Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Better Eating = Better Life?

Ok. So Matt is a handful! We have tried EVERYTHING to settle him down. Alas, we have come up with nothing! I started researching hyperactivity in children and how to curb it. I was directed, of course, to ADHD websites. Now, I do believe that there are many kids with this disorder, but I also think that it is over diagnosed. From my research, I am finding diet has a lot do do with "Hyperactivity". The processed foods and dyes are not very good for us~SURPRISE!!! I looked at the "warning signs" for ADHD and the only one that Matt exhibits right now is hyperactivity. So maybe it is true...you are what you eat?!

So...now what...While I am relieved that it appears he does not fall into that category, I am still at a loss. My plan is to start weeing ALL of us off of MOST of processed food~not going crazy but making a big change.  Ok, at first it didn't seem hard. Then it seemed impossible! If anyone has seen a school lunch menu, you have probably see your fair share of overly processed food on it. Now, I not only have to think about breakfast and dinner, but lunch also.  I have realized that I am not a millionaire so we do have to eat up the bad food in the house...hurt me! ;)  I have been slowly compiling recipes for homemade lunchables and better alternatives for snacks and breakfasts. I have also been slowly making healthier changes during grocery shopping.

Here is what I have found so far....Eating healthy = VERY EXPENSIVE!!!!! So, I am picking and choosing right now the best natural, whole foods, organics, ect bang for the buck. Also, I am challenging myself to buy only what is on my shopping list. This is hard due to the fact that I ALWAYS forget something! Tomorrow will be the test...Wish me luck! :) Happy Eating Everyone.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Livin'

  
  

Swimming: 5% Swimming. 95% just doing flips and handstands in the water







Wow! It is already mid-July...How did that happen?!?! We have been nonstop busy since before school let out. 




Softball~Team NBOH


We have played our Softball and T-ball games in June. We had great teams, coaches, kiddos, and parents for BOTH teams. 

Matt~Lil' Indian....so true!
















While I do miss the ball games, I am so thankful that we have the freedom for the month of July to do pretty much what we want. 




With that being said, we were able to pack our fair share of fun into June as well...





Such as tubing, Jet Skiing, Boating, playing in the water, and digging to China in the sand. Honestly, as a kiddo, what could be better?!?!














 Oh, let's not forget that we have had a lot of great ice cream from our all-time favorite store Barnside Creamery~if you haven't yet tried it then you are totally missing out!!







Not that the beginning of July should be outdone by any means...


We stayed overnight on Papa's "Big Boat" for the first time ever over the 4th of July holiday where we anchored out at Kelleys Island. We had tons of fun! (by the way, the kids were WONDERFUL!!!) 
Yup...Cole bustin' a move at his beach party!
















We even squeezed in my nephew (and God baby's) 16th birthday party. Wait, did I say that right, yes, I did~wow~I feel really old now!! :)








Even though this all may seem fun, I do believe that the first half of summer has plum-tuckered out my little man.















While we have had a busy first half Summer '12, it doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. I am so thankful for the memories we have made and the time we all have spent together as a family. Here's to the rest of summer!!  I hope you all are having a great Summer '12 also!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Not a Diet~A Lifestyle Change~


Diet leads us to believe that when we reach our goal, we are done...NOT TRUE! To lose weight and keep it off, you MUST change your lifestyle....

All of My Life:
All of my life I have been the "heavier" sister. I have been labeled "big-boned", "fluffy", and any other nice term used to describe an overweight person. I knew I was bigger, the size 14/16 on my pants told me that, but I didn't really see how big. In all honesty, while I was never comfortable with my appearance, I didn't think I looked awful either. I always said that I was the child who never lost her baby fat.  There were many times being the "heavier" sister was excruciatingly hard, especially when my sister has the opposite problem. She is a naturally thin person. I would resent her for this many times. (LOVE YOU NOW, SIS) Here is my theory on the difference between my sister and me: When we were in heaven, there was a line for metabolism. When we were standing in line, God accidentally gave her 2 metabolisms and me none. Duh, that HAS to be it, right? I knew I had to do something about this. I did not want my daughter ever struggling with her weight and appearance like I have. I wanted to be a better example of health. So I set my goal to lose 50 pounds. I wanted to do it right, no weird crash diets, no impossible "it thing" that I would never be able to follow through on for the rest of my life. So here is what I decided to do:

