Thursday, February 11, 2016

BCBCB Whole30

I've delayed writing our family Whole30 recap because, to be honest, I didn't feel like I was the best example. When I look back at my history with pursing health, I see a lot of failures. I see mountains, sure, but man do I see a lot of valleys. I see a lot of starting and a lot of quitting, giving up. I would sit down to type a new blog entry about our 30 day journey, but then I'd just stop. Completely shut down, put it away, and stop thinking about it. Because I didn't feel qualified. Yes, we did 30 days of no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, no alcohol, no cheats, but then what? The "then what?" is where I would (& still do) get stuck. I can do 30 days. In fact, I did 34. But a complete lifestyle change? For the rest of my life? That overwhelms me and before I know it I'm back to old habits. I was tired of sounding like a broken record, so I thought it was best this time not to talk about it at all.

But while in my Bible study, The Armor of God, I realized being silent was letting Satan win. He knows my struggle with food and my weight. And if he could keep me silent, then someone else would suffer silently, too. You see, I'm convinced I need to share our story because someone needs encouragement. They need to know they are not alone. 

You are not alone.

It doesn't have to be a food or weight issue. Maybe it's another kind of addiction. Or maybe you blew it with your kids or spouse and anger exploded out of you, again. Maybe you're trapped in the comparison game. It could be there's an issue with lying, cheating, stealing of time, money, or resources. Maybe fear and anxiety are suffocating you. Perhaps life just keeps knocking you down and you just want to quit altogether. Whatever it is, it's a very real struggle. You have a grip on it one day and the next day it's out of control. And you're overwhelmed. 

I get it. I absolutely understand your frustration.

You are not alone.

Don't hide in shame or condemnation. Ask for forgiveness if needed. Surrender the issue. And let grace wash over you as you press on, dear friends. I said on Day 1 of our journey, "Always starting over is a sign of never quitting. I refuse to quit." I'm not quitting and I pray you don't either! 

So. With all of that said, here's a quick recap of our Whole30 experience...

It's kind of funny how it came to be. We were leaving a deliciously carb-laden meal at Carraba's with some friends over Christmas break. As we were driving back to their house, all stuffed full of bread, chicken Parmesan, and fettuccini Alfredo, we started talking about making some changes in our food. Both girls mentioned some issues they had and I told them I thought maybe eliminating certain food groups might help. I had completed a Whole 30 last year and threw it out there that maybe we could all do it together. Then we reached our destination and I filled myself to the brim with raspberry almond thumbprint cookies. 

We went through the rest of the holiday break and didn't stop eating our favorite foods. We knew a possible change was on the horizon so we went crazy. We normally don't keep soda in the house. But for that last week at home? We panicked if the stock got low. Pretty silly, and we laughed at ourselves, but that's just the truth. We were consuming all junk, nothing of nutritional value.

Towards the end of the break Brandon took us to a local bbq joint. As we sat there eating fried catfish, fried chicken strips, brisket and all the sides (hush puppies!!), we talked again about doing a family Whole 30. The girls were interested and I was definitely ready for a change. As good as food tastes, it really does leave me pretty miserable. As a food addict, I'm well aware of the vicious cycle of overeating and the guilt that follows. 

The decision was made and on January 4, 2016 we began a 30 day journey of no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, no alcohol, and no cheats. That's a lot of no's! I'll admit, I was worried if we could make it. The girls had never attempted a strict eating plan. And the last time B did, well bless him, he lasted 2.5 days & then I found him lying on the floor of our bedroom begging for his phone and wallet. Thirty minutes later a family pack from Papa John's was at our door. So, yeah, I wasn't super optimistic.

For 30 days I all but lived in my kitchen. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for four people eating whole, nutritious foods is A LOT of prepping and cooking. We decided we would eat at home for the month (except when B had two business trips -- and he totally rocked them & made awesome food choices!) and while it got exhausting, it was worth it. We set ourselves up for success and it worked. 

I am so very proud of all of us. It was tough. The food we ate really wasn't a problem, though we all missed things like pizza, chips and salsa, sweets. What we truly missed was convenience. Out running around shopping all day on a Saturday usually meant we'd eat out or at least grab a pizza on the way home. Instead we were eating before we left the house, taking snacks with us, and then I'd cook somethng once we were back home.

