Category Archives: The Early Weight Loss Journey

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.

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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.


Weight Loss Day 58

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Enjoying the neightborhood

If I’m not careful, I’m going to be seen as the neighborhood’s crazy lady. I wander through it almost daily, and lately I’ve taken to singing—mostly carols—as I walk. I used to stop when I passed people or cars with open windows, but anymore I just keep singing. People don’t know what to think.

Today I walked over 4 miles, which really helps with the food intake. I ate plenty and still didn’t eat enough to make 1200 calories because I’d burned so many. Thankfully, it usually averages out. Not eating 1200 would not be good for me, but I’ve been above 1200 so much this month with all the holiday stuff. Most weeks I average between 1200 and 1350 per day, so I think I’m doing okay. According to a website where I Googled my ideal weight, once I’m there I can eat over 2,000 calories and still maintain if I exercise moderately. So I think I’ll keep losing at this rate.

But! I’m still stalled out at having lost 20 pounds. Everyone assures me that the body just does that and will start losing again soon, but in my dark times I wonder if I will ever see another number on the scale.

A friend of mine, Tonya, is moving. We helped her sort through some stuff and she gave us some food, pretty baskets, and other items she didn’t want to move.


Postmark: Christmas. My novella, called, “You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch,” is fourth in the collection.

There was an unopened bottle of sparkling cider in the food stores. My daughter, Sarah, told me it wasn’t for us, that it was for our new friend. That gave me an idea.  I had some fancy chocolates and added the cider and one of my Christmas novellas. Then when I went through bath stuff Tonya sent home with me, I found a whole set of unopened bath stuff in a pretty little container.

It’s so cool that even when I’m strapped for money, the Lord shows me how to give a gift. I put all that stuff in one of the pretty baskets Tonya gave me. This woman gives so much to others, I hope it will allow her to pamper herself a bit. And I told my prayer group about the family and they added gifts, too!

Oh, and there was also an unopened Bath and Body set in a fragrance Sarah loves in the stuff Tonya gave me. Now I have something to finish out her gifts, too. I wasn’t sure how I’d do it with money so tight this year, but once again, God provides. ~Dec. 20, 2012

Real Time Update:

It’s so fun to go back to these old posts and see how much progress has been made since then! On the home front Sarah was THRILLED with the Bath and Body set. She’s been wanting that exact fragrance! As to weight loss, I’m *almost* down 40 pounds now–double what I was when I wrote this blog!

How About You?

What can you celebrate when you look back to two months ago?

Weight Loss Journey Day 57

Today I took a chance. I did something kind-of brave because I sensed God asked me to. The results were breath-taking. God is amazing. He really, really loves us. He answers prayer.

(At first I wasn’t going public with the story. I treasured it to my heart for a time, but as I reflect on December 19, I decided to share the journal entry. It is to God’s glory. He is amazing . . . So if you’re my Facebook friend and wondered what happened that day, now you can know. Here goes:)

I finally did it. I finally knocked on the stranger’s door like He told me to do a week and a half ago. I texted my son with the address, just ‘cause I had no idea what I was getting into and figured someone should know where I was.

At first no one answered. I told the Lord, “I’m only doing this once. If this is your deal, and You led me here today like I thought You did, You’re going to have to send someone to this door. I’m not going to find the courage to come back and try again.”

The door opened.

I stood there, awkward, fumbling for words.  “I . . . uh . . . can I just tell you my story?”

A woman, probably in her 30s, stood before me, brow wrinkled.

“I . . . take walks for exercise and I . . . um . . . sometimes pray for the people in the houses I pass. And well,”

I’m crying now, feeling silly, but feeling Him.

“when I walked past your house a while back, I felt like God showed me how to pray. I boxdon’t pretend to always hear Him perfectly, but . . . do you guys need food?”

The woman begins to cry. I wrap her in my arms and cry with her. “I have food in my van, can I bring it in?”

She nods.

On my second trip into the house with food, an older woman comes downstairs. She tells me how her daughter (the woman I met earlier) lost her home and moved in with her five children and how the cute little guy on the couch is her grandson. She babysits for her granddaughter, a single mom.

“My husband and I are retired,” she says. “We’re trying to help, but it’s hard. In the mornings I wake up and tell my sweet Jesus that I don’t know how we’re going to make it, and He has to help us. It’s hardest on the little ones. They don’t understand when we have no meat, but I tell them if we have beans and macaroni, we have food.” A tear traces her cheek.

The woman’s faith, perseverance, and strength humble me. That I get to serve such a faithful servant humbles me. How God loves the two of us through this incident blows me away, reminds me that He is the One who Sees. That His love is bigger than I can fathom.

Amazed by my God, on cloud nine I drive home.

(But I wish I hadn’t taken so long to obey. I wish I’d given them food sooner.)

Real Time:

I’m undone again as I post this. No updates today.

How About You?

What has happened in your life that leaves you undone–in a humble, good way?

Weight Loss Journey Day 55

whole wheat pizza dough

Homemade wholewheat pizza dough. Is loving to bake a downfall?

The great thing about blowing it on a diet is that you can always work to balance it out the rest of the week, right? Burned 528 calories walking today. But still went a little over calorie count ‘cause I didn’t stand firm against half a rootbeer and an extra slice of pizza. I wonder if eating bad one day makes it harder to eat well the next?                                ~December 17, 2012

Real Time Update:

First off, I’ve sworn away from the word diet. It’s too negative. Diets are  something we break or blow. You know, “I broke my diet.” Or something we do over and over throughout life, yo-yoing back and forth.

