losing the weight and keeping it off

“Fall in love with the process. The results will come.”

In the last four years, I’ve discovered the secret to permanent weight loss and weight loss success. I’m officially down 50 lbs. and I’ve lost over 100 inches over my entire body. I’ve gone from a close-to-size 22 to a size 16 in that time. That success lies in the decisions you make each and every day. From rising early and downing eight ounces of room-temperature lemon water to getting in that ten-minute, sweat-inducing workout session at the end of your workday before dinner needs to be on the table and the parent-teacher conference that has been on the calendar since the school year started. Life can and does get crazy, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice taking care of ourselves. I stumbled on this list, written by Chris Freytag, this morning and I’ve discovered that these things combined with godly self-care goes a long way in being able to care for others and do the work God has called you to.

I included her list below along with my own comments on what I’ve done myself and what has worked in my life.





Weight Loss Motivation

  1. Set a small, specific goal. Stick it on the fridge or your bathroom mirror. I don’t think I’ve stuck my goals to the fridge or my mirror, but I’ve had them set as a message that displays on my smartphone, which is a great tool to utilize when you’re at the gym. When it comes to weight, I do not set a deadline. I have a goal in mind, yes, but I do not submit myself to a deadline. I am not defined by a number and I’m learning to embrace the truth of who I am in Christ regardless of what the scale says or what others say.
  2. Use your scale a gauge to track your progress and not as a body-shaming device. That number doesn’t define you. It never should. No matter what the scale reads, you are still a joy in the eyes of God. You are His son or daughter. That’s just it…you are His.
  3. Take before and after pictures. You won’t believe how much real proof motivates. I have before and after photos. Many of them, actually, and I barely recognize the girl in the photos prior to December 2010. Sure, I remember her and she is a part of my past, but she doesn’t define who I am today. In fact, she motivates me to keep at it.
  4. Buy a new outfit that you want to rock. Hang it where you can see it daily for a visual reminder to stick to your goals. Or, reward your small wins with new workout gear! I held on to a pair of jeans I wore during my freshman year of college and I can’t even wear them now. I’m smaller! Today, I prefer to get myself new workout gear. Having something new to wear to the gym or owning a new piece of equipment that I can add to my exercise stash at home adds another layer of encouragement. I look forward to trying them out!
  5. Focus only on losing the next two pounds. Whether you want to lose ten pounds or 100 pounds, focusing on micro-goals can you from feeling overwhelmed. Think two pounds at a time. Small goals + persistence = success. Success comes in all sizes, big and small. Focus on the smaller number and you won’t be overwhelmed. Fifty pounds in four years…that’s about 12.5 lbs. a year and…the slower it comes off, the longer it will stay off. Plus, you give your skin and mind a chance to catch up with the rest of you.
  6. Try on your jeans once a week to gauge how you are doing. My go-to is actually a beautiful tank top my mom got me when I was in college. It fits now!
  7. Surround yourself with support. Support can be friends, family, inspirational images, a fitness app, or all of the above.  I’ve been blessed with like-minded friends, encouraging family members, Pinterest boards full of inspirational messages and images and plenty of fitness apps on my phone and online to keep me going. Having that group of friends and family member who cheer you on and support you makes losing weight and keeping off that much more fun.
  8. Make a list of what works for you and keep doing those things. Now you have your own little success list. Not everyone enjoys running. I don’t. I prefer high intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga and Pilates. I like the elliptical. I like to bike. I like strength training. I don’t mind sprinting for 30 seconds at a time or jogging for a minute. Beyond that, I hate it. The goal here is to find out what you like and what works and sticking with it. Note here, finding out what these things are will take time. It’s recommended that you stick with a routine that you like/enjoy doing for 6+ weeks in order to see results. Contrary to popular belief in this microwave society/culture we live in, results will not come overnight. It didn’t take me three days to pack on the weight and be lazy. It took years. It’s the same with losing it and becoming the healthy person you long to be. It’s taken me four years to get to where I am now. I’m not where my goal is, but I’m content with where I am right now. Not satisfied. Content. Two very different things. Satisfaction implies the idea that I don’t have to work anymore. I can just stop. Hopping on the fifty-year-plan band wagon does not allow me to quit. I have to work just as hard or harder to stay where I am at or move forward. Contentment simply means that I am happy here. I can find joy here. But, just as Jesus didn’t leave me where He found me, I won’t leave myself here. I enjoy a good challenge…unfortunately, only when I’m the one throwing myself into it, not when it’s unexpected. Control freak I am…
  9. Visualize the way you want to look. I can only imagine the way I’ll look when all is said and done. Do not compare yourself to fit-looking, thin girl lifting some serious weight in the squat rack. You won’t look like her. You weren’t created to look like her. You look like you. God made you. He loves you as is, but he loves you enough not to leave you there. I’ve dreamt how I would look and it’s not what I see in the mirror today. It’s better.
  10. Cancel negative thoughts and replace with positive thoughts. Practice the positive and build it up over time like a muscle. Only you have control over what you think. Being naturally optimistic, I’ve been able to see the silver lining in many situations. I don’t like the way negative thoughts leave me feeling and by the grace of God, I’ve been able to stifle those with His truth which can only be found in Scripture. Pray for discernment in that area. Ask Him to open your eyes to what He sees when He looks at you…not what this broken world or even your own broken perception sees.
  11. Find someone to be your accountability partner. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. My friend and personal cheerleader has often threatened to beat me with a CrossFit® training class if I don’t make it to the gym at least three times a week. How does she know I’m there? I check-in on Facebook. I tweet about my workout. I log it in my online workout diary. She sees it and encourages it. She holds me accountable with grace, mercy and truth. You have to have all of that and it’s a fine line to balance on, but when it’s done right, it goes far.
  12. Celebrate your small wins and share your progress with a Facebook post, Tweet or Instagram pic. This is why I check in and share what week I’m on or how I’m doing. I also blog about it. Find your out, your own form of encouragement and do it. 
  13. Practice self-compassion. Stop beating yourself up for missing a workout. Stop regretting what you ate. Practice kindness and understanding with yourself and simply make a better choice next time. Guess what? You are human and that’s okay. I couldn’t agree more. Encourage yourself. Tell yourself you will make the better choice next time. I’m not perfect and this health thing has not been easy. It has been worth all the ups and downs and days I’ve wanted to call it quits.


