Honeymoon Phase is Over

A week ago I gained 3.2 pounds.  I know exactly what happened and wasn’t surprised by it.

The “honeymoon phase” was over.

My desire to stick to a plan, tracking points, trying to stay focused and my reading on the subject of binge eating was all wearing thin on me, so I ate what I wanted.  I didn’t binge, at least not that I can remember, but I did eat when I wasn’t hungry and not really care.

Except I did care, which is partly why I was so vexed.  I was reminded, again, that living a healthier lifestyle, for me, includes not giving in to every desire.  And I didn’t like that thought.

After doing some research and reading I feel I do have a very slight issue with bingeing; manifesting in the form of mindless snacking to avoid a number of things I should be doing or feelings I don’t want to feel.

However, the reading, praying and researching lead me back to what I’ve known all along.  I want to have my cake and eat it too, or two … as in pieces of cake I had a baby shower the week of the 3+ gain.

So, I had to come to a decision again.

Do I want to be healthier and feel good while enjoying treats in moderation, or do I want to eat whatever and however much of what I want and feel like crud more often than not?

I chose the first.

Which is why the next week I tweaked what needed tweaking and managed to lose what I’d gained plus an added 1.6 pounds for a total loss this past week of -4.8 pounds.

The honeymoon phase is definitely over in my journey, but I have decided I want to make this thing work.  And I am getting it done.

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Losing From the Inside Out

I think I need therapy.

Unless you’re brain is wired like mine you won’t understand, but let’s just say that what works best for me in losing weight is not only a good plan to follow, but the time to work through why I am eating in secret and overeating.  Because I’ve learned it’s not simply that I have no self discipline (which I know is part of it, so I’m not using this as an excuse), but for me there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

That’s why I really feel like this is my year to get back to my old “new” Leah.

For three consecutive years — 2014 through 2017 — I faced life changing experiences I’d never had to deal with before.  Death, child illness and the nest beginning to empty are the ones I’m comfortable sharing about.  There were others that are much more personal.  In spring of 2016 I went to Weight Watchers because I was gaining back weight during these traumatic times and I was scared of gaining all of my weight back.

It helped in that I stopped gaining, but a year later I found myself weighing exactly the same.  Life was continuing and I didn’t feel I had the head space to do more for my weight.

Or I hoped if I exercised faithfully the weight would drop off.

Um, if you don’t change your eating that doesn’t happen as easily at 41 as it did at 32.

Anyway, over the summer 2017 I took a break, moved into our new home.  Then I enjoyed the holidays.  I did more thinking about my life where I want to go, who I am, etc. etc. and I saw the weight creeping up a few more pounds.

So, in early December I said I am going back to Weight Watchers, because I need the structure and the motivation from the meetings.  I told myself I wouldn’t put too much pressure on during Christmas and New Years, but in January I would truly begin.

While I enjoyed time with my family I began to think.  And to pray.

And calm came and I felt ready.

Ready to deal with things I had allowed back into my brain that were leading me to turn to food; and deal with layers that had been exposed during my recent life changing experiences and realize [again] food is not the answer.

The scale is down about -5.0 pounds so far, but what is falling away inside is so much nicer than what is falling off outside.

It’s like as I work through my emotions I’m losing the bad inside and it’s making way for healthier thoughts and habits to begin again.

It’s been tough, and I’m no where near the end, but I feel so much better about where I am that I had to share.  For anyone who still comes to check on me here on the blog I had to share that I’m still not giving up.

I do have issues, but I’m taking them to God and doing some secular reading on relationships with food and I’m feeling so much better already.

This really is my year and I look forward to seeing all that is going to happen, both inside and out.

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FOCUS

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Four weeks ago I made a decision a lot of people have been making in the last week.  I went back to Weight Watchers.  Life is settling down, I need the structure and I decided waiting for January was not an option.  They had a special for the first month free if you signed up for six months, so that sealed the deal for me.

My Monday meeting group is amazing and they welcomed me back with open arms just like I expected.

Returning to a program, having gained a few pounds, is humiliating enough without worrying what others will think.  So, when I returned and they appeared so happy to have me back it really helped me.

I’m down 5 pounds these first four weeks and grateful for the refocusing that is coming along with the loss.

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This is in the beginning of my Carpe Diem planner I’m using to motivate me and journal about my health journey.

As cliche as it sounds I’ve chosen my word of the year to be “focus” for the main reason that I feel this is my year to get back to a healthy weight.

Two years ago I went to Weight Watchers in an attempt to stop gaining weight back.  It was a lifesaver and I still have a couple friends from that time.  Unfortunately, I was still going through so much emotionally I didn’t do more than stop the gaining process.

But life is settling for us now in so many ways and I feel I have the head space to really focus on my weight;  and time to really also focus on why I do what I do with regards to my health.  That may be odd to some, but I’ve learned that when life is topsy turvy the last thing I want to do is stress about good eating habits.

Or, maybe I’m just finally tired enough of feeling like a victim of recent past circumstances and ready to lay them to rest and move on to recapture the healthier, stronger lifestyle I was living when I was maintaining my 70-pound weight loss for over a year.

Either way, I’m here and I’m going to work on keeping focus.  Here’s to a great 2018!

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This will help me focus in other areas as well!

 

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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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