Tuesday, December 20, 2011

this blog stinks

So I just realized something. I've been so frustrating with myself for my lack of motivation and consistency in the past few months. And even more frustrated about how every blog post I write is about how I'm not motivated and inconsistent. And I keep trying to analyze what's missing...what's changed...why am I struggling so much with this?! So I looked back at what was going on in my life when I started this thing and remembered that I had pretty much NOTHING going on in my life last January through May, and even after May, I only worked a temp job (to August). Last January we had just moved back to Birmingham and I was unemployed. I was in search for a job, felt purposeless, felt a bit lonely, and I was in dire need of something to work on, to challenge myself, to focus on, and inspire me! This blog and journey was exactly what I needed...not only physically but also emotionally. It was filling a void. So no wonder it was easy to write blog posts, research health and fitness and exercise daily. Besides job searching, I had nothing else to do!

It's only been since September that I've been working full-time at Habitat. Around the same time we became more involved in a local church, have gained more friends, moved into a new place. Lots of things have been going on since September. And that's really when my lapse began.

So...here's the deal....I'm obviously not very good at maintaining this blog while having multiple things going on in my life. I obviously struggle with consistency while having multiple things going on (as most people I'm sure). I'm not going to stop...but I'm just gonna say it...this blog stinks and may continue to stink. You're probably well aware of this but it makes me feel better to say it...to just go ahead and claim it. I may rarely have anything inspiring to say. I may rarely have anything to say. But I'm stickin around because I need this...if anything for accountability of the moving log. And hopefully along the way I'll have something cool to say here and there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vegan Tacos!

Since I've started the vegan thing I definitely haven't been consistent but I've eliminated a lot of animal products from my diet...which was the purpose. I've tried to do vegan (sometimes ends up being vegetarian - so hard to eliminate dairy 100%) during the week and on the weekend (or if I'm at someone's house/or holiday) I'm a little more flexible. Hopefully as time passes and I learn what vegan meals and snacks I like it will become more consistent! So, I thought I'd share a favorite with you today!

Vegan Tacos

Rice-a-Roni has some really good mexican rice. The rice combined with refried beans are the "meat" of the taco. Super filling and super yummy!

My sister introduced me to this dressing! It's kind of a creamy mustardy type dressing. I use it on tacos, sandwiches, salads, everything! There is vegan mayo and vegan sour cream (which I like!) but I was out of sour cream so this works great too!

So I combine the rice, beans, avocado, lettuce, tomato, salsa, dressing and vegan cheese and stuff it in a tortilla and I'm not missing the meat at all! It's so filling and so very yummy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

reinstating the moving log

So for the past couple months it's been pretty obvious that I've been absent & unmotivated. I've gone back and forth about putting this on hold for awhile or quitting all together. But I just can't. I CANNOT QUIT. I'm giving myself some grace and moving on. So, my first step is to reinstate the Moving Log. I haven't been exercising much lately, so when I actually do exercise I don't bother with even logging it...and then I don't have motivation to exercise because I'm not logging it anyway....thus throwing that vicious cycle in motion. So, the solution is simple (at least in theory ;) )...I need the motivation and accountability of the Moving Log. Today it begins! Moving Log reinstated!

Monday, November 14, 2011

absolutely nothing inspiring

It's been about a month since I've written a post! Aaaahhhh! I think about it almost everyday. I need to write something. I need to write something. But nothing comes. You see...I am an artist and I have the artist curse. Whatever I produce, whether it be a painting or a blog post needs to be profound. It needs to be inspired and inspiring. It needs to be a creative masterpiece. Perfect. (Everything I do is definitely not profound...but the pressure is there, and sometimes I let it get to me more than other times.) Lately...I have felt so uninspired. Several times a week Michael and I will have designated "creative time." We'll turn off the tv, put on some music, may even go somewhere, pull out our laptops, notebooks, sketchbooks, or whatever medium we're feeling and "be creative." Lately, I've stared at my screen, notebook, and otherwise....and nothing comes. And it is absolutely frustrating.

So here I am to say absolutely nothing inspiring....but I'm saying something!

I'm still chugging along on this weightloss journey. Exercise has been lacking but I'm doing fairly well with eating. I've continued to try the vegan thing. It mostly happens on the weekdays and on the weekends I'm a bit more flexible. I have not bought meat or dairy products at the grocery store in over a month and it's definitely nice on the budget. I haven't lost any more pounds. I've plateaued and I know the only way it's going to break is if I get back to exercising. Need to find my routine again!

Ah...I feel better now. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

small victory

Just thought I'd share a small victory...

Over the weekend it got a bit chilly and the early mornings required a jacket. So I pulled out our tub of jackets and coats. And I'm happy to report they fit much looser than last time I was wearing them! They were actually getting too tight last winter...now they fit perfectly! Also...I've said goodbye to large t-shirts...I'm now a medium. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

going vegan

I've watched a handful of documentaries about health and food, which usually focus on the downfall the American food industry...which usually moves me to make changes in my diet out of disgust and frustration with the industry...and maybe a little concern for my own health.

However, this weekend I watched a documentary with a little different spin - Forks Over Knives. It did highlight the poor quality of our food industry but mostly it talked about the effects of food, particularly food from animals, on our health. There are some staggering statistics that prove a plant-based diet prevents and sometimes reverses disease....and diets that include meat and dairy have caused disease and obesity. If you haven't - watch it! (It's on Netflix instant watch.)

