Saturday, October 21, 2017

New Places & Head Spaces

Hey world! What a crazy month it has been.

We moved 3 weeks ago! Hard to believe it's been that long.  We also fought a stomach bug and had to eat out for 10 days. Let's just say I lost my first diet bet - but I'm really glad I did it because I can't imagine how bad off I would have been after the move had I not been focused on something positive for the three weeks prior.

It's funny when your diet changes how much your mood changes, which I definitely felt during the move time.  Goodness eating out that much is expensive, too.

We are just about fully settled in and finding some sort of groove to life in this new town.  Exploring some, making friends, discovering cool things about the city and...this amazing thing I seemed to have forgotten about for awhile - COOKING!

We have a decent size kitchen in the little house we are renting.  The commute to work is super easy, its 5 miles away and traffic isn't too terrible even though I'm working in the heart of downtown. We are enjoying hunting for our dream house (not terribly earnestly now, just seeing what is around) and figuring out where things are.

Y'all. I can get to 2 Publixs within 3 miles.  This is big.  There's also a Whole Foods here!  And 3 Ross Stores.  And 2-3 TJ Maxx's.  And 2 Kohls.  LOL!  Ask me how I know.  Driving around alot.

If you've stayed with me for any length of my journey you will know that my preferred method of eating is paleo.  I love meat and veggies, fruit, healthy fat and volume, most of all.  Paleo is how I ate when I was training regularly and at my strongest and fittest.  I've struggled to find my way back there as I knew I wasn't ready for a Whole 30 per se but also knew I needed to do something with some structure in order to find my way back to healthy.  It's not like turning around and going back the way you came when behind me is an angel baby, a rainbow baby, a job change, two moves and a year of providing complete nutrition to my baby boy.  I can't walk backwards.  But I can pull from my past experience to move ahead positively.

While I have loved my very different Whole 30 experiences (I've completed 10 total), I also know that sometimes you have to shake it up a bit.

I had been reading about ketosis and the effects of a higher fat, moderate protein, super low carb way of eating and it really peaked my interest.  What's important, now matter how you choose to eat, which "way" needs to include food you LIKE.  A grilled chicken and broccoli diet (even though I do love both of those things) if you don't like them, isn't sustainable.  The more I read and researched about Ketosis, the more I wondered if it would do for me what it's done and is doing for a great many people.

Like many things, people sometimes take a "fad" diet or idea that becomes popular and take off down the trails doing it, well, incorrectly.  I found that Mark Sisson, the author of Primal Blueprint and many other books, a long time athlete and leader in the Paleo/Primal arena, was writing a book called the Keto Reset Diet to really explain the science behind the Keto way of eating and how to do it correctly.

Some of the benefits that others have found getting into Ketosis:
- Lost weight (considerable amounts)
- Less hungry overall
- More energy
- More alert
- Sleeping better

And the list goes on.  I need all of those things.  But I was skeptical, really, because a high fat diet goes against everything we've been taught in the Standard American Diet (or SAD) protocols.  Old habits die hard! I was also skeptical because I've always been a volume eater. I like to be able to eat alot and need to in order to be satiated.  I heard about people fasting and I'm like, look, I CAN do that but I don't want to so this should be interesting...

What I have learned is that fat in and of itself (especially good fat from whole food/natural sources) doesn't make you fat. Fast food, does.  Inactivity, does.  The wrong combinations and not enough nutrients can, and will make you feel sick. The goal is not to always have to be super restrictive with carbohydrates.  Mark explains in his book that the goal is to become metabolically flexible.  Where you can have things outside of your normal diet here and there without gaining 10 pounds (my normal experience with cheat days and post whole 30 etc).

So 2 weeks ago I began a metabolic reset diet which has a target of 50g of carbs or less per day.

Y'all.  That's REALLY HARD.  Eventually many experience ketosis on 20g or less of carbs per day.  I'm not sure how I will do that when 50 is hard to stay under. LOL!  But heck, I decided to give it a try.

I've kept my calories around 1800-1900 with a ratio of 65% fat, 25% protein and 10% carb.  I started at 286.6 pounds, so yeah, my calories are higher than your average friend.  Don't get all caught up on the numbers. I tracked around 4 days of the last two weeks, just every now and then to see how I was doing.

Here's what I've experienced so far:
- Lost 9.6 pounds (in 13 days)
- I look different.  My body shape is changing.
- Sleeping much harder.
- Skin is 100% clear and has a healthy glow about it.
- More alert and awake at work, extra productive.
- Amazingly satiated and rarely hungry.

Friends, I'm actually fasting through breakfast on most days.  I may have some black coffee or if I wake a little hungry I have some bulletproof coffee (for me that's a tbsp of butter, coconut oil or coconut butter and a tablespoon of collagen blended up).  There are different schools of thought on whether or not the BPC actually breaks a fast, but I am really enjoying it most days. I did not intend to fast, but have found it easier with my work schedule.  Then I eat my lunch at the regular lunch time, sometimes a snack in the afternoon (raw cashews are my current jam), dinner, and am done eating by 7:30pm or 8pm at the latest.  Then a 15-17 hour fast until the next day's meal. So my eating window is 7-9 hours total.

