Rejoice in His Blessings this Year. Join Me in #Blessings366

At my most recent MOPs meeting, I was talking to some of my fellow moms and telling them that I wanted a break from social media. Facebook becomes a time suck for me. I get so wrapped up in reading and liking posts that before I know it, I’ve spent an hour getting absolutely nothing accomplished.

So, I had decided that I wouldn’t be doing my “Blessing of the day” in 2016 so that I could keep myself off of Facebook.

One of the moms begged me to change my mind. She told me she had gone through some really hard times this past year, and my “Blessings of the day” posts were what helped encourage her to keep looking up. She told me I had no idea how much those daily pictures and posts had helped her, and she couldn’t imagine not having them to look forward to in 2016.

I told her I would pray about it, and the more I did, the more I knew I had to keep sharing. Not just for her, (though I do love knowing it was an encouragement to someone out there!), but because of the effect it had on me. I was able to look back through this past year and see all God brought us through… and there was a lot! God was so good, and even on the hard days, I was still able to find some kind of blessing during that day. It’s been a great way to remember to be grateful, even when times are tough.


So, I will keep tradition alive, and I will share my blessings each day in 2016. Because it’s a leap year, I’ll have to change the hashtag, so this year, you can find the blessings at #blessings366 on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

I would love it if you would join me. Your photos don’t have to be anything fancy. Just find one blessing every day and share it using the hashtag #blessings366.

If you are committed to participating in #blessings366 this year, grab the button below and put it on your blog. It’ll help remind you to share your blessings with those around you.

I am excited to see what the Lord does in 2016, and I’m hoping you’ll be a part of it. Let’s give all the glory to our Savior this year and watch the blessings roll in!

@EclosBeauty #EclosGoBare Skin Care Challenge {Sponsored}

Sample Received

Disclaimer: I received samples of the products mentioned below in exchange for my review. I was in no other way compensated for this post and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Thanks to Eclos and Klout, I have the opportunity to participate in the Eclos Dare to Go Bare 2 Week Skin Care Challenge. Now, day one of this challenge will definitely be the hardest for me. You see, before I start using the Eclos beauty products, I need to post an unedited, no makeup on, completely bare picture of my face.


But, I’m game for just about anything, so here goes… here I am in all my unedited, no makeup on glory:

Eclos Go Bare Challenge

Scary, I know.

I started using the Eclos Go Bare Kit I received on Tuesday of this week, and already since then I’ve noticed a big change. I’m excited to see how my skin looks at the end of the 2 week challenge.

My Eclos Go Bare Kit included the following products:

  • Skin Prep Cleanser
  • Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream
  • Daily HydraPrimer SPF 30

eclos beautyThe cleanser works really well. I can feel it tingling, and it actually gets warm as I rub it into my skin. And I love how my skin feels afterward. The Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream hydrates my skin, and keeps it feeling smooth and hydrated all day long. And the Daily HydraPrimer has just enough tint to it that I don’t need an extra coverup or foundation. I love how it feels, and I love that it’s got the SPF 30 to help protect my skin while I’m out and about.

I’m really excited about the two week challenge and I can’t wait to share my results with you at the end of the two weeks. I hope you’ll be sure to check out my final results in just a couple of weeks.

For more information about Eclos, and to follow along with others that are taking the Dare to Go Bare Challenge, connect in the following ways:

If you’re participating in the Eclos Go Bare Challenge, be sure to leave me a comment so that I can follow along with your progress!

My Results in the @DietBet Challenge

On Saturday, the DietBet Challenge that I started in May ended.

Truth be told, I was terrified that I wouldn’t do well in the challenge at all. Stress has been a killer the past few weeks, and then with VBS last week, it took a toll on my diet. {Our church feeds everyone Sunday night – Friday night for dinner. TONS of food, and more dessert than should ever be allowed to sit on one counter at any given time.} BUT, I stayed strong. {Several nights I brought my own dessert: Fat free Snackwells or Fat Free Fig Newtons. Definitely not what I wanted, but every little bit helps.}

I started the challenge at 183.8. That put me at about 30 pounds less than I was when I started dieting and exercising in January.

