Category Archives: Weight Loss

Weigh In Wednesday ~ Old Advice with a Powerful New Aha!

Yup. I know. You thought I was too full of bemoaning my revolving front door and emptying nest to think about Wednesdays.

I made a plan I didn’t stick to, promising you I’d post about weight and healthy living once a week. Heck, lately I haven’t even posted once a week, much less in a ordered fashion. For those of you who once looked to Wednesdays for that little nudge of encouragement on your journey to better health, I’m sorry I wasn’t here.

The good news is I’m bursting with stuff to share with you today. Some of it is new (to me), and some revisits what we’ve talked about before.

First off, can I just say the sunshine is absolutely glorious?

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After above average rainfall I’m loving the sunshine AND getting back outside. As my good friend Marie of I Walk Alone reminded me last week, walking is good for what ails us, including empty nest grief.

I LOVE the more active lifestyle I began in 2012 when I starting walking to help drop those unwanted pounds, and I am determined not to lose the ability to enjoy the more physical aspects of life.

Today I walked with a new friend on a new trail. Everything was fresh and green.

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Flowers bloomed.

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We even saw ducks!

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Does it get any better? My oft-repeated advice I repeat once again. Get outside! Move! Enjoy some sunshine. As Rachelle Gardner reminded me in her post, On Self Care and Being Humble, taking care of ourselves is not wasted time!

Second (and here’s the old advice with the new aha), I heard something interesting on the radio this morning. According to some study–sorry I missed which one–can you guess the WORST thing you can do for weight-related issues?

Stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself you’re fat.

Now that wasn’t earth-shattering for me, but I made some connections I hadn’t before. The DJ mentioned Zig Ziglar teaches that goal-setting should be done in front of the mirror in the form of positive affirmations. For example stand there and say, “I’m thin” or “I’m good with money” or whatever it is you want to accomplish.

My brother, who recently launched a podcast that quickly reached the “new and noteworthy” list told me to state my dreams as already reached. He says it feels weird at first but that you’re not lying, you’re simply stating future realities.

A friend had a slightly different approach. He spoke to his subconscious. He told himself that the extra weight he carried was damaging his health, and that it was imperative he the lose weight. He explained the specific health issues he faced, then he asked himself to help him exercise and resist unhealthy food choices. He dropped pounds quickly and is now–in a short space of time–more fit than I’ve ever seen him.

To be honest the above concepts sounded a little like psychological mumbo-jumbo to me, but because of my own weight loss journey and how deeply my thoughts and self-talk affected my success or lack thereof, I’ve been listening. Still . . . some of it seemed a little off the deep end.

But the DJ on the radio brought it together for me this morning when he said, “after all, isn’t this just renewing our minds like the Bible talks about? And besides, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.'”*

Whew. It all came together for me then.

Maybe that study is right. THE most powerful tool in our getting healthy journey is our mind.

So, what are you going to say to your mirror? I, for one, am trashing the trash talk and speaking future realities.

And about these Weigh In Wednesdays? Here’s my mirror words for today: I am an advocate of healthy, joyful living and sharing about it on my blog on Wednesdays is a priority!

Until Next Time,

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*Romans 12: 2; Proverbs 23:7

Movin’ Like Skinny (Weighin’ in on Wednesday)

It’s the old mindset, pure and simple.

The other day hubby told me I “moved skinny.” Then said, “You must feel skinny.”

And you know what? That day I did. My mood was light. I had music on. I felt healthy and energetic.

His words have me pondering.

Why, at my new weight, do I have days I DON’T move skinny?

Or feel skinny.

It’s been 2 years since I lost weight. But sometimes I still see myself as much heavier than I am.

Honestly, sometimes in my head I’m fifty or more pounds over weight. I feel sluggish. I feel the discouragement of weight gain. In the mirror of my mind sometimes I see this:

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When I’m more like this:

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In reality, I’ve gained a little from my lowest point, but I still move skinny. I still live better and stronger. I still fit into my new clothes.

I think my husband hit on something important that day.

What happens to me when I start thinking heavy again? I am sluggish. I eat more. I move less and with greater effort.

