A Work in Progress

Today is a big day. A sweet anniversary. A year ago today God grabbed me and said “I have a better plan!” You see, I had asked him sorta “tongue and cheek” to just make me magically thin and fit after my sister declared on Facebook she was ready to lose weight and get healthy. I knew I needed to do the same thing….but the past 15 years had only proved to me how excruciatingly hard this was! So why not ask God for this little favor! I thought it would be an amazing thing for Him to do. I’d just wake up the next day and be 10 lbs lighter. And as I barely changed my eating habits and continued my crusade to never exercise a day in my life, I’d continue to lose weight like butter slipping off a hot steak. It would be spectacular! After this past year of talking to people on social media who are trying to lose weight, God could stay quite busy helping people achieve their own pre-laid quick weight loss plans! People get so agitated and discouraged if they don’t lose 5 lbs or more a week.

But I digress. Back to God’s better plan! I did truly pray for God to make losing some weight easier for me. I did hope I could lose at super fast lightning speed. Because who doesn’t? I knew,though, I needed a mindset change and that’s what I honestly prayed hardest for. Because I knew that if I woke up every day thinking it was OK to be the “fluffy grandma” , that cookies were life and that sitting on the sidelines watching life pass me by was cool, I’d never ever ever lose weight again. I had to have better thoughts passing through my head.

So I went to bed on February 28,2019 with this prayer on my heart. And when I opened my eyes on March 1st, something was different! No, I wasn’t amazed at my new size 10 body staring at me from my bathroom mirror. The size 20 girl was still there with all her bed head glory. But what lay beneath all that crazy hair was not the same! I can’t explain it beyond God’s miraculous touch, but I knew I knew I knew that all my “I can’t possibly do this” thoughts had left the building and would no longer be an issue.

Could I really “do all things through Christ who strengthens me”? I was about to find out….

So I grabbed my phone and purchased the WW app. I scoured through YouTube for all the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home videos I could find. I threw out all the sugary , yummy junk that was lingering in my pantry. I went to Kroger and filled my buggy with lean meats and fruits and veggies and all the healthy things I once snubbed my nose at. I joined my sister’s Facebook group with others who were trying to commit to new and healthier lifestyles…because accountability is a good thing. Then I set about the business of listening to what God’s better plan was and doing it.

My first big surprise was how easy it all felt . It wasn’t hard to hit play on the walking video and actually spend 30 minutes marching and kicking around my living room. It wasn’t hard to kick the cookies to the curb and eat blueberries instead. It wasn’t hard to tell people “no thank you” when they offered me a piece of cake because they knew I always wanted cake! None of it was hard. And that was weird and so amazing.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”…Lamentations 3:22-23

Part of His better plan for me was to teach me this. His mercies truly never end. It’s been an every morning thing. I go to bed each night unaware of what the next day will bring. But God knows. So He wraps up the strength I’ll need to make healthy food choices all day. He boxes up the stamina I’ll need make it through the harder workouts. He ties up all the positive words I need to say to myself. Then when I wake up in the morning, He hands them all to me…a new gift each and every morning.

So by this point, you must be wondering if doing all these things with my new “Jesus super powers” made everything so super easy that I reached all my goals at the exact time I wanted to reach them and never struggled.

And the answer to that is a big fat nope!!! God promised His forever presence with us. But He never promised us His presence would make life super easy with every single thing going just like we want. Over the course of this last year , some things have happened exactly like I wanted them to….like losing 30 lbs in the 3 months before our fancy Alaskan cruise. The picture above of my husband and I was taken on that vacation. We were standing in our “adventure cart” on a mountain trail in Ketchikan, Alaska. SO! MUCH! BEAUTY! Let me just stop here and say if you ever have the chance to go to Alaska, don’t think twice about it. Just go! Best as I could figure, losing 30 lbs would be a reasonable 3 month goal and it would be just enough to make me more comfortable with all the vacation things we’d be doing. And I was right. By June 15th , I had lost 33.5 lbs. Because God sometimes like to show us how He is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or think, simply because He loves us.

After those first three months of abundance , I had new lessons to learn. And the biggest thing God had for me was wrapped up in the s l o w n e s s of the weight loss I would have for the remainder of the first year. I lost 33.5 in the first three months. Over the next NINE months ( and to this very day), I would lose only 32 more pounds. The tail end of my first year of weight watching was full of plateaus, roller coasters… gaining and losing the same 3 or 4 pounds over and over. I’m telling you, a weaker person would’ve just said “Hallelujah for those first 30 pounds but this is for the birds” and thrown in the towel.

Now I’m human. And even though I had given God control of this venture into “healthierness”…yes,that’s a word and I just made it up and it’s good…I still felt big needs to help Him speed things up when the wheels started screeching on my weight loss. So I changed my WW plan . I changed my exercise program.

And ya know what?

I kept losing weight! Yay me!!

You wanna also know what?

My efforts didn’t speed up a thing! Yep. In spite of all my incredible efforts to get to my goals and reach the end of this race quicker , I was still barely losing 1/2 a pound a week. What the heck was going on?? I had accepted the fact that I was gonna lose slowly because of my age and I was OK with that. But this just seemed excruciating. I needed to have another serious chat with my Leader about this.

It went something like this…..

Me: “Hey God! I know You’re for me and with me and all that but I’m just wondering if You , for some reason, have put my request to lose all this weight on Your back burner. I still have a good 15-20 to go and I’m not even losing a pound a week. This is gonna take forevah!!” (insert semi-frustrated grunt here)

God: “Take heart, Sweet Girl, and wait for me. Be strong. I am making you strong now. Don’t you feel that?”

