Monday, July 04, 2016

50 Pounds Down

Most of my friends and family know that I started Weight Watchers back on January 9th. I have been very open and upfront about my weight-loss journey, and have been posting weekly about my weigh-ins and how my journey is going so far. I used Instagram for a lot of my posts and then some are also forwarded to my FB so that non-Instagram friends on FB can still keep up.

When I first started WW back in January, I wanted to set a healthy, achievable goal for my long-term health and happiness. I knew that if I set a goal for five pounds a MONTH, it would be something that I *should* be able to do, as long as I didn't cheat myself. When I sat down and planned out where that goal would take me, I figured out that if I lost five pounds a MONTH, by July 7th, 2018 I could reach my goal of losing 150 pounds and being at goal on Weight Watchers.

Let me just say that knowing that you have 150 pounds to lose is hard to stomach. That's A LOT of weight for someone to lose, and it's the enormity of that amount that has always kept me from even trying to lose anything at all.

The best way I can express how it felt before starting WW, is to say it was like being trapped in a prison. I pretty much felt like it was hopeless to think of losing the amount of weight that I needed to lose, and I just have ZERO desire to do any sort of surgery to lose weight... so pretty much, I felt like there were no options. It's a terrible feeling to know that you need to do something about your health, and yet, you just don't know where to start.

So many times I would pray that God would help me lose weight. I never gave up on asking for help and He never seemed to be answering. However, I know that it wasn't that He wasn't answering my prayer, it was that I was not ready for the answer. 

When we were in North Carolina for New Year's this past year, I stood on the balcony and looked at the ocean and was thinking about the fact that I am going to be 40 this year. I am not one to care much about age and birthdays, but being 40 is something that is hard to take (for whatever reason). So I was thinking about my birthday and I heard this voice in my head say, "You need to join Weight Watchers." I had this sense of peace come over me, and I just felt like it was time.

I won't say that the last almost 26 weeks has been easy, because it hasn't been, but it hasn't been nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. I have had 26 straight weigh-ins with a loss and it just keeps adding fuel to my determination that I WILL be able to do this long-term and I WILL reach my goal of weighing 150.

When I calculated my five pounds a month, I wanted to reach my 50 pounds down by my 40th birthday (October). My best friend had joined with me and we decided that we each wanted to lose at least 50 pounds by the time we went on our annual girls trip to Florida, in November.

This past Saturday, I reached my 50 pounds lost goal. 

At my meeting, my leader always starts with smallest losses and builds up to the biggest losses and this week when she got to me, she made everyone do a drum-roll and then she announced my 50 pounds and everyone went crazy with cheering and clapping. It felt amazing to be celebrated and I got a little emotional about it.

I've learned that this truly is a journey and while I haven't had any gains (YET) they are sure to come and I need to just keep going and stay on my path to sustainable weight-loss. I know that Weight Watchers works and if you follow the program, there will be so many benefits.

Over the course of the last almost 26 months, I have earned the following "bling" for my achievements:

  • 5% total body weight lost
  • 10% total body weight lost
  • 15% total body weight lost **(there's no charm for this though)
  • 25 pounds lost
  • 50 pounds lost
  • 4 months on the WW program
  • Running bling for completing a 1/2 marathon with my cousin
Here are some pictures of me at 2 weeks in and 21 weeks in: 

I feel amazing. My back doesn't hurt anymore, my knees don't hurt, my arches in my feet don't ache like they used to, when I go to bed, I don't have RLS (restless leg syndrome) and I fall asleep almost immediately. I drink 100+ ounces of water a day and eat more fruits and vegetables that I ever have in my life.

Probably TMI, but my periods are starting to become more regular and to me, it's a HUGE deal. I just feel like what I am doing is now just part of who I am. I do have some days where I miss being able to just go and eat whatever the heck I want, but those days are (thankfully) few and far between. When I do have bad days where I want to eat everything in sight, I have been able to find something else to keep me busy and get my mind off food.

I wish I had started taking my measurements back when I started in January, but I didn't start until May. However... here are my changes from May 1st, June 1st and then July 1st:

May 1st:
Bicep- 19"  Chest- 48.5"  Waist- 45/5"  Butt- 55.5"  Thigh- 33"  Calf- 20"
June 1st:
Bicep- 17.5"  Chest- 47.5"  Waist- 44.5"  Butt- 54.5"  Thigh- 31.5"  Calf- 17.5"
July 1st:
Bicep- 16.5"  Chest- 46"  Waist- 44.5"  Butt- 53"  Thigh- 29.5"  Calf- 16.5"

My new goal is to try to reach my 75 pounds lost mark by Halloween and my 100 pounds lost mark by my 1 year anniversary on Weight Watchers.

