Category Archives: b. Training Tuesday

Training Tuesday: The good hair day, conquering excuses

Have you moved yet today?  I’m not talking about getting out of bed … although in our house this morning, that was quite an accomplishment!  I’m also not talking about dragging your butt to the coffee pot for your morning fix … although in our house this morning, that was quite a necessity.

I’m talking about intentionally exercising.  If you haven’t, I’m sure you have a valid reason:

didn’t cross your mind

didn’t have time

don’t have a gym membership

too cold / hot / rainy outside

you’re sick / injured

need more motivation

you’ll do it later / tomorrow / next week / next month / next year

you’re perfectly happy with your body now

Let me tell you, I was the queen of excuses and still am!  I didn’t make exercise a priority and so it didn’t happen.  (Combine that with overeating and you end up at 224 pounds, like me!)  There’s always a valid reason to not exercise.  Yesterday, I wrestled with the fact that when I woke up, my hair looked really good.  I mean, I went to the bathroom, glanced in the mirror, and was shocked at how good it looked without doing a thing to it.  It looked like I spent a lot of time getting it just right.

And then, I thought about how every morning after doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, I’m a sweaty mess.  “What a shame it would be to waste that perfect hair on a workout.  Maybe, I’ll just skip today or workout later.”  But I knew the truth … skipping one day often leads to skipping 2, 3, 4 or more days.  And more than not, when I say I’ll workout later, “later” never comes.  So I took one last glance in the mirror at my perfect hair before pulling it back into a pony tail to get ready to sweat.

So let’s look at those excuses listed above and conquer them!

  • didn’t cross your mind – well, it has now … so cross that excuse off your list.  But what about tomorrow.  You have to make a decision at some point.  Will you exercise or not?  If the answer is no, I won’t judge, I spent 38 years with the same answer.  If the answer is yes, then make sure it’s on your mental to do list … or better yet, write it down on a schedule!
  • didn’t have time – That’s a lie.  I’ll be honest, and I know you’ve heard this before, but you have time for whatever you make a priority.  You probably manage to eat and get dressed every day even though time is so precious. I do understand saying you don’t have time if your exercise routine is long and you have to drive to and from a gym.  That’s why I love Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.  I do it in my tiny living room and from start to stop it takes 28 minutes.  Granted, I’m only burning about 200 calories, but it combines strength, abs, and cardio and I see results in my body.  I just don’t get to eat as much in my day.  Jeff and I are going to order Shaun T’s (The Insanity guy) T25 workout.  That’s supposed to be similar to the 30 day shred, but more intense … but still you do it in your home and its 30 minutes start to finish.  You can even do these while watching an episode of Duck Dynasty or whatever your guilty TV pleasure is!
  • don’t have a gym membership – You don’t need one – see above, or just go outside and power walk or run.
  • too cold / hot / rainy outside – Exercise inside – see above.  Exercise in your living room, yours can’t be smaller than mine!
  • you’re sick / injured – Sick, if you are truly sick, then OK take the day off.  But if you are injured, exercise other parts of your body.  Is your knee injured?  Shadow box for an intense cardio exercise.
  • need more motivation – No you don’t, you need discipline.  I read once discipline is doing what you don’t want to do.  And you don’t magically get discipline, you simply choose to do what is right.
  • you’ll do it later / tomorrow / next week / next month / next year – Really?  If you will do it later, than great, it’s not an excuse.  But right now is yesterday’s later … so don’t you owe it now?  I remember reading a book that talked about how we all like to start something on a Monday morning, or the first of the month, or January first.  And so we put off starting if it’s not the right day.  Well the book said something like, “Wednesday at 4 PM is a perfect time to start, don’t wait for Monday.”  The crazy thing?  It was Wednesday at 4PM.
  • you’re perfectly happy with your body now – Awesome!  Good for you.  But exercise isn’t just about appearance.  It’s about making your heart stronger.   It’s about taking care of yourself.  It’s about decreasing depression.  It’s about giving you more energy.  Making your body look better is a bonus side effect.
  • your hair looks perfect now and exercising will make it a sweaty mess – Oh, how I sympathize … but I guess you just need to decide what you want more: perfect hair for one day, or a strong, healthy body for life 🙂

And so if I, the queen of excuses, can learn to press on through them, then so can you!  And if you think you have a valid excuse that you want to challenge me on, then I’d love to hear it!

Pressing on together,



Training Tuesday: Not there yet! (again)

Recently I was telling someone about a post that I wrote over a year ago.  As I was telling her about it, I realized how current it is for me, so I decided to re-post it.

Yesterday (well, actually a year and 3 months ago…) my boys and I went for a hike so they could throw rocks into a stream.  What is it about boys and throwing rocks???? Anyway, we went to a spot that we’ve gone to before, but it was quite awhile ago.  About 1/10th of a mile into our walk, son #2 found a spot that he thought was good.  The trail is about 10 feet above the water line, but at this spot there was a small path that led down to the water.  There was about 3 feet of “beach” and a few rocks lying around.  My oldest son didn’t even give it a glance, but kept on walking.  He knew where he wanted to go.

It took some convincing, but I got son #2 to keep going.  Every so often, he would find another path and declare it to be “the spot”.  He’d then get frustrated as son #1 just kept walking.  I’d tell him, no, we’re not there yet.

“But this spot looks good,” he’d reply.

