Tag Archive | accountability

Better Together

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s word is “accountability.”

A little more than a year ago, I got fed up with where I was, once again, with my weight. Several years previous I had successfully lost nearly 30 pounds after getting back into riding my bike faithfully every day and watching what I ate, but age and adrenals had caused a gain that had me frustrated.

But I needed help to get back on track.

It never worked to have my husband, who is much more active than I am and can eat copious amounts without suffering adverse effects, try to encourage me. I never took it the right way.

And then one day during the pandemic lock down I was touching base with a church friend who is a personal trainer. I don’t even remember how the subject came up. But I must have told her about my struggle.

“Let me help you!” she said.

And so I finally agreed. She gave me workouts to do at home, helped me track my food, and generally kept me accountable to do what she suggested.

I was so successful in my gains (not weight this time!) that my 18-year-old daughter, who has long struggled with lack of energy, weight gain, and a general malaise, wanted to join me.

And so we hired our friend Christine to come once a week and work personally with Morgan. Now, a year later, she has lost more than 40 pounds, I don’t even know how many pants sizes, and has gained a confidence that has made her blossom and feel so much better about herself. It has also given her empathy for others who have struggled with their health.

It wasn’t all about the weight, though obviously losing the excess has made her feel so much more healthy. It was about energy, the proper functioning of her body, and the knowledge that you know, I can actually do this! That is probably the most encouraging change of all. It has given her the confidence to take on other challenges knowing she has what it takes to do the hard things.

Accountability, in whatever form it can take, makes a huge difference.

4 Things I Learned On My Weight-Loss Journey

Today marks 1 year since I began my journey toward improved health through weight loss and better eating (which often go hand-in-hand). I have lost 28 pounds and several inches in various places. I won’t bore you with the details.


January, 2015 and January 2016, indicating which number workout I’m on for the week.

Suffice it to say that the change and the encouragement have been significant. How do I do it? I eat less and I exercise more. Fewer carbs, fewer calories, more workouts. That’s it.

It started with a challenge from a friend to a bunch of moms who work together at our kids’ parent-involved school. She and her husband had been in a similar “biggest loser” group and she had lost about 25 pounds. She was so encouraged by what she had accomplished that she wanted to give us a chance to succeed as well. It didn’t hurt that there was a financial incentive.

So on January 17th, 2015, I and 16 of my friends committed to 12 weeks of exercise challenges, weight-loss goals and healthy eating.


Top are my before and after pictures, and then 5 months after that.

It hasn’t been easy, but even now I’m continuing on because it is worth it. All those “Lose weight without giving up the foods you love” gimmicks are just that: gimmicks. What it takes is hard work and dedication. Here are 4 things I learned along the way.

#1. I’m still the same person I was a year ago. I’m just a better, healthier version. I wasn’t unhappy with my life before. I have the same mind, I have the same heart, I have the same gifts and talents. But I do have different clothes, and I feel a lot better about myself. This has needed to happen for a long time.

#2. My husband didn’t love me any less before I lost weight. Now he just loves less of me. He never told me I needed to lose weight. He never pushed me to exercise. He never looked askance when I ordered dessert at a restaurant. And, in fact, he loves to bake and is at this very moment making banana muffins! But when I made the decision to take on this task, I know he was happy. I never felt belittled or unloved. But now he calls me his trophy wife. We’ve been married 25 years.

#3. I can’t do it alone. After our initial 12-week challenge was over, my friends and I decided to keep going in another Facebook group that we called T.H.R.I.V.E. That stands for Total Health, Real Inspiration, Vitality and Encouragement. We keep each other accountable, which is absolutely key. If I don’t feel like working out, I know my friends are watching, so I get out there. And we make sure that we emphasize that the scale isn’t everything. Health is the ultimate goal, not wearing size-6 clothes. We all believe that we are created in God’s image and are valuable and beautiful just as we are. But that doesn’t mean we’re healthy.