Fortunately, Michael watched it with me and when it was over he said, "I want to try vegan for a week." I was stoked because I would never imagine Michael offering to go vegan for more than a few hours. Obviously my hope, and I think his is too, is that we'll continue longer than a week. So I'm sayin it - I'm going vegan. At times, we'll probably stray a bit from the vegan diet. The documentary highlighted that a small amount of animal based foods would not harm you...so it's all about balance and eliminating as much of it as you can. It's a sacrifice definitely but there are just too many benefits to not do it. Food is suppose to help us live a full and healthy life....it's not suppose to cause obstacles.

Michael and I want to live a more simple and intentional life. We've been trying to live with less over the past couple years. We've sold a lot of stuff, moved into a tiny apartment, and we try to make do and reuse what we have. And I think it's only natural that we go about food the same way - simple and intentional.

Friday, September 30, 2011


I have some semi good news. As mentioned before, over the last couple months, in the midst of my lack of exercise and motivation, I gained a few pounds. Well I'm happy to report that I lost those gained pounds and I'm back on track. A couple posts ago I set some new goals to help me gain some momentum. The eating is going well...still working on the exercise thing. I've been sick with sinus junk so it's been a bit difficult to exercise. Apparently breathing is important while exercising. :) I'm definitely making healthier choices all around and feel like I'm gaining that momentum I've been needing! Hopefully soon I'll be able to cross off my next 5lb marker!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

get inspired

I've done enough complaining, whining, venting the past few weeks. I need some inspiration! So I'm adding to my new goals - Get Inspired. :) I'll be starting a series of blog posts highlighting inspiring things people are doing....with their physical abilities, health, bodies. So here's the first one! This is simply amazing! Wish I had the courage to experience this kind of freedom. Watch it and get inspired!

A Video From http://infinitylist.com/
The Cinematic Sports Experience

Monday, September 19, 2011

new goals!

Since I've been struggling the past several weeks I've decided I need some new short term goals to work toward. This journey just isn't coming as easy these days so I need some goals that are a little more attainable and that will hopefully give me the boost I need! Once I'm feeling comfortable with these I will re-evaluate and add to it. So here we go...
  • Exercise at least 3 times a week
  • Drink at least 40 oz of water a day
  • Count my calories (1500) at least 3 days a week
Anybody in my boat and want to join me?! Lets do it!

Ready. Set. Go!

Friday, September 16, 2011

playground workout

Last night Michael and I went on our usual walk around Homewood Central Park....but this time we took a detour from the path and opened the gate to the playground. And the real workout began! Our heart rates were up in seconds and it was so much fun! We climbed a catapillar, balanced on beams, climbed a "rock" wall, ran up slides and attempted the monkey bars. We aren't the first ones to make a playground into a gym. You've probably heard about these workouts. And I definitely recommend it, especially as the weather begins to cool!

Google "playground workouts" and you'll find some great ideas! Or just get creative the next time you're at the park!

Here's a link some ideas on livestrong...


Friday, September 9, 2011

i'm having an ugly night...maybe week

If you don't mind I'd like to take the next few minutes to emotionally barf on you...

I feel ugly. I have some average size zits symmetrically (yes symmetrically) placed on each side of my chin, one large one on my right nostril making it about three sizes bigger than my left nostril, and a sprinkling of little ones all over. My hair is getting too long, which just makes my face look sad and droopy. I don't have any cool clothes. And worst of all...I think I've gained a few pounds back. I haven't done an official weigh in, but I can tell in the mirror....more is there than a month ago and it's just about the worst feeling. Blah. Yuck. Ugh. [insert favorite depressing expressive word] That's how I feel. I'm just having an ugly night...maybe week. I want to do about a million sit-ups tonight but I don't want to actually do them....if that makes any sense. I want to find some miracle zit concoction to rid them by morning (Windex anyone?). I even thought about going to a salon and making a drastic hair style change. I can just see it...stylists gather to collaborate on my new look, draw diagrams on their mirror, sharpen their scissors and at last craft their masterpiece on top my head. When they finished, they'd whip me around in the chair, I'd rise and everything and everyone in the room would freeze...except my stunning newly cut hair blowing in the "wind" of course.

I plopped down on the couch tonight and expressed all my ugly feelings to Michael and he patiently offered sweet words, comfort, and support. I have just about the best husband a girl could ask for. He didn't try to give me advice - he just said "it's ok that you feel that way...that's a part of the journey" (after saying he thought I was beautiful and he didn't see what I was seeing of course). It just felt good to hear that...to hear that my feelings are okay...that I don't need to feel something differently in this moment. I don't know about you, but I feel freedom in that. The load is taken off. I don't have to do a million sit-ups tonight, windex my zits, or have a make over. I don't have to find the instant fix. I can feel what I feel and start a new day with new mercies tomorrow. I can just be...I can have an ugly night. It's okay.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

the beautiful tension

Lately, my mind has been everywhere but health and physical wellness....as I shared in my last post. I've neglect my blog because I haven't had much worth saying in this department. However, I was reminded today that this blog is more than just a reflection on my physical well being. It's about my journey - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So, this post is a reflection on the latter.

As I have shared before I go to therapy. Every other week I sit down with Lisa and we talk life. It is rewarding, refreshing, challenging, and inspiring. If this isn't apart of your life I encourage you to consider it...even a mentor if not a professional therapist. We need these people in our lives. We need people disconnected from our norm, people trained (or not trained) to provide a safe space to be completely transparent, void of judgement. Lisa is on my si
de and she helps me process thoughts and ideas, struggles and triumphs.

