Finding the Healthier Version of Me

There are some things in life that we dream of, we hope for, we want more than anything else, but it always seems so far out of our reach.  Winning the lottery, owning a successful business, losing weight…all seemingly “lofty” aspirations for most people.  Sadly, most Americans will never carry out these dreams.

While there is nothing I can say to increase your chances of winning the lottery, and I’m still piecing together the successful business part, I hope that I can inspire you that weight loss and a healthy life ARE within your grasp!

I haven’t achieved my goal weight yet, but I am almost 50 pounds closer to being there, and I’m ready to talk more extensively about how I’ve gotten to this point, and how I plan to reach my final goal weight, whatever that may be.  See, I don’t have a magic number in my mind.  I have a range, but more important to me than a particular number on the scale, is the percentage of body fat that I carry.  When I began this journey, my body was over 42% fat.  Today, I’m somewhere around 30%!  Sure, that number isn’t in the normal range yet, but I wouldn’t expect it to be, considering I’m still (ever so slightly) above 200 pounds.

Before I go any further, I want you to understand that while I fully advocate for loving yourself and appreciating the body that God gave you, I do not advocate for an unhealthy lifestyle or carrying around a percentage of body fat that will ultimately lead to health problems and possibly an early death.  It is possible for an overweight person to have normal blood sugar and normal blood pressure.  It’s also possible for an overweight woman to have a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated labor and delivery.  I did it 3 times!  Being overweight doesn’t mean that a woman is doomed to having gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or anything else.  Sure, her risk may be higher, but she can appear healthy for any given moment in time.  My question is, what sort of things could be going on below the surface that we don’t know about?

During the summer of 2013, I was “blessed” to find out about some “pending” health concerns.  I say “blessed” because I had a doctor tell me that I had fatty deposits in my liver, and if I didn’t make a change, I could be full-blown type 2 diabetic within a couple of years.  I knew I needed to make a change, but I also needed a push to get me going.  That was the push I needed.  He told me if I lost weight and developed a healthy lifestyle, then those risks were almost certain to disappear.  I walked out of that office determined to find an answer…

The next day, I joined a gym in my area, ready to start a healthy lifestyle.  A few months later, I read about a book that seemed to be changing lives.  I dismissed it several times because it advocated for stevia while restricting the intake of things like milk, honey and bread.  As a big time milk drinker, and lover of all things sweet and carb-y, I tucked the idea in the back of my mind, time after time after time, until I could ignore the testimonials no longer.  “Trim Healthy Mama” was calling my name, and I had to listen.

The authors sent me a free copy of the book (at my request) for my review here on my blog.  I had no idea that nine months later, with dozens of YouTube videos, blog posts, facebook comments and recommendations to family and friends, that I would be sitting here typing this post, nearly 50 pounds lighter than when I started.  More significant than the number on the scale, is the freedom, courage and strength I’ve found along the way.  I feel like I’ve broken out of the shackles that held me down for years.  No matter how much I tried to quiet the little voice in my mind, it was always there telling me that I wasn’t good enough for my children and one day they would be ashamed of me.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have blamed them.  A mother should take care of herself.  She should take pride in herself and love herself enough to make sure her body is healthy and well cared for.  That means providing the proper nutrition and exercise to sustain a life of nurturing her children.  A mother who doesn’t take care of herself, cannot take care of her family.

Last week, my family and I went on vacation.  It was the first time as a family of 5, and also my first time in a size 12-14.  I started this journey at a 20.  I played with my kids on the playground, slid down the slide with my baby (and my hips fit on the slide!), and chased them around the beach playing tag–IN A BIKINI!!!  I played with my kids confidently and loved it!  Sure, there were probably a lot of people who looked at me and saw a woman with too many stretch marks to be wearing a bikini, or still a little more weight around her midsection than should be there.  What they didn’t know, and the only thing I saw (or felt) was that I’m actually a woman whose body went through the work to carry and deliver 3 healthy babies, and then went through the work to lose 50 pounds (65 if you count the weight I lost between the time Darian was born and starting THM).  I felt confident and proud, I didn’t see the flaws still there because many of them I can’t change (if anyone ever does find a miracle cure for stretch marks, please let me know!)

Yes, I finally have learned to love and accept myself after this weight loss, and it could only happen now because I knew that the previous version of myself was not a healthy one.  It wasn’t the one God wanted me to be.  He wanted me to have a body that worked properly and to do that, it needed to be lighter.  This isn’t “fat hate” or anything like that…it was a mission to discover a healthy Amber…a healthy mom and a healthy wife.  I think I’ve found her.

Now…can I help you find yours?


