Tag Archives: health

How I Lost The Baby Weight– Fast

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6 months.

That was the amount of time I had between the birth of my son and my sister’s wedding.

6 months.

It’s not like I ate really well and exercised during my pregnancy– nope. I was a lazy bum. This was my third pregnancy and I’d had gestational diabetes with the first two and since I didn’t have it with the third, I kind of allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. In moderation, of course. I did draw the line somewhere.

So, my total weight gain during pregnancy was 38 pounds.

That does not include, of course, the 5 pounds I wanted to lose before I even got pregnant.

So, being squeezed by that 6 month window of time from giving birth to fitting into a bridesmaid’s dress to be my sister’s matron-of-honor, I needed to lose a significant amount of weight—more weight than I’ve ever lost at any given time in my life.

The weight I’d gained with my first two pregnancies came off pretty naturally with extended time. I exercised, I ate fairly well, and within a year or so, it dropped off…mostly. Those last 5 stubborn pounds were still with me.

But time was not my friend this go-around. Time was my motivation. Make it your motivation, too.

So here are my secrets to losing this weight: Hard work, dedication, self-control. Boom.

I hit my goal weight after 5 months.

It has now been 8 months since my son’s birth and I have lost additional weight.  At last weigh-in, I’m 47 pounds down, total.

47 pounds. That seems insane.

Of course, I lost almost 8 pounds the moment my son was born, so that doesn’t really count. And another 10 pounds or so drops off in the few weeks after the birth, as it would for any woman. But the rest of it? I celebrate that it’s gone—as the result of hard work.

Losing weight is not easy. It’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. It’s hard to be dedicated to it. It’s difficult to train yourself to a new lifestyle.

But it CAN be done.

Here’s what I did:

1.      Pray.

Call me crazy if you like, but losing weight is a challenge, and I like to include God in all of the challenges of my life. So yes, I prayed about weight loss. I prayed that God would help me to discern the best things to do to make my body healthy. I prayed that He would help me build discipline and self-control. I prayed that He would build my resolve as I began to see results, and strengthen me when I wasn’t seeing results. I prayed because He cares about me and every aspect of my life, so He wanted to be in this, too. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t leave God out.

2.      Learn about balance.

One of the keys to losing weight is maintaining proper blood sugar levels. When your sugar fluctuates to highs and lows, it can cause you to feel hungrier and crave foods you don’t need. Keep your sugar level steady and your body can better process the foods you are eating. I suffer from insulin related hormone issues (I am not diabetic) and I learned a lot about this from reading The Insulin-Resistance Diet.

3.      No denial.

Don’t diet to the point of denial. If you deny yourself the foods you love, you’ll be miserable. Instead operate by balance and allow yourself to eat the things you really love every so often. I allowed myself one daily piece of chocolate and savored it.

4.      Go au naturale.

Bye-bye processed foods. Yes, I went organic, and it’s something I should have done a long time ago. Processed foods are made up of chemicals, GMOs, and other things that can, quite literally, poison our bodies. I’m not a hippy, I swear, but I do believe in natural health as much as possible. So I’ve weaned my family off of as many processed foods as I can, replacing them with fresh organic, homemade recipes, or organic store versions. Yes, it is more expensive to eat organic food. I can’t always afford organic, but I do the best that I can. And I now choose natural over processed. Organic butter over heart-healthy, chemically processed alternatives. Organic Greek yogurt over processed, artificial-sweetener infused alternatives.

To help you go natural, read labels. The fewer ingredients, the better. No artificial sweeteners (opt for stevia or actual sugar) and if the product contains ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t buy it.

5.      Count calories.

In order to lose weight, your body must burn more calories than it takes in. It’s simple math. Discover what your ideal daily caloric intake should be and keep track of your daily calories while you are trying to lose weight. You can get an idea of what your caloric intake should be here. It doesn’t matter what other diet plans or exercise gurus have taught you—you have to eat less and burn more if you want to lose weight. Period.

6.      Cut carbs.

I would have been a great peasant. Bread and cheese—those are like their own food groups to me. Pasta. Bread. Chocolate. I can live on these alone, truly. But not if I want to lose weight. So, I cut carbs. It’s easy to do, really. No more bread with an Italian meal. Smaller portions of pasta (notice I didn’t say no pasta). Swapping high-carb cereal for lower carb alternatives. Giving up empty foods and replacing them with power foods—those full of vitamins, minerals, and good stuff for your body.

