Heart….

Ask yourself “how long am I going to work to make my dreams come true?” I suggest you answer, “as long as it takes.” (taken from The Human Spirit)

It is this quote I am taking into this next week. I will not have reached my goal weight before I go home, but I will be closer than when I stepped off the plane one week ago. All I know from today’s weigh in is that Leif (our trainer) said he is very pleased with my numbers. That is all I need to know to press on ahead. A great aspect of Fitness North is their follow-up program and I am excited to get home knowing that some foods are not an option but also knowing what foods ARE good options. The staff here at Fitness North will send me home with a meal plan, a goal weight and an exercise plan. I will report my weights in regularly and they will help me adjust my plan when (not if) my body plateau’s. I am grateful for their investment in this aspect of my life. It feels like they understand what it means to make a lifestyle change as opposed to being on a diet. Leif has said often that life is to be lived and enjoyed but some of that freedom of enjoyment comes after you reach your goal weight.  I can live in that reality and feel hopeful!

And so I am in the process of setting realistic goals this week for when I return home next week Sunday. I am focusing on goals that are attainable and am practicing saying “it just isn’t an option…at this time!” I am making a shopping list and asking my Mom to pick up a few things so I have the right things in my home. (Watch for that email Mom!)

Last night O’Neal reminded us that “A vision without a plan is an illusion”. I have carried an illusion around long enough. It is time to transform that illusion to a vision and all that is missing is a plan! Gotta love that!

And so, I will do what it takes, for as long as it takes…to live happy, healthy and well!

Exercise has a way…

Well, I am thankful to have completed week one at Fitness North. I have enjoyed the process more than I thought I would and now look ahead to doing it all again Monday thru Saturday next week. I thought I would take this blog to highlight some of the things I have learned this past week….

This week I learned I can easily get through the week by consuming only water as my beverage of choice…
This week I learned Sugar Free Bubble Yum brought many of us back to our childhood…(and I ordered more for overnight delivery ~ to arrive no later than Tuesday AM)
This week I learned I can feel fully satisfied on planned meals and NO grazing of the cupboards…
This week I learned Sunshine and O’Neal (Biggest Loser Season 9) are genuine, authentic, passionate and motivated by faith and conviction…
This week I learned a group of 10 people can gather and connect first on our struggles and within days transition to being connected by our strength…

This week I spent eight to nine hours a day working out. It was a morning walk, cardio circuits, three-hour hike, cardio circuits again and water aerobics. It only seems right that I also reflect on what exercise has taught me.

Exercise has a way of letting me know that many people (myself included) can waver between single focused intensity, laughter and tears within a matter of moments…
Exercise has a way of creating blisters and callouses in funny places (my knuckle from the band and the bottom of my big toe)…
Exercise has a way of teaching my mind the importance of nutrition and meals…
Exercise has a way of keeping me tough and tender…
Exercise has a way of understanding how to dress in all-weather…
Exercise has a way of allowing me to challenge and succeed alone and experience the support of my fellow warriors like never before…
Exercise has a way of giving you the can do attitude at the base of a mountain and the I did it celebration feeling at the top…
Exercise has a way of keeping me honest and kind to myself…
Exercise has a way of tuning my heart into the depth of my soul

And with that I am moving into a rest-day and hoping to feel fully renewed and refreshed tomorrow. I ask for your continued prayers and words of encouragement this week as I dig deep and push through more barriers and learn that my limits can be tested, my weight and measurements can change and life can be fully lived, experienced and enjoyed!

She…

discovered her real measurements had nothing to do with numbers or statistics….Celebrate her Self Esteem! (Taken from She….)

Today was a day where I learned about my self-esteem. About taking what I believe in my head and putting it to practice. The reality of NBC filming presented me with a challenge I had not expected. I prayed this morning that I would not be distracted by the camera’s, Sunshine and O’Neal’s presence or the activity that was surrounding me through out my day. It was difficult, but at the end of the day, I will say that I was able to stay on task…climbing the big steep hills to the best of my ability (got to the top, but not real fast yet), working out hard in the circuit and not even paying attention to the cameras and reminded myself throughout the struggle that this is worth it.

