Hi my beautiful little unique starfishes.

I wanted to take a moment from my insane schedule to share some victories that I’ve had this month.  I’ve thought about you all pretty frequently, like I do about my friends that live far away.  Or like my dog.  Here’s  the good news: I finish this hellish semester in three weeks!!  Hallelujah!!  So here’s an update on the latest stuff in my life.


I had the greatest practicum this semester! I fell in love with the school, teacher, and students.  I am praying that I get picked up for next fall, but I’m also happy at my current job.  I’m trying to be happy in spite of whatever circumstances I find myself in.  It’s hard because I’m so passionate about teaching, and I’ve really enjoyed teaching the days that I’ve gotten to do it.


I mentioned before that we bought a house that is in the middle of being built.  We are supposed to close on Friday the 11th, if everything works out.  We are also trying to sell our current house.  I have decided it is not as fun selling a house as it is buying one.  (Understatement of the century)  But here’s the house.

Are your ovaries exploding a little bit when you look at it? Mine are.  Pop pop.


Back in February I talked about the Whole30 program, and I’m still heartily drinking that koolaide.  I have lost 35 pounds.  Today, I put on a pair of jeans that were a size 8.


What’s the significance of a size 8?  That’s the size I was at my wedding, 5.5 years ago.  So I pulled on the jeans, zipped them, looked in the mirror, and promptly started to sob.  Those of you who know me, pretty much at all, know that I’ve always struggled with my weight (Skinny people: that’s what fat people say when they mean: “I’ve been fat since forever”)  I used the triathlon picture for several reasons.  In fact, I’ll give you eight things I’ve learned in this process, and that I’m still learning.

1. I did a full marathon, several half marathons, and a triathlon as a size 12.  I was never the largest person there.  Being overweight means that you’re overcoming more when you cross that finish line, so be proud, and hold your head high regardless.  Everyone, EVERYONE starts somewhere.

2. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.  I cannot stress this enough.  Can you tell I tried?  I was working out SIX DAYS A WEEK!  Heavy cardio, light cardio, and heavy weights, nothing worked.  I was losing weight at a rate of 2 pounds per month.  What’s worse, I was still going to food for comfort, and then feeling guilty, working out too much, which made me ravenous, and then turning back to food.  Get off the cycle.

3.  Size, weight, and measurements are just numbers, and they are not the goal.  I know, you’re like “Um, Andrea.  You’re the worst, you just freaked out because you were a size 8.”  I KNOW! Calm your tits.  Size 8 is not a goal, it is an indicator of my goal. My weight is not the goal, it is an indicator.  I want to be healthy physically AND emotionally.  That means not being obsessed with a scale.  I’ve been the same WEIGHT for about a month,  but I changed sizes during that time.

4.  When you put real, good food in your face you start to enjoy it, and unhealthy food starts to lose it’s appeal.  Don’t get me wrong, I still ache sometimes for some Papa Johns.  But now when something exciting happens my first reaction is not to eat it.  When something bad happens I don’t want to drown  it in cheese.  I am developing healthy coping mechanisms.

5.  You deserve more than unhealthy.  When I trained for the triathlon in that picture, I had to run in my bathingsuit and spandex pants, even during training.  At one point I could hear a car coming and I felt so ashamed of the back fat that I KNEW was jiggling (I could freaking feel it) as I ran that I started to have a panic attack.  I had to stop, and regain control of my breathing and emotions, because I was filled with such a deep sense of shame that I was horrified someone else would see me.  Guys, I deserve better than that.  You deserve better than that.   Make it a priority. I made these changes in the middle of full time grad school, full time work, while selling a house.  Do NOT tell me now’s not a good time.  It is; make it a good time.

6. Health is everything.  If you are not healthy, what are you?  We often put so many things ahead of our health.  It’s insane. Whole30 sounded so extreme and crazy, I didn’t want to try it at first.  But then I reevaluated my reasons for hesitation, and they scared me.  Was pizza and chocolate really worth feeling that deep shame at the triathlon?  Or refusing to be part of the activities at a women’s pool party because you didn’t want anyone to see you?  The answer to that is no.

7.  Everyone is on their own journey.  I don’t know where you’re at.  You can’t force change like this on anyone.  By the time I heard of Whole30, I had been working out like a crazy person for MONTHS!  I don’t know if before that I would have been desparate enough to try it.  But given that I was, I did.

