This past week was R-O-U-G-H! Wow! Not fun.

I am feeling all sorts of things, but mostly glad the week is over, and proud of Glenn and myself for making it to the six month mark alive. WE DID IT! Mostly.

Six months down, only the rest of our lives to go.  Anyone else find that depressing?!

 

Along with Branch’s six-month birthday/anniversary/whatever you call it, this week brought a few other changes.

First up, I am no longer working full-time at Sea World. I am pretty sad about it. It was a really fun job and I was really liking it. I am still there a few hours a week, but for the time being there isn’t room in the budget to keep me on full-time. I guess I will have to find another way to listen to a ten-piece brass band every day. Tee-hee!

Second, I had my eyebrows done. This is a big deal mostly because this is the first time I have had them done since Branch was born. You long-time readers will remember my obsession with my eyebrow lady, Melissa of Anastasia Beverly Hills fame.  WELL, she moved!!!! To TEXAS!!!! So not only did I have to face the loss of my son, I also had to figure out how to manage this mess of a face without the professional help I was used to! Too much change all at once led to me not caring at all about my eyebrows, or much else,  for several months.

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{this is right after having my brows done — nice and groomed!}

I finally made the plunge today, and went to a different “brow artist” who was trained by Anastasia as well. I am pleased with the results and am praying this girl never leaves! Or that Melissa moves back! Either would be perfectly acceptable for my eyebrows.

 

Third, I hit the twenty pound mark in my weight loss! Sometimes I am embarrassed to keep posting these weight updates, but the other day I realized that when I am reading blogs and people are getting healthy and losing weight, I like hearing updates and seeing pictures. So here you have it. Me at the starting point, and me down twenty pounds!

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I have just started getting more serious about my workouts, and am having fun with that, too. Maybe I will tell you about those sometime, if anyone is interested.  I haven’t joined a gym or anything, so everything I am doing is either at a park or in my backyard.  I’m looking forward to the day when my “current” picture includes some serious arm muscles…. it may take me a decade, but someday they will show up!

Losing weight is hard work. It seems like everything in my life is hard work… But that’s ok. God has such a great vision for our lives, and I hope that He shows me glimmers of it every day so I can keep at least a little hope alive.

That is all I have for today. Much love to you all. Thanks for reading along … it’s a bumpy ride over here at times, and I am grateful for your continued love and support, and that you read what I write!!! That’s pretty cool. 🙂

~Kristin

 

I’m All Over the Place:: Weight Loss, Being Anti-Social, and A Cry for Help

I will start with my cry for help. It isn’t quite as drastic as it sounds, so don’t go calling 911.  It’s about my car :: poor little Camry essentially exploded on Saturday. She has been a lovely little car to me, only requiring the occasional smack of the starter to get up and going. Although we knew she would not last forever, we were planning on her being with us for at least 2 more years. She obviously felt now was her time to leave. If any of you hear of a reliable car being sold for *very* little money, please e-mail me. Stick shift or automatic!

Welp, on to the next update… I’m losing weight!

Remember before Branch was born when I talked about not wanting to have to deal with baby weight when you don’t even get to keep the baby? Yea, it’s pretty much as awful as I thought it would be, except that the grief part is worse. Oh boy! It’s a fun journey I’m on, people, let me tell you.

Even still,  I AM very grateful that I am losing weight. It is not rapid, as healthy weight loss rarely is, but it IS coming off. I am really enjoying my re-entry into the world of Weight Watchers, and find the weekly meetings encouraging and challenging.

Here is my photo for this month. I am going to be comparing each month to the starting point so that I can be encouraged by my progress.  I’m glad I chose the purple yoga pants for these pictures. It adds an element of excitement!

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I have lost 10.2 pounds so far. Hitting the 10 pound mark was super thrilling! We’re in the double-digits here! Yahoo!

In other news, Glenn and I have basically thrown our social life to the wind and turned into hermits. I acknowledge that our interpretation of being a hermit is probably still a more active social life than many of my introverted comrades would ever want, but it sure feels like hibernation to me.  Although I do love spending time with friends, I am really enjoying living in moderate isolation.  I say no to social engagements all the time and have found a new sense of freedom in quiet evenings. It seems to take so much energy just to exist, I have no option but to pull away from everything else.  If you are friends with us and haven’t seen or heard from us in a while, please have patience. Fresh wounds over here!! We are holding on for dear life and who knows when we will emerge! We welcome e-mails, letters, calls, texts, and gifts {I mean really, who doesn’t?!}.  You may never hear back from us, but that doesn’t mean your actions and words were not appreciated.

Glenn and I are learning a lot about losing a child, or more specifically, how to actually SURVIVE and hopefully someday re-enter society after losing a child. What we are experiencing is a rather harsh and brutal reality. It is no fun, but then again it really shouldn’t be. Death is never any fun.

