PAD Weight Loss Journey Day 204

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It’s day 204 of my picture a day weight loss journey and I love a Monday.

PADweightloss Day 204 of 365

It’s the start of a new week and I love the clean slate I’ve got to refocus my responsibilities and goals.

This week I’ve got a lot of work to do for TMU as I develop my Rhetorical Criticism and Persuasion courses, and we’ve also got a few fun events planned with family.

I’m excited for my workout today because it’s a yoga day and, although I really stink at it right now, I’m already seeing progress and I love the challenge it poses for my strength and flexibility.

I’m on track to have a very productive meal day as well, which is an encouragement, and I am praying the Lord would allow me to be faithful in other important areas of my life today, especially concerning relationships.

God has been teaching me so much about Himself through various difficulties and hurts and I thank Him for the clarity He brings that is always so full and timely. He has been kind enough to teach me what it means to count it all joy when I encounter various trials, but not for the sake of patting myself on the back. Rather, it is for the sake of His glory.

The more I learn about Him the more my faith in Him is grown and the more I find I am able to encourage others as they face their own difficulties and trails. I truly don’t know how people manage hard times without the Lord – I know it would be impossible for me to do so.

In God alone is my hope placed and my peace found for He alone is able to grant me these things. May I never choose my way, my feelings, my heart, my needs above His glory – not ever!

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

PAD Weight Loss Journey Day 203

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It’s day 203 of my picture a day weight loss journey and a very happy Lord’s Day to you all!

PADweightloss Day 203 of 365

I just love Sundays! We have been blessed with a church that is unlike any other we have ever attended. We’d spent nearly 7 years at our previous church and have almost nothing to show for it. No lasting friendships, no real, purposeful accountability, no encouraging or convicting relationships, no nothing. When I think back at our time there, I am thankful for the ways that we were able to serve, and for the instrumental work of one elder in particular during a very difficult time in my life, but other than that, it is a disappointment to know that relationships in the church we attended are so willfully superficial and meaningless.

Having been raised in big cities all our lives, it was all my husband and I had ever known – until we moved onto our mountain. What we’ve found here is so different, so loving, so sincere, so Christ-centered, so genuine, so growing, so encouraging…it was like we’d been searching for this our entire lives and finding it meant finding a place to call home for the first time.

It’s such a blessing to be a part of something real. For those of you who haven’t found it but long for it, I just want to encourage you with the fact that it does exist – it is out there, you can find it – you just might have to move onto a mountain first 😛

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

PAD Weight Loss Journey Day 202

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It’s day 202 of my picture a day weight loss journey and today was a blur of activity.

PADweightloss Day 202 of 365

I thought it might be rough day because we had an early wedding to attend, which meant getting all the kids up and ready much sooner than usual, but God is good and merciful and all three of my kids were patient, calm, and silly today, despite the long car rides and multiple events.

After the wedding, we checked out a new museum with my sister and cousin and their families and everyone had a BLAST. All of the kids ran around like chickens with their heads cut off, learning about the water cycle, farming, newscasting, and baking, and even got to sit atop a genuine police motorcycle. Every single one of them was beaming from ear to ear the whole time, as was this momma heart in me.

Spending time with family is just the most precious and meaningful way to spend one’s time 💕 These relationships are the most foundational, shaping, growing ones we will ever have and I will always fight to foster great relationships with my family for this reason and for the sake of my kids.

On a side (but important) note, my clothes are starting to get pretty loose which is super stinkin’ encouraging!

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

PAD Weight Loss Journey Day 201

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It’s day 201 of my picture a day weight loss journey and today was one of the hardest days in recent history.

PADweightloss Day 201 of 365

I spent all day waiting for it to end because it was just so, so discouraging. Since yesterday was such an amazing day, I inaccurately assumed today would be even better.

It was a stark reminder of the fact that expectations can be such a dangerous thing. When will I learn to expect only one thing: for God’s will to be perfect in all things. If I could learn how to accept that fact, I would expect nothing of myself but to be in submission to my good God and to think, feel, and act in accordance with His Word, not my circumstances.