You can follow my journey on Instagram: cats_ww_adventure


Monday, April 25, 2016

Adoption Day 2016

I am so behind with blogging! So sorry to all those that check in to see if I've posted and then see nothing for weeks on end. Life just gets ahead of me and I don't think about blogging until it's way too late at night to start something. Anyway... we recently celebrated our 5th Adoption Day as a family!!

For those of you not sure of the story, Gus-Gus's adoption was finalized on April 15th, 2011. He was just shy of turning one when we made the trek to Michigan for his court date. It was a quick weekend deal, and we were there and gone in a matter of three days, but it was extraordinary because when we arrived back home, he was legally our son and the adoption process was FINALLY over.
Adoption Day 2011 (Age 11 months)

Gus's 1st Adoption Day with his birth mom and grammy

Adoption Day 2012 (Age 2)

In 2012, we matched with Hewy's birth mom and then he was born at the end of the year. When it came time to finalize his adoption, our attorney called us and said, April 15th, 2013 will be your court date. We couldn't believe it. How amazing to have the same day as our Adoption Day!! To celebrate our first Adoption Day as a family of four, we had family pictures taken by Jeff Roffman. Our session was a quick one, but the results were stunning.
Family of Four

Adoption Day 2013 (G: 2 years old & H: 3 months)

Adoption Day 2014 (G: 3 & H: 15 months)

Adoption Day 2015 (G: 4 & H: 2)
Adoption Day 2016  (G: 5 & H:3)



Sometimes I can't believe that the boys are growing up so fast. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were starting the adoption process and had no idea where the journey would lead us!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Hugh's Surgery

Hugh has never passed a hearing test. NEVER. Not even as a newborn. When he was born, he failed the first test and then they kept him an extra day to check again, and he didn't pass that one either. They recommended we come back in three weeks to have his hearing tested again, but we were going to be back in GA, so we said we'd follow up with our pediatrician here.

At the one-month check, his pediatrician asked if we were concerned, and we were not. She said it was a probably a good idea to schedule something just so we'd know that his hearing was okay. 

When I called CHOA (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta), they said that he'd need a non-sedated ABR. We went ahead and scheduled it and then we were informed that because he was under four-months, they had specific requirements for the day before/of surgery. 1) He was to be kept awake for as long as possible, and he would be over-tired. 2) We were to not feed him for 12 hours before the surgery. They said this would help with the test because he'd be so tired and hungry, that when he was finally able to eat, he'd go right to sleep and that'd help them do the test.

I was not comfortable with this level of distress that I honestly felt was unnecessary, so we opted to delay the test. Fast-forward to November 2015.

Hugh's transition meeting from Babies Can't Wait to Fulton County Schools. They asked if we had records of a positive hearing test and we didn't. They said they couldn't close his case without one, so we were told to go to Hembry Springs Elementary (same place we went with Gus when he was transitioning out of BCW and into FC). We weren't going to go, but they were adamant about him needing the positive test. So, I went ahead and scheduled it.

When I took him to the school in November (it was two weeks before Thanksgiving Break)... he failed that test. In fact, she gave two because she was surprised by the results. She said because he failed, he'd need to be seen by an ENT to check his ears more closely. OY.

Talk about being in shock. 

So I called the recommended ENT and made an appointment for that Friday (just two days later). When he went in, he saw the audiologist (not the ENT) and he failed their three tests. They said he had a lot of pressure and fluid and wanted him to see the ENT. We came back to see him the following week.

Because we had not had any issues prior to that point, we didn't have a starting point and Dr. Bauer wanted to have a starting place to look and see how it progressed over time. We scheduled an appointment for January and we were told that in the time between, if he had any ear infections, to keep track of them. (He had one)

When we went in January, they did another exam and found that everything was worse and they decided that surgery was needed. So we scheduled his surgery for this past Wednesday.

Hugh had a lot of fluid in his ear
This is what it looks like with the tube in

The tubes are tiny!

Hugh got tubes in both ears. The surgery was a success and now we wait for six weeks to go back and see how the hearing compares to before. 

