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Hard work.

Over the last decade, I have done a lot of hard work.

Some of it was in a small dorm room where I came up with the idea of Starlite, a ministry that would go on to be a huge part of my life.

Some of it is was in college classrooms, where I earned degrees while working part-time jobs to pay my way through school.

Some of it was in counseling centers, where I tried to understand events that happened in my past.

Some of it was in my bathroom, when I would almost fall asleep while giving the Fabulous Five their nightly baths.

Some of it was in courtrooms, where I fought to represent foster children who lived in my home.

Some of it was in forms — over 200 pages of forms, to be exact — where I petitioned the US government to allow the man I loved to move to America to marry me.

I can do hard work.  I know I can.

But there’s one piece of hard work that I’ve been avoiding for the better part of a decade that I don’t want to ignore any longer.

This is me a little over 10 years ago, right before I left for college.


This is me today, some 11 years later.


I gained weight.  A lot of weight.  Enough weight to put me in a category that is dangerous to my health.

I gained the first part of it very quickly, which signaled something was wrong.  I went to a doctor, found out what it was and started trying to address it.

I didn’t see results.  I got embarrassed.  I got frustrated.  I got lazy.  And I gained more weight.

Today, I still have that same health issue and am treating it with the help of a wonderful fertility specialist who is both honest and kind.  We have talked about the fact that I need to be healthier and that a very visible sign of becoming healthy will be losing weight.

Regardless of whether I ever have a biological child, I know I want to be a mother.  And in a way, I will be one soon — we expect to have a foster child sleeping under our roof before the month is up.  Even if I never get to see an ultrasound in a doctor’s office, I am going to, in a way, get to be a mother.

But I want to be a great mom and wife.  I want to be able to play on the playground without panting.  I want to be able to get up before the sun rises and have a healthy, filling breakfast on the table for my family.  I want to play in the ocean with my children.  I want to take care of my grandparents and parents as they get older in life and need my assistance.  I want to live to see Paul’s hair turn gray.

And if I don’t make changes now, I’m afraid I will never get to do those things.

I have put it off because it is going to be hard.  I am addicted to food, specifically food that is not healthy.  I am also lazy when it comes to exercise, partly because exercise is difficult at my weight and partly because I’ve just never been into exercise even when I was at a healthy weight.  It is also related to emotions that go with past situations and present situations in my life.

I also lack self-control in this area of my life.  For the last few years, I have basically eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  This would be great if I was eating apples and grilled chicken but I err more on the McDonald’s side of life.

I’m ready to change.  And, even if I’m not ready to change, I have to be ready to change.  I turn 30 years old in six months and I do not want to enter the next decade of my life at this weight nor with any area of my life that is out of control (and this area is out of control).

I know what to do to lose the weight.  I have a plan, one that isn’t filled with pills and fad diets and starvation.

Now it is just time to do hard work.


Comment from CrysHouse
Time: March 4, 2014, 4:20 pm

Great post, Amy Beth. I can relate to the same cycle you described–and it took a while before I found myself in a group of people who were consistently addicted to physical activity and encouraged me to be a part. I learned a lot of things about myself. I learned that I could run, not particularly fast or for a long period, but I could do it. I learned I could walk for longer. I learned I liked it way more than I liked chicken McNuggets. I remembered I enjoyed trying new recipes and that many of them could be adjusted for fat and calorie content without altering much of the taste.

I didn’t lose a lot of weight. About a 1/2 lb for every 2 lbs the other people in my group were losing, but I felt better and after 8 years of infertility, I found out I was pregnant.

I have no idea how it happened, but I DO know that during that exercise routine the scripture I kept repeating was that it was time to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). When I hit a rut and felt frustrated, when I found myself wanting to return to my old habits and quit because it clearly wasn’t working for me the way it worked for other people, God reminded me: this was a mind issue as much as it was a body issue.

I hope that encourages you. Frankly, I’ll be back on the wagon once Baby #2 comes in June. And it will be the same difficult cycle, but, like you said, I can do difficult things. I’m ready.

(PS. Hang that picture up, girl. You are SMOKIN’.)

Comment from Amy
Time: March 4, 2014, 5:02 pm

I completely believe in you! Whether it’s 10 lbs or 100 lbs, losing weight is a tough battle; but I know that you are a girl with grit and determination. You have wonderful friends, family, and a great husband to support you. PLUS – you are a child of the Holy God and you can do ALL things through Christ!!

