Monika Tockstein’s Transformation Story

Monika is someone who I have been DYING to do a transformation story on for MONTHS.  However, she just so happens to be someone who is unbelievably humble and wanted to wait until she met her ultimate goal before I had the opportunity to share her story.

She did it.

And I can’t WAIT to tell you about it!!!

Usually, I summarize the details that my challengers share with me for these transformation stories, but with Monika — I am just going to let her do the talking!

 

I asked Monika a few questions, and here’s what she had to say…

What made you sign up with a coach who ran accountability groups?

” I had tried Shakeology several years ago and when I would get the motivation to get my health in check I would be good and drink it.  However consistency was soooo not a thing for me.  I had a coach who I ordered through but it was more a matter of I wanted to support someone I knew with my money vs. really looking for a coach.   However this past December that all started to change.  I had seen several people I knew posting on FB about Beachbody/Shakeology and about these challenge groups.  I knew if I really wanted to start to move the bar on my health I needed to switch to actually being engaged with a coach vs. just placing an order.   Well that was a critical step, the encouragement and motivation in the challenge groups has been vital to me.  The sharing, support and learning is priceless!  Get this, all of that additional support is free!  yes, free!  I just had to take advantage of it!”

 

What took you from eating what you wanted and not exercising, to waking early to workout and dialing in your nutrition on a daily basis? 

“Anyone who struggles with their weight will tell you that they clearly know when they are spinning out of control, know when they are off track, know when they aren’t doing what they should do.  However knowing that and being motivated to do something about it are two very different things.  I had reached my limit and knew I had to do something and I had to stop with my excuses, yes I have horrible knees, but that doesn’t mean it’s a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  I also had to really assess me, what were my triggers, what would cause success or failure for me, not for someone else and what worked for them, but for me.  Through the challenge groups a variety of people share what works for them, and it’s all variations.  There was freedom in not being tied to a single way to do it, but rather truly talking with my coach to see what would fit for me.  So in Jan, I dove in with a mindset change of not losing weight and dieting, but rather having a healthier lifestyle!  This was a critical game changer for me.  I know how I think, if I say I am losing weight or on a diet, or starting a new workout routine, I decide in my mind that if I did X effort then I should have Y results (and yes immediately have Y result) and when that doesn’t happen I get really mad and say to heck with it and go right back to all my comfort foods and comfy not working out ways.  So, doing an initial weight and measurements and then locking up the scale for a month or at times 2 months is what was needed.   I was instead focused on ‘non scale victories’, how was I feeling?  How was I moving?  What foods were fueling me?  How was my energy level?  And bless, how were my clothes fitting!”

 

What benefits has this lifestyle change (Shakeology daily//exercise//nutrition//challenge groups) brought to your everyday life? 

“My planner/organizer/routine driven self was a perfect match for the challenge group app!  To have that daily check in to post about my workout and food was a key to success.   Take note all those things you read about starting to move and then you want to move as well as eat healthy food and you will crave healthy food, heck, it’s all true!   I noticed that once my health started getting in balance so did other aspects, my mood, temper, getting stuff done around the house, you name it, more energy for life!

What was your BIG scary goal?  How long did it take? 

“I set a big goal right from the start, ideally to be healthier I had to get into the healthy BMI range.  I know it was a big goal, so I never looked at how many inches/pounds, but rather how was I feeling, what was my flexibility, my strength, energy level, my glow!  Yes, glow!”

Edited to add:  Like I said, this chick is MODEST.  Being in the healthy BMI range is SO important, but many people lack knowledge on what that looks like.  To put it into terms that are more relatable — this amazing woman lost 58.6 lbs to get to that healthy BMI range!!!!!

If you could give one piece of advice to a woman who feels hesitant to start this journey, what would you say?

“Start small, know yourself, be honest with yourself and with your coach, a good coach (Like Alyssa!) will listen to you and support you, not convince you that you have to do A+B and there is no other way.  If you try a workout and don’t like it, don’t throw away working out, try a different workout.  Don’t like that eating plan, research other healthy eating plans to find one that works for you.  Ok, the pizza, pringles and ice-cream diet isn’t one of them, but there are a zillion different clean eating plans out there, I promise if you give it a solid 30 days of clean eating and moving every day with some form of exercise, after the 30 days you will notice a difference in how you feel, and trust me that feeling, well THAT is addictive!”

 

There you have it.