“But the one up ahead is better.” I’d answer.

All the while, my oldest kept walking, very focused and determined.  He rarely even glanced around as he walked.  He knew where he was going.  And my “indoor kid” as he likes to call himself, was walking at a pace that my youngest, son #3, had a hard time keeping up with.  But up ahead, about a mile into our hike, we saw him take the right turn, off the path, towards the creek.  The other 2 started running to catch up to him.

Their smiles were huge, their eyes big as they were taking in the “Mecca” of locations for stream stone throwing.  We were on an all stone peninsula.  The stream was wide at this spot, and there was a waterfall.  Right away, they were grabbing all sorts of stones and throwing them in the water.  I found a spot to sit down and watched as they spent the next 40 minutes enjoying themselves.

And as we walked back, son #2 no longer had any desire to take the paths down to the 3 foot beaches with a handful of stones.  They lost their appeal when compared to where we were.

As we continued to walk, I thought about my weight loss journey.  Right now, I’m 178 pounds (yep, I broke the 180 barrier last week!).  (Actually right now, 9/17, I’m 151.5 pounds) Compared to 224, I feel great.  Clothes look better on me.  I don’t have to shop in the plus sized clothes anymore.  I’m getting lots of compliments.  I can run 3 miles (now I can run 10 miles) , and I do so 3-5 times a week (maybe not 10 miles 3-5 times a week 🙂).  I feel good about myself.  But right now, I’m fighting the urge to just “sit” here at this weight.  Fighting the thoughts that this is “good enough” and it would be OK to just maintain.  Fighting to keep pressing on.

Because even though 178 (151.5), when compared to 224, is amazing, it’s not where I should be.  I’m still considered obese (overweight).  My thighs still rub together when I run.  My belly and my arms still have a lot of “jiggle” to them.  I’m still in double-digit clothes (size 10, but some 8’s!).  My “Mii” on Wii Fit is still fat! (Not sure about this one, haven’t played Wii Fit in a while) So I know I can’t stop here.

I thought about how son #2 was content to stop 1/10th of the way into a walk and stand on a tiny beach with only a few rocks.  He didn’t want to keep going.  To him that was good enough.  But in reality, it didn’t come close to comparing with the destination son #1 and I had in mind.  And I decided that I was not going to be content to stop here on my health journey.  I’m going to keep pressing on.

 Pressing on together,


Training Tuesday: Day 16 … what happens on Day 22?

Despite 3 birthday parties (one for which I baked the cake), a church picnic lunch, back to school, that time of month, and possibly the most stressful/crazy week I’ve had at work so far, Jeff & I are on day 16 of our natural sugar/artificial sugar/wheat/dairy/etc. cleanse.

We’ve both lost over 10 pounds.  I’m back to 2.5 pounds above my lowest weight!  Soon, I’ll be losing new weight again.  I’m at 153 and I   C A N N O T wait for the scale to read in the 140’s.  I love that the Y has one of those scales where you move the weights on it, because I am so excited to only have to move the one to “100” even if the other one has to slide all the way to 49!  (If you are or have been considerably overweight, I’m sure you know what I mean!)

Anyway, by cleansing out our system, we are finding healthy options that we actually like without loading them up with extra sugar and calories and junk.

Spaghetti Squash


Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Jeff absolutely loved this!  I wonder if we would have loved it as much 3 weeks ago when our tastes were used to all the junk?


Anyway, I roasted a spaghetti squash, scraped it out, mixed it with a natural, sugar-free tomato sauce and lean ground turkey, and put it back into the skin.


This is a pretty common thing to do, but I never tried it before.  I think it will become a regular meal at our house.

With lean ground beef and no sugar marinara
With lean ground beef and no sugar marinara

Lettuce wrapped burger

Lettuce wrapped burger
Lettuce wrapped burger

I made burgers (all natural, lean ground beef) and we used lettuce for the wrap instead of the yummy Martin’s Potato Rolls that we love.

We then mixed Giant’s natural salsa (in the refrigerator section) with guacamole.  For guac, you need to check, some have sugar or vinegar added.   No cheese or ketchup on the burger.

It was delicious this way.  I think I would continue eating burgers like this.



Spinach & tomato egg

Spinach, & tomato egg
Spinach, & tomato egg

For breakfasts, I’ve done a lot of eggs.  I use coconut oil for cooking.  I’ve had all sorts of varieties: scrambled with peppers and onions, over hard with salsa (that I cooked on the pan) and cooked spinach, and over medium with tomato and spinach.  For this one, I cracked the egg on the pan, flipped it, put tomato and spinach on top, flipped it again and cooked the tomato & spinach.  (Salt and pepper are definitely required!)  I enjoy it, but I won’t lie, I miss the toast with it.  Perhaps toast can be an occasional thing.  Also, oddly enough, I REALLY miss the ketchup. I am a ketchup on eggs kind of girl.




Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich, no bun
Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich, no bun

I work at Chick-fil-A, so I eat there every day that I work.  I knew I needed to find options.  I love the Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  The seasoning on it is so good.  Normally, I eat this with only half of the bun, no pickle, no tomato, and the honey roasted barbecue sauce.  Well, I needed to skip the bun entirely, so I order it now with double lettuce to still eat it as a sandwich.  I also needed to skip the sauce, so I added the tomato back on.  I never was a huge tomato fan, but now I eat them all the time!  Still no pickles.  It’s really good, and most likely I’ll continue this way, but add a fruit cup in.



Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad, no bacon or cheese, grilled filet
Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad, no bacon or cheese, grilled filet

For a change, I also do the Cobb Salad.  I order it without the bacon and cheese.  I also ask for a grilled filet instead of the traditional coated nuggets that come with the salad.  I am unable to do salad dressing, so I bring a little olive oil mixed with a natural salsa and put it on top.  I’m satisfied and enjoy it … but I do miss the dressing.  I will probably add that in after the cleanse.  (I like Trader Joe’s champagne pear vinaigrette.)

I know it’s important to be able to eat out.  We also found that Subway will make any of their subs into a chopped salad, and they are really good.  I used oil for the dressing and put a little avocado on it for extra flavor.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Rice Cakes

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Rice Cakes
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Rice Cakes

Snacks and dessert have been difficult.  I get tired of snacking on nuts and veggies.  At night, I love to have something sweet.  So I needed to find something.  This is the closest I’ve found.  I mix Natural Peanut Butter (no sugar added) with organic canned pumpkin and cinnamon.  I then spread it on a BROWN rice cake (brown rice only – they crumble a lot because there is nothing holding them together, so actually the peanut butter works as a glue for the cake.)  The last time I made it I whipped the peanut butter, pumpkin and cinnamon together with a mixer and it made it a nice consistency.  Each time I have it, I enjoy it more and more.  You definitely know there is no sugar in there, but it is a good option!  I’ve started using this for some breakfasts too.

Jeff and I keep talking about what day 22 will look like.  What changes will we keep?  What will we bring back fully or in moderation?  I know that we will bring fruit back because it doesn’t seem too healthy to go without … and I definitely miss it!

I’m hoping to keep staying away from Coke Zero … I know it’s horrible for me … but I do love it … and working at Chick-fil-A, I have easy access to it.  But these 2 weeks, I haven’t missed it and so I probably shouldn’t go back!

It’s been difficult and easy all at the same time these past 2 weeks.  Difficult to figure out food options that we enjoy.  But easier than I thought to say no to the cakes and pizza and soda and ice cream …

Pressing on together,





Training Tuesday: The watcher.

We probably all have people who have been inspirational to us.  But have you ever knowingly been the inspiration?

I have.  And, please believe me, I post that not in a bragging or fishing for compliments type of way.  But, rather, I post that because it’s not something I read or hear about much.  How it feels when someone lets you know that you are their inspiration.

Whether you know me personally or have read more than a few of my blogs.  Then you probably know that all of my life I have been overweight.  I tried losing weight before, only to gain it plus some back.  A few years ago I weighed over 220 pounds.  I focused my efforts on losing weight, and lost about 30 pounds.  I ran my first 5k.  I was feeling good.  But then I started gaining again and went back over 200 pounds (a number I swore I would never see again!).  Then I met a normal weight woman.  She was training for her first marathon.  As I got to know her I was surprised to find out that she used to weigh what I did.  She lost it through hard work.  And one day I thought, “If she can do it, why can’t I?”  And she became one of my inspirations in losing weight and becoming more serious about running.

I am not yet at my goal.  I’m not really sure what my goal is, but I still jiggle in places and according to charts am considered overweight, so I believe I have more to lose.  But I’ve come a long way!  I’m in the 150’s.  I can now run a 10 minute mile.  I’ve run 5ks, 8ks, and have even run 10 miles a few times.   I get lots of compliments and “how did you do it”s.  Most people say, “That’s great!” and then go on with their lives.

But one woman, like I did, not only said, “That’s great!” but she also said, “If she can do it, why can’t I?”  And she began logging her food in My Fitness Pal.  She let me know I was her inspiration.  The weight has been coming off.  She’s beaming and looks fantastic!  She decided to attempt the Couch to 5k program too.  She found a race that she wanted to run.  Signed up for it.  And disciplined herself to do it.

It is an awesome, humbling feeling to know that your actions inspired someone so much that she was able to make a huge change in her life.  But that’s not why I write about it today.  There is so much more that comes with knowingly being someone’s inspiration.

There is an accountability like no other.  She let me know that I inspired her and that she was watching me.  Watching for motivation.  So when I would stop logging on My Fitness Pal, she would  yell at me encourage me to get back to business.  She told me that if I let up, she was afraid that she would too.  Then when I fell off the wagon this summer, thinking about her working so hard, pushing herself to run her first 1/2 mile, mile, 2 miles, and so on, I was motivated to get myself going again.  It was easier to deal with letting myself down then it was to think about letting her down.  I know I’m not responsible for her, but it gives me an extra accountability that I wasn’t expecting.  And now being focused again, I realize how thankful I am to have her watching me.

On Saturday, she ran her first 5k.  I got to be there with her.  I’m tearing up thinking about it.  It was an incredibly hard course, but she did it!

After the race!
After the race!

It made the day so special for me. I remember how I felt at my first 5k, and I think this was more exciting for me.  I’m trying to put my feelings about it into words, but struggling.  All I know is I felt on top of the world hugging her at the finish line!

Finish line hug!
Finish line hug!