Today, for instance, I was running on empty from the get-go due to an unexpected 3am commotion caused by a pack of hunting coyotes that riled up all the dogs on my street. It woke me right up because I’m a super light sleeper and it’s so hard for me to get back to sleep once I’ve been awoken from a sound sleep.

In addition to that, for the second day in a row, my one-year-old son and I had a stand off over whose will should reign supreme in our house, his or mine. I had to ask the Lord for patience, wisdom, and endurance because not disciplining and training up my children in the ways of the Lord is SOOO much easier than being faithful and consistent when it’s hard.

Then, because we’d spent an hour and a half in the car with the kids and it was getting late and I’d had a headache all day, I caved and decided fast food was on the menu for dinner. Oh, yeah, AND I didn’t workout today. It’s been so long since I let a day get to me like this and I felt like such a failure for choosing the easy way out.

You have no idea how much it kills me to have to admit that, but it’s 100% true. But days like this are just as much a part of my journey as the amazing, victorious ones, and I need to be just as willing to share my set backs as I am to share my progress.

For now, I get to put this day behind me, and lay it all at the foot of the cross. What better a place to rest my weary heart than in the hands of the One Whose Name is Love.

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

PAD Weight Loss Journey Day 200

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It’s day 200 of my picture a day weight loss journey and… wait, WHAT?!?!?!? DAY 200!!!!!! Can you believe it?!?!?!?!?

PADweightloss Day 200 of 365

This is all kind of surreal for me. I’m one of those gals who, by the time I started this journey, had tried just every kind of diet and exercise regimen under the sun. Nothing worked, nothing stuck, nothing helped. I think I had actually begun to believe that nothing ever would.

And then, one day when I was doing my quiet time, I read the following verse and I understood it for the first time in my life:

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Although Paul was not specifically talking about fitness — he was addressing the issues of legalism that were dividing the church regarding what Jews were allowed to eat and drink as God’s chosen people — the words themselves stopped me dead in my tracks.

Discipline. Subjection. Disqualified.

I had grown quite comfortable in the lie that being the mother of three small children meant I was exempted from needing to be disciplined or bring my body under submission rather than me submitting to it. There’s so much about pregnancy and child birth that is outside of our control, right? From the cravings, to the digestive issues, to the stretch marks, you name it. Being a woman who bears children kind of means we get a free pass to let ourselves go because we can’t control all of the things that change about our bodies as we carry and delver children.

Wrong!

After having my third child, I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Rounding 250 with essentially no muscle to speak of, digestive issues, a pathetic immune system, an inability to engage in even the simplest of physical activities (like, walking or getting myself upstairs), knee issues, back issues, chronic fatigue, you name it and I struggled with it.

But then I read this verse and it changed my life.

I had been believing the lie that there was nothing I could do about my health because I was just too far gone. There was no possible way for me to discipline my body or to bring it under my submission so that my testimony of God before others would be sound.

And it was true. There was nothing I could do to bring about the insurmountable amount of change that needed to occur – it was something only God could do.

So, right then and there, I thanked the Lord for illuminating my understanding of this verse, confessed of living a lifestyle devoid of discipline, especially concerning the stewardship and upkeep of my body (His temple), and begged Him to empower me to change COMPLETELY.

That was December 19th, 2016. The first day of my journey.

Since then, God has done a miracle in my life. I started learning about nutrition, clean eating, and exercise. I won’t lie, that first week was hellish. I could barely keep up with the simplest at home cardio workout, I felt like I was going to die, and I hated throwing away all of the sweets and treats that had overrun my pantry. But it needed to be done. An overhaul this extreme meant making big, serious changes and I couldn’t allow myself to try keeping things around that worked in complete opposition to what God was trying to do in my heart and life.

I’ve since found balance and the right kind of eating and exercise routine, but the first few months were marked by a lot of extremity and confusion.

