I graduated in 2003 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Family & Consumer Sciences and took some extra classes towards a Personal Trainer Certification. This blog was a way to meld my past training (writing/grammar and nutrition) with my personal experiences and education. And it’s grown from there.
It’s been quite the journey already. In college, I ate according to the food pyramid, worked out 5 days a week and didn’t have to worry about my figure at all. After college, I worked at a Christian camp for two years, where it was 24/7 physical labor. I could literally eat anything I wanted and wouldn’t gain an ounce. And I was in the best shape of my life.
But then I moved on to a full-time job at a finance company, first as a researcher and then as an administrative assistant and travel coordinator. Needless to say, it was an almost entirely sedentary job. For the first three years of the job, I stayed at my desk and worked hard. The problem was that by the time I got off work, I was so tired that I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I didn’t. Oh, and I also got married to my soulmate, Bryan. Getting “fat and lazy” became more than a catch phrase.
When did this hit me? It was when I was looking at pictures of my sister-in-law’s wedding, which I coordinated. I wore one of my favorite outfits, or at least it used to be. The buttons on the shirt were so tight that I was forced to keep a jacket on, and the skirt was so tight I could barely zip it and still breathe. These are my “fat pictures.” I realized then that I was no longer a teenager or just out of college and able to eat anything and not gain an ounce. I had gained 40 pounds since my engagement and it was time to take control back.
It was time to get serious. I began tracking my food and exercise on SparkPeople.com. It’s a great free resource with tons of articles, tips, and recipes. Along with the tracking came eating right and exercising. I’ve never been a big runner, but I’m learning to enjoy it, especially on gorgeous spring days! My go-to workouts are the elliptical and any video put out by The Biggest Loser (I just love Bob). I also joined a Pilates Studio for a while to learn some basic exercises. The first couple of weeks were torture, but now Pilates and Yoga are some of my favorite routines! And they’re great for the abs!
But it wasn’t just my waistline that needed to be leaned. It was my whole life. Things had gotten so hectic that I felt like I didn’t have time to breathe. Free time? What’s that?! It was time to start systematically eliminating and prioritizing. Some of this was easy, like not drinking sodas. Other decisions were not so easy, like cutting back on social activities, social websites, and watching TV. It was time to start reading again and exercising my brain. And it was high time I learned what it meant to REST.
I’m now to the point that the thought of fast food makes me sick. In January 2010, we started eating as much all-natural and organic as we possibly could. It’s made a huge difference. I’m also naturally eating within my calorie ranges almost every day. And it’s so much easier to get my fruits and vegetables in than I ever imagined. For the first time in my life, I’ve planted a garden. I’m getting more sleep and taking to time to process each day.
Other areas that are being evaluated are time management, home management (things like organizing and decorating to create a calm environment), and my spiritual life (making God the #1 priority in my life instead of people, activities, and stuff). I’m learning to live a balanced life, not in a zen kind of way, but in a God-glorifying way. I’m learning to balance my work life and my home life, learning to leave work at work and home at home. I’m learning to enjoy and embrace my talents and interests. I’m playing piano again and developing my mind. I even went back to school for a bit!
So, it’s a journey, and you’re welcome to tag a long.
My Physical Journey
I started my nutrition journey by monitoring my weight and caloric intake. I joined the free http://www.SparkPeople.com website and started tracking my calories. And I started weighing in weekly. I slowly saw the weight melting away. I’m now half way to my goal weight.
After I lost my first 5 lbs., I bought a new workout outfit.
After I lost 10 lbs., I bought a yoga mat and 2 workout DVDs.
After I lost 15 lbs., I treated myself to Pilates classes.
After hitting a 6 month plateau, I found out I actually needed to increase my daily caloric intake (see Nutrition Category, AMR/BMR post). It’s slowly coming off, and those last 10-15 pounds really are the hardest.
My Kitchen Journey
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of me sitting on the kitchen counter, helping my mother stir ingredients together while sipping from her coffee mug. We would taste test each item and ponder the perfect combination of herbs and spices to make every meal homemade and delicious. As I grew older, my passion for the kitchen was not deterred. I went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Family and Consumer Sciences (though I will always say I learned more from my mother and grandmother than from any class I took). Still, I am determined to utilize the education I received and combine English and Cooking. The Art of Cooking must not be lost, so I write, in an attempt to keep it alive for my family, if for no one else. Cooking is not only an art form; it is a soul-lifting, restorative process that teaches one to rise from the failures and continue creating masterpieces for enjoyment by family and friends.
I started a kitchen blog in December of 2009, and I slowly transferred everything over from that blog to this one, so everything’s all together.
In the meantime, my husband Bryan actually went back to school for a Culinary Arts degree and switched jobs–no working as a cook with dreams of working his way up the ladder to sous chef, executive chef, and eventually maybe an owner or manager of a B&B. One of our favorite activities is creating a meal together.
My Spiritual Journey
I’ll be honest. There was a point in my life that I struggled with discouragement. I maintained a good front during the day in front of friends and coworkers, but at home, I sat on the couch watching hours of TV every night and eating whatever was easiest. It was a horrible existence. I thought God didn’t care about me and that nothing really mattered. Fortunately, my husband loved me enough to have some “truth in love” conversations with me and helped me realize that God did care about me and that I was choosing to be selfish. I had to retrain my mind and convince my heart that I was lying to myself. God loved me so much He sent His Son to die for me and my sins. And He rose again that I might have life in Him and be dead to sin.
I was dry spiritually. I was busy with “spiritual activities” but I was like a wrung out sponge. I felt like I was too busy to read my Bible, so I wasn’t refreshing myself in the water of the Word of God. The truth of the matter is I needed to re-prioritize my life and put my inner world at the top. It didn’t matter if my external life appeared that I had it all together. It was just a big lie. I had to be honest with myself, evaluate my life, and then make the appropriate changes, the first of which was to dust off my Bible and start preaching the gospel to myself again. I needed to claim the power of the Christ in order to change my life.
My Time Management Journey
Time Management: “Systematic, priority-based structuring of time allocation and distribution among competing demands. Since time cannot be stored, and its availability can neither be increased beyond near decreased from the 24 hours, the term ‘time budgeting’ is said to be the more appropriate one” (2009, BusinessDictionary.com).
I read Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon MacDonald, and Shopping For Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw. Both have been inspirational!
Practical Steps: I still watch some TV, but not nearly as much as I used to. And there was a period of about a year and a half when I eliminated TV entirely. The truth is I really didn’t miss it. If all people want to talk to you about is TV, they don’t really care about you. It’s just something to talk about: “water cooler chatter.” If they really care, they’ll realize you don’t join in on TV talk and they’ll come up with other topics of conversation that are common interests. Without TV, I had so much time to exercise, read, and participate in hobbies I enjoy. I started cooking more healthful, homemade meals for my family and even started my own flower business (The Artisan Honeybee).
My Husband Bryan, God, Outdoors, Homemaking (especially as it pertains to the kitchen), Organic, Flowers, Event Planning, Health and Fitness, and Music: Classical, Easy Listening, Opera, Christian, and anything else that inspires.