Friday, August 11, 2017

more than forty years old

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.  And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him...For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.  Acts 3:1-10; 4:22

A few weeks ago as I sat and listened to a sermon covering this Scripture.  I cannot tell you how many times I have read these very chapters and verses, nor how many sermons may have been heard concerning them, in my lifetime. This was not the first, but it has been the most memorable.
Ever have those moments when words...phrases...entire verses just seem to leap off the page at you when you read them?
This was one of those moments for me; but even better.  The Scripture came to life as I read along and listened and heard the story unfolding.
Oh, the magnitude of it all!
Know what triggered the Living Word to get off the page and into my heart like never before?
Key words along the way...prayer, expectation, rise up and walk, leaping, wonder and amazement...led up to one verse that opened my eyes at what was unfolding:
For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.  Acts 4:22
It hit me that my story to a new way of life was hidden within these words.
As when you recognize and believe Jesus as your Savior, and He makes you a new creation, no matter how your choices concerning your health have played out for you thus far in life, through prayer with expectation and the help of another/from others, you can get up from the old way of living and make a new lifestyle happen for yourself.
I love how Peter directs the man to get up and walk. Peter assisted the man to his feet, but the man had walk on his own. Peter could not do that for him.
Even if you are more than forty years old, be encouraged. Your overall well-being and health can improve. People can help you, but no one can do it for you. I had to "get up and walk" just like this lame man and so do you.
Need some assistance to get to your feet?
I'm here to help.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

it's not about me

I reminded myself of this recently.
It's not about me at all, this wellness journey I am on to a healhier version of myself.
Not at all.
Never has been, really.

It is about the people who invest in me.
My husband. My boys. My family. My friends.
They all share themselves with me.
When I am not at my best, I'm not giving them a good return for their investment.
They get the tired looks, the lack of energy excuses, and the wimpy "maybe next time" cop outs.
I have come to realize that those that take precious time to invest in me deserve better from me. I need to adhere to the direction given on any flight I've ever been on that goes something like this: make sure your own oxygen mask is properly secured before helping others. If I don't take care of myself first, my ability to care for others effectively diminishes quickly.
My choosing clean eating, drinking enough water, and exercising on a daily basis is how I put on my mask first. Am I perfect at meeting the needs of everyone? Never. But I am better prepared to be a help instead of a hindrance.
And, while great treat foods are a part of time together with family and friends, I'm not indulging so much that I'm feeling lackluster and missing out on valuable time to make memories.

This journey is also about the people/events who interrupt my regularly scheduled life.
Not a bad thing; just reality.
Emergencies, unexpected events, personal crises happen. We don't expect them. We don't see them coming. We are interrupted by them.
Feeling good on a consistent basis helps me see things more clearly instead of through a fog of pain, doubt, and/or a non-energized state of mind. I am better equipped mentally to handle stress because my body has a daily release for it in place. Kind of the "own mask in place" analogy again...this time in order to respond to emergencies and urgent needs of others with confidence and clarity in place of reacting with fear and panic.
Again, not perfect. Guilty at responding late or not at all and allowing excuses to keep me from assisting others in their time of need, but I'm better prepared to do it well more so than before I was taking care of my health and well-being consistently.

Finally, but not finitely, my journey is about the people who may become inspired to do something different for their own health.
Those who openly engage with me about my healthier lifestyle choices or those who watch from a safe, quiet distance are both being exposed to the possibilities of a more active, vibrant outlook on life. Anything this recovering chips and dip eating, couch potato living gal can accomplish for a healthier lifestyle is attainable by anyone who puts forth the effort.
It's for my boys who are growing up way so quickly and will be making choices on their own sooner than later. It's for the women who have tried "everything" and see no results. It's for the men who think they can eat anything they want since they "work out" and they will be just fine. [This is not true, by the way, from an overall health perspective. Health is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.] It's for anyone wanting to feel better, have more energy, sleep more soundly, and have a better mindset with which you face each day.

My journey is about you.
If you're still reading this, thank you.
You matter to me.
Never does anyone have to do exactly what I do to feel better and have a more full life.
For anyone who does not know how to start or how to start over where they are at, however, I assure you that Beachbody has the tools, trainers, and the mindset training to promote finding a way out of a lackluster lifestyle and into a livelier one.
I'm here to help you through the choices.
Just say the word.

