Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The end of the beginning

I'm feeling very good today. I met my goal of losing 15 pounds!!

Check out the story here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Going, going, gone

A few months ago I published a post with the below picture to show a before photo, before weight loss.

I didn't care for this picture, not a bit. I didn't care for the fact that even though I was sucking it in, my belly still hung over my pants. You know what I mean? I just wasn't comfortable with myself. I felt okay. I felt my "normal" self. But I didn't feel all that energetic or especially . . . anything. I felt kind of ho-hum.

And, honestly, while I knew I wanted to lose some weight and also knew I could definitely use the health benefits of losing a few pounds (I checked my fitness level using body fat percentage and BMI, both put me in the overweight category. While I don't think those measures are 100% accurate -there are so many variables to consider- they are, in my opinion, definitely a good place to start.), I really didn't think I could do it. I was a chubby kid most of the time, thinned out a little during junior high (but I wouldn't call my starving myself habit a healthy way to thinness), and then I just kind of gained a little through high school and college. I mostly attributed that to "becoming a woman". I don't know where the extra five to ten pounds after we got married came from though.

So, I talked to God. And he said (1) this is a worthy pursuit, (2) you can do it, (3) you need me in order to do it, and (4) you're going to have to actually TRY this time.
I said okay. At the beginning of June I began logging my food intake using Fit Day. I was astonished at the amount of calories I ate on a regular basis! I really didn't think before I ate. I ate when I wasn't hungry. I ate when I was bored, when I was tired, whenever I wanted to. And I ate whatever and however much I wanted to. I think I counted this as the opposite of starving myself, which seemed like a good thing. The problem is neither of these requires a balance with self-control; they are each on opposite ends of that spectrum.

That's when God told me trying would have to involve learning proper, godly, fruit-of-the-spirit-type self-control. It has been difficult, but not as much as I had thought. As I've mentioned before, learning self-control has actually been the most freeing experience of my life. And learning this alongside my God has been the greatest spiritual and physical adventure.

A few weeks ago I realized I was wearing the same exact clothes as in the picture above, except this time I was 9 pounds lighter!!! So I took a picture of myself (had to get the help of the mirror since I was home alone, but you get the idea). It's not the best photo by any means, but it's still pretty exciting to see the difference 9 pounds can make!!

And -I'm not sure- but I don't think I was even sucking it in this time!

I gained a pound (of cake!) over my birthday (mid-September), but promptly lost it again along with 2 more pounds since then. Altogether I've lost 11 pounds now and have just a few more to go.

The greatest thing about this is that I've learned lessons I feel like I should have learned a long time ago, but didn't. Or at least they didn't stick. It's not about the size, it's about the fit and the feel and the confidence and the self-control and giving that weight to God! For the most part I don't even need new clothes because of a problem I had with buying clothes too small. Before they were always too tight (duh!), but now they actually feel the way clothes are supposed to fit. This is a whole new sensation for me: clothes fitting well, comfort in my clothes and skin, looking darn good in my clothes. Pretty exciting. Now I wonder what God has next. Surely he has something in mind for all this self-control with which he has given me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh. Dear.

Seriously, I'm at an oh. dear. point in this whole eating right and exercising thing. 


Because I'm not doing it. 

School started  back up last week and any progress I made went right out the window.  And, apparently, my self-control went flying out alongside the progress. 

The first night I got home last week before 7ish was Thursday, I think, and the same trend is repeating itself this week.  And when I get home at 7, even though I have great ideas of cooking or going for a run or even just doing some work around the house... well.... I somehow end up sitting down and doing none of them. 

Last night, for example, (and oh, how embarassing it is to admit this), I had good intentions.  There was a package of ground beef in the fridge to make Iraqi meatballs and a bundle of aspargus to bake with a little olive oil, both just waiting for me to come home. 

But I had to stop at the grocery store for some cream for my morning coffee....

And there, a loaf of french bread and a bag of pizza rolls called my name...

And sadly, I answered. 

Picture this. 

