Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Facing Facts

Throughout my keto journey over the past year, I have not been one to weigh or measure. I count anything. But in December, I had to face some facts. I did not eat stuffing at Thanksgiving, or eat even a single candy cane or cookie at Christmas. And believe me, there were lots of goodies in the office to choose from! (People seem to think social workers need sugar!!) I ate a little bit of sweet potato on Thanksgiving, and I had a couple of pieces of melon at the office Christmas party. But other than those diversion, I only at keto friendly food.

But I gained 5 pounds in December. Yep. 5 pounds.

What happened? I indulged in "keto friendly" treats, but I didn't really pay attention to the carbs. If the keto peanut butter cup had 3 carbs (no added sugar)--as opposed to a Reese Peanut  Butter Cup that has 9 carbs (8 added sugar), I allowed my self to eat a couple. Eventually I had reached my 20 carbs without thinking about it.

I'm not beating myself up over the 5 pounds. I'm celebrating the over 130 pounds that are gone. I'm celebrating the size 12 SKINNY jeans (not super tight 28 jeans!) that I am wearing. I'm recognizing that my body is still adjusting.  I'm going to evaluate and modify.  I'm still not going to log and obsess about food, but I will make adjustment. I also need to cut back on the "keto friendly" sweeteners.

What changes do you need to make this year?

Speaking of new year, here are pictures from three of the past five new years.

 5 years ago (2013) I started walking. At 306 pounds.

1 year ago (2017) I started keto. At 248 pounds.

Yesterday (2018) I started the year At 175 pounds.

This year I will celebrate HALF.
I will reach my goal of Half a Julie (about 20 pounds to go!)
I will run my Yosemite Half Marathon.
But I will live a FULL life!


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Progress pictures

I just realized I have not posted any progress pictures on my blog in a while. If you don't follow me on Facebook, check out my Half a Julie page.  Here are pictures from the last couple of months.

If you are on a journey yourself, please take lots of pictures along the way.  The "before" pictures are not a painful reminder to me.  They are simply a part of my history.  Without the "before" the "after" does not have as much meaning.

Let's start with the current one. First picture is size 3XL shirt and 4XL stretchy jeans (because my 28s were too small). Second picture is Large shirt and size 12 skinny jeans.

January 2013 to December 2017
 My husband has been on this journey with me too. This picture was taken on our 30th wedding anniversary in February.  The next picture was taken in November. We've each lost about 80 pounds in 2017--a total of 235 pounds.  What you can't see in the second picture is I am sitting on his knee--and he is not in pain!
Our 30th anniversary in February 2017
November 2017

January 2013 to October 2017
My sister bought this (Large!) Minnie Mouse shirt to celebrate my 100 pounds lost. I found this shirt from our last trip to Disneyland (2011) where I was wearing a men's 3XL.
December 2011 to October 2011

January 2013 to September 2017 (label is wrong in picture)
 This first picture was taken about 2 months before my brother got sick--my catalyst for change.
September 2012 to September 2017

To Track or Not to Track

Many people ask me about what I eat and how I track it. Simply...I don't track it.  When I first started this journey almost 5 years ago, I put every bite I ate into My Fitness Pal (MFP). I had the app on my phone and I could access it the computer. Using my phone I could scan any barcode and instantly know the nutritional breakdown of each item.

I was obsessed with food. I was constantly thinking about food: what I had just ate; what I was about to eat; and what I couldn't eat. MFP kept track of how many days in a row you logged in.  One day I was not able to log in, and my streak reset to zero. (I think I had been tracking for over 300 days at the time). I was devastated.  Nothing had changed in my eating, but I suddenly felt like a failure.  After wallowing in my pity party for a while, I decided I would not let my food log have that power over me again.

When I first started eating keto, I used some apps and websites to learn the amount of carbohydrates in certain foods.  And I still do that when I am looking at new foods. But I do not weigh or measure my food. I don't count how many carbs I'm eating. I just know what kinds of food are safe to eat.  Sometimes I will have a keto-friendly snack, but I might end up eating more servings than I should. But for the most part, I believe my carbs are under 20 net per day.

I encourage someone who is just starting out to use apps or websites to help you get a handle on what carbs/calories/fat/etc. look like for foods you are eating. I know that keto is not for everyone, so if you are counting calories, make sure you stop and measure a portion every now and then just to make sure you are still on track.

Do you track? If so, how do you track? Notebook, computer, app? What works for you?

I just realized I haven't posted pictures in a while. Stay tuned for an update post!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Giveaway! Adored

Read to the end to learn how you can enter to win a free copy!

