Week 11

“The nice thing is we’ve lost weight, so we take up less room in the bed,” said Joseph with a hint of optimism and a dash of sarcasm. The bed he referred to is the full size bed we share at my grandmother’s house. We’re used to our plush king size bed at home. First world problems. 

We’ve been at my grandmother’s house for a whopping 3, maybe 4, hours, and my jeans already feel tighter. My resolve is slipping. My scale is scared. 
“Home” does that to me. 
It conjures up emotions I’ve stuffed down with enough fast food and processed pastries to fill out a pair of size 26 jeans with no room to spare. 
“Home” triggers my food reflex faster than anything/anywhere/anyone else. Because I conditioned it to. 
“Home” wasn’t always a place I wanted to escape to. More often, it was a place I wanted to escape from. And I did. As quickly as I could. I had to return home to graduate high school, because I had already left town. 
When I couldn’t escape physically, I escaped mentally and emotionally, often with a bag of marshmallows or a bowl of ice cream or a roll of cookie dough. Or all three. I zoned out in a dark room, illuminated only by the flicker of the television, and I ate until I was numb. 
As soon as my car reaches Horry County, I’m hungry. 
My grandmother’s kitchen beckons me all hours of the day and night. The later in the evening, the louder the siren song grows. 
Tonight is no different. I hear the kitchen calling for me. I already answered it once, eating half a chocolate chip cookie. I only stopped because the cookie was really gross. 
So, tonight, I’m trying something new. I’m praying, and I’m reminding myself of things I know to be true:
God is good.
God is wise.
God is kind.
God is faithful.
When no one else wanted me, God adopted me into His family. Because of Jesus, God is my daddy, and I’m His little girl. I am a co-heir with Christ. 
When God looks at me, He sees Jesus. 
Because I placed my trust in Jesus, God sees me not only as though I never sinned but as though I always lived right. Because Jesus paid the price for me. 
The satisfaction of food is fleeting. God is eternal.
The imperfect homes I’ve had and will continue to have on earth are temporary. I have a perfect home waiting for me in Heaven, and it’s eternal, and it’s with Jesus!
God loves me because I am His and because of Jesus. He doesn’t merely tolerate me. He doesn’t love me in spite of my flaws, my failures, my FAT; He just loves me. 
I didn’t deserve the grace God extended to me through Jesus, and I need to stop making other people earn grace from me. 
I have been forgiven much, and there is joy in forgiving much. And freedom. 
I can have marshmallows and ice cream and cookie dough and the other things I didn’t mention eating. In moderation. And with pure motives. 
I don’t need food to cope or to medicate or mask my emotions. I just need Jesus, and He is even more available than convenience food. 
There will be numerous disappointments in this life, but Jesus isn’t one of them. 
Food that is seasoned with guilt never tastes as good. 
I probably should have gone to counseling, but I can’t change that. I can confide in the Wonderful Counselor anytime and any place. And He won’t charge me, because the bill has already been paid. 
There are many other truths worth rejoicing in. What truths do you preach to yourself when you face temptation or when you need strength or encouragement?
I’m skipping my weigh-in this week, but I’ll weigh in next Wednesday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 10 Weigh-In

Hi, everyone! Since I posted a lengthy update a few days ago, I thought I would keep this one somewhat brief. I’m typing on my phone to hold myself to that. :0)

First, Joseph and I are extremely excited! We’re going on a mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico in June. We’ll be working with an orphanage. As we know more, I’ll share with you. Sadly, if I hadn’t started losing weight, I probably would have ignored God’s call to go. I just couldn’t imagine being able to do it physically. I don’t even know if I would have been able to fit in a seat on the plane. But, I’m now well on my way to being able to fit in a seat and to be able to endure physically what we’re asked to do. 
We’ve decided to use our weight loss journey to raise money for our trip (we need $3400 total). You may recall that we give each other $10 when we lose 10 pounds. We’ve had a few people offer to match that as encouragement for us. We’re extending that opportunity to all of you. If you’d like to pledge $10 for my next 10 pounds (or Joseph’s or both), let me know. You can pledge for one round of 10 pounds or for every time I/we reach a 10 pound milestone. We’ll be raising money through May, so you can jump in at any time. I think this would be a fun way for you to partner with us on our trip. 
Second, I weighed in today. I lost 3.9 pounds, bringing my total weight loss up to 33.9 pounds and my current weight down to 289.7 pounds. God is so good and faithful! I’m happy to report that He has helped me lose 10% of my starting weight. It feels so good to reach that milestone! Once I reach my goal weight, I will have lost 58% of my starting weight, so I only need to do what I’ve already done about 5 more times. That’s not too bad! Right? Haha!
Thanks again for your support and encouragement. I really appreciate you!

