Tag Archives: exercise

Adaptation Not Compromise

IMAG2531Sometimes my feet know where I’m going before I’ve consciously processed my decision. This morning they headed for the brilliant red bush about a mile up the street.

Growing up in Northeastern Oklahoma meant incredible autumn foliage with a variety of colors. I’ll never forget the joy of early morning walks across Northeastern State University’s campus when the air was crisp, the leaves crackled beneath my feet, and vibrant color still clung to strong branches.

I love yellow. Honest. It’s almost my favorite color, somewhere below pink. But when I first moved to Colorado I was disappointed in autumn because I felt the season shouldn’t be ONLY yellow. IMAG2576

But my neighborhood has continued to mature over the years, bringing new color with it, and as I’m farther from my roots I suppose I’m more easily pleased. Maybe, just maybe, I’m also giving it a more fair shake this autumn, choosing to meander in the cool fall days by foot instead of whizzing past nature while looking out of a car window.

As I walked this morning I found myself conflicted. Now that I’m satisfied with my new weight I’m not sure what my walks are about. Health? Maintenance? Emotional and spiritual nurture? Joy?


This time last year I spent hours in bed, recovering from some wonky sensations in my head after back-to-back car accidents. For a time I stepped away from most of my responsibilities, my only goal to get well. Part of my journey back to health was developing a new habit of long, meandering walks. I strolled, prayed, and didn’t care how long it took me. I was finding life again. As I healed, I began picking up the balls. I learned to fit in a shorter walk/jog to stick with my weight loss/get healthy goals when the demands of schedule increased.

But after my encounter today with the red bush and the orange leaves and the yellow canopies, my feet wouldn’t listen to my mind rattling off the to-do list. My soul engaged my gait, longing for more of this day than checking off boxes. It cried out for beauty, for quiet, for spiritual refreshment. I circled the elementary school, praying a bit for the children there, then slipped into my favorite coffee shop, not for a beverage, but for the restroom. My mind had finally caught up with the agenda my heart and feet set, and I knew the conveniences of home were still a long way off.

Another little nature trail some distance from me cried out to be explored. I wandered the path, missing the twitter of the birds that usually serenaded me on this stretch. I suppose the wind was too strong, and they chose to hunker down wait it out rather than to brave it and allow their song to be lost, carried away on the stiff breeze.IMAG2559

I tried to cut home after the trail but found myself at a cluster of three churches I prayed often for last winter, so my meanderings included prayers of blessings for them, which turned into song at my favorite of the three. I guess I don’t mind if the notes dance upon the breeze, for He hears at all times.

I still don’t have it all figured out–this juggling act of protecting the strides I’ve made in physical and emotional health, this love of the sunshine longing to wander–all while adding new balls, more commitments, more responsibility into my daily routine. Even now my schedule mocks me, telling me there was no way to conquer it.

But I must cling to what I learned in the dark of last year. That caring for myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually isn’t a waste of time; it is a necessity. If I don’t take care of myself, I’ll find myself unable to take care of my responsibilities.

IMAG2586-1I returned home today thinking the solitary rose framed by yellow leaves sprinkled upon the grass around it was a statement of summer shouting a last hurrah before giving way to autumn.

As the seasons of my life change I am forced to stretch, to adapt, to re-think. But in the midst of the struggle I don’t have to compromise on the hard-earned truths of my journey. Oh, I can’t control outside forces, like car accidents, that steal from me. But I can create margin. I can choose health. I can embrace the beauty of little moments.

How about you? Are you protecting yourself from the tyranny of the urgent?

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Life’s seasons change. We adapt, but we don’t compromise.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Breaking Up

Spirit 19 stephen

Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer — taking the plunge!

Breaking old habits to make room for the new: That’s the theme of the devotional by Lisa TerKeurst which inspired this post.

Seems like I’ve done a lot of this since I took that first step onto the BeNew journey. I’ve sought to break habits of emotional or mindless eating. I’ve tried to be mindful of my movement quotient and break the habit of a sedentary lifestyle in front of my computer.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m breaking up with the old habits or just taking a break . . . If I want to continue to feel healthier and be thinner, I have to truly break up with my past habits.

But the conviction of this devotion went deeper than healthy food habits. For a time the car accident of last June took away my journaling and Bible study. But I added in long walks and found a sweet communion with the Lord. As I’m improving, I’m struggling to balance all that. I want to journal AND take a walk, but sometimes neither gets done, much less both! In this area I want to make good habits to replace non-habits.

I also catch myself looking too often to Facebook friends/interaction to fill that empty God place. There’s nothing wrong with getting fellowship and support from my friends, but when it replaces communion with my Creator, it falls flat.

I’m seeing the need for another break-up.

But all of that is about doing. What about the BEing of life?

There are old thought habits that need to go–like worry or putting myself down or entertaining thoughts of “it will never really change” or “this is too hard.” 