If that isn’t wildly inspiring, I don’t know what is!

This is why I do what I do.

 

Monika, well done, love. xoxoxoxo

Mental Health Awareness Day, 2017

Depression means sinking.

It means sinking, in slow motion.

It’s heavy.

It sits in your chest.  It hurts.

It’s seeing the top of the water but no matter how hard you claw, you can’t reach the surface.

It’s selfish and it’s unforgiving.

Depression is numbness.  The inability to feel.

But to feel everything.

It is an all consuming fire in your bones, desperately fighting for the power to destroy you.

 

Anxiety.

Anxiety is fear.

It’s lack of control.

It’s white knuckling life.

It’s the rattling in your chest.

The beating of your heart mimicking a thunderous drum.

It’s shaking. Rocking. Crying. Yelling. Breathing. Gasping.

It is the manifestation of all you wish you were, and all you will never be.

 

 

They steal your joy

Your self worth.

Your relationships.

Your pride.

Your  l i f e.

 

Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day.

It’s a day set aside to recognize that anxiety and depression are REAL.  They are present.  And they have been given the opportunity to destroy too many lives.

 

Today, say a prayer for those who struggle with a mental health disorder.  Know that they need you.  They need your prayers.  Or a smile.  They need to feel loved, to feel like they matter.  Because they do, don’t they?

You matter.

Do you know that?

You were fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who makes NO mistakes.  His canvas is a beautiful tapestry in which He created you in His image.

You are enough.

You are enough.

You.

Are.

Enough.

 

xoxo, A

Skinny Chicken Parm

Skinny Chicken Parm — YES!

I absolutely L O V E Chicken Parmesan.  That is my go-to when out at an Italian restaurant.  Sometimes, those heavy dishes are simply worth the indulgence and calories they come with.

*Side Note:  Some restaurant portions of chicken parm have up to 72 grams of FAT!  To put this into perspective, check out MayoClinic’s article on how many grams of fat you should be consuming each day.

Other times, we are looking for that soul food that fills our tummy and tastes like heaven WITHOUT all the c r a p.  You know me, I cook EASY, HEALTHY recipes.  So when I found a “skinny” Chicken Parm recipe that I was able to tweak and make my own — I started mass producing it.  Okay, not really…but we have a solid 3-4 servings at all times in the freezer for an easy reheat dinner mid week!

Ready for how easy this is?

Ingredients:

6 small chicken breasts

3 slices sharp thick cut provolone

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp oregano

salt/pepper to taste

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

parmesan cheese

1/2 jar tomato sauce of choice

 

Directions:

  1. Start with 6 small chicken breasts, fat trimmed.  Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray, and lay out your chicken breasts.
  2. Mix your spices together — garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  3.  Cover chicken breasts evenly with the spices.

 

4.  Next, cover the chicken breasts with 1/2 a jar of tomato sauce.  I prefer to use a low sugar option.  Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.

5.  Take your 3 slices of thick cup provolone cheese and break each in half.  Place half a slice of cheese on each chicken breast.

6.  Evenly distribute the whole wheat bread crumbs over the cheese.  Sprinkle with parmesan.

7.   Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  This is the secret to JUICY chicken breasts!  Low temperature/long time frame = dry meat.  High t

emperature/short time frame = juicy, tender meat!

8.  Pair your Skinny Chicken Parm with a carbohydrate (suggested: brown or basmati rice) and a vegetable (suggested:  spinach/onions, broccoli, green beans).  Voila!  An easy, quick, SKINNY, chicken dish with just enough indulgent ingredients to give you that soul food feel with less than half the fat and calories.

 

 

If you are looking for additional easy, healthy chicken dishes, check out these recipes!

Thai Peanut Chicken

Bruschetta Chicken

FREE Virtual Book Club!

A FREE virtual  book club — ALL ABOUT PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT!

I have been toying with the idea of doing a virtual book club for quite some time now.  I know so many women who LOVE reading, and genuinely benefit from the time it gives them to decompress and relax — but they just don’t make time for it.  I was the same exact way until I started coaching.  Now — gosh, I can’t imagine who I’d be without my daily personal development.

This book club will be as hands on or hands off as you would like.  You are welcome to engage multiple times a day, or simply pop in and check out the newsfeed as you desire.  This is for YOU — to help you become the very best version of YOU there is.

While I want you to be flexible and allow yourself grace in missing some reading/check ins, I also know that you are joining this book club for a reason.