One time our snacks didn't cut it and we were all starving. So after grocery shopping we camped out at Whole Foods and devoured a rotisserie chicken. This is probably one of my favorite memories from the 30 days. We still laugh about it. I think I thanked B 100 times for that chicken. Lol!

The girls were champs! I was beyond impressed with how they handled everything. This was a complete change in their eating habits, and not being super fond of vegetables, I was worried if they'd last. But day by day, they were rocking it. One week in, two weeks in, three weeks in, and the downhill slide to day 30 and they were fully committed. It wasn't always easy and there were moanings of "Why did I agree to do this?!", but they did it! They resisted donuts each Sunday, went to Tribe Nights having already eaten and with a smoothie, resisted popcorn and Dr. Pepper one night at Real Life, turned down offers from friends at school (except that one Starburst Caylee ate on day 2 or 3 out of habit and without even realizing), and tried a lot of new things. I'm so proud of you, girls!

They could not have survived without tuna and veggie chips at lunch. Veggie chips aren't typically allowed, but the ingredients were fully compliant and these teenagers needed something to help them survive. Ha!

They didn't weigh, but my friend could see a difference in them just by looking at pictures on social media, so she made a before and after using pictures she found and sent them to me. Crazy!

Brandon was amazing as well and when he made it past his previous personal record of 2.5days, we celebrated! And the next thing we knew he conquered the Whole30. I could not have done it without him. He hates to grocery shop, but we went every Saturday and did the main bulk of it together. He learned how to make delicious breakfast sausage. He kept us laughing when he'd infuse water. He would (& still does) eat breakfast before he left for work. And he didn't let business trips slow him down. At the end of 30 days he had lost 15lbs, was sleeping better, and saw some pretty incredible changes in his health all because of food. I'm so proud of you, boy! 

When I wasn't prepping, cooking, or cleaning my kitchen I was meal planning, list making, scouring cookbooks and Pinterest for ideas, and trying to figure out how to keep us on track. It was mentally exhausting and all I wanted to eat was a chocolate chip cookie. And there for awhile I could've put away a coconut cream pie like no one's business. Or a pan of cinnamon rolls. Instead I made things like chicken cattiatorie, shrimp putanessca, chicken pesto rollups, carnitats, crockpot curry, and our favorite standbys of chicken sausages and roasted veggies, almond chicken, pork tenderloin, or steak with hasselbeck potatoes. I'm glad I stuck with it because I lost 17.6lbs, had more energy, and sleep was incredible. 

As hard as all food changes were some days, we also survived a snow day (usually full of amazing comfort food and sweets), our oven was out for three days and I had to cook by stovetop, crockpot, and Ninja, we hosted a lifegroup meet and greet at our house, and had friends over for a Sunday lunch all while staying fully Whole30 compliant.

We have all had so much more energy as a result of fueling our bodies properly. B and I used to live for a Sunday afternoon nap, and well, we haven't needed them in a few weeks. We've gone for walks along the river. And this past weekend we climbed Pinnacle Mountain. 

I am so glad we decided to start 2016 off with health as a priority. And I might not have the best track record when it comes to maintaining things long term, but like I said on January 4, 2016, I refuse to quit. 

Press on, friends! I'm cheering you on!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Prayer for 2016

I am a very self-centered person. There. I said it.

I want things to go MY way, in MY time, with little pain for ME to endure. 
Oh it can get so ugly sometimes.

As I have been thinking and praying about 2016 this past month, I had an idea of where I thought my theme would be headed. It sounded all good and doable, but then I started hearing something different. One word kept popping up and I'd think about it for a second and then move on. I still had time and wasn't in a rush to nail anything down.

And then it happened. My selfishness showed it's ugly face. Again.

School was out, B was finished with work for the year, and instead of celebrating I found myself in a mood. Why? Because things didn't go my way. I let something so petty like a Christmas purchase completely altar the evening. The next morning I cried it out to B and I could see confusion on his face. I was making absolutely no sense. I felt better as the day went on and we were set to go to church that evening. I'll be honest, I didn't want to go. I wasn't "feeling" it. Oh what I would've missed out on if I'd let my feelings control me that evening.

