Losing The Weight

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So, I realize I haven’t updated on my weight loss progress. And, I wanted to let you know that I have lost 43 of the 50 pounds that I wanted to lose! I started this weight-loss goal New Year’s Day in 2014. I’d say that was a pretty successful New Year’s Resolution. I am determined to lose the last 7 pounds, which I will write about in a future post. But today I wanted to talk about how I lost the weight.

Love Yourself Now. –No, really! I’d say this was pretty much my biggest aid in losing weight. All of my other previous attempts at losing weight ultimately ended because I didn’t believe in myself. I was unkind to myself, and over-demanding. And enough was never enough. So, I worked really hard during this whole process of being kind to myself. If I didn’t exercise that day, I didn’t beat myself up over it. I told myself that it was okay, and that I would do better tomorrow. And I did. It is so easy for us -especially women -to fall into patterns of verbal self-abuse. But it is so damaging! Instead of using constructive criticism (Well, that didn’t go so well today. I think maybe I can do this tomorrow instead), we often use destructive criticism that ends up derailing weight-loss efforts entirely. Trash talking myself didn’t help, so I had to say, Stop it, Dana! And, an amazing thing happened from my efforts. Now, as I look back at photos of myself at my highest weight, I don’t cringe or hate the old me. I feel compassion. I wish I could go back and tell her that it was going to be okay, and that she was worth just as much then as now. Yes physical health is important. But so are mental and emotional health. I don’t think it is a crime to have healthy self-esteem even at an unhealthy weight. In fact, like I said, I think building this self-esteem is crucial towards successful and long-term weight loss. I’m actually thinking of writing a book on the subject.

Pray About It –I can honestly say that I would not have lost the weight without God’s help. I knew that He knew the best way for me to lose weight. So I asked Him. I worked harder on my spiritual life, in reading my scriptures, serving others, attending the temple, and so forth. And, I felt inspiration on little things that I could do to lose weight. I felt His love for me, and His encouragement as I pressed forward. This weight loss has been not only a physical journey for me, but also a spiritual one. I feel closer to my Savior, and have greater trust and faith in His love for me.

Focus on Small Actions and Building Habits –One of the biggest reasons why diets and exercise programs fail is that they are often too extreme to start with. I knew this about myself, so I started making small changes. I had one less slice of pizza, one less cookie. I added one extra serving of vegetables, and so on. It was actually hard, because a lot of people were telling me that I was doing it wrong. But, I persevered, and found that it worked. I slowly brought my portions down to a normal size. And, I did something similar with exercise. I started with 5 minutes of exercise a day –a ridiculously easy amount that I knew I could do –and then slowly increased it. Next thing I knew, I had a lot of healthy habits that were easy to maintain.

Use Mindless Eating To Your Advantage –Often eating while watching movies or TV is demonized as being the reason why America is so fat. And maybe it is part of the reason. But for me, I thought, what if I can turn this into a good thing? So, I started using this time as a time to eat sliced up vegetables, and to drink more water. Since I wasn’t really tasting what I was eating anyways, it helped me to add more healthy food into my day, without making it a big deal.

Get Up When You Fall –This was also huge for me. I had started weight loss efforts last January, and was doing pretty well. But then, around March, my habits started to fall through. I thought I had ruined my chances for success, and felt discouraged. But, I decided to regroup. I figured out what had not worked for me, and I re-designed my weight-loss goals. And, because I got back up, I was able to accomplish so much. If I had given up, I would have only lost about ten pounds (and I might have gained it all back). But, I went on to lose another 33. So, if you’ve fallen off the wagon from your New Year’s Resolution already, don’t worry! You can still get back on track!

Think Up, Not Down –For me, I found it so much easier to cheer myself on by thinking about weight lost differently. Instead of thinking, “Okay, I have 47 more pounds to lose,” I thought, “Hey, look, I already lost 3 pounds! Go me!” I thinking focusing on what we have already achieved helps bring added motivation. Big goals come with delayed gratitification, and one of the best ways to bring instant gratification is focus on the positive of what we are doing now, and what we have already done. Of course, now that I’m close to the finish line, it’s encouraging to think, “Wow, I only have 7 more pounds to lose. I can totally do that. I’m almost there!”

Well, I hope my words were encouraging and uplifting. If you managed to get anything out of this post, I hope it is that we need to love ourselves right here, right now. Life is too short to spend it hating ourselves. So love yourself, and watch as your goals become easier to reach!

Serving At The Temple

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This picture of the Bismarck Temple is from lds.org, and used in accordance with its media sharing policies.

I was able to go to the temple tonight, at the Bismarck, North Dakota Temple. It is a smaller temple, which in some ways makes the temple experience more personal and meaningful. As I walked within the walls of the house of the Lord, I felt such calm, such tranquility, and such peace. I love the temple, and the chance I have to worship within its holy walls.

The temple is a place where I can connect to Christ, be reminded of the gospel plan and His purpose for me. It is a place where I can serve those on the other side of the veil, and those around me. It is a place where I can find rejuvenation for my soul. It is also a place where I can learn.

As I was at the temple, I was reminded that I need to think more positive thoughts about myself, and to remember that I am a daughter of God. While I have been doing better in general these areas, I have slipped into negative self-talk during the past few weeks. This gentle reminder was much needed. For me, these small pieces of revelation that I receive at the temple are so powerful and so beautiful. I love that I have a place to go when I need added strength, inspiration, and peace.

