Getting Fit and Healthy

The picture on the right is when I hit my goal weight….then found out I was pregnant!

I remember always feeling like I was fat, even when I was as young as middle school. It is hard as an adult to look back at pictures and realize that I was never fat as a child and was really quite cute. It took me until well into my 30s to really love my body and appreciate all that it does.

In fact, there were a couple of key moments in my life when I really fell in love with my body. I have always been impressed with its ability to make humans. I make great babies! But the moment I fell in love with all my curves was during a yoga class. I had tried yoga before and really didn’t like it. This time I had joined a boutique gym that alternated between workouts and yoga. It was during one of these classes, watching the reflection of my body bend and move, that I realized its beauty. I watched myself, mesmerized, as I twisted and stretched into positions that I never dreamed of being able to do. I relished the times that I hit a position after not being able to quite make it when I first tried. This new understanding of my body changed how I interacted with it in regard to food and exercise. This was just one of many initial steps in changing my perspective on health.

When this little gym went out of business I was upset. I had found a place that really worked for me. The people here had changed my view of working out and I knew I wanted to keep my focus on this new direction. In an effort to not lose ground I joined RunDouble and began getting out every day (or at least several times a week). This was the lead-up to the second moment that I fell in love with my body. I worked at the Couch to 5K and eventually was able to run, without stopping for 20 minutes! TWENTY MINUTES. Let’s just be here for a moment and take that in. Never, ever, ever, before this moment did I think my body could do something like this. In fact, I’ve been known to say that I was anti-movement (Sara, you know what I’m talking about!).
To get to this point in my Couch to 5K adventure I had to stay persistent with my new routine. I was careful to repeat any sequence that I struggled with (as in, I had to walk during a run time) and I started creating rewards (all non-food related) that supported my new hobby. My next big moment of self-awakening and self-awe came during running. I was closing in on the running sequence that would have me running for 20 minutes straight. I was nervous about doing it and still not sure it would even be possible. During the days leading up to it, I told myself that I would call my mom if I was successful. I had just started the run sequence when I passed another runner. She was an athlete through and through. She had the gear and the calves to prove it! As she approached and passed she raised her fist in the air and chanted, “Go, go, go!”. That did it for me. Even writing this now I get chills from the power I felt hearing that from her. As the end of the 20-minute segment neared I chanted “Go, go, go” to myself and kept my victory phone call to my mom in the forefront of my thoughts.

Shoes are a great prize for nailing a big goal! These were my second pair of prize shoes!

Friends, I did it! My body did it! I kept going for the whole 20 minutes! That phone call was incredible for me. I was so proud of myself and so excited to share it with my mom. I called her right then, still panting! Again, I found myself falling in love even more with my body.
These moments added up to me really wanting to make lasting change. The final piece that pulled it all together was joining Organize Yourself Skinny (OYS). A huge takeaway was to make being healthy a hobby. Make it my thing. I did.
Let me back up and zoom out a bit to give an overview of the timeline. After having my second baby in 2007 (Autzen) I sat around 190 pounds, and at only 5′ 3″, I was very overweight. I lost almost 50 pounds in 2008 after my divorce (I have heard many people refer to this as a real thing, The Divorce Diet!). Fast forward to meeting Elijah in 2010 and all of his amazing cooking, I gained that back within a few years. I joined OYS in July of 2016 and started to really see and feel the benefits of all my work. I vividly remember hitting my big goal of getting to the 150s and then finding out I was pregnant with baby number 3 the next day….oy! I gain a lot with my pregnancies (don’t get me started on my views on pregnant-eating) but lost a good deal of the weight within 6 months of Barrett’s birth. I got all the way to 159 pounds and then decided to try for one more baby. I had baby number 4 in May and weighed in at 218 pounds pre-delivery.

You can see my two most recent pregnancies at each of the peaks.

