Category Archives: The Early Weight Loss Journey

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Practical Tips to Break the Food Addiction

OUCH: “When the desire for treats is triggered by difficult emotions, it’s not really a desire for treats. It’s a thinly veiled attempt at self-medication . . . our souls are thirsty and ravenous . . . if we fail to . . . fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our loneliness with other temporary physical pleasures . . . this issue is bigger than emotions; it’s really about spiritual deprivation . . . and self-medicating with food . . . vicious cycles I must avoid.” Lysa TerKeurst

One of the best parts of my journey to health has been discovering some of the “whys” behind my eating choices and learning to be mindful of those when I want to reach for food. It’s amazing how the realization that I’m trying to fill an emotional need with something that won’t satisfy, but will instead derail my goals, gives me strength to walk away.

Sometimes it is now as simple as a quick prayer breathed to the Lord, telling Him I want Him to fill my needs, not food.

It was harder earlier in my journey. Maybe because the cravings were more physical than they are now-metting with agent 2-along with being emotional, which they still are. During that time period I found a cup of licorice spice or peppermint tea helped curb the cravings and still felt like a treat. I could sip my no calorie tea and do something else I enjoyed rather than eat–like read a book, write in my journal, chat with a friend, or play on Facebook. I read later that peppermint tea curbs the appetite when you’re hungry and Licorice tea (I like Stash Licorice Spice) curbs sugar cravings!

God is sweet to give us great tasting, no calorie options. Early in my journey I also found that taking a walk when I got a craving was a great alternative. Once I started walking I no longer felt hungry, and the time it required often took me to the next scheduled meal, so I didn’t think about snacking between.

The other cool thing is that walking never fails to connect me back to God. I hear the birds and am grateful for the beauty of their song–and next thing I know I’m thanking God for the gift. Or the sun shines or me, or the sky is a brilliant blue, or I see a flower, a tree, a mountain . . . or I simply feel the fresh air upon my face. Nature draws me to the Creator. Another cool thing that often happens as I walk is that He’ll prompt me to prayer or I’ll use the time to listen to Scripture on the audio Bible app on my phone.

The last few weeks we’ve talked about spiritual practices and how they relate to weight loss, but God created us mind, body, emotions, and spirit. We also need tangible, practical, physical plans to help us succeed in our journey to breaking the food addiction.

What practical plan do you have for the next time you are tempted to self-medicate with food?


Help me not to self-medicate with food. Give me what it takes to break the cycles of food addiction. Free me to enjoy my life, not just my food. To find freedom not in eating anything I want, but in choosing a fuller life over a fuller tummy. Help me to turn to You when I am tempted to self-medicate. Be my healer. Show me healthy alternatives to my addictions, even if for a while they are simply distractions. But in the long run, draw me to Yourself.

Being practical in overcoming the need to self-medicate with food

PS. I truly believe my Benew products have reduced cravings and helped my physical self in this journey to break the food addiction cycles.


Counting Out a Serving Days 68 & 69

salsaStayed under calorie count today by having a shake for dinner, which is usually my heaviest meal. This afternoon I craved salsa, which isn’t so bad. Low calories, pretty healthy . . . BUT what to eat it on? I gave in to some processed food but felt good about how I handled it. Here’s what my friend Kathleen taught me: if you eat chips or crackers, just count out a serving, put the bag/box away, and only eat that much! ~ December 30, 2012

I weighed first thing when I got up this morning. 183, baby! Today is December 31st, and 183 is almost 30 pounds lighter than I was January 2012.  Wahooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I’m down a bunch of inches! If you add up what I’ve lost in the bust, waist, hips, thighs, and biceps, it totals 15 inches!

I had a busy, busy day and no time for a nice long walk, but I was so proud of myself. I made a point to go just one mile of a walk/run, which doesn’t even take 15 minutes, burns about 200 calories with the hills I go up and down, and makes me feel empowered! But .  .  . it is SO cold to walk outside in 20 degree weather. Still, I’ll take that over a treadmill any day! ~ December 31, 2012

Real Time Update:

I’ve lost another 13 pounds since the post above. The weight comes off more slowly as there is less of it, and I’m feeling so much thinner that I find motivation is more difficult. I move with ease and feel younger and look normal. It’s easy to think, “I’m not so bad . . .”

