Monday, July 15, 2013

Weight loss has forced me to reevalute how I feel about myself.

As usual, I have had a million things running through my head that I want to share with you guys and as usual I have been keeping notes to remember them all. Summer break is winding down and my schedule is about to change yet again. I have been using the month of July to really focus and go the extra mile and push myself in my journey to health because in just a few short days I will have to adjust my schedule and be back to reality as far as time goes.

I have been learning a lot about myself. I have always felt like I was one to consistently reflect on my life and the way things are going but that process has changed. The way I see and apply things to my life has changed. I feel like I'm in a place or season of my life where I feel like I know exactly who I am but I'm also feeling very lost at the same time. Crazy, right?

I have shared before that I have been over weight my entire life or since second grade rather. I have also shared that I cant really recall many times where someone openly ridiculed me for it either. I have always taken pride that even thought I'm over weight I still have pretty friends, I have always been accepted and the only emotional beating I have ever had for being over weight ... came from myself. I always took pride that my closest circle of friends came to me for advice and valued my opinion. I have always been proud that my brothers were both outstanding athletes. What I think I'm trying to say is that even though I have been heavy my whole life... I have always been attached to people or things that aren't and in some way that distracted people from seeing what a lazy and miserable person I really was. Again, this may not be the case but it's for sure what my perception has been.

A change like drastic weight loss suddenly threatens everything we believed to be true about who we are and it also challenges others perceptions of us as well. I have a hard time acknowledging the person that  I am becoming, physically. I have a hard time letting that person shine through. I have a hard time believing in the strength that I have been working so hard to achieve. I have a hard time wearing a size 16/18 because a 26/28 is what I was for so long. It is hard to be okay in that size. It is a whole new identity and I'm wandering  through this path really wanting to get it right.... not only physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.

Being honest with myself is something that has become very necessary. Learning not to buy into the façade that I had been portraying for so long or how not to have that façade for so long. Learning to be who I am and not what others want me to be and detaching myself from the weight that was a coping mechanism and a from of self sabotage for so long has been a very challenging process. Put me in the gym, run me to death and make me sweat before you make me deal with the internal process that weight loss brings.

We all have certain ideas about who we are and what we can do or cannot do and some much of that is attached to how we see our bodies. I have worked hard and have come a very long way in the physical process of  loosing weight. When I first started working out my max burn of calories in an hour was never over 300 in an hour and that took everything I had!! Now when I can physically make it through two hours of an intense work out.. it forces me to see how strong I am. When I want to be lazy and not push myself, I cant because I know that I am settling. I know that I have worked hard to get where I am and I know that I always have to push a little harder to keep growing. Some days I have confidence in that strength and progression and some days I still sabotage it.

Now when I look in the mirror  and see my flaws... I don't hate them. I don't hate them because I know I have the power to heal them. These thunder thighs.. guess what.. they wont be around much longer. These flabby arms... guess what... they are getting dealt with every day! This huge gut.. guess what... it does not slow me down either. I am a working progress and the physical change and strength has taught me that I can and I will deal with those things all in due time. Just keep going, Jennifer!!

When I look in the mirror I don't feel like I see a different person in some areas of my life. I am still a mom, I am still a friend, I am still a student, I am still many of those things and I don't want to loose that sight of myself.  If you're not careful, the fact that others value you more because of your appearance will cause you to value yourself differently because of your appearance. The things I just listed above are things the things that I don't want to value differently about myself. I don't mind valuing them more but I never want this process or this journey to be of more value than the person and qualities that have always been there... regardless of my weight.

I believe it is easy to adapt society's principles about what makes a person "worthy". I think when you feel like you have no idea who you are, you let your peers tell you and it becomes easy to get sucked into. I cling to those things because the person I have always been fits in to it all seamlessly. Things that are new like being physically fit and smaller clothes and peoples positive view of me... scare me. Learning to reflect on the changes that are happening and learning to apply them in a healthy balanced way.... is the challenge that I am currently struggling the most with. 

Each day all we can do is be our very best and try our very best. Life is seasonal and we are always changing. If you are on a journey to health remember to have confidence in how far you have come. Remember to acknowledge the strength you have been working so hard for. Always know that you can push harder and you can accomplish things you never thought possible. Be the very best YOU!!
I am thankful for all the love and support so many of you have offered up to me. Letting this journey be an open book for all of you to see has been very rewarding and an amazingly humbling experience. Stay focused this week and don't quit!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We need to quit stirring the pot and wash and put away the dishes instead!

It has been almost seven months since my last post. Can you tell that I've been busy? There are many days when I will write something down with all intentions of putting it all together for a new post but it just hasn't happened. I also feel like I use social media to let you see into my daily life that I sometimes I feel like their isn't anything going on that is worth while to post about that you have already seen via FB or IG.  I really don't even know where to start.