I'm not certain how much the diet change or intermittent fasting, or what is contributing to the great results so far, but I feel really good and really, truly love what I'm eating, so I'm going to keep on going. I've been trying new recipes and entertaining dairy again in my diet (so weird but it fits) and my family has really enjoyed my cooking.  I will likely tweak the fasting, and my carbs will likely fluctuate as my activity increases, as well.

I walked 3 times this week! Considering I battled a migraine one night this week out of nowhere, I am pretty happy with that. Hoping to walk more next week.

Head on over to my Facebook page for a few food pictures from the week. And you can learn more about the Keto Reset by joining the Facebook group, buying Mark's book, the Keto Reset Diet, and also Mark's Daily apple, his blog.

In the meantime, no matter what way of eating you're embracing right now I hope you are loving it, it's loving you, and you find yourself in a good head space. I'm liking my current headspace, very much.

Hugs,
Clara

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Food & Mood...Wanna Bet?

Hey hey!  Hope everyone has had a good week.  My week was insane but very positive, overall.

Here's a recap:

Met with my new doctor on Tuesday and went through the medical history (was a really long appointment - ha!) and we agreed on blood work and scheduled me to come back and get it done on Friday (when fasting).

During the appointment he pointed out my BMI and that it wasn't good.  He actually said "I'm not trying to hurt your feelings."  I laughed and said, "No worries, that's why I am here."

At one point he offered surgery but I declined and told him I also wouldn't be taking any medication if I could help it.  Thankfully my blood pressure is somehow amazing (116/73) even at this weight.  I explained that I had lost 100 pounds before and kept it off for years, then the two pregnancies back to back, depression and a long time of not taking care of myself landed me here.  Again.

So, yeah, I'm not going to take a pill or have surgery.

I'm going to look over these blood work results with him this coming Friday and continue moving forward in this process of saving my own life (again).

I'm going to do what I KNOW to do.

THANK YOU to the many who reached out to me by either calling, texting, or sending me a message on Facebook.  I enjoyed catching up and covet your encouragement - and want to give it in return, as well.  It was a joy to get such a response to being so brutally honest with you all.

The week consisted of alot of travel and time in the car. I did really well with food.  Not stellar paleo but solidly primal with a few small questionable things here and there.

Overall, a few BIG wins this week:

  • No French fries or burgers or milkshakes from drive through windows
  • No dessert of any kind while I was traveling
  • No diet cokes!
  • I took the stairs almost every time in the hotel vs. using the elevator.
  • I walked MILES through our hospitals touring them
  • I made GOOD choices MOST of the time.
  • You may have seen I enjoyed an ice cold kombucha and raspberries on my drive home Friday.  I really really wanted a "treat" and this was the treat I chose!
It wasn't my BEST week in my history of amazing travel weeks, by any stretch.  But that would be comparing to another time in my life.  

For me, right now, with my NEW job, upcoming move, weekly travel and overall crazy schedule... 

I did REALLY WELL!

And I feel incredibly satisfied with my progress. I managed to lose 4.4 pounds this week. 

Two other things I have to tell you - first, I committed to an official DietBet for the first time.  If you've not heard of it, it's basically a game where you pledge a certain amount of money (in this case $35) and in the four weeks of its duration you have to lose 4% of your body weight in order to earn your $35 back.  This, for me, comes out to about 11 pounds.  I'm already 4.4 pounds on my way, or 39% done.  This DietBet is sponsored by Courtney Crozier Respess, former BL contestant.  She's a super positive person and I've followed her for years.  

This is about as gimmicky as I'll get with weight loss - and it's not even really gimmicky. It's just a challenge to myself to earn my money back.  I did one with my church group online and totally wasn't ready.  I'll probably do another one with them as well simultaneously.  Because what's more motivating then getting your investment back? Ha.  Being healthy, obviously.  

It just seemed like something fun to try.  It definitely has made me think twice when ordering while traveling this week! Will keep you all updated.  Week 1 done!

The other thing I wanted to tell you about was how Food & Mood are connected for me. I've heard my hubby and daughter say before that I'm in a better mood when I eat better.  Yesterday, L expanded on that for me while we were driving.  We had a moment where we had finished shopping and were both super hungry.  I had salmon at home and had already decided I wanted that with green beans for dinner. But here we were, needing to stop at the grocery store still, starving and it was 7pm, AND then still had a half hour drive home then had to cook.  We talked through a few options but I told her I just wasn't strong enough at this point to go to an unplanned dinner out.  I would likely make bad choices.  Plus, we didn't need to spend the extra money when we had a ton of food at home. 

She agreed and told me in the car that I'm nicer when I am eating well.  She said, well while you're eating good food you're pretty much always in a good mood.  When you eat something "bad" you tend to be in a good mood right then, but soon you're feeling guilty or sick and then you're grumpy.

Wow.  

I didn't realize how much food was controlling my moods.  Makes sense, though.  

So we jetted home and I made amazing salmon and green beans for dinner with toasted almonds.  It was SO GOOD.  And this morning woke up lighter and without a tummy ache.

Now I'm off to make some potato soup with chicken (and bacon and broccoli - in coconut milk) and will be having some company later.  I'm excited to catch up with my friends and focused more on that than the food.

This week I'm going to bring my sneakers with me and try to walk at the hotel if I can.  I should be able to make time as I'm checking into one hotel and staying for the rest of the week.  That plus water and continuing to make the best choices I can are on the docket.  I mean, I gotta win that money back! 