Still, I’m telling myself I need to persevere. I’m smaller than I’ve been in many years, but what if I lost that last little bit of fat, the layer that’s been there since at least my third child, Stephen, was born almost 17 years ago. How would THAT feel? And who is the me God intended when He created me? I don’t even know for sure after all these years of being overweight. What if I discovered it? What would THAT feel like?

What About You?

How do the changes in your body motivate or demotivate you? Are you tempted to settle for good when you could move on to great? How much is your journey about feeling healthy and strong and how much is it about how your clothes fit? Do you have tricks to avoid over-eating, like counting out the number of crackers or chips you will allow yourself and then putting the box away?

Breakthrough! Day 67

Paula and Robbie, 12-29-12

Robbie Iobst and her release, Joy Dance

Talk about break-through!

Today I went to a fabulous celebration of my friend Robbie Iobst and her new book, Joy Dance. It was a great turn-out, and everyone was happy. You can’t be around Robbie without feeling cheerful, and seeing her all lit up made us glow right along with her.

But here’s the personal break-through. People started snapping pictures as they always do at these things, and I knew they would end up on facebook. I stood smiling when it dawned on me that I no longer have to twist my head weird angles to try and de-emphasize my double chin because I no longer HAVE a double chin!! And while I still have weight to lose, those pictures my friends posted to facebook were no longer embarrassing moment pictures!! I actually looked pretty dern good in some of them. THAT was an amazing feeling.                                                     ~December 29, 2013

Real Time Update:

On December 29th, Robbie whispered to me that she, too was losing weight. She announced on fb last week that she is down 40 pounds! Go Robbie!!! Seeing her success makes me want to keep on keepin’ on! She’s an inspiration.

What about you?

What (or who?) inspires you on your weight loss journey?

Gotta Keep Walkin’ Day 66

tennis shoesAfter being disappointed in myself yesterday about eating dessert but not burning it off, I prioritized walking today. I also missed hanging out alone with God. I used to do that mostly with my journal and Bible in hand, but I’m not doing much reading or writing since the accident. I like this new thing the Lord is doing, though, connecting with me as I walk. 

I asked the Holy Spirit to direct my steps, then started walking with Matthew 1 on my Bible app on my phone. I think I listened to the first three chapters. (I’m doing the gospels right now. I started with John, my favorite, then moved onto Luke, my second favorite. Poor Mark. I always leave him until last . . .)

I felt drawn to walk up to where a friend of my son’s just moved into a condo. It was a bit of a trek, but not too far for my new lifestyle. I walked around the complex, praying for the people who lived there, but mostly for our friend.

After that I ended up walking the parking lot of my favorite coffee shop, praying for the owners to know God and asking Him to bless their business and send them customers. Then I circled the elementary school and prayed again for the kids and teachers there. At the empty strip mall I asked the Lord for a church there, one Jerry and I could attend and serve in that would know how to care for my failing neighborhood. By the time I reached home I’d walked four miles, burned 445 calories, and enjoyed sweet fellowship.

I tried to do a little running in the dry patches, but was interrupted often by unshoveled sidewalk spaces.  I told myself I could be grateful for the icy spots because they gave me an easy out from pushing too hard. That didn’t change my frustration level, and I wasn’t really grateful. Come on, people! Shovel in front of your house!

Once home I craved my BeFull shake, which I skipped due to all the holiday left-overs for the last couple of days. The shake was so good.

I did have half of one of my famous homemade cinnamon caramel rolls with a little coffee. But I still have lots of calories to spare today, so I’m not too worried about that.

The scale has been up and down this week, playing around with about thee pounds, with all this crazy holiday eating, but it has stayed between 186 and 188. I hope I never, ever see 190 again. Let me rephrase. I PLAN to never, ever see 190 again!!

Should have started the BEPure cleanse before Christmas, but decided to wait until after the holidays and get a fresh start.

Real Time Update:

It feels fantastic to be down another 20 pounds since I wrote the above entry in my weight loss diary. I’m tall for a woman, almost 5′ 9″, so even 170 looks relatively NORMAL. I still have a muffin top to work on, but I’m thinner than I’ve been in a long, long time. YAY!

