Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Three-Fourths a Julie

Four years ago, January 1, 2013, I began a journey to lose half my body weight (thus the name of this blog: Half a Julie). I started at 306 pounds. In the first 9 months, I lost about 70 pounds. My weight went as low as about 235, but I settled around 245. I still was not finished, but we experienced the loss of my father-in-law to cancer. I also started--and completed--graduate school while working full time. But I needed to get moving again, and I knew I needed to get moving again.  I've been working again since the first week of January. Today, I reached the halfway point.  If you look under the Current Statistics heading. I have lost 78.2 pounds, and I have 78.2 pounds to go.  I'm halfway to half a Julie!  That makes me 3/4 of a Julie!  I've lost 25% of my body weight.

On January 2, 2017, I weighed in at 249. I had maintained an almost 60 pound loss.  I had my last Diet Coke shortly after midnight on New Year's Day.  On January 5th, my husband and I started the ketogenic diet. I have attempted low carb diets before but have never succeeded for long.  This way of eating seems to be working for me. My blood sugars have been low. I have had plenty of energy, and I am not hungry.

There are plenty of websites out there with descriptions of a ketogenic diet, but the basic is idea is I get the majority of my calories from healthy fats (such as coconut, olives; avocado; and butter); I eat protein in moderation; and I eat less than 20 carbs a day. I avoid grains and sugars. I don't count calories or obsess about foods. And it's working.  I am down more than 20 pounds since the first of the year.

This picture shows when I started and yesterday.

Where I really notice the difference is in profile.  4 years ago and this week.

Last year and this week.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


No. That wasn't a typo. I didn't do a half marathon (13.1 miles).  Although some day I want to run a Disney Half Marathon.  I have some numbers to share.
I have gone 31 days without drinking a Diet Coke.

I have gone 4 weeks without eating sugar. (Except for the little bits I've discovered in my ranch dressing, but I'm working on that.)

But what does all of this have to do with the 13.6?!?!?  I'm glad you asked.  In the first month of 2017, I have lost 13.6 pounds.

13.6 pounds!!

Getting closer to my goal!

Monday, January 2, 2017

I am a Runner

Two posts in one day? And after months of silence? I'm going to try to fix that!

Today I ran for the first time in a long time. I did an outdoor run. It felt good to feel the wind gently blow my hair. Not that it was a perfect run.  I forgot my sunglasses. My Bluetooth headphones didn't get plugged in. Three small kids on bikes kept blocking my path. Some tweens thought it would be funny to dump out my water bottle and throw it on the ground.

But despite all of that. I ran. I ran a total of 3 miles. One mile at a time with some walking between.  But I am on my way back!  My headband (from HippieRunner) says, "And she ran happily ever after".  My goal for this year is to walk at least a mile a day and to run at least 3 miles a week. I'd love to train for a half marathon along the way too.

This week I participated in the Runkeeper "I am a runner" event. I may not be fast. I may not run every day (or even every month). But I am a runner.

I started the new year at 248 pounds. that is 58 pounds lighter than I started 2013. Unfortunately, it's also about 15 pounds higher than my lowest weight since the journey began.  But I am proud of the the 58 pounds I have managed to keep off.  Now it's time to reach my goals.

Weighing in

Scales--the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat for every dieter.  I have learned that a number on a scale does not define me. And there are other ways (NSV--non-scale victories) that mean more than that number.  But sometimes it is important to have a number.

Last time I bought a scale, I bought a fancy one from Sam's Club for more than $50.  It promised to keep track of the ups and downs of several people, and it was supposed to tell me my body fat percentage.  I never figured out how to set the various profiles, and the body fat function never worked. The instructions said to step on the scale with slightly damp feet.  Um...that didn't work well.

I found a scale that--wait for it--weighs you!  It is a cleanly designed scale with no bells and whistles.  It just weighs you.  The EatSmart Precision Choice Digital Bathroom Scale.   The scale normally sells for about $35, but it's on sale for $11.95, and it's on Amazon Prime (that means free shipping!!).

This scale measures in pounds, kilograms, and stones.  What exactly are stones? Although, I could say I weigh 112 (kg) or 17 (stone).  It does sound better than 249 (pounds)!  This scale is accurate up to 400 pounds. 

The best part it is beeps when the weight it locked in, and then it stays on the screen for a few seconds. For some of you that might not be a big deal, but when you have a large belly or are "well endowed" sometimes it's hard to see the numbers on the scale. The beep tells you it has locked in your weight, and then you can step off and view the number.

The scale is a shiny black tempered glass. Just a note---if you are taking pictures make sure you have clothes on! It is reflective!

Note: I was compensated for my review (including a free scale), but all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Giveaway: Family Christian Stores

It's been a while since I've done a review or a giveaway--this looks like a great time to do one!

I had the opportunity to check out Family Christian Stores.  They sent me a $25 gift certificate to use on anything in the store!  (And, I have one to share with one of readers---see the information below!!)