Week 9 Weigh-In

First, let me say I’m really touched that at least one person realized I hadn’t posted yet this week. That means at least one person knows I normally post on Wednesdays! That makes me happy, because I’m really honored that any of you read any of my posts.

Now, because the blog exists as a means of accountability, I’m going to tell you the two reasons I didn’t post sooner. First, we really were busier this week than we typically are. I know that’s a generic excuse, but the blog didn’t get top priority. Second, I’ve been angry about my weight loss over the past week. Remember that tenth of a pound I tried so hard to lose last week? Well, I finally lost it. NINE days later. AFTER I gained a few pounds. I could tell my body was angry with me about some choices I made, and I was angry right back at it.

Since I’m all about being real here, I’m going to be honest and tell you I struggled a lot this past week.  I cried several times. One of those times was because I wanted pizza, so Husby said we could have pizza, and I cried and told him we shouldn’t have pizza, so he decided to be strong and lead and decide we would make a better choice and eat some yummy leftovers we had at home, so I cried because I still wanted pizza. It was not one of my finer moments. I found myself relating to a blog post I read recently about toddler melt-downs, and I wasn’t relating to the parents. I was relating to the toddler. Big time.

There were several times I had a STRONG temptation to pick up fast food. And not a healthy, responsible choice at a fast food restaurant. A fried one. Deep fried. Very deep. The main reason I didn’t give into the temptations was because I couldn’t decide what I wanted.

Monday the 11th marked two months that I’ve been at this, and I think I hit a wall. It was like I was walking around trying to break in new shoes that were giving me blisters, and all I wanted to do was put on my favorite, well-worn flip flops.

It wasn’t that I wanted to go back to my old lifestyle necessarily. I was just tired of my new one. I wanted some kind of in between, and I knew that wouldn’t work. I fought with myself a ton. I wish I had prayed more and asked the Holy Spirit to help me. But I didn’t.

So we decided to take a break for a couple of days. Some of you may think that’s a bad idea, and maybe it was, but it kept me from quitting. It kept me from abandoning everything I’m trying to do here. It kept me sane. It gave me an opportunity to eat Moe’s for the first time in over six weeks.

Confession: These words actually came out of my mouth while I was eating Moe’s. “My stomach started hurting a few minutes in, but I pushed through it.” HA!

You probably know me well enough by now to know I’m not going to follow that confession up by telling you I regretted pushing through those stomach pains. I loved every bite of my lunch that day. QUESO!! Also, I only ate about 2/3 (if not less) of my lunch instead of finishing every last morsel of it. Baby steps, folks.

After taking a break, I’ve done a little better at staying on track. I’ve exercised twice over the last few days, versus only once last week. And I finally lost that tenth of a pound.

That brings me to my weigh-in. I lost .1 pound, bringing my total weight lost up to 30.0 pounds and my current weight down to 293.6 pounds. Woo hoo! It felt really good to reach that goal, even if it wasn’t when I wanted to reach it. God is still good and faithful, and He gives good gifts – like taking nine days to lose a tenth of a pound. That was for my good and His glory. How do I know that? Because I believe all really means all: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NASB).

Now it’s time for comparison photos! I’m starting to tell a slight difference. At least now I can feel a major difference in my pants. After wearing my jeans for a couple of days, they start feeling like hammer pants. Guess I’ll have to start washing them more often. (I promise I’m not gross.)

Side note: Please don’t judge my photo editing skills by the comparison photos I post on this blog. :O)
Also, please forgive my greasy hair. It looks like I styled it with fried chicken. I showered soon after this photo was taken.
So, please tell me you’ve struggled before. Tell me you’ve hit a wall before and it gave you a bloody nose, but you persevered. I need to read those stories.
Thanks, friends!