Before I show you the video of my final weigh-in, let me apologize. This was taped around 8am on Saturday morning. I had been up since 5am and exercising since 6am. I wanted to get that weigh-in done and over with, so that means you get to see me at my worst. Sorry about that!

Ok, that being said, here’s my final weigh-in for this challenge:

I was totally stoked! I dropped 10 pounds in those 28 days! Even with all the odds stacked against me, I was still able to lose more weight. And, because I dropped to 173.6, that means I have officially lost 40 pounds since January. Yahoo!

Take a look at what just 10 pounds can do to a person:

By the way, the jeans that I’m wearing in the After pictures? Those are a size 8! They were my “goal” pants for a very long time. I held onto them for years, just hoping I could squeeze my big butt back into them someday. The last time I wore those jeans was in December 2005 for our family pictures. I got pregnant with Lucy right after that, and I haven’t been able to get back into them since then.

Until now! Now, I have a new goal. I would love to get myself back into a size 4 – which is still bigger than I was when I married my husband and size 0 hung off me. I started in January as a size 16, and I’ve made it to an 8/10. I am really excited, and I KNOW I can do even better.

As far as the results of the challenge, I had 3 people that never sent me their final weights. 🙁 I went ahead and ended the game, though, because everyone was getting anxious to find out who won.

Here are the results from those of us who weighed in:

  • Amy – Stayed the same.
  • Teri – Dropped 2.6 pounds
  • Tara – Dropped 4.4 pounds
  • Suzi – Dropped 9.08 pounds
  • Angie – Dropped 10.2 pounds

Not too shabby, ladies! Great job!

According to the DietBet rules, Suzi & I are the winners. Therefore, I am giving her the $50 Amazon Gift card that was up for grabs.

I have had SO many people ask me how I’ve lost the weight and what I’ve been doing to keep the weight off that tomorrow I will be putting up a special post to answer a lot of the questions I’ve been asked. If you have a question that you’d like me to answer, please add it as a comment to this post. I hope my hard work and effort will encourage you and motivate you to meet your own weight loss goals.

I still have a long way to go…. about another 40 pounds…. but I KNOW I can do it. I want to encourage you to reach your own goals.

I do have to say, though, that 40 pounds makes an amazing difference. I feel better than I have in years!

The DietBet Challenge is ON! My Official Weigh-in.

I’m a little behind posting this. Things have been kind of crazy around here.

On Saturday, I started a new DietBet weight loss challenge. This time, I competing against 6 ladies. At the end of the challenge, we will see who the winner{s?} is{are?}, and prizes will be awarded.

I am really excited about this challenge, for lots of reasons: First, I do better when I’m competing. It keeps me from eating things I know I shouldn’t, and it motivates me to exercise and push myself just a little harder. Secondly, I am already doing so well at reaching my goals, and I think this is the “push” I need to keep going.

I am also really excited about sharing this experience with some very special people in my life! Last time I did the DietBet challenge, I didn’t really know the girls I was competing against. This time, however, I know most of these girls on a personal level. I’ve known one girl since we were about 3 years old. We went to school together – from preschool all the way through 5th grade. {I moved to Chicago the summer between my 5th and 6th grade year.} We got back in contact in 2002 completely by accident… I ran into her mom at the little cake shop that made our wedding cake. It turned out her daughter was getting married about a month before I was. We were able to go to each others’ weddings. We lost touch again, and through the power of Facebook, we got back in touch. We’ve both struggled with our weight, so we’ve been cheering each other on for a few months now.

I’m also competing against a friend from a church I went to in Ohio, a friend I go to church with now, my best friend’s mom, and 2 other fabulous ladies I’ve just recently had the chance to meet. I am STOKED! Although, this may not be such a good thing. I may get so busy cheering them on that I might just forget and eat a box of donuts or something. 🙂 I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that at all.