7.      Meatless Monday.

Actually, I went to meatless every-other-day in our house. I introduced meals that incorporate protein from other sources. I cut back on our intake of red meat to almost none, and in many recipes that call for red meat, I now use turkey. We eat red meat maybe once a week or so (if that often). We get a lot of protein from beans and such. There are some great meatless dinner recipes out there that are delicious.

8.      Get moving.

This is part of that burn-more-than-you-take-in math. Zumba, Insanity, Cross-fit—find what works for you. I’m not a runner. At. All. But I love aerobic dance, so Zumba was my go-to. I have three kids, so exercise isn’t always a scheduled part of my day. When I can’t exercise, I keep a closer eye on my calorie intake and do simple things like park farther away at the grocery store so that I have to walk more in the parking lot. Staying on your feet more is the secret to burning calories. Find ways to keep yourself busy, even if it means you walk circles around your house. Dancing with your kids is always a fun way to exercise.

9.      Eat breakfast.

I used to believe that skipping breakfast saved calories. Dumb. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism which will help burn calories. Just make sure that your breakfast is healthy and balanced. Stay away from over-processed foods and artificially sweetened things like yogurt.

10.  And my worst-kept weight loss secret (because I am always telling people): it’s all about the magic in your glass.

Don’t drink your calories. No sodas. No alcohol. No juice. Water and green tea only.

I drink 3-5 glasses of green tea per day and I fully believe that it has boosted my metabolism to a level it hasn’t been in years and years. I prefer green tea with flavor over plain green tea, so I like mint, pomegranate and berry. I buy the tea at the grocery store (with all the other teas) and make it by the pitcher. I sweeten it with stevia. (Two small packets per one large pitcher of tea).

So there you go, folks. Those are my secrets to weight-loss. It’s a difficult process, I know, but I’ll tell you this—if you make it a permanent lifestyle change rather than a temporary diet, not only will you be doing a world of good for your body, but you’ll begin to crave healthier foods instead of junk.

You can do it. You can be healthier. Do it for you. Do it for your family. Do it because God expects us to take care of the things He has given us, and that includes our bodies.

Other tips:

1. Don’t let the numbers on the scale rule your life. Take your measurements around your waist and hips and enjoy the shrinking numbers.

2. Use your clothes as a gauge. Are they fitting better? Feeling looser? Do you need to buy smaller sizes? Then who cares what the scale says?!

3. Set realistic goals, not only for your weight, but on the calendar. Hold yourself accountable to a date and stick to it.

4. DO NOT weigh yourself daily. Weigh yourself once a week, at the same time every week. (I do my weight checks on Sunday mornings, right after I get up.)

5. Find an accountability partner. Having someone help you and encourage you can mean the difference between frustration and results.

If you are interested, here are some of my favorite things for being healthier:

Vitalicious Muffins and Mini-Cakes

Bigelow Green Tea

Cascadian Farms Organic (especially the cereals)

Farmer Boy Greek Dressing

Fiber One Coconut Almond Protein Bars

Veggie Straws

Golden Zucchini Pancakes

Share with me: What’s your favorite healthy snack, food, or recipe?

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PS– Check out the healthy recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest, or this post, reviewing some healthy recipes.

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One Word for 2013– The 6 Months Check-Up

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Commit.

That’s my word for 2013.

The year is going by quickly– over half gone already. If you’re like me, you find that hard to believe. Something about becoming a parent, or perhaps just growing older, causes time to fly.

So it’s time to evaluate how the word commit has influenced me so far.

I chose the word with the intention of using it to force me to change certain behaviors, adapt to new behaviors, and make me stronger both physically and mentally.

Some of the commitments I made for 2013–

I’ve committed to seeking God with every part of my life. Not that I wasn’t doing this before, but I will thread Jesus into every fiber of my being so tightly that when others look at me, especially my children, they see that my life is nothing without Christ. I am nothing without Him. I’m only held together by Him.

  • My children are eager to learn scripture and read Bible stories. They love talking to, and about, Jesus. This is not of my doing, but I hope it’s partly because we’ve set that example in our home.

