The Gift of Lessons Learned

What would you say is the greatest gift you’ve ever received? Maybe it was an item of some sort you’d been longing for. Maybe it was a relationship you had been praying would work out. Maybe it was a lesson well received and needed.

I’m currently living in the middle of one of my greatest gifts … healthy life lessons learned. Progress towards a goal I never thought would happen. New habits formed when I thought the old ones would never die. Seeing God do things I. KNOW. I. COULD. NOT. DO. ALONE!!

LESSONS WITH FOOD

I love to eat. The only food I’m allergic to is walnuts. So you can keep those nuts of death but pass me everything else. And therein lies one of the deep roots of my weight problems. You have to eat to live. But I have spent so many years living to eat. Cheese, bread, sugary treats, buttery goodness… I did not have a grasp on healthy portion sizes. I didn’t have a desire to avoid things I knew would pack on the pounds faster than a cheetah racing to his next meal. Nothing felt off limits to me.

“”I have the right to do anything”, you say – but not everything is beneficial.”I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive.”

1 Cor 10:23

Over these last two months , God has shown me the enormity of this lesson. I had been living life “high on the hog” , exhibiting my right to have anything I pleased. What He’s shown me is that by doing that, I was putting way too many things in my body that had ZERO BENEFIT to me.

Not only has He killed the great Sugar Beast that was always raging inside of me, He has shown me that I don’t have to have 4 slices of bacon on my sandwich to enjoy it. One slice is good enough. When I break it up and spread it out, I still get a taste of bacon in every bite and isn’t that the goal of bacon anyway? Also, bread isn’t always necessary! This grilled chicken sandwich from a nearby fast food restaurant was delicious wrapped in a leaf of lettuce! Truly! Who knew?? See the bacon? And the yummy sauce? Still very WW friendly and low point when you take off the bun!

He’s also shown me that there’s more than one way to enjoy old favorites…in a more beneficial way. I’ve discovered pancakes that are different but so delicious. Sugar free maple syrup, warmed up, and in a small portion…not dripping off my plate…is good enough! And just look at this cheesecake. If you were to walk in on me eating this, you’d likely think I was having a “cheat day” or that I’d decided to heck with this diet thing. But nope….this one piece of cheesecake is exactly zero WW points , made with non fat Greek yogurt, sugar free pudding and eggs. Crazy huh?

Lessons with Exercise

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

1 TImothy 4:8

Did you know the bible actually talks about exercise being good? Valuable even! I’ve gone through phases in my life when exercise was important to me. Fun even. But for the past 14 or so years, exercise was nowhere on my radar. Working out became boring for me. Then it became difficult as I put on more weight. I’d get winded way too easily. I’d break a sweat. And neither of these things was even remotely desirable for me. But that’s what happens when you become content with “Fifty, Fluffy and Fabulous”.

But as God has been transforming the way I look at food, He’s also done a work in me on the importance of MOVING MY BODY!! Our bodies were made for motion and quite frankly, walking to the chair on the back porch or to the car in the garage is not enough!! So as I began this journey, I had to tell God “Exercise is H A R D and I don’t want to do it . But I know it’s important so PLEASE HELP!! I’m sending out an S O S !!!”

And just like that, He heard my plea and answered! In this second month of my journey back to healthy, I’ve embraced the fact that I need to bump up my workout routine. I’m not a “go to the gym” kind of girl right now. So Jesus and I have been meeting 5 days a week in my living room and He’s been getting an ear full from me as I’ve started jogging and carrying weights and high intensifying myself into an hour long sweat fest! Oh He’s had His work cut out for Him with me, that’s for sure. Slowly but surely, though, I’m starting to enjoy each day’s time with whatever “walk leader” is on tap for the day and , of course, any time I can “cry out loud to my Ultimate Walk Leader ” is time well spent. “Oh Lord do we really need to do this? Can’t you just zap me into physical fitness? Please keep my legs from buckling and the sweat from blinding me. And oh yeah, please don’t let me die!!” And what do you know…I’m still alive and kicking and ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Lessons with Attitudes

When my thought process was… “I’m over 50. I don’t burn calories like I used to. My metabolism is shot. Menopause has my hormones whacked out. I’ll never lose weight again.” …I was right. Nothing happened anytime I attempted to lose weight. When my attitude shifted and I began to let hope sneak in to those dark places of “I can’t” and my thought process became ” I absolutely CAN AND WILL do this! To heck with my age” , I was also right.

