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!

She…

I have great house mates and tomorrow starts the exercise. Heather, one of my house mates had a one on one session tonight and came back sharing about her experience, reminding me that we are here to battle for our hearts, minds, body and souls. We will be pushed to our limits and likely see our limits expand over the next two weeks. I am still excited, but eager to get the experience started.

My Dad and Mom gave me a book one year for Christmas. It is called She… and I find I read it often….during times I need to be inspired about what is true…about who I am and what I am capable of. I enjoy the inspiration it provides and it helps to shape my attitudes.

And so tonight I leave you with the words of inspiration I am taking into tomorrow…

SHE….woke up one day and threw away all her excuses….Celebrate her accountability!

I hope to toss away a whole bunch of excuses tomorrow and live accountable in a whole new way!

My Journey Alone….

Today I boarded a plane alone and headed to Minneapolis. I have to say, that even though I am single, I live so much of my life in the community of family and friends. Today when I left, I realized that I was journeying this trip ALONE. I have great support, love and encouragement, but I boarded the plane and navigated the way to the hotel alone. I felt so grown up. I have to say…it felt different, but a good different! (although I really don’t want to travel alone again for a whlie!)

I was thankful not to have anyone sitting next to me on the plane and enjoyed a continued sense of aloneness….

I took the escalator to the tram and there was no one around. It was so quiet and I enjoyed being alone on the escalator…(now remember, this is a GOOD SIZE AIRPORT)

I took the tram to the baggage claim and was alone in the tram-car….

I waited for my luggage at carousal 13 and my two pink bags were the first one’s down and I was alone at the carousal.

I called for the hotel shuttle and boarded the shuttle….once again, I was the only one on the shuttle and came up to my hotel room where I moved my bags in and sat on my bed and realized for the next two weeks, this journey is my unique  journey.

This realization and reinforcement of being alone is amazingly odd to me. I think God is reminding me that these next weeks I need to focus on me. I have prayed that He will help me to remove the distractions of my mind and give me energy to focus on what I have come to learn and practice. I believe today God showed me that He cares about my prayers and is with me in this.

The verse that came to me often, as I stood alone in my travels…Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you! Hebrews 13:5b

I am excited, I am a bit uncertain, I am curious and I am hopeful….

And I want you to know that when I got to the desk to check in there was a note from Mike, who is on this journey as well, asking me to call him to see if I wanted to head to Mall of America. We did, met up with Karen, who is also journeying to Fitness North and together we enjoyed dinner and casual conversation.

It was a good day and for that I am thankful!

Standing in the need of prayer….

Dear Friends,

Today I embark on a journey that felt a long ways a way when I signed up. I will be traveling to a structured, results-oriented, comprehensive health and fitness experience at a live-in weight loss program.

I know that I won’t lose all the weight I desire in two weeks time. I do believe that living in a controlled environment, and under the direction of trainers and nutrition experts, can only help me to learn about changed behaviors that will bring about results. My hope is to lose twenty pounds five times over.

Please pray for me in the coming two weeks. I welcome however you feel led to pray, but let me also offer you what is on my heart.

Pray that I will have stamina and endurance to complete the many hours of exercise we will participate in each day.

Pray that I will keep a tender heart to learn about what God wants me to see and experience.

Pray that I will be an encourager to those around me, cheering them on and being encouraged by them as well

Pray that I will be free of injury and aches and pains that could distract me from working hard every moment of every day.

Pray that I rest deeply each night and awaken refreshed each morning.

Pray for my family, co-workers and friends at home. I am very thankful how they step up in order to make this all very possible fro me to be gone for       two weeks.

I wake up this morning thinking about one of my favorite verses….Psalm 19 vs 14

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing to you,O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 

Thank you for praying for me and with me…