Sunday, August 28, 2016

Weight Loss Journey

You probably think I forgot about the blog.  BUT I've been purposely NOT blogging just waiting for this post.  I've been giving my weight loss journey my FULL attention for the past 5 months.

Mason turned 1 back in March.  I usually stop breastfeeding after a year and as much as it pained me to quit that, I knew it was time to "get back to me".  The saying is true "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  I found myself completely passed out on the couch every day napping after picking kids up from school.  I had zero energy - not to mention kids waking me up in the middle of the night.
Mati Claire asked if I was having another baby, because I looked it.  I didn't want to be "that mom".  Yes I've had 4 kids, but I didn't want to look like I was pregnant all the time, right?  I wasn't happy with the fact that I had to SEARCH my closet every day for something to fit (and be comfortable).  Nothing fit and I was pushing my biggest size in my entire life (size 12 fit, but I was heading for a 14 on occasion).  Everyone always told me, "yeah, but you're really tall so you can carry that..."  What does height have to do with being happy and having confidence in what you look like?

I don't put alot of pressure on myself to look a certain way believe it or not.  I will be the first person to NOT wear makeup (I usually wear it to church or if there is something I need to look "presentable" for but on a daily basis I do not wear it at all).  I'm not one of those people who can't leave the house without makeup on (ahem, my sister ;))
BUT I do want to look my best.  For me.  For my hubby.   For my kids.  I wanted to have energy to keep up with 4 active kids.  I wanted to be able to slide those perfect pair of jeans on and not have to suck it in to zip them up.  I'm about to turn 40 soon, and I just didn't want to look and feel 40.  My psoriatic arthritis already makes me feel old.  Then I know SO many people who have cancer or awful diseases... and I just wanted to be able to tell my kids that I have done everything I could to be the healthiest I can be.  Not that I couldn't die in a car wreck tomorrow...but health-wise, I'm giving it my best shot (and will continue to do so).

I'm not a Weight Watchers kind of person.  Lean Cuisine meals LITERALLY make me vomit.  I can't run much because of my arthritic knees.  I'm not really into Crossfit or aerobic classes.  I do love Pilates but wanted to do more than that (and Pilates is still a class thing that I can't commit to a certain day and time ALL the time).  I knew I could lose weight on my own, but I really needed some strict guidance.  My friend, Kristen Stanley, told me about TeamFit.  You can click on the link, but they give you the menu (day-to-day down to every last macro), they give you the workouts, they give you the modifications or substitutions if needed, they give you the moral support, they give you the answers to ALL of your questions, and they motivate you.  I use Advocare supplements, but you can use anything from Walmart or GNC that is comparable.  TeamFit teaches you how to get fit!  Not just skinny.  But muscles (muscles are in by the way).  And if you saw Kristen's abs, you'd probably jump on whatever bandwagon she was on too ;)

The first month, I actually GAINED weight!!!! I was so discouraged.  I wanted to quit because that couldn't be right, right?  All the other ladies that were doing the EXACT same thing as me were dropping like 10 lbs in the first 2 weeks----and here I was gaining it yet doing everything I was supposed to be doing.  Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.  I quickly learned that everyone is different!  Everyone responds differently.  I learned to ignore the scales.  I FELT better even though I had gained weight.  After the first 4-6 weeks, I noticed I lost a pound.  Granted I had to lose the 7 lbs I had gained in that first month, so I was still not happy.  T.I.M.E.  Kristen is the best coach ever, because she put up with my incessant texts about "WHY is this not working for me?"  and her answer was always "give it more time."   I wanted the magic pill that makes it disappear in a week.  My husband told me one morning "When was the last time you worked out?  18 months ago.  When was the last time you ate right?  18 months ago.  And you want it to disappear in 2 weeks???"  So I decided right then that I had to accept the time frame challenge.

Over time, I lost about a pound a week.  Very stead that one.  So over 5 months and about 25-30 lb weight loss, I averaged 5-6 lbs a month.  Doesn't seem like alot...until you look at the big picture.  30 lbs is ALOT!   took me longer than I liked, but I did it.  Some weeks were WAY better than others.  I took a week "off" for vacation at the beach in between rounds (I did 2 rounds of 10-12 week plans).  And I only cheated big on 2 weekends (4th of July BBQ weekend and my daughter's birthday weekend full of lots of cakes!)

