Clothing Options

As many of you know, I have lost a little weight.  While great for my bottom line, not so great on the budget line.  I made it through the summer with some strategic items that I purchased that could carry me into the fall like jeans and some light sweaters.  As I look in my fall/winter closet, there are not many options available to me. I have items in my closet that I had just purchased last year and are not even a year old. All of my jeans that are too big, but I am saving for our service project in December.

Now that I have lost all this weight, there are stores that have been previously unavailable to me. I find myself going into stores that I could not even go into. My hubby is very frightened by this because it has renewed my love for clothes shopping. I am always looking for a great bargain, and I rarely play full price for anything I buy.

While I am rebuilding my wardrobe, I am trying to give my look a fresh update.  I am trying not to buy anything that is grey or black. I am also not getting t-shirts and other items I can just fade or hide in the background in. I have been inspired by a blog that I follow called the Pleated Poppy to get out of the rut of boring clothes and to put  for a little more effort to what I wear.  I am also buying pieces that the girls can potentially borrow or things I can mix and match with other items.

One item I have been wanting, but has just not been in the budget is a lace extender tank.  I look at them in stores, but I just can’t justify paying that price for one.  So with my sewing abilities in hand, I found a tank on clearance and purchased(with a coupon) some cute lace from the fabric store and made my own. No sewing machine was even needed. I am planning on making some more in other colors and for my girls.  I am even planning on repurposing some of my too big for me tees into new shirts with the lace extensions. I hope to make one for some skirts we have as well. I love these extenders because they add a feminine touch to my clothing and some added length that is always good.

This weekend I found the best store called Altar’d State. While many items I would love are out of my budget, I would definitely shop the sale rack. There is a chance I would pay full price if it is some something special. I had seen this store before, but never ventured in because of my previous size.  This time I decided to go in and give it a shot.  I LOVE THIS STORE!!! Not only do they have cute feminine clothes, but they are also a Christian store.  Part of their proceeds go to missions, and they fully fund their employees to do volunteer work in the community.  What is not to love about that! They also have jewelry, shoes, cute purses, and artwork/home decor in their store.  And like Hobby Lobby, they play Christian music in the store.  This is a store I can get behind and support.  It was like a breath of fresh air when I went into the store.

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this is the tank I made with the lace extension – so easy.

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trying to take a full length shot with my cell phone. My top is new but I paired it with a skirt a raided from my daughters closet.  (top – elder-beerman/ tank – kohls/ skirt – old navy/ boots – justfab/ necklace – jcpenney)


My Health Journey (Pt 3)

In January of this year like most people I had decided to give the diet another go. I was not sure what I was going to do, or where to even start. Hubby and I talked about things and discussed what to do.  I had taken a break from the gym, and was not really doing anything. Hubby got on the internet and started looking around and found a program. I looked at it, and we decided to contact them and set up an appointment to talk.  I was a little skeptical, but I was about to the point of desperation.

We went to the clinic and met with one of the directors.  The lady we met with was very encouraging. She explained the program to us, basically told me that I had to want to do it. I had to be mentally prepared to start.  Hubby and I went home and talked more about it and decided that I would start the program. I actually started the program on a weekend that I was going to an adoption retreat out of state.

The retreat was a perfect place to start.  Despite being around all kinds of foods and snack, I stuck to the program.  I was able to have some time to think and jump in with both feet.

The program is called Optifast.  I would have five shakes a day and all the water or non-calorie beverage I could drink. That is it for the first several weeks. I had to check in with a dietician and doctor every week to make sure every thing was going well.  I also had to have blood work done to watch my blood chemistry.   Despite all that was going on around me, I had a schedule of when I was to drink and that never changed. This schedule would be my saving grace when times would get tough.

It was a rough few weeks when I started the program.  I could not handle cooking or going to the grocery store or being around food. I had to learn to change my thinking when it came to food.  It was all going back to the bad relationship I have with food.  God was working on me through it.  He was showing me that I was addicted to food – it was my idol.

Each week I was seeing success in my weight loss. That weight loss fueled me. Hubby was my biggest supporter. I would text him every week after weigh-ins, and he would cheer for me. When I hit a milestone, he even brought me roses to the clinic. All the people at the clinic supported me as well.  They never let me give up.  I loved meeting with my dieticians.

All I can say that God gave me the program as potentially my last shot to get healthy. He has been the one to get me through all these past months.  There have been some very rough times when we were dealing with some major health issues with our children.  Those shakes and eventually bars and soups were my saving grace you could say.  They were the one constant in my life when everything else would be going crazy.  In the past, I would turn to food to get me through.  When the food was not there, there was only one thing I could do – turn to God and pray. God was also changing how I acted around food in social situations. Meeting with friends didn’t always have to revolve around what or where we ate.  It was more about the relationship with the person than the food. It did make for interesting looks when hubby and I would go out on dates. He would order a nice meal, and I would ask for a cup of hot water, bowl, and a spoon.  There were so many things mentally that were changing.  I did loose my desire a little for food and especially for certain foods.