8.   What works for me MIGHT NOT WORK FOR YOU!  I am a big believer that all of our bodies are different, as are our emotions and habits.  I know that what will work for me won’t work for everyone.  But don’t you think you owe it to yourself to find out?  Even if you don’t want to do Whole30, eating cleaner and committing to your own health is a big step.

I wanted to share this with you guys because I have had a lot of people ask me what I did.  I ate clean.  My grocery bill is now made up of a TON of meat, a TON of veggies and a few other things here and there, mostly to keep my non-paleo husband happy.  My sugar crashes have vanished and I have more energy than I have in years. I’m happier with myself than I have been in years, and it’s refreshing that I spend no time feeling guilty about dinner or lunch and can just enjoy my food as nourishing, good-for-me stuff.  Oh, and I exercise 3ish times a week.  Some weeks more, some weeks less. With my schedule, sleep means more, and I am not having to constantly “catch up” with calories I’ve eaten, so I don’t feel guilty for not working out more.  I’m still very  much in the middle of this process, but I’m excited that I’m seeing results and able to share them with you guys. :)

If anyone is interested in what I eat week to week, feel free to comment and I can post a few meal plans that I used.  :)  It helps to see all the bacon.  Bacon all the things.

Also, if you’re looking for a frequently update blog by someone who has my name to tide you over, check out Andrea’s blog here.  She’s pretty phenominal for other reasons than her name.  But she’s also on bedrest carrying twins, so I’m betting she’ll be updating plenty to keep you needy little urchins happy.  And she’s funny.  And I’ve known her since I was a young “struggling with my weight” child.

My semester’s almost over…be strong!

PS- Noone pays me to taut Whole30, I’m just a huge believer.  <3

Houses, Michigan, and Family

HELLLOOOOO!  I know.  I’ve been outtie since basically ever.  It’s unfortunate.  School has taken me and beat me over the head with knowledge baseball bats every day.  It’s SO much knowledge, that I’ve basically got no time for writing.  Let me just explain to you, so you are not mad at me any more, ok my sweet snookums?  Here’s what my day looks like MOST days of the week.

4:45am: Alarm!!!!

5:30 am: Spin Class or Weight training

7:00 am:  Leave for work

8-4pm: Make that money…

5:00 pm: Make and eat dinner

5:20: Head to class

6-8:40: Class

9:15: Make lunch for the next day

10:00pm Bed time.

DO I have your forgiveness?  I’m basically going crazy like, constantly.  It’s exhausting, to be honest.  But it’s only short time!  Then I can be a normal person who sleeps and has spare time. I haven’t even watched Netflix in a month!  I know, you’re bored.  I am too.  Let me tell you about the FUN stuff I’ve squished into my schedule.

1. I’m buying a house…and it actually is starting to look like a house! (Yes, that means that beyond the other craziness, I’m ALSO getting my current house ready for sale)

House, I’m gonna live in you so hard.

2. I have lost 23 pounds over the last six months.  10 of those were at an average of 2 pounds PER MONTH.  Then, I completed a whole30 and lost 11 pounds. (for those of you good at math, I lost the other two on my “off week” between my whole30 stints…I basically ate the same as on whole30)  If you have seen me in the past year, I probably look the same.  I gained that twenty pounds and lost it this year.  But I’m about to lose another twenty, so basically prepare yourself.  I’m gonna be hot.  Like, “Wow, Andrea.  Now your incredible personality and body match.” Gettin’ it.
I just started my second Whole30.  I have never felt better.  If you haven’t…you should do it.  I may post a few recipes if I find a moment here or there.


3.  I went to Michigan

As some of you remember, my aunt suffered two burst aneurysms a couple months ago.  Since then, she has been recovering really well.  Certainly, better than expected.  She is awake and recognizes people and is able to hold a conversation.  It is no less than a miracle that she is alive today.  I went and saw her, and she recognized me immediately. It was wonderful to see her and chat.  Aunt Pam’s road to recovery will be long, but she has so many good people praying for her every day.  Please, keep her in your prayers that as she continues to physically recovers, that she emotionally recovers as well.