  14. Vary up your workouts. Don’t “Ground-Hog-Day” your workouts. Avoid having each day look the same. It’s important to do something different. I don’t do the same thing two-three days in a row. Your body gets use to doing the same thing when repeated day in and day out. Shake things up. Keep it guessing. Plus, you’ll mitigate your risk of injury by shaking up your workouts.
  15. Incorporate strength training and focus on specific muscle groups. Avoid exercising the same muscle groups two days in a row. I currently do full body strength-training on Tuesdays and Fridays. This gives me at least three days in between to allow them to heal, rest up and get stronger before I have another go at it. Feel the burn, friends. Feel the burn!
  16. Track you exercise. You can use an app like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, or you can go old school and write it down on a calendar. Logging your workouts gives you an immediate sense of accomplishment. I use FitClick.com to track my workouts. They’ve got an app for the iPhone, but not for Android systems yet.
  17. Warm-up. You will accomplish more and stay injury-free. Note: This does not mean static stretches before you work out. We’re talking arm circles, a brisk walk, marching in place, etc. This will warm your muscles up – hence “warm-up.”
  18. Have a workout DVD ready to go for those days when it’s dark, rainy, snowy or cold and you don’t want to venture out or go to the gym. Now you’ve got your Plan B in place (or you could utilize the small, not-so-great gym in the lower of your apartment complex if you’ve got one).
  19. Download a new fitness app. Here are Chris’s favorite apps.
  20. Aspire to sweat from exercise at least three times a week.  Ideally, I strive for five, but there are some weeks where I only get three to four sessions in.
  21. Don’t over-train. Signs of over-training include irritability, tension, restless sleep, aches and pains and a decline in athletic performance.  Be aware of your body. It will tell you what it needs. Rest when it needs rest.
  22. Do some bodyweight exercises weekly. Planks, squats, lunges and push-ups anyone?
  23. Stretch after your workout when your body is warm. This will go a long way in keeping you injury free.
  24. Sign up to your first 5K to jog or walk and catch the motivation of a crowd. I have yet to do this. Bring it on 2015!
  25. Try a Plank challenge. I have done this and boy…my entire body ached with “deliciousness” when all was said and done.
  26. Master the micro-workout. Even if you only have ten minutes, use those ten minutes wisely.
  27. Use hand weight and resistance bands at home for some bonus strength-training.
  28. Breathe deeply during your workouts. Your muscles and body need oxygen to work effectively.
  29. Schedule exercise like an appointment. You wouldn’t cancel an appointment with your doctor or a friend, would you?
  30. Do something active with your family at least once a week. 
  31. Add intensity to your workouts: add time, speed or effort to your regular workout to take it up a notch.
  32. Put your treadmill on an incline and vigorously move your arms while you walk. I’ve come to think of this as indoor hiking. 
  33. Join a group fitness class.