We talk a lot about fear and anxiety because unfortunately these things are a big part of my life in the present season. I'm an analytical thinker...I think way too deeply about a lot of things. This is a blessing and a curse. It is something I take pride in - I'm a deep thinker, I'm insightful...I like to think I'm an intellectual person. However, this deep thinking many times takes me to dark places.
I like to think of myself as a realist but honestly I'm a pessimist and deal with cynicism and fear on a daily basis. This informs my life on a lot of levels. It's my thorn and it's exhausting. And this is exactly why I go to therapy. I'm asking God for brokenness, for freedom, for a life lived fully. And this is also why I'm on this weightloss journey. I want to experience life to the fullest. I want to shed every toxic thing and experience the fullness of the gospel.

If you're like me, it's bothersome and frustrating that this desire is unattainable (this side of heaven). I'm never going to be free of anxiety and fear because we live in a fallen and broken world. I wish I could go to therapy and in 6 months be void of these struggles. The reality is...that's not what therapy is about. That's not what sanctification is about. Sanctification isn't about my ability to achieve perfection. It's about Christ's capacity to restore my soul. And I get to be a part of it. By living a more abundant life. By striving for better. By shedding toxic things in my life. By letting His Word shape me. By being creative. By desiring restoration in my life and on this earth. Even when I know I won't experience the fullness, the perfection, and the beauty this side of heaven. There is a beautiful tension a work here. And this tension is the human experience at the core. I want to be better but I'm flawed. I want to live fully but I'm handicapped. I want to experience freedom but I'm a prisoner. I want to believe but I'm afraid. Life is painful, it's hard, it's sometimes miserable and feels meaningless but it's beautiful. There is indeed something beautiful about that tension, isn't there?

If you resonate with this at all read Ecclesiastes.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Well friends, August was not my best month! I don't know about you but when I don't have a regular routine it throws everything outta wack! I finished a summer job August 2nd, moved into a new place that weekend and settled in and unpacked the next week, got sick for a few days, then went on a 10 day trip. Needless to say I rarely exercised and we ate out a whole lot....which always makes it hard to make good choices. AND needless to say...I didn't lose any weight this month. Blah...such a disappointment. I got back in town Saturday and started a new job today, things are falling back into place and I'll be on a regular routine again.

I definitely lack some self discipline. I don't use my time wisely during these times. I don't plan ahead. I put things off. And I put things off until they never happen at all.

I need some help in this department...

What do you do to help you during these seasons? How do you stay disciplined on vacation? Or when you lack a routine?

Friday, August 12, 2011

still here!

Just checking in! We moved into our new place this past weekend and things have been a bit crazy. I got a bit off track with exercise...although I know I got plenty moving day! Whew! Things are starting to settle and I'm excited to have Homewood Park across the street - equipped with a wonderful walking trail. Also...I gave up on the Daniel Fast. Boooooo. I was already losing momentum and then moving didn't help. When your kitchen is packed up the easiest thing to do is eat out...which makes following the detox difficult. However, I did do it 7 days, I felt better and I got the needed boost to eat healthier...which was my intention all along. I can wallow in my failure to complete it or move on and strive for better. I've chosen to move on! I'm sure I will do it again in the coming days.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

moving log

So I've decided to give myself a clean slate on my moving log. I've deleted all my workouts and I'm starting over with August 1st. I've summarized the (deleted) workouts by providing some stats from those first 6 months. And I hope to beat them in the next 6 months!

Friday, July 29, 2011

portobello burger & the daniel fast

Today I started the Daniel Fast. I did it about a year ago and really loved the way I felt. It's definitely tough...but it's worth it! The main guidelines are no meat, no dairy, no sugar/sweeteners, and no leavened bread...for 21 days. To find out more about it check out www.daniel-fast.com. So what exactly do you eat? A whole lot of fruit, veggies, grains, nuts and beans.

So here's what I came up with for dinner tonight...

I made a Portobello burger, skillet "fried" okra, and brown rice. For the burger: I cut the stem and scooped out the gills of the Portobello mushroom and brushed it with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, basil, and paprika. I cooked it in a skillet for about 12 minutes, 6 on each side. I cut two wedges of lettuce to use as the buns and for fixins I used mustard, grilled onion, and avocado. It was YUM. For the okra: I tossed about a cup full with a mixture of cornmeal and wheat flour then cooked it in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive olive. Also...YUM.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

my mind is a house

Someone took a picture of me today and when I had the chance to see the photo...embarrassment swept over me and I just wanted to hide. The confidence I have been feeling lately disappeared and it was replaced with defeat. Just one little picture. I let that one little picture rob me. Rob me of confidence, joy, perseverance, a sense of accomplishment, contentment.

Here's the thing... My mind is like a house. And there's this robber that comes to my door often. He isn't like most robbers...this robber likes to knock on the door. He knocks on the door and if I open it, even just a crack, if I just let him in the doorway....it's over. He invades every room. I know he's coming and I know what he's capable of but I still let him in. This robber's name is Anxiety, Fear, Discontent, Defeat.

So here's the bad news...I live in this fallen, broken world and there are robbers. And the robber is always gonna come knockin'.

The good news...I also live in this beautiful world that's being restored and redeemed. And what's even cooler is that God's not asking me to just sit back and watch him restore it...he's invited me to join Him. Wow - talk about empowerment. I have the opportunity to be courageous in fearful moments, to experience joy in the midst of defeat and discontent, to feel freedom in the pit of anxiety. This is the road to restoration.

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

30 things

Last night I went on a little warm-up walk with the hubs. As we were walking he shared with me all the changes he's seen in me since I started this whole thing. It was so encouraging and empowering to hear these things from him. So, I thought I'd take a moment and share 30 (for each pound I've lost so far!) things that are different in my life because of this journey.

In no particular order...