#4. If I can do it, anyone can. Truly. I was 53 years old when I started this process. I had tried numerous times before to lose weight and had very little success. The key this time is accountability with a group as committed as I am to eating better and getting healthy. I don’t have nagging health issues, I just really wanted to lose weight. I didn’t like the way I looked. But there are some who are battling sickness. We share recipes and encourage one another to make good choices in foods. We cheer each other on. It’s so much easier to reach a goal when you have cheerleaders.

I’m not done yet. I still have about 10 pounds I would like to lose. That would put me about in the center of a healthy BMI. I also have a friend who is a personal trainer who is going to help me firm up what I have. The temptation to eat more than I need and to gravitate toward processed and sweet foods is strong. But my accountability group helps me make good choices. Except during the holidays. That was too much!

The challenges are many, but the benefits are worth it. If this is something you’ve been struggling with, let me encourage you: you can do it! Find at least one person to start the journey with and do it together. You will not be sorry.

The Beetle Within Us

avocadoWe had a beautiful avocado tree. We purchased it, and another for friends who live less than a mile away, about 5 years ago, just before these friends returned from a time of living overseas. The first four years of its life with us were spent growing, thriving and providing hope for a future bumper crop of Florida avocados. The tree grew to more than 10 feet tall with shiny, dark green leaves providing a canopy in the back corner of our yard.

We weren’t disappointed. Last year, we had a bumper crop. Every day we could go out and pick an avocado to garnish a salad or a sandwich, or gather a few to make a tempting bowl of guacamole. There were so many that even the squirrels had their fill, much to our chagrin. But the dog had a grand time tearing out every morning and chasing them away. What was left on the ground with little rodent teeth marks we simply washed off, cut away the nibbled parts, and enjoyed the rest. We couldn’t wait for another harvest this year.

And then one day, I looked out at our lush tree and saw a plethora of brown, dead leaves covering the top portion. We have had a very mild winter here in Orlando, so I ruled out freeze burn. What could possibly be wrong? So I waited, hoping that it was just a fluke. A few days later, after a bit of a windstorm, I looked again and our grass around the tree was littered with dead leaves that had been blown off by the wind.

I took a picture and texted it to my husband. What in the world could be wrong with our beautiful tree?

Again, a few days later, we knew we were in desperate trouble. Nearly all the leaves were brown and, with just a touch, I could pull off a deadened bough.

I called the nursery from which we had purchased the tree. The news was indeed devastating: ambrosia beetles. Our tree was beyond hope.

The kind lady at Lukas Nursery gave me the signs to look for, and they were there. They might have been there all along; I just hadn’t known what to look for. Last weekend, we took the tree down. I kept inspecting the branches, wanting to see hoards of beetles pouring out, just so I would know that that really had been the problem. What we found was one.

Now, I don’t think that that one little beetle did all the damage itself, but that was all we found. Our once beautiful tree, grown strong and majestic, providing us with days of fruit last summer, had been felled by a tiny insect no more than 2 inches long. What we thought was a healthy, happy tree had been at risk for a long time, and we hadn’t seen it coming until it was too late.

The same could be said for the people around us. How often have we heard that someone’s child has fallen into sin and wondered how in the world could that have happened? A beloved and admired co-worker has an affair, ending a marriage you had believed to be strong. A mother leaves her family because she can’t handle the stress. Or someone is just so overwhelmed with the pressure of keeping up the façade that they fall into deep depression.

Just a casual glance at our tree, and an admiration of how lovely it looked and an appreciation for the work that it did to provide us with fruit we enjoyed, did not give us an inkling that there was something deeply wrong. Until it was too late.

Don’t let it get too late for the people you love. Ask the hard questions; take the time to listen to them; look past the façade. And do the same when you look in the mirror.

Really. Before it’s too late.

Thankful today for:

811. a pleasant back porch

812. toothpaste

813. clean water I don’t have to tote from a well

814. fun field trips

815. prayer times with friends

816. the success of others

817. gift cards to fun places

818. the deepening voices of my sons

819. a husband who still tells his teenage boys that he loves them

820. my animals

I’ve just reached the year mark of my thankfulness list–and my regular posts on my blog–and, as you can see, I haven’t reached my goal of 1000 yet. So I’m just going to keep going until I get there. Thanks for joining me on the journey.