Now for a confession. I’m walking about half as much as I did in December. The good news is I am finally feeling better and able to do more work on the computer. The hard part is prioritizing exercise now that I’ve picked up most of the balls I had to lay down last June. Lord, help me to keep my health, my exercise, my time alone with You as a top priority even as You return me to productivity.

What About You?

How do you balance exercise with responsibility?

Down Again! Day 65

new jeans

first pair of new pants once I started losing weight.

Big day at my house. Finally gave into buying ONE pair of jeans at the next size down. I want to go down at least one more size, but this is pretty cool, a place I haven’t been in years! And I love Facebook. So far 78 people have liked my “new jeans” status. I love how encouraging my Facebook friends are of my new journey. Good thing Sarah spilled the beans even if I wasn’t ready to. :O)

Sarah told me to get rid of all my old pants as a statement that they’ll never again fit. I’m praying for someone with long legs who needs my jeans! ~ December 27, 2012

Real Time Update:


Next size down, purchased in Feb.

Here’s the good news: I was so excited about that first pair of new jeans in a smaller size on December 27th, but I didn’t wear them too many times before I was back at the store for the next size down! I think I dropped another size in less than 6 weeks. I’m so thankful God is a God who answers prayers. When I started praying a few years ago for the courage and plan to face my weight issues, I had no idea I would end up being chosen as a beta tester for BENew and launched into a whole new healthier lifestyle. Yay, God! I’m so thankful. I’m not there yet, but I’m at least 2/3 of the way to my goal. Maybe closer. We’ll see when it feels like I’m truly the me I was created to be.

What About You?

Who celebrates with you as you move forward in your goals to a trimmer, healthier you? Do you have a favorite new clothes story?

Balance: Days 63 and 64

Who’s thinking about weight loss today?


Picture taken from the Karo Syrup recipe page: I alter my pecan pies slightly from this recipe. A great trick for better pecan pie is to allow your eggs to come to room temperature before baking.

I probably ate 2500 calories, at least, with the cheesy potato breakfast casserole, homemade cinnamon rolls, buttery mashed potatoes, and homemade pecan pie! It was the best I ever baked. Mmmmm . . . but the good news is, I don’t think I ever felt that “too full” sick feeling everyone else complained of. Even though I ate high calorie foods, I somehow didn’t eat past full—quite an accomplishment for me, and not even a conscious one, just what happened. I suspect my metabolism is also better from walking, and that the BeLean I took before breakfast and lunch also helped burn away the food. Yay!                                                  ~December 25, 2012

The good news is I was actually under calorie count today. I walked just over 45 minutes, which was tricky because people didn’t shovel their sidewalks. I want to have a good attitude, but seriously! Those icy patches are scary. After the two car accidents I fear taking a hard fall. I want to be strong and stay strong!

I almost didn’t walk. It was 21 degrees when I took off. Thankfully, a friend gave me an ear warmer for Christmas. Only I forgot to put it in my pocket, so I didn’t have it with me. I went back after about a mile, grabbed the ear warmer, and walked another two.

I skipped my shake today because I knew I’d get none of the left-overs if I waited. With three teenage boys in the house, you have to grab the turkey when it is available because it will be gone in a heart-beat!                                                ~December 26, 2012

Real Time Update:

Balance. That’s why I put those two days of posts together. I’m learning that a successful weight loss journey isn’t about perfection or self-deprivation or never again putting anything high calorie into my mouth. It’s about balance. A day of celebration doesn’t blow weight loss goals. Christmas Day was about family, food, joy, and worship. Not losing weight. But the next day needed to be business as usual.

That’s balance.

pecan, apples spinachI read a great quote in the Made to Crave Devotional: “Perseverance is just one choice away.” No matter the calorie count at any given moment one choice puts me back on the path to success. Whether my increased calorie intake is intentional, like on Christmas Day, or out of frustration and rebellion (I’ll admit it, that happened a few times over the last week), I’m always only one choice away from perseverance–the path to complete victory.

Speaking of victory, the scale moved that last couple of pounds this morning so I can officially say I’m down 40 pounds since October 24th! I think I’ll celebrate–with an lovely pecan, apple, and spinach SALAD.

