silver and gold friendships shine

My college friend, Joanna, recently visited on her vacation. Her act of care and friendship – being she doesn’t get too much vacation time and she stopped in and spent a whole night with us – brought up the topic of real friendship and this make-it or break-it time of our lives we’re in.
Friends have always been incredibly important to me. Being the social butterfly that I am, a group of good friends is something I will always need. Moving around a lot, I’ve had to work hard at sustaining the friendships back home and work even harder at making new ones. However, in the last three years, so many “good” friends fell through the cracks making it clear who my real friends are.
I’ve had the chance to catch up with a few close high school or college friends lately and the questions always come up regarding how so-and-so is or if I’ve heard from this or that person.
It is clear that the mid-twenties brings about a real crucial time in which true friendships will shine and the others will fade. Your group of friends no longer has the same list of priorities revolving around school work, part-time jobs and dance practice. Half of them are married, having children, some are working hard in their careers and a group are still bar hoping and going to school. 
But difference in priorities isn’t the only reason why some old friends are disappearing because I have a few great friends that while they have a totally different lifestyle, they still show care, curiosity and an understanding and support of my lifestyle.
I would argue that for many, the mid-twenties also brings about a knowledge of who you are as a person. At age 23 I seemed to have my “aha” moment. I had done the things I thought I wanted to do and out of surprise, didn’t like them. My hopes, morals and standards became clear. 
Some I used to call friends stopped calling or caring maybe because of different priorities or maybe because they didn’t like the person I decided to become. Maybe I stopped calling them because of their choices.
While the large group of friends I had a few years ago has now dwindled into a small group of old and new, the relationships are so much deeper and appreciated. I just want to bottle them up and put them on the top shelf for safe keeping. 
Distance, families, jobs and all the other things that make our lives crazy can make friendships a challenge to keep going. With all the other things going on in our lives, making an effort to call, send a card or visit really shines through. The ones that seem too busy for you (even though you are just as busy), fall through the crack. A one handed effort is not a “friendship.” 
Some of the ones I thought I wouldn’t talk to after high school have now become incredibly special. They call, they care and they make an equal effort. It has been amazing to me who I am still close with and who I don’t talk to anymore. And the new ones I have made, feel just like the really good old ones.
One having close friendships has been scientifically linked to a happier life and a longer life. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” 

Treat your friends like the treasure that they are. Amidst the hectic schedules that we have or the distance in between, make time for those ones that have stayed by your side and the new ones that are blooming. 

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from baby weight to better body

There are a small percentage of women who return back to their Barbie-doll size clothing right after giving birth. Those same women never had to buy maternity jeans – they squeezed into those size zeros and cinched them up with a rubber band and a nine-month-pregnant belly. God blessed them.

I was not one of those women. I gained 38 pounds, and no matter how many times people told me that it was all in my belly, I knew they were lying. I was just short of a beached whale.

I was discouraged when mothers would tell me, “Your body will never be the same!” They were right, but to never be the same in a good way.

Whether you have a baby, teenagers or just a cat and still have “baby weight,” I’m here to tell you that you can get your old or even better, healthier body back without dieting. I’ve lost more than 45 pounds, putting me fifteen pounds lighter than before I got pregnant and nearly two sizes smaller than my wedding day, and I’m still going.

I started running again when Audrey was a few weeks old. Hoping the weight would just fall off, it didn’t. It isn’t cute anymore when you still have a baby bump, but the baby is in your arms. After I finished breastfeeding, I tried drastic diets like no-carbs, HCG and a number of other unhealthy and expensive diets that led to a fast drop in weight which came right back.

While I wanted a quick-fix, I realized from years of struggling with my weight that there is a reason why they call them “yo-yo diets.” I needed a lifestyle change, a real plan that allowed me to eat what I wanted, have a glass of wine and still lose weight. Was I dreaming?

I then picked up the book “Reshaping It All” by my favorite child star, Full House’s Candace Cameron Bure. She popped out three kiddos and is now smaller than her DJ days. Within the first few paragraphs into her book, it clicked. All this time I was desiring the wrong thing and using the wrong tools to get there.

Since then, the weight has been coming off and I will never have to Google search “celebrity diets” again. But mostly, these tools I’ve learned have changed my faith, attitude toward food, inner and outer strength and my ability to be the woman, mother and wife that I was meant to be.