Ok, ok. Time to get to the hardest part of this post. The video of my official weigh in. It’s a little different than my official weigh-in in January when I tipped the scales at 213 pounds. I’ve definitely lost some weight since then… but getting on a scale in front of anyone just isn’t easy.

And before you watch this video, let me just tell you that I had just finished playing 3 hours of volleyball. So, my hair is in a ponytail, and I’m pretty sure I sweated all my makeup off. But, that’s the real me… scary, I know.

Ok, here’s the video:

Crazy. 183.8. That’s down almost exactly 30 pounds since January, which is great, but I know I can do better. I really think this challenge will speed things up again. At least I’m hoping that’s what it does.

Now, here are my “Before” pictures for this challenge. {Be sure to check out my Before & After pictures from the last challenge. It made such a difference, I’m hoping to do it again!}

Yep, I still have a loooooong way to go. But I know I can do it!

I hope you’ll stick with us for the next 4 weeks. You can follow our DietBet Challenge by clicking here: DietBet Challenge – May 2012. Be sure to leave me some love on my profile page. I’m going to need it!

Also, I am still looking for a few more sponsors for the challenge. If you have a business and want lots of exposure, contact me today!

Let the games begin!

Seeking Sponsors & Participants in a @DietBet Weight Loss Challenge

I am competitive by nature. Sometimes that’s a good thing… especially when it comes to weight loss. Earlier this year, I participated in a DietBet Challenge, and I lost a total of 17 pounds during the challenge. It was amazing. I felt great, and I saw a major change.

But then, I slacked off. Sure, I still ate right – for the most part -and I kept portions sizes much smaller than they had been. I still exercised – almost daily – but I just wasn’t feeling motivated to really work hard at reaching my goals. Actually, for awhile, I got into a major funk and just couldn’t bring myself to do anything.

I want to change that. I want to give myself another swift kick in the butt, and I want to see those results again. I’m down a total of 29 pounds since my first weigh in, so I KNOW I can do it. I just need some motivation to do it… and that why I’m coming to you!

I have set up a DietBet Challenge, and now I’m looking for Sponsors and Participants. Here’s what I’m thinking…

Sponsors: Money for so many is tight right now. While putting our own money into the “pot” would be a great motivator, many of us just can’t afford to put anything into the pot. That’s where you come in. I am looking for sponsors that are willing to donate prizes to the winner(s) of the challenge. The prizes can be anything: cash, gifts for moms, fitness products – I’ll let you decide that part. Each sponsor will receive top-sponsorship sidebar advertising on my blog for the duration of the contest. {That’s a $45 value.} You will also receive a post on my blog about your products/services as well as what you are offering for the challenge, and that will never be deleted. {2 SEO friendly links will be included at no cost to you.} At the end of the challenge, prizes will be divvied up among the winners. If you would like to donate a prize to the Blessed Beyond Words Weight Loss Challenge, please use the contact form to let me know. Please put DietBet – SPONSOR as the subject of your email.

Participants: If you are SERIOUS about losing weight, a DietBet Challenge is a great way to do just that. I would LOVE to have you join us. You will be required to weigh in twice: Once at the start of the challenge, and the second at the end of the challenge. I will need proof of these weigh ins – either video or a photo of the scale while you are standing on it. {It keeps us honest, and it holds us accountable.} If you want these photos private, I ask that you email them to me, and no one but me will ever lay eyes on them. You can also set up DietBet to keep any numbers you post completely private. There’s no reason for you to feel humiliated. Promise. I will tell you that I will post ALL numbers and videos to my blog. It’s a key motivation factor for me. But, that’s my choice, and mine alone. If you want to keep to yourself, I have zero problem with that. If you are interested in participating, please use the contact form to let me know. Please put DietBet – PARTICIPANT as the subject of your email.

