32 Pounds and Counting: My Husband's Weight Loss Story

I have waited many months to write this post. Well, come to think about it, maybe it's been more like years. I started this journey of desiring a healthy family many years ago. But as you may know, you can't always convince others to hop on board with you... right away, that is! 

Let me start by saying, my husband is a very, very humble man. He is not super thrilled I am dedicating a post about something he has accomplished. When I interviewed him for this, he first gave credit to God for giving him the grace to carry out all of this.

Two years ago he started working from home as an editor. It has been a very high stress, high-intense job that requires him sitting at a computer for 8 or more hours a day. And as most people can attest that with a stressful job comes stress-induced eating. He knew the weight had come on, but finding the time and energy to put into losing the weight, just wasn't in him at the time. 

As the new year was approaching in 2011, he prayed about losing weight. With having a family and a stressful job, adding a new eating and exercise regimen wasn't something he was totally pumped about, but he started anyway and quietly determined he was going to succeed. (Here's an article he read awhile ago that may have had something to do with some of his success... read here or watch the TED talk here).

As I've talked before about losing weight, being healthy is key... not so much the numbers. Focus on eating well. Eat real foods that provide powerful nutrients to make your body work and feel better. Brian has truly focused on putting the right things into his body. Everything counts! 

I am so happy to share our interview with you today.

{What motivated you to want to lose weight?}
Brian: It was a combination. First, I am working from home and became very sedentary. I was slowly gaining weight and with the stress of my job, I knew I wasn't healthy. I also struggled with stomach aches daily. I usually felt bad after I ate and also woke up every morning with pains in my stomach. 

{When did you start this journey and how much have you lost?}
Brian: I started in January of this year and have lost 32 pounds.

{So what overall changes have you seen or felt after losing this weight?}
Brian: First of all, my clothes fit better... well, actually, they don't fit :) I am the same size I was in high school and that is a great feeling. I just feel healthier. My stomach aches are almost gone. I have more energy and never have that bloated feeling. Also, a weird fact, I use to have a small exterior cyst by my ribs for several years.... it is completely gone.

{So, tell us... how did you do it???}
Brian: Well, I have tried many diets in the past, but by God's grace, this one stuck. I really don't feel like it is a diet. The secret has been not starving myself, but actually eating all day. I just have disciplined myself to eat better foods. I found foods that were healthy that I really liked.

We don't eat red meat or pork, at all. We eat a lot of rice and beans and some lean meats like chicken and fish a couple times a week. Jenna (me) is gluten-free so I have obviously cut way back on my wheat intake, but do treat myself with pretzel thins (and yes, I count out the correct serving size). I do not eat cheeses, butter or sauces of any kind.

The one thing that I eat every day, several times throughout the day is low-fat GRANOLA. It has to be under 3 grams of fat and high in fiber. I eat it with low-fat Greek yogurt or will just grab some handfuls here and there when I need to munch on something. I don't know what it is about granola, but I feel it has been a part of my success.

There's his granola at top (so kiddies won't steal) with his measuring cup!

I have stopped fast food altogether. There is really nothing that I want to eat there anymore.

The other thing that I cut back on is diet pop. I use to live on it. I would drink about three, 20-ounce bottles a day. Now I just drink water and will have a pop only on special occasions. 

{Give me a glimpse of specifically what you eat and when, on a normal day.}
Brian: First thing in the morning, I start with a small -- portion controlled -- (he actually measures it out exactly) bowl of low-fat granola with skim milk and blueberries. I never skip breakfast. I still have my morning coffee. I use a low-fat creamer with a little stevia -- there are just some things you can't give up.

Around 11 a.m. I come up from my office and have a piece of gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread, toasted. Then around 1 p.m., Jenna makes lunch for us. Usually we have an ethnic-type lunch. A Chipotle-type burrito bowl... brown rice and beans and a lot of hot sauce. Other times we'll have a salad with a lot of veggies and a light, balsamic dressing. We usually add some type of beans or hard-boiled egg for protein.

Later in the afternoon, I'll snack on (serving size appropriate) nuts or Greek yogurt and granola. I also like low-fat cottage cheese with raw honey. Gala apples with salt are another favorite. Whatever it is, it's low-fat, real food.

For dinner, it's always gluten-free and either meatless or chicken or fish. My all time favorite dinner is fish tacos with raw cabbage, fresh salsa and corn tortillas. We also love to grill local veggies or have corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for dinner.

{What about exercise?}
Brian: I didn't start exercising until about 4 months after I started the eating plan and by that point I had already lost 20+ pounds. I have lost additional pounds since exercising. (So food choices play a HUGE part in your weight loss!) 

I switch up what I do, but need to mix it up again because what I'm doing is getting boring. I exercise about 5-6 times a week. Three days I do a cardio, fat-burning video (30 minutes) and the other days I do a light run usually about 2 1/2 miles.

{What about when you travel or are away from home... how do you do it?}
Brian: I really don't stray from my normal eating since it has gotten me this far. I look for fresh fruit, salads, nuts and granola in airports and will run into grocery stores to get those foods instead of fast food. Small yogurt containers with granola make for an easy breakfast. If I must eat out, I will find a sub place and eat a vegetarian on whole wheat bread or a wrap... again, with no cheese or sauces.

{What other things would you like to tell the readers?}
Brian: I do drink a lot of water throughout the day. I do not take any supplements, but I do take a psyllium/fiber powder mixed with water everyday. This just helps to keep things "moving" well. 

