Friday, December 14, 2012

Building a New Life



Good morning friends,

It's been awhile... Sorry about that! It has been a whirlwind, crazy few months for me, filled with amazing, wonderful new things.

What's going on in my life? Well, let's see. I met an amazing man. I man that quickly stole my heart, and took it with him all the way to Boise, Idaho. We met online, emailed back and forth for awhile, then talked on the phone, and eventually met in person. When I last posted on here, it was 2 days before we met, face to face. His name is Isaac, and over the past few months we have spent every weekend together (resulting in many 7+ hour drives between Spokane and Boise), we have met each others families and friends, and just enjoyed as much time as possible together. Ultimately, it didn't take long for both of us to figure out that we want a life together. So, I started looking for jobs, found one fairly quickly, put in my notice at my job and apartment, and two weeks ago, Isaac drove his truck and trailer to Spokane, and took me back to Boise with him, once and for all. :-)

Isaac and I in Grangeville, the weekend we met. 

See, what I tell ya? Crazy! It has been such an adventure, and I have loved every second of it! Here are some pictures we have taken over the past few months, on all of our adventures. Enjoy! I'll try to hop on here a little more often!

Isaac and his Honda Shadow
On the side of the Freeway in Oregon
At Multnomah Falls near Portland

On a river boat in Oregon


Hanging out with my little bro :-)

Visiting with My Momma and Mark
Love riding with him on his motorcycle!!
Us in Spokane

Up on Bogus Basin
First Christmas Tree :-)

Our Christmas Picture: Isaac, Amber & Samson :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ready

Today I am...

Excited
Happy
Nervous
Joyful
Surprised
Overwhelmed (in a good way)
Smiling
Distracted
Thankful
Blessed
Ready


Today, I was reminded of a quote my friend posted awhile back, and it touched me right where I am.


Today, I am ready to give someone that kind of power over my heart. After all the hurt, all the pain, all the heartbreak that I have faced in my past, I am at a place in my life where I am ready to let go of any fear I have, and trust fully and completely that God is going to lead me to the right man to spend my life with. I know, that if I allow God to lead me in this area, that he will protect my heart. I won't need to fear being torn down again, because God will bring me to the right man... a man that will protect and cherish my heart as his own. And maybe, He has already brought that person into my life...

More to come, my friends. Much, much more.


Amber

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy

This is the happiest I have been in a long time. I honestly can't remember the last time I felt this happy, peaceful, and relaxed. I'm loving life right now... I hope you are as well. :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Those Moments...

Have you ever had one of those moments? One of those unique moments where you can just feel your life changing? One of those moments when you just stop and take in everything around you, and realize how far you have come and how far you could go? I have had a few moments like that lately.

The first one was when I flew to Spokane for my job interview. I had spent the weekend in Portland with a few friends, and then flew from Portland to Spokane. I had an early morning flight, and I spent some time just sitting and drinking my Starbucks. I boarded the plane, and as I was sitting there waiting for the plane to take off, I realized something... I realized that this flight, this one flight to Spokane, could completely change my life. I realized that by me taking the risk of shelling out the money to fly to Spokane for a job interview, I could be completely changing the course of my life.



At that moment, the plane left the ground, and a single tear rolled down my cheek. It was a defining moment for me. A moment when felt stronger than I have ever felt before.

Fast forward 2 weeks to my moving day. It had been a stressful, painful, and exhausting few weeks as I packed up my life, said "see ya later" to my friends and family, and also, sadly, said "goodbye" to my Grandma as she left this earth. I was pretty emotionally spent by the time I hopped into my UHaul and waved goodbye to my friends. Add in the fact that I had never driven a UHaul towing a vehicle before, and the fact that it was pouring sheets of rain, and you might understand why I suddenly had a breakdown and started sobbing as I drove down the street I grew up on.  I called my friend Jen, and she just said "It's okay, you can do this." I knew she was right. Sure, I was scared. Sure, I was alone. But I also was going to be okay. I just needed someone to remind me. another one of those moments.

A few days and many moving boxes later, I said goodbye to my Momma at the Spokane Airport. She had stayed with me for the first few days, helping me get settled. And then, far too soon, it was time for her to go home, back to her own life. I drove her to the airport, and of course we had a teary goodbye. I cried a few tears on the drive back to work, realizing that I was going home to an empty apartment that evening. But that evening, I wasn't as sad as I thought i would be. I felt calm. I felt peaceful. I felt happy. I sat therein my apartment, just me and my new little kitten, and I realized that I was really doing it. I was really starting over and creating a new life for myself. That moment felt pretty amazing.


