Food For Thought

The other night Robert and I were having a conversation before bed.  We found ourselves in a deep conversation about our relationship.  Don’t fret it wasn’t about our relationship with each other but our relationship with God.   We talked about where we felt we were and where we wanted to be. Then, Robert made a comment which has been thought provoking for me and has been an avenue for God to really speak and work with me.

As many of you know Robert and I promote Thrive by Le-Vel.  We love the product and want others around us to find the benefits from it that we have .  The past few months we have really been pushing Thrive with all of it’s benefits.   I am actually surprised  no one has de-friended me on Facebook over how much we promote Thrive. Yes, it has seriously been that bad but we have been able to get family and friends to try Thrive.  We feel like we are helping change their lives.

All of this being said, back to what Robert said during our conversation earlier this week.  Robert and I had talked about our desire to be closer to God in 2017 than what we were in 2016.  We talked about what we could do to grow closer:  read our Bible more, pray more, attend church, and even get involved in small groups.  These are all things we do anyway but we knew to grow closer and to draw others to God we needed to increase these activities.

Then Robert blurted out, “What if we promote God as much as we promote Thrive.  Think about how many people we could win for the Kingdom!”  This quote got me thinking.  Had I gotten so caught up in changing people’s lives I forgot to make sure they had God in their lives?  Don’t get me wrong I love Thrive and we will continue to promote it BUT at the same time we have to spend just as much energy on promoting God and growing our relationship with him.

Many people make resolutions for each New Years, my resolution for 2016 was to lose weight to which I have lost about 30 pounds!   It is now time to think about my resolution for 2017.  While  I will keep losing weight, taking and promoting Thrive  – these will not be my resolution.  My resolution, and I am sure my husband will join me with this one, is to promote God and grow closer to Him!

By the way I took my first step in this today by reconnecting with a close friend and starting a Facebook group where we will be able to connect with others who are Saved by Grace.   I will be sharing more about this group over the next few weeks and months.  I am looking forward to the roll Robert and I will play in this group with discussions, Bible studies and various other outreaches!

 

Robert’s Struggle

( This is Robert, Chana’s husband, covering something really personal that I’m going through today. I guess you’d call it my weight loss journey, but it feels like the journey hasn’t officially begun…. )

There they were laid out before me, my pictures with my shirt off, where they could no longer be ignored. We’d taken a short vacation this week with my mama and my siblings for her 80th birthday. Chana wanted me to thumb through the photos to relive some of the good memories. Unfortunately, the pictures taken just before the vacation pictures were the shirtless photos of me that Chana had taken on June 3rd, 2016.

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I hadn’t planned on looking at those pictures until teachers report back for duty on August 3rd, 2016. I’d be able to see the progress that I’d made during this final touch-up before the 2016-2017 school year.

This realization has gone beyond disbelief and entered the arena of totally disheartening to me. This surely couldn’t be me….not after I’d walked for a month, began a walk sprint a month later, used make shift limbs in the yard as barbells, did pushups (albeit what the guys used to call “girl pushups”), cut grass for 45 minutes, cut grass for an hour and a half, joined the gym and leg pressed 350 lbs after a 10 year absence from the gym

These pictures surely couldn’t be me after I’d cut down from 4 to 6 servings of soft drinks a day down to 1 or 2 servings. These pictures couldn’t be me after cutting down to 1 portion apiece at supper with no seconds…. eating baked or broiled instead of fried…. cutting down ‘white carbs’ drastically… rice — 1 time in 3 months…. virtually no french fries compared to normal…. cutting down on bread….with so much money spent on fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, frozen fruits, and frozen vegetables….

I’ve been taking supplements that are supposed to build testosterone…. supplements that are supposed to build dht….. other supplements that are supposed to cut fat….. supplements that are supposed to cure stomach ailments……a supplement that is supposed to be a cure all and costs $80 per month, but is very difficult to cancel and hasn’t done jack squat over the past 6 months.