The food?  Wow.  Its insane.  Its intense.  No, i can't honestly say its fun.  I can say its interesting because you'll eat things you never really thought you would.  You get bored.  Heck yes, I wanted my Mexican, my Chic-Fil-A, my Shipleys donuts, my cupcakes!  But my motto was always "Eat to Live not Live to Eat."  Food is meant to fuel your body.  You will absolutely NOT go hungry or starve on this plan.  If anything, you'll get tired of eating 6 meals a day and struggle to get it all in most days.  It took ALOT of planning, preparing in advance, eating cold things in the car, and learning how to be on-the-go mom (how do you eat out at restaurants, etc).  Eating asparagus at the ball fields and getting plenty of stares from people wasn't my idea of a good time... but I had goals.  I had to get over those stares and ignore them.  I had to find every ounce of will power I had most days (ESPECIALLY when Aunt Flo comes to visit once a month).  I also learned to not feel insanely guilty -- yes, you are allowed to enjoy life as well.  I thoroughly enjoyed a slice of pizza on the weekend.  Or a piece of my daughter's birthday cakes.  Or my chocolate-covered strawberry and cake yesterday after the photo shoot.  Its ok, as long as its not an ALL day thing.  I learned moderation.

I learned balance.  At one point there was a pushup challenge they posted for members.  I was up to 80 pushups a day, and my arms were getting HUGE.  I didn't like where they were headed.  I don't want to look like a body-builder.  I wanted leaner muscles.  Yet still defined.  And realized I was focusing on my strength training and not my cardio.  I needed to balance that more.  So I actually have had to back off the strength some and use what little time I have to incorporate more cardio.  Fine line when you're a busy mom and only have 1 1/2 hours to try to get both in.  But still working on balancing the workouts to where I'm happy with the results.

My goals?  Met them.  Crushed them.  Passed them.

  • Fit into my size 10 jeans/clothes
  • Surprised to fit into my size 8's
  • Even fit into a few size 6 dresses now
  • Everything in my closet fits now
  • Energy to keep up with my 4 kids
  • 30 lb. weight loss
  • Increased self confidence
  • Increased overall well-being; feel better and healthier
  • Ability to workout with severe joint pain
  • Be a good role model for my kids 
5 months to the day!  3/27/16 - 8/27/16.  So here are my before and after pics.  I had my ending photo shoot yesterday that was alot of fun!  When was the last time I had someone do my hair and makeup for me?  Um....12 years ago for my wedding and even then I did my own makeup!  So that was a first for me!   I can't wait to see the final pictures.  I can't thank Kristen Stanley enough for coaching and helping me along the way.  She is so busy with her life, yet she still finds time to help others.  She made a difficult task FUN and interesting!  She took a few pics with her phone yesterday - so this is just a sneak peak.  

Even though I've reached my goal weight and I am extremely happy with where I am now, its up to me to maintain it.  Keep it where it is.  Fine tune it.  Work on the muscle gain still.  I still have a few trouble zones that I'm working on (obviously).  But I'm also my own worst critic.  

Am I done? Never.  :)    


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Saturday, July 16, 2016

4 kids and all...

I heard someone say the other day "you know... she's tired...she's kids...and all."  yeah... that pretty much sums it up.  4 kids and all.

When did summers get so busy?  And I don't even feel like we have a schedule quite like some of my friends.  June was full of a beach trip, VBS, doctor appointments for everyone, getting ready for 4th of July activities and birthday parties.  Then July hits.  Next thing I know I'm ordering new backpacks and school supplies.  Swim lessons, Kids' Camp, and our yearly summer trip to Tennessee to visit my family.   Bam.  School starts the week after we get back.  I had "plans" to clean out closets, swap seasonal clothing in the kids' closets, do some major cleaning out with baby clothes/items and decorating our master bedroom.  Not.happening.  ugh.

I've had another psoriasis flareup and I can't use pregnancy or breastfeeding hormones to help that out anymore.  I finally met with a rheumatologist concerning my psoriatic arthritis (seeing as how my psoriasis WAS under control at the time).  I have been taking methotrexate since March and they have increased my dose twice and I'm still not seeing a huge benefit yet.  The arthritis is slightly better but I caught strep at the beach and it triggered a flareup.  So obviously the mtx didn't prevent that (which it technically probably should have).  Next step is adding Humira injectable...and I was really hoping to avoid that.  But here I am with Mati Claire telling me it looks like I have chicken pox.

