Monday, October 7, 2013

Bottled Chicken!

Eating healthy can sometimes be tricky when life gets in the way, you work full time, have kids to chauffeur to and from various activities, have a house to keep up on, get to the gym, and everything in between. 

Let me introduce you to my new favorite treat. Bottled chicken! 
I know, right? Honestly, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be domestic enough to pull this one off but one of my co-workers does it all the time and talked me into giving it a whirl. First off, I bought my chicken ahead of time. When on sale around here, it comes by the refrigerated truckloads. I got myself a 40lb case. Let me tell you, that is a lot of chicken! Well, at least more than I'm used to buying at once. 

The part about getting it all cut and in jars was no big deal. In fact, it took no time at all. In all honesty, I was more nervous about the processing of the jars. I was creeped out that I wouldn't do it right, we'd all get sick, and it would be a disaster in and of itself. Once in jars and in the pressure cooker, 75 minutes, and you've got the best chicken ever!

I love this stuff! And it has no preservatives and all the other yucky stuff they cram into the canned chicken at the stores. Better yet, it's perfect as a go-to staple in so many meals. Enchiladas, paninis, homemade soup, and just on the top of a salad. It's so juicy, full of flavor, and just falls apart the way you would want it to. I even ate it right out of the jar in my fridge as a snack this week.

I love finding new tricks and new ideas for eating healthy. It makes it that much easier to stay on track and treat my body in the way it was meant to be treated. How grateful I am for who I've become in this whole process. I may not be perfect, but I'm much better than I was 2.5 years ago.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Making Eating and Exercise a Hobby

When I first typed the title of this post, I chuckled. Only because there is NO WAY if you would have asked me 2.5 years ago to make my eating and exercise a hobby, would I have ever listened. My brain was trained to love food. (It still is.) It hated (I don't use that word often but it's the truth) the thought of having to workout. I have discovered now, that when I was heavy, unhappy, and miserable, that at times because my body looked the way it did, exercise was a punishment. (Because I was fat, I had to be punished and exercise was the ticket.)  I was punishing myself when I needed to be changing something and making it a positive, fat or not. Some may agree or disagree, but let me explain it to you from my perspective.
I have dealt with weight issues the majority of my life. I was active and covered it well at times, but I definitely went through hills and valleys of being chubbier at different times. I played basketball as a child and into high school and that never slowed me down.  It was just a part of who I was. In fact, because I was active and in sports I had a hard time wondering why I was blessed with this body that looked so different than most others on the court. Why I wasn't trimmer. Until I started losing the weight a couple years ago I honestly thought it was genetics. I mean if I couldn't eat right and lose the weight as an active teenager, why would I be able to do it as an adult -nearing 40 at the time no less. Because of this, and over the years of many attempts at trying to lose weight and get healthy, exercise was a chore, a punishment. I never learned to enjoy it because it didn't seem to matter how hard I worked, nothing ever changed.

I can see how so many people can get in this trap, this mind set and having now been through it, I wish there was something magical I could say that will make it all better.  Really it wasn't until I started increasing my calories (yes eat more than 1200 a day), making my exercise into something I enjoy, that the pounds started to melt away. 

In some ways, I wish I would have figured that out years ago, but in other ways, I'm not sure I was ready. Being healthy is a lifestyle and I'm not sure I had the mindset nor was desperate enough until a couple years ago, to make the change. It's one of those things in life that until you are so miserable, so unhappy, and so desperate to make a change, that it will work. If your mind and heart are only halfway on board, it's so easy to slip or find yourself making excuses for this thing and for that.
Exercise for me these days is something I love. I live for it. In fact, the days I don't get to exercise the way I wanted or had planned can send me into grouch mode. Exercise has become a part of who I am and who I want to be. Some of the things in the beginning that helped me out were: not setting too high of expectations (maybe only a few times a week), making it things I enjoyed, having a buddy to workout with, making a graph/chart to help me stay on track, and telling myself how lucky I was to get to exercise that day. In fact as the months and years went on, exercise became a game for me. It became my hobby. It was my sport.
Now that I am working to maintain my weight, it's not drudgery to go to the gym or workout. In fact, most days, it's my favorite time of day. I look forward to it!

