Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ok, I Decided...

Being the mom of a large family, homeschooling, and trying to get healthy requires a lot!  So two blogs is kind of silly.  And it confuses me, lol.  I like simple.  So I just exported all the posts from here back to my blog:

You see, my life is more than just what I eat and do to be healthy.  And it didn't seem right to separate it all.  So please, follow me over at Knit Together for more!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday Night at the Gym

It was one of those rare days where nothing was going on.  I had planned on a hike with a friend but that fell through due to rain, so I thought I would rest and relax.  I had some projects to work on and since it was a Saturday the kids would just play.

Everything went according to plan, until late that evening, suddenly I was feeling miserable.  This creeping sense of discontent was overtaking me.  I felt downright icky.  Anxiety was there on the fringes and I was getting cranky with everyone.

It was then I knew that I had to leave the house.  I had to go the gym.  Truth be told, I would have preferred a walk, fresh air biting my cheeks and filling my lungs, but it was too dark to go out by myself.  I hemmed and hawed, but finally gave in, knowing that only the gym would make me feel better.

I kissed the kids, leaving them in the care of the oldest, grabbed the keys, and headed out the door.  This was my third visit to the gym since declaring I was starting over on my journey to health.  It had been months since I had been last.

That first visit, I felt so embarrassed, so ashamed.  I felt like if I walked through the doors of the YMCA they would know.  They would know I put back on weight and that I had not been in forever.  I was really scared to go.

And how foolish that was.

The thing that really struck me, going back after so long a time, was how everything was the same, but so different.  I was taking the stairs up to the women's locker room, the same stairs that just months earlier I could have bound up with a smile and half a thought about it.  This time... this time, it was hard.  It felt a bit like a slap in the face. 

I remembered being so proud of being able to take those steps without a change in breath.  It amazes me how quickly those things can escape you.

I realized, however, on the second visit, that now I had something to look forward to.  I was going to keep taking those steps until I got that same feeling back.  I was going to keep coming and coming till those steps were nothing but a joke.

Book in hand, I headed out to find a recumbent bike.  There it was.  the one in the quiet part of the gym.  It was Saturday night and all but empty.  I slipped into the seat, set my book up, my phone behind it in case I was needed, and began to pedal away my stress and anxiety.

I read and read.  Pedaled and pedaled.  I have been having trouble with my feet, I think my shoes don't fit, so I kept adjusting my feet but kept going.  I would peek at the time and think, ok, a few more minutes, several times.  And then it was silly to stop.  The gym wasn't busy, no one was waiting for the bike, so I took advantage.

January 17, 2015: 15.27 miles in 1 hour and 5 minutes

I left a sweaty, smelly, but very happy woman.

It is strange how easy it is to make any excuse, to think of reasons not to exercise.  Despite knowing how good you will feel.  It is really a mind game in which you have to come to understand that sore muscles can be a celebration, not a thing to fear.  That any goal towards health is completely and totally worth it and in the end you will be swimming in endorphins!

I am so glad to find myself back in that shift of thinking.  Where nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.  That even though I grew up always picked last at sports- today... today, I am an athlete.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness Friday: January 16, 2015

Fitness Friday is about taking care of you.  
It is a quick look back at the last week and a quick look forward to the next week.  
FF is about making goals and motivating yourself to make better choices, 
getting active, and doing something good for yourself!
When we take care of ourselves we are actually helping taking care of those we love, too.

A picture of just one of my motivations!

Last Week's Miles:


It was all cycling which is good for my knees.  But soon I need to get doing some more walking and then running...

Total Miles This Year:


Goals for Next Week:

Ok, woosh, let me see I want to get in 25 miles this week.  That will will double my miles so far this year.  Most of my miles are cycling, with a little walking, so I should be able to log those miles cycling.