As we began to worship, my walls began to come down. And that one word I had been hearing was becoming louder.

This Christmas season our church has had the theme "Jesus at the Center". I've loved that song for years and was so happy to sing it each week. But that Saturday night? It took on a whole new meaning. 

Before we took communion, I circled up my family, apologized and asked for their forgiveness, and settled in my heart what God had been prompting.

For 2016, less is more.


That is my word. My theme.

Less of Cari. More of Jesus. Cari on the sidelines. Jesus on center stage.

I can set all kinds of resolutions and goals and dreams, but if they are focused on me and what I want, they will fail. Plain and simple. 

Do I want to lose weight? Absolutely! But obviously my ways aren't working. How about I surrender that to Him? How about I say, "God, this is obviously much more of a heart issue than a food issue. Help me to honor your temple." Less of the foods that bring momentary pleasure and more of what can fuel me in a way to be effective for the kingdom.

Those times I want to control everything about my children? Yeah, I'll need to surrender those. Less of making mini-Cari's and more of shepherding teenage hearts that will hopefully chase after Him. 

The plan I had laid out for our family? Let it go. Less of being so deadest on my ways and more of remembering that His ways are always higher. 

Someone hurt my feelings? So what. Less of feeling offended and more grace. 

See the pattern? It's really simple. Less is more. It doesn't mean less is easy. And I can guarantee I won't ace every test. But I desire more. More of what He can offer. Less of what I can do on my own. Because if it's up to me? I make a mess of things every single time. I want to take me out of the equation & let Him do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine according to His power at work within me. To Him be the glory! 

As I sat in that church service a couple weeks ago, God reminded me of John 3:30.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.””
John 3:30 ESV

The NIV version? 

“He must become greater; I must become less.””
John 3:30 NIV

What about The Message? 

“This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.”
John 3:29-30 MSG

Boom. There it was. Less of me. More of Him. I have to let go of wanting things, emotions, and situations to go my way. Just trust Him. It seems almost silly, because as a Christian isn't that the goal? Deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him? But I will be the first person to raise my hand and admit I've failed over and over again. And I'll keep messing up until the day I die. But oh it's my heart's desire for this year to spark a real change. It's never going to be easy to die to self. But I know with the help of the Holy Spirit and the power that lives inside of me, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. I don't know how I can even gauge this theme as "successful" or not, but I'm praying it'll be evident. 

Less Cari. More Jesus. 
Less hatefulness. More love. 
Less bitterness. More joy.
Less frustration. More peace.
Less irritability. More patience.
Less meanness. More kindness.
Less helplessness. More goodness.
Less flakiness. More faithfulness.
Less harshness. More gentleness.
Less indulgence. More self-control.
Less criticism. More compassion.
Less social media. More living in the moment. 
Less talking. More listening. 
Less noise. More silence.
Less fear. More faith.
Less gossip. More building up.
Less judging. More open mind. 
Less living room. More WarRoom.
Less worrying about what clothes to wear. More putting on the full armor of God.
Less resisting. More submitting.
Less doubting. More trusting.
Less comparison. More gratitude. 
Less sugar. More veggies. 
Less sitting. More moving. 
Less complaining. More praising. 
Less spending. More saving. 
Less getting. More giving. 
Less eye-rolling. More smiling. 
Less yelling. More calm.
Less pride. More humility. 
Less empty words. More follow-through.
Less drama. More honesty. 
Less fake. More real. 
Less of what I see. More of what God sees. 
Less of seeking man's approval. More of seeking God's approval.
Less bondage. More freedom.
Less Cari. More Jesus.

Happy New Year, friends. I pray you see less of me this year and more of Him. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A brave recap

To be brave in 2015 was to...