I already have several people signed up to take the challenge. I’d like to get this all set up so we can have our first official weigh in soon and start the challenge.

Are you with me?

Results of the @MaxClarity Challenge

Last month, I posted that my daughter Ashley would be taking the MaxClarity Challenge and seeing if it made a difference in her acne. For almost a month now, Ashley has faithfully used the MaxClarity system as part of her morning and evening routine.

I am pleased to report that she is thrilled with the results…. and so am I.

I’m going to post her before and after pictures – but I’m going to post the after picture first. {That way, when this post shows up in the featured box at the top of the blog, my daughter won’t refuse to speak to me for a week again. 😉 }

As you can see, there’s hardly a zit anywhere to be found. She loves how well the MaxClarity program has worked for her. She feels more confident, and she loves the fact that she doesn’t have to worry about wearing a ton of makeup to feel better about herself.

We do have a few thoughts about the system that we wanted to share with you:

  • I tried using the MaxClarity products myself, but I had to stop after just a few days. I have SUPER sensitive skin, and my face broke out, peeled, and burned like it was on fire. Obviously, there’s something in there that just doesn’t work for me. And that’s ok. It worked really well on my daughter, and she absolutely loves her results. That makes me happy enough. 🙂 I’ll just continue to use makeup to cover up my blemishes and hope that someone out there will come up with a product for super-sensitive folks like me.
  • The bottle colors totally confused my daughter. Ashley is a blonde – all the way to her roots – and things need to be simple in order for her to “get” it. With the MaxClarity system, you use the light blue topped bottle {Deep Cleanser} morning and night. Simple. BUT, then you use the dark blue topped bottle {Advanced Acne Treatment} in the morning and the yellow topped bottle {Rejuvenating toner} at night. Most people associate yellow with the sun, and dark with the night, so there were more than a few times that Ashley used the system backwards. {Even though I posted the chart on the mirror in her bathroom. Sigh.} But, really – I wish MaxClarity would consider changing the colors to coordinate with day and night. Might help these teenagers out.
  • I should have contacted  the MaxClarity Difference Team about the MaxClarity Difference Promise as soon as I started having problems with the system. After all, that’s what they’re there for. I will probably still contact them after this post to see if they can figure out why it would have such an adverse affect on my skin.
  • I love that the system uses foam, and that such a little bit goes such a long way. Ash is about halfway through each bottle, which is great, since each one is supposed to last 2 months.
  • It started working right away on Ashley. It wasn’t 2 days before we noticed a BIG change. The acne she had was disappearing, and there were no new pimples forming. I couldn’t believe how quickly it did that for her.

Ashley will definitely continue to use the MaxClarity system. She’s already asked me if we can order more to have it on hand so she doesn’t run out. She loves the way her skin looks and feels, and I love how much it has boosted her confidence. She tells me all the time how much she loves MaxClarity and how everyone has noticed how much it’s helped her acne.

If you have a teenager, I would highly encourage you to have your teen take the MaxClarity Challenge and see how it works for them. It may be just the product they need to get rid of their acne problem and start feeling better about themselves.

Also, be sure to connect with MaxClarity by visiting their website, following them on twitter, and becoming a fan on Facebook.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MaxClarity and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Up For the MaxClarity Challenge

As the mom of a teenage girl, I know firsthand that acne can quickly send her self esteem out the window. What we see as just a little pimple can feel like the end of the world to a teenager. I was the same way when I was a teen, and my parents tried everything they could find to help eliminate my acne problems. I started wearing makeup at 13 just to cover up my problem areas. My daughter is 14, and she has no desire to wear makeup yet. {Her morning routine is already 2 hours long. Could you imagine what it will be if she starts applying makeup every day?}

That being said, though, there are many times when she’ll wish that she wore makeup, just to hide the acne. Certain days are worse than others, and when she gets a major breakout, she wants to hide in her room until it passes.