But the best of these moments came last night. July 4th, 2012. The whole day was pretty excellent... time spent in the park with girlfriends, shopping, walking downtown and by the river, and playing with an adorable pup. Eventually, I found myself down by the River, enjoying some live music and waiting for the fireworks. 10pm came, and suddenly the sky lit up and the unmistakable booming sound of fireworks began. As I sat there, gazing at the amazing view above me, I cried. I cried for what I lost, and for what I have gained. I cried for what was left behind, and for what is yet to come. I cried for the times I felt weak, that have made me stronger than ever. I cried for the girl I once was, and the woman I have become. I cried happy tears for what my future holds. I cried because on this day, a day celebrating freedom, I felt more free than I ever have before. 


I hope you all had an amazing holiday, I know I did. Happy 4th of July, from Spokane. :-)

video

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My New Home

Well my friends, this evening I am writing to you from one of my new favorite places in downtown Spokane... The Onion. It is a fabulous restaurant and bar, with amazing food all freshly made with luckily grown products. Tonight, I am enjoying a delicious hummus platter, along with a Widmer Hef & Orange Juice. YUM! Lucky for me, this place is just across the street from my new apartment, so I am sure I will be here often. Especially since it is currently the closest place I can get Wifi, as my apartment will not be set up for awhile. :-)

I have now been in Spokane for 6 days, and so far, I am really enjoying it. I love my new job, and finding that I fit into the position very well. I am extremely grateful to my past supervisors who have over the years prepared me for this position. A month ago, I would have never guessed that I would currently be in Spokane, starting a new career that wasn't even in my sites. It's amazing how God works sometimes. I am in a new place, far away from all I know and love, and yet I am incredibly happy and excited to start this chapter of my life.

My new apartment is pretty great as well. It is small, as expected with a downtown city apartment, but there is plenty of room for me and my kitten.Oh yes, I got a kitten. She is quite adorable, and enjoying terrorizing the apartment every chance she gets! Back to my apartment... It is a 1 bedroom with an office. the living room and dining room are basically one room, and there isn't a whole lot of storage. But, it has a tiny little balcony off of the bedroom, is about 2 blocks from my office, and the walls are NOT WHITE! Anyone who has lived in an apartment for any extended period of time can appreciate not having stark white walls! It's nice to have a little color around me. Now, I just have to finish unpacking, and get rid of a few things, and then my little home will be perfect.

I really like the city too. There is stuff to do everywhere.... restaurants, bars, coffee shops, stores, malls, museums, and parks everywhere. There is no lack of things to do. The parks are truly amazing. One of my favorite things so far is to hit my favorite coffee shop (Thomas Hammer, by the way) and then cruise Riverfront Park for awhile.... take in the river and waterfalls... it's so peaceful. Oh! And there are so many events around here! This weekend is Hoopfest, which is a hug Basketball event. And then after that, they have Pig Out in the Park, which obviously is a big food event. There are many others during the year, and during these events, they shut down the downtown streets, and I will be right in the middle of it all! They also have a Cruise Night every Friday that goes right in front of my apartment! So yeah, you could say I like it here. Good thing, because I plan on being here for a bit!

I've made some friends too! No surprise there for anyone who knows me.... give me 5 minutes and I'll find 5 new friends! I am not shy, and I am not afraid to start a conversation with a perfect stranger! Hahaha!! It's nice to already have some girls that I can call and chat with. I have already been invited on a campout with a group of girls.... can't wait for that!

What do I miss? Well, I miss my family, and my friends. I miss my CCC crew and co-workers. I miss my coffee guy, and my pharmacist. (Yes, my pharmacist... he's awesome! Got to Luke's Yreka Drug Store if you don't believe me!) I miss my favorite pub and all the staff their that I love. I miss my doctor too... she is pretty awesome. I miss my girlfriends so very much. I miss the little things about living in a small town. But you know what? It's all worth it. Moving here, starting over, leaving everything behind... it's all worth it for the opportunity I have been given.

A week ago, I was starting to get pretty scared about this move. What if I fail? What if I hate it? What if it's a huge mistake? But I am not scared anymore. I'm actually feeling pretty peaceful. I feel like I am home. It's nice to feel like that.

That's what's going on in my world. I plan on posting soon with some pictures too, so stay tuned for that.

~Amber

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Big Changes

Friends, I move to Spokane, Washington in 2 days.