Working on getting healthier is a good thing. Moving easier is a good thing. Not being controlled by my appetite for junk food is a good thing. Losing weight is a good thing. This I know to be absolutely true… “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” (James 1:7)

So my attitude when I have a slow week and only lose a pound or less is one of extreme gratitude! THANK YOU LORD!! Every ounce I lose at this stage of my life is a G I F T!! It should be harder than it is. But it’s not. And I know it’s because my attitude is in the right place. My faith is on point. And my Helper never leaves my side. I had a goal to lose 20 lbs in 2 months. I did it. Or I should say “we” did it. Because I know I didn’t do this by own strength.

As I close this post, I’d like to offer a prayer for anyone reading this who may be struggling to lose weight or to just have a better mindset about food and exercise.

Lord, we can do all things with You by our side. You are our strength when we feel weak. You are the Yes You Can to our No I Can’t. You are our biggest cheerleader , always on our side. Give us eyes to see the things that are beneficial for our health and help us to walk away from those things that aren’t. Thank You for the gift of Your presence as we walk this road of healthy living. In Jesus Name…Amen


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The Lies We Believe and the Truth That Will Set Us Free

I was new in town. Newly single in my late 20’s. Didn’t know anyone but a handful of work people and my ex husband. So what better way to meet new lifelong friends but to join a gym. I’d find friends and because I was gonna be so “buff” from my amazing workouts, I’d surely also snag a new guy. I am woman hear me roar!! Full of my own power to make it all happen in this gym…a quite foreign and new place to my 20-something-self. A gym where those who were playing racquet ball and working on leg presses were fighting the “leg warmer and leotard” phase and wondering if the” Richard Simmons short shorts” phase was the next best thing. Oh I guarantee you I was a sight to behold…BOTH times I went to this gym during my 3 year contract. Two visits full of arguing with the treadmill, tripping over my feet in the step aerobic class and trying my darnedest not to get a concussion from a ricocheting racquet ball. Working out at this gym at this time in my life was a horrendous train wreck. I wasn’t quite as roaring and powerful after a few weak visits. I was there for the total wrong reasons…Mr. Right was NOT there and I really had no desire to ever break a sweat! It took quite a bit of finagling to get myself out of that way too long contract. But I did. The “work out” of my “fabricating a believable story” skills were far greater than any motivation I ever had to actually work out during this time.

I totally believed the lie that “roaring” in to find my new boyfriend would be enough motivation to go to the gym . It wasn’t. And I was humiliated more often than inspired.

I was about to turn 50. Enough of those 80 pounds I had lost in my early 40’s had crept back on that I needed to pay attention to it. And remembering how easy it was to lose this weight the first time , I became full of “all hail me, I am invisible” power. Oh who am I fooling?? Those pounds crept on when I unplugged from the “Power Source” that lit me on fire the last time. What happened when I tried to maintain my weight loss in my own mighty power was this…the weight didn’t “creep back on” like an unknown thief in the night. It came barrelling back on when dessert became my best friend again…when the drive through window at the nearest fast food place sang my name and I gladly answered back …when my biggest workout was carrying a toddler to nap time! I turned myself in to the nearest Weight Watchers jailhouse. I dragged myself in, shackles still firmly in place, kicking and screaming the whole time. I went and tortured myself at the scale for nearly a month, having lost about 2 lbs the entire time. When the receptionist saw my complete dismay and disgust with myself, she simply said…

It’s just harder to lose weight the older you get…..blah blah…blah diddy blah….wah wah”

What she really should’ve said is…

“Where the heck is your motivation? Where’s your power to make this happen? You don’t have any! You’re believing too many lies about yourself. Come back when you’re properly motivated and ready to believe the truth that you can do this!”

We all need someone in our lives who loves us enough to speak real truth to us! This receptionist at the Weight Watchers place was not that person for me. That was the last time I attempted to get healthy and lose weight. In fact, it was probably that day when I created my new life mantra….”I’m Fifty, Fat and Fabulous” And I was totally OK with that. I told myself a bazillion times over the next 5 years that I was totally comfortable in my fluffiness. It’s a bit sad when you can’t even find it within you to be truthful with yourself.

