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  • Family photo from the day of our hike and my revelation!
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Do THIS to Lose Weight (What Took Me Half a Century to Learn)

As they say, better late than never, right? 

Well, that’s the way I feel! For years I’ve been challenged with weight issues. I’ve been on the yo-yo for as long as I can remember.

Let me share a rough timeline to sum up my history:

  • I was born into this world weighing 7 pounds at 19 inches long – a nice, average size.
  • Going into the elementary grades, I was somewhat of a chunky-monkey and recall being on my first “diet” in 4th or 5th grade.
  • I took dance classes several days a week, which helped keep the weight in check.
  • This continued into Junior and High School years.
  • After giving birth to my son, I recall being terribly disappointed that the 40 pounds I had gained, did not just disappear.
  • I was the largest I’d ever been and it took several years to get the weight off and was accomplished by diets, diet pills, diet doctors and deprivation.
  • Many diets (and not healthy ones) continued for several years.
  • At the age of 35, I had an emergency hysterectomy and was informed of all of the potential side effect, but all I heard was weight gain.
  • I began to gain, and gain, and gain until I reached this point in 2003:

  • In late 2004, I had an experience that showed me that I COULD actually lose weight despite the hormonal reasons I was convinced would prevent loss and so I began a weight loss journey by joining an internationally known diet program that also markets diet foods (that are claimed to be healthy.)
  • I lost 80 pounds on this program over the next year and a half.
  • The loss was maintained for the next 2.5-3 years.
  • Weight began to creep back on even though I was still eating the so-called diet foods. Yes, I was eating out a lot, too. Sandwiches, toast, crackers, chips, rice were all a part of my eating, but they were allowed on the diet program as long as they were counted.
  • Three years in a row every January, I’d rejoin the diet program and do the same things I had done in past to lose weight.
  • Three years in a row, I’d lose 7-10 pounds then hit a wall. Even with cutting foods and increasing exercise, the wall would not come down.
  • Last July while on a family vacation to celebrate Son’s college graduation, I had a very revealing experience. After a short hike in the desert to see a natural monument and almost not making it due to being so out of shape and overweight in extreme heat while climbing steep boulders, I finally made it to the top. As I stood at that high point to catch my breath and slow my heart rate, the revelation was the fact that I was turning 50 in a few months. I did NOT want to spend the next 50 years feeling like an old lady who couldn’t enjoy the fun and adventurous things with her family. I was determined that 50 was going to be a good year and changes would need to be made. I came home from that trip and started the same things as before and once again, lost 7-10 pounds – then hit that same wall. Yes, frustrated and discouraged the weight returned plus more!

July 2013, Our Family Vacation at Big Bend National Park

That’s me at the top of Balance Rock catching my breath and realizing that change was needed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • March of this year, I was introduced to what I have now discovered makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in losing weight.

 

It’s time everyone knows!

Every day, millions of people spend hard-earned money joining diet programs, buying diet pills, drinks, powders, shots, prepackaged foods, undergoing surgeries (and some have those surgeries a second, third and for some – a fourth time).

In other words, people will spend hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars putting things INTO their bodies when all it comes down to is NOT putting some things in their bodies – and it doesn’t cost to eliminate it.

Now, let’s keep in mind as I have already stated, I was supposedly doing everything right for those three years – the same things I did back in 2004 to lose – but yet without experiencing success. Each year that I would hit that wall, I’d be terribly discouraged and would gain back the 7-10 pounds plus some. I had even started to think perhaps I was just going to have to spend the rest of my life at that 7-10 pound loss and no more. What a LIE!

As posted a few days ago, I am a former breadaholic. I always felt there were many foods I could go without, but bread was not one of them! Nor crackers, chips, rice, etc. I could give up cakes and cookies, but not bread. Or so I thought!

You see the very things that were causing that wall, that roadblock to loss, were the very things I felt I could not ever live without. But I have realized I CAN and not only that, I do not have a desire for them any longer! 

Starches and Sugar! These foods break down into sugar (glucose) and when too much glucose is produced, it is stored as fat. When we are constantly eating these starchy foods, then our body is using that for energy instead of using the fat already stored in our bodies.

When I say, eliminate starches, I’m not talking about eliminating all carbohydrates.

NO! We need carbs! Carbohydrates are one of the six classes of nutrients our bodies need (in addition to water, protein, vitamins, minerals and fat) and you get plenty of carbs from vegetables and fruits. I’m talking grains, cereals, potatoes, corn, beans, rice, etc. Especially grains (bread and cereal come from these), rice and starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn. Also, ALL prepackaged and processed foods.

What I have learned from being introduced to this new way of eating is that the very things I said I could not live without are the very things that caused me to continuously hit that wall and not lose beyond those 7-10 pounds. Once I eliminated those foods from my daily eating, the pounds began to melt off.