When I remember I’ve changed and am changing, I have more self-control. I want to be active. I am more energetic.

I think that was as true as I was losing weight as now when I seek to maintain the weight loss. So much is in the MIND. What do I see THERE? What self-talk am I allowing?

Do I see an overcomer? Do I tell myself I CAN?

Or do I allow my past struggles to define me?

I’m shocked to be dealing with this issue again two years later. It’s easy to forget the hard-earned mindset of one who believes in who she is becoming instead of who she’s been.

But whether we’re losing weight or maintaining the loss, it’s imperative.

Thinking skinny helps me feel skinny which helps me move skinny which helps me BE skinny!

Until Next Time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Do I Have to Snack When I Work? (Weighing in on Wednesday)

He keeps warning me. My sweet husband.candy (2)

Reminding me that it got me into trouble in the first place.

It’s not just the hours of being sedentary.

It’s the mindless snacking when I get frustrated with writing.

For years my fingers sought out popcorn or chocolate or trail mix each time my brain hit a wall.

It’s like I thought eating would unlock creativity.

But in 2013 I typed a whole novel without (much) reverting to mindless munching. When I snacked I limited my options. Sliced an apple. Worked without needing something in my mouth.

But now.

NOW!

“It’s happening again, honey.” My faithful husband. I don’t like it that he notices. Even though I’ve asked to help me make good choices and maintain the weight loss. Even though I don’t want to return to bad habits.

I still hate it when points out what I’m doing.

Even though I need it I don’t want to hear it.

What happened between 2013 and 2015 that has me panicking, thinking I can’t think without food in my mouth?

Why do the habits of the past haunt me instead of the habits I fought so hard to establish the last two years?

At least today I returned the trail mix to the kitchen. Put the M & Ms back in their bag and closed it.

But not soon enough.

It’s not soon enough when I don’t even know how long I gave in to mindless munching.

If I’m going to be a write AND be healthy this has to stop.

Could use some prayer, my friends. I need a mindset change.

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

 

PS My thoughts led me to research a bit about food that actually do support creativity.

And just for fun:

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One more note–I wrote this post last week on a particularly bad day. There is something about public admission of the struggle that helps a gal be more intentional. A few tips that have helped me since writing this post:

  • Take time to make a real meal and take a break to eat so you don’t get hungry and graze all day
  • Take incremental breaks and make a cup of no calorie tea to sip on while you work. (Peppermint and licorice help curb sugar cravings)
  • If you choose to indulge, count out your snack and don’t bring the rest to the computer with you. (Today I counted out five M & Ms and only five.)
  • When you are tempted to combat your work frustrations with food, pray for help instead.
  • If you need a snack walk away from the computer, have something healthy and small.
  • A great pick-me-up is a small orange or tangerine. Today I peeled and ate a cutie. The citrus fragrance lifted my mood, and the bright flavor, low calories, and nutrition of the treat contributed to my craving AND my health.

Weigh-in Wednesday – What???

Sitting trumps fat in killing us off.

Americans buy MORE calories the first three months after the holidays than they bought during!

What?

booksandsuchlogoRather than rewrite two powerful posts by Janet Kobobel Grant, I hope to whet your appetite (pun intended!) to learn more and send you rushing on over to the Books and Such blog.

Did you know long-term sitting increases our chance of cardiovascular disease by 80 percent? According to Janet’s post even one hour of sitting can impair blood flow by as much as 50 percent! Scary stuff not only for writers but for the all of us who work on the computer. While adding a more consistent exercise routine into my day has great benefits, this article showed me that it is not the complete answer to keeping my heart safe. Check out what Janet has to say about SIMPLE ways to reverse the deadly effects of SITTING.

Then pop over to her second post, How to Combat the Negative Effects of a Sedentary Overeating Lifestyle. Remember a few posts back I admitted I found it easier to return to more consistent exercise than I did to fewer calories? Janet’s post said most Americans buy a stunning 890 MORE calories per serving from January to March! This information certainly validates my struggle to eat well, but Janet’s post doesn’t stop there. She offers sounds advice for overcoming as well as more fascinating research about how sitting affects our health.

