Notice of Changes

You will notice that some of my albums are "empty" on my Facebook page and that some pages and pictures are missing on here and on Natural and Free. Don't worry - they won't stay that way. :) In light of some recent events, I've had to watermark my photos and designed images. Until that is done and I get a chance to upload them, my FREE Fibro Banners and Badges and Inspirational Designs {By Me} pages will be down, and the albums under the same (or almost the same) names on my Facebook page will be empty, and pictures will be deleted and watermarked at various times for as long as it takes to get that done. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. Thank you for understanding! In the mean time, if there is an image you would like that you saw or have an idea for a new one, feel free to email me or leave me a comment, and I'll do what I can to get one to you. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introduction

Hello, fellow bloggers, readers, web surfers, and all you other curious types out there. :)

I have done a personal blog before, but I deleted it because I found that I didn't really have the time to keep it up.  I've decided that (even though I really don't have much more time, and probably even have less than before) I really should get back to personal blogging.  I found that it was therapeutic in a way, and it helped keep me focused on my goals.  I suppose that's as good a reason as any to do it. :)

At any rate, let's get to the introduction part, seeing as the title of this post is "Introduction" and all. :)

My name is Julie.  I've been married for 12 years and have 3 wonderful kids, ages nearly 10, 8 and just turned 2.  My family (both extended and immediate) are a huge part of my life.  I don't get to see a lot of my extended family often, but look forward to the days we do get together, even if they are few and far between.  My family is always on my mind and in my prayers, though, and play more of a dynamic role in my life than they can ever know because it's impossible to voice it all.

As some of you may know from reading the reasons I started my other blog (Natural and Free), I have had a varied journey in my life in regards to food and health.  I have been up and down the roller coaster of weight as well as up and down in regards to my health.  I find myself now in a valley, you might say, but working myself back on up the mountain with a slow and steady climb.  I'll try to explain, but it does require a little back story first.

Years ago, after I'd lost over 110 lbs. and was at my skinniest ever (155 lbs.) and feeling great, I told myself that I would NEVER get over 200 lbs. again.  I wasn't even going to get over 175 lbs.  I mean, I was DETERMINED!  It was NOT going to happen.  I knew what I needed to know to lose weight and keep it off (eat natural, non-processed food and only when I was hungry), and I wasn't going to let myself go on the junk food binge again...then I got pregnant.

Now, I am by no means blaming my weight gain on my 2 year old.  I am blaming it on my way of THINKING when I got pregnant for her.  I was SURE that I would lose weight (I was about 190 when I found out I was expecting) I'd put on just like I had when I was pregnant with my boys, but that's not what happened.  Instead, I gained weight - I was around 220 when I had my daughter.

I didn't worry about it, though.  Sure, I knew I'd picked up some bad eating habits, but I thought I had it under control.  I figured I'd be down under 175 within a short time, and at first I did ok - I dropped down to 195 - but then I got careless and a bit cocky, if I'm honest.

I decided I deserved the convenience of pre-made food, that I didn't REALLY have to make things from scratch, that I could splurge (a LOT) and everything would be fine.  But you know what? It WASN'T fine.  I was miserable, I was sick more often, and I was now not only over 200 lbs. again, I was at 240, almost 245 at times - just 20 lbs. away from my heaviest ever.  I wanted to sob.  How in the world did I end up here?  It just didn't seem right or fair.

Well, I had a lot of things in my personal life that I needed to get right - that was the first step.  Those things are still a work in progress, but they are a far cry from where they were.  I now have a support group within the workings of my family, and I am not going it alone.  My relationship with God is better, too, and trust me that's a HUGE bonus (Nothing curbs cravings better than a quick prayer to the Lord to help me. :) ).

Then I decided that I needed to be very honest with myself.  I was in denial about how much I was eating, so I joined Everyday Health's My Calorie Counter to keep myself accountable about my portion sizes and physical exercise throughout the day.  It's even helped me make sure that I drink enough water.  It's a very cool little tool if you are looking for something like that, and there's even different groups you can join and all that.  It's not for everyone, but it sure is helping me. :)  I've even lost 6 lbs.  Can I get a "Woot!"? :D

Now, there was a monkey wrench thrown in the mix just about a week or so ago (and this is the rest of the "valley" part).  My doctor has "diagnosed" me with Fibromyalgia (I put it that way since that's what he's going with since nothing else is showing up in my blood work and as long as nothing new surfaces.).  I wanted to argue with him, and I tried to tell myself he was nuts, but (the more I research it and the more I really think about it) I am starting to accept and agree with the diagnosis. 

I am counting myself fortunate and praising God that I do not have the severity of pain that some do, but there are the days when it can be quite debilitating.  I begged the doctor not to put me on anything like Prozac (very common for those with Fibro to be put on an antidepressant) and let me try to manage it with diet and exercise.  I am thrilled he said yes in that that is the best way to manage Fibro.  Ironically enough, the way to combat Fibro is with the diet I was on when I lost all the weight before, so now I have extra motivation to behave. :)

So, here's my goals and what I will be chronicling in my blog:

1. Following a natural foods diet that consists of more fruit and veggies, whole grains, and meats prepared in the best way possible (i.e. avoid the frying) while cutting out the garbage (refined and processed nastiness).  I'm not going to deny myself the sweet treats, but I will make them from scratch (more often than not - I'm sure there will be days when I blow this part) and limit the amounts.  I am going to also (as part of this) be noting which foods make things worse for me and those that make it better.

2. Make sure that I keep hydrated.  I find that if I have at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day, my stiffness and swelling is greatly improved!

3. Do my stretches and light exercise daily to keep myself from pain.  I know that may sound crazy, but it does work! :)

4. Lose the 79 lbs. I have left to reach my goal of 155 lbs.  I am focusing on 1 lb. a week right now, but welcome more as long as it stays off. :)  I know that losing the excess weight will also help with the Fibro pain in that less weight = less stress on the body.

5. Focus on being healthy and living the best life I can for the Lord and my family!

Well, I believe that's it in a nutshell.  Feel free to comment or ask questions at any time by either emailing me or commenting below.  Maybe telling you about my journey can help you on yours or be an encouragement to someone you know. :)

I better get back to my "real life" so that I can keep managing my Fibro and work at being Fit and Fab! :)

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