Don’t go fast, go far

I never wanted to burden God with my weight issues. I thought it was incredibly selfish to ask God to be skinny when there are so many bigger problems in the world to pray about. But then it occurred to me that being skinny wasn’t going to make me happy, I wanted to be healthy and have confidence. God would be my trainer in my reshaping journey. You can let yourself down, but God will not.

That changed it all for me because no longer did I have fear that I would fail, gain weight or lose the confidence I was building. I have complete faith that I can accomplish whatever I set forth. However, no fancy pill or packaged diet space food was going to do it. I had to go old school: exercise, portion control, and an understanding of discipline and patience that I had never known before.

It seems easier said than done, and I’m not going to lie that my secret to a healthier post-baby body is hard. But, what it creates is a lifestyle change – not a temporary weight loss.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11, NIV)

Discipline: that was the tool I needed to succeed in exercising consistently, making wise food choices and eating smaller portions. As Bure says in her book, “We chose to sprint rather than train for the long run.”

I had been sprinting this whole time and it is the sprint that makes you tired fast. Sprinting is the diet that you go all out on for three weeks, but then give into that piece of pizza and before you know it, you tell yourself you’ll start again tomorrow and have a few more slices.

Training for the long run will keep you going and change your old ways. With training, your stomach will be full after half of what you normally would eat and you will actually listen when your mind tells you that you’re done.

Yes, it is painful in the beginning and requires control, but boy does it make it worth it since you can enjoy all the foods you love just with some moderation.

Training also means patience. You can’t just get up and go run a half marathon if you’ve never ran. It is a slow build relying on your perseverance to just push it a little farther each time to reach the ultimate goal. Put patience into your weight goals.

Setting goals are great and can really keep you motivated, but change them up. Instead of telling yourself you will lose ten pounds by the end of the month, try to run a mile farther, walk all the way up that hill or drink twice the amount of water.

Remember, this is a lifestyle change. You’ve got all the time you need to keep perfecting your choices and seeing what works for your body and schedule. Having patience allows for small slip-ups, which you know you’ll make, but the ability to get right back on track immediately, not in the morning.

This is the hardest part to a successful body change: a mind change. Having faith and giving your weight issue to God, learning discipline, and accepting the long run, time and patience will start not only reshaping your body, but your life.

Quick Tips 

…….

Switch your soda or juice to water.

Make yourself your normal size dinner and then immediately wrap half of it and put it in the fridge. If you’re still hungry, go back and get the other half. Not having the warm, available, large portions or leftovers will keep you from eating more than you should.

Do an activity everyday even if it is a short walk, crunches, bouncing baby on your knee or a summer swim.

Remove, “I’ll start again tomorrow,” from your vocabulary. You’re allowed to indulge in small treats now and then, but one gorge forgoes all your discipline training.

Practice saying “no” to an unhealthy choice; training in that will make it quickly come naturally.

I would be the whale in the middle. “Make room for me!” Engulfed by my skinny high school girls.
May 2011

momma time

Stay-at-home and work-outside-the-home moms unite: We all feel overwhelmed

For those who’ve ever looked at a seemingly together mom and wondered how she does it, it’s simple — she doesn’t take a break.

You think she has it better, or easier than you, but really, despite living different lives, stay-at-home moms and moms who work outside the home are pretty much in sync when it comes to their complaints about stress and co-parenting habits, according to a recent survey of 1,200 mothers by TheBump.com and Forbes Woman.

Whether the day involves negotiating with a temperamental toddler or a condescending co-worker, working and stay-at-home moms agree — they barely get a breather.

From rushing to the train, slammed by deadlines to racing through the house, slathered in spit-up, moms can’t check out at 5 p.m. Stay-at-home and work-outside-the-home moms alike are still on the clock when hubby removes his tie and drops his briefcase at the door. According to the survey, 92% of working moms and 89% of stay-at-home moms feel overwhelmed by work, home and parenting duties. A full 84% of stay-at-home moms don’t get a break when their partner returns from work, and 50% say they never get a break from parenting. (But 96% say their partner manages to snag time-outs.)

Both groups (70% of working moms and 68% of stay-at-home moms) feel resentment due to the unbalanced responsibilities and a third of all moms say they feel their partner could step it up on the domestic front.

What to do? Achieving perfect balance juggling it all isn’t likely. But a girl can try.

Talk to your partner about your need for a rest and then start scheduling breaks. Book that mani/pedi and go for that girls’ night you’ve been pushing off. Let your honey tuck the kids in bed. It’s also important to tell other women about what you’re going through.

Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should. –By Julie Weingarden Dubin for NBC

{ABC’s momma breaks: I agree with feeling overwhelmed and the only times I really nag my husband to spend time with Audrey is when I’m needing a break. So, there are a few things I do:

1. A lot of play dates and baby classes. This way, at least once a week I am getting out, playing with Audrey letting Audrey play with others and I’m getting to have mom talk. Look for mommy classes or a mom Bible study so baby can go in the nursery and play with others and you get time to talk to other women.

2. Date nights and girls night outs are very important. My husband saw my need for “me” time and we scheduled every other Tuesday that is MY day. He will come home and do all the house chores such as dinner, dishes and take care of Audrey while I can read, go out or just sit on the couch. It is important for me to be a wife and a woman again and not just a momma. I’ll take those baby food sticky clothes off and get dressed up on date nights! 

3.  Running. Audrey is tucked away in her stroller and I plug my iPod in and go. It allows such a break for me while baby is just right there.

4. Find babysitters. It is important you find babysitters that you are comfortable with. It is good for you and for baby to get used to other people. Invite people over and spend time with them- and baby- so you can get comfortable. I’m lucky to have a slew of friends that take Audrey (the kind of friends that when she screams for the whole two hours you’re gone, they still like you.) 

 

reshaping it all: don’t fall!

Summer is here which means the BBQ, chips and beer are here too. For a few weeks now my schedule has been crazy with Audrey’s birthday, camping trips and other vacations. Easy fast meals have been what’s on my plate and it has been a struggle to make time to workout between laundry, unpacking and packing up again.

I haven’t completely fallen off the bandwagon, but my high spirits of feeling in control definitely slipped. At my house, I have no problem with eating healthy, well proportioned meals and doing hard workouts. However, when on vacation, the portions are bigger, the bacon just smells so good, the beer is so cold, and I really have to force myself to get out and run. Bacon and beer isn’t a bad thing, but maybe I shouldn’t be following the motto, “Work hard = play hard.” Playing hard just makes me feel sluggish and doesn’t treat me well when I get home and go run.

So, what to do considering we have three more months of vacations? I’ve done some research and here are some tips I’m going to follow:

1. Stay Hydrated. Drinking my daily amount of water plus some will keep me hydrated and full. I get really distracted, so I need to fill it up in the morning and really focus on drinking all my water. Once the beer or wine comes in, I will continue to drink water in between and before bed.

2. Keep Exercising. Taking a break from my rigorous weekly workout routine is much needed, but it is fun and beneficial to stay active on vacation by walking, doing a little jog, a bike ride, hiking, swimming, etc… It boosts my energy, keeps my metabolism up and makes me feel better about having a S’more.

3. Spritz it up. I’m going to start trying wine spritzers. Sparkling water or club soda has zero calories, sugar and carbohydrates. It will cut the wine calories in half, give me some water and add a refreshing summer taste.

4. Get away from the snacks! Camping, BBQ’s and vacations in general always tend to have a constant supply of good food just barking at you. I mostly need to practice discipline here and if it gets too hard, leave the snack table and go for a walk.

5. Plan for the day. What’s going to be for dinner or breakfast is sometimes not in your control. When others get out their homemade pies or S’more makings is also not in your control. However, I can be controlled by asking what is going to be for dinner and then making a plan for the day. If it is going to be a high-carbohydrate dinner such as pasta, I’ll cut back on my carbs for the day and portions. If I really want a S’more later, I’ll watch my sugar intake, planning on that S’more later.

6. Eating fast. Relating to #5, so many times on the way out for vacation it is said, “We’ll just stop and grab something to eat on the road.” This is hard to plan for if you are not driving. Lately, I have packed food such as sandwiches and healthy snacks. However, if you aren’t in control of the situation and your tummy is growling, offer up some healthier and still fast choices like Subway or even a grocery stores deli where there are many options. Try and make the best choice, and there is no harm in letting your co-pilots know how bad fast food is for you. They won’t be craving it as much if you let them know some ugly calorie facts about that Whopper. 

7. Stay away from thinking, “I’m on vacation!” I have to remember this is a lifestyle change I am making and not something that goes away when I’m on vacation. Next vacation, I’m bringing along my motivator books: Reshaping it All and the Bible. I need to stay close to God when temptation is fighting its way in and keep a constant partner on this reshaping journey.