Saturday, August 30, 2008

I forgot the pictures!

This was taken yesterday morning. The problem I have with posting pictures is that I'm the photographer in the family, so finding pictures of me is hard! Hopefully these are good enough for my visual friends. :-)

At Adventureland eariler this month. Those of you who have known our family for awhile will notice that we went with our long-lost sister from PA, Mary. Miss you, girl! Oh, and I was super excited that I no longer "flow over" from my seat into the 2 beside me on rides. One seat is all I need!

Rachel and I on the ferris wheel. Aren't we just adorable?
Yikes! Where has the morning gone? This is why I don't upload pics. It takes too long!

I know - I'm late again. Sorry!

For some reason, I can never seem to find time to post on Friday. I suppose it's because Friday is the last day of the week and I have a million things to do that I kept pushing from my schedule until then. I don't know, but maybe you all should expect to get an update on Saturday, and then if I do happen to post on a Friday - you can be pleasantly surprised! :-)

I had another good week. Right now, I've stopped charting/counting calories as I think I'm knowledgeable enough to know what I can and can not eat. (Now, just because I know that doesn't mean I always choose the best, but I'm working on it!) But I'm so excited about how you really can re-train your tastebuds. So many things I used to l-o-v-e now taste too rich or too oily. This doesn't happen overnight, of course. It took me several months to finally give up certain foods. (Or at least cut them from my "everyday foods" to "once in a blue moon" foods.) I had a chocolate chip cookie awhile ago during one of my cheat meals, and though it did taste yummy, I found myself totally okay with only having one. It was really rich! I've also noticed that things don't sit well in my stomach if I eat something with a lot of fat or sugar. I just don't feel 100% after that. Anyway, perhaps you're also trying to lose weight and think it's impossible for you to give up certain foods. Perhaps you've believed the same lie I did. You know, the one that says, "Healthy foods taste disgusting. They are boring, have no taste, and are completely unpalatable.". I would have agreed with you 2 years ago, but now I simply can't.

We went out to eat at Applebee's last night before heading to a concert, and because it was my cheat meal, I decided to venture off of the salad section and decided to get the grilled teriyaki bowl. (It was actually pretty good. Lots of rice with veggies and chicken.) However, we ordered an appetizer before the meal and when they brought it out, I was shocked to see that there were 3 celery sticks on it. I immediately called those celery sticks "mine", and my sisters kind of looked at me like, "And you thought we were going to fight over those?". Well, one can always hope, can't they? I decided not to totally rack up the calories by eating the mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings, but I did have some asparagus dip with a few tortilla chips. Everything in moderation...

Oh, wait. I'm supposed to write about the weigh in, aren't I? Okay, well I was bummed to see the scale read 173, which put me up a pound from last week. Not sure quite sure what's up with that. But, it does seem to be a cycle of sorts for me. Lose some, gain some. I'm not really concerned about one measly little pound, though. I was encouraged again yesterday as I threw on some pants and realized that I really needed a belt for them. Saggy and baggy they were!

My plan for this next week is to really change up my exercise schedule again. I'll do the treadmill and weight training, but also jump rope and bicycling, and I think I might even head down to the basement and wipe the dust off of the Norditrack and Gazelle. Anything that gets my heart pumping is on the schedule this week! We'll see how that works.

To God all praise and glory ~ Bekah

P.S. Hey, if you ever come across a neat book or website about weight loss, would you mind sharing it with me? I love reading about it, especially other people's success stories. My bookshelf is overflowing right now, but I'm always on the lookout for more. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Everyday fun...

It had been a whole week. I couldn't wait any longer! I had to walk on the treadmill, no matter how painful it might be. So I hopped on Monday morning and was pleasantly surprised that it didn't hurt too bad. I wasn't feeling guilty for not using the treadmill or stressing about the weigh in. I just missed walking on it! I missed the 45 minutes of walking and panting along with praise music. Exercise can be fun! And I always feel energized when I'm done, not tired. (I can't say that about weight lifting, however. Can you say "burning muscles"?) I think it was great that I found different ways to exercise while my foot was throbbing, though. I'm sure that change in routine greatly added to the significant weight loss last week.