The bottom line is that –> nutrition and supplementation, or so I read, are SUPPOSED to account for 80% of weight loss

Now granted that, at this point in time , I’d not worked out in 15 days and my diet hadn’t been quite as clean during that time, but where was the muscle tone in my chest? Where were the burgeoning biceps that I thought I was building up? Where were the big calves that I saw in field day photos at school? While my legs looked like bird legs , at least I could see some muscle tone. That’s not the case at all with my upper body.

Except for my weak and spindly looking arms, everything above the waist is pretty much covered with fat. My chest area was covered by a small amount of it. However, it was the area between my chest and waist that’s very disheartening to me. My belly was enormous!

The most confusing part is that I’ve dropped from size 40 pants to size 36 jeans and shorts in 4 months, but I still look this bad. How is that possible? Even if I hadn’t worked sooooooo hard and cut out so many favorite foods from my diet, this would still be hard. It just wouldn’t evoke the emotionally wiped out feeling that I’ve felt for the last few hours.

Before typing this out, I was so hurt by the emotional part of what seems like failure that I hadn’t accounted for what had happened physiologically to my body. My changes in body composition have mostly been muscle loss and not the desired fat loss.

Balance can’t possibly be starving myself to death. Balance cant possibly be spending 3 or 4 hours a day in the gym. Balance can’t possibly be drinking nasty protein shakes that have only been available over the past 20 years. Balance can’t possibly consist of the aforementioned expensive supplements that haven’t worked for us.

I want a real food + real exercise no nonsense answer that increases energy, lowers blood sugar levels, trims fat, and builds muscle.

It’s too late for it to happen by next school year, but I just want it to happen at some point during my 40’s.

Chana and I will somehow do this together though. Neither of us will quit! We’re continually learning things that work and things that don’t work for us.

 

Who Knows My Name?

A few weeks back Robert and I were honored to attend the baptism of our niece, Cecilia.  That Sunday, the church my brother and his family attends had a quest speaker.  The speaker made a comment which has stuck with me and has really made me think.  He said, “People like to know that others know their name.” He then proceeded to give an example where a group of little children got all excited because he knew their names.

At the time this statement didn’t stick out to me.  I knew the minister was ultimately talking about God knowing our name — which I know without a doubt He knows my name, so I didn’t put much weight into that statement until a little while later.   Having someone know my name is important, I know many of my followers know who I am, my friends and my co-workers know who I am but is that all?

I have spent much of my life being shy, introverted and at times very recluse.  Heck for the first  _____ year of my life, help me here Stasi with the exact number, I didn’t speak for myself. I would have someone else talk for me.  I wonder how much being this way has hurt and hindered me in my life and in my faith.  How many people out there don’t know who I am because I stayed in the shadows and very rarely stepped out in the spotlight?  Who really knows my name after all these years?  Am I still known just as Bobby and Geraldine’s grand-daughter? Willie and Ella Mae’s grand-daughter? Wayne and Margaret Ann’s daughter? Roberts’ wife? Who out there really knows my name?

*Sorry if my post are deep here lately — I have been doing a lot of reflecting the past little bit to help me in my weight-loss journey.*

Up next:  All About Me

 

 

The Struggle Is Real!

I have to be honest my journey to the new me has been a real struggle!  For the first time in my life I feel as though I am a failure.  It seems no matter how hard I work, how little I eat or how healthy I eat, there isn’t any signs of weight loss for me.  I struggle to put into words how I am feeling through this journey, which is definitely not like me.   I know where I want to be and I see where I am.  The place I am at is not any closer to my goal than I was in January.

So what is my hang up?  Why can’t I lose weight?  Why do I feel like a failure?  These are questions I MUST find the answers to!!

To my readers, friends and family please be patient with me as I go on this journey.   Sorry I haven’t written in a while – I know I have hidden myself from my readers the past month and I apologize.  I realized today how much I have been hiding and not getting out and about anymore which is totally due to the way I feel about myself these days!  Please hang with me and help me on my journey!

