Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Making a Kitchen Island from a Desk

So I've been sewing almost everyday for my store (which I love), but a couple weeks ago I got the crazy idea to make my old desk/foyer table into a kitchen island.. and this is how it turned out:

Remember this desk? I added the wood slats to a regular parsons desk and it's been serving as a entry table at our new house.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sierra's Fitness Testimony

I've debated sharing this... Mainly because I was so proud to ditch that old Sierra and I really didn't want to ever re-live her. I especially didn't want people I have met AFTER achieving my fitness goals to know about her.. However, it occurred to me that I give much more fitness-cred to the brutally honest "before and after," people than the "naturally thin, then added muscle group" of people (the struggle is REAL!) So, I decided it was definitely worth sharing, if it even inspires one person along their fitness journey.

I had both of my older children at 19 and 20. I gained a ton of weight with my first, lost most of the weight and then was pregnant again when he was only 6 months old. Let's just say she was a total surprise.
I got married at 18, a month after my high school graduation. My dad said we couldn't live together unless we got married, so being 18... We decided to get married (insert eye-rolling here.) My ex-husband was not ready... And to compound that fact, having 2 babies less than 2 years after we got married (plus his older daughter) put a lot of stress on our marriage. Even while I was pregnant with my son there were a ton of heated fights where "divorce" was a main theme.
Although times were hard, our marriage had good times... however, we were mostly in a state of "getting by." I was so young I had no idea what a real marriage was like, and I was completely convinced all marriages were as emotionless and miserable as mine. Being that I had become a Christian at 18, I was devoted to keeping my marriage intact, and for the most part, my ex-husband felt the same. Our main issue always lingered though, he wasn't ready for the responsibilities and commitment of a marriage and family... And in a sense, he had major disappointments that I caught most of the blame for.
Because of this, I began to view myself from my ex-husband's eyes. When he said I was worthless and didn't contribute, I began to see myself that way. With young kids and staying home with them, I fell into a routine. I lacked confidence in myself and it showed in my food choices and activities (or lack-there-of.) In the spring after my brother had passed away (which obviously didn't help) I was 5'3" and 158 lbs. This was early 2010. I was so incredibly depressed I didn't even know where to start to fix the lifestyle I had now grown accustomed to. As you can see, Caleb was 3 there, making Lily 2. I couldn't even use the "baby weight" excuse:
Spring, 2010. 158 lbs.
Around that time my ex-husband had left and moved in with his parents. I was so stress-ridden with what I would do next, I dropped a quick 10 lbs during that trial separation.
Losing that weight gave me perspective: I was in charge of my weight/health. No one else. If I slacked, it was my fault. I could no longer hide behind the pain and worthlessness I felt because of my failing marriage.
I also decided that it was time I started to see myself the way my Father in Heaven saw me. No one else. I was no longer going to give anyone the power to dictate the way I felt about myself. If I was going to say I was Christian, it was time I would hand this (huge) problem up to God and seek myself in Him. I promised Him and myself that I would show my spiritual health in every aspect of my life that I could, including my health and fitness. I would give God the glory for giving me the courage and drive to fix myself from the inside out. And while I know this isn't the mindset that all believe, it worked for me in a huge way. I've spoken to other people that made other life-changing promises to God, and it was their promise that kept them going, which was completely true for me.
Initially, the stress weight loss kicked the most obvious weight. I then began to seek nutrient rich food. I did fresh fruit/veggie juicing for one meal a day, and low-carb, high fiber for the rest of the day.
Soon after my ex-husband and I reconciled and I began the process of not only fixing myself but forgiving him for the harsh things he had done and said. I really and truly have never been so tested in my life mentally and physically, than during this year that I gave everything I could to try to fix our marriage and handed my fitness goals up to God.

After juicing and losing some with low-carb, I switched things up. I began a workout regimen, in which I fell in love with weight training. I went to the gym as often as I could. I began a healthy low-calorie diet and started to feel so much better. I ended up dropping to 123 lbs. I was a little skeletal at that weight and since then I've gained about 5 lbs of muscle, which I prefer. Less than a year after I made this new commitment to myself and God, my ex-husband decided he wanted to divorce. Even though that was heartbreaking and stressful, it wasn't at all like the separation. I was terrified, yes, but I also felt more equipped. I felt like, okay, we're getting a divorce... I tried my hardest and it was still wasn't enough of a remedy to force him stay, but I'm going to live. I truly believe God was equipping me for the changes that were in store for the kids and I. I wasn't as devastated... It hurt, yes... but it was manageable. I was truly finding my worth through my relationship with God and that was a very comforting and empowering feeling.Fast forward: I maintained my fitness regimen even when my fitness goals were changing. At first, it was so motivating to watch the scale drop week by week. But now that I'm at my happy baseline of 128 lbs. I'm constantly changing my fitness motivation. I now focus more on endurance, heart/lung health and strength. I switch my muscle groups that I train together every few months. I am still aware of my calories, but not nearly as strict about them since I'm maintaining.

2010 (left), 2014 (right)

While training, when I felt weak in my last set, or like I couldn't do it... I looked in the gym mirror and literally prep talked myself with the very words that hurt so bad... I am NOT worthless. I am NOT disposable. And as cheesy as that sounds, it became sort of my mantra for the tough gym days.
When I remarried, I was thrilled at the idea of having a baby with my husband. But, I was scared to lose the progress I had made. I researched a ton about working out during pregnancy and I was able to only gain 14 lbs, even walking on the treadmill the day I delivered Everly. I was able to do this while meeting my caloric daily intakes and weight training. I lost the baby weight within a week or 2 of having her, and I have never felt so healthy, a year later. You can read more about my pregnancy fitness HERE.

Having now started my sewing business, I now go to the gym 4 days a week for an hour a day. I weight train on each day followed by 20 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) on the elliptical, treadmill or stair climber. I'm also trying meal prepping, which probably deserves it's own blog post. You can read about my gym schedule (which is actually different even now, but this a great way to start) HERE. Or see my arm workouts HERE.
So maybe you're the girl sitting in a miserable situation, not sure how to fix it. Maybe you're in the middle of your weight loss journey. Maybe you're the mom that sometimes struggles with motivation since you've reached your fitness goals (which I can totally relate to sometimes!) Know that I've been there. Know that you're not alone and know that keeping with it is worth it and will continue to be. If you don't know where to start, you're not unlike me at the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing. Just start! Get moving. Read and read and read (blogs are a great place to get real life perspectives from actual moms just trying to embark on a whole new way of living.) Know that NO ONE at the gym is judging you. In fact, I try to give little winks of encouragement to newbies... We've ALL been there. Try not to focus on the daily. Don't EVER compare your YEAR 1 to someone else's YEAR 2 or 3 or 7! Do your hour a day for 4 days a week and within 1 year, you'll be transformed. Within 2, you'll be maintaining (which is sooooo much easier... You can cheat, no one ever talks about this, but really, you can eat a giant bacon cheeseburger WITH FRIES and the scale doesn't move. It's the best thing in the world! Of course I don't recommend doing this often, but seriously, once you get to your maintenance phase, life gets so much better... well at least the cheat foods do!) And my absolute favorite part: You can try on anything and decide if you like it without having to suck in.
So fellow sisters striving for a healthy lifestyle that not only adds years to your life, but life to your years.. Take heart! You're not alone and you can always email me if you have questions!!