Monthly Archives: November 2013

Free Spirits and Tools of the Trade

phoneCounting calories is so not me.  I’m a free spirit who hates numbers and isn’t too crazy about routine.  I don’t like that much structure, and I hate math. Yet when I first started losing weight I tracked my food religiously. It was hard, but I found it a necessary tool in meeting my goal. I believe refusing to take this step would have been self-sabotage. Getting the My Fitness Pal App on my phone helped a lot–it did the math and already knew many of the calorie counts for the food I ate.

Eventually I tired of counting calories, but I stuck with it long enough to get the general idea of the “price tag” of the foods I was eating. Equipped with this knowledge I can “budget” my food much more wisely. For the first time in my life I have a sense of how much that cookie really “costs” and what a “great deal” all that lettuce is.

I bring this up because certain personalities (like mine) rebel against such structure. I couldn’t sustain calorie counting forever; it would drive me crazy. But I did need to step outside my comfort zone for a few months so I could learn the “truth” that would set me free to make better and more educated decisions for the rest of my life.

As I edited the above thoughts conviction hit. There are some new “tools” of the trade I need to embrace as I’m making changes in my work life, seeking to fit more into the day and feeling scattered and not nearly as productive as I’d like to be.

I’m considering structure again. A more detailed plan for time management. A stricter schedule. I’m not sure what that is going to look like, but at least I’m to the point of being open to exploration of the concept, despite the fact the idea makes me what to kick and scream. (Ya’ll can pray for me.)

What about you? Are there areas where you self-sabotage in weight loss or in life rather than step into a place of discomfort, even for a season?

Even a free spirit sometimes needs a little structure here and there.

Encouragement for Thanksgiving

turkeySeveral of my friends are stressing about entering the holiday season. I get it. When you’re working hard to win the battle for a new body and more active life, all the excess food available is daunting.

But here’s the truth. Between October and Jan last year I lost 32 pounds, and you can keep losing, too. I don’t remember feeling deprived. I do remember being intentional.

Here’s a bit of advice for Thanksgiving from someone whose been there:

  • It’s not what you do one day that sabotages weight loss. It’s what you do 90% of the time
  • Even on the holidays it doesn’t pay to eat until your stomach hurts
  • Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite treats, just take smaller portions
  • If you’re using weight loss support, like the Benew products I used, keep using them that day
  • Consider taking a walk after enjoying your turkey. If that doesn’t fit the family schedule, make a point to exercise on Wed. and Friday
  • Be intentional about how you approach the day. Give yourself freedom to enjoy it without guilt, but don’t totally blow off wisdom.
  • Remember the tricks: More salad, less potatoes. If you eat big at lunch, eat less the other meals. Find a way to move.

Let’s face it: Thanksgiving is about the food. While that doesn’t mean you have to take seconds or thirds, you will eat more than you normally do. But one day won’t ruin what you’re trying to accomplish as long as you return to your new good habits on Friday and keep to them! Honestly, last year I think I had pie for breakfast on Friday morning, but I put it into my calorie counter app and kept the rest of the day within my goals.

The biggest Thanksgiving danger is not the day itself. It’s the day after and the day after that. Enjoy your day, but commit to making it only ONE day, not a week of celebrating that turns into continued betrayal of your goals.

And while you’re enjoying all that abundance, take a minute to thank those who provided, starting with the Giver of all good gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tips for enjoying Thanksgiving without self-sabotage

My First Vlog! (Focus!)

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Victorious Small Successes

IMAG2685“Self-control starts by making one good choice.” Lysa TerKeurest

Don’t you love the idea of victorious small successes?

That means we can feel successful several times a day! We can celebrate each tiny step forward. When we fall down it doesn’t have to sabotage us, we can just make a good choice the next time and celebrate victory again!

In her Made to Crave Devotional, Lysa TerKeurest said, “Sometimes victory seems so far away because we measure it only by the end goal. And end goals can seem overwhelmingly huge, daunting, and just plain hard to reach. But if we start measuring our victories by the smaller choices we make each day, victory won’t seem so impossible.”

I appreciated the Scripture Lysa chose, too. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance;”

It’s similar to a verse that deeply impacted me in college, found in Romans 5:3-4: “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

In both of these Scriptures perseverance played an important role. Today I’m applying Lysa’s verse to weight loss. In college I studied this verse during a time of great despair. I remember life being so hard that I saw it in black and white. It was like all the color drained out. I even contemplated suicide. I have several memories of God’s intervention in that time, but two stick out. The first is that I walked to class and felt led to take an unusual route. I passed an amazing flower that was exactly my favorite color. I KNEW He was showing it to me, and the bright happy pink burst upon my black and white world.