Monday, January 23, 2017

lose the resolutions

Are you still working toward your New Year's Resolutions?
Just last week was "ditch day", the day by which  most people have abandoned their resolutions...were you one of them?
I've seen a lot of commericals for weight loss programs and gyms (one is playing as I type this now) and people posting their desire to lose weight/become healthier this year.
Allow me to let you in on a secret...

The only workout program that works is the one that you actually do.

Three years ago I made a resolve to never be weak by my own fault again.
Then, I put action steps into place in order to make that resolve into a reality.
I had people in my life that I trusted and reached out to them for help.  I knew what did not work, so I decided to try something so different and so new to me that I did not have any idea what I was in for.  Hindsight being 20/20, it is probably best I did not know.  I would have talked myself out of it before even trying it, had I known.

One month of recovery after my final radiation treatment, I pushed play on P90X with Tony Horton and began drinking Shakeology on a daily basis...and I have not looked back since.

What was different this time around?
My why.
It was not focused on an upcoming event.  
It was not just to lose weight.  
It was not centered around me having to "weigh in".
It was simply me wanting to grow stronger.

What I realized along the way was Tony Horton was training me to become mentally stronger even more so than physically stronger.
THAT training has paid off a hundred fold.  And is what keeps me coming back day after day, month after month, and year after year to continue keeping my resolve and challenging myself to work on my weaknesses in order to become stronger.

I choose to work out so I can live out life doing things I enjoy.
With less issues holding me back, I am more free to spend my energy on doing something instead of making excuses not to.

My choice is Beachbody.
You may choose something else.
That is fine.
Just remember whatever you choose is only effectively working if you're actively working.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

dog kisses

So this happened last night...
What started out as a cute moment with my neighbor dog who came over to play turned into a blurry selfie of a dog licking my cheek.
You see, I'm not a dog person. I'm not going to be a dog person. Ever. I don't want to be a dog person.  They bark.  They smell.  They slobber. They require attention and food.  The list could go on and does.
But, somehow...someway...this dog has worked his way into my heart.
I love this dog.  He loves me.
Maybe it's because he comes and goes aften a few minutes of play time.  Maybe it's because he doesn't try to take over my side of the bed.  Maybe it's because I have two teen boys and am used to more random smells and the constant disappearance of food occurring.
Who knows the reason why, but this dog is special to me. So, last night when attempting a pic with him and I saw what was about to take place, I braced myself and allowed a dog kiss to be planted on my face.  I still jerked a little, as indicated by the blurry pic, but usually I'm bending, flailing, and making my getaway far ahead of a wet tongue touching my face.  Really, it's just...ick...I can't even...
This time was different.
Because my thoughts about this dog are different.
Because he makes me happy when he bounds toward me as he sees me and hears my voice calling his name.
Because my time with him is usually short and I want to make him feel loved when he's with me.
When I started to think about why I allowed my neighbor dog to lick my face, I started to see a pattern developing.
My mindset changed about this dog, so my reaction to him is different than with other dogs.
A similar thing happened when I changed my mindset about exercising.
For years I thought it was about spending hours on a treadmill and doing cardio things that I just did not enjoy and found tremendously boring.
But, I pushed play on P90X, not knowing what it or who Tony Horton was.  I just made up my mind one day I would become stronger and pushed play.  I opened my mind up to trying something new even if still under the umbrella of "exercise".
Like with my neighbor dog, though, because my mindset was different, my reaction to this certain exercise program was different.  It endeared itself to me.  I was drawn to it everyday for an hour; sometimes longer.  I felt better after spending time engaging in its methods and, perhaps, a little madness.
You see, by spending time with my neighbor dog, investing in him, and allowing my "no dogs allowed" sign to be taken down, I have found my soulmate in the doggie world.  I never thought it would happen, but when I met him at just 8 weeks old, I was willing to try.  We have been best buds ever since.
Similarly, like I have found my soulmate in the dog world in this pup from next door, I have found my soulmate workout in P90X.  By changing my mindset about the reason I would workout, I tried something new.  I learned to open myself up to new challenges, things I did not know I would like or even love to do.  Once it happened, the door was opened to a whole world of options and new things to set goals toward and challenge myself to accomplish.
So, my encouragement to you is to think differently about exercising.  Perhaps nothing has clicked yet because you haven't found the one for you yet.  It's out there.  If I found one, anyone can.
Dog kisses still aren't my thing, nor is cardio, but some days I welcome both into my world to make me a better person. Inside and out.