One thing did grow – my relationship with God.  He has worked on me these past 8 months to where I am now.  I desire Him more than anything.  I live to worship Him. Many of you know that our family went on sabbatical this summer.  I was trying to figure out how to handle the diet because I was not at my goal.  I took the advice of my doctor, and I did not quit – I stayed on it all through the sabbatical. I did cheat one time, but it was our 20th anniversary and how many times in your life do you get a chance to eat at the Biltmore. It was some of the best food I had ever put in my mouth. The next day I was right back on my shakes.

During our time away, God showed me so much more. Yes, there were tough days when I wanted to eat and give up. But, I had 3 girls that were depending on me. I could not give up till I met my goal.  The little one was my little policeman. She would get on to me anytime I joked about eating food.

So, here I sit 6 pounds away from my goal of losing 100 lbs.  It is something I could never do own my own. I have a much healthier relationship with food. I feel stronger and able to handle things without turning to my olds ways. I am eating 2 meals a day in addition to my shakes. I crave vegetables and healthy foods. I have started eating so many vegetables that I have never eaten before. It shocks my mother. I have gone from pinning desserts and junk food on Pinterest to pinning different ways to cook zucchini and cauliflower. I also look forward to exercising again. I love getting out in the mornings to walk and run.

Please know in no way do I deserve any of the credit for this weight loss. God is the one who gave me this plan and helped me to stick with it. The old me would have given up a long time ago. He has changed me physically, mentally, and most definitely spiritually.  I am also trying to figure out how to accept people telling me how good I look.  I have never been on that end, and it is kind of weird. I am also trying not to see myself as that fat little girl anymore who was made fun of for being overweight.

In all the time I have been losing, I was trying not to purchase a lot of clothing. This summer I had the opportunity to do some shopping for some much needed clothes since I was not too far from my goal.  I was trying on jeans at a store I had always wanted to shop in but was unable too.  I put the pair on and was not sure if they fit well or it they would stretch, so I asked the salesclerk.  She suggested I try a smaller size.  I was just shocked in that suggestion. So, I did and they FIT!! I just stood there and looked at myself in the mirror.  I was wearing clothes in sizes I had never remembered ever wearing.  I almost just sat there and cried. I am excited to go clothes shopping again (sorry, Hubby). God is so funny!

I have thought, why didn’t I do this earlier. What have I missed out on because I didn’t do this earlier. But I can’t do that.  I have a new beginning and I need to run with it.  Move on because there is no need to look back.

In no way do I have it all figured out, but I pray that God will be my focus for any problem that can come my way.  With all the weight that is gone, it truly does feel like a burden has been lifted.  When I look at pictures from just last year, I see someone who was miserable and unhappy.  Now, I have a new life and my joy has returned. I almost forgot – that blood pressure that was high – now so low that my body has not figured it out, and I have to be careful and not stand up too fast.

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This one on the left is when I started and the one on the right is about halfway thru the program.



Here I am now.

My Health Journey – Pt 2

A few years ago, I tried once again to get on the diet train. Hubby was wanting to go on it with me due to his weight issues as well. He had decided to start running again and to work toward running a marathon.  I was not a runner and had never thought of doing it, but I decided to give it a try and join him.  We picked a race, and started our training.  In addition to the training we we watching what we ate.  I was truly losing weight again, and I was feeling better and stronger.  I was running/walking 3-5 days a week and taking long runs on Saturdays.  I was enjoying the time out on the trail.  One day I did hit a wall and could not run any more, but I didn’t want to give up.  I knew my body just could not run a marathon.  We talked and decided to train for a half marathon, but hubby kept training for the full.  All the time the weight kept coming off. I was happy. We trained all the thru the summer because our races were in the fall. Hubby was running the Marine Corp and I was running the Air Force Half. It was such an accomplishment to finish that race.  It was one of those experiences that a chubby little girl never thought she could do.

After I finished, I didn’t want to give up and put the weight back on. Sadly, it was to no avail. It eventually crept back up.  Not long after this we decided to adopt. In China, you have to be below a certain BMI to be able to adopt. Thankfully I was but not by much. I tried to keep it off, but with ups and downs and the stresses of doing paperwork and waiting – I was stress eating. I will say that I was still exercising some, but not up to the level when training for a marathon. All those feeling were coming back.  Food was making me happy – not the true source of happiness. I was trying to fix myself.

