If Mental Health Counts – I’m Almost To Goal!

I had a very long post written about some personal feeling and how my life is settling into a good rhythm emotionally and spiritually, and how that makes me really not care too much what is going on with the scale, but I deleted it.

The details don’t really matter, but I have to share why I’m only half caring what the scale says lately.

Because if you judge me by my size or weight then I’m a failure.  But if you could see into my heart and soul and judge me by what has taken place there you’d see a different story.

Yes, I feel every ounce of the 40 pounds I’ve gained since Spring 2014.

I hate that I feel fat (except when I’m wearing my new cute jeans… 🙂 ).

I hate that keeping my weight in check is so much harder at 41 than it was at 32.

BUT …

I am no longer feeling like I have to find a new “identity” as my children grow up and move out.

I am choosing to accept where we are now in regards to some personal issues, see the blessing that has come out of some fiery trials and be grateful for the growth.

I am grateful for the good rhythm my life has begun settling into the past month or so.

I am grateful that I’m learning to separate what happened in recent years from daily upsets and not connect them all or think it’s because of “that” that this is happening today.

I’m coming back to living the life that really matters the most to me, and letting go of the past as something that occurred, but not something that has to rule my days now.

THIS my friends…this is what made me think if mental health were my goal I’d almost be to goal now.  LOL  Things have been *that* crazy on the inside for quite some time.

Yes, I’m keeping an eye on the scale and stay active, but right now I can’t get caught up in this diet or that strict fix.  I know what needs to happen.  I get nervous I won’t ever lose weight again.  But I also know I want to finish my life healthy and I learned in the past that begins with mental health.

So, here’s to getting mental health in check;  I really feel it’s the foundation that all other change can be built upon.

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October in a Nutshell

I can hardly believe it’s November!  Where did October go?

October was a month I really worked through some [more] internal issues.  I maintained my weight and the best way to sum up my month is to share a bit I posted on Instagram about halfway through the month:

“Hi, I’m Leah…as I waited for my son after school today I tried to gather my thoughts to share where I’m at right now.  When I was living with the success of being a woman who lost 70 pounds I wanted the world to know they could do it too. “If I can do this anyone can!”  And I loved sharing my story so others could see there was hope. 

But currently?  My world has been turned upside down, my life plans got all turned around, I realized some serious thought processes needed tweaking, I’ve gained 50 pounds back and, after all that, I’m coming to a place where I am accepting things will never be like they were prior to the last 3 1/2 years. 

Seeing pictures of me at 160 can tempt my thoughts to wish for how things were back then — when my mom was alive and all was well and going according to plans in my home.  But that road leads to sadness and heartache.  [insert broken heart emoji]

So, in recent days I’ve been praying and accepting life will never be what it was the first time I lost that weight.  That my health journey now isn’t a recovery of all I lost;  but it’s a new journey wherein I allow the healing happening within to help spur the new decisions to take better care of myself.

On an end note… As I heal and fight this week it occurred to me:  food isn’t the enemy and losing weight isn’t a punishment for gaining weight.  It’s a choice to take care of myself and know that in the future I’ll be grateful I didn’t give up.”

Two week after posting the above I’m happy to say things have gotten better in my health world and November is already off to a good start.  Taking time to really analyze where I am, working through the fog instead of wishing it away while I overeat, and continuing to press forward has proven good for my all-around health.

My story’s not over folks.  🙂  Thank God!

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What The Heck Am I Doing?

So, (via my Instagram account) this is happening beginning this weekend…

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I didn’t really feel like hosting it again this year, but I had people ask me about it and then tell me how it was so inspiring for them.  I knew I couldn’t allow peer pressure push me into doing something I just didn’t feel I had time or energy to do, but I also know that I have already been working on my own goals.

So I thought about it and waited until the very last minute to put together the information and go ahead and start.

And the response has taken me by surprise.

“I’m so in!”

“Count me in!”

What?  Oh great.  It’s like a confirmation that it needed to happen and a death sentence all at once.

There’s no turning back now.  And for some reason that is really scaring me.

