Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How I lost 70 pounds...

Mallisa here. In my first post I briefly mentioned that about three years ago, I lost a grand total of seventy pounds. I thought that since we created Craft. Eat. Love. around the central idea of health and weight loss, I would elaborate a little more on my story.

Growing up my entire life I was always fat. I was always the heaviest of all of my friends when I was a little girl. I outweighed my mom (I definitely didn't get my genes from THAT side of the family) by the time I was 12. I was never happy with myself, but my family wasn't exactly the kind of family that would watch what we ate. Since I was three, it's always been me and my dad (whose idea of cooking is microwavable taquitos. No offense Dad, if you ever read this). When dinner time came around, its wasn't "What should we cook for dinner?". It was "How many double cheeseburgers from Hardee's do you want?". I don't blame my upbringing for my being fat, but it is apparent that my health consciousness has been self-established since becoming an adult.

I was never happy with myself, and all throughout high school I was always the biggest of all of my friends. I know what it feels like to go into a dressing room with a pile of jeans and even the largest size that you picked up to try on "just in case" won't button. I know what it feels like to avoid talking to strangers because you don't even want to be noticed. I have worn jackets in the dead of summer just to hide my body. I've shed my fair share of tears over the disgust I felt over myself, but I never knew how to embark on the journey to self appreciation and confidence. It all started (unfortunately) with an extremely unhealthy relationship that I was in. I was depressed and miserable, which just lead to more and more eating. At my biggest I weighed 210 lbs and wore 15-17 in jeans.

After a short stint of severe depression which lead to me dropping 20 pounds (the unhealthy way), I began to get a lot of positive comments on my slightly thinner frame. The feeling that I got from these compliments was almost like a drug. That's all it took. I put all of my energy into losing weight, being more healthy, and learning to be happy again. I left the d-bag that I was with and started to research Weight Watchers. My aunt had been counting points and it was working for her, so I decided to do the same. I googled all the information on how WW worked, how many points I was allowed to have, how to determine the points in food, and I began. I will admit- the 8 months-a year that I spent counting points was expensive. I was used to prepackaged food, so buying Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones was okay with me for every meal. I eventually learned how to incorporate healthy foods into my recipes at home and started changing more of my lifestyle, rather than just my diet.

No more white pastas and breads. Wheat only. No more desserts ALL TIME. No more DRINKING my calories. I used to be addicted to sodas and sweet tea. Now that I've pretty much cut them out completely, I don't even want them anymore.

I will forever vouch for losing weight the WW way. Lowering calorie and fat intake, and upping your fiber consumption. I haven't been counting points or calories over the last couple of years. My dieting has been on and off, but the fact that I have kept up a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE has kept me at my post-weight-loss weight and size. I have splurged every now and then and fluctuated between about 5 pounds. Over the past week or so I have been counting calories and trying to get back on the horse because I want to lose 12 more pounds. There's no way I'm going to buy Kendall any skinny shorts. She's buying me some.

It's been hard for me to be open about my "old self" to new people that I meet. To this day, the love of my life has never seen a photo of me at my largest. I am ashamed of who I was- but the more time that goes by, I start to realize "That's not who I am anymore". I was misguided in my youth about health, and now that I am an adult, I realize how easy and fulfilling it is to live a healthy life and so I am proud of how far I have come.

I'm going to do something I have NEVER done before.

It is embarrassing, but astonishing. I have always wanted to hide my past in fear that people would judge me or hold it against me- but that is the fat girl inside of me talking. The girl that used to be afraid of what people thought. That that person used to be me. USED TO BE- Before I made the lifelong commitment of appreciating my body and taking care of myself. I may have my slip ups sometimes (BROWNINES CHOCOLATECAKE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE! I'm a fiend), but I am proof that you can enjoy the things that you love in moderation. I am proud of where I have come from- as shocking as it may be. I am proud that I've kept all of the weight off. The fact that I have kept it off is proof that the big girl isn't the real me. I am happy that this is the real me now:

I'm far from perfect- working on reaching my last goal. Ten pounds to go. A lot of toning to do... 

But I love myself now.


Meet Malllisa

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

"Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen".

Since Kendall and I became best friends when we were seventeen our projects have been like clockwork. 
Every once in a while we come up with some huge elaborate plan that we must follow through with immediately.