In addition to the new eating lifestyle, this is important…exercise! Consistent, regular exercise turns the body into a fat burning machine. Not only is it good for losing excess weight, but for good health in general. It may not always be convenient, but it IS necessary. Find something you enjoy and then do it regularly. A simple walking routine is a great start. Adding strength training has multiple benefits (perhaps I’ll share more on this later.)

As a result, I dropped 70 pounds in exactly six months and did it while consuming foods that contain all the healthy nutrients my body requires: vegetables, lean meats and fish, fruits in moderation, dairy in moderation, healthy fats and drinking large amounts of water daily. Most of the foods I consume are organic, grass-fed, non-gmo, pasture-raised, etc. Foods that are free of toxins, as toxins block the body’s ability to convert and burn energy as it should.

One of the most impressive (and important) factors to me in my new eating lifestyle is that I am totally, 100%, completely satisfied! 

From March 2014 to September 2014 Six Months and Seventy Pounds Lighter!

So it comes down to this: Do not spend money on products and procedures and plans that require putting additional things into your body. Instead, eliminate foods that are starches and sugars and watch the weight melt.

A recent quote I saw said this (and it’s so true): “No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”

I must confess…this has been extremely easy for me–much more than I ever imagined!  And definitely worth it! The benefits are numerous.

It only took me half a century to learn what THIS is, but I’m glad I did now. I have at least another half century that I will now enjoy being in the best health and shape of my life.

Do THIS and you, too, can lose weight! And now you know what THIS is.

(For more details on my new eating lifestyle, please refer to this post.)

When at my largest in 2003 to my current size and weight – exactly 100 pounds different:

Then and Now

One of the tools that I use to help me stay on track in counting calories and nutrients (to ensure I do not consume too many sugars in a day) is MyFitnessPal. Below is the ticker from that site/app and it is kept constantly up-to-date. I encourage you to check it out at http://www.MyFitnessPal.com!

 

I’ll Not Forget

I remember exactly what happened on this day in 2001 – where I was and what I was doing when I first heard and then saw the events that have made 9/11 (sadly) something everyone instantly connects with – especially in the USA.

However, this day in 2009 holds another memory for me, too.

A memory that is VERY good! It’s the day that I took possession of my first DSLR, a gift from my parents.

Since that day five years ago, I’ve had a number of photos published, purchased and even have a large acrylic hanging in a local McDonald’s restaurant as well as one of my photos covering a Texas Department of Transportation recycle truck! Things I could never had imagined!

I decided to go back in time to the very first photos I took and posted on my photo site from that camera.

Of course they would be of my model, Lucy.

Look at me, aren't I cute?

Boredom

…and my son.

What'cha say?

September 11th holds many memories – some not so good and others great.

Either way, it’s a day I will never forget!

The Secret to My Success

…is no secret at all!

For those who’ve missed the last couple of posts, this past Saturday marked the day that I met my weight-loss goal. (I’d suggest you read THIS and then THIS if you missed them.) One day early of an exact six month period, I met my goal of losing 70 pounds. I shared this accomplishment on social media and as a result, a number of people have contacted me wanting to know what my secret is. I’ve decided to share on this forum how I met my goal and things you can do to reach yours. As I’ve said numerous times, “If I can do it, anyone can!”

(If interested in going back three months ago to where I first shared what I was doing and why, click HERE.) 

WHAT

What you must have to accomplish anything in life is what I have referred to for years as the 3 Keys to Success: Commitment, Consistency and Perseverance. Without Commitment, you might as well hang it up now. This part is mental and is accomplished by making the choice and decision to make changes to produce results. Consistency is what creates momentum and forms good habits. Perseverance, well, there are times that the only way you will continue is to push through and persevere.

WHY

One of the most important things that must happen before anything else is to have a desire to make a change. Without that, you won’t succeed. Now, how do you get that desire? By discovering your Weight Loss Whys! WHY do you want to lose weight? What will you accomplish as a result? You must know why you want it and what you’ll have as a result of the loss to help you create the vision. You must have a vision of your destination in order to make a plan for the journey. IT’S A MUST! This will be your motivation at those times when discouragement or disappointments (or temptations) come. And they will come!

HOW

Next, it’s important to have a support system. This can be anyone who will encourage, support and cheer you on. I was blessed to have not only great friends and family (those few who knew in the beginning what I was doing), but also two others who were creating a new lifestyle with me. Having others who were going through this transformation at the same time made it so much more fun and it was nice to have others who could understand what I was going through. My hubby made the decision to make the same changes and as a result: he dropped 60 plus pounds, is in the best shape of his life and is actually younger! My girlfriend who has been by my side the entire time doing the same things had a set back with a back injury, but she is still SO CLOSE to her goal and will be there very, very soon! Support systems are of great benefit and I encourage you to set yours up. Whether it’s someone doing it with you or just cheering you on!