I need to do a major break-up with that stuff!

Every day I make the choice AGAIN to break up with my old nemesis, perfectionism, and the stealer-of-my-joy, performance-driven behavior.

Thankfully on this break-up journey I’m never alone and neither are you. Our Creator thrills in helping us walk away from the stuff that holds us back and knocks us down. He empowers us for change, promising always to finish the good work He starts in us. I believe this means not only the good work of making us more like His Son, but the good works He calls us to, including the sometimes daunting job of getting healthy!

Make YOURSELF the priority of my heart. Help me to stop clinging to the poor, the mediocre, and even the good when YOU offer all that is BEST. Help me to break-up with the stuff that pushes me backwards so that I can walk forward in freedom, diving into all You have for me.

How about you?
Any conviction about something you need to break up with to make room for what’s better?

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Breaking Up With Poor Choices


IMAG2347I feel like weeping tears of joy as I post this blog today. I wrote it a few days ago and scheduled it ahead.

Yesterday morning I sat in my old blue recliner and told the Lord how very much I needed new shoes . . . how I couldn’t afford them, but missed walking. I reminded him that I’ve been praying about this for awhile. I was tempted to complain. Instead I simply slowed down and told Him that I was a daughter of the King, and I knew He wanted me to have good gifts.

That afternoon a friend asked me what I was doing for exercise. I admitted I’d been struggling due to the pain in my feet and my worn-out tennis shoes. Within an hour we were at a GOOD athletic shoe store. She bought me new shoes, inserts, and socks. Everything I needed and more.


As you read my struggles below, do it with the delight of abundance, of knowing our LORD sees our struggles. Know that HE fights our battles. Stands with us when we are opposed in every good thing. That He is the Provider for all our needs.

HE cares about you and me, our struggles toward health, and even whether or not we have tennis shoes!

Here’s the post originally scheduled for today:

I’ve heard that every good thing will be opposed.


A few weeks ago Jerry and I took a lovely 5 mile trek. Lots of time alone together to just talk while also doing something healthy. Glorious! (And free!)

Only I awoke the next morning with a returning case of plantar fasciitis. I’m told plantar fasciitis is often brought on by poor support in your shoes, especially if you walk or hike. I’ve been holding off replacing my walking shoes, despite the holes in the bottom and the worn away support system. Every penny has been needed elsewhere.  But my feet hurt, and the times I’ve tried to walk anyway in my old shoes only bring negative consequences.

So I’ve tried to do more pilates with my at home DVD. Wouldn’t you know it? The exercises are done with a long plastic band, and the band broke!

Sinister opposition if you ask me!

Today I’m trying to think of another healthy way to burn calories that doesn’t make my feet hurt, and I’m seeking to be especially mindful of what I eat, returning to daily BeNew meal replacement shakes to help me guard my caloric intake since I’m not burning as much off.

I didn’t come all this way to go backwards!

How about you? What things creep into your life to oppose your victories on your benew journey?

Standing against the opposition

Celebrating Good Surprises

Encouragement in the Curve Balls

pedi maniWhen you set out to do something good, chances are you will be opposed.

This summer my health journey has faced opposition. None of it life-stopping. No illness, just stuff. Some of it I’m ready to share; some I’m not. But here’s the battle of last week. If you’ve been around A BENew Journey for long you know my favorite way to burn calories (and bad attitudes) is to take a nice long walk.

Enter two of my nemesis.

I’ve fought seasonal allergies since I was a child, and in Colorado, this is the week. The family has been on lock down. The windows are shut tight from bedtime until late morning. This cuts the allergy reactions in about half. But since just walking out the backdoor set me off the other day, I’ve not been excited about walking for exercise.

About the same time my old friend, plantars fasciitis, decided to return in my right foot.

All this to say I didn’t walk for four days straight.

I did a few exercises in the living room–like crunches and such–and mostly was sedentary and feeling sorry for myself. Friday I decided I absolutely couldn’t let another day go without more determined exercise and pulled out the old Pilates DVD I hadn’t touched since the snow stopped last spring.

After the inevitable frustration of not being able to find the DVD, then not finding the work-out band, and then struggling to figure out the latest configuration of video game/TV/controller the boys rigged together, I finally dug in.ten minute solutions

The good news is that there is a marked difference in the way I handled the exercises! I could do some stuff I couldn’t do last spring, and I could do other exercises with more stamina.

The journey to a stronger, slimmer body can be excruciatingly slow. It is hard to see incremental changes, like it is hard to realize how much your children have grown until you see a picture from a few months before and notice the marked difference.

I’m not one of those people who loves to work out. You would not be impressed with my number of reps or the intensity of my efforts. But slow and steady DOES make a difference. A walk here. A few crunches there. A few leg lifts and push-ups. Simply being intentional about moving and focusing a few minutes a few times a week on strengthening my body, and today I got to see measurable CHANGE. 

