Sunday, February 19, 2012

I am proud of myself because...

Each week my 2nd graders are given 2 journal prompts and complete two journal entries. This past week one of their journal entries was, "I am proud of myself because..." It was kind of funny because some of my kids instantly knew why they were proud of themselves and some of the others struggled. One of my students even asked me if it was okay to write about why you are proud of yourself or if it was considered prideful. Recently, we have been talking a lot about humility and he couldn't possibly understand how he could be humble AND write about why he was proud of himself. I explained to him the difference in taking pride in your accomplishments and being prideful. Having my kids write about what they are proud of really got me thinking about what I am proud of myself for. I encouraged them this past week to not be shy about their accomplishments and take pride in them, which is something I don't always do myself. There are quite a few things I consider big achievements in my life, like completing college and getting my Master degree. I am very proud of myself for those things; they took a lot of hard work and determination. However, I think I would choose to write about something different if I had to and that is why I am writing this blog.
Yesterday while I was running at the gym I got to thinking about my weight loss journey and how proud of myself I am. People who have met me within the last four years probably don't know about my journey. Four and a half years ago I weighed 176 pounds and wore a size 16. I am only five feet tall, so 176 pounds on me was in no way, shape, or form healthy. Here are some old pics of me before...(just a side note, posting these is not easy for me!)


Now I won't bore you with too many details because that's not really the point of this post, but I will say that I do not get all the credit for losing the weight. At 15 I was diagnosed with an endocrine disorder (you can read more about that here) and that diagnosis forever changed my life. Along with that diagnosis I found out that because of that disorder I was insulin resistant. I have struggled with blood sugar problems ever since. It doesn't even matter if I am doing everything I am supposed to do, sometimes my body just does not cooperate. I was on oral medications until I was 22. In 2007, the FDA approved a new drug (injections) and my specialist (who had been waiting for a couple of years for the approval by the FDA so she could start me on the medicine) immediately had me start giving myself 2 shots per day. The medicine immediately helped my body regulate and I was able to start losing weight (blood sugar problems can really prevent the body from being able to drop weight). It helped too that in the beginning the injections made me very sick, so I was literally only eating to keep energized, not because it was actually enjoyable. Along with the new injections, I really cracked down and started working out about 90 minutes a day, six days a week. I was running/walking about 22 miles a week. I changed my eating habits and cut out a lot of processed foods. I wouldn't say I was a frequent fast food eater, but I did eat it sometimes and I completely stopped doing that except for the occasional In n Out Burger. Nowadays the thought of fast food completely repulses me. I can't go near it (except for In n Out and Chick Fil A!). Within 5 months I had lost 40 pounds and felt like a whole new person. I had self confidence I had never known before. I not only felt lighter, but stronger. I think the best feeling was when I tried on a pair of size 8 jeans and they fit. I hadn't been able to wear a single digit size since I was in junior high.
Four and a half years later I have been able to maintain that weight loss and I am proud of myself for that. It is not always easy. I have to constantly think about what I put in my mouth. I have made exercise a discipline in my life, even though it is sometimes the last thing I want to do. I can honestly say I never regret my workout once I finish it! Working out isn't an option, it's a necessity. Sometimes it feels like torture that I can't have a lot of sugar...I like sugar.:) However, it's not worth compromising my health and my life. I never feel like I am on a diet, I am simply living a healthy lifestyle. Tyler and I eat organic whenever we can (milk, eggs, meat, produce, etc...). We don't buy junk food. I try to limit processed foods in our diet as much as possible. If I really want some ice cream when we are out, I have it. If I want a piece of cake at a birthday party, I let myself have a piece. I order sugar-free "skinny" drinks at Starbucks. I don't feel deprived; it's all about moderation. It's all about choices. God commands us to take care of our bodies for they are a's not a's a command!
Now, I know that according to the world's standards, I am no where near skinny. I get that. I still have a nice little pudge around my middle.;) You know what though, I am okay with that. For me, a jean size of 8 is okay. It's not a 0, 2, 4, 0r 6 but that's okay. I am proud to wear a size 8. I have love handles and that's okay with me. I am curvy and that's okay with me. That's how God made me.:) I do have days where I obsess over how good it would feel to lose 10 more pounds or wear a size 6, but it isn't healthy for my thoughts to linger there. I have to quickly remind myself that I have worked hard to get where I am and I should be proud to be here. Writing this post is a big step for me. I am often embarrassed to look back at pictures of the "before" me or talk about my blood sugar problems and all that entails. However, I thought that if I am going to encourage my students to write what they are proud of, I should take my own advice and do it too.:)
This was just recently taken on my birthday in January

"I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me."
-Phillipians 4:13