1. More confidence in my relationships
2. Wear clothes I couldn't/wouldn't wear before
3. Share my opinions/thoughts in groups more often
4. Don't give up on this thing when I've had a bad day/week
5. Lower blood pressure
6. More energy
7. Less aches & pains
8. Crave healthy foods
9. Crave water over sodas
10. Feel more comfortable eating in front of others
11. Don't avoid social gatherings where there will be new people or people I haven't seen in awhile
12. Better sex life - Sorry! But this is about being transparent right? :)
13. Learning to enjoy exercise instead of dreading it
14. More at ease with getting my photo taken
15. More optimistic (when my tendency is pessimism)
16. Less guilt when eating treats
17. More educated about healthy eating & habits
18. Feel empowered (instead of defeated) about healthy choices
19. No longer blame others/circumstances for my bad choices
20. More active
21. Spend more time using my talents/gifts
22. Feel more freedom (in many areas of my life)
23. Shave my legs more often (ha!)
24. Feel more confidence in tackling other challenges
25. More physical strength & ability
26. Worry less about what people think of me & my body
27. Experience less pressure/guilt when shopping for clothes
28. Generally a happier person
29. Making my way out of the spiritual wilderness
30. Carrying around 30 pounds less!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

30 lbs - boom!

I've reached my next goal! And it feels SO GOOD! The other day, we had some sort of treat at the office, which I usually always partake in. :) A co-worker passed by a group of us and someone told her to grab one...she said no, that she was on a diet. Ugh...diet...doesn't that word just make you cringe? I am NOT on a diet...and I have never called it that. I'm on a journey. I've changed my habits and am making my life more healthy. And because of that - I eat treats sometimes and it doesn't ruin my plan and I'm not overwhelmed with guilt. I don't have unrealistic goals and I don't deprive myself of good things. And it's working! I've lost 30lbs over the past 6 months and I've changed my life! Looking forward to my next goal, which will put me at the halfway mark!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

i want you to want me

Every woman on the planet wants to be desirable. We all want to be liked. We all want to be wanted. We all want to be attractive. Pursued. Popular. Coveted. Whether your 13, 27, 45, or 82 we find our worth in these things. Maybe you don't want to admit it, but don't you? If you're lacking in any of these areas (and most of us are) don't you find yourself feeling less important, like you're not good enough, cool enough, worth enough? So I've been asking myself lately...why is it so important to me to be desired? Why do I need to feel desired to feel confident? What does it look like to be confident without being pursued or sought after, or feeling popular or attractive?

In college, I thought once I got married these things would be less important to me. I would finally be pursued and chosen by a man so I will then indeed be desirable, attractive, interesting, smart, enjoyable, wanted, worthy of affection. But that's not the case, is it married ladies? Yes Michael loves me and is attracted to me and thinks all those wonderful things about me....but Michael isn't my everything. He hasn't fulfilled every part of my life as I once thought my husband would. Being a wife isn't the end all be all in my journey. I think the American church that we've grown up in has done a disservice to us girls. We've been sent messages that our life pursuit, our life purpose is being a wife and a mom. Our femininity is solely connected to these two roles. And yes they are very very important roles and I'm so thankful and blessed to have filled one of them! But marriage doesn't complete me. All my problems, worries, and struggles in life didn't go away when I said "I do." I didn't stop wanting to be wanted. I didn't stop wanting to be desired or pursued. This is why we tell our husbands that we still need need to be pursued by them, that we still want them to do the things they did when we dated. :)

So back to my initial question...What is it so important to me to be desired? Well, let me say this...I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with wanting this. It's a part of our makeup. And if it is a part of our makeup, then how do I handle it? What do I do about it? Is this need in us post-fall or pre-fall? Did Eve want to be desirable? Did she long to be pursued by Adam? Is their longing in paradise...when you're in complete perfect communion with Christ?

What do you think?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

the hike

Michael and I went to Oak Mountain today for a little outdoor exercise! We started off with kayaking. It was a great workout but we didn't feel the burn until we started our hike. Oh man...within a few minutes our hearts were racing, our faces beat red, and we were soaked with sweat.

What I love so much about hiking is the mental game. You are constantly working the land - finding the right spot to plant your feet, something secure to hold on to, the best path for your trek. Hiking is full of choices and there is something so rewarding when your choices help you successfully manage a steep descent or conquer towering rocks or unforgiving terrain.

Along our life journey, we're faced with many obstacles. Many times I obsess about the unknown and uncertainty of these situations to the point of feeling trapped. Today I was reminded that I always have choices in the midst of an obstacle. And choices make us feel empowered. They take us from feeling trapped to moving forward.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I started going to therapy about a month ago. Not my first time but getting back into it after a couple years. There's a little part of me that thinks - I need to keep this secret - people might think I'm mentally ill, my marriage is broken, I'm spiritually immature or weak, I lack wisdom, I'm caught in the grips of horrible sin, etc. There seems to be a stigma with therapy in the American Church. We are hesitant to go and when we do we keep it private. Yes, therapy is a private thing but I believe our need to keep it private doesn't always have to do with privacy...but maybe more so SHAME. We are ashamed of seeking help. We are ashamed of showing others we are weak, that we are sinful, that we have broken relationships, that we are broken people, that we need help! We think...That therapy thing is for people who are really bad off! People who aren't seeking God. People who have an addiction. People who are on the brinks of divorce. In the wise words of Amy Poehler and Seth Myers..."Really? Really?!" There are so many things wrong with that mindset - first of all we're all bad off, second we all need help, third seeking help is seeking God... I could go on.