Because the real truth was I cringed a little inside every time I saw a picture of myself from the neck down. I died inside a bit more every time I bent over to pick up toys off the floor and all those poor food choices I’d been making were in my way of really bending over. With every out of breath step I took, I felt helpless to do a thing about it. I just lacked the motivation to do anything about all these bad feelings, so I bought into my own lie that I was good with how I looked and felt.

Those lies were slowly killing me. Oh I know that sounds dramatic. But five years after declaring my new triple F mantra, I was 5 pounds over my highest ever weight. I found myself completely addicted to sugar, afraid to break a sweat and get my heart rate up. My hips hurt most of the time. So did my back. And I pretty much avoided any activity or social outing that would require me to stand too long or have to walk too far. My lifestyle was far from healthy.

The truth I needed to hear and live by during both of these times in my life was one I knew like the back of my hand but, for whatever reason, I had shoved it to my back burner. I can do some things on my own, but I can do any and everything with Christ. Philippians 4:13 is a familiar verse to many people, “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” This is a steadfast TRUTH in my life because I’ve seen it play out at least a hundred and twenty bazillion times!!

If you are trying to lose weight right now or you’re trying to overcome any other hurdle in your life and you feel you’ve hit a wall, can I be the person who speaks truth into your life today? On your own , you can only get so far before you hit a stalemate. The sooner you let the Lord in on your thing, the sooner you’re gonna press on, overcome and achieve. Stop believing lies…they’re a load of rubbish!! Believe this…

Next week, I hit the two month mark in my journey back to healthy. I’ll share my progress then. But I’ll say this…as a 55 year old menopausal woman who once believed the lie that I’d be fluffy forever and I’d never be able to lose weight again, this is an exciting time for me. Any time I surrender and just see what God can do, it’s thrilling! So until next time…


The Muffin’s In the Bag

The Muffin’s In the Bag

Why did I just eat that?

How many times in my life have I said these words to myself? How many times have I caught myself with a child’s leftovers in my mouth? Because you know, nothing screams “Eat Me I’m Yummy!!” more than pasta or a muffin or a cookie that’s been poked, prodded and used as jewelry by a toddler.

How I’ve survived all these years as a “food addict” with a house full of messy toddlers is beyond me! Because the germs alone should’ve had me curled up in bed, clutching my achy stomach on the daily! I don’t know how many times I got to the end of the day and realized all I had for lunch was a few bites of the one year old’s spaghetti and a couple Goldfish off his tray. Thank You Jesus for the germ protection when my own inner toddler seemed to be screaming, “If you have it , it must be good enough for me! Gimmee! Gimmee! Gimmee! ” (insert gigantic eye roll here…or maybe a good old toddler foot stomping tantrum because if the shoe fits and all that! )

Bad food habits obviously include way more than just eating three desserts after a pizza feast! Or sitting down with a full bag of a chips while you watch a movie and the chips are gone before the movie is over !

I love how 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 reads in The Message. And by “love”, I mean that it steps all over my toes! If you need your bad eating habits stomped on , continue reading. If being convicted over your poor eating habits isn’t in your plan today, skip over the next paragraph!!

“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, ‘First you eat to live and then you live to eat’? Well it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food…”

As I move further down the path of improving my health and losing weight, I’ve found that confession is just good for the soul. Putting a voice to all my secret bad habits causes them to lose their authority over me. So yes, I’d eat toddler leftovers right off their tray. I’d eat a dozen cookies without blinking. I’d fill my pantry with complete junk food and somehow convince myself it was somehow healthy. I’d put sugar plus sugary, extra creamy creamer in my coffee . I’d stand in the kitchen with an open container of ice cream and a spoon and blindly eat it while standing over the sink and watching TV. And all the exercise I ever got while destroying myself with all this garbage was basically walking from the living room to the kitchen. Gosh,I should count it a blessing I only gained 80 lbs and not twice that!

