Thursday, December 17, 2009

Father and Son

Lil' C is such a tender-hearted little guy. Yes, he's more readily known as a clown...but he's got such a sweet spirit about him. The people in his life are very important to him. He wants to know where everyone is whether its Daddy or Poppy, or Miss Leslie at the Y. He will greet you like he's not seen you in a year, each and every morning. I just love this little guy!

When I tuck him in he always asks me for a kiss, a hug, and then he wants to kiss each hand and hug my arms. Who knows? But it is our little routine and so it's precious to me! He also says the same thing as you leave the room, "Goodnite, see you in the morning, I love you." If you don't say anything back to him, he'll say it all over again:)

Well, he is a bit of a mama's boy....not in that he's not tough and into all boy things, because nothing could be more true. But more so that he prefers me over any other person in this world. Normal, no?

But, my sweet hubs is such an amazing Daddy! He puts so much into his relationship with Lil' C...all in an attempt to build a bond between father and son. I love it!

On that note, one of the things the little guy asks for consistently is for Daddy to come in and "sleep" with him. He's not afraid or too awake to fall asleep....he just knows deep down that its a special thing and so he asks for that time with his daddy.

Often, much time will pass and I'll wonder where the hubs is before realizing he has actually fallen asleep in there! I recently went looking for him on just such a night and this is what I found. I just had to take a picture. They looked like they were mirror images. I love both of them so big-hearted guys all tuckered out!

Happy Birthday, Jesus....a wee bit early....

Today we are celebrating Christmas with our family, including Poppy, before we all head in different directions for holiday visits to other family. So in case I don't get back on here before we return....



Merry Christmas from our family to yours.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ready to run.....

So on this journey of health and fitness, I decided I needed some goals. First came my teaching certification. Check. Next I decided to run a race longer than I had before, and this past weekend afforded me with that opportunity. It was the Reindeer Run here on the island...a 10K. All I knew was that I wanted to finish and I wanted to do it in one hour and 10 minutes. Well, check.

Here is a picture of our running group from the Y. Les and I actually jumped in on the running group at the last minute, but they were gracious to receive us as their own:) Les is the one down in front of me on the end, and Pattee is the one next to her with Reindeer antlers. Pattee is my instructor for Flexx it and Step, and the one who encouraged me to get certified. She's an AWESOME teacher, a great encourager and motivator, and I'm proud to call her a friend!

Here is a picture that Pattee snapped on her iPhone of me while I was running! Ha!

So, if all continues to go well with my old foot injury, I'd like to prepare to run another race in March that is a 15K. That's the next "goal". I'll keep you posted:)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coming clean

Okay so back to food.....

I mentioned in previous posts that I've been trying to make changes slowly so that they would stick. The best example is drinking my coffee black rather than loaded down with sugar (artificial or real) and creamer. I know, I know...I probably should give up the java all together, but I'm not quite there (and not sure I'll ever be).

My diet for the past year has been quite consistently the following...

Breakfast: coffee, one egg, and either 2 whole grain low fat waffles OR 1 alternative bagel with 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Sometimes I'd vary and make an egg, cheese, and bagel sandwich...but you get the idea.

Lunch: veggies (peppers, mushrooms) on a Joseph's pita, on a alternative bagel, maybe with cheese OR soup OR salad with some tuna.

Afternoon snack: typically 5 ak-mak crackers with a Diet Coke

Dinner: usually a grilled meat, a salad, and a hot veggie (green beans, eggplant, asparagus, califlower, broccoli). Sometimes I'd sub in another side like couscous, red potatoes baked like fries, baked potato, sweet potato fries, whole grain rice, etc. And I usually have a glass (or two) of wine with dinner or while preparing.

After dinner snack: bag of 94% FF popcorn OR baked tostidos and salsa

From what I've encountered, most people would say I'm a healthy eater, right? But, I feel like I could still make a TON of changes. I need to be eating "cleaner". I need to be eating on a different schedule (i.e. more frequently and having breakfast be my biggest meal). I need to stop snacking after dinner. I need to cut out soda (even though it's diet) and wine. And on, and on, and on.....

So, I've decided to ramp up and make some more changes. I need to because I've really hit a plateau on the scale. I'm sure that I'm still losing inches and changing unseeable things like BMI, but I need and want to see more progress on the scale too.

I had my body composition done the other day and I chatted with the fitness director afterwords. She suggested/reccommeded reading "The Eat-Clean Diet" by Tosca Reno. I went out and bought it and have made it through 3 chapters so far. Most of what she's covering is not new to me, and in theory it's what I've been trying to accomplish in this past year. But, she ramps it up a bit and so it is helping me see some areas in which I can make subtle changes.

So far this is what I'm gathering:

  • 6 smaller meals/day (each consisting of lean protein and complex carbs, ever 2-3 hours)
  • make breakfast your biggest meal, and never skip it
  • drink more water and be sure to start the day with 16 oz. before eating
  • eat only "clean" foods....nothing that man has had a hand in making other than to plant or slaughter (sorry, maybe too graphic for some of you).
And as a result here are the changes to my diet so far:

Breakfast: 16 oz. H2O first. Then coffee, 2 egg whites (sometimes with veggies if scrambled) and a bowl of oatmeal with fruit in it. This is actually equivalent to what I was having before in terms of points/calories, but it is "cleaner"....less fat, cholestrol, and processing (like what happens with the bagels and waffles when they are made). It's adding more fiber (which satiates better), leaner protein (without the added fat of the egg yolk), and complex carbs from the fruit.

Mid-late a.m.: Water. Joseph's pita with lettuce, slice of turkey, and cucumbers OR apple with 1/2 Tbsp. of almond butter. I still need to investigate turkey's "cleanness" in terms of lunchmeat. I also need to investigate Joseph's pitas vs. Ezekial products, which are what Tosca reccommends. In addition, since I just started I don't have EVERYTHING I want to use in the pantry and am making due...I'd like to get flaxseed and wheatgerm to add to the oatmeal at bfast and almonds for a snack. I'm sure I'll keep figuring out new things to add in as time continues.

"Lunch": Water. Since I'm trying to eat more often, lunch is more aptly named meal 3 because it doesn't happen exactly at the "normal" lunch time. I've been doing salad with tuna, and soups that have veggies and lean meats. I'm going to have to figure out adding the protein in more...maybe doing a protein smoothie (which is something she long as there aren't alot of other additives).

Afternoon: Water. carrots (or other veggie), fruit, and almonds, OR yogurt (which can contain protein). Again, I have to work on this. And I'm going to have to work on giving up diet coke...ugh. I really LOVE that one/day, but I know that I would be SO much better off without the artificial sweetner and since it's proven to make you crave more sweets I really need to ditch it.

Dinner: Water. since we eat dinner so early (due to the kiddos) I feel like I can fit one more small meal in by the end of the day. Dinner will mostly likely stay the same but maybe watch portions a little more and try to cut down or out the wine.

After dinner: stop the water so I don't have to get up ALL night:) I've yet to figure this one out...maybe it will help to keep reading the book, eh?

Okay, so that's just to give you an update, maybe help you see someone else's day, and more importantly put it out there so that some of you can give me some input on other ideas and!

I'll have to let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well, we did Thanksgiving a little different this year....not very traditional at all....we went to Disney! Ha! It was a blast though, honestly. We had Poppy, Nana and Pa, and our dear friend's Leslie and Andrew (a.k.a Tiger) along for the chaos too! Once I sort though the pictures I'll post them in the slide show, but for now I thought I'd share eWe's list of things she was thankful for....

In case you can't read it...." My Bubba, telling Hook(her Pa was telling her the story of Hook at bedtime each night), family, Jesus, and friends".