Not every day is easy and I certainly am human and fall short from time to time. The important thing is that I know and feel when things are out of balance. It's the steps I take to get back into action that matter most. 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

To Know is to Believe.....

How many of us have set out on a new goal, task, or idea only to find it seems slightly daunting, impossible, or maybe even too good to be true? You want it badly enough that you're not quite sure how you're going to achieve your goal, and even at times the visual at the end is either foggy or non-attainable in the moment. 

I know this feeling very well. It's something that played on repeat in my head for years as I battled with my weight. It's almost as if it became a familiar tune of sorts. I didn't like it, but I was comfortable with it. It didn't scare me.  I just wasn't sure how to move past it or wasn't sure that my body and mind were capable of doing so. 

I made the decision I was going to get healthy, change my life, and be happy, not knowing if I was going to be able to pull off the task I put in front of myself, but I knew I was willing to give it a try. I guess you could say I had failed so many other times at attempts to lose weight that I was naturally wanting to blame my problem on my body make-up, metabolism, or even genetics. It wasn't an easy thing to fix. It took many months of hard work and dedication on my brain's part, as well as eating healthy and feeling successful to start to see a change. A change that was going to last forever. It took nearly 18 months of eating healthy and exercise to lose the 133 pounds. That's all. I know that seems daunting and impossible, but in the big picture of life it was no time at all. 

To know something is to believe in it. Believe you are going to become the person you want to become. You can do it! Anyone can do it.  I've been reminded of this lately as I struggle with the little imperfections I'm dealing with and the transformation of my body as it comes in bits and pieces. Some months I feel stronger than others and more on top of things. Other times I feel weak and vulnerable and more like I'm moving in slow motion, if not backwards. Like I've mentioned recently, I spent several months out of the gym, training for a half marathon, vacationing, and hiking. Even though my body was active, it was out of its normal routine, and in some ways, suffered. My body is nowhere near as toned as it was. I can feel the sag. Yeah, I know...gross but it's true. The scale has not changed considerably to where I am worried, but I can feel it in my clothes. When I started back at the gym a couple weeks ago it felt hard. Almost like I was starting over. Many days my brain wanted to play tricks on me but I tried to outsmart it with all sorts of positive affirmations instead of visiting a place that wasn't going to do me any good.

Knowing is believing. Believing we can accomplish anything we set our mind and body to do. It may not always be easy, but I'm not sure it was meant to be easy. If we want change, change for the better, it takes some knowing it is possible and believing we can do it! 

Here's to a full week at the gym! (I ended up with a little bug last week and missed 2 days.) 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reflecting....Does a Body Good

It's that time of year again where I'm feeling the urge to be on a rigid routine. After the journey I've been on and losing what some might like to say as an entire person, it's something that I crave. In fact, as much as I love my summers, I looked forward to school starting up so I can get back on my normal routine. (For those of you that are new to my blog or don't know, I work for the school district. I work full time 9 months out of the year, and then get 3 months off during the summer.)
I know we all go through hills and valleys as far as our eating and exercising but for some reason I still haven't been able to overcome the guilt of summers off and my new lifestyle. Maybe next year? I love the time off from work to play with my kids and travel and hike and run, but it's during those months that I usually let my eating slide a bit and I'm rarely found in the gym as I'm either off traveling or enjoying a hiking trail outside somewhere. One might think this is totally fine and it is, but it certainly likes to play tricks on my brain and my thinking. I guess it might be because I am a total type A personality. I like structure. I like routine. And because eating healthy and getting to the gym has become a part of who I am the past couple years, when I'm not there it starts to send reminders to my brain of what life was like for me before I began this journey.
Today I'm headed to the gym with my bestie in tow. She's the one who has been by my side and has supported me, next to my hubby and kids, the entire way, start to finish. It doesn't matter how my week is going or what thoughts are going through my head, she is always encouraging and pushes me even when I don't want to be pushed. She has believed in me far longer than I have believed in myself. (Not to mention it's far better to hit the gym with a friend than go alone.)


