Friday, July 03, 2009

Before And After

Before (June 08)
After (July 09)

(These aren't the best before and after pictures, but they will have to do-- you can mainly see the difference in my face, which is what I was struck by when my friends and I snapped the bottom picture on Wednesday night. These lovely ladies are Kimberly and April-- some of my best friends from high school.)

In honor of Independence Day, I am going to finally blog about my freedom from the extra weight I had been carrying for years...

"Why haven't you written on your blog about losing weight?" my friend asked me.

"Because I'm not ready," I replied.

My friend has been chronicling her weight loss journey on her blog from the get-go, so my not talking about it here was odd to her. A great deal of who I am and what I do is here, but I can't share everything. Especially something that is very difficult. Especially something that at first you feel like is going to be the death of you... take for example, my efforts to finally shed the weight that had crept on with six pregnancies.

For years, every day I woke up thinking, today will be the day my metabolism is going to wake up and get back on track! And every night I went to bed thinking, ok maybe tomorrow?

Then one day I finally decided, enough was enough. It was time to do whatever it took to get rid of the weight. I had tried not eating. I had tried running. Nothing seemed to help. The most I lost was 5 pounds and I needed to lose a whole lot more than that.

A friend of mine had shed 42 pounds doing this diet that involved going to a naturopath and being put on a strict diet. (And when I say strict, think Nazi-strict.) But seeing the difference in her and knowing the similarity in our situations, I knew that if it worked so well for her, it might be worth the suffering I would have to go through. So, I talked it over with my husband and on February 3rd, I took the plunge.

I know you are going to ask what I ate, so I will tell you. I ate three meals a day and no snacks. The meals were weighed on a food scale, which I stuck to very closely. This was a huge wakeup call because my portions were definitely out of whack! I also drank a drink made up of a protein powder and water, 4 times a day. This did help to curb hunger between meals.

Typically, here's what I ate each day:

Breakfast: two pieces of turkey bacon or 2 poached eggs, cantaloupe or grapefruit

Lunch: a salad made with lettuce, cut up deli turkey, strawberries and a balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing I made with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. This salad is so good I could eat it every day!

Dinner: a piece of meat-- a hamburger (without the bun of course), a chicken breast, or a piece of fish-- and a side of either watermelon or broccoli or small salad.

Yes, I got tired of the lack of variety. Yes, I daydreamed about lots of other foods. Yes, I nearly fell off the wagon tons of times. But inevitably I would get a fresh vision for what I was doing and why and get back on track. This happened sometimes many times a day!! One woman I know who is now on the diet has named it the "Jesus Help Me" diet. And that is the truth!!

I did the diet until May 3rd (3 months total). At that point I had lost 32 pounds and 35 inches. Even though I have taken a break, I still do the diet in moderation, and probably will for life. I gave up caffeine on the diet (required) and sugar. I added back sugar in moderation but don't plan to ever add back caffeine. I found I don't need it like I thought I did! Once I detoxed from it (and that was truly what it was like-- detox), I didn't ever want to go back on it. I had a serious coffee and sweet tea habit, so that was HUGE for me to kick! Now I start my mornings with my Zen green tea sweetened with Stevia. And I am just fine without my giant mugs of coffee and creamer.

Another thing I will not change is working out daily. Part of the diet requires that you work out 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. And I still do. I am on the treadmill every day for 30-40 minutes and I also do 100 situps. It has become part of my routine and the day doesn't feel complete without it. I know... I used to dislike people who talked like that, too

I am so glad I did the diet. Yet, I am still not where I want to be. I would like to lose 5-10 more pounds. (My goal is what I was when I got married (5 lbs.) or what I was when we dated (10 lbs.). That's kind of lofty, I realize, but I am so close I figure... why not? At the same time I can honestly say that I am very happy with where I am at, too. Happy enough to eat two freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last night! Just keepin it real...
I am so glad I did what it took to shed the weight. I would have told you that it was impossible, that those extra pounds were just the sacrifice I made to bring 6 people into the world. I am glad I learned that it didn't have to be that way. I feel more like me again.

And that is a very good thing.
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Arlene said...

You look amazing! You even look younger - must be that healthy glow from all the exercise. I'm betting your husband is particularly happy to have his beautiful wife looking and feeling so good. Two big thumbs up for starting and staying on track!

God bless, and have a great 4th of July weekend.

Marybeth said...