THE PLAN in a Nutshell (The most exciting thing about this plan is it is all natural and does not involve any pills, shots, drinks, powders, surgery, prepackaged meals, monthly or weekly meetings – spending money on things outside of food.)

I’m thankful for the wisdom and knowledge of a great man who shared his wisdom and knowledge with us on exactly what to do and the benefits. There was also a good bit of research that I did to educate myself even more and to back up the suggestions that were given. As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.”

To start, we did an overnight cleanse. The purpose of the cleanse is to pull out all the built up sludge and candida in the intestines, to detox and to allow maximum absorption of nutrients that will be consumed. (*Note: we continue to cleanse every 4 weeks for the same reasons stated above.)

The first three days following the cleanse we did a Soup Fast of a delicious soup made with chicken and non-starchy vegetables. This was consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, basically any time there was hunger. Nothing else for those three days but soup and water, water, water (and herbal tea if desired.) The purpose of the Soup Fast for this period is to put nutrients back into your system in mostly liquid form for easy digestion and it also causes the stomach to shrink so that when the new food plan is introduced, it doesn’t take as much food to satisfy and fill you up. (I will admit – although the soup tastes very good, after three days you may never want it again and thankfully it’s never a part of the plan again.)

Following the three-day Soup Fast, we consumed our “new” food lifestyle and added exercise. (If you’ve not been exercising, start slow and build up. You want to gradually increase your duration, distance, etc. We started with walking and then added long distant walking, hiking and strength training.)

Foods to Consume: (This is a great time to switch to organic if you haven’t already and avoid GMOs. There really is benefit in organic foods and despite what you may be assuming, your grocery bill will not go up. As a matter of fact, ours went WAY DOWN! You have to figure, you are no longer purchasing junk foods, packaged, boxed and processed foods and eating out is cut down tremendously. If you can set yourself to consume at least 75-80% organics, that is a great goal. After detoxing the last thing you want to do is put toxins back in your body.)

  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Fruits (limited to two servings a day due to natural sugars. Because bananas are very high in sugar, limit these to ½ once a week)
  • Lean meats – grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, turkey, wild-caught fish (except catfish), etc. (I personally avoid pork. If you do a little research, you will want to avoid it, too.)
  • Eggs, egg whites
  • Good fats in moderation – olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, olives, etc.
  • Dairy in moderation – raw milk is best but not necessary, organic yogurt, white cheeses, etc.
  • WATER WATER WATER
  • Any seasonings including garlic, minced onion, lemon or lime juice, etc. (Lemon or lime juice is encouraged to use on foods as it helps the body to absorb nutrients. Putting lemon or lime juice in water tells the body there are nutrients in it to be absorbed.)

All of the above foods contain 100% nutrients. These foods contain live calories as opposed to dead calories found in processed and packaged foods. I find that now when going to the grocery store, 95% or more of our items go in the refrigerator.

Foods to Avoid:

  • All processed and packaged foods. (A general rule of thumb – if it contains more than one ingredient, it’s processed.)
  • All starches
  • Breads (enriched, whole, sprouted, all types)
  • Any and all grains in any form (crackers, chips, rice, cereals, etc.)
  • Starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes
  • Beans (these are added in moderation later)
  • Nuts (these are added in moderation later)
  • Any and all foods containing added sugar including juices
  • Sugars, sugar substitutes, all forms of sweeteners including honey, agave, maple, etc. (If sweetener is needed, Stevia is okay in moderation.)

All of the above foods break down to glucose (blood sugar) and an excess will cause your body to increase the storage of fat.

Cooking:

I am one who has never enjoyed cooking, but this has been so easy. Most everything is cooked stove-top using a little coconut oil to sauté. The faster foods cook, the more nutrients are retained.

Get creative with using veggies to make alternatives. Believe it or not, the best pizza crust is made with cauliflower. Cauliflower and/or yellow squash can be made into delicious “flats” to use for taco shells or even sandwiches. (You can find a few recipes on my site by doing a search in the search bar at the bottom of the page.)

Calories:

Sweet Hubby and I are both committed to counting calories. This I believe, has been a HUGE part of our success! With technology it’s so much easier than it was years ago to count calories and now it’s actually fun. We have found (after experimenting with different sites and apps) that MyFitnessPal app and website (www.myfitnesspal.com) is a tremendous tool in helping us stay on track. We also use Runkeeper app and website (www.runkeeper.com) to track exercise that can be synced with MyFitnessPal.

Exercise:

Do something! Move, walk, get in a routine and push through even when you don’t feel like it. I’ve created such a habit of exercising that it’s now like brushing my teeth – I just do it. Yes there are days that I don’t feel like it, but I go back to my Weight Loss Whys and they help motivate me to persevere. And do you know what always happens? I always feel so much better after and thankful I pushed through and just did it!

