Monday, May 21, 2012

Not a tattoo girl, but...

I have nothing against tattoos, I just have never found anything meaningful enough to me that would make me need to have one.  Then I saw this on Pinterest...

Oh yeah, I could see a varation of and my dreams.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birthday Party Fun!

My daughter turned 7 recently and wanted a Spongebob party.  We played "Sponge Tag" with this!  This shows the extent of my artistic talents!

We made water balloon "pinatas".  So much fun (thank you Pinterest!!).  Next time I would use twine instead of fishing line because the fishing line would slip right off the tree sometimes.

With the balloons that fell (but didn't break), we had a fun water balloon fight!

Sponge(bob) Tag!

Of course, a Spongebob cake! I am not the best cake decorator, so I bought the cake toppers at WalMart in their bakery section.  I have found most stores will sell the cake toppers separately, so it makes it much easier to make a yummy cake and have it look good too!

Fun and easy!  My daughter was delighted with her Spongebob party!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

May you realize you are blessed.

May you bless someone else today.

May you realize that Jesus is always there for you.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Weight loss, body image, and that evil little voice in your head

Do you ever wish you could go back in time, to that age where weight wasn't a daily issue?  A time where you wore what you liked and didn't care what others thought?  A time where body image wasn't even something you thought about, much less worried about?

I can't really remember a time where I didn't think about my body image.   As a child, I was always very sick and people would comment on the "skin and bones" I was becoming.  I know they didn't mean for it to affect me well into adulthood, but I can still distinctly hear those voices.  The thing is, it never sounded negative to be skin and bones.

I was a fairly thin child until I hit puberty.  Even then, I wasn't overweight, but I started to perceive myself that way.  Of course, noticing boys looking at other girls made me look too.  I would compare everything from skin to hair to hips.  I always felt too big or too plain or too dorky.  Even though I was involved in sports and was far from being fat, it didn't matter.  Comments stood out, such as "You have really big legs for a girl."  I, of course, took this to mean fat.  It's only now that I can rationalize maybe the person speaking (a boy who I'll call Tom) meant "strong".  Looking back, I was pretty muscular from playing soccer.  But big thighs are the "curse" of our family, so of course, I could only see it as a negative comment.

In college, my new friends and I were determined not to gain the dreaded Freshman 15...those 15 pounds you can't help but gain in your new freedom of making your own choices (and drinking more beer than anyone should).  We would jog or go to the campus gym.  I actually lost weight my first semester, but then we all got comfortable and it spiraled down from there.  I felt huge next to many of my taller, slender friends.  I think I might have weighed a whopping 125 pounds, but that's when "the voice" started talking clearer to me.  "You're thighs are huge", "You eat way more than anyone else", "You'll never be as small as _______".    Oh, this voice loved and preyed on my insecurties.

As an adult, I went many years without worrying about weight.  For one, we never had the money to buy a scale, so I was in a state of being blissfully unaware.  When I got pregnant, I was able to lose the weight fairly easily with all 3 kiddos.  My size of clothes really never went up either.  When I needed to lose weight for something, I would just stop eating certain meals (totally not healthy I realize now).  But it worked, or seemed to.  I could shut the voice up for a while.

A few years ago, some online friends and I began to talk about weight and body changes as we were getting older.  I had recognized that I was having more trouble losing weight and I generally gasped when I saw pictures of myself.    I was 143 pounds at this point.  Doing a "Biggest Loser" style challenge, I lost 8 pounds from exercising and cutting calories and was the healthiest, leanest, and proudest I had been in a long long time.

I bought size 6 jeans.  Had a flat belly.  Glowed.

Then I gained all the weight back and more.  At my heaviest, I was my pregnancy weight.

That little voice started working overtime.  "I knew you couldn't do it longterm."  "You look disgusting."  "You feel disgusting."  "What a way to be a loser."

I tried diets.  I tried cleansing.  I tried mild starvation.  I tried exercising to the point of exhaustion.  I tried logging everything on websites designed for weight loss.  Nothing worked.  Now, I realize, that I was doing things all wrong.  I had messed up my metabolism, created a monster in my head, and felt utterly confused and depressed.

In February 2011, I went to the bookstore looking for a new cookbook to spark my interest.  I found Metabolism Miracle.  It all made sense, and most of all, gave me hope.  (You can check the link if you are interested in the details of it).  It even worked!  I started to lose belly fat, started clearing my head, and didn't always feel so tired and cranky.

Then I stopped doing it.  Gained even more weight.  Got depressed.  Gave up.  Oh that little voice was having a field day I tell ya.  I felt like I was on a huge yoyo that never stopped. 

At the beginning of this year, I decided ENOUGH!  I knew what I needed to do:  exercise, eat right (for me that does mean cutting most carbs and sugar), and get this little voice to SHUT THE HELL UP.

When it "clicks" it works.  What I discovered:  there's no magic way to lose weight.  While counting calories works for some, it doesn't for others (I find it to be so tedious it just sets me up for failure).  So I eat less, treat myself occassionaly (I now only eat chocolate that is 85% or higher in cocoa...and only a few pieces at a time), challenge myself in exercising (just walking on the treadmill was great for staying status quo, but I knew to see changes I'd need to up it), and have people I can talk to about progress.

I made a playlist of music just for exercising.  I look forward to hearing those songs at 5:30 in the morning!  I limit myself to 30-40 minutes of exercise.  I don't want to burn out.  It's a long road ahead.  I try to plan meals in advance, but with 3 busy kids it sometimes falls by the wayside.  I have learned eating out is an experience and not an excuse to overeat (a salad made by someone else can be heaven!).  I know my trigger foods and try to avoid them (since I do all the grocery shopping, this should be a no-brainer, but hey, we all have moments of stupidity and weakness).