Yes Arlene, my husband is very happy. He was so great before-- never mentioned any unhappiness or criticism. But he was also very supportive of me losing the weight. I know he likes having the "wife of his youth" back. And he also appreciates the way it has boosted my self confidence. It's been very good for both of us!

You have a happy 4th too!

Angie Vik said...

I'm a friend of Lori Poppinga's. She said she enjoyed meeting you at CCWC in May. I found your blog from hers. Congratulations on your weight gain. Kudos for your hard work, discipline, and healthy choices. God bless.

Mary DeMuth said...

Great job, Marybeth. I've tried everything to lose my extra American pounds (didn't have 'em in France). I think sugar is the key....

Praise and Coffee said...

Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. You look wonderful and are a huge encouragement to me! I hope you reach your goals. :)

Belinda said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I needed to hear it! Good luck with the rest of your journey.

rural momma said...

Wow!! You look marvelous!!! ;o) Did you use a book or just glean from what your friends told you? Please share, I'd love to know more.

Lysa TerKeurst said...

I am so proud of you! And thankful you inspired me to do this diet. I feel so much better, spiritually, mentally and physically.

I never realized how burdened I was--- and not just by pounds. I was also so weighed down mentally and spiritually by doubting I could ever truly find victory in this struggle.

Standing on a chair and clapping for you my friend!

Dawn Massey said...

you look fabulous my friend!!! i am very proud of you!

Julie Coleman said...

Very inspiring! I'll bet your cholesterol and blood pressure are happy you did it, too.

I am currently fighting the good fight myself. Weight Watchers and Curves is the road I am on. Hopefully I'll be able to post before and after pics someday-- I certainly have MANY of the "before"s!!

Deanna said...

I can't tell you how perfect your timing is for me with this post. I am famous for starting--losing 5 pounds and that's it. Last night I was venting (throwing a tantrum) on the phone with my sis. I said, "but food makes me feel better--until I stop eating" "maybe I just don't want to lose weight" I've prayed, and I know that my weight hinders my marriage and my testimony. I so much want to tell women about how Jesus can set them free, how he's set me free...but I'm not free in all areas. Food is the most obvious area that I haven't surrendered to Him.

You look awesome. Way to Go!!!

Melissa Milbourn said...

I'm glad you shared your story. You were beautiful before. You look like "hollywood" now. :-)

Really, congratulations on your weight loss. And for inspiring others...myself included.

love you.

Carol said...

You have a beautiful blog and a beautiful family.

As I was pondering your diet, I quickly noticed that what you were eating was essentially a gluten-free diet. My three girls and I have to do a gluten-free diet for other health reasons, and I noticed on it that my weight dropped off without any work. The Lord is speaking to me about the sugar (I have a strongly diabetic family history on my mom's side). I gave up caffiene long ago due to other health issues too.

Congratulations on your weight loss and lifestyle changes. Your body loves you for it!


Tracie Miles said...

I knew you looked fabulous when I saw you at the swim meet, but didnt get a chance to talk to you much because it was so chaotic. But you do look wonderful, congrats! See you soon. :)

Beth said...

You look amazing! Great job-we all know it isn't easy. You've inspired me to be more faithful at exercising and avoiding those sweets. =)

SheriYates said...

WOW - you look amazing! What self control you exercised! Your next book! Congrats!

Oh Dear said...

Yeah you! Thanks for sharing honestly. Just another kick of encouragement for me.

Sherri said...

You look terrific Marybeth! I know how hard the struggle with food is as I battle it myself. Congratulations on your victory! I know our MOPS girls would love to hear a speaking topic on this one! :)

jnscrotsley said...


Congratulations! I am very curious about the salad you said you love so much could you be a little more specific. Great recipes are always good but if they are healthy that is suchan added bonus:)


Kirsten Smith said...

I'm so proud of you! We just had a "weigh'n'pray" meeting tonight at our church and even though I've been losing steadily, I haven't been doing it with my whole heart. I needed that encouragement, so thank you, MaryBeth. What a great encouragement (after eating FOUR homemade chocolate peanutbutter chip cookies--that, mind you, weren't even all that good)! Hugs, thanks and many blessings to you and your family!

Cheri Bunch said...

Thank you! I needed this inspiration! I have been desiring a plan that I can do! Looking, asking, ready! I am going to follow your lead!


s said...

Good for you! Thank you for offering some inspiration to those of us who really need it.