What Really Holds Me Back

(This is quite possibly the most vulnerable post I have ever written…)

On our wedding day I felt as any bride should: beautiful, confident, joyful.

I had worked hard to lose twenty pounds before that day, and it felt so good to be thinner.

And then I got comfortable, as so many married people do…

Over the years I have lost the same amount of weight several times only to gain it back.

I gained over 30 pounds during pregnancy – pounds I hoped would melt away while nursing. Seventeen of those pounds did go away, but I am still carrying fifteen pregnancy pounds in addition to the fifty that I have gained since getting married almost five years ago.

Sixty-five extra pounds.

That is the minimum that I need to lose. According to the “charts” I need to lose 75-85 pounds in order to be a “normal” weight for my height.

How did this even happen?!

Before Tori got sick I was working on losing weight and I felt encouraged about my progress.

But then our world was turned upside-down and I was forced into the role of full-time caregiver and nurse – a role I never imagined myself in, and one that requires all of my time and energy. It often requires more energy than I am able to give.

I want so desperately to lose this weight and feel better about my outward appearance, but I lack the determination and energy required. I don’t get much sleep these days and that makes everything more difficult.

I went shopping recently and couldn’t believe the size that fit me. It was a number I had never wanted to see. That experience was a reminder that I have to figure out a way to take care of myself AND Tori to ensure that I can continue to care for her with all of me.

I find the same lies and excuses swirling around in my head whenever I am tempted with comfort foods:

  • If I don’t eat this now, I may not have the chance to enjoy it again.
  • It’s too hard to find the time to prepare healthy foods.
  • I’ll just start again tomorrow.
  • Everyone thinks I’m fat and that’s all they see.
  • I’ll never be as thin as her, so what does it matter?

So, I give up and eat what sounds good, what will make me feel good in the moment. I have so many things to constantly be aware of in regards to Tori that it feels good to be carefree in just one area of my life.

And then I see photos of myself and I am appalled. Ashamed. I am reminded that I cannot just be carefree about what I eat – my genetics and my history tell me so.

I find myself not wanting to see people I haven’t seen in awhile because I don’t want them to judge my weight. I try to hide it, and I try to avoid those situations to prevent embarrassment.

Why is it that we try to hide the most obvious things about ourselves?

It’s as if we are children in our Sunday best who have been playing in the mud, but we try to hide it from our parents even though it’s obvious that we are dirty.

We try to hide our struggles because fear whispers that if we open up, if we are vulnerable, people will judge, criticize, and laugh at us. People will see how terrible we are and how greatly we have failed.

The reality is that when we are honest, others feel the freedom to share their struggles as well. Vulnerability brings freedom. 

You know what really holds me back? Fear of failure. Instead of remembering that I have successfully done this in the past, I become intimidated by my current situation with Tori and all that it requires of me and I let that affect my attitude.

Instead of trying, I give up before I even start.

I have sacrificed the care of myself because I have convinced myself that I can’t fully care for Tori AND me.

And that is a lie.

Can I spend hours a day working out? No.

Can I prepare elaborate healthy meals for myself and for Brennan on a daily basis? No.

But I can start somewhere.

And that somewhere is writing this extremely vulnerable post, because, as Jon Acuff so wisely said, “fear fears community.” Fear wants you to feel isolated, alone, defeated. Fear hates accountability and solidarity.

But the power of fear is lessened when it is exposed to the world.

I know I am not alone in this. I’m sure there are other women – especially in my shoes as a caregiver – who struggle with this very thing. And I want to figure out a solution because if I don’t take care of myself, how can I fully care for Tori?

What am I going to do about this?

  • To start, I am going to stop focusing on my failures and instead celebrate each success. I’m optimistic in every other area of my life, so why not this? (Examples: I drank all my water today! I ate healthy snacks!)
  • I am going to take it one meal at a time and not be overwhelmed by the length of the journey ahead of me. 
  • I am going to combat those lies above with truth:
    • Ice cream will be there when I reach my short-term goals and want a treat.
    • I do have time to put together simple healthy meals and snacks.
    • I won’t wait until tomorrow to start over – I will start immediately.
    • I will remember that people are just as focused on themselves as I am and they likely aren’t focused on my weight, especially given my circumstances.
    • I will stop comparing myself to other women. Thin doesn’t mean healthy.

For me, it’s not just about the pounds – it is about overall health. I know that several women in my family have developed diabetes and I am terrified of that being my story as well.

I’ve got to start now.

I can’t change Tori’s condition, nor can I change the fact that she doesn’t sleep much (which makes me so tired all the time). But I can do one thing at a time to make progress. I can focus on what I DO accomplish as opposed to what I don’t.

And I can be patient with myself and offer grace when I fall short.