Before Adam and Eve knew they were naked there was no such thing as nakedness - it didn't exist because there was no alternative. We now think of them as naked, and after they sinned they knew they were naked but before then they were just people, not naked people, just people. Then sin entered the world and the first thing they did was cover their bodies. Isn't that interesting? I mean of all the things…after their "eyes were opened" they felt shame about their bodies. They felt vulnerable, exposed, naked. So they hid their nakedness. Which is kind of funny when you think about it because God has already seen them naked (He made them!) and they've already seen each other naked. So what's the big secret? Nonetheless they felt a need to HIDE. And then they tried to hide their sin. There is story after story in Scripture of God's people trying to hide. Hide their sin. Their brokenness. Their nakedness. It just seems like a good plan, right? It's the easy, logical thing to do. I can't remember if I've shared this before but…when I was a kid and it was time to clean my room, I would push everything in a corner, lay a blanket over it, and display my stuffed animals on top of the covered heap. And every time my mom would come in, take the animals off, unveil my heap, and just start pulling stuff out of the nicely packed pile. Oh man I was mad. Sometimes we just pack our stuff in a nice heap in the corner of our lives and cover it up with something nice and pretty. We think this is the easy, logical thing to do. It's too hard, painful, time consuming, frustrating, (fill in the word) to deal with it so we just need to COVER it.

So Adam and Eve hid, even though their bodies were no mystery. And I tried to hide my room mess, even though the big pile gave it away. So why do we do this? Why do we hide our brokenness, even though our imperfection was discovered thousands of years ago? We all know we're broken people, but we're afraid of revealing the mess. I'm not saying we all need to walk around airing our dirty laundry to every living person. That's not healthy either. But I'm learning to be more transparent. I'm learning to let God COVER my mess because He is the only one who can cover it. I'm learning that the mess is okay. IT'S OKAY.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

25 lbs...finally!

This 5lb marker seems like it took FORRRREEEEEVER but I finally did it! So that puts me at a 25 lb weight loss thus far! Just so you know...here are a few things that weigh around 25lbs... :)

a large bag of dog food

about 3 gallons of milk

a small child
(btw that's my beautiful niece, Piper!)


Monday, May 30, 2011

the secret to weight loss

This is the really the first time I've experienced SUCCESS in weight loss. And I've discovered the secret. You probably won't find it in Redbook magazine, so put away your $3.95 plus tax and simply read these words....

That's it! That is the secret! Maybe this is bad news to you. At first it was to me. I thought...You mean I have to exercise regularly? I have to eat smaller portions and healthy foods consistently? And after all that work I might only lose a pound or two a week?! YUP! But are you sure there isn't some exotic diet that has been discovered by a remote village that will elliminate the fat in my body? Maybe there is an herb or leaf I can just rub on my belly or the juice of some plant that will flush all the fat out? NOPE! Slow & steady wins the race!

Here is some better news if you're still feeling like this secret is bad news. The slow and steady race is actually really FREEING! I don't have a deadline. I don't have the pressure to lose 10 lbs in 10 days, or 3 pants sizes in 3 months. I don't have to survive with no carbs, no sugar, no taste. The pressure is off. And along the way, I'm changing not only on the outside but also the inside. I can guarentee you - you will not be changed on the inside on a 15 day diet. And you probably won't keep off any of the weight you lose. You definitely won't learn new habits or learn to love health and wellness. You'll dread, loathe, despise it. And you know what the equals....DEFEAT. Which, in case you're wondering, is pretty much the opposite of FREEDOM.

So this is my advice for you to get started on your slow & steady race...Start ONE healthy habit and do it for a few weeks or even a couple months. Just pick one thing. I think the first thing I did was cut out caffeine. You don't have to cut out anything completely. I chose to because it was causing other health issues but you could just cut down. Or maybe if exercise is completely foreign to you, try exercising just 1 day a week....or just 10 minutes a day. Whatever you do, make it small. I think that's why I've failed so many times...I set completely unrealistic, unattainable expectations that I could not meet and I felt DEFEATed and gave up. Set yourself up to succeed! And then when you feel like you're getting the hang of that one thing add something else or add some intensity to what you're already doing.

That is the secret...and it didn't cost a thing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

man voice

This past week has been crazy for Michael. For those of you who don't know...he is a Staff Writer for Student Life (a Christian events/curriculum company). So as they have been gearing up for summer camps, he has been super busy. Last Saturday I decided to join him at work and watch some rehearsals. (He also directs.) As I was watching one particular drama play out I realized this story was quite familiar. One of the characters was recalling a horrid event that happened to her as a child on the bus. And as she began telling it I knew exactly where it was going because this horrid event happened to me! Some kids in the back of the bus made fun of her (me) yelling "man voice, man voice, (meredith) has a man voice!" You see Michael had written this and he neglected to tell me that he used my story as inspiration for this character. So you can imagine I was a bit shocked as this started playing out on stage. It didn't bother me that Michael had used this. It was just a weird moment to see this acted out by someone who didn't know me, know that it was a real story, and that the real girl was sitting in the audience! Then I thought about how thousands of kids will watch it on stage this summer and I began to feel a bit vulnerable. Obviously no one knows it's me (except now that I'm sharing it for all to know!) and it really wasn't the worse thing that happened to me as a child. But it evidently made a lasting impression on me as I have remembered it ever since. I guess those kids thought my voice was too low and naturally coined the extremely witty name, "man voice." And since then I have had this little part of me that has been self-conscious about my voice.

