Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nurse Says I’m Rockin’ It! (Day 95)

Real Time Update:

Here’s a fun tidbit about yesterday. I had a doctor’s appointment and the nurse told me I was “rocking” the weight loss. I’d lost another 17 pounds since they weighed me in late January, which is was about when the post below was written.

In yesterday’s blog I alluded to an event I needed to have my game face on for. It was the BENew launch celebration held in Denver on January 25th. I had a blast as a runway model. Jerry and I were warmly received by the Life Force family, and the weekend was a great encouragement to us. I was even asked to share my testimony the next night. For today’s post I thought I’d share the rough draft of what I planned to say. Of course it came out a little differently when I actually spoke. Paula modeling at BENew celebration. I've lost roughly 17 pounds since this picture!

January 25, 2013:

Weight crept on slowly, but after two car accidents in 6 months I found myself in pain, emotionally shut down, and spending long hours each day in bed.  Just getting out of a chair took effort. As an author I was often embarrassed by Facebook pictures taken by friends at book signings. I couldn’t believe how heavy I was. And really, couldn’t they just capture my face, not my whole, out of control body?

When I was chosen as a beta tester for BeNew, I was at least 210 pounds. I received the opportunity to try a nutritional approach to weight loss as a pure gift. The very first week my energy and attitude improved to the point I begged Jerry to take a short walk with me. It was just a few blocks that first time. Over time my emotions stabilized. I found myself craving my Body Balance and my BeFull shake. My cravings for unhealthy food decreased, and I fell in love with walking. In 8 weeks I lost 27 pounds.

At the end of December I was at a writer event and the inevitable picture snapping started. My heart lifted when I realized I could smile straight into the camera without worrying about a double chin, and I giggled on the inside as I heard all the women whispering about how different I looked. The Facebook pictures looked great! In the last week I’ve had two friends walk right by me without speaking—when I called to them their eyes widened. They hadn’t even recognized me!

On Friday I chose to walk almost 3 miles to an appointment rather than drive—and I RAN most of the last mile. I am truly being made new—I love finding the me I lost, not just rediscovering a more slender, shapely me, but being able to move with ease, having more energy, and feeling more hope. And the new, healthier me is connecting with life in a new way, too—not just because I can wear new, cute clothes, but because I’ve grown physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. BeNew is a gift.

Aslan, the White Witch, and my Weight Loss Journey (Day 94)

We all wear masks. I’ve been called positive, playful, and joyful. I am, but I am not those qualities in isolation. Only those closest to me know the depth of my fight for joy.

Today was one of those fighting-for-all-I-was-worth mornings. Tonight’s schedule included a special event that would require a public face.  I didn’t want to plaster on a fake mask, but no one would want to see the discouragement I fought.  I needed to dig deep, find my joy, and be a survivor.

Thankfully the weight loss journey has given me a new, healthier way of coping. I walk, run, stomp . . . and eventually pray. The fresh air, the ground beneath my feet, the birds singing, and the conversations with God help me combat my struggles and deal with whatever negative emotion my peri-menopausal body flings at me.

So I walked to my morning appointment in hopes I would be in a better state for the evening’s requirements.

Much of this last year has been about breaking free of a hard season, not just the car accidents, but also the years of intensity that preceded them. Last summer I awoke for several days to Christmas carols playing through my mind and heart, sensing HIS presence in them.

It wasn’t the season for such music, and I shared the experience with my friend Jill, wondering at what it might mean. As we talked she got excited. “It’s His promise to you, Paula. Remember The Chronicles of Narnia? Because of the reign of the evil White Witch, it was always winter and never Christmas in the land. But when Aslan returned the waters began to thaw. Father Christmas broke through the evil forces. Eventually the land blossomed into spring and summer. The songs are God’s promise that  Christmas is coming in your life. Winter is thawing. The reign of the White Witch is coming to an end.”

I’d had much joy during the Christmas season, but in the cold of January I’d struggled to find it again. I began begging God to show me that this promise was true. I share this story so you can appreciate what happened on my three mile trek.

I started off at a pretty good clip, focused on the goal of being on time to my appointment. Soon I was on an unfamiliar route. I knew the area from the road, but not from the footpath. I came upon a frozen stream.

aslan 20

aslan 5

Captivated by the cold beauty, I slipped closer.

aslan 8

And I noticed something surprising for that January day.

aslan 17

A cracking.

aslan 12

A slight gurgle.

aslan 10

The unmistakable sounds and sights of thawing.

“Are you paying attention?” HE said.

“Yes, Lord.” My heart sang. “Aslan is on the move.”

I’m sure He smiled.

aslan 2

I slipped back onto the sidewalk. My heart and body felt light.

And I ran for a mile.

