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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...

Relief! 

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.