Category Archives: Middle Weight Loss Journey

Truth and Grace (Day 125)

How would YOU process this journal entry?

Day 125 ~ Down an inch in my waist and a half inch in my neck. Surprised that my thigh was actually a little bigger. Question: Is it because of the Pilates working different muscles and actually gaining muscle there or because I’ve not walked as much this month as last? Not too worried because my thighs are no longer my problem place. It’s the tummy and waist that still need to tone/lose.

I went two weeks without using My Fitness Pal App. I didn’t gain, but I didn’t lose as much as I wanted, so I think I will return to it until I reach my goal. It was nice taking a break, but I want to be a little more aggressive.

Reflecting on last week, I’m not sure how to think about the fact that I only exercised three days. It was a very difficult week between a few crises and my writing deadline.

Do I think, “Wow. I exercised three times despite snowy days, unusual stressful issues, and a writing deadline!”

Or maybe, “Okay. It wasn’t a great week. You didn’t exercise as much as you have been the last couple of months, but you DID exercise three times, something you wouldn’t have done a year ago. You just need to be more intentional this week now that some of the stress is off.”

Or should I be more proactive, “Even when you have especially difficult week, you need to prioritize taking care of the physical you. Exercise first, then it won’t get left out when the day gets more stressful than you expect.”

One thing I do know is with all the snow outside I need to prioritize Pilates or some inside work today and start this week right.

Or maybe I should just bundle up and brave the snow.  It looks really pretty out there. And that is what I would have done last December. Should I really let 8 inches of snow keep me inside?? ~ Feb. 25

Real Time Update:

So, what do you think? Which thought process would best suit YOUR needs?

All these months later I think I’m still a combination of all of them. I believe in focus and intentionality. Life gets stressful, but even in stress my health is important. Taking care of my body needs to be prioritized, but so does taking care of my heart. In high stress times I have to give myself grace. Getting more stressed because I’m not perfect in my health journey isn’t going to help me.

Maybe it comes back to something the pastors at our church say often: Truth AND Grace, not Truth OR Grace.

The truth is that healthy choices like exercise are imperative if I want to take good care of myself. Grace accepts me even when my efforts fall short of my goals. Truth reminds me that I have to take care of myself or eventually I won’t be able to take care of my responsibilities. Grace doesn’t beat me up when responsibilities push aside self-care.


What does Truth and Grace have to do with Weight Loss?


Be Prepared (Day 123)

Hi Folks!

Still scheduling ahead so I can be all about the wedding for a few days. My guess is I’m completely exhausted and either sleeping or trying to sleep as you read this post. Or helping take down the wedding tent!

Just because my life is in a circling pattern doesn’t mean yours is, so I’ll continue with the weight loss journal and one of these days when I come up for air I’ll share some wedding photos and stories!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Day 123 ~ My agent liked my work. Whew! Now the wait on the editor begins.

Stephen wins tournament 3Had some success at lunch today. I went to Stephen’s Mixed Martial Arts tournament. I hadn’t seen him compete before. He’s really good! I did feel sorry for the smaller guy when Stephen picked him up and slammed him on the mat, but I was pleased when my boy got first in his division.

His success was on the mat, but my success was dealing with the unhealthy high-priced food. I took my BeNew shake (chocolate with almond milk and no add-ins). I also had a protein bar in my purse, but I chose not to eat it because I planned a nice meal for the kids tonight and wanted to limit my calorie intake so I could eat more at supper. I’ll admit the over-priced fries and chicken fingers at those stupid concession stands actually smelled good to me. I don’t know if they would have tasted good. I haven’t had food like that for some time. I’m really glad I planned ahead for when I got hungry, took my shake, and didn’t take spending money.

Between the cold of February and my increased work load I’ve struggled to walk as much as I was doing. Today I couldn’t see how I could get a walk in and get everything done. Jerry suggested I walk to Sam’s Club for the groceries, and he would meet me there so I didn’t have to carry them home. Thus I got everything done AND walked a couple of miles. He’s a keeper.