We are so thankful for so many things this year, and look forward to the blessings and trials that will be ours in the year ahead!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dance, Dance, Dance

eWe is still LOVING dance. She prefers tumble and ballet over tap, and I think she truly excels most at tumble. They had "Watch Week" where the parents, siblings, grandparents, etc could come in and watch them take their class. It was fun to see her interact with her teacher and the other little girls. Here is a shot of three of them....there is another girl too who was absent that night. I know the hubs took some video, but I need to weed through them and pick one to show. Maybe in a few days:)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lil' C's Bday Party

I didn't want to cheat the little guy out of having cake and a party, I mean look at this can you resist it, right? Even so, he did get to go to Disney on his actual birthday for Pete's sake! But, I'm a sucker for any reason to throw a party, so....I did.

He really wanted cupcakes, just like last year. Somehow I conned him into carrot cake ones. Good thing he can read yet, otherwise the word "carrot" on the box would have definitely gotten a turned up nose. Anyway, I grabbed some Star Wars plates, made some dips, and grilled some burgers and viola....we had a party!

Here he is preparing to dive into his cupcake

Opening his presents...

And then at some point eWe was given artistic control of the party. I think Ms. Leslie had to use the restroom and thought, "Hey, I know, I'll give the camera to the 5 year old so that we don't miss any coverage while I'm gone." ha! Well, it turned out to be a good call for the most part. eWe was so excited about her "job" that she took about 100 pictures, used up all the batteries, got a ton of shots of people from the waist down, and took some very interesting still pictures of our lamps and whatnot....but she also got quite creative. I heard her saying to Lil' C, "So, show me your gift" and when he'd hold it up she'd take a shot. It was like she was running her own birthday photo shoot. Too funny! One of her most creative ideas was having us all stand back to back. Here they are:)

Daddy and Mommy

Ms. Maribel and Mr. Pete (they are long time family friends that live down the street from us. I think we figured out the other night that I've known them since I was 8 year old. They are truly like family to us!!!)

And here is my Dad and dear friend, Ms. Leslie. I think when eWe paired them up we collectively sighed because while it was clear that Ms. Leslie's picture partner (Mr. Andrew, a.k.a Tiger) wasn't there because he was traveling for was also glaringly obvious that Dad didn't have a picture partner. These moments are hard for all of us, but I'm sure especially my Dad. He's so amazing, though. I'm so very proud of the honesty of his grief, his strength to put one foot in front of the other, his faith in the Lord to carry him through, and that he lives a life of hope based on things eternal.

a few more Halloween tidbits....

More of our Halloween day...

Dad and the hubs went golfing in the a.m., so the kids and I decided to don our festive colors and run errands. Here they are on our way out the door.

Later in the day, eWe conned Poppy into playing a mean game of "Guess Who". She gets to sit in this special spot, up on the windowsill, when she plays games with Poppy. As you can tell, though, she was already dressed and ready to go trick-or-treating (like 2 hours ahead of time). But, on a side note, this is one of the many things I L-O-V-E about living with my dad...that they can do fun stuff together at the drop of a hat. They adore their Poppy!

Here is a better shot of the princess perched on her throne. Doesn't everyone play games dressed like this? Ha!

And last but not they are in all their glory as Sleeping Beauty and Luke Skywalker. They lasted about two blocks before the complaining began...."I'm hot", "I'm tired of walking", "My basket is too heavy to carry". I SO do not remember feeling this way as a kid. We loved going out trick-or-treating because it meant candy and staying up late. I told the hubs that next year we were going to wise up and do it the way my parents used to.....the moms stayed home to hand out candy and the dads hauled a wagon with a cooler of ice and beer around as they took the kids trick-or-treating. It's a win-win....the women can chill at home, the kids can occasionally rest in the wagon, and the men can have a brewsky to make the whining less painful! Ha! Well thoughtout, I'd say! Ha!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My little girl's heart for God

eWe has such an amazing little brain, and can memorize and remember things so well. This has truly served her well at AWANA, a kids program that she and Lil' C go to at a local baptist church on Wednesday nights. They LOVE it!

Poppy generously takes them each and every week, which they also love. This gives the hubs and I a date night, which we truly cherish.

Anyway, here is eWe reciting her first verse from this year, John 3:16. This one was a big accomplishment for her since it was her first "longer" one, and for some reason it has stuck with her more than the others.

It is such a precious, precious thing for me to see them learning God's word and truly storing it up in their hearts. I know that it means something to her and isn't just head knowledge because I see her burdened already, at age 5, to share the good news with others.

In fact, many of you already know the story of how she shared Christ with her good friend on the way home from school one day last year. The little girl said that she didn't know God, and eWe proceeded to share with her how she could. It was so dear, and a pretty spot on gospel presentation. This summer they talked about it again and the little girl said that she went home and asked her mommy to help her pray to ask Jesus into her heart. I pray for this little girl regularly, and her family....

Along those same lines, eWe has taken to copying books. It's quite interesting. She actually will rewrite a whole book, and says she is doing it to give to a friend. Well, yesterday she decided to start copying a book about Jesus and the disciples so that she could give it to the same little girl she shared her faith with. She said, "I thought this book would be good to copy for her since she doesn't know Jesus all that well." I replied with a tear in my eye, "Yes, yes...I think that would be lovely."

And on a final note....yesterday she was working on her homework. She was to fill in the blank on a turkey feather made of construction paper that will go on her classroom turkey at school. It read, "I am thankful for____". Well, she came out of her room and handed it to me after writing on the blank and decorating the feather. Her's read, "I am thankful for God and Jesus."

And for that I am thankful!


Happy Halloween, everyone!

We started our festivities with eWe's Fall Parade at school yesterday. Here's a picture of her class. She's in the middle toward the end dressed as Minnie Mouse.

Here is her class parading by. As you watch the video, you'll hear me trying to get her attention. She actually looks like she sees me, but not so much. When she finally does see me, well, just watch and see and be sure and listen for my *sigh* at the end! Ha!

Daddy took over and continued the Halloween fun by taking the kids to a Fall festival called BethleHEM Marketplace (apparently I say "ham" and that is SOOOO wrong in the eyes of my hubs). Ha!

This morning I awoke to the great carving of the pumpkins. The kids each got to pick the design of their choice, and Daddy got to do all the work! Both of them thought it was too gross....what? Are you my children? I LOVE getting slimy and dirty...

eWe picked the ever traditional look.

Lil' C on the other hand opted for a more modern twist of the traditional look...and if you look at his face, I think he's trying to match his new friend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stay-cation Day 4 & 5

Well, we wrapped up our stay-cation with a Tuesday full of bowling, lunch at Chick-fil-a, a hike, and playing at the park. Then on Wednesday we took eWe out of school in order to go and celebrate Lil' C's 4th birthday at Disney.

We were out the door by 6 a.m. and in the park (after driving, parking, riding the bus in, etc) by 10 a.m. ish. The birthday boy got to pick the park, and he chose Magic Kingdom. When I asked him why he said, "Because it has It's a Small World and that's my sister's favorite ride." How precious! And that he is. He is such a pure hearted little guy.

We had a great day! We left the park at 5 p.m., stopped for a quick dinner in Orlando, and then headed home with them both asleep in the car. Whew! What a fun whirlwind of a day.

Today we are decompressing.

I will stay, though, our first stay-cation was a hit. We did tons of different stuff, got a good mix of rest and play, and ended up only spending about $17/person/day for the whole 5 days. Not bad!

But, before I end today I just want to say a little Happy Birthday to my little man. He's one of the funniest kiddos I know....such a clown. He's giving, he's high energy, he sweet, and he's all boy. He is a joy to parent, and seemingly will charm all he meets. Yes, his implusive thoughlessness of his actions can sometimes drive me insane.....but, it seems a small price to pay for the priveledge of having him in my life. I need the joy and simplicity that he's good for me! Happy Birthday, buddy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Family Pics

As I mentioned a few days ago, we had our family pictures done by our dear friend, Leslie. She has just ventured out on her own in business, and is so talented. I can't wait to see how both she and her business grow!