I'm trying to focus this week on getting back on a routine that will make both my body and mind happy. I will spend some time reflecting on where I've been, how far I've come, and how much joy is in my life now compared to when I was twice the size that I am now. Sometimes we all need time to reflect. For me, it helps to put things into perspective and not get discouraged when the going gets tough. Even when I was in the process of losing the weight, I wish I would have done more reflecting. Slow and steady wins the race and even the small steps are worth celebrating. The following is from an old post of mine. I have printed it out for myself as a reminder this week. It brought tears to my eyes to do a little reflecting and again, celebrate some of the victories along the way.

This is What I Know........
I know what it's like to weigh nearly 300 pounds.
I know what it's like to want to eat where no one can see me.  
I know what it's like to wake up in the morning felling very bloated and full.
I know what it's like to look at myself in the mirror and cry because of the disappointment I see.
I know what it's like to have to ask for a seat belt extension when boarding an airplane.
I know what it's like to eat a whole box of Kraft macaroni and cheese all to myself.
I know what it's like to always be pulling at the front of my shirt to hide "the roll."
I know what it's like to start a new eating plan only to have it fail.
I know what it's like to sit in a chair and hear myself wheeze.
I know what it's like to have red marks in betwenn my thighs from them rubbing together.
I know what it's like to shop in the "fat lady" section at the store.
I know what it's like to eat becasue I am bored.
I know what it's like to grow out of clothes.
I know what it's like to have a closet full of clothes that I've already grown out of.
I know what it's like to crave bread and pasta.
I know what it's like to live in a fat body.
I know what it's like to feel constant indigestion.
I know what it'a like to cry myself to sleep with who I've become.
I know what it's like to not want to get up in the morning.
I know what it's like to have no motivation.
I know what it's like to think it's impossible.
I know what it's like to send the family off on a hike or a bike ride and have to stay home due to size and no energy.
I know what it's like to be a failure at something.
I know what it's like to catch my "fat" self in a 360 degrees mirror.
I know what it's like to have to suck it in to button the pants.
I know what it's like to hope the weather is cold enought to allow me to hide under a jacket or vest all day.
I know what it's like to feel like people are staring at me when I go out to eat at a restaurant.
I know what it's like to aviod the camera and not want to be in pictures.
I know what it's like to feel hopeless.
I know what it's like to give up.
I know what it's like to be made fun of.
I know what it's like to want to be like everyone else.
I know what it's like to feel trapped or like a prisoner in my own body.

But the good thing is, this is what I also know........I know what it's like to set goals and accomplish them.
I know what it's like to treat my body like it's worth something.
I know what it's like to be determined.
I know what it's like to smile
I know what it's like to be normal.
I know what it feels like to crave healthy food.
I know what it's like to climb a mountain.
I know what it's like to have hope.
I know what it's like to ride the rides at the amusement park.
I know what it's like to buy clothes that fit.
I know what it's like to say "thank you" when someone gives me a compliment.
I know what it's like to share with others my testimony of what I've been through.
I know what it's like to dream.
I know what it's like to work hard.
I know what it's like to eat what I want in moderation.
I know what it's like to be happy.
I know what it's like to be in control.
I know what it's like to not be afraid of the camera.
I know what it's like to be a size 6.
I know what it's like to encourage others.
I know what it's like to have energy.
I know what it's like to cook healthy.
I know what it's like to love what I see in the mirror.
I know what it's like to enjoy shopping for clothes.
I know what it's like to love to exercise.
I know what it's like to feel healthy.
I know what it's like to learn to run.
I know what it's like to have people tell me I'm beautiful.
I know what it's like to run a half marathon.
I know what it's like to lose 133 pounds.
I know what it's like to think "I can do anything!"
                                 I know what it's like to be a winner.
                                           This is what I know!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Recap & Back to Reality

I have gotten SO many emails and notes from everyone over the past 8 weeks that is has humbled me in more ways than one. To think that so many of you enjoy my blog like you do, made me smile. So, thank you. In all honesty, as I've written in previous posts, I started this blog for myself. To go back and relive the journey of losing 133 pounds. I never imagined in the process, it would turn into what it is becoming in my life (something I look forward to doing) and for the wonderful people I am "cyber meeting" along the way. 

I promise I am doing well. I never have gone this long between posting, so I can understand the reason for every one's concern. Really, for me, summer happened and school started. My two busiest times of year. 