Over this last 4 weeks of living in the loving conviction that God threw in my lap, I’ve discovered and overcome many things…

1. My morning coffee was a major culprit in my weight gain game. A month removed from drippy sweet coffee has made me see that all that sugar and cream in my coffee just wasn’t necessary! A protein shake added in a decent portion size does wonderful things for my coffee. I can get my coffee my preferred shade of light beige and enjoy the fact that it doesn’t taste like dessert! And now the thought of the coffee of my past makes my teeth hurt. Yikes!!

2. I can bypass brownies, cobbler, cookies and cakes without even feeling a twinge of desire for them. There is nothing God can’t do!!

3. I LOVE cottage cheese and fruit! Like I crave it now! Also, fat free Greek yogurt. Same story! I eat this now and instead of regular ice cream. And I’m OK with that!

4. A carton of blueberries is more delicious than a bag of chips. I can sit down with my blueberries in front of the TV and if I eat them all before the movie is over? So what? No biggie!

5. Exercise can be fun! My preferred work out right now is good old Leslie Sansone Walk at Home videos. THERE ARE SO MANY!! While I used to make excuses that I couldn’t exercise with a house full of kids or at the end of the day or because something was achy, I can say now that I’ve thrown those excuses out the window. It delights my heart to watch the one year olds work so hard to get all the moves right as they exercise alongside me! And all those aches can just take a hike!

6. No more toddler leftovers! This week I actually bagged up their leftover muffins instead of mindlessly stuffing them in my mouth!! And God as my witness, when they still hadn’t eaten them by the end of the day, I threw those rascally scraps of deliciousness in the garbage!!

Coffee with 1/2 cup or so of Premier Protein with my morning bible study

So toodleloo LIES I’VE BEEN TELLING MYSELF AND BELIEVING! I am leaning into TRUTHS now!! I AM able to do this because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) When I feel weakened by old cravings or by my desire to just sit on the couch, I know “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me.” (Psalm 28:7a) . When I feel unworthy, I know that I can praise Him “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” ( Psalm 139:14)

If you are believing any lies about your own abilities to overcome weakness and you need help finding the truths to grasp on to, grab your bible and start pouring God’s truths about you into your heart and soul! If you need help, let me know!

Until next time…let’s keep eating to live and not vice versa!!

ps…in 4 short weeks, this 55 year old, with the weight loss obstacle of menopause firmly in my path, has lost 10 lbs! And for that, can I get a big old Hallelujah!!


The “Hmmm” of God

The “Hmmm” of God

I’ve heard from God about my weight problems exactly twice in my life now. The first time was in January of 2003. 7 months before my 40th birthday. I knew I didn’t want to be “fat and forty”. I hate the word “fat”, coincidentally, but I was distressed about approaching my 40th birthday and being overweight so I wasn’t thinking in nice terms! And I was frustrated because I hadn’t exactly had a great amount of luck losing weight in my past. I could look in the mirror and the size tag on my clothes and knew I had quite a bit to lose. This wouldn’t be pretty. Or fun. But I was lost as to where to begin.

So one day as I was driving home…probably with a giant cheeseburger and fries in my lap…I began crying out to God. I knew I was hopeless trying to tackle this giant in front of me without Him. And I knew that whatever approach I took to losing the weight would literally have to come from God’s lips to my ears. So I opened my ears to hear Him, hoping He’d have something to say. Like “Becky, you are so amazing . When you wake up in the morning, you will be 80 lbs lighter. You won’t have to lift a barbell or ride a bike or walk 10 miles a day. You won’t have to eat broccoli or salads every day . You’ll just wake up fit and thin. And you’ll stay that way forever! You’re welcome!”

But you know what? He didn’t say that. He’s not a genie in a bottle handing out three wishes to every one who calls His name. He’s also not Santa with a bag of goodies to pass out.

I didn’t hear anything.

But in that moment , I looked up from my drippy , greasy cheeseburger and on the side of the road was a billboard. It was bright and flashy. Like literally flashing! And in neon green letters were two words….Weight Watchers. My first thought was “Wow, Weight Watchers has gotten so fancy with their billboard advertising!” My second thought was “Maybe I’ll try Weight Watchers. There’s a meeting in town on Thursday night.”

