North Atlanta Fine Art Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Soooo….. I’ve been answering the same question to others over and over for weeks now. If you’ve been following me on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…) you may have noticed that late last summer I started posting about using MyFitnessPal. Because posting about my journey/experience/whatever-you-wanna-call-it here will simplify things, I figured I’ll give you the whole spiel. (Boy…this is going to get personal real quick. I can DO this!)

Let me start at the very beginning…

Several years ago I was constantly tired. I could NOT keep up with my sleep. Let alone get a restful night of sleep. I tossed and turned. I SNORED. A LOT. I would be driving in the car, stopped at a red light, fighting to NOT fall asleep. I could hardly get out of bed in the morning to wake up the kiddos for school. As soon as everyone left the house in the a.m., I would usually have to take a nap. Yes, I just got up! And I needed a nap. I would fall asleep sitting up at my desk while working no matter the time of day. I would fall asleep reading a book, watching a movie. I was TIRED. ALL the dang TIME! I cannot remember how long this was going on but at some point I just had enough. I am the kind of person who pushes and pushes, waiting to take myself to see a doc. Not that I dislike  seeing the doctors. Nope. I just didn’t want to deal with it. However, as I said. I had had enough. I made an appointment and spoke with my primary care physician. He did all kinds of tests, and drew multiple vials of blood. I went home and waited patiently for the results. Come to find out, that aside from obviously being overweight my thyroid levels where absolutely insanely low! The nurse who called to tell me my results was literally surprised I was still standing upright and functioning at all. (Daaaayum! I knew there had to be a reason why I was always so dang tired!) The diagnosis: Hypothyroidism. According to WebMD…these are some of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Depression
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Slow heart rate
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Over the next months I was put on different thyroid meds. I got my levels back up to normal. However, after some time I was starting to feel tired again, add to that racing heart beat, and feeling like I drank a giant gallon of Monster, 3x a day. I very much dislike energy drinks so this feeling was very foreign to me and VERY annoying. Basically showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Who knows what exactly triggered it. I’m just thankful I was smart enough to immediately make an appointment with my PCM who checked my blood again to find out that my levels indeed were out of wacky, yet again. So we changed my dosage. Then changed the meds and dosage yet again. (I also took 2 sleep studies and ended up with a sleep apnea dignosis and a CPAP machine.)

As you can imagine, loosing weight was a struggle. Or rather non-existent. I’d been at the same weight for years and maybe fluctuated between 5-10lbs here and there. I was UNHEALTHY. NOT unhappy! I wasn’t going to wear a 2 piece bathing suit, but I was comfortable and content in my own skin. Then came the summer of 2014. I went on a much needed and deserved girls trip only with a couple of my other Mama friends. It was such a spiritually, physically and mentally uplifting time. (I cannot wait for the next one!) I returned home from my “summer break” feeling good and refreshed. I went to a check-up appointment with my doc as we now regularly have to monitor my thyroid levels. Everything seemed to be A-okay.  I talked with him. Told him that for years I have not been able to loose weight. (Thank you stupid thryoids. I really appreciate you!) I wasn’t working out as much as I could have but I also wasn’t stuffing my face with bad foods 24/7. He encouraged me to keep a food log. Cue the big “are-you-kidding-with-me” eyes. Seriously? Seriously! I went home and downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and figured I should have some sort of GOAL to work towards to. I wanted to go at a slow/healthy pace and see what happened. So my goal was to drop 1 dress size within 1 month to fit into a special dress to rent from Rent the Runway for a wedding Craig and I would be attending on September 27th, 2014. (I could have cared less about the weight at this time, just as long as I fit unto that dang dress! ha ha) Then I did something I had not done at home in years. YEARS I tell you. I weighed myself. LOL I weighed in at 93kg/205lbs. Size 14-16 and L or XL. I gave myself a ball park goal weight to where I think my minimum weight loss should be (75kg) with no specific date in mind. Again…all I cared about at this time was fitting into said dress! :-p  And of course being healthier. Yes, definitely HEALTHIER! According to the app, for my weight loss goal I needed to stay within 1200cal/day. That didn’t seem so hard. And really, it wasn’t. I decided to also supplement 1-2 meals with Herbalife shakes. And I enjoy drinking the Herbalife herbal tea. Some time ago we actually bought an elliptical trainer that was mainly catching dust. So I started to use it. My minimum exercise goal was 30min of cardio with strength excercises 3-5x per week. Eventually I added one of those stretchy bands and ankle weights.