Like I said, I remember when I started this blog it was a chance to go back and journal my thoughts, feelings, and experiences of what life was like at nearly 300 pounds and then how I got to where I am now. I really was doing the writing for myself more than anything else. It wasn't long before people started to jump on board, leave the sweetest of comments, and start reading my every post. That in and of itself started to do something to me. The thought of my words, feelings, and me sharing some of the things I'd been through became motivating. I remember being that victim trapped in my own body for so many years and the idea that I may be inspiring even one person to continue on, to press forward, to work at the hard as they struggle on their own journey, made me want to continue to pay-it-forward and share my thoughts. So, thank you for being patient with me while I spent the past 8 weeks playing with my family.
Mt. Si..... 4,167 elevation in 4 miles. Yep, pretty much straight up!
  It was a cloudy day but beautiful and sunny above the clouds at the top.
Mt. Rainier!    

 On our way up.....

 Time in Seattle with Family...

 Oregon Coast with my three favorite people.

My attempt at a jumping photo with my son. :)

Now that summer is officially over and I've been back to work for a few weeks, (I enjoy my summers off) it's back to reality. I've been active all summer, but the gym is definitely calling my name as far as being a regular again. I think my blog is too. 

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Seattle Half Marathon is Cleansing Every Time.....

Last weekend was my 3rd half marathon in Seattle. It was a beautiful day in my hometown city and another great day to celebrate who I've become in all of this. 

In April I was on a girls trip with several family members in California when running the Seattle Rock N Roll came up several times. It was a "healthy" girls weekend with lots of exercise, healthy food, (and not so healthy food) and just spending time together. We needed it, as we all live so spread out these days. I had mentioned I was running the Seattle race again this year and by the end of the weekend, several had committed to join in.

Saturday was fun to run it with so many people I knew and loved. There was just something special about it for me. Meeting up at the end and celebrating every ones accomplishments and commitments to living healthy,  coming from a family with a history of heart disease, was comforting to me. Just that we all have the desire to not let something that can be so life threatening and tragic, as we've seen it take the lives of people in our family, stop us from celebrating life and what our bodies are capable of doing.

As for me, really it was not my best race out of the three but that didn't seem to matter to me so much this time. (Surprise, surprise! I'm usually the competitive one.) My goal was to enjoy the run. Enjoy the journey. And I did just that. I wasn't fast. In fact, I had my share of hip, knee, and calf issues that slowed me down considerably but I focused on not getting discouraged, but only enjoying the journey. The course was beautiful, the people were great, so I was able to do just that. 

As far as the course goes-- it has yet to be the same. All three years it has been different. Even though this one had more hills and challenges than any of the others, the scenery was my favorite. Running down Rainer Avenue for miles with Mt. Rainer looking so massive right in front of me was beautiful. Then running along the waterfront and through the city was breathtaking. 

Having been born and raised in the Seattle area, every time I do this run I spend a good portion of the race reflecting on who I used to be and who I have become through my weight loss journey. It is a very cleansing process for me that unless you've been in my shoes, would have a hard time understanding just where I'm coming from. It's as if I renew who I've become every year on this run. Getting rid of a little bit more of the mental baggage I carried around for years that had a huge impact on who I was. And then just feeling FREE and able to celebrate who I've become and want to continue to be. I love Seattle. It is my hometown. I visit often. I don't want to associate my life while I lived there as being unhappy and fat, but yet a person who had the power within her to make a change, face it, do the work, and continue on. That my friends, is what it's all about. 

Race Expo Treats!

The whole gang!

Our shirts!
 My Sister-in-law and I                                    My cousin Tyler and I                                   

My Aunt Gail and I

                                             We did it!

                   We've run this race all three years together.....

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Monday, June 17, 2013

What's Done is Done...I have a Half Marathon to Run Saturday!

I promise I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Last week I was away at church camp with the youth from my church. It was a great week! I loved unplugging from the world, honing in on the spirit, and just enjoying the wonderful outdoor creations God has given us to enjoy. 

