Just Because

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another Progress Report

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! I haven't done anything particularly summery except plant a (very) few flowers and tonight I went to a little league baseball game. It was a nail biter!!

Any way - Just wanted to update how I'm doing on my journey to better health. May was a bit rocky - I think boredom was the main culprit.  I wasn't having much variety in my meals and I was getting tired of eating the same thing all the time.

I heard about a weight loss challenge run through the Fleet Feet store in Brentwood that started on June 2 (thanks Janna!), so that gave me the motivation to have a restart.  

Sometime during May I also heard about Whole30.  
There's a book that the plan comes from called It Starts with Food which was very informative. I highly recommend reading the book and trying a Whole30 for yourself, whether you need to lose weight or not. These testimonials alone sold me.

I started my Whole30 June 2, and I have never felt better! I have more energy than I did before for sure (I've been getting out of bed at 5:30 am ready to go ... if you know me, you know I am NOT a morning person). I used to have 3-4 headaches a week, I think I have had 2 this month, and they weren't bad at all. Although they do not recommend it, I have been weighing while on the Whole30, and I have lost 12 pounds and some inches (I can't remember ALL the numbers!). 

Another thing I've been doing a lot of is cooking. Here are a few things I've made in the last 2 1/2 weeks (most of these are repeats from Instagram ..sorry!):
Bacon & guacamole. I know it sounds crazy. It is crazy. CRAZY good.

Shrimp & sweet potato chips

Zucchini "noodles" with creamy avocado sauce & lemon pepper chicken. The zucchini was surprisingly good, and the avocado sauce was amazing!

Cauliflower fried "rice". This was better than I expected, too! I'd like to try the cauliflower rice with some lime & cilantro next.

Something I need to work on is exercising. UGH! I don't think I would mind it so much if didn't sweat. I mean, I just get so HOT! That is my main struggle currently. There's always something, I guess. 

So far I've lost 53 pounds & I am super proud of that. I'm thankful that there are so many resources on the internet for inspiration & ideas. I've started following several people on Instagram who are on similar journeys and that has been really helpful.  For the first time, I really feel like this is attainable ... and when I say "this" I just mean getting healthy and staying that way.  I don't know how many more pounds I will loose, but I'm confident it will be more than I've lost so far, and that with each milestone and success (on & off the scale) I will be one step closer to good health.

Thank you to everyone who asks how I'm doing and encourages me along the way.  That is a great thing to have!! This journey may be tough, and I know it will be long, but it is SO worth it! 

I will leave you with this recent pic - a rare shot where I felt ok with how I look - hopefully that will be happening more often =)
(Yes, another IG repeat.)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

In my Studio - Part 2 - Before and Demo (kind of)

The time has come to get started on my studio project! Below are a few "before" pictures after Melissa cleared all her stuff out yesterday.  I use quotes because I pretty much started ripping up the carpet right away, and had to lay a big section back down to take these.
It's an average size bedroom, 2 windows, closet, etc. Pretty normal.
I love this built in shelf in the closet!

The carpet is pretty dingy - I'm guessing, but I'm pretty sure it's been here since the condos were built - about 30 years ago.
Here are the sub-floors! I was SHOCKED at how easy it was to pull this up.  I pretty much just tugged on the corner and it came right up.  Pretty basic MDF board underneath, from what I can tell, I think with a little wood putty and sanding I should be pretty good to go to paint it.

This afternoon I finished pulling all the carpet up (the shelf in the closet was built after the carpet was put in, so that was a bit challenging).  I am not sure if it's legal or not, but I put all the carpet and padding in the dumpster.  That part was gross - I probably should have worn a mask. Bleh. Then I pulled out all the staples that had been holding the padding down.
My next task will be to get this strip of wood up.  I have discovered I don't have a proper tool to do this, so I'll have to borrow something.
I am super excited to get going on this!
I have pretty much nailed down my color scheme, I will do a separate post on that ... you know, for suspense!! Stay tuned!! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

