Wednesday, November 1, 2017

One Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary from when I started on my journey toward better health. This is going to be one of those long winded posts, so ya know, bear with me. :)

Last year, I was in a desperate place. And through a series of unexpected events, I decided to take a risk. To try a program I had previously turned down my nose on. Truth be told - I was scared. I had a lot of... pessimistic thoughts. I was hopeful, but scared to allow myself to actually be hopeful. Does that make sense? I thought...

Here we go again.
Here is another thing for me to fail at.
Here is another thing for me to waste my time and our money on.
Here is another thing that will work for others, but not for me.

But... I had good reasons to fight through those thoughts to find the hope. And ultimately, it's those reasons that gave me the courage to have success. Because that's the true rub of it - sometimes success is plain scary. At least it is for me.

I lost 61lbs in around 9 months. When you add to that, that I have PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. A syndrome that makes it extremely difficult to lose weight!!!), it was a miracle. But it wasn't just about the weight, it's all the other things that I started to gain.
  • I started to have confidence again. 
  • I started to like who I was again. Not because I weighed less, but because I had started to take care of myself and to care about myself again. 
  • I started to be a more loving wife and mother. 
  • I fit in my clothes again, and to felt like I looked good in them. 
  • I had energy again!!!!
  • I started to get regular visits from Aunt Flow. Which - was a VERY big deal!!! Pretty hard to get pregnant without her coming around. 
  • I started wanting to worry less about myself, and look more for opportunities to help others!  
  • There are so many more, I could go on... 

Many of you know the struggle we had in bringing our sweet Emma into our family. We waited 6.5 years for her, she was worth the wait!! We knew because of our struggles, that we wouldn't wait long to start trying again. Well, she turned four this May, and still no siblings. But as all this other stuff unfolded, we knew - we could see God's hand in it. It wouldn't be long. Aug 31st, just before bed, I began to feel nauseous. Because of our almost comical experience with Emma (read here for that one), we both knew. Even before the test.

So here we are, one year later. Our life permanently altered, forever. That may seem a little dramatic - but that's me. :) For me, being able to bring another child into our family is the biggest blessing of all. The second, is the opportunity I now have as a Health Coach, to turn around and share this program with others. Watching my clients as their story unfolds. It has been one of my greatest pleasures to be a part of their lives and journey.

At the end of the day, I know. I know what it can do. I know how it can heal. And in some cases, I know how it can save. Because that's what it did for me. I'll be forever grateful.

~ Sam

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Chapter 2, The struggle

Around the 5th month of being on plan, I started to falter. Things had been going so well, but all of sudden I found it difficult to stay on track. I began reverting back to some of my past habits. Knowing what I knew - how simple this could be - I couldn't understand why I was struggling.

For the next 3 months (Mar-May 2017) I have maintained my weight loss. I tried several times to get back on track, but could only get a couple of days - to maybe a week in, and then I would completely blow it (and I mean blow it BIG). The one thing I'll say, is that in the past - by now I probably would have given up. But I couldn't. Because I knew this amazing gift I had in my hand was THE one! I knew it would get me to where I wanted to go, so I held on. I kept trying. By May, I still wanted to understand why this was happening, I just didn't get it... so I started some serious self reflection.

I came out the other end of this reflection... a different person.

Just a side note... some may say "Sam, you're a Health Coach. Why are you telling people about your struggle to stick to your Health Program. How will they trust you to help them?". Well, because life is a struggle sometimes. I would be lying to myself and others if I pretended that I haven't struggled. Sometimes it's IN the struggle, that we really find out what we are made of. When my clients struggle, I will be able to completely sympathize with them. And to help them move forward. And ultimately - that's what I want the most. To help.

So what did I learn that has changed me so much? I'm so glad you asked! :)

When I began my journey (you can read about that in a short post here) on this program, I needed relief. I was struggling to breathe. Physically and mentally. I just needed to have relief. My "Why" was to lose 130-150lbs so that I could be healthy. But mostly... I was focused on losing the weight. Problem was, once I lost the 56lbs, I was relieved. All of sudden life wasn't such a struggle. And I gloried in that!! Thanked God for that! I was jumping for joy! But why wasn't I able to move on?