I also got to spend some time with my cousins, which was a rare and awesome treat.  As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t get a lot of time to get to know my cousins when I was younger, so any time I get to hang out with them is awesome. I also got some quality time with my grandparents.  Again, a rare treat.  My grandfather is in his late 80′s, and still insanely fit.  On the Saturday that I visited, I woke up and saw it had freshly snowed.  There was already a couple feet of snow on the ground when I arrived, and we got about 3 fresh inches overnight.  I walked into their living room to see this.


That’s my 80-something grandfather shoveling away.  I posted it on facebook, and was immediately harassed that I wasn’t out there too.  So, as a good, peer-pressured granddaughter, I obliged.

Then, I promptly was accused of fake shoveling by facebook. Rude.

My grandparents recently put their home up for sale, and the house is tucked away on a road that was covered entirely by snow.  My mom felt sure that we wouldn’t get stuck, trecking our way in her 2-wheel drive car.  The conversation went much like this.
Me: “Mom, this car is NOT going to make it down the street to grandma and grandpas.”
Mom: “OH! Sure it will.  It’ll make it.”
And we turned onto the lane, and felt the wheels spin under us.
Me: “We’re totally stuck.”
Mom: “We’re not.”
Me: “We are!”
Mom: “We…are.”
Thankfully, the neighbor was plowing his driveway and he helped us out.  But still, I felt pretty smug that we did, in fact, get stuck.

Me, smug.

The flights were, well, flights.  On the way out there, I was squished beside a 300+lb man and a chatty dude.  I was just sitting there, trying to read my book.  The worst.  I swear, anytime I fly the seating people are like, “Her.  That girl.  Snuggle her up next to some rotund middle-aged dudes.  She’ll love it.”  Incorrect.  I did not love it.

So that’s my life right now.  I’m basically treading water and staring at the light at the end of the tunnel.  Be strong with me, blog readers. If I survive this, then I will be restored to my former creativity.  Probably.  OR I will die under a pile of grad books.

Ron Swanson Diet

I am not someone who does the popular diets. I don’t usually get on board with anything that demonizes a specific food. However, here I am, hardboiling eggs and drinking my coffee black, in the name of the Ron Swanson Diet. That’s what I have renamed Whole30. My darling husband kept calling it voodoo.  I told him I’m basically eating tons of meat and veggies, I am eating like Ron Swanson.  (Ok, Ron Swanson HATES veggies, but the heart of every Whole30 meal is the protein, of which I think Ron would approve.)  So, to keep him quiet (that’s how I like my men ;)) I renamed it.  The Ron Swanson Diet it is.

If you are unfamiliar with Whole30, you can check it out here.  Basically, it’s a “paleo” diet with a few caveats.  For 30 days, I can’t eat dairy, added sugar, beans, or grains.  It is NOT supposed to be a permanent diet, rather a way to reset the way you eat.  It encourages eating a diet rich in vegetables, protein, and fat with low amounts of sugar and carbs. It is NOT a carb-free diet. I can still have fruit, and sweet potatoes.  But it’s meant to help me realize the way that dairy, sugar, and white breads impact my health and the way I feel. I’m doing it because I have two of my best friends that have done it, and LOVED it.  It goes back to changing the chemistry in my body. If you want more information, read their book It Starts With Food. I’m a little obsessed with it.  They even explain why you have all those weird 8pm cravings for starch after eating healthy all day long.  Turns out it is ALL about body chemistry.  Let’s prioritize though, I’m allowed to have bacon on Whole30, delicious, delicious bacon.

I know a lot of people who would say, “Silly Andrea, just eat the bad things with moderation.”  And to them I say, shutup you don’t know my life, you don’t know what I’ve been through!  If I could do moderation right out, don’t you think I would?  Don’t you think I’ve tried?  Would you ask a alcoholic to just partake in moderation?  No, silly munchkin face, because they impulse control issues.  Like me with chocolate.

I have officially been on it for a week, and I am on it until February 3rd. I also have a page on pinterest where I’m keeping my recipes.  Since I’m sure you’re curious, I’ll post the excel spreadsheet of the menu I made up for this week, just so you know what I’m eating (and if you want to do Whole30, it might give you some ideas).  Also, if you don’t follow me on pinterest anyways you’re missing out.  I’m funny AND stylish.  So you should amend your behavior, like, immediately.