My sisters and I were laughing yesterday as we were cleaning our rooms and sorting through all the clothes in our closets. My beautiful sister Hannah (who has been given the "toothpick" body figure by our Creator) brought down a pile of clothes she was getting rid of, and I jokingly grabbed one of the shirts and told her I wanted to keep it. She laughed and said, "Well, it was too big for me and I never wore it. You can try it if you want to!". So I did. And our laughter turned to amazement. It actually looked okay! Granted, I can't quite button it all the way. It will button, but it's not the most flattering look. *smile* But with a nice shirt underneath, it'll work! Ha! Whadda ya know about that?

This week has been going well so far. I've gone bicyling a few times in addition to walking, which has been a nice change. It's hard to justify walking on the treadmill when it's so gorgeous outside, but there are some pros to it. Walking on the uneven gravel roads yesterday kind of irritated my hips. Good grief. I'm only 19! You'd think I could handle gravel better than that! And I've never had a stupid bug fly into my mouth while walking on the treadmill. That happened yesterday, and if any of our neighbors could see me they probably thought I was seriously choking on something! I was sputtering and clutching at my throat while trying to get that nasty taste out of my mouth. *sigh* Bugs...

Gotta run into town soon and I'm no where near presentable! Toodles ~Bekah

Friday, August 22, 2008

Am I Dreaming???

I've found time to carve out a few minutes of my crazy schedule to post on the dreaded "weigh in" this week. Boy, this weight loss thing is totally unpredictable! Just when you think you have things figured out.....WHAM-OO! find out that you don't. :-)

I was very pleased with how the Holy Spirit working in me allowed my spirit to cooperate with Jesus this week. Wait. That's a little confusing. What I'm trying to say is - I had a great week! But it wasn't because of me. I was able to stick to my eating plan, and the biggest difference I made this week was staying out of the pantry (no sneaking tiny snacks) and simply eating smart. (I know, I know. You're shocked, right? Bekah would never sneak snacks! No way! She's NOT supposed to do that!) Yes, well. We all have our moments, don't we? After spending some time thinking and praying about why I seemed to have hit a brick wall these past few weeks, God made it ever so clear to me that I was the problem, not my body. Plain and simple - I was eating too many calories. My "cheat meal" had turned into a "cheat day" and no matter how much I walked on my treadmill, I wasn't able to burn enough off. And, I wasn't eating twinkies and ding-dongs. It was (relatively) healthy stuff. But, I didn't need it - especially not before bed.

So, this week after getting a gentle "DUH, honey!" from the Lord, I made a conscience decision to cooperate with Him. And, I'm pleased to announce that "we" lost 3 pounds this week. Yeah, I know! It's unbelieveable! I couldn't do anywhere near the amount of exercise I usually do. All I did was eat smart - I didn't even keep track of calories this week. So when I got on the scale this morning, I stepped on and off that thing 3 times to make sure it was right. WooHoo!

My advice to y'all - just cooperate with the Lord. If nothing else, it will make you both smile. ~ Bekah

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words...

I'm in a writing mood this week. Can you tell? :-)

We've been in the process of ordering pictures the past few days (we get our digital photos printed by a company in PA called Winkflash) and I'm still getting used to what I look like now.

For so many years, I didn't really enjoy getting pictures taken - especially if it was more than just my face in the photo. I mean, it didn't really bother me that much (at least, not enough to do something about my weight!), but I was always trying to "suck it in" or make sure that I was in the back of group pictures. And I really didn't like being in group pictures with my "healthy weight friends", because guess who stood out in those pictures? Yours truly. Like a donut in a carrot patch. Or a sumo wrestler in a ballerina class. Or a panda bear surrounded by chihuahuas and registered pure bred toy poodles! (The previous "sayings" are copyrighted by Bekah, who thought them up all by herself!)