My goals for this challenge are simply to get 4 days of intentional exercise in and track my food every single day — no matter whether I stay in budget or not.

Ultimately I need to lose weight and that is my goal, but I can’t even bring myself to share that part right now.

This brings me back to how I felt in 2009 when I decided to attempt to get healthier, which in an odd way gives me a flicker of hope.

In my life it’s the times I was most terrified about something that good things tended to come about.

Lord, I certainly hope so, because this morning as I see the responses and I know I’ve now put myself out there once again I just keep thinking, “What the heck am I doing?!”

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Baby Steps 2.0

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Lately I feel like my life is settling into a routine, and it makes my heart so happy. It’s not just a schedule that we are settling into, but almost like a new life.

Maybe it’s because we have bought this home and are here to stay.  I’m not sure, but I think that has a lot to do with it.

The last 3.5 years have been some of the most unsettling years in my entire life.  I’ve experienced things that I’ve never experienced before — death, tragic accident, relationship issues and life plans getting thrown out the window.

And for the first time I feel like I’m settling into what my life is now.

I’m coming to grips with the facts that my life will never be what it was before January 2014, or March 2014 or the spring of 2015.

And I’m allowing myself to understand that those events have changed me a bit; or at least they have sent me rolling and it’s taking time to get back some semblance of order in my life.

Right now, I don’t feel like I am this great leader in the health world, but I used to.

I used to be so proud of what I’d accomplished and loved encouraging anyone and everyone they could do the same.

Going through rough patches in life and not being able to say, “I made it without gaining more than 20 pounds!” could be hard on a person, but that’s actually not my issue.

Of course, I’d love to say that.  Instead my story is to date I have gained back 50 pounds of the 70 I originally lost.

My issue is that I’m simply fighting the fight to even want to care.  When I’ve seen how easy it is to fall back into bad, addictive habits I wonder why try again?

And so I take baby steps.

I am practicing being gracious, yet firm, with myself.

And I am allowing myself to settle into life, to work through the emotions and struggles these major events have caused in my life.

And I cling to hope.

Not the hope that exclaims “Rah! Rah!” and “I’m so good because I skipped cake!”, but the hope that whispers, “Hey, I waited until I was hungry to eat today.  Good job.”

Baby steps is how I started losing the weight the first time around and as things begin to fall into place here in my new life I feel like baby steps is how the weight will come off again.

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Footnote: In case you’re wondering…Baby Steps 2.0 is working so far.  I’m down -2.4 pounds over the past two weeks that I’ve been making a conscious effort.  *contented sigh*

 

PC:  Google Image Searches

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2009 vs Today

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I came across the above quote a few weeks ago and it resonated with me, especially with regards to my health journey.

Prior to our summer break and move I made the conscious decision to close my Etsy shop and quit attending Weight Watchers.  Etsy is how I pay for my WW membership and I didn’t want the stress of working while moving and also trying to enjoy a few summertime visits with my college girls.  (Let me add in here I’m grateful that my income is not relied upon for the home, so I have the ability to take breaks like this.)

I also did not stress myself out if I didn’t make it to the gym or get any intentional exercise in.

It was the best decision I made for this summer emotionally and spiritually speaking.  I had other priorities I did not want to let drop, so dropping my “dieting” allowed me to keep other higher priorities in place.

You may or may not agree with my choice, but I don’t regret it.

I was able to focus on moving and enjoying my family and not stress over orders to be filled or whether or not I was sticking to my calorie budget.

However, the decision to skip exercise and not care what I was eating did have less-than-ideal results and they are weighing both on me emotionally and physically (I’m up almost 10 pounds).

Sigh.

I still don’t regret my decision, because I was stressed out enough with all that this move entailed, but I am fighting the failure demons that lurk when the scale is up.

I have also been fighting the emotions that can lead me to think how can I inspire others and keep blogging when I’m up so much in my weight?!

[insert weeks of thinking on the above quote]

“My New Ending” started as a place where I could express my very deep struggles with food and not worry what others thought, because I didn’t know any of those “others” personally.  I didn’t start any specific diet, but made small changes over time.  They added up to losing about 75 pounds.

