January 30, 2014

Well this sure has been an interesting week down here in the South.  Monday night I was checking the forecast, which is odd because I never check the news, and saw that most of Alabama from Tuscaloosa down was going to be getting snow.  Tuscaloosa is just about an hour southwest of us, so I didn't think another thought about it.

Getting in the car on Tuesday, I thought the sky looked snowy, but then again we never get snow, so I kept on trucking into work like any other day.  By 10:45 I was getting calls from Ben, my BFF, my parents, and my grandfather asking me if I was leaving work.  Ben had been sent home and said the roads were really bad.  We still had patients in the office, so we just kept working, really not thinking that much of it.  By noon, Ben still hadn't made it home from his office, which is about 10 minutes away from our house.  He still wasn't home at 1:00... He was stuck in traffic which was being held up by the massive amount of ice accumulating on the roadways at an alarming rate.  Thank goodness he works so close.  People were trapped in their cars, inching their way towards home all across Birmingham, for 3,5,6,13 hours.  I say 13 hours because that's how long it took Ben's brother to get almost to his house just to be turned around by the national guard and drive another hour here to our house.  An hour that would usually take about 7-10 minutes on a normal day.  It was truly madness.

While all of this was going on, my coworkers and I had come to the conclusion that we were stuck at the hospital for the night.  It was interesting, to say the least.  I have to admit, I'm blessed to work with the people and doctors that I do.  They aren't the worst group of people to be stuck with.  :)  Several trips were made to the gas station next to the hospital for wine, beer and more wine.  Sadly, I could not partake due to surgery, but they sure were fun to watch.

The next day they were telling people to stay off the roads, but I made the trip home around noon.  It truly was long and treacherous.  Thousands (yes, thousands) of people had abandoned their cars all around Birmingham (my best friend included) and started to walk home.  Or to shelters, churches, warming stations, etc... throughout the city.  Kids were trapped in cars with their parents, at schools with teachers, and unfortunately some on buses that got stuck on the roads.  I even saw cars overturned, a school bus overturned, and cars that had slid right down into the Cahaba River.

ALL of these cars were abandoned.  the tiny bit of gold bumper you can see in front of me is the only line of cars that were actually moving.

Needless to say, the "light dusting" that we were expected to get very quickly turned into a state of emergency.  The sanding trucks had already been sent far South of us, as they were expected to get hit the hardest.  By the time they realized they needed to send them back up, the interstates and roadways were so jammed with wrecks and abandoned vehicles that the sand trucks couldn't even get to the roads to cover the ice.  Not to be dramatic, and I think a lot of people would agree with me, but this is by far the craziest thing I've seen or experienced in my lifetime.  I spent so much time just praying for people trapped and Thanking God that my loved ones were safe and warm- if not at home, then at least somewhere out of the cold.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The South may not know how to handle snow and ice very well, but the kindness of people on Facebook and out in the city made my heart fill with pure joy.  I saw so many people on Facebook say that they had 4x4 trucks, four-wheel drive, etc... and would be willing to go wherever someone needed them to in order to help them.  People got out and skated on ice to help push cars out of the way.  Someone, I have no idea who, but a stranger, stopped and took my best friend to a church nearby after my best friend walked four miles through snow and ice in an attempt to get home, which was still about seven miles away.  I'm proud to be a Southerner, especially in times like these, when our Southern hospitality really shines.

Ben and I were both told to stay home today.  Ben's working from home and from what I can gather, the hospital shut down as much as it possibly could.  According to my office manager, they weren't even opening up the parking decks to let anyone in.  So as I watch the sun finally shine and some ice melt from the roof, I'm going to do school work with a more thankful heart than usual and hope that the normalcy of every day life resumes soon.  Hoping my friends all over the city, the web, the wherever, are safe and sound somewhere today.

progress so far.

January 25, 2014

I can no longer wear either of these pants.  They literally fall down off my body.

this was an awesome feeling.

this felt even better.  still working hard and kicking butt at the gym.

I feel awesome!  Working on getting my tummy smaller and really "sweating for the wedding."
And just to put it into perspective for you kids... 