Have a healthy week!

Clara

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Traveling Light No More

Look, I'm just going to get SUPER real with you today.  Like embarrassingly so.

Let me be super clear, I'm NOT looking for anyone to do any of the following:

  • Argue with me that I'm not fat.  It's the thing your sweet friends do when they want to make you feel better.  Tell you you're not fat.  Dude.  I'm fat.  Right now I truly am.  Trust me, I know.  I'm not attempting to be brash, really, but I feel like I'm allowed to use that word in my current state of fatness, so let's go ahead and be OK with me a) calling it like it is and b) not looking to be coddled.
  • Get upset with me for how direct I'm going to be.  Listen, I've been on BOTH sides of this journey.  I know what it's like to be fit and fat.  So I'm going to talk very directly about this.  Please do not continue reading this blog if you aren't going to be OK with that.  This is really for me, anyway. I'm NOT talking about anyone else.  I'm NOT talking to you. If you take something from it and feel this applies to you, great, I hope it helps.  But I'm not poking fun at anyone.  I'm being super real here.
All of that said, here goes.

I do want to start by saying my week was AMAZING overall.  I really truly enjoyed meeting this new amazing team of people doing some incredible work at my new company.  Part of me is marveling at the fact that I did, in fact, land this job at the heaviest weight I've ever been.  Either my thanks goes to my LLR wardrobe and/or these people are amazing and do not judge you by your exterior.  I'm going with the latter.

Traveling as a fat person is AWFUL.  Like I don't even know how to tell you how awful it is without just plainly recapping the travel part of my last week.  

So if you've been here for awhile you remember a blog post I had some years back when I shared a picture of my airplane seatbelt buckling for the first time following some weight loss.  This was so amazing. I used to hide the seatbelt under my jacket so no one could see it wasn't, in fact, buckled while flying. 

For some reason I don't remember traveling much at this weight, at least not air travel.  Then as I really thought about it I realized, I didn't really fly much at this weight before.  Not something I had realized or planned for, mentally. This was almost like a new experience all over again.  Not one of my better ones, either.

I prayed on my way to the airport last Tuesday that I wouldn't have anyone in the seat next to me.  Because I definitely take up more room than I should right now.  Thankfully, on my first flight it was a newer small plane, so I could actually somehow buckle the seatbelt, and the guy next to me was tall and slim so it worked.  No body parts touching.  Relief!  He was very pleasant to talk to, as well.

My second flight I was again on the aisle, which isn't preferable as you kind of have to hold your body upright in order to not get dinged by the cart when it rolls by.  This plane was smaller and I could not buckle the seatbelt easily. I sat next to a tiny person so that was super helpful.  

The other thing to consider is that using the restroom on the airplane is tough for ANYONE.  It's that much harder at this weight. So I was determined in my two short flights to not need the potty.  Which was great until we were diverted to another airport to land and refuel (because someone whiffed on gassing up the plane???).  This took over an hour.  I thought maybe I would deplane and rent a car but decided driving myself through the mountains wasn't a good idea.  I contemplated getting up to go to the restroom but then remembered how humiliating it would be and decided against it.

Very bad decision.

By the time we took off again we weren't even in the air long enough to get out of our seats much less for a restroom break.  I started to sweat realizing I had to pee really badly. Like so badly my goosebumps had goosebumps and I was having chills.  At one point after we took off the cabin pressure felt strange to me.  I began feeling like I couldn't breathe and was certain the oxygen masks were going to drop at any moment.  My heart was racing.  I glanced around panicked and everyone else looked FINE.  So I realized this was me.  And this, I believe, was my first official panic attack.  Oh, great.  I was in row 23 which means once we finally DID land and taxi'd around what felt like the entire airplane parking lot, I was actually in pain and still a really long time from deplaning. I tried to calm myself down the best I could and breathe and not fully panic. It's funny once the seatbelt sign turns off, it just means you can get up but the door to the plane is still closed, so....where you are going, I don't know.  But everyone gets up.  My bladder was legit throbbing at this point, and I really wondered if I would pass out.  Then the woman in the seat in front of me gets her purse strap caught and it takes others helping her get uncaught. Like 5 minutes of trying to get out of her freaking seat.  When I was finally able to get up, I moved as fast as this tail can move right now and made it somehow to the restroom. 

Look, this could happen to anyone.  But I'm here to tell you that I have never, ever had a panic attack.  And I firmly believe that my size and weight had me so uncomfortable that even breathing was a chore, so combine that with feeling my bladder may explode and I honestly felt like I was going to pass out. 

This has all been contributing to the continued realization of what things NEED to change. It's not like I don't know that they need to change.  Trust me, I do.  But this trip was SO HARD physically on me that it really grabbed my attention.  I actually slept through a good portion of Saturday. In fairness I arrived home at 10pm (after landing I had a 90 minute drive home), and it was a crazy exhausting week, but I went back to bed for a morning nap, took an afternoon/evening nap and then went to bed early.  I was so completely and utterly physically wiped out. This is not the normal I once enjoyed.

