Thursday, January 26, 2012

roses are... yellow?

if you follow me on instagram (if you don't- you should! my username is thelifeofsusan) or if we're facebook friends you might have seen this picture i posted a couple days ago.

so why did i take a picture of myself in all my hat-hair glory in the bathroom mirror holding a yellow rose? because i was just so darn happy and had to share it.

you see, there's a flower shop here in town that puts a name on their sidewalk sign every day. it usually says, "if your name is ______ then stop in for a free rose!" i've seen friends names pop up and called to let them know. i look at that sign almost every day, usually when i'm leaving the office or running errands. so imagine my surprise when my good friend jen called me on tuesday afternoon and said the magic words, "you get a rose today!" i knew exactly what she meant. my name was on the sign! we laughed and i thanked her for telling me. it was a short, but fun exchange between the two of us.

i finished up my day in the office and i contemplated whether i should stop in. yes, i was really excited when my friend had called me but i knew then that the likelihood of me actually going in to claim that rose was pretty slim. i thought of all the reasons i shouldn't. i know what you're thinking. it's just a stupid rose. what's the big deal? but when insecurity tries to creep its way in and claw at you it's hard to stop those thoughts. i finally had to tell myself to get over it and just do it. i walked into the flower shop and made eye contact with the woman behind the counter. she greeted me and i responded with "my name is susan!" she got a huge smile on her face and excitedly told me i was the first susan to stop in today. she led me over to the roses and told me to pick any color i wanted. i went with yellow. i've always been drawn to yellow roses. she wrapped it up in tissue paper for me and thanked me for stopping in. i told her, practically through tears, that she had made my day. it was a short and sweet interchange but after spending all day alone in my office i realized how much i needed a human connection like that- even if it was just for a minute.

i think i was literally beaming on the 8-block drive home. i snapped a photo and shared it online and all night long the most beautiful comments came pouring in. words of encouragement and life brought joy to my heart as friends, near and far, said the kindest things. and for once in my life i actually believe all the things they are saying about me. i am receiving them. i'm not dismissing them as hot air. i am loved. i believe that. wow. such a humbling and overwhelming feeling.

i always wondered why i was drawn to yellow roses. i know that rose colors have meanings so i looked up yellow and this is what i found:
Joy, Gladness, Friendship, Delight, Promise of a new beginning
and once again my heart says YES. i feel all those things today. and it kind of goes right along with my word for this year- renew. i woke up this morning with this scripture on my heart:
"My beloved spoke and said to me, Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:10-13

grace and peace,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

no more excuses

if you've watched the biggest loser at all this season you'd know that their theme is "no more excuses." such a simple yet profound concept. i literally get asked the same question almost every day about my weight loss. how did you do it?

the simple answer i usually give is: weight watchers. sure, that's the program i used to track my food, to change my portion sizes, to get my eating under control, etc. but the more direct answer that i sometimes want to give is this: i stopped making excuses and did something about it. because that is the God-honest truth.

those people who ask me how i did it? 9 times out of 10 they respond back with an excuse as to why they can't do it. and i know this might sound harsh but when i hear the excuses sometimes i want to scream. or roll my eyes. or shake them.

are you still reading? yeah, i just admitted that.

i get frustrated because i can relate. THAT WAS ME. i lived in the land of excuses for years and years and was unhappy with my body as a result. i had trapped myself. it wasn't anyone elses fault. no one force fed me hershey's chocolate... although sometimes i wish someone would. haha. no one turned my car into that fast food drive through lane. no one tied me to the couch to watch hours of tv instead of getting up and exercising. I DID THAT. i made those choices and i had to live with the consequences of my decision. and my choices affected others, too. i struggled to have intimacy in relationships because i was insecure about who i was. i was ashamed of what i had done to myself.

so i had a choice to make. i had to accept that enough was enough. i had to do away with the excuses and own up to my decisions that led me to the place that i was. no one else could make that decision for me. i had to face it and OWN IT. and that my friends is what makes all the difference. when you can admit to yourself the honest truth about where you are and how you got there THAT will be your turning point. you have the power to make better choices each and every day that when strung together over months and years will result in a happier, healthier YOU.

