January 22, 2015

quick health update

It's been a long time since I've said anything about my health, but this is worth documenting, if for no other reason than so I can remember!

I've been gluten free since May 27, and in mid-December I started a diet called Trim Healthy Mama. I was off and on through the holiday season (but always still gluten free), and now I'm back on, for the most part. (Sometimes I will choose to eat something "off plan" like a potato when I'm out, but whenever I'm eating at home or at work, I follow the plan, which basically means separating carbs and fats, as well as not eating sugar.)

Since May, I have lost 15 pounds and at least one inch from everywhere I measured (waist, arm, hips, etc.) except my neck!

For someone who has Hashimoto's and PCOS, both conditions that make weight loss difficult, this is amazing!

I don't know just how much I've lost since starting THM because I stupidly didn't record weight or measurements, but I do know that in October, I was over 200 pounds (hence one of my October goals), and I was still over 200 when I saw the endocrinologist in early December (though just barely). As of this morning, I'm 190*, and my driver's license no longer lies about my weight! I can't wait until it's lying in the other direction :-) I can't really see a difference in how I look yet, but I do know that my clothes are fitting differently--still no drop in size, but things are getting looser!

As for how I feel, for the most part, I feel much better than I have in more than two years. (September 2012 is when things started going wonky for me.) Do I still have what I like to call "thyroid days"? Yes. But they're becoming fewer and farther between. Am I still tired all the time? You bet. But I'm not overwhelmingly exhausted anymore. (Well, speech season is kicking my butt, but I'm not as bone tired as I was during last year's speech season.)

Going gluten free and starting THM aren't the only things having an impact on my health--I'm now on an additional thyroid medicine that's making a huge impact, I'm exercising more (because I finally feel good enough to do some exercising), and I'm also getting better about setting limits for myself regarding activity and sleep. But I also have no doubt that the foods I eat and don't eat are playing a major role in how I feel!

The picture below of some of Nebraska Christian's staff went out to our alumni along with a Christmas gift. I'm on the far left. Seeing this picture is what made me realize I definitely needed to make some changes--I was a bit mortified to realize that all of my high school classmates would be seeing this photo (at least all of them that we have current addresses for). The day after I saw this picture, I started THM.

*I've joined this THM challenge to not step on a scale for a whole month, so this morning's weigh in will be my last for a while. If you've tried to lose weight, you probably know that the scale can be your worst enemy. I have a tendency to step on it each morning, and seeing the fluctuations does me no good. I'm hoping that this challenge, while extreme, will help rid me of the habit of compulsive weighing. 

January 19, 2015

five friday favorites #12: week of jan. 16, 2015

Once again, I've gone two weeks between Friday Favorites ... and really, I'm lucky to even get this posted on a Monday! Speech is in full swing, and by the time I make it home after a full day of work followed by speech practice, I'm done. The other night, I fell asleep on the couch at 6 p.m. Yesterday, I took an afternoon nap--and I never nap! February 28, the next Saturday without a speech meet, can't come soon enough!

1. This

Need I say more?

OK, I will. One of my best friends had never seen Pride & Prejudice before. Tragedy, right? So a few years ago, I gave her the Kiera Knightley version ... not because I think it's the best version (I don't) but because I didn't think she'd ever sit through the five hour BBC masterpiece. A couple months ago, she finally watched the DVD I gave her. Then, shock of all shocks, she told me we should watch the BBC version when she was home for Christmas break! She didn't have to ask twice :-)

We spent one great afternoon basking in Colin Firth-as-Darcy's awesomeness ... or at least I did. While she liked the movie, she actually preferred Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy. Seriously! In her defense, she is quite a few years younger than me, and her first exposure to Colin Firth was in What a Girl Wants, so she struggled to see Amanda Bynes' dad as a romantic figure. Still, though ... how could you ever pick Matthew Macfadyen over Colin Firth???

2. Nikki's Refusal to Throw Juan Pablo under the Bus
It's no secret that I enjoy watching any show the Bachelor team puts out there. So, even though I'm not crazy about "Prince Farming" (seriously, ABC? That's just about as bad as "Juan-uary"), I tuned into the season premiere two weeks ago. Honestly, I find Chris a bit boring, and, after the premiere, I also questioned his judgement. I didn't watch last Monday's episode, and I'm not sure if I'll watch any more this season--we'll see. Anyway, back to the premiere ...

This year, ABC/Team Bachelor decided to kick off the season with an hour long red carpet show, followed by the two hour premiere. (Yes, three hours is excessive. Most of the time, the two hour episodes are far too long!) The highlight (lowlight?) of the red carpet special was Chris Harrison's excruciating interview with Nikki Ferrell, who recently split from last year's bachelor Juan Pablo. I was never a Nikki fan during the season, and Juan Pablo ended up not being my favorite, but Team Bachelor clearly reviles the man--maybe because he didn't play by their rules?

Anyway, Nikki. She went way up in my estimation during the interview. It was painful to watch because Chris was bound and determined to get her to say bad things about Juan Pablo, and she refused. Chris's feelings about Juan Pablo came through loud and clear, and it certainly didn't make me like him any more. But Nikki? Way to be classy, girl! Here's WetPaint's take on the interview.

3. My Crazy Kitty
Oh, Isis. When last week began, I was a little worried about her because she threw up a couple times in close succession. Well, maybe she had a little bug that day, or a hairball, or something, but now she seems completely recovered. The other night, she was tearing around the house, leaping on top of furniture, and "fighting" with anything that would move, all while Hammond and Skaara slept on the couch.

And then this happened:
I got a new Christmas tree that I bought online for 1/3 of the original cost. The box is in terrible shape (blame Walmart or UPS?). I heard a noise and went to investigate. Apparently, Isis has decided that fake Christmas trees are quite comfortable. Silly kitty!

