. 

You see, this post has been sitting in my brain, simmering and growing.  It has crept up to the door of my heart and knocked. Persistently.  Maybe even annoyingly OCD like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.  

Knock knock knock. Amanda.  Knock knock knock. Amanda. Knock knock knock. Amanda. 

I have to write this post.  I have to. It's not going to go away.  It's time to move forward.  It's time to not be stuck anymore.  

For some of you, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  I know you will because we've talked about it. We've lamented together.  We've struggled together.  

Some of you will have a hard time relating.  That's okay.  We all struggle with different things.  

I am not writing this for anyone's sympathy or pity.  I simply want to share and in return I gain accountability.  Maybe some prayers.  Maybe someone else who is struggling with the same thing will be encouraged or motivated. 

Here it goes......
This month, I have been on a little journey: 31 Days of Revising Home.  I have tackled some projects around my home and also issues concerning being a wife and mother.  But I cannot take a hard look at those things without first taking a hard look at myself, the one who runs the day to day household. 

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I would always hear, "You have such a pretty face," or "If you would just lose weight you would be pretty." In high school, I was "the big girl." In college, I gained even more weight.

College years:  I was at my heaviest weight ever.... 

Then I went to Hawaii for the summer on a Summer Missions program through the North American Mission Board and gained even more weight. I weighed 263 lbs. as a 19 year old.  

A semester later, I had accepted a Semester Missions position in New York City and was about to fly up there for eight months. That was January 2002.  A friend's mom took me to the airport to leave and as we drove, she very plainly asked me if I had ever tried to lose weight.  She shared with me her own struggle with weight since she was a child. I was blown away.  She was so fit and thin.  I couldn't believe it. No one had ever confronted me about it before. I had gotten to the point that I accepted that's "just the way God made me." You know, Big girls unite! She told me that she would be praying for me and I was encouraged that maybe, just maybe I could do it.  Deep down, I didn't want to be the big girl anymore. 

I lost 60 pounds in the eight months while I was in New York.  After I left NYC, I moved to Oklahoma City and there lost another 37 pounds.  Over the course of two years, I had lost 100 pounds. Now, don't get me wrong, it took a lot of hard work and perseverance.  I was extremely mindful of what I put in my body.  With God's help, I was very disciplined.  I didn't drink soda, worked out/ran/walked almost every day and watched my portions. I was not on a diet! Let me say that again....I was not on a diet. I didn't begin the journey with a specific plan in mind.  I just wanted to be healthy.  And "all things in moderation" worked for me. 

At my smallest weight ever: 163 lbs.  For my 5'10 frame, it was great for me.  My BMI was in the healthy range.  

The day J and I got engaged in 2004.

Give or take a 10 pound fluctuation, I kept the weight off.  I felt absolutely wonderful. I finally felt like the person God had created me to be.  Not just because I was thinner, but because I was healthy, I had a great outlook because of what I had accomplished.  The sky was the limit!

About 9 months after we got married in January of 2005, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were so excited and I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy and not undo all the work I had done.  I worked out and walked and ate healthy throughout the pregnancy and only gained about 30 pounds. 

Here I am almost eight months pregnant.  

This is only a couple months after the birth of our first child.  I lost all but 10 pounds of the baby weight before I became pregnant with our second child.  

Okay, so this is where things get rough for me.  After the birth of our first child, I really struggled.  There were a lot of factors, one being I had postpartum depression. It was pretty bad, but after about five months, I seemed to finally snap out of it for the most part, but I just wasn't the same. Being a new mom, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the "perfect" mom. I had started being a stay-at-home-mom after her birth and it was a big adjustment.  

If I'm honest, my struggle with food began escalating during K's first year.  I was dealing with a lot of things that I really don't think it would be wise to share. There's no need in rehashing the past. But it really threw me for a loop. I used food to cope.  It calmed me down.  It gave me energy that I so desperately needed. I was excercising twice a day so it kept the weight off for a while.  It hid the fact that I had increasing compulsive behavior concerning food. I couldn't control it. I felt like a slave to food. 

 K had terrible reflux, food allergies, and tonsils that were so big that she wouldn't even swallow her food and stopped breathing at night. She didn't sleep consistently through the night until she had her tonsils out a couple months before she turned two. I. Was. Exhausted.  

So, while pregnant with our second child, I gained fifty pounds. (I still had that ten pounds of baby weight that I never lost from pregnancy number 1 as well.)  I didn't have the time or energy to work out like in my first pregnancy. I was barely getting by doing the bare minimum at home. 