Week 8 Weigh-In

True story: I weighed in this morning and then spent the next 8 hours trying to lose a tenth of a pound. I tried desperately to have just enough “in” to motivate the “out”. It’s a delicate balance when one is trying to lose a tenth of a pound. Then I ate too many grapes, and the scale went up. Boo. 

All day long I obsessed over something I thought I could control, something I thought I could will into reality. I even hoped the blood I had drawn today weighed a tenth of a pound. I weighed as soon as I got home. The scale didn’t budge. 
When I looked back over those 8 hours, my main accomplishments were reading 23% of The Hunger Games and scrolling through Pinterest. Obsessing over losing a tenth of a pound had cost me almost an entire day. 
Losing weight is more about me growing closer to the Lord than about the numbers on the scale shrinking. Today did not reflect that. Today reflected my monster want to achieve a weight loss goal. 
Today was evidence of why I needed God to draw me to Him and save me through Jesus. I am way too self-absorbed ever to recognize my need for Him. The Holy Spirit had to get my attention today. It’s likely if I had succeeded in losing that tenth of a pound, I would have carried on in my self-centered frame of mind. Instead, the Holy Spirit reminded me that this is about Him and not about me. 
This is the part where I should tell you my heart is filled with joy and overflowing with thanksgiving because it doesn’t matter that I didn’t lose that tenth of a pound because Jesus is sweeter than the numbers on that scale. I choose not to lie on this blog. 
I KNOW that Jesus is sweeter, and I pray that day by day I will live my life like I know that. Today hasn’t been one of those days. Instead, it’s been a day that has reminded me how much I need the Holy Spirit to help me walk in step with Him. For that, I am truly thankful.
So, for those of you who are curious, I lost 5.4 pounds this week (proving I was indeed retaining water last week), bringing my total weight loss up to 29.9 pounds and my current weight down to 293.7 pounds. I really am thankful for the progress God has made and will continue to make in me. 
Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate you! Oh! Thank you for praying when I told you I was discouraged about not seeing results. I’m starting to see them now, especially in my pants. I can pull my jeans off without unbuttoning them. Woo hoo!

Healthier Eating Saves Money

What I’m about to write isn’t going to be perfect, and the calculations aren’t going to be to the penny. The information was still eye opening for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.

After the first few weeks of changes in our eating habits, I had a gut feeling we were saving money on food expenses. I didn’t have exact numbers to compare, but I knew it had to be true. We weren’t eating out as much, and our groceries were lasting longer because of portion control. I remember reading a statement by Angela Coffman over at Grocery Shrink one time that convicted me: If you’re obese, you’re spending too much on groceries (my paraphrase). Ouch. (If you need help trimming your grocery budget, Angela has wonderful ideas. Check out her blog.)

I made chicken tortilla soup one night a couple of weeks ago, and I started thinking about the cost of food. A crock pot of chicken tortilla soup costs us about $10 to make. Traditionally, Joseph and I have eaten the entire batch of soup over the course of two meals, maybe three if we really made it stretch. So that’s anywhere from $3.50-$5.00 per meal. When I was calculating the calories for the soup, we determined that the batch is actually 10 servings, so about $1.00 per serving or $2.00 per meal if we each only eat one serving. That’s a savings of up to $3.00 per meal, and it lasts up to 5 meals rather than just 2 or 3.

The chicken tortilla soup is just one example. Another food item where we’ve really noticed a difference is shredded cheese. It took us no time at all to go through a bag of shredded cheese before. Now that we’re measuring it, we’re amazed by how long it lasts. I could go on and on with examples, but you get the point.

For us, an area of significant savings has been eating out/convenience food (we included grabbing a snack at a gas station in this category). During the 30 days prior to us starting this journey to a healthier lifestyle, we spent approximately $700 eating out or grabbing convenience food (I think sharing that number with you was harder than telling you I weighed over 300 pounds). In the month of October, that number dropped to approximately $300 (even the number of food transactions for the month, including groceries, dropped from 75 to 42). Yes, that number is still high, and we need to reign that in. Yes, some of that savings went into buying groceries, which can be more expensive when purchasing healthy food, and we need to reign that in as well. We were just excited (in a still kind of embarrassed way) that we cut our spending by about $400 in this category. Maybe I’ll report back once we’re doing even better.