She continued her craziness on Saturday night when she was responsible for this:

But then on Sunday, I saw this side of Isis instead:

I'm so thankful that a "little" thing like getting shot didn't keep her down!

4. Agent Carter
I wasn't sure if I'd watch Agent Carter, but then this review by Rissi helped me decide. I've now watched all three of the episodes that have aired (thanks, HuluPlus!), and I'm completely hooked. I absolutely love the characters, especially Peggy Carter, Jarvis, and Daniel. Oh, Daniel--he's played by Enver Gjokaj (I know, you're probably saying, "Who?"), an actor I've loved ever since Dollhouse. (I think he was the best actor on Dollhouse, even though he played a supporting character.)

So far, this series is completely delightful, and I look forward to continuing it.

5. Breyers Carb Smart Ice Cream
I'm still not ready to talk too much about Trim Healthy Mama, the new diet/eating plan I've been following, though I'll have an update very soon. In the meantime, though, I have to share this amazing ice cream. The last time I had ice cream was sometime before I started THM in December. I love ice cream, but it seemed like too big of a cheat to me because of all the sugar. (THM has you separate fats and carbs and avoid added sugar.) I've made several on-plan shakes that taste kinda sorta like ice cream ... but I was really missing ice cream. Then I read about Breyers Carb Smart, and I thought, how good could it possibly be??? But I saw that Walmart had it yesterday, so I threw it in my cart without even checking the price (yes, desperate times ...)

It. Is. Amazing.

Probably shouldn't eat it every day, but when the ice cream cravings hit, it will be perfect. (It's sweetened with Splenda, which is not a "THM-approved" sweetener, but I'm not really a stickler about that.)

January 7, 2015

top 10 books of 2014

Finally, just one week into the new year, I posted my Best Books of 2014 list over on Christian Chick's Thoughts! Check it out here.

Here's a little preview for you: My favorite book of 2014 was ...
This is the second time a Becky Wade book has topped my list, as her CBA debut My Stubborn Heart was my favorite book of 2012.

January 2, 2015

five friday favorites #11: week of jan. 2, 2015

Happy 2015! Where exactly did 2014 go? I'm not sure. It feels like we were just wrapping up speech season, and now here we are, just one week from our first meet. (Yeah, I kind of measure time by speech. For now, anyway.)

I took a blogging break over Christmas break, so I missed a week of favorites, which means this week's favorites will actually encompass the past two weeks. I'm linking up again at A Little Bit of Everything and Housewife Glamour.

1. Wise Men
After my grandma passed away, my mom got her nativity scene and passed my childhood one to me. Grandma bought both sets from an Italian company called Fontanini, and while she ended up with the complete set for herself, the one she bought for us consisted of the stable, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and an angel. Our shepherds, wise men, and animals didn't match the set. Ever since I've had this nativity scene, I've wanted to replace the knock off pieces with Fontanini pieces ... but boy are they expensive! So I was thrilled when my parents gave me the wise men for Christmas.
Old wise men & new wise men
Here's how my nativity looks now. I still need to replace the shepherd, and maybe eventually the animals.
Notice that the wise men aren't at the stable because they weren't at the stable. I watched The Nativity Story for the first time this year, and I couldn't get over the fact that the script had the wise men arriving at the stable the night of Jesus' birth ... it's not a difficult thing to verify! (See Matthew 2.)

2. Trader Joe's
I set foot in a Trader Joe's for the first time a couple weeks ago, and I just about lost my mind. I was like a kid in a candy store! I was able to pick up lots of gluten free necessities, like almond meal and coconut flour, for a fraction of what they'd cost elsewhere. I really went a little crazy, and I didn't even pull out my shopping list ... which meant I forgot to buy GF oats. I guess I'll just have to go back again! If only the nearest store wasn't 90 minutes away ...

3. Celebrating Advent
Growing up, we didn't really celebrate Advent. I have vague memories of families taking turns lighting the advent candle at church, but, as a non-liturgical church, we didn't focus much on Advent. That's not to say we didn't focus on Christmas, but Advent wasn't ever a focus.

This year (or I guess technically last year), I decided to change that. While I didn't celebrate Advent in the traditional way with the different weeks and the meaning attached to them, what I did was meaningful to me.

I chose several YouVersion Advent plans to go through, and I also read through Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, a daily Advent devotional that I got free for Kindle at the beginning of December. And, because I felt like ambiance was important, I lit a pillar candle while I read.

It's a tradition I hope to continue ... but I might choose a prettier candle next time.

4. Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt
I have another absolutely fantastic book to tell you about. It made lots of bloggers' best of 2014 lists, so I used some Amazon credits to buy the Kindle version. Basically, from start to finish, I was obsessed with this book.

Somebody Like You is the story of an Army widow and her late husband's identical twin brother--a twin brother she didn't know he had. It sounds like it could have been ripped from a soap opera, but it's actually an emotional, fascinating, thought provoking read.

This is the first book I read and reviewed in 2015, so I know it's early to be making this prediction, but I'd bet it'll end up on my best of 2015 list. It's that good. Check out my review, and then go get yourself a copy.

5. Family Time
Everyone's gone back to their respective homes and dorm rooms now, but we had a fabulous time with everyone in Central City for Christmas (well, for our family Christmas on the 27th). While my brother and his wife could only stay for the day, Blendy was home until New Year's Eve, and my other sister and her husband went home yesterday. We played games, watched Psych and Downton Abbey, worked on a maddening puzzle, saw The Hobbit, played piano duets, hung out, and ate lots and lots of food. And it was spectacular :-)

Strangely, I didn't really take any pictures over Christmas, but here's my favorite of the ones Blendy took.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and here's hoping for more regular blogging in 2015!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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