Freedom

I love Saturday mornings! I got up and went for a 3.7 mile walk/run this morning on the beach. It was so wonderful! I love doing it, but nothing is better than the feeling you get when it’s done!

As I ran, I took it all in. The beautiful waves, the sunlight glistening off of the water, the graceful pelicans soaring above. It is wonderful to experience the beach like this. I was usually the girl sitting on a towel watching the runners go by. For years, I watched with envy as the fit girls ran past me wearing their cute workout clothes….thinking my days for that possibility were over. Yet today, here I am. … starting my Saturday with a 3.7 mile trek on the beautiful beaches I call home. Yay!

I have never been to prison, but when I think about this process, I often feel that this struggle is similar to that of being in prison. In many ways, I feel there is a parallel between the bondage of being incarcerated and the bondage to an addiction of any kind. In the same way an inmate is bound because of his own choices, I too, have been confined by my own choices. I have spent years feeling “trapped” and wanting so desperately to have the freedom of good health and energy.  I have longed to be on the other side and made countless promises … “if only…”

I am nearing freedom. I am drawing closer and closer… my chains that have kept me in captivity are being loosened day by day. More often than not, I feel unstoppable. To God be the glory!

Let Freedom Ring!

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Pomp and Circumstance

Good evening honored guests, ladies and gentlemen and fellow past and future graduates.

It has been said that Change is inevitable. As we stand on the brink of moving into life beyond obesity, change will be inevitable. It is indeed gratifying to experience a statistical transition such as this. It is inevitable that becoming more proficient in our skills will enable us to tackle this life-long learning process with vigor. It is inevitable that structures, processes and relationships will change in our day-to-day lives. It is inevitable that we will face new challenges and it is inevitable that things may be different in the years ahead. Yes, I would agree, change is inevitable.

To those of you who have supported me with your prayers and encouragement, I thank you. Many of you have been by my side every step of this journey and I am forever grateful. Thank you for being a part of such a monumental milestone in my life!

Ok, in all seriousness, I am ecstatic! Today I have turned a major corner! According to the charts, at my height, over 175 is considered obese. Once I hit 174, I am simply overweight! LOL Since I was 20 years old, I have only been under 175 one time (and it lasted for about three days). Considering that I have been as high as 229, seeing 174 is quite exciting! I have graduated from OBESE to OVERWEIGHT! I have been working toward this goal for a long time and I am excited to see that number, but I’m not stopping there!!

My speech continues…

Furthermore, I would like to thank my Heavenly Father for continued love, support, acceptance and strength. I never dreamed this journey would become what it has…all because I gave up on worldly short term solutions and asked God to be my Guide.

The future is ours to have! It is our choice what kind of future it will be! May God Bless You Extantly!

(Oh, and by the way, I actually do graduate with my BA in 10 months =) LOL


Timing

As I continue to ponder “timing” of a different kind than I referred to yesterday, I am quite amazed. I was one of those people that spent years using the same old excuse of “I don’t have time.” I have always had a plethora of excuses, but time was an excuse I wore out! A new workout plan? No, thanks… I don’t have time. Cooking in a healthier way?…No thanks…. I don’t have time.

At this point in my life, I am probably busier than I have ever been. I am a mother of two…I am going to college…. I work several part-time jobs… I am engaged and planning a wedding… I serve when possible at my church….and of course, I blog. =) How is it that when I would put in a full day before, all I had the strength and energy to do was come home, sit in front of the TV on the couch and pretty much not move until bed time? I thought I had “no time” for exercise or preparing healthy meals. As busy as I am now, I spend much more time taking care of myself than I ever did before. No, I’m not talking about trips to the spa…lol… I’m talking about making sure I work out regularly and eat clean. These daily choices allow for my life to be so much more productive! I have tons more energy and clarity in my thoughts and I love it!

So, oh yeah, I have the time…and I will use it wisely! Thank you God for each and every day!

Gratitude

What a beautiful start to my day! I went for my walk/run/walk on the beach this morning and it was amazing! I forgot my stop watch so I had to guess the time that I was running. It was more like… ok, make it to the pink condo…or… make it to the house with the green roof. Either way, it was awesome and I felt great, especially when I was finished. =)

As I ran, my heart was overflowing with gratitude. I began to think about this journey and what a difference there is in my life. Again, not that I have arrived, but wow, this is a totally different life than just a few short months ago. I am so thankful. I began to consider how blessed I feel and how I have felt God’s healing hand in my emotional and physical journey. His timing is perfect.

Timing….

Before diabetes …. before cancer…. before heart disease…. God answered my cry. He came to my rescue. He did not leave me to continue down my own, slow but sure, path to self-destruction. I could be that person that lives on medication and is limited by my own choices. However today….. before I allowed my health to be robbed and my capabilities to be diminished…. I am instead, a person who started their day with a run on the beach!

