My Weight Gain & Loss Journey

Let Me Summarize My Weight Loss Journey So Far

I was reading encouraging stories from Bikini Body Mommy participants, and I realized I haven’t shared with you the full story of when my body was a wreck and how I turned it all around.

The Weight Gain

I started gaining weight as soon as high school ended. All throughout elementary, junior high, and high school I had PE to keep me active. In college I just sat around. When I became a teacher I stress ate and was still rather stationary. Then, I got pregnant.

As everyone knows, having babies has huge effects on a woman’s body. Not only is there a person growing inside, but organs literally are shoved out of the way to make room for that little person.

With my first pregnancy, I lost weight. Hard to believe, but after I had Davy I was around 15 pounds below where I started. This was exciting after the fact, but during my pregnancy it was stressful. I was overweight enough to begin with that it didn’t endanger David, but every time I went to the doctor she would tell me to eat more. But I just couldn’t keep anything down.

I continued to lose weight when we arrived in Lebanon due to lack of a vehicle which forced us to walk everywhere, no elevator in our apartment, and healthier food being far easier to get. However, it isn’t all about nutrition.

With Kyrie, I ate all the time. I gained weight, but within the levels my doctor said were okay. After she was born, nursing made me so hungry, and there was the added stress of her needing surgery and my having mommy blues. So, I gained a lot of weight.

The Breaking Point

My breaking point happened sometime during my pregnancy with Kyrie when I stepped on the scale and weighed 300 pounds! Yes, indeed. The same as a baby hippo. “It’s not going to bring me down,” I thought. “My baby is healthier with me eating and I just need to maintain.” I figured that after she was born I would weight less than 300 and had nothing to worry about.

When we found out Kyrie needed surgery because of an imperforate hymen, my world stopped. I was in a tailspin of out of control hormones on top of the aggravation of untrustworthy insurance companies. I didn’t pay attention to my weight, and it was hard to just get through the day. After nine months we returned to Lebanon and I knew I had to just start moving.

Just Start

I wanted an exercise routine I could do from home without any fancy equipment. I used jugs of water as dumbbells and began Bikini Body Mommy 1.0. I was hooked on Bikini Body Mommy immediately. Briana Christine is a mom, so she understands what parts of the body are in recovery after birth and she is able to provide insight on ways to adapt around those sensitive areas. Most of the challenges are filmed during her own baby weight loss periods after having her children.

The key to this program is that it is a part of my life constantly. There is so much content on Briana’s website that there is no reason for me to ever go stagnant again. I love working out because I love the way it makes the rest of my day feel.

I love cooking every night because I love knowing that all four of us are eating something that is nutritious and spending time together to eat it.

I also enjoy the alone time provided by both activities, which has been a major motivator for me. The second and even better motivator to keep working out is that I do not get coffee unless I do my workout first.

Have you had a low point with your health and wellness that you overcame? Let me know about your own journeys. We are here on this earth journeying together.


How Are You Taking Care of Your Body?

This year my focus is to Belong in my own skin.

One of the ways that I am working toward that is by setting a goal to lose 50 lbs in 2017. I am by no means a health guru, but I have had some major success in the last year losing weight, gaining endurance, and increasing strength, which I want to share in order to encourage you. The few times I have mentioned my exercise routine or goals have received a big response, so I want to keep sharing about this part of my life.


In 2016 I lost 63 pounds!



It was such a good feeling. I lost weight so fast, which has everything to do with making it a lifestyle and not just something on my calendar. In a time of post-baby depression, dealing with a daughter in constant pain, flashbacks of my own childhood trauma, and life in a third world country, it was essential to reduce the number of decisions I had to make each day. I decided to just work a plan for exercise and nutrition and do whatever it took to make that plan a habit in my daily life.

January 2016

December 2016

I followed the Bikini Body Mommy meal plan and exercises six days a week as much as possible. It was amazing! I wrote a post about my experience following the meal plan HERE. The majority of the meals are loved by everyone in our family, and I have a good handle on substitutions my family would prefer when there is an ingredient they don’t like.

I am over 1/3 of the way through Challenge 6.0 now (I took a break for March and April after our move) and I am feeling great. I am getting stronger, looking better, and I am so excited to keep it going.

Every morning I wake up at 5am now, and I start my day by working out. This has been an amazing time of solitude and renewal while also taking care of my body. Briana Christine has the participants in the challenges send a #SweatySelfie each day, but I don’t use social media currently so I Whatsapp my Sweaty Selfie to Louis each day. Here’s one. Yes, I am glistening with real sweat. It’s hard work, and sometimes not as lonely as other times.

