Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Desperately Trying To Catch Up!

What can I say? I'm a busy woman. =) However, keeping up with this blog is important to me so I'm making the time to sit down and write, write, write!

Let's see. I'll pick up right where I left off, which was the weekend before the Bright Lights Conferences in Omaha. I'd just come off a week of amazing hours spent busting my tail off at the gym, keeping track of calories and balancing my meals, only to see the scale show I'd gained weight. So I was quite uncertain about how my body would react to being away from home for a week - with no time to exercise, temptations everywhere, (as in food temptations) plenty of stress, and a lack of sleep. That is a disaster waiting to happen!

But, I was determined to make the best of it. I can't hide at home for the rest of my life! I need to be taking part in ministry opportunities, even if I was expecting a set-back in my weight loss. An opportunity for spiritual growth trumps physical growth every time. That's not to excuse the physical, because (as in my case) taking care of the physical has allowed me, forced me to grow spiritually in ways that I never would have without focusing on the physical. (Just wanted to clarify that so you don't get any ideas...)

I packed my own cereal to take with me, along with some Kashi crackers that I could snack on, some dark chocolate (in little individual wrappers), and a few pieces of fruit. Everyone was to bring a sack lunch on the day that we left, so I packed myself a salad, fruit, and homemade wheat bread with honey. I was doing my best!!!

Along with Alex, (who is a godly, wonderful, and fun leader from Texas!) I was in charge of coming up with meals for our staff for the week. Thankfully, a few of the meals were being provided for us by some local families, but we came up with the rest. We sat down and planned out the meals, made a long grocery list, got the keys to a mini-van, and found the nearest Walmart! I made sure that we loaded up our carts with plenty of fresh foods and healthy snacks. (Okay, it was a selfish move. But other people eat like me, too! Yes, it's true. I'm not the only one who tries to eat healthy in our Bright Lights staff!) We had fun, and we did our best to come up with healthy, fast recipes that would satisfy everybody.

And so, the conference work began. Remember how I mentioned nights without a lot of sleep? And my stress levels soaring? Bad bad bad scenario for me. If I would have to rate how I did in the eating catagory on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), I would give myself a 4. Here's why - even though I hate to admit it, I could have exercised a lot more self control. Man - that seems to be a re-ocurring theme in my life! I did okay, but not great. We had lots of healthy food available and I took advantage of that...but I also made some dumb choices. I found myself a few times eating/snacking simply because everyone else was, not because I was hungry. I remember one night, we were all chilling in our "lounge and bedroom" (which happened to be a Sunday school class) and I grabbed some snacks to munch on. After several handfuls had passed through my mouth, I suddenly thought, "What in the world are you doing? You're not hungry. Put that down - NOW!". By God's grace, I was able to stop that night. But it wasn't the case every night. Actually, I had to fight temptations no matter what time of day it was! There was always food around and easily available. And, whether it was late at night or bright and early and I was tired and stressed, I'd often head to the kitchen and grab something to eat. Emotional eating is such a hard habit to break! I've broken it while here at home, but now I need to learn how to conquer it away from home.

So, it wasn't a catastrophic week. I did have some good moments! One night, I had convinced myself to go and snack on something in the kitchen, so I walked into the room and made sure no one else was in there. (Oh, that's another thing I've learned. If you feel like you have to hide what you're eating from anyone - get out of the pantry! Secrecy is only necessary if you feel guilty about what you're eating and you KNOW you shouldn't eat it. So, don't eat in secret!) Anyway, I scrounged around, trying to decide what sounded good. But I could have done much better. There is always something to learn along this journey. God's grace is enough for me; His power is made perfect in my weakness. I just have to chose to believe it and walk in that truth!

We arrived home from the conferences on Sunday night, and I decided to just wait and weigh myself the next Friday. To be honest, I didn't really want to see what the scale had to say! I thought it would be best if I had a few days at home of exercising before getting on the scale again. =) On Monday morning, as I began doing my workout I knew I'd gained some weight. Exercising seemed a lot harder than usual. I had to push through it and deal with the sore muscles on Tuesday morning. It was also harder to curb my appetite, as I had been feeding my tummy more than it needed all week and at odd hours.

One thing that always makes me smile is when Bethany wants to exercise with me. She was eager to join in on Monday morning, and it was a nice boost to my motivation as I got back into my regular schedule again. I had Leah take this video of the two of us working out in our laundry room. Lead told me that even though she was tilting her camera to take the video, it would turn out right side up. NOT! Sorry for the sideways view...just tilt your head. LOL

Long story short, I got on the scale and saw the number 177 flash up at me. Seven pounds gained. Ouch. That wasn't a happy moment as I stood there on the scale, fighting to push all of the moments of regret out of my mind. It was painful, realizing that I had pushed myself back so far. This is not what I needed to do! At one point in time, I had been 12 pounds lighter. Why couldn't I keep losing? Why? Why? Why?