Reading about running while pumping away on the stationary bike


Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run.  I really like this book.  I have wanted to be a runner for a very long time and this is really motivating me to get out and do it!  Heminsley writes in a very personal way and convinces you that you can accomplish anything with the right sports bra!


source unknown

Around the Web:

The blog post I am sharing is all about me.  I know, I am so vain.  Anyway, my beautiful niece who has lost 80 pounds, has been sharing stories of other people's journey to health and weight loss.  She asked me to name 3-8 things that I learned on my journey.  I, of course, wrote so much she had to make it into two posts.  What can I say?  Anyway, check it out here: Journey to Health: Amy, Part 1.

Funny of the Week:

I tried to form a group of local ladies, but they just laughed.  No idea why?  ;)  I couldn't make it through the whole video, but my daughter told me to scroll to the last few minutes.  I won't spoil it.  Hey, got to admit, at least she is out there moving it. 


"Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil. 
 This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones." ~ Proverbs 3:7-8


So, I have done something crazy.  Ok, ok, crazy for me.  After talking with a friend we have decided to run a 5k.  I have 12 weeks to get ready.  I have never been much of a runner and I am pretty slow.  But my thoughts are... I CAN DO THIS.  I think it is a great start and will be just what I need to motivate myself through these next few months.  After all, we all know I would do almost anything for a cool t-shirt.

How about you?  
What are you going to do to take care of you? 
Share a link and please link back here!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

#TBT: Working Out

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday!

Sorry I have not been posting much.  I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I have SO MUCH to share, but it will have to be later.  I am actually posting this real quick while making lunch and in between lessons.  

I wanted to re-post this one from 2012 as a reminder of the things I used to do at home.  It is always important to remember that you don't have to go to the gym or even walk out the front door to get in some exercise.  These were some great exercises I would do and need to restart doing every morning.  It took only a few minutes and I got big results!

I thought I would share with you some of the things I have been doing for exercise!  I used to hate exercise.  I actually got in trouble in middle school for holding a minor revolution in PE class because I refused to play dodge ball.  Yes, in the 8th grade I almost flunked PE.

Now, however, I have come to love it.  I think the key to this is that I can do things I know I am good at and I like.  I am not a very coordinated person.  That is a bit of an understatement, really.  So organized sports never came easy for me.  You mean I have to run, look at a ball, and kick it all the same time?  ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?

So, it was amazing for me in high school to discover I liked weight lifting.  I am not at all interested in becoming a body builder, believe you me!  But I do enjoy pumping iron, lol.  It has been amazing this go around since I haven't done weight training since I was 17!  So to be strong again is an amazing feeling!

More than weight training, however, I have discovered cycling.  You may have noticed me talking about it here and here.  If you follow me on Pinterest you may have seen my "Let's Go Ride a Bike" board.  Or maybe you have seen my t-shirt...

Yeah, I love it.  And lucky for me Tony is a good bike mechanic.  I am not sure I would like that part, so much.  I have been trying to keep track of my cycling on Endomundo.  I rode 130 miles in September!  But only about 68 in October.  So I need to get back on the ball.  Things got super busy with school and activities.

I was talking Jessica the other day about working out and trying to find time and the guilt that goes along with it because of time away.  Believe me, I do feel guilty.  Right before and quite often when I come home.  During, however, I feel great.  I know I am doing something amazing - something that will make me a healthier mom.  A mom that will love longer.  When I started this journey I used every excuse in the book not to eat healthy and work out.  All it did for me was making me miserable and pre-diabetic.  In fact, I probably was diabetic and we are almost positive Tony was.  So feeling guilty is not an option.  It happens, I won't lie, but at the end of the day I know I am doing something so vitally important that not only will I benefit from it but my whole family!

One other thing I do is a short series of exercises in the morning.  I don't usually do them on the weekends but I do these exercises:

© All About Ladies
Since I have a bad back, I do some yoga stretches to help with this.  It is called the cat-cow stretch.  In my yoga class one of our teachers also has us "roar like a lion" when in cow pose which is GREAT for my TMJ.

© Women's Health
I then move into child pose.  This really loosens up my back and hips, which helps me throughout the day.