I am going to blog about my progress as forced accountability, because now that you all know what I am trying to do, I feel “required” to report back to you. 🙂

These before pictures are from July 4, 2015; not much has changed, yet, but that changes now.

July 4, 2015 Before Picture

July 4, 2015 Before Picture


Brennan and I are so excited to start our TerraFit challenge tomorrow! It is a 12 week program through DoTERRA that we hope will get us back into healthy habits. We both have some extra weight to lose thanks to pregnancy 😉 

This program emphasizes clean eating (which we love doing but have been really bad about since Tori arrived), exercise, and teamwork. It is just the thing we both need to reestablish a healthy lifestyle.

As we start to see progress we will post our before/progress pictures. 

If you are interested in learning more about TerraFit, you can check it out here.

We know it won’t be easy, but it is time to make a change.

31 pounds by 31 years


Today was a very motivating day for me in general, and I came up with an audacious goal: I want to lose 31 pounds by my 31st birthday, which is on December 31, 2013. Lots of “1” and “3” up there. 🙂

By the way–I hate posting about this. It’s so much easier to just ignore my problem and tell myself that “it’s not that bad” and that it will be too hard to change. Whatever. From this day forward, I’m declaring war against weight-gain. 🙂

Science tells us that it is safest to lose 1-2 lbs per week. Given that I have 19 weeks, that means that I should be able to lose 38 lbs (my ultimate goal is 45-50) by that time.

How am I going to do this? I know that when I am strict and eat “clean” (and eat NO sugar), the weight comes off so easily. Add working out regularly to that, and I think this should be an easily obtainable goal.

How am I motivating myself? Three main ways:

One, I am not going to allow myself to donate my hair (working on my 4th donation) until the weight is gone. I am really ready to donate it, so this is incentive.

Two, when I lose the weight, Brennan and I will have some updated pictures taken of ourselves, since the last professional pictures were at our wedding nearly three years ago. I really don’t like having pictures taken of me right now, since I am heavier than I have ever been.

Three, I will get to go shopping! I haven’t really bought a ton of new clothes in the past year because I keep saying “when I lose weight…” Well, given the fact that I own ONE pair of jeans now because I can’t fit into the rest of them, this needs to be a major motivation.


The other silly motivation is our Wii Fit. My “Mii” is SO round and it makes me annoyed every time I see it.

According to the Wii, by BMI puts me in the “obese” category (cringing right now as I type that), and I want it to be back to “normal” (though, according to those charts, I need to lose 60 lbs, and that’s not likely to happen).  I want to wear a single-digit size for the first time since high school. I want to be more comfortable around people, not fearing what they are thinking about me.

Most of all, I WANT to be healthy. I want to be active. I want to feel great, and I know that eating clean, cutting out sugar, and starting to exercise more regularly will help tremendously.

So, it starts today. 133 days until I turn 31, and I want that birthday celebration (in California, with my family) to be AMAZING. By our anniversary on November 6th, I want to be able to fit into that black dress that I’ve NEVER worn because it didn’t fit.

I’m going to keep posting updates here because it creates accountability, and it is also forcing me to own up to my weight problem. Vulnerability is freeing and I’m trying to embrace that more often.

Most of all, I want to honor God by taking better care of this body with which He has blessed me, and I never want my weight to hinder me from serving Him in any way.

The Start Experiment, Round Two: Day Nine

Today, one of my wonderful fellow “Starters” posted something that almost made me cry because it spoke directly to my heart.

Know what isn’t the only reason you’re not working for your dreams? It isn’t always your fear that is preventing you from being successful. Sometimes it is your unwillingness to sacrifice. You’ve got to decide today that the pain of staying the same and not chasing your dream is costing you more than it would to chase it.  — Ashley Revely

Oh my. Between that and the email that Jon Acuff sent to those of us in Round Two today, I feel broken. In a good way. I forgot my journal at home, so I decided to just blog about it since I’m sure that others feel the same way and might need this encouragement.

Jon’s email today talked about not just settling for “jobs” when they’re not something that makes us feel alive and when they’re not part of our calling. I have done that my whole adult life. Every single job.

Funny “coincidence” that after I read that email I headed to an interview for a job that I could do and could do it well. But, it has nothing to do with the passions in my soul and my new-found mission in life. Same with the job I interviewed for last week. In fact, I honestly feel that accepting either of these jobs would be detrimental to my dream. Interesting what a new perspective can show you.

Ashley’s quote doesn’t only apply to my dream, though: it also applies to weight-loss and health. Before our wedding, perhaps because I had a goal, I lost 20 lbs and worked hard at it. I felt GREAT and loved what I saw in the mirror. I felt thin. After the wedding, I gained it all back PLUS some because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice things along the way. I’m realizing now that the cost of staying the same is far more painful than chasing my dream and working hard.

