How I Kicked the Soda Habit For Good

Had you asked me a year ago if I could give up soda forever, I would have told you, “not a chance.”  I’ve tried and I’ve tried.  I sort of saw it as “my thing.”  It was something I really enjoyed.  But, the truth of the matter was that I was addicted, and I would go to great lengths to get a soda whenever I wanted needed one.

I used to keep my own pantry and refrigerator stocked with soda, telling myself I was “saving money” by buying it in bulk.  Years ago, my addiction of choice was Code Red Mountain Dew.  For a time, I went to Diet Sprite and Diet Sierra Mist so I wasn’t “drinking my calories.”  When I went to a more whole foods diet, I ditched the aspartame, but I couldn’t ditch the fizzy burn and the sugar high of the soda, so I went to Dr. Pepper, and later to Pepsi.  In an attempt to lesson the amount I was drinking, I stopped stocking my own home, and started only having it when I went out.  (I seemed to “go out” a lot.)

And I had cohorts in my addiction.  Friends whom I could count on to have soda readily available.  Friends who were more than happy to drive to Happy Hour with me.  Friends who weren’t about to question my addiction because it might call into question their own.  (You know who you are – I still love you!)

Bad day – Grab a Pepsi at the local Shoppette.

Out to eat with the hubby – Soda, please!

Hanging out with friends – Could you put some ice in my soda?

Tired, but need to keep up with homeschooling – Open a can of soda!

Yes, it was the answer to everything it seemed.

I say all this to make a point.  I wasn’t a little addicted.  I wasn’t a casual soda drinker, or even a social soda drinker.  I was a junkie.

But, not any more…

I kicked my soda habit once and for all!  If I can do it, anyone can! |

Honestly, I had given up trying to quit.  I didn’t think I ever would or could.  I stopped caring.

Until something made me care.

Like Laura from Heavenly Homemakers, I needed a light bulb moment.  That moment came when I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.

30 weeks

I was devastated.  8 babies and passed every time.  Number 9 – flunked, flunked, flunked.  I had done so much to get my health under control, and this was how I was rewarded?  I felt like an utter failure.  (I have since learned some interesting things about why I might have failed the test, but that’s another post, and doesn’t negate the good this diagnosis did for me.)

As a consequence for not passing, I had to meet with a GD counselor and get a reading on my blood sugars 4x a day.  Every week, I had to email my blood sugar numbers to my counselor, and there was NO WAY I was going to let any of those numbers be over the acceptable amount.

So, I quit drinking soda.

I knew if I drank a soda with my meal, it could linger in my system and make my numbers higher than I wanted.  And I didn’t want to drink one in the afternoon when it might affect my sugars going into a meal.  And I certainly wasn’t going to drink one at night when it might cause my morning number the next day to be off.

So, I just didn’t drink it.

It sort of sounds crazy when I say it.  I knew all along soda wasn’t good for me, but it took me being accountable to someone who didn’t even know me to make me walk away from it.  I didn’t want to look bad.  I wanted to prove to everyone I DIDN’T have Gestational Diabetes.  I was determined to do my part to keep my blood sugars under control.  Drinking a soda was just NOT that important any more.


When Aspen, born at 8# 10oz, was nearly 2 1/2 pounds SMALLER than her last two siblings, I had to face a hard truth.  My 11 pound babies weren’t because the women in my family have big babies (which they do – but come on, that’s extreme) – it was because I wasn’t nourishing my body.  Sugar had packed on their weight and mine.

I stopped drinking soda in October of 2014.  Several months ago, I thought I would have one for the fun of it (told you I was an addict!), but it burned my throat so badly and was so sickly sweet, I had to ask the waitress for something else.

My beloved soda had become poison.  Proof positive that nourishing your body will change your taste buds.  I no longer thought I couldn’t eat Mexican food or pizza without a soda, I couldn’t make it through a tough day without a soda, I couldn’t take a road trip or spend the day at a friend’s without a soda.  My whole world changed.

I know for some of you, this post is going to seem like a “duh” moment.  But, I know there are others of you who are just as addicted as I was.  You have (sort of) wanted to quit.  You know you “ought to” quit.  But, you haven’t found a motivation strong enough to actually do it.