10 Things I've learned from watching WAY too much TV

Just a few random observations I've made over my long TV watching career ...
10. Bad guys have really bad aim (especially when shooting good guys).
9. Reality TV has been given the wrong name – I’ve never seen a show anywhere close to my reality. Admittedly that would be a pretty boring show, but still.
Really, insert ANY "reality" show here. ANY show.
8. Apparently there is some anti-gravity gadget that I haven’t been told about, because when people on TV pack a bag it's pretty much weightless.
7. Everyone lies, and eventually these lies will become public knowledge. Just wait.
6. It's all just a dream.
5. Wearing the same clothes twice is not acceptable. Where are these people keeping all these clothes?
4. Men & women cannot just be friends – eventually one will fall for the other.

3. Big Brother is ALWAYS watching. I mean have you seen what they can find on traffic cams!?!?
2. Never hang out with doctors – something bad always happens when they’re around.
1. You never REALLY know someone.
Enough said.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Journey to Better Health - A Progress Report

I just wanted to check in here and let folks know I’m doing – and also have this as a record for myself.
I have been on this journey since January 6, so about 10 ½ weeks.  Here’s what I’m doing:
I make a choice each day to stay on this journey and to trust God that He is with me. I have bible verses and quotes posted around to encourage me. I stop and pray about certain food choices that I’m faced with.  There is no way I could do any of this on my own, and since I’ve realized this, my path is so much clearer. This journey is doable.
·         I try to drink a gallon of water every day. I’ve heard for years that drinking half your body weight in oz. each day aids in weight loss.  For example if you weigh 200 pounds, drinking 100 oz. of water each day will aid in weight loss. While I don’t follow this formula exactly, I do find that drinking water helps me feel full throughout the day.  I keep a half gallon jar on my desk at work which helps a ton – if the water is there I am much more likely to drink it.
           Taking several vitamins and supplements. My doctor advised I need to take vitamin D, as I was pretty low the last time I had my labs done, so I take that. I also take calcium, apple cider vinegar tablet, multi vitamin, and omega-3 (because I know that’s good for you and I’m just not going to be someone who eats a lot of fish).

    Working on moving more.  This one took a while for me to get into…but I’m getting there.  I got a Fitbit Flex about 3 weeks ago.  This little device keeps track of how many steps you take in a day, the intensity of these steps, calories burned, distance, and how long you sleep at night.  The goal is to get 10,000 steps each day, which I have only reached twice so far, but I guarantee I am walking more than I was. I have started parking further away at work, walking during my break time, and doing some type of exercise 3-4 nights a week at home.

           I log everything I put in my mouth. Myfitnesspal has been awesome accountability for me.  I log everything I eat and drink, exercise and weight loss.  You can do this on your phone through the app, or on their website.  What I like best is that you can invite friends to follow along with you. They can see what you’re eating, you’re exercise, etc – and you can support and encourage each other. My streak for logging is at 75 day (tomorrow) and I don’t intend to break that streak any time soon!
          Eating out WAY less often. OK, confession time here: Before I started this journey it was entirely possible for me to eat out 3 times a day. I rarely went to the grocery store (like maybe once a month). Since January this number has been cut drastically.  I don’t know how many times I’ve eaten out, but the majority of these times have been while I was on vacation.  To be honest, it’s just easier to eat “my own food” since I know what’s in it and how to log it better. Surprisingly, I don’t really miss this all that much.
          Eating way less processed foods, more fruits and veggies, organic where possible. Overall, I’m just trying to make healthier choices.  I’m not following any certain plan or program, but I try to buy organic fruits and vegetables when I can. When I read about all the chemicals and junk that are in a lot of produce and processed foods, it just makes sense that I want as little of that in my body as possible. I usually shop at my local Kroger, because it’s close, but I have gone to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s a few times, too.  These stores have a better selection of organic/all-natural items.  I am not really eating sweets, and trying to have a lot less sugar than before as well.  Sugar is in SO. MANY. THINGS. It is certainly hard to stay away from it altogether, but being aware of what’s in your food makes it easier to monitor.