let's let this be the year of no more excuses. the year that we decide to look at ourselves honestly. to put down the veil of denial that we've wrapped ourselves in and step out of the shadows. and that doesn't just relate to weight loss. that can translate into so many areas of our lives where we've held ourselves back from being who we know we are really called to be. as women, sisters, daughters, mothers, friends and if there's any guys reading- all that guy stuff, too.

don't let the excuses hold you back any more. life's too short to live in the shadows.

grace and peace,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

home goals for 2012

the nester is hosting a link-up party today where you can post about your home goals for 2012. i'm learning to not be so afraid of setting goals. for me setting goals has always been so ominous because if i didn't achieve them i felt like a failure... awful thinking that i'm trying to overcome and getting much better at. this is another way for me to just kick that fear in the butt!

there are several things that i'd like to do around my house this year and what better way to get myself into gear than by laying it out all on the internet?

so here's some of the things that i would like to do:

1. put up a collage wall in my dining room.
i used to have a large flower print on that wall but i was never really satisfied with it. i recently sold it and bought some frames from ikea. i plan on using some other frames i have to mix in. all the frames will be black. my brother got me an awesome print for christmas in a black frame (without even knowing that i was thinking of doing this) so i took that as a sign that i should go for it! now i just need to figure out what i want to fill the rest of the frames with, arrange it and hang it!

the print my brother gave me for christmas... LOVE!

2. build a deck.
ok, i won't be the one doing the building, but regardless i want a deck. i thought this was going to happen last summer but i was too much of an emotional disaster to really get going on it so it didn't happen. my townhouse is built into a hill so the deck will actually be a 2nd story deck off my first floor. right now there's a double window in the dining room that will need to be converted into a sliding glass door. so that makes this project even more complicated. add in the fact that i live in a townhouse community, factor in HOA approvals, city permits that are a pain... yeah it won't be easy. i am determined to push through though and get started early spring so i can enjoy it all summer! i am just dying for an outdoor space!

3. add a dimmer to the light in the dining room.
this one is pretty do-able. in fact, i might even attempt this on my own... ok, ok, maybe not. i'll enlist my mom's help. she's super good at anything handy. but seriously, i love the light fixture in my dining room but it is SO BRIGHT. a dimmer would give me control over that so it needs to happen!

4. change the flooring in the bathroom upstairs.
oh my word i DETEST the laminate flooring in the bathroom upstairs. it's an awful white color that makes my dark hair shedding problem so obvious. i know there are lots of great new products out there that are easy to install on your own so i need to investigate. i'd even be happier with a darker laminate tile that didn't show so much dirt. once again, i am sure i will enlist my mother's help because i have no idea how you move a toilet, but she totally does and it's time for me to learn!
because someone prob wants to know- the shower curtain is from kohls

5. dust my ceiling fans.
haha! yikes. this should probably be on a regular cleaning rotation but it's not. i caught a glimpse of them the other day after not being used in several months. holy dustballs! for a girl who is allergic to dust it's terrible. anyone have a creative solution for doing that without kick starting a major allergy attack? and no, i am not posting a picture of their current state. would be terribly embarrassing. ;)

6. hem the curtains in my bedroom.
a simple task, but one that just never seems to get done. i hung them to see how they looked and left them there. unhemmed. wrinkles and all. i am the only one who sees them anyway, but still. just needs to get done.

7. do something about the builder-grade mirrors in the bathrooms.
my little townhouse has 1-1/2 baths and both have those awful big plain mirrors held up by clips. i need to either frame them out or remove them and buy framed mirrors.

8. custom wall in the powder room.
while we're on the subject of bathrooms i have this desire to do something fun on a wall in the powder room. i actually already have something fun on one wall... an awesome tree branch mural that my sister painted. but i'm kind of thinking of doing a pallet wall behind the toilet... not completely sure about that one or if i'm even up for the challenge. regardless, something needs to be done to that wall cause the small little canvas i have hanging up there isn't doing anything for the space.

