Friday, August 22, 2014

Just being real...

I'm just going to be real here...I mean...really...real....

When I started whole30 on May 5 I weighed in at 414 pounds....

There I said it...and it breaks my heart.....

A person who weighs that amount is limited by many things.  I knew I had limits but I guess I just wasn't willing to accept be real with myself.  I wasn't willing because I knew if I was real I would most likely give up.  I remember at one point this past winter thinking "if I fall and break something (we had a lot of ice this winter) I am going to end up in a wheel chair..." I knew that couldn't happen but I had no idea how that was going to change...

I haven't worked in about 3 years.  Once we left Maryland and headed to Michigan for school I didn't really need to look for work because the church we were attending was in need of a full time secretary.  As my weight grew finding a job out in the secular world was going to be more difficult.  One, people judge you immediately by your weight. They think you are lazy, that you can finish a large pizza on your own and that you have some kind of food obsession.  There are people out there...I've met them...but I am not that person.  As the weight grew it became harder for me to do everyday things.  I struggle with other health issues so that would rob me of any ounce of energy I would come up with.  If I did the dishes I would be exhausted.  If I went up or down the stairs I was out of breath.  If i stood for a long period of time my back would be on fire and my feet would hurt.  These were all things I just...lived with....and then the most dreadful thing of all...going into a building and having to take a "seat" in a chair with arms...

I would get so nervous.  A lot of times I wouldn't even go places because I knew they wouldn't have seating for me and I was too embarrassed to ask for different seating.  Tim, being the most amazing husband there is, would go into a room ahead of me and look to make sure there was seating available for me.  That thought brings tears to my eyes.  My husband has given up so much so that I could be comfortable.  He really did mean "in sickness"...Thank you Tim.  Anyway, I would be terrified of going to an interview and not being able to sit in a normal office chair.  This is me being honest people... don't feel for me....just know the next time you want to make fun of a "larger" person...that they already struggle with insecurity...don't make it worse.

When I started whole30 I was desperate.  I needed something...anything to help me.  I wanted to live again.
So in the last almost 4 months I have enjoyed MANY non scale victories.  Clothes fitting, clothes becoming too big, going up the stairs with speed and not being out of breath, walking 5 miles without an ounce of pain, being able to put a seat belt on and have room to move. I mean the list goes on...

Today I had another non scale victory.  We went into a doctors office today and as I walked in I saw they only had chairs with arms.  Tim kinda looked at me and I just smiled.  I just decided I would sit on the end of I had too.  We walk over and Tim sits down...and then I sit the a normal person.  I look at Tim, he looks at me and we just smile.  It took everything in me not to show tears.

I am down 59 pounds.  I can fit in a chair.  Every single day the Lord shows me something else.  My life has been a whirlwind since the middle of July.  I haven't had a chance to breath, or focus fully on my health.  I have been doing the best I can to make wise choices but I will admit I have not been 100% whole30.  I plan to get back on the wagon come 9/1.

I don't share my weight with you because I want you to be shocked, or feel sorry for me, or be...whatever it is you might thing....I share it with you because there is someone out there who is struggling just like I have struggled....they need to know that if you put your mind to it, if you just start with something small, taking an extra trip through the house, parking a little further from the store, choosing fruit instead of candy, eating two helpings of veggies before having more protein.  If you just start with little changes and work your way up, you really can do anything...

Today I fit in a chair...that less than 4 months ago...wasn't an option....that is a victory for this girl....

Its not falling that determines you...its if you get back up or not....

Love always...
The Shrinking girl....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Every Step Forward is a Good Thing!

The picture above has been a HUGE encouragement to me of lately! 
Being a "heavy" person is not easy.  Even when you lose 56 pounds, pictures tend to bring into perspective the truth of the matter.....but the above picture reminds me that I've done something amazing in 12 weeks! I have changed my life! I am alive! 
Here are some pictures through my journey....some are painful reminders of who I was...and some are still painful reminders of how far I have to go...but that is ok! I'm making progress!
This is one is hard for me to look at.  Though I know I have lost weight and inches I'm still heavy...I can't wait until next year and see the progress I have made! 100 Pound weight loss here I come! <3 p="">

Here is the Lee clan! all 26 of us! 

This is picture is from Tim's graduation.  May of 2011.  It's probably when I felt the worse in my life.  I was completely stressed out.  My body hurt no matter what I did.  I have no idea what I weighed here but I know it was A LOT! I'm thankful that three years later I am almost pain free...losing weight and dress sizes!