Thursday, June 21st will be my last day at my current job and my last day in Yreka. After that, I will move on to a new chapter in my life. New career, new apartment, new state... new friends too, but of course I will be constantly in touch with all my friends elsewhere as well. I am so very excited for this change in my life, and I can't wait to get started. This came at the perfect time for me, at a time when I am ready for a change and ready to take the next step forward.
I'll be offline for awhile as I get settled in my new home and at my new job. After that, I am looking forward to blogging about my new adventures in Washington!

~Amber







June 19, 2012

I thought today would be a bittersweet day.

I thought I would be sad... sad for what once was and will never be again... sad for what I thought we had and thought we would always have... sad that a chapter of my story has come to an end. But I’m not sad anymore.

I’m in a better place today than I have ever been. I’m starting a new chapter of my life, moving on to bigger and better things for myself. I’m happy. Actually, I’m more than happy, I’m elated. I’m excited about what this next chapter in my life has in store.

Today isn't bittersweet like I thought it would be. Today is a sweet day. It is, and will always be a reminder of what once was, but now, it will also always be a reminder of what it took for me to find myself again... what I went through to get to a place where I am at peace… At peace with myself and at peace with life.

This is my "beauty from ashes" story... and it will be filled with beauty. Today, I celebrate new beginnings. Today, I embark on a new and exciting adventure. Today, I turn the pain of my past into the dreams of my future. Today I will turn something painful and ugly into something glorious and beautiful. Today is a sweet day.


A year ago, I thought it was the end, but it is only the beginning. I thought my heart would never heal, but I am now happy and healthy. I thought I lost it all, but I actually gained everything. I felt weak, but I found I am stronger than ever. I didn't know where my life was headed, and now I am embarking on a new adventure that I never could have imagined.

June 19, 2012... This is a sweet day. This is my day. I am reclaiming it for myself and creating new, happy memories that will last a lifetime. I am no longer interested in what once was... I am focused on what is, and what will be!
~Amber

Friday, June 1, 2012

Making Progress and Starting Over...

Wow, it has been quite the crazy last few weeks! I have some big possible changes coming up in my life, which I will share today. But first, and update on my weight loss and work out progress!

As of yesterday, I have officially lost 50 pounds!!! I am so excited about that! I still have another 60 pounds to lose, but I am so stoked that I have made it this far and I am almost halfway to my goal! Woohoo!!

As for working out, I have been struggling with that a bit lately. My weeks have been busy, and I have just not had the time to workout like I was. Also, I have kind of hit a wall with the 5k training. I was on week 4, which is where the jogging distances start to get a bit longer. I am just not to the point yet where I can jog for 5 minutes straight, so I have found myself getting frustrated that I am not finishing my runs. UGH! Also, a number of things have come up lately that are going to keep me from running the 5k on June 16th. I just don't have the time. BUT, I am not giving up on this goal! I decided that I am going to start over on the C25K plan, from week 1. I am hoping that doing that will help me continue to build up in my running ability and endurance so that I can keep with the plan. I WILL still run a 5k, I just don't know when yet. At the very latest, I am still planning on running in the Color Me Rad 5k on September 1st!

Okay, so now that I am all caught up on that, let me explain why life has been so crazy lately. I am in a transition period of my life right now. Going through a divorce was certainly not what I expected at this time in my life, but it is what it is, and I am working to grow through this whole experience and become a better me. Right now, I am focusing on career goals and on moving. I love this small town that I live in... It is my home, and always will be. But, living in a town of 6000 people when you are dealing with some heavy stuff can be draining. It is also kind of hard to start a new life when you live in such a small place. It is time for me to move on to a new future. I started looking for jobs in other areas a few months ago. I had a few prospects, but nothing solid. Then, 2 weeks ago, a job opportunity came up out of the blue. I am flying to Spokane, Washington this Monday for an interview that could be life changing. If I get this job, I will be moving far away from everyone I know, and starting over in a new place, with a new career! I am so excited/nervous/scared/happy about this possibility!! We will see what happens, but if I get the job, I could be moving within the month.

In the mean time, I also have a wedding cake to make, a few graduation parties, a mission trip to Utah, among some other things.... oh yeah, an work, and working out and all that jazz. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to be busy, so this is really like heaven to me! :-)

Hope you are having a good week, whatever you are up to. I'll be around soon with more updates from my world.

~Amber

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Off Track

My friends, I have fallen off track a bit. I haven't done my C25K workout in almost a week, and I missed kickboxing this week! My eating hasn't been terrible, but it hasn't been great either. I haven't been drinking enough water for sure!