I started back on my Advocare and TeamFit plans.  Its INTENSE!  I feel like I spend most of my days either taking my supplements, planning my meals so I can be prepared on the go, or actually eating one of my six meals.  You definitely don't go hungry on this plan but its definitely not for the sissies.  We've discovered MuscleEgg.  When you there are certain days you can be eating up to almost 15 egg whites a day.... you will vomit egg whites when you exercise.   so we drink them now.  tastes like chocolate milk.  again, its hard core stuff!  But I'm dedicated to losing weight and getting in shape!  I would post pictures, but I'm not ready for that yet.  I have lost technically about 15 lbs.  put on alot of muscle too (so you can't really go by the scales).  I've lost a total of 12" all over so far.  I still have a long way to go, but consistency is the key and I'm hanging in there.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my 2 beautiful girls!  Mati Claire turned 9 and Merritt turned 4.  Being 5 years apart, its really hard to do a joint party when they are so different and in different times in their life.  Merritt is still a die-hard Mickey Mouse fan and Mati Claire wants preteen activities.  They may look similar but they are total opposites.  When Mati Claire begs and pleads with me to not have to share "her day" -- its really hard to argue with her.  BUT... this mommy is pushing 40 and I can not party for 2 straight days anymore.  With the planning, the cleaning, the gifts, the traveling to wherever, the feeding, and even the fun of it... I can't hang.  Soon next year we have decided we will do a joint swim party (now that Merritt isn't terrified of the water anymore).  I will even 2 separate cakes if they want, as long as its on the same day and same time - so I only have clean up ONCE in one location.

Getting in shape to be "40 and Fit" brings me to my next note:  Matt will be turning 40 next year!  How I wish the blog had emoji's!! hahahahaha!  Me being the planner that I am... and accepting the fact that he is NOT a party kind of guy (at all)... we are going on a trip!  Alone!  Well, together, but leaving the kids with my parents!  For TWOOOO whole weeks!!!!!!!!!  oh my goodness I'm so excited!  And I have a whole year to try to contain the excitement!  Flights are booked.  Trip/hotels are booked.  Now I'm nervous.  a whole year to contemplate how I'm going to leave Mason for 2 straight weeks = we will be Facetiming ALOT!

 We loooove our "Chachel" so much.  Mitt wasn't a fan of jumping -- but only if Chachel did it with her!  And Mason can spot frosting from across a room.  He goes crazy for cake!

 a Minnie party for our skinny minnie!  We love our Mrs. Ty too!  The world is a better place because of Mrs. Ty!  It is a Minnie miracle that the cake survived the car trip for an hour.  I think it was about to fall apart by the time we got to the lake!

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over!

I just realized I haven't posted since April 1.  wow.  I HATE the end of school years.  May is a m-a-r-a-t-h-o-n!  I don't remember school being that busy when I was a kid... but then again, I wasn't a parent then.  Is it me?  or have the schools added so much more "stuff"???  I was REALLY glad I only allow ONE after school extra-curricular activity for each kid.  Between ballet recitals, baseball games, I could not imagine adding anything else on top of school programs and parties.

Mati Claire is my bookworm.  She received 3rd place in the entire school for AR points with a total of 369 points!  She was first overall in her class.  She decided this was her last ballet recital.  :(


Merritt has finally decided to show some interest in learning to write her name (and letters in general).  She also FINALLY decided to participate in her end of the year program at preschool.  She also did GREAT on stage for the first time at her first ballet recital!  What???  Is that a light I see at the end of this tunnel we call "terrible 3's"  --> age 4 is ALMOST here and I couldn't be happier about that!

We left on the last day of school for our only vacation this year:  Universal Studios in Orlando and then a week at the beach in Sandestin, FL.  We took my 2 oldest nieces with us and had a great time!
It wasn't entirely busy, but I always feel I need a vacation from my vacation.  Just glad to be home and I may spend the entire summer just catching up on laundry now.

Biggest news from our vacation is that Mason decided to START WALKING!!!  Noooooo.. :(  Matt turned 39 and we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!!  Big week!

