September 30, 2011

Touching Before & After

I love a good before and after story--here's a special one:

Lessons and Surprises

What do you tell yourself when the going gets rough or when faced when temptation? What are some lessons you've learned along your weight loss journey? Have there been any surprises? -Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie

When the Going Gets Rough
When the going gets rough I tell myself this is normal. Even though I may be spewing from the brain and mouth, deep down I know that this is the way it has to be. The ups and downs are just part of the whole process. I try to fully engage in whatever emotion/feeling I am having and then I pray that I can let it go after that. In the past, I would try to not experience the "rough-going" and hide from it. I try now to embrace it. It is definitely a process, but that's what I'm trying to do.

When I am faced with temptation...hmm. Sometimes I give in. Lately I have been giving in a lot. I don't like it. That momentary satisfaction does not even come close to justifying the nasty funk it puts me in. Sometimes the funk lasts for weeks. There are lots of ways to face temptation successfully. I recently wrote about that here.

Lessons Learned
Emotions are meant to be experienced, not suppressed
Encouraging others helps me
I need accountability
There is not a short cut
I do not need to be perfect
Planning+prayer+action are necessary
If I only do things that I feel like doing, I will be miserable
There is no finish line

At first I was surprised that I was losing so much weight at such a rapid pace. I was surprised that I was losing by eating regular food in regular amounts--I was surprised such a simple method of weight loss was working for me. I'm not sure why I was surprised, but I was. I was surprised that I felt so much freedom. I was surprised that I was able to run, at first a mile and eventually 13 miles. I was surprised that my whole personality began to morph (into the real me) as I began to lose weight and gain insight to my thoughts/emotions and soul. I'm surprised at the transformation on the inside because that was not even something that I could have imagined would happen. I didn't even know it needed to happen!

Many times I forget that I am still a work in progress. I think that is one of my biggest problems. I start to assume I am "fixed" and then when something happens that shows me just how "unfixed" I am, it is like a punch to the gut. Humility: I pray for it, but recieving it isn't always fun:)

More than anything, I continue to be surprised by God's grace. The scandalous, unmerited, unfair, unfathomable grace that brings me back. No matter how far I run or how loud I scream or how big a fit I throw, His grace is bigger and louder and faster. That grace is everything. Really the answer to all 4 questions.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

September 27, 2011

Monthly Weigh-In

Today I weigh almost exactly the same I did this time last year. Slightly disheartening? Slightly. I noticed it last week when I was scrolling through the photos on the side of my blog and I couldn't believe it.

I was kind of embarrassed at first. How can a person go a whole year doing the types of "weight-loss-y" things that I do and not lose anything? How? Then I felt dumb. Why did I assume I had lost lots of weight? Then I felt mad that all of those months had been wasted. I could have been to goal by now. Then I felt frustrated and defeated and blah. Waaaaaah!

When I was done with all of this, I decided to do 3 things:

1) Shut Up
2) Suck it up
3) Get to Work

Here are my no-frills, once-a-month, weigh in photos for September.

169 lbs.

In my heart of hearts I know that all was not lost over the past year. Truly, I do. Quite the contrary. I know that God has been working on different areas of my life. I guess it's just a little uncomfortable because they aren't really areas I wanted him working on ;) 

A statement that I read this week pretty much sums up my current state-of-mind:

I'm not what I wanna be; I'm not what I'm gonna be...But praise God Almighty, I'm not what I was.

Love that!

This is the physical comparison of where I was in October 2009 (229 lbs.) and where I am almost in October 2011 (169 lbs.).

Interesting to me that you can capture the physical comparison so well with photos but the spiritual/emotional/mental changes can not be photographed. They can not be seen, only experienced. There is not a sidebar big enough in this bloggy world to document the make-over that my heart is undergoing.  So thankful.