I cropped a whole group of people from that photo, which is why it looks stretched.  Ben even said, "that's widened!"  Unfortunately not.  That was my size.  I'm not even sure how much I weighed at that point.

SW:  311
CW:  229
-82 lbs

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, and I'm feeling good.

January 17, 2014

Before you read, find some extra motivation for your day/life HERE courtesy of The Handey Way.
She always lifts me up when I need it the most.  
So let her do the same for you with this short and sweet post.

Gastric bypass is a funny thing.  Emotions run high in the craziest of times.  Like my last post... I read it again before writing this one and felt guilty for even writing it.  I know I said with this blog I would be 100% true, honest and myself at all times to really capture every emotion of this journey, but I did feel guilty.  I wish that I hadn't looked at the engagement pictures and found every single thing wrong with the way that I looked.  Instead, I wish I would've seen how happy Ben and I look together, how happy we are to be getting married and how we really are two people crazy in love with each other.  (thank you to those of you who commented, texted and called to remind of me of those things.  I heart you all pretty big.)

The truth is, despite losing 79 pounds, I'm still overweight.  I feel better, look better, eat better, work out harder, etc... but it's a process.  A journey.  A lifelong maintenance plan.  And those are the things I need to remember.  And just like my quote above, I just need to do my best and forget the rest.  Yesterday is gone and I will never see that day again.  So any bad choices I made regarding food or skipping the gym will be erased and today is a brand new opportunity for me to make better choices.  I am going to take the flaws I saw in the engagement pictures and use them as my biggest form of motivation.  I'm ready to keep pushing.

SW:  311
CW:  232
-79 lbs

engagement pictures & the bible.

January 15, 2014

"zoo animal!"

I have been so excited to take our engagement pictures.  We had to reschedule twice-  once because Ben was semi-deathly ill and once because of the terrible, freezing weather.  So when Sunday finally rolled around, I was ready to go!  I had all of our props, wardrobe changes, my grandmother's quilt, football shakers, shoes, a hairbrush, makeup, jewelry, etc... packed in the car and ready to head to the park.  It was absolutely GORGEOUS on Sunday.  The sun was shining, it was about 58 degrees and not too windy- just perfect for picture taking.  My office manager and some other friends even texted me how glad they were the weather was cooperating for our pictures.

Our photographer was/is amazing.  She made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera.  At one point, she was yelling different words and we had to pose for her to snap pictures of our true personalities.  Thus, the picture above:  Ben acting as a gorilla and me walking like a penguin.  We laughed so hard at that point in the photo shoot.  She.Is.Amazing.

Jessica sent us 30-something pictures for us to choose from for our Save The Dates.  So when I got them, I was so excited and happy to see how beautiful they came out!  There was only one problem:  I felt fat.  I felt a feeling I hadn't felt in a long time, and that was really unexpected, ESPECIALLY since Jessica made the photos look so beautiful.

I feel pretty here and I felt super confident in front of the camera.  Then I noticed my huge belly...

You would think that losing 79 pounds in less than five months would make you feel ecstatic about the way you look, even if it isn't your ideal weight just yet.  Something came over me and I felt like a huge, fat blimp.  So after looking over the pictures and deciding on my favorites for the Save The Dates, I closed the computer and picked up my devotional book.  I hadn't read it in several days, so I just started reading.

It is amazing to me every single time how God just knows what I need to hear.  Every devotional was about how God made you exactly how he wanted you and how you are perfect in his eyes.  Or about how everyone has their own "running lane."  Don't try and move into someone else's lane, stay in yours and be you.  So that's what I'm going to do.  Instead of looking at these beautiful pictures and thinking how fat I look, I am going to thank God for the opportunity to keep working hard and stay motivated.  And thank Him for the blessing of having these pictures as a mid-way point to look back on after I've lost all of my weight.  And mostly thank Him for creating the man in the pictures with me, who supports me and loves me no matter what, big belly and all.

SW:  311
CW:  232
-79 lbs

sizes go down, confidence goes up.