Spirit Seeker Sunday 3


Holy Spirit, be the Water of my life. May I be refreshed by you, surrendering to the flow of your life-giving current. (Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2 – 4

In her Made to Crave devotional, Lysa TerKeurst encourages readers to “consider the joy.”

I’ve pondered how I can consider the joy of a weight loss journey, and embraced the joy of having self-control, the joy making good decisions, the joy of finding God in unexpected places as I walk this road. These are all joys of the  journey, daily experiences I can celebrate, even before I see the results of my efforts.

Another Scripture talks about how Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. Not the joy of the trial, but the result that would come through His willingness to sacrifice for us. It helps me persevere to consider the long-term joy of the short-term sacrifices I’m making, too. Of course cutting calories and making better eating choices is nothing compared to Jesus’ death on the cross, but they are my little daily trials.

There’s a lot of power in that one word, consider. Much of my weight loss journey since I began on October 24th has just been taking time to consider, like thinking about my eating choices instead of making them mindlessly, or considering how to manage my day to include exercise.

Mindfulness is another word I’ve pondered the last few months. I want to be mindful of my choices, whether or not I move, eat well, drink water, let my emotions run away or reel them in. Being mindful of my needs and moods are part of this. I’ve found that when I’m angry or lonely or sad or sacred a good long walk and conversation with God does a whole lot more for me that a bag of chocolate. In the past I wouldn’t have considered that possibility. I wouldn’t have been mindful of my choices or what I really needed. I might not have even been mindful of where my emotions were in the first place!

Today I’m convicted that in the past I didn’t consider what God wanted in the area of my health. In the big picture I didn’t think about good health or His desires for my body. Honestly, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want conviction; I just wanted to do it my way, which meant not thinking about it at all. I certainly didn’t pause to ask Him about right choices day-to-day choices.

Since October I’ve caught a glimpse of His heart. He wants me stronger and healthier, to be the size He created me to be so that I can have more energy and joy and ease of movement. I’m getting better about dialoguing with Him about the day-to-day choices I make. I don’t ask permission before every bite, but when I’m tempted to eat out of an emotional need versus a physical one, I am learning to pause, to consider the joy of a healthy choice that leads to long-term success, and to be mindful of the Truth that only HE can fill emotional and spiritual emptiness.

Give us a glimpse of the joy set before us when we feel stronger and healthier. Help us to be mindful of our needs and of how you want to meet them. Help us to consider the options that draw us closer to you, that give us health, that work for and not against joy.

Pouting Then Celebrating Now (Day 91)


Real life plateaus are actually pretty cool. This picture is of The mesas of Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, as seen from the Needles district.

Yesterday I pouted and didn’t go for my walk. I was too frustrated that I’d hit the beginning of week three without the scale moving.  My grumpy I’m-not-doing-this-if-I’m-not-getting results attitude was self-sabotage. I knew it but didn’t work my way out of it.

I hate plateaus!

A lot of people say they have cravings where they’re upset. I didn’t even want food. In the end I ate okay—no big binge, and I didn’t deny myself food either—which is honestly what I felt like doing. Just stop eating and maybe I’d lose. But that would be so NOT healthy.

When I went to bed I told myself I had to get up early and do at least a short walk before I started my busy day. Getting outside has become more than just a way to lose body weight. It helps me drop emotional pounds, too.

So that’s what I did this morning. Got up and got outside! This plateau will NOT win!

Real Time Update:

Of course not long after these posts about the plateau I dropped about four pounds all of the sudden, then the cycle of stalling for a week or two then dropping 3 or 4 pounds started again. What I’m reading is this is very normal as you draw nearer your ideal body weight.

This week I was down another 2 pounds, which put me completely into the “normal” and “healthy” range for my height. Wow. I was pouting back in January, but I’m celebrating today!

How About You?

Pouting or celebrating? why?

Pesky Plateaus! (Day 90)

Angry today.

I’ve had 21 days without moving down the scale.

Here’s the results of the on-line research I did:

To lose weight I should take in 1308.65 calories a day. Sometimes I’m slightly under, but overall I think it is about right. I might consider not subtracting my calories when I exercise and upping my app to 1300 . . . but overall this feels like I’ve been pretty wise and done things correctly—of course there was a hormonal issue listed in this article that I haven’t checked on.

The other thought from this article is timing of calories. I have been eating heavier than I need to at the last meal, not above calorie count, but more food later than I did originally.

This article was a little more convicting. Even though I’ve been good with calorie intake and regular exercise, I haven’t been good with water intake. Maybe I need to track it again. Also, I’ve tried to stay in calorie range, but I’ve had more carbs lately. I think I’ll try to cut back here and up my fiber intake. I also have been craving salty foods . . . this may be causing me to retain water.

