Friday, May 21, 2010

how i did it. and how i still do it…

I’ve had several people ask me HOW I lost the weight…more specifically what I ate and eat now. I don’t profess to be a know it all when it comes to weight loss. This is just what worked for me. People always say you HAVE to eat breakfast, you HAVE to eat NO carbs, you CAN’T eat after supper, YADA YADA YADA. I think every person has to figure out that plan that works for them….That they can live with. For me, I had to count EVERY calorie. I was constantly Googling how many calories in a potato? How many calories are in this, that, and the other? My favorite weight loss tool has definitely been my LoseIt! app on my iPhone. You put in your age, weight, and height, what you weigh now, what you want to weigh, and how much you want to lose per week. The program tells you how many calories you can eat per day. It also has a place on your log where you can add exercise. Most exercises are programmed in with the  the amount of calories you burned in a certain amount of time. This program is sahweeeet and FREE.

This is a horrible picture but an example of what the daily log looks like.


It has a HUGE database of foods with all their caloric and nutritional information. I can also use Google when I’m out to check calories. Now that I’ve been living this way for a few months I automatically know how many calories certain foods have. I no longer have to log everyday, but I keep up with it in my mind. I do log a few days a week to keep myself accountable. It makes SUCH a difference to how much you eat and what you eat when you have to actually LOOK at it….SEE how many calories those 2 cookies have…. I pay attention to what I eat and how it affects my body and how I feel. This is not a diet for me. This is the way I want to live my life for the long run. I’m learning to eat some things I miss in love and IN MODERATION. In the beginning I didn’t stray. I ate inside my 1164 calories I did allow myself one meal a week where I could have WHATEVER I wanted. It’s funny though. I found when I allowed myself that privilege I wasn’t as indulgent as I thought I would be. If we go to eat our favorite chicken pizza I don’t eat the entire pizza. Most of the time I will eat 2 small pieces (they’re cut in squares and aren’t the typical huge triangular shaped pieces). If I eat lasagna I eat half of what they bring me. Some things I don’t scrimp on. When Andrew cooks me a 6oz. filet I eat every single bite and love every minute of it.  Did you know that a 6 oz. filet mignon has 304 calories? If you pair it with steamed broccoli at 66 calories and a half of a baked potato with spray butter at 81 calories your total is still only 451 calories? That’s very doable in real life. The key is making sure when you eat that you don’t pile on the sour cream and butter…..You don’t eat a big loaf slice of bread dripping in butter….you don’t eat a huge side salad drowning in ranch dressing.  If you did all that you would be way over your daily intake for a couple of days. You just have to make smarter choices. Once you’ve become used to this and are losing weight it comes more naturally. I started thinking… eating this worth me not fitting in my pants? Is eating this worth the stomach ache I KNOW I’m gonna get? Most of the time I say no. If I do really indulge I make sure I make up for it the next few days and log it on my phone.

These are some of my favorite things these days. I love the Sara Lee 45 calorie per slice bread. I can use a small amount of light mayo, some lean turkey, a bag of baked lays and still have a good lunch low in calories. If you look closely you’ll see an empty Publix salad bowl. I LOVE prepackaged things like this. It makes it so much easier for me to eat healthy. I take the salad that has baby spinach, mushrooms, and other veggies and add some grilled chicken, more mushrooms, or veggies. I either use Tyson ready to eat strips or chicken Andrew has grilled for me. I measure out one teaspoon of light Hidden Valley ranch and dip away. It’s A LOT of salad (fills up your plate) for 226 calories! That even includes a tiny sprinkling of pecans. Later on I’ll have an orange for a snack which leaves plenty of calories left to enjoy a sensible dinner with my family. If I don’t eat a salad for lunch, I eat soup, sandwich, or sushi….. I eat tons of stuff. If we go to Chik Fil A I eat the chargrilled chicken sandwich and a fruit cup. Most restaurants always have a good salad or chicken option. Once I month or so I go to Wings and eat WINGS! I get the snack size and have a side of steamed broccoli or half a baked potato.  That satisfies my WANT but doesn’t screw up my whole day. I also keep Healthy Choice steamer bowls in my freezer. I love the chicken marsala and beef merlot. They each have somewhere between 210-250 calories. Pair that with a piece of fruit, and you’re good to go.


I use the butter spray pictured above or the canola spray to cook with. I saute veggies and lean meats….. See that Goya seasoning? It’s our favorite… I put it on meats and veggies. I did some zucchini the other night sauteed in a tiny amount of olive oil and the canola spray. I sprayed butter all over it and seasoned it with Goya. My family ate every single bite.  See the postage scale? I weigh ALL MY MEAT. I slap it on a paper towel and weigh away!