Other notable challenges while traveling: 
  • My feet hurt BAD no matter what shoes I'm wearing once I've been on them for a day.  All of this walking around is not easy when you're larger.  My ankles were swollen and my skin felt tight every day.  The most comfortable shoes I owned gave me blisters.  It's not the shoes' fault.  It's my size.
  • I tried to bring limited clothes etc. to save the company some money on checking my bag.  Bad idea.  Thankfully I had JUST enough outfits for the week but I would have felt better with a few more options.
  • I had to divert to a different chair in a restaurant because I saw the ones on the outside row of the table and I definitely do NOT fit in these chairs.  I took the booth side.  You have to be so much more observant but also don't want to make a huge deal of things as it's all quite embarrassing.  
  • I met so many fit people this week.  I know they don't know I was once their size.  Not that many years ago, in fact.  But they met me as fat Clara so that is how they know me, and that is the first impression I made on them.  I will not assume the worst, that people would have made judgments about me.  But I was sitting there judging me.  Thankful that I fit into the conference room chairs.
  • I was too tired after a day of being out, about and "on" to walk a block or two to dinner.  I ate at the hotel the other two nights I was there.
  • My feet hurt too badly to do the workout video I brought with me.  And I wasn't on the first floor anyway so there is no way I could have done that without the front desk calling me for a noise complaint (and this happened to me by the way when I was fit - so you just don't work out unless you're on the first floor).
I remember when I was fit and would travel and saw overweight people in the airport, or anywhere, I felt genuinely sorry for them and it always tugged at my heart.  I remembered how hard it was to maneuver through tight spaces myself.  I remembered how you felt everyone was looking at you, and no one was looking at you at the same time.  How people avoided eye contact with you. It's almost like others are embarrassed for you and if they pretend you are invisible, it's just better for everyone. I would pray for these souls when I saw them, for their health, and for their hearts.  

Man I hope someone prayed for me this week in that same way.  I really really missed Fit Clara while I was huffing and puffing my way through the airport.

So this week was the best of times and the worst of times, right?  I am elated at my new position, new team, new company.  But I am frustrated that it will be awhile before I can be truly comfortable when flying.   And part of me is also hopeful that in my monthly visits to the corporate office over the next few months that I will slowly begin shrinking before their very eyes.  

All of that explained, fat Clara is making a doctor's appointment for sometime hopefully in the very near future.  I'm shooting for this week or next, but also realize that I don't have a primary care doctor, so I may have to wait.  I need a physical and bloodwork which I am sure will tell me what I already know.  I'm in actual physical danger here, and things MUST change.  I can't imagine my heart is very healthy at this moment.  I know the strain my body is under just existing hurts as is.  Maybe the numbers will continue to propel me forward in this fight to find fit Clara. Maybe the threat of medication will be "enough" for me to be fully committed and motivated, and actually deep down believe that I will once again lose this weight, this time FOREVER. 

Thanks for following my story, on the good days and the not so good days. I'm determined to make this a better week and finish this year stronger, healthier and better. 

This isn't just about airplanes, anxiety or being supremely embarrassed.  This is about NOT DYING because I didn't take good care of myself.  

I'm committed to saving my own life, again. I need to be.  I need to keep talking about it and blogging about it until it starts to shape my reality.  As the pieces continue to fall into place over the next month of transition I can feel a storm of commitment brewing and I'm believing it's chock full of discipline, motivation, and all the mojo in the world. I have to believe that.

I have to believe.  I'm not alone.  Love this song by the way I Have to Believe by Rita Springer  

Who's with me?

Clara

Saturday, August 19, 2017

I'm Not Who I Was...

Gosh SO much has happened since my last post in April!! Quick update...I DID finish that Whole 30. It went well! And then I allowed myself to get too busy to make healthy eating a priority, yada, yada, yada.

Me and mud mountain? Bffs. Again.

I always learn stuff though, ya know? Every difficult situation I'm faced with seems to end with me going "oooooohhhhh...that makes sense." Sometimes I'm rolling my eyes at myself, trust me. But much of the time, I also try to extend some grace to myself, because I know how important, yet against human nature, that can be. It's much easier to make fun of yourself, be self-deprecating, and scoop another bowl of ice cream while I wait for myself to get my act together. Because, obviously, at some point, I just will, right?

Yeah, nope. That's not how it works.

I stumbled across that amazing nugget of a truth bomb this past week when my Facebook Memories (a blessing and a curse, really) reminded me of a time just a few short years ago where I had a no excuses approach to my fitness regime.

"Can't vs won't. Don't tell me you can't do this healthy lifestyle thing or you don't have time or its too hard. I absolutely won't believe you. Just look at what I have done and am doing! It's doable folks. A healthy lifestyle needs to be a priority. Even being a mommy, super busy traveling career person, and preachers wife in my case. It's not only doable it makes you better at all the other jobs you have. So don't say can't. At least not to me."

I wrote that on August 17th, 2013. Almost exactly 4 years ago. So, yes, a blessing and a curse to see how AWESOME I was doing then, and how pitifully I've been doing now. The "grace" part of me reminds myself that I created two humans, and sustained ones life for a year, in the last 2 years. That I have been working my busy corporate job and running a super successful side business. That I'm older and more tired than I was back then.

But if I'm being SUPER honest with myself...a great bit of that grace has turned into excuses at this point. And my own self, from 4 years ago, smacked my 2017 self upside the head with that this week. It stung a little, if I'm being honest. But also brought the last few months full circle. Let me explain.

