Monday, January 26, 2015

A Healthier Life (originally posted on Live Free Be Fit)

Before I even begin this post.. I have to address some concerns that have kept me from writing it. Talking about my body feels like a very “look at me!” thing. It brings attention to an area of insecurity that I always hoped no one would bring up. It makes me feel like I’m on a stage with huge lights blaring in my eyes. So before you read a word of this, I pray that instead of “Look at Victoria!” you would see.. “Wow.. Look at the work that Christ has done in this girl’s heart!” My primary reason for sharing the journey that I’ve been on is to encourage other women struggling in similar areas, and to bring attention to the God that loves me. More on that throughout this post.

This post was shared a month ago on my friend Chelsea's blog. If you would enjoy encouragement about living a healthy lifestyle from an encouraging perspective, check her out. I can't even begin to tell you how much she has helped my journey! She asked me to share about the changes I had made in my life regarding health and fitness.. and I ignored her emails. Ha! Sharing about this has been such a scary thing for me. Like I said above, I didn't want to draw attention to it. I just wanted to live and be "normal".. but that's not encouraging to others. Sharing our struggles brings our eyes to Jesus. I pray that this would be helpful to you, no matter where you stand!



1. What made you want to live a healthier life?
Honestly, it was purely an appearance driven thing. There were too many times when I felt beautiful and was having fun with friends and family, and would see a photo of myself and feel sick to my stomach, ruining the rest of the time. That was my original motivation, but now I see how living a healthy lifestyle makes all aspects of my life more fruitful. My body is strong and equipped to serve God and my family!

2.What are some shifts you made in your life to foster that healthier lifestyle?
Before these changes, I had genuinely never worked out in my life. I never played sports or felt comfortable working out. I wasn’t at all educated about what was healthy for my body. I started with beginning to spend 25 minutes on the elliptical 3 times a week, eating the same. No change. Then I began eating healthy, using the elliptical with the arms for 40 minutes, 3-4 times a week, and lifting weights in various capacities 4 or 5 times a week. BIG CHANGE. I had to start learning about what I was putting in my body. I started paying attention to serving sizes and protein. I pushed myself to reach different calorie/time goals on the elliptical. I lifted weights often and saw baby muscles form and grow. I truly believe that if I can do it, anyone can! Almost 30 pounds later, I feel like a genuinely new person!

3. Looking back on your journey so far, where are the areas you can see that God worked the most in your heart?
The thing that strikes me the most about this is what the Lord has brought me out of. I share a lot on my blog about this.. but I’m EXTREMELY passionate about what living in a safe, comforting, and warm home can do for your life. In the past two years that I’ve been married to my precious husband and living in our safe space, I’ve achieved things I never thought possible. I’ve grown and changed in ways I could never have imagined. God has provided so much to encourage my heart on a daily basis and I 1000% credit my growth in the area of fitness/weight loss to this. I entered into the year 2014 with a longing. I spent some time in prayer and that longing became this vision:

I want to live a year cultivating my identity in Christ. I want to be a strong, confident, bold woman of God who loves my husband and community well. I want to continue to pursue a career that is flexible and brings light to my heart. I want to cross off some big financial goals. I want to build my body to be healthy and strong and be conscious of what I subject my body to (food, cleaning products, skincare, hair care). I want to simplify and organize our home to make living here leave time for fruit to develop in our lives. I want to host and care for others, with our door always open. I want to be the loving arms of Christ to others. I want to give to and support the people in my life. I want to celebrate accomplishments and milestones big and small.

Bottom Line:  I wanted to be a strong woman of God. He gave me this vision and then poured strength into me to make it come alive in my daily life.

4.Did your wardrobe change?
Yes! Honesty moment: I was wearing a size 10/12 dress size and now I’m in a 4! I have a box of a few things that I’ve saved but overtime I had to replace and rebuild a lot of things. I’m someone who really enjoys quality clothing items, so there was a lot of sale stalking, a lot of price adjusting. And I just don’t have a lot of clothes right now. But that’s fine. I’m in workout gear most of the time anyway. :) Replacing clothes was a really encouraging thing to me though out this process, but I wish I had been smarter/ more educated about the way to go about doing this. I have a lot of “in between” clothes that will now go to Clothes Mentor resale or to charity. If you’re a girl reading this who’s between a size 6-10 and loves Anthropologie, email me. I have dresses to sell you. :) (Ps. Your dress size DOES NOT matter. So much of it is based on height and bone structure and things you can't control. It's just a number. Healthy matters- not your dress size)

5.How did getting healthier/stronger effect your marriage?
My husband is probably the most athletic person I know. He “trained” with two runs before he ran a half marathon after months of no running at all. He’s passionate about sports and loves  running/hiking/sports/etc. You would probably assume that when he was looking for a spouse someone who shared these interests would have been top on his list…but then he fell in love with me. Aka: even if I’m now athletic, I’ll never be sporty. But now I love a lot of those same things, and most importantly, I have a ton more confidence to try new things. I think Ben would say that my confidence is the thing that’s changed the most and what’s affected our day to day life the most. He jokes that he always knew I had it in me to love an active lifestyle. I do selfishly wish that my body transformation would have happened pre-wedding.. so that’s an encouragement to any brides to be reading this.