Personally, I started with walking and rebounding. I added strength training in around the end of month two and now consistently alternate between days of cardio workouts (using HIIT) and strength training. When I added strength training to my routine is when I really began to notice the inches fall. But what is most important is to do something! Some type of physical activity done on a consistent routine is what is important. Find something you enjoy or can learn to enjoy!

All of the above information is the basis of what we have done and are continuing to do. There are more details I can share if you are interested, just let me know.

SIDE NOTE: I was reluctant to commit to giving up the items I was addicted to. However with the process of the cleanse, the soup fast and consuming so much nutrition in the foods we eat, my cravings have completely changed. I now crave an orange (for my dessert) every evening and it has never tasted so sweet. I lost all cravings for the things I was addicted to and am SO SATISFIED with the foods I consume that I have no need for any of those other things.

The results speak for themselves.

60 plus pounds lost, accomplished in 4 months!

70 pounds lost, accomplished in six months!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

There is truth in the phrase, “Nothing tastes as good as thin (and healthy) feels!”

So now you know the secret to my success! As I said, there’s no secret at all!

Where There is Vision, There is Hope! Before and After: 70 Pounds Lighter

As I shared the other day, after six short months, my weight loss goal has been met. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still have work to do…continual toning plus I want to drop a few more pounds to have some wiggle-room. I’ll forever be living this new lifestyle (gladly and happily)…however, my goal to drop 70 pounds has been accomplished!

For the first time in my life, I FINALLY know what it means to, “Eat to live – not live to eat!”

In the future I will post more on the details of WHY this change happened and HOW, but for now I want to show a few before and after photos.

Since my post on meeting my goal, a number of people have reached out to me to congratulate me on the accomplishment. For that I am beyond grateful! But more importantly are the handful that have been in contact to let me know that my changes have inspired them to make changes, too. Now THAT is what it’s all about and the reason I make this public. There’s no greater compliment than to have someone else want to mimic me in this area of life. It brings me to tears to know that their lives will be changed forever, just as mine. To live happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives is the REAL goal!

Before I show you the photos from the past year and where I was when I started six months ago, let me show you a couple from where I was 11 years ago, at my largest. It is quite embarrassing to show these, but it’s important to see just how big a difference there is from a decade. I know many (and I, too, felt this way at one time) who think they are beyond being able to find that person that is buried inside of them. That is simply a lie of the devil! It is NEVER too late to make changes that will last a lifetime and ones that can make that lifetime an even longer period.

(I am always a little uncomfortable sharing photos of myself. I am much more comfortable being behind that camera as opposed to in front of it. With that said, if showing these will help even one person by encouraging them that they, too, can make a change – well, then it’s worth it to me!)

Photos from around 2002/2003:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After losing weight, maintaining that loss for a few years then gradually putting weight back on, I ended up back at the place of personal disgust by March of this year. That is when changes took place that will last a lifetime.

How do I know this when I have lost before only to gain weight again? Because this time I have for the first time REALLY created a lifestyle that is easy, healthy and makes it possible to live this way for the rest of my years. As was mentioned above, learning the difference of eating to live as opposed to living to eat makes all the difference. The addictions are gone!

Where I was just six short months ago – 70 pounds heavier than I currently am: 

 

 

Having met the goal two days ago, my hubby took the following images to represent where I currently am…70 pounds lighter! 

    

 

 

CREATING THE VISION

There is significance in the above photo and it is very special to me! Let me explain:

When I lost weight ten years ago, I had purchased a pair of pants that were EXTREMELY too small for me in hopes of getting into them. I never made it and never even cut the tags off those pants.

In April of this year, about a month into my new lifestyle, I dug deep into my storage closet to bring out a bag of clothes I had saved in hopes of finding some items to wear as I began to drop inches. When going through the stacks, that pair of pants surfaced – tags and all. I held them up and laughed as I showed them to my Sweet Hubby. I said, “These are T-I-N-Y and if I am ever able to fit into them, I will then know I have truly lost!” I took those pants – tags and all – and tried them on to see just how far I could get them up, with him as my witness. They made it slightly above my ankles, no joke! I hung those pants in my closet for the purpose of giving me a vision and a goal. Every few weeks I would try them on and every few weeks they would move up higher and higher until they finally made it up around my hips.

The shirt is one that came back with my hubby when he returned from Peru at the end of May. When I held up the shirt after he presented it to me, I kindly thanked him while laughing and informing him that he accidentally brought me a child’s shirt. I tried it on to prove to him and sure enough, the shirt squeezed over my chest and fit like a child’s size tee-shirt. He was insistent that he was absolutely sure it was a woman’s shirt and asked that I put in my drawer for later. To appease him, I did, all while laughing inside thinking he for certain was mistaken.

