Tag Archives: walking

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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Wandering and Pondering

There is no goal but movement.

No map dictating the journey.

No planned route.

On the days I set aside time to exercise for at least an hour, I simply walk forward.

I haven’t had much time for free wandering. Or I haven’t made it lately. My routes have been quicker and planned to burn 2-300 calories.

But today the wanderlust hit again.

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I thought I’d harvested all the vistas within an hour’s foot travel. That my neighborhood had been explored.

But today I gave myself an hour.

I took a turn I hadn’t taken before.

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And as my feet moved, I pondered last year’s wanderings.

Was the Spirit chuckling as I meandered day after day, making unexpected discoveries? Did rub eager hands waiting for the day HE nudged me to knock on a stranger’s door to see if they needed food?  the day a pastor I’d never met asked me to pray for him, or when I felt a spiritual confrontation like a physical assault when God led me to a gathering to walk through and pray?

Did He do this on purpose? Train my inner person to loosen up by first freeing my feet?

I’d almost forgotten the breath-taking wonder of taking off out the front door not knowing what He was going to lead me to do next.

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Until today.

When I once again pounded the sidewalk realizing this brave meandering in my familiar neighborhood has done more than release my body. The courage I’ve found here, just walking to lose weight, shook loose some sort of interior control mechanism so I could find courage to move forward in life.

So I could figure stuff out that I hadn’t yet.

Would last week’s epiphany have come if last year’s walking had not?

Today I walked the familiar route past the library and the park and kept going.

At first it was more of the same. Fences around a trailer park. Not especially exciting.

I determined to see beauty.

I noticed the homes with rosebushes, big canopied tents sheltering tables and grills. Heard music flowing. Brushed beneath the fresh green leaves of a huge tree.

And then came the surprise. A park I’d forgotten with a nature path I didn’t know existed.

Off I meandered, gravel crunching beneath my feet, curving through verdant grass. First down a hill, then following a stream, then on paved walk into a new neighborhood.

The houses and streets were unfamiliar, though I knew I’d driven through it further north.

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I kept walking, thinking I would find my way back to a road I knew.

But a nudge sent me turning right when I meant to go straight.

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Such a lovely street unfolded before me with home after home with beautiful landscaping, and all those flowers made my heart full.

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More unexpected treasures.

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Found just because I moved forward.

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Flowing with the promptings of my heart.

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In freedom.

And now that I’m learning to flow forward in life, not just in my neighborhood meandering, what else might I discover in this place?

This freedom place.

Until next time,

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Ditch the Can, the Chair, the Dolrums

 

Ditching the Desert

I believe in giving oneself the space to heal after loss. That’s why I spent the last few weeks recuperating from the long hours of hospital stay 20140405_131421and eventual death of my beloved friend who was more like family. I slowed way down. Let the blog lie mostly silent. Spent a lot of hours in my (new) chair reading, being still. I’ve been taking time with the process. Throwing in the empty nest stuff I’m dealing with as well. Cleaning out old photos. Letting the tears drip. But even as I want to grieve well, I don’t want to live in the desert. And I certainly don’t want to gain back the weight I worked so hard to lose. So I’ve been returning to healthier habits, taking my BeNew, walking, choosing raw spinach and strawberries and cashews. I’m going to walk through this valley, but I’m ditching the desert by making good, refreshing choices that aid the healing process.

Ditching the Chair

Okay, so we did get rid of the “famous” old blue recliner where I rocked all my babies. My daughter was20131222_140949 devastated, but not enough to give the worn out rocker a new home. But even as the old blue recliner goes, my memories do not. All four kids piled into one big heap. Babies nuzzling at the breast. Older kids, hot with fever and usually too old to held, clinging to Momma, rocking through the long night. Quiet hours pouring my heart into my floral journals. Whispers of heaven as I talk to God and listen to His responses to my questions and pleas. Hot tea sipped. Novels devoured along with the popcorn and chocolate. I loved that old blue recliner, but I release it just as I must release the long season of child-rearing. (But not before I proved that I lost enough weight that my brother and I could both fit in it!)

Ditch the Can

For me the Ditch the Can movement isn’t so much about ditching a Redbull or Five Hour Energy. I wasn’t IMAG3027-1-3really into those things. But what I do need to ditch is narrow perspectives. I’m ready to live a freer life on my terms, not tied to a publisher or a time-clock for income. DTC is kicking into gear for hubby and me, showing us what it’s like to live outside the boundaries of traditional thinking and to step into a place where we can ditch a lot of stuff like debt, miserly living, worry about finances, small thinking, and boxed in living. If you want to know more, visit my new page on this blog.