So far 2013 has proven to be a year that I have finally decided to stop cheating myself. Cheating myself out of education, health, happiness, and just life in general. For so many years I have played the victim in my own life. The word in that sentence being "I". I have been moving forward with my life, yes but I have still allowed the dark cloud of pain and self pity  to hold me back from a life worth living. I am still on my journey to health and loving it more than ever. No big changes there except I have finally learned to love exercise and all the benefits it has to offer. I no longer view it as torture but as a tool for helping me maximize my effort towards physical health, mental health and emotional health. Yes, it does help in all of those areas. I am back in school, ten years later. You have all herd me say that I would be back in school by the time Brooklynn started kindergarten and guess what.... I am! I am in a good place in my life. There is enough struggle to keep me learning and enough goodness to make my heart swell.

  1. Carry out or put into effect (a plan, order, or course of action).
  2. Produce (a work of art).
perform - accomplish - carry out - implement - fulfill

What does the word execute mean in your life? In mine, it means just this. There is no better word or definition to describe what I have learned by applying this to my life. Execute.

If I want to be healthy then I have to execute. If I want to further my education then I have to execute. If I need to get things done then I must execute. The saying "knowing is half the battle" has never been more true for me. I look back at the time I wasted "knowing". I think back to things I knew or acknowledged in my life and I'm appalled that I thought that was enough. Just to acknowledge them was enough for me. To consciously know something needed to be done and just not doing it, was how I lived. Failing to execute but gave myself props because at least I knew it, even if I didn't do anything about it.  Cheating myself and then having the audacity to play the victim. Hello, reality check!! This was a horrible habit that lead to a vicious cycle of self sabotage. The simple things I wanted in my life were not there because of this very problem, because of ME!

For me, it is safe to say that the things I wanted in my life were very attainable and have always been. I just didn't execute. I wallowed. I lied to myself. I disrespected myself. I wasted time and the list goes on of my own behavior that actively prevented me from having the things I wanted in my life.  I think humans as a whole have a real hard time being honest with themselves. I know I had major issue with this. Are you honest with yourself? Stop right now and think about the last time you were really honest with yourself. Do you reflect on your life, your choices, and where your going in an honest way?

I'll share some of the things that I had to be honest with myself about. My weight. Lets just get real for a few minuets. When I was honest with myself about my weight and my health, the end result was like a no brainer for me. Of course I topped the scale at over 330 pounds. That wasn't surprising to me when I was honest with myself  about how that number got so high. I ate fast food almost every day and sometimes multiple times a day. I would binge eat. I would sit for hours at night and snack. I didn't participate in ANY kind of exercise. I only drank carbonation. Food ran my life. The majority of my day was spent thinking about what I would eat next. Yes that sounds disgusting but it's honest. Now lets reflect back to "knowing is half the battle". I knew what I was doing. I knew the results I was getting from this horrible behavior. I knew I was cheating myself. I knew it.. but knowing it was only half the battle. It was time to execute and that I did! The first step is being honest with yourself and the second is execution.

Lets talk about education. Ten years have passed since I first started Jones. Ten. TEN! Every year that rolled around, every single year, I knew what I needed to do and guess what.. I didn't do it. I was lazy. I didn't want to try. I settled. I was okay being less than what I'm capable of being. I was okay "knowing" what I needed to do and not doing  it yet I wanted to feel sorry for myself and poor mouth. Um Hello! I have all the same opportunities as everyone else. I may have a little more to work around at this point but none the less, the opportunity was still there and I was still cheating myself from it. I had to be honest with self. I already knew what I needed to do, hell I have known that since the day I quit. Knowing isn't enough. We must do! Going back to school has taught me a lot about myself. It has made things that "grown ups" have said to me my whole life, make sense.

Why do we do this? Why do we stir the pot of the misery that we claim we want out of so desperately. Do we really want out of it? Are we scared that we might actually have to put forth some effort. Are we afraid that we may have to let go of some things that we enjoy that have become attached to that misery? Are we afraid that we wont be right all the time? Are we afraid to be humble? Do we think our PAST pain and struggle was so bad we shouldn't have to push through anything else that is hard? Do we think we deserve better than the hand that has been dealt to us? Then why do we sell ourselves short on the very things we have the power to change. Why do we belly ache and woe is me when we choose to stay in the misery. We know what has to be done, we know the things we need to stop doing but we do them anyway. The way I see it.. we deserve the misery. If we love it that much that we choose it over happiness and the gratification that growth and hard work bring to our life, then we deserve it.  Everyone always wants to know "what is your secret" or we all want to take the easy way out. We don't want to grow. We don't want to move one. We don't want to mature. We don't want to learn from our mistakes. We don't want to be satisfied and we are ruining the happiness that is waiting on us. And that my friends, is what I had to swallow when I was completely honest with myself. 

We are warriors.

“Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”
Cassandra Clare

I love this quote so much. Why would we want to live our life being the victim when we could be warriors. We have all these unfortunate circumstances some which are a direct reflection of choices we have made that surround us but they do not define us. They do not hold us back. We hold ourselves back.  We need to quit stirring the pot and wash and put away the dishes instead!!