Me: “Yes! I’m so much stronger. I DO feel that. Have You seen that I’m lifting heavier weights now? And I’m doing real burpees! I still can by pass the cookies and cake but even if I have just a bite, that sugar monster You helped me slay stays asleep!! Seriously!! But I really thought I’d be at my goal weight and coasting through maintenance by this point. I need help to not just grow tired of this!”

God: ” What you are doing is a good thing. You’ve made so many positive changes . Continue to use my strength to help you not grow weary in doing these good things. And at the proper time, you will reap the harvest of your efforts because you did not give up. Remember that My timing is perfect even when it’s not the same as what you’d like.”

Me: ” Oh I know!! I won’t forget that. But I’m still an impatient human, just like You created me. I also know to You a day is like a thousand years and that makes me a tad bit nervous! Please please please tell me I’ll reach my goals quicker than that!!”

God: “Stay faithful to the good things I’ve taught you this year. Let your perseverance finish its work . You don’t want to reach your goal prematurely. Let all you’ve learned and accomplished come to completion so that you won’t be lacking anything. When you feel frustrated , like you don’t know what you’re doing anymore, come to Me. I love to help. I won’t look down on you or think you’re weak. I’ll just help you. Ask boldly and then believe without a second thought that I will help you.”

Me: “So if I do these things I don’t see how I can help but reach my goals. In Your time and in Your way. I will wait patiently. I will stay steady and strong. One good decision after another. One at a time. “

And that my Friends, I guess is the secret to my success over this past year and into the years to come. By my own power , I’m a mess. With God leading the way, I at least stand a pretty darn good chance of getting what I truly need. Healthy weight loss….not super fast, at the speed of light loss. A mind set that is changed for the good and for the better because anything that is slowly simmered is superior to something quickly boiled into a mushy mess.

I’m still a work in progress and will continue to be.

Until next time, keep JOYFULLY CLAMORING!

The Tape Measure

The Tape Measure

I stood in the kitchen. Shirt pulled slightly up and tucked under my chin. Waistband pulled slightly down. I opened the junk drawer and found it. The tape measure. The tape measure and I had not spoken for years. The scale and I had the same relationship. We were estranged. Honestly, I’m not sure what made me pull it out that day. I mean, I hadn’t exercised in eons. So it wasn’t like I was needing to see how many inches I had lost because of the amazing number of crunches I’d been doing. Maybe I just felt like torturing myself that day. Who knows? But for whatever reason, I took a deep breath, sucked it all in and wrapped that 60 inches of tape around my midsection to find my number.

I think I died a little inside that day.

Depending on where your mouse lands when you google “what’s a healthy waist measurement”, this number should be anywhere between 31.5 and 35 inches if you’re a woman. Around 40 inches if you’re a man. I’m tall and I’ve always carried more weight in my belly. In other words, I’ve never been a “Twiggy” but in my younger, healthier days, my waistline was at least in the high range of being a-ok. So I figured in spite of all the weight I’d gained over the years , I was probably at least in the healthy man range.

I wasn’t. Not even close.

Deeming the tape measure defective, I threw it in the nearest trash can as quickly as I could. There was no reason to keep such negativity in my life after all !! Ugh!! But the number on the white tape had already left it’s mark on me. I cried out in despair and defeat, “HOW CAN THAT BE?”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I added it to my Click List order. (side note…..if you live near a Kroger and they offer Click List, DO IT!! You’ll never walk into another grocery store again if you can help it!) It’s completely possible if I had to find the tape measure on the shelf myself ,I may have just skipped over it. Because really? Where the heck are tape measures in a grocery store?? But I figured the nice Kroger employee doing my shopping for me would know where it lived and not die with frustration searching the store for it. I got my groceries home and started emptying out the bags. I was way more excited to see that blasted tape measure than I was my bag of whole wheat pasta! I finally found it. My new tape measure was pink.

I stood there in my kitchen and held this girly pink thing. As excited as I was by my $2.25 purchase, I was equally intimidated by it. The first time I wrapped this indicator of my girth around my parts was several months into my weight loss journey. I was in the first week of a new workout program and it felt like a good time for a reality check. But I admit it was still scary. I had thoughts of the last time I had measured my mid section running through my mind and I simply wasn’t sure I wanted to know this number again. By this point in time, I’d lost over 50 lbs. I knew in the rational part of my brain that my measurements would be smaller. My number on the scale was less and my clothes had a new lower number. But the irrational part of me was still screaming “IT’S ALL A FLUKE!!!”

I put on my brave face and wrapped my new pink tape measure around my waist. I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord this is just a number. It’s not an indicator of my worth or my ability. No matter the number this tape measure lands on, I will praise You.”

I opened my eyes. Placed my finger on the spot that would be my number for the day and I looked. It was still larger than “Dr. Google” deemed healthy but by golly. It was less than it was that day a few years ago. A FOOT LESS! A foot!!!

I continued with my daily workouts. I continued putting the right food in my mouth. I continued praising God for all He’s done for me the past 9 months. And 50 days later, I measured again.

And once again, I exclaimed, “How can that be?”

But this time it was an exclamation filled with joy not despair or defeat. It was an exclamation filled with gratitude not shame. It was an exclamation that caused me to pause and thank the One who changed me.

“For this I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Your Name.”…2 Samuel 22:50

Until next time,keep joyfully clamoring!

The “I’ll never go on another diet for as long as I live” post

The “I’ll never go on another diet for as long as I live” post

If you just love being on a diet, raise your hand…

As I sit here waiting for nobody to raise their hands, let me finish my fat free cottage cheese and mandarin oranges! I have serious love for this stuff! I’d almost take it instead of ice cream…almost! Seriously! I’m fighting the urge to go grab another bowl of curdly cheesy orange love. Cottage cheese was once the food of my dieting nightmares. Now I crave it like it was ice cream! Oh my word!! Who am I??