With the start of her own business, she also started a blog. Today, she featured some of our family's shots. If you care to check them out, you can at the Leslie See Photography blog.

Can't wait to see the rest! Great work, Les!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stay-cation Day Three

Whew, I'm exhausted! We lounged around this morning, but then headed out right around lunch.

First we hit Five Guys for some of the best burgers and of course the fun peanuts!

Then we headed to the Zoo! We've not been to our local zoo yet, so it was a fun outing. Here are some of the highlights...

Strolling through.

Posing with the pumpkins.

Up close with stingrays in the stingray encounter exhibit.

Hanging with the elephants.

Sissy and Bubby in the bamboo garden.

Riding on the gorilla.

This was a funny one. Daddy didn't tell Lil' C that the snake wasn't real. He just said, "Hey, look! Do you want to pet it?", as he lifted him up. Lil' C started FREAKING out because he thought it was real. Okay, so maybe torturing your children shouldn't be fun...but what can I say?

Lounging with the Komodo dragon.

And last but not least....playing at the play park! A great day! Wonder what tomorrow will hold????


eWe has off for two days which means a long weekend. We had tried and tried to come up with a fun getaway for us, but nothing struck us just right. So, we decided to put a fun thing on the calendar for each day and turn it into a a mini stay-cation! So far, it's been fun. A good mix of relaxation and fun adventures.

Saturday we headed out on Poppy's boat with Poppy and our dear friends, Leslie and Andrew (affectionately known to my kiddos as "Tiger"). We rode up to a nearby town, docked, ate lunch and strolled around.

Somehow we also squeezed in a family photo shoot later that day, in preparation for Christmas cards, etc. Leslie is a photographer, and a great one at that. She took us down to the beach for the shoot. We haven't seen the pictures yet, but I'm so excited! Check out her other work at Leslie See Photography when you get a chance! You won't regret the detour. So, that was Saturday, day one of our stay-cation.

Sunday we went to church, grabbed lunch at home, and then headed out to the Northeast Florida Fair. In order to get in the spirit of the day, I had the kids get into their overalls. They thought it was SO fun to match one another. They kept saying, "Happy Farmer Day". I have no idea where they got that from, but it cracked me up.

Since it was the last day of the fair, we missed a lot of the livestock shows, etc. But, we enjoyed some cotton candy and soda (the treat the kids chose), games, and a few rides.

It was a nice afternoon. We came home, had dinner, and crashed. So ended day two of our stay-cation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Health: Tasty tips

I don't know how many posts are in my head about this topic, but I'm certain it's a zillion since it's such a part of my life right now.

I was frustrated this week because I felt like I was really making an effort to add food tracking back in to my world and some how it failed me a a bit. Well, I guess technically it didn't fail me, but I failed myself. I got my spreadsheet opened each day. I entered most everything from morning until dinner, and sometimes through dinner, and sometimes until bed. I entered all my calories burned from workouts (thanks to my Polar heartrate monitor). I even reverted back to some of my tried and true recipes that help keep me feeling satisfied and within points range for the day. But, I still failed.

Failures come in many shapes and forms. But no matter how they come, they are tough for me. I set a pretty high standard for myself and don't give myself a lot of latitude for screw ups. Plus, as I mentioned before, I'm such an all or nothing person. If I mess up during the day, I have a tendency to believe that it was all for nothing. I'm learning though...slowly. I even told myself as I looked back over my spreadsheet...."at least your opening it"..."at least you tracked most of your day"...."at least you are trying to make wise choices"...etc. Everything is a process and so any movement in the right direction is a good thing, right?

Anyway, specific struggles? Well, there is ALWAYS something that is going to be there to "mess up" your day. It might be lunch with a friend. Donuts brought to the office by a co-worker. Someone's birthday which means a party, dinner out, and cake (gasp). It's tough. How do you navigate through all of that and still make wise choices...especially when you really don't want the side want FRIES! Ha!

As I thought through tips to share I began to realize that it basically boils down to two larger categories: plan ahead and stay satisfied. Within these broader categories, though, I can think of a ton of little examples and tips. I'll try to share some as a reminder to myself, and in hopes that maybe you can get something from it as well.

Plan ahead.

Examples and Tips?

  • Know what you are going to do that day and think through your food accordingly. Anticipate what might "mess you up" and have a plan of action.

  • Pastries used to show up at my all female office that I worked in before having kiddos. I knew they would be there, especially on certain days. So, on those days I began bringing part of my breakfast to eat while at work so that I could occupy my mouth and hands with something better while others indulged in the goodies.

  • When we used to live near family, we'd do a Sunday night dinner all together. I never was in charge of the menu (thank you mamacita) and therefore could never predict what options I might have. As such, I used to eat a big can of green beans, a salad, or something like that before heading over. This allowed me to eat less of what was offered, if it wasn't healthy. I also traveled with my own diet coke and bag of microwave popcorn so that I would have a healthy snack while we played games and munched on goodies that weren't great options for me.

  • Whenever we go out to eat I always try to peruse the restaraunt's menu online before hand. A lot of times they offer the nutritional information. There is also a great website that has calulated the W.W. points at hundreds of restaraunts already. Check it out at Anyway, doing this ahead of time enables me to be ready to make the right choice.

Stay satisfied.

Examples and tips?

  • Know what food items are anytime foods (better known as zero point foods if you do W.W.) and snack on those in between your other planned items if you need to. If you are satisfied you won't be tempted quite as much and might also be able to resist.
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal.
  • Don't cheat yourself of something you really desire, but be sure and control the portion of it and count it on your spreadsheet. If you feel cheated you will cheat.
I guess that's all I can muster up for now. There are two more things that are swimming in my head....

First, I know that if I indulge in something because if feels right or good or is what I wanted at that moment it is fleeting. I will inevitably regret it later when I have to log it in the spreadsheet, don't see the numbers moving on the scale, or when my clothes aren't getting any looser. On the flip side...I know that if I walk away from the tempting item and don't indulge I will feel more powerful, proud, and inspired to keep making such choices. And, the clothes and scale will reflect the wisdom of my choice. So, again...why it that so hard?

Second, I realized this week that I often reward my kiddos with "treats". Nothing wrong with that, especially since they are wonderful eaters...such healthy palates. But, I don't want to create that in them. What brought this to my attention was that Poppy went with eWe to lunch at school one day. She invited a friend to eat with them, and that friend had a little candy bar as part of her packed lunch. Poppy said that eWe harassed the poor girl into giving her 1/2 of it. Poppy then mentioned to me that perhaps her actions stemmed from it being "the forbidden fruit". I don't know. We allow our kids to have a piece of candy after lunch each day, and ice cream from Poppy's store each night after dinner. They aren't restricted really. But, then Poppy said, "well, maybe it stems back to it being a big when they were rewarded during potty training with M-n-Ms". Hmmm. Could it be? I don't know. I won't lose sleep over this, that's for sure. But, it was just another reminder that our culture is centered on food (as I mentioned in a previous post) and that we often reward with food. I just want to be careful not to create a relationship with food in my children, like I've had. I want them to see food as food and not have to fuss with the rest.

Okay, so now that I've spent all this time writing about food, I'm hungry (truly). I've got to go grab a snack:)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We just got a Flip and I wanted to try it out. Here's one that makes me giggle. It's Lil' C doing his signature dance move, The Hula Hoop! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Health: If the Truth be told

First, let me say that the last two food days have been better for me. I am tracking what I eat once again, and trying to stay within my limitations. Wouldn't you know that already I'm seeing a difference on the scale? I shouldn't be surprised. It's not rocket science. And you would think that having seen this as a result before would be enough to keep me motivated. So many feel like they don't know how to make the numbers move and that's why they don't keep at it. I do know how to make the numbers move and just don't do what I need to do. Crazy, eh?