I'm not saying this to beat myself up, but just to hold myself accountable, and to hopefully spur myself on to get back on track. It's easy to get distracted when life gets crazy, but I still have goals that I need to keep working towards. It is time for me to hop back on track and get to work!

Tomorrow, I am going to get up early, and do my C25K workout first thing. Then, after work, I will have kickboxing. I plan on finishing week 4 of the C25K training this week, so I need to really stick to it to make that happen! 

If you are having an off week (or month/year/etc), please don't be discouraged! Hop back on track with me, and get to work! I have more energy just thinking about it!

Have a great rest of the week, friends. I will be enjoying a 4 day weekend, and numerous workouts. :-)

~Amber

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This Weekend

This weekend, I only worked out once instead of my planned two workouts. Instead, I spent amazing quality time with my friends and family. It was totally worth it.

This weekend, I didn't stick to my diet at all, and I indulged in some delicious food. It was totally worth it.

This weekend, my friends and family commented many, many times on how much weight I have lost, and how great I am looking. I may have not followed my plan for this weekend, but the support and encouragement of my loved ones will help me get right back on track once I return home tomorrow!

It's great to take a weekend off every now and then, and just relax. It's important to take that time, and not beat myself up over it. But it is also important to have the motivation to get back on track!!

More updates soon... Tomorrow I start week 3 of C25K!

~Amber

Friday, May 11, 2012

Staying Focused

Good morning, and happy Friday, friends! It is a beautiful day here, and I am looking forward to going outside and working out a little later today. I hope you will do the same. :-)

This week, I have been thinking a lot about what it takes to stay focused and motivated on a goal. So often, we set goals for ourselves, but we don't follow through with them because we don't have anything set in place to help us stay on track. I think that is why I am staying successful on this goal... I have set numerous things around me to keep me focused. I would like to share some of those things with you, and hopefully they will help you reach your goals also, weight loss, fitness, or anything else!

Tell people about your goal
Goals are great. But they don't do us a whole lot of good if we keep them to ourselves and then never complete them. For me, a great source of motivation has been sharing my goal with others and hearing there feedback. Don't be shy! I talk to my friends, family, co-workers, and all over Facebook. I want people to know what I am working towards!

Give people permission to hold you accountable
How many of you have failed to complete a goal before, and no one said anything to you about it? You know why? Most people aren't going to just call you out and say "Hey, what are you doing eating that junk, I thought you were on a plan?" Unless, of course, you give them permission to! That's what I have done this time around. I work with a group of 18-25 year old young men and women. Part of the program they are in is focused on achieving goals, so I am regularly following up with them on their goals. Recently, I turned the tables and I shared my goals with them: weight loss, working out, and working towards the 5k in June. Not only did I share it with them, I gave them full permission to ask me how it's going and to hold me accountable. They have been so encouraging to me!! Someone asks me almost every day how my workouts are going. They tell me regularly that they can see my progress, and some even leave me notes of encouragement on my door. It is AMAZING how motivating it is to have people standing behind you, cheering you on! So, tell someone. Tell a bunch of someones. And give them permission to be a little nosy an hold you to your goals!

Make charts & trackers
This part is fun for me. I love tracking my progress. It gives me something to constantly look at that is real and reflects how far I have come, and how far I have to go. I have multiple ways that I do this. I have 2 trackers on my phone. One is the C25K app that tracks my workouts, mileage, and times. The other is the "Lose It" app which tracks my meals, workouts, and weight loss. I also have a total weight loss chart in my office, that is basically just a picture of a thermometer that I update after each doctor's appointment. I also have a calendar of all my scheduled workouts on the door to my office. Each day that I complete my workout, I put a smiley face over that day. That way, those at my work that are holding my accountable can see how I am doing. So far, that has helped me to not miss a single workout!!

Check your progress regularly and often
It's easy to get distracted with life and not track your goals regularly, but this is really important! You can't know how far you have to go if you don't know where you are! For me, this means I weigh in often... really, almost every day. I know many people say you should only weigh in once a week, but for me, daily works better. It keeps me accountable ever. single. day. I know that if I eat that huge, delicious, gooey, brownie, that it WILL show up on the scale tomorrow. So I think about that, and I decide if it is worth it. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't! The scale is not my enemy, it is just an accurate reflection of what I am doing in my life, and how I am treating my body. I actually get pretty excited when I get on the scale, because I am seeing daily progress, and that is exciting! For your goals, figure out what timeline works best. Daily, weekly, monthly... whatever is best for you and for your goal. But then put it on the calendar, and follow through. Know where you are so that you can get to where you want to be.