    Food & Nutrition
  34. Eat fiber rich foods like green beans, broccoli, avocado, bananas, spinach, pears, Brussel sprouts, oranges, apples, beets, almonds, beans, brown rice, flax seeds, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and raspberries. I also keep an eye out for what is in season. It’s winter. Reach for that squash!
  35. Calories are the holy grail of weight loss. Keep your eye on your portions. Use the salad plate, not the big one. And men…go for the recommended serving size or just a few more. Do not double this. Being a “guy” is not an excuse.
  36. Keep a food journal. Tracking keeps you more aware of your choices all day long.  You’ll be amazed at how much more aware you’ll be about what you’re eating.
  37. Eat clean. Stop eating foods that come in a package and try to each more foods that come from the earth. My go-to on this: if you can’t pick it, pluck it, milk it or shoot it, don’t eat it.
  38. Set it and forget it. Make slow cooker meals to eat healthy and keep your life easy-breezy.
  39. Give up soda and diet soda. This was the first thing I did…way back in 2009. This is one decision I have not regretted. Your teeth and body will thank you.
  40. Eat healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, avocado and seeds.
  41. Schedule planned indulgences. You can your favorites without any guilt nonsense. Amen!
  42. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Try to reduce the amount of packaged and boxed items in your grocery cart.
  43. Have a prep day. Cut up veggies and have them ready to go in the fridge. Make up a batch of brown rice or cut up a rotisserie chicken for salads or a snack. Make some healthy grab and go snacks. Make eating healthy easier for you to do. I cannot stress these last two points enough. Shopping the perimeter of the store and taking a day to prep your food for the week will enable you to lead a healthier life and make room for the things your enjoy during the week – like spending time with friends and family.
  44. Add more protein to your diet: lentils, beans, quinoa, eggs, fish and lean meats.
  45. Create a fail-safe environment. Make a list of your trigger foods (those you can’t stop eating if they are in the house) and don’t buy them. Why make it harder for yourself? My trigger foods include Oreos. I don’t buy them for that reason.
  46. Try healthier dessert recipes. Just in time for the holidays!
  47. Drink water all day. Start your day with a tall glass of lemon water. Squeeze about half of a lemon into your room temperature water. So simple and yet so good for your body. Read more about lemon water and how it benefits your body.