January 9, 2014

There were so many things I was ashamed of before surgery.  How much I would eat in private- hell, how much I would eat in public!  How much I weighed was a secret.  I would never, ever, eeevvvveeeeerrrr tell anyone my weight.  My mom didn't know, my best friend didn't know and Ben didn't know.  I was going to take that number to my grave.

At work I have to wear scrubs and mine have become huge on me.  Like, hanging off my body in a very unattractive manner huge.  Scrubs are pretty pricey, so I waited as long as possible to buy new ones.  (We get a uniform allowance at work so that helps, but still.  It's call procrastination, people.)  So tonight I headed down to the uniform store and gathered up a bunch of scrubs to try on.  Just to give you an idea of my size before surgery:  I was wearing a 3XL in scrub tops and bottoms and they were starting to get snug.  I KNOW.  Again, another piece of information I would've taken straight to the grave.  So tonight I only grabbed size XL in both pants and tops.  I literally can't tell you the last time I wore an XL in scrubs and I've been working for doctors since I was 20.  I took my huge arm full of clothes to the dressing room and put on the first pair of scrubs.  I was once again rendered speechless when they fit like a glove!  I was so happy!  I kept looking in the mirror, sitting in the chair to see how they felt sitting down, raising my arms above my head, etc... to try and decipher if they were too tight on me.  So I tried on pair after pair and each time I felt comfortable and like they looked good.  They may fit just right, but I'm only going to get smaller.  So I took my four pants and four shirts- all size XL- and checked out with pride.

Everything that I was ashamed of before is now my own personal inspiration.  
I was 311 pounds. I don't ever want to be 311 pounds ever again.  
I currently weigh 234.5, which is more than both of the men I work with.  
I even told my co-workers my weight and that I wanted to be in the 100-something by the time I went wedding dress shopping.  
I didn't feel ashamed.  I didn't feel judged.  
I felt confident.  
Even in my huge, baggy pants.


January 8, 2014

This never happens to me.  I am hardly ever rendered speechless.  In fact, more times than not my mouth is getting me in trouble with someone, somewhere.  But this morning, I had no words.  I stood in the bathroom with my hand over my mouth from pure shock.


That's what the scale said.  234.5 pounds.  I wasn't expecting the scale to move much, if at all, when I weighed this morning.  It was a last minute decision before putting my clothes on to get ready for work.  234.5 pounds.  I spent my time getting ready and loading my things into the car wondering how long it had been since I had weighed 230-something.  I can't remember.  High school?  I'm pretty sure it was my senior year of high school that I was 230-something.  230-something.  Closer to 220-something than 240-something.  I have no words.

I got in the car and texted my mom before I pulled out of the driveway.  I kept thinking about that number in my head.  It's not my goal weight by any means, but it's a huge- HUGE- milestone.  I'm 27 years old and haven't been this small in nine years.  Before I knew it, driving down the road, tears were streaming out of my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.  And then I started laughing.  If someone saw me, they probably thought I was crazy.  Laughing while crying, what they had no idea were, the happiest of happy tears.  

Every difficult moment.  
Every craving.  
Every emotional breakdown. 
 Every insane workout.  
Every scale drop.  
Everything leading up to this moment, and I have zero regrets.

I am the most THANKFUL person today.  The surgery, once again, has proved to be the biggest blessing in my life.  I am healthy.  I will be able to have healthy children.  I can work out and not feel like I'm going to die.  I have energy.  I feel amazing.  I look great.  I'm proud of myself.  And today, I'm down 76.5 pounds. 

say cheese & say yes to the dress.

January 7, 2014

Well, just when I had everything ready to get our engagement pictures taken, the weather went to hell in a hand basket.  And fast.  It rained on Sunday, so we rescheduled for this upcoming weekend, where the weather calls for rain on Saturday and Sunday.  We better find some place indoors, because we are doing the pictures regardless.  Also, the temperature dropped like, 40+ degrees on Sunday from 57 down to around 17.  I don't own winter clothes.  I have a cheap pair of gloves and a cheap fleece jacket, both from Target.  Both, also, not enough for me to stay warm in this weather.  I think the high today was around 19 degrees.  PEOPLE.  I live in AL-A-BA-MA.  I am in no way, shape or form prepared for this kind of nonsense weather.  It's ridiculous.