You need something like this — a community like this — something positive in your day that will prepare your mind and heart for the responsibilities before you.  So do your best to invest the time in reading and checking in.  Set aside that time for YOU.  Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day.  Set that alarm for 10 minutes earlier and start your day with a cup of coffee and your book prior to those kiddos waking up.  Make it a priority as best you can!

We are the best women we can be when we serve ourselves FIRST, but as women…we often put ourselves LAST.

This month, let’s set aside some “me” time and dedicate some time to curling up with a book that is just sweet honey for the soul!

And now — for the release of the book title that we will start with (oh man, I’m so excited)!!!

Grace, Not Perfection is a must-read for all women.  Whether you are a mom, student, sister, or wife, Emily has written a book for all of us who struggle with letting go of perfection.  Practical and beautifully written, Grace, Not Perfection gives us the freedom to make what matters happen and to step into a life of purpose.  Get ready for a joy-filled journey as you turn each page!” -Lara Casey (author of Make It Happen and Cultivate)

There you have it, ladies, a book designed for us to simplify our lives and embrace what TRULY matters.

In this book, Emily lays out for us practical steps to bring fulfillment and meaning to our lives — even on the craziest OR most mundane of days.  You will see tips, insight, and even some pages designed for reflection and note taking should you wish!

To learn a bit more about Emily Ley, check out her blog!

To purchase your copy of the book, click here.

Okay, so what can I expect from this group?

The book is broken up into 3 parts — each week we will read one part of the book.  Everyone is encouraged to use the Facebook group as a means of communication and conversation — providing daily inspiration and/or discussing topics that are related to the book.  Each Monday, a list of questions/conversation starters will be posted that pertain to the readings completed during the previous week!

To reserve your spot in the free virtual book club starting on August 7th, please email me at savedandstrong@gmail.com!

Cara Travis

This cute blonde is Cara – welcome to her transformation story!

Cara wasn’t a fan of the early morning gym scene (mad rush in the morning = not so awesome start to the day).  Enter — home workout programs.  Cara fell in LOVE with 21 Day Fix Extreme on Beachbody On Demand — 30 minutes a day, no gym commute, no hassle — just sweat, calories burned, and results …AMAZING results!  She also made (and makes) Shakeology a priority every..single..day.  Non negotiable chocolate shake (and the perfect amount of peppermint extract — hellloooo thin mint!) to start her day.

This, my friends, is what led her to her TRANSFORMATION…..

This chick has lost 25 lbs — TWENTY FIVE POUNDS!  30 minutes a day.  Chocolate Shakeology.  25 lbs down.

To add to it, Cara wasn’t sick ONCE during cold and flu season.  She has gained muscle mass she has NEVER seen before.  She views her morning workout as a form of stress release and therapy.  AND she has gotten her hands on new recipes and tips from her fellow challengers through our accountability groups!

Cara GETS IT!  She has made this her LIFESTYLE.  Not a quick fix, but a lifestyle.  One that CLEARLY looks pretty daaaang good on her.

PS — This chick is getting married September 2017.  Now THAT is going to be one BEAUTIFUL bride!!!

Bravo, Cara!!

SUMMER STRONG — Who’s Ready!?

It’s time to get SUMMER STRONG!  Together, we can — and WE WILL — do it!

Summer Strong (launching 7/10), is our upcoming accountability group that will look a bit different than what we have done in the past!
Here are some changes you will see:
Weekend Challenges:  Due to the nature of summer (BBQ’s, vacation, laid back schedules, etc.) we have found that a lot of our challengers are struggling with staying on track throughout the weekend.  Because of this, we have developed a simple weekend challenge that will encourage every one to stay healthy and active from Friday – Sunday.  Those who meet the criteria will be entered to win a prize EVERY WEEKEND!
Daily Butt/Gut Challenge:  We will also be doing a daily butt/gut calendar challenge as a group.  This will consist of a short exercise routine each day that builds as the group progresses.  Those who complete the daily challenge will also be eligible for a larger prize at the end!
Our group will run throughout the rest of the summer!!! I know I need the consistent motivation and support, so I’m guessing YOU do too!  Continuous support — all of us, together, for the rest of the summer!
Remember that the Beachbody On Demand challenge pack is only on sale for a limited time, so if you would like to get your hands on it, be sure to snag it here!
For those who saw my 3 Day Refresh Results and would like to get back on track after the inevitable 4th of July BBQ’s, here are some options for you!
3 Day Refresh/Shakeology/BOD Challenge Pack (NOTE:  Entrance to our accountability group is included with this purchase.)
3 Day Refresh/Shakeology Challenge Pack  (NOTE:  Entrance to our accountability group is included with this purchase.)
Please email me at savedandstrong@gmail.com to reserve your spot ASAP!
xoxo A

Fruit & Veggie Toddler Muffins!