Truth is, if someone caught me eating cottage cheese they’d probably ask me if I was on a diet. Oh how I hate that word! Honestly, when someone talks about “going on a diet”, I just wanna cringe! I. HATE. DIETS !!! I’ve been on dozens of them throughout my life. And in spite of the fact that many of these diets helped me lose weight, not one of them was successful. Every single time I’ve gone on a diet, I’ve ended up overweight again. Every single time was just progressively worse than the time before.

I think I’ve found a “sweet spot” though that will keep me from ever having to “diet” again. I’ve pinpointed five things I’m doing that I’m certain will keep me from boomeranging back to where I was in this before picture. And because I like to share , I’ve written these things down for any of my “dieting” friends who may need a boost.

Picture on the left was a year ago. The snazzy dressing room selfie was a few weeks ago . I hate dressing room selfies by the way. But I couldn’t help myself because I was a bit stunned at the “smaller than I’ve been in 16 years” size jeans I was comfortable wearing. I waited until I was back in my car before I allowed the tears of joy to begin dripping from my eyes.

(Side note…I’m not a weight loss expert even though I did work as a Weight Watchers leader many years ago. I’m not even a nutrition specialist. I’m just someone who’s walked this road a time or two and learned a few things along the way. )

1. Find your proper motivation…

Honestly, if your motivation is to lose some weight and get to a certain number, that’s not enough! I’ve been there done that. When all I wanted was to be several pounds under 200, this motivation alone failed me in the end. Because once I got to that elusive number, I celebrated the “end of the road”. And you know what happened? I got lazy again. I got a bit cocky thinking I no longer needed to do all the things I had been doing that got me to this point. I had arrived and now I could relax. That worked for me for a while. But Picture One up there is the proof of my failure in making a number my motivation.

That “getting to xxx-pounds” can be a good start, but a better lifelong motivator needs to go deeper than that. EVERY DAY I want to feel amazing. EVERY DAY I want to be able to get up and move and groove and enjoy life with my family and friends and not ache because of sugar induced inflammation. I want to be able get up off the floor without needing help. I want to be able to cross my legs and bend over to tie my shoes. I want good numbers at EVERY yearly physical as a result of my good health choices. These goals motivate me more to a lifetime of good choices than simply reaching that number well under 200!

2.Give yourself a fair chance to create new habits…

How many times have you started a “diet” and given up within a couple weeks? I’ve done this too many times to count. When I think about why I gave up so many times it usually boils down to a huge lack of patience with myself. Those first few days of exercising were hard and I didn’t like getting sweaty or being out of breath and really? Who has time for such things? Then it was hard to drink enough water or to cook more and eat out less or to simply keep track of what I put in my mouth all day long. Those times I gave up too soon were also the times I didn’t give myself enough time to break my old bad habits and create new healthy ones.

The “researchers” ….whoever they are…say it takes 21 days to bust out of a bad habit and create a new one. But I say be patient even beyond 21 days. That new habit may be created but in my own experience it’s gonna take a bit longer to make sure it sticks..to get to the point where drinking water and exercising and picking up an apple instead of a brownie is just second nature. Once all the good habits become second nature, your chances of ever having to be on a diet again diminish greatly!

3.Believe you can do this…

From the day I had a “weight loss expert” tell me losing weight was just harder for women in their 50’s, I stopped believing I was even able. I filled my head with all the lies of “I can’t”. And I was totally right. As long as I believed I was unable to lose weight, I was doomed to a life of being overweight. I could start with a decent attitude but the second I allowed doubt to slip in , it was all over. Such a vicious , ugly cycle that lead to a “diet mentality”. Yuck!!

If you want to stop that vicious cycle, you MUST get the words “I can’t” out of your vocab!! You CAN eat vegetables. You CAN skip dessert. You CAN exercise every day. You CAN do every single thing it takes to get healthy. You CAN do all the hard things AND live to tell about them! Believe all these “I can” statements. Write them on sticky notes and put them where you can see them . Fill your sweet head with the truth that you can do this . BELIEVE IT! It’s true after all! This simple change in believing in yourself will be a big part of stopping the diet yo yo.

4.Be willing to do things differently…

Are you a creature of habit like I am? I can certainly get set in my ways. And I was pretty darn set on ice cream every night after dinner… and don’t you dare offer me the no sugar added variety! Yuck! Three cups of coffee every morning with enough Extra Extra creamer to make my black coffee the color of my favorite white sandy beach. Resting every day during the kids nap time…do not make me get up off the couch for anything please! I had some pretty solid, not very healthy habits. For so long,the thought of changing any of my routines made me cringe. But the day came when I knew I had to.

And seven months into this new journey of healthy disciplines, I’ve come to realize I still need to be open to doing things differently every so often. Why? Because my weight loss stalls from time to time. This happens mostly when I get in a rut of eating the same foods, doing the same workouts and basically fall into a bit of boredom with all the things. When I start to feel even a smidge of the ho-hum, I’m far more likely to fall into that “diet mentality”. I’m far more likely to skip the workout, eat bigger portions, run for the full sugar ice cream! Left unchecked,this leads to finding a seat on a roller coaster you will get very few thrills from!!

5.Don’t put time limits on your goals…

“I must lose 50 lbs by Christmas”

“Losing ten pounds a month is necessary for me to be successful.”

I can’t count on both hands the number of times I’ve put limits on myself. Some were realistic. Most were not. A few of my self made limits were met. And when they weren’t? Well, cue the wah-wah music. Utter defeat. Failure. Feelings of worthlessness and weakness set in. And most of the time, those unmet timed goals lead to gigantic steps in the wrong direction.