The second was the study of that Scripture. The commentary I read talked about how hope is the mark of Christian maturity, how if we allow God to produce perseverance in our suffering, our character will deepen, and eventually we will discover hope. (And hope does not disappoint.)

Hang with me; this is all coming together in my mind. Putting these two concepts together is important, I think, for the weight loss journey.

Lysa says, “Self-control starts by making one good choice.” Her Scripture said that self-control produces perseverance, and my Scripture said that perseverance produces hope.

If we make that one good choice–whether it be in weight loss or in life–we can celebrate that small success. As we persevere, one good choice after another, celebrating each one, hope grows! We can truly begin to believe in change, that life can be different. That we can overcome our struggle, whether it be with our weight or some other life issue.

As Lysa said, “Big things are built one brick at a time. Victories are achieved one choice at a time. A life well lived is chosen one day at a time.”

Yes, Lord, help us all build a path to victory one choice at a time!

How about you? Let’s celebrate a victorious choice!

Celebrate victory one good choice at a time.

Finally Content

charm 1Last Christmas my daughter gave me a charm. The instructions? I wasn’t allowed to add it to my charm bracelet until I reached whatever weight felt right to me.

The charm, a flirty little red dress, sat in my jewelry box until this week.

I’m finally comfortable with the new me.

I haven’t actually lost weight since last summer; I’m still roughly 55 pounds lighter than a year ago. But thanks to the fat shrinking component of my BENew metabolism booster, my body has continued to shape up even without change on the scale, and I feel content.

I love the little charm, not only because it was Sarah’s way of cheering me on, but also because it continued a tradition I started with the kids. That bracelet boasts baseballs, gymnastics, skiier and hockey figurines, a drama mask, graduation hat, and even a tiny engagement ring–all to celebrate special accomplishments and moments the kids experienced. I love it that my daughter wanted to commemorate this achievement of mine.

I weigh myself every week or so, and I’ve been able to stick within 2 or 3 pounds either side of the 55 pound weight loss. It’s a bit of a trick learning to maintain, but if I notice the scale climb I charm 2am more intentional about watching what goes in my mouth for a few days and it dips back down.

So after maintaining my new weight for a few months I feel good about putting that little red dress on my bracelet and believing this really did happen for me.

A sassy red dress and a bracelet

Need Consistent Weight Loss Encouragement?

Do you ever need a pick-me-up about 11 or 3 or at that night-time snack time? Something that helps you get your focus back?

I’ve been trying to think of a way to offer my followers more consistent support on their weight loss journeys. This is my new plan. Several times a day I’m tweeting quick thoughts I hope will encouragetwitter-follow-achiever us through-out the day. I’m tweeting under the twitter handle paulamoldenhaue (my name minus the the r!) and consistently use hashtags like: #weightloss #joy #simplepleasures

I plan to continue to blog here about the deeper issues of the Be New Journey, but hope these quick tweets will help all of us stay focused on our success!

Come and find me!

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Beyond Wishful Thinking

san diego toe“When it comes to personal growth in how we care for our health, we need to move beyond wishful thinking.” Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave Devotional

For years I lay awake at night, the reality of my obesity weighing upon me. I wanted to change, but I did nothing except wish I could.

Actually, that’s not true. I prayed, whispering into the darkness, “This is out of control, Lord. Show me what to do about it.”

Eventually, He did. At just the right time He brought BeNew into my life, and I slowly formed a plan. It didn’t all come together the first week or the second. I gradually reduced calories and added exercise. I faithfully took my weight loss support.

Yesterday my husband and I wore matching turquoise shirts to church. How his eyes lit up when I pulled them from the closet and suggested we wear them. See, these shirts were purchased almost 25 years ago in Carmel, CA.

We bought them on our honeymoon. My 55 plus weight loss and his 20 pound drop means we can wear them again after many years of leaving them in storage. His eyes twinkled all morning, enjoying the great memories and the fact that both of us were able to once again fit in them.

The real work is done. God led me on a journey and gave me a plan for health. Now it’s a daily decision to continue the habits I’ve worked so hard to establish–to fill half my plate with fresh vegetables and fruits instead of majoring on the carbs, to take a walk or do some crunches, to have ONE chocolate, not five.