My sister recently wrote a post about the power of words...more specifically the power of speaking truth into her kids lives. My nephew is 3 and struggles with fear, especially darkness. Nathalie shares that Asher was afraid to go down a dark hallway and instead of telling him he didn't have to be afraid, she simply said, "Asher you are BRAVE." And Asher believed it. He believed that he was brave and he did it. And when he returned he shouted "I did it, I did it! I'm BRAVE mommy!" Nathalie tells the story much better but I just wanted to give the gist because there is such an important message here. I can wake up tomorrow and choose to believe that I am "man voice Meredith" and let my life reflect that (un)truth about me....or I can choose to believe His truth that I am "made in the image of God Meredith" and let my life reflect that truth about me. There are a lot of things that I choose to believe other than THE TRUTH and my life definitely reflects it. It might be - I'm not pretty, I'm not interesting, I'm not smart enough, my life is purposeless, I have nothing to offer, I'm afraid...or it might be as silly as "My bangs are too short." I got a haircut the other day and the stylist cut my bangs way too short and I seriously let my day be controlled by that.

I love that Asher just believed it. He didn't argue with Nathalie. He didn't refuse to believe it. He just claimed it. And then he lived it. I need that in my life. As a deep thinker and seminary grad I've been trained to dissect, study, examine, and explore the Word. Which are wonderful things but because of this I really struggle with just believing what God says about me and trusting His promises. Sometimes it just feels easier to believe those kids in the back of the bus. Sometimes it just feels like less work, more real, tangible, less abstract. Do you ever feel like that? OR maybe in those instances it's because I'm not listening to anything else....I don't have His Word close to my heart, I've not meditated on it, I'm not speaking it, I'm not believing the truth that God has spoken to me, like a mother tells her child he is brave. Because God's Word IS real and tangible and speaks the truth about me and you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

beyond maintaining

So I haven't been blogging all that much...even after I said I was getting back into it after my trip. I have to be honest...lately I haven't had much interest in this whole weight loss journey. I haven't given up by any means. I've been treking along. I continue to watch what I eat and have a goal to exercise 3-5 times a week. But I haven't been giving it my all. I haven't been excited about it. Just been MAINTAINING. I saw a commercial today for some kind of weight loss company and the testimonial said "I've maintained my weight for 3 years!" Maintaining isn't lazy. There is work involved in maintaining. Some say they maintain their lawn. That is not easy work. Mowing, weeding, edging, watering. That's a lot of "ings." And as long as you maintain it, your lawn will always look like it always looks. Now, lets say you decide to plant some flowers, or grow an herb garden. Maybe you add a water feature. Then maybe you plant different flowers or add fruits and veggies to your garden. Then later you change the landscaping features. You're not just maintaining anymore, you're creating. And as long as you continue to create, your lawn will look differently, change, enhance, improve. Now, you can have a beautiful yard by maintaining it. BUT you won't experience the benefits of creativity, vision, and inspiration. You miss out on that thrill, delight, and satisfaction. Back to the weight thing. Yes, at some point you might reach your weight goal and you just want to work on maintaining it. But I still think there can be more to it. You could continue to educate yourself about food and exercise. You could mentor others. Work on other aspects of your health besides weight, like your blood pressure or cholesterol, or your emotional health and spiritual health (which very much affects your physical health). There is always more than just maintaining.

So...how do you move from maintaining to creating? I think creativity requires inspiration. BUT...I don't think it always begins with inspiration. Sometimes it takes some work before the inspiration comes. Take for example this blog post. I could have waited until I got some inspiration before writing but I didn't. I just started writing some sentences about how I was feeling and from there the inspiration came. So...what do I need to do next? I need to put in the work. I need to write blog posts, I need educate myself, I need to exercise harder, I need to talk to others who are doing the same, I need to work on other aspects of my health. And as I put in the work, I'll be inspired to do more and be more, to CREATE! That's kind of exciting. I'm even getting inspired as I write this! So go! Work! Move beyond maintaining to creating!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

did you know: 3 raw nuts

"The American Heart Association recommends consuming four servings of nuts per week for the best health benefits." - www.livestrong.com

Here are 3 nuts that contain great nutrients and natural remedies!

Rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. An energy boost. Contain heart healthy fats which can help lower cholesterol. Good source of calcium and magnesium. Good source of fiber (which is great for weight loss!). Also eating a few after meals can help reduce heartburn.

Contain heart healthy fats which can help lower cholesterol. High in copper, which promotes good brain health (2 handfuls can have the same affect as a dose of Prozac!), healthy hair, skin, eyes, connective tissue, and can reduce symptoms of arthritis. Also good source of magnesium, which promotes healthy bones, and regulates calcium, muscles, and nerves.

High in protein and fiber. Good source of zinc, which is essential for wound healing, sense of smell, and the immune system. Contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy brain function and memory. A deficiency can result in poor memory, dry skin, depression, and fatigue.

Monday, May 9, 2011

back in the groove!

I got back to Birmingham last night after being away for 10 days. I was really worried that gained weight while I was away because I only got in 1 workout and I didn't pay close attention to what I was eating. Even snuck in a couple bowls of ice cream and a few cups of sweet tea! Uh oh! We also ate out a few times celebrating my sister's bday and Mother's Day. So I nervously got on the scale this morning...but I'm exactly where I'm suppose to be! Increased metabolism?? I think/hope so!

I got back on the elliptical tonight and it felt great! However...this week I'm starting a temp job so the biggest obstacle I face is continuing my workouts with a full-time job! It's easy to squeeze in a 30-45 min workout when you have nothing to do all day. I may need to revisit my 30 min blog post several times for some perspective! And if anybody has some tips please pass them on!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

i'm still here!

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know I'm still here! I've been sick the past few days and just now on the mend. I'm now in Nashville visiting fam and hope to get in a few walks these next few days. One plus of visiting the doctor (Friday) was being weighed. I always seem to weigh more there...so I was a bit worried. Do you have that problem? BUT I was actually down 2.5 more pounds! Yay!

Hope to do some more blogging in the next few days!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

30 minutes

It's amazing how effective just 30 minutes of exercise is...30 MINUTES! That is nothing. Some days, I'm not going to lie, I have to drag myself off my rear end to go workout. But seriously - lets put 30 minutes in perspective. I need to be reminded...often.