Perhaps some day you will.  Perhaps my story will be enough to send you over the edge – someone else as addicted as you are who actually managed to walk away.  But, more likely, what will do it will be an “aha” moment all your own.  You see, I didn’t set out to kick my soda habit.  It happened in a round-about way through an entirely different motivation, but…

If I can kick my soda addiction - anyone can {pun intended} |

Visit my Real Whole Foods & Weight Loss/Fitness Pinterest boards – you might find your own inspiration there!
Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Real Whole Food on Pinterest.

Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Weight Loss & Fitness on Pinterest.

A Great Diastasis Recti Splint & Time to Get to Work!

Before I had Baby #9, my OB told me she would be splinting my abdominals right after birth.  I started researching what kind of splint would be best for me to purchase to have on hand for when I came home and got back to work on my abdominal separation.  After a lot of researching, I found one that I am absolutely THRILLED with and wanted to share with all of you!

I finally found a diastasis recti splint that is easy to use, comfortable, fits great, and works wonderfully - all for a reasonable price! | RaisingArrows.netMany of you know about my Diastasis Recti page here on Raising Arrows.  It’s been a long and arduous journey with only nominal results – mostly because of my lack of commitment.  I have a lot of kids, and it has been difficult to find the time to work on those abs in the proper way.  I know…it’s an excuse.  (I am trying very hard to release all my excuses, but some I still find myself holding onto.)

Because my doctor was so proactive about helping me with my separation, I felt encouraged to get back to work with a renewed energy and focus.  But, I needed a splint that would be ready for me when I was ready for it.

(affiliate links included)

After a lot of research and a great sale, I ended up purchasing the 3 Panel Splint from The Tummy Team a couple of weeks before I gave birth.

Front view of 3 Panel Splint from The Tummy Team |

The reason I chose this particular splint is because I am short-waisted (as in EXTREMELY short-waisted), and what I read about it on The Tummy Team site made a lot of sense.  Plus, they said it was COMFORTABLE!  I am all about being comfortable!

I did not take the splint to the hospital when I had baby because I knew my doctor would be splinting me there, but you definitely could take this splint with you if you are unsure what your hospital does in regards to splinting.  Splinting the hospital helped SO MUCH with my pain.  I felt “together.”  The splint I was given in the hospital was a DONJOY and retailed for $140.  It was nearly identical in shape to the 3 Panel Splint I had purchased – but not nearly as strong!

I get asked all the time which DR splints are my favorites.  The 3 Panel Splint has BY FAR become my absolute favorite!

What I like about it:

  • It truly is comfortable.
  • It stays put.
  • It isn’t hot.
  • The velcro is strong, and I feel very supported.
  • It fits my body well.
  • It doesn’t show under my clothing.
  • It is reasonably priced.



My current plan of attack for working on my diastasis is to use the Tupler Technique.  I have this little guide book that I use to keep me on track, and I am part of a small accountability group of friends.  However, if you don’t know where to start, or need a little more help, encouragement, or one-on-one time, The Tummy Team offers classes you can take online with personalized help.  Click HERE to learn more!

Please, do your own research as to which splint is right for YOU, but I can almost guarantee The Tummy Team has it!

And here are a couple of photos of me at 4 months postpartum wearing the splint under my clothing.  I like to wear the splint over a nursing cami (these are a staple in my wardrobe!  You can CLICK HERE To see the wide selection available on Amazon.  The one I am wearing in the upper photos is an Undercover Mama that hooks into your nursing bra.)

My favorite diastasis recti splint from The Tummy Team hardly shows through in my clothing, and it is oh so comfortable! |

My favorite diastasis recti splint from The Tummy Team hardly shows through in my clothing, and it is oh so comfortable! |

I also want to show you something encouraging…

The first photo below is me on Day 1 of starting my DR workout back in 2011.  The second photo is me a few weeks ago.  Both are without a splint.

My DR back in 2011 |

My DR pooch 2015 |

MUCH better
(and MUCH BETTER posture too!)