...It's like I  can see it happening- she and I will be sitting there/shopping/laying on the beach/riding down the road and the light bulb bursts out of the nothingness above her head, her eyes light up, and her mouth opens wide. I know she's about to shower me with all the details of her next brilliant plan. This most recently happened when we were sweating like wild hogs doing cardio during one of our gym dates. Thus, here you are currently reading this blog. TA-DA! The way things evolve.

You see, Kendall and I have been on a serious health kick lately. Like the rest of you, we've been delving deep into the world of Pinterest. We have been sharing healthy recipes, exercise tips, DIY home improvement projects, and party planning ideas. We lean on each other for support when it comes to exercising and eating healthy and what better way to share our trials, tribulations, and successes than through blogging? So here we are- I guess I should [attempt to] give a short little rundown on myself.

Mallisa (the blonde one).

Me on paper:
-Working on my bachelor's degree in English.
-Currently finishing my pre-reqs at the local JuCo (ranked 11th in the nation and proud of it).
-Barista at a local coffee shop.
-Flower child
-Living with my favorite person and his adorable (almost) 4 year old.

Wayne & I

-Lover of indie/folk/pop/alternative music.
-I dabble in photography.
-I went through a dramatic weight loss about three years ago (total loss of 70 lbs).

Me in a different, more abstract form than paper:
-I have a tremendous thirst for creating things.
-I rarely finish anything  or follow through with the things I really want to (but the older I get and more stable my surroundings become, I'm  getting better).
-I LOVE cooking but decided I could never do it as a career.
-I have an extreme passion for coffee!

Fun fact: Espresso has no calories.

-& I like lists.

Mixing my love for all things domestic with obvious knowlege of how to lose weight and how to cook, I hope that blogging with help me to stay on track to meet my last weight loss goals, keep up a healthy lifestyle, exercise my creativity through crafting and photography, and inspire others to achieve all the goals they set for themselves.

In the future, you can expect a few things from me: photography, recipes, tips and tricks that help me in my dieting, some DIY projects for the home. I hope you enjoy following us along on our journey!

Signing off,


Kendall's weightloss journey...

              Let me start off by telling you who I was before I decided to make the lifechanging decision to embark on a journey towards happiness, confidence, and a longer life. I got the "spark" on February 25, 2012. The "spark" is very hard to explain. It's what we all need. It's what we all want, but it's extremely hard to obtain. The "spark" is that moment when you decide: "Food is not worth it. I'm tired of not being comfortable in my own skin. I'm tired of feeling like a failure every time I scarf down another buffet. I'm going to gain control of my life and my body, and I'm going to start NOW." I cannot tell you how you can get the "spark", because I believe it is different for everyone. However, I can tell you how I got the "spark", and that is Pinterest! (sidenote: Thank God for Pinterest!) Yes, Pinterest. That is all it took for me. After years of struggling with my weight and the constant battle between food and confidence, a few motivational pictures on Pinterest made me realize that I could do it! I was just as strong as any other woman out there who lost 40, 60, 150 pounds! So, I set my mind to it, and I got to work. (For real this time. No more laying in bed at night saying "I'm going to start tomorrow". I started right then.)

            Now, the outcome of this story is that I will lose 40 lbs in roughly 4 months. It has not been an easy journey by any means. I have had struggles, I have hit plateaus, I have gorged on Oreo cookies, I have sweat my booty off and been so sore I could barely move the next day! But first, I'm going to tell you about the way I was feeling before I dropped 40 lbs, and you decide whether or not you can relate to this person:

"I didn't know exactly how miserable I was. What I did know was that there was CONSTANTLY a little voice inside my head that hated the person that I was. I was embarrassed to take pictures. I barely fit into any of my size 12 clothes. I definitely didn't feel attractive to my new husband (although he never stopped telling me how beautiful I was and lifting me up). The only time I felt happy was when I was eating, and when I ate, I ate a LOT. I ate to the point of feeling sick. I wanted to change myself. I wanted to lose weight, but I wanted this to happen by the snap of my fingers and not by changing my eating habits. I didn't feel like I had the willpower to stop gorging myself on food." -Me
           It was at this point that I had had enough. Thankfully the motivational quotes, pictures, and blogs on Pinterest got the best of me, and I decided to make a change. At that moment, I made a plan. I started printing off motivational pictures of women in bikinis and taping them all over my house. Call me crazy, but it worked! I printed off motivational phrases and hung them on the fridge, on my mirror, in my closet! I signed a weightloss contract with myself. I printed off the 10 weightloss commandments. I typed up my goals, printed them off, and hung them up in my room where I am forced to look at them every day. Last but not least, I got off my butt! One of Allen's coworkers had given us a Gazelle and an Ab Rocker a few weeks prior to this. I had yet to use it up to this point, but I pulled that Gazelle out of storage and set up shop right there in the living room on a Saturday night. I got my booty on that thing and Gazelled for 45 minutes straight! Allen came home in the midst of this craziness and was shocked to say the least. He was impressed, but I really don't think he realized how serious I was. 