Then, I move into plank.  I do a plank for a count of 60.  I would like to say this is a minute, but someday I count faster than others, lol.  As you can see from the picture this is an excellent pose for praying for God to help you stay up.  *smile*

Next I do 50 crunches.  I can't find a link to what I do... There are so many different kinds I guess and trying to do an image search of this was NOT a good idea.  I probably shouldn't even tell you that.  Don't search it.  Anyway, I lay on my back and each crunch I touch my elbow to my opposite knee, extending out the other leg straight.  I hope that helps.  Don't search it!

50 reverse crunches with my feet up and then 50 more with my feet down.

© - This website in particular is super good!
Click through and see her workout.  
The a wall sit for a count of 60.

© Violet Sage: Lazy Girl Fitness -
Go check this one out too!
Great resource!
Last, while brushing my teeth I do some leg lifts!  No that is not me, sigh.  But it is where I got the idea.  I do 16-20 with feet straight, 16-20 with heels together, and 16 (because these kill me!) with toes together.

So that is it!!  Get out and get moving.  I have to tell you one thing... I have been trying to go to a yoga class at the YMCA once a week.  And in that class was a woman pregnant with twins!  She is amazing!  But if all you can do it some calf exercises while brushing your teeth, than go for it!  You will feel better and you will also come to see that you will be able to get through your daily activities easier too!  I realized this one day when pulling my two year old out of a kid swing at the park and almost tossed her over my head.  Suddenly I had arm muscles I didn't know I could have used!

But the most important thing is to find something you like.  If you hate it, it will be hard to talk yourself into doing it.  I know I like the idea of running, but every time I try and feel like I would rather be licking the floor of the gym.  So running is not for me.  Maybe someday, but not now.  Don't beat yourself up about it either.  Find something you love and DO IT!  And that goes with most things in life.  Embrace your God given talents.  Don't worry about what the person next to you in the gym is doing or what someone else is doing anywhere, do what you do best and never compare yourself.  You will succeed and you will be awesome!  No wait, I take that back.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Fitness Friday: My Journey So Far

I am hoping to soon make Fitness Friday more of a check in that perhaps others will like to join in with as well.  In the mean time, I wanted to share with you my journey so far and why I wanted to make this blog.

May 2012 ~ At our biggest
Four years ago (was it really that long?) my husband Tony and I decided it was time to get healthy.  That did mean loosing weight but the ultimate goal was to be able to live life the way God intended us to.  We longed to be active family, creating and nurturing times with our kids that they would always cherish.  Times that were not just about food.

You see, when you get a family this large, sometimes the easiest way to celebrate a special occasion is with food, lots and lots of food.  Cakes, pies, cookies, homemade bread… these things were a part of our daily lives.  With 11 people in your house, trust me, every week if not everyday, there is something to celebrate!

We had to learn to make healthy choices, to face the fact that food addiction was a major issue in our lives, and if we wanted to see our grandchildren we needed to make big changes.

When one of our children was having health issues our doctor recommended making her gluten free and we went along for the ride.  What we found out was very surprising.  More than a few of us are gluten sensitive in this house, especially me. 

Tony and me when we were at my half way point in weight loss
My health and well being changed dramatically after I got past the first few weeks of withdrawals.  In fact, in the beginning stages of our journey I went and had half a sandwich at a fast food joint.  I got so sick I was cramping in the car and my head hurt so bad I had to go straight home and go to sleep!

All in all, Tony and I lost a significant amount of weight.  I lost over 70 pounds and Tony lost about 100!  We ate mostly a Primal diet, which is similar to Paleo but we ate dairy.  Basically, we ate a lot of meat, vegetables, and little to no sugar or gluten with tons of exercise.

When I hit my goal weight, I did what a lot of people do.  I relaxed a bit and stopped working out.  I brought gluten free grains back into my diet.  I started to put back on weight, but it didn’t seem too significant.  I was content with my size and health.  And that is when I got pregnant.

