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Beth’s Story That Keeps Me Motivated!

Beth’s Story That Keeps Me Motivated!

Beth is a lady I met a couple of years ago when my husband and I joined and became members of our local church. She has this energy about her that draws you in and I don’t think she even knows it. The first time I heard a snippet of her story was when Beth taught a ladies, bible study by Lysa Terkeurst on motherhood called “Unglued”. Beth shared with us her testimony on how she discovered her addiction with food and how she lost her weight. I knew that I wanted to hear more and I’m so thrilled that she is willing to share her story (in her own words) with all of us. She is such an inspiration and I hope you enjoy her testimony as much as I do. I am blessed to call her my friend!

In November of 2013, I had pictures made for my parents 50th wedding anniversary that would be that July. Little did I know that was one of the last times my parents would be able to travel to South Carolina as my mother’s autoimmune disease had taken a turn after 15yrs diagnosed.

When I got the proofs back I could not believe how I looked that day. I weighed 275lbs and was wearing a size 22 pair of jeans that had holes all throughout them but I refused to go and buy a 24. As I sat and looked at those pictures I thought I have got to do something if one day this horrible disease affects me….

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Before the holidays I made two appointments to go and talk to the doctors at the clinic about weight loss surgery and canceled both of them. After years of diets and clinics on weight loss, I knew in my heart that I had all the tools that I needed to get healthy but after failing so many times over and over I just didn’t think I had it in me.

 In the fall of that year,  our church came into a sermon series called simply Prayer and Fasting during that time I also decided to attend a small group study on the very same topic. These two times of in-depth bible study brought to light to major issues I had struggled with. Number one I had an addiction an ugly sin that even out of control I had control over and was unwilling to let go of… Food Addiction. The second issue was I had not fully grasped that as believers we have power over our bodies and what we put into our bodies. I learned so much during that time not only about myself through the LORD but from people, I would not have otherwise went to for the help and guidance I needed.

One day during my journaling for the small group class I clearly heard from the LORD and the phrase that kept coming to my heart and mind was ” You are not Honoring me” over and over this was pressed upon my heart. When I fully wanted to know(read I was ready to hear in my heart what that meant) I knew the Lord meant I was not honoring HIM with my body. A former athlete’s body that I had worked so hard for in HS was now 275lbs unhealthy , unable to sleep at night, unable to walk up and down the stairs in my own home. I WAS BROKEN. How did I do this….

That very week my very best friend told me that if i would pick her up every morning at 4:45 am…YUP in the Morning when its PITCH BLACK outside she would go with me or come and workout with me– whatever I needed to get my life back…she had NO IDEA what had happened personally in my quiet with the LORD.

So we started at the YMCA in a spin class not knowing anything —-we started by setting goals for me to lose 40lbs by my 40th birthday

I gained confidence and friends and supporters and when April 8th rolled around I not only lost the 40lb but had set another goal of 10 more 20 more….see I never thought I could do the first one. ONCE I committed this to her we prayed and every morning the LORD woke me up before my alarm could…..I wanted to meal plan and make smart choices…all because I gave this to Him.

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Three years later I am happy to say I have lost over 100lbs and gained my life back. I have met friends through the YMCA (in various classes) and other health outlets that will be for life. I have re-connected with High School friends that are or have come through similar battles. THIS LIFE is my LIFE and it’s because of JESUS I can say HONOR HIM with your body and HE Will use your story to encourage others.

Hard work and dedication…commitment to myself, my husband and my children, was the only way I would succeed. Is every day easy? NOPE….do I still fall into the food addiction cycle when life throws me a curve ball? SURE I do but I’ve built accountability to pull me back out….It’s a daily walk and I pray that I can encourage someone else.

What is your motivation in life? Who or what keeps you going strong and making sure you live a healthy and full life? Please share your thoughts here with me!

Meet Wesley and his Inspirational Story!

Meet Wesley and his Inspirational Story!

I am so excited to introduce to you Wesley! I actually have known his wife Cari for quite some time. Our children attended a local daycare together. Cari helped our son get fitted for his very first cast when he broke his leg a couple of years ago. Such a life saver! I connected with Wesley through Facebook about 6 months ago and began reading all about his journey; his struggles, his wins, his inspiration and I just wanted to share it here! I know this is a “mommy” blog however it’s so incredible to see a daddy go through those same struggles. I always tell my husband that we go through life ups and downs as individuals but we are so much more stronger when we do it together!