Enjoy these great resources, and have a beautiful Wednesday, my friend. Let’s do this getting healthy thing together!

Until Next Time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

PS . . . As an author I am represented by Books and Such. I’m grateful my agent, Rachelle Gardner, as well as all the folks at Books and Such, care about their clients–mind, body, emotions, and spirit. It’s a dream come true to be a part of this powerful and encouraging community.

Weigh-in Wednesday: Getting Our Groove On

Person-weighing-themselve-007Whether I’m simply a wimp or getting older, I can’t say. But the cold outside is more of a deterrent than when I began walking in 2012. As you know from last week’s post I’m seeking to let go of those pounds I found again before I find all that weight I lost.

(Isn’t maintenance a bear?)

I have to admit the fact I can still fit into my new clothes makes me a little lazy. But I know I’m on the cusp of not. There are a few I’ve avoided wearing because they don’t look so great now.

In my journey to losing over 50 pounds I learned that a more active lifestyle really is one of the most important ingredients in health and body care–but it’s February here in Colorado. Too often the sky gray instead of blue, and my nose and toes are cool to the touch even inside our home. My love of walking wanes, and while I’ve thought about joining an exercise class, scheduling a car is difficult in our family. I really need to be active at home.

This happened last week. The gloomy weather didn’t exactly help the gloomy mood clouding my attitude. After curling up in my comfy chair and journaling, I wasn’t feeling any better. (An exercise video didn’t even cross my mind.) I was out and out grumpy.

Then I felt that Voice inside.

He said, “Dance.”

Dance?

Talk about resistance. I didn’t feel like. I didn’t want to. I was sad and mopey and low on energy.

Dance?

But the Voice persisted, and I cranked a favorite worship CD.

Anyone peeking in the window would probably laugh. But my Creator did no such thing. I could feel His pleasure as I danced because He asked me to. The words and melodies of the music nourished my soul and pushed back the negativity that had cloaked me.

The clouds lifted.

I’m not a particularly good dancer, folks. Not only do I have no training, but as a child the religion of our family said dancing just might be evil, so I don’t have much practice either.

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Image found at Silvialioci

While I would love to know more about how to dance well, beneath the art form there is something even more important.

Simply giving my body over to movement, to joy, to release.

To freedom!

Dancing (whether to a symphony, rock and roll, or my worship CD) can be, in it’s deepest place, an offering to the One who created it and me.

(And the great thing about where I am right now? It burns calories and makes my body stronger, too. Dancing is not only effective, but fun! A great tool to add to our healthy body tool belt.)

So . . . how about it? Let’s crank that Ipod and get our groove on!

Until Next Time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

 

Wednesday Weigh-in ~ Eating, Exercise, Excuses, and a Plan

There’s always stuff to do. Person-weighing-themselve-007

There’s always stuff that hurts.

There’s always excuses.

I wanted to start this blog whining about how hard it’s been to focus on my body while remodeling a house, grieving deaths, and adjusting to the kids leaving home. All of those reasons for my struggle are real. Emotional eating is an easy trap to fall back into when sadness or loneliness hits. It’s hard to prioritize exercise when my home feels chaotic, and I can’t stand the mess one more day.

But the truth is life happens. I’m pretty sure I will never live an entire day without more pulling at me than I can conquer in that day, and I’m also sure that however many joyful moments a day holds, there will be something that happens that wants to pull me down, stress me out, or at least irritate me.

The truth is I am no longer at the age I can live and eat without intentionality. There are consequences. Not just on the scale, but in my body, health, and energy levels. As hard as it was to lose all that weight, if I’m not intentional I will find it again. All of it.

For the first time since 2012 I didn’t pay attention to how I ate or exercised over the holidays. And it shows. I feel myself getting into old patterns–being discouraged about the weight gain and allowing that discouragement to shut me down. Emotional eating comes really easy when I’m in that state. Getting out and walking does not. I’m also lonely more often now, and those solitary walks don’t sound quite as inviting as they did when the house was constantly noisy.

Here’s the honest truth. I need to get serious about my health again. I need prayer ’cause I know I can’t do this alone.