My challenge to you my friends, this week, is to do just that. Be really gut wrenching honest with your self. It could be small things like your job, a friendship, your relationship with your spouse, you responsibility as a parent, or  any number of things. Knowing is half the battle, be a warrior and execute. Our happiness is waiting just on the other side of our self sabotage.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year From a Newly Focused Mom

I was just looking at  my blog and noticed I have not posted since November 12th. I hate to write a forced blog but I also hate letting so much time go by before I post. The past month and half have been super busy as usual for this season. Thanksgiving holidays came and went so fast. I was sick the entire week with the flu and it was awful. Then December came and it went with a whirl wind. I enjoyed the month of December. I had most of my Christmas shopping done so that took a lot of the stress off of me that usually comes because I always wait till the last minute.

I put my health and eating choices on the back burner pretty much the whole month. With teacher parties, class parties, making candy for B's class and family gatherings I knew it would be hard to stick to anything. Sure I could have but I just didn't want to. I told myself I would not over do it but I would also enjoy the holidays and all the goodies that come with it. I do not even want to get on the scale because I know its just gonna piss me off and make me regret that choice. I'm in the same size I was before December but it is a bit more snug than it was. I know I have gained, I just don't want to know how much. When I go back to work I will be back to prepping my  meals and eating like I should. No giving up, I have come to far.

Christmas with Brooklynn was the best one yet! She got everything that was on her list. She was so excited. It was very magical for me. The few days leading up to Christmas kinda had me in a rut. I was feeling a little depressed and just blah. I couldn't really put my finger on the reason why but I was. B was gone with her daddy the few days before Christmas and that could have had something to do with it. Not that she was with him, but that I was by myself for a few days. I got a lot of things done and used that time to do a lot of things I needed to do but not having her close during special times just does something to my heart.

Motherhood has had me thinking a lot lately. I have said before that motherhood is seasonal and that has never been more true in my life. It was like Brooklynn went from being a little baby to this tiny human being with her own set of emotions and choices over night. I cant pull things over on her any longer or convince her against things she has her mind set on. She is like living with a mirror in my face at all times. I see her do or say things that are exactly what she has seen me say or do.

Her dad has recently moved back home from PA and that has been a big adjustment for she and I both. Life seemed much simpler with him being hundreds of miles away. It was easy to explain and easy for her to understand that daddy was just far away at work. Now it takes effort and patience to deal with the situation. I have no doubt her daddy loves her and I have always taught her to love him. Being a parent is so much more than loving your child and since I have done it on my own the whole time, I am very guarded and expect the very best when it comes to Brooklynn. I have ZERO patience for ill choices. I have zero patience for no common sense when it comes to parenting. No, I do not claim to be a perfect parent but I can say that I always use common sense! Many people question my choices when it comes to Brooklynn and her Dad. I often question myself too. It's a double edge sword. Four years ago I could have done the easy thing. I could have left her dad out of the equation all together. Lets not forget that when Brooklynn Rose was born, Adam already had another baby on the way. I have always been one to make choices based on the convictions in my heart, no matter how other people feel about them. No matter how much pain and hurt her dad brought to my life, in my heart I couldn't deny him the right to know his daughter or her the right to know him. Many times it was said  "well it's better for her to not know him at all than for him to be in and out of her life". Well in some cases that is true. In my case Brooklynn has always had stability. She has always had a loving family. She has always had her needs met. She has always had a routine. Children are resilient. All of the things that Brooklynn does have compensates for his unbalanced parenting. When I would think of just shutting him out and not allowing him to know her, my mind would always jump to the future and the questions she would ask. Even though I would have kept him from her for her "protection" or for her "stability".. she would never understand that. In my heart, I felt like she would always wonder and always hold a little bit of a grudge against me for not letting her decide on her own how she felt about him. My mind would fast forward and think to  the time in her life that she could decide to find her dad or make choices for herself  and that she would go and live with him just because she would be curious to know him. So in my heart it has always been my conviction that shutting him out just wasn't the right choice. Her life here at home is so great that I wasn't worried about his parenting and how it would effect her. She would always have stability here. She would always have comfort here. She would always have... here. Like I said, there have been times, very hard times when I have second guessed myself but I always go back and find my way back to reasons why I make the choices I do. Adam does love Brooklynn but the choices he makes and what he reveals of himself to her will never be able to be blamed on me. He will never be able to tell her "well your mother wouldn't let me know or see you". I have a peace about the way I handle our situation. Him being back home has tested the way I feel but it still remains.  With all that said, it brings me back to the point of motherhood being seasonal.

It is so hard for me to let him in our routine. It makes me annoyed and puts me in a bad mood. In turn that reflects on my relationship with Brooklynn. To see how much she loves him, something I have taught her to do, and for him to treat that so passively puts me in a bad place. It makes me judgemental and critical. It steals my joy. With the new year upon us I have made some resolutions in my role as B's mom.

I will not allow anyone to have the power to decide how I feel about myself or my daily mood.
I will learn to build patience for a situation that is not ideal.
I will find a balance in a very unsteady arrangement.
I will not try to control or fix things that are reality.
I will continue to teach my daughter to love her daddy and to be a child of her own opinions.
I will be confident in these choices!

