Friday, March 27, 2009

What goes up must come down...

This week, I've ridden back up to the top of the hill that I went down last week. I lost two pounds! That gave me such a mental boost. I was able to walk out of the bathroom after facing the "dreaded scale" and feel proud and relieved this morning. And that's a nice feeling!

The secret to my success? Simple. I recorded every morsel of food that I ate and kept my daily calorie count at 1,400. My exercising was the same intensity and the same amount of time. The only difference I made in my normal schedule was adjusting my calorie allowance, so I have no doubt that is the reason for my dropping not one, but two pounds. I'm kind of kicking myself right now. Seems I should have done this months ago! Why didn't I ever do it? Everyone in the diet and fitness world talk about the importance of recording your meals. I know that. Remember? I kept track of my meals for months! But I stopped awhile ago. And that was because I thought I had learned what I needed to and that I could keep track well enough in my head. I know the calorie count per serving in most everything by now! So I assumed that I could do fine without recording. My thought process was this : people can't keep track of their meals for the rest of their lives! At some point, I figured that I would somehow graduate out of the realm of recording meals, as if it was something that only those beginning to try and lose weight had to do. I felt like it was a crutch, a sign of weakness. You know what I mean? Maybe not, if you've never tried to lose weight. But those of you who have can probably relate.

Anyway, I grabbed an empty notebook and began the recording process again. I was under the impression that I was eating just fine; that all I would find after recording my meals for a week was that I was eating right and it wasn't contributing to my plateau problem. Hmmm...must have been wrong there! It was an eye-opener for me. I was eating too much. Again, not a huge amount. But enough that it kept me stuck. Math is a huge part of weight loss, much to my disappointment. (I've never enjoyed math - ever!) For the past several months, I've been eating enough to maintain my weight. That's why one week I'd lose, the next week I'd gain, etc. But, I stayed at the same general weight. So I'm hoping, REALLY hoping that this is the answer to my plateau problem. This next week, I'll be keeping my record notebook right by my side!

Rejoicing in Him ~ Bekah

Friday, March 20, 2009

My week at a glance...

Two pounds up this week. Not what I was hoping for. Back to that stinkin' number 169. Rats! But I know that my high calorie day last Friday is partially to blame for that. I did not exercise self-control that day. Yes, I did eat a few things that I normally wouldn't have. However, I think the biggest problem was what I posted about last time - not controlling myself when eating healthy things. I set myself up for a week that would require an insane amount of exercising in order to burn off all of those calories, and I couldn't make time to be insane this past week. So, I wasn't too surprised at the result. Of course, I always hope for the best. But the calories I take in must be lower and calories I put out must be higher. That didn't happen this week, and it's only made me even more motivated to cooperate with Jesus and "Just Do It!" next week.

I did have some good times last week. I decided to go out running down our gravel road on Wednesday morning instead of using the treadmill. That was harder than I thought it would be! First off, it was cold - I think 38 degrees. And secondly, running on mushy gravel (complete with hills) was much more challenging than the treadmill. My goal was simple - keep running and don't stop! I was SO tempted to start walking when my heart was pounding and my calves were burning. Have you ever exercised so hard that you felt like your heart was in your throat? Well, that's what I felt like. I ran the first mile and came to the end of our road, and there I took a one minute break to get my heart rate under control. And I was (again) reminded of how far I've come. For me to run all the way to the end of the road without stopping was a "first". I used to try and run the length of 2 or 3 telephone poles, (that's how we country people measure things) and I'd be out of breath and have to stop and take a break before moving on. That was a year ago. This year, I made it the whole way. I took a break for a minute, then started jogging back home. I was freezing cold (and had worked up a cold sweat - yuck!) and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I made it home and ran in the house to check my time. I was actually impressed with myself. I ran it in 20 minutes! That made me feel good. I am making progress! But, I didn't stop to celebrate. I headed down to the basement and hopped on the Norditrack for 20 minutes, and then I did 20 minutes of my cardio workout DVD. (My favorite one is the kickboxing segment!)