We are surrounded by excellent support :: I jokingly refer to my “grief team” which consists of our grief counselor, my mentor/spiritual director, Glenn, and a few friends — bless them. It is hard to hurt, and I am sure very hard to be a friend to the hurting. The hardest part, it seems, is that in many ways this is just the beginning. As the world goes on around us, as our tragedy is no longer fresh, as friends continue on with their lives … our loss sinks in.  I am grateful for people who do not expect me to “move on” or be more than I can be today. Thank you.

And finally — as I sign off I wanted to share this sweet picture with you as well as a verse. This is an idea I got from our grief counselor earlier today, to continue sharing photos of Branch and add corresponding verses from time to time.

Isaiah 52:7
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””

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If there is anything Branch’s life proclaims, it is the good news of our God who reigns. What a lucky Mom I am to have a son whose life screams of His mercies every day.

Much love,

Kristin

The Lionheart Half Marathon … and Weight Watchers

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Glenn has been kind enough to join me on some of my runs. Believe it or not, it has been COLD here in San Diego!

It has been over two months since I had a baby. Wow.

In early January I decided I had given myself enough time to grief-eat and sit around in my sweats all day. Spending my days watching trash television like Hart of Dixie and The Biggest Loser was pretty fun, if I do say so myself, but it was time for a change.  I still do a little grief-lounging, or “hibernating” as I now call it, but I have also started actively pursuing my physical goals. Weight Watchers has really worked for me in the past, so I joined up again. I was super hungry for a solid two weeks, and am now getting back into the swing of things.

Along with the good ‘ole WW, I am dipping my big toe into the ocean of running once more. When I got pregnant I was actually in pretty decent running shape, and was convinced I would be one of “those” pregnant ladies who just ran their way in and out of the delivery room.

Ummm, yea, that didn’t happen. If anyone is wondering, the early months of pregnancy are brutal, and the ONLY thing I could manage was lying on the couch, whining, and eating McDonald’s. Once I started to feel better I did maintain my walking and hiking, but running has not been part of my life since April 2013. That was quite a long time ago in running years.

Here is what running looks like for me today:  My legs hurt. My chest throbs. I can barely breathe. A mix of sweat and salt pour down my face. I feel like I am going to fall over dead any minute. I look down at my Garmin and notice that I have just hit the half-mile marker. Ouch.

Needless to say, this is already a challenging growth experience.

Growth. Ugh. Sometimes I wish I were done growing. I mean, ultimately I am so grateful to be able to be better than before, to move forward, to, yes, GROW… it’s just hard work.  It always has been, and it always will be. I am so grateful that God is gentle as I walk the path of growth in so many areas. It hurts, even when I know the end result is worth the pain.

Back to the running. It is hard — yes. But I am doing it. And, even more excitingly, YOU can do it with me! Glenn and I have unofficially dubbed this year’s La Jolla Half Marathon the LIONHEART HALF & 5K. We are running it in honor of Branch, and yes we will be making team shirts. We figured this was a good way to do something productive, get back into running shape, and honor our little boy’s life. He was so strong during his time on earth, we can be strong and run this race for him.

If you are interested in running either the Half Marathon or the 5k, and being part of Team Lionheart, here is what you need to know:

Date: Sunday, April 27th
Location: La Jolla, CA —   Torrey Pines is part of the course! Beautiful and challenging!
Distance: 13.1 OR 3.1 miles
Registration website: http://www.lajollahalfmarathon.com

If you live in San Diego, please sign up and run with us! Don’t delay! This race sells out every single year, so if you think you want to do it, sign up now!! Team Lionheart currently has about 6 people running the half marathon and 4 doing the 5k. If you are interested, we will be putting together group runs every weekend to get us prepped!

If you do NOT live in San Diego but still want to be part of Team Lionheart, we are going to be making shirts sometime in the next month or so and I will post about how to purchase one here on the blog.

And finally, I will end this post with my one month weight loss photo and stats. I have decided it will be an added level of accountability to post about my weight loss here on the blog. Sorry if that’s not your cup ‘o tea. It should only be once a month, so I’m sure you will be able to handle it.

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In four weeks I have lost 6.8 pounds. I am starting to see a small difference, and if you look closely you can see some change in the photo. Hoping to lose even more this month!

~Kristin

Weight Watchers

I’m doing Weight Watchers. I think I told you that before, but I’m not quite sure.

You know how I’ve had weight loss goals since the dawn of time, and they creep up every once in a while here on the ole internet? The first time I wrote about it was in March 2011, then I updated you along the way a few times like in May 2011 , and then more recently with the Murdock Weight Loss Challenge.

*Supposedly* we are still doing the Murdock Weight Loss Challenge, but I decided this past August to take matters into my own hands. So I joined Weight Watchers.

