Wednesday, April 25, 2012

40 lbs later...

I have lost 40 lbs, a total of 25% of my previous weight!

I wanted to document my journey, mostly for posterity, but also for motivation after the next baby. Photos are at the end, so if that is the only thing you're interested in, just skip the details. :)

First, a little health history so you can appreciate where I started mentally and physically. I've struggled with weight my whole life. I was one of those: a chubby toddler and fat gradeschooler. I was a size 14 in sixth and seventh grade. That was definitely my fattest per height, but I've been all over the board since then. Twice thus far in my life I've gotten down to a size 6: once at the very end of my senior year of high school after a rigorous soccer season and again when we were engaged and I was training for a marathon (which I never completed, btw).

After getting married I gained weight pretty quickly. Definitely just the lifestyle change. I wasn't as active because school and my time with my new hubby made exercise a low priority. and I cooked and therefore ate a TON more than when I was single. Babies just made it harder because I gained a lot of weight with each. Of course, after Gwen I was able to get down to an average healthy weight, but still not as fit as I would have liked to have been. Certainly not 'skinny'. Pretty much our entire marriage I've weighed as much or more than Eric. (that is slightly sad for both of us, right? :)

After Caroline, it was impossible to exercise at home. Nap times weren't dependable and trying to work out with children grabbing your legs is just pointless. So when Caroline was 3 months old, we got a gym membership for me. It is a luxury we are truly grateful for, and I've definitely been making the most of it. From July to December I lost 20 lbs. Pretty slow going because despite what breast feeding experts say is possible to safely lose without decreasing milk supply, every body is different and mine would only allow me to lose 1/2 lb or less each week. I exercised hard, but pretty much didn't decrease my food intake at all. I did adjust it to try to be healthy with whole grains and lots of veggies and lean meats without lots of cream or butter. But I couldn't exactly 'cut back' more than that. The progress was slow but steady, and I did feel much better as my muscle tone and endurance picked up.

I gained 5 lbs over the holidays, like so many of us do, which is especially frustrating if you think that will take 10 weeks to get back off again. But in the middle of January we started transitioning Caroline to formula (for a number of reasons) and that opened up the option of losing weight more rapidly. So I kicked my workouts into high gear and adjusted my food intake and got pretty rapid results from the change. I started going to the gym 5 days a week. Because so many have asked me what I did, I'll break it down in detail: Monday core for 30 min, an hour of step aerobics. Tues dance jam for an hour. Wed an hour of barbell weight lifting and an hour of Zumba. Thursday recovery day. Fri an hour of dance. Sat an hour of 'mix' class with running-kickboxing-athletic drills all mixed in there. Food-wise, I cut calories significantly, decreased portion sizes, and then tried to make the calories really count. I reduced the carbs, increased the lean meat, and really increased the veggies. I had zero restrictions, just tried to discipline myself to a 'bite' of a tempting food. Between mid-January and mid-February I lost 10 lbs.

Then I had a slight plateau. When a friend invited me to join a healthy challenge for fun, I thought it was just the ticket to change up my routine again and get the rest off. Plus, I'm super competitive and that drives me to get things done even when cravings hit or I feel too tired to exercise. My workouts stayed the same, except the Friday dance class was cancelled and a fitness yoga took its place. I was worried about swapping a cardio class for a muscle class, but it turns out my body doesn't mind the change and I've continued to lose weight. So on this challenge of sugar only once a week and lots and lots of water among other things, I have lost another 15 lbs between March and April.

If you do the math, that is 40 lbs in 9 months and 2 weeks. Not too shabby, I'd say! I'm not quite finished because the healthy challenge still goes for another week, plus I feel like I still have more to lose and I'm actually in a mental and physical state when that is possible right now. So who knows, I might end up with a 50 lb loss before it is all said and done. :) and you know, it makes me feel AWESOME to know that I have lost 25% of my body weight! That is NOT something to take lightly! I am wearing my engagement clothes again, looking forward to a summer shopping spree, and feeling more stamina and energy than I've had in years! It is worth it to get healthy!

ready for the pictures? Here's the progression:

above photos June weight lost: 0

above photos September weight lost: 10 lbs

above photo early November weight lost: 15 lbs

above photo late December: weight lost 20 (or 15 if I had already gained the holiday 5 lbs back. Not sure. Didn't have a scale on vacation)

above photo Early February: weight lost: 22 lbs

above photo Early March: weight lost 26 lbs

After: Mid April: weight lost 40 lbs! :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dare devil

Our little daredevil has absolutely no sense of danger or risk. 
We have a special bear rocking chair that she absolutely adores. It is designed and hand made by a friend of the family, designed to be weighted so that it doesn't tip over backwards if some adventurous child stands up and leans against the back of it. 
Caroline takes full advantage of this 'safety' feature to the extent that it is completely neutralized! 
She gets this bear chair rocking so far forward and back, that I just know she's either going to face plant or smack the back of her head! We intervene at such extremes, of course, but if she catches us putting a hand on there to slow her down or putting an 'obstacle' under the feet of the chair to cut back on the range of motion that the rocking can achieve... she throws a fit!!!
This fearlessness is also displayed in her love of climbing EVERYTHING.
 I think we have a future athlete on our hands! :)

either that, or lots of injuries to look forward to! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Caroline's Birthday Festivities