If we roll the clock back a few months here, let me divert your attention away from my waistline to tell you about some other HUGE news....I was offered an AMAZING new corporate job opportunity with a hospital company in their division office. I start this coming Monday! We will be moving to Tallahassee in early October as that is where my office will be. A few massive amazing changes are that I will be focusing on organizational development (the WAY more fun side of human resources) and my travel footprint will be much, much smaller. I also am joining an incredibly stable company with a ton of growth opportunity. Very sad to leave my current role and teams, but equally excited about this new adventure. So, yes, lots of big changes coming up and FAST.

So after deciding to leave BKD and start this new adventure I had some other major decisions come about. A few weeks ago it was a Tuesday morning and I was drinking my coffee in my recliner contemplating the day. It was a work from home day. I had packages to do from the weekend's sales over my lunch break for my LuLa biz and frankly, had been putting them off. I was tired, weary, and suddenly had a HUGE catharsis.

What things am I doing to prevent myself from reaching my health goals?

My LuLaRoe business. I like it. It's fun. I love the clothes. It's profitable. I'm good at it. BUT. It takes up ALL of my spare time aside from work. My kids miss me. My husband supports me but worries about me when I'm up late into the night answering questions or perfecting packages. We eat out alot. While I can technically work from my living room I'm still actually absent when glued to my phone. When you're good at selling LuLaRoe you're slammed busy. That was me. Really good at it. But really really busy.

Sometimes, we aren't meant to do something just because we are good at it. 

Sometimes, we have to make choices that mean we cannot do everything and that is powerful.

I decided in that moment that I needed to close my LuLa biz. It came as a shock, even to myself. But I felt SO sure and SO free and SO relieved once I talked to Stephen about it. He supported me and agreed, with my new job, the travel especially at the beginning, the move, I needed to be able to focus on those things and relieve myself of my extra responsibility.

So I spent the next few days and weeks getting my stuff together to go out of business. Had one final "thank you for your support" sale and stayed up until 2am multiple days that week packaging up over 400 orders from my less than 24 hour private sale. It was exhausting. This past week I mailed the remaining inventory back to LuLaRoe corporate for a refund that will pay off a huge chunk of (non lula related) personal debt, which was one of my goals when going into the business in the first place.

I am SO happy I took that adventure on. It was a fast, profitable 9 months and I have zero regrets, a closet full of amazing clothes (like, don't even ask me how many Carly's I own...I lost count) and will be debt free in the very near future thanks to this awesome business opportunity. ALL amazing reasons that it was the right thing to do for me, at the time. LLR also provided a good solid distraction for me when I needed it to, to relieve the focus from my post partum depression and get myself out of the house and focusing on others. My why drove me and I made so many amazing friends through this as well! Friends that just might be reading this blog for the first time, today.

Some people close businesses because they aren't profitable or they feel they failed. Neither of these things applied to me. I closed my business because I have other business to attend to. My free time is earmarked for some MAJORLY important things.

I need to focus on getting myself healthy again, and doing whatever it takes to get there.

YES I've been busy. I have had many many distractions and things in the way of me making any kind of progress since W was born.

But even though "grace" might say I solidly COULD NOT with my schedule...I still CHOSE that schedule. So it was much more of a WOULD NOT situation.

And while I'm solidly OK with that, I'm also VERY excited about my newfound time and what this WILL mean now that I'm refocusing said time.

  • Time with my growing little baby boy (16 months old!), and my sweet almost 14 year old growing young teenage girl (insert face of terror here as she gets prettier every SINGLE day). 
  • Time with my amazing husband of almost 18 years. 
  • Time to really enjoy my career and know what it's like to actually finish work at a reasonable time then go for a walk, make a healthy dinner, prep food for the next day....what are these things??? lol 
  • And finally, time for THIS. My blog. My place of accountability. I can try to replicate my successes from the past, but I will fail. My life is incredibly different from what it was in 2010 when I began this journey. The ONE constant that I know will be the same is the need for this outlet and place of tracking my progress. 
Because I may be reading these words a year from today almost at my goal and SO proud of my progress. Or I may be reading these words on my 40th birthday, verklempt that I actually managed to get it together and save my own life again.

I'm so thankful I have these years of blogging to look back on and remember where I was and when. As I begin blazing a NEW trail and a NEW journey for myself over the coming days, weeks and months, I am excited to have it to inspire myself in the now and in the going forward. THIS BLOG was and has always been a huge key to my success. And heck, maybe even a few of you out there who have hung in for this roller coaster will also be inspired. Let me know if you're with me.

I'm still Clara...but also not who I was. I'm better, older, (hopefully) wiser, and ready to take on some amazing new things. I'm Not Who I was by Brandon Heath

Let's do all the things!

Hugs,

Clara

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Turning a VERY Heavy Page

Hey friends!

This week was a major turning point for me and I feel like getting my headspace back where it needed to be has been a major undertaking in and of itself.  Forget actually making change, I've come to realize I need to be focused enough, AND ready enough for the "want to" to turn into "doing."  Let me bring you up to speed.

When I posted last October I was getting ready to open my LuLaRoe business and begin that journey. Wyatt was 6 months old, still nursing exclusively and life was generally going ok!

My female cycles came back at 8 months post partum...how unfair.  Can I get an amen?  A great number of women experience two things during exclusively nursing their babies.  They have no period until they stop nursing, and they lose weight while breastfeeding.  Guess what? NEITHER of those things applied to me.