9. paint the inside of my front door.
this has been all over blog-land for a while. i love how it looks, but i'm not 100% sold on the color yet. i was thinking black but my house is small and i don't want it to make the space feel closed in. so jury is still out on this one. might have to work some photoshop magic to see what it will look like.

10. add a storm door to the front door.
again, this is something i tried to do last summer. home depot actually dropped the ball on this one though. they were TERRIBLE. seriously terrible. so i need to either go to lowes or just hire a contractor friend to do it. in the spring/summer months i crave light and the front of my house gets afternoon/evening sun which would be so lovely to have streaming in.

so here's a couple shots of the living room as it stands today...

the kitchen... and yes my chalkboard still says "merry christmas." suppose i should change that, huh? haha. just keeping it real people. oh and pay no attention to the dead aloe plant. yes, i killed a desert plant which requires almost no maintenance. oy vey.

wow. writing it out makes me feel like i might actually accomplish some of these tasks. i think i could get used to this setting goals thing.

so which one should i tackle first? don't say the fans.

ok, you're right it should probably be the fans. get the worst one out of the way. but then, what?

here's to a homier house is 2012!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

my weight loss tools

in an effort to "pay it forward" i thought it'd be nice to share with you some tips and tricks that i've picked up over the last year or so in my journey with weight watchers. i know there are many of you just starting out and i thought it might be nice to hear some things that helped me in the hopes that they will help you, too!

today i'm gonna share with you some tools that i found extremely helpful and that you're gonna want to have handy.

1. food scale: i remember thinking that food scales were annoying and complicated and just another appliance to clog your countertop. let me tell you- i am singing a different tune these days. i'm kind of obsessed with my food scale. have you ever tried to count out a serving of potato chips? well it ain't easy. enter the food scale. most servings of chips (according to the nutrition facts) is about 1oz or 16 or so chips. it's so much quicker to just weigh them on your food scale instead of trying to find only the perfect chips and count out 16. trust me. i've tried. it's also a great way to get an accurate measurement on meats, cheeses, you name it. food scales are not a huge investment and there's all kinds of options out there.

2. measuring cups & spoons: ok i think i might be hard pressed to find a kitchen in america that doesn't have a set of measuring cups or spoons but how often are they really used? if you're like me i only ever brought them out for baking. not anymore! i use my measuring cups and spoons every single day. it's the best way to know exactly how much you're taking in which is crucial when tracking your food. it will help you learn portion sizes. the first time i measured out a cup of pasta i was shocked. i would have thought a cup would give me a lot more than it did. my idea of portion sizes were way off. a year later and i still measure almost everything. it's just a great way to ensure i stay on track.

3. water bottle: this one might seem a little obvious, but water is so important! some days i do really bad on my water intake and i can usually tell because i'm tired and get headaches. water is a vital key in your weight loss! i find that if i have a water bottle i like it makes drinking water so much easier. i love my camelbak but there's all kinds of great brands out there. also, don't be afraid to put some fruit in your water. some of my favorites to use are lemons, oranges and even strawberries. it adds some sweetness to the water which makes it more enjoyable. one way i ensure i reach my recommended water intake (8 glasses a day) is to keep a water bottle with me on those nights when i'm at home catching up on my dvr. instead of mindlessly eating, i try to mindlessly drink water. haha. it works!