Synthesizing this article basically says to put more intensity or more time into working out.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and after messing around trying to research this thing, I still don’t feel I have a clear answer. Ugh.

~ January 21, 2013

Real Time Update:

Looking back on this post I smile. I lost weight so quickly at first that when it started moving more slowly it was upsetting. But it does keep moving, and I am down another 14 pounds or so from the day I wrote the above entry. I looked up my body mass index and for the first time in at least ten year it says I’m in the “normal” and “healthy” range for my height! When I started I was considered obese. My ideal weight is still a few pounds away, but experiencing normal after years of abnormal is beyond amazing.

In my weight loss journey there has been another interesting experience. When the scale stops moving for a while, my body is reshaping. I don’t know if this happens for everyone on weight loss journeys, or if it is related to the BENew products I’m taking. They actually shrink visceral body fat. It is sweet to think that during those icky weeks when the scale didn’t move, I actually had a lot of comments about how much thinner I was, AND I had to buy smaller clothes. Maybe that was simply God’s little gift to me during the rough spots.

As I revisit this experience today I am convicted again that I’ve let my water intake lessen. My lips feel dry and scaly, and I’m sluggish. It’s amazing how something so simple as getting enough water makes such a huge difference.

How About You?

Any tricks to help you get your needed water intake? How about plateaus?

A New Prayer Walk Experience (Day 88)

Strange walking day. Drawn to and repulsed by a certain route, I followed my gut. I ended up in a unique situation where I sensed God wanted me to pray for a whole bunch of people I didn’t know.

So I did.

I walked through the crowd and prayed inside my heart.

At one point I felt assaulted—not by anything physical, but the feeling was so strong I took a step back. I looked to my right and a young man stood there staring at me, like he knew what I was up to and didn’t like it. His gaze was threatening.

I stared back.

Neither of us spoke, but I truly believe his spirit and mine had a confrontation. It was really weird.

I left the area then walked out and around the block where this gathering was. I praised God and prayed for light to penetrate darkness. That Scripture has been on my mind more than any other the last few months as I’ve fought my way back to health after the car accident:

“In Him (Jesus) was life and that life was the Light of all mankind. And the light penetrated the darkness andlight in dark the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1—writing from memory, I think I’m quoting the New International Version)

That’s so often my prayer now—for the True Light to penetrate the darkness of my life, of my neighborhood, of my world.                                                                              ~January 19, 2013

Real Time Update:

Yesterday I met a woman walking through a very difficult time. As I prayed for her I saw a picture in my mind of a path. It was pitch black all around her, but a bright light shone on her next step, then became a beam ahead of her, illuminating where she was to walk, even though the darkness was still on all sides. Makes me think again about that verse, how light penetrates darkness every time, how God will show us next steps, how He never leaves us consumed by the darkness.

How About You?

Where is light penetrating your darkness?

It’s Me! Really! (Day 87)

Today a friend who hadn’t seen me in a few months walked right past me. When I greeted her she said, “I wondered who that elegant blond was.”

“Yeah, right.” I replied.

“No! I really didn’t recognize you.”

Something similar happened earlier this week when one of my daughter’s best friends didn’t greet me. Suddenly she hopped up from her chair and said, “Miss Paula! You were so skinny I didn’t recognize you!”

It’s affirming to know that there really is a difference. This weight loss journey isn’t just in my head. It really is happening. But even more enlighting than my friend’s comment this morning was my trip with Jerry to Sam’s Club.

He pointed to the sugar and asked me to pick up three 10 pound bags. I could barely hold them. I got his point. That’s the extra weight I’ve lugged around all this time! I couldn’t believe how heavy they were.

I put a picture on fb. I love how encouraging people have been about my weight loss journey, once my daughter spilled the beans and I publically admitted it. Over 100 people liked the sugar picture, and I had a whole bunch of comments. It blew me away.

Oh, and my walk was gorgeous this morning. Strolled that new nature trail I found. I was greeted by the twitter of birds. Such a joyful sound! It climbed right through me and made me smile, too.

~  January 19, 2013

Real Time Update:

You can read more about my sugar bag picture (or view it) here. I’ve thought about taking a new sugar picture. Now I could hold FOUR ten pound bags. I love feeling normal again. If you’re on this weight loss journey, too, don’t get discouraged. It’s so WORTH the effort.

How About You?

Any fun friend comments? How many bags of sugar have you lost? How many do you want to lose?

Oh Yeah. That. (Day 86)

I should have known.

One thing I haven’t yet talked about on this blog is the effect of the monthly cycle on the weight loss journey. In last week’s entries I complained about emotional cravings. I was surprised they were so strong after having much reduced cravings on the BENew system. Last night I suddenly felt all bloated and icky and, well, if you’re female you know what came next.

