Archive | September 2016

making major life changes (i.e., losing weight)

This week, I switched to the third phase of the Curves diet. This is the final phase, where you maintain (or lose) and keep shifting fat to muscle.

I stopped losing on the second phase, the weight loss phase, so that’s a signal that my body needs some change-up. I’m very happy with what I lost during that phase– very obvious weight loss, and very obvious muscular changes– Like I don’t have flab on my underarm any more– that is amazing.

This is me, in October, 2014, two years ago:


Me now: 20160926_081838

I’m also happy that I’m not eating sugar any more. And I stopped frying foods. So we are all eating healthier. I like how my clothes fit and feel, too. It’s fun to shop for clothes now, but I’m trying to control myself there J

I’m at a moment where I’m trying to avoid some traps. Well, one particular trap: Becoming focused on losing weight and getting more and more skinny. That’s really not the point, but it’s an easy road to go down. Oh, I don’t like that place on my leg. Oh, I don’t like my stomach flab that’s still there. Oh, oh, oh….

I have to consciously shut down those thoughts, because those goals take me to the wrong road and the wrong end.

I’m working to just be healthier. To replace unhealthy habits with healthy habits, come what may. To enjoy food for the good it’s doing my body, and as fuel.

This is really good.

Vitaliy’s started thinking about his health, too, which is nice so we get on the same wave together. He’s so fit-looking anyway, and loves outdoor, extreme sports. But now he’s trying to find ways to exercise himself more regularly. He prefers non-repetitious exercise that requires skill that you get more and more advance at, though. But he bought an exercise ladder and installed it in the kids’ room, for them and him. So there you go—we’re rubbing off on each other again.

I’m playing with the idea of going to black coffee. I can’t stand the taste, but I hear it’s acquired. I tried stevia for a while. I’m trying cinnamon and other no-calories things…

God really convicted me of something about this whole thing. I’m reading the Gospels, and I read where Jesus says:

I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

And I realized that I had stopped having faith that God could change me. My years of experience with my weight and health taught me, not perserverance, but disbelief (that God could change me). So I confessed that to God and asked Him to help me believe, to show me other areas where I don’t believe.

Vitaliy’s new exercise ladder:


our home school, 5th grade, 2016-2017

The story of my life right now is self-discipline and consistency. I have always royally stunk at these two things. Though not in every way. When I was in school, and I had external guides (teachers’ expectations, homework, etc.), I was great at accomplishing things.

But motherhood is kind of a structureless thing, in many ways. I have to create and maintain my own structures. This is terribly hard for me to do. And for years, I was pretty terrible at it.

Lately, it’s been my life lesson, and God is teaching me consistency and self-discipline in several areas of life.

So, this year, we do school consistently. And that is what I want right now. I’m learning consistency, so I’m not looking for bells and whistles and exception days and gobs of creativity. I need to learn the lesson of consistency.

Here we are reading aloud:


And we’re learning Ukrainian! It’s really taking me a lot of power to be consistent with this because we’re doing this voluntarily and it can so easily get crowded or complained out, BUT NO! We’ve got a teacher coming, so let’s learn stuff!


One thing that we’re enjoying is this Young Peacemaker course about handling conflict. Oh. My. Word. Talk about relevance to daily life– for ALL of us!


It’s been a great year so far!

we went to the circus!

In downtown Kiev is the Circus. It’s a big, very big, permanent building.


We’ve never gone to a circus before, that I remember. The only circus I remember is watching Dumbo, which is a pretty cool circus.

After sitting through 3 hours of circus, I was exhuated. Here’s what I realized about circus. The circus is all about novelty. It’s baited breath, it’s sitting on the edge of your seat, It’s gasping. It’s one surprise after another. It’s hoping someone doesn’t DIE as they dangle over your head held by a thread….


It’s exhausting.

It’s also exciting. Thrilling! Amazing! My personal favorite were the Mongolian acrobats. They were skillful, lept, flipped, jumped, and they landed solfly like deer. It was an amazing style. And I loved how they combined safety with skill. It was breath-takingly beautiful.