So, all of this to say, a big part of this journey is about stewardship for us. We want to be good stewards of our bodies so we can serve the Lord better and longer in this life. A bonus has been that we’re stewarding our money better as well. And hopefully we’ll become better and better stewards of that money with God’s help.

Has God helped you in this area or in another area that needed self-control? Maybe you’re still, like us, walking with the Holy Spirit as He sanctifies you in an area. I’d love to hear your stories.

I’d also love to hear any advice you may have for trimming down the grocery budget. Like I said, Grocery Shrink is a great resource. I just need to put her advice into practice. :O)

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Hi, everyone! Joseph and I loved this dish so much the first time I made it that I thought I’d try it again and post the recipe. We were not disappointed the second time!

The inspiration for this recipe came from Brooke’s recipe for stuffed bell peppers over at Cooked by Brooke. Check out her site!

I knew I wanted to make the recipe with quinoa, so I tweaked it a bit and made it my own. I hope you enjoy it!

  • 1lb ground meat of your choice (We use ground turkey, which is not pictured, because ground turkey in a plastic baggie isn’t exactly photogenic.)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, which you will prepare according to the instructions on the package
  • 1 cup black beans (We cook a couple of bags of dried black beans at a time in the crockpot and then freeze them to avoid the sodium.)
  • 1 cup corn (I used frozen, because it’s cheaper and doesn’t contain sodium.)
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat Mexican blend cheese (or cheese of your choice)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 6 bell peppers (I use green peppers because they’re much cheaper than the pretty red and yellow ones.)
  • 1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning (We make our own using this recipe.)
Note: Feel free to use rice instead of quinoa. I’m sure it would be delicious!
Rinse your peppers and lop of the tops of them, scooping out as much of the insides as possible. I didn’t worry too much about getting out all of the seeds, because they come out during the boiling process.
Now it’s time to multi-task. If you’re not awesome at multi-tasking in the kitchen, you’re in good company (mine). Because the final step of this recipe involves cooking the stuffed peppers in the oven, you don’t have to worry too much if something gets cold. So dance it out for a minute and go for it.
You need to boil the peppers until they’re tender. I did three at a time for 5 minutes, so a total of 10 minutes of pepper boiling.
You also need to cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. I did not add any extra seasoning or butter or anything to the quinoa, but you may enjoy that. If you do, let me know.
Meanwhile, you also need to brown your meat with the taco seasoning. If you use a skillet that’s big enough to hold all the stuffing later, you (or your beloved) won’t have to wash another dish. :O)
When you’re just a few minutes shy of everything being done, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once everything is finished, you need to mix the quinoa, seasoned meat, corn, black beans, and tomatoes together. Again, I do all of this in the skillet I used to brown the meat.

Once everything is combined well, stuff your peppers, which should fit nicely in a 9×13 baking dish (at least I think that’s a 9×13 …). Then sprinkle a little cheese on top if that’s your thing. I may start leaving off the cheese. I don’t think I’ll miss it, and my hips will probably thank me for it. If you have extra stuffing, just put it in the dish around the peppers.

Now put the peppers into your preheated oven and bake them for 10 minutes or so, depending on how “done” your like your food. Husby and I disagree on what qualifies food as “done”. I usually win, because he loves me.
Once you take your peppers out of the oven, photograph them on pretty plates. Just kidding. You don’t have to do that part. You’ll be hungry because they smell so good, so just eat them.

Week 7 Weigh-In

I’m experimenting with the Blogger app. I hope this goes well!

This will be a very short, sweet, and to the point update. 
I lost 1.9 pounds this past week, bringing my total lost up to 24.5 pounds and my weight down to 299.1. I’m under 300 pounds, and that feels amazing! I’m so thankful God has brought me this far in a relatively short amount of time. 
He’s teaching me a lot right now, especially about priorities, where I focus my time, energy, thoughts, and money. I’ll share as I learn more!
Thank you for reading, praying, and encouraging. I appreciate you!