So, what?

Well, I have battled this issue called Postpartum Depression and anxiety pretty badly since Wyatt arrived with us.  I struggled a great deal but had found a decent place around the last time I wrote here.  Then, Aunt Flo came back for an uninvited visit, and the hormone shift threw me backwards in my forward progress in many ways.  Queue terrible mood swings, awful food cravings, and feeling just horrible about how I looked.  Even with my gorgeous clothes, I was struggling.

I was crazy busy getting my business off the ground and just buried myself in it.  This was healthy in some ways, and unhealthy in others.  It has made me very successful in a short amount of time, and the distraction has been good.  On the flip side, it has definitely made me busier, and having time to food prep and exercise has been laughable.

The holidays were TOUGH on me.  I was down, depressed, feeling fat and gross, and exhausted.  Felt like I wasn't going to find my way out of the funk.  We rounded the first of the year and while it hasn't been perfect, I've been trying my hardest to find my way out of the pit I seemed to have climbed into. I can't even say fallen, because I made SO many poor conscious choices that it only seems fair to truly admit that I put myself there.  Even in a low headspace, I know better.  And still.  I did not do better.

Now we are about to begin May.  I've missed all the gorgeous outside weather and it's beginning to get muggy and hot.  I finally saw my doctor last month and we talked through the issues and I'm working on rebalancing my hormones some.  We will see if that helps.

In the meantime, last week I finally decided enough was enough.  On the tail end of being sick AGAIN (the second time this year) I got a massive migraine.  That's it, I told myself. IT.  Wyatt is weaned for the most part.  He's doing fantastically, growing, developing, and eating well.  He's paleo, by the way, with the exception of his birthday cake which he hated.

So Monday I began a Whole 30.  Because Monday is when everything starts over.  And Mondays are already generally pretty terrible, so why not begin a challenging eating plan then?

I took my "before" pictures on Tuesday.  I weighed in.  I still need to do measurements and will try to get those done tomorrow.

I laid awake most nights this week in bed pondering my before pictures.  It's not like I hadn't realized that I had gained the weight back, ALL of it.  It's not like I had pictured myself skinny and so it was shocking.  It's not like I didn't realize when I tried to sit in chairs at restaurants or walk through smaller spaces that it felt different.

But snapping those pictures.  Then looking at them.  And really FACING myself.  That was tough.  The internal struggle of wanting to give up before I even began again started plaguing my late night thoughts.  How did I let this happen?  Why haven't I gotten ahold of it yet? How am I going to fit cooking and eating whole foods back into my non negotiables of my schedule?  How how HOW?

That's when I realized I was spending WAY too much time looking backwards.  While it's great to re-read my blogs from the past, see how I did things before, what made me successful, and basking in the glory days, I have to look AHEAD.

This time I am older, my life is busier, I have two children instead of one, two jobs instead of one, and what feels like a massive pile of weight to lose.  What I do have going for me deep down in the folds of my memory is tons of recipes, shortcuts to eating well especially while traveling, and the DESIRE to find my way forward.

Notice I didn't say find my way "back."

Because I don't want to be who I was before I had my sweet rainbow baby and my super fun, successful side business.

I want to be healthy with my life now.  And that might take longer, be tougher, and look different.

So, much like when I began this blog in 2010, I'm here, just a girl sitting in her plus size shift dress, 6 days into her 10th Whole 30, setting myself goals for May 2017.

Here's what they look like:

- Complete the Whole 30 successfully, and extend if feeling like I need more time
- Begin walking at least 4 days/week
- Take some "me" time, be it a massage, pedicure or girls day out.  Something small each week.
- Don't overschedule myself.  Have at least ONE day a week I nap or sleep in (or both).
- Plan my food weekly and stick to the plan.  Meal prep before traveling.
- Write in my blog at least 2 times in May.
- ENJOY my life and live it, not let it pass me by.

Of course my business goals are a little more specific but wanted to keep my personal goals more high level and attainable.  Once I crush those they will get a little more intense the more I see success.  Baby steps.

Over the last year I have tried reading the end of the book a few times, looking for it all to just fall back into place for me, and really only accomplished my goal of nursing my son for a year.  It's not been a bust, my friends.  THAT goal was super important to me and I'm really proud of how hard it was to make that happen with how much I had going on.

But the page, my friends, has officially been turned.

Game on.

Hugs & Love,
Clara

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Finding My Way

Hey world! Checking in after coming out of my "gained all the weight back" closet a few weeks ago. I have been overwhelmed by your kind comments here, on my Facebook page, private messages and texts.  While I found it very tough to admit my defeat, and publicly call myself out like I did in my last post (here if you missed it) I have also felt a great deal of relief.

I ended up getting sick AGAIN...to the tune of bronchitis! And since I'm limited in what drugs I can take since I'm nursing Wyatt, needless to say, it has been a miserable few weeks. But, alas, I'm coming out on the other side of the illness and longing to get a routine going again.  The gorgeous, clear, crisp (yet still warm) fall days are beckoning me to meet once again outside of this house.  We live in a really pretty neighborhood.  When I say pretty, I don't mean huge, cookie cutter homes. Instead, it's a combination of beautiful, some older, some newer houses with large tree lined lots, birds singing and wildlife. I love it here.  As soon as this nagging cough subsides I plan to be outside a great deal this fall.  Walking to start with dreams of jogging these beautiful streets again.