Upon arriving home, I ignored the yummy (and healthy) meal I'd planned in my head and, instead, while the oven preheated, ate a few pieces of bread (umm yes, with butter).  Then I baked half the bag of pizza rolls and ate them all.  That's about 18 or 20, if you're wondering.  Gross, right?  Oh, but it doesn't stop there.  I decided I wanted a few more.  But of course you can't just bake a few more, so I made the entire other half of the bag.  Thankfully I didn't eat all of them.  I left John about 10.  That's right, folks.  I ate about 30 pizza rolls last night for dinner.

And you wonder why I'm worried I'm falling off the wagon.  I'm pretty sure I've already fallen and the wagon is several feet ahead of me.

So here I am, getting chubbier and more unhealthy as my self-control has apparently disappeared and my schedule is not being terribly flexible and doesn't have time for working out.

And realizing that I'm writing as if my self-control has it's own mind and as if my schedule is a living thing, and blaming them.

Probably need to own up to the fact that if I want to be healthy, I will have to cook when I'm tired, go for a workout even when I don't "have time," and ignore the pizza rolls when they call my name.

Oh. Dear.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


If this chapter of my life was a chapter of a book it would surely be called Freedom!

I feel so alive, so free in this new-ness God is giving me: a new creation, through and through. Why is it so bewildering that God is this amazing? It shouldn't be! He created me for heaven's sake, but somehow it's still astonishing that he cares so much about ME.

Make room for Love. He's coming through (for us).

If this year/chapter marks a time of freedom, the last year/chapter would certainly be called Chains, that or The Devil Wears that okay to say? Probably not. Sorry... It's just that I had no idea walking into last August, what would come to me. Matt, my husband, recently told me he didn't like who I was in the last year. It wasn't that my person changed altogether. It was just that he didn't like how insanely busy and stressed I was. Let's just say it wasn't very becoming for me.

And even though I sometimes feel like Matt's personal assistant these days, I don't really mind. In my heart, I know that me not working for now has some really great purpose in God's plan. I can already see a few glimpses of it, and I'm sure much more astonishment is on it's way.

This new eating and exercising plan Beth and I have begun seems to coincide just right with God's schemings. It's been such a metaphor between my body, my mind, and my spirit. In this process I have been graced with true strength, confidence, beauty, love (how do you love others like yourself if you've been loving yourself like crap?), joy, and FREEDOM. I didn't know it could be this good. Wow, just to imagine missing out on this good...

I tried to tell Matt what it feels like. I told him about running and trying to run to a certain point on the path, the finish, and the way you give it everything you've got at the end, just to get there. Your legs are moving like pinwheels or something. You're huffing and puffing. Your eyes are wide open, arms pumping like crazy. Your whole self, whole heart, whole mind, body and strength are working in synergy (love that word, remember learning it in college...seems like a made up word really). That is freedom. That amazing feeling is freedom in Christ. And I've been feeling more of that lately than ever before.

So I'm like jump-on-the-bed HAPPY:)

And it turns out you really CAN have self-control with eating and exercise. In fact, that's part of the freedom. Total freedom (at least for me) seems to become chaos, but controlled freedom, I have learned, becomes happy!

P.S. It definitely helps that my efforts are really paying off: 5 pounds and 2 waist-inches (of chains) are no longer a part of me!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The One Where I Follow Up

Yesterday I discovered that I could (only) run 1 mile before needing a quick break, and then I pushed for another half mile.  Since I finished that post saying someone should check on me today and motivate me to do it again, I thought I should follow up.

It turns out that simply telling you (the three people that might read this, ha!) that I needed to go again today was motivation enough.  I set the alarm last night for 6:15, hit the snooze until 6:30, and was at the gym by 6:45.

Today I stretched it to 1.2 continuous miles, took a minute break, and then ran another .7 miles.  Total cardio workout went for 38 minutes and had 3 miles included, which means I walked another 1.1 miles.

(Aside, I have this friend who hate hate hates it when people post information like that on Facebook, and I sort of get why she does, but I sort of get why people do it, too- it's encouraging and motivational to have people know and hold you accountable on your journey to a healthier you.)

I feel pretty good about myself today. 
Now, who will motivate me tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Good and the Bad

This morning I woke up after sleeping in a little (Husband had left for work at like 3:45 am so it was quite easy to fall back asleep for hours) and began to think about all the things to do today....

... finish organizing the house and putting everything somewhere it belongs....

... work on our budget (which doesn't exist but really needs to)....

