Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  
– Psalms 139:14

Body Image

For years, I have struggled with body image issues. During high school, my highest tracked weight, right before I started Weight Watchers with my mom, was 232 pounds. I also wore braces and glasses, while dealing with that lovely thing called puberty that brought my chubby face many bouts of acne. My high school years were not nice to me.

Going into my college years, it didn’t get much better. Sure, I had dropped some weight, but I was still topping the scale around the 210-215 range. And to make matters worse, my face broke out. Not in the “oh, hey I have a pimple” kinda way. I mean full out, bright red bumps and white heads from up near my ears, all over my cheeks to down around my mouth and chin. Even looking at the few pictures I have from that year, I cringe at the sight and the memories.

So, I kept working out. If I couldn’t figure out how to fix my face, I’d make my body look better. By summer of 2010, I was down to the lowest weight I can ever remember reading on a scale – around 185. I was doing light weight workouts and running every other day. I was also sticking to my Weight Watcher methods, again. After combining that with some dermatology treatments to clear up my face, I thought I looked amazing.

Setbacks

After a bad car accident in October 2010, I struggled to workout after dealing with a ton of knee pain. The further away from exercise and “healthy” eating I got, the closer to alcohol, depression and laziness I got. I ate anything and everything I wanted, I drank alcohol, I smoked weed. Anything to coat the depression. Nothing worked though, and I ended back up near 215, a number I swore to myself I would never see again, by early 2012.

At this point, I was determined to change things. I began my “healthy” eating habits again (I use quotations because now that I’ve learned what healthy eating really is, I realized that for years I fell victim to the “low-fat, low-cal” diet food industry) and signed up for a membership at a Club Fitness just a few miles from my apartment. My friend moved in with me that summer and we began working out/eating healthy together, which helped a lot. However, we also indulged and helped each other justify our “cheats”, which didn’t help at all.

In November 2012, I attempted the Shape Reclaimed diet (the homeopathic line of the HCG drops). I dropped from 214 to 194, and while I was ecstatic, it was the most miserable “fix” I’d ever attempted – 500 calories and no workouts make me a very grumpy person. I swore I would never do it again.

After graduating college, I spent the first two months of 2013 eating and drinking my way through Europe. I packed back on about 10 pounds and regretted NOTHING. It was delicious, decadent and delightful.

A Change in Course

When I returned home, I was determined to get those 10 pounds off, and hopefully then some. I became a crazy cardio workout regime and slowly added in lower and upper body weight lifting sessions. I quickly lost the “Europe weight” I had put on and felt okay, but the stomach issues I had been having for the past few months continues. I tried everything – medicine, cutting out gluten and dairy, all natural remedies – nothing worked. Even if something started to work, it was extremely temporary and I just ended up miserable again.

For the last year, I have struggled with working out, eating well and feeling miserable. I felt as though I was constantly fighting a losing battle. I tried different workouts, bought macro/meal plans, adding in more cardio…and nothing. I was stuck in the 193-197 range. Which I would have been okay with, had I not felt miserable and huge.

So when the doctor called and told me that my blood work tested positive for Heliobactor Pylori, I was so relieved. It explained the pain, the constant hunger, the weight gain (I was back up over 200 — YUCK)… Plus, during the past year, my body was also absent of periods, which didn’t help with feeling gross and the stalled weight loss. So I thought that at some point, after antibiotics and progesterone pills, that I would just drop the weight and feel great.

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel better, but it wasn’t immediate and the weight has not come back off. I’m currently bloated, about to start and hoping my periods have come back to stay. I haven’t counted calories in over three months, but I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full (some call this intuitive eating). I also fill my plate with protein, tons of veggies and healthy carbs, along with good fats (okay, so I eat too much peanut butter…but, I feel like it’s kind of excusable, it’s a trade off for all the bread, pasta and cheese I can’t consume! Don’t judge…).

I started a new workout regime two week ago with my trainer friend and my weight has gone UP. But you know what? Screw the scale. I feel so good. I can see my body changing again and I am STRONG. Plus, I’m HEALTHY. So screw the number on the scale or a clothing tag. I don’t know who instilled in us the idea that you had to be a certain size to look or feel good about yourself, but they suck.