I’m also hoping to start writing more Fit Mom of Many posts, so be looking for my diastasis updates, as well as my fitness and weight loss updates!  You might even catch me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter walking, exercising, or (*gasp*) running! #fitmama #fitmomofmany

You can check out my Fit Mom of Many page by clicking the graphic below:

Fit Mom of Many - if I can do it, you can too! |

I am so excited at the prospects of what I hope to accomplish this go-round!  I hope you will join me!


The Shape I’m In

I’m 4 weeks postpartum.  I gained more weight this pregnancy than I ever have.  I am down over 30 pounds, but when you’ve gained 60, that feels like a drop in the bucket.  I’m actually below my pre-pregnancy weight from my last baby, but I had high hopes this time I would get a lot of the weight off quickly.

But, if I was being honest with myself and all of you, I would have to say that I always feel this way about this time postpartum.

When Your Postpartum Shape is Discouraging |

I start thinking I need a whole new wardrobe because I have nothing to wear; or better yet, I need to drop 30 pounds overnight so I can wear all my old clothes.  Then I think maybe some new makeup or a brand new hairdo would make me feel better.  I start reading diet books, cut my hair way too short, buy a bunch of clothes I really don’t like (because I don’t want to spend money on clothes that won’t fit me after I’ve slimmed down), and cry myself a river every time I have to leave the house because I’m just not satisfied with anything.

But guess what…

No diet book, new wardrobe, or new hairdo will fix what I’m feeling.

It’s a little bit of head, a little bit of heart, and a whole lot of hormones telling me that the shape I’m in is something to cry over.

Now, I can tell myself a million times over that it took 9 months to get this way, so why in the world would I think a few weeks would be sufficient to get back to the way I looked before, but I’m one of those people who needs more than some overused adage to feel better.  I’m a practical, give-me-something-I-can-hang-onto kind of person.

Here is what I’ve finally learned that is worth hanging on to…

Learn to see weight loss (especially postpartum weight loss) as a journey |

For years, I saw a healthy weight as an end point.  I would journey until I got there and then forget the journey and do something else.  And during those years when I couldn’t seem to reach the end point, I begrudged every step on the path because I never seemed to be getting anywhere.  That was because I wanted the journey to end.  I didn’t want to be on this diet-focused path forever.

I also saw pregnancy as a time to completely turn tail and run head long into my obsession with food.  When you consider I’ve been pregnant 13 times and birthed 9 full-term babies, some of those with barely a year between, you can imagine how discouraged I became after every baby, wondering if I would ever reach my goal, my end point.

It’s taking me some time to wrap my brain around HEALTHY being a way of life, but now that my husband and my son have maintained their weight losses for over a year, I have a better grasp of what healthy looks like in the long term sense of the word.

Reaching a healthy weight is sort of like birthing a baby.  There is a long journey to get to the place where you hold that precious little one in your arms, but the journey doesn’t end there.  You keep taking steps on down the path of motherhood.

I won’t be at my pre-pregnancy weight by my 6 week checkup, but that’s because I started a lot lower than most of my other pregnancies.  I know I have a lot to learn, and I’m going to need a lot of determination and motivation to stay focused and make this journey part of my life and not just something I do for a little while.

The shape I’m in isn’t something to be discouraged by because it’s just part of my journey.  It’s the place I am now.  I am choosing to be a fit mama even when the shape I’m in feels far from it because I am choosing to live healthy!

Get Healthy in 2015 {2 Day Flash Sale!}

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Encore SaleLast week, I mentioned that Ultimate Bundles would be offering their Healthy Living Bundle {affiliate link} during a 2 day flash sale this week.  This bundle is full of high quality ebooks and ecourses worth over $1000, plus $140 in bonuses to get you new year started on a healthy track.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this great deal for only $29.97!

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Encore Sale
Monday, December 29-Tuesday, December 30

 When they first offered this bundle, I wasn’t in the mood to think about anything but getting past the morning sickness.  I didn’t even look at the books offered!  Now that I’ve had time to peruse the books and courses available, I am so glad they are offering an encore sale!  Take a look at the graphics below to see all the ebooks and ecourses included!  (You can click on them to learn more.)  I think you’ll agree these are some awesome titles and will be a fabulous start to your year!

Here’s to a great 2015!