It takes LONGER than 30 minutes...
  • for me to get ready in the morning
  • for me to fall asleep at night
  • to wash a load of laundry
  • for the average person to get to work
  • to watch an episode of American Idol
  • to prepare most meals
  • to stand in line at the DMV
  • for me to write a blog post
  • for me to check email & play on facebook
  • to read the newspaper
  • to play a game of scrabble
  • to watch a movie
  • to go grocery shopping
  • to clean house
The list could go on and on. 30 minutes really is nothing and when I'm done I feel amazing! It puts me in a better mood, I feel more energized, I usually sleep better that night, it relieves stress, it gives me confidence, it BURNS calories. I mean think about this...do you sometimes wish you could delete that milkshake you ate or that extra helping of dinner? You can! I'm beginning to feel like I'm writing an infomercial. You get my point. I know exactly what it feels like to go through the day thinking...I need to exercise, I need to exercise, I need to exercise...but never go do it. It's that horrible DREAD feeling that just sits in the pit of your stomach and doesn't seem to go away. It's miserable. The time you spend in that feeling of DREAD is probably longer than that 30 minutes of exercise!!! I think I've said before but if you have a hard time convincing yourself to go workout for 30 minutes, do it for 15 minutes. More than likely you'll end up doing more than 15 min or you'll at least start getting in the habit of exercising and will work your way up to 30 (or more!) eventually.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

losing face

The picture on the left was the first one I took at the beginning of this journey (1.29.11). I look completely miserable! I 'm not even really looking at the camera and my face just looks sad! (I think the sun was in my eyes...so that was part of it). I wanted to take a close up of my face again today (4.18.11) and compare the two to see if there is any noticeable change. I tried my best to recreate that same wonderful look so I could get a more accurate comparison! Not perfect but close! :) And ya know I think there is some noticeable change! My chin is a little more defined and my face looks a bit less round, my neck looks thinner, and my glasses even look a little bigger on my face now. Now if I can just get my bottom half to shrink more! Oh - the joys of a pear shaped bod!

Monday, April 18, 2011

how I celebrated 20lbs

For those of you trying to think of ideas on how to celebrate weight loss, here are some that came my way via twitter/facebook friends:
  • New jeans, shirt, or dress
  • Go thrift store shopping
  • Buy/download some tunes
  • Take a day trip
  • Picnic/hike at the park
  • Frozen yogurt or other low cal dessert
Thanks everyone for your ideas!

I ended up doing three small things... I've been wanting to slowly fix up my bike. (It's a craigslist find - probably from the 80s, white & purple, not so pretty, with some rusted parts.) I recently purchased a new seat, so this time I decided to buy some new handle bar grips because the ones I have make my hands sore and raw. Michael and I also went to Jason's Deli, got the salad bar but splurged on a small cup of their delicious ice cream. I also thought about buying a new shirt or jeans but I usually end up upset when I shop. I start trying things on and am not happy with what I see or the size I have to get. I'd rather wait until I shed some more pounds so I can really experience the difference of my size and such. The whole point is to celebrate and I wasn't sure if trying on clothes would lead to celebration or frustration. So instead...I bought some new underwears! Maybe I'll do some new clothes at 30lbs. :)

Small things but happy things! And it was fun spending the afternoon with my hubby!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

20lbs - check!

I've lost 5 more lbs which brings me to the 20lb marker. Wahoo! That sounds like a big number but when I look in the mirror it's hard for me to tell. Maybe because I see myself everyday?? Maybe the gradual change has made it harder to notice day to day. Clothes are definitely fitting looser and I'm able to wear some things that were a bit too snug before but I thought my jeans would be falling off my waist by now....but they aren't. I guess when you have a larger amount to lose it takes longer to see drastic changes.

Anybody have some insight on all this?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

michael scott & the spiritual wilderness

I've been re-reading The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. (A must read!) In the first section of this book he explores the discipline of solitude. He comments that many of us see solitude as a time and space separated for rejuvenation. Spa time. Therapy. Rest time. Me time. But actually the discipline of solitude isn't this at all. Experiencing solitude means being completely vulnerable. It means being without comfort, support, distractions, busyness. And Nouwen adds...

It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something.

It is in solitude that we are confronted with the hidden and neglected pockets of our souls. The areas we work so hard to avoid. I think many of us neglect this discipline because it often brings us to a very undesirable place...the wilderness. There is an episode of The Office in which Michael Scott, the quirky insecure manager of a paper supply company, is determined to spend a couple days in the wilderness after discovering that several guys from the office went on a camping trip and neglected to invite him. So, Michael sets out on a trip of his own, Man vs. Wild style, to prove to his peers that he doesn't need them.

After arriving, he attempts an assortment of "wilderness" activities. He uses his pant legs to fashion a hat and build a tent, his suit jacket to make a backpack of some sort, and searches for nourishment...only to eat poisonous mushrooms. At this, he gives up after only a couple hours. He ends up back at the office and tells the camera he doesn't need the wilderness. He has everything he needs right there....a wood desk, fresh air from AC, wide open spaces on his desktop picture of the grand canyon. He says that "man became civilized for a reason...he didn't want to struggle to survive." If you are a frequent viewer of The Office you know two important facts about Michael Scott (which this episode perfectly displays) - 1) his greatest fear is loneliness and 2) Dunder Mifflin is his home, where he feels a sense of belonging. So it is not a surprise that his wilderness venture fails. This humorous picture reveals some great truths. I think a lot of us are like Michael Scott. When we enter the wilderness we are pressed to COPE. We look for shelter and protection, search for nourishment that might end up poisoning us, and if possible we find our way out and back to civilization and comfort as fast as we can. We don't want to struggle to survive. We run from loneliness and toward belonging.