6. What are some healthy staples you keep around?
Whole wheat protein English muffins, apples, lowfat yogurt, low sugar protein granola, hummus, carrot sticks, low sodium turkey breast, frozen veggies, frozen chicken breast

7.Do you have a set number of times you “eat treats” or do you just balance?
I just balance. I love sugar. There is not a logical correlation between the days of the year I’ve eaten candy and the inches I’ve lost this year. During the day I record everything that I eat on the My Fitness Pal app. I love doing this because my type A personality thrives. When I first started this journey I just looked at calories, but since summertime I watch my sugar intake, my sodium numbers, and the one I watch the most would be my percentage of protein (I aim for above 20% every day and that’s worked for me!) So as long as I’m not eating a crazy amount of sugar, and getting my protein percentage, I’ll enjoy a small treat. Eating healthy doesn’t feel “hard” anymore.. it’s just normal. I feel so much better for it!

8.What is your favorite recipe you’ve made that is surprisingly healthy?
Chelsea made us OBSESSED with Paleomg Spaghetti Squash Casserole.. YUM! But this recipe is one that I think is great for entertaining.. you won’t make people feel like you’re feeding them “rabbit food!”

9. What do your workout/fitness goals look like now-a-days?
 Although I do lots of cardio, I’ve never ran a mile. 2015 is the year of my mile! (maybe even 2, or 3!)

10. If you could give a word of encouragement to any ladies just starting out, what would it be?
I remember reading blog posts just like this one looking for the secret trick. The magic thing that I had to do to see change in my body. Here it is.. Eat healthy and work out. Lame, I know. But overtime it will free you. There are no tricks, but growing your body to be strong and thinking of food as healthy fuel is transforming. I am the least competitive, least sporty girl on the planet. I have still to this day never ran a mile in my life. I’ve never played a sport. But I did it. You can’t expect to have overnight change.. but hard work and consistency WILL pay off. And your life will be changed for the better, you’ll never want to look back! If I can do it- anyone can!

Monday, January 19, 2015

24th Birthday Wishlist



Let's be honest. Christmas just happened. I don't need any stuff. But I really enjoyed creating a graphic for my santa list, so I thought I'd make one for my birthday.... and apparently the theme is shoes! Haha! New sneakers are long overdue- my current ones have stains from painting the home of our siblings a year and a half ago. Yikes! I have had my eye on the Sam Edelman booties for some time.. and think that the Tory Burch espadrilles are super fresh for Spring. I've literally drooled over the signature magnolia wreath from Magnolia Market since it came out.. it's gorgeous and a friend of mine has it so I know it's incredible quality! We smashed our pitcher about 6 months ago and I haven't been able to find one that I love.. until this one! The new Kendra Scott collection releases this week and this necklace looks GORGEOUS! During your birthday month Kendra gives you 50% off one item, so this may be a gift to myself depending on the price when it releases. February, come soon please! We're redoing our little office nook in the days ahead (yes.. super soon after finishing our bathroom. but I pitched the idea of ditching our double desk to Ben and he was allllll about it!) and I'd love a ladder bookshelf like this one from Amazon. 

It's kind of unreal that I'm about to turn 24. When people ask how old I am I still feel like the answer is 21. Ha! One perk of the years passing on is that I will hopefully hit a point one of these days where people don't mistake me for a 15 year old. :) 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Updated Bathroom Plans




Original plans found here.

In my experience, when planning any kind of renovation... your original plans are tweaked. Husband said "eh" to the wallpaper pretty quick. He was right though. It's beautiful. I'd love to have something like that in a forever home... but we were going to need more than one roll of the pricey paper and it just doesn't compare to a $25 can of paint. As you can see above, I selected a print that caught my eye in a similar way. It's ordered and on the way! I ended up getting to order my dream vanity (!!!) because we realized pretty quick when browsing that you get what you pay for. If we bought the vanity that was less than half the cost, it was going to bring down the overall quality of the whole room. So we ordered the fancy one! Yikes! The good news is that we're still on target to be right at our original budget (praise!) The walls are going to be painted a warm white.. I love the look of mostly white, clean looking bathrooms. I went to Target and picked up this white, waffley shower curtain. I think the clean look will be beautiful! One of the most exciting things for me was picking the floor.. a gorgeous white marble looking tile fit right in our budget. It's going to be so pretty!

The only thing I have ended up on the fence with is the canisters. I love mercury glass, and we have several pieces in our bedroom so it would carry throughout the space.. but I have been really considering the idea of plain glass ones, or these from Pottery Barn. I think I'm going to make the final decision once everything else is in place, just in time for our house guest's arrival!