I doubt I’ll ever work out for the sheer joy of challenging my body. I still look at my athlete son with a raised eyebrow when he calls that stuff fun. But even a small amount of effort over a few months makes a difference. In the midst of the curve balls that slowed down my walking, I got a little encouragement.

How about you? Where have you found unexpected encouragement? Would adding some simple exercise into your life help you toward measurable change? If so, start small. Build slowly. You CAN do a LITTLE something, and even a little something makes a difference.

(And if you have an off day like I did last Saturday and eat a bunch of junk and watch a bazillion episodes of Downton Abbey instead of moving and eating healthy, remember, it’s always the right time to make the next decision for health.)

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Even a little makes a difference

Skinny Jeans and Starbucks (Day 120)

Read this journal entry at your own risk!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real Time:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The weight loss journey must be sustainable.

Amazing! (Day 108)

This is the most amazing day I’ve had in a very long time. Things I’ve prayed about and worked toward forever just plopped into my lap! It’s like God said, “Happy February 8th! It’s your day!” and started showering me with presents. Some really cool stuff happened in my volunteer position as Colorado Coordinator for the American Christian Fiction Writers. Stuff I’ve prayed for, but didn’t know how to approach. Then my agent contacted me with a great idea. And then some really cool stuff happened where a bunch of doors opened for one of my kids. All these big areas of my life just came together!

And then . . . THEN I sat down and wrote for the first time since my car accident last June. I mean really wrote, creative, easy flowing, fresh fiction. It felt so good to find that piece of me after months of it being gone while I focused on my healing!

I’d have never taken a break for anything, just kept writing and writing, but my sweet hubby invited me to take a walk with him. Now that I’m getting healthy again, I need to stay balanced, even when creativity hits. I’m so glad he nudged me out of my imaginary world and into the sunshine. We only walked a mile, but it was SOMETHING. I have to hang onto this. I have to keep moving now that I’m starting to be able to work for long hours at the computer again.  ~February 8, 2013

Real Time Update:

The really cool thing that happened in my volunteer work that day grew into something really cool coming in June. If you’re a writer on the western slope of Colorado, you won’t want to miss it!

ACFWCO western slope workshop_reduced

What About You?

Where is it easy for you to get so lost in work or something you love that you forget to add movement into your day?

A First? (Day 106)

I’m so NOT a morning person! How in the world did I get up, exercise, and make it to an 8:55 appointment? Is this a first? I am so impressed with the new me! ~Feb. 6, 2013

Real Time Update:

What a crazy few weeks I’ve had! With my only daughter getting married soon, that has been my focus! She is creative and amazing and loves to tackle projects with her hands. My creativity comes out in my books; I’m not so crafty. But I have tried to help. I usually ask for simple tasks. Often I catch her coming behind me and tweaking my work!

My latest project is napkin rings. To rent the dern things was $1 a pop, so we thought we’d make them. I think they are turning out pretty. (Most of the wedding stuff is still under wraps, but I thought maybe I could share these without her wrath!)


It’s a weird season in my weight loss journey. I am now very comfortable with my body and weight. I’d like to firm up a little and maybe shave another 5-10 pounds, but I feel like me again. I constantly question how much I want to work at this now.

What’s hard is I’m close to looking better than I have since I gave birth to my first child! It wouldn’t take much work to be somewhere amazing, somewhere very different than I’ve been for over 20 years. I think about that a lot, but so far I haven’t been willing to really go for it, full speed ahead.My habits have changed, so I’m staying healthy. I exercise more often, eat better (most of the time), eat less (most of the time), and am naturally more active at this weight. But I took a few weeks off of being focused on the weight loss journey.

A few days ago I decided it was worth at least a little work to make another stride forward, so I added some tummy and core work back into my days. It was immediately evident that I’d lost some ground since I quit that sort of thing. I am starting slow again, taking my time and doing less repetitions. But adding crunches and leg lifts into my day at 45 pounds lighter is much different than when I first tried them back in December!

How About You?

How do you balance general satisfaction with “this could be so good” in your journey to health?

Sense of Accomplishment

Perseverance brings such a sense of accomplishment! And planning ahead to meet my goals does, too.

Today I walked/ran 2 miles before breakfast ‘cause I would be gone all day. Enjoyed the birds. Blue sky. Scripture. There is so much freedom and joy in getting outside and moving!

I like to use these walks for connecting with God, but I must admit I still struggle with being easily distracted. I know people who pray better while they move, but I’ve always focused more with a pen and journal in hand. Still, He is doing something with this prayer walking stuff.

exercise shorts

had to buy smaller shorts!

