Why do I do that?

This past Saturday was Chris’s birthday! I don’t know about you, but I love, love, love birthdays. I love making big celebratory gestures for the people that I love. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him in it, so he deserves to be celebrated. We don’t really do big gifts for birthdays, it’s not necessarily about tangible things, I just like for him to really know on that day especially that he is undoubtedly loved and treasured. I have taken him on trips in the past to see and do things that I know he will enjoy, like museums in D.C., or just away for the weekend locked away in a oceanfront hotel room (yes in January) to give ourselves time to reconnect and relax. Sometimes we just stay home and spend the day together as a family. No matter the big agenda, there is ALWAYS  a birthday dinner. Usually that dinner includes my whole family because my brother-in-law and my sister both have January birthdays as well.

This year our birthday celebration started a few days early as we had a babysitter Thursday night and were able to go to dinner and movie kid free on a school night (woohoo!). So Thursday night (which also happened to be National Popcorn Day) we indulged and went to Olive Garden for dinner (because pasta) and had snacks at the movies. We had so much fun, the movie was adorable and dinner was delicious. I didn’t feel guilty because it was a special occasion, and I believe in all things in moderation, no big deal. And then Friday came. We were back on track nutritionally, I made dinner like usual, we were doing good. I had sent our oldest daughter out to Target to grab some streamers and balloons to decorate the house for Chris to wake up to on Saturday, and then I had the thought: birthdays need birthday cake right?? (Anyone who knows me can tell you birthday cake is one of my biggest weaknesses. I LOVE birthday cake! To me cake is like therapy, lol. Happy? Celebrate with birthday cake. Rough day? Cake will make you feel better.) YES!! We needed birthday cake! I messaged Amber to bring home cake too. Y’all, we didn’t even wait until his birthday. I’m so weak *sigh*.

Ok, so now it was finally Saturday, his actual birthday. We had plans to go out to dinner with the whole family to celebrate all of the January birthdays. We ended up going to Applebee’s. Ummmmmmm…Have you ever heard of the Apple Chimi-Cheesecake?? This dessert is AMAZING: cheesecake wrapped in a tortilla, deep-fried, coated in cinnamon and sugar, served with fried apples and ice-cream, all drizzled with caramel. Yeah, I’ll take one of those please.

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Saturday’s birthday dinner with my family

Three days in a row! Three days in a row I royally screwed up my food plans. Ugh! Why do I do that? The upside is that I did at least continue to work out and drink my water, lol. So there’s my Monday confession: just in case you were wondering, I’m not perfect. I still make REALLY bad food choices sometimes. The lesson that I have learned though is that I don’t have to beat myself up about them. One bad choice, or three, does not have to derail all of my progress. I have come way too far to turn back now. Here’s to Monday: a new day, a new week, a fresh start, lots of water and foods that are green!

How was your weekend?

And so it begins…. Part II

If you haven’t read part one, go here first.

In December of 2012, Chris and I decided we wanted to have a baby. Getting pregnant came easy and in January of 2013 we found out that we were expecting. We were over the moon excited! Unfortunately, our joy was cut short when I miscarried in March. Total devastation. The doctor assured me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent the loss, but I felt so guilty. I just knew, right or wrong, that if I were healthier and had better habits then maybe our baby would still be here.

 

I used the loss as motivation. Chris and I started eating clean and going to the gym. I was determined that when we got pregnant again that I would be healthy so I could carry a healthy pregnancy to term. I had lost 20 pounds and was finally feeling good when I injured myself at the gym by dropping a 40-pound weight on my foot. Bam! All progress was halted. It became easy to use that as an excuse to not workout, which led to less of a desire to eat right. Once again, I was on the weight rollercoaster. The time continued to pass, and the longer we went without getting pregnant again, the less I cared about my own health.

In December of 2014 I was at my heaviest weight ever. I’m only five feet tall and was weighing in at 186 pounds. It was at this point that I stopped even getting on the scale because I didn’t want to know anymore. I gave up wearing jeans because they didn’t fit anymore, and I refused to buy a bigger size. I lived my life in yoga pants and sweats. The stress of trying to get pregnant was all-consuming, so Chris and I decided to just get away from everything and take a vacation back to the place where it all started: Disney. Apparently it was just what we needed because we found out that I was pregnant again 5 days before Christmas.

I was terrified. If I was 60 pounds overweight to begin my pregnancy, how bad was it going to get in 9 months? Could I even have a healthy pregnancy at my weight? My doctor advised me in the very beginning to be very careful about how much weight I gained, but my biggest scare came when I failed the one-hour glucose test for Gestational Diabetes. Knowing that I could predispose this innocent child to a lifelong disease just because of my poor choices was heartbreaking. From that point on during my pregnancy, making good choices was easy. It was one thing when I was harming myself, it was a completely different thing to know I was harming my unborn child. Thankfully, when I did the 3-hour test, the results were negative, but the initial scare was still enough. I gained less than 20 pounds throughout my entire pregnancy; however, that still put me over 200 pounds at 9 months pregnant.

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Aurora was born in August of 2015 weighing in at a whopping 9lbs 10oz. Due to her size, I had c-section number 2. I came home from the hospital at the same weight that I was before getting pregnant, yet everything was different. Any mother can tell you, having children changes your body, so even though I weighed the same, I didn’t look the same. Having already been unhappy with my pre-pregnancy weight, the body changes were especially hard to take. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the girl staring back at me. And in the back of my mind, there was that voice, the voice that I had blocked out so long ago. “You’re worthless.  You’re fat.  You’re ugly.” Even though Chris is AMAZING, and loving, and tells me all the time how beautiful I am, and how much he loves me unconditionally, the scars are still there, and the bad stuff is easier to believe. I became withdrawn and depressed. I would cringe when my sweet husband touched me, because all I could think about was how disgusting it was for him to touch my fat.   All he wanted was me, and all I wanted was to hide.