Today I’m going to break both my dream job and my dream of weighing 45 pounds less into simple steps and look at WHY I’m failing at weight loss. I know that most of it is due to lack of preparation and planning, but some is still due to laziness. What will it cost to pursue my dream and what sacrifices are necessary? I am thinking that any sort of permanent job is at the top of the list. I’m also thinking that getting up at 5am to ensure that I have plenty of focus-time will continue to be a must.

What is it costing me to stay the same? Joy, peace, self-image, contentment, passion.

What might it cost me to change? Time, effort, maybe financial sacrifice, trusting God a whole lot more.

The pain of staying the same is DEFINITELY costing me a lot. It’s time to sacrifice things that are standing in the way so that I can fully pursue what I am called to be.

The Start Experiment, Round 2: Day Three

The further into this Start Experiment I go, the more I am filled with wonder and anticipation at what God is doing in my life and in my marriage. The second round is already proving to be more amazing than the first, and I think part of that is simply due to the fact that I have been able to figure out my dream. The other part is that this community of people continues to grow closer together and the momentum continues to build. We’re all in this together.

So far, I am 4.5 lbs down from when I started this project, which isn’t impressive considering that it has been a month. However, I wasn’t as strict as I wanted to be during the first round. I admittedly didn’t try as hard as I should have. But, that has changed. I have newfound determination.

To give myself a visual goal, I hung a dress on my closet door that I want to wear on our anniversary. I currently cannot fit into this dress, but I love it. I really want to wear it on November 6th. But, in order to wear it, I need to lose probably 20 more pounds in the next 83 days. That is a little over 11 weeks from now, and if I lose the recommended 2 pounds per week, I can lose more than 20 by then. That will be about half of my weight-loss goal.

So this is my audacious health-related goal: to lose 20 pounds by my anniversary so that I can wear the black dress.

I have nearly finished my photography portfolio and already submitted it to one organization. I am working with a new friend to finalize captions and things before she helps me submit it to people who might be able to help me reach my audacious dream of being a travel photographer.
Here’s the link to my portfolio: http://www.flickr.com/lesabrackbill

I am also going on a mission trip to Guatemala in February!

God is definitely moving in our lives, and I am SO excited to see what happens.

The Start Experiment: My Risk

I am really excited about this new adventure that I was invited to join. It’s hard to explain, so I’m not going to try right now. I’ll just explain my “risk” for the next 24 days. This is going to require me to be much more vulnerable on here than I’d like, but it will cause me to be more accountable to my readers, so I’ll do it.

I have chosen to focus on self-discipline/self-control for the next 24 days (and beyond) because it’s something I truly lack in most areas of my life.

It’s kind of ridiculous. Because I lack self-control, I have gained almost fifty pounds since our wedding almost three years ago. You read that right. Fifty pounds. I worked SO hard to lose a mere twenty pounds before the wedding and said that I would never allow myself to gain it back. Well, like most brides, I definitely gained “wedding weight” and it keeps getting worse. I hate looking in the mirror. I hate seeing people who I haven’t seen in a long time because my head tells me that they’re thinking, “Oh my goodness! Look at how overweight she is now!” and that makes me nervous. I hate that the Wii Fit tells me that I’m “obese” (that’s honestly the worst thing–that my “Mii” is short and round and Brennan’s is “normal” and healthy).

know that it’s unhealthy to weigh as much as I do. I know that diabetes runs in my family and that this could lead to that eventually. I know that if I would just exercise in addition to our already mostly healthy eating habits that it would go away. I know that when I cut sugar out of my diet I feel SO great (and easily lose weight). And, I know that I am 30 years old now and it’s only going to get harder to change and lose weight. But, obviously all of this head knowledge is getting me nowhere. I need to start practicing self-discipline.

I’m not just lacking self-discipline in terms of exercise and eating habits, either. It has spread to spiritual areas as well. I admit that I don’t read my Bible every day any more. I don’t journal every day any more. And I can feel the effects of that deeply.

So, it’s time to “Start” and that starts tomorrow (July 15).

For the next 24 days, I will be held accountable by my team of 23 other people, by my assigned accountability partner, and by everyone who reads this post, to do the following:

  • I will choose to eat “clean” and strive to make great food choices.
  • I will do a minimum of 24 minutes of exercise each day.
  • I will choose to become more self-disciplined about reading the Bible, journaling, and praying by doing these things every day for 24 days.
  • I will blog every day for 24 days about my progress, including a before picture (ugh).

From this “risk” I believe that I will be more able to “Start” my actual dream (to be disclosed later) because I will have become more disciplined in many areas of life and my life will be improved as a result. And, I will also be much more confident in who God made me to be because I will be taking care of this gift He has given to me, the gift of a physical body. Self-discipline is NOT going to be easy or fun, but it’s really a requirement for an abundant life.

And that’s the best place for me to “Start”.