Hi! My name is Cori!
Jessica, the brainchild of The Journey, asked me to contribute some posts here, so I thought it would make sense to introduce myself a bit first. Jessica and I go way back to elementary school. We attended school together starting in 4th grade and we graduated from high school and Iowa State University together, too. We were even roommates for a couple of years in college. Sometimes that seems like another life. Probably because it was. 😉
I am a wife and stay-at-home mom with three kids, currently age 4, 7 and 8. (Oldest is a boy and two girls.) I live in a small town in Iowa. In other previous lives I used my college degree (journalism) by working for Associated Press in Des Moines, and I used to be employed by my church. I still serve a lot at my church, just not for a paycheck. I also volunteer in my kids’ classrooms. I write fairly randomly at my blog, Random Reporter. I like spending time with my family, reading and photography.
I’ve spent some time writing about my own journey and what I’ve learned about making physical and spiritual changes in my life. Interestingly, they tend to go together. One of the changes I have made over the past few years has been changing how I eat. It has been an incredibly slooooow journey, and would look like a roller coaster if I could map out my progress. I’ve pretty much always been a person who did not watch what I eat. I enjoy eating. I like food. I’ve always preferred Cheetos over carrots. Mt. Dew has been a mainstay for many years. I generally looked at people who counted every calorie or never ate dessert and thought they were missing out. (And, truthfully, a few people who come to mind that were acquaintances in college probably were extreme and may have had eating disorders. Comparing is generally not a good thing, especially if it is to an extreme.)
As an adult, my weight has gone up and down with pregnancies. I was eating better and getting regular exercise in the months leading up to my first pregnancy. And, then, I lost weight easily after that pregnancy. I was eating whatever I wanted and still losing weight. Sounds great, right? In the short term, it was. In the long term, not so much. I also had some gallbladder issues then, so I did have a restricted diet for about six weeks in between getting that diagnosed and having surgery to remove it. Then, when my first baby was only eight months old, I was pregnant with my second! I was probably the lowest I had weighed since even in high school when I realized I was expecting baby #2. Same pattern as before, I lost the weight easily after my daughter was born, until I stopped nursing her. Then, I kept eating whatever I wanted and watched my body grow larger. Pregnancy #3 came along about two years later, and the pattern was the same. I lost weight after the pregnancy (although not as much, since I had gained before), but then stopped nursing and started gaining.
I enjoyed feeling thin when I had little babies. The problem was, I wasn’t making healthy choices and had zero self control with eating. I was only lucking out that my metabolism went crazy when I was nursing. I was in a small group with my husband and some others at my church around the time I stopped nursing baby #3. (We would meet weekly for a time of prayer and Bible study.) Our study included a few lessons on fasting, which is a fairly common practice in the Bible. I had never fasted before, and the author of the study really set it up to be a great spiritual experience that would bring us closer to God and reveal issues that were hindering our relationship with Him. I was skeptical but somewhat excited to see what God might reveal through fasting. I was initially disappointed with my results, as I only learned that not eating made me hungry (duh!) and gave me headaches. My other big revelation: I walked into my kitchen a lot in search of food. As I wrote that in my study guide, I felt like I was getting a little nudge from God, and maybe that revelation was a bigger deal than I realized.
Around the time this study was taking place, I was reading Lysa TerKeurst’s blog. She’s was writing about how God was revealing to her that she had food issues. (Well, what a fine coincidence that was!) She ended up writing a book about her journey to eating healthier and using food to nourish her body, not as “fix” for an emotional problem, and gaining self control. The book is called Made to Crave, and it became a New York Times bestseller. Apparently she struck a chord. I pretty much tried to ignore the book, until my church decided to use it for a women’s Bible study session and I was asked to be the leader. Ha! OK, God, that’s a pretty big nudge. (I highly recommend the book, by the way. Maybe we could have a book club sometime and discuss it on the blog here?) We completed the study right before Thanksgiving in 2011. I did well with my eating until the holiday season and then stopped. Throughout 2012, I had good months and bad months, but was fairly inconsistent. The weight I lost eating well was quickly re-gained and then some.
While thinking about my eating, I also decided, somewhat on a whim, to try out the Couch to 5K running program. I first heard “couch to 5K” from a friend’s Facebook status, and I thought she made up the term about herself. Then, I saw more people mention it and realized it was an actual program. I started in the fall of 2010 going through the program that includes run/walk combinations that gradually increase your running time, and I had pretty good success! You see, I always HATED running, but here I was, getting up early to go for runs. I intend to write more about what I learned from running, so I’ll save most of that for another day.
Overall, I’ve done OK getting some exercise over the last few years, but I only see results on the scale when I am making good food choices. Cutting sugar and picking healthy snacks seem to be key for me. Right now, I’m using the EA Sports Active 2 workout on my husband’s Playstation. It has a good combination of some cardio, lunges, squats, and core and arm exercises. I’ve also been trying to eat when I’m hungry and make a good food choice that will nourish my body, not just fill it up with junk. I’m not counting any calories or points or anything because I just can’t handle that. Since around October, I’ve lost about 14 pounds. I have at least 15 to go to get into my “ideal” weight range according to BMI charts. I’m less concerned about the number on the scale and more interested in making healthy choices, although I don’t mind seeing that number go down. I do not make perfect choices, but I feel like I’m making progress. I hope the posts here will encourage you to make progress, too, even if it is one very small step at a time.