September 23, 2011

Think I Told a Lie (Retraction)

I need to correct and clarify some things I wrote in a post a couple of days ago. I second-guess things I write just about every time I write but I try to just let it go. This one I really need to correct, though. In the post entitled How Can We Do It All, a post about things that have helped me in balancing various roles of womanhood, #5 is the culprit. This is what it said ( I have removed it from the original post):
5. Take care of self, then take care of others.
I am by far a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, PERSON now that I have taken some time and continue to take time to focus on self-care. I can do things to help others now that I would have never dreamed of doing at the size and mental state I was in before. This means that sometimes I have to leave my family to spend time alone or have true quiet time with the Lord. I have to take time away from them in order to exercise. It's a sacrifice that I think my husband (and my kids if they could express it) would say has been well worth it. Taking care of this body, that is actually not my own, is not selfish.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Another scripture to consider here is:
Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
How should we love others? The way that we love ourselves. This is not a selfish love but a sacrificial love. We should have a sacrificial love of self, with the chief purpose of our self-love being to love others well. Think about it.
A couple of things are wrong here. First of all, the heading. Take care of self, then take care of others. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Kind of. As long as you understand I don't mean LOVE yourself more than others, then I think we're okay. The message I was trying to send is that we can not do the work to which God has called us, to the best of our ability, if we do not take some responsibility for self-care first. Self-care being quiet different from self-love. Scripture clearly states that we are to love others first, to think more highly of others than ourselves and that we are to die to self, daily. In fact, we are to deny our selfish, fleshly desires and put God first. I the whole issue here has to do with our motives. We can take care of our bodies because we want to look good in a bikini so men will stare at us on a beach and make us feel good about ourselves for being so hot (loving self) or we can want to become a healthier person so that we can serve others well (loving others). See the diff?

Read this awesome post about why Pastor John Piper chooses to exercise. In a nutshell "I have one life to live for Jesus. I don't want to waste it." (Love him!)

The other thing that is wrong is my exegesis (explanation of ) Galatians 5:14.Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." I said that we should love ourselves first and then copy that love toward others. This is an error. On the same day I wrote that post I opened up a book to begin reading, Lies Women Believe. Would you believe there was a whole chapter on this very topic? ;) Here is what Nancy Leigh DeMoss has to say about Galatians 5:14:
When Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, the point is not that we need to love ourselves so that we can love others. Jesus is saying we need to give others the same attention and care we naturally give ourselves.
She goes on to say:
We are constantly looking out for ourselves, deeply sensitive to our own feelings and needs, always conscious of how things and people affect us. The reason some of us get hurt so easily is not because we hate ourselves but because we love ourselves! We want to be accepted, cherished, and treated well. If we did not care so much about ourselves, we would not be so concerned about being rejected, neglected or mistreated. The fact is, we do not hate ourselves, nor do we need to learn to love ourselves. We need to learn how to deny ourselves, so we can do that which does not come naturally--to truly love God and others. Our malady is not "low self-esteem," nor is it how we view ourselves rather, it is our low view of God. Our problem isn't so much a " poor self-image" as it is a "poor God-image." Our need is not to love ourselves more but to receive His incredible love for us and to accept His design and purpose for our lives. Once we have received His love, we will not have to compare ourselves to others; we will not focus on "self" at all. Instead, we will become channels of his love to others.
Hm. Enlightening, isn't it? I can't wait to get into this study! This is a much better and more educated explanation than the one I wrote!

Please forgive my irresponsible use of God's Word. It is so easy to manipulate scripture to make it say what we want it to say. While I believe the message I was trying to get across is not necessarily "un-biblical", some of the terminology and scripture references I used just didn't work and I'm so sorry for this confusion.

I thank each of you who reads this blog for being so gracious as you come along on my journey. I am learning every step of the way and I'm sure this will not be the last mistake I make. I want, from the bottom of my heart, to share God's word with the utmost integrity and accuracy that I am able.  May I never compromise his beautiful Truth. No matter how hard it is to read or hear--it is freedom.

For you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

September 20, 2011

How Can We Do It All?