By the time A was born (one month before K's second birthday) I was just plain worn out.  I had about a month that K had started sleeping through the night, but I was pregnant and didn't sleep because of that then I had a newborn. So it was probably another eight or nine months before she consistently slept through the night.  

When A was about a year old.  The weight had begun to creep back up. 

To top everything off, I had a really bad case of postpartum depression this time. It was much worse than after my first pregnancy.  When A was about a year old, I finally got to the point that I needed some help.  Really, I didn't know what was going on with me.  I didn't understand that that was what was wrong.  I went to my OB/GYN and told him that I thought my hormones were out of whack. He ran a full panel and everything came back normal.  He told me it was severe postpartum.  It had never been treated so it just escalated.

I remember feeling like I was in a fog all the time.  Almost like I was trying to run through quicksand.  I just felt stuck.  I finally got some medicine and took it for about a year until I was better.   I initially lost about  35 pounds and that put me at about 205lbs. 

The last four years have been the hardest in my adult life.  I have struggled and wrestled with things.  Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally it has been difficult.  When I was at a healthy weight,I knew what it felt like to finally be healthy and love my body. I was on cloud nine.  So when I began struggling, I put a lot of extra pressure on myself to get the weight off.  That made it harder and the compulsive eating was terrible. I literally could not stop.  I would absolutely hate what I was doing and still did it.  Then it would upset me and I'd be mad at myself and then I would eat to self-medicate then get upset at myself again. It was a vicious cycle. (I did see a counselor about this and the compulsive eating isn't something I struggle with presently.  I just am an emotional eater.)

Since A's birth five years ago, I have lost 10 pounds and gained 20. Lost 5 pounds and gained 10. Lost 15 pounds then gained 25.  Over and over and over. But all the while my weight has crept up, up, up. And today, I am at my highest weight EVER. 

This has been the fight of my life. And somewhere along the way, I think I just gave up.  I was tired of struggling, of fighting a losing battle. I feel like I got down and then every time I would start getting back up I would get kicked down again. 

I pictured myself lying wounded on a battlefield, unable to to rise up.  With so many arrows in the sky coming at me it blacked out the sun.  I have not been myself for a long time. My weight has caused me to be a lot more withdrawn than I normally would be. Maybe even less friendly because in the back of my mind, I am absolutely mortified of what I have let myself become.  I am always shrinking back from the assumed judgement of others. 

But, I AM TIRED OF BEING THIS PERSON!  The real Amanda is trapped inside this body.  Guys, I want to be healthy. I want to be happy. I want to feel good about myself physically. I hold no illusions that I will ever be a supermodel, nor do I aspire to be.  This is much bigger than just a number on a scale. This is about my life. This is about being the best me I can be. About setting a good example for my girls.
I am so thankful that I have a husband who, at my highest weight ever, looks me in the eye and says he loves me no matter what size I am.  And he means it.  I have never doubted that.  But does he want me to be happy and healthy? Absolutely!  He sees more than anyone else the war I'm in.  He wants me to have victory. 
These family photos were taken just two weeks ago. They are precious and the photographer did a great job.  It is the first one we have taken in six years because of my weight.  I have had pictures of the girls done, but not of all of us.  I just didn't want to face it.  But, I decided to stop hiding and face the truth of the matter. This picture represents for me the girl I am about to leave behind. 

So, now that I've put all this out there, I am accountable.  To myself and to you all.  I have to stop treading in the same place and start moving in the right direction.  I hope you will pray for me!  

I've decided that every Wednesday will be "Weigh-in Wednesday."  I will report how my week has gone and my weight loss progress.  Next week will be my first weigh-in and hopefully I will have some good results to share. Be sure to subscribe to this blog and don't miss my updates.  Also, if you haven't liked Cultivate Create on Facebook, head on over and do so. I will check in more often on there about weight loss. 

So, what about you guys?  Anyone else want to take this journey with me?  A journey towards health and victory. Leave me a message below and show me you are in!  Have you already won your victory?  Please share!  I would love to hear about it!

*Update:You can read each week's weigh-in by clicking on the links below. 

Weigh-In Wednesday #1
Weigh-In Wednesday #2
Weigh-In Wednesday #3
Weigh-In Wednesday #4
Weigh-In Wednesday #5
Weigh-In Wednesday # 6
Weigh-In Wednesday # 7
Weigh-In Wednesday #8
Weigh-In Wednesday #9
Weigh-In Wednesday #10
Weigh-In Wednesday #11
Weigh-In Wednesday #12
Weigh-In Wednesday #13
Weigh-In Wednesday  #14
Weigh-In Wednesday #15
Weigh-In Wednesday #16

Love you guys!

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