At the end of our long (but good) day, O’Neal motioned me out of the pool cause it was time for my interview with NBC. Now, what I quickly realized was this interview was going to be while in my swim suit. Talk about having to speak truth into my mind and not think about my hair or my lack of make up or the fact that my suit is not my favorite outfit.

But I reminded myself that this process is about my learning to embrace who I am fully, body and all, and to share my heart as I have opportunity. So, I did that today and will wait to see what, if any, is used in the Biggest Loser Thanksgiving Special.

I went into the day tired….I am ending the day tired. I am very much looking forward to Sunday, our rest day, and a massage I scheduled for Sunday afternoon. I miss my friends and family (and my dog) but I am almost half way through an experience that is really teaching me to believe, deep in my being, that my real measurements have nothing to do with numbers or statistics. That being said, I still look forward to transforming my physical body…and that is well underway!

It is not yet 9 pm but it is time for me to sleep. Tomorrow is a 4 am alarm as we hit the walking trails at 5 am….

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. It helps to get me through difficult moments and makes the good ones all the better!

Beauty amidst the destruction…

Today was a good day at Fitness North. Although I think we all had moments of weariness, we all ended strong. The routine is starting to feel more normal and often we are surprised how much we enjoy the routine. I believe it is enjoyable because we see and experience O’Neal’s passion for each of us to be happy and healthy. He is a man of great inspiration and vision.

<We hiked quite a beautiful trail again this afternoon. One of the amazing things was that the sun was shining. It has really been the first we have seen it and am grateful for all the benefits the sun brings. But what struck me even more was the evident destruction from the storm the other night. We had to climb over and under and around big huge tress that had fallen from the winds. There were many places that we stopped to admire the beauty amidst the destruction. We spoke of how in years ahead, some of this destruction will be woven into the beauty. We talked about how that fallen tree will become a resting bench or how the trees that have fallen into the falls will be weathered and admired as part of God's design.

It reminded me of a conversation with O Neal the other night. As he reflected on how he was feeling as this journey began, for us and for Fitness North, he was clear that although he was excited and so pleased with Fitness North, he also recognized that there was a theme of sorrow in many of our lives. He was sad for the destruction, bad habits and wrong thinking that allowed each of us to live in our weight struggles. He again shared how he is not only about assisting us to reach a number on the scale, but more importantly to find happiness.

And so, as I walked in the woods today, I thought about each of our lives and where there is beauty amidst the destruction in each of our stories. Sometimes it does depend where I am looking from, or how close I am to the destruction, but in the end, it is our goal to reflect our beauty and bring wholeness to our bodies and souls…and there is nothing more beautiful than that!

waiting in anticipation…

On Sunday when we arrived at Fitness North, the ten of us shared a bit about why we were here and what we hoped for. Not one of us mentioned we were there to reach a certain number on the scale. We shared more about the journey and what we want to accomplish as a part of that journey. I shared that I would like to go home and not feel overwhelmed by how to eat enjoyable and healthy food. I also shared about my desire to incorporate a balanced exercise plan and not feel like I can accomplish my exercise goals instead of feeling like I missed the mark. (does anyone else understand those wishes?)

We had a good group conversation at lunch today and Leif informed us we would not be receiving our weight results until the day before we go home. There was some initial shock to that announcement, but then as we talked about it, we all realized the wisdom in the decision. After all, we said we are not about the outcome…but now we are challenged to believe that fully.

I found myself realizing I was waiting in anticipation for the scale results. I was trying to decide what numbers I would be satisfied with, likely part of the stress I experienced on day two. When I switched my thinking to being about wellness and not weight, I realized I could not control the outcome, but I could control my behaviors. And that is what I am doing here…giving 150% and trusting the people leading this process and the process itself.