Interesting, I haven’t eaten much pasta in the last few months, but I ate some at supper when I made one of the kid’s favorite meals.  I noticed that my fingers swelled a little later than night. There was a storm coming, so it may have been barometric pressure, but I wonder if it was the pasta! ~ Feb. 23, 2013

Real Time:

I’ve admitted here before that I don’t like to be scheduled too tightly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in planning, especially for health. A few minutes to grab a healthy snack, pack a healthy lunch, or prepare a BENew shake can mean the difference between success and caving to a moment of weakness.

To Ponder and Share:

Plan ahead. Carry a healthy snack. Be prepared for hunger.

Overcome temptation by being prepared.

Preparation: the difference between success and caving to weakness.

Battling the Deadline

Maybe you, like me, have chosen a career that is in direct conflict with a toned, healthy body. When I started writing seriously I gained 3-5 pounds a year. It kept creeping on and “suddenly” I was obese.


Work can be never ending . . .

The sedentary aspect of the job is only part of the issue. The other issues are probably similar to things you deal with in your job, things like deadlines that make you work long hours, stress that makes you crave chocolate, projects that are so overwhelming you don’t take a lunch break or have enough time in your day for exercise.

Chances are you don’t get to work in your jammies like I often do, but we share a lot of the same struggles I wrote about in my weight loss journal:

Day 121 Crazy day! When my first guests arrived for the wrap party hosted by my friend and fellow author, Alison Strobel Morrow, I was still in my gown! Seriously! Since I needed to get a proposal to my agent I figured I’d get up early and start working. When I finished I would work-out, clean the house, shower, and be gorgeous for the wrap party.


I hit send on my proposal as the doorbell rang about 6:30 that night, let the first two people in, then rushed off to brush my hair and put clothes on. Sheesh! No exercise, no decent food. . . and  here I was, house not so clean and me not so clean. But we had fun at the wrap party anyway—and I lost ¼ inch around my waist in the first 45 minutes. ~Feb. 21

Day 122 ~ How have I let this happen? I haven’t exercised since Monday, and it’s Friday! Thought I might make a strong focus of exercise this morning until I opened my email and found that my agent wanted several things in the proposal that I hadn’t put it. Next thing you know I’m reliving Thursday and working all day in my gown. But this deadline pretty much trumps everything.

I eventually got frustrated with my lack of creative progress and wanted to reach for snacks. I was proud of myself when I took a break and did 40 minutes of Pilates instead! Then it was back to the grindstone.

I never did get my work being as perfect as I wanted it to be–or maybe I did and didn’t know it. I called a writer friend and read it to her before I could hit the send key. She assured me I’d done good work. Her words gave me enough courage to call it finished  When I finally sent it off to my agent it was with the plea that if I was stupid instead of clever she would let me know. Sometimes I just can’t tell. ~ Feb. 22

As I’ve said before, life rarely looks like I’ve planned it. It’s easy to get thrown off track in the weight loss journey, but every step forward moves us toward our goal. Even when things aren’t perfect, like in these two journal entries, we can make a single decision we wouldn’t have made before–like when I did Pilates instead of snacking–and still be moving in the right direction. We can choose strong nutritional support that helps carry us through the stress times.

My career–and maybe yours–doesn’t lend itself to a healthy body. But I’m not powerless. Sometimes the deadline battle trumps everything else in the short-term. I just can’t let that be for the long-term. Because I am important, not just my responsibilities. If I don’t take care of me eventually I can’t take care of my responsibilities.

To ponder and share:

A single right decision keeps us moving forward.

Some careers work against a healthy body, but we aren’t powerless.

If I don’t take care of myself eventually I can’t take care of anything else.

Skinny Jeans and Starbucks (Day 120)

Read this journal entry at your own risk!

Day 120 It was a drive Sam around and then wait kind of day–and uh, so I played.skinny jeans

When I took Sam to physical therapy I chose to shop rather than workout. How could I not? I happened to know that Target had a major clearance and, hey, I’ve lost enough weight I need some clothes! I bought  skinny jeans for $6.88. When I showed them to Sam, he snickered and said, “I guess you’re ready for Bingo.”

Huh? Then it dawned on me that he thought my super cool, flowered skinny jeans were for the older crowd who frequent his baseball team’s Bingo fundraisers.