I now UNDERSTAND food. Thanks to this crazy app! I understand what I eat, how much I eat and I am loving food. Yes, I still eat homemade chocolate chip cookies (they are the BOMB and I would be more than happy to share my recipe with you if you’re interested), I must have chocolate (I refuse to live without my chocolate!) and the occasional pizza. I cannot remember the last time I had fast food. Thankfully I have always LOVED salad, so I eat that a lot too. I make most of our meals from scratch. I have cut back on my carbs. I eat a ton of veggies and good meats. Recently I started making egg white quiches that are a hit with all my kiddos too. Unfortunately I HATE fish, so that is NOT on my meal plan. LOL Just yesterday I made a delish bolognese sauce from scratch and ate it with green beans and Barilla’s Farfalle pasta. I watch my portions. I work out. I snack and make sure I have 3 meals per day. (On most days.) I log it all via this cool app on my phone or online. I seriously LOVE this app and doubt this journey would have been quite as fun or as successful without it! I’m on a 147 day streak logging my calories and exercises now. I’m having fun with it.

That personal goal weight I set back at the end of August 2014? I’ve reached it!! Yup. I feel good! I feel fit, healthier and guess what…. I sleep soooo much better! 🙂 (Not sure on the snoring part though….must ask the hubby about that. haha)

I’ve set a new goal after which I will just try and maintain my weight. According to my BMI I am still overweight, so I want to reach a “healthy weight” for my height (5’4″). I’m not going to set a timeline. I’m not going to race myself to the finish line. I will take my time, continue doing what I’m currently doing, and stay healthy. I’m going to have fun with this.

Here’s to being HAPPY & HEALTHY!

xox,

Benita

THE dress. Yup, Nicole Miller rocks! And isn’t my hubby such a hottie??? <3

Vow-Renewal_brcphoto

 

A picture review of my weight loss.

 

  • January 16, 2015 - 4:19 am

    Jennifer - Oh Benita this sounds so amazing. I admire you for your strength and for getting this far – seriously!!! I would love to read about that egg white Quiche 😉 I am sure you will inspire many women with your story! Keep rocking girl!

  • April 18, 2015 - 9:08 am

    Happy and Healthy | personal | Benita R. Cloward - BRC Photography - […] you might remember my post from back here about my thyroid issues and weight loss journey. I have gotten so many comments and personal […]

  • August 22, 2015 - 2:34 pm

    Milestones 2.0 [personal | Missouri fine art portrait photographer] - […] can follow my fitness progress here and here if you haven’t already or want to read again  on how I did […]

This family right here, we have shared many laughs over the years. You might remember Amber’s amazing maternity couture session that was featured on the Indie Tot.

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Well, I was fortunate enough to once again document this family and capture their love and joy for one another. Plus…. a BIG surprise announcement. I don’t think the boys really got what the sign meant at first so after I told them that at that exact moment Mami was already growing the new baby inside their belly…..it really hit them. So fun! 🙂 I love you Fife Clan and congratulations! Who knows, maybe this time around it’ll be a little girl. 😉

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Diese Familie hier, haben einen ganz besonderen Platz in meinem Herzen über die Jahre gewonnen. Vielleicht erinnert ihr euch ja noch über die Schwangerschaftsfotos von Amber’s letzter Schwangerschaft die auf dem Indie Tot Blog gefeatured wurde.

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Als ich vor ca 1 Monat zurück in Oklahoma war konnte ich nochmals einen Spaß mit dem Fife Clan haben. Und dieses Mal gab es eine große Überraschung für die kleinen Jungs denn Mami ist schwanger mit Baby Nr. 4. Sie hatten es am Anfang nicht so ganz verstanden also hab ich dem ältesten gesagt das genau in diesem Moment das neue Baby bereits in Mami`s Bauch am wachsen sei. Da hat er vganz große Augen gemacht ein riesen Grinsen auf seinem Gesicht bekommen und seine Mami fest umarmt vor Freude. Was ein toller Moment es doch war diese Überraschung fuer den Fife Clan einzufangen. Alles Gute meine Liebsten und ich hoffe auf eine gute Schwangerschaft und gesundes Baby! Vielleicht wird es diesmal ja ein Mädchen. 😉

xox

Benita

Hair & Makeup: BRC Beauty

 

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  • December 15, 2014 - 8:44 pm

    Amber - love love love. You are so amazing. I just can’t stand it. 🙂 🙂 🙂 hugs friend!!

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