Because of temples, I know that I can be with my family forever. This means that I can be with my parents and siblings forever, and that as long as I live faithful and obedient to God’s commandments, I can be with my wonderful Ben for eternity.

I love to see the temple, and I’m so grateful and so blessed to have a temple so close to my home.

Surrounding Ourselves With Beauty

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Hi, everyone! I took a bit of a break from blogging, but I’m back! Today, I wanted to talk about the beautiful world around us, and sharing beauty with others. I feel so blessed to live in a world filled with so many different forms of beauty. From flowers to trees to the sky, to rocks and mountains, nature has so many treasures to offer us. I was just looking at one of my Pinterest boards that has lots of picturesque landscapes and natural wonders. It is just amazing to me how surrounded by beauty I am. I really need to take more time to appreciate it!

I am firm believer that when we surround ourselves with beauty that it rubs off on our souls, and makes us more beautiful in return. This is why listening to beautiful music, spending time in nature, making a beautiful spot in home, and finding beauty in the seemingly mundane tasks in life are so important.

I think sharing beauty with others is always important. This is why I decided to share some update pictures of my rock and gem collection would be lots of fun! To me, it is so amazing that a rock can come in so many colors, shapes, textures, and sizes. Hopefully my rocks will help bring some added beauty to your life! For me, they are great reminder that God loves me and wants me to enjoy the beautiful things that He has blessed me with.

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In this box I have azurite, carnelian, fire agate, orange calcite, picture jasper, goldstone, ruby, lodalite, clear quartz, blue lace agate, blue onyx, and sanskrit stone.
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In this box I have amazonite, dyed agate, dumortierite, black tourmaline, blue aragonite, blue calcite, sodalite, iolite, (manmade) blue obsidian, turquoise, lepidolite, fluorite, blue goldstone, chrysocolloa, lapis lazuli, and blue beryl (aquamarine).
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In this box I have malachite, aventurine, vesuviante, jade, nephrite, prehnite, citrine, yellow jasper, yellow calcite, pyrite, yellow crackle quartz, emerald, green calcite, kambaba, and unakite.
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In this box I have mahogany obsidian, tiger’s eye, tiger iron, tree agate, ocean jasper, brecciated jasper, leopardskin jasper, botswana agate, septarian, brown and black zebra jasper, vogesite, snowflake obsidian, desert rose, dalmation jasper, red jasper, mookaite, garnet, smoky quartz, petrified wood and hematite.
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In this box, I have opal aura quartz, pink common opal, howlite, amethyst and pink quartz.

Outfit Post: Inspired by Chocolate!

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I haven’t done an outfit post in a while, and decided to put one up! This one is chocolate themed, for my love of chocolate! I thought it was a super fun outfit to wear, and thought that I would share it with you! As soon as I put it on, I felt like I was impersonating a chocolate bar. :) Since I adore chocolate, I’d have to say it’s a good thing. :) In any case, chocolate is a great color for fall. And, if you want to try a monochromatic look that isn’t black, I’m here to say it can work fantastic!

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What I’m Wearing:

  • Boots: Faded Glory, $8 thrifted
  • Capelet: Down East, $5 (at the Down East warehouse sale)
  • Shirt: Down East, $3 (at the Down East warehouse sale)
  • Brown Jeans: $4 thrifted

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Well, I’m off to take the practice GRE, so I don’t have a lot of time, but I really wanted to post about my fun outfit. I hope you liked it. And well, I hope I inspired you to try out your local thrift store (or maybe the fancy thrift store a little farther away)!

My Bedtime Routine

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Today, I decided to share my bedtime routine. I have struggled a lot during my life with being able to get a good night’s sleep. Part of this is because I had poor sleep hygiene. Staying on electronics until the last minute, and then just hopping into bed left me staring at the ceiling for at least an hour. But with my newish routine, I am able to sleep well, and wake up feeling well rested.

* Herbal Tea –To mark the beginning of bedtime, I drink a cup of herbal tea. It’s delicious, calming, and helps me transition to sleep mode. My favorites are lemon and chamomile.

* Yoga Routine –To further continue into sleepy time, I do a 20 minute yoga routine. I use the Yoga Journal dvd, Yoga For Morning, Noon and Night. It’s designed for beginners, and the night yoga routine is nice and gentle.

* Meditation –I take about ten minutes to meditate. I don’t do anything super complicated –often times I just still mind and listen to the sound of my breaths. But this is a nice time to be still, and connect to God. I like to incorporate prayer into my meditation. Sometimes I use rocks as well. :)

* Journal –To help make sure I get rid of any pressing thoughts, I write down about my day, and how I’m feeling. This really helps to keep me grounded, to remember my life, and to help me not stress about stuff as I’m going to bed.

* Prayer –Then, before going to bed, I pray with my husband and then by myself. Talking to God is such a blessing in my life. I’m able to thank Him for all of the wonderful things that happened that day. I’m also able to talk to Him about my concerns and ask for help. And then, when I go to sleep, I feel surrounded by His protecting grace. :)

All in all, my bedtime routine is about 45 minutes long. But, for me, it is so crucial in helping me to get a good night’s sleep. What are some of the things you do to help you get ready for bed?