Being healthy, eating right and losing weight isn’t a sprint with a big old fancy finish line at the end. Treat it as such and B A M!! You’ve arrived. You’ve achieved your goal. You’re done. And now you don’t have to worry about that stinking old “diet” anymore. Surely we all know what happens next.

As long as you have a heart that’s beating and breath in your lungs, that journey to your healthiest self isn’t over. There are no time limits to your healthy goals. Eating right and exercising isn’t a punishment we must endure as penance for being overweight. It’s a reward for a life well lived.

Set goals for yourself. Goals are good. But time restraints on a plan to lose weight could backfire. Make it a LIFETIME goal to do all the right things, to eat well and move more. If that’s your lifetime goal, the weight will come off and stay off.

And you’ll never have to go on another “diet”again. Ever.

I’ll end with a prayer for you from my favorite encouraging book…the Bible.

“Dear Friends, I pray that you may enjoy GOOD HEALTH and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. Lord help these friends show discipline in their bodies and keep them under control. Whatever they eat or drink, whatever they do, may they do it all for the glory of God.”

From 3 John 1:2, 1 Corinthians 9:27 , 10:31

Until next time, keep joyfully clamoring…

Food Pushers I Love You, But Please Stop It…

Several weeks ago , I stopped and had lunch at the wonderful “Christian chicken” restaurant my son works for. It’s always fun to sorta sneak in there amongst the crowd of famished travelers, shoppers and parents entertaining their preschoolers and just watch my youngest do his thing. I had a hard time being sneaky that day though. He saw me as soon as I graced the side door entrance with my presence.

Now for my fellow WW friends, the Lord’s chicken palace is a great place to get a super low point meal. The grilled chicken nuggets have ZERO POINTS! That means GIVE ME ALL THE GRILLED CHICKEN PIECES…..PLEASE! They really are yummy! Plop them on top of your side salad and tada! You’ve got yourself a nice and healthy fast food meal for 3 measly points. Now isn’t it odd that the salad has more points than the chicken? Darn you cheese !!!

Speaking of c h e e s e, you may have heard about this new Mac and Cheese that God Himself created and gave to CFA. My son came home with a bowl of this deliciousness one afternoon after he got off work. Because he’s smart, he added a spicy chicken filet and some bacon pieces into it. I sat across my very own kitchen table from him and was in some sort of trance as I beheld his holy creation. I couldn’t move. Mainly because I was afraid Six Months Ago Me would take over and demand every bite of my kid’s food. I sat there and prayed (of course I did!), came to my senses and calmly asked if I could have one small bite of his Mac and Cheese Delight. He glared at me for a second, probably going over in his mind if he wanted to be a good son and fully support my weight loss goals OR be a good son and hand over a single bite of his food before I bit off one of his arms. There was a thin line there! I got the bite. I don’t know if this was a win or not because that one bite was so dadgum amazing it left me wanting to steal food from a baby. Hmmmm…..I behaved. But hey? Is it stealing food from a baby when said “baby” is a 6 ft 4 grown man?

Anyway, back to my original story before I got distracted by the Mac and Cheese of Jesus. On this particular day I was feeling mighty and strong in my resolve to eat well and make good choices. I got my grilled chicken nuggets and my well-done fries (I needed Points SOMEWHERE in this lunch) and topped it off with a refreshing diet lemonade. My sweet son came over and gave me the excellent news that his boss wanted to give me a gift….a peach milkshake!

Oh! My! Word!

A P E A C H M I L K S H A K E!! I’m certain this is what I’ll ask for on my death bed and I’m pretty sure that my mansion in heaven will have a milkshake machine that only makes peach shakes…oh and banana pudding!

I smiled at my precious son , my heart full of such love for this man-child of mine who had the power to bring me the gift of sweet , creamy, Georgia-peachy joy! Then he looked at me , shrugged his shoulders and said, “I told her you were on a diet and probably wouldn’t want it, though. She’s pretty insistent. What do you think?”

Oh the dilemma!!!! So I pulled out my WW app and like every great weight watching person diligently seeking their best and most well self, I looked up the Point value of a large peach shake. Because I COULD just have it and count the points and go about my day. But my jaw dropped flat to the ground because it became pretty evident that the “powers that be” did not clue in to the fact that all dreamy ice creamy treats at the Christian chicken place should NOT count as a a full day of Points plus some! Oh my gracious sakes alive!

Suddenly I was singing “let the devil know not today!” in my head and looking in my purse for the holy water to sprinkle all over this temptation! But my precious son was right….I did, in fact, no longer want the delectable treat I had so kindly been offered.

I sent him back to work, feeling strong and good about my decision to skip the shake. As I sat there proudly munching on my ZERO POINT chicken nuggets, she came to my table. TheFood Pusher. The really sweet and with great intentions Food Pusher. He was right, though…she was pretty insistent on gifting me that day. She offered me a small instead of a large…thank you but still no. Then I told her about my weight struggles and how far I’d come to overcome those obstacles. Our banter went back and forth for many minutes and it became clear to me our thoughts on getting healthy in our 50’s were a bit different. I also began feeling I needed to accept something from her so I asked for a lesser of the ice cream evils … a frosted DIET lemonade. That satisfied her need to gift me and I felt like I was still in control of my choices. For the record, I could have THREE small frosted diet lemonades for the same points value as that large peach milkshake! Jesus take the wheel!!!

Truth is, I should’ve passed on the ice cream treat altogether. I walked into lunch that day strong and with great resolve. I knew what I wanted to eat. I had my plan. But I let someone else’s plan for me break through and rule for a minute.