So I joined Weight Watchers on a cold January Thursday along with hundreds of other New Years Resolutioners. I was determined to make it work but I wasn’t terribly hopeful. Until my first weigh in. I had quite a large loss in that first week ….and in the second. And suddenly I was a Weight Watchers “super star” knowing with full confidence that I would lose every pound I needed to. And I did. My before and after pics were up at the local gym. I’d be stopped in the grocery store by people who recognized me from those pics and they’d offer their words of awe and encouragement. This happened back in the day when AOL was still a great thing. Their Lifestyle and Health people contacted me for permission to share my pics and a few words about my journey in their little corner of AOL. I paid all this forward and worked for Weight Watchers as a leader, helping other people to achieve their goals.

Why was this time different from all the other hundreds of times I attempted to lose weight and be healthier? HmmmBECAUSE GOD. I became certain my bright green neon flashing sign was from God when I was driving down the same road a few weeks after that January day and it wasn’t there. Oh it hadn’t been replaced with another company’s advertising. The billboard itself wasn’t there. It didn’t appear that it was ever there based on what I did see there.

Yes, I know it sounds weird. We often wish for God to speak to us in obvious , crystal ball, flashing billboard ways. But that doesn’t happen often. Why He chose to lead my path and speak to me in that way is beyond me. I know this though…

“I, too, give witness to the greatness of God, our Lord, high above all the other gods. He does just as He pleases – however, wherever, whenever.”

Psalm 135:5-6 (The Message)

God can do whatever He wants, however He wants, wherever He wants. He can be big and flashy. Like when He gave me the literal flashing sign. Or He can be quiet and whispery. He can come in like a marching band or He can gently tap you on the shoulder to get your attention.

I mentioned at the beginning of this that God had spoken to me twice about this one subject. The second time wasn’t so big and flashy. In fact, it was just a still , small whisper.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself praying about our upcoming 25th Anniversary Vacation Extravaganza. I’ve already been praying for nice west coast weather and calm, smooth seas. I’ve already been praying for the provision to make this trip financially easy for us. But when I realized how out of shape I was…how overweight I truly was AGAIN…and how much walking would be required to get the most out of this trip, I added a few things to my prayers.

It went something like this…”Lord, you know how hard it is for me to comfortably walk or stand up for extended periods of time. You know how out of breath I get with too much activity. You know how wimpy I’ve become with a weak back and bad hips. So Dad, could you please make sure our cabin is near the exit of the ship so I don’t have to walk too far to get off the boat to begin our adventures each day. …..” I had much more to add to this oh so eloquent prayer but in that moment, I felt it. God’s answer was nearly immediate.

That Still, Small Voice was whispering to me. I felt it in my spirit and I knew exactly what the “Hmmmmm…” I felt meant. I could just imagine God standing there, arms crossed, giving me the side eye. Then looking the other way and getting a good laugh out of my oh so humorous request. That “Hmmmmm” said so much to me. And as the voice of God so often does, it changed me. Right then and there I felt the inner conviction I’ve been begging to feel for years. All the failed attempts to keep the weight off since it started creeping back on in 2006. All the weak efforts to be at a healthy weight again as I approached my 50th in 2013. Nothing worked for me because I did not feel that inner conviction that only God can give me. But with that holy “Hmmmm” , that conviction came rushing back to me.

I knew exactly what I needed to do. God had helped me do it before. I knew it was time to return to where God had lead me in the past. It was time to let go of the old frustrations in overcoming my weight battle and remember that God is always in control!! That I do so much better when I GIVE GOD ALL CONTROL!


“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

My “suffering” has been gaining every bit of that 80 lbs back. My “suffering” has been joint issues because of the weight…bad back, bad hips. My “suffering” has been feeling like an 80 year old every time I get up out of a chair or have to walk more than several feet at once. I’m only two weeks into my God lead journey back to better health and I’m already feeling a difference. I have a long way to go. But I know that HE will restore me. He will make me strong and firm. And I will be steadfast on this road far beyond reaching my goal.

I try to only share head shots of myself. My weight isn’t as obvious from the neck up! But to stay transparent and honest here, I share this photo that is now my “before” shot. I like my dress. But I cringe a little when I look at this and can see how far off goal I am. I trust, though, that God is leading me . I trust that He will hold me tight to this road. My good health WILL be restored. I can’t wait to share my progress over the next many months!

ps…this is in no way an endorsement for WW. It’s just what works for me and is part of my weight loss journey testimony!