Losing It: My journey from 185 to 115 pounds

Hello everyone! Long time, no blog.

I’ve been wanting to write a post about my weight loss for a very long time, and I think that I am finally in a place where I not only feel like I am able to write about the journey fully, but I really want to. So buckle your seat belts, ladies and gents. This is going to be a loong one.

Here are some pictures documenting my weight loss, with my most recent “after” picture in the top left and the “before” picture in the bottom right.

I had always been bigger, I was one of those girls people would call “bigger boned” or, my personal favorite, “stocky.” Blame it on genetics and the fact that I had absolutely no knowledge of what a balanced and nutritious meal looked like. The self-esteem issues, which should really have their own blog post documenting them, started pretty early for me… Around the time I started to go through puberty, which for me started in the fourth grade, was when I started to think that I was different. I was convinced that all of the girls in my school were smaller and thinner than me, and I convinced myself that I was fat. I wasn’t obese at the time, but I was bigger. I was not, however, the biggest girl in my class, like I was convinced that I was. I have never been diagnosed, but as I look back on my memories of how miserable I made myself, I think I had BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder), and it is still something I struggle with to this day. But as I said before, I will write another blog post about my struggles with self-image and confidence.

Because of this, ever since the sixth grade, I have gone through two week to month stints of crash diets and intense workout programs that I would find online or in Seventeen magazine. They never lasted long. I would eventually grow tired of these and I would revert back to my unhealthy eating habits. We’re talking rich mac and cheese or TV dinners as after school snacks. I would drink coke like water. My weight increased steadily until I reached 185 pounds in my junior year of high school. I wasn’t happy with how I looked, and I would look in the mirror and cry. I made myself so miserable.

A night in February, 2014 was when it all changed. I can’t explain it, but one night after I finished my homework, I decided that I wanted to work out. There was no pivotal moment where I thought to myself now is the time where I make a change, like in all the other weight loss transformations I’ve watched and read before. I just wanted to work out.

And for some reason, it stuck. I started exercising every night after dinner, doing YouTube videos in my room on my beat up violet yoga mat. After school, instead of snacking, I would ride the exercise bike my father had bought at Kmart some months before. I went from biking one mile to two to eventually fifteen miles every day, all the while documenting my completed exercise routines in various fitness journals and calendar printouts.

I can also attribute a lot of my weight loss journey to the girls over at Tone It Up. I discovered them through Lauren Conrad’s Bikini Boot Camp (one of the programs I attempted to complete multiple years in a row but was never successful with) while I was in middle school, probably around 2011. I fell in love with the workouts that they posted on YouTube, and in 2014 I started following their Weekly Schedule, which they post on their website (click here to check them out!) I’ve followed them ever since. I should really write an entire post/review about them and their products, because, besides their free content on their website and their YouTube, they have published a great book and put out multiple workout DVDs that I’ve used and found really helpful. Tone It Up really kept me in line with my workout routines and kept me accountable, especially when I made a TIU Instagram account. The women in the Tone It Up community are all such incredible, supportive and beautiful people and I would not have been able to accomplish what I have without their support. This, along with the inspiration that Karena and Katrina, the TIU creators, provide.

However, when I went to college in the fall, my lifestyle changed tremendously. I started going to the free gym provided for us in the student center and running around the lake on campus to keep up with my fitness. Thanks to this, I was able to swerve the freshman fifteen. The biggest challenge was finding something good to eat amidst a wide selection of all different types of food. That, and not eating ice cream with every meal just because it was there. I will write more about how to keep fit in college soon. Maybe right before school starts again in August?

Ever since I have gotten back home from school, I have gotten back to following the Tone It Up Weekly Schedule. Right now, they are doing their Bikini Series, which is an exciting 8 week program that they do every year. This is my third year following the program, and even though I had a late start due to finals week, I’ve been able to keep up on the workouts. I just haven’t been so religious with my Insta check-ins this time around… Oops!