Friends, we will all have to face Food Pushers as we work towards our health and weight goals. It’s just inevitable unless you live under a rock or in a far off space station orbiting a distant planet all alone. People generally like to share food. It’s a means of entertaining. Of saying “Hey I like you…join me”. Sometimes we’re gonna feel weak and give in. We’ll believe the lie that we “deserve” this treat. We’ll believe the lie that one bite won’t set us back! Believe me….ONE BITE can absolutely wake up a sleeping sugar monster inside you and remind him he’s famished!!! We’ll believe for a minute depriving ourselves of the treat in question is bad and giving in to it is our due reward.

You know what you truly deserve, though? Not the brownie or the milkshake or the 61 point Texas sized nachos!!! Yes, they DO exist! You certainly don’t deserve the massive amount of guilt you’ll feel afterwards either! You deserve believing YOU ARE WORTH MORE!! More than the”here now , gone in a flash” satisfaction of a few guilt-ridden bites . You deserve to feel amazing about your decision to eat healthier and to take control of what you put inside your body…no matter what anybody says!! Stand firm in YOUR convictions. Don’t let them be swayed by someone who doesn’t believe in you like you do!!

Let me take a minute and speak to anyone reading this who may be an unknowing Food Pusher. Please stop it!!! It’s nothing personal when someone politely tells you no thank you when you offer them something to eat. I promise!! Speaking from experience, I normally always want whatever someone is offering me . If I could eat all those delicious brownies you made and take them home with me and eat them in the bathtub full of bubbles I would. But what I really need is simply your support of my decision to eat healthy and be healthier no matter what your own opinion is !!

Now I just wanna speak to the person in the mirror. Can we just stop a minute and admit that we are way too often our own worst enemy? We can self sabotage like it’s our job some days. What then? What if the food temptations around you are so strong you just know you’re gonna crumble?

Walk away! Go outside. Take a walk. Just go into another room!

Bring to mind or pull up an old “before” picture or a picture of yourself at your goal weight!

Eat something better! I always have fruit around to grab in hunger emergencies. If the temptations are in your own kitchen, throw them out! It’s OK! If you just can’t throw out food because of all the starving children in the world and all that, I get that! Give it to a neighbor or box up all the tempting delicacies and donate them to a local food bank.

Pray! I’m serious!! Lord give me strength is a great little “flair prayer” even if you have to repeat it a dozen times before you feel an ounce of strength.

Repeat encouraging phrases. Write them on note cards and keep them at your fingertips. Words like I am strong! I can do this! I am worth more! Being healthy will feel better than this will taste! Whatever works for you!!

One of my favorite things to remember when I feel weak is simply a verse from scripture. It’s this…

I remember I can eat that brownie. Or that bowl of cheese dip. Or that ice cream. It will always be available for me. I’m allowed to have it. It’s not taboo! However, it’s not necessarily beneficial for me. It’ll make me feel bad. I’ll probably feel a twinge of guilt. Really, nothing good will come from it! So I decide to not let any food be the boss of me…and trust me I know some pretty loud and bossy food!! I think about all the years food mastered me. When I lived to eat and eat some more! When food was a great source of entertainment for me! And it makes me mad…and sad…and determined to be the master of what I eat and drink and not the other way around!

So Food Pushers, I love you! But I’m gonna choose to love myself more!

Until next time, keep joyfully clamoring!

A Very Weighty Story

A Very Weighty Story

I remember the day and the humiliation like it was yesterday. Standing in line with my 6th grade classmates in a warm , muggy gym in Arkansas USA. It was a day I dreaded every year once the powers-that-be declared it was important to know the height and weight and general fitness level of all little kids in elementary school. I dreaded it for many reasons. My fitness level was down around zero. I never liked exercising or playing any sort of sport. I guess that came from a lack of coordination, which I’m certain came from my very fast growth spurts. This particular school year it was all extra bad though. The summer I turned 11 was a painful one for me…literally! I had grown to the height of a giant, leaving all my friends looking like I could be their teenage babysitter. I can still feel those growing pains!!

So after going through a drill of excruciating tests that once again proved my total lack of fitness, I was made to stand on a scale, a line of class mates behind me waiting their turns. The girl who went before me was a perfect 4 ft something or other and weighed in at about 70 lbs. She was the norm in my class of kids who still looked like kids. The anxiety I felt as I waited for the teacher to say my height and weight out loud was ridiculous. I wish I could’ve stopped her. I wish I could’ve knocked her to the ground before she said my facts out loud. But I couldn’t. So my whole class heard the truth that I was 5ft 10 and weighed an enormous 125 lbs. Heavens to Betsy!!!! I was a freak!!

All I could think about was the 70 lb girl who went before me. She was normal. I was fat! Nobody else in my class weighed even close to 125 lbs. Of course, nobody else was even close to 5ft 10 either. But that didn’t relate in my barely 11 year old mind. It didn’t click that my weight was actually pretty darn low for my height. All that seared into my young mind was how much more I weighed than everyone else.

Having breakfast before school with my sisters during my “I’m a fat giant” days. It was clearly all in my head.

As I think about this moment of sincere humiliation, I just want to go back in time and give little me a huge hug and tell her it’s all going to be OK. I’d just want to reassure her that she’s perfectly proportioned and beautiful and that , yes, the boys WILL bypass her gigantic height one day soon. I’d want to let her know that weight is just a number and not an indication of her worth as a person. I’d want to let her know how amazing it would one day be to be so tall…how it would be so nice to be able to help people reach things on high shelves. How it would be easier to see over other people’s heads in crowds and that would be especially important at the Shaun Cassidy concert!! How one day she would applaud her height because she could weigh more than her shorter friends and look amazing while doing so!