Well, like I said in my last post...while you can boil it all down to an equation there is so much more under the surface. I'm certain that it is no coincidence that my last few good food days have also been better days for me in terms of claiming and walking in the Truth. After writing that post I realized that I needed to stop being a pawn for the enemy and overwhelm him with the Truth, by overwhelming myself with the Truth. I listened to worship music (which is typical for me), downloaded some sermons to my iPod, began reading a new book related to my struggles, etc. It's been so effective, which again should really be no surprise. The Lord has graciously met me at every turn and has been reaffirming Truth regarding who I am in Him, who He is, and how my own sin has kept me from experiencing that Truth lately. It's so sad to me that I get in my own way within my relationship with the Lord. But, that seems to be the pattern....I have all that I need in Christ and yet I rely on myself and fail. And then I have the audacity to blame it on Him directly or indirectly by not taking the responsibility myself. Oy! Father, forgive me!

Well, the sermons I listened to were about Joy. I feel like joy has eluded me for quite sometime now, so the sermons were enticing. They were also given by one of my favorite teachers, Dr. Crawford Loritts. The essence of what Dr. Loritts communicated was in two parts. First:

Joy IS happiness. So often we seem to separate those based on the fact that happiness is related to our happenings and joy is something is deeper. Well, he argued that that is not what Scripture says, but rather that joy is a deep, soul-nourishing happiness. He also said that every time the Word teaches of joy it can fit into two broad categories; happiness or confidence. And additionally, that the Bible presents joy within a template that includes a state, a condition, and then a purpose or a promise.

The second thing Dr. Loritts spoke of was:

That joy is experienced when you live a life that is surrendered, a life that knows the source, and a life of submission.

None of this may seem eye opening at first glance, but it was for me this week. It revealed to me that my problem wasn't a joy problem in terms of happiness, but rather confidence. I clearly have not been living a life of daily submission because I've not been confident in the Truth because I've not been well connected to the Source. Seriously, Woelke...get in the game! Honestly, I don't know how I got to this place. I know it wasn't overnight. I know that I've slowly been buying into lies and BOOM, here I am.

Having said that, the book that I'm reading is, "Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free”. I’m sure so many of you have read it before. I’ve been to a conference where Nancy Leigh DeMoss spoke on it, but never read the book through. For obvious reasons I thought now would be a good time.

She begins the book by covering the most basic lies that women believe about God. They are: 1.) God is not really good, 2.) God doesn’t love me, 3.) God is just like my father, 4.) God is not really enough, 5.) God’s ways are too restrictive, and 6.) God should fix my problems. I don’t know about you, but even if I would never say that I actually believe these to be true statements, I’m certain that I’ve lived in such a way that says I do. The ones that really hits home for me currently are #4 and #5. And this ties back into my series on health.

When I turn to food (or anything really) to satisfy something else in me, I’m communicating that He is not enough. Nancy says that it’s like we are saying,“Sure I need God. But I need Him plus close friends; I need Him plus good health; I need Him plus a husband; I need Him plus children; I need Him plus a job that pays enough; I need Him plus a house with a microwave, a washer/dryer, a garage, and a fresh paint job…”. So for me it would be like saying, “Sure I need God. But I need Him plus food”. Ick! HE IS ENOUGH!!!

As for lie #5…I’ll share with you what Nancy wrote because it is so fitting and honestly made me laugh (in a sad way). She writes,“I have often wondered why food is such an issue with so many women. I’m convinced it has something to do with Genesis 3. After all, what was the very first sin? It was the sin of overeating. The single restriction God put on her diet was one too many for Eve….So (like Eve) we throw off the restrictions, determined to “have it our way.” We are free to choose our own way, just as Eve was free to eat the forbidden fruit. But there is one thing we are not free to choose, and that is the consequences.” And while it may seem that by being able to do (or eat) whatever we want, whenever we want, and in whatever quantities we want we are free…we aren’t free at all. We end up being in bondage to food, overweight, and depressed. Freedom comes from obedience. Obedience to the Truth that God IS enough and His ways are for my good.

So, what’s my current next step? To continue to overwhelm myself with His truths, confess and repent of that which has kept me from living in submission to Him, and thus become confident in who He is, who I am in Him, and thus experiencing freedom and joy in ALL areas of my life….food included. I can already feel the wind in my hair:)

Lord, grant that I may pay much closer attention to what I have heard, lest I drift away from it, Hebrews 2:1(ESV) and may hold fast to what has been preached to me, and may not believe in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2(ESV)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Health: Mapping the way

So, food continues to be my "frienemy". I've been desiring, as I think I mentioned previously, to get back on target with tracking my food. But, I've done a poor job. I know why, though. Not that this is meant as an excuse. Merely an explanation as part of my learning process.

I'm blue. I've been struggling for about 3 weeks now pretty intensely. This year or so has been characterized by more dramatic "downs" than I've ever experienced before, but this has definitely been the worst of it. I think it's a culmination of a lot of things that each deserve a little attention, so here goes..

1. Sadness. Year one without Mom represented a time of just trying to get my head around the fact that she was gone and loving those around me in their time of grief. But now? Well, now I get that she is gone, but I miss her.

2. Weariness. I've traveled quite a bit due to family emergencies, packing up the house, and some for fun family trips or visits from others. But, all totaled makes me tired. Maybe more accurately and positively put...they've been a good distraction and now I just see this vastness that lies ahead of me until the holidays.

3. Hopelessness. Yes, it may seem dramatic but that's how I've felt regarding whether we'll EVER be able to make a decision about where we are supposed to be geographically speaking. I've also felt that way about finding a church home, and thus friends (thank goodness for the See's). Nothing has seemed to "fit" us.

4. Defeatedness. The enemy has come on strong this year. I was reading on a blog that I follow and she shared a quote that her friend sent her about Satan. She said,
"Satan is no gentleman for sure, he doesn't back off when we are hurting or when the unimaginable has happened to us-he came at me with everything he had, with lie after lie...he tried to get me to believe that my life was over, that we wouldn't have happieness again...Thankfully, our great God pursued me even harder."

How true, How true. That pretty much sums it up for me. My vulnerabilities have been exposed this year in a whole new way. I've been walking through the loss of my Mom, a woman with whom a lot of my identitity stems from genetically, via nurturing, etc. As such, I've questioned many times what she thought about me....was she proud of what ways am I like her....and on and on. So, in many ways I allowed myself to be open to the answers. And wouldn't you know that the enemy has jumped all over that opportunity. He has whispered in my ear that not only was my Mom not proud of me, didn't like me, etc....but that those are things that all the people in my life and even the Lord think of me too. That I have no value. That I am not loveable. You name it. And you know what it so sad about that? I BELIEVED him! ugh! It makes me so sick to think that I was scammed by him. I feel ashamed. I take comfort, though, that I've finally begun to see his attack for what it is...a lame attempt to make me ineffective in my life, the lives of those around me, and for the Lord. And just like that quote said earlier, my realization has only come because, "our great God pursued me even harder." Whew! Thank you, Jesus!

Now, having said that, I'm not quite out of this pit.....but I am on my way up.

Okay, so if you began reading this post because you were interested in what I had to say about food....sorry. My simple point is that food still has an unhealthy place in my life. But I've realized something new even just during these past few weeks. It's not just that food substitutes other things for me, but when I am overwhelmed with other things in my life I don't have the energy to deal with food appropriately. Thus, the old habits come right back into play. I eat without any thought for what I'm putting in my mouth or how much. During stressful times I apparently act on the basis that I am entitled to not have to think about food because there is too much else going on. That would be fine if all my old habits had been slayed and buried and new ones had been erected firmly in their places. But, I'm not there yet. I've not earned the right to be lacksidasical about food, and thus have no business ignoring it when the going gets tough in other areas.