Well, because I had fixed the problems that had been motivating me to change.

It wasn't enough to keep me moving forward.

I've come to the conclusion that as long as I am focused on "weight loss" and "fixing myself", I'll never get to where I really want to be. Instead, I need to be focused on the outcome that I want. I started to paint that picture. To get it really clear in my head. What does my "optimal health" really look like - and "why" do I want it? I thought about it so much, and pictured it so much, that I could feel, taste, smell, hear, and touch what it felt like! And it was good!!!!! I want it bad.

It was then that I knew. If your in it to fix it, it won't last. You'll only get to the point that you start to release the pressure on what you're trying to fix. Change, REAL change - life altering change - will only come when you start focusing on the positive outcome! It will become the driving force that will get you to your goal. (This is HUGE!!! Did you catch it???)

One of the things I considered a lot, was how I would like my diet to be when I get to my optimal health. What kind of relationship with food I would have. Food won't be "bad" or "good" anymore. I won't feel bad or good depending on what I've eaten. I won't be "bad" or "good". I'll eat for nutrition. I'll eat to thrive. I'll make food choices for the majority of the time that I know will help give me the energy I want and to sustain my life. And of course, there will be times I will have a treat! And I'll enjoy them. I will be satisfied with a piece of cake (instead of the whole thing). And I'll continue to eat well the next day, instead of spiraling into a food/guilt tornado.

As I became comfortable with this idea, it donned on me. Why am I waiting??? Why was I waiting to have that kind of relationship with food, until I weigh 150lbs? I need to start that, NOW. Not just need, I wanted it! Craved it! It was then that I realized just how much power I had been giving food. I had given it the power to define who I was and how I felt about myself. 

NO MORE!! I took my power back!

I started to change my vocabulary when it comes to food and eating. I took out Bad/Good and Right/Wrong, and replaced them with Better or Best. I don't use the word cheating - because again, that implies I've done something wrong. Now I say modify. These tiny alterations have had a BIG impact on myself, food, and how I feel about it all!

In the end, it comes down to this. I want HEALTH. I want VITALITY. I want to THRIVE. And of course, I still want to lose weight. But losing weight is not the driving force anymore. As I make choices that I know will carry me to my optimal health - the weight loss will be a simple side affect. As a wise man recently told me, your weight is only a metric. Something to help you know that you are making good choices.

My weight does not define me. I get to do that!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Chapter 1, A new book

Many of you know, I've been trying to lose weight for years. And years. I've yo yoed. I've done well, and fallen back down again (or UP as the case may be). In 2016, I was at my highest weight, just under 300lbs. It was a year filled with severe depression, severe anxiety, per-diabetes, heart palpitations and tachycardia, possible fatty liver, sleep apnea, excessive sweating, headaches, horrible muscle cramping (in my legs and ribs), complete exhaustion on most days, chronic sinus infections, all caused by tipping the scale at the highest weight I've ever been. And the very worst part of it all is thinking about the kind of person I've been to those I love. Both Mike & Emma have suffered along with me. 

On Nov 1st I started a new health program, honestly thinking it would be another diet. Just a way to lose the weight. Little did I know, it was going to be the thing that will change me forever! 

The weight literally melted off in a way I've never experienced! With PCOS, it's really difficult to lose weight. So I usually only lose 10-12lbs in a month - at the MOST.  I lost 22lbs* in the first month!! I couldn't believe it! And it just kept going. In four months, I had lost 56lbs! Life was DRASTICALLY different. I could move comfortably again. I could get out of bed without pain. I could tie my shoes. I could go the whole day without needing a 2 hour nap. I could hug Mike and actually be close to him. I could fit into clothes again. I felt on top of the world! 

And a lot of the medical issues I had been having were also better! My numbers on my liver started to get better. My blood sugars leveled out, and I was no longer pre-diabetic. My monthly cycle has actually begun working properly. My depression and anxiety were not gone, but were easier to manage and were lessened quite a lot! 

The biggest thing we gained...