Not a problem. I’ll just wear them in front of his friends if he continues to tease me.

I wanted a new coat I don’t swim in, but I didn’t find anything on clearance that I loved. I don’t want to buy just because it is inexpensive, which is my temptation. I want to buy because it looks fantastic.

Later it was off to Driver’s Ed with Sam. I had a wonderful time working at Starbucks while I waited for him for three hours. I wrote a scene about snow as I stared out the plate glass window at the big, fluffy flakes waltzing to the ground. (Pretty cool my WIP (Work In Progress) needed a snow scene!)

Of course snow means coffee. I did it. I ordered a yummy Starbucks. Do you have any idea how many calories are in those things?? Shocking! My favorites have more calories than I eat most meals now! I did modify what I would have bought in the past and ordered something with less calories, but I also bought one of those tiny cake pops.

I guess when a girl can fit into new skinny jeans she can handle a little Starbucks.

But when Sam and I finally made it home through the storm, I ate only a small bowl of low calorie taco soup for supper! ~ Feb. 20

Real Time:

Okay, okay. I hope that post wasn’t too risky for you. If you suddenly skip exercise to shop or can’t resist a Starbucks run, just remember yesterday’s post and make your NEXT choice to return to the path of perseverance.

Seriously, I didn’t feel badly about my choices that day. I was mindful at Starbucks. (The old me would have had a 500 calorie white chocolate peppermint!) And my NEXT CHOICE  was to eat light and healthy after my three hours with the snow and doctored up coffee.

Now that I’m a normal weight and working only to refine what I’m already comfortable with in my body, I stand by what I’ve said all along. I want this journey to be something I do long-term. I want life-change, not just weight loss.

I’m not going to deprive myself of special Starbucks moments for the rest of my life. On the other hand, the new me plans to be mindful for the rest of my life about how I treat my body. My norm will be healthy choices. My norm will be intentionality about a lifestyle that includes movement, exercise, and sunshine.

My goal is a healthier future, not just a skinnier today. (Which is why I LOVE the nutritional value of my BENew products!)

For me, the weight loss journey must be sustainable. And I can sustain an occasional Starbucks, just not a daily one.

How About You? How do you move toward your goals of a healthier you in a way you can sustain?

Share with your Twitter Buddies:

The goal is a healthier future, not just a skinnier today.

The weight loss journey must be sustainable.

Embrace a New Day (Days 118 and 119)

Every morning is a new day to embrace. The sun may set on a day of disappointments, but it rises to possibilities for success!sunset 2

Real life rarely looks like you planned it–at least not at my house.

Earlier this week I blogged about determination and discipline. The posts I found in my journal for today show my reality–some days you’re determined and disciplined and feel close to God, the world, and yourself. Others? Not so much.

Day 118 ~ Worked for the morning. Did 30 minutes of Pilates. Worked for the afternoon. Took a walk just before sunset. I felt drawn to a nearby middle school and circled it several times. Found myself praying a lot for the kids there. A bunch of guys played soccer in a field nearby, and I prayed God would raise a leader who would keep those kids engaged in healthy things, like that soccer game, and away from damaging choices. ~ Feb. 18

Day 119 ~ Another Tuesday without exercise. With my back to back appointments every Tuesday I don’t get it in unless I am very focused.. I am so proud of myself when I get up in time to go outside or do Pilates before my morning appointment, but I didn’t today. I didn’t even try. It was really cold, and I just couldn’t bring myself to face the outside temperatures. And I was in a bad mood, so no alternative exercise. Ugh. Someone with a bit more determination might come home and worked out late in the evening, but by the time I got home it was about 7:30, and I was starving and exhausted and done! ~  Feb. 19

And here we in May. Today was one of those determined/disciplined days when all feels right with the world and my heart. I’ve exercised, made healthy choices, been productive at my work, and enjoyed time with my God, my husband, and my best friend. Had a great conversation with the bride-to-be who, like her mother, seems to be having an all is right with the world day.

You probably wouldn’t have wanted to talk with either of us a couple of days ago, though, when we were still working on wedding stuff at 10 p.m., sitting at Village Inn, stuffing our faces, and trying not to cry . . .