Brooklynn and I will get involved in church.
I will teach Brooklynn to tie her shoes.
I will teach Brooklynn to ride her bike.
I will read more books with Brooklynn.
Every day I will spend at least thirty minuets of one on one time with Brooklynn. No tv, no phone, no interruptions.

While I was typing the second set of resolutions for myself as a parent, my heart was swelling and getting excited just thinking about doing those things with B. I know that for me as a mother, I can only control how I parent her. I'm reminded that no matter what changes take place, I am still the same mom she has always had. Motherhood may bring seasonal changes but my love for Brooklynn will never change. The way I mother her will never change. Me being here for her will never change. I will always find the joy through the pain. I will be the best mom I can be because she deserves that. I will always teach her right now matter how I feel about things. I will always stick to my convictions no matter how people feel about them because so far my convictions have led to a very happy and loving little girl and to a mother with peace instead of uncertainty when thinking about the future.

The past month I have been all over the place. Trying to adjust and deal with feelings that have been suppressed for so long. I have started to journal and found a new focus in my life. I have always been a driven person and I will continue to have that drive. I have shaken off the shadows that the year end had hanging over me. It's a new year and new start. This year great things will happen for B and I. I will go back to school and Brooklynn will start school. I will continue my journey of healthy living and will keep my mind and emotions in check. Our family will welcome a new baby this year and Robert and Jame Lee will be moving back home. This year is already looking fabulous! Friends, I hope you will all face your demons and put them behind you and have the best year yet! We are blessed and we have so much to live for!! Happy New Year! Find your Focus!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let Us Give Thanks

Okay, so it's been a month since I have written a new post. I had really promised myself that I was gonna try to post twice a month but that just hasn't happened.

Life has been good as a whole. I'm still working at my healthy lifestyle and that is just what it is... a working progress. This past month I stayed on track but didn't do as well as I have been the two months before that. I still made conscience choices when the food was not as healthy as it should be but I'm learning that when I do want to have something that is not so health friendly, not to over indulge and it wont be so damaging. I hit my goal of of thirty pounds. On October 22nd I got on the scale and I was actually down thirty three pounds. In the two weeks since then I'm back and forth between thirty five and thirty seven pounds. The end of October was tough because I needed a paycheck so bad. I was skimming the cupboards  to get by as best as I could.  Here are a few progress pics that I have taken along the way.

I guess the most rewarding part of this process so far, for me, is fitting into smaller clothes. I had gotten so big that it did not matter how cute the clothes were, they were not making me feel cute! Every thing was tight and I hated even getting ready in the mornings because I felt so miserable. I'm sure people get tired of looking at progress pictures but they are very motivational for me. When we look at ourselves every day, we don't realize that we are getting smaller. If you take a photo journal and look back, it helps tremendously. This is the start of week fourteen and I have had to make commitments several times. I want change, so I am seeking change. It's just that simple!

It's easy to get burnt out on foods. I have to switch it up and try new things. Below are some chicken pouches I made and some turkey burgers.

Just take your chicken breast and put in on the foil and season to taste.
Smother with what ever veggies you like. I used peppers, onions, corn, and small cubes of red potato.
Wrap the foil up and put in the oven for an hour and a half on 350 degrees.
(I also put shrimp in two of the packets with the chicken)

These are just turkey burgers cooked with bell pepper on them.

 When I cook, I try to make something that can be more than just one meal. Like the chicken pouches made four meals. The turkey burgers made three meals. It seems like a lot when I'm cooking it but I have it on hand and ready to go with me and I don't have to cook most of the week. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Here are a few recipes I have ran across. I have tried some of them and some of them I have not but I'm dying to!

Clean Eating Spinach Dip
(Makes approximately 6 cups)
1 (16 oz.) container low-fat cottage cheese
10 oz. container frozen spinach, thawed
8 oz. can water chestnuts, chopped fine
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Step 1 – Using a blender, blend the cottage cheese until it is smooth and creamy.
Step 2 – Put the cottage cheese in a large mixing bowl, and add all other ingredients. Stir well.
Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content
1 serving = 1/2 cup
Calories: 64
Total Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fats: 1 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 151 mg
Carbohydrates: 7 gm
Dietary fiber: 1 gm
Sugars: 1 gm
Protein: 6 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 4

Clean Eating Tuna Salad
(Makes approximately 8 servings)
3 cans water-packed tuna
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 carrot – grated
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 small tomato
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 a small white onion
1 hard boiled egg
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. honey (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1 – Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and serve!

Nutritional Content
1 serving = approximately 1/2 cup
Calories: 97
Total Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 45 mg
Sodium: 227 mg (based on 1/4 tsp. sea salt)
Carbohydrates: 2 gm
Dietary fiber: 0 gm
Sugars: 1 gm
Protein: 18 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 1

Clean Eating Ranch Dressing
(Makes approximately 8 tbsp.)
5 tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
3 tbsp. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried dill
1/2 ts. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried chives
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
Step 1 – Using a whisk, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and evenly blended.