  • Admit publicly that I struggle with fear. To realize it's not funny or cute, but a lack of faith.
  • Confess I battle food addiction and document 30 days of clean eating.
  • Acknowledge all the progress I made in those 30 days has been lost and it's back to square one.
  • Say goodbye to a place that had been home for years. 
  • Say hello to a completely new place, new faces, new friends.
  • Throw out a plea on social media and open my home for a Bible study.
  • Surrender my words to God.
  • Return to my home church in Oklahoma for their spring banquet, not to attend, but to be the speaker.
  • Attend a run clinic with my girls and complete a 5K.
  • Join a community center and attend group exercise classes for the first time ever. 
  • Wear sleeveless workout tops. 
  • Send our girls on a camping trip with mostly strangers.
  • Adjust to B's frequent traveling & trust God with each trip.
  • Be a wedding coordinator. 
  • Join a women's lifegroup all by myself. 
  • Mow my front yard.
  • Realize some friendships are only for a season.
  • Tribe coach with B.
  • Open my heart and eyes to the Holy Spirit in a way I never have before.
  • Support B in a new position at work.
  • Be silent.
  • Forgive. 
  • Ask for forgiveness. 
  • Friday night lifegroup with B.
  • Monday morning Bible study.
  • Body and Soul 
  • Walk a very hard and difficult road with a friend and realize favor isn't fair.
  • Be completely carless & rely on the generosity of friends for transportation.
  • Sharing my story, along with B, to RealLife leaders.
  • Watch our girls drive for the first time.
  • Take a stand against Satan & recognize spiritual warfare for what it is.
  • ... & so much more!

Whew! What a year! I don't share any of these examples as a way to pat myself on the back. Truth is, I wish I could say I have this whole "Be Brave" thing down. But I don't. Many times this year I failed miserably & stubbornly chose to not be brave. It will always be a work in progress for me. It will always be in my human nature to say "no, that makes me nervous" and then shrink back to the corner and hide. It will always require me to turn to God, the one who makes me brave, and choose faith over fear time and time again. It's only because I know He has gone before me that I can confidently walk whatever road is in front of me. It is all because of Him.

Thank you, friends, for being such an encouragement this past year. The texts, private messages, gifts, pictures, and kind words always came at the perfect time. I listened to Bethel's "You Make Me Brave" the other night, and with tears in my eyes I sang it in a brand new way. One year ago I couldn't sing it without feeling guilty. That night I sang it & praised God for His faithfulness & for not giving up on me. I can't thank you enough for being brave with me in 2015 and encouraging me along the way.

I'm ready for 2016! God has already confirmed my theme for the new year. I'm excited to share it with you soon!

“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!”
‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭3:19‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Using My Words

Sometimes you just need to write, ya know? And by write, I guess tonight I mean type. But goodness do I still love a fresh notebook & pen. Or pencil, depending the mood. ;) Anyway, back to the whole writing bit. God has laid it on my heart the last few months to use my words. 

While at this Hillsong Young & Free concert the first of March, I felt the presence of God compelling me to use my words. As I sang the chorus of "End of Days"...."I'm gonna sing until my voice won't let me. As thunders roar I'll shout your praise. You're the God of everlasting wonder, your love outlasts the end of days".... I surrendered my words to Him. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I knew that's what He was calling me to do. 

Just a few days later, I had a Facebook message asking me to be the speaker at the women's spring banquet at my home church in Oklahoma. What?! Not on my radar, but God had began preparing me for that. He was preparing me at the concert. He was preparing me with my Be Brave theme He laid on my heart at the beginning of the year. It was a no brainer. I knew speaking at that banquet, as out of my element as it would be, was my next step. 

And so I did it. 

Rather, God did it through me. The theme was Be Brave, & while I can't recall what all I said (because, honestly, the highlights in my head are asking if putting water on the cross podium was sacrilegious, kicking my shoes off in the middle of it because I didn't like the noise they were making on the stage, & encouraging the women to take off their masks), he's what I wanted to say... 

1. Be real.
Be real with yourself. Be real with God. Be real with other people. Don't hide behind some ridiculously stupid mask. That's exhausting! I don't know what crazy person convinced Christians that we are required to wear masks & to make it look like we have it all together, but if I ever meet them I want to slap them. There is so much danger in hiding. Trust me. I speak from experience. So be real, friends. If the people around you can't handle it. Good! They weren't your people to begin with. Go find those people who know how to mix grace with Truth & hang out with them. 

2. Fear does not come from the Father. 
Nope. It just doesn't. It's straight from the father of lies, Satan (John 8:44). God doesn't give us a spirit of fear (2Tim 1:7). In fact, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2Corinth 3:17-18)! And why fear when He is right there with us (Isaiah 41:10)?! Again, I'm talking to myself. I'm the queen of being afraid, but I'm working on it & learning to tell Satan to get off my back, He's not going to keep me down any longer. 

