Monday, June 24, 2013

31 by 31 Journey: Part One

I’m not sure which picture it was that I saw of myself in the midst of the entire wedding extravaganzas last Fall, but I know it was one like this:


And to be honest, I did not like what I saw of myself ONE BIT. I was aware that on the scale I was inching up TOO close for comfort to the 200lb mark; somewhere that I never wanted to be or ever thought I would be. All I knew was that I needed an intervention and FAST.

So I started brain-storming and trying to decide what my goal should be. It was a little daunting (to say the least) about what would be a feasible goal and what my time frame should be. So brain-stormed I did and I thought

“Well, this next birthday I’m turning 31 (let’s be real- I’m always thinking about birthdays- especially my own!), and I could probably afford to lose 31lbs…that sounds catchy, so maybe let’s try that for my weight loss goal!”

I talked it over with some people and they encouraged/affirmed me in it, so that is when this blog was posted in the form of accountability- because BOY, I needed it!!

My 31st birthday has just passed, so I would like to share a little bit of my “31 by 31” journey. I will go ahead and say up front that I did not meet the “31 by 31” weight loss goal, but was about 8-9lbs shy of it. As I was inching closer to my birthday, the more defeated I felt, until something changed (more on that later). So instead of feeling like a big fat failure, I can celebrate the 20+lbs that I have lost so far and the complete forever lifestyle changes that have taken place in last 9 months. You know when you begin a project and you have in mind how it’s going to be, but then in the end it is WAY bigger and better than you ever anticipated it to be? Yep- that’s my story.

Before I begin, there are couples of “thank you’s” that are in order:

[Pretend that I am in a camp dining hall and me standing on a chair and I yell to get everybody’s attention: “I have an announcement to make! Announcement, announcement, announcement, Sssssshhhh!”]

First of all (that’s first of all!- ok- enough with the camp cheers), I would like to thank my friend, Hunter. She has single-handedly been the biggest game-changer and life-changer in my life these last 9 months. And ironically, it’s only been 9 months since we’ve been friends (which is SOO hard to believe because I feel that we have already been through so many joys and heartaches- an instant heart-friend she is!). If I had to describe Hunter in one word, it would be fragrant, which comes from 2 Corinthians 2:14: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” She is vibrant and a magnet that draws people—not to herself, but to Christ. Hunter has been SUCH a resource- of knowledge, of wisdom, of encouragement, etc. etc. ETC.!!! I’ll refer to her and her blog frequently throughout the rest of this blog post, because like I said, she has been the main contributor to the lifestyle changes that I have made in the last 9 months. Thank you, Huntie, for living out your design so beautifully.

Next, I would like to thank ALL of my family and friends that have been my cheerleaders and accountability-partners in this whole journey (you know who you are!). More than likely if you are reading this blog post, you are of those said people. Those who texted, called, Facebook messaged, wrote on my Facebook wall, wrote letters and verbally asked/encouraged me along the way—it meant SO much to me- more than you know and more than I can express! I have felt SO supported on every side and truly have gotten a glimpse of what Hebrews 12:1 looks like played out: “Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The words “thank you” seems like very inadequate words to express my depth of gratitude- but know that it is great!

Now onto my journey and big things that were big game changers in the process of it…

The first area that I knew I had to tackle immediately was the nutritional (or at the time, lack of) aspect. I knew that food and I were at odds with each other and really have never seen eye-to-eye on things. At one point in my life, it was actually my enemy (that is for another blog post for another day). But I knew things had to change. I looked at various things at what people were writing blogs about and posting on Facebook. What it boiled down to for me was that the diet or whatever you wanted to call it had to translate overseas, knowing that I have full intentions of being on the other side of the pond in a little over 2 year’s time. So, that meant that I couldn’t just drink shakes for x amount of days and watch the weight melt off of me, because that wouldn’t translate overseas since I more than likely wouldn’t have access to those kinds of shakes over there. And really- I abhor the word/term “diet.” What I really needed was a lifestyle change.

This is where Hunter came in and introduced me to Paleo. Paleo’s philosophy and emphatically says that it is not another diet; it is a lifestyle. I was honestly intimidated by it at first (just because of my insecurity- NOT by what Hunter said or by what Paleo actually is). Let it be known that I didn’t convert to Paleo overnight. It’s been a G-R-A-D-U-A-L process. It started by making a few of yummy recipes that she either put up on her blog or on Instagram. After I completed my first 21 day sugar-detox (more on this later) a few weeks ago, I vowed that I would not intentionally buy any more gluten or even whole grains to come into my apartment. I can’t control what other people put in front of me if invited over to someone’s house, but I would not put that temptation in my apartment- because if it is not even an option, then I just can’t have it. Have I had a couple of tantrums/pity-parties since I enacted this self-rule of mine? The answer would be an emphatic YES; but mainly because I didn’t have a plan in place or didn’t prepare beforehand (like have my veggies already chopped). Most of my unhealthy eating can be traced to both being convenient and emotionally eating, so that had to change. To find out more about Paleo, I would suggest hopping on over to Balanced Bites blog and go ahead and do yourself a favor by ordering “Practical Paleo”. It’s a cookbook, but really it’s SO much more than that; it gives a wealth of helpful information!

What was the result of gradually going Paleo? Within my 6-8 weeks I had almost effortlessly lost 15 pounds; and that was without a workout regime (besides trying to complete the “Couch to 5k” app- which honestly I wasn’t that consistent in). And that was in the midst of the holiday season! It was amazing!

The other nutritional challenge I endeavored was the 21 DaySugar Detox. It is basically a program to regulate your sugar level intake. Hunter has already done the hard work for me in explaining in more detail, check out her blog here. I got some of my co-workers to commit to 2 of the 3 weeks. Which I need to pause to give a shout to my co-workers right now. They have been the BEST about humoring me into listening to my new findings of food, of recipes, of workouts, etc. Grateful for the community I have at work to encourage each other on our personalized goals.
My support team!

The first week of the 21dsd was the most difficult for me. Headaches, the rage hunger (because lack of planning) and the additional fatigue made it a not-so-fun few days. Hunter was gracious with me being extra needy and texting in throughout those first few days. Cierra also jumped in for the challenge and so that was fun to be text-encouraging each other every day for support.

My biggest take-aways for the 21dsd was that I CAN, in fact, exercise self-control and say no to sugary sweets and 21 days proved that I could. It also gave me the challenge to find and try out new (yummy!) recipes and some have become a staple (like zucchini noodles for example). And when I go to Chick-Fil-A and McAlisters I can’t imagine drinking so much sweetness, so now I opt for the un-sweet tea (like I said it’s all about baby steps!).

Since this has become a rather lengthy post, I will soon write another post entailing the workout/weight training of my “31 by 31” journey, as well as some of the spiritual implications I got of this journey. Stay tuned!




Hunter Beless

Fist pumping over here! Well done, Suz! I know many will be encouraged by your story. Thanks for sharing it with us all!



I've loved getting to check in during your journey! Can't wait to see how you continue to learn about and push yourself!

"Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."
Colossians 2:6-7
I want my life to be flowing with an attitude of gratitude towards my Lord, Jesus Christ. How could I not? He has given me abundant life and it is my prayer that I clearly represent Him in every area of my daily life of what He did on the cross on my behalf.