Weight Loss Journey Day 62

Some days turn out perfect even when you think they will be awful. I awoke with a carol in my heart, but the grumpies in my head, thinking about all I had to accomplish. I wanted to go to a Christmas Eve brunch at a friend’s house, but she lives almost two hours south of me.

Time. The evil tyrant.

Jerry encouraged me to go. But I was stressed about time and lonely for him because his computer was down last week, and he spent most all waking hours (and many when he should have been sleeping) trying to fix the dang thing.

I couldn’t make up my mind, and I couldn’t shake the bad attitude. I decided I just needed to get outside for a bit, even though I didn’t have much time if I was going to make it to the brunch. I opted for a walk/run of only a mile but came home happier. I enjoyed the sunshine, the blue sky, the Scripture playing on my phone app, and the movement. Then—happy, happy surprise—Jerry offered to drive down with me.

I had a fantastic time at the party.

On the way home I got a text from Sarah inviting me to come to her apartment and watch a holiday chick flick. I very much wanted to but had a bunch of baking left to do. I prayed I could work like whirlwind. Got home about 4:30 and dug in. Next thing you know, my sweet Stephen came upstairs and offered to help me. He fetched and measured. Then while I kept baking, he dressed and prepared the turkey for cooking tomorrow. Now he’ll know how. His future wife will thank me.

I can’t believe it, but by 7:30 I had a triple batch of cinnamon rolls rising for breakfast, 2 pumpkin pies cooling on the counter, and two more pies in the oven. Jerry came up and helped me clean the kitchen. By 8 p.m. I was snuggled into Sarah’s couch watching The Holiday. When I headed home a few hours later, snow had fallen. It was amazingly beautiful.

Merry Christmas to me! On top of all of this good stuff, my plateau broke and I am down another three pounds!  ~December 24, 2012

Real Time Update:

After deciding to track again I did really well last week. I found I was more consistent with exercise when I tracked my food because the calorie burn allowed me to eat more and stay at my goal. I noticed the scale moving a little faster, too. However, the hospital stay with hubby seems to have messed with my motivation and success. Gonna give myself a few days grace then back at it!

What About You?

Any unexpected beauty in your life like I had on December 24? How about stress. What does that do to your motivation?

Weight Loss Journey Day 61

Darn those two pieces of Christmas candy! Pretty much exactly the amount of calories I was over 1200  . . . weird to think of life this way, of how something so small can impact a goal so easily. ~December 23, 2012

Real Time Update:


Thanks to the Made to Crave Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst I’ve been thinking a lot about the word, “consider.” Her thoughts, along with my own calorie tracking journey, have also led me to think about the word, “mindful.”

So much of the journey to weight loss and health is simply learning to be mindful of my choices. What I am putting in my mouth? Is this a healthy choice? If I eat this now, how do I need to eat later to be healthy and meet my weight loss goal? How much water have I had? Have I made movement a priority?

Part of being mindful is considering the motivation behind my choices. Why am I choosing to eat this? Am I seeking to fill an emotional need that will still be unfulfilled? Am I hungry? Am eating because of I’m tired? Is there a choice that would meet my need more directly? Maybe I need to eat something different, or maybe I don’t need food at all. Maybe I need a nap, a walk, a talk with a friend–or God.

In Made to Crave Lysa said to “consider the joy.” She pointed her readers to the joy that’s coming from the result of good choices. I’m not yet at my goal, but this is already a reality for me.  I have much joy in being stronger, healthier, more energetic, and thinner.

As I continue to make lifestyle changes, I bet I’ll need to stay mindful, to consider the why’s and to think about the consequences and rewards for the rest of my life.

I’m still growing in this attempt. I’m much improved but not perfect. With the good nutrition of the Life Force and BENew products I’m on, my cravings for unhealthy food are much reduced. However, when intense times hit I still struggle.

This week my husband had a four hour procedure on his heart. I’d forgotten how it felt to have my insides screaming for chocolate and Fritos, but sitting in the surgery waiting room staring at the vending machine was a poignant reminder.

Thankfully, I’d prepacked  healthy choices: my BEFull shake, a tangelo, walnuts, dried cranberries, and some spinach leaves. I even packed a pretty plate and a real fork. I ate one meal out, and it was healthy. I walked to the restaurant, so I got over a mile of walking in.