3. We are God's arrows. 
He created us & knit us together perfectly. Fearfully & wonderfully were we made (Psalm 139:13-14)! He created us for a purpose! A purpose only we can fulfill (Ephesians 2:10), not so we can boast in ourselves, but so He can receive the glory!

4. Being brave simply means to walk in obedience to the call He has placed on your life. 
I told the ladies I didn't have a 12 step program to tell them how to be brave & overcome their fears. I could only tell them one thing. And that's just to surrender. Live your life palms open for God to give & take away what He sees fit. Whatever passions He's given you, use it to make Him known. The season of hardship He has you in, walk confidently that there is a purpose in it! Don't shrink back in fear. Choose faith over fear. Over & over, faith over fear. In big things, in small things, in everything, faith over fear. Oh! And another thing. Do not compare your bravery with someone else's. We all have different paths we are on & bravery looks different person to person. But there's an overriding thing in everyone, and that's obedience. 

So. Yeah. That's what I wanted to get out. I think I rambled & told stories about me throwing a fit & tossing papers in the air when B asked me to do a simple task. And I know I briefly mentioned Habbakuk 3:19, the theme verse that I forgot to mention until the end. Hey, I'm not a professional & I have a newfound respect for pastors & speakers who do this all of the time. I'm just trusting what I did say was God orchestrated & God ordained. 

I used my words. And for whatever reason, God compelled me to use my words tonight & blog about it. 

Y'all. Life is hard. There's hurt & sickness & family problems & work issues & big decisions looming & everything in between. But it doesn't have to be done alone. He is our helper if we call on Him. He's just waiting. 

I don't know what your brave is right now. But I'm guessing you do. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think of something you're supposed to do? Yep. That's probably it. Choose faith over fear, friends. I have that feeling now as I type, but I'm going to hit publish anyway! I pray someone is encouraged. And remember, we aren't alone. He strengthens us. So hold your head high & be brave! 

"The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!" 
Habakkuk 3:19 AMP

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fourteen years later...

This time 14 years ago I was beginning my fifth day in Hillcrest hospital. Preeclampsia was sitting in & I was under constant monitoring. I was enjoying several spicy chicken sandwiches a day thanks to the Wendy's close to the hospital & had a steady stream of friends & family coming to see me. It was an emotional roller coaster for my 18 year old self. 

On the morning of April 20, 2001 I woke up like I had the past few mornings... ready for another day of waiting. Brandon had actually gone home for the first time the night before to work a shift at Goldie's that day & I was anticipating being transported back to a local hospital in Pryor to wait out the remainder of my pregnancy. I had just taken a bite of my delicious bacon biscuit sandwich & a doctor came in & said "Don't take another bite. We are taking your babies today." And with those words my world was forever changed. 

I called B & the next thing I knew he was at the like 30 minutes, when it should've taken him over an hour to get to the hospital. Ha! My parents were there. Cyndi David stopped by & showed me pictures of Austin & Becky. Randy Wilson & Keith Burden, two of my pastors, came & prayed over me & my babies. Terri & Terry, my other mothers, were there to support & encourage me & their dearest friend, my mom. So many people came & walked this road with us. And as I try to recall that day I am, once again, overwhelmed with tears. 

I have never seen the body of Christ displayed so beautifully. I was an unmarried, 18 year old girl & was given grace upon grace. I didn't realize it then. In fact, I walked in guilt & felt unworthy of it for years. But now, 14 years later, I see the beauty of it all. I see The Church coming together to rally behind one of their own. No condemnation, just love. 

When the time came to be wheeled to the operating room I can still see my Dad's face. I can't imagine what was going through his head as he watched his baby head off to become a mother, but his words comforted me all the way down the hall, into the cold operating room, & even to today. "It'll be okay, baby", he said with the most encouraging and reassuring smile. I struggled at that moment to not lose it, but I somehow made it. And his words are still true. No matter what life has thrown or will throw at us, we will be okay. 

