Weight Watchers Wednesday: A Month of Maintaining

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I can’t believe it’s already mid-July! The past month has been about maintaining and surviving. Beginning in June, I was swept up in preparing for my job’s annual conference, then hosting the conference, and then recovering from the conference (along with holidays and other social events).

My goal hasn’t been to lose but just to maintain and survive. And I can say, for the most part, I have maintained. I’ve gained a 1.8 pounds since the end of May, and knowing what I actually ate, I am okay with that damage.

So what’s next?

I have two goals this week: track and stay within my points. I have found the most success when I track because it keeps me accountable for what I put into my mouth.

Also, I want to try a new recipe.

So, that’s like three goals. That’s it.

These are SMART goals

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

As I’ve said before, it’s a journey and maybe I am taking the longer way but I am still going to end up in the same place. And as each day passes, these healthy habits I’ve been learning and adapting are becoming more ingrained into my every day routine where it’s not just a Weight Watcher thing but a thing I just do – a Tawny thing.

Also, if you’re interested in joining Weight Watchers consider using my reference link so that you and I both get a free month of membership! Click here: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/checkout/iaf/?iaftoken=84A4707800

Weight Watchers Wednesday: G to DD

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“I didn’t recognize you from the back or from the side, Tawny. You carry yourself differently now. I remember when you came in August to now, you really do carry yourself differently,” explained my Weight Watchers leader, Leslie.

She ain’t lyin.

I’ve noticed the change in how I carry myself too. I see it in photos that others take of me. I am not saying I have perfect posture or have been completely cured of my body insecurity, but I’ve made progress. And progress is all anyone can ask for, really. I don’t expect perfection this side of heaven… just progress.

There’s many reasons why I am carrying myself differently.

  1. I literally have less weight to carry
  2. My core strength has improved so I can literally carry myself better
  3. I am not afraid of showing off my body
  4. My bra size is down

Let’s expand on number four.

I started growing a chest around age eight. By age ten, I was made fun of for having breasts by boys who would later want to see them (get out of here!). By high school I was a size F (I remember because my friend made fun of me for getting my first F in high school). And then I settled into a G in college.

And then this year happened. This year, for the first time in my weight loss journey of over ten years, my cup size decreased! I am now proud to say I am wearing a DD — something I never thought possible. And even now I could probably go down to a D (here’s hoping!).

Instead of the young girl who hunched over because she hated drawing attention to her self,  I am now a woman who is just excited that my breasts have decreased and I can stand up straight not fearing that I am going to side-swipe a child (again).

Until next week… (or the week after as I am heading to a conference, so most likely the following week).

So, I Preached This Weekend

Growing up as an atheist, the last thought on mind was preaching the Gospel in a church in my 30s. It just wasn’t something that I ever thought I’d see myself doing. Even when I was in my mid-20s, now a Christian, attending seminary, it was still a thought that didn’t come to my mind. People would ask, “Oh, so you’re going to be a pastor now?” or “So, you’re like going to teach people about Jesus in a church, right?” And every time I would shy away and say, “God told me to go to seminary, but I don’t think it’s for that reason.” Why did I say that? Because public speaking is not something I like to do and I had also been trained to think that woman couldn’t teach from the pulpit.

Yet, I absolutely adore teaching. I love sharing with people what God has taught me. I love the collaboration between the Holy Spirit, myself, and the people in the room. Each time something gets revealed or understood for the first time or someone recalls a truth they used to know, it’s like everything in me wants to explode with joy. Each time someone’s life is transformed whether it’s at the end of our talk or I hear about it later, it’s prayers answered! And as a teacher, I get to experience these things first: I learn new things, I am reminded of truth, and I am transformed. It starts with me and sometimes it’s painful, but its always good.

So, how did I get here? How did a former atheist preach the Gospel to a church?

It Started with Chicago

So, when God called me to Chicago I had no idea what He was going to do. He said go to Chicago to help plant a church in Logan Square with Real Church. Okay! Whatever you say God because I follow you. My heart’s desire is to just be with Him, doing ministry with Him, wherever He says to go. And these past six years have been a growing, transforming, sanctifying process. And maybe one day I’ll write a book, but for now this personal blog will suffice. And really, the story isn’t over; in fact, God has started me on a new chapter.

I Blame Scotland

This next chapter is learning what it means to preach and answering the call to preach. It’s doing a thing I would have never dreamt of, well not until six months ago. Not until Scotland.