There are lots of questions that I still don't have the answers for. But at least right now, I should be able to lose these 7 pounds in the next few weeks. I can work to get back down to where I was! (How pathetic is that...)

This post is long enough, so I'll stop here. I'm hoping for a good number this week, because I've been doing great! Praise the Lord for His power to change and to restore.

Love, Bekah

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trying to catch up!

My my my! How time flies. I have sat down at my computer several times in the last few weeks with the intent of updating this blog, but other "more important" things always came up. So now, I've grabbed a few minutes of time this afternoon and am attempting to write without interruptions. (We'll see how far I make it...)

Where to begin? This is why I hate getting behind in posting. So much information to tell! First off, I never posted about my weigh in on April 10th. That week, I made it into the gym every single day! I spent at least 10 hours exercising that week, and it was fun. I was interested to see which muscles needed more work and which ones I had been training pretty well at home. My triceps and thighs were pretty sore the first few days, but it was that "this kind of hurts but I know it's a good thing, because the soreness is a sign of muscle growth" kind of deal. I had kept track of my calories, and I felt that I was getting more control on that front as well. I still sometimes struggle with getting stuck in a rut with meals, so I tried to branch out more. When I notice in my notebook that I seem to be eating the same things at the same meals for a few days, I come up with something completely different and try to keep things balanced out.
But, guess what? My body was still on strike or had an attitude 'bout something, because the scale said I'd gained two pounds. I was like, "Excuse me? I didn't exercise at the fitness center EVERY DAY for at least an hour so that you could tell me I gained weight!". That was a bummer, but I had to realize that I was not defined by that number. That number on the scale did not represent all of my hard work that week, and I wasn't going to let it get me down. Okay, the scale was up two pounds. But I did my part! And one of these days, my body will do its part. I just wish it would hurry up...

I think the weeks where the number on the scale doesn't make sense are some of the most important weeks. I learn the most through them. It's just like any other hardship or trial - we have to make a choice. Are we going to learn the lessons God has for us, or keep coming around the mountain until we do? I have so much to learn! So many things that are not just about weight loss, but things that apply to other areas in life, too. I have to learn to keep going when I see results that are opposite than what I want. I have to learn to let God's Word be the only thing that defines my worth and value. I have to learn how to keep my guard up at all times, because the moment that I let it down I am bombarted with temptations that I too often give in to. I have to learn that ultimately - life isn't all about me. (Shocking, I know.) God still has work for me to accomplish and still wants me to bring Him glory even when the scale shows I'm not making tangible progress. And to be honest, I'm glad for the struggle. I'm glad for the fight! I'm glad that I'm not one of those ladies you see on magazine covers or in commercials wearing skimpy bathing suits proudly proclaiming, "I lost 30 pounds in 4 weeks!" or whatever their case may be. Because they had instant success. They didn't have to work for it, or at least not nearly as hard as I have. I can be proud of my success because I know all the work that I've put into it!

My few minutes are up, but I've only just begun to catch up with y'all. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow I'll find a few more free minutes. I'll conclude with some pictures of the place I've been hanging out most mornings. I've had some fun times in there!

Love, Bekah

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Start of Something New...

Well, I did it. I became a member of the fitness center, "The Edge" this morning. I went in at 9:00 this morning to get "assessed" and learn how to work all of the nifty machines.

Shari first began by taking me to each of their weight machines. She showed me how to properly perform each of the exercises and recording how much weight I was able to push, pull, lift, and lower. It was fun! I'm excited to finally have the opportunity to work on toning my muscles and working them more effectively than with just my hand weights here at home. At each machine, Shari would guess on how much weight I could do, and then we'd adjust it as needed. A few times, I said, "Oh, yeah. This is perfect. Leave the weight right here," after performing 2 reps, but by rep 5 or 6 I was like, "Um, okay. Let's take a little weight off!". I have much to work up to, my friends! But I was proud of the fact that even though I'd never used one of those machines before, I was able to do an average amount of weight during the exercises. There is a lot that you can accomplish at home with simple little hand weights! Start there! I'm still planning to use them, even if I do use machines at the gym. You can perform innumerable exercises with them! They are much more versatile than any weight machine. Be creative and work your muscles!

The whole assessment took about 45 minutes, and then she showed me how to work all of their different cardio machines. I've fallen in love with the Elliptical and the Stair Master!!! I had a blast working out. I was sweating and panting, but somehow it was just more fun than at home. Change is a good thing!

I also spent time riding a bike, and at first it actually seemed kind of easy. So I decided to press the "hill" button. Bad idea! Well, actually it was a great challenge. But my quad muscles did NOT appreciate it. My quads were burning so bad I thought they were going to start on fire! Whew! I was glad when my time was up on that torture machine. LOL

I also had to smile, because even though this gym looks really nice and has lots to offer, it's still located in a small, rural town. I didn't meet any "hunks" or "Barbies" while exercising. (You know, people with bigger muscles and/or smaller waists than should be legal.) And I was glad. Because being healthy is not about that!