So, I write this not to puff myself up, but to thank her.  My watcher.  Thank you for allowing me to join you in your journey.  Thank you for telling me you were watching.  Thank you for encouraging me to not fail, to never give up, to work harder, and to press on every day.  It means more than you will ever know … unless someone has let you know that they are watching you 😉

And you dear reader, remember in the beginning I asked if you had people in your life that have been inspirational to you?  Perhaps, if you haven’t, you should tell them and let them know you are watching.  It might be just what they need to press on in their journey!

Pressing on together,



Training Tuesday: The starter.

Yesterday marked day one for many things for me … the first day of school, the first day of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, the first day of a 21 day sugar fast, the first day of re-committing to writing a blog, the first day of cutting back my television viewing (unofficially).  I felt great, I was excited, and I made it through a whole day!

Traditionally in life, I’ve been a quitter.  I start things, exercise programs, weight loss adventures, hobbies, organizational systems, meal planning and don’t stick with them.  When I began my weight loss / lifestyle change a couple of years ago, I became a finisher.  I finished a couch to 5 k training program, and since have become a runner.  I finished Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred 3 or 4 times.  I was faithfully reading the Bible.  I started a blog and wrote faithfully most days.  I committed to things and followed through.

But then somewhere last spring, I became not necessarily a quitter, but more like a slacker. Still kinda doing things, but not full throttle.  I stopped recording every bite on My Fitness Pal and my weight loss stalled.  I still ran, but by Summer time it was not faithful.  I might run every day one week, and then go 2 weeks without running.  My Bible reading became non-existent.  I no longer was blogging at all, or even thinking about blogging.  Then by mid summer, I was no longer recording any bites on My Fitness Pal and back to overeating (4 bowls of ice cream while watching TV, yep!).  So now I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was in the spring.  I’m a slower runner.  I haven’t blogged to journal through my feelings.  (Because truly, my blog is about me sorting through my feelings.  If anyone else reads it and is encouraged by it – then, Bonus!) I spend 1 hour out of 167 hours in a week with God.  And as a result I’ve been grumpy, impatient, unloving, depressed, and frustrated.

So, now I’m a starter again.  I’m starting to recommit to my health and food consumption.  I knew I needed something drastic since I’ve become addicted to sugar again.  So I started a  21 day sugar fast.  (I won’t post a link to what I’m doing, because in all honesty I’m not sure how healthy it is.)  But I need something, and I figure it’s only 3 weeks.  So I’m fasting from sugar and a few other things – including: white sugar, honey, stevia, evaporated cane juice, fructose, artificial sweeteners, fruit, potatoes, breads, flour, dairy, yogurt, and more.  Then after the 21 days, I’ll slowly reintroduce some of those items back in.

My hope is that I will become satisfied again with more healthy  choices and moderation.  That I will stop craving the sweets all day long.  Before I could honestly eat 5 m&m’s and be satisfied.  By the end of the summer, I could eat a whole bag of m&m’s and then go back and look for something else to eat.  During this time, I’m not worrying about My Fitness Pal for recording what I eat, since I am confident that it will be within my calorie limit.  On day 22, I will begin again with My Fitness Pal.

I’m also starting the 30 Day Shred again, if anyone wants to start and have an accountability partner, let me know.  This is a 30 Day commitment.  I know I can do it.  I’m confident that by completing the 21 day cleanse, and the 30 Day Shred, I’ll begin to think of myself as a finisher again.  Then I can again imagine myself finally reaching a weight that is no longer considered overweight.  (Because lately I’ve been imagining myself gaining all my weight back!)  And then I will become a sustainer.  I will reach my weight loss goal and sustain it for life!

And so, yesterday I became a Starter.  Today I am pressing on.

How are you?  Where are you on your health journey?  I’m not even going to ask if you are on a health journey, because I’m realizing that we all are.  We either are taking care of ourselves or we aren’t.  Do you need to become a starter?  I am praying for you to take those first steps.  Whether it is restarting like me, or starting from scratch like me a couple of years ago, I am praying that you will begin today.  Don’t be a procrastinator, be a starter.

Are you becoming a slacker or a quitter?  I tell you from my experience, starting is so much harder than maintaining what you are doing.  Do NOT quit, do not let up, keep going, press on!  (Remember physics class? An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest … more force is required to start an object’s motion than to maintain the motion.)

Are you a finisher?  Are you now a sustainer?  Than rock on, you are my hero!  But make sure to sustain to pay attention, to never take your eyes off of your goal.  Because even if you are there now, it is so easy to let it slip away!  So forever, press on in your health!

Pressing on Together,


P.S.  If you happen to see me the next few weeks, and I’m a little grumpy, please forgive me … I might be missing my sugar!

Sugar cleanse: 1/21, 30 Day Shred: 1/30


Training Tuesday: Priorities

I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve written a post!  If you have missed hearing from me, I apologize … but life has changed a lot and I haven’t taken the time to sit down and journalize (not sure that’s a word, but that’s what I do!) my feelings through the blog.

Since my last post, I began working outside of the home about 25 hours per week.  Making the transition from stay at home mom for 12 years to working outside of the home mom, in some ways has been really easy and natural.  But in other ways, it’s been a real juggling act.  I’m trying to figure out how to fit everything into my days, but I’m realizing that I continually need to re-prioritize the things that I’m trying to fit in.  And some things, I’ve just had to let go … like writing, for a time.