In the meantime, I have some other exciting news to share with you all.  I've been working on opening a LulaRoe clothing boutique of my own! LulaRoe is a clothing company and I signed up to be a consultant.  I will be able to sell clothes out of my home, at in home pop up boutique parties and online.  The reason I decided to do this (in addition to my full time job, not in place of!) is these clothes have helped me SO MUCH to restore my confidence in myself, even at this uncomfortable weight of mine. They make clothes for XXS - 3XL and literally anyone can find something they love. I'm really looking forward to helping other women be comfortable in their own skin! If you'd like to follow my LLR journey, join my Facebook group here.  I've been doing all kind of fun drawings and giveaways as I await my official "call" to onboard.

I never imagined myself as someone who would sell clothes.  In fact, people selling, especially on Facebook, gets old to me.  In my excitement about beautiful, comfortable clothes, I've rekindled a passion from years ago, of putting together outfits, accessorizing, and enjoying fashion overall.  I have lost count of how many friends I have helped shop over the years.  Shopping and time with my friends?  Yes, please.

Of course I'm keeping my day job in corporate merica and have no plans to change that anytime soon. This will just be a fun, extra thing for myself and Lizzie to focus our time on (she's crazy about the clothes herself!).

I do much better in life overall if I am super busy.  So, here we go again folks.  Maybe I'm crazy to have a busy corporate job, a 6 month old baby (and almost 13 year old!) and now an extra business. And then I'll be somehow fitting my fitness routine back in as well...

While mildly overwhelming, I'm also really, truly excited and looking forward to the journey.

In fitness news, this weekend I'm taking my new "before" pictures.  Which is terrifying and exciting all at once.  Taking new pictures has always been like drawing a line in the sand. I have no idea what's on the other side of that line, just yet.  But I am certain it will be all good things. My nutrition has been decent lately.  I'm working on not going too far off the rails this weekend, and meal planning for the next week. I have been cooking more lately, and enjoying my time back in the kitchen.  I don't see a Whole 30 on the horizon just yet, but I'm moving in that general direction.

My focus is positive, and my focus will determine my outlook.  So I'm looking now at my very full next few months and I am grateful for my life.  Every high, low, and bump in between.

More to come soon!
Clara

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Starting Over

Despite my good intentions, I have not spent the time I should have sharing about where I am in my journey right now.  To be completely honest, there is a part of me that was waiting until I got to a better place with my postpartum weight before going public with the world, aka my little group of blog followers. I have written and erased this blog post in my mind hundreds of times over in the last 6 months. I wasn't ready to "come out" with where I am right now.  It was too painful.  Too hard.

Instead I have contemplated giving up this Fitness and Encouragement blog, my finger hovering over the "delete page" button on Facebook more than I care to admit.

I have also not made a major effort to reconnect with old friends here in the area now that we have moved back.  Not because I don't love them, or that they aren't important to me, or even because I'm not happy to be back. If I'm being completely transparent, it's because I am feeling some awful feelings about where I am and how I look right now. I have had days where I didn't have the courage to leave the house, I hated how I looked so much.  I'm avoiding mirrors and pictures at all costs. If I catch a mirror at all, it's highly possible I will change my mind about venturing out.

I'm reminded of the Clara from 2009.

I LOOK like her.

I FEEL like her.

I AM HER.  I weigh the same as I did at my heaviest.

Yes, you heard that right.  Me, Clara, who has been regarded as an "example" and an "inspiration," (not my words, yours!) who has beaten the odds dozens of times, who lost a significant amount of weight (120 pounds at one point) and then kept off most of it (over 100 pounds for a solid few years), has gained it all back.

Here is the obligatory "BEFORE...AFTER...NOW..." picture.

June 2009 (285) - July 2013 (`82) - September 2016 (285)

I realize fully how unflattering my new "now" picture is, but I was serious when I said I've been avoiding the camera.  It's literally the best picture I've got right now.  And well, while we are being real, there you have it.

I realized recently that I am not going to get to a good place until I am totally honest with not only myself, but those of you who have supported me through the years. {This is in large part due to a heart to heart talk with a very dear friend this past Monday.  Love you so much!}

I have always been REAL with my successes and failures.  But I have never quite hit ground zero again like I have now.

Having lost 100 pounds and kept it off for a few years, to gain it all back...this is hard, my friends.  On so many levels.

And I can't even say something encouraging like, "On Monday, I'm starting this new plan!" or "And I have my journey BACK down Mud Mountain totally planned out and navigated!"

Because you know what? I don't have a perfect, fool proof plan.  I am not sure when I'll be able to really start making progress back down this path to being fit again, from the scale's perspective.  

This is a really really hard place to be, but there is a silver lining.  What?  I know.  I'm questioning this line of thinking myself, but stay with me. I realized something really important when conversating with the above mentioned dear friend and she encouraged me to share it with you.

I really thought, at one point, that this healthy lifestyle that had become a habit for me, was easy and that anyone could do it.  I've ALWAYS said I'm not a super disciplined person...I'm really truly not. I was sure that if someone wanted it enough, they could have the same successes I did.