When I started, I was in pain. Mentally, physically, and in so many other ways. I just needed relief! I needed to be able to breath again. I found the program easy to follow, simple, and satisfying! I knew I had found something that I could use to finally reach my goal weight, and something that would teach me to make food choices that will allow me to maintain that weight loss for the rest of my life! 

*Average weight loss for Clients on the Optimal Weight 5&1™ with support is 20lbs. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015


It's been such a long week. It's been really fun, but SO busy! I have barely had a chance to breath. Things are finally starting to slow down though, and it should be a pretty chill weekend. I'm looking forward to getting caught up on the day to day stuff and maybe getting a nap??? :D

Yesterday by the time dinner time rolled around I was exhausted! Emma and I had been running most of the day, and when we weren't I was working or working out. I had pulled out some chicken and had it marinating, but just before Mike got home my blood sugar started to drop. I hate it when that happens. It makes me feel HORRIBLE. I can be in a completely great mood - and in seconds go to feeling like crap - which makes me less than patient about anything. By the time Mike got home I did not want to cook. I put the chicken in the fridge and told him I was ordering pizza. He is sick, so he was fine with whatever as long as he didn't have to do it. I had the order all put in, the credit card in even. I was about to hit "Submit" and I had this thought "It's always going to be hard. You know that right? There is always going to be something that will make making good choices difficult. If you are ever going to change, you have to cook even when you don't want to. Don't give in". 

I did submit. But I didn't push the button. I submitted to the thoughts in my head. I believe that it wasn't just my thoughts, the spirit was with me too encouraging me to be my higher self. My better self. I turned my phone off got up and made grilled chicken, yellow squash, and cut up some fresh pineapple. 

Yesterday I won. I listened. I submitted to the change I want so desperately. I submitted to the Spirit's promptings. We did order pizza tonight, but it was planned. We usually eat out once a week and we decided to have that tonight. And I felt fine about that. We always end up buying too much. And normally - I don't mind. (Talk about a first world problem - I always feel like such a jerk about those) But today when I was putting the left overs in the fridge I was thinking I wish we had bought less so that there wasn't so much to eat tomorrow. Because I don't really want the calories from my yummy meal tonight - tomorrow too. I'm going to try freezing the left overs and see how that works. Lesson learned though, less is better! And submitting is good. 

Monday, June 1, 2015


There is no magical way of eating that is going to make you thin. No matter how much you search online, no matter how many books you read, no matter how hard you pray - there is not some magical way of eating that is escaping you. Not that research, and books, and prayer can't help. They can. But in the end, if you want change, YOU have to change.

If you want change, YOU have to change!

I've always said that I love change, and it's true, I do. But I seem to hit a wall on every plan I start about 4 weeks in. I think it's because that is the point of real change. The honey moon is over. The excitement is starting to wear off. And the weight of real change is starting to weigh on me. Last week - I buckled under the weight. I stopped working out - granted I've been having trouble with my back. But I could have pushed it a little harder. I have been eating horribly. We've eaten out a lot. I've binged a lot. And, I feel it! I feel heavy again. I feel tired and exhausted and cranky. I am struggling to get up in the morning again. I'm struggling to feel motivated. I'm struggling.

I have the saying "I can do hard things" posted all over my house. I like having a constant reminder. I think we all go through times in our lives where something so important as "I can do hard things" gets lost in the shuffle of everything else we are trying to balance. Or we get stuck in the mud and crap that we are dealing with in our life, after all, don't we all have a little crap? We all need little reminders that we are strong. We all need a little push. Whether that comes in the form of a uplifting song, or a text from a loved one, or in a note to yourself that you can do hard things. I put them all over so that when I get stuck in the mud of every day - I can open my fridge and see it, and remember to pull myself out and not go for the easy choice.

If you want change, YOU have to change!