When I was in Scotland on retreat, God revealed to me many things. One of which is teaching. And as the months have progressed, He has been revealing more and more to me that I am called to teach — not just classes (though they are my favorite, so I hope I can still do them) — but really, to preach the Word.

I Can’t Preach, I’m A Woman

Some background. I started out as a Christian at a Southern Baptist church and then went to a conservative evangelical seminary, so the idea of a female preaching was nonexistent. Women taught over women and children and that’s it.

So, it’s no surprise that there’s been conflict in my heart. Let me try to unpack this conflict because I think it’s important to explain. First off, if you follow the enneagram, I am a 9w1, so I am all about peace, maintaining the status quo, and I really want truth to reign in my life and I value rules and traditions. So take that foundation and sit with me in this tension.

I’m in a culture that tells me I can’t preach because of tradition or interpretations of Scripture, and yet I also value doctrine and Scripture above most things in this world and I want to follow what God says to do. And then, I have God who is telling me that He has made me to do the very thing that others say is wrong or at least makes them feel uncomfortable. I have a church leadership team that is being obedient to God and offering me a chance to do the very thing God created me to do. I am dealing with my own insecurities because it’s much easier to sit in a crowd and listen than to be on stage and bare my heart to the masses.

There was tension. And I kept going back to God, “Is this really what you want for me? Am I hearing you correctly? Can you show me in Scripture where it says I can do this? Can you confirm it through others? Help me to follow you, Lord. I don’t want to make this about me. I don’t want to dishonor you. Lord, are you really saying this?”

It was a mixture of needing confirmation but also maybe trying to find a loophole to get out of it because as I said, it’s uncomfortable.

In the end, I had to focus on God’s Will. Not others. Not what others would think about me. What I feared. No, I simply needed to pay attention to what God was inviting me to do.

Which Road Will You Take?

This road I have been going (if we want to do another analogy) has taken me to this spot. I really do believe Scotland was one of those crossroads. God was asking me, “Will you follow me down this road? You can go on the other path and I will be there with you too… but you can walk this path. It will not be easy. At times, you will be afraid. It’s going to cause a lot of tension. You won’t be able to follow the status quo [and as someone who is a 9 on the enneagram that is terrifying], but you will be more alive than you ever thought possible. You will have more joy than you ever thought possible. You will know ME more than you ever thought possible.”

Obviously, I chose Him. I chose a deeper intimacy with God. I chose this crazy path of obedience because I honestly could not have chosen the other path, it’s not me. It’s not what I was made for. Why live this life not fully being the woman God created me to be?

As God said, this road is not going to be an easy one. I know I will receive pushback. I know as I continue to grow in these gifts, I am going to have to die more to myself. There’s going to be a lot more pruning. A lot more faith. There’s going to be a lot more external forces that will either push or pull me to take the other road.

And yet, and yet, I can’t go back to the woman I used to be. I am not that atheist, I am not even that seminary student anymore… I have been changed by Chicago. I have been changed by Scotland. I have been changed by God.

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can listen to it on iTunes or on Google PlayIt’s not perfect but it’s obedience recorded, folks.

Weight Watchers Wednesday: a New Decade of Weight

Well, it happened. I have moved into a new “decade” of weight. Hello 170s!

I have finally hit a number that I don’t recall every being in. I remember the 160s when my appendix exploded and I was at 164 for a while until I gained all 40 pounds back (and then some) within a year. I remember 180s because that was the number I finally hit senior year of college — 189 to be exact — when I thought I could just exercise a lot to lose and maintain weight (it lasted a week).

So, when I stood on the scale and saw 179 I had no thoughts. Just surprise! No connection or memory associated with it. I only know it as the number I currently weigh at age 32.

Hello, 170s. Nice to meet you. I hope to not spend so much of my life in this decade, but I will be kind to you as I pass on through.

So where am I at?

  • I’ve lost 36 pounds since August 2017
  • I’ve lost 5.8 inches since February 2018
  • My current goal is to get to 164

That means I have 15 pounds to go. By the way my body has been losing, I will be able to lose it by the end of the year! It’s really exciting. It’s hard to explain the gratitude and excitement that I’ve experienced these last 10 months. To have lived the majority of my life feeling at odds with my body to now feeling like I understand this body God has given me is such a gift.