So while I've been bundled up in the house trying to stay warm, I did something crazy.  ...Again.  I applied to be on Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta on TLC!  If you know me, then you know I'd make for great television.  I mean, what better story to tell while dress shopping than my weight loss story?  Well, I think so anyway.  And yes, I applied twice.  I still haven't heard anything, but I'm holding out hope for a little while longer.  Would y'all watch me if I was on television?  I may also need volunteers to go with me, because my maid of honor/bff AND my mom both said there was no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks they were going on TV.  We'll see about that, ladies... 

Speaking of wedding stuff... it's stressing me out lately.  Maybe I'm just in a bad bride mood or something.  I'm hearing that this is perfectly normal, but still.  STRESSED.  I know it will all be okay.

Lastly, before I end this random and pointless post that has nothing to do with my weight loss (almost) whatsoever, I'd like to ask for some prayers.  I just so happened to talk with a girl today who was going to be having weight loss surgery soon and she's pretty nervous-  as was I.  Just if you have a second, prayers and good vibes for her would mean a lot!  She was very sweet and pretty young.  Knowing the journey I've been through so far, I know she would appreciate the good thoughts coming her way.

Still down an even 70 lbs.  I start back with Gene The Personal Trainer tomorrow after a long holiday break and lots of scheduling conflicts.  I need a shirt that says "Sweating For The Wedding" ASAP, so someone point me in the right direction.  I may need to start two-a-days to get dress ready!  Lord help... 

SW:  311
CW:  241
-70 lbs

Food blogger I am not.

January 2, 2014

But sometimes I surprise myself.  And I'm sure I surprise Ben as well.

We had chicken for dinner last night that I had marinated overnight in some Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb marinade.  I'm not going to say don't buy it, but I didn't like it at all.  We also had some broccoli with cheese, black eyed peas, and squash.  All those cliche New Year's foods you're supposed to eat.  Ben liked it, but I just was so disappointed with the chicken.  So what did I do?
I don't give up that easy, Mrs. Dash.

When I was younger, my mom used to always make dinner using Shake 'n Bake.  To be honest, I didn't even know they still made the stuff until I was in the store two nights ago.  So I thought, why not?  I laid out the chicken last night and stopped by the store tonight for a few more things.  I really wanted to focus on getting my protein.  And Gene The Personal Trainer told me that anything green is good.  Thus, asparagus. Publix is amazing because they do everything for you.  Next time I will know to get two bags when feeding two people, but they cut it, wash it and put it in a steamer bag for you so all you have to do is pop that baby in the microwave.  Here is everything you'll need:

1 box Shake 'n Bake Ranch & Herb flavor
1 lb chicken breasts or tenders
2 steam bags of Publix asparagus tips
2 tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
Garlic Powder (NOT garlic salt)
1-2 triangles Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss
Dipping bowl of water 

1.  Cut chicken down the middle.  I only had tenders, so it was a big more difficult.  Breasts would be much easier to cut, open and stuff with the cheese.
2.  Take the Laughing Cow cheese and spread down the middle cut of the chicken.  You can be as generous as you want!  It will come out super creamy.
3.  Take your clear "shake" bag and pour in the Shake 'n Bake mix.
4.  One piece at a time, dip your chicken into the water.  You only want it to be moist, not soaking wet.
5.  Drop each piece into the "shake" bag containing your the mix and shake, shake, shake!
6.  Continue until each piece is coated. 
Place chicken onto an un-greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 17 minutes.  When your timer goes off, place your steam bag of asparagus into the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, also continuing to let your chicken cook more during this time. 
While the asparagus is steaming, put your butter into a bowl and give a few shakes of garlic powder on top.  No need to heat it up.  When the asparagus is done, take it out of the bag and put it in with the butter mix.  Stir it around, creating a garlic butter sauce.  Again, you can be as generous as you want!  Take the chicken out of the oven and you're done!  Voila!  A healthy and simple plate for dinner. And in hardly any time at all.
Prep time:     10 minutes
Cook time:    20 minutes
Serves 1-2

new year, new gear & new look.