As a fit mama, I am always playing with new healthy recipe ideas for my daughter!  Enter — HEALTHY TODDLER MUFFINS!

Is it just me or is it darn near impossible to find something that a toddler will CONSISTENTLY eat?!  They L O V E something for  24 hours…then…it suddenly becomes toxic and the second they see it, it’s flung across the room!  Feel me, mama?  DRIVES ME NUTS!!

So, when I found these muffins and my daughter loved them for more than 24 hours (and STILL loves them today! — thank you Jesus) I was hooked.  These will be made  E V E R Y week in our home.

These muffins can serve as a well-balanced breakfast OR a healthy snack!

The perfect balance of fruit//veggies//fats//and healthy carbohydrates that your kiddo needs to give them the fuel they need for the day — like they don’t have enough already…

Here’s what you will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 pure maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 large handful spinach

1 large handful blueberries

*to be added after blending!

Add your ingredients in the following order:

-flour

-oil

-eggs

-mashed bananas (pre-mash the bananas prior to adding them!)

-baking soda

-pure maple syrup

-cinnamon

-spinach (I used a large handful, but use as much or as little as you like!  I love the idea of sneaking veggies into the muffins so I added a good amount!)

Next, it’s time to blend!  I used an immersion blender (L O V E immersion blenders!!!) and blended the mixture until the spinach was completely broken up and all ingredients were well mixed.

Once the batter has been created, fold in your blueberries.  I added a large handful to the batter and saved some additional blueberries for the tops of the muffins as well.

Last, pour the batter into a muffin tin.  I was able to get 9 muffins out of the batter, more than enough to last us the week (if stored in fridge to ensure freshness!).  Remember, if you want to add additional blueberries to the top, now is the time!

Bake in the oven at 355 degrees for 13 minutes!  I had originally planned to bake them for 15 minutes but realized at 14 minutes that they were done — I think 13 minutes would leave them perfectly moist!

Notice there are only 7 on the plate — hehe…Addison and I each ate one before I could even plate it! Oops ;).

I hope you enjoy these healthy, tasty toddler muffins!  xo

Skinny Bruschetta Chicken

Say H E L L O to my new favorite chicken dinner — skinny bruschetta chicken!!

I got a ton of feedback on my Thai Peanut Chicken (still a fav!) so I had to share another dynamite chicken recipe!

My husband and I could eat chicken every single night of the week — no problem.  Since we love it so much, we are always looking for new, healthy recipes!

Enter — SKINNY BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN!

I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit to make it more waistline friendly.  It turned out DELICIOUS and I can’t wait to share the recipe!!

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (pounded thin)

4 tbsp fresh basil

2 tsp garlic

1/4 red onion

4 Roma tomatoes

3 tsp italian seasoning

2 tbsp olive oil (separated)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt

Your first step is to make the bruschetta mixture in a small mixing bowl.

  1.  Take your fresh basil and chop it into small pieces.  Roughly measure out about 4 tbsp.
  2.  Dice all 4 Roma tomatoes into small chunks based on the size you desire.
  3.  Mince the 1/4 of a red onion.
  4.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  5.  Include 1/4 cup parmesan cheese — freshly shaved is best!
  6.  Salt to taste.
  7.   Combine all ingredients.

Next, you want to sear your chicken.  

  1.  Coat a hot pan with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2.  Place all 4 chicken breasts onto the pan after pounding them thin.  Note:  I did NOT pound them thin which resulted in a much longer cooking time — lesson learned!!
  3.   Add 1.5 tsp of italian seasoning and 1 tsp minced garlic to the breasts and let sear for about 5 minutes — flip and repeat.
  4.   Check chicken temperature periodically with a meat thermometer.  You want the internal temperature to reach, but not exceed, 165 degrees.

I just loved how searing the chicken in such a small amount of oil still gave them that crispy, crunchy exterior — mmmmmm!

Last step — assemble!