Oh boy, is it easy to make excuses when you have a bun in the oven.  Silly isn’t it?  You know that you aren’t really eating for two, but in the throws of it you sure can forget.  I had a really hard pregnancy.  There were some terrible things going on in my life and it lead to a lot of problems.  Depression became a very serious issue and I started to eat lots of sugar and wheat again.  Two things that can compound depression.

I started packing on the weight.  I gained literally 10 pounds in one week at a certain point.  It was spiraling out of my control.  I knew what I had to do but I just couldn’t bring myself to it.  I ended up the late weeks of pregnancy going to a new doctor and it was discovered that I had gestational diabetes.  My diet changed drastically (no wheat, no sugar) but the depression was still there.  Not nearly as bad, but that black dark voice was still whispering in the back of my mind.

After I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, breastfeeding didn’t work and the depression came back in full swing.  I blamed myself and felt like a consummate failure.  Soon I was eating dessert every night and craving Pizza Rolls.  That resulted in about a 50-pound weight gain since I had reached my goal weight in 2013.

Anyone who has dealt with depression knows that it can feel nearly impossible to surmount that abyss.  You know what you have to do to make things better but it seems so unattainably out of reach that any small set back can feel like a crushing defeat.

It has taken me months to get to the point where I know I can do this.  I have done it before and I will do it again.  I am eating strictly Paleo now and feeling better than I have in a very, very long time.  We all have bad days, but the depression is all but gone and I am getting active again.  Changing the way I eat was the first step; the next was getting moving!

This blog is a place where I will chronicle this journey, all the successes and failures.  It will be a place to encourage and motivate, hopefully not just myself, but you as well.

Me now ~ here we go again
Thank you for taking the time to visit me and I pray that our Lord will bless you and that you will feel His guiding presence in whatever journey you are on.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Working it Out (2012)

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! 
These are posts I am taking from my other blog Knit Together about my past weight loss and goals. This post is from:
 October 18, 2012. 


Some of you may know that I have been trying to loose weight.  Some time in early June, Tony and I decided it was time to get healthy.  It was when we suspected that Sweet Pea might have Celiac.  As time progresses, by the way, I am getting more convinced of it and believe that Lily is also very gluten intolerant.  Tony and I were categorized as obese, bordering if not overly the severely obese limits of BMI charts.  I figured that with each child I averaged a 10 pound weight gain that I was never able to loose.  With eight kids, as you can imagine, that adds up.  With my later pregnancies I never came close to gaining as much as I did with my first three, but I averaged in weight gain about ten or 12 pounds a child of weight kept.

I had a lot to loose and still have more to go.  It was overwhelming and I gave into ever single excuse there was out there.  The worst ones, however, were the ones geared at me The Mom.  I can't tell you how many times I was told, "Don't worry about loosing weight yet."  "Just worry about the baby."  "No one wants to hug skin and bones.  They like teddy bears!"  Oh, and my favorite?  "Your baby won't like the taste of your milk if you exercise too much."  Whose brilliant idea was that?  Who told women that load of bull?  Ok, ok, I bet if I was doing Biggest Looser type workouts and starved myself, Tiger would not like my milk.  I am NOT starving myself and I do some big workouts but not every day.

I think sometimes a lot of well meant advice is not always given correctly.  When an overweight person hears things like that, of course, they are going to choose not to work out.  Working out can be hard.  It gets fun, you start to feel the benefits, and it does make me giggle that I have muscles.  But when you start?  In your mind it is much easier to sit on the couch and watch Biggest Looser while eating a bowl of ice cream than it is too get off your duff and go to the gym.

The thing is, back in June, our weight loss was sparked by a desire to eat healthier.  TO BE HEALTHY.  It wasn't to be "hot,"or fit into a size 0.  We just wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to ride a bike, go for hikes, take my kids to the park without piling everyone into the car.  Things I could not do as big as I was.