Today when looking for something to try on for the “after” photos, I pulled out both the pants and the shirt – lo and behold they both fit! 

If you learn nothing else from my testimony, please learn this…Where there is vision, there is ALWAYS hope! And if I can do it, so can YOU!

The After – 70 Pounds Lighter! 

And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 The Message

Hello. My Name is Debbi and I Am…

Hello. My name is Debbi and I am…
a former breadaholic!

I have been delivered, redeemed, set free from the bondage of bread. Not only bread but: crackers, chips, rice, pasta, potatoes, cereals, grains, corn, basically all starches, sugar, sweets, packaged and processed foods.Baby Debbi

My strange (although not uncommon) relationship with the above mentioned foods began at a very young age. It began as an infant with my first bite of that warm, mushy stuff called Infant Cereal. Then came the cereal snacks (you know, the round ones that every mother feeds their toddlers), teething biscuits and so on.

Six months ago, on March 7th, 2014, I did the unthinkable. The very thing I said I could NEVER do (and the same thing I’ve heard so many others say they cannot do after sharing with them what I’ve been doing)

…I gave up my addiction.

And what is one of the most amazing things about giving up that addiction? I don’t miss it! I have no cravings, no desire for those things and let me tell you…that, my friend, is a miracle!

I’m so very grateful and thankful to my God for giving me grace and mercy and for creating me to be a free-willed human capable of making my own choices and decisions. For being a being who can choose to be disciplined, committed, consistent and one who can persevere. (I’m also very thankful to three people in particular: L for sharing her own decision, CE for guidance and wisdom, and Sweet Hubby for partnership and support.)

You see, it takes all of those things to beat an addiction and I am happy – no, make that THRILLED – to say, “I’ve done it!”

As a result of making up my own mind and making a decision to kick the habit, in the last six months I’ve lost 70 (yes, SEVENTY) pounds, dropped numerous sizes and many, many inches! I am currently wearing a size I only dreamed of and never thought possible.

When I purchased some of my most recent pairs of pants in a size 2 (all in different brands), I called my bestie on the way from the store to share how I broke down in tears in the dressing room of a local clothing store. When she asked why, I shared that I finally realized that I really have lost weight when I tried on that size in several different brands and they all fit. I never thought I could ever wear that size – not after all the years of up and down obesity. It was truly a defining moment!

Yes, I broke the addiction and lost unnecessary weight and did it without spending money on programs, pills, drinks, shots, prepackaged meals, etc. I did it by making a committed decision and removing the very foods from my life that had brought about obesity and replacing those with foods containing 100% nutrients – vegetables, lean meats, fruits, dairy in moderation and consistent exercise. The most inexpensive and easiest program I’ve ever done in my life (and I’ve done them all)!

I’m NEVER going back, ever again, I promise you! (I’ve removed every article of clothing from my wardrobe as soon as it has proven to be too big – there’s no sense in holding onto it because it will not be worn by me again!) No matter what age, it’s never too late in life to start and make a change – and this girl will never be starting over again. I’ll be maintaining until Jesus comes back!

And now I am here sharing this with you for several reasons: because I am excited, so you can celebrate and rejoice with me, but mainly to say, “TRUST ME! If I can do it – a former breadaholic – then you can, too!”

“Hello. My name is Debbi and I am a former breadaholic!”

 

A Quick Trip – San Antonio

Last weekend we made a very spontaneous and quick trip to the Hill Country of south-central Texas. 

Son has spent the summer in Austin at UT and now that summer is drawing nigh, we drove down to pick him up, bring him home for a week before he heads north again to begin his second year at Northwestern University’s grad school.

Saturday we drove to San Antonio to spend a few hours with my uncle and aunt (who we do not see often enough) and took some time to see the River Walk (which we do not see often enough.) It was such a quick trip that the only way we would have any time to spend seeing the river, was to get ON the river. So we did. 

Here are a few pictures from our VERY quick trip on the river…

While visiting River Center mall, I discovered my new favorite store…

Primarily PurpleAnd no trip to San Antonio is complete until you see the Alamo – no matter how quick!

A Milestone on the Way to the Goal!

Preface:

Ten years ago, I was huge.

I mean really big! I was the largest, most out of shape I’d ever been in my life.

August 30, 2004, I started on a journey of weight-loss which included eating good (caloric restrictions – but now I know it wasn’t the best way to eat, which included packaged and processed foods) and exercise. On May 12, 2006 I hit my lowest number on the scale in many years which was a loss of more than 80 pounds. After hitting that number, the next three years I was able to maintain while fluctuating between a five to ten pound increase.