Nutritional Content
1 serving = 2 tbsp.
Calories: 10
Total Fat: 2 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 gm
Sodium: 55 mg
Carbohydrates: 1 gm
Dietary fiber: 0 gm
Sugars: 1 gm
Protein: 1 gm

Clean Eating Blueberry Mango Salsa
(Makes approximately 2 cups)
1 cup chopped blueberries
1 cup chopped mango
1 tsp. grated ginger (grated with a microplane)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Pinch sea salt
Step 1 – Chop all ingredients to the consistency you like.
Step 2 – Mix in a medium mixing bowl.
Step 3 – Chill and serve with organic corn chips.
Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content
1 serving = 1/2 cup
Calories: 49
Total Fat: 0 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 gm
Dietary fiber: 2 gm
Sugars: 10 gm
Protein: 1 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 4

Clean Eating Chicken Salad
6-7 Chicken breasts, baked
1 cup Clean Eating Ranch Dressing
1 red onion, chopped
Avocado (optional)
Step 1 – Shred your chicken breasts.
Step 2 – Add chicken, onions and ranch to a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Step 3 – If you are so inclined, top with avocado.
Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content
1 serving = 1 cup
Calories: 94
Total Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 gm
Dietary fiber: 3 gm
Sugars: 12 gm
Protein: 1 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 8

Clean Eating Sweet Potato Casserole
(Makes 8 small servings)
Topping Ingredients
1 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. safflower oil
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Filling Ingredients
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1/2 cup clean orange juice
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. honey
Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl, combine all topping ingredients together using a wooden spoon. It will be clumpy and sticky.
Step 2 – Spread out mixture the best you can on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Step 3 – Bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 10-15 minutes. The mixture should have a nice golden color to it.
Step 4 – Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Step 5 – Transfer small portions to a large cutting board and chop roughly. Set aside.
Step 1 – Wash the sweet potatoes and rub with oil. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake until easily pierced with a fork (about 30-40 minutes).
Step 2 – Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them without burning yourself.
Step 3 – Peel the potatoes and place the inside in a large mixing bowl.
Step 4 – Add all other filling ingredients and mash with a potato masher or blend with a hand blender.
Step 5 – Transfer the potato mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the pecan topping evenly over the potatoes.
Step 6 – Serve.
Note: you will most likely have some topping left over depending on the size of the dish you use. The leftovers are great for topping oatmeal or mixing in with granola.
Eat and Enjoy!

Filling Nutritional Content
1 serving = 1/8 of the recipe (does not include topping)
Calories: 162
Total Fat: 0 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 93 mg
Carbohydrates: 38 gm
Dietary fiber: 5 gm
Sugars: 11 gm
Protein: 3 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 16

Topping Nutritional Content
1 serving = 1/8 of the recipe (does not include filling)
Calories: 154
Total Fat: 12 gm
Saturated Fats: 1 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 gm
Dietary fiber: 2 gm
Sugars: 9 gm
Protein: 2 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 7

All these recipes are listed on I have found this website to be very helpful with not only recipes but understanding clean eating as a whole. The author of this website/blog is great! Go read her story! If you are interested in incorporating some clean eating into your life style you should definitely check out her website. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!

I am still working on the goal of Couch to 5K! I finished week one and on the last day I suffered a horrible knee injury. For two weeks I was in a lot of pain and very frustrated. The whole week I was sore but it was different on that last day. I really hurt myself.  Learning and understanding running as a much larger person is key to my success as a runner. I will not give up and this week my traning continues. I'm hoping to be a part of this 5K in New Orleans with several of the teachers at SJH!

In other news, the Whites were here this past week and through the weekend. As always, it was so good to have them home. If you missed the memo... JAMIE LEE IS PREGNANT!! We are all so excited! We spent the days that they were here hanging out and just playing with the girls. Saturday we had a wedding in our family. My cousin Glen tied the knot with Debbie! It was a beautiful wedding! It was out side and candlelit, so romantic!! Here are a few shots from the wedding!

Olyvia was one of the flowers girls.
She was so pretty.

Love this picture!

My little beauty!

Love this picture too!

Pawpaw and the "White" girls

Sister and I

The best men in my life!

Handsome brother of mine!

I so enjoyed the wedding and getting to see everyone! I am so happy for Glen and Debbie.The both looked great and both looked so happy!!

Yesterday Brooklynn and I put up our Christmas tree. We had so much fun. We had the Christmas music playing and I was loving every second of it. This is my favorite time of the year and it is going by way to fast. Next week we are off from school all week and it's Thanksgiving! I am looking forward to so time off and lots of time with Brooklynn Rose. I hope you are all finding the joy in this season and taking in every second of it! This month should remind all of us  how blessed we are and to always give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I am a cheater and I must confess!!