Go for it, Girl!! You can do it!!


Comment from Krissie
Time: March 4, 2014, 5:46 pm

I’m sure that was a hard post to write, and I’m sure it will be a hard journey. But I just wanted to say I will be praying for you as you try to tackle this, and I’m confident that you can do it! Wanted you to know I’m pulling for you, and praying as you wage war on the spiritual/emotional/physical battle.

Comment from Kelley
Time: March 4, 2014, 6:35 pm

Getting in shape is one of the hardest things ever, but I think once you have set your mind on a goal, you’ll accomplish it!

Here’s a blog that I follow one a lady facing the same battle as you – hopefully, she’ll inspire you:

Comment from Laura
Time: March 4, 2014, 7:32 pm

You can do it, Amy Beth! I really hope Paul is doing everything with you. I never had much luck sticking with a change in lifestyle unless my husband was in it with me. Now that I’m saying this, it’s making me realize that my eating unhealthy foods and not finding the time to exercise these days isn’t just affecting me, it’s affecting my husband, too. Thanks for the reminder that making those good decisions isn’t just for us – it’s for the people we love.

Comment from Victoria
Time: March 4, 2014, 9:12 pm

Amy Beth Cakes (I call all the fabulous ladies in my life Cakes and I definitely consider you fabulous!) you are so incredible and beautiful and brave! I have totally missed your posts the past bit but it has made me so happy to think of how you and Paul are making a life together. I’ll be praying for you, God is with you all the way sweet lady!

Comment from Bethany
Time: March 4, 2014, 9:32 pm

You are courageous and brave, and with the strength of God, you can DO THIS! You go, girl!!

Comment from Kate Zerbe
Time: March 5, 2014, 12:17 am

You can soooooo do this!! Oh, we come from different backgrounds and places, but our stories are similar. For me, it was after I adopted my five little ones that I finally made changes. I’m soooo close to 100 pounds lost. It’s taken over a year…but it’s been through hard work. Eating healthy, clean meals and exercising every day. Go get it, girl!!!!

Here’s a little of my story if you get a chance….

Comment from Jawan
Time: March 5, 2014, 1:33 am

I wish we lived closer together so we could get our butts out of bed in the mornings and walk before work. I sooooo need this, too.

Comment from Sarah
Time: March 5, 2014, 1:40 am

Amy Beth you aren’t ‘in a way’ a mother. You are a mother. You were the moment you took on the Fab Five.
You know you are a mom the moment it happens, no matter how it happens. You just know. You just are. No one and nothing can diminish it or take it away or make light of it.
Not biology, not weight, not what most think how things ‘should be’.
You have been such an inspiration to me and mostly why I was able to be brave enough to become a single foster parent myself.
You’re ability to love is amazing. You are a light to so many.
Thank you!

Comment from Airlie
Time: March 5, 2014, 7:02 am

You can do it! I just started Weight Watchers last week, and it is hard. But I don’t want to turn 30 with my weight out of control, so I’ll do this hard thing. Good luck!!

Comment from Trina
Time: March 5, 2014, 9:25 am

You can and will do it. I’m ready to cheer you on at the sidelines.

Comment from nanette lynch
Time: March 5, 2014, 9:38 am

You have such courage and I just KNOW you will succeed in whatever you set your mind to do!!!

Comment from Shaunta
Time: March 5, 2014, 10:19 am

I don’t think I have ever commented, but I have read your blog for quite a while now. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this! I am at pretty much the same place now. I want to be healthy and I am embarrassed that I got to this point. I’m ready to face it head on, regardless of how hard it may be! I will be cheering for you!

Comment from Timmarie
Time: March 5, 2014, 11:35 am

Thank you for this honest, brave post. It is hard work, but you are up for the challenge!

Comment from bessie.viola
Time: March 5, 2014, 3:59 pm

Awesome, brave post. I know you can do this. I actually read this yesterday and it was pulling at my heart so much that I worked out last night for the first time in forever. I gained a lot of weight over the past six years or so… I had a baby, then reasoned that I wanted another so getting back into shape wasn’t worth it. (TERRIBLE IDEA.) Then I had another, breastfed him for a year, and now here I am, still with about 60 lbs to lose. The idea of it is daunting. But it needs to be done, hard work and all. Last night I worked out again, and when I wanted to quit I just kept thinking: “I can do hard things. I can do HARD things.”