And here’s how I’m doing:
·         I've lost just over 30 pounds.
·         My clothes fit better – some are too loose. I put on a pair of pants this morning that I used to wear all the time, but haven’t been able to in a couple of years.  It’s very satisfying to see these changes!
·         I have a ton more energy than I used to.  Especially with these few beautiful days we’ve had lately, I am so excited to get home and get outside and walk when I can.

I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be, but each day that I get up and choose to take the next step is a success!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm a Knit Wit!

Technically I've been knitting for years - but as with most things I do - it ebbs and flows.  The last time I picked up knitting (about 3 years ago) I started branching out and trying to learn different stitches and patterns.  This fall I signed up to buy gifts for a couple of senior citizens on an "Angel Tree" at work, and one of them asked for a scarf - which I figured I would just knit myself - and the knitting bug was back!

After I knitted that scarf, I decided to make my mom a scarf for Christmas. This thick yarn in this pattern knitted really fast - I finished this in one day!

Next I decided to knit myself something, so I looked through some patterns on Ravelry.com and Pinterest and decided to go with a cowl - It's basically a short infinity scarf done in the same pattern as the one above, and then sewn together at the ends - crazy complicated, right?

Since I was on a roll, I started looking for some more complicated things.  I have knitted dish cloths in the past, but was never able to do the "cool" kind where they are knitted on the diagonal - because you have add and then take away stitches from your rows.  I found a pattern that sounded easy enough when I read it, so I tried it:
And it worked! I love these rags - I will definitely be making more of these.

I found this next yarn around Christmas and I thought it would look good as a scarf with my yellow coat, so that's what was next:

 I did a little chevron pattern on this - which was really fun - but obviously this yarn is too busy to do this pattern, because you have to look really hard to notice the pattern.

With all of these fabulous projects under my belt, I thought it was time to go further - I started looking for sweater patterns!! I found an open front cardigan that looks simple enough, so that's on my list, but first, I came across this online class through Michael's and their sister-site Craftsy.com:
This nice lady, Amy Ross, with all of her perfect bins of yarn behind her (which distract me more often than I care to admit - Aren't they wonderful!?!?)

She goes step by step through each piece of the project, and in approximately 522 days I will have knitted a sweater! Well, hopefully not quite that long, but we'll see.
You start with back, this is the bottom ribbing part (and my super-cool yarn bowl by C & S Clay)

Here is my progress to date - not too much more til I get to the arm holes - that should be interesting!

I just love that from a ball of yarn you can create and actual thing that people can use! It's like magic =)

Do you knit? Crochet? Something else?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TRUTH: About Eating Healthy

One of the areas of my life I am focusing on seeking truth is my eating habits. As I said before I recently finished reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

In the book she talks about how making healthy food choices is not a matter of will power, but a spiritual matter - one that with much prayer will bring us closer to God.  She says something like "I'm not on a diet - I have made a choice to grow closer to God by following Him in this journey of healthy eating." I totally get that. Because, let's face it - it's glaringly obvious that I cannot do this on my own!  I am excited that this is not only a journey to lose weight and become healthier, but to learn more about God and grow closer to Him every day.

There are struggles and triumphs on every journey - and just in the past week I've had a few of each.  I'll share the struggles first:

- I don't like grocery shopping. I've been 4 times in the last 8 days. Clearly I need to work on my strategy there!
- I don't really like many healthy foods. I am trying to follow the Daniel Plan (Click the link to read more about that) and there are a lot of vegetables in it - not my fave. Thankfully though, I have found some pretty good recipes that I have enjoyed.
- I don't enjoy cooking. The prep, the cleanup, etc. - Just not fun.
-Planning ahead is not one of my strengths, so I'm working on being better there.

All is not lost, though!
- I didn't eat out once last week (Mon.-Fri.) - I couldn't tell you how long it's been since that happened! I did eat out all three meals on Saturday, but made healthy choices, so I count that a success, too.
- I bought some organic stuff. I know that's better for me, but I usually go the cheaper route.
- I did this:
I don't do meat on the bone - it's gross...but I baked this little bird and pulled all the meat off to have this week.  And I must say that chicken on my salad earlier in the week was GOOOD!
- I have lost some weight - I'm not exactly sure how much because I weighed at the doctor's office last week and then on my scale this week. I'm OK with not knowing, though - while the scale is indication that I've been making good choices, it's not the main thing.