I don't have a Family Christian Store near me, but I have had the opportunity to visit their stores.  Fun fact: my husband worked for them when we were dating 30 years ago! The Family Christian website is very easy to navigate.  At the top of the page of broad categories such as: Books, Kids, and Music--and my personal favorite---SALES!! There is a search box at the top of each page that will search the entire site or a specific category.  Once in a category, you can narrow your field even more. I could have spent all day browsing. I love books!

Family Christian has select journaling Bibles for 30% off!  If you haven't checked out the Bible Journaling craze, you can see my Pinterest board that has samples arranged by book of the Bible.  I chose the NLT Inspire Bible that has over 400 line art drawings. Some are full page, and some are partial page. These illustrations can be colored. I love the idea of Bible journaling. You can see some of my pages here.  But I can't always draw what I have in my mind.  In addition to the drawings, the Bible has 2 inch wide margins so I can add my own notes and pictures.

The cover of the Inspire Bible

A sample of a completed page

But Family Christian has so much more! A while back I shared my Active Faith running shirts. They now carry them at Family Christian!  Here's a video about how the company was started: Active Faith.

Family Christian has another great deal going on! Until August 25th, you can visit a local store or shop on-line. Buy 1--Get 1 half off on ALL books, movies, and music.  You can mix and match in any department.

Okay. So how do you get your hands on this $25 gift card?  Visit Family Christian and explore the incredible selection.  Then came back here and post a comment below.  That's it. No hoops to jump through. Just leave me a comment. Make sure I can find you.  On August 27th I'll pick a number. Watch for an e-mail!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


"If you come to work every day with a sense of dread--it may be time to move on".  These words were repeated several times during "team building" session in February.  I felt the words were directed at me. I took them as an invitation to step up my job search. If I had not done that, today I would have celebrated my 12th anniversary at my job. Instead, I've spent the past 12 weeks (or so) in a job I love--and I'm wondering why I waited so long.

I had some good years at my old job. I made some good friends, and I know that I made a difference in the lives of some of the families I served. But I stayed longer than I should have. I stayed because, even though I came to work with a sense of dread, it was easier to stay where I was familiar than to risk something new.  Tony Robbins said, "Real change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing".

Since stepping out of my comfort zone, I've discovered a whole new life and career.  Here are some of the highlights.

  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T:  Even though I'm the new kid on the block, my ideas are considered--and sometimes even implemented.
  • Structure: Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I have policies and procedures that guide my work. If I'm not sure what to do, I know where to look.
  • Supervision: There are certain steps that my supervisor does along the way. I am never out on my own making decisions. I have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
  • Feedback: My supervisor tells me if I did it correctly. If I didn't, she tells me how to fix it.
  • Clear chain of command: I know who to ask for help.  Roles are clearly defined.
  • Smooth handoffs: Whether I'm transferring a case to other country or sending a family to the permanency unit, there is a protocol to make sure everyone knows what has been done, what needs to done, and when the handoff will take place.
  • Tools of the trade: Within an hour of starting, I was handed a work cell phone. I have access to fleet of cars. I have what I need to do my job. I have access to a dictation program to help with writing my notes.
  • Celebrations: At least once a month we've had some kind of meal together (the entire department). We even had a baby shower for someone who had been here about 6 weeks.  From the decorations to food to gifts, you would have thought they had known her for years.
  • Retirement: The state puts in $2 for every $1 I put in (regular retirement). I also have the option of deferred compensation to add even more to my retirement. (I'm starting small, but I will increase as often as I can).
  • Teamwork: My team has been incredibly helpful with my transition. One colleague texted me on Saturday (my first weekend on call) just to see if I was okay.  Members of other teams have been extremely helpful as well. Whether I need someone to bounce ideas off of or I need a resource, the entire office is willing to help.
  • Professionalism: I don't have to punch a time clock!  If I work my 40 hours, I don't have to do anything. I only have to go to the time application if I work overtime, take leave, or I'm on-call.
  • Appreciation: I am regularly told when I am doing a good job. The praise is specific and sincere.  We start all meetings (whether just our unit or the entire department) with sharing "kudos".  Supervisors and co-workers acknowledge the hard work, cooperation, and "out-of-the-box" thinking they have seen.

The moral of my story is: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If God is nudging you to do something different, take a leap of faith. I know I am glad I did!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

FFL Week 2

The theme for this week's Faithful Finish Lines is setting goals. I loved this statement from Sara.

My goal for the next 7 weeks is to improve my 5K PR (personal record). I don't have a local race around that time, so I'll do it on my own. I may find a virtual race like the (Im)Prove Your Self(i.e.) or maybe Run with Grace or This Princess Wears Running Shoes

By April 15th, I will complete a 5K (3.1 miles) in 45 minute or less. This is 1 minute and 4 seconds faster than my best time so far.