After such a huge loss, I was quite content where I was although I could have stood to lose another 10-15 pounds. I had no desire to drop any more weight because after all – I felt wonderful, could fit in and wear cute clothes and settled in the “I’ve arrived” state of mind. I spent the next several years helping others all around the globe (literally) overcome their own weight-loss issues and even published a devotional book on the subject: No More Weighting, Thought for the Week.

Sometime at the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010, the weight began to creep up. I continued to help others through my ministry, No More Weighting, yet at the same time felt like I was not a good example. And that bothered me!

The weight continued to creeped up, up, up gradually over the next four years until February of this year when I was only 25 pounds away from my highest – which was back in August of 2004.

Something needed to change! 

Even after my revelation last summer (you can read about that here) and returning from our trip with a new goal and determination, once the holiday season hit, the weight went back on and continued to climb. I gained 17 pounds from the end of August 2013 to March 7th 2014. Sad. Very sad!

…until March 7th when a change took place! (You will also find out about that in the above link regarding the revelation from last summer.)

Now to the milestone:

As of this morning, the scales showed one pound less than what my lowest weight was back in 2006! Woohoo!

That means I have lost 59 pounds since March 7th and THIS TIME I did it by eating GOOD (really good – organic veggies, fruits, lean meats from grass-fed cows, pasture raised organic chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, dairy, good fats, water, water, water and NO starches, processed foods, sugars, packaged foods whatsoever!)

The difference this time is I am NOT content and I WILL continue until I reach my ultimate goal which is another 10-15 pounds! 

I feel better than I’ve felt in years, and once again I FEEL 24! (For those of you who have followed for a while or know me personally, you know I am and always will be 24 years old. That’s just the way it is!)

Even though I feel great, I am not stopping! I expect to be at my goal by the end of this month or first of next. When I do, I will share with the world, so you will know when it happens – trust me!

I have not been able to locate a photo of me from the beginning of this year when I weighed the most I had in almost 10 years as I always did my best to hide from a camera, but I did manage to find one from our trip last summer that represents to me the beginning of a turning point in my new lifestyle. It is a photo that we took the day of the hike that made me realize I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life out of shape and obese. Even though it took me several months to really make the change, it was definitely a turning point in my life.

So here is the photo along with one from this morning. I’m showing it as Before and During…, because the After will be coming shortly.

And when it does, you WILL know it!

Like I said, this a milestone day on the way to my ultimate goal.

I just had to share and say, “Thank you” to everyone who has been a cheerleader and encourager to me along the way. You have no idea what that means to me and you know who you are!

Don’t let up now, I’m not there yet.

But I will be!

 

 

 

 

 

Drive By Shooting in Illinois (With Camera, to Be Exact!)

It will five years in September since I picked up my first DSLR and began this wonderful world of photography for more than just snap shots. 

I’ve had a camera in my hand since childhood, but this is different.

Yet, then again…I still take snap shots – as you will see in this post.

Many miles have been traveled in a vehicle in the last five years, with camera in tow. Most of the time, my Sweet Hubby is behind the wheel and I’m hanging out the passenger window to “get the shot.”

On our recent trip to Chicago, nothing was different.

He drove, I shot. 

I decided on that trip to start a Collection of Galleries on my photography website, appropriately called Drive By Shootings.

It will take a while to get the past ones organized, but we all have to start somewhere, right? So, why not start with the most recent.

If you are interested in seeing my gallery, Drive By Shooting in Illinois, click on the image below:

Sainte Genevieve, Missouri

On our way home from Chicago last month, we stayed a night in St. Genevieve, MO. We arrived around 5pm and discovered that the small town (even on a Saturday) shuts down at 5. That was just fine, because all we needed to do was grab a bite to eat and then do a quick walk-through to satisfy my desire to grab some photos of the interesting and very old buildings.

There is quite a bit of history in this place and the building show it!

Here are just a few tidbits of info on Sainte Genevieve:

  • It was founded in 1735.
  • Is the oldest permanent European settlement in the state of Missouri.
  • Was founded by French Canadians.
  • It contains 29 types of architecture.
  • Three of the five surviving poteaux en terre (posts-in-the-ground) houses in the nation are in Ste. Genevieve.
  • The Old Brick House is currently a restaurant (where we had dinner) and is the oldest brick building west of the Mississippi River.

You can visit the town and see the gallery of images I took while on our photo walk here: 

 (Click on the image to view the gallery.)
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In Every Small Town

What do I mean by the title of this post? I’ll tell you.

In every small town, I think of my dad. Isn’t that sweet?

I can’t help it. I always look for the old train depot.

While passing through Arcola, IL on our recent vacation, it wasn’t hard to find the old train depot. It is the Visitor’s Information Center and houses the world’s largest broom collection (Arcola is known as the Broom Corn Capitol of the World) and an extensive Raggedy Ann and Andy collection (the birthplace of the creator of the two siblings.)

As we were walking around the old depot, lo and behold we heard a train. Although the trains no longer stop there, they do pass by and rather quickly!