One of the things that I’ve been determined to not let go and extremely intentional about making sure I fit it in is exercise.  I knew that if I didn’t have a routine established from the get-go that one week without would become one month, which would then become the entire fall, and probably end up being the whole year.  And I knew I could not let that happen after all my hard work.

So I wake up every morning at 6:30.  Say good-bye to my husband who’s heading off to work.  I get dressed in workout clothes (I’ll admit though, there are many nights that I put them on to sleep in), get my oldest up, put a load of laundry in, pack the boys lunches (because frankly I’m too tired the night before to do it), get breakfast for my oldest, send him out the door at 6:55, set out bowls of cereal for the other 2 boys, setting the milk out next to the bowls.  If they are not yet up, I then wake up the other 2 and have them get dressed and eat (pouring their own milk) while I exercise to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.  I then put the laundry in the dryer, put a new load in the washer, but usually don’t start it yet.  Hop in the shower, shampoo, rinse, wash, get out, get dressed (if needed, iron the clothes first), turn the washer on, with a wet head, take the boys to the bus stop at 7:45.  I then come back, finally get my cup of coffee, do my hair, put my make-up on.  Enter my workout into My Fitness Pal.   Log on to Facebook to message my 30 Day Shred Accountability Crew that I did the workout.  Fold the clothes from the dryer, move the other load from the washer to the dryer (I’ll fold those when I get home).  Get a second cup of coffee to drink on the way to work, grab some breakfast to eat in the car and head out at 8:40.

Sounds exhausting, right?  But you know what?  It really isn’t.  I feel productive, I love the routine of it, and I love that I get my exercise in.  And I never, ever, regret getting up and doing it.  Even if I’m drop dead tired at 9:00 at night – says the former night owl!

Source: thisblogmakesmybuttlookbig

I try to run at least 3 days in the afternoon or evening, but if my schedule doesn’t allow it, or if like last night, I’m simply too tired, I don’t.  And you know what?  I don’t stress about it, because I think of the running as icing on the exercise cake.  (By the way, when I said, “last night” I really mean now, because I’m writing this on Monday night and scheduling it to be posted on Tuesday morning.  I don’t want you thinking I’m going even crazier now and getting up extra earlier to type a blog!)

I have to admit, I just re-read the post up to this point, and I find myself thinking, “Who am I???”  For those of you who know me well, or maybe you don’t even have to have known me well to know that I hated mornings.  I was not a morning person.  I slept in as long as possible.  Also I resisted, hated, avoided, and came up with every excuse not to exercise.  So it truly is miraculous that I do this every day!  And let me tell you, if I can … then you can find a way to fit exercise into your days too.

If you are struggling doing so, I’d love to offer some tips.

  1. Look at your schedule and see what makes sense for you.  For me, it’s first thing.  I like it that way, because I find the anticipation of working out is worse than actually doing it, so the less I think about it, the better it is.
  2. Find an exercise routine that is doable.  I knew I couldn’t leave my house in the morning since Jeff heads out early.  So I needed something that I could do from my tiny livingroom.  I also wanted quick and effective.  I love doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred (click here to go to the video) because the videos are 27 minutes long, I do them from home, so it really is 27 minutes – no drive time to and from the gym, all I need is some space (my living room is tiny and it’s plenty), You Tube to watch the videos and some hand weights.
  3. Find people to help with accountability.  For me this is key.  I posted on Facebook that I was starting the shred and asked if anyone wanted to do it with me.  I then created a message group that we post every day after we worked out.  We sympathize with each other’s sore muscles and moves that are difficult.  We encourage and cheer each other on.  Now I’m pretty sure none of them will yell at me if I don’t work out, but it’s nice knowing that they see whether or not I did.  Most of us have completed the series and have started again.  (The beauty being that you can increase your hand weights to make the exercises more difficult.)
  4. Going along with #3, Get your spouse on board.  Not as your accountability person.  But make sure they know how important it is to you so they are supportive of it in your schedule.
  5. Don’t skip days.  Determine ahead of time which days you will be exercising, and do it.  I find that it is so easy to find an excuse not to exercise and to say, “I’ll just skip today.”  But that truly becomes a foothold to quitting all together.  As Nike used to say, “Just do it!”
  6. Plan things with friends, such as running a 5k, 8k, half marathon, marathon or a biking race or something that you need to be in decent shape for so you have motivation to keep working.  Last month, my friend Emily and I ran an 8k together.  We had it planned for a while, so I knew when I started working that I needed to be ready for it.  We did it, had a blast and got a time we were both excited about!  Now I need something else on my schedule.  Any suggestions?  Anyone want to run a 10 miler or maybe even a half with me????

Once again, I just reread the post for editing purposes, and I still can’t believe these words are coming from me.  I can’t stress enough, that if I can make this work, ANYONE can!!!!  I truly don’t write this in any prideful, look at me, way.  I write it only as encouragement for those who, like I did for 39 years, come up with excuse after excuse of why they don’t exercise.  (Ok, maybe not 39 years, I probably didn’t realize that I should be exercising or active and wasn’t until I was in middle school, so we’ll say 29 years…)

And in my honesty, keeping it real, admitting my imperfections … here’s my struggles right now.  This past week I’ve been eating beyond my calories with eating a lot of sweets, not logging everything, and sometimes not really caring.  Which is scary to me.  Because I need to care.  I had come to a broken point of surrender saying that if I need to log every bite I eat for the rest of my life I will.  But I’m not … and I need to.  I still have more weight to lose.  But even if I didn’t, the way I’m eating right now would result in gaining weight back, not just in maintaining.  So I know it needs to stop!!!!