My time in seminary and this past year, following graduation, has probably been the most difficult and darkest season in my spiritual life. In seminary I was faced with an overload of information about theology. Everyone and their mom has an opinion about every detail of theology and there are about a million ways to interpret Scripture. I felt completely overwhelmed and lost in the crowd of voices. I was faced with questions I had never considered. And Fuller did a pretty awesome thing (that was very frustrating at the time). They didn't provide a ton of answers. My professors taught us, gave us resources, posed the questions, but left it up to us to discover and learn (through an enormous amount of reading and writing). I thought I'd find answers in seminary! But in reality I left with more questions.

Have you ever been there? Lots of questions and no answers? This is not an easy place to be. It's scary, frustrating, and lonely. And I'm not sure I'm out of the wilderness yet. Sometimes I feel like this weightloss journey might be GOD LEADING ME OUT. It's amazing how much our physical lives intertwine with our spiritual ones. I think overeating and laziness has been a way I have coped in the wilderness. I didn't want to face my nothingness, the hidden and neglected pockets of my soul. My struggles, fears, questions. I wanted to find that protection, comfort, and nourishment. Eating became something I could depend on. Three times a day I have to eat. When I eat I get to be occupied with that activity. I don't have to do anything else. I don't have to answer any questions, face my fears, make plans, stress about the unknown. I just get to sit and eat. It's an escape. So, why not make the most of that...and eat more. But this pursuit for nourishment wasn't nourishment at all - it was poisonous.

For the past three months I've been paying more attention to how I feel as I eat. Am I eating because I'm hungry or because I feel lost? And if it's not because I'm hungry then what do I need to work through? What am I avoiding? I think one of the most important things I took away from seminary is the value of asking meaningful questions. Sometimes it stinks. I KNOW. But questions move us into the deeper hidden places of our hearts and minds. So I leave you with a few...

What are you avoiding?

What do you depend on?

When is the last time you spent some serious time in solitude, not at the spa or by taking a nap,

but uninterrupted, facing your nothingness kind of solitude?

What questions do you need to ask yourself?

Monday, April 11, 2011

did you know: red bell pepper

While all bell peppers contain nutrients, red peppers provide the most! Here are a few reasons you should add them to your meals or eat them for a snack. (My 3 yr old nephew likes to dip sliced peppers in ranch dressing. Who knew a 3 yr old would eat and enjoy peppers!)

A few benefits of red peppers:

Rich in VITAMIN C. Contains 253% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting healthy cells from toxins.

Contains 10% of the recommended daily value of FIBER. Fiber helps your body remove waste.

Is 92% WATER. Water flushes you out and keeps your blood pressure in check.

Provides 75% of the recommended daily value of VITAMIN A. Vitamin A supports good vision and skin health.

Increases your metabolism, which promotes weight loss. Studies also show that it relieves hunger pangs.

Contains lycopene, which helps protect against cancer and heart disease.

Contains 22% of Vitamin B6, which promotes healthy brain function and helps convert protein into energy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

chasing butterflies

I'm spending the week in Tennessee with my sister and her fam. Yesterday my nephew and I went out into the field adjacent to my sister's house and chased butterflies. There were about 3 or 4 of them. We'd go after one, lose track of it, but find another and start chasing it. Then we'd lose it and go after another. Then another. We were basically running in circles. And at the end we didn't catch one. None. But what was even better than catching a butterfly was the memory we made. We could not stop laughing. It was the best laugh I've had in awhile and was one of the most fun things I've done with Asher. (And I probably burned quite a few calories along the way!)

Since I've been here I haven't had my usual workout. I've been fairly active riding bikes, playing ball, jumping the trampoline and chasing butterflies, BUT I am a checklist person. When I'm unable to log a certain amount of time and don't have an idea of how many calories I burned, I start to feel a bit off track or somewhat defeated. But I'm learning (and have been my whole life) to let go. Again (like I've shared before), it's about the journey, the process. Not about a number or list. It's about staying active, enjoying life, and being healthy. It's about chasing uncatchable butterflies. Asher and I didn't chase them to add to a collection, or in hopes to find a new species, or to even keep one. We did because it was fun! Because it was a beautiful Spring day. And because Asher loves anything insect related. So, the moral is let go and enjoy the journey. You will burn out and fail indeed if you make it about a checklist. Take a day off from the elliptical machine and go chase some butterflies!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

funny faces

When I was in fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Bell, had a meeting with my parents. She said I was doing great except I always seemed sad. My parents were surprised by this because I was the family clown. I always made everyone laugh - especially if there was unhappiness looming around the house for whatever reason. I was the first to break the tension and cheer everyone up. I guess when I was at school I felt uncomfortable, shy, wanted to hide and not draw attention. Even then I wasn't happy with my body. But when my parents told me my teacher thought I was always sad, it changed something in me. My self-consciousness was translating sadness and I did not like that one bit. I wanted people to see on the outside what I felt on the inside. So, I really did change. By the end of the year, Mrs. Bell said she saw a 180 in me. I was a happy child, full of energy, and attracting many more friends....and even got into a little trouble for my chattiness.

The other night I was skyping with my family and my mom commented on my humor and funny faces. Apparently I make funny faces. And I realized once again I rarely show that side me to anyone else but my closest of friends (maybe a 2 or 3 people) and my immediate family. SO - today I was taking a couple pictures to add to my progress page and I decided to do a few funny faces to share with the blogosphere. Hopefully I'll start breaking out of my shell more and more along this journey. Enjoy!