This week I’m taking a good first step. I’m doing a BENew cleanse. When I was losing weight and doing these consistently I noticed they helped reduce my cravings for the bad foods. (That first cleanse was a rough one for me emotionally. This one isn’t quite as bad, but I’m struggling a little.)

We’re in another car transition, which has made my schedule difficult. So step 2 for me was arranging with my kids for a schedule that allows me a car two mornings a week. My plan is to visit my chiropractor then meet with a friend who lives nearby so we can walk together.

Step 3 is I’ve also returned to doing a few light exercises every morning at home–some crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and stretching. Nothing too intense. If I start with too much at first I know I won’t continue, so I’m beginning small and seeking to be consistent.

Where I feel the greatest resistance inside is food. I’ve continued much of the healthier eating that I learned in 2012–more fresh fruits and vegetables, making the largest portion my salad instead of the carbs. But unhealthy stuff has crept back in, too, like sometimes having a snack before bed, being mindless about portions, and being less careful with sweets.

When I lost weight I talked a lot about making changes I felt I could live with long-term. I believe I did that. The problem is I grew weary of mindfulness when it came to healthy choices and wise portions. Combined with less activity and less muscle mass, the weight began slipping back on.

And so I continue the journey. Instead of maintenance, I am seeking the courage to stand up and admit I need to lose a few pounds before it gets out of hand. Honestly, it makes me sad to own that, but pretending it isn’t there doesn’t make me any happier. And as much as I would prefer to keep this a private battle, I know accountability makes a difference. I need to lose eight to ten pounds. I need to do this now before things get out-of-control again, and it’s fifty I need to drop.

There. I said it.

If you’re on this journey with me, maybe a summary of my plan can help you, too.

  • Honesty with self – choosing to admit I must deal with this problem
  • Intentionality – Making choices with intent to stay on the road of health
  • Mindfulness – Paying attention to what (and how much!) I eat and how much I move
  • Spiritual support – Asking God to help me and others to pray for me
  • Admission – Admitting I need to lose and owning exactly how many pounds
  • Accountability – Telling someone that I need to change and have chosen to do so.
  • A plan – for me it is 1) cleanse 2) exercise 3) Portion control 4) healthier foods

Anybody with me?

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Expressing All that Excitement!

“Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?” IMAG0120

My boys responded with the teenage eye roll.

Maybe I tend toward the melodramatic, but hey, a girl’s gotta express all that excitement.

This morning it was over the working burner in my stove.

Time again to be vulnerable about a “private” subject. Since 2013 I shared here about losing weight inside and out. I’ve mentioned periodically our struggle with money.

There it is. The taboo word. Money.

Always paired with the word struggle.

But as I’ve lost weight Jerry and I have also fought to lose the poverty mentality. The attitude that money is always pain and struggle and worry. That there won’t be enough.

I admitted last week that we had some really hard times in the years surrounding Jerry’s near death, times when I couldn’t get groceries. During this season my stove went out. We found a free one on Craig’s list, but the front glass was broken in the oven. Soon after the main burner of the stove started working on only one setting: high.

This morning I put turkey bacon in my skillet and used my favorite burner on medium. MEDIUM! Hallelujah. See, little by little, (and sometimes huge project by huge project), the nagging things that have made me feel pushed down are being fixed, replaced, repainted, re-purposed.

It’s amazing what a new oven door or fresh coat of paint or new fabric on old pillows does to that weary, poverty mindset.

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Picked a nice grey accented by white for my entryway.

 

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The walls are “stone white” and the trim a high gloss white. The china cabinet used to be bright blue, but it is now the color of the wall opposite it. The back of those grey pillows is the original blue fabric, which makes them feel custom made!

Yesterday we got new carpet. NEW CARPET throughout downstairs. The old carpet was original to the house 30 years ago. And I always hated the color. LOL.

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it’s so soft and squishy!!!!!!

Today? New shelves for the freezer. After the old ones broke I was determined to not be angry every time something fell out. It took a while to afford replacements, but thanks to that $75 needed, this is no longer an issue.

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Can’t count the times that jar of yeast almost hit my toes!

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Toes are feeling much safer now!