Before: (December 21, 2013)

christmas party

Current: Taken last week at the Beach (September 2014)

family beach pic 2014

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5 Responses

  1. Kerry
    | Reply

    I am on my second week of THM and I am struggling with lunch and snacking. Last night I came home from class (I am working on my associates degree) and stayed up until 12:45 a.m. making THM pancakes and filling my K-cup filter for my THM coffee (courtesy of you, great recipe!) and frying my turkey bacon. “This is for the birds!” I thought. Yet, I knew my nighttime efforts would be worth it in the morning. I had my alarm set for five am and did not get up until 7 am. However, I enjoyed breakfast with my hubby before going off to work. “I am spending too much time in the kitchen” I groused to myself this afternoon. But, then I had to laugh at myself. “In the kitchen is where you need to be!” I told myself “Otherwise you would be in a fast food drive through, or ordering a pizza”

    The trouble I am having is not willpower or desire it is feeling overwhelmed. Can you suggest a simple plan to follow for one week? I am an S person. I love to feel full after I have eaten. I love carbs and and salty foods such as chips, chips, and more chips. I usually eat a zucchini fritter for breakfast and that tides me over until lunch. Lunch is tricky cause I work as an assistant to two pastors and I am the office manager. This really means I manage myself, since I am the only one in the office each day. We lease space from a school and have our services each week in the school’s auditorium. My office does not have a sink and only has a tiny fridge. I do have a microwave. I get tired of lugging dirty dishes back and forth but, I recently treated myself to a cool lunch bag. Fast food for lunch is not an option. Today I had quinoa, Gortons grilled Talapia, and a salad with ranch dressing. I dove into the chips and when I ran out of dip, I hit the sour cream. Yikes! No dinner for me tonight. Darn.

    How do you do it? I see you have three children, a husband, post videos, have a blog and most recently, I see you are tackling a bathroom remodeling project! Good gravy how do you do it?

    I start each day (regardless of when I wake) by reading in my Bible and reading a devotional from Sarah Young entitled, “Jesus Lives” I know God is the source of my strength and I try to remember that each day especially when feeling overwhelmed with work, housework, cooking, schoo,l and homework and community events with my church. I try to make it a point to enjoy each task I am doing and try remind myself why I am doing what I am doing. I do this to keep an attitude of gratefulness.

    I wish we were neighbors. I moved to Michigan from Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina. I have wonderful family here. I see you are from the South as well. I miss my southern way of cooking. Monday’s used to be red beans and rice with corn bread. Every Easter I make gumbo for my mom and them. There I just through out a southern phrase for you although I am not sure of the spelling.

    Please share what your typical menu looks like. Thank you for posting such great videos I really enjoy hearing of your journey and watching your cooking videos.

    • Amber Canaan
      | Reply

      Hi Kerry! First of all, THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write such a detailed comment! No one has ever done that! I really appreciate it!

      I totally understand your frustrations because I feel them on a daily basis as well. I have a lot going on, a lot on my plate so to speak, but I don’t juggle it well all the time. Something usually falls off. I just try to make sure it’s not the same thing every time! I’ve been a bit slack with my eating recently, mostly because we went on vacation. I’m trying to learn how to keep everything going, but it’s not easy that’s for sure. I’ve also been trying to get in the habit of doing morning devotions every day, and I REALLY struggle with that. I don’t know how to keep everything balanced, but I keep on trying, that’s the best advice I can give.

      As for the meals, I will see if I can pull out some of my old menu plans, and you have inspired me to start menu planning again too! I get slack with that because it is time consuming, but I do know when I do eat, I eat better and things run more smoothly in our house. For lunches to take to work, could you alternate some sandwiches on Joseph’s bread, or lettuce wraps? I find that I REALLY like burgers wrapped in lettuce. Could you make up some of those at the beginning of the week and take that, heat it up in your microwave and then wrap some lettuce around it? A nice juicy cheeseburger with some homemade chili and onion is really filling! Do you drink any of the drinks? I really like the GGMS…Mt. Dew version. I’ll post a video of that soon, and an accompanying blog post, but it’s 1 liter of club soda, 2 Tbsp of lime juice, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and stevia to sweeten. You can add more or less of the lime and acv to suit your tastes. We love it! Don’t forget to snack as well! You really need to be eating every 3 hours, no matter if you messed up at the previous meal or not! That will keep your metabolism going. I lose WAY more weight when I eat every 3 hours, then when I punish myself and wait!

      That’s all I can think of at the moment. Please feel free to check out my facebook page and talk to me on there! I would love for us to be an encouragement to one another! You sound like someone I can really relate to!