Now that I have my own brow beating out of the way, let me just share one other little nugget that I've learned along the way so that I can end on a more encouraging note. When you make a mistake with you diet, or get off track with your exercise plan....the best time to get back to the plan is immediately upon realization. Don't wait until you get back from that trip, or finish that project, or attend that party, or even until you wake up the next day. Start with the next bite (or lack of one if necessary). We will all make mistakes. But, it is not an all or nothing thing (which is SOOOO my character). One mistake does NOT make it all for naught. Nor do several mistakes. What is important is that you recognize that you are off course and upon recognition, redirect. And that is where I am today. It's where I was yesterday and the day before too. My dietary navigational system is pretty stubborn right now. I've continued going the way I know that I should go, but my old GPS is screaming, "As soon as possible, make a U-turn." Well, not today, little missy, not today!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Health: Establishing a track record....

Okay, so on to the practical side of what I've learned about food....

No matter how much I wanted to believe otherwise, it does come down to basic math. The energy balance equation states that if energy consumed equals energy output you will maintain you current weight. In the same manner, if your energy consumed is greater than you energy output you will gain weight. And, yes, if your energy consumed is less that your energy output you will lose weight.

I used to find myself saying that I'd tried everything and it wasn't' working. I felt like I would watch what I ate and nothing would happen. I felt like I would start exercising and nothing would happen. I blamed it on God at times....that He must have made me "broken" (I know, a bit blasphemous...forgive me, Lord). I blamed it on my bad genes and thyroid problem. I blamed it on everything else. But, truly I know now that it really does come back to a basic math equation. Yes, there will be a variation in how the math plays out in a life, but the same principle is at work.

So, with that disclaimer aside....for me I began with choosing a method by which to track, journal, or record my daily energy consumption. I tried an actual journal b/c I believed that it would be helpful to carry with me at all times. But I didn't love the difficulty of finding an item I'd consumed before in order to copy it's information onto a new day. I tried the computer post-it note method, but didn't like that there was no record of the day before since I had to trash them or become post-it note cluttered each day. But, these might work for others. Would love to hear from you all if you have something that you love. For me, it has been an excel spreadsheet diary. I configured it to include each month, each day of the month, and a column for food names and their associated value. That way it calculates it for me and I can constantly be looking to see where I am throughout the day. The down side is that I don't bring my computer with me everywhere so I have to be sure to either remember everything I put in my mouth or jot it down and transfer it over later. But despite the down side, I love this method. Besides making it easier to copy common foods from one day to the next, it also gives me a better look at the big picture. I can evaluate where I'm failing and make changes. So, just find something that works for you. Again, if it doesn't work you will NOT stick with it. Oh, and if any of you want my excel journal to use for yourself, just email me and I'll send it to you read to use.

Once I decided on where and how I'd track my food, I had to decided what value I was going to assign to food. Because I had done W.W. in the past and knew the points system so well, I opted to go this route. For a friend of mine, it was easier to determine how many calories she should be consuming in a day and do it that way. What I like about the W.W. method is that because of their equation, you are often choosing foods that are lower in fat and higher in fiber in order to feel satisfied and use your points for the day. What I like about the straight calorie method is that it doesn't require any additional material, tools, training. It's so organic that you can use it wherever you find yourself. So, again it comes down to what makes it easier for you. I will say, that I've tried to become more aware of the calories associated with the points system this year so that I'm not just doing something easier, but also learning how to do it on my own should I ever need to. And if any of you opt to do the W.W. method but would like to know more about their equation and additional (free) tools out there to help you, let me know.

So, I mentioned a few posts ago that I began working out last September without tracking food. I barely lost even though I thought I was watching my food choices more closely. The problem matter how good you think you are doing with food, you won't know until you write it down and see it on paper. It's much like budgeting your money. A little there and a little here adds up and all of a sudden you're wondering where all the money went! So, in the end of October I began tracking my food and staying within the right range, and guess what? Yep, it fell off me. I lost 25 lbs. by mid December!

Now, I knew from previous experience that if I tracked my food I'd lose weight. And I knew that the previous time I wasn't even working out and I lost a bunch of weight. But, like I said...I didn't just want to lose weight this time. I wanted to get healthier and more fit. So, I didn't give up going to the gym once I recognized that the food part was a lot more of the equation for me. And boy am I glad.

See, getting out of our habits is bound to happen. Life gets in the way as we attempt to form new habits. My prayer is that eventually my new habits won't be changed by life's happenings, though, as they become more ingrained in me. But, for now I struggle to keep them in place. And sure enough I got off track in the new year. But this time instead of gaining weight, I maintained because even though my food tracking had been thrown for a loop, my exercise habit stuck! Yea! A small victory. In fact, I've struggled most of this year with my food tracking, but my exercise has kept my weight steady. I don't say that with complete pride, as I'd rather be able to tell you that both have been formed as new habits and I'm at my goal weight...but not yet. And that's okay. I'm still heading there, still in process, and am prepared to keep at it no matter how long it takes. In the meantime, my body is still appearing slimmer because it's reshaping as I continue to tone it through exercise. People keep telling me they think I've lost a lot more since they last saw me, but I know that it's all muscle and not the numbers on the scale. Which is a great thing!

So, my new to get back to tracking my food and really making a commitment to it...again:) It fell away because there are so many new balls (habits) taking shape in my life and I couldn't keep them all in the air. But, I feel good about the ones that have taken route and now want to add on to those.

Some changes I've made in food this past year are small and some are big. Some are more personal goals of mine and some are general rules of thumb. I thought I'd log some of them here either way...
  • learning to drink my coffee black so as to avoid extra calories from creamer/sugar and to cut out artificial sweetener.
  • having protein as a part of my breakfast each day so that I feel fuller and have more energy for workouts
  • drinking 64 oz. of H2O/day
  • limiting myself to one diet coke/day (I'd like to cut this out completely b/c I believe I could do w/o the artificial sweetener and caffeine. But, I'm not in a rush do make this move b/c right now it is a good pick-up in the afternoon, it curbs my desire for something sweet, etc.)
  • switching to breads and pastas that are higher in fiber. I love the Ronzoni Smart Taste pastas. They taste like real pasta but have 3x as much fiber...even more so than a lot of the wheat pastas. And for breads I love The Alternative Bagel made by Western Bagel. I can only find them at Publix here, but they are worth every penny. I LOVE bagels and yet know that most bagels are either high in calories or they taste like cardboard. This one has 110 calories and 7g of fiber! I love their roasted onion bagel the most b/c I can use it for breakfast and even for sandwhiches at lunch. Oh, I'll also mention the Jospeh's pita bread. They are 60 calories and 5 g of fiber. I use them at lunch time and spread them with light laughing cow, cucumbers, lettuce, etc. for a delicious veggie sandwhich. Or I also use them in the afternoon with a little smear of almond butter and sliced apple. Very good.
  • leaving casseroles off the dinner menu. I've tried to make our dinners consist of a meat, and two veggie sides. Sometimes I'll sub in potatoes, couscous, or whole grain rice for a change. But a lot of times we grill a meat and have one hot veggie and then a salad. I just find that I can control my intake a lot more because I'm not bogged down in determining how many calories each ingredient in a casserole is, dividing it by serving size, etc. Yes, it does mean we have a lot less of our "favorite" home cooked meals...but we're getting by. We do still do them occasionally and everyone seems okay with that. But even with the old favorties we are trying to make changes that make them using leaner meats, more veggies, less starch and cheese.
So, those are some of the changes we HAVE made. Some of the things I need to do better on...