  48. Love your music playlist. Music motivates. Music YOU love motivates YOU even more.
  49. Sleep 7-8 hours each night.
  50. Stand up more than your sit down. If your job doesn’t allow for that, stand up once an hour and try to sit less when you aren’t at work. I got a sit-stand station at work in April of this year. I sit less than 20% of my day. The rest of the time, I’m either standing, moving or sleeping.
  51. Quiet your mind. Use blocks of your time to unplug, enjoy the silence, recharge and organize your thoughts.
  52. Switch from diets to lifestyle change. Diets are temporary and something you on or off, lifestyle is permanent. I’ve seen first-hand what living on a diet plan does to people and I’ve experienced it myself once. I tried NutriSystem back in 2007 and while the scale moved down, I didn’t feel any better. Plus, it was expensive living on that processed food plan. I now make healthier food choices and prefer to have homemade soups or salads and fresh meat verses any of that. These choices are things I can live with and change up if needed during the rest of my life.
  53. Get regular health screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol. If your numbers are good you will want to
    keep doing what you’re doing. If they aren’t so good, your numbers will motivate you to change some habits.
  54. Spend time in nature to clear space for your mind and stay focused on your goals. I enjoy taking long walks. I may live in the city, but Minneapolis and St. Paul (and the surrounding metro area) have an entire trail system and lakes to enjoy…not to mention the Mississippi River, which is my go-to spot since I live about a mile (12 blocks) away. I’ve even gotten into the habit of layering up to get in my seven-mile walk around the river in the winter. The cold will not kill you or make you sick. Just be mindful of the weather and take extra precautions as needed.
  55. Follow some fitness enthusiasts on social media. Are we connected on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram or even here? I’m here for you!

I’ve done most, if not all, of the above and have found that they do indeed work. Don’t be too rigid with yourself. Set small goals and reward yourself for meeting them (not with food). Living on the 50-year plan is about patience and positivity. Tweak your lifestyle one little piece at a time and you’ll soon discover that you’ve completely remade how you were living a few years ago.

If you’re in need of accountability, support, tips or just looking for a cheerleader, connect with me or any other fitness enthusiast. I would also love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.



my health journey: the road less traveled

It’s been over a week since I posted my recent and ever-continuing health accomplishments and many of my close friends (and distant acquaintances) have asked how on earth I did it or am doing it.

My advice on this? It was and is a choice.

It’s a simple one, but the journey is not easy.

In looking back over the last four years, I was able to come up with eight “what it takes” statements that helped me get here. There were and are many more tips and tricks, which I will write on later, but for the sake of time….here goes:

  1. It takes dedication. If you want it bad enough, you will make time for it and find a way to make that happen.

    I wanted this. After viewing our family photo from Thanksgiving in 2010, I had enough. I was at a size that made me look larger than my dad. I felt lethargic, exhausted and sick all the time. I caught the common cold or some other virus easily. I felt and looked older than 25. It sucked. And it was that day, after seeing that photo, that I had enough.
    Many of the women in my family suffer from diabetes and I wanted to do everything within my God-given abilities to stop it (it ends with me) or delay it as long as possible in my life.
    My dad also has high blood pressure and according to the most recent doctor’s appointment at that time, I was dealing with it too.
    I was serious.
    It was time to make a change.
    I was ready. So, I made a plan.
    Being a learner by nature, I started reading anything and everything about weight loss, fitness, exercise and health. Basically, anything I could get my hands on – books from the local library, online blogs, health magazines, literature at the doctor’s office, etc. I eventually looked to Pinterest® for ideas.
    I highly recommend educating yourself and finding what may work for you.


  1. It takes courage to take those first steps and to make a change.

    My first decision was to cut out all soda and stop making bad food choices.
    That meant no more Diet Coke. No more runs to Arby’s. No more Taco-John-food-stops after work.
    No more excuses.
    Was it easy? No. It was hard, incredibly hard, but so worth it.
    Giving up fast food was easy after experiencing a bout with food poisoning. I will never look at a potato oles the same again.
    Giving up chips was easy due to the fact that the seasonings and salt have a tendency to make my tongue do crazy things. Ever hear of geographic tongue? I have it. It doesn’t hurt. Never has. It just feels uncomfortable. Why sacrifice that? The price wasn’t and isn’t worth it to me.
    Soda, on the other hand, was harder. Have you ever had one of those caffeine headaches? You know…the ones that come up when you haven’t had caffeine for days? The constant ones that seem to lag on, long after you’ve taken ibuprofen?
    Those headaches lasted the better part of two weeks before finally going away. By that time, I discovered the joy of treating myself to one small piece of dark chocolate a day and had learned how to doctor up my coffee until I got used to drinking it black. I even fell in love with green tea. All of those alternatives have caffeine without the horrifying effects of sodas. I can’t even stomach the stuff any more. Praise God!