Probably the best thing I have done, however, is to hush that little voice.  Well, she's still there, but she's getting a little quieter each day.  When she tells me to skip a workout and stay in bed, I ignore her.  When she tells me to give up, I run faster.  I am not ready to stop.  I love to see the changes in my body.  Yeah, there's still some flab.  But there's also muscle.  There's still some extra pounds, but there's a smile that wasn't there for a while.  I am getting more flexible, I can do real pushups, I can jog a little further each day.  It no longer matters what the scale says.  I worry less about what others think of me.  I may be bigger than I was years ago, but that doesn't define the person I am. 

When I need extra help, I sing this song, which I have dedicated to that voice:   

I will no longer let that voice tell me who I am or what I am capable of.  I am stronger than that. I am better than that.  I deserve more than that.

I will no longer be my own worst enemy.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shutting off that inner voice

The beginning of this week was so hard. I wasn't sleeping enough. I was stressed with work and kids and school and sports and not having food in the house and needing to get know what I'm talking about, right?

So each morning, when my alarm would go off, I'd hit snooze. I set my alarm to allow myself to hit snooze twice and still be up with enough time to exercise before the kids get up. But I kept hitting snooze. That little voice inside my head (I think I need to come up with a name for her) was telling me to sleep...I needed that too, right? I could work out later, there would be time, right?

Needless to say, I would get up, but then feel rushed. But I was always glad I DID it.

So late Tuesday I head out to the grocery store to stock up on good foods. Almost grabbed some Oreos, but then remembered I can't ever eat just one. Ever. So since I didn't get the Oreos, I did treat myself to a new facial cleanser (hey, if it makes us feel better and doesn't derail us, it's got to be okay.)

Alright, so I finished my MWF of Learning to Run...this week was walk 1 minute/jog 2 minutes. I even did a 1 minute sprint! WooHoo! Today I did HIIT, 1 minute at 4 mph, 1 at 5, 1 at 6, and 1 at 7. Repeat till 20 minutes. But on the last minute I sprinted at 9 mph! 9 MPH! Yeah, my heart was racing, but what a thrill! Did a 5 minute cool down walk after and then some pilates to stretch my muscles back out again.

That voice in my head...she's still there. But I am learning that I am stronger than she is. I am learning how to control her instead of her controlling me. (I have a song for her, but I'll post about that another time.)

I am off to shower and to raise my glass in victory!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

High School Reunion

This weekend is my 20 year reunion. 

Aaaccckkk!!!   How did that happen?  20 freaking years, gone, just like that.

I have really only kept up with 2 people, and in all honestly, not even that often.

The rest?  Well, I think by getting out of my little town I thought I had to get rid of all of them too.  At 18 I didn't want a whole lot of connections other than family.  When I got married and moved out of state, I felt oddly at home being all alone.  Yikes, that sounds completely depressing.  And it was.  I used to cry when I read license plates that said "You have a friend in Pennsylvania."  I didn't feel I had a friend anywhere.  And yet, I felt like I couldn't go back to any of those people that I used to laugh with and hang out with.  I had changed.  Or maybe I just hoped I had.

This weekend I will see people, old friends, that I haven't seen or spoken to in 20 years.  Thankfully, Facebook has sparked that interest in getting to know each other again, so I do feel a connection with several people.  I can't help but wonder how much things have changed.  I certainly hope some things have.  But then others...I kind of hope haven't.  I hope we can all laugh like we used to before we had any responsiblity.  I hope we can be comfortable with weight gain, weight loss, wrinkles, and changing hair color.  I hope we can take time to remember the people who should be there, but from different circumstances died way, way too young. 

And I hope I can come home knowing that old friendships endure over the years, even when I thought I didn't want or need it to. Because, truth be told,  I do.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Counting my blessings (before I go insane)

Oh my word.  First off, I couldn't even remember how to get back into this blog, and it's ridiculous how I can let that little bit of stress send me over the edge.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.....breathe....out.  Sometimes I feel like I have to remind myself to exhale.  I tend to hold my breath without realizing it.

So anyway, counting my blessings.  Yes, I have to remind myself to do that as well. 

I already miss that relaxed feeling I had from vacation.  Sitting on the beach at 5:30 in the morning, just me, the sunrise, a few seagulls, and a few lovebirds trying to take pictures of themselves. 

The phone won't stop ringing.  The kids are arguing.  Laundry is piling up.  There's not enough time to be a business owner/mom/wife/friend/etc.

Blessings.  Oh yes.  Let's see.  I guess I'll just state them in no particular order, otherwise I'll stress myself out about one being more important than another.

~I am blessed to be married to the one person who completely gets me.  He understand me more than I understand myself some days (most days), and loves me unconditionally.

~I have three wonderful, healthy children.  They may make me crazy, but they also make me smile more.

~Our business.  While I tend to complain about it, I am thankful for it.  When the phone rings constantly, that means work is coming in and our bills are paid.  It also means we can employ others so they can support their families too. 

~My family, from immediate to far away, life is good because of them.

~Friends, new and old.  Life just wouldn't be the same without them.  Cyber-friends included.

~Church.  It refreshes me, makes me feel I belong, and challenges my thinking in a good way.

~Our garden.  It is a blessing to have more food than weeds growing this year.

~All the little things...from a stranger's smile to a butterfly spreading its wings...I am blessed with more than I can even begin to count.

Life is good!