Give yourself time
It takes time, and you don't make huge amounts of progress overnight. This goes for ANY goal. For me, I have to remember that I didn't put on all this weight overnight, and I am not going to take it off overnight either. Set reasonable, attainable goals for yourself, and give yourself the necessary time to reach them.

Brag about yourself a bit
Don't be afraid to tell people how you are doing! I love being able to tell my friends and family that I am doing great and sticking to my goals! I love being able to brag a little about how much weight I have lost! (44 pounds today, by the way!) It is an encouragement to me, and I have found that it is often and encouragement to others as well. When you see someone making progress on their goals, doesn't it make you want to work harder on your own?

Reward yourself for progress made
Set mini goals as you work towards your big goal, and reward yourself as you go! With my weight loss goal, my rewards are pretty simple... clothes that fit!! I am not really buying new clothes right now, since I know they won't fit soon either. But, I did splurge on some cute personal items last month... For me, it was so happy to be able to go into Victoria's Secret and find cute things that actually fit me!!! :-) I think my next reward may be a mani/pedi day. I need a little pampering!

Don't be too hard on yourself
We all have bad days... or bad weeks... or months. It happens! Lately, I have been out of town almost every weekend! It is much harder to follow my diet and exercise plan when I am away from home. But, I do the best I can (which sometimes isn't much!) and then when I get home I kick it back into gear. This weekend, I am headed down to Sacramento. Over the next few days, there will be a graduation, much celebration with friends, many meals out, and a BBQ with my Dad and family. Not much time to workout... But I am going to try my best. Lots of food temptations, but I am going to try my best. I know that there is a good chance that the numbers on my scale will be a little higher when I return, but as long as I do my best, and get back on track when I return, I am okay with that. I still have a life to live!! So, don't beat yourself up if you fall off track! Just dust yourself off, and continue on your way. As Dory from Finding Nemo would say: "Just keep swimming!"

That's what is keeping me focused friends. I hope my tips help you out a bit too. Now, it is time for me to get busy... I have a house to clean, a workout to complete, bags to pack, and a friend to visit. Busy day for me!

~Amber

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When It Hurts... Keep Pushing Through

It was only a matter of time until this happened. I went from not working out at all, to doing two kickboxing workouts a week, to alternating kickboxing and running for a total of 5-6 days a week. Of course it was going to catch up to me. Of course my body was going to start rebelling.

Last night, my workout was T O U G H. It hurt. I wanted to cry. I thought I was going to lose my lunch. I cramped up. There were parts of the workout that my body just could not physically do. When my body said "no more", I slammed my fist against the mat in frustration. BUT. I finished. I got through it. I pushed through the pain, and I made it happen. Today, I am stronger because of it. Tomorrow, I will be even stronger as I keep pushing through the pain.



















These are the moments that make or break people. These are the moments when many would stop and say "it's too hard, I can't do it." I'm not going to do that. I am going to keep pushing through. I will grow stronger with every day. I will continue to push through the pain, and jump over any hurdle that I face. I will not give up.
Why? Because I know that if I give up, the only person I am hurting is myself.

I am worth so much more than that. You are too. Push through it.


~Amber

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Motivation

This weekend, I was up in Oregon spending some time with my family. My younger brother is leaving for Army Boot Camp today, and we had a farewell party for him. It was a great time to just enjoy my family and spend some quality time together!

At one point, my brother's girlfriend asked me about my recent weight loss. She asked me ho much I had lost, and how I was doing it. Then, she asked me why I decided to make these changes now... what motivated me to start eating better and working out. Our conversation was interupted, and I never realyl got to answer her. So yesterday, while I was completeing Week 2, Day 1 of my C25K training, I started thinking about that question. Why am I doing this? What changed inside of me to make me finally really want to take care of me? What is motivating me? After my workout, I shared my thoughts with her on Facebook. I'd like to share them here as well.


I have decided that I am worth so much more than I have given myself up until this point. I have realized that I am stronger (physically and emotionally) than I ever thought I was. I am tired of being complacent and lazy and have decided to do something about it. Basically, for the first time in over a decade, I have remembered that I am the only one that can or will take care of me. I am tired of sitting back and watching life pass me by, and so I have decided to get off my @ss and do something about it. I want better for my life than what I have been living up until this point, and the only way I am going to get better is by putting in the work necessary to get there. I want to be a better version of the person I am now. I'm not interested in being stick thin, or a size 0... but I am interested in being strong, fit, and healthy. I love life, and I plan on living a long and amazing one. This is just my first step towards that. :-) 
So that is what is motivating me. That is my driving force to keep pushing forward on this journey. That is what I say to myself when my lungs are burning and my body is aching: Push through Amber... you are the only one who can do this for yourself... you are worth more than what you have been giving yourself... work towards a better you... just push through... you can do it.