    My second decision was to find and join a gym that I could afford.
    I got a deal at a local, full-on spa/gym for three months. I enjoyed having a locker I could keep things in and being able to go swimming after a long sweat session to cool off.
    After those three months were up, I couldn’t afford the full monthly payment and stumbled on Planet Fitness. If you have one near you, I recommend it. It’s affordable without all the hassle. At $10.00 per month, it’s good stuff.
    I was there for almost a year before God called me to Minneapolis.
    Once I got there, I joined LifeTime Fitness, where I took advantage of yoga classes, Pilates, free personal training sessions, and more.
    And nearly a year ago, I changed gyms again and now go to Snap Fitness which is closer to where I live. I make it point to crash the gym on my way home from work every day.
    By the way, if you get a free session (or a number of sessions) offered for free, take them up on it. Before going into the first one, you’ll get a chance to talk with the personal trainer about what your goals are. Mine were simple: to be healthy and get under 200 lbs.
    Most of us can’t afford trainers. They range anywhere from $40 per session/hour and up. It sucks.
    But, there’s a way you can work this to your advantage.
    During those free sessions, I asked for workout layouts and/or tips that I could run with.
    I’m naturally a self-motivator, which means I can do almost anything I set my mind to do. I think it’s a common thing for us optimists and it’s quite a nice perk. All I might need is a little direction and off I go.

    *Please note that this may not work for you. I’m simply stating what has worked for me.


  1. It takes self-discipline, which has to be learned.

    I didn’t get here overnight. It’s been almost four years since that Thanksgiving photo was taken. The road hasn’t been easy. A person doesn’t really understand how all parts of us – the spiritual, the physical, the mental and the emotional – are connected until they embark on a journey like this.
    I’ve read once that it takes 21 days to break a habit or create a new one.
    I disagree.
    I think it depends on the person.
    For me, it was the three-month mark when I realized that I felt off if I missed a workout or ate something I shouldn’t have (note on this…I ate more of something that I should not have had rather than the recommended serving size). I actually missed going to the gym if I didn’t go. It was amazing to have that revelation.


  1. It takes patience.

    Getting to the weight and size I was at did not happen overnight.
    Getting under 200 lbs. wasn’t going to happen overnight either.
    We live in a microwave, I-want-it-now society that hasn’t done us any good.
    We’ve lost the point of what it means to wait.
    The sooner we come to grips with that, the easier and better life will be.
    Learning patience isn’t easy and it takes time. There will be days when you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel.
    One word of advice on that one: don’t.
    Don’t give in.
    Keep going. Push yourself to get over that hurdle.
    Take the time to figure out what works for you. I’ve discovered that leading a healthy life doesn’t come in pretty, cookie-cutter packaging. What worked for me won’t necessarily work for you or the next person.
    I wasn’t in a rush. I had learned that if I was going to make this a lifelong goal and habit, I needed to take my time getting there.
    I’ve also learned that losing the weight I have at this rate is better for my health in the long run and the weight won’t come back.
    And if you fall off track, don’t be too hard on yourself.
    I allowed myself those days where I could splurge, just a little. I still do.
    For instance, I like Oreos™.
    Does that mean I avoid them like the plague?
    I allow myself one serving every so often. Not several days in a row nor do I eat an entire tray in one sitting. That never did me any good.
    Actually, stuffing our faces outside the recommended serving size hasn’t done any of us any good. Nor does mindlessly eating in front of the TV.
    Days where we’re feeling off on all levels come to my mind as well. I went through a season of mild depression in 2013 and I will admit that there were several weeks where I didn’t go to the gym. I slept all the time and ate very little. It was a blessing that the scale barely moved during that time.
    I refused to be hard on myself during that time. I was and am still beautiful in God’s eyes and His opinion of me is the only one that matters. I needed to take that time to heal and I had to learn to live by a standard of grace in my own life. No more being hard on myself. No more negative self-talk. Tell yourself a lie often enough and you’ll start to believe it and, in believing it, you’ll start to live that lie out.
    The negative self-talk needs to stop here.