 What else have I been doing (since I'm always talking about my kids)?
EATING and EXERCISING.  Have to acknowledge Advocare and TeamFitMom here.   This plan is i.n.s.a.n.e.  But, drastic change called for drastic measures.  I was desperate to start losing weight and knowing that I will NEVER have any more kids -- I was ready!  I also have such bad psoriatic arthritis, that I can't walk more than 0.5 mi.  I am 38 and couldn't imagine taking a family vacation without hurting all over.  My elbows began to lock up in the shower while I washed my hair.  I wanted to lose weight, but can't exercise because my knees hurt so bad...and as a mom of 4-- who has time to swim?   I considered myself 30 lbs overweight.  I was pushing a size 14 that i have NEVER worn in my life (size 12 is my "fat size" and a size 8 I get told I look anorexic even though I feel great, so I'm happy to be in a size 10 usually).  So size 10's are my goal.  I don't usually make a weight goal bc I hover around 145.  138 is my all-time best.  Being 5'10" ain't easy.  So I quit comparing myself to others.  Women doing these plans would drop 10 lbs in a week or two.  I actually GAINED 5 lbs during my first month of this plan.  What??  Totally discouraged, but thanks to my coach, Kristen...I kept pushing on!  I started seeing a rheumatologist also for my psoriatic arthritis and started a new medication that we are still testing out.  We've increased the dose once but still waiting to see how it works out overall.

I can't give the TeamFitMom plan away obviously, but I eat EXTREMELY clean, carb rotate, and try to workout like a beast!  I've definitely had to re-prioritize things...putting myself before a few other things.  Do I feel guilty?  Sometimes.  But there is a saying "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  I wasn't happy and my self-confidence was fading.  Now I have energy to keep up with the 4 kiddos... I take them jogging with me.  They see me eating healthier and the effects on the body.  "Mommy, you don't look like you have a baby in your belly anymore!"  That's always a good confidence booster.  The biggest adjustment is eating 6 small meals a day.  There is a whole new level of preparing and planning it takes to do that.  I spend most of my day eating, working out, and taking my Advocare supplements!

Do I enjoy eating clean?  Heck no.  But do I feel better?  Heck yes!  I would love to run to the nearest fast-food place and inhale a giant cheeseburger.  But I remind myself that I had ZERO energy and found myself napping on the couch literally ALL day sometimes.

After 8 weeks on the plan, I've lost a total of 9" all over and a total of 13 lbs.  After my 8 weeks, I took a week off the menu for vacation and about 3 weeks off exercising because I have had a sick kid almost every day for the past 3 months!  I can't go to the gym when I have a sick kid so that has pushed me to do more at-home workouts.  Luckily, they came out with a new "at home" plan now! yay!

so here are a few pics of before and afters at just 6 weeks.  This was probably 6 weeks ago, and I think I look better than this now, but haven't updated my pics yet.  Anyway, I WILL be 40 and Fit!  Its hard, but so worth it!

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Friday, April 1, 2016

March Madness

March has been crazy busy!  I guess that's every month for me now though.  :\

Tried to relax during our Spring Break.  Mattox's birthday.  He's 6 now if I didn't post about that.   He had a very low-key birthday this year and didn't mind his lack of a big party as long as he still got some cool birthday gifts.  Nerf guns!

My Mason man turned 1.  I blinked and he's 1.  Why is it the harder you try to remember every little detail about everything during those first sweet months, that when you look back - it seems like a blur?  He pretty much sums up the definition of being the baby.  Looks up to the older ones, tries to do what they do.  He never lacks for entertainment!  He is ALL boy...and getting a little aggressive... he likes to hit and scratch at you.  Getting rough already!  I stopped breastfeeding about a week ago.  I cried and sulked for 2 days.  But its time to move on.  He was NOT happy about it, but finally taking the sippy cup.  He also quit baby food and only wants what we have for meals (another Merritt??)  If my pregnancy was any indication, then he won't have any trouble with foods!  He weighs 21 lbs and is 31 inches tall.  He FINALLY started sleeping all night on a regular basis!!!!  Hallelujah!  Will pull up, but not walking yet (thank goodness).  Seeing as his birthday is the day after St. Patrick's Day, I'm afraid he will always have a little green in his birthdays!   It rained that day, so we had alot of the decorations planned for outside - had to move them in - so they didn't get the same effect they were meant to.  :(  but he LOVED his cake and was my only child to dig into it!  He thought it was hilarious that I was actually letting him throw it everywhere!

(his pics below)

Merritt spent a week with Gigi and Poppy in Tennessee.  It was a REALLY nice and much appreciated break from her.  I did feel guilty.  But then again, all my other kids have spent a week with them in the summer (usually all together) -- so it was her first time!  I keep asking myself if its her age (terrible 3's) or if its her personality.   At the moment I think its a little of both.  But  I am mentally drained by the end of each day from her alone.  I love her to death and would do anything for her, but her voice sounds like nails scratching down a chalkboard most days.  Constant, loud, and shrieking usually.   I feel like I'm attempting to break that free spirit of hers (with no success), but I honestly don't know what else to do.  She also has to learn to behave and the rules of certain settings.  That's such a fine line to walk.  According to everyone else, she's an angel.  Yeahhhh.... they don't see her at home.  Not buying that for one second.  But here's a pretty angelic picture of her, right? ;)

And Mati Claire is the best big sister that ever lived.  She helps.  She entertains.  She excels at school which makes my job easier.  She behaves.  Just an overall joy to have.  I would be lost without her.  