January 1, 2014

8:00 on New Year's Day and I'd say things are off to a great start.
We rang in the New Year by counting down together and then watching SVU until we fell asleep.
And it was the perfect NYE.  For this year, anyway.
I cooked a New Year's dinner, which was actually a success.
(I didn't love the marinade I used for the chicken, but the veggies were mm mm mm!
And healthy, too.  Which is always a plus.)

Things look a little different around here, huh?  Thanks to Rekita (who I've known for a while and is the sweetest person ever!) from Designed Lovely Studio, I have this brand spanking new look for my blog.  It's still Hunger & Happiness, but I started thinking... I think I have those in the wrong order.  So I decided to make my first rule (hence, Rule No.1) to always be happy.  I think I put that on the back burner sometimes with everything I have going on.  Working out, eating right, working a full time job, saving for the wedding, sweating for the wedding, etc... Often, I forget to stop for a minute, be thankful and just be HAPPY.  So, this is the new look of the blog and the new motivation for my life.  To be happy, then healthy and then hungry.  Because honestly, former fat girls never stop being hungry.  Hell, most skinny girls are always hungry.  So there you go.  Just a little prioritizing for the new year.

I woke up this morning down to a perfect and even 241.0, which means I am down 70 pounds total!  I can't believe it's only 30 more to go until I reach 100 pounds lost.  2013 brought me surgery and I really hope that 2014 will bring me lots of hard work, new goals to reach and my best body ever.  I'm ready to work for it!  Plus, there is a little thing called OUR WEDDING happening in October, so I have a legit countdown to get this body ready.

[edit]  whoops!  forgot to talk about my new gear!

Old Navy had an amazing sale today on all their workout gear.  I also checked out the clearance section, just for good measure.  I got 2 pairs of long yoga pants and 2 more pairs of fitted capri workout pants.  I think they were only $10 each!  Which was awesome.

I also got this shirt for $2.99 off the clearance rack!  I was pretty excited.  Partly because it looks like a mockingjay (nerd alert) and partly because it had a deeper meaning.  New Year, new freedoms.  Free from everything that was 2013, good and bad.  No looking back.  Free to take 2014 and make it the best yet.  It's blue and it's soft and it's my freedom shirt.  Like I said, finding the deeper perspectives here people.

Lastly, I have some goals I want to reach this year.  Some of them are weird (you'll see) and some of them are pretty typical.  Nevertheless, I want to challenge myself.

2014 GOALS

1.  Fit into Nike running shorts comfortably.
2.  Tone my legs.  (of course I want my whole body to be toned, but I've always wanted great looking legs!  Gene The Personal Trainer is aware...)
3.  Start jogging/running.  Nothing crazy-  just get myself more comfortable with moving my body that way.
4.  Complete a 5k by not only walking. The Race for the Cure Breast Cancer run is probably not going to be an option because we will either be getting married or on our honeymoon, but I'm sure I can find one sometime this year that I can complete.
5.  Get my weight to 160 by the wedding.  (I realize this may not be doable OR I may look exactly how I want before I reach this weight BUT-  I am setting this goal for myself so that I work HARD.)
6.  Continue my gastric bypass journey.  Surgery may be well over, but there is definitely a gastric bypass lifestyle to maintain.  I want to make sure I eat the right foods, continue to workout and push myself physically, and start attending support groups.  It gets emotional sometimes and I know talking with others who have been through the same thing will help.
7.  Continue to share my journey with you all.  The comments, support and encouragement from friends old and new mean more than any of you could EVER imagine.  So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Happy New Year!
I will, as always, leave you with my weight progress.

SW:  311.0
CW:  241.0
- 70 lbs

2014: changes to come.

Happy New Year!
Stay tuned for a new look...
& also.
you can now