Lately, I’m struggling, but it’s different now.

I’m frustrated that I haven’t kept the weight off, that I feel obsessed with food at time and while I want to go back and try and approach losing weight exactly like I did in 2009 I just don’t see that happening.

The basics will work when I stick to them, which is where I’m beginning.  At the same time, I’ve learned so much about health and myself in the last 8 years and I’ve been through some very life-changing events.

I’m not the same person I was in 2009.

But does that mean I can’t continue blogging about my new ending in life?

I’ve decided no it doesn’t.

Because coming back here and checking in periodically may in fact hopefully encourage someone out there that new endings include messes, failures, successes, more failures, lessons learned and ultimately if I don’t quit fighting back for better health then I am still the new-Leah that emerged a couple of years ago.

Though my thoughts tend to wage war on themselves I keep coming back to, “I’m not giving up.”  I’ve done this before, tasted the victory of having control over food, and that proves I can do it again.

Pre-2009 Leah would’ve gained weight back and given up.

My New Ending Leah doesn’t do that.

So, I’m here.

What I bring to the fight this time around is different than in 2009, but I am choosing not to live in the past and I’m happy to continue sharing my journey with you.

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Choosing To Be Okay With My Choices

When school let out in June I had travel plans and told my Weight Watchers leader I was going to be gone for a couple weeks, but I would be back afterwards.  But I didn’t return.

I made the choice to cancel my Weight Watchers membership and not worry as much about tracking points and my weight during our move this summer.

For a time I loved not having to track my food.  I have even loved the decision I make each day to not workout and use that time for packing, planning or even relaxing during this time of moving all the while keeping all the other items on my to-do list up to date.

For the most part it has been enjoyable to feel somewhat “free” from the health requirements I put on myself, but it has also been hard.

Emotionally.

And physically too.

Because when I’m not exercising regularly I don’t eat as well and that leads to feeling pretty blah in general.

Sigh.

I don’t like it, but I had to make the choice to be okay with it for now.

Some people power on through life events keeping to their fitness and diet regimes intact, but I’m just not one of those people.  I do have other priorities that I keep in place, like my morning time of Bible reading and prayer, but I had to choose to let some things slide.

It’s hard being okay with a choice that puts my health down on the list of to-do’s, but I know it’s not forever and I’m learning to accept that it was necessary [for me] right now.

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Independence Day

Note:  I’m using a different computer and couldn’t upload the photos I wanted to add.  Sigh.  I’ll come back and edit for photos later, but I am particular about getting things like this out on the designated day.

When I hear the word “July” I instantly think of all things red, white and blue because it is the month we celebrate our nation’s birthday – July 4th.

This year we began our celebrations early with our city’s parade.  My son walked in it with the high school football team and he had had a blast.  Our twins are away in their college hometowns, so it was the first time just my husband and I watched a parade together.  We had a good time!

Then we came home to pick up our coolers and grill and join our church friends at a local park for a BBQ cookout.  It was hot and sticky, but a steady breeze and a good spot under some large trees made for a good time.

Throughout the day my mind would wander to past Independence Day celebrations.

There was 2009 when I had only lost 10 pounds so far and felt so huge, because of an awful, short haircut.

And then there was 2013 when my husband was deployed and I was training for my first half marathon.  I bet I went for a run that morning before taking my kids to the beach to meet up with friends; but if I didn’t I know I had ran the day before and most likly the day after so a break was well earned.

Along with remembering specific holidays my mind wandered to thoughts of independence, freedom and liberty, with both “freedom” and “free” repeating themselves.

Because freedom is something I felt when I was at my lowest weight.

I remember feeling free and in charge.  I no longer felt bound to my past failures and things I may or may not have learned over the years.  I was free from feeling bound to bad habits and like I had no control.

While I still felt like I needed to lose another 20 pounds I remember also feeling very strong and free from the constant need to snack and overeat.  I maintained a weight of 160-165 and enjoyed life;  staying active and eating all things in moderation.