If I were to search for take-away value for today’s blog I guess I’d say that snapshots of real life just aren’t picture perfect. They are . . . real. Some days the sun sets on disappointments. Some days when it sets we feel successful.

The question is what do we do with life’s ups and downs? What I’m hanging onto more every day is that whole idea that perseverance is only one choice away. Success on the weight loss journey, as well as in real life, is not about doing everything perfectly. It’s about getting up each morning and making the choices that lead to your goals. It’s about forgiving yourself when you think you don’t measure up and not letting the down days steal away the successful ones.

His mercies are new every morning.

So . . . let’s take THIS day, THIS choice, and use it to empower us toward success!

Encourage your friends:

His mercies are new every morning.

Real life isn’t perfect, but it is full of perfectly wonderful moments.

Don’t let a bad yesterday steal the promise of a successful today.

Top it with Cholula Sauce!

salad chicken, salsa, cholula

Ever need a salad with a kick? My great discovery is: Top it with Cholula sauce!

The salad pictured here is spring lettuce, ground chicken, salsa and Cholula sauce.

I LOVE it. Easy. Healthy. Low calories. Filling.

But most of all? TASTY

Share the flavor:

Top it with Cholula Sauce

Low calorie doesn’t have to be bland

Be Empowered (Day 115)

blancePrioritizing my health goals is empowering! It’s a beautiful May day here in Colorado. I took a break from my work for a nice, long walk with my sweetheart, then did shaping exercises here at home. When I hit the computer again my head was clearer, my attitude better, and I felt empowered!

Looking back at my weight loss journey, empowered is how I felt last Feb. when I quit letting the weather block my exercising and did something different:

Day 115 ~ I told Jerry this morning that I don’t think I’ve gained or look heavier, but I FEEL heavier since I haven’t exercised much this week. I also told him I think it is easier to blow it off without the accountability of the Fitness app. When you don’t have to see the bar turn red when you go over calorie count, you don’t have to think about your choices as much. Exercise kept that bar from going red even when I ate a little more.

Funny. When I took a break from My Fitness Pal I thought I’d struggle with food, but I think I’m struggling more with exercise. I’m not sure if this is going to work for me, but I want to give myself a few more days to see.

It’s still really cold outside, but since I only exercised on Tuesday of this week, I HAD to figure something out. I did Pilates for the first time since December 2011!! (I quit after my January accident in 2012 due to whiplash, and just when my PT released me to do them again I had another car accident!) I am sore now, mostly in my neck, but it felt like a major step forward to pull that DVD out! AND, I feel empowered that I did SOMETHING physical even though I have a huge pile of work waiting for my attention. ~ Feb. 15

Real Time Update:

I think I’m having mother-of-bride syndrome! Today at the bank there was this precious three year old on her mom’s hip. She was all dressed in a pink dress, and had sleepy eyes. Her mom had to awaken her to bring her in. I about burst into tear then and there! How can my baby girl be getting married??


Exercise clears your head so you can be more productive.

Finding a way to meet your goals when they seem blocked is empowering!

Be empowered. Meet a blocked goal.

How About You?

How can you enjoy the sunshine? Meet a blocked goal?

Treating Myself with Balance (Day 114)

Balance. It’s that word again. Balance in the way I treat myself.

Balance says:

  • You didn’t meet every goal, but you met some important ones. Now, how can we move forward in the places you didn’t succeed?

    balancing act 2

    Life is a balancing act!

  • The work you do for others is important, but taking care of yourself is just as important
  • You’ve been at the computer for a few hours. Take a walk, even if you only have time for a mile.
  • Disappointment is natural, but don’t stay mad at yourself. Forgive yourself like you would others. Personal perfection is not attainable.
  • Don’t give into a failure cycle. You missed an opportunity to move forward today. So? Move forward tomorrow. Just don’t let it turn into a habit of missed opportunities.
  • It’s okay to be honest about where you fell short. It’s not okay to beat yourself up over it.