We eat lots of things for supper. Some of my favorites are boiled shrimp with corn and red potatoes, grilled fish with fresh veggies, spaghetti cooked with turkey and served on whole wheat pasta, and any kind of chicken I can dream up. We do eat a lot of grilled chicken. It’s so versatile and easy for us. We eat it about twice a week. Sometimes we use teriyaki sauce sometimes bbq. We do mix it up, but it’s a staple. If we’re having a busy night the kids will have sandwiches or hot dogs, and I’ll have a healthy choice. Making sure there’s always something here helps. If we’re out of everything I’ll meet my sweetie for lunch and eat light supper….

These Klondikes keep me sane. 100 calories per yummy ice cream treat. I love these and have them a couple of times a week… If I’m really craving sweet an orange usually does it for me…They’re only 30 calories less but so much healthier.  I also have a Fairhope Float from Mr. Gene’s Beans once a week or so.


I haven’t stopped living life. I’ve changed the way I live it. My life doesn’t revolve around food. Mashed potatoes really DON’T make me happy. Fried chicken is yummy (and I still eat it occasionally), but it doesn’t fix a problem. Food is not my drug anymore.  It does take more planning and thinking about things to feed myself and the kids, but my meals aren’t the focus of the day. If I can help anyone I’ll be happy to. Just leave me a message in the comment section, and I’ll get back to it as soon as I can. I’m going to be posting my recipe for DELICIOUS Italian chicken the low calorie way next week. My family LOVES it!

I’ll keep updating you with my progress and maintenance. Next week I’m adding some exercise, and I’ll let you know how it goes and if I see any changes. I’d love to know if any of you start your own program and lifestyle change. It makes such a huge difference having people to be accountable too. My friend, Dori, has lost around 80 lbs and has transformed her body and her life. I’ve linked her blog to give you some serious motivation. Her before and after pictures will blow you away! She is my motivation, and I am so proud of her……

Jump on in with me!I’ll be happy to cheer you on!

love and hugs,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A little less Loulou….. a lot happier

Last year when I was in Utah visiting my bff Natalie I made a horrifying discovery. I was fat. Ever since I was diagnosed with dysautonomia and my health went downhill I have basically let myself go. Being sick and not being able to do the things I used to do put me in a great big depression. I ate and ate and ate and ate. I didn’t weigh myself….Who cared what I weighed? I was sickly and in a funk. Bring on the chocolate. Bring on the fried chicken. Bring on eating 2 plates of food if I “needed” it. My realization came when I had to step on Nat’s scales to weigh by bag. Now let me preface by saying that I know this number isn’t what most people consider fat, but it is fat for me. It makes my BMI too high and is not considered a healthy weight for my frame and height. When I saw that I weighed 160 pounds I wanted to cry. My normal weight has always been anywhere from 130-140. I “normally” wear a size 4-6. I was piling out of my Ann Taylor loft size 10’s (which is a 12 in most other brands). I had fat hanging over all my pants, and I was miserable. I was ashamed, and I knew I was very unhealthy. When I got home and saw this picture I knew I had lost control. It’s not just how fat my face looked and the fact that I was sporting a double chin….Look how unhealthy I look….how bloated and yucky my skin looks…. ARGHHHHH. THIS is not Loulou.


I came home and planned for the big “change”. I started watching what I ate and was running. I assumed that the running would just make the weight fall off of me. Uh uh. It didn’t. I’m sure I got some health benefits before it made my heart go absolutely nuts, but it didn’t work a miracle. You can’t eat whatever you want and justify it by “running it off”.  I did lose about 10 pounds last spring and summer…. I actually lost 14 for about 10 minutes. Seriously. One time I weighed 146…for 10 minutes. I fluctuated between 148-150.  This is me last May after losing 10 pounds….. I could see some improvement but knew I still had a LONG way to go.


By Christmas I was back at 150-152 and stayed that way all winter. I was more comfortable in my 10’s but still feeling yucky all the time. I had a really bad time this winter with my health. I passed out while running downtown…. I had several bad episodes after that and actually passed out when I was home alone with the girls for the first time. It scared me to death.