Friday, September 9, 2016

choose your easy

More and more I am seeing this thought meme-ing its way through social media...
"I wish it were as easy to lose weight as it is to gain weight."
I beg your pardon...

Whoever said it was easy to gain weight?
What part about gaining weight is any easier than losing it?
I gained weight consistently over the course of the first 41 years of my life.
I do not recall those years as easy ones where my weight was concerned.

What is easy about being the heaviest person in your family? Or in your class?
What is easy about having to buy clothes that are labeled as "husky"? Or later on in life, have to shop in a special section of the store for "women's sizes" or even in stores that only carry "women's sizes".
What is that supposed to even mean...women's sizes???
What is easy about feeling as if you have no self control?
What is easy about eating until your pants are too tight before you ever get up from the table?
What is easy about feeling guilty for eating when you're not even hungy?
What is easy about dealing with shame, directly or indirectly placed on you due to your size?
What is easy about hiding in pictures or just avoiding being in them altogether?
What is easy about wishing for a different life and never seemingly able to understand how to attain it?
What is easy about dealing with depression about your weight, sometimes giving way to indulging even more to "comfort" yourself?
What is easy about going out with friends and seeing them eat the same thing you do but they never seem to put on a pound?
What is easy about seeing your poor choices and lack of self control be learned by your own children right before your very eyes?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Let me assure you, gaining weight is anything but easy.

Why does this concept get under my skin every time I see someone mention it?
Because it is empowering excuses to run their lives.
Excuses such as, but not inclusive to...
I deserve to be happy and food makes me happy.  I cannot stick with a diet.  I need fill in the blank.  I'm tired.  I don't have time to cook/exercise.  I don't care.  I will start losing weight when fill in the blank.  Nobody wants to join me.  I don't know how to lose weight.  I feel intimidated at the gym.  I don't like to cook.  It's too expensive.  I am afraid of failing{again}.  Exercising is boring.  I don't eat vegetables.  My knees/back hurt.  I stress eat.  I have tried everything...nothing works. 

Gaining weight is not easier than losing it.
It is all a matter of your perspective.

If you change the way you think about nutrition and exercise, you'll change your view of easy.

Losing weight takes a why, much determination, and a plan of action...and a Plan B for when life happens.  Life has a habit of getting in the way of your plans.  Expect it and prepare for it as best you can.  Take notes along the way of what works, doesn't work, needs some tweaking, and what you enjoy, as well as, what challenges you the most.  Make adjustments that pave the way for progress.  Forget about being perfect.  Or instantaneous results.  Think marathon versus sprint.

Compare how easy it is to feel a sense of accomplishment when a workout is over, knowing you chose to give it your best that day to how easy it is to feel winded walking from the parking lot into a building.
Compare how easy it is to feel happy about a healthier option by ordering a cheeseburger without a bun versus drowning your sorrows with a side of fries.
Compare how easy it is to know the sore muscles you feel are growing and becoming stronger versus feeling weak and tired from doing nothing all day.
Compare whether your struggle, whatever it may be, is worth the reward you get from it.
It's up to you to choose your easy.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

my college car...

