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!).
Advertisements

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

The last days of summer…

I’ve been lazy the last few days. Well, not entirely lazy, just…kinda lazy. I was with mom at the mall on Monday and then took a long walk with Casie…then, I came home and laid on the couch…ALL. NIGHT. Then yesterday, I interned and then came home and laid on the couch for two hours, then did a 4 mile jog/hike on the Katy Trial and took a Pilates class. After that, I ran home to shower before going to Main Street with the girls for an hour. Then, I laid on the couch for an hour before picking Liana up from the airport. And today, I went to my internship, and I’ve been on the couch for the last two hours…but I’m going to Zumba tonight. Anddd then probably coming right back to the couch. It’s slightly ridiculous. Maybe it’s okay though, since I’m going to be super busy once classes start next week. Right? I hope so.

I have been eating terribly. Well, not terribly…but not well. The only veggie I’ve had in days are carrots. I’ve had fruit, peanut butter on toast and pita chips with hummus. But those have been the main food groups I’ve been living off of this week. I need to go grocery shopping. And actually make the food I buy. I think it’ll be better next week when I go straight from working out to class to the internship then home for dinner and homework. I’ll have to make dinner!

I think this semester will be good for me. That, or it’ll be the death of me. We’ll see.

Saturdays by the sea.

If only I was sitting by the sea. Somewhere on the coast where there isn’t a care in the world. Feeling the breeze blushing my face and hearing the sound of seagulls in the distance is something I can close my eyes and sense, even when I’m nearly 2,000 miles away from the west coast. It’s an incredible feeling, and it’d be even more incredible if I were there.

But I’m not.

Instead, I’m sitting in my little midwestern one-bedroom apartment, wishing I was on the coast. Vacations are nice, but I never want to come home. Coming back to “reality” and work after a few days off of work is hard enough, coming back after being somewhere you love is even worse. May seems to long ago, and I need a vacation and the ocean again.

I miss California quite terribly.

However, reality is here to stay for awhile. Classes start up the week after next and I’m going to be slammed. But I’m not going to overwhelm myself with work, especially since I’ll be interning. I’m going to make this semester worth it. I’m going to be focusing on classes and Alpha Chi a lot. I’m going to be the best darn intern I can be, and I’m going to work a few hours a week, just for some extra cash. Luckily, I have a check coming in that will cover most of this semester’s expenses (and then some), so I’m going to be able to focus on school and making the most out of my last semester in college. I’m very fortunate. Plus, I need to have time to keep working on this hot body…haha, right…maybe GETTING a hot body!

Today, I rode my bike to the gym, did half an hour of leg machines, did twenty minutes of abs/back exercise and then rode my bike home. Finished it off with a nice protein shake (protein, soy and coconut milk, flax, spinach, mushrooms, mixed berries and oats!!) and this quick blog. Then, I’m off to clean the apartment before I head into work for a few hours. I’m unsure if I like the new store or not yet. I like the girls, and the manager is super nice. But it isn’t my store, they aren’t my girls. And the one supervisor is going to get on my nerves. I think it will be okay though. Like my mom said, the last store didn’t start out as “my store” and they weren’t “my girls” until I really got in there and started working. I hope it becomes home-like soon. I hate uncomfortableness. But, it’s hours and money. And ultimately, new friends. Yeah, I think I’ll be okay.

I’m a pretty lucky girl, even if I’m not spending my Saturday afternoon on the beach.