KP is a good friend of mine from our church back in Durham where we served on college ministry staff together. I love that she and her family are serving God in another part of the world! Her kids are so adorable.
For all of you that need inspiration - here is her story. She graciously let me post it here.
If you are reading this and think you can't get baby weight off, or you think that cooking for a family and losing weight is hard, be encouraged!
Keep up the amazing work KP - and find your strength only in Him!
The past 6+ months I have been really working on losing some weight and getting healthy. Lately people have been asking me if I have lost weight and what I am doing to lose it so I thought it was time for a blog about it all. I have lost 34 lbs since the beginning of April. It hasn't always been easy but it has left me feeling so much better about myself and I know that my body is healthier. I have so much more energy and have made exercise a part of my day that I really look forward to each morning (or sometimes afternoon, depending on the day.) I have 12 more lbs to reach my first big goal and then I would like to lose another 15 more after that. I have averaged a little more than a lb a week since I started...sometimes more, sometimes less.
One Sunday morning during the very end of March I heard an amazing Sermon (click on the link to download or listen) from my pastor, J.D. Greear about self-control and discipline. I realized then that my eating was really out of control. It wasn't that I was eating everything in sight it was just that I wasn't giving much thought to it and was not having control over my body and its desires. I realized then that I had to make some changes in my life and lose some of the weight that I had put on before and after having Keane and Gracie (unfortunately I can't really attribute my weight to baby weight because I weighed 5 lbs LESS after having Keane and Gracie than I did when I got pregnant with them). I talked to Ryan about it first. I have been on many "diets" in the past but they have all been temporary and lasted a few weeks or days or months and then once the "diet" was over I just went back to old habits of eating and living and put the weight (and often more) right back on. So, I decided that this time whatever I was going to do to lose this weight was going to have to be more about a lifestyle change and less about a "diet". I realized I needed to learn about the foods I was eating and learn how to make small changes and better choices in my life about food and exercise in order to make this change lasting.
I found a GREAT (free) calorie counting website where I could keep an online journal of what I was eating and how many calories I was consuming. It also allowed me to put in my height and my weight and it calculated the amount of calories my body needed each day to MAINTAIN my weight and it showed me how many calories I needed to eat each day in order to lose the weight I wanted to by my goal date. It REALLY helped me get started and learn about the food I was eating. I began to make small changes like saying no to mayonnaise and cheese and ordering foods grilled instead of fried or ordering light dressings on the side of my salad instead of regular on top. I knew that this wasn't something that was going to happen overnight. I knew it would take time and for the first time in my life, I was OK with that. I would rather give a whole year to trying to get to my goal weight and in the process change the way I think about food and learn to eat better than to spend the rest of my life on "quick fix" yo-yo diets, stressed out and self conscious about my weight. When you think about it that way...a year doesn't seem like a long time at all.
When we were in America for our stateside time it was very easy to count calories and keep very strict track of it all since EVERYTHING has calorie information on the labels including restaurant items (you can look up most menu items online and I did. When people would invite us to go out to eat (or when we wanted to ourselves) I would ask which restaurant they were thinking and I would go to the restaurants website and look at the calorie information for each item. Then I would make my decision then and there before stepping foot into the restaurant and when we arrived at the restaurant I wouldn't even look at the menu to tempt myself. I would just order what I had decided beforehand (what I knew was the best calorie choice and fit into my food needs for the day) and by the time everyone had gotten their food and we had all eaten I felt just as satisfied as if I would have ordered the cheesy, fried item that probably would have caught my attention if I hadn't already made my decision. I often felt more satisfied knowing what I ate was SO much healthier for me and I was one decision closer to my goal weight!).
Once we returned back to Nepal things got a bit harder to really keep exact track of (because nothing has calorie info on it here) but by that time I was two months into it and I had learned so much about the foods I was eating and how to make good choices. I knew how many calories were in a cup of rice or a piece of bread (if you don't that is where the calorie counting website will really help!) I learned it is all about balance and smaller portions. There is no magic diet out there and there is really no simple quick easy fix. Believe me, if there was the world would be skinny. It all boils down to: calories in, calories out. If you eat more calories than you body needs each day to live then you will gain weight. If you eat less calories (or burn them off with exercise) than your body needs each day to live then you will lose weight. It really is that simple. If you eat more calories in carrots than your body needs each day (that is a lot of carrots) than you will gain weight. It is not so much about the kinds of food that we are eating but the amount of food that we are eating. The healthier (and fresher and greener) the foods we choose the more of them we get to eat. I love chocolate and I have eaten something chocolate everyday since I started this new "lifestyle". I knew I had to. I had tried to completely cut it out of my diet before but once I stopped the diet then I just binged on it and ate it all the time. This way, nothing is off limits. It is just the amount that I am concerned about. If I eat a big piece of chocolate cake for my friends birthday then I just eat a very, very light lunch or dinner that day. Like I mentioned earlier, it has been all about balance for me. With God's help, I have gained control over my body and its desires for food (I know this will be a lifetime battle that I will always have to be conscious about). I have learned how to know when I am full and when to stop eating. I have learned to say no to second portions when I know I have already eaten enough. I have learned to take only a bite of something and let the rest pass by. My pastor has also said, "Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more." That has been my motto throughout this entire process. I love food (especially sweets) but I love the thought of being thin and healthy and in shape much, much more than the temporary pleasure that the taste of that food on my mouth brings.
Also, since I came back to Nepal and it was harder to know exactly how many calories I was eating each day (although I always have an idea), especially since often we are eating at friends house and have to eat what they give us, I really increased the amount that I was exercising. I exercise 5-6 days a week for about 45 minutes - 1 hour everyday (on top of the normal walking I do around my community). For me, it works best to get up before Keane and Gracie do (at about 6:15 am) and do an exercise video in my living room (I love Tae-bo and Jillian Michaels work out DVD's). We also have a membership to a gym near our home so sometimes I go there as well to swim or run on the treadmill. I can honestly say that I love exercise now. It is not a chore. I feel so much better after a great workout than I did before one. Lately, I have been turning the volume off on my exercise DVD's (once you have done them a few times the commentary gets OLD and BORING and in my mind is a waste of time) and listen to a sermon while I am exercising. Most sermons are about the same amount of time (45 minutes) as many workout DVD's and listening to the sermon makes the time exercising seem to go by so much faster and I feel so refreshed from hearing the Word of God taught while I exercise. It becomes a wonderful 45 minutes for my mind, body, heart and soul.
I pray that you will be encouraged by my story. Believe me, if I can get control of this in my busy life than you can too. It is not too late and it is easier than you think. Just take one step at a time. I am still working on reaching my goals so I am right there with you. Also, maybe it is not food that "controls" you. Maybe you are not overweight but your life is "out of control" in other areas. The sermon I mentioned earlier in this post is a WONDERFUL one for anyone to listen to. As Christians we must NOT let our bodies have control over us. With God's help and strength we can overcome the things that hold us back from being the person that God intends for us to be. We don't have to do it alone and it might take some time but it is worth it!