Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thoughts on Infertility (Advocare - Day 8)

I think I was still somewhat asleep when I drank my fiber drink this morning, because I sort of felt like I had just downed a cup of apple sauce afterwards... This is strange, considering I usually think of sawdust and bark when I drink it! ha.

Spark and probiotics
Breakfast: Fiber drink and oatmeal
Snack: cuties
Lunch: "unwich" - turkey and veggies wrapped in lettuce
Snack: almonds & carrot
Dinner: grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Snack: almond milk
omegaplex & herbal cleanse tablets

Today is my gorgeous, sweet, wonderful mom's birthday! I am so blessed to call her "mom"! She has done so much to make sure we knew we were loved by her and by the Lord. I couldn't have asked for better!


Side note for the day... I don't think I've mentioned that I turned 30 this year... Well, I did. I transitioned from my 20's to my 30's in February, and I have to say, the age didn't bother me! I actually welcome my 30's with open arms! The only thing that was somewhat of a sting, is that we haven't been blessed with children, and we are both now in our 30's. (There was a trigger that caused me to write about this today... I will talk about it a little below.)

I would have never chosen for my life to have gone the way that it did. I know I have written some about this, but it is a constant, deep theme of my life, it seems! I am really struggling with believing that God has good plans for me and that my desires have been established by Him and will be fulfilled in His righteous timing. An example of MY timing: I always thought that I would get married at 22, start having babies at 24, and be a stay-at-home mom just loving my life raising babies. In fact, when I was a child, and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, all I would tell them was "a mommy". I always said I wanted 10 kids!! I never wanted a career. I never wanted to have tons of money or travel the world. I wanted a family. That's it!

Well, instead, I got married when I was 27 (almost 28), and after nearly 2 years of trying to conceive, we are meeting dead end, after dead end with no babies in sight. I have always had a fear in the back of my mind that I wouldn't be able to have children. I have no idea why this fear existed, but it has been there. It's very real. And my fears are being realized. Granted, I have a very successful career. I have traveled to all parts of the world. I have had some incredible experiences. But that was never my dream! (Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about the blessings... just explaining a little about me.) I recognize that I am the complete opposite of most people in the U.S.. I know I should just shut up and be grateful. But a part of my heart is sad. My heart longs for what I have always dreamed of.

The age "30" doesn't bother me.... but the age "30" with no children.... this is my nightmare.

I read an article that someone (a wonderful person) posted on facebook today about how terrible it is that women wait until their later years to have children. Without any warning, intense ANGER raged up inside me because HOW DARE THEY put down women who have children later in life. I HAD NO CHOICE! I DIDN'T CHOOSE THIS!!! God has a different plan for everyone! I would give anything for any baby, at any time, in any way, just to have a baby! I know some women choose to have babies later in life, but that is not what I am talking about.

I have learned to receive and show grace more through this struggle than I have in any other time in my life. It was HARD when I was in my late 20's and still single... people would always ask, "why aren't you married?" or "you know you aren't getting any younger?!" or "are you just really picky?" or "maybe God is calling you to singleness?".... all very frustrating, and at times, damaging and hurtful.

However, nothing tops the comments that I get about being 30 and not having babies. Most of our friends are on their second, third, or fourth kids, and we are the last ones standing without them. Some of the comments that come from very well-meaning, sweet people are just simply ignorant or mindless, but leave me with an aching heart and a realization that people just don't understand. "Don't you want children?" or (when they find out we want a baby) "You do know how to get pregnant right?!" (they think this is funny) or "well, my friend tried for seven years and then had miscarriages, but then they had a baby at age 28, and it was great!" (this makes me feel better, how?!) or "You know you aren't getting any younger? The rate of birth defects goes up every year. You really should think about trying to get pregnant soon if you ever want normal kids..." or "Hmmm... wonder why you aren't getting pregnant? It was easy for me!" or "We didn't even want kids! You are the lucky one!" or "Trust me, you don't want them... they cry and you never have a life again" or "you're just too stressed out! stop thinking about it, and it'll happen" (stop thinking about it?!?!?! are you insane?!?!! you try wanting something with every fiber of your being and knowing it is what you were designed and created to do, and tell me if you can stop thinking about it...) - and the list goes on. I will say, the most damaging is when people complain about their children or pregnancies to me. I get it. Kids are hard. I have NO SEMBLANCE of a romanticized view of motherhood. But, let me say this once, I would rather have poop in my hair, spit on my clothes, a messy house, and a severe lack of sleep and have children than to be in my dressy business clothes at an office without my deepest heart's desire ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!