We are both so excited about taking the MaxClarity Challenge. I may be 30-something, but it seems my acne has only gotten worse as time has gone on. There are days when I look more like a pimply-faced teenager than I do a mom of 6. I hate it.

I’ve been checking out the MaxClarity website quite a bit lately, and I have to say that I am really impressed with the system – and with the results others have had. And I love that there are only 2 simple steps, twice a day. Even a teenager can handle that! {Even MY teenager can handle that, and it won’t add a whole lot of time into her already hectic morning routine.} No getting up extra early just to be able to follow through with the MaxClarity program.

I was also impressed by the MaxClarity Difference Team and the MaxClarity Difference Promise. MaxClarity offers an entire Customer Service Team  that will have your back. With 60 members, there is always someone available to answer your questions and discuss any concerns you have. In addition to their excellent customer service, they also have a research team dedicated to bring us new acne innovations and the best in skin care science. It’s nice to know the company truly stands behind their product and wants to offer their consumers a product that works well – and a product that works quickly. MaxClarity is a foam-based acne medicine. It’s the first and only non-prescription acne-fighting foam system. The foam goes deep below the skin, allowing it to work for all skin types, as well as for people of all ages. {That’s what excited me the most!}

Participating in this Challenge is only going to do good things for my daughter’s confidence. If we can get rid of those trouble spots, she’ll feel better about herself, and she won’t feel the desire to hide in her room for days on end. Ashley is a very responsible girl, and I’m certain that adding the MaxClarity program to her morning and night time routine is only going to make her feel more responsible. And if she sees results quickly, it will encourage her even more to stick with the program.

I know my daughter is going to strangle me when she discovers that I put up this picture, but I wanted to give you a before shot of her problem areas:

As you can see, her forehead, cheeks, and chin are where she has the most trouble. I can’t wait to see what the MaxClarity Challenge does for her skin – and her confidence.

In the coming weeks, I’ll post an update about how the MaxClarity Challenge has worked for Ashley, and I promise to include pictures of the results.

While you wait for that, I hope you’ll take some time to get to know more about MaxClarity and all they offer. You can learn more by visiting their website, following them on twitter, and becoming a fan on Facebook.


Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MaxClarity and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

The Results are In for the #DietBet Mom Bloggers Challenge

It’s official: All 7 Moms in the Mom Bloggers DietBet Challenge have met their goals! That means we will all be splitting the $5,000 pot. Each person and/or charity will receive $715.

I want to congratulate each of the other bloggers:

dietbet I also wanted to share my experience with the DietBet challenge with each of you and give you my honest input.

First, I love a good dose of friendly competition. I am one that does NOT like to lose. {Unless I’m losing weight – that I like.} Competing against other people – even if they were complete strangers gave me a sense of desire to eat right the entire time and not stray off my diet and exercise routine. I do kind of wish it had been a winner-take-all sort of deal, because I did so well in the competition by almost doubling the 4% goal that DietBet set for me.

Second, I *love* that I can donate my winnings to charity. If I had been in it to just win the money for myself, I know I wouldn’t have done as well. Knowing that DietBet is sending a check to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in my name for the amount of $715 makes every second of the challenge worth it. I never could have donated that much money to them otherwise.

Third, I loved actually going to my local Curves office and weighing in once a week. Now the ladies at Curves know me by name, and they have been *such* an encouragement the entire time. I still don’t own a scale here at home, so I’ll probably have to drop in there every so often to see if I’ve lost more weight.

The only thing I wish had been different is that I wish DietBet would calculate pounds in decimal increments. For example, the second week, I lost 1.5 pounds, but DietBet didn’t round it up, it said I only lost 1 pound. {Boy, was that depressing! At least give me that half a pound!} I guess if you don’t have much to lose, that really isn’t a big deal, but honestly? It’s a really big deal to me. I worked hard to lose every pound – and half a pound – over these 4 weeks.