I saw a photo someone posted of their post-workout self one day with the caption, “This is the body I’m currently working with. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either…” and I often repeat that to myself when I’m having an “eww, I feel huge and look fat and just want to eat everything in sight” day. I have accepted the body I have, realizing it’s the only one I’m ever going to get. But you know what? It’s just a body. It’s a shell. It isn’t the skin I’m in that matters, it’s the soul and the heart inside of it. Yes, I want to look good on the outside, but my inner health and beauty is far more important.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
 
Jesus thinks my insides are pretty beautiful, and in the end, isn’t that all that really matters? I can’t take this body with me into eternity (and I think the heavenly one I’m going to get is going to be pretty darn awesome!).
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Oh July, where did you go?

July? What am I talking about, where did the other six months of this year go?

Life in General

I’ve been back from Europe for nearly five months now. I’m still jobless (though to be completely honest, my hunt has been lacking – there’s not much in St. Louis that I feel competent enough to do, and I haven’t heard back from any of the jobs I have applied for, therefore, the search just leads to being depressed and wanting to binge on gluten-free cacao chip cookies while taking breaks between sob sessions).

So I’ve been spending my days working out, laying out and trying to figure out my life. I have no real direction, and while that slightly scares me, I have an incredible peace about it. I know that peace only comes from the Lord, and I’m incredibly thankful to know that He is the one directing my life and that He has a plan for me, though I still have no idea what that may be.

Living at home has proven to be just as stressful as I assumed it would be, as there are way too many people under this roof. On top of that, my mother thinks I’m just out to make her miserable. I don’t smile enough or talk enough (and when I do, she says it’s sarcastic or disrespectful), I don’t wipe down the counters sufficiently (but, let’s not forget the fact that I do all the cooking, dish-washing and I do wipe down the counters), I don’t do this or that when I should or shouldn’t. Aren’t our relationship with our parents supposed to get better as we get older? Somewhere between high school and college we started losing the close relationship we had, and we’ve yet to be able to figure out how to get it back. I don’t know how to change any of this. I work on it and it seems like things are going well, then she goes off on me again. I’m not saying it’s completely her mood swings, but it can’t always be me (which she seems to think it is, though everyone else in the house can attest to it being her, as she gets this way with nearly everyone). Sorry for the rant, it just happened again, so it’s fresh on my mind. I love my mom, I honestly do. She has always provided for me, even when she had to go without to do it. I just wish I knew how to “fix” this. Any advice?

Workouts and Diet

My workouts have been intense lately. I was lifting heavy with less reps for quite awhile, but have joined a group of girls on Facebook who are creating workouts that are both challenging and really switching it up with the lighter lifts and higher reps. I love it though, and can already tell a huge difference just in the first week.

My diet is pretty much the same from day-to-day: protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fats. I eat a lot of the same things, but try to switch it up here and there, since I don’t want my body getting used to any one things. It’s hard when you’ve cut nearly everything out of your diet (I’ve been eating gluten, dairy, egg, corn and shrimp free). It’s actually been going really well. For those of you who think you could never cut all that out, I assure you that it gets easier with practice. When you feel so miserable whenever you eat any of that stuff, cutting it out is the most rewarding option. Plus, all that clean eating really helps with the cutting weight and healthy lifestyle.

I’ve also signed up to be a Beachbody Coach. I’m loving it so far! Although I’m still trying to get my follower count up. So if you’re interested, follow along on my journey through Facebook, Instagram and WordPress! Oops, nothing like a little self-advertising on my own blog, right? Haha.

Love Life

….what’s that?

I attempted this chat app. Which I suppose is a lot like online dating. And it sucks. One guy pretty much catfished me (really funny, now that I look back on it — I didn’t even know what that was until I started talking to a person on that app and they told me to Google it). I went to the Blake Shelton with another guy on Friday night. Talk about awkward. The drunk older women in front of us made a big deal about this “first date”, but by the end of it, two of them pulled me aside at separate times to advise me not to go on a second date with him. I had already planned not doing so before we even got to the concert, as I had “friend-zoned” him about three weeks ago. This probably makes me sound like a douche, but I really just wanted to see Blake Shelton, and figured it was as good of time as any to give this guy a chance. Thank goodness for the concert and the hilarious entertainment around me, otherwise I would have been miserable. After the concert, I met up with another guy I met on the app (who happened to know people I know, so it wasn’t quite as awkward). We sat outside by a fire for a few hours just chatting, and I thought it went fairly well, but I haven’t really heard from him since. So, guess that’s already finished.

