These pictures were taken just 12 days apart. But, I'm going to share with you all the hard work I did with Erin that made this possible.

I started working with Erin about 6 months ago. Severely overweight, I was SO tired of diets, pills, drops, extreme calorie reductions. My metabolism was a mess. I had long-rooted issues with emotional eating and addiction to sugar. (Those words are still hard to type).

From babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to over 100 surgeries of my younger daughter, my own health issues, including brain surgery, I buried my emotions in the next sweet treat I could find. Chocolate makes everything better, right? I drowned my sorrows in it and celebrated victories with cake, ice cream, or any other sort of sweet treat.

In December, 2020 I began working with Erin. She lovingly began to share her Scripture-based approach to weight loss. No extreme cuts in calories. No exhausting workouts. We looked at what I ate, how much water I drank, how much sleep I was getting. You'll hear this phrase throughout your work with her. It all begins with simple, sustainable shifts. And we build on those with more simple, sustainable shifts.

As we began our time together, I admitted to her my long-term emotional eating issues. She so very gently, Biblically, helped me through those. We built a framework to make better decisions. I would CHOOSE to eat something rather than impulsively smother feelings with food. Little did I know that I would desperately NEED this foundation in the coming months.

We set water goals.

Sleep goals.

When she realized how scattered I was with the disorganization in my bedroom, we even worked out a plan to get the bedroom decluttered and organized. Calm house and calm heart.

Focused heart.

During this time, I discovered that I have gastroparesis (slow gut motility). My doctor encouraged me to have 2 liquid meals per day and then a sensible dinner.

I wasn't shocked at the diagnosis as it goes hand-in-hand with my connective tissue disorder, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. But, I was stunned that he wanted to manage with diet. I'm super thankful for that now, but then, I was livid. Erin again adapted to the issue, and helped me cope with 2 liquid meals. (Did I mention I love to cook? And bake?) She helped me find suitable snacks that were approved by my physician.

I rolled through Christmas and New Year's and made some progress. I was still working on my water intake, 2 liquid meals, and trying to eat natural, whole foods.

We began to discuss healthy motion. I grew up thinking that only people who were overweight needed to exercise. I was active. Played sports. All was fine until I tore a knee ligament at 13. My sedentary lifestyle issues wouldn't present a problem until I was much older.

I hate the word "exercise". We worked through Scripture and talked about how healthy motion pleases God and is good to our bodies.

During all this, we were trying to relocate my parents. They lived 2 hours away. It was very clear that something was going on with my Dad, but we had no idea how seriously ill he was.

In February, 2021, my parents finally had an offer on a house accepted. Then began the great packing adventure. Except, my Dad was in severe pain. It was obvious that he wasn't able to help my Mom pack. So, I stayed at their house for 5 weeks to help them. During this time, my Dad eventually landed in the ER in severe pain. He was having memory issues. We would learn that he had a fairly large tumor in his kidney. In the weeks ahead, we would also learn it was indeed cancerous and very aggressive.

Now, the "old me" would have drowned in peanut butter and chip ice cream, anything peanut butter and chocolate, anything sugary and sweet to give me that high I needed to function through the emotions coming at me.

"New me" resisted the incredible urge to bury my emotions. Erin supported me at every turn. She encouraged me to continue to drink my water, get enough rest, and focus on my 2 liquid meals and a good dinner with some sensible snacks. I didn't turn to food, I turned to my Bible and prayer.

To my amazement, I kept the weight I had already lost off. SUSTAINABLE weight loss.

Following the official move, my Dad entered hospice care and passed away this past April. Erin continued to love me, pray for me and with me, and support me as best she could.

My work with Erin prepared me for some of the biggest changes and losses of my life. But, I no longer turned to food to cope.

I turned to God, my Bible, and prayer.

In early June, 2021, I got really serious about my weight loss journey. My weight loss and grieving weren't mutually exclusive. About 2 weeks into June, I upped my workouts from 30 minutes per day to about 50. I really dialed into my nutrition, water intake, sleep needs. That picture that I've shared above? While it shows 12 days of hard physical work, it shows much more.

It shows that Biblically based weight loss is sustainable. It also shows why I had failed so many times before.

Beyond food choices, I had many emotions and trauma to work through. Without assistance from a Christian health coach, to help me process the emotions that led to bad choices, that led to years of being overweight, I'd very likely still be overweight. I would have also likely failed a few more attempts at losing weight.

While I'm losing weight and have many pounds to go, I've gained:

- Healthy relationship with food

- Desire for healthy motion

- Knowledge that I will choose to have a treat versus mindlessly suffocating my feelings

- Confidence that I will achieve a healthy weight

I'm working towards a healthy weight for the right reasons now. Instead of doing this for me, I'm honoring the body God gave to me.

Erin has a gift for Christian health coaching and Biblically-based weight loss that is sustainable and God-honoring. She has blessed me at every turn.

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