I hadn’t had a cycle in a long time. Had hoped I was crossing that line through perimenopause to the other side of glorious freedom.

I guess not yet.

But the point is that PMSing affects how we deal with our food. As a young woman it meant a coke and fries every time. I can still hear my new husband’s voice early in our marriage, patiently explaining that adding caffeine and fat into my diet only made PMS worse. He talked me into a good calcium supplement and got me to a chiropractor and things settled down. But the craving for foods higher in fat content during PMS days has never gone away.

The good news is that even though I had a super rough start to my day after lying awake half the night, I scheduled a phone call with one of my best friends (who lives WAY too far away!) during my walk. The trek stretched to 5.28 miles before I decided I needed to turn off my tracking app and sit down for the rest of our conversation—which was a glorious two hours.

My friend and I do this every month or so, and it was super encouraging when she noted that I hadn’t huffed and puffed this time. She said she couldn’t even tell I was walking while I talked with her.

I dreamed last night that I was running. Not just the block or two I run periodically on my walks, but for a mile, then two, and I wasn’t even winded.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband and I are rebuilding after the parent company of his business canceled the products, leaving us without an income. We’re excited about what is happening in his life and our family now that he works for Life Force International, and we’re building toward a more secure financial future.

Meanwhile, we have lots of mouths to feed, and I’m becoming quite the gleaner, trying to eat healthier while blueberries to freezestill being very frugal. My friend, Niki Nowell, helps. She and her husband have a ministry to the homeless and are a hub for resources for them and for lots of others who struggle. She came across a bunch of blueberries the grocery store didn’t want to pick through . . . they were starting to turn, some of them no longer usable, but about half of each little 6 oz carton still was.


My friend sent me home from her house with two flats. I spent a couple of hours tonight sorting through the blueberries, keeping the good ones and tossing the bad. Then I froze them in 1 cup servings to go into my BEFull shake. I feel so blessed to find ways to eat healthy and enjoy the good blueberries frozenfood. I now have 14 cups of blueberries neatly stored in my freezer—and they cost me nothing but a little elbow grease.

~January 17, 2013


Real Time Update:

Still trying to get reorganized at our house! On Monday we finished up the last bit of painting in my son’s new bedroom, and now we’re trying to find a new home for everything that’s been piled in the living room and den for that last week. I’m hoping that I burned a lot of calories in the 8 days of decluttering, boxing stuff up, and painting we did because there was no time for exercise or even rest!

We did take Easter Sunday off of this major project. Jerry and I went out to breakfast, then met the kids at church. Back home we rested, walked a couple of leisurely miles, and sought to recuperate! I read a fun little inspirational novel called, “Sandwich with a Side of Romance.” It was the perfect way to unwind. Monday morning the amazing Jen came over to  finish up the final touch-ups on the painting. We’re almost there. It’s weird how this losing the junk in our home feels connected to losing the pounds off my body.

How About You?

What healthy foods do you delight in? What ways are you losing weight besides pounds off your body?

Bursting with Promise (Day 85)

white bark blue skyAfter day after day of frigid weather, it was 32 degrees when I awoke and checked the temperature. My spirits lifted at the thought of walking in sunshine and fresh air.

Here’s what I posted to Facebook when I returned home after three miles of walking, singing, praying, and just ENJOYING being out there:

Wonderful, glorious day. First I shed my gloves, then my scarf, and finally my coat. Couldn’t help but start singin’, too. Praising God for the snow-topped mountains, the abundant blue sky, the warm sunshine, and the smiles of those I passed.

THEN hubby decided he was strong enough to walk a short ways, despite his back issue. So I got another 20 minutes in the sunshine, this time with my lover, and burned 131 calories.

So . . .  I’m making one of my favorite dinners tonight even though the calorie count is a little higher. I can afford it because I walked roughly four miles total. The meal is still pretty healthy—chicken breasts in a wonderful garlic sauce . . . and I’ll have my salad instead of a whole bunch of pasta. Off to make dinner ya’ll . . . until next time!                                                                                                                     ~ January 16, 2013

Real Time Update:

It’s been a crazy week at the Moldenhauer’s. After 20 years of neglect, we totally decluttered our shared office and moved it upstairs into a gorgeous, freshly painted room. we’ve done a lot of shedding of weight in so many areas of our life! I’m down a steady 40 pounds now. Our home lost many more pounds in old files, old books, and stuff that is no longer needed. But as freeing as the increased space and decreased clutter is the emotional freedom that comes from letting go. Gone are files from old jobs, old dreams, our old life. I found a card in the midst of the decluttering:

The past, dissolving in the mist of time

Our future, ready for birth,

This moment, bright with promise,

Is yours and mine.