Tools to Get Healthy in 2015 Coming Soon!

{affiliate links included}
Several months back, I chose not to participate in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Sale.  I was coming off morning sickness with Baby #9, and was more in “survival” mode than “get healthy” mode.  But, here at the end of my pregnancy, I am ready to jump into 2015 with the tools I need to become a healthier me.

Thankfully, Ryan, Stephanie, and Erin of Ultimate Bundles are making the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle fully available again for 48 hours starting on December 29 at midnight!

The bundle sold almost 20,000 copies in the previous sale, and Ryan, Stephanie, and Erin worked hard to get permission from all the authors of this amazing collection of books, courses and resources to allow for 2 more days of this bundle to help transform your family’s health!

So, mark December 29 at midnight on your calendar!

As soon as that window opens, you will be given all the information you need to order during this 48 hour sale.  I’m looking forward to grabbing my own bundle this time!

Oh, and while you wait for the sale to start, sign up for the FREE guide:

Four Steps to Your Healthiest Year

P.S. In case you haven’t seen these already, here are the testimonials from the people who bought the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle in September.

My Trim Healthy Mama Refresher

At 2 weeks from delivery our newest blessing, I decided to refresh my memory on all things Trim Healthy Mama.  It was this same gestation 2 years ago, I got my book for the first time.  Here are a few things I learned reading the book for a second time | RaisingArrows.netA little over 2 years ago, at 38 weeks gestation with our 8th child, I sat down and started reading my brand new copy of Trim Healthy Mama. {affiliate link}  I started implementing a few things in those last weeks, but once baby arrived, I jumped in full force and lost 75 pounds over the course of the following year.  (You can read about much of my journey HERE and HERE.)

However, I had my struggles, and often found myself in a love/hate relationship with THM.  I would get stuck in a rut – eating the same foods, fighting cravings, stalling out.  Then, early this year, I found myself in the ER with heart issues.  The issues were minor, and due mostly to stress, but one thing concerned the doctor, and that was my low potassium level.  He asked me if I had lost my weight doing a low carb diet.  Because I completely misunderstood the E meals in Trim Healthy Mama, I believed THM to be a low carb diet.  I had always had trouble wrapping my brain around the carb count in THM, so I avoided it by eating almost entirely S meals.

After my ER visit, I backed off of THM, watched my weight begin to rise, and found myself pregnant a few weeks later.

All that being said, I have never found an eating plan that balanced my blood sugars as quickly as Trim Healthy Mama.  I had never seen weight pour off my body the way it did with Trim Healthy Mama.  Despite my lack of complete understanding of the program, I had found success with it, and wondered if it warranted another look.

And then my friend Lynne started THM.  I would go to her house and she had all these amazing foods to share, sometimes S, sometimes E.  I realized things I thought were “off plan” were fine in E meals/snacks.  The organic blue corn chips from Aldi was one of the snacks we had one day.  I had stayed far away from them, thinking they were not on plan, but they were!

So, while I have not had the wherewithal to really stick to THM during this pregnancy, I did find myself wanting to go back and reread the book, this time trying to wrap my brain around the entire plan, and not just the parts I understood from my days on the South Beach Diet.

Let me say, refreshing my brain on THM was so worth it!  Initially, Trim Healthy Mama can be a bit like drinking from a fire hydrant.  I never fully grasped the concept of E meals, so I just ignored them.  This is where it would have been good for me to seek out the Facebook group and really take the time to learn, but because I was seeing results with just the S meals initially, I didn’t bother.  Serene and Pearl even warn against this on pages 34 and 72!  Again, reason why ONE reading of the book is NOT enough!

So, as I read through the book again this past week, I found myself making lots of notes in the margins, finding more pages to flag (see my Trim Healthy Mama book flagging post – new flags included!), and having a lot of “AHA” moments.  I am finally getting a grasp on E meals.  I also see where my Fuel Pull breakfasts were not the best for me, and I am committed to jumping back in with both feet and a whole lot more knowledge.

I’ve lost the weight once before.  I know I can do it again, and this time, get even further along in the journey!

How about you?  What aspects of Trim Healthy Mama do you have trouble wrapping your brain around?  What are your goals for the upcoming year?