Recently, I have had a number of my friends tell me that I have been a motivation to them. That my blog and posts on Facebook have encouraged them in their journey as well. That makes me beyond happy, and I sure hope that continues! We all need motivation, and some of the best motivation ocmes from those who have been there, and truly understand. I hope that whoever is reading this today finds motivation and encouragment in my words. I hope that you will realize that you also deserve a better version of you, and you are the only one who can make that happen. Now... Make it happen!!!

~Amber

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Workout Schedule

In order to hold myself accountable to my goals, I have been sharing them with friends, family, and co-workers so that they can ask me whenever they want how I am doing! It is much nicer to answer that question when I have been sticking to my plan! So, on that note, below is what my current workout schedule looks like. Basically, I am combing my kickboxing classes with the C25K schedule. C25K is supposed to be just 3 days a week, but I am adding in a 4th day every other week, because I I have 7 weeks to complete the 9 week plan before my race.

Monday: 30 min C25K, 1 hour kickboxing
Tuesday: 30 min C25K
Wednesday: 1 hour kickboxing
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 min C25K
Saturday: 30 min C25K (every other week)
Sunday: Rest

I may change the days of the week, just depending on how I feel, but that is the basic idea. 4-5 workouts per week, 2-3 rest days to allow my body to recover. So far this week, I have totally kept on track! Yay me!

And now, for the first of what I am sure will be many before & after pics... Only a face shot right now... I'm not quite ready to show the full body shots *cringe*. These pics were taken about 6 months apart... the one on the right in fall of last year, and the one on the left, last month. I know it is a different angle, but I know I can certainly see the difference in the chubbiness of my face!


More updates soon!
~Amber

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Fresh Start & A New Me

Well, hi there! It's been awhile friends. Sorry... I've been a little distracted. But, I am feeling better than I have in years and today I decided that I want to share that with you! I am on a new path in my life right now, and I want my blog to reflect that. I am making positive, healthy changes in my life, and my hope is that by posting here, I will both be holding myself accountable, and also maybe motivating you as well! I am going to share all the details (even those I am not proud of) and I hope they will help me stick to my plan! So, here goes!

Back in December, I had a physical for my Commercial Driver's License. At that time, I weighed in at the heaviest I have been in my life... 288 pounds. Ummmm.... UGH! I was just 12 pounds shy of 300 POUNDS! Now, most of my friends would say I didn't look it, but that was my reality. I tend to carry my weight well, so I don't usually look as heavy as I am. That physical was a wake up call for me. I knew I needed to lose weight, but I was also dealing with depression, and to be honest, I just didn't care that much. But when I saw that number on the scale... I knew I had to do something. And so, I started Slim-Fast. Now, I never thought that I would be able to stick to Slim-Fast, as I am not great at restricting myself. However, I found that with my new "single" lifestyle of living on my own, my eating habits had changed. I really don't enjoy cooking for myself, so Slim-Fast seemed to be a great option. In December, I lost a couple pounds, but I gained them back over Christmas vacation.

January is when I really started to make things work. I stuck to my Slim-Fast diet: 1 shake for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch, and another shake for dinner, with 2 small snacks. I tend to forget the snacks, so I add a little extra into my shakes... frozen fruit, yogurt, etc. I also really started drinking a ton more water. all of the sudden, the weight just started coming off.... and I wasn't even working out yet! By my doctor's appointment in February, I was down to 269. WOOHOO!

Between February and today, I have kept up the diet (with a few cheat days of course) and I have incorporated workouts too. I have been taking a kickboxing fitness class twice a week, which is an amazing workout, and as of today, I am also starting the C25K workout plan, with the goal of running a 5k in 7 weeks! As of this morning, my weight is down to 248! Ummm..... WOW! I am under 250 for the first time in about 5 years!! I have also gone down 3 pants sizes! How is THAT for Motivation??? :-D  I finished my first C25K workout today, and it felt amazing... can't wait to continue!