Here’s the deal with Weight Watchers: I’ve done it before. I did it one summer after college and I lost 20 pounds in a matter of months. It was awesome and I kept it off until about 2009 which was around the time I started thinking five courses should be a part of my dinner every night. Since then there have been major changes in my life, most of them involving stress of some kind. I was on a slow but steady path of weight gain and hit my all-time highest weight of 180.5 pounds in January 2011. The whole time I was gaining weight I was doing Weight Watchers online. I was super frustrated and felt like a total failure, so I quit and decided to try something different – doing it on my own. It worked to a certain point, but then I got stuck again, so I decided this past August to be “all in” for Weight Watchers – determined to make it work.

And…

IT’S WORKING!

It’s not easy. At all. I have actually stayed the same weight for the past two weeks instead of losing, mostly because I’m having a hard time saying no to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the occasional second glass of wine, and Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims {DO NOT TRY THEM! They are honestly the best salty/sweet snack I have ever had, and I am vowing to never buy them again! If they’re in the house, I lose all self control!} But here’s the thing: Weight Watchers really is working.

Here are my personal stats, and then I’ll go into a list of reasons why I think Weight Watchers is working for me right now. Actually, first I’ll be super vulnerable and show you a picture of what I looked like at my heaviest. It’s the only picture I can find from that timeframe. This was December 2010.

January 2011: 180.5 pounds
May 2011: 169.5 pounds
May 2012: 172 pounds
August 2012 (start of Weight Watchers): 171.2 pounds
Current Weight: 165.2 pounds

Since I shared that picture with you, I have to share a “current” picture with you, too. Mostly to make myself feel better. Here I am! This was last night with my sweet little buddy Jack the Dinosaur. I tried to find a picture that wasn’t excessively flattering — we all know how taking pictures from above and tilting your head makes you about 30 pounds slimmer. Trying to keep it real here. 🙂

Something you might notice: I essentially stayed the same weight for a year — I gave myself some grace during that time and just lived life. It was a BIG year. I ran, I did a lot of “application” of the things I had learned in therapy, and I did my best to set the foundation for a healthy view on food, exercise, and my body.  It’s actually super encouraging for me to look at these numbers and see how far I’ve come in the past year and a half. There were a lot of times where I wondered if I would ever be able to lose a pound. And I’ve lost fifteen!

Here are the major things that I think are helping me, and why Weight Watchers is working for me right now:

1.Public Humiliation. I’m not even kidding. It’s me, a stranger, and a scale. There’s no lying to the woman behind the counter who is writing down my weight. There’s no moving the scale around the bathroom to see which part of the floor I am lightest on. There’s no “oh I’ll weigh myself in the morning after a long run and then eat a burrito since I’m starving!” — 6pm, every Wednesday, I’m weighing in.

2. The meetings. It’s group therapy. I see how far people have come, and I see when people aren’t making any progress. I get rewarded {with stickers!} every time I make a significant change or hit a benchmark weight loss. I go with one of my favorite friends and we cheer each other on every week. It’s a freak-show, but it’s encouraging and I kind of love it.

3. I write down every bite I eat. No cheating! Ever! I was counting calories before, and it worked to a certain degree. Weight Watchers has their “points” system, which some people say is similar to calories, but I like it a little more because it takes a fuller picture of the food – fat, carbs, protein, fiber, and total nutritional value are all added into the makeup of a food’s “point.” The way this has translated into my every day life: I am eating more fruits and vegetables, my portions are smaller, and when I do eat things that are low on the nutritional value scale and high in points, I CHOOSE to eat them and therefore ENJOY them all the more — knowing it all works into my weekly plan.

4. I am more emotionally aware, and therefore more aware of the way stress, excitement, fears, anxieties, big life events, etc. affect my eating habits. Becoming more aware of my emotions has really helped me just sit back and NOTICE things.

“I’ve been really hungry all day, but all I want to eat is french fries. That’s interesting. Is there anything else going on in my life right now that could be influencing this??”

“Oh, we’re opening our Chick-fil-A next week, I’m working full time, we’re living with family, our bank account is totally drained, I’m starting to get back into running, and I’m super nervous about the outcome of the election. These could be factors in my desire for all things fried.”

Noticing. It helps a lot.

5. Swallowing my pride. It’s hard to admit that what you’re doing isn’t working. Especially when it comes to weight loss. I mean, it should be pretty basic, right? Eat less, move more. But we all know there are bigger factors that play a role in our bodies, and sometimes you need an extra push.

It took a long time for me to be ok with going back to Weight Watchers. And once I decided to do it, I knew I needed to do it freely. I didn’t want to be ashamed or not tell people — I needed to share this part of myself and be alright with what others thought of it, whatever their opinions may be.

There are two reasons why I am doing this: first for myself. I desire freedom and growth in all areas of my life, and my weight is one of those. Also, for my future children. I know that my growth in this area will make me more whole and make me a better mom when the time comes.

So there you have it. Weight Watchers — for the win!

~Kristin

P.S. For further reading on this topic: I love the way Andie over at Can You Stay for Dinner talks about weight loss. Very healthy approach!