As they began to administer the spinal block I remember crying out to God. I surrendered my babies over to him as the needle entered my back. I didn't feel the pain because I felt His presence. Brandon came in the room with me & I'll never forget his reaction when I asked him if they had started. He gave me the most wide eyed look & matter of factly said "Yes". Apparently he got to see my blood all over the floor & the doctors getting busy with the delivery. I had no clue. I was content behind that curtain. Ha! 

And then, at 2:27pm, Baylee Kaye Beaver was born. She was a perfect 5 pounds, 9 ounces & 17&3/4 inches long. Once minute later, at 2:28pm, Caylee Lynn Beaver made her entrance into this great big world, weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces & 18&1/2 inches long. And just like that, we were parents to two beautiful, perfectly healthy, God given gifts. 

Just like on the day 14 years ago, I feel that same uneasiness today. I don't have a clue what I'm doing. Parenting is hard. Some days I feel like "Whew! I did that right!". And then other days I go to bed in tears, beating myself up thinking I've ruined them for life. There isn't a parenting guide out there that can tell us how to best raise Baylee & Caylee. So I rely on mothers instinct & for God to guide us during these teen years & beyond. 

It's our prayer as they continue to grow & mature that they would even more so grow & mature in their walk with Christ. That they would always know how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is. That they would walk in a manner worthy of the calling He has placed on their lives. That even though they are twins, they are uniquely designed & there is no one in this world like them. They were both individually fearfully & wonderfully made & have a purpose only they can fulfill. 

Happy 14th birthday, Baylee & Caylee. My heart bursts with joy over you. I'm so thankful & very proud to be your mom.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

W30:What I've learned

Well, I ended my first Whole30 five days ago. I had every intention of blogging a recap post ASAP, but guess what? I needed a brain break. A major "I don't want to think about W30, I don't want to blog about W30, I don't want to snap a pic of every.single.meal, I just want silence in my brain" break. And so that's what I did. Took a break. The introvert in me NEEDED the break.

Ahhhh. There. I feel better now. :)

Seriously, after 30 full days of THINKING (& a lot of OVERthinking), I was done. That's one of the major things I learned. To be successful, it requires work. Mental work. Ouch! Preparation is key. Without being prepared, there will not be success. (Funny how that goes with anything in life, huh? Not just in a W30 experience.) 


1. Make a menu. If you can for a week at a time, great! If not the whole week, at least just a few days out. It'll help in the thinking process. ;)
2. Have a variety in your fridge. Even with a menu set in place, there might be days you just can't stomach more broccoli. Have other quick fixes available so you don't call in a pizza. Or reach for Cheetos. ;) 
3. Speaking of variety, utilize Pinterest & Instagram for recipe ideas. I tried several new things in addition to my tried & true veggies & chicken dishes I'd throw together. There are so many amazing people on social media who have done the work for us & share their W30 friendly recipes. I can't wait to try out more new recipes I've recently found! 


The day I started W30 I marched myself into my weirdly lit bathroom & took a TON of before pictures. Did I love them? Umm, NO. They made me sad, made me mad, made me sick. I wanted to just sit & beat myself up for allowing myself to get to this place, again. But I didn't. I acknowledged what I saw (because, let's be real. I don't look in mirrors very often.) & moved on. I knew in 30 days I'd see a change. And I was right. Was it worth it to weigh, take measurements, & a gazillion before pictures? Heck, yes! SO glad I did! Am I ready to share everything yet? That'd be a no. But I will show progress in the red shirt. It's the most recognizable transformation. 

(Again, I apologize for the poor lighting & the iPad in some of these. I guess I should have B or one of the girls take the pics? These will just have to do.) 

Day 1

Y'all. That shirt was TIGHT! I'm the self proclaimed "Queen of Stretch", but this material had no give. I managed to get the clearance find on, but had no breathing room. It cut into my arms so much it hurt. It clung to every roll I had. It wasn't pretty. 

Day 30

I put that shirt on the morning of Day 30 just hoping I'd see an even better difference than I'd seen on Day 15. Well, I did! My mom was in town & I got to share the excitement with her. I showed her & the girls the before pics & we all smiled for joy. It was JUST WHOLE FOOD that made this change. Mind blown! I had Bay take some pics outside for me & we had a celebratory photo shoot. Haha! And then I wore it all day long as we were out & about shopping! Rewarded myself with a shirt & not food! Score!