The Journey:
I started my journey almost 2 years to the day. This is me before:
I started out in January of 2010 at my heaviest weight of 190. I was trying to loose weight but it was not working. I was watching what I ate and exercised 3 times a week. Still, the weight did not come off.
Finally in March of 2010, I went to my doctor for an annual check up and explained what I had been doing to lose weight. He looked at me and told me  how to do it. He said it wouldn't be fun. It wouldn't be easy. It HAD to be a lifestyle change. This is what I did:

 *Reduce my caloric intake  to 1200-
   1400 calories a day
 *Exercise for 1 hour a day for 6 days a
    week
  *Start a Food Journal to keep track of Calories, exercise, and weight
  *Eat off of a salad plate for dinner. Ok, what?!? Yes, a salad plate. He explained that all of the nutrition a woman needs per meal can be put on a salad plate (off to the side is what my place should consist of).
Of all of these, the salad plate was the hardest to get used to! I am going to be completely honest, it took me a couple months for my body to adjust to this.


My NEW Way of Eating:
Then the question arose of how to cook healthier. I always made the same dinner for my family that, I, myself ate. I was raised that my mom only cooked one meal for dinner. If we didn't care for something on our plate, we had to try it and make the best of it. I also believe in this mindset. I did not go overboard and revise the way everyone in my house ate. Lets be honest, I was the one who needed to lose weight. So what I did was make smarter changes. Light butter instead of regular, used my nonstick pan with nonstick cooking spray in place of sauteing/browning in oil, and added tons of fresh fruit and vegetables to the fridge.  At the beginning, I my goal was around 1200-1300 calories. As time progressed and I started hitting my goals, I upped my calorie intake to 1500 calories per day to still lose weight.

I am also fortunate that I am the grocery shopper in my family. I was able to buy treats that the kids love and should have in moderation, but I was able to buy the things that didn't tempt me. Lets be honest, if our weakness is Oreo cookies and they are in the house, we are more likely to fail. I also purchased a scale to weigh my food to get proper servings to mark my calories.

I started a Food Journal. I did this before I found sites like myfitnesspal.com or Livestrong.com (which is what I currently use). I searched calorie counter websites to make sure I listed every calorie of ever meal. This was very time consuming but a must. Now such sites as Livestrong.com has a place to add your own recipes and they will calculate the nutrition counts for you. WAY.EASIER.


Exercising:
Those who know me know that I am not a lover of exercise. To this day, 2 years later, I still don't "love" it per say, but I do feel so much better when I do it. I started out doing aerobics, yoga, and pilates (to equal an hour) 3 days a week (via video since going to a gym in not really an option). On the other 3 days a week I would walk for an hour on my treadmill. I would make myself get up at 5:10 so I could get my workout done and over for the day. Since Matt was still not in school, exercising during the day really did not work so well. Come evening time, there was really no energy to expend on exercising, so that didn't work for me either. I was stuck getting up early. It was not easy, but I found that after I got out of bed and put my workout clothes on I was fine. When I found that my weight was plateauing, I started a new video and/or walked at a faster pace. Eventually, I was able to jog a mile and walk the rest. I just built up from there. I had to learn to push and challenge myself every step of the way. I also weighted myself daily, and still do. This way I could see my trends better. My wii fit is my best friend when it comes to this. I love being able to see the graph going down. Snotty Sara, I mean my wii fit does get a little sarcastic at times which would make me want to prove her wrong...yes, sometimes it is the little incentives that make the difference.

My Mindset:
I started noticing results right away. I was generally losing 2 lbs. a week. Now there were times that I would splurge ie holidays, birthdays, graduations, but I would always "get back on the horse" the next day. If I had a bad day, I would try not to beat myself up too hard, I just made the resolve to do better tomorrow. My guiding force was (and still is) being a healthy role model for my children. To show them how to be healthy and teach healthy habits. When I was exercising to my videos, I would always have a picture of my kids in sight so I would remember my goal.

Results:
After 2 long years, I have lost over 50 lbs and kept them off. I went from a 14/16 and XL tops to 4/6 and medium tops. Not only did I lose weight, but I gained and defined muscle along the way.  My current workout routine is X-Factor videos 3-4 times a week and running (yes, running!!) 4 9-minute miles 2-3 days a week.

I am now just really maintaining and firming. I eat TONS of fresh fruit daily now an I am trying to make better grain and dairy choices. I use livestrong.com which lets you set your weight goals. When you set them, it will break down how many calories you need for the day. You record what you ate, your weight, your daily exercise, etc. It is wonderful and I strongly suggest you give it a try. It has shown me different aspects of my daily nutrition breakdown that I am now trying to fix, such as sodium.