So, would I do another DietBet again? ABSOLUTELY. I found it to be exactly the motivation I needed to jumpstart my weight loss. Now, all I want to do is keep on the same track and keep losing until I’ve met ALL my goals.

I plan to keep the weight loss section up on my blog. It’s a great way to keep myself motivated and accountable. I have a very long way to go, but I’m hoping to be at my goal weight by the end of this year. I know I can do it. {Although, I have to say I’m a little jealous of the other bloggers who have been contacted by large weight loss companies. Wishing one of them would find my blog and help support me in meeting my goals.} But, even without them, I’ve proven that I can make the changes necessary to lose weight, and I can do it all on my own. I’m not giving up – no matter what.

Will you continue to support me through my weight loss journey?

Disclaimer: DietBet gave me the opportunity to participate in a Mom Blogger’s Challenge and compete for $5,000. Since each blogger won, $715 will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am not a doctor. Any steps I take to lose weight are my own, and individuals should seek their doctor’s opinion before starting a weight loss program of any kind.

My Final Weigh In for the #DietBet Mom Bloggers Challenge

It’s hard to believe that it’s the end of the DietBet Mom Bloggers Challenge. What a roller coaster of emotions this has been.

I had my final weigh in yesterday, and I have to tell you – I was nervous! This past week has been insane. Between moving, painting, cleaning, and the stress of everything combined, it was nearly impossible to find the time to get on the treadmill for my routine exercise. I had still been eating right and was only drinking water, but I didn’t know if I was still burning enough calories to make a difference and lose weight.

At my last weigh in, I was exactly 200 pounds – down 13 pounds from my starting weight. I just knew I was either going to go back up or I was going to be stuck at that big round number.

When I started the challenge, I needed to lose 9 pounds to meet the DietBet goal and be considered a “winner.” But, I had set a personal goal for myself to lose 15 pounds and bring myself under that 200 mark.

Do you think I did it?

Here’s the video….

Did you catch that? 196 pounds. I met both goals. Actually, I exceeded both goals, and I am so excited. I’ve lost 17 pounds in the challenge, and I think that’s fantastic. I’m pretty darn proud of myself.

I had hubby take some more pictures yesterday so I could see the before and after difference. Take a look… {You can click on the picture to see the larger version.}

Weight Loss Journey - 4 Weeks In

The past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been having more and more people come up to me and tell me they’ve noticed that I’m losing weight. I really hadn’t seen it until I looked at the before and after pictures side by side. I’ve lost half my face – and at least one or two extra chins. I also have to say that since I gave up soda and junk food, I feel so much better. I’m definitely keeping these changes and I’m determined that 2012 will be MY year to become a healthier me.

I know I still have a very long way to go, but I’m definitely off to a great start. And, I owe it all to DietBet and their Mom Blogger’s Challenge.

Soon I’ll post the final results and tell you how all the other moms did in the Challenge. I was up against some tough competition, so I wouldn’t doubt it if we all ended up splitting the pot.

So, how did I do? Are you impressed that I stayed motivated the entire challenge and lost as much as I did? Will you continue to support me in my weight loss journey?

Disclaimer: DietBet is giving me the opportunity to participate in a Mom Blogger’s Challenge and compete for $5,000 – which, if won, will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am not a doctor. Any steps I take to lose weight are my own, and individuals should seek their doctor’s opinion before starting a weight loss program of any kind.

End of Week 3 DietBet Weigh In

Can you believe that there is just ONE week left in the DietBet Mom Bloggers Challenge? These 3 weeks have flown by, and I’m finding that it’s getting easier and easier all the time to eat right, exercise, and live without Pepsi.

I went for my weekly weigh in yesterday afternoon at my local Curves facility. The girls there all know me by name there now, and they have been such a support and an encouragement. I was really hesitatant to step on the scale because last week I had only dropped a pound and a half. I was so afraid it would be worse this week and that my confidence would plummet.

bathroom scaleBefore I get to my results for this week, let me recap my numbers for you:

  • Day 1 – Official weigh in revealed I was 213 pounds.
  • End of week 1 – Lost 8 pounds, dropping me to 205 pounds.
  • End of week 2 – Lost 1.5 pounds, bringing me down to 203.5 pounds.