And my other struggle is that I’m not spending time in the Bible.  More than not spending time in the Bible, I’m not relaxing and being still in the presence of God.  My prayers are quick and I leave no time for listening.  I know just like exercise and logging food, I need to be disciplined in spending time with God.  I truly don’t say that in a self-loathing, condemning way, but in a healthy, convicted way, knowing that things need to change.

So it seems as though even though I’ve got the exercise thing down right now, there’s still lots of imperfection to be worked through!

Pressing on together,


Training Tuesday: Working the garden

“What are you doing?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this lately.  When you lose 50+ pounds, people notice and want to know how you did it.  When I talk about running and Jillian Michaels and MyFitnessPal and counting calories, I get mixed reactions.  Some people respond with, “Good for you!” and ask me more questions.  Some have even since joined MyFitnessPal or started running.  But then there are others who respond with, “Good for you.” But I can sense the disappointment that I didn’t offer some magic genie response.

I traditionally fell into the latter category.  I really didn’t want to hear from someone that they lost weight because they worked hard and sacrificed.  I wanted to hear about how the pounds magically melted away and their body naturally took on a nice toned quality.  I wanted to know the secret to the magic.  I wanted the results without the work and didn’t want it suggested to me that I needed to work for it.

I’ve talked before about how God really changed my heart last spring.  I came to a point of surrender saying, “Alright God, if I still have to count calories when I’m 83, I’ll do it.  I’m willing to do the work, to make the sacrifice, to have the discipline to take care of this body you created.”  Before I hit that point of surrender, I read something in Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst that really hit me over the head with what I needed to hear:

Last spring I took a shortcut through a neighborhood and caught a glimpse of a man planting a flower garden.  It was just a quick glance, but long enough to produce a lingering thought: I wish I had a pretty garden.

For years I’ve looked at other people’s flowers and secretly wished for my own lush display.  However, the glimpse of this man with his hands digging deep into the earth brought a new revelation.  He has a garden because he invests time and energy to make it.  He didn’t wish it into being.  He didn’t hope it into being.  He didn’t just wake up one day and find that a garden of glorious blooms had miraculously popped up from the dirt.


He worked at it.  He sacrificed for it.

Day after day.  Row by row.  Seed by seed.  Plant by plant.  It took effort, intentionality, sweat equity, and determination.  Then it took time and commitment before he ever saw any fruit from his labor.

But eventually, there was a bloom … and then another … and then another.  I saw this man’s flowers and wished for my own – without a clue about all the work that had gone into producing them.  I want the flowers but not the work.  Isn’t that the way it is with many things in life – we want the results but have no desire to put in the work required?

Besides a garden, I also wished for a thinner body for years but was lax about actually changing what I ate.  When it came to eating, I excused away the necessary discipline.  Then I’d catch myself wishing I were thinner and making excuses about my age and metabolism, lamenting the unfairness of my genetic disposition and blah, blah, blah.

The reality is, I can’t eat like an athletic teenager and then complain about my extra layers of fluff.

Or my pants size.

Or my tummy pooch.

Or my arms that are starting to wave back at me when I raise them.

I can’t wish blooms into place any more than I can wish fat away.  It’s just the cold, hard reality.

(Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst, pages 35-36)

I can so relate!!!!  I hate yard work!!!  And it shows …

What I would love my landscaping to look like…
What it actually looks like…

So dear friend, if you, like I did, desire to be healthy and fit and trim but don’t want to work for it, I am sorry to tell you that it just won’t happen.  There is no magic skinny genie.  Sure for some people it seems to come more naturally and easily.  But for most people it requires sacrifice and discipline.

Are you willing to do it?

If you answered yes, then I am excited for you.  Whether you are just starting out on your journey or you are already at your healthy weight and can run marathons around me, I congratulate you on your willingness to work.  I am cheering for you and praying for you. Thank you, God for these women (and men too, if any men read this) that have a desire to take care of their bodies.  Help them to stay disciplined when they feel like not caring.  Help them to get up out of bed and go to the gym when they’d rather stay under the covers.  Help them to not go back for that second brownie.  And most importantly, help them to know they are loved by you whether they are on track or not!

If you answered no, then my heart aches for you in a non-judgmental, I’ve been there too, kind of way.  Because for most of my life, no was my answer too.  I know that place of frustration, of stubbornness, of denial.  Yes, denial, I know it may sound harsh, but that’s where I was, so I know some of you may be there too.   God, I pray for these women (and men too, if any read this) who know that they need to be healthier, but don’t want to work for it.  Thank you, God, that you love them exactly where they are.  Thank you, God that you call them the “Apple of your eye.”  Thank you, God that you “take great delight in (them)”.  Thank you God, that nothing could make you love them more or less than you do right now.  I pray, God, that you will speak to their hearts and encourage them to be disciplined in taking care of their bodies.  Transform their minds, the way you are doing to mine, to help them surrender to the need to work.