I realize now why I have never liked the concept of dating. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and disappointing. But, at least now I can say I gave it a go, right?

Adios

I’m fairly sure that’s all the news I have at the moment. I’m sure there’s more that I will think of as soon as I post this, but oh well. I’m going to try to post more frequently, as every few months really isn’t enough.

I’m off to finish grilling dinner (we ran out of propane, so dad had to run to the gas station) and then stuff my face. When all else fails, my love of food does not.

Happy Sunday, loves! xx

Baby, I’m back.

Oh boy, it’s been a few months. And what a few months it has been!!

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 3.07.01 PM

As of last December, I am OFFICIALLY a college graduate!!! Crazy, right?! I am sad to note that I didn’t reach the GPA level for honors, but with everything I went through in my life during my time at Lindenwood, I’m just happy that I achieved as well as I did. The last few years of my life have thrown me more curveballs than I can begin to explain, and looking back, I would have done so much differently if I had known then what I know now. But then again, wouldn’t we all?

I have regrets, but I have also figured out who I am.

Now, if only I could figure out what I want to do next. I feel so unready for the “real” world. I lack the drive and motivation that I see so many of my friends having. I know I’m capable of so much, but I am so lost as to where to begin. It’s probably one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced.

Philly loves

NC fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as I finished my last final, I was on a plane heading to Philly to visit some of my favorite people. I hadn’t seen most of them since my trip up there last March, so I was very happy I was able to use some Southwest flight credit to head that way. On top of being able to see these wonderful people, I was also able to see a second show with the beautiful Tyler Ward. We went to Christmas parties, had good-bye dinners and even watched the LA Lakers beat the 76ers. It was a pretty great trip out East.

I spent Christmas with my family, but sadly was miserably sick that entire week. A few trips to the ER and my doctor revealed a bout of the flu and some new food allergies – eggs, shrimp and corn (plus I’m lactose and gluten intolerant…but my diet is an entirely different story).

My next adventure involved one of my childhood best friends, a drive out East and some mountains. We left early New Years Eve day to head to Nashville for a night of fun – which ended up with us back in the hotel just before 11pm (we’re real party animals). The next morning, we worked out, ate breakfast and set off for North Carolina. The drive was pretty awful – bad traffic, rain that made the vision difficult and awful drivers. But we made it to our friend Nick’s late New Years Day with enough time to hang out and play Apples-to-Apples. It was quite a wet week – tons of rain, snow and cold! – but we made full use of it. The first day, we did some driving to pick up a friend, ate Chick-fil-A and then trekked around the top of Beech Mountain (absolutely gorgeous view!) before enjoying Mexican food and friendship. The next day we took a late start, ate lunch at a cute Irish sandwich shop and then heading off to the mountains. Five hours later, soaking wet, freezing cold and sore as ever, I had successfully completed my first climbing and rappelling adventure!! It was honestly one of the most amazing days of my life – you never know how much you can do until you push yourself there.

I returned home the next afternoon and began getting ready for the biggest trip yet – EUROPE!!! I had about five days to wash clothes, pack and finish up the last of my “to-do” list. I couldn’t even tell you what happened in those five days, as I was way beyond the level of stressed that I should have been at.

Europe Time!

On Wednesday, January 9th, I set off on my first international trip. I couldn’t have been more excited and nervous. The flight itself was long (and my tummy was still upset, so I was quite uncomfortable), but well worth it. Europe was incredible. Seeing one of my best friends was amazing. Everything about my trip was perfect.

I plan on going into more detail about each place I visited in second blogs, but it’s taking me some time to get everything (pictures, my journal, maps/info, etc.) organized. I’ve been home about three weeks now and have dove head first into workouts and family time, with a bit of job hunting here and there. I really need a job, but it’s EXTREMELY stressful to search and find one. Plus, I’m still just trying to readjust to not only being back in the states after two months, but also being back in my hometown after nearly five years of not having a whole lot to do with it (minus about half a year, when I still didn’t do much with anyone in town and was overcoming that car accident trauma).