This is Easter 2014...just a couple of weeks before starting my Whole30 Journey.  I am beyond thankful that God answered my prayers....

This is from the Lee Family Vacation! This is probably one of my favorite I can see the weight loss! But, it still reminds me how far I have to go! This day we did a hike....I wasn't able to go down to the swallow falls (to be honest I didn't try since I had hurt my knee on the stairs going down) but I kept walking on the trail and came to this pool and small waterfall.  My Sister in Law Kim took the picture and I'm glad she did....That shirt is a size smaller than what I had been wearing and I haven't worn those pants in years....My tummy is my biggest problem area but it is slowly melting away! 

I have had amazing support as I go through this journey! I will be making some changes in the near future but It will be whole30....just my protein will be a little different ;) 

Thank you to all of those who have been encouraging to me one way or another! I can't tell you how much your constant comments, private messages, text and phone calls mean to me!

I am blessed beyond measure!

With Much Love,
Ann Marie

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tears of Joy...

This picture, right up there, gives me pure tears of joy! Today I went and walked a path I have walked a few times this year.  Generally it included a lot of stopping to stretch my screaming back and a very slow pace and most of the time around a mile.

After yesterdays adventure I thought...I should go try this route and see how I do, maybe I can even complete the whole thing.  And that's just what I did! I walked the entire route today!

Normally I would give excuses for the "short distance" or the "slow time" but today...I will shout it from the mountains (cause I live around them lol) that I walked the whole way!!!! That is such an answer to prayer.  Such a relief.  No back pain.  I mean none, at all!

As I thought about yesterday and today, I realize just how much I have been missing out on life.  There is so much I want to do in life and I thought it would all just be a I know those things will happen! I know I have such a long way to go but I have started! I'm 20 days into my clean and healthy whole30 eating and I am inspired and as my husband has put it, stubborn enough, to keep going!

Once again, another non scale victory for this girl! <3 p="">
Here are the meals so far today! I know it shows a lot of fruit but I feel I need the nutrients from it.  It could be hormonal lol....just saying...

This is Red, Yellow and Orange Bell peppers and onions sauteed in coconut oil.  Scrambled eggs poured on top and bacon chopped.  Cook with a lid on for a few minutes until eggs are done.  Also a very small serving of fresh pineapple and walnuts

Lunch consisted of leftover roasted chicken, cucumbers and a small fruit salad of mango, strawberries, peaches, apricots, and fresh pineapple.  Very refreshing :)

Hope you are having a fabulous day! <3 p="">
Ann Marie

Friday, May 23, 2014


19 days ago...I made a choice that would change my life....and its only been 19 days...

You can read more about my life change here.

Today I've been a little extra emotional.  It could be some hormonal but I'm chalking it up to some new revelations

Since the age of 13 (this is when I really remember my weight gain) I have struggled to be active.  I played sports in high school and actually was a somewhat of an active person.  As the weight piled on, being active, let alone, doing just normal day to day things became more and more difficult.  You never really realize how much you give up in your life until you start to gain your life back. Today I was on instagram I was looking for some inspiration and came across one of the ladies I have just recently started following.  Rya, you can find her instagram here, made a statement after completing 38 days on her whole30 journey that she feels ALIVE.  I started crying when I read that...that one word...ALIVE is how I feel!

Alive....thats a great word! As a Christian I know my Savior is ALIVE and that I am thankful for.  As a heavy person who has struggled with weight gain because of hormone imbalances no one really understands the struggle unless they have been there.  I have dieted several times in my 34 years of life and not one time have I felt this good! I either felt limited, starving, or still in great pain.....

And then there was today....

Please understand, I have had several non scale victories in just 19 days.  But this one....this one....has been a long time coming! This morning my puppy (13 year old lab) wanted to go outside so I went out and sat down while he sniffed and laid around.  It was such a beautiful day! Warm, sunny and with an amazing breeze.  I had decided I wanted to go to one of the state parks and go for a hike.  So I got on the internet and found Cunningham Falls State Park.  It has the largest waterfall in the state :) bonus...hike and your reward is a fall, I'm game! Of course I needed Tim to go with me for support.  So we ate lunch, and headed out to the park.  When we arrived there were two different paths to chose.  One to the left and the more difficult way and to the right...the "easier" one.  Well I saw a mom and her little toddler go the easy way so I knew if the kid could do it, I could! so we headed up.  There were some big inclines and it was a half a mile to the falls.  Other than being out of breath (yes I know its because of my weight but I'd like to feel part of it was because of my head cold as well lol) I did not have any back pain! I could not believe it! I kept walking expecting my lower back to start hurting! I was in tears by the time we got back to our car.  Happy, joyful tears! No back pain!