MC and her best friend Brooke at their 80's class party.
I stopped breastfeeding, and started my Advocare.  I also started my exercise plan for the next 12 weeks through TeamFitMom (  You can tell its been 2 years since I've worked out!  But will post before/after pics if and when the time calls for it!

My local store/lady "Meme's Bakery" made this and it turned out perfect!  Delicious too!

"Mommy doesn't like for my hands to get I'll try it like this..."
"Wait, she's going to let me do it anyway?..."
"and this is just the beginning...this is awesome!"
My sis and me.  excuse the medicine cabinet behind me...but that's real life!

We LOVE our "chachel"
Shenanigans is definitely his middle name!
my "wee one" with her Ty!
"the Luckiest Big Sister" and she knows it.  she loves her siblings even though she won't admit it.  

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Springing Forward

I have got Spring Fever.  It can not come soon enough.  I have so many plans for the months coming up and so excited that I can't wait for them to get here.  Because...

1)  I just started weaning Mason.  I've only cut out one feeding and I cried all day.  Something about knowing he's my last baby and it breaks my heart.  I want him to stay a baby forever!  I see why my older sister always complained about me getting whatever I wanted all the time (of course I didn't see it that way at all--I got hand me downs all the time).  As much as I LOVE breastfeeding, I am also excited to be moving on past this stage.  So I can...

2) Lose that baby weight!  I ordered my Advocare 24 day challenge... and I'm weaning myself off the bad junk food I've been eating lately.  I can not wait to get started again.  Looking forward to having energy, sleeping better, eating better, feeling better!  I love Advocare products and they WORK as long as you stick to healthy clean eating.  It is hard, but worth it.  Because I want to be 40 and fit with 4 kids!  My hubs is turning 40 next year (I'm not far behind him).  I have 3 years to reach all my goals physically:  still fit into my wedding dress, get into my favorite jeans, I'd prefer to wear my size 8 clothes again, and I'm not worried about the scales as much... but I'd be happy with my 145 lb weight goal (even better is my record 138 but I've been told I look anorexic at that weight even though I'm happy with it and feel great at that weight).   So that is a 30 pound weight loss goal!  Yep, I put on 40 with Mason---wow!  20 year high school reunion will be coming up next year -- so I hope to be close to my goals by that point!  Not even sure if I'm going or if we will have one, but just in case.   But I'm putting my goals out there so I'm held somewhat accountable.

3) Vacations.  I plan to start taking some new medications (I'm terrified to try them) for my psoriatic arthritis.  I can't walk more than 0.5 miles without my knee feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife.  My elbows throb in the shower while I wash my hair.  All my joints hurt most of the time.  I keep psoriasis in my hair even if I'm not having a flare-up on my skin.  I am so tired of it, and willing to try one of the new approved drugs even though there are several side effects I'm scared of.
I'm 37 and can't walk more than 1/2 mile -- what would I do when I'm 40 and we want to go to DisneyWorld again or another country where you walk everywhere you go?

4)  Cleaning out.  Yes mam.  Now that Mason and Mitt are outgrowing the last of the clothes - I can clean out my attic!!! Hallelujah!  If you know me, then you know clothes are a bit of my obsession.  Plus when you have older nieces, it all adds up!  Can not wait to get rid of all these plastic boxes that have taken over my house!  And baby gear.  I am drowning in a sea of toys!  I will be selling and donating a TON of stuff this summer.

All of that needs to happen June ;)  jk

Valentine's Day was very low-key for us this year.  I was a horrible wife and didn't even get Matt a card.  Told him I would make up for it by cooking whatever he wanted one day this week?  Does that make up for not being able to get to the store last week because I've had a sick child?

Merritt has been sick for 1 full week and then woke up running a high fever this am.  Ugh.  so this is as good as the pics got yesterday.  You can see Mason wasn't up for getting his pic made (nap time!).

Only way to catch his picture is while he is asleep and not moving!

and just for fun... since everyone seems to like his Mohawk hair...mati claire calls it his "chicken hair".  :)

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