* I do not receive any money from Bikini Body Mommy, I just really love this program, so I have included all the links to find what I am talking about. *

Couch to 5K

I had a few people ask about my Couch to 5K progress, which I wrote about in my post about Making Room for Abundance. Somehow in the move I lost my running shoes, and with our budget at below 50% coming in I have not had the money to go buy new shoes. Therefore, I am sticking to the free Bikini Body Mommy videos online because the shoes I do have do not provide the support I need to run. I am planning on buying a pair when I get to America.

The 5K I was thinking about running in is held in September, but we decided to return to Lebanon in the middle of August so that the kids can get back in a routine before September. I still plan on doing the program this year and running a 5K even if just on my own streets. The Couch to 5K plan is 10 weeks long, so as long as I start it by September I can still complete it this year. I am so excited to hear from those of you who also started running after I shared. Great job!

Many of you have been sharing with me your own exercise plans, and I am so thrilled to be sharing this journey with you. Let me know in the comments or by email what you are doing to take care of your body this year.

What I Wish You Knew About Me

EDIT: In linking back to this page, I have added affiliate links. If you click through an affiliate link and choose to buy something I will receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. 

Who Am I?

I am in a year of seeking to Belong. I want to belong in my own skin, I want to feel like I belong in Lebanon, I want to belong in my community. It may surprise some of you to know that I do not feel comfortable most of the time anywhere. I am a highly sensitive person, and noise, smell, and the general environment around me throw me off very quickly. I have been working very hard to modify sensory input for myself over the past two years as I have learned more about myself. I have learned that I cannot change these aspects of myself, and I am striving this year to find the beauty in the way God has created me rather than always praying I could be fixed.

This year I am in the process of taking out old dreams and dusting them off to see if God intended for them to be put away. Rather than live in regret, I am taking the time to unpack myself, get to know myself, and hopefully fall in love with myself.


Getting To Know Me

This past year I read a set of books on the History of the Moravian Church. My paternal family is Moravian, and growing up we were a part of the Christmas Love Feasts and whenever I was asked what denomination I was I would reply Moravian. Saying “nothing” sounded lame, and while I didn’t really know what it meant to be Moravian, I felt that it made me a part of something bigger to say Moravian. To claim a nondenominational church was to be a part of something much smaller. In my reading this set of books, I was thrilled to find so much commonality between my life and their history. Moravians are the founders of the 24/7 prayer movement, first missionaries to many areas of the world, and not bound by building their own churches, but rather intent on unity among denominations. These are all values I share. One of the pieces of the history that struck me was the Moravians created a textbook that was sent out to all Moravians which contained verses for daily meditation. This was a boon to the missionaries who could find comfort in the knowledge that they were reading the very same verses as their brethren in every other part of the world.

In a biography I read this past year of Bonhoeffer I found, much to my delight, that Bonhoeffer also discovered these textbooks and he required all the students at his secret seminary Finkenwalde to practice meditation with them. As I set goals for myself to get to know myself, to be more intentional, to learn to pray as an intercessor again, I realized there were many aspects of what I wanted that did not have a measurable aspect or restriction of time. These are habits I want to grow in for the rest of my life. So, I bought myself that textbook, it is still published every year with verses from the heart of the Moravian Church, Herrnhut in Germany. They are called Moravian Daily Texts, and I would love to share this tradition with you. I am loving it.

I am following Bonhoeffer’s plan of meditation using the Daily Texts as my verses each day as he did. I do make a small amount of money if you purchase it by clicking through at no additional cost to you.

P.S. The amazing Bonhoeffer biography was called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas. You should definitely read it.

I Love Running

The second part of myself I am dusting off is running. I am a runner. I run from conflict and I ran in track in junior high. Last week I was waiting with Davy for the bus and was so cold I started to jog in place. It felt so nice, that when the bus pulled away with Davy inside, I decided to run home. So, I ran up our driveway and then up the stairs. I was exhilarated and happy, smiling, and ready to laugh out loud. Immediately I researched the couch to 5k plan and added it to my workout plan, which was to begin the very next day. I will be sharing more about this in the coming weeks as I establish it as a habit, and please feel free to join me as I work through the 9 weeks.

I am planning on running in a 5k in Tucson in September.

Lifelong Learner

There is always more to learn about our kids, friends, spouses, and selves. I am on a journey to do just that, and learn where I belong in it all. It is shaping up to be a great year.


How I am Meeting my 2017 Goals

Today is my first day back to blogging, and I am posting this as soon as I type it. It isn’t the most polished blog post, but I am getting back into the habit. I didn’t finish the 21 Day Writing Challenge myself because I was in shock at Kyrie’s healing and subsequent personality change, so I have been enjoying my daughter instead of writing for the blog. This week, however, I was reminded that people want to know how life is, so I am starting off with a taste of how the New Year is starting off with a reflection on meeting my goals. This is my new computer, so I have no pictures downloaded yet, but in upcoming posts I am going to be even better of giving y’all great visuals of life as a mommy missionary.