When I got home I did 50 crunches and 15 leg lifts as well as my stretches from the PT. And I added another 5 sit-ups to my routine. ~Feb. 5, 2013

Real Time Update:

I’m happy to report that today, two months later, I did crunches, leg lifts, sit-ups, and stretches. Unfortunately I got out of the habit for a couple of weeks as we remodeled our office and a bedroom. The focus was entirely on the project, not on exercise. But that is where I am different now than 6 months ago. If I miss my goals for a while I don’t just give up. I start again where I am.

I was only up to 30 crunches, 10 leg lifts, and 5 sit-ups after taking all that time off. I lost momentum.

BUT I still did SOMETHING!

And I have new exercise shorts. Size 8-10, baby. A far cry from a 16!

What About You?

Where are you persevering? What accomplishment can you celebrate? Are you doing SOMETHING?


For Love or Because of Love (Day 103)

“Do you lose weight to gain love or are you able to lose weight because you are loved?” This question, which I read in the Made to Crave Devotional, made me stop and think.

Image from picgifs.com

I  don’t know if I could have chosen to deal with my weight issues if I hadn’t first felt loved. I’ve been around long enough to know that if I don’t feel loved when I’m heavy, dropping a few pounds isn’t going to solve the issue.

What I cling to is this Truth: Heavy or thin, we are completely loved and accepted by the One who made us. He has brushed our hearts with His mercy and declared us good and beautiful and treasured. When the weight loss journey is hard, I press into that truth. I ask Him to help me persevere because I know He loves me and cares about my journey.

I don’t lose weight to gain His love or anyone else’s. This journey is an act of giving love to myself, the One who made me, and those who already love me. We all need me stronger and healthier. We all want me lighter in heart and body.  The rewards come to all of us.                                Feb. 3, 2013

What About You?

Do you lose weight to be loved or because you are loved? Can you see how losing weight is a way of giving love?

Emotional Eating and Snuggy Blankies – Day 80

Am I an emotional eater after all?

My struggle with cravings and eating for emotional support have seemed less than many of my friends talk about. But today I am seeking comfort, and I found myself wishing I could think of something to eat that would give it.

I just returned home from the latest specialist to try to find a reason for the icky feeling I so often get in my head. Some of my tests were abnormal. I feel pretty off-kilter. I’m validated to finally have someone find a REASON for what I have been describing and trying to heal for six months.

But the unknown is scary.

Next week will be another consultation.

I walked home from the doctor’s office. It was only about 2 and a half miles from here, all our cars were in use by the many drivers at our house, and I thought it would be a good way to get my exercise in. The walk was fine except that I was sort-of upside down inside of me. Jerry was teaching, and I couldn’t interrupt his class, so I called my brother. It was good to have company as I walked home. I didn’t want to be alone.

But it’s 32 degrees out there, and I’m still cold an hour later. I wanted something warm and salty, so I ate basically healthy, but skipped my usual lunch—my BeFull shake with fruit. One cup of brown rice and 3 oz of London broil later (349 calories), I feel full, but not satisfied. I can’t bring myself to grab a salad or fruit.

I don’t feel hungry; I just feel empty.

So far I’ve resisted the urge for something hot and cheesy or buttery. (Funny, chocolate doesn’t even sound good. Huh. I think I used to reach for it when I felt empty. I think the nutrition of BeNew has decreased sugar cravings.)

snuggy blanket

My favorite blankie atop my favorite chair, the old blue recliner

I suppose I’m ignoring the empty by writing this journal entry. But I still feel sad, a little scared, and a whole lot of tired of my brain/head not functioning normally.

The cravings persist. I could make myself popcorn or pizza or something creamy, like homemade mac and cheese, but I don’t want to rush there. I’m processing why I would think food would make this better. I don’t want to fill the empty with crap. I want to fill it with Good.

I want Him to comfort me.

So I’ll grab a warm blanket and rest awhile. One of my best friends told me to remember my 3 R’s – Rest, Recuperate, and Rely on Jesus.

Funny, Rigatoni with cheese sauce wasn’t anywhere on the list . . .                                ~ January 11, 2013

Real Time Update:

I still don’t know what’s up with my head. A week ago I would have told you the symptoms were 75% gone, but the last several days they have been back with a vengeance. I used to be able to connect the worse times to computer work, but now I’m connecting the symptoms to fatigue. If I push with a full schedule as I used to before the accidents, they return. I’m trying to look to these symptoms as a reminder to keep balance and rest in my life, but I’m not always successful.

As far as emotional eating goes, the battle continues, especially in the harder days, like a few weeks ago when Jerry had surgery. This morning I read a quote by Graham Cooke that said, “Fullness is our destiny; but emptiness is our crutch.” I’m still processing what he meant by that, but as the above post shows, I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with filling up on cheese sauce and everything to do with the fullness of God offered to me.

What About You?

I’d love to hear your emotional eating stories or advice! We’re in this together, my friends!