It’s hard to get it through my thick head that this plan is a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix. It’s easier to fall back into old habits even though I’ve had new ones for months! It goes back to that whole concept of intentionality, of being mindful of my choices.

Back to the plan I established and committed to God.

My plan has been pretty simple. Take BeNew. Move more. Eat wiser in a way I can sustain, and mostly to look to Him for wisdom and strength for the journey.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

What’s your plan?

What do you think it means to commit it to the Lord?

Father,
Thank you for this reminder that our health is important to you. That you care about our weight loss journey and the plans we’ve made to help us toward success. Please establish our plans. Help us to be wise in how we approach this journey, and help it become something we can sustain. Thank you for walking with us.

(BTW, just noticed the kindle version of the Made to Crave Devotional is on sale for $5.99)

San Diego III – Embracing a New Community

I can do the convention thing.

I love connecting with and old friends, learning, and growing. I love hearing what works for others and cheering them on. At the Life Force National Convention a special treat was meeting people who follow this blog and have shared it with friends and family. I can’t begin to explain how encouraging it is for a writer to know her words have made a difference.

I will admit to a few awkward moments, where people greeted me like an old friend. I’m sure they thought they knew me because they’d seen my weight loss pictures or blog, but I knew we’d never actually met. Still, it says something about the beauty of the community where a room is full of welcoming, smiling faces and hugs are offered freely.

san diego 63I awoke every morning to the sunrise through beautiful arched windows. Sharing a condo with others on my team was amazing. You get to know people when you see them with bed-hair first thing in the morning.

I loved doing real community where one person borrows my almond milk while another shares Vitali-C with me. Meanwhile I’m literally holding my knees together waiting for a turn at the bathroom at the same time I’m throwing clothes across the sofa for a friend to pick from because her suitcase was left behind.

I’m not my gifted daughter, who knows what to put with what and how to make everyone’s natural beauty shine, but I loved suggesting this necklace or that. Maybe the whole experience was a throw-back to my college days when people were everywhere and a fair amount of chaos abounded.

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Getting ready for the gala was a huge family kind of moment. You should have seen us–grown women styling each other’s hair, sharing clothes and jewelry.

There were a few guys in our condo. Thankfully that night they were wise enough to mostly stay quiet and out of the way!

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The one who put together this family lodge was the amazing Robin. She has a heart of gold and has been right there for me all the way, always working to ensure I have the best opportunities to learn and grow. Being with her in this very real environment only made me love her more.

She did the mom thing beautifully–encouraging everyone to go to bed so I could sleep (I’d opted for the couch–less $$ and the chance to be in the middle of the hub-bub of my new community), and getting  little sleep herself as she arose before dawn to do things like drive people to the airport. Robin did a lot of encouraging me on my freak-out day, which wasn’t this one and is for another story.

The gala that night was a ton of fun. I got to once-again wear my friend Megan DiMaria‘s beautiful dress.  I returned it last Saturday at a writer’s seminar. She introduced me to another friend of hers saying, “this is my friend Paula who’s taken my dress all over the country, and this is my friend who has taken my dresses all over the world.”

Thinking back to my first San Diego post all I can say to that is someday I plan to be the one taking dresses all over the world!

I could blab on forever about my experiences, but it seems like if you’re kind enough to read about my benew journey there ought to be a some kind-of take away value. As I think about it, the thought that rises to the surface is how important it is to surround yourself with good community. When considering a job, a volunteer organization, a business partner, a church, or anything else, let the kind of people that place attracts be a guide in your decision-making.

The reason we got involved with Life Force International initially was because we experienced such amazing results with the product. But the reason we chose to become involved in the business of LF was the community. Long before I saw this as anything but a new venture for my husband, he was all in. Why? He told me he’d rarely been in an organization who lived out servant leadership like LF does.

Now that I’m buying into this new business venture, I see what he means as I embrace this unique community, and it welcomes me.

When making choices about a job or other community, consider the people the place attracts.

San Diego II – The Beach

Some sidewalks led to more exotic spaces than others.

san diego sidewalk

Not that I don’t like strolling through my neighborhood, but there was an extra excitement bubbling forth as Sarah and David urged me down the sidewalk in San Diego leading to the beach. I couldn’t resist stopping to capture pictures of sea lions

san diego sea lions

and several of the dipping sun.

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But Sarah and David ran ahead, calling that I must hurry if I was going to watch the sunset from the sand.