Overall, my exercising was great this week. I just didn't do enough to account for my high calorie intake. If I could only get this together! Eating controlled and exercising hard in the same week makes for success on the scale. I know that, now it's time to do it. Does anyone else ever struggle with doing what you know is right? I do, and not just in this area of weight loss. Like I've said before, the truths that I'm learning to help with weight loss also apply to many other areas of life. I'm not just getting a physical makeover; I'm getting a spiritual one, too!

I grabbed an empty notebook this morning and will record my meals/snacks. I'm going to face the calorie facts! I've decided to eat 1,300-1,400 calories a day this week. It's challenging to do that. It feels like you're eating like a bird! But I want success on the scale and a stronger, healthier body more than a second helping. I really do! And it's time to check myself and make sure my actions line up with my words.

On a lighter note, I went out clothes shopping on Wednesday afternoon. Remember how I used to hate that? Well, I don't dread it anymore. I can shop in the normal "misses" section! I currently fit nicely into a size 14, and I'd like to see that drop to a size 12 by the end of this summer. I think that ultimately wearing between a size 10 and 12 would suit me perfectly. I can't wait until the weather stays nice and more like spring so that I can get outside. Walking, running, gardening, jumping on the trampoline, chasing my younger sisters, riding my bike, etc. So many different ways to burn off calories! What are YOU going to do to get more active?

Last night, I made some delicious bran muffins. They are chock full of fiber and a great, healthy snack. I thought I'd share the recipe with you. This particular recipe is called, "Refrigerator Bran Muffins", because the batter will keep in your fridge for up to 6 weeks. That's a good thing, because the batter is enough for 4 -5 dozen muffins so we just keep baking them when we run out! Anyway, I altered the recipe to make it more healthy. I substituted shortening with butter, white sugar with brown rice syrup and honey, and whole wheat flour for white flour. And they turned out quite yummy, if I do say so myself!

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

3 cups white sugar (or brown rice syrup/honey)
1 cup shortening (or butter or a healthy oil)
1 tsp salt
2 cups boiling water
4 cups Kelloggs All Bran (any kind of bran flakes)
2 cups 100% Nabisco All Bran (any kind of all bran cereal - my mom said it looks like rabbit food! lol)
1 qt. buttermilk
5 cups flour
4 eggs beaten

Pour hot water over Nabisco. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk, and Nabisco. Sift flour, soda, and salt. Add all at once with Kelloggs All Bran. Mix only until dry ingredients are moistened. Bake in greased muffin tins for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. This will keep covered in the fridge for 6-7 weeks.

Enjoy! Continuing on my journey ~ Bekah

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Control...Control...Control yourself, Bekah!

Whew! My apologies for going so long without writing. After that whole week of feeling achy and weak, I've finally gotten back to normal. Exercising was done a little slower and a little less intensive for the first few days that I was up and around again. Things that were easy seemed quite a bit harder! Coming off of a week of sickness and laying around and having a tiny appetite, (which resulted in my four pound loss) I was assuming that I'd gain weight this week, simply because I have my normal appetite back and my body isn't fighting sickness anymore. That wasn't an excuse for me to ""take it easy" another for another week, though. If anything, I tried to push harder! But that was difficult seeing I felt so...behind, so weak. I've been having a lot of fun with my newest cardio workout DVD, and doing something new gave me just the boost I needed to keep plugging along. It also showed me which muscles I needed to concentrate on strengthening, as I was a little sore after doing some "new" exercises. One thing I've learned about exercise is this - There is always room for improvement!

I think that one of the benefits of being sick (believe me, there's only a few!) was the fact that I was gently reminded again of my weakness for making larger portion sizes than I really need. Oh! This is always a struggle for me. Now, instead of getting full from chips - I stuff myself with broccoli....or something nutritious. =) It doesn't really matter that I've switched to eating more healthy if I still can't control myself! The food isn't the problem - giving into my flesh is the problem.