My goal weight is 175, so I still have a little over 70 pounds to go. But, I am more confident than ever that I CAN and WILL do it. Throughout the next year or so, I am going to try and update here weekly with my progress, and some pics as well. I hope you will follow along with me as continue on this journey!

~Amber

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cleaning House

I am up and moving today... cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!

I decided it is time for a fresh start. Time to put away the old, and start building the new. I am going to start with literally cleaning... getting my apartment in order and all. A little organization would do me good. :-)  Then, I will move on to the emotional cleaning. I need to put some pictures away so that I am not looking at things that make me sad. It's time to put up so new pics, of friends and family and all the amazing people I have in my life. And then, it is time to start physical cleaning. I need to start taking care of my body and feeling better about me. Eating better, working out more, developing good habits and purging the bad ones. And finally, it's time for some spiritual cleaning also. I need to start spending time with God consistently. I need to be in His word and talking to him throughout my day.

All in all, I think it is time for me to start taking better care of me. I have these goals for my life... this woman I want to be. I have goals for my education, for my career, for my family, for my life. I need to start really speaking these goals out loud and living them out. I know I don't have to start all at once, (I am easily overwhelmed!) but I can start small and build up. I am thinking a goal a month for each area sounds reasonable. So here goes...

I know January is almost over, so thiese will be my goals for January & February:

Household: Put away clothes after they are washed, every time!
Physical: Stick to Weight Watchers/Slim Fast healthy eating plan
Emotional: Write in a journal each day, even if it is just a couple of sentences.
Spiritual: Spend time with God, every morning, before getting out of bed. Devotional & prayer time.

I think those are pretty easy, don't you? Feel free to hold me accountable if you would like... Send me an email or Facebook message to check in on me anytime! :-)

Have a blessed day, friends.

Amber

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The "D" Word

Two months ago, I started typing the post below, and then I never posted it. I am posting it now because I hope that someone out there will read this... someone who needs to hear it... and it will help them in the situation that they are dealing with. Sometimes, it helps just to know that there is someone else out there that understands how you feel. That you are not alone. This post is very long, but I hope you will take a moment to read through it, and hear a little about my journey.

Sometimes, life just sucks. There really isn't any other way to put it! Life has it's ups and downs, and when you are in a down, it sucks. Sometimes a lot! Right now, that's where I am. I am in what I would consider the lowest part of my life, thus far. And you know what? It sucks. Plain and simple.

It has been a rough year for me. The last few months has been especially difficult, but the last couple of weeks have been the worst yet. In the past week, I decided I needed to see my doctor about depression.

Here's the thing. I have been walking this line lately... the line between "it's normal to feel sad because my situation sucks" and "I don't ever want to leave my bed again... ever." Considering my life lately, it IS normal to be sad, and to deal with some minor depression. But, I am way over that line at this point. I know me, and I know when I am no longer living in my normal. Lately, I have not wanted to leave my house for work, church, friends, family, or otherwise. I have slept 8-10 hours a night and still been exhausted every day. I have had little to no motivation or energy to do anything productive. I'm sad... all the time. I can't make decisions. I have no desire to do anything good for me (excercise, eat well, etc). My appetite is nonexistant one day and crazy over the top the next. Basically, I'm depressed!

You know what though? I'm gonna be okay. It makes sense for me to be depressed right now. It has been a painful time for me, and there is only so much I can handle! Sometimes, when there is just too much to handle, our body just doesn't function in the same way. And that is why we have doctors and medications. Sometimes, we just need a little help with these kinds of things. Right now is one of those times for me. For the next few months, I'm going to have a little help dealing with life. And hopefully during that time, life might calm down a little bit. I will come out of this on the other side a stronger woman.
Todays update:
So there it is. My confession that I am dealing with something bigger than me. I struggled with posting this mainly because I wanted to be strong enough on my own. I wanted to believe that I could get through this time without being depressed or needing medication. But you know what? I'm not. I decided to post this after an amazing phone call with my dear friend Libby. We were talking about depression, how it effects people, how to get past it, etc. One thing that we touched on is how easy it is to become completely and totally consumed by depression if you aren't willing to admit there is a problem. That becomes even more likely for folks who think that depression is a sign of weakness.

It is difficult to admit that you might be dealing with depression. For me, this is the second time in my life that I have dealt with it. The first time, I was diagnosed by my doctor. I didn't want to admit to myself that I was depressed, but once my doctor pointed out all the symptoms I was experiencing, there was no denying it. I am thankful for that experience, because it has made me more aware of my psycological well being. I am very in tune with how I am feeling, and what changes I might need to make to feel better. This time around, my struggle with depression has been very different, because I noticed the symptoms in myself. Initially, it was my sleep patterns and my energy level. Then, it was my eating habits and my overall happiness. I started taking certain steps to feel better naturally by eating better, excercising, spending time with encouraging people, and so on. But I realized this problem was a lot bigger than me when I had zero desire to do any of those things, and I just didn't care. Apathy. That's a symptom of depression too.