Alright, so maybe it wasn't that bad. And now, believe it or not, I'm very thankful for those pictures! They remind me of what I've laid aside and the reason for the ongoing struggle I face. I'm so glad the Lord made us with the ability to remember. (Can you imagine a world where people couldn't remember anything? Nothing at all? It would be pure chaos. How awful...we'd all be blondes! j/k)

At the beginning of my journey, especially last fall, I could look at myself in pictures and be proud of my slowly shrinking self, but I would also think, "Yeah, but look how much you still have to lose.". But God's been faithful to teach me through this process how to rightly accept myself for who He's made me to be. I'm never going to be a "toothpick" - plain and simple. That's not the body shape He's given me. So, it unrealistic and foolish on my part to push myself to become that. I'm learning to enjoy the journey; to step back and look at myself and praise the Lord for His hand working in my life. Not to become prideful, as if anything I've done is worth praising. No, my boasting is in the Lord! To put it simply, I'm learning how to be comfortable in my own skin, knowing that the only approval I need is the Lord's. If He's okay with how I look, so am I. So, bring on the cameras! They don't scare me any more.

I'll even strike a pose if you want me to ~Bekah

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Here's what we found from our Google search for "Cucumber Bread". I altered a few things when I made it - i.e. I exchanged applesauce for oil and I cut the sugar in half. Also, I didn't have lemon and orange extract on hand (do any of you???) so I just squeezed a little bit of fresh lemon and orange juice into the batter. The bread is more "spongy" in texture, and if you're not used to eating "healthy bread" it may taste a little...different. But give it a try! Especially if your garden is overflowing in cucumbers, too.

Cucumber Bread

2 C. mashed cucumber (I shredded it instead and it worked great. Do what you prefer!)
1 tsp. soda
3 eggs
3/4 C. oil
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger

Mix well. Put in 8x4 loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees for about an hour.

My dad tried it for the first time today. He's been very supportive of all my efforts to "healthify" regular recipes, so I was curious to see what he thought of it. We both laughed as he took a bite, chewed and swallowed........ and then reached for a little bit of butter to add on top. (Which is his way of making it taste better!) *smile* I jokingly told him that I had put applesauce in instead of oil because I knew he'd add some butter on top and I was thinking of his heart health first - even before the overall taste. He thanked me for my thoughtfulness, but I'm sure he was wishing I had just added the oil and not cut the sugar in half. But hey! I think it tastes great.

Wow...I've spend an awfully long time talking about cucumber bread......

Try it! You just might like it ~ Bekah

Here we go again...

Yesterday, we all went up to see the dermatologist in Dubuque again to see if the "magic" blister beetle juice was successful in getting rid of our warts. Leah was the only one who got a clean bill of health. (I'm trying not to be jealous...) Though several of mine did go away, about 5 were still hanging on for dear life. And to make things even more fun, the dermatologist decided it would be better to freeze them this time. He said freezing will do the job just as well, and then we won't have to deal with having our feet wrapped for 2 days. Sounds like a better deal, but that meant immediate pain at the office. Not what I was planning on! Can you say, "OUCH!". There is a reason you don't normally put that stuff on your skin! I have a huge blister in the middle of one foot which is giving me the most pain right now, and I was dissappointed that this meant I couldn't do my normal workout this morning. Nope, no way. I'm doing that "ballerina walk" again. *sigh* Does anyone know any herbal remedies to get rid of these things naturally? I'm willing to try just about anything right now...:-)

So this morning I carefully balanced myself on our exercise ball and lifted weights for a while and then did some core muscle exercises. It's amazing how much one stupid little wart can affect your whole body. My foot was throbbing the whole time which made for a slightly painful workout, but I wasn't about to use that as an excuse for not doing any work. A little is better than nothing!

Oh, I did make that cucumber bread and I like it! It reminds me of zucchini bread a lot. I'll post the recipe later today. I've run out of time this morning.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where does the time go???

This week has gone by so fast! I couldn't believe it was time to step on the scale again. It was an interesting week. I was sick for 2 days which was not fun. I felt weak, had an upset tummy and I went to bed with the chills both nights. I still exercised those 2 days, but not nearly as hard. I did manage to break a sweat, though.

Then on Wednesday, our family went to Adventure land. That was fun! But because of when we left that morning and all the time it took to prepare, I didn't get a workout. We did walk a lot though, and I'm happy to say that I went to a theme park and did NOT eat any funnel cakes, hot dogs, ice cream, giant-pickle-on-a-stick, cotton candy or any other "junk food" you associate with theme parks. And I survived. Maybe I should design a t-shirt..."I survived the temptation of theme park food!" . Okay, maybe not.

