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305 lbs. Family Time

It felt great to finish the Couch to 5K program and to run my first 5K.  The last thing I wanted to do at this point was to lose any progress I had made during the summer.  I continued to try to run three miles three days a week from home.  Once daylight savings time went into effect this became very difficult.  Not only was there less daylight everyday, the weather was not very cooperative either.  Once the leaves started falling and they became wet, it was very treacherous going.  Running at night and not being able to see made it even more dangerous.

October also brought my first grandchild!  Prior to that my pregnant daughter ended up in the hospital in the middle of the night with the flu.  I had to enter the hospital at the emergency room and then go down to the maternity ward which is at the other end of the hospital.  I was told it was half a mile.  I ran it (literally) without any problems–something I couldn’t have done that long ago.

My good friend and cheerleader, Mr. G., told me one day that I was an inspiration to him.  He bought a membership to a community center near him for his entire family and was going there almost daily to work out.  I was a bit dumbfounded and asked, “How did I inspire you?”  “By all of those texts you sent me telling me to get up off my a**,” He said.  In shock I said, “I never sent such texts.”  His reply was, “That’s how I felt every time you told me you were running.”  I never knew that my texts were perceived that way.  When I was working, I was on call 24/7.  I felt it a responsibility to let him know when I was running on the days I worked in case someone tried to get a hold of me and couldn’t.

In the middle of December I got a phone call from Mr. G., “I’ve lost 15 pounds!”  I had not, so feelings of jealousy and unkind thoughts were what went through my head.  I felt like it was my turn to be the cheerleader, so in a cheerful voice I said, “Way to go, congratulations!”

Once Thanksgiving got here, running was almost impossible.  There would be a day here and there that I could run, but nothing consistent.  I also needed to support my daughter and her husband who were first-time parents, so I let family life take over.

The community center where I took classes also changed their fee structure.  Initially you could sign up for classes and just pay to go to those classes.  Now, you were required to have a membership and all classes were included in your membership fee.  I wasn’t sure that I was willing to pay for a membership just yet.  I really, really loved running, so I really only needed a membership during the winter months that I was not able to run outside.

I knew the Commit to Get Fit program would be starting again in January, so I decided to hold out until then.  I didn’t think I would get my money’s worth out of a full-year membership, so I decided to enjoy the time I had with my family until then.

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Suffering Produces Endurance

Thank you Christian for nominating me for a 3-Day Quote Challenge.  Here are three quotes I’d like to share with my readers.

“Donald Trump will be our next president.”  This statement came from my competitive friend, Mr. G.,  in September 2015.  At that point, I wasn’t convinced that Donald Trump still wouldn’t drop out of the presidential race.  I can hear Mr. G. now, “I win, you lose.”  (I guess that makes two quotes?)

“Boring is good,”  Mr. D.  As far as life goes, yes.  The less drama the better.  Ya’ll know what I mean.

“Hurting people hurt people.”  A very wise friend, Mrs. W., said these words to me at a time that I was advising two ladies that had had a conflict.  These words have stuck with me.  I don’t always stop and think about them when I should–when I’m about to or have already lashed out at someone.  Instead of lashing out, I need to stop and think why I’m hurting and solve that problem instead of creating another.

These words come to mind more often when someone else hurts me.  It immediately draws my attention away from myself and the injury I have sustained and back towards the person that inflicted the injury.  They must be hurting.  How?  Why?  I immediately feel sorrowful for that person instead of myself and for the pain they must be experiencing.

Romans 5:3-4 tells us that suffering produces endurance:  “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,”  Let’s not forget that “faithful are the wounds of a friend,” Proverbs 27:6.

When I think of endurance, Hebrews 12:1 always comes to mind, “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  After taking up running in 2015, I completely understand that running is all about endurance.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or how much weight you can lift, if you are lacking endurance you won’t get very far.  Of course, this verse is referring to our spiritual endurance.  We need endurance to get through life physically and spiritually.

The next time you are wounded by a friend, try to remember that hurting people hurt people and focus back on your friend and their wounds instead of yours.  But, when you do think of your wounds, remember that suffering produces endurance, which is something we need for survival.  Endurance produces character, and character produces hope which I believe is as important as the air we breathe.

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Make Your Own Energy Bars

Sometime last year I saw a video on how to make these energy bars.  I put it on the back burner and let it percolate for a while.  At the time I had found some protein bars that I could buy that really tasted great.  I could get them at an affordable price, so I went on buying them.  Eventually, I was no able to get them at that great price, and I noticed that every time I ate one that I would get really, really thirsty afterwards. I decided that for my pocketbook and for my health, it was probably better to make my own so that I could control the ingredients.

I invite you to take the recipe and make it your own.  Experiment by using different nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.  I have stuck to almonds on this one because it’s a nut that no one in our house is allergic to.  I have tried various seeds and dried fruit as they are available and as they go on sale.  Some I like better than others but all have been delicious.  The important thing is that everything is raw, not roasted, unsalted, and no added sugars.

As a side note, I never did see an attribution for this recipe; so I am unable to give credit to the creator.