It's the end of week seven on my "health journey" and it was a HORRIBLE week in my health world. This is the first week that I didn't lose a pound and there are very good reasons for that. Let's start off  with the fact that I did not prep one single meal except for the crock pot chicken taco soup last week and I only ate that twice after I made it. The rest of the week I did not even make breakfast and at lunch I "winged" it. We order out at school a few times and some of the sides were not so good. Here is a list of things that I had that I think deserve a confession.
  1. A piece of cookie cake (my mom had one made for me and Jamie Lee)
  2. Two hush puppies and they were so good
  3. Sonic which was a grilled chicken sandwich plain (not horrible) with a small fry (horrible)
  4. several carbonated drinks
Now I know this does not sound like a big deal but to me it is. I have been out of sink not being prepared and I now know just how important that is. I know that eating breakfast is what gets my metabolism going and I skipped out every single day this week on breakfast. Cool Jenn! I was feeling discouraged by all this at the end of the week so I did some before and after pictures to put things in perspective and to help me remember how far I have come.

week one, week four, week seven

week one, week seven

week one, week seven

week one, week seven

These are a spin off from the pumpkin chocolate cupcakes I did a few weeks
ago. This time I did white cake mix and  can of blueberry pie filling.
Mix together and cook for 40 mins on 350 degrees.
These are about 200 calories and 2 grams of fat!
So good.

My next goal is to complete Couch to 5K
Gonna start Monday training and will hopefully be able to run a 5K by the new year. These little beauties are gonna help!

I will get back on track this week and not "cheat" myself any longer. I know it is not the end of the world when I make a bad choice concerning food but I also know it becomes less difficult after each time that you do make a bad choice. I have tried so hard to stick to my plan that I don't want to take any steps back!

In other news life has been good. Robert and Jamie Lee came in to town Tuesday and we have done the usual family things that we do when they come home.

sweet girls

They are both getting way too big!

Sugar for my Lyvi' Love

Besides my off week with my eating I also had a off week dealing with things that shouldn't bother me. When you are faced with something that you feel like was done intentional how do you deal with it? I try to evaluate the situation and ask myself questions before I jump to any conclusions. Then I ask myself if I am the problem and what am I doing to make the problem any better or worse.  I am so big on self peace and self awareness. When something ticks me off, hurts, or just plain annoys me I usually asses the situation and try to find a way to be the better person or make a better attitude choice. This week I struggled with that.  Yesterday I came home sick from work and felt like death until this morning. Even today I have felt weak and groggy all day. Between my bad week of eating, bad week of attitudes and annoying things, and throwing up sick for over 12 hours... I was really having myself  a pity party. Who likes pity parties... no on but the one who is hosting it! I tried to shake it off and half way enjoy my Saturday. Brooklynn and I went to Wal-Mart to get a few things and to find some stuff to complete her homework for the weekend which was a pumpkin project. We had a lot of fun making it. We turned on the radio and went creative crazy! Instantly my mood was better!!

so sweet

so beautiful

She loves her tire swing

earlier this week on her tire swing

Last week at Loblolly Fest

He super cute trick or treat bucket

New school picture

She is the love of my life

Totally sassing out the out fit Jay Jay and Aunt Casey sent her!

Tomorrow is a new day and a new week! Things will be better this week. Wednesday afternoon Brooklynn's daddy will fly home and he is going with her on her field trip with school to the pumpkin patch on Thursday and she is so very excited. After that they will head to her Mimi's in meridian until Monday, needless to say it's gonna be a few days for me! I hope you all have a great week !!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Twenty Eight feels GREAT

Last Thursday I turned twenty eight. My family was precious, my co workers were great and I had a dear friend take me to New Orleans! The older I get the less important birthdays seem to me. I tried to do a lot of reflection on the days before and the day of my birthday. I compiled a list of twenty eight things that have either taught me a lesson or effected my life in a major way.