Thank you for sharing. You’re not alone… I think that’s what I’m trying to say with all my rambling. You’re so not alone, and you can totally do this hard thing.

Comment from Heather
Time: March 5, 2014, 4:59 pm

Amy Beth, I know you can do this! You are such a giver and inspiration to so many. God has already blessed you so much and I know he has something great for you! I can’t wait to hear what it is!!

Comment from Andrea
Time: March 5, 2014, 11:21 pm

You so inspire me! I struggle with PCOS, and can’t seem to work up the umph to truly push through to lose the weight. I’m so thankful you’ve chosen to speak out. You have no idea how much I needed this post today. You’ve certainly just given me the push I need!! Thank you, Amy Beth! Cheering you on, girl!!

Comment from Rutheee
Time: March 6, 2014, 3:52 am

All good reasons but also cause you love yourself. Talking to myself here too.

Much love

Comment from Kilah
Time: March 6, 2014, 7:43 pm

You are going to ROCK your weight loss journey! It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. YOU are worth it! My prayers will be with you every step of the way!

Comment from Trish
Time: March 6, 2014, 8:11 pm

I just started this journey yesterday. I’m using a book called The Hunger Fix. My motto: Conquer or Die. I either have to conquer my eating or I will continue to slowly kill myself both physically and emotionally. You. Are. Not. Alone. WE CAN do this!

Comment from Jen
Time: March 7, 2014, 11:41 am

Amy Beth, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now (and really missed when you weren’t blogging!), but don’t think I ever commented before. I feel compelled to offer you encouragment this morning!

First, regarding being a mother… I was adopted, and let me tell you: my mom is my mom is my mom is my mom. Period. I wouldn’t trade her for all the birth mothers on the planet. She’s made me who I am, not with her body but through her love and guidance. Thank you for offering that to someone else. You are a mother.

Second, thank you for this brave post. I have struggled with my weight since adulthood too. I have lost almost 100 pounds. Twice. Yes, I’ve lost that much weight and gained it back and lost again. I’ve crept back up this year, not to my highest weight but more than I want to be, and am about to buckle down and get it under control. The first week or two will be the hardest while your body goes through addiction withdrawal. Fight through that time! Because it WILL get easier once the addiction is broken. Once you overcome that hurdle, the “junk” that once seemed so good will not be as appealing to you. I promise! And seeing results, which you WILL, can provide extra motivation.

Best of luck, you can do this!

Comment from whitney
Time: March 9, 2014, 7:01 pm

I’ll be praying for and cheering you on from Louisiana! :)

Comment from Rachel
Time: March 11, 2014, 8:22 pm

Amy Beth, YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Not alone, but by the grace and strength of God and with your dear husband.
It seems impossible but it is not.
One reminder: Take it one step at a time; one choice at a time. If you start thinking about it too hard it can become even tougher!
And as a side note – in my experience with cooking, spices are the best flavourings!! Skipping the [sugar-and-salt-laden] sauces has made me feel so much better. Just one thing that I’ve learned :)
All the best!!

Comment from Sarah Lee
Time: March 17, 2014, 5:29 pm

Oh, friend. I didn’t read the above comments, I apologize if any of what I say was said above.

When you put this on FB I told you I was proud of you. I am. Making this decision, this decision to get healthy – is hard.

You’re going to have awesome days where you wanna keep working out, and you feel awesome with your grilled chicken and your ice water. Then you’re going to have that day where your warm, cozy covers sound so much better than getting outta bed to go walking or working out. And that McDonald’s drive-thru is going to be so tempting because – YUM. But on those hard days, push through. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

Being proud of yourself and your hard decisions feels amazing. It’s much more fun to feel proud of yourself than beating yourself up.

BUT. On the days you choose to sleep instead of workout, or fast food or health food, MOVE ON. GET OVER IT. Don’t give up. One poor decision doesn’t have to lead to another. One poor decision doesn’t mean that you’ll never get it right. Any of those thoughts are straight from the flippin’ the devil and that dude can go to hell. ;)

You’ve got this. I know it.

If ever there was a determined person, it is you.

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