This week is it, as far as training for my 3rd half marathon. In other words, what I didn't fit in by now, won't be happening as I'm beginning my taper and will only run a couple miles tomorrow and Wednesday and then rest Thursday and Friday before the big day Saturday. 

Do I feel prepared and ready? Nope. Not at all. It's an interesting feeling really. I stuck to my training schedule for the most part but did manage to miss a few runs here and there. In fact this time around my long run milage bumped up much faster than in the past and I was running 9 mile long runs as well as 10,  2 and 4 weeks ago. I then missed two weeks of long runs with sporadic running during the week. Then it was off to camp and the conditions there were as such that a long run was not feasible. I came home and Saturday I hit 5 miles and it was probably a good thing I stopped when I did. My body was just tired and still trying to recoup from camp. You can imagine what this started to do to my brain though. Questioning if I had it in me to run 13.1 with having missed those runs. Knowing very well I am capable of running 13.1 miles Saturday, I forced myself to venture out on one last long run this morning. It's almost as if I needed to do it to turn the voice off in my head that was feeding me wrong information. Good news is....since about 7:40 this morning, not a negative doubting thought has entered my mind. Wahoo! 

I think part of the reason I feel so differently this time around is that I started out training with a heart rate monitor which had me running at a ridiculously slow pace. Then when things started to speed up as time went on, I found I wasn't enjoying myself and decided I need to be doing this to have fun and enjoy my body not to be miserable along the way. I'm not sure if it's because I trained for weeks having to run slow and keep within the heart rate I needed to be, that when I was able to run faster, I felt like it was beyond my reach (like my body got accustomed to running slower) but it seemed much harder and faster than I'd ever run. In reality though, it wasn't. In fact, both of my other half marathons I trained running faster than I am now. It's weird.

What's done is done. The most important factor for me come Saturday is to have fun. To me, coming from the girl who used to be 278 pounds and never laced up a pair of shoes and hit the pavement until a few short years ago, that is huge! I may not be the fastest one out there, in fact I very well may cross the finish line with my slowest time yet, but I'm hoping to say I enjoyed the journey along the way! 

A little mud football at camp!

Camp treats!

I loved having this little camper with me all week!

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Media vs Reality

I was cutting up an apple in the break room at work the other day when one of the gals that works in our building asked me how much fruit I eat. I can't remember my response exactly but it was something like, " I don't know, a lot. I love fruit!" She then went on to say she loved fruit too but had recently read (key phrase, RECENTLY READ) that eating fruit wasn't a good thing because of the sugar. Then she wanted to know about dairy products as she had heard (again, HEARD) that they can be good or also bad for you. The conversation went on for a few minutes about these things and in the end these were the thoughts that were going through my mind.
Everyone out there has tried things, heard things, and is interested in others results because they want to change something about themselves. Right? The problem I personally see (note, this is my own opinion) is that nine times out of ten we as human beings are wanting results immediately. We want a smaller size next week. We have procrastinated too long and the family reunion is in a month. Do any of these things sound familiar? They certainly do for me. In fact, for years I would read up on what others were doing to lose weight. The more enticing it sounded the more I wanted to try. (If they can do it like that, it will work for me too.)
The bottom line is this. None of those things work. If you are wanting to change your life, how you view food, and fall in love with exercise, that is where you need to put your energy and resources. I know for me, when I changed the way I was thinking and focused more on getting healthy and being happy, the weight loss was an added bonus. It was as if I was eating right and working out to make me a better me, and on the side the weight began to melt away. Yes, it was a slower process than what EVERYONE else is doing (it took over 2 years to lose 133 pounds) but that didn't matter and wasn't even an issue as I was trying to look at it from a different perspective than I had ever done before. My focus was not losing weight, my focus became getting healthy.
Food is to be used as a tool not the enemy. Life is meant to be able to incorporate and enjoy ALL foods. I never deprived myself of anything and I don't believe anyone out there trying to lose large amounts of weight should. If you can't lose the weight while enjoying all things in moderation and make it something that will be a part of you forever, you aren't ready to commit and make the change. I had to commit to being okay that it took years to become healthy. They key is learning to eat it in moderation and what seems to work for your body. Every single body out there is built differently and what some respond well to others may not. Find your own nitch and what is comfortable for you.
For me, that day in the break-room it was fruit. Yep, blueberries, a banana, apple, AND watermelon! 4 servings, and I'm just fine. In fact, my body loved it! Listen to your body, not what the media or the people in the break room may tell you. You are a far better gage of what YOU like and respond well to better than any professional out there. Remember, before you know it, you are going to be the professional of your body.  