So, now what am I waiting in anticipation for….at the moment, I think it is waiting for my abs to hurt after doing 100 abdominal pick pockets and 100 deep oblique stretches with 20 pound kettle balls in each arm. I am choosing to live in the moment and wait in anticipation for all that is yet to come, before I step on the scale.

Journey on my friends…

Less cheers and more tears….but still hopeful….

Can it really only have been two days so far?

We came to the pool at six am for a water work out (which I always thought was for old ladies, but think very differently now) and then made our breakfasts, completed a two-hour circuit, went hiking, enjoyed lunch, rested for an hour, completed a one hour intense circuit, hiked in the wind, rain and sleet and then finished with a pool workout. I don’t think I have ever changed my clothes so many times in a day!

We definitely shared less cheers and more tears. I really want you to hear the word SHARED in that sentence. Yesterday we were on a high and had a great start. Today was different but still good, in a different way.

Today we worked hard and dealt with the soreness of our workouts. It was windy and rainy and wet and there was an odd sense that this was only day two and yet excited for the remaining twelve. We talked yesterday about digging deep within ourselves to push through so much…and yet today it felt like it was harder to find the reserves within ourselves. Yesterday we were able to encourage one another on…today, many of us shared how we went to our computers and found the encouragement in kind words from home. Thank you so much to each of you for your support and encouragement. Your kind words were read often and many of us shared the tears that flowed as we read the words from those who believe in us. You kept us going and we are thankful.

As I did my devotions this morning and read my She… book, there was a great She saying. She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans. Celebrate her goals. I do have goals. I have seen that Mike and Justin, Heather, Shannon, Wendy, Sherri, Karen, Robin and Cara have goals as well. We can have a day with less cheers and more tears and still be hopeful. That is a beautiful thing and is what gets us through today and into tomorrow.

And so, at the end of this day, with my heart rate monitor telling me I have burned 4200 calories, with great thankfulness that I have not had a diet coke since Sunday and am not struggling with headaches, for my good health and so much support from home, I am going to sleep…and sleep deep…and hope that the rain and wind will diminish, but if not, we will endure again tomorrow and celebrate our movement towards our goals!

Goodnight my friends….good night!

A foggy walk….

Today we went for a four mile hike at 6 am and then did some intense cardio circuits, another four mile hike, another round of intense cardio and then a pool workout. At the end of the day my heart monitor says I burned 5000 calories. I am hopeful this will bring change into my life. We are eating 400 calorie meals and they are good and we are learning about pushing through…I am tired AND I am hopeful….

So, as we climbed the mountain today, 1220 feet of elevation and 4 miles from start to finish, I was struck by a number of things.

First, the ten of us met yesterday and today we are a true community. We encouraged and cheered each other on with every hill, rocky or tree roots section. It reminds me so much of the quote by CS Lewis ~ ‎”Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” There is a sense of understanding with each other, even though our stories are different and our day-to-day environments unique. I feel blessed to be on a journey with this new community and am thankful for the ongoing friendships and accountability we will enjoy.

Second, as we hiked the mountain, the beauty that was supposed to be magnificent, was not visible to us due to dense fog. We listened to our trail guide tell us of the beauty and i realized this was a good analogy to what I am feeling as I journey this season at Fitness North. Lief, who is in charge of our nutrition and workouts, is confident we will see results. I want to believe him, but there is a sense of a dense fog, in that I can not yet see the beauty. I believe there will be beauty in the outcome, both internal and external to my being, but right now, as I anticipate day two, I feel like I am choosing to believe it and will see it more when the fog clears.

And on that note, it will be six am soon and I must be ready to hit the ground running. There is rumor we may be having a middle of the night workout sometime this week as well as some guests from Biggest Loser, so the days feel full of surprises. I am trusting the process and living it fully….it is a true adventure!