... clean the house, because it always seems to get dirty again....

And instead, I decided to go to the gym first.  See, last night I wa at a baby shower and got to talking with a super fun friend who, despite being a few years older than I am, has been working out a ton recently and really could kick my rear end.  She's been biking and running miles and miles and miles (I believe the word 25 miles was thrown in there somewhere). 

My trusty running shoes (pose stolen from Brooke's post.)
And I realized that while I love running, I have been doing this "step" thing for a while now...  I count steps (paces, really, each time my left foot goes forward is one step).  I'll do like 200 or 300 steps running and then walk 100 and then run 200 more.  The most steps I've ever done at one time without a walking interval was 500, I think. 

Now, don't get me wrong, intervals are actually really good for me, and I think it helps me build up my endurance.  But in talking to this friend, I realized that I didn't even know if I could run a continuous mile, much less the 3 or 5 she were talking about.

Hence, motivation to go to the gym this morning.  I got on the treadmill (because since I slept in, it was too hot to run outside).  And I walked for a few and then I said, "okay, Beth, let's see how bad off you are."

The good news? 

I went to the gym, and I did cardio for 45 minutes, and strength for about 30.

The bad news?

I could only run one mile continuously (and it was not fast), and then had to walk for a minute, and then pushed myself to eke out another half mile. 

The good news?

I could run a mile continuously.  That's a place to start, right?  In high school I couldn't have even done a quarter mile, so although it's not as good as I could have done a few years ago, it's much better than it could be.

And I'm all about starting somewhere

The tricky part will be whether or not I'm motivated to run another continuous mile tomorrow.... because if I don't keep it up, it won't matter. 

Someone please check in with me tomorrow and offer me a little motivation.

(Here's me enjoying a delicious cup of iced Hazelnut coffee from Einstein's -- my absolute favorite!-- as a reward for going to the gym.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Workin' on out

It's working!

Two weeks ago Matt and I sat in the car in the parking lot of Academy Sports while I sobbed my sorry story about how no matter how much I tried in the past my efforts to have self-control with my food and exercise always failed. And I was really tired of failure.

Matt gave me one of his usual pep talks. Don't get me wrong, Matt gives great pep talks. I don't know what I'd do without his encouragement. He's so genuine and he usually knows just what I need to hear (which is also the truth, bonus). On this day I knew his pep talk would get me going out of this slump, but I'd need more than that to keep going enough to make a real change.

So I talked with God, who pretty much said, "You've got to actually work for it, Brooke. It's not just going to happen because of how much you want it. And you've got to change your attitude. You're letting yourself get trapped, sabotaged, taken out. Take captive those negative thoughts and stand up for yourself. Trust me."

Three days later I'd lost the first two pounds of this whole experience and half an inch from my waist. Now I've lost another pound and another half inch.

For four weeks I've been working (or as I like to call it "playing") out. I've divided it into two workouts a day, one strength and one cardio; about 4-5 each week. For two weeks I've been successfully managing my body's calorie balance. I've only had one day over my calorie goal (Um, we went to Texas Roadhouse. It was delicious and worth every bite; although, it did show me that even then there was no reason to stuff myself like I did. Who really needs three of those buttery rolls with honey butter? Sorry if I made your mouth water.)

Today I tried on a dress of mine and it fit the way it did when I bought it three years ago: "a little snug in the waist, but not anything a little running couldn't handle". I felt beautiful. I put on heels and earrings and pranced around the house for a few minutes, just feeling gorgeous - the way a woman should feel. Matt said he wanted to come hold me, but he was too sweaty from just coming back from a run. He, too, is working out now and feeling completely uplifted. It's great when our bodies start craving exercise instead of junk food!!

When I get down on myself I forget how wonderful it feels to be up, alive, encouraged. Why do we let ourselves feel anything less? Last weekend I realized I'm actually doing this! My body is looking better. I feel amazing. And I'm letting God sustain me. He's using this experience to just pour on the love. Praise Jesus!

Beth, I pray you are finding time to eat, pray, and love in all the right ways, too. Love you, dear! Oh, and we should watch the new Eat, Pray, Love movie when it comes out. The book was a little eccentric in some parts, but -hey- the movie does have Julia Roberts in it, so I'm sure it's good:)