A friend tells me, “inch by inch it is a cinch.”

And it’s true. A little effort and money here. A little more there. It’s getting done. The upgrades long overdue in my home are actually happening.

The temptation has been to not even start these home projects. There are many, and we are weary. To be candid the first project was thrust upon us, and we had no choice.

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Coming home to old wall paper gone and new sheet rock hung.

But over the last three months much has been accomplished, and I have a peace about my home that is natural. It’s a peace I fought for, sometimes several times a day, when the need for repairs or the lack of beauty threatened to send me into despair.

During those lean years I changed patterns in how I lived, hanging out in rooms that needed less work so I didn’t get pulled down by the bad carpet or old paint. I cut fresh roses and brought them in from outside or made cloth napkins from old fabric to add beauty to each day. I lit a candle. Played some Beethoven. Used the pretty dishes. Cleaned out clutter.

Tried to give the family good memories by working hard to make a big meal even when I felt overwhelmed with the improvisation of cooking without a trip to the store.

We learned a lot in those years. The kids don’t take a gift for granted. Their hearts are tender when they see a need. They work hard. (They have some wounds, too, which I ask my Lord to heal.)

I learned to pray hard. That even in the worst of times I could find something to share with someone else. To find joy in little things, like those 1,000 gratitudes I wrote in marker on my ugly wall. (By the way, it took about seven coats of paint to cover that!)

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I learned to treasure the gift of laughter, of a peaceful home life, of friendship and walks in the sunshine.

The best things in life really can’t be bought.

I learned that God cares about little things. Like when I craved mangos in my weight loss shakes, but couldn’t afford them. I prayed for them and was given a whole flat that were on the verge of being too ripe. I cut those mangos up, froze them, and enjoyed them in my shakes for weeks!

My journey has not been as intense as others. A friend of mine went without food for some time as did her son. Both left the bag of a few cookies on the counter for the other to eat, choosing hunger over taking the last bit of food. I haven’t been hungry like that. But my own journey was significant for me. I fought hard to find joy and to rise above the broken things and broken places in my home and in my heart. Sometimes I cried. Many times I found victory after the tears.

As we’ve worked together in my home I’ve learned new skills like caulking, painting, and using a power tool. This knowledge also helps me rise above my circumstances to create the beauty I crave in my home.

Today I am grateful.

For the lessons learned.

For feeling like I can breathe.

For the fact that I shopped for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal without worrying if I would be able to pay for what I need.

I’m grateful for a new fence, new carpet, painted walls, working burners, shelves, and oven fronts. For a new-to-me couch and end tables. For pillows a friend and I sewed that spruced up furniture I already had. For new dish clothes and new shoes.

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I’m grateful for children who dug out old fence and scrapped off old wall paper and filled in holes in sheet rock. For a friend who contributed resources and taught us and for other friends who gave of their time and skills. For a husband who refused to abandon me to finishing projects even when he was bone tired from an eleven hour shift at work. Who fixed my stove burner and installed that new oven door. Who, with our son, helped hang shelves.

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Notice the old carpet! NOT my favorite color.

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Loving that new carpet beneath my new shelves!

I’m grateful for a God who is returning to us the things stolen during the hard season. For a God who cared even about the perfect painting to set the theme for my remodeled room and the 50% off candles that tied the colors of the new sectional together with the blues and greens of the walls.

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For a God who is teaching Jerry and me to live outside of the fear of not having enough and to trust Him as He teaches our hands to create the provision we need.

All our circumstances have not changed. But we are moving into a new season. We are dropping the weight of a poverty mindset.

We are learning a new place of freedom.

How about you, my friend? What’s your relationship with money? Is it friend or foe? Is there stuff at your house that drives you to despair? If so, what CAN you change? You might not be able to buy new carpet, but how about covering some old pillows or cleaning out a clutter pile?

If you’ve never had old carpet, old furniture, or old paint, have you realized what a gift that is? What about the intangibles like love and joy and peace?

May the God of all fill your (and mine!) heart to overflowing with gratitude and joy.

May He empower us all to lose the weight of the money issue and embrace the truth that He has provided and will continue to do so.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)