The falls were beautiful and nice to see.  I was glad I did it.  I was glad my husband who was tired went with me.  I am glad I captured some of the moments so that one day, when I look back, I will remember just how hard I fought to be healthy! One mile down....many....many more to go!

TruLee Amazed,

Ann Marie

Monday, May 12, 2014

Whole30 How its changing my life... (week one)

Well, as I type this I realize I am on day 8 of the Whole30 challenge.  I have had several people ask for the recipes for the foods I have been making and so I thought I’d put it together like this.  It all started because I found someone on instagram who had such an inspirational story.  She weight 350+ pounds and had lost 40+ pounds in a few months by doing the whole30 challenge.  So, I rolled my eyes, thinking this would be another one of those “you have to buy our pills, food and whatever else to do it” thing but went and looked anyway.  I am so thankful I did.  On the website they give you everything you need to start the challenge.  The list of foods you can eat, some recipes and so on.  They share with you their experience and talk of a book they had written “It starts with Food”.  You don’t HAVE to buy the book…but it was VERY informative. I highly recommend it. 

So first I want to start with the “why did I do this”.  I have known for a few years now that the only way I was going to be able to take control of my hormones (I suffer with PCOS) was I needed to go the whole, natural way.  I needed to change my diet and start putting good things in and leaving bad things out.  Well it sounds easy….but it’s the hardest thing I think an American can do.  To not eat any dairy, sugar, gluten, fast food, processed food and so on you have to 1) be rich and 2) have self control.  I can assure you I am far from rich and self control was just a saying….
I have changed some of things I have been eating or where I get my food for a few years.  This year I had started substituting things in and making very slow changes not to interrupt my “brain” from thinking I was trying to take away its favorites.  Then I came across whole30.  At the time I was desperate.  I was bloated, my stomach, back, knees and every other part of my body hurt.  I was tired. All. The. Time.  I was out of breath going up 5 steps on our porch.  April was also a very busy month with several things planned and I was exhausted wondering where the energy was going to come from to finish the many projects I had.  Whole30 seemed like the answer.

So I set a date after all the big events (that always include the most amazing and unhealthy food) would be finished and shared with my husband what we would be doing.  Yes, I am making him do it.  I know, I’m a bad wife but its not because I think he needs to be healthy, its because I need him to be healthy with me, so that I can stay strong.  My husband about died when I said no dairy no sugar…of any kind…other than fruit.  He loves a little coffee with his sugar and cream. He whined, and cried and boohooed…but in the end he got back up off the floor and said he would do it.  And I have to say he is my hero! He has been strong, and trying to come up with different ways to sweeten his coffee….ummm he’s still working on that lol…
So day one came along and we jumped right in….the following will be the first 7 days of our journey.  Keep it simple, don’t over complicate and know that it is A LOT of work to eat whole but it is so WORTH it. 

Day 1:
            Breakfast: over med-low heat Saute Kale and onions with some Coconut oil, crack eggs in and scramble until done.  Small serving of Pineapple and banana
            Lunch: Romaine Lettuce, Onion, Tomatoes, Peppers, ham, pepperoni, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar.
            Dinner:  Seasoned Chicken Thighs (Old Bay, Pepper and parsley) cooked at 350 for 1 hour.  Cut sweet potatoes to ½ thickness. Spread oil on both sides season with salt and pepper and cook at 350 for 30 minutes turning halfway through.  I used a papered chef stone and it does amazing things to sweet potatoes.  :)

Day 2: 
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, Sweet Potato Hash browns (chop sweet potatoes up into small cubes, and saute in coconut oil (or bacon grease) until done) and a small serving of Pineapple
            Lunch: Leftover chicken thighs from the night before, celery, tomatoes seasoned with old bay (it’s a Maryland thing) and a small serving of pineapple
            Dinner: Meatballs (ground beef, egg, salt, pepper, parsley.  Roll into small balls and cook on cookie sheet (or pampered chef stone) at 350 for 20-25 minutes),  salad with Romaine Lettuce, onion, tomatoes, pepperoni and balsamic red wine vinegar.