The reason I describe these specific comments that have been said to me (multiple times, many of them) is that I would like to offer you the opportunity to learn what to say to someone who may be struggling with infertility. All I can tell you is, please be patient with us. We are hurting. We are trying to rest within God's will for our lives while still doing everything possible to get pregnant. (I will not go into detail about the things that we do to try to get pregnant... not necessary!) Show compassion. Listen. Don't complain. Don't try to make me feel better, because nothing will make me feel better. Pray for me. Let me love on your kids. Don't make me feel like I am less of an adult or we have less of a marriage because we don't have kids. Don't tell me I don't understand what you are going through because I am not a mother. Treat me like you would any of your other friends. Invite me to play groups! (I could help keep control of kids!) Let me be a part of your world. When the need for words comes up, simply say, "I'm sorry." Nothing more. I know that there are no other words, and I don't expect any.

Sorry for ranting and having a little bit of an emotional explosion all over your mind. Every now and then, I just need to get it out. I need to vent. Every month when we realize we are (yet again) not pregnant, I grieve. I feel a loss. A loss of an opportunity to start our family. Today, I realized, I am, yet again, not pregnant, and I am grieving. Thank you for letting me grieve to you.

We are praying about what the Lord wants for us. We want nothing more than to be in the center of His will for our lives. I am a true believer that when He does not grant our prayers, it is because He has a plan that is greater!

We feel like we are standing in a room with several doors, and we have no idea where they lead. For now, we are pushing on the doors. I believe when God's timing is perfect, one of the doors will open, and our baby will be on the other side. We believe in adoption, and we are currently nudging on that door, but I also believe that God has the power to throw open one of the other doors without any push of ours and show us something that is totally unexpected. We are open. Open and waiting for an open door.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Advocare - Day 7

Today's plan - 
Morning: oatmeal...starting to get sick of it! with probiotic and spark
Snack: almonds and cutie oranges
Lunch: grilled chicken caesar salad and an apple
Snack: almonds and cuties
Dinner: Baked chicken with cajun seasoning, okra cooked on the stove with a teaspoon of olive oil and salt/pepper, steamed broccoli
At bedtime: omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets

I start the fiber drink again tomorrow for the next 3 days. Hopefully I'll get it down easily!!

Not feeling super "quippy" or "inspirational" today... I guess you just get the diet portion of this process today! :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Advocare - Day 6

Back on the wagon!

Apple and Spark for breakfast with probiotic. Salad with cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, and a little shredded beef with balsamic vinaigrette for lunch. Turkey and veggies for dinner. Omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets at bedtime. fruit for snacks all day.

I'm starting to feel a little better about my cheat. I actually wrote "CHEATER" on my written plan that I have been keeping track on my challenge on. Maybe the self-shaming helped a little. ha.

Church this morning was awesome! Our pastor is going through a series called "Don't Judge Me". It's been very challenging and thought-provoking. I encourage everyone to look on iTunes or our church's website to watch these messages. They apply to everyone and have really good insight into ways to communicate with people who might be making harmful choices in their lives.

Hillside Christian Church - hillsidewired.com
Pastor: Tommy Politz

Advocare - Day 5

Que Usher's "This is my confession" song... Seriously, I kind of feel like I cheated on my significant other or something... Let me explain... I mean, it was only once! I didn't even mean it! I promise, I was thinking about vegetables and lean meats the whole time! It was only lust, not love! The steak and shrimp scampi on the fixed menu was just taunting me... I had no choice!