I thought about all these things last night as I divulged my current weight to my husband. I had been fighting a stomach bug for about 24 hours and was trying hard to down some egg drop soup and rice. We talked a minute about the blessing of a stomach bug…quick weight loss. I had managed to lose 2 lbs in 24 hours! I wasn’t sad about that! But as my husband cheered for my still over 200 lb weight, it just struck me as funny. I’ve now lost just shy of 45 lbs and I look and feel so much better than I did 5 short months ago. But I’m still over 200 lbs. I’m still just a smidge heavier than my biggest cheerleader. And the truth is, I AM SO GOOD WITH THIS!!!! SO. GOOD!

So if I’m good with how I look and feel right now, why not stop the insanity of trying to keep losing? Hmm….couple things. I know how much more amazing I feel at my goal weight. I’ve been there within the last 15 years and it’s even better than the good of where I’m at now. And then there was that ONE doctor in my life. ONE doctor who had the good sense to actually comment on my weight as she saw me heading over 200 lbs while pregnant with my first child. She looked me in the eye and said , “Becky, you may be tall. But you do not need to weigh over 200 lbs. It’s not healthy.” Harsh? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely. But I look back on that now and I appreciate that truth being spoken to me. Because for a good portion of my adult years, I’ve hovered at 200 lbs or been well over. And that doctor from long ago was just right. I don’t feel my best when I’m over that number or even hovering right below it.

I still have about 30 lbs to my ultimate goal but I no longer look in the mirror and make grimacing faces at myself. That little girl who once thought her world ended because her whole class knew she weighed 125 lbs can rejoice in 218 and mean it….and even admit that on a public blog with only a mild amount of embarrassment! According to “all the charts”, I’m still obese. Shoot, when I reach MY goal weight, that all mighty BMI chart will still tell me I’m overweight. But to heck with those charts. I think I’ll throw them away!! How did they come up with those numbers anyway? I’m in my mid 50’s!! I DO NOT need to weigh 4 pounds more than I did as a scrawny 11 year old to be at a healthy weight!!!

I left out one thing I’d say to my 6th grade self. And it’s probably the most important thing I wish I had known then. Which may be why I left it for last.

Dear 6th Grade Me…

STOP!

COMPARING!

And I’ll offer this same advice to you if you’re struggling with your weight right now and find yourself comparing yourself with anyone else. Even if that “anyone” is a younger you who lost weight easier and faster!! There are going to be people who lose weight faster than you. That’s OK. There are also people who will lose slower than you. Also OK. There will be people who can lose weight and eat dessert every night or pizza every Friday while you feel like you have to eat salad every day to even lose a pound. There will be people who can lose and never do a lick of exercise! While others work out every day and love it!

It’s ALL good . What YOU are doing is good as long as you believe in yourself and don’t give up. Just keep doing YOUR thing and you will amaze YOURSELF !!

Until next time…

Keep Joyfully Clamoring!!

Six Tips to Keep You From Becoming Another Cruising Weight Gain Statistic

Six Tips to Keep You From Becoming Another Cruising Weight Gain Statistic

Because the Mighty Google knows the answer to most things I need to know, I posed this question to her recently.

What is the average amount of weight people gain on a cruise?

I needed to know this because, well, if you’ve been following my blog for the past four months, you know I’m on a mission to get my 50-something self back into shape and to a healthy weight. And you probably know that within that four month time span I also went on a cruise. So this was a serious concern for me! I certainly didn’t want my dream vacay to mess up my dreamier weight loss goals.

The answer Google Girl gave me to my all important question was flabbergasting! According to cruise reviewers, whomever they may be, the average weight gain on a 7 day cruise is 5 – 10 lbs!!! Ummmm…NO THANK YOU!!! I didn’t like that answer one bit and had zero desire to become another cruising weight gain statistic! The cruise we were planning was 7 days so I knew I needed a way to break the “spirit of cruise weight gain” and mess up that average some! I had worked pretty hard to lose 30 lbs in the 3 months prior to our cruise and I didn’t want my dream vacation to send me on a backwards spiral to that place I once was.

But what was I to do? From what I had heard from my cruise lovin’ friends, the food on these ships seemed to take on their own very appealing lives. The vittles were the very thing so many of them looked forward to. In fact, if the grub wasn’t up to snuff, the cruise wasn’t either. Someone even told me it was plain old dumb to be on a “diet” while on a cruise!! Trust me! I agree with that last sentiment! “Diets” ARE dumb!!

So I did what I’ve become accustomed to doing when facing any sort of dilemma. I had a chat with my Bestie about this. And He simply told me, “Trust me. It’ll be OK”

And you know what? It was. The day we returned home from our 10 day trip I sheepishly stepped on the scale and held my breath. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best but I was nervous. Because I HAD eaten way more than normal over the previous week. But when I opened my eyes, I got a sweet surprise. I was only up half a pound which was basically nothing. Because three days later when I stepped on that scale again, I was four pounds less than the day vacation started. HallelujahthankyouJesus!

So how in the world did I do this, you might ask? How did I make the gain of cruisers past my loss? Especially with every food temptation known to man set before me! Because it’s still vacation season and because someone reading this may be worried about packing on unwanted pounds while traveling, I thought I’d share a thing or two that helped me bust right through the “myth” that all people on cruises come home heavier!

Actual burger with actual bananas and peanut butter eaten on our actual vacation. It was a temptation…but not to me. My man enjoyed it and lived to tell about it! Those tots though. Scrumptious!!