How do you balance all the roles in your life (wife, mother, ministries etc) with making health a priority as well. How do you find the time and with small children the way to exercise and keep making new goals? -Laura

1. Don't feel sorry for self...Don't even think about it.
Honestly, the first time someone asked me this question, I hadn't even thought about it. I never thought about my kids or husband or other responsibilities making it more difficult for me to stay focused on healthy living. But once the idea was pointed out to me I could see that these things did present more challenges. I am always looking for an excuse, so the fact that these things really hadn't occured to me is simply more evidence of God's grace. Now that I do recognize these challenges, I try not to focus on them. This is my life. I am a wife. I have small children. I have responsibilities inside and outside the home, one of which is taking care of my body. These are blessings and I believe God works them all together for good. 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

2. Ask for and accept help
I am not afraid to let people help me. I do not feel guilty about asking a friend or family member to watch my kids so I can go run. We were never intended to do things on our own. That is why God gives us community and family. We are not capable of doing things alone and it is a form of pride to think that we can or should. Now, those people we call on to help us should never be taken for granted or taken advantage of. I thank God for them! Hopefully they have a concept of #5.

"People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world." (Barabara Streisand song)

3. Prioritize
Determining priorities is as simple as asking myself the question: "What is important to me?" Once I have honestly answered that question, I am able to find the time for it. Always. We find time for what is important to us. Remember--if you want things to change, you have to change the way you do things. Your priorities must change. My relationship with God is most important. From this relationship, he directs everything else in my life. By putting Him first, the balancing act becomes much easier because He will do it.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

4. Don't listen to the world.
When we allow the world to dictate what we spend our time doing, to decide our values, that is when we get in trouble and our lives end up way out of balance. We all have values that guide us in determining what is important to us. The goal for me is to draw my values from what is important to God.  Most important to him is not how much money I earn, how well or how many sports my kids play, how cute my hair is, how clean and nice my house is, what size jeans I am wearing, how many "good" things I am doing or what everyone else thinks of me. It is very difficult to push those things to the back of the line because those are things the world is always SCREAMING and constantly whispering should be most important to us. It's a lie!
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

5. Master the art of saying NO.
This is clutch! We have been told a really horrible lie--that we can do it all. Well, maybe we can do it all but if we are doing it all I think it's pretty safe to say we aren't doing any of it well. And to make matters worse, not only have we been told that we can do it all, we've been told (or we tell ourselves) we should do it all. There was a point in my life when I thought that I needed to say yes to anything ever asked of me. Horrible times. I learned a lesson there and started to only say yes when it was a really good thing. Really good things include volunteering at school or church, attending a Bible study, helping a friend in need, the list goes on. All really good things. Problem: there is still not enough of me to do every really good opportunity that comes my way. Some really good things? A few? Yes. Perhaps. There have been points in my life recently where the only thing I was doing was taking care of myself and my family. That is okay sometimes. Guilt can not rule our lives! Trying to live up to the "supermom" fantasy is not possible so stop trying! Also, you can never please everyone and yes, saying "No" will offend people and make them mad. Sometimes it will hurt feelings. I hate that--I really do! But they get over it and even if they don't I can't let it consume me. Consider the bigger picture. Best advice ever: Sometimes we have to say no to very good things so we can say YES to the very best thing.
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

So after typing all of this out, I think I want to correct myself. We actually can do it all--learn to say no, accept help, prioritize our lives, tune out the world and care for our precious bodies--but there is only one Way... I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

September 16, 2011


I have been praying and praying and praying some more that I will get a real grasp on what God's grace means for me in this crazy, can't-figure-it-out life. It is a jumbled mess in my head most of the time but when I am deep in the Word or as quiet as I can possibly be or sometimes even scrolling through my twitter feed--He speaks. I am trying so desperately to listen and to take hold of what I am hearing.