Again, I was expecting to have not lost much this week. I haven’t made any changes at all during the DietBet Challenge, so I never know what to expect when it’s time to step on the scale.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale and saw that I had dropped another 3 and a half pounds!

That’s right! I am down to exactly 200 pounds.

I am so, so happy. My personal goal for this challenge is to bring my weight under 200 pounds. I’ve still got one more week to go, but even if I have another week where I only lose 1.5 pounds, I will meet that goal.

Hard work pays off – and so does sticking with what works. I still eat the things I like, I just do it in moderation. I want chips? Ok. I get 2 – 3 chips. I want a cookie? I take a bite of Parker’s cookie. And I exercise. I burn 300 calories on the treadmill daily, along with the calories I typically burn. {Although, this week, I’m pretty sure I’m burning lots of extra calories with all the packing, moving, and painting going on.}

If you take a look at the DietBet Standings for the Mom Bloggers challenge, 3 of us have met our DietBet goals. The others are right behind us and are doing great! As of today, January 25th, 47 pounds have been lost – and 13 of those pounds are MINE!

Are you trying to lose weight this year? If so, how are things going for you?

No Soda Equals No Motivation #DietBet

Some people need coffee to get through their day. I, however, need Pepsi. To be honest, I’m a bit of an addict. Before starting the DietBet Challenge, it was not uncommon for me to drink 4, 5, or even 6 cans of Pepsi in one day. Seriously. I craved the sugar and the “high” that Pepsi gave me to get through the day. With 6 kids, I am always exhausted. {Sorry kids, I love you all to death, but some days you just wear me out.} Add to that the fact that Parker and Gage do not sleep through the night, and when it forces me to live on 2 – 3 hours of sleep per night {if I’m lucky!}, I need a kick in the pants from my Pepsi.

So, I’m sure you can imagine how I’m feeling right now. I haven’t had any soda – in fact, I haven’t had anything but water and one 8oz. glass of low fat milk – since early Tuesday morning.

I am slowly going out of my mind. Seriously.

At least that’s how it feels.

I knew this would be the most difficult part of the challenge for me, but I also knew that cutting out soda would make a world of difference. I don’t even want to know the amount of sugar I was consuming day after day after day. Shudder. No wonder my weight was so high.

I’ve steadily increased my exercise. Day 1 I walked for 20 minutes on the treadmill. Day 2 was 25 minutes, day 3 was 30 minutes… So, slowly but surely I’m increasing the things I should be increasing, and I’ve completely cut out the things I shouldn’t be eating. No desserts, no junk food, no chips. I don’t put anything into my mouth without checking the calorie and fat content first.

But I have to be careful.

Some of you may already know, but for years I was an anorexic. Actually, I flip-flopped between anorexia and bulimia a lot. It was bad. In fact, when my husband and I met, I was at my lowest weight of my adult life: 90 pounds. At 5 foot 9 inches, I was nothing but skin and bones. The only time I was ever able to “shut off” the disease was when I was pregnant. So, obviously, with 5 pregnancies in the last 9 years, I’ve had to “shut it off” a lot. I guess I’ve gotten used to it, and discovered that I really like eating and not bringing it back up. Ok, so I really like eating.

But, I also know how easy it is to fall back into old habits.  I think that’s why I’m so determined to do this right. I want to eat right, exercise, and just get to a healthier me. If that brings the weight down in a good way, then so be it. I have way too many people counting on me now, and I can’t fall back into the trap of not eating anything.

Ok, so I totally rabbit trailed there. Sorry. Let’s get back to the post…

Anyone got any tips on what I can do to increase my energy since giving up soda?