Up next: Who knows my name?

 

Share Time

Goodness, where has time gone?  It seems just like yesterday Robert and I began to seek  God about our housing situation.  Here we are two years later living in our dream house, made possible only by the grace of GOD!  The past few months I have been working on putting together a video to share with you.  The video documents, through pictures, our house from the very beginning to where we are today!  I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  I have to admit, I was brought to tears as I put together our video!

Also, one confession about our weight loss journey!   Robert is down several pounds where me on the other hand —- I am scared to get on the scales, scared what the scales will show.  I know from the shopping I did today, the scales will show me something I don’t want to see and don’t know if I am ready to see!

I was asked the other day a few questions and a few  of these questions happened to be, “What habits do you need to say goodbye to the most? Make a list. What do you need to do more?”  It was followed up by “When you know what your temptations/weaknesses are, then we will work towards how to make the choices to avoid or say no to them.”

Since being asked those questions I have thought really hard about it.   Over the next few days I will be documenting a list of habits I need to say goodbye to.  I hope you will following along as I pour my heart out to my readers and document my struggles and successes over the next little, let’s be real here — the next long, while!

 

Words from Robert

I know he will probably get me for this but I found this post my husband made tonight and just had to share.  These words rang true as I read.  I believe we are in this together!

 

“When I was growing up, I was active and played several sports. I ate like a horse. I was able to get away with it, because of the activity and a teenager’s metabolism. I was 170 lbs as a high school Junior and then 185 lbs as a Senior in high school. My weight fluctuated between 160-190 for the next 5 years. Once I quit exercising in my 20’s, I quickly ballooned from 190 to 215 in about 6 months time.

I gained and lost numerous times over the years. I even saw the beginning of some abs at 30 years old.

I let emotional experiences derail me wit every lof style change….new relationships, the breakup of a relationship, disappointments, etc. sidetracked me.

During the year leading up to meeting my wife Chana, I lost some weight. The exercise started off pretty, well, really rough. I went through a fitness bootcamp/ YMCA biggest loser. I thought for sure I was going to vomit in the bushes on the first night. I cold never quite keep up though out the 12 weeks. The other participants were much younger than me and in much better shape. I was determined not to be defeated by the exercises….. running up hills, suicides, spinning classes, intense aerobics, running laps……

Although my diet was way off, I got in terrific aerobic shape! My stomach began to shrink. I began to take flight! I ended the course working out on my own running hills that were MUCH steeper than those we started out on that first night. I flew up the hill, ran down the side, and then repeated again at full speed. After a few more weeks, I wanted steeper hills, but that hill was the steepest at the YMCA! I still felt like I could conquer the world! People who saw me on the street for the first time probably thought of me as out-of-shape, because I was still 240 lb!!!

THAT was only 4 short years ago! I quit about 3 months before Chana and I began to date. hmm.. If I attack exercise with the same intensity, consume a clean diet, and supplement, what could I accomplish even at 255 lbs.? What would I look like under all this weight? What health problems could I reverse? ..diabetes, high b.p., muscle aches, a sleep disorder, and digestive issues…How would I feel with less weight, better health, and able to tackle mountains this time?”

Robert, we can do this!!

 

I Survived

Last night was the season premiere of Biggest Loser, Temptation Nation.  I was eager to watch primarily  (here is a confession coming) to see what I missed out on. Deep down I felt this pain and desire to be there.  I really was surprised by my emotions as I began to watch.

I had been told several times over the past months Robert and I were simply not overweight enough for the show.  As it would turn out, as I watched the show, there were several contestants smaller than us and stories that did not match ours.  I also noticed, yes I was very observant last night,  many of the contestants were from Georgia and a handful from Florida.  I think that realization hurt bad.  I began wondering/questioning again why we weren’t good enought for this show.  What about our story didn’t make us good enough?!?