 

 

Ditch the Sitting

Okay. I’m still going to sit. I love  my new recliner, moved from Bernice’s house next door into my living room. I’m in that chair now, typing this blog, clinging to a bit of her presence.20140507_100115 But I’ve been sitting too much. Getting slow and stiff. This week I decided, “ENOUGH!!” I’ve clocked about 15 miles in my tennis shoes the last four days. I saw an airplane tail hanging out of a house, inhaled the fragrance of three different colors of lilacs, and strolled with a fluffy bunny (for real!). I walked with hubby and walked alone. I walked without a destination and I walked to Gunther Toody’s to have lunch with a friend. I walked in silence, strode forward while talking non-stop to my husband, and clocked multiple miles in prayer. I walked in the sunshine, the wind, and the drizzle. (I did stay home when it hailed, however.) And you know what? I loved it. Every step, every vista, every conversation and even the solitude. And walking makes me remember how it heals to get into the fresh air and notice things like bird song and flowers, lilac scents and cloud designs.

Ditching the Have-Tos

canopyDuring this season of transition and grief one thing I’m for sure ditching is the expectations I too often place upon myself to manage according to some arbitrary “have-to.” The world pushes us to rush through change, to get over sorrow, to perform instead of live. To do instead of be. I’m ditching the have-tos. I’m choosing to weep when I want to weep. To laugh when I want to laugh. To read a book even if there’s laundry. To take care of my heart and not just the dishes. Sure I’m prioritizing the stuff the calendar requires. I’m not advocating total negligence. I still believe in being responsible even in the season of grief. But I don’t have to rush through this time. I don’t have to perform, perform, perform. I give myself permission to “be.” For as long as I need to. For interludes throughout my day or week. To pause instead of push. To sit under a tree and stare upward.

Until next time,

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PS If there is a theme to these random reflections, maybe it’s ditching the doldrums. Choosing not to let the hard times of life steal away the good–like hope and dreams for the future, getting outside and enjoying blues skies, embracing good memories even as I allow for grief and season change. Even the time to mourn is ditching the doldrums. That, too, is good. Healthy.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Practical Tips to Break the Food Addiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Father,

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

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

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

On a Beauty Search

Some people love earth tones. You know, creamy, sandy, brown, beige and taupe.

I’m so NOT an earth tone kind of girl.

My kitchen is yellow. My office a soft green. If I had my way it would include splashes of bright pink.

Last year I fell in love with walking.

I adore cobalt blue skies paired with snow capped peaks. Rainbow hues in flowers lining a planter box. A profusion of roses. Rich green leaves–or bright yellow, red, and orange ones in fall.

But plain ole brown.

Not so much.

I usually love winter. Diamond dancing when sunlight hits snow. Frosty air. Twinkle lights and homemade snowflakes.

But this winter has grown long.

And in between the beautiful snowfalls there is sure a lot of brown.

And when it’s cold I’m finding it hard to brave the temperatures and walk.

This post is a reminder to myself that there is beauty in brown. If I will just get my you-know-what outside and put my feet to the sidewalk, I can find it.

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And if I look hard enough I might even find a little green and blue.

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So I need to dig a little deeper, hit the pavement, enjoy the world one sidewalk at a time . . .

And cling to the promise of spring.

Share it: On a beauty search

Make Your Own Body Butter!

Body butter, pity you can't smell it
Body butter, what a pity you can’t smell it

The following is a guest post from my friend Marie Keats from “across the pond” in Southampton. We meet blogging because we have both fallen in love with walking! (Only she makes me look like an amateur!) Marie’s posts about her long walks have inspired me time and again to get outside and experience life one sidewalk at a time!

After Marie commented on my Stretchy Skin post about making her own body butter, I asked her to teach us how. This post is the result. I’m excited about trying it! I make my own laundry soap, and love it, so why not this? It’s a less expensive way to luxury (and firming up that skin!). I’m considering using castor oil and lavender in this recipe since I read it is good to help firm up skin. I have applied it directly on my loose skin since I did that research, but putting it in body butter would be much more pleasant!

From Marie:

Because I have eczema I’ve been using body butter for years and some time ago, probably around the first time I got made redundant, I got annoyed at how much the stuff cost, especially as I use tons of it. A lot of Googling came up with lots of different methods to make it at home and, as it seemed quite simple, I thought I’d have a go. Since then I’ve made so many batches I’ve lost count and I’ve tweaked the recipe over and over to get it just how I like it. About a year ago I shared it on my blog but my friend Paula in America was interested and wanted to share it with the readers of her blog so I thought it could stand a revisit.