4. measuring tape: one thing that i am so glad i did when i started weight watchers was take my measurements. sure we all really care about the number on the scale but weight loss isn't just about the number on the scale. your body is changing, things are shifting, muscle is taking over where fat used to reside and sometimes the scale just doesn't move. and that's where measurements help. there were many weeks on weight watchers where i didn't lose on the scale but i lost inches in my measurements. i dropped from a size 10 to an 8 over a 2-month period with almost no weight loss. my body was still changing and i was so happy i had those measurements to encourage me that i was still on the right track. in a year i've lost 33.5 inches off my body! 10.5 of those are from my waist. now that is motivation!

those are just a few things that i've found helpful to have around and that i use on a daily or weekly basis. do you have any tools that you'd like to share? i'd love to hear them!

have a great day,

Friday, January 6, 2012

word of 2012

i am so humbled by all the love and support and encouragement you showered me with on my last post. it makes me realize that the internet, even with all its crazies, can be a wonderful place to connect with people. i've received numerous emails (that i really need to reply to) from many of you who are just starting out on this journey towards health and i am so excited for you. i really am! you are changing your life and it's hard but it's so worth it. take it from me.

i am filled with so much hope for this year. i have never been so excited for a new year, a fresh start, a new beginning. 2011 was a painful year, but God has graced me with strength i never thought was possible. i am confident that i am exactly where i am supposed to be. i am so fulfilled by my work, my family, my community. here. now. and i'm not naive. i know there will be days where i don't feel that. but today i do and i want to express my gratefulness for this life i have been blessed to live.

in november i started praying and asking God what my word was going to be for this year. last year he told me that 2011 was the year of promise.

and my word for 2012 is:

i believe this is a year of fresh starts... of new beginnings... do i know what that means or looks like exactly? nope. but i'm trusting God that His plans for me are better than i could ever hope or imagine.

grace and peace to you friends,

linking up with
The Lettered Cottage

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

a year later

one year.

that's how long i've been on weight watchers. seriously? how is it that a whole year has passed? looking back i am amazed that i managed to stick with this program for so long. and the fact that i still enjoy being on it? total reflection of what an incredible plan weight watchers is. no, i'm not being paid or endorsed to promote weight watchers, but i would like to be! hello people! success story over here! put me on a commercial!

when i started a year ago my motivation was pretty simple- my wedding. i had 10 months to get myself in a place where i wouldn't hate the pictures for the rest of my life. and then in march that all crumbled. can i just say that i am so glad i didn't give up on my weight loss journey even while walking through one of the hardest years of my life? because i am. i had every excuse to quit. to give up. to say "to heck with it all." turns out there's a fighter in me. ok, well i already knew that, but usually the fighting is on behalf of others and not myself. it gave me motivation despite the pain i was feeling. it gave me something to be happy about. to focus on. and focus i did.

somehow i have managed to track almost every single thing i consumed in 2011. there was 1 weekend that i let myself off the hook. and then this christmas i gave myself a 12-day break. that's it people. i'm an all-or-nothing kind of gal so you can bet i was all-in with this weight watchers gig. and it paid off.

here i sit, one year later, 62lbs lighter. wearing size 8 jeans instead of 16. with a 32" waist instead of 42. with strong legs that can run 3 miles on any given day. with visible biceps! haha! and no, i don't make muscles in the mirror on a daily basis. psssshhhh. ok, ok i do. so sue me.  ;)

weight watchers has changed my life. i am stronger, i am healthier, i am happier. i have made so many new friends through this journey who have inspired me and dare i say, i think i might have even inspired a few along the way. it gives me great joy to be able to support and encourage you in your journey to health and to show that YOU CAN DO IT! it is possible! if a lazy girl like me can do it, anyone can. but you have to want it. you have to be ready for it. you have to believe that it's possible and not give up. yes, there will be hard days. there will be weeks where the scale doesn't move. it will not be easy. but most great things aren't!

look at me preaching over here. i get so passionate about this now! i think i need to channel this into some future blog posts for those of you just starting out. i know you're out there. wondering if this is your year? the year when you finally do something?

and you know what? IT IS! i'm not done yet, so i'm still right there with you. i've got 8lbs till i reach my first goal of 70lbs but i might push it for a few more to stay in the middle of my ideal weight. if you've got specific questions i can address here on my blog or if there's anything you'd like to see me post about, please leave a comment and i'll see what i can do. i want to pay it forward as best i can.

different kid, same aunt susie :)

happy 1 year weight watchers anniversary to me!