  1. I never understood how much my parents loved me until I became a parent myself. Motherhood is my most treasured accomplishment in life. Nothing has ever challenged or caused me to grow as a person, like being a mother has.
  2. The older I get the smaller my circle of friends becomes. My friends that I have had my whole entire life are the best kind around. I never lose that connection or love for them no matter how much time passes.
  3. When you make a mistake, I mean a horrible, shameful mistake.... you just have to own it. I never run from or defend things people say about me concerning my mistakes. People who know me, love me anyway.
  4. Forgiveness in a must and a grudge only hurts you.
  5. I was raised in church... a Southern Baptist church. I loved my church and many of the people who still go there. I was so blinded by the church and how it treated people. My family suffered a hard time many years ago and I was totally turned off by the way the church responded to it. It was at that point that I seen how the "rules" of the church had shaped and molded my life. I am a Christian. I do answer to the Lord but my belief is that we are to love God and love people and that people have personal convictions. We cant force our own convictions on other people. I am not bad mouthing my church at all just saying how events happened and how it shaped my view on things.
  6. Women are the most competitive creatures on Earth. Awful!
  7. I am  not a night owl. Never have been and never will be!
  8. No matter how much you love someone, you can not change them. No matter how much hope you have in them, you cant force them to use their potential. No matter how  hard you run from the inevitable, it is still coming.
  9. Every one is human, they will do human things.
  10. I love to drive fast.. really fast.
  11. I am completely and utterly scared to death of going back to school.
  12. I am strong.
  13. I am loved.
  14. I never planned on being a mom, much less a single mom. I have NO DOUBT that it's what I'm supposed to be doing. I know all parents have special connections and bonds with their children but what I have with Brooklynn Rose is so sacred to me. There are times when it's so heart breaking that I cant even breathe. This past Christmas my whole family pulled together to get Brooklynn's play house moved to our house and set up while she was fast asleep waiting on Santa to come but the next morning, I could hardly keep from having a lump in my throat because She and I were alone. My whole life there was at least five people around the Christmas tree with me on Christmas morning and now it's just one. I am okay with that but that is what I mean when I say sometimes my emotions are overwhelming. Every morning, every night, every meal, every trip to school, every bedtime prayer, every load of her dirty clothes, every grocery shopping trip, every day... every memory is mine. She is no doubt my soul mate. She was sent here to save me. The time is slipping away and she is not a baby any more. I wonder what it will be like ten years from now.
  15. I hate poor customer service.
  16. Communication communication communication!!!
  17. I still love to play babies with Brooklynn now as much as I did when I was a little girl.
  18. fall, winter, spring, and summer. That is the order of my favorites.
  19. I am simple, very simple.
  20. Robert White is the very best friend I have ever had. I love all of my siblings very much but Robert has always been my best friend.
  21. Time takes care of everything. Brooklynn has a little sister who was born six months and one day after her. They have not seen each other since either of them were just a few months old. This is very heart breaking for me and very hard for me to let go of and allow time to take it's place. I played a fair share in things being the way they are now in certain situations but to me they are what matter now and any past grievance should be let go of, for their sake. I try to imagine the day Brooklynn finds out she has a sister that I never told her about. I wonder how that will effect her. I wonder if she will resent me for keeping that from her. I am open to them knowing each other and have expressed that desire many times but have been told it just wont happen and I have no choice but to respect that.  Time takes care of everything.
  22. Happiness is a choice.. no really it is.
  23. I am getting set in my ways and I'm okay with that. I have no desire to have a man in my life. I'm not closed off to the idea or try to prevent it form happening but I am not a girl who needs a man to be happy. I'm just not that girl.
  24. No one will love and respect you if you do not love and respect yourself.
  25. I am twenty eight and I am debt free.
  26. Expressing my feelings is something I have to do. I can not let things build up. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to say how I feel.
  27. People who know EVERY THING drive me up the wall!!!!!!!
  28. I am happy with life. I am at peace with life and I know that life is seasonal. Hard times come and go. Good times come and go. Friends come and go. Money comes and goes. It's all about how you view things and your frame of mind. It would be real easy to get bitter but to me it's just not worth it. I have a wonderful family, a job that I love, and the unconditional love of the prettiest four year old in the whole wide world. How could I not be happy? How could I complain? I am ready for the year of twenty eight of all that it holds for me!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Hello, Friends!

Can you guys already feel the busy that fall brings? Football games, homecoming, pageants, and just life in general. Like I have said many times, these next few months are my favorite time of the year. I love everything about fall. I'm excited to decorate my house, change the scents in my house, pick out Halloween costumes, I  mean you know the drill and I'm sure you're all doing the same thing. How exciting!

In the life of Brooklynn and I things are going pretty good. She is still going through some of the things I spoke about a few weeks ago, dealing with the separation anxiety. It is not as intense as before and she isn't crying when I leave her at school any more but to be out of my presence for an extended amount of time, outside of school, is still unpredictable. I've decided not to stress about it. She and I have talks about it and I assure her that things are okay when she is not with me. I'm just waiting for it to pass.

I have still been doing great with my clean eating and results are still showing. Yesterday I got on the scale and was down another three pounds so that makes twenty total at the end of week five. Week five I was out of sorts and low on cash. I was not able to buy and eat the things that I do on a daily basis but I still managed to stick to it. I just don't feel confident with out all my fruits and veggies to eat on  all day. I got paid Friday and yesterday I went and stocked up on everything I needed.

Robert, Jamie Lee, and my sweet Lyvi Love were here last weekend. As always, it was so good to see them. Olyvia is getting so big and changing so much each time I see her. She has the sweetest spirit and is such an easy baby. We played babies for a good thirty mins and she was just as content and taking everything in. I cant believe how big she is. She will say almost anything you tell her to. She and Brooklynn are just as close as ever. When Lyv' sees Brooklynn her little eyes light up and she smiles as big as the moon! It's precious. While they were here we went to the West/ South game at South Jones and had dinner a couple of times. I will never get used to them living far away but it was so good to spend time with them.