Thing #1…I never deprived myself

Yep, that’s right. Don’t you deprive yourself either. The second you tell yourself you can’t have something, what happens? Yep, you think you just might shrivel up and die if you don’t have it. The desire to eat that pizza or that piece of cake or whatever is screaming your name becomes so all consuming that it’s all you hear. And the longer you wait to bite into the delectable yumminess, the greater the craving gets and before you know it , you’re a shriveled up mess crying in some corner for your mommy or you’ve taken an entire pizza to your room where you can eat it and not be seen. So as soon as this very odd peanut butter banana hamburger and tater tots were set before I us, I didn’t think twice. I hope the burger doesn’t make him sick but I’m totally eating half those tots! And I did . Which leads to….

Thing #2…I didn’t over indulge

Yep, the tater tots were fried little chunks of potato perfection that I likely shouldn’t have had. But my self control with food is better than it’s been in years. So I knew I’d be able to have a few without eating them all. Side note…I wouldn’t have been able to do this with chocolate cake. There are still things I don’t even let myself take one bite of because I may not know when to stop! Which brings me to the next thing…

Thing #3 … I ate desert every night

Wait, what? Didn’t I just say I couldn’t stop eating chocolate cake if it was set before me? While the likeliness of that being true was high, I knew I didn’t want to deprive myself. So every night, no matter where we were eating, I asked for their sugar free desert option. There was always at least one. So every night on our cruise, I ate whatever this offering for the day was. I ate Black Forest Cake, Lemon Sponge Cake, Tiramisu and the best mint chocolate chip ice cream ever. It was actually that ice cream that made us ask the chef one night if the sugar free stuff was truly sugar free. That’s when we learned that their “sugar free” deserts were actually just “no sugar added”, which is a bit different. Still….better than a full sugar anything. These nightly less sugar treats curbed any craving that might come out of nowhere for it’s more sugary cousins.

This was the exception to my “sugar free” desert options. This was brought to our table on our first Gala night . Everyone at our table was celebrating an anniversary so we all got this along with a rousing performance of a “Happy Anniversary” song from our servers.

Thing #4…We ordered room service often

Who doesn’t love the luxury of someone bringing them a big fluffy omelet, some delectable fruit and a hot, steamy pot of coffee before you even get out of bed! The benefits of this go way beyond not exposing your lovely bed head and morning breath to the world. The biggest benefit I found in doing this was no exposure to all the breakfast lovelies set out on the buffet each morning. It’s easier to not have cinnamon buns and pancakes and a plate piled high with bacon if you never even walk by them! Ordering our breakfast the night before while our senses were still sharp certainly helped me stay in the healthy zone of eating that I truly wanted to be in. On the few mornings we actually went to the buffet to eat, I just made a bee line to the Amazing Omelet Making Man. I’d just wave at the pancakes and the waffles and the sweet gooey morning treats as I zoomed by them.

Omelets to the rescue! There were 23,400 eggs consumed by passengers on the Oosterdam the week we sailed. I made sure to eat my fair share!! On Weight Watchers Freestyle, eggs are F R E E!! And speaking of no point foods….

Thing #5 … I gave myself permission to make good food choices

I’m on a cruise. Vacationing in places far from home. Food choices and restaurants filled with delectable full fat, full sugar, high carb amazingness all around me. I could’ve had my fill. But I reminded myself of how gross I would feel if I filled my body with these foods. I remembered how fabulous I’ve felt since I started making good food choices and have been eating more lean meats and fruits and veggies. I wanted to feel nothing but good on this vacation! So I gave myself permission to skip the junk and fill up with the good stuff. Every day I could eat chicken or fish instead of hamburgers or bacon. Every day I could have vegetables cooked in a variety of ways or fruit presented like it was a gift. Oh wait, it was a gift…free fresh fruit was delivered to our room daily! I’d get my fill of these healthier foods that cost me ZERO points then I’d have more of my daily points leftover for the treats. But getting full on the good stuff really caused me to not want the junk as much. (Oooo, I sorta love the Spiritual truths of that statement as well!!)

Thing #6 … We went on excursions with pretty trails

While we did our fair share of lounging by the pool or in the spa or on our beautiful balcony, according to that little Health app on my iPhone, we managed to walk well over 10,000 invigorating steps every day. That didn’t count the steps I took on the treadmill in the gym or while doing laps on the Promenade deck. (Three times around was a mile!) It didn’t count the many hundreds of steps we made just getting to all the places on the ship we needed to go. And for the record, I now just get a good old chuckle at myself for ever praying for God to place our room on this cruise “near all the things” so I wouldn’t have to walk so much. Bwahahahaha!! Oh sometimes we’re just so naive, huh? My favorite walks, though, were those walks in our port cities that took us down luscious forest trails, by water falls and streams. Even the strolls down the city streets were marvelous. All the walking we did on vacation really made me wish our non-vacation lifestyle could be a bit more active.

I’m certainly no expert on this subject but I’ve discovered some things that have worked for me. On March 1st, thoughts of this June cruise to Alaska caused me to get serious about getting healthier. I set a goal before myself and I reached it in the days before we set off on this journey. I couldn’t do this on my own. I had tried many times in the past to lose weight and just overcome a stinky mindset by my own power. Every time I started the solo trek to a healthier lifestyle , I’d get sidetracked before I really even got started. But in March, I set off with the One Perfect Weight Loss Partner…the One who is always with me, who always encourages me and always gives me strength. Four months into this great adventure, my relationship with food is different. It’s changed. It’s better. Food isn’t the boss of me anymore! I’m half way to my ultimate weight goal. Vacation , summer time, holidays, date nights, family gatherings…none of these things have set me back. If you’re struggling with your weight right now, I’d love to leave you with these encouraging words…

You can do this! You’re able ! You’re worth it!

I’ll say it again!