It has been about 2 months since I saw my doctor and started taking medication for my depression. After a month, I distinctly remember a day that I was leaving work and I was humming in my car. I stopped, and thought "Wow, I feel okay today. I feel peaceful. I feel more like me." That is a good feeling! Since then, I have felt more and more like myself every day. I am starting to enjoy life again, and look forward to my future. My vacation to Chicago helped with that also. Getting away for a bit, and just enjoying some time in a great place with amazing people was really good for me. I'm glad that I noticed something wasn't right with myself, because I am not sure where I would be at right now if I hadn't gone to see my doctor.

Okay, it's time for some full disclosure. I have obviously been dealing with a lot over the past year or so. I am sure my blog posts have alluded to that more than a handful of times. It has come to the point where I want to share what I have been struggling with. For the last few years, my marriage has been falling apart. 6 months ago, my husband of 7+ years decided to move out. This last weekend, he told me he would be filing for divorce soon. My marriage is ending, despite me doing everything I could possibly do to save it. In the end, it has become more and more apparent that one spouse alone can not save a marriage. It takes two.

Yes, I am sad. I am sad, angry, heartbroken, lonely, frustrated, and just plain hurt. I have felt decieved and mislead. I have felt let down and hopeless. But this week, for the first time, I feel a little hopeFULL. My marriage is ending, and there is nothing I can do about that now, but I know that I have done all that I could, and I know that God has a plan for my future. I know that God has placed amazing, tremedous people in my life that have loved me, encouraged me, prayed for me, and cried with me through this time. People that will continue to do those things as I figure out where life goes from here. People that have helped me in dealing with this depression that could have been so debilitating.

I'm not through this struggle yet, as I still have quite a journey ahead of me. But, I think I am past the worst of it, and moving forward every day. Most importantly, I am taking care of myself right now. I am taking a couple college classes to work towards my degree. I am looking for new job opportunities in other areas so that I can move. I am spending quality time with God, and with friends and family. I am spending time doing things that I enjoy. I'm eating better, and working out as well. I feel healthier today than I have in a long time.

Friends, there are a LOT of symptoms of depression. Some symptoms are very obvious, like constant sadness or thoughts of harming yourself. Other symptoms are not so obvious, and can easily be misinterpreted. Here is a list of the most common symptoms of depression.
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions  
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts  
If you notice these symptoms in yourself, or someone you love, please do something about it. There are many online quizes you can take in 5 minutes that can give you an idea of whether or not you are really dealing with depression. See your doctor (or encourage your loved one to do so). Depression can overwhelm your life quickly if you do not take action, and then it just becomes even harder to overcome. Please also know that depression does not quickly go away. Medications typically take a month too start working, and sometimes you may need to try a couple medications before you find the one that is right for you. Find a good doctor, and communicate with them so that they can help you! Once you are on the right medication, keep in mind that most doctors will want to meet with you often to check your progress, and will usually keep you on medication for 6 months to 1 year minumum before seeing if you are ready to be taken off the medication. It is a process, sometimes a long one, but it could also save your life. I am not a doctor, so please see one before you make any decisions about your health and wellbeing.
 
One more thought before I sign off. I have heard people before say that depression is a sign of weakness, or a sign that someone is not "close enough to God" or not "praying enough". Yes, I have even heard christians say this. I am just going to be totally blunt and say that is complete and total BS. I pray often, I go to church events 2-3 times a week, I read my Bible, and I have a close relationship with my Savior. I have strength through him that can get me through anything. However, depression is also an illness, like cancer, diabetes, or an infection. We have doctors and medications for a reason. God gives us the tools we need to take care of our bodies when they are not working quite right. Use them! And if someone says any of those things to you, please do not allow that to hold you back from taking care of yourself. And PLEASE do not let anyone make you feel like you are less of a person because you are struggling.
 
If you are reading this today, and you relate to what I have been going through, please know that you have a friend in me. Please feel free to email me if you would like to talk. I would be happy to be a friend for you to lean on, and someone to pray for you as you go through this time in your life. You can contact me at abarnum619 at yahoo dot com.
 
God Bless,
Amber