I had the opportunity to review Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women. (Click on the link and you can download a sampler).  This beautiful hardback book contains a year's worth of devotionals written for teenage girls. The devotional features a daily reading paired with a Scripture verse. Each day has a few lines for the reader to reflect on the day's words. The topics of the book include bullying, social media, friendship, and dating. The underlying message is to show readers how infinitely precious they are in God's sight. This book is designed for girls ages 13 and up. It retails for $14.99. I noticed it is currently (12/3/17) on sale for $8.49. I don't know how long that price will last. It is also available as an ebook.

This image is available to download and share at Adored

When our book arrived, I sat down with my 14 year old daughter and we looked at the book together The size is nice--about the same size at my iPad mini (but thicker). The pages all have a blue floral border (like those in the picture above and below).  The day, the verse, and reference are all printed in blue. The reading is printed in black. The readings vary in length, but each one fits on one page.  I read one aloud while my daughter timed it. Even reading slowly, it took about a minute and 10 seconds. Most readers would be able to read it in under 5 minutes. Each entry is numbered, but not dated. So the devotional can be started at any time. And if the reader misses a day, she can just continue where she left off.

This image is available to download and share at Adored
My daughter and I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, but the content was engaging. It is something my daughter could read for herself, or we could read them together. The variety of topics would make for some great conversation starters. I expect to have many great talks over the topics addressed in the this book.

This image is available to download and share at Adored

You can buy this beautiful devotionahere. One of my readers will win a free copy of Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women.

To enter, leave a comment below.  For extra entries, follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Pinterest. Share this post on any of these (or your blog) using the links on the post. Let me know in a comment which things you did. Winner will have 24 hours to respond with address or a new winner will be chosen. Open to continental US.
Contest ends December 8th.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Illuminated Bible: GIVEAWAY!

UPDATE: Giveaway closed. Winner is Donna M. Please send your info within24 hours! Watch for a new giveaway.

Read to the bottom to find out how to win your own copy of the Illuminated Bible.

I discovered Bible journaling about two years ago.  I first started writing out verses in a blank journal.

This verse has always made me think of an unfinished jigsaw puzzle.

My grandpa had a sign in the kitchen that said, "It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt". I merged a picture of an owl (wise) and a jester hat (fool).

Later I got a journaling Bible with wide margins. 
I've seen the Fruit of the Spirit drawn as a fruit bowl, but I loved the idea of jars of fruit.
This is an example of "re-creation". I loved the little girl in armor.

I am not necessarily a creative person, but I am a "re-creative" person. By that, I mean I can take I find and re-create them. They are not identical, but they are beautiful. I searched for a resource that would give me ideas on a specific verse, but I didn't find any. So I created a book by book set of Pinterest boards. There is a separate board for each book of the Bible, as well as lettering styles, hymns, and "how to draw" pages.

I recently learned that the practice of adding decoration to manuscripts--known as illumination--dates back to the 5th century.  This practice continued into the Middle Ages. Monks and artists used richly colored pigments and gold and silver leaves to add decoration to the pages of books and Bibles. They did this to help common folk--who could not read the words--understand the Word of God (Source Illuminated Bible).

I had the opportunity to review the beautiful new Illuminated Bible. Honestly, when I first saw it, I was not too excited. The colors and the artwork were not the cute and whimsical designs I had seen in other journaling Bibles I had seen. But then I took a closer look, and read about the process that was used to create the ESV Illuminated Bible, my opinion changed. (You can watch a short video here.)

The artist, Dana Tanamachi, and a team of researchers looked at biblical text and found themes, motifs, symbols, and imagery on which they based the artwork. She incorporated these elements in a way that honored the historical environment, context, and theme of each book. The artwork was inspired by late 19th and early 20th century design and typography. The artwork use motifs from Arts and rafts Movements and the art nouveau period.
The verses are meant to act as ebenezers--landmarks of God's faithfulness to creation, reminders of his salvific plan, and signposts to his abiding commitment to display his glory in all the earth. (Source).
The Illuminated Bible website is full of information. I loved the Illustration Index, you can see a picture of each book introduction, as well as a description of the elements and symbolism included in the picture. I included a few samples.

The bows, arrows, javelin, sword, sling, and crown illustrated here showcase the transfer of power and the battles that took place during the reigns of both King Saul and King David. The palm branches point toward the eventual triumphal entry and reign of Jesus.

In 58:11 those who trust in the Lord are compared to a flourishing and well-watered garden whose springs flow unceasingly. This is a picture of the complete restoration the Lord offers to his people and the earth one day.
In chapter 4, Paul lays out his famous description of what it means for Christians to have hope in the unseen and to persevere through hardship, “carrying in the body the death of Jesus” (verse 10) by considering the gospel to be a “treasure in jars of clay” (verse 7)

The ESV Illuminated Bible includes the full ESV (English Standard Version) Bible with over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations. It is printed on thick cream-colored paper. The single column with wide margins provides generous space for additional notes, prayers, or drawings.