So here is the hard thing I'm going to do today. I'm going to pull on my big girl pants (literally - bahaha) and do something hard. I'm going to not do what's easy today. I am not going to quit today. I'm going to readjust as needed and continue on. I am going to find real change this time. Watch me. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Image and Reality

I've been working on changing a little habit. This little thought process. Whenever I start a new "Plan" or a new diet, or a new whatever - I start to get this image of myself in my head. It's a good image - it's the image of what I want to become. And as I start making healthy changes, the image becomes more and more clear. The problem is that when I look in the mirror I expect to see that new image - sometimes right away. While this image can be a really good thing and a motivator, this expectation is not. And it become discouraging that the two  - my image and my reality - don't match up. But this time around, every time I feel that discouragement I'm trying to kindly remind myself that it WILL if I just keep making the other changes that I'm focusing on daily. That if I do those enough and don't quit - soon those two will become the same!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What a bummer... bum knee!

As I mentioned in my last post I've been at this for three weeks. I've been very diligent, especially in getting my workout on. I bought a weight bench and weights on KSL and have been lifting and doing HIIT for cardio on my road bike or running. It's amazing how fast I am seeing results. While the scale hasn't move a ton - I am noticing a difference in how my clothes fit. I saw the quote below just before I started my new plan and it has been my montra this whole time. When I look in the mirror if I have a negative thought about what I see, I imeadiately remind myself that I'm working on life style changes. And those take some time. And if I make these new habits just... habits, I will see change in whatever it is I don't like. And I often remind myself of this quote. Give it time! 

It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Give it 12 weeks. Don't Quit! 

Last night I was doing my workout. And while doing lunges, I tweaked my knee. It was bad enough that I immediately stopped and sat down to ice it. I've been icing it all day and it is feeling a bit better. But I have to say, last night I was REALLY discouraged! (although I was discouraged, I DIDN'T binge!!! YAY) I've been doing so well, and I was so sad/scared/frustrated/worried that I would have to stop working out! After some self pity time, I realized that it's only my knee - and it's not that bad. If it does require some heal time, there are lots of other things I can do during that time. I can focus a little more on my eating. I can focus on my upper body strength. I can swim. I can find exercises for my legs that don't tax the knee. It was a pretty fast mind set change for me. Honestly that was as exciting as seeing 5lbs lost on the scale. Because it's really up to my mind to lose this weight. It's not only my body that needs to do weight lifting to build strength. So does my spirit. So does my mind. In fact, they need it more than my body - because they are what drive the body. 

I was going to take the day off today, but decided that wasn't necessary. I just needed to find a different way to work out. And not only did I get my cardio in, but I made up the workout that I didn't finish last night too. Mike and I went swimming. Swimming is a real struggle for me. I never properly learned how to do it, so swimming for me is more... not drowning. lol But Mike was very patient and didn't tell me all the things I was doing wrong (even though it was killing him) and just encouraged me. I finally told him he could give me one thing, and he helped me with my breathing. It's amazing how breathing really helps when you are working out. Ha! Anyway, it was a good swim and I was wasted after! Tonight's lifting wasn't my best, but it wasn't my worst either. I think most importantly, I did it.

I don't mean to toot my own horn so much, but you gotta celebrate the wins. And these were pretty big wins! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Choosing my life

I have a pretty good life. Sometimes, when I get in the deep pit of depression it's easy to forget that, but I really am so very blessed! I have a loving and amazing husband who works ridiculously hard for our family. I have a daughter that is just so happy and delightful! We have a safe, warm home, and want for nothing when it really comes down to it. But sometimes that pit just seems to drag at me and pull me down and I forget. This Winter I spent a lot of time in the pit. Sometime in  the beginning March I decided I had had enough. I started praying about what I should do to finally pull myself out of it. I had that thought (that I know was an answer to my prayer) to start reading the Book of Mormon every day. I listened to that prompting and started reading. My outlook started to improve and each day was better than the last. A couple weeks ago my friend mentioned she was back on her cleaning schedule and I thought, I want to do that. So I pulled out one that I had used in the past and changed it to fit my life now (I'm going to post more on that at another time). Making these two changes have been monumental in pulling myself out of the pit! They've given me the freedom in my mind to explore other areas of my life that need some, tweaking. 