I had a moment over the weekend when I remembered my car from my college days.  Something during Sunday's sermon made me think of it. Wish I could remember what it was that sparked such a memory, but I know I had to chuckle when the thought of that car crossed my mind.
That car.
Oh, that dear, seafoam green Chevy Impala from some year in the 80's...bless its heart.
That car spent as much time not running/getting worked on as it did running.  Maybe more so.  When one thing would get fixed, another went awry.
Some things I never even attempted to get fixed due to the cost.
Things like the heater running 100% of the time.
That included summer, folks.
Summers in Indiana are more humid than in Georgia.
When I would travel the four hours from Fort Wayne to home, I would buy a bag of ice and put it under my legs to stay cool. I did what I had to do to get by...and, it never left me stranded on the side of the road; usually just in a parking lot somewhere.  There is that.  And, for this, I am truly grateful. I also kept a mom & pop garage up and running with all the repairs they did...we felt like family, seeing each other so often.  They tried their best with what they had to work with in that car.
If Google had been around then (don't laugh), a picture of that car would have appeared when you searched for "lemon" images.
Not even kidding.
Well, that Chevy had one thing quirk that embarrassed me more than anything else.
Soon after I began driving it as "my" car, it decided that when I went to shut it off, it would continue to sputter, cough, and hiccup for awhile before one last "Achoo!".
I can laugh now, but back in the day...oh, the horror was a car doing such a thing, to a young, single lady trying to make her way through life.
I asked some questions.  Got some opinions.  Found an answer.
Believe it or not, it was an easy fix: premium gasoline.
It preferred a higher octane fuel.
It ran well on premium; not so well on regular.
Guess where I'm going with this...
A human body is just like my runs its best on higher quality fuel.
There are differing levels of food quality out there for us to choose from in a grocery store/restaurant just like there are usually three grades of fuel to choose from at most fuel pumps.
We have to decide which one we want based on several factors that include cost, quality, and goals.
When I put the lower grade fuel in my Impala (nicknamed "The Beast" by my college friends, and rightly so), it acted up.  It ran, but did not run well.  There were all kinds of consequences to the choice of a lower quality fuel that I had to endure.
Likewise, I have found that my body operates accordingly to the quality of "fuel" with which I choose to fill it.
Was I living and breathing in the spring of 2013 when my weight had spiked back up to 180+ pounds? Yes.
Was I feeling good, and operating at my best?  Not at all. Not even close.
The fuel I choose for my body is just as important as the fuel I needed to choose for "The Beast" back in the day for it not to totally embarrass me.
Our bodies are in need of a variety of clean, as close to its natural state as possible, food on a consistent basis in order to run in such a way to fight off some illnesses/colds/viruses and to operate at its best.
Feeling good, having sustainable energy, and being well are more important to me than any jean size ever will be.
My car told me, in no uncertain terms, which fuel it preferred.  My body does the same.
Lately, I have consumed too many carbs...the good, the bad, and the ugly kinds.  By choice.  And, my body is responding according to my choices with increased tiredness, headaches, and sluggishness.  I'm mending my ways, but still reaping the effects of my choices days later.
Clean eating is a choice I have made for my body.  It is why I daily drink Shakeology.  It makes my body run smoother, perform better, and helps my overall health.
It does not mean that I do not enjoy treats now and then.  I will never give up bacon or pizza, but I will be wiser with my portions of them for my own good.  I have taken on the challenge to not eat a food when my mind says, "I 'need' it", but to consume something because I want it as an occasional treat.
Our mentality toward food and about food has to be healthy.
Food is our fuel.
It is not therapy.
It is not there to give you a hug.
It is not something to empower.
It is not there to make you happy.
Food does not need you to “need” it.
It is simply fuel for your body like gasoline is for your vehicle.
My tastes have changed over time and my body craves healthier food now...higher octane fuel, one might say.  A treat now and then will not undo my progress, but to get to my goals, I had to be very choosy when I began this journey to a healthier version of myself.  I had to be dedicated to new choices.  I had to look at food in a new way.  I had to control my food choices instead of them controlling me.  A mind over matter issue.
Accountability groups helped me tremendously with this in the beginning of my journey, and why I, still today, go to my coach's long running group when I find myself struggling in a certain area.  This is also why I now run a monthly free group of my own.  I want to help people look more intently at their relationship with food and food's relationship to one's overall health.  I want to share my experiences and lessons learned the hard way with others so maybe their journey will be less bumpy than my own.
Maybe you're reading this and feeling as if you're running like my Impala did when on regular gasoline...slow to start, moody, and kind of embarrassingly awkward.  Message me and let's talk.  I'd enjoy nothing more than having you in my next free accountability group and seeing you thriving and feeling better than you have in years.
The Impala and I...well...we've both moved on in life.
Only one of us has improved with age...{smiley face}    