So, I've been attempting to prepare adequate sized meals this weekend. I'm trying to stop rushing my meals and eating slowly. Not pathetically slow, just slower that what I had been doing. My stomach doesn't have taste buds, only my mouth. So why shovel food down without even enjoying how it tastes? That only sets me up to want more food. Are you seeing the opportunity for a vicious cycle?

The scale showed 167 this week. And even though that is two pounds higher than last week, I was actually encouraged by that. Sure, I would have loved to continue losing! But I'm just glad that my body didn't go back to it's "set point" of 168. This week my goals are to move more and eat controlled portions. Easier said than done! But with the nicer weather I've already spent more time outside this weekend. I can't wait till spring!

I will heighten my resolve to post more often. Maybe I should do a video blog. I can talk a lot faster than I can type. LOL!

Blessings on your week ~ Bekah

Friday, March 6, 2009

Under the Weather...

This week took an interesting turn for me. My family got exposed to influenza and we were slowly taken down by it, one by one. I was able to hold out the longest and I almost thought that I might be able to avoid getting it. But I woke up Wednesday morning with the chills, and things went downhill from there. The past two days have been miserable! I spent 99% of my day either laying/sitting on the couch or in bed. I am so sick of being inactive! My back side is sore and uncomfortable from sitting for so long. What I used to enjoy (a good excuse to be inactive) now drives me crazy!
Now thankfully, this wasn't the stomach flu, so even though I've had to deal with high temps, headaches, and an achy body, I still have a small appetite. But I get full really fast, so I make sure and eat my favorite stuff first. =) Like last night, I ate my "dessert" of banana, fresh strawberries, and plain yogurt before my salad. It was probably 1/2 the size of what I would normally eat, and I was almost full before I finished. So, I waited a little longer and then ate my salad.

I think often times people view sickness as an excuse to eat whatever they feel like eating, whether it's healthy or not. Especially when your throat hurts, and you just want to live on ice cream, popsicles, and jello! It's tempting to eat your favorite "comfort foods" when you're not feeling good. But the truth is, we need to be eating the most healthy we can while we're sick! How is our body going to recover quickly when we're giving it junk? This blonde can figure that out, y'all.

It was amazing to see the impact that a fever has on our bodies. I can't remember that last time I was this sick (PTL!) and I was never this active before, so I didn't notice such a dramatic difference in my strength and energy levels. On Tuesday, I was on the treadmill for an hour and then downstairs on the Norditrack for 20 minutes. I felt great. But about 15 hours later, I was laying in bed struggling to keep warm and feeling totally weak and helpless. I could barely move. It has made me all the more grateful for the overall healthy life the Lord has blessed me with!

Now, about the weigh in. I had no idea what to expect this week. I was assuming that simply because in the past 2 days I've eaten about 1/2 the amount of food I normally eat, that would produce some weight loss. I had diligently exercised Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, so I knew that would help, too. I used a new cardio DVD I purchased for myself on Monday, and it must have worked some different muscles, because I was a little sore on Tuesday!
But, I still had spent two days glued to the couch, which doesn't burn many calories. So, I stepped on this morning assuming there would be maybe 1 to 2 pounds lost. What a shock I got! The scale read 165 - a four pound loss. What do ya know? The best way to lose weight is to get sick, I guess. LOL

So I haven't a clue what next week will bring. I still have to take it slow and not push myself too hard yet. I'm going to go for a short walk and get some fresh air today, but I doubt that I'll be able to do any serious exercise before Monday. That makes me wonder if I'll end up gaining a little weight back as my appetite returns. I've probably only eaten between 900 and 1000 calories the past two days, and that's not enough to keep an active, healthy body fueled. But I'm not stressing about the next week. I'm just enjoying my mind-blowing 4 pound loss today!

Taking it slow and trying to recover ~ Bekah

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Thought About Thoughts...