My sweet family

sweet girls

I love this pic

oh and this one too

sweet sweet

love my sister

Paw paw & His girls
We needed some new pics. These are all super sweet but I cant figure out why they are so small and right now I don't have the patience to figure out how to make them bigger. Either way they are precious right?
Today/tomorrow starts week six on my journey to a healthy life style. I have tried some fun recipes and of course I have been taking progress pictures. Some days I feel super dedicated and some days I feel like I haven't lost a pound. When I get out the progress pictures they really help me put things in prospective. I don't guess I have really ever "known my body". I was so unhealthy that I didn't even know how to listen to my body. When you start eating healthy you can really tell what your body needs as far as nutrition goes. For example, when I first started this and like the first two weeks into it, I was still eating a pretty big supper. It would be healthy but larger than it should be. This past week I really payed attention to my body and I ate a really small supper almost every night. I cut way back on my portions for the evening. I would just have a cup of veggies or only a turkey sandwich and be satisfied.  I'm still eating it by five o'clock every night but it's just a lot smaller. I fuel my body by eating all day that when it's time to eat supper it does not take much to satisfy me. I have had a few glasses of sweet tea and I even had some carbonation but found that it made more thirsty. It was nice with lunch or with dinner but I do not have it every day or with every meal. I try not to get on the scale but once a week. A couple of those weeks I would get on every few days and my weight would fluxate so much that I would feel defeated so I stopped that and started only weighing once a week. 
Being over weight my whole life has taken it's tole on my body, my mind, my emotions, and my confidence in ever achieving any goals I have set for myself. I have dieted so many times and never stuck with it. I have tried every pill, every powder, counted points, and done every challenge out there with out lasting results. What I have been doing the past five weeks is working for me. Physically I  am there, mentally I am there, emotionally I am there and I am confident that what I am doing is what I should be doing. There is no turning back for me. I feel like being and staying committed to this will help me be and stay committed to other things I want to do with my life. Self peace is something I am big on. I have hid from who I really am for so long. I would embrace every other thing in my life but always had this dark lurking shadow of bad health that I would just pretend wasn't there. To face that demon, one that I have repressed for so long, has put me in a much better place with myself. I had to just own it that I had never cared about myself or my health, for a number of reasons. YOU HAVE TO CARE ABOUT YOURSELF! I have not cared about myself in a really long time. I was in a destructive relationship for over five years and disrespected myself on so many levels. I became a single mom and totally devoted my life and everything in me to my little girl, which is great but I forgot to care about myself. Being a single mom and having to work extra hard was almost an excuse to not care about myself. Isn't that awful? I had to dig deep and I had to face how bad I was to myself and then I had to not let that be something negative in my life. I made bad choices, I took wrong turns, I ignored my health, I ran from my demons and it is what it is. I am not that person any more. I do care about myself. I do care about my health. I try to make very conscience decisions in every aspect of my life. When you want a change in your life, you will make one. If you don't want a change in your life, you will make excuses. It's not easy but it's worth it and becomes the new normal!
These muffins are so good!
All you need is a box of chocolate devils food cake (I got the moist one)
and a can of pumpkin. Mix the two together and trow them in your muffin pan.
Put them in the oven on 400 degrees for twenty mins.
They are not super low in calories or fat but they are great alternative for something sweet!

My crock pot has become my best friend.
Here I did chicken breast, which I brown a little bit before putting them in and
lots of veggies. Celery, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and cauliflower. I also steamed these on a very
low heat for a few mins just to soften them up a bit before I put them in the crock pot.
I used a recipe starter from Progresso that was cream of mushroom and I added a pack of
onion soup mix. I let it cook all day. The last two hours I put in a cup of brown rice and y'all 
this was great. I ate on it for several meals. I also brought my mom and Mr. Sid some to eat on.
Use your crock pot!! 

This picture is from day one week one, and day seven of week four.
Progress pictures truly are a good motivator. Use them!

I did this progress picture last night.
This is week one, week three, and the end of week six.
I can tell in my clothes more than anything that I am loosing weight.
Some of my friends are like "well I do good all week and then I eat pizza". There is nothing wrong with that. Most of my friends are much smaller and do not have near the weight to lose that I do. Whether you're 200 pounds over weight or 10 pounds over weight, making any healthy choices is what it's about. Reality is that no, not every meal we eat for the rest of our lives will be the most healthy or the best choice as far as nutrition goes but that the fact that you  make more health conscience choices than you do bad choices, when it comes to food,  that is a life style change.
I am thankful for all the love and support I have gotten since I started this journey. My family is always encouraging me, especially Robert. He constantly checks in on me and tells me he is proud of me. I have never felt judged by my  brother for my weight but I always knew how much he cared about me and just wanted me to live healthier. My co-workers have been great. They have been supportive and give me fresh ideas when it comes to food. Their daily encouragement keeps me going! My friends, well we all know that I have great friends! Having a team of support around me has been so helpful. The support from my friends on FB, IG, and from those of you who read my blog keeps me accountable. Making a change in your life no matter what it is, takes time. I challenge everyone to look at their life and find the things that need to be changed. May it be finances, may it be a relationship, your job, your role as a wife or mother,weight, priorities, anything that you have been running from and just face it! A few weeks from now you will be glad you cared about yourself enough to face the change! I hope you all have a great week!!