Let me explain. I really have done great the last 5 days, not bending or breaking... until last night. We were invited to join some friends for dinner at this awesome cafe in town that only serves dinner once a month. They have very limited space (max 25-30 people), and people make their reservations a month in advance with a long waiting list. The menu is fixed, and there isn't much wiggle room with what you can order. (and honestly, I wouldn't really want wiggle room... the food is AWESOME!!!) The chef has been featured on the food network. SO, I ate. Yes, I admit it. I ate. I will tell you, I'm proud to say I did opt to eat the fresh tomato and sweet pea puree for my appetizer instead of the pecan crusted quail on a bed of cream spinach with melted goat cheese (my mouth is watering just typing that)... Ok, I admit, I tasted it... and it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth... BUT I ate the healthy, cleanse worthy appetizer. For my main course, I ate beef tenderloin with shrimp scampi on a bed of risotto with grilled asparagus... Pretty much, the opposite of the cleanse.

Here is my rationalization: Beef is not bad, right? shrimp is not bad, right? So, I think the only bad things were the scampi sauce and the risotto. I tried to leave as much of the sauce as possible, and I only ate a few bites of the risotto. I feel like I tried to minimize the damage!!

Ok, so here is the good news! I weighed myself this morning, and I have actually lost 4 lbs so far!! That's averaging almost a pound/day! I feel like this is still really working for me, and I am committed to continue cleansing until the end, even though I had a slip up!

The rest of the day was exactly like the days before: I ate oatmeal for breakfast with my probiotic and spark, fruit for snack, turkey and veggies for lunch, fruit and almonds for snack... and I've gone into too much detail for dinner! I still took my omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets too.

Here is my deeper thought about this: I think, even if we mess up, there is grace, and we can turn right back around and do the right thing the next day! It's not about being perfect. It's about patterns. It's about the commitment and the "norm". It's the same way with our daily life. I might not always do what I know I should do, but God still loves me, forgives me, and shows grace to me. If I showed no concern for God's principles and commands, I would miss out on so many benefits of a healthy relationship with Him and would miss a lot of blessings that come from obedience. However, when I do mess up or slip, there is so much comfort to know that I am not shunned or hated... I am still perfectly loved. I hope you all feel that perfect love and grace!

You would've eaten it too, right?!


So, I told you I would update about my dinner on day 4. We ended up just grilling chicken breasts and burgers. I ate half of a chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. My awesome friend also made me mashed cauliflower with no milk or butter... it was DELICIOUS!!! Made me feel like I was eating mashed potatoes without all of the starch and calories! I will have to copy that trick!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Advoare - Day 4

Ok, so, maybe I didn't do the diet as well as I should have yesterday... but it totally could've been worse!! I had forgotten that I had a lunch meeting yesterday where they served lunch. I was able to request a salad, but the salad came with cheese and a creamy dressing.... oops!!! I ended up using as little of the dressing as possible and tried to pick out a lot of the cheese... Which, if you know me, was one of the hardest things for me to do! I LOVE CHEESE. like, LOVE. OBSESSED!!! It is my second favorite food... French fries are my first. Ridiculous. All of this to say, even though I had a little of the forbidden foods, I still exercised restraint and stuck to my plan as well as possible. I could have selected a sandwich smothered in cheese with a side of fries... So, I'm not beating myself up over a teaspoon of dressing and a little cheese!

Today, I am following the plan! This morning, I had my Probiotic Restore Ultra with a spark and ate whole, uncut oatmeal again... No fiber drink on the schedule today!! Thank God!! I have a few days off from that. For lunch, I will eat what I had planned to eat yesterday. Lean beef with veggies and fruit. I will eat almonds and fruit for snacks. I honestly have no idea what I will make for dinner... We are having friends over tonight, so it needs to be tasty but still fit into my cleanse.... hmmmmm..... I'll still take the omegaplex and herbal cleanse tablets tonight before bed.

 I'll let you know what I come up with for dinner!! I'm curious, myself, at this point!

No interesting thoughts or words of wisdom today. Just food. Hmph. See you later!