Almond Berry Energy Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (berries are best, make sure there is no added sugar)
  • 1/3 cup coconut, no sugar added
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1/8 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (optional)
  • salt to taste (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of an 8X8 baking dish with parchment paper.  Grease the sides with coconut oil.  Believe me, the hardest thing about this recipe is getting it out of the pan!

In a medium size bowl, mix dry ingredients except for the chocolate.  If you like your bars chunky, set aside 1/2 cup of the mixed dry ingredients.

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Add the bowl of dry ingredients (except for the chocolate) and the remaining wet ingredients to a food processor.  (I used dried blueberries for my fruit in this one.)  Blend well.

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Pull the blade from the food processor and add the chocolate chips and the 1/2 cup of dry ingredients that was set aside.  Stir well.

Place the mixture into the 8X8 baking dish.  Use a spoon to spread and pack well into the dish.  Bak at 350 F. for 25 minutes.  Make sure your bars are well done so that they will stick together.  The edges should be brown and the center should be firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from baking dish.  Go around the edge of your dish with a knife and make sure they are all free from the pan before flipping the bars out onto a cutting board.  Once removed, allow the bars to cool to room temperature before cutting.

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Once cooled, cut your bars to the desired size.  I cut mine into 10 bars.  Wrap your bars in foil and store in the fridge.  I keep mine in a gallon ziplock bag so they’re easy to find and I know how many I have left.

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These are great before or after a workout.  Sometimes I have 1/2 before a workout and 1/2 after.  They really go great with a glass of nut milk.  They are also easy to take with you.  You can put one in your purse or jacket pocket if you’re out running errands and think you might need a snack while you’re out.

Please tell me about any variations you try.

Enjoy!

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Making my List; Checking it Twice

As I mentioned in my last post, I have begun reflecting on the past year and setting some personal goals for 2017.  I made a list of things I’d like to accomplish this year and how I’d like to get there.  Making the list is easy, but none of these things will happen if I don’t come up with a specific plan on how I’m going to get there.

The exercising part, I feel like I have down.  It’s as addictive as crack cocaine, so once you start doing it, you’re good.  There are those days that I don’t want to do anything.  I’ve had a couple of those days lately.  However, I’ve never had a time that I went for a run or to the gym and later thought, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that.”  I know if I make myself just go and do it that I’ll feel better afterwards.

Unfortunately, sugar and carbs are also just as addictive as crack cocaine.  I do not believe that I have a good handle on that part of the equation.  I probably do 75% of the time, but the social gatherings, holidays, and special dinners really blow me out of the water.  There’s been plenty of times with food that I’ve thought, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that.” This year I want to come up with a plan so that those times are fewer and fewer, even non-existent.

Below is my list of things to work on for 2017.  This list is not in any particular order.  Some of these things I’m already doing and I just need to continue with.  Some of these things I’ve done in the past, and I need to pick them up again.  Some of these things, like the social events, I need to come up with a plan and keep trying until I find something that works.

What are your goals for 2017?

  • Run a 10K:  Sign up, train, just do it!
  • October:  There is a destination race that I plan to go to.
  • Couch to 5K Group:  Do it again this year with an eye on improving myself and encouraging Cinderella who also wants to do the program.
  • Exercise 5-6 days a week:  Schedule (that means put it on the calendar) a run or workout everyday.  Go to the gym if the weather prohibits outdoor running.  Sunday:  walk in the afternoon if nothing else.  Keep a log.
  • Get a grip on social events:  Make a written plan to adhere to before the event.  Share it with someone else attending the event that will help keep me on track.  Or consider bringing my own food (salad in a jar?).
  • Vacation/holiday:  Create a written menu plan for vacations.
  • Quiet time:  First thing everyday.  One verse if nothing else.
  • Lose 50 lbs:  Log, log, log everything that goes into my mouth.  Drink lots of juice.  I am already signed up for a 30 day juicing challenge starting January 5.
  • Read more books:  No screen time until I have read at least one chapter in a book.
  • Less screen time:  Read more books.
  • Chi Running:  Work on figuring this thing out.
  • Review this list, reassess, and adjust monthly.  Set a calendar reminder.
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Reflecting on Hope

As the year comes to a close and we are about to embark on a new year, we often take time to reflect on the past year.  I have only done a little reflecting as there is still time left in the current year–so it seems.  I’m sure the new year will be here before I know it.

I know that I am lighter and stronger than I was this time last year.  I have not lost as much weight as I would have liked, but I feel that the part-time job that I worked for six months was a major derailment to my weight loss and my health.  I am glad to be off that crazy train and back on the road to health and well-being.  Getting stronger was not necessarily a goal or something that I intended; it was something that came about with the training that I’ve done.  It’s a good thing, so I’ll take it.

I spent January and February at the gym and was able to start running again in March.  I ran my first 5K of the year in April and ran a 5K every month except for July this year.  I did the Couch to 5K program again this year, but at a much better athletic ability.  I was able to continue to run until the last few weeks, so I’m spending more time at the gym now instead of outdoors.

