Category Archives: Weight Loss

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)

 

 

 

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Weigh-in Wednesday: Mindset

Wondering about my mindset.

Here’s the thing. My jeans are tighter than this time last year. I want to care. I want to do something about that. I know how.

But mostly I ignore it.

I worked hard for the weight loss. I LOVE feeling stronger and healthier. I don’t want to go back to less energy, less health, less wholeness.

annieBut here I am–breaking one of my most successful mindsets. Instead of taking each moment and making the next good decision, I’m putting it off until tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’ll start back on a routine for strengthening. Next week I’ll get more walks in. It’s too late in the evening for a snack? Tomorrow I’ll care. Pass the mashed potatoes, please. I don’t want any more veggies.

I can almost hear Annie singing to my body, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll love ya, tomorrow. It’s only a day a way!”

Ugh . . .

 

Weighin’ In at 49

In this place I’m better at 49 than I was at 39.

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Desert heat. High altitude. Steep terrain.

This post was birthed in my mind a couple of months ago, but I’m glad I didn’t get around to writing it until now. It seems the perfect birthday post as I enter my last year of this decade.

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One of my best friends and I went on an adventure the first week of September. It was an amazing unfolding of unplanned wandering into uncharted terrain.

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Pictures don’t do justice to the challenge we faced with steep trails and long, windy stone staircases in these hot, dusty places. But thanks to stronger bodies, we didn’t cower.

We sweated. We ached. And we conquered.

Day after day, trail after trail, we found new heights to climb. There’s no way my body could have handled the heat or the repeated assault on lungs and burning muscles before.

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The journey to health and weight loss gave me a new lease on life.

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In 365 days I’ll enter my 50’s. Who could have dreamed I’d have more stamina and thirst for adventure than I did when I entered my 40’s?

My weight loss journey continues to have its shares of triumphs and frustrations. The fight to drop the weight took plain ole hard work. Maintenance isn’t a cake walk. (Yes, I chose that old saying on purpose.) But here is the victory: Hiking. Climbing. Rafting. Even strolls through the park with my honey.

Reclaiming my love of movement, my love of adventure.

Reclaiming a piece of me, long lost.

If you’re struggling along the journey to better health, may I encourage you with this thought?

It’s worth it.

Stick to it, and find your own adventurous self!

Until Next Time,

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Weighin’ In

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Yes. A great favorite of mine. Hard to resist

You gotta know when God gives you a cool new understanding of a big concept like I talked about last week, that it will be tested.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve caught the words, “I am overwhelmed” coming out of my mouth. When I did I tried to rephrase quickly. “I mean, I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I know God is never overwhelmed, and He’ll help me.”

It’s been a while since I’ve kept my commitment to you to post about weight loss on Wednesdays. I am determined to do so this week mostly because it is after midnight on Tuesday night, and i just made a bunch of bad choices. I figure confession is good for the soul.

After an incredibly full day I determined to keep my word to get a round of edits to a free-lance editing client. Throughout the day I’d attempted to finish this work, but it needed more germinating time than I anticipated, meaning I’d open the document, play with the structure, and feel confused about why it wasn’t working. Then I’d get frustrated and paint something (we’re doing remodeling at our house, pictures soon!) or visit Facebook.

This happened repeatedly.

It was about bedtime when the thoughts simmered enough to become cohesive, and I tackled the project, determined to finish.

It is now 12:17 a.m.

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This is good, too

I started out pretty well. When the weariness hit and I reached for energy I first chose an apple and water, such a healthy snack as my fingers flew across the laptop on my keyboard.

Unfortunately, that morphed into dark chocolate and almond milk before midnight hit. The good news is I didn’t eat an entire bar.

The good news is also that if I was going to indulge I’m glad it was my favorite brand.

The bad news is that it was two different flavors of my favorite brand and more little pieces than I care to count. (I did resist the third flavor in my cabinet, raspberries in dark chocolate, but I digress.)

And so here I am, clicking away on this blog, thinking that too many choices like this, and the weight I lost will find me again. Thinking that I want to be a writer but that sitting at my computer burns roughly 100 calories an hour, and I don’t even want to consider how many calories I just consumed, especially since I inhaled a calorie-rich supper and half a hot-fudge Sunday before beginning my midnight vigil.

I like to think there are some positive, take-away tidbits when I write about this stuff, even in my bad choices. I suppose the most profound thought I have at this moment is how very easy it is to return to old habits, even after two years of making better choices.

I comfort myself with the reminder that each day is a new beginning. One choice doesn’t undo all the good accomplished. And maybe, just maybe, admitting my step backwards in this public way will help me choose those steps forward.

And honestly? Chocolove rocks. My editing goals were accomplished. I have a soft, warm bed waiting for me. Tomorrow’s rain forecast was cancelled, and I have the opportunity to take a nice, long walk.

His mercies are new EVERY morning.

Until next time,

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Walking and Weighin’ and Being Sensible

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Photo from fanpop.com

Evidently I have great timing. Twice this week I’ve started a walk under cloud cover and ended up getting soak. Like Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility I begin with a blind optimism that I won’t get caught in the rain. Then I do.