I'll just leave you with images of my two loves... I miss them, but I want to be thin and healthy more!!!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Advocare - Day 3

A little bit of a clustered mess of a morning. First, I overslept and had to rush around to feed the dogs, get dressed, and get to work on time 30 minutes late. I threw a bunch of stuff in my lunch bag for the day, and jumped in the car, only to realize that I left my breakfast on the counter! UGH! So, I had to improvise. I had packed extra fruit for a snack, so I just moved it up for breakfast. At least the fiber drink went down a little smoother than yesterday! There's a positive note. ;)

Here's my plan for the day: Breakfast - oatmeal and fruit with fiber drink. Lunch - lean beef with mini bell peppers and a tablespoon of guacamole. Snack - fruit and almonds. Dinner - salad with chicken and a light dressing, omegaplex vitamins. Snack - snap peas. Bedtime - Herbal Cleanse tablets. LOTS of water all day!!

This morning, my nursing students took the last unit exam for my class, and although I haven't seen the results for all of the class yet, I have had a line of people at my office door angry, crying, frustrated about their grades. This got me thinking. Why, at the end of the semester, after your test, would you come to me concerned about your grades?! I have been in this same office all semester. I have repeatedly told them, "if you don't understand something, come see me"! I would have been happy to tutor them, spend extra time with them, and make sure that they understood the content well enough that they wouldn't be in a concerned state about their grade at the end of the semester. The first question I keep asking them is "how much did you study?". The responses are varied, but for the most part, the students claim to have studied more for this test than any other, and they were expecting an "A" on this test because they made "C's" on all previous tests and needed to bring their grades up! <me: baffled> I want to respond with, "If you haven't put in the work all semester, and I have been telling you that the content and tests get progressively harder as the semester progresses, why would you NOW, at the end, feel that you can bring up the grade that you have apathetically let get low all semester?!" Instead I just listen and offer any support they need and try to explain the holes in their understanding of the content. How else should I respond?!

I am deciding to apply this to my life. For example, in this diet. If I eat crappy food and don't follow the cleanse the way it was designed, I will end up not losing weight... I have all of the tools at my fingertips, and I have the ability to do this with all of my ability, but if I don't apply myself and sacrifice some temporary pleasures so I can make a "good grade" on this, I will have wasted my time and wasted the experience.

Go deeper?! Ok. I kind of think it applies to my Christian journey. For example, I could live my life however I wanted without concern for God or His teachings, or I could commit myself to a life set apart, growing and developing as a Child of God. If I go my whole life without concern for God and expect the same rewards as someone who has been faithfully committed to Him, I will be very disappointed. All things come at a price. All good things require commitment and struggle. Without the struggle, there is no reward. (Not that the Christian life is only a struggle... There is immense joy in the sacrifices) I love that the Bible gives examples of farmers tilling the field. Without hard work, there would be no crop. Or the example of diamonds - without friction on the rocks, there would be no diamonds. I don't want to waste my time! I don't want to half-way do my life! I want to make an "A" at the end of all of this crazy mess we call "life"!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Advocare - Day 2

Well, I actually came back for a second day... just 22 more to go! :)

Yesterday went mostly as planned except I didn't get to do my beastly workout on the tower 200 like I had planned. I ended up stuck in a meeting for an hour and a half at the end of the day and barely had enough time to eat dinner before our small group from church started.

I feel like I want to share a little synopsis of our discussion last night at small group before talking about the diet again. We studied the passage in Luke 14:12-14. It talks about not hosting dinner parties for people simply because they will, in turn, host you and pay you back. Instead, we are called to host people in our homes and minister to people who have no means by which they could ever pay us back. We are called to love the unlovely, minister to the undesirable, and share our lives with people who have nothing to offer us. As we were studying this, all of these memories from my childhood started flooding back to me of the countless groups of people my mom would always invite to our home. We had foreign exchange students, mentally/physically challenged people, widows, homeless, impoverished... all types of people in our home at all time. They shared holiday meals with us. Their children played with us. They went out on our boat with us. My mom was so generous to multiple groups of people who would never have had those opportunities otherwise! I have no idea why I had blocked this out or failed to see the value in the lesson my mom taught me my whole life through her example. Today, I sit completely convicted and challenged about what I am to do with this calling! I'm praying for God to show me MY unexpected company.