In June of 2016, I hit my breaking point. Our daughter was getting ready to turn one and I wanted to be able to have the energy to play with her while she was still young. I wanted to feel pretty again. I wanted to enjoy my marriage again. I wanted to enjoy life again, but most of all I wanted to find ME again. I reached out to a friend who had been posting about positive changes she was making her life on social media. It was then that I found Beachbody. My friend recommended starting with the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology. The day that I made the commitment and ordered the products to get started, I felt genuine anxiety. I was so afraid of failing again. I was so afraid that it would just be one more thing that I tried that didn’t work. Chris and I talked about it, and he agreed to be my support system and partner. We would work as a team to achieve the goals we wanted together.

We decided that the best way to get the results that we wanted was to share our journey publicly, so our friends and family could help hold us accountable; and if by doing so we could inspire just one person to make the changes for a better life, it would be worth it. We are 6 months into our journey, and the results have been amazing. Have I lost weight? Yes, absolutely I have. I am almost back down to the weight I was on my wedding day, but that has not been my greatest success. Along my journey, I have found myself again. Chris and I have found not only physical strength through our workouts, but we have strengthened our marriage by having something positive to do as a team. I’m enjoying the way I feel, not consumed by the number on the scale.  We are creating a healthy example for our children, and that in and of itself is totally worth it. But now, we have decided to take it one step further and pay it forward to help as many people as we can achieve their health and fitness goals. We want to let them know that it can be done. We’re just two regular people who made up our minds that we were going to do this, and if we can do it, so can you. Here’s to never going back!

And so it begins… Part I

I’m not a fitness guru. I’m not a gym rat. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I am someone who truly thought that I could never be in shape. I was doomed to always being overweight, my mom was overweight, my grandma was overweight; it was just in my genes. I don’t feel like I can effectively share my current journey without starting at the very beginning, so grab a cup of coffee, settle in….we’re headed way back.

 

For most of my childhood I can remember my mom being on a “diet”, always eating low fat foods and counting calories, seeing success, life getting in the way, and then the battle re-beginning. I didn’t struggle with my weight when I was younger though, if anything I was too thin. While I wish I could say I was this athletic fit person, I’d be lying. My motto was “If you see me running, you’d better run too because something is chasing me.” But as a kid/teen that was ok, it worked for me.. until it didn’t.

 

When I was 17 years old I got pregnant with my first child. I was a senior in high school and was dating a guy who was older, already out of school, and, despite my insistence otherwise, very  wrong for me. We got engaged once I found out that I was pregnant, and were married about a year after our daughter was born.

 

Amber was born in July 2000, beautiful and perfect at 7lbs 8oz, by c-section. The changes that came from pregnancy were overwhelming. I was 18, had gained 45 pounds, and thought losing the weight would just happen naturally. Yeah, no, it doesn’t, and I didn’t even know where to start. As much I would like to say my husband supported me through this, the hard reality is that instead I was reminded constantly how much weight I had gained, how unattractive I had become, and how undesirable I was to the man that vowed to love me.  I wasn’t the thin, young girl that I was when we first started dating, now I was worthless, undesirable, and disgusting. Hearing these things over and over, it was really easy to start seeing myself the same way. I became withdrawn and depressed and just sank deeper into food because it was comforting. When my daughter was about 4 years old, I decided that enough was enough. What example was I, were we, making for our daughter? I made the decision to leave.

 

Here I was, 22 years old, a single mom, weighing about the same that I did when I was 9 months pregnant. It was around this time that the weight yo-yo started. The stress of the separation coupled with starting a full-time job was weight loss gold – I was the smallest I had been in years – the problem of course, stress is not an effective long term weight loss tool.  As I settled into my new life the weight slowly began to creep back. I tried so many different things to keep it off: low carb, low fat, counting calories.. you name it, I tried it. None of them stuck. I got bored, I missed pizza. If I messed up once, I just gave up. Up and down, up and down.

 

Fast forward to 28 years old. It was at this point in my life that I regained contact with an old friend, wait, not just an old friend my BEST friend as a teen. Fun fact:  At 16 this boy told me he was going to marry me one day.  Ha! Of course life had different plans and took us our separate ways. I had gotten pregnant, married someone else, and separated from everyone I knew;  he had gotten married, joined the army and moved away. I remember being so nervous about seeing him again after so many years because he had known me at my lowest weight, when I was still “pretty” and now here I was 10 years older and about 50 pounds heavier. What was he going to think? I’ll tell you what he thought – Chris came home in December of 2010, by March of 2011 we were engaged to be married. He loved me regardless, and there is no better feeling.  Me though?  Let me just say, there is nothing in the world that will motivate you quicker to lose weight than having to fit in a wedding dress. All I could think about was how much I did not want to look at my wedding photos and hate every single one. I went back to counting calories and was successful! My pants size was even in the single digits. Single Digits Y’all; I can’t even tell you when that had happened last.  Chris and I were married in a fairy tale wedding in Walt Disney World in March of 2012.  And then… I was married, and happy, and my 30th birthday came. You know that phrase:  “Fat and Happy” – Yeah, been there, and I truly was happy.  But there came a point that even though I couldn’t be happier with my life and my marriage, I knew that I had to start taking better care of myself.  I learned very quickly, a 30 year old metabolism is not nearly the same as a 20 year old, just like a 30 year old body dealt with pregnancy different than a 17 year old body.

{Update: to continue to part 2, click here}

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