a great conversation shared…

Today on the way back to Fitness North, I shared a great conversation with Robin. I enjoy Robin and have great respect for the woman she is. I have heard her passionately share about her desire to be fully alive. Alive for her husband, her children, her friends and family and in her job as a Recreational Therapist. (which was also my degree from Calvin). I have seen Robin struggle in the pit of her soul this week and conquer mountains ~ both physically and emotionally. I know we have not yet known one another for a full two weeks, but I so enjoy who she is and who I am when I am with her.

And so, as we were driving in the van, we began talking about the hope and fear we feel of reaching our goal weight. We believe that Fitness North has a program and a follow-up care plan that WILL see us through and provide us the tools we need to succeed. We began to wonder how life will be different, how we will be different, how others might perceive us differently. We shared honestly and we heard and understood one another…it was a delightful moment between two friends…

It also reminded me of a reading that has often inspired me to reflect…and to remember what is true.

Our Greatest Fear

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

It is my desire to be a woman who lets my light shine, giving other people permission to do the same and to be a woman who is liberated from my fear, inviting others to live in that same liberation.

Thank you to you all for journeying with me!

never never never never never….

Give up!

O’Neal has reminded us of this Winston Churchill saying. It can easily be memorized and used in many contexts, but during these two weeks, I have had to repeat it often in my thoughts.

It doesn’t need much explanation and although I could add lots of thoughts, I will keep this blog simple. As you go through difficult things in the next hours, days or weeks, I would encourage you to remember this famous saying AND apply it.

I wonder what will change in your life if you stick with it….lots has changed in mine!

Signing off and moving forward!


When you feel like quitting….

Press on!

Today was a hard day for many of us. We can attribute it to a lot of things, but mostly we have decided to go with whatever is…is! We started working out at five instead of six for our last week and we have two hours of cardio instead of one hour before breakfast, we get back to the townhouse at 7 and are back up for cardio at 8 and our hike was one of the harder ones….alot of ups and downs (steep ones and rocky) so the way in and the way back out felt equally difficult. Those are some of the logical reasons why we may have all had moments today when we felt like quitting…..

But you know what we did, we Pressed On…..we encouraged and rallied and cheered one another through and we are amazingly comfortable allowing one another to experience melt downs as well. It is all part of the journey. It is similar to how life is at home as well…not so much in the 10 hours of exercise or the controlled environment of which we are enjoying, but the ups and downs, the laughter and the tears, the wondering how much longer and the amazing end around the next bend. Life mirrors what we are experiencing in many ways.

I think what strikes me though is that when I am alone in life, quitting is easier to do than when I am in community. I walked alone on the hike for a while and battled in my mind the idea of just standing still. I tried to rationalize stopping as a moment to enjoy the beauty, to spend a moment with God and even just dreading if I keep walking, I will face another hill. I thought thru how it would be kind to myself to stop and head back and yet the truth was that my mind wanted me to believe that my body COULD NOT press on.  I had to choose, very intentionally, to keep walking, one step in front of the other, and press on.

We are pretty honest with each other and admit when our stinkin thinkin takes over and know how to encourage and speak truth to one another…but one thing we have clearly learned, is the importance for each of us to know how to choose to press on…for another 30 seconds, another minute, or another mile…I hope you to can find the courage, energy and sheer determination to do the same!



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!


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!