Ok, so, the diet... Is going well! It's incredible how addicted to certain types of foods I am!! I actually THOUGHT about taking a bite of a friend's cheddar pepper. Then, I almost devoured a tray of brownies at small group! BUT, you would be so proud, I only took large sniffs and walked away! They say half of the joy of eating is smelling... I don't know if I really agree, but I can say, I fought temptation!

This morning, the fiber drink didn't go down quite as smoothly as I would have hoped, but I got it down. I ate the same breakfast as yesterday, and for lunch I am eating lean beef, a tablespoon of guacamole, an apple, fresh snap peas, and a cutie orange. Dinner will be a little trickier! We are going to one of my favorite restaurants for a friend's birthday dinner, and I am going to have to be very strategic about what I order! I am thinking a spring salad and a lean meat appetizer.... ugh. My favorite thing on the menu is their raspberry and walnut crusted salmon on a bed of creamy risotto with grilled asparagus... Although that sounds very healthy... it isn't... The salmon is pan seared in a great deal of oil, the risotto is made with heavy cream, and the asparagus is also pan seared in a ton of oil. Not quite so healthy! DAMN!!! Oh well... It's only temporary, right?!

Challenge schedule today: Spark 30 min before breakfast, fiber drink and oatmeal for breakfast, pineapple and blueberries for snack, spark 30 min before lunch, lean beef and veggies and fruit for lunch, cutie oranges and almonds for snack, spring salad with chicken for dinner with OmegaPlex, Herbal cleanse pills at bedtime. LOTS of water during the day!!! 

The benefits I see as of today: I feel clean (on the inside). I have energy. I have not been hungry once (probably because I am stuffing my face every 15 minutes... or so it feels). I feel like I can do this and stick with it!

See you tomorrow!

Salmon with risotto :(

Spring salad and lean meat


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Advocare - Day 1: Feast and Famine

I have recently admitted to myself that I am just NOT one of those faithful daily monthly bloggers. ha. That puts it mildly! HOWEVER, I am going to challenge myself to 24 days of uninterrupted blogging to go alongside my 24 days of healthy eating/living. Place your bets now on how long this lasts... you might just make some money off of my inconsistency! Then again, I really hope it's different this time! ha. I guess I seem to always be in a mode of either feast or famine.

So here was the catalyst:
- In my last post I talked about how I needed a revolution in my life. Essentially, shape up or ship out, right?!
- I have decided to take my life seriously. This includes my health, relationships, and work.

I don't think I've told y'all this yet, but Austin and I sell AdvoCare as a part-time business and also so we can get the discount on the products. Well, I have done three 24 day challenges in the most half-a$$ed way ever, and still lost some weight and saw some benefits. This time, I want to do it right. I actually went to the store and got all of the right foods, I marked it all in my calendar, and I even got some friends to do it with me this time for accountability! I'm hoping to really see a change outwardly and feel a change inwardly.

As a part of the challenge, I am not going to drink alcohol for the next 24 days and I will not eat anything that is not on the AdvoCare approved food list! (Good luck, Liz)

Day 1: drank my spark 30 minutes before  breakfast, drank down my cardboard fiber drink, and ate whole-uncut oatmeal with no sugar and a piece of fruit for breakfast. for a snack, I will have  a handful of almonds. for lunch, I will have turkey, a carrot, and mini bell peppers. for a snack, another handful of almonds. for dinner, I will eat lightly seasoned chicken and steamed broccoli and take my omegaplex. At bedtime, I will take my Herbal Cleanse horse pills. And LOTS of water throughout the day! Yay, me!

For my exercise today, since it is blowing sleet outsisde (yes, in late April...ugh), I will briskly walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes and use the TOWER 200 beast machine... please laugh now. My sweet husband bought the tower 200 as seen on tv while watching an infomercial late at night, and I mocked him mercilessly, along with his friends, until I used it and realized it totally will turn me into a beast if I keep at it. At least that's what I tell myself to get me through the shame.

Anyway............. So, day one of the challenge is off to a great start. I have a feeling the subsequent blog posts might not be as long, but they will be here. mark my word.... or make $50 off of me. ha. I would post before and after pics, but I still have a little pride left at this point, so I won't do that to your eyes.
 I'm hoping for RESULTS!! And I KNOW I can get them!!!
tower 200

24 day challenge