My downfall was Jerry’s second meal tray late in the evening. Surgery over, he was in his hospital room enjoying his second meal of salmon.

I ate his pound cake.

It wasn’t even good.

It wasn’t comforting. it wasn’t tasty. It didn’t satisfy my junk food craving. It didn’t reduce my stress level.

Why on earth did I eat the whole thing?

Even as I ate I realized I was making a choice NOT to consider why I did it or how it went against my goals. I even chose to ignore how tasteless it was and the fact I didn’t even like it. I just kept taking the next bite even as I knew I ate out of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion and even as I knew the pound cake was not helping.

I just didn’t care.

Funny thing. Today I DO care.

What About You?

Have you reached for something in a high stress situation that didn’t satisfy?

Weight Loss Journey Day 60



My half-full bag of BEFull chocolate meal replacement powder. Yummy with almond milk!

I had an amazing, beautiful, celebrative day–and came in under calorie count!

I love my BEFull shakes. I like them best with some frozen berries and a little rolled oats thrown in, which is healthy and relatively low in calories. But when I want to save calories for later in the day, it also offers the perfect solution. With almond milk (only 45 calories for 12 oz) and the BEFull powder (145 calories for chocolate or 120 for vanilla), I have a low calorie meal that leaves me feeling strong while using up very few calories.

Today I did just that. We invited Jerry’s brother and wife for dinner. I made London broil and red potatoes, served with salad and pomegranates, yum!

Then we were all off to an incredible Christmas Eve service at my church. The music was glorious, and the sermon SO good. I love how our pastor presents God’s grace, shows how we can’t earn God’s salvation, but only have to receive the gift God offers. The whole family, including Sarah’s fiancé and our dear next door neighbor, sat together.

I love sharing Christmas Eve services with my neighbor, Bernice. She’s 85, Jewish, and from New York. Yes, you can think of some of those Jewish momma stereo-types. She is out-spoken and says it like it is. When I first started getting heavy she said, “you’re  getting fat. It happens to all of us.” Another time she admonished, “It’s time to start coloring your hair. You’re going gray.”

She can sound a little gruff sometimes, but she has a heart of mush–and is one of those loyal, giving people.

I adore her.

Everyone worried the church service would overwhelm her. Our church has a big auditorium full of people, and the music is REALLY loud. But Bernice just says, “At least I can HEAR what is going on!”

There you have it.

IMAG0307 (2)

Candle light and “Silent Night” at our church

Bernice and I especially love the candle lighting part of the service. It’s amazing to see all those twinkling candles in a big church. ~December 22, 2012

Real Time update:

BeFull with strawberries and oatmeal vanilla

BeFull vanilla with almond milk, frozen strawberries, and just a little raw oatmeal to help it stick with me longer.

I still love my BEFull shakes. Yesterday I rushed out the door at 5:30 a.m. armed with 12 oz of almond milk and a serving of BEFull. When I was ready for breakfast it was as easy as popping the power into the milk and shaking!

The BEFull meal replacement is not only full of really good protein–the healthiest kind, pea protein–but also has some of the nutrition in Life Force’s wonderful supplement, Body Balance. It makes me feel really good with plenty of energy and strength. I like the chocolate best when I’m running around and have the shake straight. The vanilla is my favorite for when I’m home and add frozen fruit for a treat that is almost like ice cream, only low calorie and good for me!

What About You?

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions? Do you have a favorite “go to” meal when you’re in a hurry and want to eat low calorie and healthy?

Weight Loss Journey Day 59

I’m amazed that only a few months ago I was spending hours in bed, gaining weight, unable to do much/ Now I can average over 4.0 miles per hours just walking! I go up the hills, down the hills. I even jog! Sometimes when I feel the urge to run a little way, I see a driveway or mailbox and sense God wants me to jog to it. Often it is farther than I want to try, so I’ll negotiate. I can almost hear Him saying, “Okay. Just that far, then.”

But the distances I run are lengthening.