Pressing on Together,


Training Tuesday: Every day

“If every day were like today…   You’d weigh 158.4 lbs in 5 weeks.”  That is my favorite part of My Fitness Pal.  After you’ve logged all your food and exercise for the day, a statement like this appears.  For me, on most days (like yesterday), the weight it says is 4-10 pounds less than the weight I currently am.  I get excited and am ready to eat well the next day too.  Since we can’t really see change from one day to the next, seeing it in terms of a month is really helpful.  (By the way, did you notice that mine said I’d weigh in the 150’s????  Do you remember when I was excited to hit the 170’s?  Well, now I’m 165.5!  It truly is amazing!!!)

However, there have been 2 days since I started logging on the site (99 days ago) that the weight listed was higher than my current weight.   My eating on those days went over my calorie allotment.  765 calories of zucchini bread… yep I did that.  Now before, my frustration from a day like that would turn into a week like that, then a month like that, and possibly a year or two like that and my weight would indeed go up all the way to 220 pounds!  But I’ve learned that one day does not destroy all your work and make you gain weight.  Rather it’s an accumulation of many days.  So when I’ve had a bad day, I log it, I read that if everyday were like that day I would weigh more in 5 weeks than my current weight, I tell myself that not everyday will be like that day, and then I move on and get back on track.

In the scheme of things, one day doesn’t really matter.  But when you add one day to another day to another day and create a lifestyle, then each of those days do matter.  I recently completed Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.  It kicked my butt, but I did it.  And, I actually have some muscle definition on my arms… granted they still have the flabby underneath that my 11-year-old loves to play with, but they are getting toned!  I usually don’t finish things that I start, so I am so proud of myself for finishing.  My friend told me, “You’re a finisher now, not a quitter.”  Love her for saying that, because as I’m transforming my body, I know I also need to transform my mind.  Anyway, I now started Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30.  During the first week’s cool down, she says something that really stuck out to me, and I’m repeating to myself often:

Transformation is not a future event.  It is a present activity.  That is why you must bring everything that you have to bring in every moment.  And it doesn’t have to be perfect.  It’s not about perfect.  It’s about effort.  And if you bring that effort every single day, that’s when transformation happens, that’s when change occurs.


Sounds a lot like what Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14:

Not that I’ve already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  I do not consider myself yet to have take hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  

Anyway, being in the middle of that transformation, that change, I can tell you she’s absolutely correct.  In the scheme of things, one bad day or one good day may not matter, but bring that effort every day and then every day adds up.  And now, I have lost over 50 pounds, I can run 5 miles, I can do push-ups!  We need to show up each and every day of our life.  We need to bring that effort, we need to press on every single day in our health, in our parenting, in our relationships, in our finances, in our (you fill this in) and transformation will happen, change will occur.

And the best part is, what I’m afraid that Jillian Michaels doesn’t offer us, is that we don’t have to show up on our own strength.  Sure we can, but usually our will power only lasts so long.  But, as we lean in on Christ, reading His word, pouring our heart out to him, sitting quiet before him, worshiping him, he strengthens us.  And Philippians 4:13 says:

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

I personally include eating healthy and exercising in “all things”.

Pressing on together,




Can you see the difference?  I certainly can!  I’m down another 10 pounds from the one on the right, but I didn’t have a full body photo to use.


Training Tuesday: Boardwalk Running Girl Adventures

Have you ever sweated so bad that the sweat was dripping into your eyes?  I have, and it is not pleasant!

Occasionally it happens to me while running.  While at Ocean City, NJ, I went for a five mile run on the boardwalk, and this one of those times.  Up to that point, I had only run 5 miles twice before at the hilly Valley Forge loop.  Since I had survived the killer hills there, I figured the flat boardwalk would be much easier.  But I didn’t factor in the sun and the lack of shade, and I thought I was going to die!

To be honest, I probably would have quit and not run the whole thing if I didn’t have my oldest son with me.  He was riding his bike.  We got on the boardwalk at 13th street, and turned right.  Our plan was that he’d stop at the end (I think it’s 23rd street) and wait for me.  Going this direction, I had to run about 1 ¼ miles.  The run was pleasant enough, and when I got to the end of the boardwalk, he was there waiting.  He smiled, hopped on his bike and said, “I’ll see you at the other end.”  And off he went.

And off I went too.  This time the angle of the sun and the direction I was running, meant the sun was beating down on my face.  The length of the boardwalk is 2.5 miles but it felt like 25.  My pace was slow.  I was passed by other runners, bikers, and the occasional speedy surrey.  I don’t think I actually passed any runners slower than me, just walkers, little kids on bikes with training wheels and some surreys.  Since the sweat was dripping into my eyes, I had to stop at the bathroom at 12th street to get some paper towels.  At that point, I’d run about a total of 2 ½ miles, and both mentally and physically I was done!

But like I said, I had my son with me.  I knew he’d be sitting at the end of the boardwalk (1 ¼ miles away) waiting for me.  So I kept going.  I looked ahead at the ferris wheel at Wonderland Pier and thought, “It looks so far away… and I’ve got to run past it!”  Every step was labored.  I made it to the music pier.  Then the boards seemed to be shaking a bit and I heard a loud rumbling behind me that seemed to be getting closer.  The next thing I knew, I was being swallowed up by a swarm of 20 or so runners.  It must have been the boys high school track team all out running together.  And of course they were faster than me, and of course they were going to pass me.  But as they did it, they seemed to run on either side of me.  (The running lane is the center lane of the boardwalk.)  And so for about 10 seconds, I was surrounded by them.  And then they were gone.