(See Cay photobombing our shoot?! Lol!)

This pic is my favorite. I felt we'd been trying too hard (I'm not a model & Bay is not a professional photographer) & I wasn't liking pics we had. Bay finally said "Mom, look off into the abyss". It made me laugh, she snapped this pic, & the joy of Day 30 was captured. Thank you, Baylee!!


My goal was to lose 15lbs on this journey. I thought that was reasonable. When I stepped on the scale on Day 30 I had lost a total of 19.5lbs! WooHoo! Although, I'll be honest, another half pound that morning would've been nice so I could say "20lbs!", but I won't complain. ;) I also measured & it's even more remarkable. I lost 16 inches overall. That's crazy talk! (Now, I'm sure there's a +/- to that number based on how I measured. I tried to do the best I could & measure exactly where I had measured before. So it's an approximate 16inches. ;) Haha!)

As far as clothing, I'm sure I'm down a size or two. But I haven't been shopping. I'm now comfortably wearing once too tight, didn't fit shirts. And my jeans are crazy loose, but making them work for the time being. 


I went two weeks into W30 before I even thought of exercise. Then the girls & I started the run clinic & I attended a few classes at the community center. It's my goal to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. But don't we all? ;) 

Miscellaneous things I learned

1. I have an unhealthy obsession with the scale. But I'm not defined by the number it shows. I need to put it up for good & focus on health. I'll be honest, that'll be a hard habit to break. 
2. I feel & sleep so much better when I'm getting proper nutrition. B even noticed I wasn't snoring. (I mean, not that I was a crazy snoring machine before. ;))
3. My body is far more capable of doing more than I think it can. I am strong. I just have to choose to be. 
4. I am mentally weak. Period. 
5. My family & close friends rock. Period. 
6. Temptations are everywhere. Often as close as my own fridge & cabinets. I'm the only one responsible for how I handle those temptations. 
7. I don't miss gum or mints. 
8. Water is my BFF. And my bathroom a close second. ;) 

Moving On

I've been pretty lax the last few days. I haven't gone absolutely crazy, but I've given my brain a break. And get this. Some of the foods I once loved? Can't handle anymore. B & I went to On The Border & you won't believe it. I had one bite of salsa & not another. It just didn't taste good! I had a piece of toast with butter & jelly one morning (something I'd craved the last few days of W30) & it made my tongue tingle. Fake food hurts my mouth! My taste buds must've adjusted & then went into shock. Ha! 

I'm back on track as of now. My plan moving forward is to stick very closely to the Whole 30 program on a regular basis. I'll definitely be compliant at home for my meals & the best I can when eating out. Does that mean I'll be perfect all the time? No way! I'm going to live. And if that means eating a chocolate chip cookie at Bible study, I'm going to do that. But I'm not going to eat 15 like I used to. ;) 

Also, I am not a W30 expert. I had struggles & setbacks during my 30 days. But I never quit. I kept pressing on. Some days were easier than others, but there were A LOT of hard days. Thirty days isn't going to break the years worth of bad habits I'd created & been accustomed to. But those 30 days sure made me more aware of those habits. 

I'm thankful I took the time to invest in myself this past month. As a mom & wife, I tend to put myself on the back burner a lot. I think that's pretty normal, right ladies? But I have to take care of myself so I can take care of B & the girls. This will not be a quick fix. I still have 100+ pounds to lose. (And that's to get to a reasonably healthy weight, not a drastic goal.) There aren't any pills, programs, shakes, points, meetings, surgeries, or special energy drinks that are going to get me to where I need to be. For me, this is all a matter of the mind. I must recognize & appreciate whole, real food for what it is, be thankful for it, & nourish my body from the inside out. 

Finally, thank you, friends, for bearing with me. I hope I haven't been overly annoying. I share to encourage. I share to remind those out there struggling that you're not alone. We all have our battles. Some of us battle food. (That's me!) Some of us battle other things that have a hold on us. (That's me, too!) Life is better together! (Even if we can only be together via social media!)  

I'm sure I'll be back with updates as I continue on this journey. Until then, I leave you with this... 

"So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too."
1 Corinthians 10:31-33 MSG