I want this to be a journey for health, a life-style change, not a diet. So I’m not using that word anymore.

But back to the whole pizza thing. I see a pattern. Soda and pizza on December 17th was a downfall for me. And it was last night. Even though I believe our homemade dough and fresh ingredients are healthier than a store-bought pizza, eating pizza is one place I have little self-control.

One answer would be to stop making homemade pizza. This makes me think a lot about my love for baking. My dear grandma showed her love through food. I grew up believing that loving people included baking for them. Most of my baking memories as a kid were with Grandma Eunice, and they are precious. She taught me to make a killer pie crust.

Fast forward. My husband loves homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, and homemade whole wheat pizza. Jerry and the boys give me a lot of affirmation with I bake. Baking connects me to warm memories of time with Grandma. To this day I love the feel of dough beneath my fingers, and working dough, whether a pie crust or bread, relaxes me.

I live near Boulder. Gluten-free is all the rage here. Many people believe wheat has been so genetically modified that it is no longer good for you, including some of my extended family. I’m sure the gluten-free, really healthy folks would tell me that true love is putting good food in front of my family, not just the foods they love.

Thus my conundrum.

I suppose where I’m landing today–and I won’t speak for tomorrow–is the balance thing again. Days for celebration include our favorite foods. I don’t regret Sunday’s snowday baking binge. We had some glorious family time. And while I’m not convinced all wheat is bad for us, I do think we eat too much of it. So I guess the answer is that we don’t eat like this as the norm. I need to add more vegetables to daily meals and back off the heavier foods.

This doesn’t solve my own weakness for pizza. I’m not ready to quit making it for my family, so I guess I either have to learn more self-control and have smaller portions, or I need to do more exercise on the days when I make it. Or maybe the time it takes to chew a salad along with only ONE piece of pizza would help me slow down and eat less while making sure I get the benefit of the nutrients and roughage the salad provides. Also, I rarely have a soda, but  the one time I really want one, especially a specialty soda like I had last night, is with pizza. I think the answer there is to half it with someone.

That feels like the kind of thing I can live with my whole life. All or nothing will crash me, but I do want to be healthier and thinner and these kind of adjustments help me meet that goal without making me feel deprived.

What About You?

Do you think I’m crazy not to give up baking as I am on my weight loss journey? Do you share my aversion to the word diet?

Weight Loss Journey Day 53

Walked 3 miles, jogged a little, burned 486 calories. I wanted to take a particular route, but again felt a prompting to turn on a different street. Ended up walking past some nicer, new houses, then out past a lower income apartment building. Prayed for the people who live in both places, then circled two of the churches I felt called to pray for a week ago. One is right across from the apartment complex and has an Awana program.

I prayed for the Awana leaders to know how to love all kids–even those who may not have much support at home and might have difficult behavior issues. Prayed the kids from the apartment complex would come to the church, and that hope would be given first to them, then to their families.


BeNew Shake with frozen blueberries. Eating it like ice cream!

Back to the weight loss. Hoping that all the walking will help me as I enjoy party food tonight! I’m finding the weight is coming off a little slower lately, but the inches aren’t. They keep slenderizing. It’s weird. I look in the mirror and feel really skinny, yet I know a few years ago this was normal—and I felt heavy. I am gonna keep working. Maybe in another 6 weeks I can look in the mirror and think, “Wow. I thought this was heavy ten years ago, and now it feels really skinny!”

As I type, I eat my BeFull shake with almond milk, rolled oats, blueberries, and cantaloupe blended in. I never liked cantaloupe. Still don’t really. But I know it is healthy. I had some earlier in the week that the family wasn’t getting through, so I tossed it in the freezer. I put it in my shake today with blueberries. I feel good knowing there is another healthy item I figured out a way to eat instead of ignore.

When I have my shake with enough frozen fruit to thicken it, I eat it in a bowl instead of a cup. I think I’m trying to convince myself it’s ice cream. lol I love frozen fruit in my shake, but lately it makes me feel too full. Stephen said, why don’t you eat until you’re full, then put the rest in the refrigerator for a snack later. Duh! I’m also going to start saving my fruit in 1/2 cup measurements instead of 1 cup.

And I’m loving singing Christmas carols as I walk, preparing my heart for celebrating the Incarnation.                         ~December 15, 2012

Real Time Update:

I look back on December with awe. By the end of the month I’d logged 64.44 miles just walking around the neighborhood. God taught me a lot about responding to His promptings and learning to pray as He asked. I lost weight, both emotionally and physically, as I focused on Him and on health. He lead me in unexpected ways toward new joy and new freedom. I’m so grateful.

As to NOW. I’ve decided to return to recording my caloric intake on My Fitness Pal. I haven’t gained in the two weeks I didn’t record my foods. I’m losing at about the same rate as last month. But I want to focus and completely win the battle. My concern is that it has been easier for me to reach for less healthy, higher calorie food since I don’t have the accountability of the bright red bar on my phone when I go over my goal.

What About You?

Have a favorite low-cal healthy food? I’d love to hear about it! Or how about a prayer experience that surprised you? Are you still walking?