Wiping the sweat off my brow every couple of minutes, I managed to keep going.  I finally made it to the ferris wheel at Wonderland.  And then, like an oasis in the desert, I saw Brown’s.  I saw all the people standing in line for Brown’s most delicious donuts ever… mmm, donuts!  And then I saw my son sitting on a bench waiting for me.

“Wow, Mom.  You already ran the whole boardwalk!  You’re doing great.”  How did he know that I needed encouragement?  I sure didn’t feel like I was doing great.  But you know what, besides feeling like I was going to die, I was doing great!  I was actually running the boardwalk instead of standing in line for donuts.  (Did I mention that Browns makes delicious, fresh, hot, melt in your mouth donuts????  Yum!  I think I could eat a whole dozen myself.  I love the cinnamon, ooh but the powdered are good too.  Mmm, donuts.)  “See you at 13th!”  And off he went.

So I turned around, and off I went too.  This time the sun wasn’t beating down on my face, so it was much more pleasant.  I remember thinking to myself, “Only 1 more mile left.”  And then I remembered.  I remembered the day that I first ran ¾ mile without walking.  It was week 5 of the couch to 5k program.  I remember it feeling so hard.  Heck, I remember week 1 of the couch to 5k program staring at the stop watch willing the seconds to pass and thinking that jogging for 60 seconds was the hardest thing I had ever done and that the 90 seconds of walking went way too fast as I was alternating jogging and walking.  But look at me now, running 5 miles and actually saying, “ONLY 1 more mile left.”

I looked at the Double Shot up at Castaway Cove and knew that I had to just get a little further than that.  My pace actually quickened a little and I may have actually smiled and enjoyed the scenery as I ran that last mile.  I knew I was going to finish.  I still felt like I might die, but I was a runner.  Not a fast runner, but a runner all the same.  Heck, I was still burning the same amount of calories as all those runners passing me, they just got to finish before me.  Euphorically, I made it to 13th street and there was a crazy amount of people.  I mean all of a sudden there were hundreds of people at that very spot.  Even though they didn’t notice me, I imagined they were all there to cheer for me as I crossed the finish line.  (Turns out they were walking from the local catholic church to the ocean to bless the sea.  But, I like to think that God timed that perfectly to give me a fun finish line!)

I did it!  I ran 5 miles.  I checked my phone to see what my time was.  I ran it in 59:47.  So it was basically a 12 minute mile.  Not my fastest pace, but not as slow as I felt!  My son smiled, “See you at the house.”  Off he went, and I followed, limping along… now that I was walking my knee didn’t feel like bending anymore.  But I didn’t care.  It felt like a badge of honor for what I’d accomplished.  And you know what, we can usually accomplish far more than what we ever thought ourselves capable of.  For me it all started by running for 60 seconds…

Pressing on together,



I have to say, it is much more enjoyable to walk the boardwalk at night, than to run it in the morning!





Relaxing on the beach…                       Well deserved after the run!

Training Tuesday: Obese, no more!

It’s official… well as official as you’ll consider something that comes from Nintendo’s Wii Fit… So I guess it’s virtually official… I am no longer obese.  Unfortunately I’m still very overweight… but I’m working hard to change that!

With losing weight and getting stronger, I’ve noticed lots of cool things.  Here’s some of them:

  1. I enjoy playing outside with my boys more.  I run with them, I’ll join in on the backyard kickball, baseball, and soccer games.
  2. My youngest is learning to ride his bike, and I can run next to him as he rides.
  3. Being outside in 90 degree weather is more bearable without all the extra weight.
  4. I can shop in regular stores for clothes and be confident that there will be clothes that will fit me.
  5. I’m usually not the fattest person in the room, at the store, at the park… not that I delight in other people’s obesity… but when you’ve been overweight for so long, when you walk into a room, you tend to look around to see if you’re the fattest person there.  (Well at least I did.)  And I often was.  But not so much now.
  6. I enjoy going for hikes and doing active things with my family.
  7. I’m not depressed.
  8. I feel more confident.
  9. I feel pretty.  (I can’t quite say that without singing it, remember that song?  I only know it from the scene in Dirty Dancing where the sister was doing it in the talent show… I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty, and witty, and kind… or something like that.)
  10. I feel proud of myself.

One thing that losing weight and getting stronger has not done is improve my relationship with God.  His love for me has not grown.  He’s loved me all along.  His grace was enough to cover my sinful eating and my laziness in taking care of my body that He created.  However, I’m sure he’s pleased to see me now making healthier choices.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

But, I need to be careful to honor God and not myself.  All of this focus on my eating, my exercise, and my body makes it very easy to focus on myself and not on God.  I’ll admit I’ve spent more time lately on than I have in my Bible.   More time looking in the mirror than looking to God.

Oh Lord, please forgive me for focusing more on myself than on you.  Help me, God, to find that balance of taking care of myself all for your Glory and not mine.  Help me, God, to delight in your word and spending time with you.  Help me to think less of myself and more of you.  Thank you God that you loved me just as much when I weighed 200 pounds, but thank you God that I am no longer obese.  Thank you God that I can run outside with my children.  Thank you God that you are with me, that you are Mighty to Save, that you take great delight in me, that you quite me with your love, and that you rejoice over me with singing.  (see Zephaniah 3:17)

Pressing on with you,