            From this point on is all kind of a blur. I started going to the gym with friends as a guest any chance I could get. After about a week of this I got my own membership. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone and started logging every morsel of food that went into my mouth religiously, rarely exceeding 1200 calories in a day. I hope that I'm not making this sound like an easy process, because it wasn't. To this day it is still REALLY hard to resist some of the most fattening foods like hamburgers, french fries, cakes, pizza, ice cream, etc. I'm also not saying that you can't have these things if you want to lose weight. You can, just not often. I make substitutions for these things like frozen yogurt instead of ice cream (in moderation), baked sweet potato fries, if we have hamburgers I just nix the bun, and, if I allow myself a piece of cake, it's more like a "taste" than a piece. The number one thing I had to do to my eating habits was severely decrease my portion sizes and cut out all of the simple carbs like mashed potatoes, white pasta, white bread, and fried food. A typical day for me looks like this: carbs (whole grain cereal, waffles, or oatmeal) and fruit for breakfast, a microwavable Healthy Choice Steamer or salad for lunch, and protein (chicken, fish, or the occasional pork or beef) and veggies for dinner! Snacks can be anything from fruit to yogurt to granola bars, or maybe even a weight watchers 45 calorie fudgesicle ;) Another key to eating healthier is buying everything low calorie, low sugar, reduced/fat free and whole grain. This helps tremendously with decreasing calorie intake. 
"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." -R. Collier
On top of changing my eating habits, I also changed my lifestyle from sedentary to active. My goal included going to the gym 5 days a week for 1 hour/day. Most weeks I either reached or exceeded this goal. (It's really hard to spend less than an hour in the gym if you're doing cardio and lifting weights) Usually I'm in the gym between 1.5 - 2 hours. Some obstacles I've overcome in the past 4 months are: Couch25K (built up to running 24 mins. straight on the treadmill), an intense, outdoor bootcamp with my fierce mother-in-law (one of the most difficult things I've yet to attempt), a trial Spin class (ouch!), a 3-mile outdoor jog with a dear friend (while on vacation I might add), and several outdoor jogs on my own or with friends. My attitude on exercising has changed dramatically. It's gotten to the point where I crave it on a daily basis. I have 1,000 times more energy than my old self ever dreamt of having, and I love it! Four months ago, I was a couch potato who never did any kind of walking, jogging, or exercising whatsoever. 

Today, I C25K'd this:
Ocean Springs Front Beach, 2 miles
Then I walked this:
Biloxi Bay Bridge, 3.4 miles
Then I did this: 
Abs and Legs workout with a friend at Planet Fitness!
           So here I am, 4 months later, 40 lbs lighter, and happier than ever! I have set a new goal with some awesome friends to lose 12 lbs in 6 weeks. We're having a competition, and the first one to drop 12 gets a new article of clothing. I'm down 5.5 lbs since we started this endeavor. Once I reach this next goal, I think I will actually be happy with the number on the scale. At that point, I will strive to maintain that weight and continue to build and tone muscle. I am completely happy with my lifestyle change and intend on being fit and happy for the rest of my life. I love not having that derogatory voice in my head. The fattening foods I used to overeat are simply not worth the confidence, happiness, and energy I have gained. Not to mention I will probably live longer now. :)