There are 64 full page book opener illustrations (1, 2, and 3 John are on one page). There are 50 additional full page verse illustrations. There are over 250 hand-lettered verses in the margins and over 100 other illustrations.  The artist, Dana Tanamachi, is a lettering artist, graphic designer, and illustrator who has been commissioned by clients such as Target, Google, and Time Magazine.

I am looking forward to studying God's word while coloring these beautiful pages.

You can buy this beautiful Bible here.  One of my readers will win a free copy of the Illuminated Bible.

To enter, leave a comment below.  For extra entries, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. Share this post on any of these (or your blog) using the links on the post. Let me know in a comment which things you did.

Contest ends December 1st.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open only to the continental U.S.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

To Weigh or Not to Weigh

To weigh or not to weigh...that is the question.  There are many opinions about how often a person should weigh while attempting to lose weight.  Some people say you should weigh weekly or monthly. Other say you should weigh only at your doctor's office.   

There are some things to consider when deciding how often to weigh.

1. Do not let the number on the scale define you. Your weight is just one way to measure progress. Sometimes my scale does not move, but my clothes fit more loosely. 

2. Recognize that your weight will fluctuate. It is normal for weight to fluctuate 1-5 pounds in a day. Some factors affecting weight could include salt intake and normal hormonal changes.

3. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. You didn't put the weight on in one day, and it won't come off in one day. Trust the process, and be patient.

4. When you weigh--whether daily, monthly, or weekly--weigh at the same time of day with a similar amount of clothing (or lack of clothing). If you weigh at the doctor's office, dress lightly each time. In her book Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst talked about hopping off the scale and taking off her ponytail holder and reweighing.

 5. Look for NSVs--non-scale victories. These are things you can do that you couldn't do before you started. It might be health-related, such as lower blood pressure or reduced A1C. It might be a size issue--like a smaller pair of jeans or sitting in an airplane without a seatbelt extended.  A recent NSV for me, was I was able to sit on my husband's lap. He was sitting on a bench, but there wasn't room for me. I sat on his (good) knee--for several minutes.

So, what is my answer?  I weigh every morning. I use the Eat Smart Precision Scale that I reviewed here. I weigh, naked, first thing in the morning--after using the bathroom. If my number goes down, I put it in my app (Monitor Your Weight) . If my number goes up, I don't record it. Some days I log my weight every day for a week, but other days I don't log my weight for two or three weeks. But I'm okay with that. My weight varies often. But in the big picture, I've lost 132 pounds, so I don't worry about the days that reflect a 2 pound gain. I know it's temporary.

How often you weigh?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cheat Days?

A common question I hear among people who are dieting is "What about cheat days?" I've heard this a lot with the holiday season approaching. Some people swear that one cheat day (or meal) a week (or month) resets their body and helps them get past a stall. I have no idea if there is any science to back this up. Others say that knowing they have a cheat meal or cheat day coming up helps them to stay focused on the hard days.

I am not planning to have an all out cheat on Thanksgiving next week, but I might choose to eat something I don't normally eat. I won't gorge on chocolate pie and stuffing. I don't want to have to go through sugar withdrawals again.  

A couple of things to consider when deciding to cheat or go off your plan:
  1. Will you be able to easily get back on your plan?
  2. What will you do if you can't stop?
  3. How often are you going to cheat?

I was thinking, in the 10 ½ months since I went keto, I have had a lot of opportunity to "just have one piece".

6 family birthdays
25 birthday cakes at work
9 monthly staff meetings with donuts
6 classes at church with meals
4 parties at work (baby showers, goodbye)
1 30th wedding anniversary
10 overnight business trips 

And this list doesn't include donuts and bagels every Sunday morning at church or the random announcements over the intercom at work such as, "The burrito lady is here" or "There are ice cream sundaes in the lunch room". 

For the most part, I have stayed on plan. On my 30th wedding anniversary (6 weeks into keto) I made the decision to celebrate. I ate bread, beans, and chocolate. I drank wine. And I felt very sick that night. I've had some popcorn a couple of times during family movie night. Lately, I've "cheated" not with chocolate but with fruit--such as apple slices or veggies--such as sweet potato fries.

I definitely do not want to cheat with bread and sugar. I'm getting close to my initial goal (about 20 pounds!). Once I reach it, I may make some adjustments. I might even, on a occasion, have "just one piece" of cake or bread. But I don't want to go back.

I'm not saying don't cheat. That is your decision to make. But be careful if you allow "just one" because you may find it difficult to stop there.

If you do choose to cheat--even if you overdo it. Don't stop there. Dust yourself off and start over. Immediately. Don't want until tomorrow. Or Monday. Or January 1st. Start over the minute you come to your senses.
What are your thoughts? Are cheat days helpful to you? Do they set you back?