With my week starting out with sickness and a missed workout, I knew that the scale probably wouldn't show a loss. And, it didn't. I stayed at 175lbs. And right now - I'm tired of this pendulum I keep swinging on. Lose weight, gain weight, lose the gained weight, gain some back, lose that weight...and on and on. I'M TIRED OF IT! So, I'm going to severely cut back on complex carbs for the next 2 weeks or so and that will hopefully jump start my weight loss again. I have also started keeping an exercise log to help me see exactly what I've done and be able to push myself to do more. I'm stuck in the 170's and trying to keep heading downward. My body seems to be quite content right here, but I'm not!

Our garden has been overflowing (yeah!) and we can't seem to eat enough cucumbers. So, while picking yet another bowel full of them I thought to myself, "There must be some kind of bread I can make these into. I mean, if you can make zucchini bread - why not cucumber?". So, I came inside and asked one of my sisters to type "cucumber bread" in a google search. And guess what? We found tons of recipes! I'm baking one right now, and if it's good - I'll make sure and post it. :-)

Not much else to report. A crazy week all around. I'm keeping in the forefront of my mind the fact that I am not on a diet - this is a new lifestyle. This will not happen overnight! I'm still learning, still moving onward.

Ad I've got to get to bed...I have a date with the treadmill tomorrow morning. :-) He reigns! ~Bekah

Friday, August 8, 2008

Can you say, "Rollercoaster"?

Good morning! I woke up with the sun this morning and spent about 45 minutes laying in bed till my alarm finally went off. Then, I rolled out of bed and quietly crept downstairs. Oh, I hate Friday mornings! But, they come once a week and I'm learning how to get used to them. :-)

So, I stepped on the scale and waited. The scale flashed the number 176 at me. WHAT?!? That must be wrong! I stepped on again, hoping the scale just wasn't fully awake or something. Then it read 175. Well, that's better...but I was hoping for a 172! Believing that the "third time's a charm", I tried one more time. And it read 177. Okay. Hold on a minute! I have enough to deal with without a schizophrenic scale! Mom thinks the scale needs new batteries...I just know something is wrong with it. But, I'll just count the lowest number (hee!) which was 175 - even though that means I gained 2 pounds this week. My body must be adjusting again or retaining water. I'm not too disappointed. In fact, I first read the scale and went, "Hmm. That's weird. What are you up to, body?". I know I had a great week, so I'm not sitting here feeling guilty about anything. Actually, I can tell that I've lost some inches in my tummy and thighs since I started walking on the treadmill everyday. A good thing! So, whether the scale tells it or not - I am moving forward.

Now, I'm off to replace the batteries in that scale! ~Bekah

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thoughts from Hebrews 12:1-2

"Wherefore seeing we are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured to cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God".

I have these verses posted in front of me as I walk on the treadmill. I wrote them on bright purple paper right where my eyes naturally fall, so I spend a great deal of time focusing on these 2 powerful verses. There is so much truth and encouragement in them! It's been so fun, because I didn't really think that having verses in front of me would mean that God would actually teach me things while exercising. I just thought they'd be nice to quote to myself to keep me motivated. But no! I've been learning that God can speak to me no matter what I'm doing. I don't have to be in my room with my Bible open before He'll speak. I don't have to spend 15 minutes in prayer before asking Him to teach me. I can be walking along with sweat pouring down my face and be barely able to talk and simply offer up, "Lord, (pant, pant, pant) would you (gasping for breath) meet with me this morning? I'm listening. Holy Spirit, please speak to me.". And, He will! So, here's what I've been pondering this past week.

Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses...

These verses come right after we read about the members of the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11. What an example these people are to us! Not just because of their faith, but also because of what they endured while remaining faithful. Their lives were not easy or glamorous as it's sometimes easy to imagine. They each had their trials and struggles. But, they exercised their faith. They pleased the Lord. And they've gone before us as examples.

...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...

Races are exciting, aren't they? A good athlete has trained hard and has great hopes of winning. Imagine you're in the stands, watching the athletes warm up. They step up to get in their starting positions, and you notice a competitor that looks a little different from the others. He's got something on his back. What is that? You lean forward and try to get a better look. It looks like a backpack or a bundle of some sort. What in the world? Why would anyone want to take extra weight on his back? Doesn't he know this is a race? You assume he'll take if off before the race begins, but no, he gets into his starting position, bending low from the weight of the pack. The gun shot is heard, and the runners take off. You watch with amazement and disbelief as this man tries to run. He does okay for awhile, but quickly falls behind the others. And it's no wonder! That pack is heavy. And completely unnecessary. What was he thinking?