    You are beautiful.

    You are strong.

    You can do this.

    You are loved more than you’ll ever know.


  1. It takes being open to being outside your comfort zone and thinking outside the box.

    I cannot emphasize this one enough. If you want change, you have to be willing to step outside the box you’ve been living in. Tips on that:

  • Be willing to be drenched in sweat. Being beautiful at the gym really doesn’t matter.
  • Challenge yourself. Change things up. All. The. Time.
    I don’t think I’ve done the same routine for weeks on end since 2011. I discovered the hard way that it works for a bit and then stops. I hit a plateau. I like to mix things up. It keeps my body guessing.
  • Ladies, don’t be afraid of lifting weights. You won’t bulk up like men do, but you will build muscle mass, which burns more calories when you’re not working out. Lifting heavy weights will work in your favor. Trust me on that one.
  • One word: Intervals. Interval training has been found to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than going for a 45-minute run. You’ll also be burning calories long after your workout.
  • Be open to doing moves during commercial breaks or when you’re doing daily tasks (like folding the laundry or brushing your teeth). I do squats, calf raises, bicep curls with light weights and tricep-dips at my desk in between calls.
  • If the term “exercise” has a negative connotation for you, call it something else. I call it “Me Time” and I don’t cancel the appointments I’ve made with myself. 🙂

                 Find out what works for you.


  1. It takes strength and determination.

    I’ve been surrounded by both supporters and haters, making this journey an interesting and difficult one.
    You will be too.
    Take encouragement from those cheering you on, but do not let those positive comments consume you. That gets to be dangerous territory.
    Let the comments of those who say you’ve done enough or that you’ve taken it too far fall by the wayside.
    Those comments do not define you and that person may not understand.
    If the person telling you this is a friend or a family member, take the time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with them. Tell them why you’re doing this. Explain that this isn’t a seasonal choice. It’s a lifestyle choice. If they’re still against the changes you’ve made and are making, agree to disagree and move on. Don’t let it ruin or break that relationship. 

    I’ve explained that I don’t live my life or make my health decisions based on what the BMI chart says. I grew up on a farm and have more muscle mass than the average woman. Anyone can see that. I stand just under 5’9″ and I will never weigh 145-165. I’d have to be a walking stick for that to be a reality in my life and that’s just not a healthy goal for me. I happen to love my curves, thank you very much.
    It also helps to have your doctor on your side.
    I’m on a 50-year plan. It’ll change as I age and as the needs of my body change and I’ll make those adjustments as I go. I actually do not have a set number in mind as a goal. If God takes me there, then that’s fine. If He stops it here, that’s okay too.Does that mean that I’m not satisfied with where I am now?
    Definitely not.
    I’m more than content with where God has me…well, I’m dealing, but that’s better than fighting it or believing the lie that I need to be a certain weight or size in order to be happy. I am happy. I’m healthy. I have energy to spare. I feel great. I know that I’m loved by the King of kings. That’s what matters.
    I’m content here. I’m okay with where I’m at. Not complacent. Not dissatisfied. Not attaining for some goal that is my be-all and end-all.
    Health living is not an obsession, although it can become one. It’s a necessity.
    Healthy living is not a means to an end. It’s a means to thrive; a means to live life more fully.


  1. It takes accountability.

    We can only do so much on our own, but we can go further when we’re surrounded by community and held accountable.
    That is true for any aspect of life – spiritual growth, dealing with the crises of life, emotional well-being, mental stability and physical health.
    I have a friend who I met just over a year ago. She’s been on her own weight loss journey (started after mine and experienced a significant change in a short amount of time) and she knows when I’m at the gym, what my workouts consist of and is always asking me how I’m doing. She’s even threatened to drag me to a CrossFit class if I don’t make it to the gym three times a week. Scary. Kidding.
    Accountability can go a long way and it’s definitely not one-sided. We challenge each other and are not afraid to be bluntly honest (truth spoken in love and grace of course) about where we may be wrong. It’s good and it’s healthy.
    If you don’t have at least one accountability partner, consider your close group of friends.