So, even now as I prepare myself for bed, and have so many thoughts rolling around about what must be done in the coming days, one thing remains towards the top of my list:  I know what it’s like to feel free with regards to my health.  It took work to get there, but it was so worth it.  It motivates me to get back on track and works towards achieving that sense of freedom and strength once again.

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Summer Vacation(ing)

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This print from Mad Kitty Media looks good in my bathroom!

School was out here about three weeks ago and already we’ve had a very full and busy beginning to summer vacation.

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My college girl who attends school in Arizona came out for a visit, her twin had gone to visit her and driven out here with her, so everyone was here on the last day of high school and we were able to have our traditional last-day-of-school ice cream with all five of us.  That was not expected, but it was fun.

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We moved my Oklahoma girl into her apartment just in time for summer school and then a few days later my son and I drove out to Arizona with her sister.  She doesn’t have summer school, but summer jobs.

I was able to spend a week with my dad, visiting with one of my best friends while he was at work and then a few days down in the valley with my girl before we flew home.  I cooked for both of them and enjoying being able to do so.

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Crafting is my love language. Cute dishtowels for my AZ girl!

I returned home to a body that had gotten used to the two-hour time difference and my son needing to be at the high school at 6:15am for his summer workout trainings.  Yikes!

A week later and I’m finally feeling adjusted back to Central time and getting somewhat into the groove of an earlier-than-school-days schedule…well, somewhat … because I’m still not going to bed early enough to feel rested when I wake at 5:45.

Coffee and/or naps are my friend!

On the health front…I gained about 5-6 pounds on vacation, but as of this morning I have lost 2.5 of those.  So, back in the groove I go.

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Texas, you need to get Dutch Bros. Please and thank you.

I enjoyed the extras I had on vacation and I’ve enjoyed being home and finding my new normal again too.

I hope your summer is off to a good start wherever you are.  Thanks for checking in!

 

 

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Well May Just Flew By

And just like that we are a full week into June and I haven’t even come back to catch up much during May.  Whew!  🙂

It’s been a good month, a trying month, a remembering month and I’m still alive and well.  To recap….

When I think back to the beginning of the month…some mothering stress happened.  It’s life, but one child’s brain fart threw me emotionally and quite frankly worried me, and made me wonder if things would be okay.

I’m learning this is the joy of parenting older kids.  Learning that discipline still needs to occur, but a parent’s love also has to let go and rest in the hope better decisions will come in the future.   Whew!  Teething toddlers were easier than this… just saying.  *wink*

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I’ve been blessed to be able to visit my girls this spring, and my son is the baby still at home…for one more year. 

My Mother’s Day was more of a weekend celebration.  I went up to Oklahoma to visit my daughter and attend a Mother’s Day Brunch her church put on.  We had a blast.  My son joined us and stayed with his friend and then we went home Sunday afternoon and I had flowers and a card waiting for me on the dinner table.  *awww….*

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Remembering my deceased mom in love.

This is the third Mother’s Day without my mom and I still had moments of missing her.  My daughter and I wore bracelets my mom made to the brunch;  they matched the bohemian style and they were our little ode to Mom/Grandma in honor of the day.

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Can we just stay here for a full nap??

The next weekend I enjoyed a spa party for my friend’s birthday.  Grown women treating themselves can be so much fun sometimes! 🙂

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Hand-embellished dish towels.  Super easy to whip up!

These towels are becoming my favorite item to craft and give as gifts.  This set was for the birthday girl and they matched her kitchen perfectly.  I was glad since I couldn’t remember exactly how her kitchen looked.  lol

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In memory of an exemplary young man.  

Memorial Day we always remember a young man who my husband used to have in his teen drama group at our church years ago.  Stephen was always smiling and I’ll never forget when his parents got the call no one ever wants to receive.  I always pray for his parents and his two brothers on this day especially.  And for the families of all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Memorial Day was also a day of celebrating two wonderful things….

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Linen skirts + Sandals = Comfort to me … even for walks!