They said before surgery, he was probably hearing like you would underwater. He *COULD* hear, but the quality of his hearing was not good. Hopefully when we go back, we'll learn that his hearing is on-par and all is well!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Year, New Me :: Weight Watchers

If you're someone that knows me IRL, you probably already know that I joined Weight Watchers last Saturday (January 9th). It's a day that I will remember, as it's the beginning of this journey that I am taking to get healthy, lose weight, and allow the new me to blossom and grow.

I've tried WW before and just didn't really have the drive, motivation, and determination to stick to it. This time is different. This time, I feel like it's just something that NEEDS to happen and I know WW is a proven system that's healthy and DOES work. I know I didn't gain weight over night, and it's going to take a long time to lose it, but I am determined to keep chugging along until I'm healthy.

I know what it's like to be with someone that treats me terribly and takes advantage of me. I endured a life-changing divorce and came out of it a survivor who was stronger, but also knew exactly what I wanted. When I met Steve and realized he WAS the ONE, I didn't want to do anything that could jeopardize the relationship.

He loves me for me, inside and out, and I am so very blessed to have him in my life. He makes me laugh, and brings out the best in me (not many people can say this about their spouse if they're being honest). I NEED to be around as long as possible, so I can spend as much time with him as I can.

And don't even get me started on my two sweet pumpkin pies. They are my world and I am their world, and they deserve to have a mom that's healthy, happy, and around as long as possible. 

So when I think about why I want to do this, it's them. THEY are my reason. Steve, Gus and Hugh are the reason I am changing my life and starting this journey.
So let me tell you about my first week on WW. First, the entire program has changed. It's no longer the Points-Plus program, now it's Beyond the Scale and they use Smart Points (or SP as I tag things on my Instagram). Foods that are lower in fat/sat fat, calories, and sugar are going to be lower points, and foods that are higher in protein are also lower in points. You can imagine, the opposite holds true... sugary foods, fatty foods, and high-calorie foods are a lot more points on the SP program. 

For example, on the old plan, it was roughly 40-50 calories per point.... so a Coke (140 cals) was about 4 points. Now, it's 9 points. NINE.
I decided to sign up and I asked a few friends if they wanted to join too. My best friend, Britt said she was going to do it too, and so we went to our first meeting last week. After talking to her, I decided I wanted to join the YMCA so I could exercise. Not only can I use it, but the boys can swim year-round and I put Gus in a youth yoga class that meets every Monday. :-) He loves it.

Steve and I went grocery shopping and I am SO thankful that he's supporting me through all this. He's eating healthier too and we're both going to benefit from me doing WW. We got a ton of great food, and filled the fridge with fruits and veggies galore. Honestly, more veggies than I've bought in a LONG time.

I went on Pinterest and found some recipes to try and that's what we did this past week. We are only eating out on Saturdays (my weigh-in day). Let me say this is helping more than anything!! I was eating fast food 4x a week and we'd order pizza or Chinese or carryout... it was not healthy living at all. I haven't had fast-food in over a week... and haven't had sweets in over a week. No regular soda either. I've been drinking a LOT of water... like all I drink is water, and then I allow myself ONE Mello Yello Zero or Fresca each day (both have 0 points).

I'm relearning how to think about food and see it more as fuel for my body, than something to put in my mouth when bored. I'm quite proud of myself. :-)

I spend the week "tracking" (logging everything put into my mouth) and stayed within my points for the week. I didn't touch my weekly points and didn't use any of my Fit Points... and when I went yesterday for my weigh-in, I was met with an awesome 5.2 loss. 

I know not every week will be as wonderful as this last week was, but it was awesome and felt fantastic to see results for my determination.

I've been posting pictures of each meal on Instagram and then allowing it to go to FB. My friends and family on FB have overwhelmed me with support and love. I've been getting messages from a ton of people either asking me about the program, or just telling me they're rooting for me and so proud of me. It means more than I can even express. There's something to be said for people supporting you while on a weight-loss journey and I know I CAN and WILL do it... one week at a time.


My group leader, Sissy, read this at my meeting this week and it really struck a chord with me. It's called "If I Lost A Pound A Week"

By Valentine’s Day I’d be 6 pounds lighter!
I’m telling you – I’m loving it!

By St. Patrick’s Day I’d be 11 pounds lighter!
With the luck-o-the Irish I’ll make my goal!

By Easter I’d be 12 pounds lighter!
I’d be a cuter bunny!