You are now fully caught up! I have been slow to get back on track and I’m okay with that. I’m breastfeeding and we had countless life changes, including a pandemic, to take into account. With the move to Hood River, I have lost 10 pounds and feel ready to focus back in! I’ll be sharing in bullet points a mix of what I did originally (prior to finding out I was pregnant with Barrett), what I’m doing now and what I will be striving for.
  • Meal Planning: I used OYS and Plan to Eat to find recipes, build a meal plan, and to create a shopping list. I have not returned to either of these but I want to. This also helps with staying within a budget and planning out meals that build on each other. Refocusing on this will be key in turning the corner on regaining my healthy weight.
  • I prepped all my meals for the week on Sundays. It was a huge job but incredibly worth it. When I say that I prepped all my meals, I seriously did. My fridge was stocked with five breakfasts like overnight oats, snacks, and lunch. I would pack my lunch and snacks for work and would stick to it even during trainings that provided a catered lunch. Doing this was huge for me. It was really empowering and kept me motivated to stick with it! Now that I am a SAHM I am finding that if I prep my meals and snacks, as if I was working outside of the home, I do much better!
  • Eat a meal or snack every two hours. I did not let myself get hungry.
  • Eat everything I planned to eat. I did not skip meals or snacks. This helped to make sure I never felt hungry, which in turn had me gorging myself and heading off track of my packed food.
  • Water: Drink half your weight in ounces. I am currently trying for 85 ounces of water a day. When I was really in the swing of things this was not hard at all. Now I feel like I have a good day if I get 30 ounces in! This is a huge focus of mine as I move forward.
  • Steps: 10,000 steps! I had even upped this to 12,000 in my prime days! I am not tracking my steps right now, but I do plan to. To reach my step goal I would pace in the house. My big kids got a kick out of the creative step moves I’d come up with to ease the monotony of walking in place. I did eventually get a treadmill and this was a game-changer for me! Currently I am finding time to hit the treadmill only about a quarter of what I want. When the weather is nice I need to get back to running outside.
  • Treadmill: 45 minutes of walking, five or so minutes on my warm-up, and then about ten for my cool down for a total of 60 minutes before work. Currently, I am finding it hard to get time to focus on this. The littlest little, Grayson, can be nowhere around for me to use the treadmill. While in Hood River I had been walking four or more times a week on the nearby trail. I loved getting my littles out in their jogger too. This will be wonderful to incorporate here at the beach!
  • Measure and weigh everything I was eating. I found success with doing this for a few days and getting a really good feel of how much a serving size was. I’d weigh out items here and there to keep myself focused and accurate. If I found myself gaining weight this is the first thing I brought back in.
  • LOG EVERYTHING, yes, I used caps for that. I can’t stress this enough. I had to log my meals and track my calories so that I had a good sense of how I was doing. I always have felt like I wanted an app that would account for items that I passed up. So if I didn’t have a brownie that was sitting out at work then I would enter that into the app and I would get rewarded somehow. I’ll have to keep thinking about how to make this come true!
  • Get mean! Remember how I said I met Elijah and his cooking? He loves to cook for me and feed me. I finally told him that I was going to get mean and say no to all offers of food. Even the smallest taste! It is better for me to have none than to have a little. I do believe in moderation, however, when I’m getting serious this just doesn’t work for me. It opens the flood gates! When I have more control I can plan it. I do not tend to feel like I am missing out, so it works for me!
  • No nibbling or tasting, unless I was going to log it and account for those calories. Usually, it’s just not worth the time it takes to log the info. And it was never worth the calories because honestly, I do not do well with tastes of things. It always turns into full-on eating of everything.
  • Drink black coffee. I learned to drink my coffee black and absolutely love it that way now! My 2 o’clock fun coffee is my one big cheat. But, with a 2.5 year old and 5 month old, I think this is worth every one of those calories. (UPDATE: I am updating this sentence that was originally written nearly a year and a half ago. My itty bitty one is nearly 2! I still need my 2 o’clock coffee to keep up with these guys!)
  • Telling myself that I already know what something tastes like so I don’t need it now. Thank you to my cousin, Crystal Spreadborough, for this little tidbit! It has helped me a ton!
  • Not eating after 7:00pm. Though, I found this to be hard! I have to really work at it. I’m doing okay with this right now, but I need to bring it back into focus.
  • CHEW GUM. I chewed gum so that I wouldn’t eat. I have not been doing this and will be buying myself some gum!
  • Do an activity that doesn’t allow you to eat. Replace eating with this activity. For instance, I would snack while watching TV. Instead, I started crocheting and never allowed myself to have food while doing it. This kept my hands busy and I was able to break this habit!
I plan to bring a lot of this back into my life with some adjustments. I am not as concerned right now with being as strict as I had been because, well, global pandemic…hard stop. I will be giving myself more leniency and understanding. One struggle right now is not being able to food prep meals in advance. There just isn’t room in my tiny house’s tiny fridge. I can prep ahead oatmeal packets and other non-perishable snacks! This is a family favorite and is handy for a meal or snack. It is roughly 350 calories which is more than what I prefer for breakfast or snacks, but it is so satisfying and a better choice than so many other things.

Mixing my oatmeal packets. They each include 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats, just under a tablespoon of almonds, walnuts, golden raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon.

I’m eager to continue on my journey to becoming fit and healthy, falling in love with my body more and more, and being a model of healthy decisions for my kids. If you are on your own health journey I would love to hear what has been successful for you. If you’re just starting out and have any questions please send them my way! I am always up for someone to help keep me accountable and vice-versa.