I’ve committed to  exercise and health. I will lose all this baby weight, and I will be healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.

  • Because I’m eating healthier, my entire family is eating healthier. We’re not perfect (I refuse to give up chocolate), but I’m thankful that my family appreciates some healthy foods. My boys watch me exercise and I encourage them to join in. Their little bodies being a temple and all– I want them to establish healthy routines early.

I’ve committed to service and teaching. I will serve when God asks.

  • God has opened several doors for me in this area. Not only am I now teaching Sunday school, I will soon be leading a Bible study and re-launching the Women’s Ministry at my church. Big things are happening.

I’ve committed to writing. I will carve out time to write new material. I will be more active in the writing community than I’ve been in the past year.

  • Because I’ve spent the first half of this year either being pregnant or caring for a newborn (he’s three months old already!), I haven’t gotten very far on this one. I have story ideas popping in my head all the time, but I haven’t been able to establish a routine that allows me good writing time– yet. School starts back soon so my oldest 2 will get back to their normal routine and the baby will adapt to our routine. I’m looking forward to carving some writing time in there somewhere. I’m committed to it.

What has inspired me most about this word for 2013 is that along with it comes determination. I can’t “commit” to this word without directing that I will do certain things. It has forced me to do exactly what I’d hoped– change behaviors, make new behaviors routine, and seek out opportunities.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year brings.

Share with me: What is your word for 2013? How has it affected your life so far this year? (It’s not too late to choose a word if you don’t already have one!)

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Living Life to the Fullest– A Guest Post by Olivia Newport

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Are you living life to the fullest?

Jesus said that he came so that we could live life to the fullest, or abundantly (John 10:10). When I was growing up in a galaxy far, far away, I learned that this was about the incredible life we could have in kingdom of heaven some day when God called us home and we’re finished passing through this miserable world.

I don’t believe that anymore, and haven’t for a long time.

I hear Jesus telling us that the kingdom of God is near, at hand, close to us (Mark 1:14). Right here.

I hear Jesus calling us to live smack in the middle of kingdom themes: love, forgiveness, justice, mercy. And life.

Jesus came to bring us life. He came to restore our broken connections with God, each other, and ourselves. And I think those of us who believe in the truth and glory of Jesus can do a better job at living.

We think life is not surrendering any ground to death, the great enemy. And we think being healthy is not being sick, much less dead. In an age of medical technology that truly works wonders, we take pills and undergo procedures and spend an awful lot of energy fighting death.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disparaging modern medicine. I once had a procedure done on my heart that used to be life-threatening open heart surgery and now is an outpatient procedure where you go home and sleep in your own bed and go back to work in three days. It changed the quality of my life more than I can calculate.

But more and more I lean toward the idea that instead of scrambling against the leading causes of death, we ought to be embracing the leading causes of life. A few years ago I read a book called The Leading Causes of Life by Gary Gunderson (with Larry Pray). Gunderson, a listened-to voice in the field of health and faith, lays out five leading causes of life that affect both physical and spiritual health.

  1. Connection—we are not meant to be alone; we are meant to be connected to God and others.
  2. Coherence—our life tells a story of belonging and meaning.
  3. Agency—we need the capacity to take action to answer a call.
  4. Blessing—this is a way of life that leads to wholeness, not how much stuff we have.
  5. Hope—we believe that meaning transcends our circumstances and suffering, whether mild or extreme.

Research shows that if we have these features in our life, we are less likely to succumb to the leading causes of death—heart disease, stroke, obesity and so on. As people of faith it should not surprise us that body and spirit communicate back and forth in both directions.

Are you seeking abundant life—life to the fullest that God wants for us to experience? Let me leave you with three questions to ponder.

  1. What are you doing to promote your own spiritual and physical health?
  2. What are you doing to promote the wellness of people close to you?
  3. What are you doing to promote the wholeness of people you don’t even know?

We live life to the fullest when as the people of God living in the kingdom of God we carry each other to the fullness of God.

OliviaNewportOlivia Newport is a novelist whose books twist through time and discover where faith and passions meet. Her titles include The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, Accidentally Amish, and the forthcoming In Plain View.
You can connect with Olivia via her website!

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