This March I totally changed my outlook. I finally GOT it….what works for me, and it’s very simple. I started recording everything I ate and counting my calories. I use a program on my phone called Lose it! to hold myself accountable. Since March I have lost 15 more pounds for a grand total of 25 lbs. Since March I have gone from size 10’s to a 4 or 6.  That side of the weight loss is great and motivating, but I’ve noticed more important changes. My health is SO much better. It makes sense. I was putting so much unhealthy crap in my body that I couldn’t help but feel horrible. Now that I’m eating more lean meats and fresh fruits and veggies my body is functioning so much better. I haven’t passed out since late winter. I still have issues with my dysautonomia, but I’m able to control them much better. I still eat the things I love but in moderation. Sometimes I fall of the bandwagon, but I climb right back on. My weight these days fluctuates anywhere from 134-138. I don’t beat myself up over a few lbs., but when I start creeping towards the 138 I really start paying closer attention to my food intake. It usually takes a week or so of very healthy eating and 1170 calories per day to get back down. If I’m gonna have a day where I know I’m gonna eat a lot of bad stuff (like I did at Essie’s bday dinner) I try to make up for it the day before and after. It’s all about moderation. If I want lasagna at our favorite Italian restaurant like I did today I eat half. I eat just a few bites of the potatoes or pasta. I eat a spoon of rice and double up on my broccoli.  I eat Klondike Lite 100 calorie bars instead of ice cream. When I really crave sweet I eat an orange or some other kind of fruit. I have totally fallen in love with fruit! I could eat fruit all day! It’s the best “sweet” in the world, and with oranges being around 70 calories I can have one per day.


Since losing 25 lbs. I have gone from the chubby pictures above to this: THIS is me. This is the Loulou I’ve been missing. I know I’m no skinny stick by any means, but I am at a good healthy weight for me.


Last summer on a date with Andrew at around 150 lbs…..


This Easter at 136 lbs.


and us 2 weeks ago at the beach where I wore a bikini without freaking out…… I’m no supermodel, but I’m comfortable in my own skin.101_2472

I know I haven’t mentioned exercise….That’s because I haven’t been doing any. My body can’t handle more than one big change at a time. I lost the weight strictly from watching my calories. Now that I’m at my goal weight I’m going to SLOWLY start adding some exercise to tone all this business up….. S L O W L Y. I had a little boobjob  I mean surgery, almost 6 weeks ago. That was my gift to myself for losing all that weight and something I’ve wanted to do for years. There no shame in it…..I’m thrilled! Since I had the surgery though I have had to restrict myself from exercise and strenuous activities like vacuumming.  Dang! You know I’ve hated not being able to do that! Monday will be 6 weeks, and I’m going to start adding some physical activities in then. My dr. also redid my pacemaker scar, because it had weakened over the years. That bubba has hurt WAY more than the other!  It’s healing too though, so I won’t be afraid of hurting it….

I am SO happy these days. I found my self confidence again and with that came my self esteem. I am proud of myself, and I love feeling beautiful and sexy for my husband. I feel like I am MYSELF again. Weight can’t make my life fabulous or horrible, or happy or sad, BUT it does affect the way I feel about myself and how I live my life. I am now living the life I’m supposed to be living. Free of the pounds and the emotional weight I was carrying.  And you know what? IT FEELS GOOD.

love you guys,

Friday, May 14, 2010

A few before and afters.…..

This post is linked to the CSI Project- Paint challenge

There are more pictures of the finished room in the post below. Thanks for looking.

I realized that when I showed you the girls’ room redo that I didn’t show any before pictures. I went and looked for some, and guess what?? I didn’t really find any…. See Anne Pearce yawning? It’s because her room was SOOOOOO boring…..Besides a few pictures of the girls in their cribs this room didn’t inspire any pictures. You can see the boring paint by her white crib. If you look VERY closely you’ll see I did attempt a TINY bit of decorating in this room by hanging their name letters…. Yeah. I know. I outdid myself.

This is the wall where their bed now sits. It went from this:


To this: Major improvement huh?


Here is Essie’s side of the room before (that’s actually a much younger AP in her bed).


This side of the room now looks like this:


I found this before of the chest. It was previously in Hayden’s room. It was lookin’ kinda pitiful huh?


Now it looks like this:




and this:


Sorry I can’t really pull up anymore Befores. I can assure that this room is such a happy place that there will be many more afters coming!