I was honored when Becky Hyman, blogger of Clean Food Mom, asked me to share my personal journey of not just weight loss, but a better lifestyle. It amazes me as I sit here and try to reflect on some of the events that have taken place in my life over the past year and a half. Trying to put it all into words on a piece of paper is like trying to take a panoramic view and putting it all into a 4×6 photo. It just doesn’t do justice, but I will do my best to try and share where I was, pieces of the journey, and where I am today. My hope is that this will encourage someone to not give up, no matter what, whether it is in regard to health, finances, relationships, or what not. There is hope in the journey.

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I guess I should introduce myself if I have captured you as an audience. My name is Wesley and I live in Greenville, South Carolina. I am originally from Washington State which is where I was raised and graduated from high school, but I have lived here in SC now for 14 years so this is my home. I am married to an amazing woman, her name is Cari, and we just celebrated our 10 year anniversary this year. Together, we have a stunningly beautiful daughter Ella who is almost six years old. She brings us pure joy and she is a key player in what motivates me to be healthy, not just in my body, but also in my spirit and my mind. I want her to have the best life possible, and for me to help her have that, I have to make sure that I am working toward my best self as well.
That being said, In December of 2014, I was at my heaviest of 196 pounds. I was on the tail end of a drinking career soon to learn that I was an alcoholic and needed professional help. I remember being at work one day, as if it happened overnight, I was unable to climb one flight of stairs without being largely out of breath. I never had that problem before. I had for the most part been pretty active. I ran quite a few 5k races, 10k races, and even a half marathon prior to my drinking taking control, but as time passed, my activity became less, and my drinking increased. I was drinking anywhere from eight to 18 beers daily which helped increase my weight at rapid measure. I had no idea that I was 196 pounds until my boss and another colleague decided to bet on who could lose the most weight in December. Since I work in the food service industry, it shouldn’t surprise you that we all weighed ourselves on a food scale, and I was rather shocked to find myself at almost 200 lbs.

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After having an anxiety attack at work in January of 2015, I began my journey of healing and recovery toward becoming a healthier version of me. I worked through depression and addiction with the support of a professional treatment center. I continued my recovery over alcoholism with the support of Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery. As my drinking disappeared, so did 15 pounds of my weight and I already started feeling better in my body. At the same time I was introduced to what many know now as “clean eating.” I participated in a week long challenge of following a specific meal plan that for the most part eliminated sugar, white flour, and processed foods. I lost another five pounds during that week. Although the weight loss was great, I was full of energy and a surprisingly new self-confidence. I found that feeling good made you feel good about yourself and your self-image.
I continued to eat clean after learning new recipes and found that there is no such thing as a diet, but rather a lifestyle. I found quickly that a week of eating perfect was the perfect set up for just another sugar binge, and that it would take some action and practice to get this right. Eventually, you learn that balance is a good thing to live by rather than perfection. I like to follow what is called the 80/20 rule which implies that if I eat great 80 percent of the time, it allows me to enjoy that Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen on occasion. The great thing about a lifestyle rather than a diet is that there aren’t any rules; rather you just know what to do if you want to feel better!

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I also started to workout daily following easy home based programs and have been doing so since my journey began. Currently I am right at 170 pounds, which is a little higher then when I originally lost 30, but I, along with many, am still on this path, trying to figure out what works best for me. I am also in the middle of training for my first marathon which I am registered to run in October. Choosing a better lifestyle for me has not been an easy goal, in fact, it is something that I have to choose to do daily, over and over again. And when I mess it up, rather than succumbing to defeat of the progress made, I get up, back on my feet and try again. The only way we really fail, is by not trying that one more time. Always fail forward! To health and beyond!
Thank you Clean Food Mom for giving me the opportunity to share. I hope this will help encourage and motivate others to become their best self possible!
You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wesley.matson for more motivation and support!

Sugar; it’s a serious problem!

Sugar; it’s a serious problem!

I see it every day just how addictive sugar can be! I see the effects it has on my family and not only in my children but also with my husband and even myself many times. This white stuff is in everything, people and consuming high amounts (like we do) is so damaging to our bodies. Check this article that tells you about 6 surprising sources of sugar.

Here’s some scary statistics:

  •  In 1800’s, the average person consumed 5 pounds per year.  The average American today consumes 150-170 pounds of sugar every year.
  • The average American consumes 22 to 30 teaspoons of sugar every single day in comparison to 22 teaspoons of sugar per year in the 1800’s.
  • Approximately 80% of packaged foods contain added sweeteners.
  •  1/3 of added sugars consumed by adults come from beverages.
  • In children, 40% of added sugars come from beverages.
  • One 20 oz bottle of soda contains almost 17 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Drinking just one can of soda a day can increase a child’s risk of obesity by 60% and a woman’s chance of diabetes by more than 80%.