Day 3:
            Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with coconut oil, Sauteed sweet potatoes with onions, and chopped apple (I used one apple for the three of us).
            Lunch: Applegate Fireroasted sausage, fried in a skillet, on top of a salad of romaine lettuce, onion, tomatoes, steamed broccoli and topped with balsamic red wine vinegar dressing.
            Dinner: Roast from the crockpot (I just used the ribeye roasts (or really whatever is on sale) and season it with salt and pepper (I use sea salt and coarse pepper) and then add some onions and let the bad boy cook all. Day. Long. And tempt you because it smells so stinkin good.) steamed broccoli and steamed green beans topped with homemade ghee (ghee is butter without the dairy lol.  You just heat two stick over med to low heat and let it cook until all the dairy sinks to the bottom.  There are several videos on youtube that shows you what to do.  You do not want to burn it! But the end result if done correctly is this yummy nutty flavored goodness! That taste like butter…mostly)

Day 4:
            Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with coconut oil, sweet potatoes and some apple.
            Lunch: Leftover roast warmed and put on a bed of curly green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and some pepperoni with balsamic  red wine vinegar.
            Dinner: Caribbean seasoned Pork Tenderloin (used a seasoning I found at Mom’s organic grocery store, cooked it at 350 for 45 minutes) ontop of curly green leaf salad with steamed broccoli, onions, peppers, and balsamic red wine vinegar.

Day 5:
            Breakfast: Medium fried eggs with coconut oil, bacon and sweet potatoes fried in bacon grease (I’m not going to lie, it’s a whole new world when using bacon grease and sweet potatoes…amazing stuff)
            Lunch: Salad from the night before. 
            Dinner: Chipolte.  We got double meat (chicken) with onions and peppers, salasa and lettuce.  It was delicious!

Day 6:
            Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with coconut oil and bacon
            Lunch: Albacore tuna with some mustard and I put that ontop of cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes and dipped them in balsamic vinegar
            Dinner: Chicken in the crockpot (seriously I have been making chicken in the crockpot for YEARS but this recipe I found a year or so ago is AMAZING! Just put your whole chicken in the crockpot, season with whatever you like.  I used old bay (it’s a Maryland thing but you can find it in the seasoning aisle) coarse black pepper, and parsley. Add veggies if you’d like and cook on high for 4 hours it comes out perfect!), cooked green beans with ghee and a few chunks of pineapple.

Day 7:
            Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with coconut oil, cucumber slices and pineapple
            Lunch: Bone Broth (just take the bones from the chicken the night before (and skin and cartilage and so on) add veggies of your choice, I did carrots, onions and celery fill the crockpot to the top with water and cook on low for 12-24 hours (I just do it the night I made the chicken and let it cook until the next day) and you have yummy healthy bone broth) with chicken left over from the night before, kale and some mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper.
            Dinner: Seared Steak seasoned with salt and pepper.  I sautéed mushrooms and onions in ghee.  Leftover greenbeans from the night before and sweet potato fries (Just cut the sweet potatoes into strips toss them in some melted bacon grease, season with salt and pepper, cook them at 375 for 30 minutes turning once or twice).

Here are some things I have learned or tips that may help:
-         * Organic is best but if you can’t afford all organic try and buy what you can organic mainly meat and veggies and fruits that do not have a peel.
-          *When you first start this, if you have not lived a “healthy” lifestyle, listen to your body.  You will be hungry more often, eat, don’t starve yourself.  There will come a time when you will start to feel full with less food and that is good. 
-          *Don’t eat just to eat.  Only eat if you are hungry.  You should try your best to give your body time to digest each meal.  I try not to snack between meals but at the beginning I was very hungry every 2 hours.
-          *We try to eat on salad plates.  One you eat less and two it looks like you are eating more
-          *Remember this is not a weight loss program.  You are trying to reset your body to do what its supposed to do and in the end you may lose some weight but right now I feel amazing and I’ll take that any day!
-          *Drink a lot of water.  If you are not a water drinker it may be tough at first but in the end it is worth it.  I have been able to work my way up to a gallon to gallon in a half of water a day.  I don’t force it in anymore.  I just am constantly drinking water.  Before I serve breakfast I have already had 40-60 oz of water! I try and stop myself early in the evening so I’m not up all night!
-         * Don’t just jump in starting this program.  Work your way into it.  Get a meal plan together for the first week.  Buy your food.  Prep it. Start making some changes a week or so ahead of time.  Get rid of the temptations.  This is not a diet it is a life style change.

 Hope this is helpful! I have a long way to go but I know if I keep making these changes it will be better in the long run :)