 The strangest hurdles I have had to get past were when people would comment about how much I have lost and being able to look in the mirror and actually see the changes. When people would come up and say how great I look, it would make me extremely uncomfortable, especially when they would state "not that you looked bad before". I know people meant well and that they were definitely words of encouragement but I wasn't prepared to deal with them. In time, I have learned to simply say "thank you" and leave it at that unless they continue on with the conversation. I was not prepared to have so many people ask me how I did it. It seemed that my life centered around this with people I knew. Looking back, I think it is great that people were curious. Maybe I helped them make a change of some sort, net necessarily just about weight.

The second was even harder~seeing what others saw. I went through a long period of time where I just didn't see the results in the mirror. I knew that my scale and clothes said differently, but it wasn't matching my perception in the mirror. I didn't know how to be skinny~I knew how to be fat.  It is still hard to sometimes get the "skinny" concept through my head. I am just now seeing my own results when I look in the mirror. I absolutely love what I see.


I was talking to a friend that I just pretty much got to know this past fall. We were talking a few months ago about weight, nutrition, and excercise. She is also in the process of losing weight and she is going about it in a similar manor as I did. She was amazed that I was actually 50 lbs. heavier. She just assumed that I have always been skinny. To me that was a great compliment. I feel that shows that I lost weight in a healthy way and toned areas, too. She just recently asked to see a photo of my "before". This is the first time I have really looked at it! OMG! I figured that it was about time to actually look at an "after" picture of myself so here goes!!

This is why I decided to share my story with anyone who is interested.  I am proud to say that I am the healthiest and happiest I have ever been. It is like a weight is lifted off of me (no pun intended). I have a new confidence when I go out in public. Most importantly, I feel that I am the best role model that I can be for my children.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Inspiration



After a school shooting around Cleveland, they interviewed one of the victims’ mothers. When asked what she would say to the shooter, she replied “I forgive you.” She went on saying that until we walk in their shoes, we should not speak out against them. WOW!
This is a great lesson for the Lenten season that is upon us. The strength of that mother to forgive the child who took HER child’s life is awe-inspiring.  I don’t know if I would ever be that strong. To say I admire this woman doesn’t even describe it. I should only hope that if I were ever in a horrible situation I would be able to look to God for guidance and strength and follow through in a manner that he would see pleasing.

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

It amazes me how such a short simple verse can be so hard to live by. I will hopefully never forget this lesson and hope to institute it in my everyday life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A look back through 2011 and a Resolution for 2012

While I may be a little early for making resolutions, I think I have already found mine. My resolution for 2012 is one I not only want to carry throughout the year but one I hope to keep for life.

As I look back at 2011, it had its shares of stressors that I would like to purge from my life. 2011 also had some wonderful moments which I hope to capture, cherish, and make grow in the future.

Paul and I shared our 10 year anniversary with a much needed vacation and time away. I love my husband more than words. We are opposites in most every way and there are days that I am astounded that we work, but we do. We bring much needed balance to each others lives.

Kaitlyn has turned into an outgoing 2nd grader. She has come so far from the painfully shy, often emotional, kindergartner of two years ago. She is smart, funny, caring, beautiful, and kind. She is responsible and has an amazing heart. She is well loved by her friends and peers. I only hope to help her grow into an even more beautiful girl in the years to come.

Matthew, well, what can I say. He is trying, energetic, rough-and-tumble, spirited, extremely smart, and tiring. Most of all he, too, is kind spirited and loves to make others smile. While he sometimes takes it to extremes, aka class clown, he genuinely cares about others. He is flourishing in kindergarten, for which, I am thankful that we made the tough decision to place him ‘on time’. He brings a lightness to my life and a definite challenge to expect the unexpected. My hope for the future is to help challenge and channel his spirit to shape him into a kind and caring father, husband, and friend.

My family, no matter what is thrown in our paths, we find the strength in each other to move past it. Together with each other, we can surpass any obstacle that is put in our way.

My friends are truly amazing. They brighten my days with kind thoughts, words, and support. I would not be who I am without them. They give me inspiration to be a better and stronger person. I love you all!! xoxo

So for the new year, I resolve to take more time for myself on a regular basis. Whether it is to read a book, soak in a tub full of bubbles, taking a walk by myself, or something I have yet to think of; I feel that this will ultimately help me be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. My hopes are that it will help center and ground me. Possibly give me some patience and less anxiety about the things I cannot control. Ultimately, I hope it makes me closer to God and my family and friends.