I made it a point to go for a walk while the men were lighting up grills in the park for our annual church BBQ.  Usually, the men go early to get the coals and meats cooking and the women show up later with all the fixings,kids, etc. just in time to eat.  This year I decided to go early and enjoy a nice long walk until the ladies showed up.

It was glorious!  I also ran into a heard of peacocks.  That’s another story for another time, but they were amazing!  It was a beautiful day for pictures and they are so used to being in the neighborhood they just walked around without giving thought to me or anyone else that was out and about.

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Hello there, Sir! 

We almost bought our house in this neighborhood and I remembered being told about them, but we only came across a few.  On my walk I counted at least 14 peacocks — males and females — and about 10 of them were in one area at the same time.  So cool!

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Just enjoying a walk and wondering why this human is taking so many pictures. 🙂

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My son is in here somewhere…and so happy to be a part.

The other neat event was my son being able to play football with the guys at our church picnic.  It’s been three years since his skiing accident and he is just now being able to play sports again.  Our first picnic hear, almost two years ago, he had to sit out this game and was pretty sad, so it was a great feeling to see him being able to participate and know he was so happy to be able to do so.

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I need to work on my hand placement for these kinds of pictures.  I’m really not trying to steal the key from him.  *insert eye roll*giggle*

Oh…how could I forget?!?!?  We finally signed the papers on our house this month!!!  The sellers are waiting for their new built home to be finished, so they are leasing the house back from us until they can move.  We have a contract for them to be out by July 15th.  This is our first home purchase and we are super excited!

As for the scale…I hit total -5.6 pounds lost since my restart in April.  I had hoped to be down another 4 pounds this month, instead of 2.2, but I’ll take it.  Right now, my goal is to weigh less at the end of every month than I started.  So…. onward we go with that aspect of my life.

I’m ending May feeling a little rebellious with regards to eating, but I’m doing some thinking on that subject and taking a look at what is holding me back/becoming my excuse.

In the  meantime, thanks for stoping by!  I’m going to go pack my suitcase for a summer vacation and I look forward to some relaxing time with my family and friends over the next couple of weeks.

Have a good day!

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WW – Year 2, Month 1

Me currently:

It’s been one month since I reset my weight with Weight Watchers, which basically means to me since I went back on the program.

A lot of people are posting their monthly weight loss stats on Instagram on a calendar and I thought I’d join in.

I weigh in every Monday morning, but I don’t want the pressure of having to post it weekly here or on Instagram;  I can commit to posting it monthly though.  🙂

I’m down -3.4 pounds this month.  Woo Hoo!  I’m pretty proud of those pounds because they are only a small indication of deeper emotional change that happened over this past month.

IMG_0470  Again, I remind you … It has been very freeing to allow myself to be okay with the past and begin to move forward.  I find myself pressing on as if I just began the program and allowing myself to live in that frame of mind is proving helpful for me.

However, there have been a few too many evenings of chocolate inhalation and that’s something I need to work on.   31c02bf43426caf4847f8e5ab7931e8a.jpgMy exercise is getting back into some regularity as well and that feels good.  My back was hurting something awful at the beginning of April — out of the blue — and I was so frustrated.  I had planned to get back into some running intervals and instead I did ice and heat intervals.  By the end of the week I finally googled “lower back pain” and read that non-aerobic exercise is actually good for it.

So, that day I went for a walk and what do you know…things loosened up and felt much better.

My back is much better, but it is still sore and accompanied by some hip pain.  So, I’m sticking to non-aerobic exercise, like the elliptical and walking, and working on core strengthening exercises.

I’m feeling more of a mojo to get back on track and that is a good thing.  It’s a wary and hesitant mojo, but it is showing up more often than not now.  It’s amazing to me how self love and forgiving oneself can bring a freedom to move forward in life.

So, here’s to another month ahead.  I’m thinking of setting some goals for myself, but I haven’t completed that list yet.  For now, it’s getting more hydration and eating less calories than I burn so as to see a few more pounds come off in May.  🙂

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