    Is there one person you’re more comfortable sharing everything with?
    Is there one person who seems to get you or is at least willing to try?
    Is there one person that you would be okay with them getting up in your grill?

    Accountability isn’t a half-assed process (pardon the French). You can’t ride the fence on this one.
    You’re either in or you’re out. Not both. Don’t be afraid of being challenged or getting uncomfortable. Change occurs outside of your comfort zone.

    Perhaps you’re the type that needs a workout partner, someone who will meet you at the gym. For some, this helps in getting them there. You wouldn’t cancel a coffee date with a friend, would you? 
    I actually prefer to workout alone. I get most of my thinking done during that time. I converse with God — most of the time it’s one-sided, but there is comfort in knowing that He hears me. I could share any number of truths that have been revealed to me during that time. It’s also one way I can worship my Savior, using the body He gave me in this way. This is simply my preference, not the rule .


  1. It’s a commitment made to God, not just to yourself.

    It wasn’t until I read through and did a study on Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. The book isn’t just for those who struggle with emotional eating or weight loss. It’s for anyone who needs a heart change on a deeper level, What do you run to when life gets hard? Or when it doesn’t go the way your planned? For me, that was watching any number of movies to numb out the rest of the world and choosing to be lazy so I wouldn’t have to do anything. I’m learning to lean on God and run to Him when the going gets tough.
    I mentioned earlier how this choice isn’t cookie-cutter nor is there a magic formula that will instantly change how you look and feel. How true it is. Finding out what works for you is a lot like looking at your fingerprints. You were made by a God who cares deeply for you. He knows how your body works and what will make an impact on your health for the better and what won’t.
    Invite Him along on your journey. He’ll enable you to do more than you ever could on your own power and He’ll carry you through any obstacle you face, even on your toughest days. Trust Him. Lean into that truth.
    I’ve discovered a huge change in how I approach my health since I invited Him along on my journey and boy, has it been epic!

Let me be clear: Jesus isn’t a magic formula or a wish-granting factory. He’s a Person. He is Love and it’s a relationship with Him that will get you through life if you believe He is who He says He is and make the choice to follow Him. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus or are curious as to what that even means, all I can say is “Come and see.” My words and personal experience should only serve as an encouragement and are proof of what He’s done and is doing in my life, but the decision to follow Him is ultimately yours to make. We get the choice. There is so much beauty in that.

If you have any questions, send me a message. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or express doubts. It’s okay to have them. You can find out more here, here and here. He won’t leave you where you are. He loves you too much to do that and He won’t allow you won’t walk this road alone. His body, the church, will surround you, support you and walk with you. I’m personally dedicated to discipleship, accountability, spiritual growth, pursuing God with all that I am, loving others, health, godly self-care and living life to its fullest.

Until next time…

a four-year-journey

As some of you know, I’ve been on a journey. Well…life itself is a journey, but I also believe it is made up of multiple mini-journeys. For instance, the one I’m talking about is my health journey.

I just completed my first 90 day challenge and the results have been epic. For instance, in the last month alone I’ve lost 16 inches over my entire body, putting my grand total since December 2010 at 100 inches. Woo!

It’s been almost four years. Four years. And God has been with me each step of the way…even on the days, weeks and months where I may have wandered from the path of godly self-care. I just wanted to give a shout-out to Him in this moment of gratitude and share with you, in the hopes of encouraging you in your own health journeys or journeys to godly self-care. (I’ll be writing more on that later).

I barely recognize the girl on the left. God is so good!

Here’s to God and His glory as I continue this journey.

December 2010. © Norma Brands, 2010.

December 2010. © Norma Brands, 2010.

Today. 09.15.14 © Anita J. Brands. 2014.

Today. 09.15.14 © Anita J. Brands. 2014.



42 lbs. lost
100 inches lost