Dad, this is for you…

 

 

To see the complete photo gallery of the train depot, the Raggedy Ann and Andy collection, the broom corn collection as well as Arcola Amish, go HERE.

 

Polar Bear Plays

While visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo on our recent Chicago adventure, I fell in love. 

With this bear! 

He was so entertaining that we watched him for several minutes. I could have watched him all day.

To see him in action, click the right arrow below rather quickly. 

When you do, you will see how the polar bear plays! 

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Sweet as Honey

On our trip to Chicago, we stayed in the lovely coach house of a very lovely couple. It was our own little retreat in the midst of the Garden of Eden. This precious couple makes their own honey – with the help of their bees.

One morning we woke up and headed out for the day and saw this yummy sight in the garden.

Sweet as honey!

DSR_20140614Chicago Trip Day One and Two133-2

How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 NKJV

What Love Will Do

Love will make you do things you don’t necessarily want to. Here is proof…

We just returned from a trip to Chicago to visit Son, meet his girl and see the sights. What a wonderful week we had!

Son doesn’t typically like to have his picture taken. OK, so that is an understatement!

Up until a year ago, most of the photos I would take of him consisted of his hand in front of his face, his foot in front of his face, his head turned at the last-minute and the occasional shot with the look of disgust on his face.

This time was different. When I asked to get his and his girl’s photo together, he didn’t object

…too much.

He started to resist:

He then gave in and smiled:

While mumbling under his breath:

With the occasional “cutting up” photo:

But when all is said and done, love will make you do things you don’t necessarily want to…and enjoy it! 

Coming Out of the Closet

No, not what you think based on today’s translation of that phrase.

I’m coming out to share something I’ve not been ready to put out to the public and it’s something very personal. So why am I sharing it now? With the hope that someone else can benefit from what I have to tell.

Three months ago a very special friend had a divine appointment with a very special man who I’ve heard of for many years but had not met. He is an educated nutritionist and trainer. That appointment was not intended, yet it was not an accident – thus a DIVINE intervention of God. My friend happened to have been in the same boat as me…disgusted with having gained weight, feeling miserable due to the extra pounds, no energy, feeling blah and ready to do something about it – and happened to be in the presence of this man for a few hours. After hearing about the changes she would need to make, she knew it was time! And then she shared it with me – and for that I’m eternally grateful.

We decided to make the changes together and as an added bonus, our husbands did, too! Sweet Hubby and I as a couple along with all four of us as a team, helps tremendously to make the efforts and changes more fun, rewarding and practical. This change is a lifestyle change and one that I have no doubt will continue with us for a lifetime. It’s not a diet. Everyone tries to categorize it, put a label on it and file it under the latest fad. But no, this is a plan that is easy to follow because it is the way we should eat.

I will not go into all of the details right now, but know it means eating clean. We aim for about 80% organic produce, grass-fed beef, free range and organic poultry, etc. We consume NO processed foods, no starches of any kind (which means no grains, rice, potatoes and limited beans) and no added sugars. Instead we consume a great amount of vegetables, some fruit, dairy, good and healthy fats and plenty of meat. We are so satisfied with our meals and with the addition of exercise, we have seen great results.

Instead of going into all of the details, I want to focus on what my inspiration was to make a change and to share a quite embarrassing photo and story. (See photo below and for the record, I was heavier than that just three months ago. Like I said, embarrassing!)

On the trail to Balanced Rock

Last summer when Son was home after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, we made a trip to Big Bend National Park (you can read about it here.) On that trip in the middle of the hottest time of the year to visit the desert, we decided to hike to a natural monument called Balanced Rock. I had planned our route to and from Big Bend and then I asked the men to decide what we would do for the days we were visiting the park. One of the first things they said was to hike to Balanced Rock. That was the day that I had a revelation and was the beginning of a change.

The revelation I had: if I didn’t make changes now, I would not be able to do the fun things with my family in the future. I was so out of shape, so overweight and absolutely miserable doing something that should have been a joy and fun. It was 100 plus degrees out on the trail and carrying around so much extra weight made it almost unbearable. I came close to not reaching the top. It was a short hike but then a very steep climb. We had just reached the start of the incline and I stopped with heart racing, sweat dripping and breathing very heavy to announce that I could not go on. After encouragement (and patience) from both of my men, I made the attempt – and made it. At the top of that peak I vowed that I would come home and make changes to better my health and life. The three of us had not been to this park is twenty-something years and I wanted to come back again with them even if it wasn’t for another twenty-something years!

Family photo from the day of our hike and my revelation!

Family photo from the day of our hike and my revelation!