Rubber Ducky Birthday

You probably don't recall that I made Gwen an adorable monkey cake for her first birthday, a customized blue Aurora cake for her second birthday, and a detailed Thomas cake for her third birthday. In comparison, I felt like Caroline's rubber ducky on top of simple buttercream icing cake was totally a cop out. A part of me feels guilty about gypping Caroline out of a better cake... but the rest of me says, you know, sometimes you just have to be realistic about what can get accomplished in a 24 hour period. Sanity trumps decoration every time. And with Easter and finals competing during her birthday week, we made compromises. So, a simple, basic cake for the girl (not that she minded). Just don't look too closely at the icing job. :) She certainly didn't! Gwen was fastidious about her first bday cake, but Caroline eagerly dived right in to that icing! She loved it!

and as soon as the weather gets warm enough, we'll take her outside to splash around in our new kiddie pool with the remaining dozen rubber duckies set loose all around her... she'll be in splash heaven! Can't wait to see that...

opening presents

She had a fabulous birthday and really got spoiled with all the amazing, generous gifts! Thank you so much everybody! We are really grateful and touched to know that you love her as much as we do!

Happy first birthday, lil Caroline!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My 1 Year Old

My beautiful, happy girl!
1 year stats:height: 29 in 50%
weight: 20.5 lb 40%
head: 18.5 in 92%
for fun, I compared with Gwen's 1 year stats here. They seem so close in actual size, yet I guess those half inches or half pounds really make a difference. Caroline is shorter and chubbier with a bigger head. But you know, they are pretty much the same. :)

Gwen had to get in on the photo-taking action... but it ended up giving me one of my favorite pictures of these  sisters that I've ever taken! They leaned in to kiss each other without being prompted. How cute is that!?!

I can't believe she is 1 year old. See her silly faces and handstands? What a character!

Friday, April 13, 2012


Decorating eggs (or eating them if you are Caroline)
Easter egg hunt: perfect Saturday afternoon activity! Gwen loved it and Caroline enjoyed her two mini eggs but thought the grass was out to get her. 

Found the purple one in the tree!

showing off her basket of eggs

Easter morning enjoying loot from the Easter bunny... Caroline liked her ears on Daddy better. She kept handing them back to him til he finally put them on.

Of course there are no pictures from church, but it was definitely the highlight of a day celebrating the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are so grateful for His supernal gift!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

whew! semester completed!

Well, folks, another semester is officially behind me because I just printed off my final paper on Korean art and architecture to mail off tomorrow. That means, I'm finished with the entire course. Yup. Whew. Only 3 more semesters to go...

and now I can catch up on other activities that you all have been dying to see pics of... Easter festivities, family fun, and Caroline's first Birthday and 1 year stats... big stuff, folks. Stay tuned!

Just a little something to whet your appetite:

Monday, April 9, 2012


I promise I'll do a better 1 year post after Saturday! (this is finals week for me and I'm swamped)
but just wanted to say Happy Birthday Caroline! (yesterday...)
I can't believe she is 1 already. It has been a blessing to have her in our family and we are so proud of her!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Complicated Emotions of Purchasing a Home

I have really been surprised at how emotionally and mentally (and even spiritually) taxing it is to purchase a home.
Did I mention our offer was accepted? Yep, we are under contract now for a beautiful little home in Dublin. It is perfect in so many ways! I am THRILLED to have this property as MY home, I mean, how lucky are we to live in such a home for 5 years!?!? So why am I dimming this joyful success with worry? Let me tell you a little secret...big decisions cause me worry. I thought that once we found a great one that we loved and got through the process of making an offer the work would be mostly over. But the stress was only PARTIALLY due to 'are they going to accept our offer' and 'will they go with the other bid?' and 'did we bid too much or too little?' blah blah blah.

Actually, the bigger stress has been internal, stress over the commitment to such a substantial purchase. We are NOT quick decision-makers and prefer to mull things over for a long time. You know, go back and forth and back and forth for weeks and weeks and MAYBE finally come to a decision. (Though often our decisions are made FOR us because we waited too long, lol). Maybe that is why this process has been so challenging: we had to make decisions quickly. Like, in a matter of hours. And while we feel confident and happy about the choice we made, there is still that anxiety, that voice saying "slow down slow down I can't process this quickly"... resulting in a profound stress that basically means nothing. Because if I take a step back and logically assess what I'm worried about, I can see that everything is fine and I don't need to be concerned about those things. I should just have confidence in the spiritual assurance we felt when we made the decision. But see, this is the trouble I ALWAYS have with getting answers to prayers: I can't distinguish between the absence of comfort that would be the spirit indicating it ISN'T the right decision and the absence of comfort that would be MY worry-wart personality. Did you know that I worried non-stop about being engaged to Eric? Yeah, I went back and forth between anxiety and bliss for months. I almost backed out 3 or 4 times and caused Eric some major stress too. And for what? Absolutely nothing. Because being married to him has by far been the best choice of my entire life and I'm superbly happy in my marriage! I just have problems with decisions. Just to illustrate my anxiety over big commitments. :)

Peace is the key to knowing I've made the right choice... and this house-buying process is so crazy and full of stress because of the huge sums of money we're talking about... that peace is fleeting. So right now I'm just trying to grasp onto the peace I felt while praying. Because otherwise, I'm just nervous.

and excited! I mean--HELLO--our offer was accepted and we're getting a dream first home!

but nervous too. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

making an offer...

making an offer... wish us luck! (because there is another offer that just got made on this house today, so we're competing for the price and property... which makes me anxious!)