What are we thinking? I'm struck by the fact that the verse reads, "lay aside every weight, and the sin...". It doesn't read, "lay aside every weight which is the sin...". Wait a minute! What is this weight the writer is referring to? It's not sin? In times like these, I grab the Strong's Concordance to get some insight. I couldn't do this on the treadmill though, so I spent a good 30 minutes in suspense. It was awful! I think I moved a little faster, though. :-) Anyway, according to Strong's, the word "weight" can be translated - a mass, (as bending or bulging by it's load) burden, hindrance. this means that there are things that can hinder or become a burden to me in my relationship with the Lord that aren't necessarily sin. Things that are like carrying unnecessary weight while running. It's anything that slows me down, gets me distracted, and may possibly get me totally off track. Uh, oh. Time to get personal!

So, I began thinking and praying. "Lord, would you please reveal to me anything that is an extra weight that I'm lugging around for no good reason? Especially in regard to weight loss.". And, guess what? I found out that I've been carrying a lot more on my back than I thought! I've had to lay aside several things that have been hindering me. (No, that sounds too dainty. I wasn't simply slowly lowering the weights off and gently setting them on the ground- I was chucking that junk overboard! ) Nothing "major", just little things that, combined together, made a heavy load.

I realized that I was focusing too much on calories, what other people were thinking of me, and day dreaming about how the Lord would be able to use me in the future. None of those things are wrong in and of themselves - there's nothing wrong with knowing how many calories are in an item, or doing my best to present myself in a godly manner, or having a vision for what that Lord wants to do through me. But, it's when those thoughts take "center stage" in my mind and they begin controlling my actions that they present a problem. It's added weight (and we all know I don't need that! *smile*) that does me no good. It just slows me down. So, I'm getting rid of it! And, I'd encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any extra weight you may be hauling around.

Then, I was thinking about the phrase "run with patience". At first, it kind of sounds like an oxymoron. How do you run with patience? Time to turn to Strong's again! First, I looked up "run". But, no surprises there. Believe it or not, it run! Wow! What great insight! *cheesy grin* But, not easily dismayed, I looked up "patience". Here's where it gets good! Patience can also be translated - cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, patient continuance, and waiting. In fact, it stems from another Greek word that means - to stay under (behind), bear (trials), to remain, undergo, abide, have fortitude. Pretty neat, huh?

Here's what I got from that: God has given each of us a different race to run. But, He knows us very well, and He knows that it's easy for us to get distracted. That's why He encourages us to run - because it's a lot harder to focus on things if they're flying by in a split second that if we're slowly making our way along. And, you have to be disciplined in order to run any lengthy distance. But, He also wants us to be patient. Don't rush ahead of Him. Don't become a sprint runner who is only strong for a few short seconds. Don't miss the work He's trying to do in us and through us. Remain in step with Him. Remember? We're called to "keep in step with the Spirit" - Gal. 5:25. It's so easy for me to make my own plans, dream my own dreams, and look for any opportunities to make them work. But, that's like making the mistake of running in somebody else's lane because I'm not doing what He's called me to do. My prayer is that the Lord would make me an Abiding Distance Runner!

"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..."
That's the final key. Focusing not on the goal, but on our true reward - Jesus Himself. The One who even made running this race possible. And the One who makes it worth every step of the way.

Praising Him for His Word ~ Bekah

Friday, August 1, 2008

And the number is...?...

Another Friday...another weigh in. This morning I was not disappointed, as all of my hard work resulted in losing another pound. I'm at 173lbs (again!). Hurray! I'm hoping that by changing around my workout and eating schedule I'll be able to avoid the plateau that I seemed to hit when I was at this weight earlier. As I keep losing weight, my body keeps adjusting to the new weight and the intensity of my workouts, so it requires more work to lose. But at least right now I'm having fun exercising!

My list of things to do today is waiting for me to get started. Joyfully His ~Bekah