My basic recipe is very simple, just four ingredients plus some jars to put it in. Some of the recipes I first looked at also used beeswax which would add more nutrients but would also make the butter more solid. Maybe that’s something I will experiment with at a later date but this method has served me very well over the years.

The ingredients are surprisingly cheap. My shea butter, glycerine and essential oils come from Mystic Moments, a local company that can also be found on eBay. They are based in Hampshire not too far from me but they do ship overseas. There are also masses of different suppliers on eBay so it’s worth shopping around but check out the feedback ratings before you buy.

Body Butter

Ingredients
This should make enough to fill two 200g (6.8oz) jars.

Ingredients
Ingredients

150g (5.3oz) Shea butter or cocoa butter (I prefer Shea butter)

100ml (3.4oz) olive oil (you can use any oil, almond oil is meant to be very good, but I’ve always got olive oil in the kitchen so that’s what I use)

30ml (or 2 tablespoon) glycerine (you can get this on eBay or from a good chemist)

Essential oils (make sure you use essential oils rather than perfume oils or you could have allergy problems. I buy 50 ml bottles that last for ages and most are just £5 or so. I’ve built up quite a collection over the years and they keep forever.)

Jars to put it in (I have some little kilner type jars that were once Body Shop body butter jars but any clean jar with a lid will do.

Using kitchen scales and a measuring jug if your scales don’t weigh liquids, measure out your Shea butter and olive oil then add the glycerine. I find it easiest to use a measuring spoon for this as it’s a bit like treacle. None of the quantities have to be exact so don’t get too obsessive about the weights and if you need conversion tableshere is a good website that will do the hard work for you.

Melt the Shea butter. I melt mine in a big glass bowl in the microwave but you can use a saucepan if you like, just make sure you wash it well afterwards though! Give it all a good stir to mix it all up really well.

Choose your essential oil. You can use a single oil or a combination, whatever you have or what takes your fancy. Add the oil a couple of drops at a time until you get the strength of smell you want. I find between ten and twenty drops does the trick depending on the oil I’m using. Less is more here as you can add but you can’t subtract and you don’t want it too overpowering.

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Stir it all really well then leave to cool. Go and have a cup of coffee or something, actually go and have several because this bit takes ages. When it’s cool but not completely set get your whisk out. You’ll know when it’s ready because it will have changed from a clear liquid to a creamy colour but it will still be the consistency of soft butter when you dip your finger in. I have an old electric whisk I keep specifically for body butter but you can use your normal kitchen whisk just make sure you wash the beaters really well afterwards!

Whisk the body butter up. Use a slow setting at first to avoid it splashing everywhere (voice of experience speaking here!). Once it is really creamy leave it for a while to set further (about ten minutes or so). Now it will have gone even paler than when you stopped whisking and will have begun to harden. Give it another good whisk and you’re ready to transfer into your jars.

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The body butter will bulk up when it’s whisked, a bit like double cream. It looks good enough to eat but don’t be tempted, it won’t taste good! It will set a little more once it’s in the jars so don’t worry if it seems a bit too thin at this stage.

Now all you have to do is wash everything up (I normally wash everything I’m going to use for food twice just to be safe although none of the ingredients are toxic) then you can start slathering it on! I do this while I’m still wet from the shower as it keeps the moisture in and my skin feels silky smooth and smells lovely.

It really is that simple. Easier than making a cake plus it saves loads of money on shop bought body butter and you can use your favourite scents. Some of my favourite combinations are orange and musk, lime and black pepper and ginger and cinnamon but it’s fun coming up with new combinations.

If you’d like a smoother, silkier body then body butter is certainly the way to go. If you’d like a fitter, slimmer more toned body to go with that silky skin I may have just the thing for you too. Motivation is the main factor in getting fitter and slimmer and I know from bitter experience that it can be hard to come by. Thing is I have a plan to help with that. At the moment I’m working out all the details but keep an eye out on my blog over the next few days and all will be revealed very soon…

Tweet this recipe!

Make your own body butter to help shrink loose skin!

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Simple but not Easy

The secret to weight loss can be simple even when it isn’t easy.

Weight loss: simple but not easy

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Walking it Out

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photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Spiritually I feel much more weighed down by stress and problems when I’m not taking care of my body. Physically, I have less energy to serve God and more emotions to wade through when processing life.”