My dear friend pointed out to me that I am trying really hard to understand everything. It is common for a person to experience tragedy and want desperately to make sense of it all. I'm not even in the midst of a tragedy, but I still want to understand it all. The joys, the gifts, the opportunities...I want to know what is going on and why things are happening the way they are. I can't. We can't. We just can't.


The truth is that all of these things God is working together for good. Of that we can be certain. And the fact that he is making anything good out of us or this world is GRACE defined. The waters of God's grace are deep and as the David Crowder songs says: "If your Grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."

I love this lyric because it captures the hard truth so very well. We can't navigate God's grace. We can only drown in it. We can only let the lungs of our desire to understand be filled with the water of His grace. The living water. In this death we can truly live! We can just rest and let the waters carry us, toss us to and fro, and experience life the way He intends. Every emotion, every delight, every fear, every pain and every uncertainty: through grace we can experience it rather than fight it, study it, or resent it. Instead of trying to make use of the grace or figure it out, we can just let it have us.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

I've not been on this earth too long, but with every passing moment I realize more and more (Thank you, Jesus!) that this is not my home. What a tragedy if I thought this was it! The same grace that drowns me here will complete me there. The ocean of grace that I'm drowning in today will carry me right to the feet of Jesus and in the presence of God Almighty. One day I will know. Fully and forever.

September 13, 2011

Motivated--Not So Much

How do you motivate yourself to workout on days you feel blah and don't want to do anything?

Here are a few things that have helped me:

15 minute week--I can do just about anything for 15 minutes. Sometimes when I am dreading workouts (and in effect not doing them) I will have a "15 minute week" where I only do 15 minutes of activity, but I do it everyday. That way it's not overwhelming, I don't dread it and I end up doing way more than I would have otherwise.

Get a Buddy--This can be a great motivational tool. Go for a walk with a friend. You can easily walk several miles without even realizing you have exercised when you have a buddy to talk with. It is also nice to know someone is going to be meeting you somewhere (you have to go) and you don't have to do it alone.

Purchase good gear--Getting fitted for my running shoes was one of the greatest things ever! Highly recommend doing this if you are going to be doing a lot of walking or running. It just feels better and is best for your body. Also, from time to time I like to get some new shorts or tops to workout in. Yeah, it's superficial but hey--it works.

Journal--Keep a journal of how you feel every time you finish exercising. I am always so refreshed and invigorated. I feel good about myself and what I have accomplished. Today a friend and I were saying that we never remember saying "Oh man, I really wish I hadn't worked out just then." Never happens. On the days it is tempting to stay on the couch, flip through the journal and be reminded of the pay off.

Set a goal--Goals help keep us on track and focused. Signing up for my first half marathon was AWESOME! I knew that if I didn't put in the work every day leading up to that race, then I would not be able to do it. It kept me motivated to get out there every day I needed to and on the days I still wasn't feeling it, I did it anyway knowing there was something bigger at stake.

For me, this is pretty black and white. If I don't work out, I can't lose weight. That has been proven time and time again, most recently over the past few months. We can talk motivation all day long but the bottom line is that we have a choice to take care of the bodies God gave us or not. Simple.

Now, I really need to re-read this and take my own advice!!!

September 12, 2011

Body Parts

Thank you all so, so much for the post ideas! I am so excited. It's funny because I have been having lots more ideas of my own, too! I will use them all! This is one of the topics: Favorite Body Part and Why. My favorite parts comes last, but here are a few others that I have something to say about, too:

I love my legs because they are strong. They have been the body part that has shown me I am capable of things I never even dreamed about. I ran 13 miles on my legs! That is hard to believe when I think about how difficult it was for me to even walk a mile in January 2010. My legs have definition that I never knew they could have. I like to feel them. I know that is weird! But I love the way they feel, especially when I shave.
The face is special to me. I had gotten to the point where I just didn't look in the mirror any more. I didn't want to see my face. I felt like no matter how perfect I got my make-up or how good my hair looked there was nothing that would make my face easy to look at. It was the most obvious reminder of how far I had let myself go. My face is now more alive and joyful. There is a sparkle in my eyes that I didn't even know was missing until it reappeared.