We have a couple of projects coming up this weekend including PVC pipe, spray paint, and drop cloths. Any guesses what we’re up to? I also have a thrift store chair and mirror that are dying for a little TLC. Check back next week for more of my little projects. Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

2 princessas live here…

Redoing this bedroom for Anne Pearce and Essie was so much fun. When they were babies they had a FABULOUS nursery. We spent so much time making sure everything was perfect, and believe me it was! Then we moved. Last February. It has taken me this long to get their room like I dreamed it could be. When we moved in our house this room had vanilla colored walls. Their white cribs and accessories blended in, and it was BORING. Enter color. LOTS of color. I knew that I wanted this room to be bright and happy and GIRLY. My girls just came out of their cribs a couple of months ago. That gave me the motivation to get this room done. It started with this bed. My friend Tracy at White House Antiques had just redone this bed in aqua and distressed it. I fell in love with it at first sight…..and the price?? $175. I know. I know. You hate me. I had bought this bedding at TJ Maxx months and months ago. I had planned on using 2 twin beds and bought 2 sets. I ended up deciding that the girls would have much more room if they shared a bed. They sleep well together, so that worked out perfectly. Since this was a twin sized quilt (it was still BIG) I layered it over a white coverlet I already had. I love the look. See that cute little round ruffly pillow? I got it at the Pottery Barn outlet for $.94. Yep…… not even a dollar. It’s hard to see in this picture, but there’s a vinyl decal above their bed. The wall needed something, but I didn’t want anything that the girls could rip off the wall. If you’re interested I got it on Etsy from Hint of Chic Boutique. I chose In the Pink by Sherwin Williams accented with Great Green also by SW. The turquoise is just craft paint.


This is a close up of their decal. I think it’s perfect.


This is to the left of the bed on the other side of the window. I painted all these frames I also got for a steal at White House Antiques and glazed them for an antique look. The Giggle sign and chair were in their nursery. See the butterflies hanging in the corner?? They are a Fairhope find. The girls love them. That’s another one of those $.94 pillows from PB.


Close up of the mismatched frames.


Like my custom window treatments? They’re $4 white twin sheets from Walmart paired with a cheap rolling shade from Home Depot. We need the shade to keep that bright sunshine out. To give them some pop I hot glued some ribbon to the bottom edge.


This alcove is to the left of the door. This is our kitchen area….This is where our babies get fed and thrown all over the place ;). Their PB kitchen goes perfectly in this area. I’ve let Santa know that they REALLY need the matching pie safe for Christmas…We’ll just have to see.. ;)


Another shot of the headboard and bedding


I needed the perfect piece to rest inside this HUGE 22 x 24” frame. I found this vintagey metal plaque at Hobby Lobby. I tied ribbon through the wall hangers on the back and voila’.


Here’s a closeup….The colors and fonts are just what I wanted and goes with the shabby chicy antiquey Frenchy kinda vibe I have going on. BTW, I know those words don’t exist in the real world, but they do exist in mine. ;)


This dresser is one of my favorite projects from this room. I have before and after pics that I’ll show later, and you’re not gonna believe it. I painted it in the accent color I chose (Great Green by SW), and glazed over it with Ralph Lauren smoke getting it in all the nooks and crannies. Then I modpodged scrapbook paper on the drawer fronts, glazed them, and sealed it with protective spray. This piece is gorgeous in person. I love the imperfections of the paper placement and the mismatched knobs.



Here’s a straight on view of the big gull bed, as the girls call it. They’ve had so much fun in this room and are so proud of it. As soon as anyone walks in the house they can’t wait to show it off. I think my mama has had to look at it 114 times. If you have any questions about anything in the room just leave me a comment. I would be happy to fill you in. Now I have to go pick up those girls from preschool knowing FULL well that this room will look like 2 little tornadoes went through it in less than 60 seconds. At least I have these pictures if I want to look at it in decent shape. Thanks for looking.


I'm linking this to:
Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday. It's my favorite PARTAY!

Furniture Feature Fridays

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

to blog or not to blog…..that is the question.

I enjoy reading blogs and visiting a party here and there. It does seem to me that now parties are EVERYWHERE......I started blogging years ago when we were adopting our first daughter from Guatemala. I blogged to share my thoughts and feelings. I invited people into my life and made tons of lifelong friends. That in itself was enough for me. It seems now that blogging has turned into an industry. Who has the most hits? Who's most popular? Who has the best party?? Sorry. It's just the way I feel. I miss the old blogging world when people blogged just to blog..... To freely share their inspirations, ideas, and lives without trying to make a business out of it. I'm sure I'll get blasted for this, but it IS the way I feel. I do appreciate those that go to all the work to put on these shindigs....My blog is not my life or my business though. It’s just a fun little outlet to use here and there….Am I the only one who feels this way?  All the advertising has almost turned me off from the blogging world. I have plenty of projects that I’ve completed but not blogged about….. I can’t decide if I want to go in that direction or keep this blog the way it was first intended…a little snapshot into my crazy life. I’m sure that all of my readers and followers have gone on their merry way, as it’s been so long since I blogged. If anyone is still here I’d give you a high 5 if I could reach through this screen….. Instead I’ll share some recent pictures. After all, these are the best projects I’ve ever worked on!













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