I would like to say that I am in no way perfect. I am, however, more confident and physically fit than I ever have been before. I can run a mile in about ten minutes pretty easily. I  learned what foods are healthy to eat and how to work out regularly. I am even planning on someday soon getting my personal training certification! But most importantly, I’m happy. And one of the biggest lessons I have learned through all of this is that if something makes you happy, you have to work toward it and fight for it, no matter what.

L

P.S. If you want, you can follow my fitness Instagram account @ellietonesitup, and we can keep each other accountable!

Out of My Comfort Zone

Happy New Year’s! Tonight we said goodbye to 2015 and rang in 2016. 2015 was an incredibly life changing year in my life. I graduated, went to college, traveled by myself for the first time, learned that I can take care of myself and live on my own, and so much more. Even though 2015 was one of the toughest years of my life, I grew so much. God and I grew ever closer in 2015 and I hope that 2016 follows suit.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions because I never stick to them. I do, however, feel that I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone a little bit more in 2016. It’s the only way to grow, right? I started that journey earlier this month by starting an entirely new blog, and now I am adding a new platform to my docket. I have decided to try to start vlogging. I love watching vlogs such as PsychoSoprano and Mimi Ikonn, so I thought, why not try it? I have been dying to to try my hand at vlogging for such a long time. Mostly, this is for me to document my life for my future self to watch, so I can remember the moments that are meaningful to me. There have been so many times in 2015 that I regret not recording. No more of that. Here’s the new video I uploaded tonight: https://youtu.be/96rEkHAPq3A

Our New Year’s celebration was the same as previous years. My family has a tradition that we each pick a movie to watch until about ten minutes before midnight, when we turn to the local news channel which broadcasts the New Year’s celebrations in our county and the counties around us. We watched Grosse Point Blank, School of Rock (my choice), and Looper. We also listened to some music on the record player that I got over Christmas, which came today! James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James was the christening record, a personal favorite of mine and my dad’s.

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I hope you all had a beautiful end to your Holiday season, may 2016 treat you well!

L

BIBLE STUDY: Gone Swimmin’

I will always be inadequate. When it comes to the world’s standards of what I am supposed to be, that is. I am too short, too fat, too smart, but still not smart enough at the same time. Even though I have lost roughly 75 pounds over the last couple of years, I am still haunted by the demons that tormented me as a young teenager. I’m too fat and I’m worthless because of it, was what I once believed. My mindset has changed a lot since then, but there are still times, more often than I’d like to admit, that I think that my thighs are still thick and my abs aren’t as flat as I would want them to be.

I have come to terms with the fact that I inherited my mother’s “child-bearing” hips, and that just because I’m not a size zero does not mean that I am worth less than any other girl. In fact, Jesus loves me now as a size 4 and he loved me before at  size 16. Do you think that when He was hanging on the cross Jesus was thinking about pant sizes? No. He was thinking about how much he loves us. That we were worth hanging on that cross. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us, he died for us. And he would do it again in a heartbeat.

This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10

These ideals that society has shaped are impossible only a select few can fit into. It’s kind of like that old game show that aired a few years back, “Hole in the Wall.” Anyone remember that? A wall rushed towards a contestant who had to jump through outline of the hole exactly, no matter if it was a running stance or someone doing a handstand. If they didn’t fit through the wall they were dumped into water. Trying to conform to society is kind of like that. We must act and think a certain way or we’re up the creek.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The added layer to all this is that life will always be a competition, as well. Keeping Up With The Jones’s is a dangerous “game” to play. One-upmanship can only get you so far, and what do you have in the end? A lot of possessions, sure, but those don’t last. If you win the “game” and beat out your neighbor or your Instagram follower, your victory is short lived. Even the most expensive Lamborghini will rust, Instagram will one day become obsolete, and the tightest body in town will one day grow saggy and old. Nothing on this earth is eternal.

