Tag Archive | exercise

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.

Tandem Living: Being There For One Another

20130718-162721.jpgOver the last couple of months, I’ve been talking about how marriage and tandem bicycling mirror each other. It’s been pretty fun for me. There is one more thing that I thought I would talk about as I wrap up this series. More often than not lately, David and I have been riding our individual bikes. I ride as early in the morning as I am able, before it gets hot, and David needs to go to work. But even on weekends, we ride our separate bikes, because the workout is better. We’re still riding together, just not on the same bike.

What matters in our individual riding is that we are attempting to make ourselves stronger. What makes that bearable—especially to one who is not an exercise fanatic—is that we know we are on each other’s side. David is cheering me on in my attempts to be healthier. I pretty much have couch-potato tendencies if I don’t really work at overcoming them. I need all the encouragement I can get.

The same applies to how we approach our family life. I spend so much time focused on others, that I really have to work at taking time for myself. That’s really hard. Responsibilities never go away, and, in fact, more keep wanting to jump onto my already overflowing pile. Ignoring them isn’t an option; controlling them is crucial. When I feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities, and have to focus on them rather than David, I need to know that he’s on my side.

We just got back from a week of working in California. The day after we got back I had to jump right back into teaching, grading papers, getting ready for report cards and doing my magazine copy editing. Thankfully, David was able to take some comp time and go to the grocery store, clean the house and do some loads of laundry. Because we value the couple of times a year that we can work together out of town, the responsibilities when we return have to be shared.

We have to have each other’s backs. If I felt like my husband resented my responsibilities, I would be lost. I have to know that when the responsibilities are again under control, he will still be there, because he’s been encouraged before to be strong, and he’s been encouraging me the same way.

Previous to the both of us working at this out-of-town conference, David had been gone for 10 days. That left all the duties of the household and the kids on my shoulders. But that’s OK. He needed to be gone; I needed to pick up the slack. That’s the way it’s done. He encourages me to stand strong, and I encourage him.

Right now, our old tandem bike needs a lot of repair. We haven’t been riding it because we don’t know if it’ll make another trip before we have a chance to fix it—or replace it.

Thankfully, our marriage isn’t in the same boat. Yes, this has been a busy time since we returned from California. We haven’t spent any time alone. We haven’t talked through any issues that are weighing on us. We haven’t had a whole lot of fun. But that’s OK. It happens sometimes. We know we’re not in trouble because we are committed to each other and are on each other’s team. Sometimes we find ourselves simply standing on the sidelines, cheering on the other person. And sometimes that cheering is all we can hear.

And in the end, absolutely none of this would be possible without the strength that God gives us. The Holy Spirit is essential if we are to keep going. Does my husband feel loved by me? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Do I have the strength to face the pressures of each day? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Can we get back on track with those pesky responsibilities put in their places and the priorities back where they belong? Absolutely, because not only are we on each other’s side, but we have the Creator of the universe right there with us.