Monday, November 24, 2014

Focus on the Positive

Three weeks ago I started a journey to get healthy. It's not the first time I've started such a journey, but my hope is that this time will lead to a lifetime of change. You see, Faithful Finish Lines is a tangible program. It starts by asking the journey-taker to create "God-given, short-term fitness goals that balance with family priorities, promote eating for energy, and include mission and fun." 

One of the reasons I love Faithful Finish Lines is because it is practical. The program isn't like all those diet programs out there that make you drink meal replacement shakes or obsessively count calories or work out 2 hours a day. Instead, Faithful Finish Lines is all about helping each individual create short-term goals that will aid in healthy long-term lifestyle changes. For example, the program leaders give us fitness goals each week, such as increasing our fruit and veggie intake or increasing our movement for the week. Along with the goals, each member is encouraged to to pray a specific prayer for the week that will help us focus our mind on Jesus as we re-create our lives towards a more healthier version of ourselves.

Another reason I love the program is that not only are the leaders (Sara & Jill) super inspiring and encouraging, but the members of the group are as well! We spend time each week logging onto the Faithful Finish Lines Facebook page to cheer each other on in our journey. Faithful Finish Lines isn't something you do on your own, which often leads to giving up and going back to your old way of doing things. Instead, Faithful Finish Lines has a built-in accountability system. There are other people walking alongside you in this journey, encouraging and lifting you up in prayer, while you do the same for them. It's amazing, and I'm so so thankful to be a part of this wonderful group!

Confession time: while I love love LOVE everything about Faithful Finish Lines, change is HARD! If you've been paying attention to the blog, you've noticed I've not blogged about FFL in two weeks. These past two weeks have been super difficult as I've tried to walk this journey to a healthier life. Some of the changes have been simple, such as adding more fruits and veggies to the diet. But other things have been a challenge, such as increasing my activity. Week one I was determined to get moving more and was walking 1.2 miles every other night. Week two I started out strong then it got cold outside, so I lost all motivation. Not to mention, I can't seem to get this eating under my calorie goal thing down. It's  because I don't want to give up some of my favorite things (Mt Dew mostly).

Last week I avoided the Faithful Finish Lines Facebook page. I ignored Sara's emails asking me to let her know what my short-term fitness goal was going to be. The truth was, I was discouraged because I felt the weight of making this huge lifestyle change. I finally reached out to Sara and let her know I was discouraged, and she responded with such encouragement. She reminded me that I needed to give myself credit for the progress that I was making, even if it seemed small to me. 

So this week I've decided to focus on the positive! Though they may seem small, these changes I've made are going to help me in the long-term:
  • I went from ZERO servings of fruit per day to 1-2 servings
  • I went from ZERO exercise a week to walking 2-3 times a week
  • I went from almost ZERO glasses of water per day to 1-2 glasses

Also, the short-term fitness goal I've chosen is to attempt to walk a 5K! I officially signed up for the Rudolf Run which is coming up soon on Thursday, December 4th!! This event is going to be super fun as it's a night-time event that comes along with blink-y noses so all the folks participating can look like Rudolf. :) I'm also walking with a mission -- to honor some folks in my life who are cancer survivors. These folks inspire me each and every day to continue to live a better life!

Ever since I participated in the #write31days challenge, the thing that keeps coming back to me is that it's OK to give myself grace. There will be times in life where things get difficult, when I'll feel like quitting, and maybe I'll even give up for a while. But instead of giving up permanently, grace says it's OK to start again.

What is grace telling you?

If you're on this Faithful Fitness Lines journey with me, THANK YOU for your encouragement along the way. Whether you've actually personally said something to me or not, your words have made an impact. I'm reading your posts on Facebook as well as your blog, and your stories keep me motivated on this journey. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

When All Goes Still

There never seems to be a quiet moment in my world. Funny enough, I don't have kids, so you'd think there would be plenty of quiet time in my life.

But the noise is constant.

Sometimes it's because I want it to be there. I need the noise to keep me motivated, energized to do whatever task lay before me.




Heck, even writing a blog post.

While I'm driving to work, the music has to be playing. Otherwise I talk to myself  God. He doesn't mind all the chit-chat during the commute.