  2. Kerry
    | Reply

    Oh, I never thought of hamburger on lettuce wraps! What a great idea! I have been plugging away entering receipts into Quickbooks since I arrived home at 4:30 p.m. and it is now 10 to 10. I am starving. I will take your advice and make it a point to eat every three hours no matter damage I have done. My mantra is “progress not perfection”. I review each day and see what I can do better the next day.

    I have to tell you that I am not a techy person. I just learned how to subscribe to your youtube videos. My husband Dobbin however, is a tech genius. I made the comment, ” I just love this girl Amber’s videos” I exclaimed. “Well, why don’t you subscribe?” asked my husband me, “Huh?” You are honored to be the first person I subscribed too. Ta Da!

    The first time I drank GGMS, I drank it like a girl who had bee in the desert too long. It used to take me hours to drink a bottle of water, but the GGMS, oh my I drink that all day long I just love it.

    Where did you and your family go on vacation? I hope y’all had fun.

    • Amber Canaan
      | Reply

      Yeah I LOVE burgers wrapped in lettuce. If you put enough yummy toppings, you will NEVER miss the bun! Make it a double cheeseburger if you need to…it’ll be a S meal and you’ll be full, I promise! I don’t even need sides with the burger!

      Definitely…eat every 3 hours…even if it’s just a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder! It will keep you from being “hangry” (hungry+angry), I get that way all the time. :-/ Other favorite snacks of mine…low fat or no fat cottage cheese and fruit (E), 1 tsp of PB and an apple (E, I think, just can’t do too much PB), any of the smoothies in the book, muffin in a mug (you should make some of these and take them to work!), wasa crackers with sliced turkey and a little laughing cow cheese. Have you tried the bread in a mug? It’s kinda different, but a good bread substitute if you just really want bread.

      Did you see my video on the zucchini pizza? It’s awesome! Try that too.

      I can’t do the regular GGMS…the ginger gets to me. Glad you like it though!

      We went to Beaufort SC, and visited Hilton Head twice while we were there. We had a ball and have decided to go back at Christmas! I’m really excited about that!

      I’m really glad that you found my videos and my blog and started commenting. Most of the time I feel like I’m all alone here in cyber land…and to have someone to talk to is AWESOME! Makes me feel like taking all this time doing this stuff matters to someone 🙂 and that’s why I do it! I like to help people. 🙂 Thank you for subscribing by the way! I’m honored!

      • Kerry
        | Reply

        You are very welcome. I really like your videos because you are so sincere and talk to the camera as if you were sitting across the table from us. (us being your cyber audience). Sharing your struggles and letting us know you are not perfect is refreshing. I especially enjoyed your sharing with us how you felt horrible after going off plan. You encouraged me when you said, “It may taste good at the time but, in the end it is not worth it.”

        I love bread in a mug. I had that for dinner tonight and turned it into a chicken sandwich. I cooked Tyson chicken strips in the micro and steamed some broccoli with a bit of butter and a light sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese and a big mug of GGMS behind that.

        I am making your recipe this Friday (my only day off) and I will let you know how it goes.

        I wanted to encourage you in your devotional time. Grab your Bible, notebook, and a devotional if you have one and place it where you will enjoy your morning coffee. I hate everyone when I first wake up, don’t believe in God, life sucks….whaaaa whaaa…This only lasts until my first trip to the bathroom and my first sip of coffee. Then, I am my usual pyscho, loveable self. It is then that I do my reading. My devotional sets me in the mood. I then read a Proverb for the day. For example, today is the 17th so I read Proverb 17. I then read a Psalm going in order, and use the Psalm to praise God and help me get started in praying. I then do my reading in Genesis. I have a new Bible, NIV Life Journey Bible. I am reading the Bible from the beginning. While I do this things pop in my head. When this happens I jot my thought on a piece of paper and this turns into my to do list.

        You can do this when it works for you. It may be in between running kids to school, waiting in your van for them to come out of school. Waiting in the Doctor’s office. It may be before the kids get up. Some people claim their day goes badly for them if they do not do their devotional time or read in their Bible. I for one do not believe that. I believe I can HANDLE my day better when I have God’s perspective, but I do not believe He sends trouble my way for missing a day. (although there was a time when I did believe that way.) The point is do what you can do with what time you have. Soon, you will be surprised when you see the opportunities for devotion time. Remember, God looks at our hearts and our intentions. We can so easily treat our daily reading as a to do list item can’t we?

        So, be of good cheer and know you can do this.

        Have a great night, it is time for me to to hit the hay.

        I think we will be a great encouragement for each other.

        God Bless,



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