Here’s the journal entry that spurred those thoughts:

Day 114:  If weight loss is two steps forward and one step back, today was a one-step back day. Not because I went crazy with food, but because I didn’t prioritize exercise AGAIN. It was a work from home day, and I was very focused on a project. I decided not to walk because it was very cold. Since I didn’t have to go anywhere I stayed in my gown, thinking it would remind me to at least do some simple exercises in my livingroom. But I didn’t start with exercise, and all the work seemed paramount.

You guessed it. At bedtime I was still in my gown!

I suppose pajama days are okay, but not exercising for the second day in a row is NOT. I had a bit of a battle with myself at bedtime. Part of me was mad at me. All of me was disappointed in me. I didn’t exercise, and the work I did on the writing project went much more slowly than I expected, so not even that felt successful.

Then I reminded myself I actually had a very full and successful day in regard to my job as ACFW Colorado Coordinator. God is opening all kinds of doors in the work I do with the state, and it was super exciting to see it all come together. There I was productive.

Another success was that  I finished step 1 out of 3 on the embroidery I am doing for Sarah. It’s really cool. I pulled several embellishments from the hat I wore on my wedding day, and I’m adding in silver threads to them to match the bead work on her gown. We’re detaching the veil from the hat and remaking it for her to wear on her special day. This successful progress is heartfelt.

I accomplished GOOD stuff, just not in balance. Too many long stretches of sedentary work without getting up and MOVING. I didn’t give myself the focus I needed to be healthy. Balance remembers to take care of my own needs, not just my responsibilities. ~ Feb. 14

How About You? How do you speak to yourself? Do you forgive yourself and move on when you don’t meet your goals? Do you think about yourself with balance?

I hope today’s thoughts encouraged you! Encourage others by clicking a tweetable:

Balance takes care of my needs, not just my responsibilities.

Treating my body and heart with balance brings success.

Use balance in how you see yourself.

Progress Not Perfection: Days 112 and 113

The journey to a healthier body is more about forward movement than perfect execution. Just read these in my weight loss journal:

Day 112  Walked over four miles today. Amazing how the miles fly when I’m on the phone! It felt good to get back outside after three days without walking. ~ Feb. 12

Day 113 Another busy, busy day . . . and I didn’t exercise. I think I’m doing okay with what I’m eating since I quit recording everything in My Fitness Pal, but knowing I don’t have to look at the calories drop on the app makes it easier to snitch that little bite of chocolate or other unhealthy foods. I need to watch that. ~ Feb. 13

Here it is May. If I were still writing in my weight loss journal, the entries for this week would look a lot like those above. There were day I ate light and days I didn’t. Days when I exercised and days when I didn’t. Days when I did some focused work on the spots that need toning, and days I didn’t. But overall, I’m not blowing off the journey. I’ve learned to be mindful about what goes in my mouth and how often I move.

sit upEven without perfection, the scale was less this morning. My clothes fit better. I’m healthier.

It’s not the daily perfection; it’s the forward progress.

It’s not quitting because I had a bad day yesterday; it’s living in the new mercies of each day.

Have a beautiful, healthy day, my friends! Enjoy some sunshine. Do five sit-ups. Eat something healthy. Turn away from a choice that would hold you back and turn toward one that propels you forward!

Tweetable (Click the link below to twitter and encourage your friends on their weight loss journey!):

It’s not the daily perfection; it’s the forward progress

How About You? What one choice will you make today that is forward progress?

Balsamic Chicken (Day 110)

balsamic chicken 2

Balsamic Chicken. The recipe is one of the resources you get in the BENew meal plan when you order the BENew weight loss health products.


Balsamic Chicken is a new favorite!

Low Calorie.



I  cook it in a crock pot so it’s ready when I return in the evening on days I work outside the my home office.

The BENew meal plan, where you can find the recipe, recommends you serve it with whole wheat pasta, but today I made brown rice instead.

Part of my be new journey is learning to cover half my plate in salad before I put anything else there. Today my salad is mixed spring lettuce and baby spinach with a chopped apple and pecans.

I love to light a candle to make everything seem more special. Healthy eating and weight loss shouldn’t be drudgery. Good food is beautiful, and the taste is fabulous!