Today was another of those breath-taking God days. I didn’t  want to put much effort into my God-walking time. Wanted to listen to my Scriptures and just meander. But I sensed Him directing my feet and readjusting my attitude. I ended up at one of the churches I have prayed for periodically. (Often when I turn down a side street I still don’t know where I’m going to end up!) I told the Lord, “Okay, just this one. But I don’t feel like praying for all five of them. I’m tired.”

I felt the prompting to sing. I sang lots of carols and a few praise songs. I walked around the property of this little church a couple of times since I felt led to keep going for awhile. When I finished, I started to walk across the parking lot, and a man came out. “Can I help you?” he asked.

I fumbled around, explaining that I sometimes walk around his church and pray for his people and sing praises to God.

“I heard you singing,” he said. “It was beautiful.” I enjoyed his accent. I asked if he was the pastor, and he was. I smiled and started to leave.

“Will you pray for me?” he asked.

“Sure.” I’m still moving away.

“Will you pray for me right now?”

My feet stopped. “Of course.”

Humbled, I prayed for this stranger. Soon tears fell. Overwhelmed, I felt such a great honor to stand in that parking lot, hand on the arm of a pastor, asking God to pour into him and his church, to bless their Christmas service, to speak grace and love into his relationships and into his family.

In these times you just pray. You never know what situations are behind the words that come out, but you trust that God is giving you the prayer.

We parted, me walking forward in absolute wonder that the God of the Universe would orchestrate such a sweet meeting of two strangers of faith. I never wanted to pray there that day. I was too lazy. But God had a blessing for me and for the man, and He led me anyway. Glory to God!

At this point I was ready to go home. I started to cross the busy street to return to my neighborhood, but there were too many cars. My walking app was still running so I didn’t want to stand there and mess up my average pace. I started up the hill, looking for a break in traffic. It didn’t come. I walked further.  I was just under the lip of a hill and thought it would be unsafe to cross because I wouldn’t be able to see the traffic until it crested the hill. So I topped the hill still on my side of the street, and there was another church.

And no traffic.

I laughed and crossed the road. I might not have wanted to pray for the churches this day, might have felt tired and not wanted to expend the energy, but the Lord had different plans.

There was a victorious spirit pounding through me as I walked around that church, sang praises to God and prayed. A whole different kind of prayer poured through me, and I felt like a warrior on the offensive, breaking ground for really wonderful new things. I prayed for a new release of His grace and truth, for an enhanced ability for this church to serve others, for an incredible worship time as they celebrated Christmas. By the time I finished I was crying again, tears streaming, full of power and victory and singing, “All Hail King Jesus!” with arms raised.

I’m sure the drivers of the cars passing by thought I was one crazy woman. I did get some startled looks.

I started down the hill back toward home, passing yet another church. Of course I stopped to pray; how could I not?

As I circled the little church—twice—my heart grew heavy. The grounds spoke of poverty, the little playground for the children in need of repair, the very earth barren and hard and cracked. I was sure there was no carpet of grass there in the summer. I prayed against discouragement. I felt the call to pray for the youth not to give up and turn from Christ. I prayed this little group would sense God’s grace and embrace His love and be full, not barren.

A little later, back home, I reflected on my incredible walk. Who knew one could have such adventures so close to home?

My younger boys and I packed up and headed to my brother’s house for a little holiday family time. My sister-in-law made a beautiful meal, with chicken slow-cooked a champagne sauce for the main dish, and spiced plums over ice cream for dessert. (I love how losing weight doesn’t have to mean eating nothing but lettuce.) I did a game with some little gifts for my niece and nephews, then we put the younger children to bed. I snuggled a moment with each, joining them in goodnight prayers and basking in how precious they are.

Then the rest of us curled up together for a Christmas movie, “Joyeux Noel.” I had no idea how impacting it would be. It was about WWI, when many spots on the front chose to stop for Christmas, had mass together, shared their meager supplies and even competed in soccer. I wept again, thinking of the power of the Incarnation, of the unity true love in our God brings to us, broken, lonely, sometimes desperate people. Thinking that there is hope in Him even in the very darkest places.                                            ~December 21, 2012


Real Time Update:

Sorry today’s post went a little long. I have some stuff to share about what’s going on here in March, but I’ll save it for tomorrow!

How About You?

Would love to hear about everyday adventures that surprise you.