I bet you see where I’m going with this. Worldly possessions and lives expire at one time or another, but God’s love for us is everlasting, no matter what we look like or how much money we have. His love is perfect and unconditional.

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1

So lately I’ve been thinking, what’s so wrong with being dumped into the creek? Why do we want to conform to society when we could have something Greater? If God is on our side, nothing can touch us.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31

Maybe the trick is to ditch the game show and swim towards Salvation. I always did love to swim.

L

CHRISTMAS CHEER: My Weekend

Hello all, I hope you had a lovely weekend!

Even though I am still getting over this finals-week-stress-cold, I still had a fun weekend.

On Friday I woke up around 1… I know, I know, but I think I really needed the sleep because I felt a lot better when I woke up. When I realized the time, I jumped out of bed and exercised, ate lunch, and headed out the door to do some Christmas shopping. I only had the time for Target, and though I didn’t find anything for the remaining friends on my list, I did get a cute crop top that will be perfect for Holiday parties. (Lookbook coming soon!)

When I came home I felt worse. Shopping really took it out of me, so I stayed in and watched Elf. I love that movie! It cracks me up and always puts me in a Christmas-y mood. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear!”

On Saturday I started the day out with a drive around the country near my house. Here’s a landscape picture that I took…

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So thankful to live on such a beautiful country-side!

And an outfit of the day…

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My mom and I went shopping at the local Christian bookstore for gifts and Khols for shows. The mall was so insanely crowded I almost asked to turn around and go home, but I am so glad that I didn’t because the sales were worth it. Even my mom, who is very, very picky about what kind of shoes she buys, found a pair that she liked.

After dinner, my family finally put up our Christmas tree! My dad and I always work together to put up the tree, and my job is to sort and fluff the “branches” of our twenty-one year old faux-pine while he puts it together.

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This was only part of the mess of branches.

It gets a little more difficult every year, but we always do a fine job in the end. It got to be too late to decorate the tree, but the garland, lights, and angel are up and ready to go!

On Sunday, we decorated the tree. We have ornaments from vacations, from both my mom and my dad’s childhoods, antiques, crafts from my elementary school years, things like that. It’s always fun to arrange the ornaments just so.

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Right now, my mom and I are working on projects while we’re watching Veggie Tales, The Star of Christmas. Because you’re never too old for Veggie Tales. My mom is making German stars for Christmas presents and I’m planning for this coming week. Tomorrow, I’m cleaning my room. Maybe rearranging it, too. That is, if I can lift my furniture. We’ll see how that goes down. I’m working on blog post ideas, too! The flood gates have been opened.

On that note, a bit of news! I am getting a new camera for my birthday next week, so the picture quality is about to get a lot better on this little blog! I’ll probably stick to my phone when I’m documenting my weekend for the round up posts like these just because it’s easier, but I have plans for fashion posts, recipe tutorials, and more! I’m so excited to get started!

L

 

Keeping the Faith (When You Want to Walk Away)

Let’s face it. Life is difficult. Sometimes, or maybe all the time, it seems like all life throws at us are challenges. Whether it be lots of little things that add up or a big challenge that seems to have rocked your life like an earthquake. I know I’ve dealt with both, but more recently I’ve had to deal with the latter. The big question that pops into my mind whenever I’m wrestling with my faith is Why does God let crappy stuff happen?

There is no easy answer to this question. If I’m being completely honest, I’m still struggling with this myself. I’ve asked pastors this question and sometimes even they couldn’t give me a straight answer.

There are a few things you can do when there seem like there are only two choices: walking away from your faith, or staying to sort out your mess of questions. If you choose to wait out the storm and deal with your tangled faith, and I hope you do, here’s what I have done over the past few months to get through my hurdles in life. I hope they help you, too.