By Memorial Day I’d be 21 pounds lighter!
Won’t let it rain on my parade!

By Flag Day I’d be 23 pounds lighter!
Boy, could I wave my flag then!

By Independence Day I’d be 26 pounds lighter!
That’s a neat declaration of independence from overeating!

By Labor Day I’d be 35 pounds lighter!
What a wonderful reward for all my hard work!

By Columbus Day I’d be 41 pounds lighter!
What a joy to discover what I can do!

By Halloween I’d be 43 pounds lighter!
I didn’t think I’d have had a ghost of a chance!

By Thanksgiving I’d be 47 pounds lighter!
I’d have so much to be thankful for!

By Christmas Eve I’d be 51 pounds lighter!
Talk about being merry!

By New Year’s Eve I’d be 52 pounds lighter!
It’s not just a new year, it’s a NEW ME!!

Stay tuned for more and be sure to follow me on Instagram! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Play Ball!

It's funny how things pop up out of no where, but are exactly what you're meant to do/experience.  

As you might recall, Gus (and Hugh) played soccer this past spring. He was eager to play, but didn't quite understand the rules of the game and would throw a tantrum each time someone took the ball from him. He's got natural skills, but when it comes to applying those skills in a game setting, he was not able to do that.

I had thought about signing him up for tee-ball or baseball, but a friend told me that it's super hard for some kids to stand in the field and wait until a ball comes their way. The thought of Gus being bored, led me to think he's not ready for baseball or tee-ball this year.

So, we had no intentions of starting any fall sports with him. We had been on a break from karate and were ready to head back, and didn't want to have anything extra on his plate, as now that he's in kindergarten, there's homework and more expectations.

He brought home an info sheet from school at the end of August. The sheet was from the North Metro Miracle League and said they do baseball/softball/tee-ball for kids in kindergarten up to adults. The NMML is a group for special needs kids and adults and they provide a safe environment for special needs kids to play and learn the rules of baseball.

The fall league would be starting in September and it was $45 for him to play and would include a shirt and hat. I emailed the man in charge and he replied back and asked me to call him. So I did, and he asked a little about Gus. I was mainly concerned that Gus wasn't "special" enough to qualify for their league, but the man (John) reassured me that they're all very well aware that special needs kiddos all look and act differently. He said with Gus's IEP and having SPD, he'd more than qualify to participate and he said he'd love to have Gus join.

I honestly cannot put to words how the phone call made me feel. When I hung up, John said, "Welcome to the family!" It was such a kind thing to say, and it made me feel so hopeful and excited for Gus. Each player is assigned a buddy and that person is on the field with them and helps them with batting and fielding. The buddies are volunteers and some are retired military, some are retired athletes, and some are teens and college students.

We had his orientation at the beginning of the month and he got his shirt and hat, and then last week, we had his first game. I'm not going to lie, I totally cried. There were cheerleaders that were cheering for the kids, and to see the kids out there playing and just having a great time, was truly magical.

Gus and his buddy Jason

Hewy watching
It was his first time at bat!

Eeeek!!! Batter up!!

I totally cried watching him hit!!

He did a great job!!

At this time I went to the car because I had food poisoning and could hardly sit up anymore

Steve got a great shot of Gus in the dugout

End of the game

I'm sad that I only got to watch 1/2 of his first game, but I was so sick. 

We had planned on going to the apple orchard yesterday, and didn't think we'd make his game this week, but there was rain and we deiced to stay home instead. We were able to go to his game, but it was raining so they called it. However... they decided to let the kids run around and hit anyway, and it was so much fun!!

Loving the rain!

Batter Up!!

They even let Hugh play!! He was so excited to get to go out and play with the big kids!!

How cute is he?!?!?!

That smile says it all!

We feel so blessed to have found the NMML. I can't express how amazing everyone is. There are kids of all ability levels out there playing, and the coaches and volunteers go above and beyond to include everyone, and to make everyone have a great time. It truly warms my heart to be around such a caring group of people.

Gus is so lucky to be able to be around kids of all abilities and to see past a wheelchair, or to see that someone is worth more than an outward appearance might suggest. While it's been challenging at times for me to accept that he does have special needs, it's more important that he is getting his needs met, and he's happy and successful. I'm learning more from him than I ever thought possible.

We love the field that Gus plays on each week. It's an adaptive field that was built for the NMML and is great for kids in wheelchairs. You can read more about it on their website!