Hubby had told me that I could find a trainer to help me. We would make it work in the budget in order get healthier.  I needed to do this. I had three girls, and I needed to be around for them. I searched and talked with a couple of people and decided on Carmen.  We were members of the gym where she worked out of so it was pretty easy to go.  I enjoyed the workouts, and she also gave me great info about eating healthier.  She was holding me accountable, and she was someone I had to check-in with every week. I had to send her a list of everything I had eaten that week.  I would have good weeks and bad weeks, but I kept getting frustrated. I lost weight for a little while, but then I would stall out. I was still battling with myself.  I kept going because I didn’t want to give up. She would not let me give up.

Thru this I did develop a good relationship with my trainer, Carmen. She kept me encouraged and helped me thru some tough times and she didn’t let me give up.  I was really enjoying the workouts, and I eventually moved to her bootcamps. I was getting stronger, but still not much weight was coming off. I was not fixing my problem – I loved food. Food was my go to for any problem I was having.

After the little one’s adoption and we were home, we started a rollercoaster of health issues. We were in and out of Children’s dealing with various appointments, ER visits, and surgeries.  Times were stressful, and despite my trying the weight was coming back on.  I was going up and down.  In addition to this, so were my bouts with depression. I was living under a dark cloud that never seemed to go away.  Rae’s health issues weighed heavily on me a well as my own. It seemed we were going from one crisis to another, and I was always waiting for what felt like the other shoe to drop.  There were days that I never thought I was going to dig my way out of all of this. I was truly not seeking the truth of who I was, and who could truly help me.  I didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. I was miserable and made everyone around me miserable. I didn’t know what do anymore, and I had just about given up.  My body felt like it was falling apart – overweight, bad ankle, high blood pressure(untreated remember – burying my head in the sand), depressed, and miserable. I truly hated the way I looked. I would buy clothes to hid me much like I was just trying to hide from the world and all the problems.

I just kept wondering what was it going to take for me to figure it out. When was I going to seek it out the only One who could help?





My Health Journey (Pt 1)

I have been hesitant to share my story, because I have been battling this issue for most of my life. I have been overweight for most of my life. I even joked that I came into the world overweight. In school, I remember always being the chubby kid in class.  I even had a name that kids called me that stayed with me thru jr. high.  There were some really tough days of being made fun of by kids at my school. One of the kids in my class even asked the Spanish teacher during class what that name was in Spanish – more humiliation aimed at me.  One thing I remember is that I didn’t get to wear all the cute clothes my friends were wearing.  It was no fun.

Thru high school my weight didn’t go up too much, but I was no where near thin. I pretty much stayed the same size thru high school and college.  I would try different things to lose weight, but I just began to live with it.  Food made me happy. It was comfort and would always be there for me. I really started putting on weight after college.  I moved home, and met someone who became my future hubby.  He introduced me to new foods. We loved to go out and try restaurants, and that is when it started.  Overeating and no exercising.  My weight was creeping up.  Luckily it was not too bad for the wedding, but it was starting to climb.

Over the years my weight began to come on.  I would diet, and then I would put it back.  I was an awful cycle.  After a year or so of marriage, we started trying to get pregnant.  Me being overweight did not help in my struggle with get pregnant. Likely due to my weight, it made it very difficult to get pregnant.  It was a very tough and emotional 2 years before we were to get pregnant with Hannah.  Again, I was not doing much exercise and that baby weight stayed around.  Food was still my comfort and “healer”. I loved to cook, and we loved to find new foods to try.  Two years later, I got pregnant with Emily and after giving birth to her, a lost a lot of my weight.  I was excited, and I wanted to keep it off.  It was all for nothing, the weight eventually crept back up.  My weight continued the roller coaster of up and down.  I tried different things, but I just stayed overweight and all of it continued to weigh on me emotionally as well.  It was not good.

We had a time about halfway thru our marriage that was very difficult for us. We had multiple family health issues, things were stressful at our church, and our house had burned down. The only thing that I could find solace in was food.  Food was never angry with you, it was there to listen, and you could eat it when no one is looking.  This started a bad cycle of eating. Food made me happy.  I was not realizing just how bad it was, it was food – food is harmless – RIGHT? I didn’t really go to the doctor, and I was not seeing being overweight was doing to me.

I have tried so many times to lose the weight, but I just couldn’t keep it off.  I needed the food, and it was my answer to all my problems.  I was in denial about it all. I had buried my hand in the sand with anything that dealt with my weight or my health.  This continued for many years. It was not a fun roller coaster, and it wasn’t fun for my family either.

In addition to my weight issues, it was starting to cause physical and emotional issues.  My joints were starting to cause problems as well as elevated blood pressure. I just ignored it. Emotionally, I was a wreck as well, and I just kept turning to food. I was not turning to the one who could help me.  I would pray for a quick fix, but I was not truly seeking the one who could help and heal me. I was trying to do it all on my own.