The above statement alone is one of the most profound discoveries of my weight loss journey. I didn’t write those words, Lysa TerKeurst did. But I so relate.

For years I prayed for joy, for the ability to overcome discouragement, for hope. I don’t see myself as having completely arrived in these areas, but I’ve found a powerful tool in discovering joy, combating discouragement, grabbing hold of hope.

It’s called taking a walk.

Eventually I usually end up talking with God, but even when it’s not a focused conversation my spirit rises up within me in worship just being outside, hearing the birds, feeling the fresh air.

There’s something about looking up into a huge tree or seeing the mountains in the distance, or gazing at the clouds or the flowers that puts me in my place, reminds me there is something bigger than I am, and HE is Good.

I grew up in church where we were often told to take care of our body because it was the temple of God. Unfortunately most of what was taught–or at least of what I heard–was the old southern “don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go with boys who do.” Once in a while I caught that I should think about what kinds of food I put into it, but I totally missed the idea of caring for my body as God’s temple by taking good care of it in the area of exercise.

I loved when Lysa wrote: “I want to . . . dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and a gift to myself.”

Let’s join Lysa in the prayer: “Help me see the ability to exercise as a gift. I dedicate my temple to You and commit to start rebuilding it today.”

How about you? What do you do to add movement into your day? What exercise do you enjoy? Do you ever exercise just because it’s good for you even if it is not something you enjoy? If you keep doing it do you start enjoying it?

And what about schedule. How do you fit it into your busy days? If you don’t, could you add in once a week, then twice?

Joy in the Journey

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I’m pushing 50 but twinkle lights bring out the child in me. For the briefest of moments I am caught up in magic when I watch them blink out their message of hope.

To me they are joy personified, shouting out the hope that “into the darkness there came a great Light!”

Part of my goal in the shedding of extra weight is the shedding of the weight of sorrow, the too-serious Paula who can easily take up residence inside of me.

Twinkle lights bring out the play.

With the holidays upon me I’ve sought to return to my walking habits. I simply don’t want to ignore every piece of chocolate or holiday cookie. And so I need to move!

As it turns out the need for movement turned into what will be one of my favorite December memories of this year.

It was a gift of time, and it was given to me by my husband. I’d asked him to take a walk, but you know how it goes, there’s always so much work to be done. The next thing we knew it was dark.

But he went anyway when I asked, despite his weariness, despite the demands of his schedule. I don’t if he thought about how much I’d enjoy checking out neighborhood lights, but it was quickly apparent that his agenda included letting me feast on them to my heart’s content.

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He held my hand and talked to me as we tramped all over the neighborhood. If there is anything I love as much as twinkle lights, it is holding hands and good conversation with my man. I may even like it better. ;o)

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I had so much fun enjoying not only their beauty, but the playful and zany scenes created by them.

IMAG3051I can’t see dog sleds without thinking of Balto,
one of the kids’ most beloved movies when they were small.

IMAG3073Did you know Mickey and Minnie have been dating since 1928?

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Good to know Santa bathes

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And that He’s got that naughty and nice list saved on the computer.

But who knew he liked pizza?

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 You’d think he could do better than an outhouse.

As much as I enjoy the silly stuff, I love the nostalgic even more.

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All in all, it was such a lovely night.

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Jerry made sure we made the trek to this place,

which has decked out like this for at least 25 years.

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Isn’t this scene sweet?

As I walked, full, happy, and alive, it was like God whispered to me, “You like this? Wait until you see the fullness of my galaxies of stars.” And I could almost see myself as some kind of cosmic being zipping in and out of space, drinking in the mysteries of the universe. As I thought about that I gazed at an almost full moon. I didn’t even try to capture it on my phone.

It was an amazing night.

So, my friends, celebrate the holidays this year by exploring your world one sidewalk at a time. Burn a few calories. Hold hands with someone special, chat with a friend, or simply get away by yourself. Pound the pavement to enjoy the lights. It’s sure to bring you . . .

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(and better thighs.)

Autumn Glory

I’m still in California as this entry posts. I can’t wait to share a bunch of pictures and talk about my experiences in sunny San Diego at the Life Force Convention. I expect to include some shots of the Pacific. Oh how I’ve missed the ocean!

But for now I thought we needed a break from all that heavy discovery of epiphanies, so I put together a collection of fall beauty before I left Denver. I encourage you to bask in the glory of autumn, one sidewalk at a time.

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Enjoy the simple things today. Live in the moment. Breathe in beauty. Notice the good, my friends. Take a walk. Snap a picture. Thank the Creator.

Breathe in Autumn Glory