Tag Archives: weight loss

Hung Up on Weight?

My body.

It takes up too much of my thought life.

Especially the negative zings, which don’t belong in my head at all.

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that in 2012 I started paying attention to my body and lost 55 pounds.

Unfortunately I’ve found some of those pounds again. To be honest, I don’t know how many because I’m afraid to get on the scale.

I learned a lot about where I turn for comfort in 2012 and 2013. I mean you can pray and read Scripture and love your family and talk to your friends and all of that but still try to eat your negative emotions.

I got a lot better. I learned to pause to think about what was really going on when I craved food. And usually I could let go of the craving.

So here we are about 5 years later.

I haven’t totally gone backwards, but I’ve shrugged off more fresh veggies and healthy exercise choices than I am willing to admit.

And lately I’ve given space again to the negative “I’m fat” thoughts.

This has been going on awhile, and has really cranked up in the stress of the aftermath of my husband’s heart attack.

So why I am writing about it now?

Today I browsed blogs written my folks who’ve recently followed mine. I’ve had some new follows by people talking about health and weight and body image, including a young girl from another country. She’s only 15 but, like me, she’s focused on her body.

I’m 52.

I don’t know if it will comfort or discourage her that I still think about this stuff.

I was reminded this weekend of a blog post I wrote a few years ago. I posted a picture of how I really looked and a picture of how I thought I looked, which was much heavier. This memory made me wonder how much of my weight gain since that day is related to never truly being able to see myself as I truly was.

It’s hard enough in your 50s with these struggles, but what about this young girl–and all the others like her? What would it mean to all of us if we saw ourselves as we really are?

Not just our real weight.

I mean the real weight of our existence.

What if we saw ourselves as amazing, strong, worthy, and beautiful?

What if we understood our value?

Ladies, we are God’s treasure. The Creator of the whole universe had us specifically in mind even before the world began. GOD dreamed us up. He not only loves us, He likes us. He thinks we’re beautiful and unique and of great value.

He also knows all the wonderful things we are capable of–the ways we can impact our world for good–if we can break out of negative self-focus and live fully aware of our value and how He’s wired us to live in this world.

I was recently talking to Him about all the stuff bugging me. When I got to my weight, I swear I heard Him laugh. Not at me. Not in a mean way. Just a laugh that seemed to include a shrug, as though I made way more consequence of it than He did. As if all the things I found unattractive were not even an issue for Him. As if His focus was somewhere entirely different than those pesky extra pounds.

As if He thought I had better things to think about and do than to worry about how I looked in the mirror.

I’m not saying He doesn’t care about my weight or health. He proved His personal attention to this area of my life time and again as I lost weight and learned to make healthier choices five years ago.

What I’m saying, is that He isn’t hung up on my weight.

It doesn’t limit or diminish His approval.

He isn’t wringing His hands or spending precious thought time on the number on a scale.

He’s thinking about His women in a whole different way.

Sure, He thinks we’re beautiful. He designed us to be beautiful! It’s just that He knows beauty isn’t a number on a scale or a perfect figure or perfect outfit. Beautiful is being fully present in this world. 

Taking up our own space.

Living out our destiny of bringing goodness in our own unique way to our little corner of the world.

So to my new 15 year old follower and to myself, this is what I have to say.

Be healthy. Eat well. Live active and strong. It’s good for you!

But it is not your totally and need not be your world.

(Your world is so much bigger than a number on a scale!)

It is not your identity.

It doesn’t deserve undo focus in your thought life.

You have so much more to think about. So much more to do.

Like notice a sunset or a shaft of bright light.

Like laugh with a friend or encourage someone who needs a bit of help.

Like enjoy amazing music or art or poetry.

Or create it.

Like love.

Love others.

Love God.

Start by loving yourself.

To do that you receive love.

You believe you are of great worth to your Creator.

You tell your Creator you want to believe you are valuable.

You ask Him to help you change your thinking so that you don’t focus negative thoughts about yourself

You start seeing the gifts, the strengths, the beauty, the courage you possess.

As as you receive God’s love, then you share it.

You help a friend see his or her worth. See that there is more to them than what people think or say (and that’s what I’d tell another new follower, this one from India).

There is more to you than even than you know.

And it is good.

Until Next Time,

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PS It’s not too late to download that free Easter devotional on my website, Soul Scents: Selections for Easter.

 

 

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)

Weigh-in Wednesday: Let’s Get Real!

IMAG0191Let’s get real!

It isn’t that we don’t know the path to better health. While we each may have physical limitations or allergies unique to us, we know the basics: Increase activity. Decrease intake. Eat fresh.

So if we know what it takes why is it so hard to lose weight and maintain a healthier body?

It’s a bear to establish healthy habits, but it’s just as difficult to continue them once goals are met–at least for me.

Am I the only out here?

(I know I’m not.)

With all the renovations on my house the only part of my body that grew stronger were painting muscles. My walking legs aren’t quite as muscled and the middle is going soft again.

And I let it happen after all that work to drop 55 pounds and get strong after those car accidents!

So I’m trying to re-establish the healthy choices that brought much freedom and joy back into my life before the ease of movement slips away again.

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The brave and beautiful Jennifer bundled in several layers to walk with me today!

Yesterday I chose to walk while I took a phone call. Today I asked a friend to walk with me. I’m an extrovert, so being in community while I walk gives me that little extra joy I need to keep my feet moving. I know I need to return to this activity even when it’s a solitary endeavor, and I’ll get there, but for now having a friend helps!

Jennifer bundled up to stay cozy in the cold and we enjoyed the fresh (though slightly nippy) air, avoided the goose poop, and had a good long conversation uninterrupted by the real world.

Honestly, it was heavenly!

How about you? Would calling a friend make it more fun to be active today?

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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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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