I have been pregnant or nursing for four straight years.  I am serious.  I have not even had a a month break.  Maybe there was two weeks in there between Bear and Sweet Pea.  So all these excuses to not watch my weight were very serious and very real to me.  I didn't want to endanger my children!  I figured it was just my lot in life and I was going to live it severely obese.  I would never be able to ride a bike for any real distance.  I would never be able to make time to go to the gym.

But being healthy had, I mean HAD, to become a major priority.  And it has.

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Health

The top three, right there. No question.  No excuses.

And if I can do it, you can do it.  No question.  No excuses.

The key is to be healthy.  Not to loose weight.  For me, I am averaging a little over a pound a week.  My weight loss chart has little ups and downs, but it is steadily moving downward.  I realized that when I had one particular bad week and I started questioning what I was doing, I needed to start measuring myself.  That was a little less than two months ago.  I had already lost some weight by then, maybe a quarter of my total goal.  I broke out the measuring tape and wrote down the numbers on an old piece of scrapbook paper.  Folded it and shoved it in a drawer.  A month later I remembered it was there and did it again.

I texted Tony thrilled with my loss of inches!

Two weeks ago I hit a bit of a plateau and I started worrying that I was doomed.  I wouldn't loose any more.  But I changed my workout and the weight started coming off again.  This morning I decided to measure again, just to get an idea of how I am doing and to try to get the last of those plateau doubts out of my head.

In the last two months, I have lost:

  • Ribs: 2 1/2 inches
  • Thighs: 2 1/2 inches
  • Arms: 2 1/2 inches
  • Waist: over 3 inches (I didn't do my waist the first time, don't know why, so I have lost 3 inches off my waist in less than a month!)
  • Hips... this one is my favorite: 6 INCHES!

Since last June I have lost 34 pounds.

This really can be such a help in the goals I am setting for myself.  Seeing these numbers help so much when the numbers on the scale come off a little more slowly.  But I also need to remember to look at what I have accomplished and not just the inches.  I have been trying to keep track of workouts, mostly my biking miles I don't put my weight training up there, on Endomondo.  It is rather awesome to see how many miles I average in a week, a month, or how close I am to traveling around the world by bike!

I wanted to share with you a bit of my journey.  There is more I want to share with you.  So stay tuned!

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Walk of 2015

I was so stressed out.  The day was not going well and I needed out of the house.  I needed to move, and quite honestly I needed time alone.  So I slipped on pants over a pair of leggings, grabbed a thermal shirt, lugged into the new coat I had to buy because I was too big for the old one, and finally put on my tennis shoes.  As I was ransacking my room looking for knitwear to keep me warm, I realized I usually make things for everyone else and that if I was going to do this on a regular basis I would need a hat of my own.  So I grabbed Tony's hat, swung a scarf around my neck, and walked out the door.

I had to idea where I was going or how far I was going to walk.  I just knew that the anxiety and stress of the last few months were not going to get any better until I started to do something about it.  And that meant exercise.

I had tried twice in the last week to go to the gym, but everything seemed to get in the way.  My own sorry excuses or bickering kids... it was always something.

It is funny how so often we know exactly what we need to do to make ourselves feel better.   It is the same thing with anything in our lives.  You want a better marriage?  You spend time with your spouse.  You want to learn a new skill?  Get researching!  You want to be have a better faith?  Spend more time in prayer.  You want to loose weight and fight depression?  We know we have to eat better and exercise.

It is so much easier said than done.  Our human nature is drawn towards sin.  Towards things like gluttony and sloth.  Those are my big demons.  It is important to understand why we have the demons we do, in order to fight them.  Sometimes it is so easy to ignore the reasons, isn't it?  And that is when we have to acknowledge that we can do nothing alone.  That only through the strength of a higher power can we fight those demons that keep us in the patterns that will destroy us.

So here I am, walking my neighborhood, realizing I have done this before and I will do it again.  I did it with a lot of hard work and with a focus on being healthy.  I did it with the knowledge that it was what God was calling me to do, not just for myself, but for my family, and for Him.

So I will keep lacing up my black and purple tennies and hit the road.  And I will keep doing it again and again.

I have done it before.  I will do it again.