Glass full of soft drink, next to it is the amount of sugar used in it

No wonder sugar is so addictive! It’s in almost everything we consume. I see the struggle that my husband goes through to keep excessive sugar out of his diet. His mother suffered with diabetes for many years and he saw first-hand what she went through and how this disease plagued her body. Diabetes literally affected every aspect of her health. He knows that he doesn’t want that for himself or our children so we have to work twice as hard to keep this stuff at an all time low in our diet.

There are no health benefits when it comes to processed or refined sugars. Even though it’s almost impossible to not consume the “white stuff”,  you should stick with whole and real foods such as vegetables and fruit which are balanced by the fiber, vitamins that slow down the digestion of sugar and helps your body to deal with it properly. Here’s are some of the effects that excessive, processed sugar has on your body:

  • It has no nutritional value, which means it doesn’t fill you up but encourages you to eat more.
  • It causes an addictive response in your brain
  • It increases bad cholesterol
  • Terrible for your liver (the fructose can develop into fatty liver disease)

hand holding soda can pouring a crazy amount of sugar in metaphor of sugar content of a refresh drink isolated on blue background in healthy nutrition, diet and sweet addiction concept

Our bodies are meant to consume these high amounts of sugar but let’s keep it real and practical. Like I said before, it’s almost impossible to completely eliminate all processed and refined sugar, however, we can reduce the amount we consume on a daily basis.

  • Start with cooking whole foods with limited amounts of “processed” items in our daily diet.
  • Teach our children to make healthy choices when it comes to their snacks so when they are at school they choose an apple over a bag of chips or a bag of fruit snacks.
  • Drink more water and stay away from sodas and juices that contain high amounts of sugar.
  • Our breakfasts should be a balanced meal of protein and carbs staying away from sugary cereals. Believe me, this is a struggle for our family. My children love cereal!

And remember, it doesn’t click in our brains overnight! We’ve been programmed to eat sugar and that “white stuff” is extremely addictive.  But “knowing” is everything which leads to better choices and a healthier lifestyle.

 

 

Ivey’s Birthday Can Food Drive

Ivey’s Birthday Can Food Drive

I have watched this little girl grow over the last several years and each year her food drive just puts a smile on my face. In the world that we live in, it’s so important to instill a heart of giving in our children and the Tapp family has demonstrated just that. Wanted mom (Stacy) to share in her own words what their little family’s experience has been like over the past 5 years! Hope it puts a spark inside you to always give with a loving heart because I know it has for me!

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When my husband and I were planning our daughter Ivey’s 1st birthday in 2012, as first-time parents we were trying to figure out what we could give her for her special day.  The great 1-year-old milestone! Hmm, what was it a one-year-old just love to receive? Stumped we were. Our upcoming one year old loved to play with pots and pans, balls, a few play toys, boxes, and still learning to walk and explore – did not really NEED anything at all except our love and attention.  It was at that point we decided for Ivey’s first birthday gathering we would not accept gifts but instead, collect can goods from guests to donate to a local food pantry in Ivey’s name.  Ivey enjoyed her 1st birthday with family and friends and certainly did not miss an abundance of gifts that would soon collect dust and be outgrown all too soon.  The donations were a success!

As another year flew by, it was time for Ivey’s 2nd birthday.  It was at then we decided to  start a tradition of  Ivey’s Annual Birthday Can Food Drive in hopes that it would become a yearly event to instill in our daughter that it was better to give than to receive.  We started our first collection box at my husband’s  family owned business at Whitey’s Auto Auction in Greer.  Although Ivey was still a bit young to understand the concept, we still had wanted to continue this tradition in trying to promote a kind and giving heart to our daughter.  We promoted the can food drive on social media and to family and friends in the local community and once again the event became slightly bigger and proved to continue to help others in need.

Round 3.  As Ivey’s 3rd birthday approached, it certainly became apparent that she knew and understood the idea we had so wanted to instill in her heart.  Audrey Hepburn once said, “As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”  We started about a month before her birthday collecting can goods.  We reached out through social media for any local business that wanted to help to host drop-off locations for the community to participate.  We were overwhelmed with the response. Local businesses included Whitey’s Auto Auction, the former Rhythm and Brews, Twist Salon, Welch’s Law Firm, and Steadman Hawkins of Greer that hosted drop off stations.