I suppose like her the truth is I haven’t minded so much. After the heat of some very hot days a little cool and wet feels like refreshment.

And no, a handsome man did not come and rescue me, though my husband did attempt to  on his way home from work. I was only a block from home by the time he caught up to me so he just grinned through his open window and followed me around the corner. I grinned back through dripping eyelashes.

I’m feeling more optimistic than I have since I decided I needed the accountability of a Weigh-In Wednesday. The scale has receded instead of continuing its rising. I’ve taken walks despite the rain, and with the exception of one day this weekend when I watched the Lord of the Rings marathon and enjoyed all the treats lining our family room counter, I’ve been mostly sensible about my food intake.

(I was very good on Monday to make up for Sunday’s indulgence! Light and healthy!)

My rainy walk last Thursday included some tiny hail pellets. Yes, I do live in Colorado. 94 degrees that morning, stifling heat, then the rain and ice. ICE.

Tuesday’s walk started with glorious reminders of the beauty of summer.

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Soon the trickles started.

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I made it half-way through my walk before the rain got heavy.

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It grew in intensity for the mile and a half back home. Me walking, the cars splashing past.

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By the time I rounded the last corner the water rushed down the street next to me.

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I was soaked (picture coming on Friday).

But I have to say my attitude rocked. It doesn’t always, so I’m celebrating this fact and hoping it shows some sort of wonderful resilience forged in the fires of life. (More on that on Friday’s post, too.)

How are you doing this fine Wednesday? What successes are spurring you on in your journey of health? Where is it raining on your parade?

The rain will come. But even if it overcomes us there is One who is good who carries us to safety.

The One who cares sees every struggle of our heart and body. He is not callous to our pain. His heart is tender. He longs for us to call upon Him, to let Him take action. To be strong for us in our time of weakness, whether in our bodies or our hearts.

Hang onto your successes. Make good choices for health one at a time. Lean on the Creator when your energy and hope wanes.

Let’s do this thing!

Until next time,

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Authentic Disclosure

Person-weighing-themselve-007Commitment. Accountability.

I sit pondering them. Good words. Good concepts. Especially for someone like me who has an over-active conscience.

Last week I committed to you to “weigh in” on Wednesdays. Part fool, part genius, this idea. It puts me back under self-scrutiny, requires me to look honestly at my choices, and then to lay them bare before you.

And as a writer I could easily pen this post to make me look better than I am. But partial disclosure doesn’t help me grow, and it doesn’t give us an authentic walk together.

Besides, I’d feel dishonest.

The temptation is to focus on yesterday’s success. Hubby needed a ride so I was out of the house earlier than usual, throwing on clothes and downing a quick glass of water. No time for anything else. (Okay, I did go to the bathroom and wash my face.)

It’s been blazing hot here (for Colorado). The string of above 90 days is exacerbated by the fact our swamp cooler bit the dust. It’s hard to force myself into the heat for exercise only to return to a stifling house. Saturday Jerry and I braved it, but when the house cools little overnight the house doesn’t recover, allowing the temperature to creep up as day after day stays hot. Even as the heat intensifies in the sun of the day, there is a slow, steady increase of base temperatures, the coolest not as cool, the hottest hotter.

I didn’t attempt a walk on Sunday or Monday.

But yesterday! After dropping hubby at work I drove with an eye for a good place to exercise, pulled into a little park with a promising pathway, and texted home. Our older son didn’t have to leave for work for a few hours, and I felt it okay to be away from Sam (still on a motion machine, crutches, and Naproxen at home).

20140722_093918 (2)The short of it is I had a glorious walk for almost an hour and a half. The path wound from a cute little park to residential areas shaded by established, towering trees, and eventually beneath the highway. Once east of the interstate that cuts our city in half, the trail followed a stream, more trees, more shade. The endpoint was glorious. Another park, one of my favorites, typically too far from home to visit by foot.

There was a moment of concern. I hadn’t taken water and my morning included less hydration than in my usual routine. I’d expected the help of a water fountain I knew was at this second park, only it didn’t work!

With parched lips I took off on a lap around the small lake, then decided to head back to the trail by a different route. There, gleaming and functional, stood a water fountain I didn’t know existed!

Gulping the liquid, then holding several sips in my dry mouth before swallowing, I thanked God for the gift. Surely His Spirit had led me to the water.

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I did really well yesterday. Exercised. Ate wisely. Fed my soul with movement, quiet, natural beauty.

Now comes that authentic part.

When the heat of the evening kicked in the swelter also carried a case of doldrums. From 6 p.m. until bedtime I simply blew it. Consumed any calories I’d burned away with my morning walk, possibly more.

The temptation as I’m “weighing in” on this Wednesday is to emphasize the choice to walk. But the reality is my good choice was followed by a lack of self-control, which has been the pattern of the last week and a half.