And when I'm home, the TV seems to always be on, the same shows repeating themselves over and over again.

But this evening, oh blessedness, there is not one sound in this house. I can breathe.

Peace, the stillness has come.

And I'm enjoying every moment of it.

Is this noise constant in your life or do you find moments of quiet?

Today I'm joining up with hundreds of others who like to take five minutes every Friday to free write. There's no need to be perfect or to worry about taking time to edit. Feel free to join us as we link up here!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Two Things that Inspire

I love sunsets. 

There's something about the sun settling down on the western skyline that brings joy to my heart. Whether it's the gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, and red spray painted over the blue-purple sky, or the silhouettes of the trees in the foreground. 

Sunsets are breathtakingly inspiring. 

You know what else is inspiring? A group of people who band together to make changes in their lives and are encouraging each other on their journey together!

Last week I started a journey as part of a group called Faithful Finish Lines. It has been such a joy to be on this journey with these brave, inspirational women. We're all at different stages in our journey, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that we're doing it together!

I'm also a part of a Facebook holiday challenge group. The goal is to get up and move for 30 minutes each day. I suck at exercise, but it's been so inspiring to see each person post every day when they've got their 30 minutes in. Plus they're cheering each other on! 

These two groups of people amaze me.  We are all different. All in different stages of life, faith, and fitness. But we're putting that all aside to be each other's biggest cheerleaders. 

That, my friends, is inspiring. 😊

What inspires you? 

Today I'm linking up with the folks at #InspireMeMondays. Click here to read other inspirational posts! It'll make your Monday better, I promise. 😊

Faithful Finish Lines


That's what you've heard on the blog these last ten days. After the flurry of writing in October, I took some time away from the blog to just be. Thirty-one straight (almost) days of writing was quite the challenge! One I'm proud to have participated in and conquered (even if I didn't write every single day). {You can read all the 31 days of simply writing posts here!}

You see, that's the thing I learned during the challenge: to not let one or two or three days of not writing keep me from finishing. 

It's OK to give myself grace. 

But then I have to pick up where I left off and keep going. 

It's also an important lesson I've learned this week while participating in the Faithful Finish Lines fitness group. FFL is a 7 week program developed and led by Sara Borgstede which offers encouragement and accountability all while helping those of us on this journey to create and complete a specific fitness goal. 

Say what?!

So if you've known me any length of time you know I'm hugely overweight. Always have been. Well, except from like birth to 6 years old. Once I turned 7 it was like the pounds just crept up on me and never left no matter how active I was! Well, except that one time when I went to India and faithfully woke up every day for mandatory exercise at 7am and then walked a bazillion miles every day to get wherever we were going for five months. 40 pounds melted right off me those months regardless of the number of cokes I drank or the fact that I ate a Big Mac (lamb burger, anyone?) every day. 

Online Faith and Fitness Program

But anyway... So I've joined the FFL group not because I have a huge desire to lose weight and be super skinny. Never have been skinny and never will be. Weight has never defined me as a person. It's a number on a scale. That's it. Weight has never stopped me from being ME or achieving the goals in life I've set out for myself. It doesn't matter if I'm 100 lbs or 400 lbs in terms of who I am or what I want to do in this life. 

With that said, the older I've become the more I realize that the weight I carry often causes me physical pain and fatigue. Several years ago I started working out and eating better, and one of the results from doing so was all this energy! It was amazing to finally not be tired all the time. But I quickly became discouraged because my goal then was to lose weight yet the pounds weren't coming off. So I quit. 

But this past week I've picked up where I left off several years ago and I'm moving forward. The steps forward are baby steps, but they're steps nonetheless. 

This week I've kept track of my eating habits and caloric intake by using MyFitnessPal as well as my exercise (or lack thereof) with RunKeeper. I've also made plans to meet with a friend of mine to learn the art of clean eating and possibly some personal training. I've also been reading and chatting with some of the other FFL participants, which has been so encouraging. Not to mention, I love receiving encouraging and inspiring emails from Sara a couple of times a week. She's been where I've been but has also seen the other side. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the other side as well. 😊

Have you ever started a journey, fitness or otherwise, only to find yourself discouraged? Did you quit or did you keep going?