So I rushed ahead only to pause and snap more shots, then revel in the fact that I could run barefoot across the lawn of a green park and catch up to them. A year, and almost 60 pounds ago, I couldn’t have done it. I’m still shocked than I can now.

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Once across the little park we rushed down some stairs to a beach so we could feel sand beneath our feet

san deigo toes

and dip our toes in the ocean

san diego toe

as the sun took her own stroll on the horizon.

IMAG2685san diego 59san diego 8

While she journeyed, we played her glow.

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Once the sun disappeared

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into the ocean

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all that was left was a faint fragment of light reminding us of where she’d been. It was hard to see anything but shadowed outlines.

Sarah urged me to walk a little closer to a big rock. Trusting soul that I am, I did. Not making any new discoveries I questioned the quest, and she urged me on. I stepped closer. Suddenly the big rock arched it’s back, and I realized I was just across the space of my living room from a sea lion!

Delightful! (But too dark to capture on film.)

Sharing the moment with Sarah and David, knowing we were there for work, but playing together as family, was surreal. A hunger grew within to share this type of thing with Jerry and all the kids. To work and travel together, seeing the world, experiencing sunsets on horizons all across this great planet. And I was reminded of that day on the mountain last July when God told me it was okay to dream of such things.

Tweetable:

Some sidewalks lead to more exotic beaches than others.

San Diego – And We’re Off!

Sometimes when you see the world, you can’t take a sidewalk, you have to stroll a jet stream.

It’s been years since I traveled west. In fact, best I can remember it was 15 years ago when we went to Hawaii. At the time Sarah was all of six years old. This time I flew with her and her HUSBAND! In case you’re wanting an update on the newlyweds, I think this picture says it all.

san diego 52Aren’t they cute??

Soaring above the snow-capped Rockies was breath-taking.

flying 2

I love to fly. I only wish the pilot would have announced it when we flew over the Grand Canyon. I’m fairly certain I recognized the landmark far below, but a confirmation would have been nice.

san diego canyon 2 (2)

For me, the trip was all about my new foray into the world of learning to become a business woman. Sharing the experience with Sarah and David was an added bonus. There are few businesses left where a family can work together for the common goal, but network marketing affords this rare treat. And even better, no one is the boss but everyone helps each other. I love this servant-leadership business model.

I had much to learn at the Life Force National Convention. Some of it I continue to process. You never know what’s going to bubble to the top when you get plopped into a new paradigm. But most of that story is for another post.

This day’s goal was to tour the home office. It was fun to pose in front of the sign of the company who helped bring Jerry and I back to health through its nutrition and weight loss products.

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Maybe it’s homeschool mom hangover, but I love field trips. I even loved wearing the stupid hairnets,

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seeing the bright blues rows of Body Balance and the huge vats where raw product is stored,

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and touring the shipping area and office space.

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Maybe I loved it all because I feel such a connection to this place, such gratitude for the people who formulated and marketed these products that have helped restore my health.

Or maybe it’s a piece of the American Dream that beckons me, reminding me that a business can start in someone’s garage just because a man was determined to find a way to help his wife get well. That little dreams can grow into full-fledged companies that sell product all over the world, helping people like me overcome health issues. And that the success of this garage business grew into something that helps people like me grow her own home business.

That just might be it.

I talk a lot about freedom on this blog. Usually it’s the inside-out kind, like losing weight inside to help ensure the weight on the outside stays off. Or finding freedom from the negatives of life, shedding old thinking patterns, and walking forward less encumbered.

Many years ago the Lord showed me that the novel I was writing was about my life call–joining with Him in setting captives free. I’d been set free from  great spiritual and emotional bondage and wanted everyone to find what I’d found. I spent the next 12 years writing devotionals, Sunday School curriculum, articles, and stories to share my passion. Then the car accidents happened and I couldn’t write for a season and the Lord used that time to introduce me to another area of bondage in my life.

Almost exactly a year ago God brought Life Force and the Benew weight loss line into my world and started teaching me a new kind of freedom–freedom from the outside weight. Freedom of movement. New joy.

I’m still processing that learning curve, and now He’s sent me on a new one, learning freedom from financial encumbrance. As I was to find out at the Life Force Convention, this kind of freedom, like the weight loss journey or the spiritual and emotional healing journeys I’ve been on, is also an inside-out discovery. More on that another day . . .

Until next time . . . enjoy your world one sidewalk–or jet stream–at a time.

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Enjoy life one sidewalk (or jet stream) at a time.