I’m going to take you back in time for a bit with our next sharer! Mandy and I attended the same church and were very involved in youth group together. We were a part of a fantastic group of friends who loved the Lord, and had a great time! We went our separate ways once we went off to college and I hadn’t heard from her–that is–until..facebook!
Mandy and I back in the day enjoying what every good youth ministry is stock full of–popsicles!
A couple years ago we connected and it has been one of the sweetest blessings in my life. We still haven’t seen each other in over 12 years, but the interaction we have online makes it feel just like we have regular coffee dates. Much to my surprise, I got an email from her a while back stating that she was on her own weight loss journey. So it’s with this preface, that I introduce you to my friend Mandy. (You may remember her from her post about swimming here.) You will soon find out why she’s a joy to be around. Great sense of humor and perspective on life and I know you’ll appreciate her story!
Age: 34 though like to pretend I am 44. Puts me closer to retirement
Profession: Wife of Israel , Mother to Elijah age 9 and Simon age 5, Critical Care RN times 12 years
Weight Loss: Between 20-30lbs. I only weigh myself once a month. Also lost a chin and a half, a few pants sizes, and the fluff that hung over my seatbelt.
Part of my job as a nurse is starting IV’s. Sometimes this job is easy and over and done in a few minutes. Other times my face turns six shades of red and I worry that my eyes are starting to cross and I am in serious danger of missing my Diet Coke break. I have learned one universal truth in starting IV’s on people who earn the title “tough stick”… As soon as you start to give up, that’s when you get it. The same has been true of my weight loss journey. It took me 8 years to lose my baby weight. As you can imagine I was pretty close to giving up and accepting my extra poundage saying, ” It is what is.” But last fall I chose a different mantra to follow. I borrowed it from Jack Bauer, ” Shut up. You can do it. You will do it.”
I am not an organized person. I needed a simple plan to follow and fortunately for me I am friends with a Registered Dietician who referred me to the good ole Food Pyramid . It has been around longer than any app and it has all you need to succeed. I make it a goal everyday to simply put nutrients into my body. I don’t focus on numbers or even portion sizes I just try and get fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy worked into my meals and snacks. I love to cook and we eat nearly every dinner at home. I do however enjoy a good lunch date. If you open my fridge (hopefully you would find it closed, that is sometimes an issue in this house) you will find whole milk, real butter, real sour cream, a plethora of cream cheese, eggs (mostly from my beloved sister-in-law’s chickens), lemonade, carrot sticks, yogurt, cut up watermelon (it is still summer as I write this), water, Coke (being real here and sometimes my kids have some too – Gasp!), and likely left over mashed potatoes. My freezer usually holds chicken, ground turkey, lean sirloin, pork chops, berries for pancakes, and several bags of therapy ice for my husband who plays like a professional athlete and tends to acquire an injury or two.
Amanda–30 lbs lighter!
I eat real food, I cook and consume with great pleasure hearty meals and scrumptious deserts. I acknowledge there are many healthy foods that I just don’t like. I don’t worry about them. I focus on what I do like. For example I am not much of a salad eater. I enjoy lettuce or spinach on a sandwich or a taco but that’s about it. It has taken me 34 years to admit I really don’t care for salad. My Mom however would serve a salad with pancakes. I don’t care for salmon even though it is awesome for you and it freaks me out to see somebody eating a whole apple with skin on it. Clearly not enough people are watching Once Upon a Time and understanding the threat of a red apple. I do however love yogurt, cottage cheese, carrot sticks, grapes, pineapple, bananas, green beans, peas, tomatoes and corn. Speaking of things I love let me tell you how the weight truly came off…
Zumba: My husband encouraged me for years to try a Zumba class at our church. He thought I would like it. I finally caved and figured he had never led me astray before and had nothing to gain from me embarrassing myself, So I went with a stomach full of butterflies convinced that everyone would point and laugh at me. Fortunately this was not the case. I found a gym of other people like myself trying to get in or stay in good shape while having a good time. I had a blast. I couldn’t feel my feet when the class was over , I really wished I had driven someone else’s car I was so saturated in sweat, and the songs on the radio sounded so bizarre since they were all in English. I was sore for a few days after that Monday but I was able to go again on Thursday. I did this (2 classes a week) for several months and I started learning a few dances at home as well. YouTube is a great friend for the new Zumba dancer. A year later I go to 3 or 4 classes a week. During baseball season (we have 3 ball players in this family) I only made it to a couple a week but I was blessed to find a DVD I could do at home and get close to the same incredible workout.
Let me tell you a brief bit about Zumba on DVD or game system. The Zumba DVDs by Beto himself are expensive and not worth your time and money. They are very instructional and once you know how to do the moves you will find them too easy. I use a DVD developed by a group of Christian ladies from Texas called REFIT. They use wonderful music including several Toby Mac songs (he is my favorite) and some traditional Latin Zumba songs as well. They do not speak AT ALL and their moves are easy to follow but very effective in kicking your booty. Their website is refitrev.com. I paid $15 to have my copy and it is the best workout DVD I have ever purchased. Zumba is a great workout for all body types but I have found it to be particularly beneficial for those who carry alot of weight up top. Also the Refit girls whose DVD I mentioned came out with a second DVD which may even be better than the 1st. You should check them out on You Tube. (Both DVD’s are set in a warehouse which has me always looking for Jack Bauer being tortured in the background by the Chinese.) We have a Wii and I also own Wii Zumba. Wii Zumba is a little weird if you ask me and I have a hard time following it. I also hate wearing the controller in the belt. However you will get your sweat on. It is not easy and sometimes I like it for a little change of pace. It is also helpful as I have seen many of those dances used in live classes. Lastly my favorite thing about Zumba is it is like running for SHORT people like myself. Yep being short is actually an advantage in Zumba ( unless of course you find yourself standing behind somebody 5’9. In which case I recommend you move). Many times during our dances you have to get low. Perfect.. I am half way there already! Zumba classes are generally about $5 (at least they are here in WV) and last an hour. It is not a treadmill hour that feels like 3 decades have come and gone either. I am always surprised when that cool down song comes on.
Amanda and her kids!
I would like to encourage all of Clare’s readers to find what moves you and do it. Also another note from my Nursing career: Every day that you are healthy enough to prepare food and feed it to yourself is a blessing. Cherish it. Don’t freak out. It’s just food. Parents with little ones I would really recommend carving time out to go to a class. Many places are now offering a special class for Moms and little ones called Zumibini.
Thank you so much for sharing, Amanda! I’d like to point out that she possess something that will serve you well through your journey–a sense of humor! Don’t take yourself so seriously and be sure to choose things that you enjoy!
If you want to catch up on our other Shed & Share stories, I encourage you to do so!
If you have a story that you would like to share, please contact me! I’d like to have you on! firstname.lastname@example.org