The past few years of my life have been crazy, in both good and bad ways. I’m trying to really determine what I want from life, and I figure that if it takes me a few months, then it’s okay. I have a room over my head, a supportive family and a great group of friends. I have time to figure it all out, and in the meantime, I’ll be working out, baking and blogging!!

In her skin…

I cannot explain how comfortable I am in my own skin again.

I am within 10-15 pounds of my pre-accident weight, and while I haven’t been to the gym to tone up since I’ve dropped some weight, I still feel amazing.

Yes, I’d like it if my tummy, thighs and arms jiggled a bit less, but they will in time. As for right now, I’m fitting into jeans I haven’t worn in two years. And not like, squeezing uncomfortably into them, but having wiggle room. HOW FRICKING AMAZING!

I can’t wait to tone up, but since I’m going to be out of town for ten out of the next twelve weeks, I figure it’s best to wait until I’m back in the states to begin a strength-training regimen. So for now I’ll just stick to long walks with friends.

I am so comfortable and oh-so-happy. Yes, I have more weight to lose, and I will. Eventually. I’m learning new habits, trying new things, cooking new recipes, and realizing that this new me is the person I really want to be for a long time.

I don’t know when it happened.

I don’t know when I stopped being sad and achy and became this happy-go-lucky girl that I knew quite some moons ago, but I cannot express how amazing it feels to finally see her again. To be the girl who goes out of her way for others. The who doesn’t fight with her mom or use ignorant, cut throat words with her sister anymore. The one who put herself and her wants before anyone else’s needs.

I am so happy to see that cold, heartless self fade away and see the smiling, singing girl that I used to be, standing there with just a few scars to remind her of every single thing that the past two years have brought and how she overcame them to be even better than she was before.

I don’t know where my life is going after Europe. I don’t have a job planned or a place of my own, but I have my family, my friends and myself again. I suddenly know that I am limitless.

 

 

May 2012

Late May 2012

December 2012

November 30, 2012

December 2012

December 1, 2012

Life Lessons: Mistakes and Goals and The Little Things.

Reminiscing about college makes me sad – partly because it’s almost over, but mostly because it didn’t live up to my expectations.

You know what they say,

hindsight is 20/20.

If I could go back and start freshman year over with the knowledge I have now, I would in a heartbeat. But wouldn’t everyone do something differently in their life if they knew then what they know now? I honestly think so.

Visiting Springfield this weekend put my heart into knots. I miss that town and my friends from Missouri State. As I was driving to meet Jodi for dinner, I wondered how different my life would be now had I not transferred to a school closer to home.

Love Life

When I graduated from high school, I was highly impressionable. I went to MSU with the promise of having my best friend there and not being as controlled by my mom, but looking back all I can think of is how much I hated it – I was doing awful in classes, Sam and I quit talking because of a guy, and I was 3 hours away from the family I was so close to. I took it hard, and the more I talked to Jodi, the more I decided that transferring was the best option. I wanted to go to Mizzou, but my mom wouldn’t allow the “party school” atmosphere. Sadly, my mother has had a hand in a lot of the decisions I’ve made. I was never sure what I really wanted, and my mind changes faster than you could believe sometimes, so what others thought and said always played a major role in my decision-making. Looking back, I hate that I was so vulnerable.

I guess that is something good that came out of college though – I have grown immensely as a person. I still may not be sure of what I want, but I know I’m not the only person who is about to graduate and is unsure of their future. I have become more independent. I know I can take care of myself, and I am much better at not letting people walk all over me or make my decisions for me. I take advice and apply it, weighing my options and my pros/cons, but I never let one person’s opinion be my deciding factor anymore. I no longer try to please the masses. I no longer am trying to please my mother, which is incredibly difficult, but necessary.

Please don’t think my mom is a terrible person. She is one of the most amazing, caring and giving people I have ever met. But she thinks she’s right about everything, always (okay, sometimes she’s right, but not always). She is my biggest supporter and would do absolutely anything to help me reach my goals.

What are goals and where can I find some?

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions of life and don’t really know what you want or how to get it? I do, and pretty constantly lately. I’m about to graduate, but I feel so inept in my abilities. I worry I’m going to be a failure. Honestly, if you had asked me two and a half years ago where I’d be when I’d graduated, I would have told you that I’d be with that stupid boy. I guess that’s something I learned throughout college, too, that you should never center your life around something that can change in the blink of an eye – whether that’s a friendship or a relationship, or even a pan of fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies – they can all disappear. That entire relationship took me on a dizzy ride around and I’m only just starting to stop spinning.

I don’t know when my dream of working for a magazine in the city, living in a high-rise loft and eating pastries at a cute coffee shop ever went away, but I still have that desire in the back of my mind. I honestly can hardly wait to start applying for jobs. I’m going to search every city until I find something that fits. I honestly don’t see myself staying in St Louis for much longer. I’m not sure where exactly I see myself, but I’m telling you, it isn’t here.

To be completely honest though, I would be so content with just falling in love and making a home. I could craft and blog and live and love. I would be so happy. If only it were feasible. Maybe someday, but not today.

Today, I will snuggle into bed in my one-bedroom apartment in preparation for another week of classes. I will work hard this week to bring my grades up while I begin packing for when my lease is up, planning my Europe trip, and working out in my free time.

I’ll try to remember the good times I’ve had throughout my four and a half years of college. I’ll appreciate the friends I’ve made, the things I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had. I’ll mourn a bit for the things that didn’t work out the way they were supposed to or the way I had hoped that would, and then I’ll move on, remembering that everything I have been through in the last four and a half years has made me into the person I am today. And as much as I question my value, I am constantly reminded that the person I’ve become is pretty okay.

October, finally.

October has been my favorite month since I was a freshman at MSU. I remember coming back to school on a sunny afternoon when the air was crisp and the wind was cool. As I stepped to the back of my car to grab my luggage, I remember looking around, noting how amazing it felt outside and realizing how much I loved October.

Come this October 10th, it will be two years since that terrible accident that changed a lot of my life. You would think that something like that, plus the fact that I’m not a huge fan of Halloween, might steal away my love for this month, but it hasn’t. I’m not sure why I love it so much, but I do. It’s just perfect.

Even today. Even when I’m exhausted from the wedding celebrations I attended this last weekend, even though I’ve been sitting in class and at my internship, and even if I have an essay due and two quizzes that need to be studied for by tomorrow. I’m still happy, I still am loving this first day October.

This weekend was amazing. At first, I was really unsure of going to the wedding – Taste of St Louis was this weekend, it was a lot of time in the car with my crazy family and it’s stressful to leave for a weekend during an insanely busy semester. But I am so incredibly glad that I did. We stayed in a cabin on the top of Mount Nebo, I ate so much food and drank soooo much beer, I met new friends, I saw my cousins that I hadn’t seen in years along with my aunt and uncle, and took two glorious hikes! Plus, I was able to spend the weekend with my amazing parents, sister and nieces. I couldn’t be happier about my decision to go, even if mom and I bickered a few times and I said that I should have stayed home.

The next month (well, ten weeks, actually) are going to be incredibly busy – yay for 18-credit hour semesters, internships, a job I barely get to work, family time, getting a campus organization off the ground and looking for a new place to live while trying to get into shape and get good grades! CRAZINESS, I’m telling ya. Therefore, I’m still going to be pretty vacant, but will try to keep this updated more often. But it’s all worth it and so close to being over! YAY!

I’m going to try not to disappear.

But I’m already drowning under chapters to be read, terms to study and summaries to complete.

I’m liking most of my classes so far, it’s just that they all require so much work. I’m hoping to find a weekend to visit Sam in Springfield and fly out to Vegas with Liana, but things are looking slim. I’ve decided that I’m not going to obsess over working out. I’m going to do it when I can, I’m going to eat well, and I’m going to keep working on my weight loss goals, but I will not stress myself out if I only get 4 half-hour workouts in a week instead of 6 hour long ones. I will be proud of myself for accomplishing what I can while maintaining my GPA, learning at my internship, working on weekends, planning Alpha Chi events, going to church, seeing my family and keeping my apartment from looking like a tornado hit it.

 

We’ll see how that goes.

 

I really love blogging for fun though, so I’m going to try to continue with that.  However, I’ve already seen my Facebook and Twitter activity slow though, so this could be next. So, if you read my blog, try to bear with me as I trudge through my final semester as an undergrad!! xx

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