2 Corinthians 6:2
For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Financing Available? Really?

I made an unexpected quick trip to Houston this weekend and once again, those billboards have prompted another blog post! Only this time, the feelings stirred up inside are not of anger, but rather sadness. The billboard read “Change your life” with stunning before and after pictures that would make anyone struggling with weight want to pull over the car. What made my heart sink was what was written along the bottom of the sign. In bold and professional lettering, I read “Financing Available.”

To the average person, that sign is no different than any other sign along our highways. For me, not only did it ignite a thought provoking conversation with my co-pilot, but it also took me back to a darker time in my life. I feel sure I am not alone. Using my personal experiences as reflection, I wondered how many people see pictures like that or watch a late night infomercial and are led by their desperation to “finance” a hopeful change in their lives. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry with an ever increasing target audience. I was that person who could be brought to tears with excitement about the possibility of THE diet, or program, or pill, or book etc. that would “change my life.” In that moment, I would have mortgaged my home for the opportunity to lose weight and change my life, so when you offer “financing available,” I feel sure many will do anything possible for the chance.

Because I am now taking a different approach by asking God to be my Guide and seeing real change without the need for “financing,” a sign like that jolts my emotions. Let me say clearly that I am not proclaiming that I have arrived, or that I have the answers. I am simply telling my story. My story that includes a time of desperation, pain, sorrow, and envy that were connected to my bank account. What I have learned is that God’s Plan is so different that what our culture is used to. God’s love has no comparison, God’s personal training skills are impeccable, His Book is the best “How to” manual available. The best part…. no financing necessary…. he offers it all as His free gift to us.

…to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  Ephesians 1:6

A-Ha!

Emphasized by Oprah, we recognize an “A-ha moment” as a sudden realization of something big. We make a connection and feel enlightened with a new discovery. For most people, an A-ha moment happens within an instant.

And then there’s me….

…. Maybe it’s because I can be a little slow, maybe it’s because of my stubborn hard- headedness, or maybe it’s because I have used too much bleach on my hair over the years… but my experience has been more like… …”aaaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”   I guess it just takes me a little longer than the average person, but I get it now.

My Aha moment can be summed up like this:

There is no finish line.

A finish line is a line marking the end of a race. Probably due to years of yo yo dieting , my mindset has been that I can do this…. for now… yet not realizing that subconsciously, I am already planning that after “the finish line” I will go back to what I’m used to. I did not realize that was my approach until  my derailment a few weeks ago. Everyone, even myself, throws around the cliché that “it’s a lifestyle change.” I hear those words, but until my aha moment of understanding there is no finish line, I didn’t really get it. I have seen first hand what happens when you reach “a finish line” and revert back to your old ways. Hours and hours of progress and hard work can be destroyed so very quickly. So maybe it would be better if I looked at the end of each day as a finish line. If I can meet the end of my day having fueled this machine properly and worked its miraculous components, then I am winning the race… I am reaching the finish line every day. Hmmm, let’s see… I can white knuckle my way through a program or a fitness commitment and then go backwards or I can just accept the fact that to feel good and make my machine effective and strong, I must provide daily maintenance. Plain and simple…eat clean and move. If I do it correctly, I get optimal performance and an extension of time to be productive. Not a bad gig!?!

Thank you Father God for being patient with me and allowing me to slowly but surely, have my Aha moment!

Lean on Me

I know that I have already posted today, but I just got back from an awesome walk/run/walk and I just have to share what has been on my mind for the past 27 minutes!

First of all, it felt amazing! I have been concentrating on strength training on M-W-F and cardio on T-TR, in which I am now starting to run. Today, I was able to go 8 one minute runs with 2 minute walks in between. This feels incredible! During my walk, my thoughts drifted back a few years and I am so inspired, I have to share this!

I am 36 years old and I continue to have a close relationship with my best friend from 2nd grade. (Do the math…that’s a long time! LOL) Let me set this up for you: This girl had everything I wanted. She was beautiful, popular, strong …plus I was in love with her brother…lol

She had what I wanted more than anything… a mom. Her mom was strict and everyone knew not to cross her. We would never want to face that wrath! She told it like it was and did not apologize for it! As firm as she was, it was obvious that ferocious moma bear loved her children. She wasn’t my mom, but she acted like it many times. I love that woman eternally.

My friend was a beast! This tall, muscular athlete excelled at every sport she tried. Even with asthma, she could run faster, hit the ball harder, and shoot better than I ever could! I always wanted to be like her. Whether it was summer ball or school sports, she was amazing and I admired her so much. She was a rock.

The years have passed and we continue to go through and share many things together…. including our struggle with weight and good health.  My friend has told me several times over the past few months that my blog has inspired her. Wow! I have inspired her?!?! This athletic goddess whose shadow I lived in for years has been inspired by what God is doing in my life!? Do you have any idea how wonderful that makes me feel! It’s so nice to feel that what you’re doing matters… to someone… to anyone.

You know who you are…I love you…I admire you…and I am right beside you…every step of the way! That beast is still in there…I know it! Let’s revisit her.. whatcha think?

Thank You God that not only are You on this journey with me, you are sending friends to go through the mountains and valleys with me as well! How great is thy faithfulness!

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