The work is coming along great (started Monday!) and I thought I would share a little peek!


It may not seem like much.. but we're going to have a shower in our bathroom! It's incredible. :) Ps I decided to go with a light gray grout and am super excited about it! Also, our tub is original to our house (aka stained and nasty) so at some point we're going to get it resurfaced.. we'll call that phase two of the bathroom reno. :) And since I snapped this photo our floor is done.. and the walls are textured.. yippee!! We'll hopefully be done by the middle of next week. And at that point my whole house will need a scrub! Projects like this tend to overflow.. don't y'all think? :)



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014 (Part Two)


July

The beginning of July didn't really feel like real life. We had just gotten back from our whirlwind Europe trip and were missing it every second. When we got off the plane on June 24 we were told that it was amazing we hadn't missed our niece's birth.. little did we know she wouldn't come till July 10. So we were constantly waiting for her arrival! When she finally came, a good chunk of the family still thought a little baby boy was coming.. but I just knew! She's so precious! We also got a new dining room table, and I snagged J. Crew chino shorts on sale for $8 with my friend Courtney. Another special time was getting to have dinner with our youth pastor from high school and his family.. it had been since our wedding that we'd seen them so it was extra sweet to see how much their daughters had grown! 







Notable Posts:

Eiffel Tower Portrait Session (my most commented post of all time!)


August

In August we celebrated Ben's 24th birthday, and shared a bunch of sweet times with friends. We took a mini vacation to Graham, Texas.. and had lots of little baby snuggles! Check out that baby foot! I die!







Notable Posts:


September

This month football kind of dominated everything. :) We got to babysit for some sweet friends, celebrated Aggie ring day, and saw our friend Seth perform in Fiddler on the Roof.






Notable Posts:


October 


In October I got to attend my sorority from college's fall philanthropy event. It was extra sweet to spend time with my Theta family, and see my little dunk her Aggie ring. We also suffered a brutal loss to Ole Miss.. but I'll get over it because of a few sweet blog friends that call The Grove home ;) I also got my shirt quilt back (and teared up!!) and we took extended family photos. 





Image by Katherine Klein 
Notable Posts:

November 


November to me has come to mean Thanksgiving prep. I loved hosting in 2013, and this year we wanted to push the envelope a bit. We are lucky to have a bunch of sweet friends that feel like a true extension of family. We added them and more extended family members to our invite list for Turkey day.. and 20 people (and one infant!) were served Thanksgiving dinner in our home. That night brings my heart so much gratitude. I felt so truly loved and content. God has blessed us in abundance. We also got to take some fun photos at a Christmas tree farm with our friend Mary Clare, who recently started a photography business!





Image by Mary Clare Photography

Image by Mary Clare Photography 

Notable Posts:



December

This last month was just plain full and happy. We of course celebrated Christmas.. but so many other things too. We are so grateful to have found a church and home group that we love. We celebrated two of our brothers graduating from college. We finished the year with a getaway to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 








Notable Posts:


I think that the thing that made 2014 different to me is that I pursued a bunch of things that made me really happy. In the past, I've always thought that chasing dreams and reaching accomplishments was for other people.. but it was just a sweet year. The Lord was near, and that made it good. 

I love reading other people's year in review posts! Comment with yours below if you did one.. and if not, I'd love to hear about the highs and lows of your year anyway! XO 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January Goals

I'll be back next week with my 2015 vision and goals, and the rest of my 2014 recap.. but for now, let's look at January goals! The last few weeks have been a blur of celebration and snow and not knowing what day it is. It's been so sweet but I'm heartbroken over how fast it's gone.. Ben goes back to his normal work schedule on Monday. Boo! However, the work on our bathroom starts that same day, so that will cheer me up! :)


December Goals:
Declutter our Home 
Mail Christmas Cards 
Drink lots of hot cocoa with Benjamin Luke 
Celebrate two of my brothers' graduations (Henry from Texas Tech & Zac from Texas A&M! Whoooop!)
Go through Lara Casey's goal setting series for 2015 this wasn't posted until just yesterday so I'll be following along in real time!
Dwell in scripture this holiday season, with the #SheReadsTruth Advent study


January Goals:
Start a Bible in a Year plan 
Declutter our Home 
Go through Lara Casey's goal setting series for 2015 
Bathroom Renovation (order mirror, bathroom accessories, select paint colors)
Host Baby Shower
Celebrate Baby Dedication with our small group
Declutter closets
fill the empty frames in our gallery wall 
Clean guest room after bathroom storage
Read Making Things Happen and Unbroken
Make reservations and plan details for our Valentine's Day trip to New York City


What are y'all focusing on this month? I feel like I always dread January, the gloomy weather and Christmas aftermath... but this year the Lord has provided lots to be excited about! Our bathroom renovation, an out of town guest, hosting a shower, and a few other fun things to focus on. My plan is to declutter the rest of the house while the bathroom work gets done!