Once I found what did work for me, though, I stuck with it. Although I tried a slew of different things that didn’t work that well for me, these are the things that did:

  • No fast food
  • No processed food
  • High vegetable intake
  • Moderate dairy and fat intake
  • Moderate meat/poultry intake
  • Low carb intake
  • Very, very low sugar intake
  • TONS of water
  • A weekly treat meal is a MUST
  • Strive to exercise 30-45 minutes 5-6 days a week
  • Track inches, not pounds
  • Strive for balance in all things
  • Progress, not perfection

On this “plan,” over the last 6.5 months, I’ve lost 3 dress sizes, 13.5 inches, 3% body fat, and 18 pounds.

More importantly, though, this is what I’ve GAINED:

  • A greater understanding of God and His best for my life
  • The ability to play with my children
  • Decreased lower back pain
  • Increased digestive regularity
  • Decreased pain during menstrual cycle
  • Increased confidence during sex
  • Greater flexibility, strength, and stamina
  • Increased discipline in many other areas of my life
  • Increased energy
  • Courage to try things I never would have considered in the past
  • So, much more!

It may not work for everyone, but it sure does work for me. And if I can encourage anyone to start their own journey or press on in their current one, then I’m doing what I believe God calls all of us to do – sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron.

So, if you’re like I was six months ago, wondering where or how to begin, keep these things in mind:

  • This is much more of a spiritual battle than a physical one. Surrender to and depend on God. He alone can equip and empower you to discipline yourself and bring your body under submission so that your testimony for Him won’t be disqualified before others.
  • It’s a marathon not a sprint, especially if you’ve let yourself go like I had. Progress will be slow, but if you are faithful, it will be SURE!
  • Figure out what works best for you and your family in terms of food. Stay away from fast and processed foods as two things that will automatically change things for the better. It won’t be easy, but it will work!
  • Be patient, flexible, and wise with yourself as you figure out what works best for you. What works for one person might not work for the next, and, as your body starts to change, you will have to adapt to it in new and different ways.
  • It doesn’t have to be as hard or extreme as other people make it seem. Start small and be faithful. Do what you can with what you have based on your specific restraints, responsibilities, and circumstances. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, especially not people who are “already there.”
  • Take progress pictures and measure in inches NOT pounds. The camera and your clothes are SO MUCH BETTER at tracking victories than that darn scale. I learned that the hard way. As fat decreases, muscle mass increases, sometimes making it seem like your gaining weight when you’re not. Just look at the pictures! You won’t see progress right away, but, if you are faithful and consistent, you WILL!
  • If you totally botch a meal, or three, or 20, don’t quit! This is a lifestyle change, not a diet. If you mess up, just start again the next meal or the next day. You can’t undo all your hard work with one bad meal, or one bad day, or one bad week. But you can (and you will) undo all your hard work, if you quit. Keep at it! Struggling is part of your journey too – don’t try to exclude it from the process! Accept it, learn from it, grow from it, and move on.
  • Find yourself a solid support system. Whether that’s just your husband or BFF, or a whole group of like-minded people, you can’t do this alone – especially since it’s a spiritual battle too. Find people who will pray with and for you and encourage you along the way. You won’t last very long if you don’t have people you can rely on to be excited about your victories and to help you through your setbacks.
  • HAVE FUN! Eat things you enjoy and find exercises that thrill you. Don’t try to make someone else’s eating plan or exercise routine work for you, especially if you hate it. I have found that free, YouTube, at home workouts work best for me — I highly recommend HASfit, Kit Rich, and Yoga with Adriene for Beginners as places to start if you just don;t know what to search for on YouTube. After that, the possibilities are literally endless! — but figure out what you enjoy the most and do that! You shouldn’t hate this process because there’s just no need to!

I’m sure there’s more I could say, but this post is getting really long. Just know you’re not alone and because God is able to empower you, you CAN do this!

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades