28 Jan 2015

My Weight Loss Story: Weight Watchers, Calorie Counting, Clean Eating, IIFYM to now…

I took some time to share my own personal weight loss story. From being well over 200 lbs, losing 60 lbs on my own and keeping it off for 10+ years, 2 pregnancies, lots of trial and error, and finally feeling settled, I’d love for you to check out my video:

27 Jan 2015

My current routine

I get asked a lot what my current fitness routine is, so I thought I would share. I like to change things up every few months, so while this  may not be forever, it’s working for now!

Mondays: Arms, Abs & Cardio (my current cardio is Insanity Max 30…so 30 minutes of hard cardio!)

Tuesdays: Hot Yoga

Wednesdays: Chest/Back, Abs & Cardio

Thursdays: Hot Yoga or Shoulders

Friday: Legs & Cardio

Saturdays: Rest or shoulders (if I do yoga on Thursday)

Sundays: rest…always rest! :)

So, that’s what I’m up to these days! My husband is traveling for 2 weeks in February so I have a fun experiment up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share with you! <3 What’s your current routine?

23 Jan 2015

Losing the Baby Weight: My Story

If you are on Instagram and following ANY fitness account of a woman who has had a baby, you have inevitably seen their before and after photos of their baby weight loss. I *LOVE* that women are proud of their bodies and what they can do, and I am definitely not going to tell someone not to share or brag on themselves for an awesome, awesome accomplishment, but I thought I’d share my personal story on losing the baby weight both time.

With both of my pregnancies I worked out from the start to the very end….in fact, I went to the gym the morning before I headed to the hospital to deliver my son! (I think I stopped with my daughter a week before due to some hip pain, but can’t really remember) I maintained my normal routines, modifying when necessary, ate a healthy diet (with some treats for sure!) and gained about 30 lbs with my daughter and around 25 with my son and exclusively breastfed both of them.

After chats with my sister and several friends who had nursed I fully expected the baby weight to fall off, especially with nursing involved! Sooooo many women I know can’t keep weight ON when they are nursing, and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty pumped about this! A few days after I got home from the hospital with BOTH kids I was kind of excited to hop on the scale to see how much weight had come off in the hospital – I knew at least the actual weight of the baby and the placenta would be gone, right?! Well…WRONG!!! My babies were both the exact same weight (6 lb 10 oz) and when I got home from the hospital I had lost FOUR lbs….BOTH TIMES! WHAT?! You have GOT to be kidding me, right?! With my daughter I was surprised, but with my son, I was SHOCKED! (I worked out lot more consistently, gained less weight, and had less fluids during his labor)

Ok, ok, so maybe I was holding onto some water weight…that’s fine, the weight will start falling off soon, right? WRONG. This is what I want to remind you, sweet mama who is pregnant or just had their baby….every single body is different. There is no right or wrong here. There are some girls who will be back in their pre-pregnancy clothes/jeans in just a few weeks, and others it will take awhile. I think with both of mine I had to rock maternity jeans or my bigger jeans for a good 4-5 months before I could get into my regular jeans. And can I tell you something? That doesn’t mean you are less healthy or fit than any other mom out there, even the one back in her jeans in the hospital. Soooo much of our post-partum bodies are completely out of our control. Genetics, hormones, stress levels, sleep….so much is at play, not ONE of our stories will be the same…and I’m so thankful for that!

It makes me want to reach out to girls on Instagram commenting on these 6-pack postpartum photos (which hello, are so inspiring and amazing, but definitely not the “norm”) with comments like “you give me hope that this will be me as soon as my baby is born!”….and I want to hug them and say, “it might be you, and it might not, and either way is ok, and you are still amazing, fit and beautiful.” Your body just went through a HUGE journey of carrying a baby AND delivering it, respect that. Let your body recover and get to it’s new normal in whatever time it takes. If you snap back quickly….awesome! It if takes 6-9 months (like it did for me both times), that’s OK too! I just pray that you don’t find your worth, beauty or anything in how quickly you are back to pre-baby weight/look. And remember, the journey is different for everyone.

I hear a lot of people talk about how nursing makes the pounds fall off, and for the mama out there who can’t lost that last stubborn 10-15 pounds even though you are nursing….it’s ok. Our metabolisms are so different. I was SO incredibly frustrated with this aspect of weight loss because so many people had painted the picture that weight loss was a perk of nursing! But guess what? With both of my kids I lost about 10 lbs in the month AFTER I finished nursing them without changing a thing in my diet or routine. So mama, if you’re like me, don’t be discouraged. You are doing great. Your life and worth is about so much more than your weight, pant size, pre-pregnancy weight or your abs. Enjoy that new baby. Make healthy choices for you and your family….enjoy the journey, don’t be a slave to it. And if you are one of those with abs at 6 days post partum….get down with yo bad self!

I remember a fitness professional (who just so happened to snap right back….lucky!!) post on one of my pictures at the gym when I was pregnant: “keep it up girl! You will be RIGHT back to your normal workouts and clothes in no time!” and I KNOW that was a well-intentioned comment, but when that wasn’t my story, it was discouraging. Was I not as fit/healthy as I thought? Am I doing something wrong? Should I be working out more or should I have started before my 6-week checkup? (I waited until 6 weeks with both of mine!)

New mom…my advice to you….don’t make this your god. Sure, make healthy choices with your food, get your workouts in when you can, are rested, your body is ready AND your doctor clears you…and you WILL get there. And it’s OK if it takes time. It’s ok if you miss a workout because your baby was up all night and you just want to snuggle…or nap. Be free from the idea that your worth is found in your body, or how quickly you get back into shape. You will get there, I promise you will!

Here’s some real, raw pictures from *my* journey to get back after baby #2:

These are my quick snaps on days I was frustrated I was still wearing my maternity clothes when all I wanted was to be back to “normal”…progress2

The photo on the left is 4 months post-partum, exclusively breastfeeding, exercising 4-5 days a week (mostly cardio, some weights) and counting calories. The photo on the right if 17 months post-partum, exercising 5 days a week (lifting weights and some cardio) and eating the same amount of calories.



I’m still on my journey, but I am so thankful I have come to the realization and peace that we are all so different, have different priorities, different stories, and most of all….different bodies.


Enjoy that baby, mama.


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05 Jan 2015

IIFYM: An Obsession?

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time I wrote a bit this summer about a method of eating called IIFYM or Flexible Dieting. It was something that was new to me that I really, really enjoyed and it was exciting to change it up! I followed this method for about 6 months and saw amazing changes in my physique and my body, but one thing I noticed was happening that was something new to me and had never been an issue for me before….I was completely and totally obsessed with food and what I was eating. Not in the sense that I was scared to eat or wouldn’t eat certain foods or at certain places, what i mean is that I was thinking about food, what to eat and how many macros I had left all. the. time….and to me, that’s not ok. To me, that is giving food control of my life.

While I still think this is an awesome idea and method of “dieting”, the reality of it just isn’t how I want to live. I don’t want to be consumed with food. I don’t want to be eating my breakfast thinking about what I am going to eat later that evening. I don’t want to plan my entire day, date nights, etc around food…that isn’t a freeing feeling to me, it made me feel like I was held captive to my food. If I am hungry, I want to eat. I want to eat foods that are good for my body, and sure, have a treat here or there, but I don’t want to plan my day around food. I want to fuel my body and my workouts, but not spend hours planning each macro.

I didn’t really realize I was feeling so “captive” to this until my sister and I decided to take a macro break and jump back on the 21 Day Fix eating plan leading up to Thanksgiving. The concept of the 21 Day Fix is the same as macro tracking, but it’s much less intense. No weighing the food, no exact “gram” goal of protein/fats/carbs, just simply getting in the allotted amount of foods within each group: proteins, carbs, veggies, fruits, fats, etc., and guess what? I’m still seeing amazing results!

I didn’t expect to feel so FREE after leaving IIFYM. I thought that lifestyle was giving me freedom (you can even go back and read my blogs on that!), but it really wasn’t. Sure, it allowed me to eat foods that in the past I would have considered “banned”, but I was chained to my food scale. Dinner prep took so much longer because we had to weight every single ingredient, then weigh out my portion, etc. Elliot started asking about the food scale which raised red flags that it was an obsession to me, and just a general feeling of obsession, which again, was new to me.