Anyone who has known me for more than 5 min - knows that I love plans. I love goals. I love charts. Unfortunately, I don't often stick with the plans. So as I started considering my next move - I reflected back on the things that I usually gravitate to and started noticing a pattern. I started seeing that clearly the saying "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got" is so very true in my life. Especially for my health and weight. I decided that, yes, I would still have a plan, but that it would look very different than I had ever done before. And part of the difference - is that I'm not going to share it with the world. I'll share pieces of it at a time. I'll say this, it is very well rounded. It's not just about losing weight. In fact, that really is just a small piece of it. It's about my spiritual life, it's about my environment, it's about my social life, and yes - it's about nutrition and exercise. But the biggest thing it's about - is creating a lifestyle that I want. It's about choosing my life, accepting what is - and loving myself, and choosing to find improvement.

I've been working on these new goals for three weeks now and it's going really well. One of the things that I'm working on is writing in my journal instead of eating when I want to binge. This is where blogging comes in. I have a private blog that is only for me. I use it as a journal. I've been writing in it almost every day, and decided that some of the things I want to share with others. So when appropriate, I'll post it on this blog as well. I don't know if anyone really reads this anymore or not, but that's okay. I'm going to post anyway. So if you're new to the blog, or have been hanging in there with me for some time - keep coming back, it's about to get good!! :) 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

You are a Mother....

I am not a morning person. But here I sit at 6am while my family sleeps because my heart is so full, I think it may spill over! There are some things I need to say. 

First off I just want to thank my own Mom for everything she does for me! Not only for the growing years and ALLLLLL that entails. But especially over the last two years and nine months. She has been so supportive as I've entered this new world of motherhood myself. She has taught me, she has helped me, and in some instances carried me when I couldn't go on myself. She is a wonderful example to me of service and unconditional love. I love you MORE Mom!!!!! :D

It's amazing how one little holiday can evoke so many different feelings. For some, it's a day of joy, celebration, and love - as it should be!! For others it's a day of missing dearly those who have departed from this world, and wishing for just one more hug. For some it is a day of pain, regret, and guilt for not being more than they think they should be - if only they could see how wonderful they really are. And for some, it's filled with dread, and the deepest hunger I think a person can ever know.

In our house, we have experienced all of these feelings. My husband's Mom passed away four years ago this year. Seems like it was just yesterday. I long for Mike to be able to see her one more time. I long for Emma to run into her arms and call her Grandma! And while I know that we will see her again - and I know that her presence will be felt today, there will still be a few tears shed for her loss while we wait. 

For years, I was in the later group. While I loved the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful and amazing women in my life, it was always a bit tainted. Because it brought into light the burning desire that consumed my thoughts most days - I want to be a mother. I would assume that most women experience this hunger at some point in their life. And hopefully, that hunger is soon satisfied with thoughts of "I'm pregnant" and all that the future holds. But for those who experience infertility issues, those who have to wait, and wonder - it becomes something so different. It becomes a consuming hunger. Something so deep and so painful that it is hard to describe or imagine. And on Mother's day it was so glaringly obvious - that I wasn't a mother. 

I always hated going to church on Mother's day - and didn't for several years. I hated the moment that they had all the mothers stand up and be recognized. I hated how those around me would encouraged me to stand up too. Please don't misunderstand, it's not that I felt any ill feeling toward those Mother's - or even that I didn't want to see them recognized! They should be recognized! They are teaching, loving, and raising our next generation. They are healers, cooks, house cleaners, boo-boo kissers, tickle monsters, confidants, chauffeurs, and so so much more. They shouldn't just stand - we should also clap and cheer for them too! No, it's not that I didn't want to see them recognized, it's that I wanted so desperately to join them as a mother, and when I would stand up, all I felt like was a fraud. Pretending to be and to have something, I'm not. 

To those women who were able to become a mommy without too much struggle, I am so delighted for you! Seriously, I would never in a million years want to see anyone not be able to bear a child if they wanted to. And I never have begrudged those that did. I celebrated with many of my friends having their children, and I have been excited for them! I have prayed for them! And I have watched and learned from them! They were and still are my heroes. Thank you for all you do!!