  1. Pray. But don’t just pray. When I was talking to a friend about some of the struggles I have been wrestling with recently, my friend told me that it is okay to yell at God. He knows what’s on our hearts, anyway, so just tell Him how you feel. Yell, cry, say how you feel hurt or betrayed or whatever you’re feeling. Go out into a forest and scream it at the top of your lungs. It’s okay.
  2. Write it out. Make a list of grievances, if you will. Write what you feel in your heart. Write your angriest thoughts down. Writing is cathartic, it helps us sort out our feelings.
  3. Talk to someone about it. A pastor, a mentor, a parent, a grandparent, or even a friend. Someone who is walking with Christ as well and has probably gone through the same thing you’re going through now. It’s nice to have assurance that you’re not alone. That’s why God made us a Church, so that we could give each other love and support in all seasons of life. I’ve found that after telling someone what’s been going on in my troubled heart, usually my mom, I feel better. Lighter, even. We weren’t made to carry our burdens alone.
  4. Ask for help. Ask for your “someone” to pray for you. Ask your church to pray for you, even if you haven’t gone in a while. Even if you never go to a church service, just ask. Heck, post a comment on this post (or any post in the future) and ask for us to pray for you! The prayer warriors are on it. Surround yourself with people who care.
  5. Go to a place where you can be alone and think. As you can tell by the title of this blog, I am an introvert. Introverts are wired in such a way that makes them need to be alone to “recharge their batteries.” We need alone time to think. And after all the social interaction of the last three steps, I would definitely need some alone time. If that’s not how you operate, do it anyway. Take a twenty minute walk to clear your mind. It’s amazing what some fresh air in your lungs will do for your think-space.
  6. Bury yourself in the word. Even if it is the last thing you want to do. Even if you’re so angry at God you never want to read the Bible again. Crack it open and read. My favorite book for when I am feeling low are the Psalms.
  7. Listen to music. Music has always been the pathway to my soul. It is how I deal with every emotion in the book. I write with music, read with music, walk, run, eat, you name it. Music is in my blood, and I know this is also the case for a lot of people. Turn off your mind and listen to the words. For a hurting heart, my favorites are “Shoulders” by For King and Country and “By Your Side” by Tenth Avenue North. Really, anything by these two bands.
  8. Pray. Again. I know, there’s a lot of praying on this list. But prayer is our way of talking to God and his way of talking back. Even if he answers in whispers or even in silence. He hears you.

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(Picture cred: Here)

Walking in Christ is a relationship. I have been told that a relationship with God is very much like a marriage. Married couples fight, and sometimes it’s hard to love your spouse. But in the end, they’re always there. I can’t stress this enough, questions are okay! In my opinion, they’re the only way to grow in our faith. Wrestling with big (or little) questions makes us stronger in our faith and our relationship with God.

Bottom line: With God, love will always remain.

(Did my fellow For King and Country fans get the reference?)  Love is the never changing truth of following God. He will always be with you and he will always love you, even if you don’t feel it. Even if it feels like God is a thousand miles away, don’t forget his promise that He would always be with us. No matter what.

L

Here are some verses to help you get started:

Psalm 46:10

Psalm 73:26

Isaiah 45:2

Isaiah 40:8

2 Samuel 22:31

Matthew 7:24

1 John 4:18

Psalm 23:4

John 20:29

Psalm 23:3

Isaiah 43:2

Jeremiah 20:11

Philippians 4:6-7

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”

Introductions

profile

Hello! My Name is Lizzie Rose, and I am starting anew on this new blog! I am planning on posting new content once a week, on a day that is to be determined. I plan on writing about thinks that I am passionate about, such as books, fashion, fitness, things like that. Maybe a little DIY here and there, but whenever I try to do something Pinterest-y it backfires on me. I have also been thinking about posting cooking/baking tutorials since I love to cook, but since I’m at college that might prove to be a little difficult, unless I write them at home. I also love it when bloggers post about what they did over their weekends, so I think I’ll try that as well! Really, this is going to be a little bit of everything. I want this blog to be a fun little project for me, but fun for you to read, as well!

Have a beautiful night!

L