Uhhh. This is not my favorite body part at all. But it is worth writing about. All of my weight sits right in my stomach. I have two stomachs--the upper one (muffin top area) and the lower one (my butt in front). I have tried to think of something positive to say about my stomach. It is the grossest thing ever, but my fat stomach is pretty much what has brought me to my knees and got me started down this long path to finding out who I really am.

This is my new favorite body part. Many of the lies that crippled this part of me have been cleared out. The brain now enhances my progress rather than hindering it. This part of my body has seen the biggest and most dramatic transformation. Without the changes here, none of the other body parts would have been able to change either. They say the mind is a terrible thing to waste. I would agree. The mind is a beautiful thing to entrust to the truth of God's Word. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The pattern of this world is to judge by the outward appearance. We all do that to some degree. As much as we try not to, I think it is just part of our human nature. We all want to be loved and accepted and by the world's standards, having beautiful and "standard" parts make that more of a reality. The more that I understand the unconditional acceptance that is available through Christ, the less acceptance by the world matters to me. Knowing that Jesus knew what all of my imperfections would be as he willingly gave his life for me makes the fat rolls and the double chins seem pretty insignificant.

For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Yesterday we studied Psalms 139. Wow. It speaks of the way that He knows us. The deepest, darkest worst things about us, the ugliest things about us, He knows and he sees. He doesn't care. He loves us. Oh! How he loves us. When God was making us, his focus was on the inmost being--not the legs or the face or anything else.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)


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September 9, 2011

Help a Girl Out!

I love to write this blog. I love writing, period. I love writing about weight loss, exercise, struggles, transparency, overcoming, spiritual things and really just about anything.  But lately I have had writer's block.

Seriously--I NEED to write to help me with this weight loss thing. Blogging has been so huge! I am praying that God will help me know what to write about and that maybe you guys will be able to help me, too. I would SO appreciate having some reader questions or topic suggestions to go off of.

Can you help me? Pretty please!?

Thank you, friends!
P.S. I feel like this might be kind-of dumb, but oh well.

September 3, 2011

Fat Heart Healed

I think I'm ready to start this puppy up again. I think. I am eating a bag of Doritos right now. I just had 3 pieces of pepperoni pizza. For a snack.

Yeah. It's time.

I would write this epic long blog post about why I've been gone but who really wants to read that? I will point out one thing. You may not notice unless you are very observant. The tag line under the title of my blog has always been but getting skinnier, everyday. In the beginning of this blog, my only goal was to GET. SKINNY. PERIOD. And so the tag line was pretty appropriate. As the months have gone by, that little line has bothered me more and more.

Last night I was reading the story of Namaan the Leper to my son (from 2 Kings 5). He was a general. A little girl Namaan had kidnapped (and whose family he had had killed) forgave him and had love in her heart for him. She sent him to be healed of his leprosy by Elisha. Elisha told him what to do to be healed by God, but he wouldn't do it. He was too proud. He didn't want to do the simple thing to be healed because it wasn't the way he thought it should or would go. But God knew that Namaan was sicker on the inside than he was on the outside. Namaan thought he didn't need God. His heart didn't work properly--it couldn't feel anything. Naaman had leprosy of the heart. Out of his great mercy and grace, God was not only going to heal Namaan's skin but he was going to heal his heart, too. Namaan finally gave in and did what God said. So it was that a very sick man was healed all because of a little girl who forgave him.

As I sat, today, thinking of what in the world I was going to do about this blog, it hit me. I am Namaan. Jesus is the little girl. And God has healed me. Not only was there fat on my body but there was fat on my heart. In Matthew 13:15, Jesus speaks to his disciples about people with "fat hearts":

For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.

I have been healed from the inside out and I will spend the rest of my days proclaiming this good news. I have a story to tell! 

If anything is ever accomplished through my blog or in my life, Lord, let it be this:

"He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

And my joy will be complete.