All of this..... took four months of hard work and dedication!!!
If you are someone that wants to lose weight, but can't find the motivation, I hope that my story helps you realize that you CAN do it!! 
Simple tips:
  • Set your goals. Right now. Get a pen and paper and write down what you want to accomplish. 10 lbs? 20 lbs? 40 lbs? 
  • Take "Before" pictures and measurements. Weight yourself. You're not going to like what you see, but it will be great motivation. Squeeze into that bikini you want oh so badly to look good in and take pictures of yourself. You will be glad you have these once you reach your goal ;)
  • Decide how many days a week you want to exercise. This could be as simple as a 30 minute walk around the block or you could go get yourself a gym membership right now! 
  • Make a plan to drink at least 64 oz. of water per day. Cut out everything other than water, unless it's a nonnegotiable. My nonnegotiables are: Sushi, ketchup, and frozen yogurt ;) But I have all of these as a TREAT! Everything in moderation truly is the key! 
  • Sign a  weightloss contract with yourself. 
  • Download the app and make an account on MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople. Start logging every morsel you eat, religiously. This takes time and discipline at first, but it will become second nature in no time. I can honestly say this is the #1 thing that kept me on track towards my weight loss goals throughout this process. You must be accountable for what you eat!
  • Go to the grocery store. Get lots of low-calorie snacks like: light/Greek yogurt, fruit, lower sugar oatmeal, Quaker rice cakes, unsweetened applesauce, Kashi granola bars, etc. Make sure you are checking your serving sizes when you consume food and LOG YOUR CALORIES!!
  • Start a "Healthy Recipes" board on Pinterest. View mine here.
  • Start eating all of your home-cooked meals on smaller plates. 
This       vs.               this
  • Make "Pounds Lost" & "Pounds to Go" jars. Transfer a marble (or three) every time you get on the scale!
Mine =)
     Well, I could go on for days about healthy eating and exercise and motivating you to become the best that you can be, but I guess I'll stop here for now. I will see where your questions and comments lead me for my next post. Please leave any questions or comments below or email them to me @ then,  Craft. Eat. Love. <3

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Introducing Kendall...

            Let me start off by saying welcome! I am thrilled that you are here. My name is Kendall Regan. In a nutshell I’m a newlywed, homemaker, 4th grade teacher who enjoys healthy cooking, DIY crafting, and living for our everlasting God!  
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20
I am also obsessed with working on my fitness, Pinterest, and spending time with my BFF (yes, we still use that term), Mallisa!

            It was during one of our “quality time” sessions that the idea of this blog came about. I honestly don’t know where to begin when it comes to telling you about my life, because my life is still coming together one day at a time! I guess I better start with me, more importantly, about my other half. My love story is a crazy one, and it all happened in quite a blur. The amazing thing is that I ended up with the most amazing, perfect, loving husband in the entire world. I can’t adequately describe how much he means to me, but I do honestly believe that he is my “soul mate”. We fit together like two perfect puzzle pieces, and he’s the best part about my life.

            Next up, let me tell you about my wonderful career. Yes, you read that right. I am a fourth-grade teacher. I am one of the few and the brave! I graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2011. I have one year of teaching under my belt and anticipate many more! Becoming a teacher was a childhood dream for me. I decided I wanted to become a teacher on my first day of kindergarten. Throughout school, I bounced around between marine biologist, dolphin trainer, veterinarian, and nurse, but my destiny led me straight through college and here I am, living my dream! I am currently teaching two blocks of math, science, and social studies. I am looking forward to implementing rotating learning centers for all three subjects this year, as well as improving my classroom management, classroom organization, and raising my student expectations. In other words, I will never stop trying to be the best teacher that I can be! With that being said, I am embarking on a Master’s Degree this fall. I will be attending William Carey University majoring in Education with a Concentration in Gifted. Needless to say, I will have quite a lot on my plate in the near future!

            Somehow, among the business of life, Mallisa and I still find time to do the things that make our lives worthwhile. This includes living an active and healthy lifestyle, decorating, cooking, homemaking, crafting, loving, and spending time with friends. Mallisa and I have traveled through life together for roughly the past seven years. We have had our ups and downs, pulled each other through heart breaks, lived together, moved together, cooked together, crafted together, and adventured together. We have had a hand in guiding the pen in the other's book of life for almost a decade. Mallisa has a lot to do with the person I am today, and I wouldn't have it any other way. She held my bouquet the day my father passed me to my groom, and I intend to do the same for her. In other words, we're sisters. In this blog you will find quite a bit of all of that, from both of our points of view. You will quickly find that Mallisa and I are very different, but it is that perfect kind of different that evens us both out and creates a friendship that will never fade. If you choose to follow us on this journey, I can assure you will enjoy the ride! In the meantime, Craft. Eat. Love. <3