In my defense I’ve had a bit of an unusual hormone surge. I’m almost 49, and my body can’t decide whether it should behave pre or post menopausal. It makes it tough to recognize symptoms I’d typically track with a calendar, like PMS cravings or mood-swings. Thanks to Body Balance I no longer suffer from those awful hot flashes, but like it or not my body continues in no-man’s land, trying to figure out whether or not to gracefully release its last vestiges of child-bearing.

The fact comforts me as I always gave myself a little grace in these times. It helps me better understand the cravings and lack of self-control and gives me hope that self-control will soon be a little less difficult to come by.

Still, I know better than to put off today what I could do tomorrow in the area of health, but I’ve spent the last several days breaking one of my own rules: Make the NEXT RIGHT choice. Don’t put it off for later. Don’t push back the chance to begin anew. Every right choice is a step back on the path to reaching my goals and reclaiming health.

Not only have I put off the decision to cut the mindless eating I did last night, I have also postponed another healthy choice. When I was on my weight loss journey I religiously did the BENew detoxifying cleanse once a month. While I strongly believe in the benefits of this cleanse AND found it bepurereduced my cravings for unhealthy foods, it’s one of the things I cut once I reached my weight loss goals. (Always trying to save a penny.)

Last week I realized it has been some time since I’d done a cleanse, and it would very likely help me with my struggle with cravings. I put the cleanse in the kitchen and honestly forgot for a couple of days to start it.

Then I was going to begin on Sunday, but it was so hot we decided at the last minute to slip away to a movie theater to bring relief from the heat and to give poor Sam a break from the monotonous home routine of therapy, ice machines, and crutches. So I put off starting the cleanse again. Thought I wouldn’t waste it on a day when when I chose to have movie snacks.

Here it is Wednesday and that little jar still sits unopened.

So time to make another commitment to you–putting this stuff out there helps me make good choices–I’m starting it TODAY. No more delay.

There you have it. The good, bad, and ugly of my journey to maintain weight loss. My behavior of last week won’t shave those five pounds that have crept back on. But I’m heading in the right direction. Making the next good choice.

How about you? The ups? The downs?

Until next time,

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Weight Loss, Walking, and Wondering

Tonight I’m wondering about this blog. I knew my journey was inside out weight loss. Not just pounds, but inner stuff, too.

weight loss beginning and endBut the early days focused on the journey to fit back into my skin on the outside, even as you and I had some pretty honest dialogue about how the inside junk fought against the outside journey.

Many of you have hung in there with me in recent posts, which are becoming more and more about those interior places. The questions of the soul, not so much the body. That inside weight loss.

But the reality is we are body, mind, soul, and spirit.

I don’t want to let go of the forward motion of the body even as the focus has lessened as I met my weight loss goals.

The crappy truth is caring for the body isn’t a one-time success story. It’s still that every day journey I knew it would be, those every day choices I knew I’d have to make. I knew it in my head. Now that I’m a year and a half into this gig, I’m walking out the hard reality. Sometimes successfully. Sometimes not.

The thing is, I still need you.

I need the accountability of talking with you about this journey. I need your words spurring me on to stay on the path and not give up my hard-earned ground.

Maybe you need me, too?

Today I almost went back to the Fitness Pal app. I’d allowed myself a five pound range where I felt comfortable so I didn’t freak about every single pound, but I’ve let a few pounds creep on beyond that safe zone.

If I don’t pay attention it will ALL creep back: the old habits, the choices not to walk, the extra slices of pizza and chocolate cake, the hours with books and computers and movies and chats at a coffee shop without the balance of fresh air, sunshine, crunches, leg lifts, and movement.

Today when the novel I’m working on didn’t go so well I grabbed a tiny handful of Rasinets (you know20140715_213922 I’ve got a weakness for those!) but stopped myself and grabbed an apple instead of the rest of the box. It’s a small victory, but it is a victory, and great victories are won that way, one small choice after one small choice.

At lunch I put peaches into a BENew shake instead of giving into all the high calorie left-overs in the refrigerator.

The last two days I also chose to walk when I could have driven and chatted with a best friend while hitting the pavement instead of curling up with the phone in my comfy recliner. Another 6 miles or so of good choices.

Choices that have to continue if I’m going to be healthy and strong. I hope these choices will soon show on the scale. It’s crazy how much easier it is for the number to climb than decrease.

So my friends, even as I know this blog is so many other things, I don’t want to stop talking about the needs of the body as we did at the beginning. God made all of me, not just the parts within where a writer can lose herself. That’s too easy for me to forget.

So here’s my commitment to myself and to you. My goal is to write Weigh-In Wednesdays – a consistent once a week reminder that the journey of health is still important.

Please pray for me, that I won’t lose any more ground, that I can return to and stay in that comfort zone where I promised myself I’d live. That empty nest grief and hospital stays and family pizza nights will not derail me. That I’ll walk, breathe deep, and stay strong.

How about you? Do you need it too? This weekly reminder?

We’ve been in this together for over a year now. Let’s stay the course! I’d love your feedback. What are you doing to keep your body strong? To focus on the goals you continue to strive for? How can we encourage each other on our BENew Journey?

Let’s talk about it,

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