Fast forward 6 1/2 years and here comes the BIGGEST miracle (and surprise) of my life! We are pregnant! We don't know how it happened! It probably shouldn't have, but it did. I know that Emma is a direct gift from God. I won't go into all the details (you can read about it here if you really want to know), but suffice it to say - we were shocked!! And of course completely - knocked off our axis - with joy!

But here is the funny thing, when Mother's day came rolling around while I was pregnant - I still didn't look forward too it. I still didn't look forward to the day that was meant to celebrate my motherhood. Part of it was just the years of painful memories and tears. Part of it was that I was already starting to feel some of that guilt that mothers sometimes feel when their not, you know, perfect. And honestly, I also felt some guilt knowing that I was going to have a baby when there were still people that I knew and loved who were still struggling.

So here we are, it's my 3rd Mother's day as a mother. Last year was a bit better, and finally this year I can say that I'm not dreading the day. Finally I can say that I'm excited about being celebrated, and standing up with the other Mother's. But must admit that I still feel some sorrow today. I have still shed some tears today, but not for myself, but for the other women I know that are out there still feeling that same dread that I felt for so long. And really, it's to them that I want to say: You are a Mother!

Here's the thing that I didn't know back then. And it's taken me a while to understand it. The moment you start loving your child, in my personal opinion, that's the moment you become a mother. And what I didn't realize, was that for 6 1/2 years - I was loving my child! I was fighting for her. I was hoping for her. I was praying for her. Sure - I didn't know her name and I didn't know she would be a she. :) But looking back, I did love her! I wanted her to have an amazing life. I wanted to give her all the things she would need, to become anything she wanted to be. And I was trying to live in a way that I would be ready to help her do that. And all of that is what being a mom, mommy, and mother - is all about! 

So for those of you who are out there still feeling the ache of something missing in your arms - know that it's that ache that makes you a mother right now. I know that doesn't take all the hurt away, of course it doesn't. But it means when you have the opportunity - you stand up proud with those other mothers. Let others celebrate you and the HARD HARD work you are doing! And most of all - that you never give up on that fight - because it is a good one and believe me when I say it is worth all the pain, tears, and money!

I'm ready to stand today and be celebrated - and I hope you do too, whatever your circumstance may be!!! Please know that I celebrate you, who you are, and what you fight for. Whether that means you are are holding your child in your arms or in your heart (for now). 

Happy Mother's day to all of you
beautiful mothers out there!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My goals for the week

Well I did pretty good for several weeks! I even did 26.5 miles one week!! Woo hooo!! I'd gotten a little off track again, and then last week I got very ill and ended up with Strep all week. Nothing like a week in bed with the chills and hot flashes that makes you want to take better care of your health!! SOOO.... I'm starting to feel better and am ready to get back on track this week. 

My goals for this week - putting them out there so I can stay accountable: 

1. Measure and track every bite on MFP. I'm not going to get crazy with eating a perfect diet. Just going to... eat and track. I'll work on getting in my veggies and fruits, but I'm not going to "eat clean" as the saying goes. I do have plans to make dinner every night and to eat from home all week.
2. Get caught up at work. This means working 6am-12pm and during Emma's afternoon nap. This sounds easy - but I really struggle with the 6am thing. But I have to do it. 
3. Claim the house again. Haha As you can imagine, it's a bit of a mess. So I am going to get the cleaning under control. This will probably be about all the real exercise I can handle, I'm still pretty low on energy.
4. If by some miracle I do have some energy to spare, then I want to get in a few walks. I'd also like to take Emma swimming and to a splash pad. She has been stuck in side too, and I want to get out and enjoy our last days of Summer together.
5. My last goal is to NOT spend my evenings watching TV. There are many things I want to do and I always claim I don't have time to fit them in. But then I spend a good couple of hours watching TV at night. I've decided it's time to cut that out and focus that time on more productive and satisfying projects. Whether it be cleaning, crafting, or exercise. Something that's for... me. Doesn't mean I won't ever watch TV, but I'm going to limit myself to one episode a day, and try and do something with my hands at the same time.

Here's to a great week! :D