Come Cheer Me On! #DietBet

I posted yesterday that I’m participating in the DietBet Challenge.

I just found out that you can view my scoreboard, stats, others in the competition, and cheer me on. To do so, just click here: Mom Bloggers DietBet Challenge

I would love it if you would swing by and give me your well wishes. I need all the encouragement I can get.

I’m on Day 2 of no soda and no junk food, and I must.avoid.pinterest. All those sugary recipes are about to do me in. But, I’m doing pretty well. I got up this morning, ate some yogurt and then walked a mile on the treadmill. Slowly but surely, I know I can do this. I just need to lose 9 pounds.

I can do this. I know I can.

Will you come be my cheerleader?

Taking on the DietBet Challenge

If you haven’t heard of DietBet, you soon will. I have been selected as one of the participants in the DietBet Challenge along with 6 other mom bloggers.

dietbetDietBet is a fantastic way to have fun, lose weight, and win money! You just Set up a free four-week game with friends to lose weight. {You decide if you want to lose 8 pounds or 4% of your starting weight.} Then decide how much money everyone “bets” and puts into the pot. At the end of 4 weeks, if you lose the weight, you WIN!

For this challenge, DietBet put $5,000 into the pot and let us pick our charities. They also let us decide how much of our winnings would go to charity. I love the idea of winning for someone else, so I was really excited when they approached me about this.

I selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as my charity. And I also selected that they will receive 100% of my winnings. That’s right. I’m not keeping a penny for myself, I’m giving it all to them.

And that’s why I am so motivated to win this challenge. I want to see $5,000 go to St. Jude.

But I’ve got a long way to go, and I’m going to need your encouragement over the next 4 weeks.

Here are the other bloggers I am up against:

I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I know I can do it!

Now, let’s get to the heart and soul of this post. The most difficult part for me: The numbers. The weigh in. The photos.

I had to find somewhere to get my official weigh-in for the challenge. Because I’m so far away from the other DietBet Challenge participants, I couldn’t just meet up with them and have my weigh-in done at the same time. Luckily, my local Blairsville Curves facility allowed me to come in and get weighed by one of their consultants.

Here’s the official weigh-in:

I’m officially cringing.

Did you catch that number? 213 pounds. I am sick to my stomach. When my husband and I were married in 2002, I weighed 100 pounds less than I do right now. 100 pounds in 10 years. Gasp.

Since I’ve already embarrassed myself with the video, I guess I can share the Day 1 photos:

Day1 Day 1

Ugh. Those pictures make me sick to my stomach. When did I allow myself to get like this?

Obviously, I’ve got my work cut out for me. But I can do this, right?

I’m changing everything: eating habits, exercise frequency… you name it, I’m changing it.

Over the next 4 weeks, I will be keeping you updated in my challenge every step of the way. The only thing I won’t be doing is weighing in again. I’m waiting until the 4 weeks are up, and I will head back to my local Curves center for the final official weigh in.

But, you can certainly count on me to post different updates: new recipes I’ve found, exercises I like, and more. In fact, starting today, you will notice a whole new section of the blog entitled “My Weight Loss Journey.”

My goal for the next 4 weeks is 4% of my body weight – that’s 8.52 pounds. I KNOW I can do it. And I’m hoping I can do way more than that. Eventually, I’d like to be down to 150 pounds. Healthier than the 113 I was 10 years ago for my 5’9″ body frame, and just better for my overall health. Where I am now is just too big, and it’s got to change.

I hope you’ll join me over the next 4 weeks and watch my progress. If you have any weight loss tips, recipes you love, exercises I need to try… or just some encouragement, I would love to hear from you.

And if you’d like to start a challenge of your own, I would encourage you to round up some friends, decide how much you’ll throw into the pot, and start losing weight with DietBet!

Disclaimer: This Challenge is being sponsored by DietBet. I have been given the opportunity to win up to $5,000 for myself or my favorite charity.