Last but not least, take your seared chicken breasts and top them with equal parts bruschetta mixture and pair with your favorite carb and veggie!  We did a quinoa/brown rice mixture as well as sauteed snap peas — perfect!

 

E N J O Y!

3 Day Refresh! Tips//Hacks//RESULTS

Oh 3 Day Refresh, how I feared you!

It took me TWO YEARS to pull the trigger and try the 3 Day Refresh for the first time and I am here to tell you — I WISH I DID IT SO MUCH SOONER!

Below you are going to see a SUPER honest play by play of the 3 Day Refresh — both the good AND the bad….

Let’s start with the break down of what exactly the 3 Day Refresh is:

Morning:

Shakeology + Fruit Option

Tea

Fiber Sweep

Afternoon:

Vanilla Fresh Shake + Fruit Option + Veggie Option + Healthy Fat Option

Veggie Option + Healthy Fat Option

Tea

Evening:

Vanilla Fresh Shake + Dinner Option

Tea

 

Each day, you eat and drink the above — not too shabby, right?!?

 

Let’s start with the morning — SHAKEO!  I was SO GLAD that I could still have my morning Shakeology.  I did Chocolate Vegan with half a banana, cold water, and ice!  Delicious and pretty similar to my typical morning routine.

Next up was tea.  I never liked tea.  It makes me think of being sick, ya know.  I didn’t really enjoy it, but I had my tea mid morning!

And now for the dreaded Fiber Sweep.  I had heard HORROR stories about this thing.  I was given 3 KEY tips that made drinking this shake SO easy (….I actually enjoyed it…is that weird?)

TIP #1 — Drink it with ICE COLD water!!! I had to drink mine at work so I kept a shaker with water in the fridge until I was ready to add the powder.

TIP #2 — ALL THE LEMONSSSSS.  Add lemon juice to your ice cold water!!

TIP #3 — CHUG THAT ISH.  Drink it fast.  Not because it tastes bad, but because it will thicken if it sits over time.

Since you are only using 10 oz of water, it goes down fast and I can honestly tell you that by following those 3 tips, I actually enjoyed the lemony flavor!

Onto the Afternoon!

Vanilla Fresh shake!  As good as Shakeology — no.  Drinkable?  For sure.  TIP — add in some cinnamon or a pure extract like vanilla or almond (a little goes a LONG way — just a dash!!).

Okay — ready to have your mind B L O W N!!  This idea was all my hubby’s so I can’t take credit for it, but I HAVE to share because it was a game changer for me!  Instead of doing the Vanilla Fresh as a shake, you can make it into a PUDDING!!!

Here’s how:

Shake your powder into a bowl and slowly add cold water until it reaches the consistency you desire.  Add in some cinnamon and extract of your choice.  Pop in the fridge/freezer for 10 min to make it nice and cold — ENJOY!

This really made me feel like I was having a dessert so I was all about this idea!  Well done, Justin!

 

My lunch pretty much every day was half an apple//5 baby carrots//and 1.5 tsp of almond butter!  Side note — when I realized I could still have my almond butter I was JAZZED!!!!!

My afternoon snacks were often more carrots and almond butter — I’m boring…I know.  🙂  You like what you like…right?!

 

Time for dinner!

We tried 2 of the dinner options and really enjoyed both of them, especially the spinach salad — it was SO big and we were hungry!!  I loved adding the sunflower seeds to the salad — added that extra crunch and some saltiness — yum!

 

 

 

 

The other dinner option we made was the Coconut Steamed Veggies!  This is going to become a side dish in our household for sure.  Who knew a little coconut oil could drastically change the taste of your veggies?!

 

 

We finished off the night with another Vanilla Fresh pudding and a cup of tea!  It was kind of nice to snuggle on the couch and sip tea before bed 🙂  Truth — it was an adjustment going to bed feeling hungry.  I think that was the toughest part — not having a full belly before bed.  That being said,  waking up feeling so clean and having such a flat tummy — WORTH IT.

After 3 days it was time for what everyone looks forward to — the RESULTS!!!  So, here we have it — my results and Justin’s results after 3 days on the 3 Day Refresh!!

     

So was it worth it — YES!!

What was the best part? — Shakeology, almond butter, and REAL FOOD being part of the 3 day meal guide.

What was the hardest part? — Day 2 was the toughest day for me.  Day 1 I was excited and ready to tackle it…. Day 3 I knew it was my last day and I could finish strong…Day 2 was tough so if you experience the same, know that you CAN stick it out because you only have ONE MORE DAY!!