  • seeking out more variety in meal planning and reworking old recipes even more so we don't feel "cheated".
  • learning how to prepare new other words expanding our palates and abilities.
  • cutting down on alcohol. We often have wine with dinner, and I enjoy that, but I find that sometimes that leads to another glass or two after dinner which isn't necessary. I mean there's nothing wrong with it outside of the fact that it is empty calories that I don't need. I like to consider 2 the max at all times, and really maybe only do it a few times a week at most. Just a good place to cut calories.
  • stop snacking after dinner. Because I eat lightly all day, I'm often hungrier at night. I'd like to implement two day time snacks and then be done with eating once dinner is over. One problem I have here is that with kiddos we eat super around 5-5:30. So, there is a huge stretch of evening with which I have to contend with. I know I should probably make myself a cup of hot tea and find something to occupy my time better than t.v., but there has to be a balance. I've thought of taking a walk after the kids are in bed (if the hubs is home), scrapbooking (if I can get motivated), or just limiting myself to one small snack before 8 p.m. I don't know quite what is realistic for me, but I'm open to suggestions:)
Okay, I guess I'll wrap it up for today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Health: Hungry for more

Okay, so on to the topic of food. I've decided that the topic of food is going to have to be covered in several posts because to be honest there are many facets of least from where I stand. So be patient with me.

To some of us, food is a dear friend. To others of us, food is an enemy. And there are those of us that may feel that it can be both. But, the problem really should be neither. I feel like this past year has been a process (and I emphasize that word, as I've not arrived) of removing food from the category of things that I have a "relationship" with. Does that make sense? What I mean is not supposed to be friend or an enemy. It is nothing more than a means of nutrition, health, and can (and maybe should) be enjoyable...but it is not something that I should turn to for more than that. Not for comfort, for something to do when I'm bored, or on the flip's not something to control when my world is chaotic (which is what many people with eating disorders struggle with). It's just FOOD. If I can ever really learn that truth, I feel like I'll be able to treat it appropriately and not give it a place in my life that it doesn't deserve. A friend reminded me of that ever so fitting quote, "Eat to live, don't live to eat".

So, as I'm sure you gathered...I suppose that somewhere along the way I allowed myself to enter into a relationship with food. I'm not sure when it happened, or how. Did we have a D.T.R talk? Was it love at first sight? Did I see others having a relationship with it (i.e. it was modeled) and assume I too was supposed to have a relationship with it? I don't honestly know.

I do know, though, and agree with an anthropologist friend of mine who once said to me, "Food is at the center of all that we do as a culture". Meaning, we celebrate around food (cakes, party trays), we mourn around food (casseroles, pints of ice cream), we socialize around food (going out to dinner) get the idea. So, it's no wonder that we begin to move food from the category of necessity to relationship. We slowly make associations between food and feelings/emotions. We do the same thing with other senses besides taste too, like sound and smells. Think about it....if I played, "Cold Hearted Snake" by Paula Abdul (sorry, couldn't think of anything else off hand) it probably takes you back to a season in your life, whether generally or specifically. This time of year, I can smell leaves burning and am immediately whisked away to camping with my family as a child. It brings a huge smile to my face. So, taste is wired the same way. We become attached to certain foods because they remind us of home, or grandma, or college, a certain season, etc. And before you know it, we have associations with food that are more about comfort, nostalgia, tradition, and passing time with friends and family. It's not that this isn't an okay aspect of food. And, to be honest if we were able to keep these associations as just that, associations, it wouldn't be all that bad. But somewhere along the way they move from associations to substitutes. They no longer remind us of a time, person, or place that we once enjoyed....they take the place (or attempt to) of that time, person, or place...filling a void that can't be filled no matter how much pumpkin pie you eat. Can I get an amen? Ha!

Some may think all of this psychological hubbub doesn't matter. Or maybe you might be saying, "Yeah, yeah, I get it. But, just get to the practical stuff that I can actually DO to make changes in the way I eat". But, I am learning that if you don't first see food for what it is intended to be, examine what you've allowed it to become and why....the practical stuff will be for naught. Yeah, it might work for a while....but you'll yo-yo...promise.

So, this has been part of my process this past year too....determining why I eat (hunger/energy vs. other reasons), and determining why I eat the foods that I do (especially if I know it's going to sabotage my efforts to be a healthier me). But, this is just the beginning.

Like I said, food is not only a part of our culture, but truly at the center of our culture. So, working on changing my unhealthy relationship with food is challenging. I obviously can't just sever the relationship all together like others who struggle with alcohol or drugs might do. I HAVE to eat. Perhaps I can sever the ties with certain foods that I know are triggers for me to overeat, or eat unhealthily, least until I can am confident I can handle myself and those foods with self-control. But, people are still going to throw parties, ask me to dinner, etc. So, what's a girl to do?

For me it's a combination of things that allow me to be more successful. Sure, some of it is simply making better choices about what and how much I eat. But, a lot of it is asking the Lord to show me and teach me about the heart behind why I misuse food. I want to get at these areas and deal with them appropriately. And, in the meantime, I'm also trying to change the culture of my marriage, family, and maybe even some of my friendships so that I don't have to struggle quite as much day-to-day.

Okay, so I'm sure the all that I spewed out today will be revisited in some of the other upcoming food posts since it's so I'll just leave it at that. But, you can pray for me...that I would break up with food once and for all. It's not poor food's fault, it's mine.....I've abused him and misused him, and asked him to be more to me than he was able to. And now it's time to say goodbye to our relationship and allow him to simply be what he was intended to be....FOOD.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Health: Working it out

As I mentioned last time, my journey of becoming fit began a year ago. The first real step was that we joined the Y as a family and I began going to classes. It was therapeutic for me emotionally, it was challenging for me physically, and it really was my connecting point socially since we had just moved to a new area.

I didn't follow my own advice, the advice that I would now give, and I jumped right in. I took a Zumba class on Mondays and Fridays, followed by a body sculpting class. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I took Flexx it (muscle building) and Step. Wednesdays were my "off" day, but often I would run. I would even try to get a work out in on Saturday and maybe a run on Sunday. Whew! What was I thinking? Ha!

I saw very minimal weight loss in the first month or two and was quite discouraged. I could tell my body was working hard, why was it not showing any results?

I was told that my body was building muscle and that muscle weighed more than fat and thus often the scales wouldn't reflect the changes that were occurring. Honestly, that gave me little to no comfort. And so, I faced my first decision....should I just quit exercising. My body hurt, my schedule was full, and it wasn't working.

This is where the important points from my last blog entry come in. This is where I realized that this was going to be a process of time, trial and error of what would work for me, and that I needed to be in it for the right reasons. So, I prayed.

And from that I had a renewed vision. I knew why I wanted to lose the weight. I want to be an example to my children of healthy living. I want to take care of the body the Lord gave me and treat His temple with respect. I want to remove the obstacle of low self-worth so that I am freed up to be all that He has planned for me to be. I want to be strong, fit, and healthy so that I can encourage other women who struggle with these issues. And I decided that I wanted to do it all in my Mom's honor, as she too struggled with weight. This gave me purpose, inspiration, and above all it gave me a bunch of reasons that I could NEVER quit.

So, I pressed on (literally and figuratively)! Had I just continued to exercise without making any changes to my diet, I most certainly would have see changes. It would have showed up in inches...the shape of my body changing as I built more muscle, etc. But, I did add in dietary changes, which I'll address in my next post. But for now I wanted to pass on some nuggets of insight that I gathered along the way. Some may be obvious and may be things you've all heard before, but I still think they are important enough to repeat (if not for you than for me:)). I'll also share some personal examples but feel free to skip those and just read the 3 bullets if you want. I'll also sum it all up at the end if you just want an overview.

  • You do NOT have to be at a certain level of fitness to walk into a gym or begin exercise. That's like saying you have to be clean to get a bath...ridiculous! Fitness centers and their employees are there to promote fitness at all levels, from the beginners all the way to the gym rats. So, do NOT let your current fitness level keep you away. There is something for everyone. And if you are fearful of what others might think, I hear you. But, do NOT let them stand in your way. They don't have to live in your body, and therefore should not have that much control over it.
example: When I first started working out I couldn't run for a minute. I could barely make it through a class at the lowest impact level. I was the heaviest one around and could only imagine that people were looking at me with daggers of judgment and ridicule. But, I want you to know that I have people that I don't even know coming up to me saying, "You look great! You have come such a long way! How have you done it? I need help. Etc." They have watched me from a far as I have journeyed, and they are inspired. THAT is what I'm talking about! Whether they judged me or not in the beginning I'll never know. Maybe that was just my own insecurities, right? But I know now that want to come on the journey with exciting!