Do not starve yourself. Just make sure it is healthy and low in fat. 

Lastly, "forcing your body to do what it doesn't naturally want to do (exercising and eating right) feels a ton better than eating bad, not exercising and being fat."

So that's it. I am so thankful for his journey to health. He has truly challenged me to eat better -- mostly by watching my portions -- and now I am trying to exercise more regularly as well. I hope you are challenged too!

I didn't include all the things Brian likes to eat or snack on in the interview portion of this post, but here are some links to some of his favorite foods (and mine, too!).

Also, with no links:
Aldi items: 
fat-free fudgsicles
cinnamon-raisin granola cereal 
low-fat cottage cheese
black beans
fresh salsa 


10 Perfect Parenting Tips from a Not-So-Perfect Mom


Children are like mirrors—they reflect and mimic what they see. It can be good. It may be bad. I know this because it’s played out in my family a hundred times. I lose my cool one day, and then sometime later, I see this adverse behavior displayed—usually in front of everyone in the supermarket—from one of my sons.

Lately, I’ve been convicted about my parenting. When it comes down to it I don't want to just “get by" as a mom. I want my days, minutes, words—everything—to count.

Here are ten effective parenting tips to help you better reflect the grace of God to your children. I’ll admit, some of these lessons I’ve learned from others and it’s easy for me to get off-track, but I pray these tips will radically transform your parenting.

Because, at the end of the day, parenting is really about making disciples. 

1. Speak to your child in a way that you would want to be spoken to.
Our lives are full of stress. We have burdens we carry every day. Sometimes inadvertently our stress can be filtered down to how we treat our children. The words we speak to our children can either bring "life or death" (Proverbs 18:21). Choose them wisely. Make them count.  

2. Look them in the eyes.
I personally think it's important our children see us stop, get to their level and look at them when we speak or interact with them. To me, it says, whatever else I am doing can stop because you are important enough to me to have this conversation. I love it when my husband looks me in the eyes and talks to me... it melts my heart. I have a feeling it is important to our children too.  

3. Give them a chance to speak their minds.
There was a time my oldest son and I were going at it. I became quite emotional and completely took over the conversation and would not let him get a word in. Later, my husband graciously pointed out how I sort of "bullied" the conversation. I seemed to ramble on over things that didn't even happen because I never gave my son a chance to plead his case. They may be young, but they have a right to explain their side of the story and to graciously be heard.  

4. Ask for forgiveness... often.
You are human. You will make mistakes.You will sin and do wrong things and your kids know it. Let go of your tough exterior and be quick to ask your child for forgiveness when you mess up. Learn to do it and be ready to hand out forgiveness at any time! 

5. Don't speak down to your children.
Our family loves a good laugh, but there comes a time when you can cross the line of laughing together and hurting one's pride. Be careful to know the difference. Our children need to know we have their backs and we won't tear them down for the sake of a joke.  

6. Don't compare them to another child or sibling.
God created us all different. He is the one who ornately designed us with our unique qualities and traits. When we start to compare other children's abilities to our children, it can etch away their confidence. It says to them, "Mom or Dad is disappointed in who I am"... "I'm not good enough." Instead, encourage them in their giftedness. Praise them for their accomplishments. Don't try and make them into something you think they should be. 

7. Give them an encouraging touch.
You may think your child "isn't the touchy type," but I would argue that every child needs to lovingly be touched. There is nothing like a parent's arm around them or pat on their back, literally. We should never be too busy to show we care this way. They need and want it from you. 

8. Learn to laugh with them.
Laughter is so good for all of us—young and old. Let them laugh at your flub-ups and mistakes. Show them that life doesn't always have to be so serious. When they see you smiling, they know you approve. Approval is huge for any child. 

9. Be on guard... guard their hearts.
As parents we can easily get worn down and let things slide. But I’ve been convicted lately about vigilantly protecting the hearts of my boys. Let me explain. Just recently we took a little trip. My husband was not with us so some of the things that are "iffy" that are usually run through him had to go through me. My son asked to watch a movie on his iPod. My instinct was to say, "Go ahead." It would give momma at least an hour and half of only dealing with three boys not four—so why not? It sounded so appealing. I had no clue what the movie was about and I started to wrestle with the decision. I researched the content and I was alarmed by the material and had to put my foot down. I so badly wanted to let him watch it to get a breather, but I'm glad I decided to do what was hard even though I had to deal with his disappointment. In the end, we are usually their only line of defense in protecting their hearts from potential pitfalls that could affect them in years to come. Stand up. Be the parent. Get wise and do what you know is right... all the time

10. Keep pointing them to Jesus.
There are many things I don't do right as a parent. I mess up quite often. I'm thankful that I can keep going back to examples of how Jesus dealt with others while he was on earth. I can point out to them what he did and said... how he responded… and show them time and again what we should strive to be like. Ultimately, we will always get it right – in our parenting - when we set him as our example to follow.


{Guest Post} A Day in the Life...

Hi! I’m Jenna. I am 38, wife to Brian and mom to four boys whose ages range from 13 down to 2… Noah, Sam, Ethan and Solomon.  

I feel like this season of my life has many angles to it. With the ages of our boys all over the map, some days I’m wiping a little bottom and failing at potty training… other days, I’m dealing with a little teenage moodiness. But I love it all regardless!

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