Interested in giving it a whirl!?  There are 3 options you can choose from!

Option #1 — 3 Day Refresh + Month of Shakeology + Portion Control Containers + Beachbody On Demand ALL Access  This option also grants you access to an accountability group run by yours truly and is full of other men and women who aren’t just in need of a quick fix, but instead are using the 3 Day Refresh as a kickstart to a healthier lifestyle.  This option is perfect for someone who is truly looking for a lasting change!

Option #2 — 3 Day Refresh + Month of Shakeology  This option also grants you access to the accountability group and equips you with a healthy meal swap every day — Shakeology!

Option #3 — 3 Day Refresh Complete Kit  This option is best for someone who is looking for a cleanse from a holiday weekend, or is preparing for an event (wedding, vacation, etc.)  It can also be paired with your current healthy lifestyle if you’re simply looking for something to get you back on track!

If you have more questions, please feel free to email me at savedandstrong@gmail.com — I would love to chat with you!

xoxoxo –  A

Eating Disorder Recovery

The definition of recovery is “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.”

Wow.

That forces me to think about what I lost control of.  What was stolen from me.  All that I lost.

I lost control of my life.  I lost control of my feelings.  My emotions.  My clarity.  My self worth.  My purpose.  My identity.

My adolescence was stolen from me.  My dignity was stolen from me. My confidence was stolen from me.  My reason for living was stolen from me.

I lost everything.  Friends.  Trust.  Happiness.  Myself.

7 years today, I declared that I would “get better.”

After years of anorexia, bulimia, cutting, promiscuity, and zero self worth — I decided I needed to make one last true effort to “get better.”

This was prompted by my mom.  As most addicts do (yes, I consider all forms of eating disorders and self harm an addiction — to weight loss, to “control”, to the feeling of euphoria when one self harms) my decision to “get better” was for someone else.

I asked my mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day.  “For you to get better, Alyssa.”

From that day forward I put every ounce of energy I had into pulling myself out of the deepest darkest pit I ever dug for myself.  I didn’t do it for me, I did it for my family.  The family that I had torn apart and broken into pieces.

The road to recovery is so long.  I suppose it’s never ending.  There are days when you triumph over conquering your demons and there are days when you come painstakingly close to allowing those demons permission to destroy you once again.  There are days you look in the mirror and you actually like what you see.  And there are days when looking in the mirror sends you into a fit of tears.  There are days when eating that chocolate cake at your friends wedding brings a huge smile to your face.  And there are days when eating that chocolate cake destroys you.

The thing about recovery is that you HAVE to celebrate the smallest of victories.  Eating that first piece of pizza in public without running to the bathroom to get rid of it.  Or eating that roll out to dinner…and even putting a small pad of butter on it.  It’s sitting in your sadness and choosing to write instead of cut.  It’s all these small things that make up recovery.  It’s not a one time decision — it is a decision that is made every single day for the rest of your life.

Addiction is bondage.  And no matter what you are addicted to — food, alcohol, drugs, porn — the key is finding freedom.  And freedom is Jesus.  Freedom is knowing that regardless of all the wrongs I have done and all the sins I have committed I am still worthy in the eyes of my creator.  For no reason.  So undeservingly.  “There is freedom in the name of Jesus” — that line still brings tears to my eyes to this day.  No words hit my soul like those.  I wish I could adequately portray the change I encountered when I gave my life to Jesus, but no explanation would do it justice.

Recovery isn’t easy.  Even with Jesus, it is a rocky road.  But I am free.  My demons tempt me each and every day.  They cause me to pinch my belly fat.  To suck in while having my photo taken.  To doubt myself.  But they no longer run my life.  Because Jesus has won me over and because of HIM I am free.

7 years ago today I made the best decision of my life.

And here I am. Age 28.  Married to the love of my life and a mommy to the most sweetest blessing.

I am eternally grateful for Christ’s sacrifice for us and for his constant reminder that we ARE enough for Him.  I am thankful that I have the opportunity to raise a little girl who loves and fears the Lord with her entire heart.  And I pledge to forever instill in my sweet girl that she IS enough, always.  That she is loved unequivocally by the King of Kings and that she can do great things.

Tonight calls for wine and ice cream.  And not a single ounce of self doubt!

If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, please don’t hesitate to email me at savedandstrong@gmail.com.

 

xoxo – A