  • Don't shy away from trying new forms of exercise. You might be surprised at what you really like and don't like. Finding something that you LOVE to do for exercise is so super important. If you don't like it, or if you don't have enough variety you WILL burn out and lose interest. It's also important to cross-train so that you gain a variety of skill and also challenge your body wholly.
example: I got into my routine and thought I was happy with doing it over and over. But, I did notice that I was losing some excitement. So, I added in a day of machines, tried pilates, spinning, yoga, went running, etc. Now I try to stay away from having too much routine because I go with what I feel like doing that day instead. If it is a beautiful day, I hit the pavement for a run. I have noticed that I LOVE doing step. So, I faithfully go to those classes because they energize me. I didn't love spinning or yoga, but I'll probably try them again soon...maybe I just wasn't in good enough shape to enjoy them. Or maybe I really won't like them and that's fine. I did like pilates when I tried it, but I was NOT in good enough shape to do it then. So, maybe I'll try it again. Find what you like, no LOVE. You'll need that on days that you just don't want to work out.

example: Also, it's important to note that even if you work out for 2 hours/day 5 days/week doing classes (like I was), you might not be able to go out and run a mile (like I wasn't). Why? Because of what is know as the S.A.I.D principle. Specfic Adaptation to Imposed Demands. That principle states that if you want to train for a marathon you are going to have to run. Swimming or biking will improve your cardio health, but it will not enable you the exact cardio tools that you will need to run. Make sense? Running was something that represented fitness to me. I don't know why, but it did. Therefore it was really important that I be able to do it. I never liked running previously, so I wasn't hopeful that anything would change. But, interestingly enough I opted to stick with it as a personal goal of mine. I can remember walking most of the 1.5 mile loop that I would follow at first. As I did lose weight and get more fit through the use of classes I was able to do a little better. I had more muscle to power with in my legs. My heart could take more cardio-wise. But, I was still struggling to run. So, I kept at it and little by little I gained ground, literally. Now, I can run 2 or 3 of those loops with no problem. I'd probably be able to do more if it weren't for an old foot injury, but that's not important. All that to say, don't be discourged if your fitness level doesn't seem to be up to par when you try new things. But try them and use them as ways to improve your over all health. My plan now is to add in swimming. I tried doing laps and was exhausted! It works something different and so it would be a good change for me occasionally. And that brings me to my next example....

example: On the flip side of that same example....Your body will adjust and adapt to what you most often do. Your muscles and cardio system have a memory. So, if you do the same thing all the time your body will get used to it and won't be challenged. So, do the treadmill instead of the eliptical every now and again. Also, don't stay at the same level on the machine...dial it down and go really fast for a minute and then dial it up and power slowly.

  • Last but not least, for get yourself exercise gear. You will feel so much better about being in front of a million mirrors in a classroom if you have something on that you think is cute, fits you right, and is proper for exercise. This includes shoes, headwear, and water bottles too. Oh, and please allow me to plug the Polar heart rate monitor watches. They have a band that you put around your chest and it communicates to the watch. You'll be able to see if you are in your target heart rate range, monitor the amount of calories you burned, log your workouts for the week, and all sorts of cool stuff. I have LOVED mine. I use it to be sure I'm challenging myself during workouts, track my calories burned each day, and other cool stuff. LOVE IT!
Okay, so there you have my basics on getting started on working out. To sum it up....don't let anything stop you from starting to exercise. Start slow. Find what you love. Try new things to avoid burnout, injury, and underchallenging yourself. Don't get discouraged if you level of fitness doesn't translate to new activities, but rather work at that activity to further your level of fitness. And find the right tools/gear that make you feel good and help you succeed.

Next time I'll try to post more about food.

Health: Weighing your options

I know I'm not the only one who has struggled with their weight, even if I feel that way at times. I have some friends and family that also battle it. Recently one of those friends and I were talking about options for weight loss. In particular she was asking me what I thought of Medifast and others like it. Not that I am a nutritionist or dietitian...heck, I'm not even certified to teach fitness classes yet:) But, I do have an that comes from personal experience.

I think that the plans that offer their own food do serve a purpose. I think they are a great way for someone who knows they have little to no self control, no idea of portion control, feel too busy to think through their food for the day, etc. I also think that it is an "easy" way to start on the road to health because you really don't have to put a lot of thought into it. You just order your meals, eat the recommended amount, and possibly work in a little exercise to start out. Typically, this is also a good way to start because you'll see results and be encouraged to keep going.

Now, for those that have more self-control, know portion size, know what healthy eating requires, and/or have a little more time to devote to meal preparation I would say there are better ways. I've always been a big fan of Weight Watchers and programs like them that require you to eat "real" food, don't put anything off limits per say, make you track your food, and give you group support/accountability. And ultimately, I think it is important for those that start with the ready made meal programs to switch over to something more realistic. If you are serious about health and fitness, and changing your life, you're going to have to learn to do it in the "real world".

I've tried a lot of things in the past....programs that fit into both categories above. I've yo-yoed in my life. This time, though, I'm determined to terminate the yo-yoing. So, with that in mind I've come to realize things that you might hear all the time, but are solid truths that are helping me to tackle this more effectively....

1. It is a process (like anything), and you can't put a time limit on it. You are making a change that you want to last a lifetime. It will not happen overnight, and if it did, it probably wouldn't stick.
2. You need to be in it for the right reasons. Yes, you can want to look different, fit into your "skinny" clothes, etc...but ultimately you need to do it for something that is more be healthy, to be your best self, etc.
3. Not only is it a process in terms of the amount of time that it may take, but changing your habits (eating and exercise) are often going to stay with you more if you do them gradually. Now, I realize that with some people sudden and drastic changes are often necessary due to severe health issues, and with that I say go for broke. But, for those that are not that at have to work things in and out of your day with ease. For example, if you start up with a rigorous fitness routine you may get injured, burn out quickly, or even be so sore that you just simply don't want to do it the next time and that leads to the next time, and the next time, and so on and so forth. All of sudden you're back to where you began. The same is true with dietary changes.

Having said that, I did lose a lot of weight about 6 years ago. I actually reached my goal weight on the day that I found out I was preggers with sweet eWe! Ugh! That time I did W.W., but didn't exercise at all until I lost most of the weight. I did begin to run and walk, but that was about it. It felt great to be skinny me, but it didn't last due to pregnancy and I certainly wasn't fit.

Of course, once I had eWe I thought I'd get back on track. I started to lose some of the weight, but when eWe was 6 months old, I found out I was preggers with Lil' C. Here we go again. And honestly, from there the yo-yoing stopped....and not for the better. Post delivery I was up to my eyeballs in having 2 so close in age (at least that was my excuse). I opted for unhealthy convenience foods, and rarely found time for any real exercise. I had bouts of times where I'd try to start W.W. back up again, start walking or going to the gym, but nothing stuck. I was to tired and it took too much of me. In hindsight, this would have been a good time for me to do the mail-order food deals....wish I had thought of that then. Alas!

Anyway, once I cleared the baby stage I thought I'd really get back on track (yea right!), but then my mom got sick and I kind of used food as a comfort (or at least it seems). And with her death I turned to food even more. I have a picture of me from that time that I will one day post as my certain of that!