Round 4.  Boy was Ivey into her cause this year! A few months before the big 4th celebration, Ivey came to me and mentioned collecting the can goods.  It was at this moment I knew she got it.  She understood the cause and it was something she looked forward to helping with – as a parent in a world where everything seemed negative – this was a beacon of light in the hopes that we could make difference.  Be it ever so small the thought was there! Ivey made baskets with drop off signs. We gained more drop off’s through social media in which Ivey would go and talk to people and when asked what she was doing she would immediately say” helping others in need.”  Wow.  What a great thing to hear! It was another huge success and we helped the local Greer Community Ministries once again fill their pantry to help others.  Whitey’s Auto Auction, Twist Salon, Notch Salon and Steadman Hawkins of Greer all hosted and promoted the cause.  In addition to the drop-off stations, Ivey had the idea to have an afternoon drop off lemonade  / cookie stand at our house the Friday before her birthday to give people an opportunity to come by our house to drop off additional donations and see her in person. My heart was full.  A win-win in a parent’s heart.

Round 5. How could it be? Our not so much of a baby girl anymore is turning 5 and starts Kindergarten in the fall of this year.  Ivey has completely taken this event and made it her own and David and I could not be prouder.  She has made her own drop boxes and delivered them to local businesses.  She is constantly asking if we have collected more than last year and what we can do to get others involved in making the difference in others lives.  Local businesses have reached out to help including Little Me Academy, McLeskey Todd Family Pharmacy, Eastside Eyecare, Greer State Bank (Main Branch and South Buncombe Road Branch), Rilla Rin Schoolette, Steadman Hawkins of Greer, and Whitey’s Auto Auction.

Love abundantly.  Give to others. Be kind.  These are the things we all hope to pass along to our children. In a world where hope sometimes seems lost – I look at our daughter and I see that beam of light where that hope still exists.  “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Princess Diana 

Such an amazing story and so inspiring. Here’s the results from this year’s can food drive! You can hardly see Ivey in the pic! Mom told me that it was by far the best year and it probably doubled from last year. What a great idea!

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What Is Clean Food Mom?

What Is Clean Food Mom?

Hi and welcome to Clean Food Mom! I am so excited that you found us and decided to walk with me on my journey to a healthier family lifestyle!

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I’m Becky Hyman! I am a wife, mommy, I work side by side with my husband in our family’s portrait studio, food blogger and I meal prep. I am so passionate about cooking delicious and healthy food for my family but also creating systems in my life that makes my week go so much smoother.

Being a mom is not an easy task in and of itself. There are so many days when I feel like I’m just being pushed in so many different directions. Ladies, it’s enough to make me want to pull my hair out! Take a small glimpse into my crazy life; it might sound familiar to you.

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My dear husband, Alex, does his very best to make sure that I wake up at a decent time; however this particular, Monday morning, he overslept. Yep, which means the entire house overslept. Granted it was only by 30 minutes but on a school morning that is a big “NO-NO” (if you know what I mean)! He came running into our bedroom and yelled, “Get up, Becky! It’s 6:30am!” I leaped out of bed in a rage and yelled back, “What!???!!!” Not the best way to greet my hubby that early in the morning. He rolled his eyes and walked the other way. He knew that “Hurricane Becky” was making an appearance and it wasn’t going to pretty. I ran into the kids’ room, pulled them out of bed kicking and screaming, got them dressed, fixed their hair, teeth brushed, and shoes on. I ran downstairs, cooked breakfast in a dash, we all ate, and then suddenly that thought of complete horror ran through my head. What in the world am I going to do about lunch for Alex and I to carry to work? I ran to our refrigerator, opened the door, and just smiled in relief! I had prepped our meals for the next couple of days and they were sitting neatly in my fridge ready for me to grab and go.

Now that’s a perfect ending to a completely, disastrous morning thanks to a little planning and prepping over the weekend. So you may ask, what is Clean Food Mom? It’s my journey as a mommy to share and help you to create systems in your life that will in turn create balance so that you can enjoy cooking delicious, clean food for your family and also take better care of yourself. I feel balance is so important for anyone especially with mothers. Balance is something that I strive and work very hard every day to maintain for my family. I’ve not perfected it by no means and it’s an every day job but everyone in my life knows if I become “unbalanced” just by my behavior and attitude; it’s not pretty. But if I work at planning and preparing then balance appears which brings me right to my “happy place”.

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So this is what you can expect here at Clean Food Mom:
  • Clean, healthy, and easy recipes that your family will love,
  • My systems on how to prepare meals to make your week go smoother,
  • Tips and ideas on how to balance life and take care of YOU,
  • And, a splash of my family life all mixed in!

I can’t wait to share with you what keeps me balanced and I’m looking forward to hearing all about your stories too! This is going to be a fun and inspiring journey all wrapped up with a huge dose of yummy, clean food!

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