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness....For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:1,2,8,9

On Saturday evening, as I was finishing up my time on the treadmill, I knew that I needed to spend some time downstairs in the basement as well before calling it quits for that night. I had decided to start things off by doing a little jump roping when I got down there. But when I got downstairs I realized that some things had gotten put in the way of where I usually had room to jump rope, and I was left with a tiny problem - I had no place to jump. What to do, what to do? Well, I'd just have to forget it for that night and come up with a different plan. As I went to put down my jump rope and move on to something else, I got this crazy thought, "What about outside?". There's plenty of room out there, right? Yes, the outdoors are very spacious. But also very cold! However, I decided the fresh, freezing air would only make me jump faster in order to get back inside and jumping faster is a good thing, so before I had time to convince myself of how crazy I was, I grabbed my jump rope and bounded up the stairs and out into the freezing cold. And let me tell you, it was freezing cold! If you would have pulled into our driveway at around 6:00 that evening, you would have seen a once very sweaty and now very frozen Bekah, furiously jumping rope in the middle of our garage like my life depended on it. I did my 200 jumps and bolted back into the warm basement, proud of myself for coming up with a plan "B" and also laughing at how ridiculous I must have looked. And I was thankful. Thankful for my God who has such different thoughts than I.

You see, I know that my flesh did not come up with the idea to go outside in the freezing cold to jump rope. Trust me - my natural man did not enjoy that. =) And all the times that I "hear" thoughts that say, "You can do this! Stick with it. Don't quit now. Keep pushing!" or "You don't need that food. It won't satisfy you. You're not hungry. You've eaten enough. Resist the temptation - flee from it!" - those thoughts don't originate in my sinful body, either. I cannot take credit for them, because they aren't mine. They're God's thoughts, and He's teaching me how to hear them, believe them, and act upon them.

Because I always have the choice. I didn't have to go outside and jump rope. I could have stayed inside and spent a few precious minutes wasting the intensity of my heart rate while I tried to come up with a different plan, simply because I didn't feel like going outside. But I got the crazy thought and went with it! No time for debating or questioning...just do it!

I've found that it's so much easier for me to push myself with exercising as opposed to eating. I can push myself to do just one more rep pretty easily. But ask me to stop eating before my plate is clean, and honey, I'm gonna pick a fight with you! I have to constantly fight the lie that says, "It's healthy, therefore you can eat as much as you want." Wrong! I should be eating until I'm satisfied, whether my plate is clean or not.

Why do you spend money for that which doesn't satisfy? Come to me; I am the Bread of Life and the Living Water. My thoughts aren't your thoughts; and my ways are not your ways. Delight yourself in Me.

How am I ever going to learn to think God's thoughts? How am I going to learn to just follow His ways, whether it seems logical to me or not? (Like jumping rope outside...leaving healthy food on my plate...having peace in spite of a plateau...) The answer is simple - by walking in the Spirit. Back to that again, huh? Yes. Because according to God's Word, the Holy Spirit makes known to us the the thoughts of God.

"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God...But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he man instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Cor. 2:11, 12, 14, 15, 16

The Holy Spirit, being one of the God-head, knows the thoughts of God. He thinks them, and when I listen to His voice speaking to me and I believe what He says, I'm thinking God's thoughts, too. How amazing is that? He is the still, small voice that encourages me to keep going, keep pressing, keep moving and pushing harder. He is the voice that tells me to flee temptation (namely, chocolate and carbs!) and run to Christ! He is the voice that encourages me to do anything good, anything spiritual, anything that will please my Father in heaven. He is the One speaking those "crazy" thoughts in my head that always seem to go against everything my flesh is feeling.

I've got to learn to think like Someone else. Someone far greater than I. Someone who doesn't struggle with a sinful flesh, but Who took on and crucified my sinful flesh so that I might become the righteousness of God. It's that thought pattern that I must learn to follow. Die to live, resist to overcome, endure to achieve, lose to gain, fall to rise, etc. He is right; those are not my thoughts. Lord, help to listen to your Holy Spirit and simply obey.

Thoughtfully ~ Bekah