So, here I am today. I set out on this journey last September about this time and want to blog a little about it as I reflect on it. I figured it could help others, but at the very least it will be a way for me to review where I am and evaluate where I want to go next. So, look for that to come...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The other night the hubs and I went out for our date night. We headed to the big city for dinner b/c there was something that he wanted to do in that area afterwords. Turns out that he wanted to get me a new ipod to replace the one I was given for free as a hand-me-down...b/c it went kaput:( Very sweet of the hubs, and quite a surprise to me.

So we walk into the Apple store and he informs me that he thinks that I would want to get the nano....he explains the benefits, etc...then tells me that I need to simply pick out the color I want.

Hold the phone. I have to make a decision here? Ugh!

Now, it's not that I can't make decisions....I'm actually quite decisive when I want to be. But we had just spent the better part of our dinner talking through a bunch of where to spend the holidays, what to do with investments, and yes....where we might live. And now I was going to be forced to pick out a color on my ipod. Oh boy! I was immediately under-the-pile.

There they all were...shiny, useful, beautiful little delights...and somehow I had to decide which color might best represent me, might be exciting to select, and yet classic enough that I would not get tired of it. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, silver, black, and pink.

I began the rationalization filtering process and would have it down to one or two. Then I would come up with some asinine reason to bring that color back into the mix. "It looks to0 flashy", "It is too boring", "I just had a phone that color", "It reminds me of such and such a football team", or "It looks like a pack of gum". What???????? Ahhhh???????

It was at about this point I asked the hubs, "Can I phone a friend?"

He says, "No, goofball. Just pick what you like and go with it."

I'm all, "Uhhh, okay." And with that he, being fed up with my reasoning and utter panic, walks away to look at Macs. So, I excuse myself to the restroom and come out phone in hand desperately trying to get my sister on the phone. But much to my dismay this is the ONE time she opts to not take my call b/c she is feeding her family, nursing her baby, blah...blah...blah. Doesn't she know that I have an important decision to make? AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

So, the hubs is shaking his head at me from across the store and I return to my position front and center in front of the nanos who are now beginning to taunt me to the rhythm of the clock ticking towards store closing time.

Okay, I'm pulling the trigger and going with green, no red, no blue. Yes, blue. And BLUE it is. I figure it's a fun color, not a typical choice for me (I'm a green girl), but it's classic. Phew! That is behind me. Well, I do hesitate several times between the nanos and the counter, but somehow I make it without fully changing my mind.

Then, as we get back in the car to head home the hubs points out that this is similar to our decision on where to live. That they are all great options. We know so much about each area that it is easy to identify the pros and cons. And, we aren't being forced by someone else's hand and so it's truly up to us. And ultimately, though it's important to put ourselves in the process, we are going to end up with a choice that will make us happy. Someday we might wonder, "What if I had chosen green", but most of the time we'll be able to remember why blue was the better choice for us.

So, I guess I was supposed to feel comforted by this analogy. However, instead I was left thinking....ummmm, did you see me struggle in there? I AM NOT capable of making this choice, CLEARLY! It feels arbitrary, and at times I was tempted to do "Eeeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo" just to get it over with. Oh boy! What in the world! Pray for us! Ha!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Funnies for your Friday

You know how it say the cutest things, right. Well, here are a few of our recent quips...

  • As I was dropping off eWe at school the other morning she asked, "Mom, why does my brother sleep all the time? He's still asleep when I leave for school and he's taking a nap when I get home! I never get to see him any more. All we do is eat dinner together." I thought this was just precious and priceless....she was really missing him. See, he IS such a sleeper. Especially lately. My Mom would say it's a growth spurt:) Maybe it is. Anyway, the hubs works from home so I can just leave him sleeping while I run her to school. Nice perk for all of us. Maybe they'll be friends again after all. I was beginning to think otherwise by the end of summer!
  • As you know we're at a crossroad in our life regarding "where to live". We actually don't talk about it all that much except on dates, etc. But out of nowhere the other night at dinner Lil C' says, "So guys, what do you think about where we should live?" Too funny coming from a not-quite-4 year old!
  • After having seen the broadway production of Wicked earlier this year, my friend bought me the CD. After playing it in the car with my kiddos, they quickly became fond of #7, "Popular". Hilarious! So, one day after school eWe comes home and says,
"Mom, guess what I told my teacher today. I told her she was popular!"

Through controlled giggles I said, "you did? And what did Mrs. Robbins think of that?"

"Well", eWe replied, "she just laughed and gave me a hug."

"Oh", I said, "well eWe, do you even know what that means?"

"Yes, Mom", she said with complete exasperation, "it means well-liked! And she is popular with me!"

(take that Mom! she may only be 5, but she KNOWS!)

  • While eWe was talking on the phone with Nana the other day she asked to talk to Pa. Nana quickly told her Pa was traveling on business in Texas. Well, to that eWe asked, "Nana, what language do they speak in Texas?" Ha!
  • While eWe was talking on the phone with Nana today to wish her a happy birthday, she asked Nana how old she was going to be. Little did she know the inappropriateness of such a question:) Nana told her and eWe's response was, "Wow, that's almost one hundred!" Poor Nana!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Change is in the hair....I mean, air!

So, many of you know that I have become a bit of a fitness junkie this past year or so. It all began with a Y membership that we purchased so that our kiddos could be exposed to different activities and decide what they liked best. I also had a goal to lose a bunch of weight (about 61 honor of each year that my Mom lived...which I wrote about in a previous post). I am still on my weight loss journey. I'm over half way there, but still have a long way to go. I've had several setbacks...leg injury, shingles, foot injury, travel, travel, and more travel! Not excuses, but a meager explanation.

Anyway, I decided, with some encouragement from my Y instructor to get certified to teach. So, after 3 months of preparation and studying, I took my exam...this past Friday. I feel like I was prepared and wasn't surprised by anything. And I felt totally encouraged and prayed for by those around me.

My sweet friends and family texted me all day, sent me off with notes of encouragement, and even bought me a step to practice on in the future! This is a picture of Les' card (the one who got me the step) and sweet Nicole's notes.....she actually cut out hearts (from a Target baby registry she printed off for a shower) and wrote encouraging things on the back....PRECIOUS!

But what was hilarious was my arrival back home. I am gone for 9 hours and as I walk through the door I was shocked to find that my husband had dyed his hair (in order to lighten it...picture copperish), and my Dad shaved his mustache. WHAT???? The hubs won't allow me to show you his beauty venture, but here's Dad's...

Balancing act

So eWe is into her second week of dance. She's taking ballet, tap, and tumbling all wrapped up into one, one hour class. We held off for so long b/c we just didn't know how we felt about the balance of spending time as a family & not running around every night vs. giving our kiddos opportunities to learn and to do fun things.

Five years old seemed a reasonable time to start, as it had given her one year of school (preschool) to get adjusted to that as a portion of her schedule. Too, it really gave her time to consider what one thing she'd really like to do. She thought through options of soccer, gymnastics, dance, etc. She even tried a free class here or there at the Y to get a taste (which was the entire reason we originally joined....who knew I'd become a fitness junkie and test for my certification as an instructor?!?). But in the end, eWe consistenly asked us if and when she could take "ballet". So, we are officially enrolled and are paying what we consider to be a ridiculous amount of money for her to take dance.

But, to hear her see her dressed and ready hours before class each week....and to have her cry in the car when leaving b/c waiting a whole other week seems so priceless. She LOVES it!

It will be interesting to see if this is what she sticks with, what part of her class she likes best, and whatnot. The other night she was showing us what she was learning....crab walks, backwards rolls, cartwheels, bridges, etc. She demonstrated to the best of her ability, and before you could say "boo" we were all on the ground (yes, the hubs, poppy, lil' C, and I) attempting to do bridges to see if we still could. We weren't sure if they required flexibility or arm strength or both? But, I have to proudly announce...I still got it. The menfolk, were a sight. None of them could push up into positition. It was hilarious! I can't wait to see what we'll all be trying next week! Ha!