The thought in words sounds so simple but, my fear is that I will get caught up in the hustle of life and it will once again be pushed to the way side. I have made a vow to myself that I am going to try to rid my life of some stressors, which I will hopefully ‘weed’ out before Christmas.

Here is to starting 2012 on a calmer, happier, more joyful note. I hope everyone has a great Christmas, Hanukkah, and a wonder beginning, middle, and end to 2012.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Turning Point

WOW! That is all I have to say. It has been a hectic few months~
Back to school~Matt LOVE! LOVE! LOVES school! He is doing wonderfully. We had a tough couple weeks at the beginning when we were learning where the line was in the sand between 'funny' and 'too far'. Thankfully, we have jumped that hurdle and put it behind us! Phew!
Matt's Surgery~On Sept. 12th Matt had his second surgery for his club foot (The first was at a month old). He did wonderfully. Let me tell you, a walker does NOT slow this boy down. He has even found a way to walk on his foot with out his walker ever though it is bent at a 90 degree angle. What a boy!!

Mama's new 'job'~I am volunteering at the school Monday's and Wednesday's all day. It makes for long days but fun, none the less. I had also put in my application for subbing at BCS (no sillies, not teacher subbing ~secretarial and aide subbing). I didn't think it would go anywhere, but low and behold, I am now hired in as a sub. In a whirlwind, I have been trained for secretarial, teacher/recess aide, soon actual teacher's aide and cashier subbing~ ALL trial by fire, might I add (I find I learn better that way so it is not too bad). I find myself volunteering and subbing 4 days a week sometimes. WOW~I have not been in the work force for 10 years. I forgot how hectic it is to have a (almost full-time) job outside of the home! I don't think I would change it though...it feels good to be Shanna again not Mommy. :)

Kait~Kait is continuing to flourish in school! This year something seems to have clicked and her math is going smoothly. This was the only subject that she had difficulties in last year. She just had her first sleepover at a friend's house. I was so surprised when I DIDN'T have to go get her in the middle of the night! I am so proud of how she is growing and coming out of her shell!! Now if we can only get her to be nice to her brother ALL of the time ;P

House~Nothing much has come of our house being up for sale. We have a semi-interested looker but is unsure about financing. Either way, I am fine. If it doesn't sell then I will take that as a sign that I am to live here for a long~very, very, very, very long time! At least by getting it ready for the open house a few weeks ago, we are all done with our fall cleaning/touch-ups/getting little projects finished chores. Phew~what a relief!

Last but not least,

Paul~Well~everyone please sit down for this one~He finally got a job offer!!! We will be staying in the area. He is starting work at Materion (Brush Wellman) on Monday!!! Can I get a WOO HOO from everyone please?!?! It has been a long and stressful few months! I have cried, vented, and beaten the proverbial 'dead horse' on many of my dear friends' shoulders! I am so blessed and thankful to have such strong and patient people in my life! THANK YOU!!

All in all, I knew that we would be in a better place and we are. I never lost faith, just patience! I hope life is good (or at least 'falling into place') for everyone else! I know that the direction of a life can change in an instant~just have faith (and try some patience too~haha) that you will end up where you are meant to be. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Footprints

In the past year I have encountered everything from the death of my grandmother, car accident, surgery, job loss (my husband), struggles with faith, and personal issues with my family. I have not been my cheeriest as of late.

One of the hardest parts of this year was our church. Due to changes, I no longer felt as if I belonged to a place/faith that I have known my whole life. I would leave church feeling awful, sad, and almost worthless due to preaching and sermons. I struggled as to which direction to go. I found how easy it would be to turn away from God and faith all together.

Then, we found a new church. It is amazing~the priest is absolutely wonderful, uplifting, and inspirational. I feel God put us on this path quite simply to bring him and his inspiration into not only my life but my family's lives. He is what has gotten me through the better part of all of this and I will always be thankful to him.

It is with this situation, that I turned back to a poem from my childhood. I realize the poem will always give me strength:

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”


~Mary Stevenson, 1936

Four years ago, during a difficult period when we lost a very close family friend, I stumbled across a song called “Footprints in the Sand” by Leona Lewis. I clicked on it, not thinking that it would be the actual poem. To my surprise, it was. It is the most beautiful and uplifting song and it often reminds me that I am never alone. It gives me strength when I feel I have none. Just know that if or when you are at a low point remember God will always carry us through anything.