Saturday, October 22, 2011

On thankfulness...

I have always considered myself to be an optimist. I tend to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, always seeing the best in people and in situations. Sure, some may call me naive. Some may think I'm delusional or unrealistic. But I enjoy being optimistic. I like being upbeat and positive. However, I've noticed that my positive attitude has suffered recently. Not because of politics or the economy, but because of something I never expected...children.

I have wanted to be a mommy for most of my life. I have always loved children. I love hanging out with them, talking with them, playing with them, and teaching them. From babies in diapers to teenagers in drama and everything in-between, I just really like hanging out with them and loving on them. So with all of these happy-happy-joy-joy feelings floating about my head concerning children, what is my issue?

My children. Or, more precisely, my response to them and what I've learned about myself through having them. All children can be frustrating, disobedient, stubborn, and mean. They are completely selfish and self-centered...Any you know what? So am I. Why don't they just do what I ask them to??? Why can't they understand that I want what's best for them? Why do I feel like their failure to behave to my standard is a reflection of my failure as a parent? ...Probably because I'm a mom. I'm sure my frustrations in raising my three little ones are not unusual. However, I have found myself focusing on those frustrations, and I think that's what has been bringing me down.

I realized this recently. I don't know why I didn't notice that I was doing it before. My husband would come home and ask about my day, and I would relate to him all the things that went wrong. Who hit, who was in time-out, who disobeyed, who broke what, etc. There were so many fun moments in the day, and I would remember all the bad ones. I practically had my husband convinced that I had the worst job in the world! I almost convinced myself. Then I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I'm only on chapter four right now, but chapter three blew my mind. The practice of seeing the good in every moment of the day, and giving thanks for it, has changed my perspective. Making sure I'm on the lookout for the good things, helps me to stay calm when the bad things come. No, my children don't scream every moment of every day...but that's how I felt. I would tune in from scream to scream and miss the giggles in-between. It was a sad and depressing way to live.

The first day of my new thankfulness mindset started with my trying to get the kids out the door to an activity and them not moving quickly enough. I was frustrated and exasperated. I pulled out of the garage in a really bad mood and waited to see if my garage door went down. Yeah, the sun shines just wrong into the laser safety light mechanism at that time of the morning and it thinks there is someone under the door, so it goes back up. I usually have to stand so that my shadow covers the light receiver so the the sun doesn't interrupt the laser. I paused the car anticipating the need to get out and be another two minutes late when the door just went right down. I was so surprised that it shocked me out of the frustrated mood I was in. That was when I remembered the thankfulness thing I was supposed to be doing. I smiled so big! Thank you for garage doors that go down like they're supposed to! It changed my whole day. We went on and had a great time at our activity and I had a great day to report to my hubby! Thankfulness for the little things really does change your perspective on the bigger things.

So I'm seeking to take back my optimism and move forward with thankfulness...because I really do have three amazing children and the best job there is! :)


Sorry I haven't posted in a allergies were so bad I decided that I needed to take medicine. Unfortunately the medicine made me completely exhausted whenever I sat down. I would sit at the computer to write and just zone. My brain would not function on any thinking skill at all! Anyway, I decided to stop taking the medicine so that I could write again. I'm feeling pretty good now...a little itchy eyes and nose, a couple sneezes, but very manageable. Hopefully the worst of it has moved on. Now I will attempt to write that blog post I've been trying to write for two weeks! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weight Loss...

Weight loss is something you usually hear about around the new year usually in reference to a resolution...probably because it comes right after the culmination of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and everyone just ate twice their weight in not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-yummy food and you need to resolve to lose the 10 lbs you gained over the last month and a half. There is another big push nearer to the end of spring when you realize you will probably have to wear a swimsuit sometime in the next few months and you don't really want to have to buy one that's bigger let alone be seen in one at all. Well, it's not January and it's not April, but I have a few things to share about my journey so far.

I decided to try this weight loss thing on my own this time. I've successfully done WeightWatchers in the past (I lost 35 lbs after my first child was born), but I didn't really want to spend the money to keep myself accountable. I didn't really know how the points thing translated, but it seemed like it could be something I could do. I found out that what I really needed to worry about was the amount of calories I put into my body every day. Yeah, pretty basic, huh? But counting calories can be work! I started out getting an app for my phone that could count calories and give me an estimate of how many I could take in and how they should be divided up (fruits, veggies, protiens, etc). You know the drill. I've tried several and they all work very similarly. You add the item you ate, the amount of it that you ate, and it pops out a number. Simple, right? I used it for less than a week. I just got tired of entering it into the database. It frustrated me. That's when I developed my actual plan. The one that has been working for me.

It's not very difficult, really. I just decided that I would eat a variation on the same things every day so that my calories were predictable. Sounds boring, doesn't it? Yeah, I thought so too. You see, I like food. I like food a lot. I don't think that I could eat the same bland food day in and day out for the rest of my life...because face it, we're not talking about a diet we're talking about a lifestyle change. If I am going to have a healthy body, then I need to feed it what it needs (not what I emotionally want) every day for the rest of my life. I needed a plan I could live with...literally. So, I have several options for breakfast that are fast and easy...Usually Great Grains Crunchy Pecan cereal with light vanilla soy milk (yes, you have to measure it out - portion control!) or Hungry Girl's western omelette in a mug (egg beaters, chopped peppers and onions, deli ham, and cheese). I can portion control most cereals this way, so it's easy to change up if I want to and egg beaters mixed with all this stuff taste pretty good. My lunch tends to be some variation on a sandwich with lots of veggies and fruit. I really like the St Joseph's pitas that are 60 calories each and half of a laughing cow light cheese wedge used as a spread instead of mayo. Then you can add chicken or almost fat free deli meat along with tomatoes and lettuce or spinach or whatever! Have some carrots, sugar snap peas, and a fruit and you are golden. Yum. Oh, and you can dip the veggies in the other half of the cheese! Then (and here's the best part), I get to have whatever I want for dinner. Okay, so 'whatever I want' with portion control. And there are many recipes that already have the calorie count figured for you...just follow the directions. is awesome!

That's it. Well, not quite. I have also added excercise to my routine. Yeah, I didn't know if I could actually do this. I have three little ones and I didn't know how I was going to find the time! However, I ended up joining the YMCA and I am able to put the kids in childwatch while I work out. That has been awesome! I aim for three times a week. I usually hit that.

Oh, I didn't really do this all on my own either. I don't have any one person keeping me accountable, but I have many who have either gone before me and give me inspiration or are walking alongside of me in their own weightloss goals. My Mother-in-Law and little sister have been especially inspiring and encouraging as I walk through this journey as well as the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkhurst.

I'm writing about this today because I have recently reached my halfway goal and have now made it into the next tens-digit down! I am less that 5 lbs away from my wedding weight of 9 1/2 years ago! I am thrilled about this (obviously) and I wanted to share. I have less than 20 lbs to go before I reach the goal I think I want to stay at. However, it's taken me 7 months to lose 22 lbs this way. I could have been more strict with my calorie count, but I just didn't want to...besides, slow and steady wins the race.