The people who came in to the fitness center were like you and me - regular people. People who aren't trying to look like the warped and twisted model of "beauty" we see on the magazine covers. We were all there, sweating it out this morning, because we want to be fit and healthy.
There was a sweet 70 year old lady doing leg presses, bicep curls, and the recumbent bike, a lady in her 60's who wanted to improve her leg muscles and her abs, and couple in their 40's who come and work out together (and who also compete with each other on each cardio machine to see who can go the furthest, the longest, etc), a busy mom who carves out time in her day to get in some exercise, a guy in a V-shirt with pajama pants and sandals who spent the majority of his time there lifting weights (his appearance almost made me laugh outright! But, hey -at least he was doing something worthwhile), and then me - a twenty year old who wants to lose the last 10-20 pounds of excess weight. We were quite the bunch! But I loved it. It was real life.

My plan is to make it in to the fitness center at least 3 days a week, so mom and I are going to look at my morning schedule and see what we can come up with. I'm so pumped! The girls called me at noon and were like, "Where ARE you?" I had to pull myself away from there this morning. I'm sure the novelty will wear off, but hopefully not anytime soon!

Hurray for fitness centers! ~Bekah

Saturday, April 4, 2009

100 posts...

Here it is - my 100th post! It seems like I should have some great and inspiring words of wisdom to write, because this is such a special post. But, I don't. =) You'll just have to put up with my normal way of writing about the normal days of my life last week.

Last week was...unpredictable. I felt like there were many instances during the week when my plans or the way I thought things were going to turn out didn't happen. A few days I had to change up my regular exercise time and just "go with the flow" as my day went along. And a few times, I ended up eating differently than I had planned. I do my best to pack a lunch and healthy snack any time that I know we'll be in town. It not only saves me money, but also I can plan exactly what I'm going to eat. There is no room for temptation if I've already got my meals planned out! I kept track of my calories every day and worked to stay around 1,400 calories/day, which I managed to do. Again, with a few unexpected changes in scheduling during the week and a few meals that weren't part of my plan, I think I ate closer to 1,500/1,600 two days. But nothing catastrophic! Overall, another good week.

So, when the scale showed 168lbs yesterday morning, I was a little surprised but not too disappointed. That put me up a pound, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal. I was hoping for weight loss, of course, but I'm not sweating it about one measly pound. =)

The past few weeks, I've been contemplating joining a gym. I've never really seriously thought about it because - 1. it costs money and 2. we don't live anywhere near a gym! I assumed that the nearest one was 30 minutes away, and it didn't make sense to pay for a membership and gas money to get there and back. But, my mom pointed out a little store front in a small town about 15 minutes away, and a sign on the front of the store said that it was a place for women to do circuit exercising. (No, this isn't a Curves, but it is set up very similar.) Anyway, my mom suggested that I go and check it out. I wasn't too excited about doing it, simply because I wasn't expecting it to amount to much, so the next time my mom was going to be driving past there, I asked her to stop and see what she thought. Turns out, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a gym!

My mom told me she walked in and was greeted by an 85 year old lady. No, the lady wasn't working out (but she told mom that she did come in 3 times a week to exercise). This sweet old lady was there to run the place. No kidding! Mom came back and told me what the place had to offer, which wasn't much more than I have here, and I just had to laugh. Not exactly what I was expecting!

But even though that place didn't work out, I knew of another small fitness center in another small town "close" to us. (Close is a relative term!) I went to check it out on Wednesday of last week. It's part of a hotel, but the owner offers membership to anyone. I walked in and was impressed to see a decked out exercising room...but it was empty. Not a soul there. I looked around for an employee and then saw a sign that said to go to the hotel lobby if you had questions about the fitness center. So, I walked through the maze of the hotel and found a lady at the front counter who answered my questions. They currently don't offer any classes, which was disappointing - I really wanted to just start out slow by joining a class and then seeing if I wanted to do anything more. I feel like I need to mix up my exercise regimen, and I was hoping to find a spinning or kickboxing class. Oh, well.

I then asked the lady (Shari) what the gym had to offer and what the membership cost. I told her a very brief history of my weight loss and what I was looking for. She was very helpful and suggested that I come in one day and let her give me an assessment and then she'd show me how to work all the equipment. So, on Monday morning I'll be heading in to the fitness center to be assessed and learn how to work all the awesome equipment. I'm going to try and get in there 3 times a week for a month and then I'll see how it's working for me. The membership is very reasonable, and if every day is like the day I was there - I may have the whole place to myself. =) I'll make sure and give you a complete report on how it goes!

Love you all ~Bekah