Yes, as I watched the show, I cried along with the contestants — I couldn’t help it!  Here comes another confession ladies and gentlemen. … I also cried a few tears and wanted to cry even more out of self pity.  I really suffered from the want and desire to change our lives and the lives of those around us, what is wrong with wanting to give my community something to be proud of?!?

After all being said, I survived the season premiere last night.  I enjoyed watching the changes the show made, how cool would it have been to be part of those changes!

 

“I Am Proud of You”

Many of you are aware, Robert and I set out on a journey yesterday.  This journey was very out of character for me!  It put me in a place of exposure, a place I wasn’t sure I was ready to be.   Yes, you know we auditioned for The Biggest Loser! Robert and I woke up yesterday morning around 3:00 and headed to Atlanta where we stood in line for over 5 hours in the heat and humidity.  The line for the audition wrapped a city block, which in Atlanta is gigantic!  While we were waiting for hours on end we were able to talk with individuals around us, hear their stories, and simply people watch.  The people watching was so much fun, LOL!   I realized while standing in line that no matter how rough our past 2 years have been with our up and down struggles there were people out there who had worse struggles!

I know and believe there was a reason we went to Atlanta.  There were too many details which had to fall right into place.  Then when we were praying and seeking God the hardest about if we needed to go or not, we received a phone call!   The phone call came from California and it was the producers of the show asking us to attend auditions! Looking around at all the people in line, I began to wonder if all of this was for nothing BUT then I reminded myself that God had opened a door for us and only He could close it.  Now, looking back, I wonder why did God open the door for us, what is He trying to teach us?

Finally after FIVE long hours in the sun and heat we made it to our interview!   Our interview with ten other individuals, WHAT?!?!?!?!   Surely this had to be  a mistake, nope, no mistake!   I found myself in a daze, here we had stood in line all this time to have an interview with The Biggest Loser and we had to share our time with ten other people!  The biggest shocker was we only had seventy seconds to tell our story!   Seriously!  Seventy seconds is not enough time and was not enough time to tell our story, to show our personality and to persuade them we were the next Biggest Loser!   So, after sitting down, hearing others stories, it was time to share my story.  What should I say, what would I say, what did I say?!?  I simply told the truth, the simple truth!  This was my story, my shortened story (I had more to tell but in less a minute what all can you say):

I have been overweight my entire life.   I actually weigh now what I weighed as a freshman in high school.   All of this extra weight leads to one thing in school and that is what I seemed to get a lot.   From being slapped in the face every afternoon on the bus , to always being picked on by students and teachers — much of it was hidden and not visible to everyone.  Many times I felt as though I was invisible and worth very little.  Now, I find myself teaching in the county and school district I escaped from after graduation, the one I swore I would never come back to.  I want to be a role model for the students I teach, after all I teach in the unhealthiest  county in Florida.  I want to show these little ones I teach, that you can overcome your circumstances of growing up in a low income community and an unhealthy community and be SO much more!

I wondered from the time I left the interview room  if I said enough BUT I mean I only had a few seconds to talk — actually less than the seventy seconds, I was told I would have.  I pondered if my story of wanting to give back was enough!   Robert had assured me it had to be!   He said I was the only one who even mentioned giving back — everyone else simply mentioned their struggles!

 So when I went to bed at 1:00 A.M. this morning, waiting on a phone call back from the producers, to which I am still waiting on (we were told they would be making call backs between Saturday and Monday) I felt a peace that no matter what happens I placed myself out there.  I did something, I normally wouldn’t do — I made myself vulnerable!   I did what I knew I was supposed to do — I went through the door God opened for me.

But to make sure I understood He was pleased with me and I did what I was supposed to do, this morning – early, very early – I heard these words directly from God, ” I Am Proud of You!

Robert and I.  Our second anniversary picture.

Robert and I. Our second anniversary picture.