I Met 90% of my Goals Last Year!

That was a big deal. Yes, there were goals that were unreasonable, but it was way more than I accomplished the year before. One of the keys to success is setting the goals. By setting the goals, I was able to see my progress and it motivated me to keep going. So many times we get to the end of a year or even a season in our lives, and although we were busier than ever, we may not see the successes we had. I have made it a habit to track successes in many areas, and this year I am doing even more tracking.

Also, note that I did not meet 100% of my goals. I made audacious goals, and sometimes they didn’t work out for me. One big goal was to read the whole Bible and to read the New Testament through 5 times. There were so many weeks that just got skipped, so the New Testament was only read 3 and a half times, and I only got through about 80% of the rest of the Bible, but that was pretty good. To start off this year I am following a 90 Day Bible Reading Plan since I know that these next few months are the lightest I am going to have in the near future.

I lost 25% of my body weight last year!

The main key to what I did was to decide I was going to work out and use a meal plan, and then to do it. So many times it is just too easy to let ourselves slide, but by thinking about the end, and recognizing that every day was a day I had to spend on my goals, I was able to go above and beyond my goals.

This year I am doing it again, and I have great news! Bikini Body Mommy just started Challenge 6.0, so you could join me and workout, too! I use the meal plans as well, and do the bonus ab series. This plan is working for me, it is easy to begin at any weight range or activity level you are currently at. Please feel free to join, I just started this week, and the challenge just started last week, so you can jump in and be a part of the community.

Because I had success I feel so much more motivated to keep making new goals, to keep striving for the joy I feel when I exercise, read, write, and spend time doing all the things I love doing. Meeting goals even helps me persevere through the harder, less fun parts of life.

Our Front Room Is Clean!

We just came back from America after one month of family focused trips and health related doctors (See Kyrie’s health update by CLICKING HERE if you haven’t already). We brought back 4 checked bags, 3 carry on sized bags, and 4 personal bags and put them all in our front room. We arrived on a Sunday night and we had nine days to get that front room presentable for our first Arabic class. Our teacher comes to our house, and we already have a very American house, so we didn’t want bags out and about.

I decided to be rational, calm, and logical. Denying my emotional side the chance to freak out, I made the backup plan of throwing everything in my room the day of Arabic if I wasn’t able to clean, and I set to work steadily going through the bags. If something came out of the bag it had to have a place right away. I finished by the end of the first week with all the checked bags. Huge bags are now empty in my kitchen waiting for me to brave the cold to reorganize the maid’s room for them, and my front room is sparkling, swept, mopped, and I even have decoratively set the table. Yay for being clean. I am not good at it, but I have built habits and routines to do it.

Why I Can Call Myself A Cook Now!

This is Day 3 of my FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. The only way to receive the prompts in your inbox is to Join the Challenge!

I Never Used to Cook

I was not opposed to cooking pasta or something from a box, but I truly used to avoid all raw meat, all food that had more than two or three steps in the recipe. When I first married Louis I received an excellent cook book for the wedding shower, but every meal seemed to be something we disliked more and more.

All of those jokes about the wife burning the food, or pretending to like the food your newlywed wife cooks were all true for us. This past year I knew that I had to up my game if I was going to lose my goal weight. In the past I have had a great time with the Bikini Body Mommy site for the online exercise videos, so I decided to use those right away. This time I also became a paid member and signed up for the meal plan. Every week Brianna sends meal plans with all the recipes and a grocery list so you know exactly how much to get to follow the plan.

A Plan That Worked For Us

Not having to plan and think was one of the benefits. I also decided not to make the family eat every meal, but to stick to it for myself while allowing them to eat their meal. Then something crazy happened. The whole family liked the majority of the meals. Over the course of the year, I also learned so many ways to substitute foods, and have even been able to adjust other meals when we find something outside the plan we want to try to cook.

A Good Attitude

The change in my attitude is the best part for my family. Being able to provide for them healthy meals is very satisfying as a mom. Not having to make as many decisions, being able to buy the same ingredients and have a core set of meals that we really like to make has transformed our decision making. We have more time on our hands with this no longer being a fight, or even much of a discussion. Food seems to magically appear on plates now that we have this plan.

I have lost 71 pounds this year.

I know this has to do with truly finding that balance of diet and exercise. Check out Bikini Body Mommy for yourself!

This post is one of a series meant to kickstart a writing habit. I created exclusive prompts which are emailed to those of us signed up for my FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. I am posting my responses each day, and I invite you to join me in this writing journey by CLICKING HERE! The only way to receive the prompts is to sign up for the Challenge. The emails will include the prompt for the day as well as directions to kickstart your writing habit for any combination of the following:

  • Personal Journal
  • Prayer Journal
  • Blog
  • Christmas/New Year Letter or Correspondence