That very narrow thinking has me kind of lost right now, almost in a haze of confusion, not understanding how I managed to land here, or how to climb back out when I don't even have the energy to food prep. With all I have accomplished and overcome, this should be super easy. Just do what I did before. Retrace my steps.

Right?

Wrong.

When we decided to expand our family in late 2014, I kept worrying that I would gain too much weight while pregnant. I voiced it a few times and anyone I talked to reassured me that I was different now. I knew how to eat.  I could stay active.  I was an athlete! This would be no problem.

It's quite possible that this would have been true had I not experienced the miscarriage.  Or at least partially true. But when your whole world comes crashing down on you and you lose a baby completely unexpectedly, your life as you know it, will never be the same.

So I gained weight during my first, albeit short pregnancy.  Then I gained weight being depressed about the baby we lost, wondering if I had waited too long, and was too old now to have a healthy baby again.

Then there was that moment when I had a positive pregnancy test, just three months after my loss, where I was SO torn.  I felt absolute fear, total elation and was totally upset with myself from a health perspective.  I weighed 225 at that point, and was newly pregnant AGAIN.  There was nowhere to go but upwards on the scale.

My priority was bringing a healthy baby into the world and having a successful pregnancy, so I focused on that.  I tried a whole 30 during the first trimester and finally gave up and ate crackers and cheese because I was starving - I couldn't stand the thought of a green vegetable and raw meat made me want to throw up.  I never did throw up, but just felt like I needed to.  For MOST of the pregnancy.  Only when I gave into cravings did I feel partially decent. And this baby liked S'mores of all things in addition to tons of foods I hadn't indulged in regularly for YEARS.  Part of me felt sweet relief eating any and everything.  I had been so "good" for so long, and everyone encouraged me to eat up, you're pregnant!  I was plowing my way through this pregnancy eating all the things, and feeding that emotional eating demon that made me overweight in the first place. While things seemed to go ok with the pregnancy, I did not know, until they laid this sweet baby boy on my chest, if I would get to meet him this side of heaven.

I did get my rainbow baby.  I have zero regrets about what it took to get him here.

What I honestly regret is not sharing this with you sooner.

I'm left with these difficult to process, challenging facts:

- I haven't been able to make huge dietary changes since baby W arrived without severely affecting my milk supply. Believe me, I have tried.  More than once.  I am one of those breastfeeding mamas who struggles with supply.  I make JUST enough, not a drop more, and that's with tons of supplements, etc., and, unfortunately, tons of carbs (and sweet potatoes and white potatoes aren't enough - trust me, I tried.)
- I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. I had a touch of this with Lizzie so I recognized it when it reared it's ugly head.  It's MUCH better now thanks to supplementation and talking about it, but it's also been a vicious cycle of stress on top of everything else a new mama goes through.  We moved while I was on maternity leave to add to that stress.
- Breastfeeding does NOT equal weight loss for everyone. Some women get super skinny while nursing their babies.  I have not.  Instead, I've actually gained 20 pounds since Wyatt was around 2 weeks old.  Not everyone just loses weight - some women are very fortunate to be able to.  Others, like me, do not.
- I haven't had a full night's rest in almost a year.  I had terrible sleep issues while pregnant.  I would get up anywhere from 5-7 times per NIGHT to potty.  My back hurt constantly.
- I have almost zero extra time/energy for anything once I am done with work, and feeding a baby every two hours ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I am so spent many times the "what's for dinner" question in my house has been answered by a local restaurant or peanut butter and jelly.  Ugh.
- I am solidly around 280-285 pounds.  I seem to move daily within that range.  My highest weight was 285 in 2009.  I'm there again.
-I am scared.

Yes.  I'm scared that I won't ever be fit again.  No, I'm not being dramatic.  I have a hard time getting up off the floor.  I tried doing some kettlebell workouts recently and ended up throwing out my back.  I've never thrown out my back! I was literally down for days.

I share all of this for THREE reasons.

ONE - I need this blog, probably more than anyone reading it ever needed me.  I started it in early 2010 when I had lost 30lbs and then broke my ankle. I sat at this same dining room table articulating my first post, having no idea what the result would be but praying it would help me not lose focus since I was unable to walk/run.

TWO - I need to say I'm sorry.  I'm sorry for not coming to the realization that this is NOT easy, especially for a mama of more than one kid, especially for a woman in the workforce, especially for someone who travels for work.

THREE - My story is NOT over.  In 2010 when I began this journey, I had NO IDEA I would lose 100+ pounds and get as fit as I did.  And yet, I did.  I surpassed my goals.  I experienced tons of wins and just as many setbacks.  This setback, this one is toughest.  But it's far from over.

Somewhere really deep down, I know, underneath these squishy layers of motherhood, beneath the exhausted puffy bags under my eyes, and the entire wardrobe that is packed away, lies the strength to do this again.

Will I do it the same way?  Probably not.

Because I am not who I was when I started this journey.

Had you told me I was going to gain all of the weight back, I am not sure how I would have responded.  Probably would have scoffed at you. I was overconfident in my ability to do this.

Today, I am humbled by my reality.

Thanks for reading this all the way through. I hope it made sense, and if nothing else, resonated with someone else out there who isn't where they want to be today.  We can do this, my friends.  One day at a time, one step at a time, and for right now, one hour at a time.  More to come on what's next, and hopefully soon.

Humbly,

Clara