Here was a shot after my run yesterday. Yep, Pebbles and Bamm Bamm out for a run!  

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with food? Maybe it's exercise? Commitment? I know each one of us have an area in our life that we struggle with. For me it boils down to running. 

I know in the past my relationship with food, exercise, and the feeling of being committed have been a challenge. In fact, some seasons in my life were better than others, but I somehow was always able to push through and get to the other side with very little pain and anguish as long as I buckled down and did my part. When I first started working with my trainer, Jacob, I knew it was going to be hard work, but for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing, and the food part for me was a breeze. It wasn't long before I was in auto pilot mode and I ate for fuel not fun and worked out because I enjoyed it not because anyone was forcing me to. It all became a way of life for me. 

After reaching my goal weight 2.5 years ago and decided I needed a new challenge, I committed to giving running a try. I trained and ran my first half marathon in June of 2011, trained and did it again last year in 2012, and now I'm down to the last couple weeks of training for the 3rd time for yet another half marathon. The clincher is, it hasn't come as easily as overcoming that relationship with food, finding a love for the gym, and making the commitment in my head to live a certain way and never look back. It's been hard! Harder than anything I've ever tried to do. Yes, running is WAY harder for me than losing 133 pounds was!

Running is a struggle for me. It boggles my mind how one minute I'm loving it and then in the very next moment, I'm miserable and wondering what in the world I am doing. Why I'm out there torturing myself, if you would. In some ways I think this is my trial in all of this. All the other things I went through to take the weight off were hard no doubt and took sacrifice and dedication, but it was a totally different kind of hard for me. 

My past two long runs have been a struggle. They were both 10 milers. Last week, I got to mile 8 and lost it. Literally. Had to stop dead in my tracks, walk a little ways, stop at the gas station even, get myself together, walk the rest of that mile, and push through miles 9 and 10. I honestly wish I knew what caused it, but yesterday was about the same story only slightly better. Same run, same route. In fact, I was really enjoying myself for the most part and then mile 7 hit. It wasn't my favorite road but I run it all the time.  I haven't had a problem on it before. But I could feel my body getting tense. By the time mile 8 hit I could feel the emotions starting to build. I was tired, my body wanted to quit, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes which then lead my breathing to be very off the wall. I remember having to close my eyes (literally), think of a friend of mine who is a runner and just committed to a running streak for 9 months (yes, never miss a day of running in 9 months), and count and breathe. If she can run everyday for 9 months straight, I can run 10 miles. After about a block I was okay again and kept on. Then mile 9 hit and the same thing. Tears, can't breathe, think of my running friend, count....and carry on. I thought rounding the corner on the last mile I would be fine but nope, happened again, and so I proceeded with my own little therapy to get me to the end. I felt like when my watch beeped at the 10 mile mark I was going to burst out in to tears, but I didn't. I was on the verge but somehow my body recouped and I was able to walk it off and cool down.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because I am bound and determined to keep going and push through the hard to figure out a way to love running all the time and not just some of the time. It's the same with eating right, getting to the gym, or committing to change our lives and get healthy. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it seems impossible, but we can't give up! We must press on. Going through all of this has really made me appreciate my body and what it is able to do for me. If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would have lost 133 pounds and soon to have run three half marathons, I would have never believed you. Not in a million years. In fact, my self esteem would have been such that I would have had no hope in even being able to lose 25 pounds. 

I know I can fall in love with running. I just need to figure out what parts about it I love and why I keep going back to it, and which parts I don't enjoy and how I can make those parts work better for me so I can enjoy it and look forward to it all the time and not just some of the time.

Whatever your love/hate relationship is with, never give up. You are worth far more than you could ever imagine and I'm convinced we need these trials to make us who we are intended to be. None of it is supposed to be easy but the parts I can tell you I have accomplished, have been so worth it. Someday I know I'll be able to say that about running too! 