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

lumpy gravy

Gravy and I have a history.
It's complicated.
If I had a dollar for every time I attempted to make gravy, I'd have...$5.
(Yes, I can count on one hand how many times I have attempted homemade gravy.  If you only count how many times I actually put the gravy out for consumption, my return goes down.)
Over the weekend, my husband mentioned he was hungry for beef tips and rice. So, when grocery shopping Sunday evening upon arriving home from a business trip, I picked up the necessary items to make him some for lunch one day this week.
Today was the day.
The previous four attempts at gravy were hard lessons learned.  No flavor.  Lumps.  Too thick.  Epic fail.  You name the disaster and my gravy consisted of it; sometimes combinations of disasters at once.
So, I've watched videos.  I've consulted with my sister and witnessed her make gravy in front of me. I've read recipes.  I've made mental notes.
This time it was going to be different.
I made the tastiest, but lumpiest gravy in the history of my gravy making life.
At one time, while adding more milk and whisking prayers into the skillet in front of me, I wished I had my blender so I could puree it.
But, it had taste {at least} so I left it on the lunch menu.
***Let me just make a sidenote, here that I realize I could have just thickened some beef broth...I wanted to make gravy instead, though. I went in with confidence it would be different this time around.***
Also, allow me to state that when opening the bag of brown rice I had cooked, successfully, I might add, it EXPLODED all over the countertop and stove.
Consequently, when Scott came in and asked if I was okay, #thereweretears.
A whiny voice, huge tears streaming down my cheeks kind of moment.
It happens to the best of us.  Don't judge.
He, being the best husband ever, assured me it was going to be okay and filled his plate like a champ., bless his heart, lumpy gravy and all.
Life goes on.
And blog posts are formed.
Which is the real reason I am here typing out this most recent event which, coincidentally, is making me literally laugh out loud as I remember the play by play of today's lunch prep.
You see, God began laying out some parallels to this gravy catastrophe while washing up the lunch dishes.
Similar to my "it will be different this time" mentality, there are times when we think we can manage an area in our lives in which we struggle...experience weakness...should just all together avoid...because the chances of it going all together wrong are high.  Yet, we enter in with confidence anyway. And, right before our very eyes we see that it's spiraling out of control at a consistent pace. Instead of just stopping there, we keep on doing the same thing (adding liquid; whisking) and end up with a less than happy ending.  Just like the last time.
While as a follower of Jesus, there is grace and forgiveness extended because of the Cross, doing the same thing, even with confidence, will always get the same result.
Additionally, in another aspect of life that is important to me, lies another parallel.
The parallel between gravy making and fitness does exist if you look for it hard enough and allow me to explain.
Remember what gave me the confidence to attempt gravy again?
I had watched other people do it...and thought it was enough.
Ever watched other people in the gym or on infomercials and think to yourself, "I can do that." So, you get a gym membership or the latest, greatest treadmill and set out on a journey to epic results.
The first few moments are okay.  Still positive.  Still believing the outcome will be nothing short of amazing.
Then, your muscles begin to hurt.
You get bored.
You do what you see others doing (or attempt to), but do not see the results you expected.
You end up in tears, eating the lumpiest gravy ever.
You did not have anyone to lead you step by step.
You lacked support when it got hard.
You were going on motivation that ran out well before the results showed up.
My next attempt with gravy should have been with my sister right beside me, telling me how to me step by step directions until I realized the proper steps to success.  She could have stepped in and stopped my train wreck of a meal from happening.
But, I tried it on my own.
I have realized one important thing through my personal experience with Beachbody, and as a Beachbody coach: doing this alone is not the way to reach goals.
I need professional trainers to teach me step by step instructions.
I need my coach to share her lessons learned the hard way with me, so I don't repeat them myself.
I need my team to encourage me when it's hard (notice: not IF, but WHEN).
I need my tribe to keep me focused and accountable.
I need them and I love them for everything they do for me and with me on this journey.
You see, there is no finish line to cross with health/fitness.
It's a lifestyle.  It keeps on going long past initial goals being met.
If I try going at it alone, I end up getting nowhere.
When I go at this with help, I see results.
Do you need help?
Talk to me.
Let's go at this together.
Likewise, it is time I leave the gravy making up to those who are good at it.
I will bring the dessert.