I had Skyla and Vika write paragraphs about the circus. Here they are:

we went to the cirus a cuple dase ago, and it was fun! there were tirgers and liens. first we bout popcowrn! we sat in the 5th row and ther was a camel that jumt over bars. the tigers were juming through a ring of fire! and there were 2 funny clowns doing silly tricks. The acrobats jumped on each others shoulders.



We went to the circus! It was amazing! We sat on the seventh row and ate popcorn. We saw horseback riders, clowns, and acrobats from Mongolia. We saw many animals like alligators, tigers, lions, and porcupines. It was fun!


So, that was the circus! I could stand to go maybe every other year….

losing weight

So, if you remember (those who read here regularly), I was wanting to lose a decade of gathered up baby weight before I turned 40 last December.

I started at 195 lbs (I didn’t weigh myself during my last pregnancy or for a few weeks after, so I was more than that).

For the year I was 39, I lost to about 145lbs. That’s about 50 lbs! I mostly did it on my own, eating oatmeal, fish, salad, eggs. I would do a cycle of good weight loss, then stop when I lost interest, then go back to a cycle of loss, then stop. It helped me to do it in strong spurts.

But then I turned 40, and I lost all desire to diet and exercise. I still wanted to lose all the weight, but I didin’t have enough desire to actuallly do it. So I regained to about 167.

I was kind of thinking and praying about what to do. Sometimes I would try to motivate myself. But it was short-lived. Then my mom and dad came for a visit in June of this year, and mom had been losing weight, too, and we were talking about how we wanted to keep losing. So we decided, why not start now, and we joined the Curves that’s on the third floor of our mall.

During that month, we exercised faithfully 3x/week. We both gained a little weight still, from all our eating and special times, but I lost fat. At Curves, you really focus on shifting your muscle/fat ratio, so your body becomes more and more able to burn calories (because it’s more muscle) and it becomes easier to maintain weight loss.

By the time mom was leaving, they were announcing their 8-week Food School starting early July, so I joined that. It was a weekly group/class about eating and weight loss, and overall, a healthy lifestyle. I was ready to join because I was tired of motivating myself and really wanted someone else doing that, I like getting more education, and I met ladies at various places on the same road of weight loss.

It was really, really fun! And the important thing is that I really committed myself to doing their eating plan with little to no exceptions (even when we traveled) and exercising very regularly and faithfully.

It’s now September, Food School has been over for a month, and I’m still going strong. I’m still on the weightloss part of their diet, because my body is still willing to shed weight. I’ve lost 20 lls (back around 145), my percent of body fat is 31.9% (I started at 38.1%, and the norm is 20%-30%). My muscle mass has increased from 27.1% to 30.3% (norm is 35%-38%). And I love the beautiful, muscular curves in my arms and legs.

I haven’t eaten sugar for over 3 months now. I can’t believe it. Sugar in my coffee was an absolute must–otherwise, why drink it?? But the Food School teacher said she loves lattes without sugar, so now that’s what I’m doing, too.

A few major lessons from this:

  1. I’m trying to make a life-change, not just achieve a goal weight. Lord willing, I will keep up my exercise and good dietary changes for the rest of my life.
  2. I’m noting times when I would, before, have eaten in order to help myself. Times of fatigue, stress, Vitaliy being gone, emotional fatiuge or frustration, boredom … and I’m finding other ways to comfort and strengthen and busy myself that don’t involve food. It’s a good thing. When I want to eat for no good reason, I remind myself that I love how my clothes fit and how my body looks, and that’s worth more to me than this temporary, often non-physical craving to eat.
  3. God used this to start a wave in my life of learning self-discipline. This diet and exercise requires a lot of self-discipline. It’s stressful, even in a good way, but it breaks down, into small steps, a huge task that I can’t accomplish in one or a few bursts of energy. So I’ve started applying this to other areas of my life– currently, fundraising and home schooling. It’s helping me break down those huge jobs into small steps and tasks and do them consistently to accomplish a huge job in good time.

I should post a photo sometime soon 🙂