What else? I am thankful that I am no longer afraid of food or trying on clothes. I am thankful I am able to trust the compliments from others, and more importantly, the good things I say about myself. All of these things are a blessing from God.

I knew when beginning this journey that God was going to do a lot of work in me, but I didn’t realize what all it would encompass. This journey has been filled with pain, dedication, and sacrifice, but it’s also been filled with joy, sweetness, excitement, and love. It’s all of it…the full journey.

And here’s a semi-before and after photo

August 2017

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May 2018

Weight Watchers Wednesday: What 10 Months Looks Like

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The other day I was working on a project and I had to go through 2017’s staff photos when I came upon my own face. I stared at it for awhile not recognizing this person. It was me. It was me a week before I started my Weight Watchers Journey.

Yes, the first thing you will notice is that my hair has changed, along with my glasses. That’s obvious. And sure, the 34 pounds of weight missing has definitely made a drastic change. But there’s also something that is missing — my lack of self-confidence.

While I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained self-confidence and inner strength. I have the power to say no to things, to deal with my “ish” and to persevere on this health journey that I didn’t even think I could last a month on!

I honestly attribute all of this to God. I know I would not be where I am without Him. He has sustained me and encouraged me when I thought I didn’t have the strength to say no to ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE. He has revealed to me layers of my brokenness and addictive behaviors and He has been healing them.

I have a ways to go and each day brings new obstacles, but I am so thankful to be where I am. Seeing this photo encourages me that so much can happen in ten months and I am anticipating to see what will happen in the next ten months!

 

Weight Watchers Wednesday: Crowd Sourcing My Wardrobe

So, I accidentally crowd sourced a new wardrobe last week! I had mentioned how my clothes were no longer fitting me on my Instagram and made the joke that people could Square me some money. Well, be careful what you say on the Internet because some people actually did! I am still stunned by people’s generosity. It was so encouraging and something I really needed. It will forever be one of my favorite stories of my Weight Watchers journey.

So, I went on a shopping spree!

This weekend I went and spent that money (mainly so that I wouldn’t spend it on other things), and I found out I went down to the lowest bra size I’ve been since the beginning of high school! Yes, that long! I am now in a categories of bra that it’s popular enough that they didn’t have the color that I wanted. I MEAN, WHAT IS THIS LIFE?

I also purchased a new cardigan (see photo above) and a new pair of pants (not pictured). I basically purchased wardrobe staples that I’ve needed for work and it’s such a relief. I know it’s super First World Problems to be stressed that I don’t have clothes to wear because I am purposefully losing weight, but it’s a stress nonetheless that is now alleviated.

THANK YOU FRIENDS!

Until next week!

 

Weight Watchers Wednesday: 32 Pounds Down

Happy Wednesday! I know I’ve been a bit absent from posting on my Weight Watchers journey the last couple of weeks, and I will explain why more later, but I first wanted to share some good news.

I lost 32 pounds!

And to celebrate here’s a full body shot of me:

So where have I been?

Well, first I was in Nashville. Yes, the home of everything that is not always Weigh Watchers friendly. Like seriously. Why are they against vegetables?

I enjoyed a ton of lattes and unhealthy teas on this trip, along with biscuits and fried food. Suffice it to say, I gained some weight and didn’t feel all that well.

I learned that when I eat crap I feel like crap– first emotionally and then physically. It’s a horrible cycle and I fell into it whilst in Nashville and continued on into it in Chicago. It took another week to get out of the cycle, but I am here — OUT.

So, how does one get out of the cycle?

Well, it’s not a perfect science, but here’s some of my tips.

1. Do not shame or guilt yourself. You have enough of the world telling you what you should or should not do. Be patient and kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.

2. Recognize that we have seasons, phases, and cycles. We have seasons of life — some months have more stresses or more adventures than others. You may not always be able to be as consistent as you want, and that’s okay, it’s a journey. You may need to stop, get lost for a bit, ask for directions, and take a nice sit and drink some lemonade before you continue on your weight loss journey. And that’s normal! Also ladies, we literally have cycles and sometimes those hormones have the ability to do just take over and rebel. So, some months you win and others you lose. And that’s okay!

3. Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint. My goal is to cross the line in my own time — I am not trying to set a record here. So what that means for me is that I am okay with having a couple of weeks of maintaining or gaining a couple of pounds because I know I will eventually lose the weight, and I’ll be enjoying some lattes along the way while I’m at it.

So, there’s some of my thoughts. What do you think?