You can do this! You are able! You are worth it!

Until next time…

PS….since I’m half way to my goal and I’ve been sharing this journey here on my blog since the day it started, here is a current “Before/After Pic”. A little more than my hair color has changed. Today’s Me feels so much better than the Before Me.

The Good Fight for the Skinny Jeans

The Good Fight for the Skinny Jeans

I had finally done it! That long awaited, can-I-really-do-it goal was mine! And with it came a post card from a popular blue jeans company. The nice lady at the Weight Watchers meeting handed it to me when she announced that I had made Lifetime…HALLELUJAH!! I still remember that day so well. Taking that shiny postcard and checking the box that said YES SEND ME MY FREE SKINNY JEANS!!! Asking these folks to send a size pants I hadn’t worn since I was a senior in high school felt surreal! Would they really believe I was the size I said I was?! Mailing the card …snail mail was still a valuable tool back in 2004! Receiving that package a few weeks later with those glorious jeans wrapped neatly inside! Putting them on for the first time and that feeling of giddiness and pride that those teeny tiny jeans fit! I was certain those jeans would be my favorites forever because they symbolized the fact that I can really do whatever I set my mind to.

I also remember the feeling when I looked at those teeny tiny award jeans hanging in my closet just a few years ago. They hadn’t fit in years. I looked at them in disgust wondering if my big toe would even still fit in them. Like most women , I had hung on to my “skinny” clothes well after they no longer fit . But on that day, I realized the fight in me was hibernating so soundly I really had no reason to hang on to the skinny things in my closet. All they were doing was taunting me…

Hahaha! Look at you! You’ll never fit in us again!

I hope you enjoyed your time wearing us because look at you now.

Why are we still in here? We don’t fit you and we neeeevvvveeeerrrrr wwiiiilllll!! Bwahahahaha!

I couldn’t get those nasty, mean pants out of my closet fast enough! The sound of their mocking voices sent me into a fit of silent tears and woe. The messages they were sending me as they hung there next to my pants 6 sizes larger were too negative for me. But they were right. I was too big for them and I always would be so why keep them .

I found a box and filled it with everything in my closet that didn’t fit and never would again. My resolve to load my closet with nothing but larger sizes was strong. I threw that box of rude small clothes in the donation pile in my garage and commenced to filling my closet with as many upsized clothes as I could. And with that one move, I closed and pad locked the door on any motivation I could muster up to be fit again. But I didn’t really care. Nope, not one bit!

Until, of course, I did.

I’m three months into my journey back to healthy. And the fight in me is stronger than it’s ever been. I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when I felt so determined to do something. I mean, one night last week I actually stopped watching TV at 9pm and instead of heading to bed, I welcomed good old Leslie Sansone onto my screen so I could walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. (If you’ve ever done a Walk at Home video I’m sure you just read that in her voice, huh?)

I can hear the old me screaming “Why would you do such a thing? That’s so weird!!!”

But something has clicked in me that has finally caused me to realize my health and my fitness at almost 56 years old is a fight worth fighting! At this age, I feel the natural state of my body is plain, flat out rebellion. It wants to sit still because moving makes all the achy things ache. It wants to gain weight whenever I look at food because why not? Does my metabolism even still exist?? It wants to fall apart because it’s getting old and worn. It’s worse than a rebellious teenager sneaking out at night to do those teenage things parents tell them not to!

So yes!! It takes some work , a healthy dose of motivation and an amazingly good attitude. Sorta like parenting those rebellious teens! But my GOOD health is worth FIGHTing for. Being able to move with ease is worth fighting for! Not feeling 110 is worth fighting for! Having more energy is worth fighting for!

I spent the day at a spa with my oldest daughter this past weekend . We did some amazing, relaxing things…facials, massages, hot tubs, saunas. Aahhh! But we also worked out! Say what?!?! And when my daughter looked at me on my fancy treadmill and said with a bit of amazement, “Mom, you’re JOGGING! GOOD job! ” …..well that moment let me know that my worthy FIGHT was paying off !

While my ultimate goal is to live a healthy life and to forever believe I can, my little “side goals” involve losing weight. When you have 80 lbs to lose to get to that elusive healthy Body Mass Index, it’s smart to set small achievable goals along the way. That first 30 lb goal is within a half a pound…so what the heck. I’ll just call it because I like to round up! With 30 lbs comes the need to dig out the size “less than” pants or just buy smaller clothes. This has been fun. But remember that day I threw out my skinny jeans? I threw out ALL my skinny clothes.

Or so I thought? Procrastination and hiding things from myself real well sometimes pays off!

I was searching for a paint brush in my garage this week. I’ve been working on refinishing my beloved but very weathered front porch rocking chair. It has needed to be made new just as badly as I have! As I was digging through the things in my way to where I thought this paint brush might be, I literally tripped on a taped up Amazon box. My first thought was “What did I order that I threw in the garage and forgot about?” But then I saw the box was slightly open on one end and what appeared to be clothes was peeking out. I held my breath. Could it be?

YES!! The box was filled with pants of all the “less than” sizes I once determined were only worthy of donating. It was filled with the lie that I never would or could be at a healthy weight again.

But as I dug through the box and found those teeny tiny award jeans from 2004 , I knew something with every fiber of my being .

The GOOD FIGHT to get back into those teeny tiny jeans is worth it because I AM WORTH IT!! I WILL be in those jeans again. They may be horribly outdated by then but hey…jeans are jeans right! And at least they’re not bell bottoms!!

So I’ll persevere however long it takes. I’ll stand firm in my conviction to be a better, healthier me. I will fight the GOOD FIGHT and finish this race.

And I will win life!!

Until next time….

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


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!!