As soon as we returned, I joined the gym and began making minor adjustments in my diet. I lost a little weight, but shortly after something happened that I had NEVER experienced before in my life. I slipped into somewhat of a funk. It’s the closest thing I had ever experienced to what could be considered depression. For the next several months I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere – just stay in the comfort of my home. I would go to the gym on occasion, but my eating habits slipped back. I, to this day, don’t know what happened except that it was NOT of God! My son had moved away 1000 miles to attend grad school, we had the coldest winter in years with many days of ice, reality had hit with the fact of my 50th birthday approaching (even after years of confessing my age as 24 – ha!) That funk continued even after the holidays which consisted of consuming yummy, fattening foods.

Late February I recall telling my friend,“I am so wishy-washy! Some days I am so determined to change my eating habits and lifestyle and other days I just don’t care!” A couple of weeks later, my wishy-washyness was gone! Changes have been made and again, I’m so thankful!

I’ve preached for years the three keys to success in anything: commitment, consistency and perseverance. That is so very true! I am committed like never before. I’ve been 100% consistent in making right choices and have not splurged (or what some call, “cheat”) not even once. Perseverance just happens to fall in line, too, although there’s been no challenge or struggle. I’m completely satisfied and do not miss any of the things I’m not eating. That alone is a miracle, let me tell you!

What began last summer with the revelation of much-needed change, is coming to fruition this summer. My point? Make up your mind and do it! If I can, so can you! If you don’t start now, where will you be in three months?

I began on March 7th and today is June 7th. In exactly three months I’ve lost exactly 40 pounds (as of this morning) by consuming foods that contain 100% nutrients and exercising on a regular basis.

I still have a little more than 20 to reach my goal and at that time will share an “after” photo. I expect to be there by the 1st of August. And then my plan? To continue with the new lifestyle for the rest of my life. It will be no problem because I’m so satisfied and enjoy the foods we eat. I can honestly say for the first time in my 50 years (wait! I mean 24!!) that I KNOW and UNDERSTAND what it means to “Eating to Live instead of Living to Eat.”

If you are in the same boat I was in (knowing you NEED to make changes, but having a hard time getting started), let me encourage you with this…start with the three keys to success:

Commitment: Make the commitment to yourself and share it with someone to help support you and hold you accountable.

Consistency: Remain consistent in what you are committed to doing. Develop patterns and habits of change that will become your new way of life.

Perseverance: When temptations come to fall back to old habits, your commitment to the new needs to be stronger than the temptation. When you persevere in each step, you will feel accomplished and that alone can motivate you for more.

To help you with your commitment I’d suggest that you create a list of Weight Loss Whys. This list should consist of the reasons you want and need to make changes. If you know the WHY, then doing the WHAT will come much easier.

I can’t express how thankful I am to my friend for sharing with me what she was about to begin three months ago and how thankful I am to the very special man who has so graciously poured himself into helping us succeed in creating this new lifestyle. My thankfulness to God for giving me strength can’t go unspoken either.

So, yes, it’s time!

I’m coming out of the closet and thankful that new, smaller clothes will now be going in! 

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock
…that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

An Old Recipe with a New Twist of Love

I have mentioned before my new love for cauliflower. Well, another new love is spaghetti squash.

The love of my life has a favorite recipe that I’ve made for him since our dating days.

It’s called Spaghetti Pie

It was one of those recipe cards that arrived in the mail, back before internet was created. It came from a company who was trying to get me to join their recipe card club. I took the sample and have made it for many, many years.

Recently, we’ve changed the way we eat and in doing so have been looking for recipes that contain alternative ingredients. Last night as I was cooking spaghetti squash to have ready for today’s lunch when we returned home from church, the vision of that recipe card flashed in my mind. Hmmm, I wonder…could I? Should I?

I should.

And I did! 

I recreated the recipe to make it our-eating-plan-friendly and let me tell you, it was delish! Sweet Hubby had the same look of satisfaction on his face after lunch as he did when I made the original recipe.

There is one thing I would do different the next time I make it, however. I would squeeze the squash to get the liquid out like I do when I make cauliflower pizza, flats or shells. It didn’t cut like pie as the original recipe did. Well, it did cut but when it came time to scoop it out, it didn’t hold up. Maybe by squeezing the liquid out prior, it would.

Regardless the flavor was superb 

Here is the recipe. (I’ve included it with the “squeezing” part although I have not tried it that way yet. And trust me, even without squeezing, the taste is wonderful!)

Spaghetti Squash Pie, D Robertson

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Guess what Sweet Hubby wants for dinner? Yep, more Spaghetti Squash Pie!

My Third Trip to Ennis…This Month

After my last post, I’ve been to Ennis two more times. The second was to do a photo shoot for a friend and perhaps I’ll post a few of those photos later. The last trip to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trail was with my family…Sweet Hubby, Mom and Dad. We had a great time and of course, many pictures were taken.

Here are just a few:

(The speck in the road is my dad…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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