Perhaps my biggest triumph this week is that I feel good about my choices this week. I have trusted the Lord that I can do this - and it is only through His guidance that I have started this journey on a good note.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pom-Poms & Finger Knitting

I love to try new crafty things, and since I've been on a knitting kick lately there’s lots of yarn around.
I don’t normally go all out for Valentine’s day, but I saw this post last week about finger knitting and I was intrigued – and since Lovey Dovey Day is the next holiday – red and pink it is!  I was shocked at how easy finger knitting is!! I watched this video on youtube, and that was it.  There are many ideas of projects you can do with finger knitting posted on Pinterest, but I really like the garland idea, so I went with that.  

The white strand is made from Lion Brand Homespun yarn – the same I made the infinity scarves out of the last two years.  The red is obviously a thicker yarn – not sure what brand.  

 I like the thicker strand myself, but the mix of the two looks pretty good.
The other strand hanging up there – pom-poms!
Pinterest yet again provided many ideas and tutorials for making pom-poms. Most of the tutorials required a pom-pom maker – which I don’t have – so I used a piece of cardboard to wrap the yarn around.  

While I don’t think I will be winning any pom-pom making awards, I like them!

Finding new crafts or hobbies is always an adventure - try it - you may find something you love!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Craft Room 2.0 {aka The Studio}

I know that not EVERYONE has a craft room.  I don't know why not everyone has one, but c'est la vie!

When I first moved into my condo (over 6 years ago - wow!) the second bedroom was my craft room/storage area.  In 2009 I did some major cleaning out in there and some minor decorating rehab:

Then about 3 years ago, Melissa moved in and my craft room became her bedroom.  Since she decided to stay a while I decided to move the craft room downstairs.  This works fine for me, however it's a bit cramped if anyone else is here.  Let's just say as a creative person, that area gets out of hand. A lot. 
Not to mention the fact that I am saver ("I might need that later, so I will save it right here - with all the other junk awesome stuff I'm saving"), so most of the time that area is a disaster.  I won't share pics of that - use your imagination, and then multiple that by 5 - and you might be close.

Fast forward with me to May of this year.  Melissa is getting married! 

Since it would be strange if she lived here after she gets married, she'll be moving.

And my wheels are turning over so. many. ideas. of how to design my craft room STUDIO!
I'm claiming that it will be my studio because that sounds more professional.

I plan to do this on a shoestring budget - because that's all I have. I know it can be done, I mean spend 5 minutes on Pinterest and you'll find 572 ways to redecorate on a budget. 

I have all of the big pieces that I'll need - dresser, bookcase, storage cubes, table.  The closet in that room is great, it has built in shelves that will be great for fabric.  

I want the studio to be bright and colorful and inspiring and organized. Most of what I'll be doing is painting and recovering things to match my vision.

I found this idea on Pinterest and I can't wait to see if it will work in there: PAINTED FLOORS!
Here are a couple of inspiration pictures:
How fun are these floors!?!?!? I LOVE the yellow one!
I hope that the floor under the carpet in that room is in good enough shape to do this!  I think I am most excited about the floor.

I'm still searching for fabric to use, I can't decide if I will stick with one line, like this one from Joel Dewberry - I do love this:
Or go with a more vintage/eclectic mix - we'll see!

Here are a few more inspiration shots - all from Pinterest:
This cart is from Ikea - and I really like it!!  I almost bought it that last time I was there, but didn't...That just means a trip to Atlanta will be in my future!!

 I like the vintage-y look of this space - and the use of all different colors.

Here is some pretty fabulous fabric storage.  I'd love to do something similar so I can actually see what I have.

This gallery wall just looks happy!  So many great possibilities!

I have a pretty good work chair, but it's black now, so I'd love to give it a new outfit!!

I'm sure you will be seeing more of The Studio in the coming months...
Stay tuned!