We are not slaves to our bodies, food, or our workouts, and if your lifestyle is reflecting that, it might me time to make a change in what you are doing. If you are thinking about food all the time, it’s probably time to rethink your plan. Food is our fuel, not our god. Honestly, I think macro tracking/clean eating/ etc, etc, etc can be just as damaging to your mental health as a true, diagnosed eating disorder. While you are still eating, it is an obsession, a control issue, and you need to be free from that. (note: I am not saying following macros means you have an eating disorder, but if you are completely obsessed with every morsel of food that goes in your mouth, it may be time to let go of some of those strongholds food has over you!)

When it comes down to it, whatever method of eating/dieting you choose for yourself is great – there is no right or wrong answer here – but I do want to encourage you to really look at your life and see if this is an obsession for you. If it is, it’s not worth it. You are worth more than your food. You are set free from that. Find something that allows you to maintain balance and run with it.

I’m sure I will get some pushback here, but I just wanted to share a little bit about my own personal journey and story with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting!

20 Oct 2014

the church planting journey – sunday mornings.

Whew – Monday mornings I seriously feel like I’ve been hit by a train! I’ve worked in ministry for over 10 years (either as a paid job or volunteering), so I am used to Sundays being CRAZY and can’t remember the last time I went to church as a regular attender….attendee? But man, Sunday’s as the pastors wife takes things to another level.

When we decided to move forward planting, Chris and I were really committed to my job in the church being supporting him and our family. I had no desire to be the children’s ministry director, I used to lead worship at our old church but that just doesn’t make sense for us (for now at least) with such young kids, etc etc – the list goes on! For the first 2 years of doing this I felt really guilty about that. When needs came up it is my gut instinct to volunteer to fill the hole or solve the problem, but thankfully we were both pretty serious about that commitment and I haven’t stepped up to fill those roles. I volunteer in kids ministry once a month, but beyond that, my goal is to be there to make sure our kids are taken care of and be a support to Chris. I’ve gotten off track….this post is supposed to be about Sunday mornings! :)

Pastors wives…you aren’t alone in feeling like a raging lunatic on Sunday mornings! I swear, I can get the kids ready without a hitch, but on Sundays EVERYTHING goes wrong. For example, one Sunday I didn’t get up as early as I usually do (I usually get up an hour before their normal wake up time to get ready), so I got the kids dressed then hopped in the shower….annnnnd then Deacon crawled into the shower and was totally drenched, resulting in needing a total outfit change. It’s almost laughable. So by the time we get out the door I’m basically sweating (we usually go to my parents for the day after church so I have to get the kids packed for the day), and then we get to church….and all chaos ensues.

My desire/hope is to get to talk to new folks, connect with people, meet people on Sunday mornings – make them feel welcome and connected, but the reality is, that rarely happens. I have to remind myself that this is a season since our kids are SO little, but since Chris is “on duty” Sunday mornings, that means I am on duty for the kids….and like true PK’s they are alllll over the place, hahaha! Yesterday I found myself standing at a little set of stairs the entire time before and after church supervising Deacon going up and down the stairs in hopes that he didn’t crack his head open (Of which I succeeded this week….don’t ask me about 2 weeks ago) and I really didn’t get to meet or talk to anyone. I was frustrated and discouraged, but the Lord reminded me in a sweet way that it’s TOTALLY OK. I am called to serve Chris and my family, and one day I will be able to chat with people, but for now, it just might not happen.

While I feel like people have these expectations of me, I need to remember that I am not here doing this to please people, I am fulfilling this huge calling the Lord has placed on our lives and I need to do it with confidence and joy, even when it feels like a total bummer sometimes. I want to encourage other women who are in this same season….it’s ok. It’s ok if you don’t get to talk to anyone because you are chasing a crazy toddler, taking kids to the potty, or have to leave right away to prevent someone from having a meltdown. You are serving your husband and your church well by allowing your husband to have the freedom to fulfill his calling to the church by fulfilling your calling to the church and your family.

And to those of you who aren’t pastors/ministry wives/spouses – I want to encourage you to reach out to your pastor’s wife. Maybe ask if there is anything you can do to help, or go hang out with her while she does her thing with the kids – it can be an isolating time, but know she is serving and loving the church, it just might not look like what you think it should look like.

I’m excited to see what my role looks like as our kids get older and our church grows, but for now, I am just going to keep chugging along.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
—Philippians 2:3–4


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