Yep, Here she is! My running friend who just started a 9 month running streak! If she can love it that much, so can I! 

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Desert Hiking!

Having grown up in the Seattle area where there are thousands of wonderful, GREEN, beautiful places to hike and explore, getting used to hiking in the desert is a bit different. The sad thing is, most of my life I was overweight and didn't really care to do much of anything that consisted of exercise, hiking, or exploring. Now that I live in what my husband calls the "desert" (not really but close enough) I long for my summer breaks when I can get home to Seattle to explore and hike for a couple weeks. 

Monday being Memorial Day, we had the day off. Steve, my hubby, working in the medical field, had to work. Both my kids had several finals to study for, so my friend Tammy and I decided we'd  hike Tablerock. Lots of people in the valley hike Tablerock and always rave about it. In all honesty, I had never hiked it until last year and we've lived here 13 years! Part of that was probably due to the fact that I was nearly 300 pounds until a few years ago and hiking was nowhere near something that would be on my agenda. The other part was the idea I think of hiking up a dirt hill with no trees. Desert Hiking! 

It's a fun little hike no less. It takes maybe 30 minutes or so to get to the top and it's not all together terribly hard, yet you feel like you've gotten a good workout by the time you get to the top. It was fun and a great way to start my day.

They call it Tablerock because at the top, it's flat like a table.

I'm not a huge fan of heights or standing on a ledge so this one was a stretch.
There are several caves at the top. I had never really explored them much but we crawled around and checked them out. 

I love hiking with this girl! 

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Testimony and Weight Loss

Today in church I was filling in for the teacher who normally teaches the kids 14-18. We were talking about what a testimony is and here are a few things they came up with:

A belief
Having faith
Something spiritual

We then broke it down and shared on many points. One thing we touched on was the idea that a testimony can be one of many things. Yes, it can be one of a spiritual sense, but also can be one that could have to do with an aspect of school, maybe a hobby, family, a sport...many things. I challenged the kids to search for something in their lives over the next couple weeks that they could nourish. That they could either strengthen or start the process of gaining a testimony of whatever it is they are seeking or trying to accomplish.

As I've been home this afternoon, my mind has been focused on picking an area in my own life to strengthen and improve, as I told the kids I would do the same thing I asked of them. It wasn't long in my thinking that I got sidetracked and found myself thinking about the journey I put myself on just a few short years ago. How in the beginning I had very little, if no faith, on what I was about to set out and do. (lose 133 pounds) In fact, I had attempted it so many times before, I knew it was nearly impossible. I knew the seed had been planted as the desire was there, I was just a bit uncertain on how it was all going to play out. In my eyes, I just knew this time had to be different.

The days, weeks, and months went by and that seed that I had originally planted was growing. It started out small as I learned what I needed to do and how I needed to eat, but the more I focused on nourishing it, the more it grew. The more it grew, the more I believed. Doors started to open, knowledge started to poor in, and I was learning things that before had never surfaced because I had let my seed dry up before any vegetation came to light. It wasn't long before my "Charlie Brown" tree turned into a full blown beautiful tree with many branches and greenery to boot. 

From that point on, I wanted nothing but to keep it alive and going. Better yet, I wanted to share it with others. Thus the reason I started journaling my thoughts, my journey, and sharing of this blog. This is a prime example of something in my life I did not believe in until recent years -- me. As sad as that sounds, when it came to my weight and becoming healthy, I didn't know it was possible. I couldn't physically see it or touch the results. Why would I believe it? Especially after trying so many times before. The truth of the matter is, the more I nourished that seed of desire, the more it grew. The more it grew, the more I started to believe and change. 

I am blessed to tell you today that I do have a testimony of gaining a healthy body. It can be done. Why? Because I did it. I've lived it. And just like the kids stated this morning, a testimony is one of faith, belief, hope, conviction, happiness, and spirituality. All these things can only make us better people.

I am so grateful that I have changed my life, have found true happiness, and was given the opportunity to reflect on it a bit today.

Bless you all as you continue on your own journey. You are worth far more than you will ever imagine. 

(It was a blessing to have my daughter in class with me this morning as I taught. Thank you McKenna for your sweet comments and participation.)

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