My biggest fault in diet are the social gatherings.  I do not have a handle yet on portion control or just saying “no” to those yummy foods that pack on the pounds.  I have made some strides simply because I cannot eat as much as I used to.  This is something I really want to focus on next year.  I would like to go on vacation/holiday without putting on several pounds as well.

This time of year we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  His birth, death, and resurrection gives us hope.  I have hope of eternal life and one day being the person He intended me to be.  Hope of one day being reunited with family and loved ones that are severely missed.  Hope of never having to step on a scale again or log every morsel that goes into my mouth.  Hope of holding babies that I never had the opportunity to hold.  I pray that you too may share in the hope that the Savior brings.

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A PR and a Photo Finish!

Last Saturday I ran the Christmas Light 5K.  It was one of those runs that was a lot of fun.  It was a very cool and crisp 35 degrees.  There was a costume contest at 5:00 pm with the run starting at 5:30.  The whole idea of the run was to look at the Christmas lights through town and then pick your favorite after the race.  There was a Christmas light contest for the neighborhood, with $200 going to the winner!

There were people dressed in regular running attire, along with people in full costume:  Santa Claus, a snowflake, reindeer, Mrs. Claus, you name it.  How some of these people ran in their costumes, I’m not sure.  I had lots of garb on just trying to stay warm–something I found to be a hindrance later in the race.

As with any cool run, it took the first mile to get warm.  After that, I spent the rest of the race slowly taking off layers and trying to find a secure place to put said items until the end of the race.  I ended up running across the finish line with several things in my hand.  I was too busy running and keeping track of all my garb to take time to look at the lights.  Plus, I didn’t see anything to indicate which houses were in the contest and which ones weren’t.

I am not good at pacing myself, so I spent most of the race running with a friend–either side by side or right behind.  I did not feel as if I was doing well, so I refused to look at my Fitbit and see what my time or my pace was.  I knew I was not doing well.

As we rounded the last corner and began to sprint to the finish line, I said to my friend, “Are you going to race me?”  She said, “I have a feeling I’d lose.”  We both made a mad dash for the finish line, trying to get ahead of the other just by a nose.  We crossed the finish line side by side and then gave each other a hug of accomplishment.  I looked at the clock in amazement.  I knew it would be a PR for me.  At that moment I learned that it’s a lot more fun to cross the finish line with a friend, even if she beats you by 4/100 of a second!

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It’s a lot more fun to cross the finish line with a friend, even if she beats you by 4/100 of a second!

 

 

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Feeling Fabulous

I wrote in a previous post how this past summer had been a stressful one.  I think most of the time we don’t realize how detrimental stress is to our health.

I spent the summer (starting in May, actually) working a part-time job away from home.  I had worked this same job from home for three years.  The company I worked for was sold, and the new owners would not allow me to work from home.  This meant a lot of changes for our household.

Just being absent from home two days out of the week meant that I had seven days of home management to cram into five.  I came up with a schedule of how to get everything done.  It was tough and often meant running late at night.

Still, there were some things that were unavoidable with my absence.  The biggest of these was missing family time with my children and grandchildren.

And then, there was my health.  I spent the summer losing two pounds, gaining two pounds, losing two pounds, and gaining two pounds.  I was not able to exercise as often or at optimal times.  Often, I was running later at night which meant trouble sleeping that night.  There were times that I just didn’t feel up to par or felt that I was not getting the nutrients my body needed.  My last visit to the dentist started out with, “Have you been clenching your teeth again?”

However, it was not a total loss.  I was forced to find more efficient ways to do things around the house.  I found an awesome system for our homeschool that is working fabulously for us.  I also had to figure out how to prepare salads in a jar and other snacks that I could take on the run.

I had absolutely no complaints about my job or the people I worked with.  In fact, it was easy money.  Still, I had to let it go.  It was not something I wanted to do.  The extra income was nice.  I loved the people and the industry I worked in.  However, it was not worth the stress it was causing at home and the time I was missing with my family.

My last day of work was November 26, and I’m already enjoying the benefits.  My home is more relaxed and less stressful, I’m spending more time with my children and grandchildren, I’m running or going to the gym six days a week, I’m drinking lots of juice, the needle on the scale is steadily going down, and I feel fabulous!

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Guest posting for Chores?

Putting out an SOS for Opinionated Man:

HarsH ReaLiTy

Lori at https://loricamper.wordpress.com/ told me I better get my chores done since I am laying about while my wife is out with the kids at a party. Ok, so I am practical. I’ll trade some guest blogger slots for doing some of these chores…

1 – Noah, Luke, and Snowy need their cages cleaned. They are ferocious dragons on the outside, but guinea pigs on the inside.

2 – All the bathrooms need to be cleaned with that Mr. Clean stuff. That’s the big bald guy on the label.

3 – It would be nice if someone could bring down the vacuum cleaner which is upstairs. I’ll vacuum though because I don’t trust you’ll actually move furniture and clean under everything, instead of around everything.

4 – I need someone to move the couch downstairs and not like Gary did it last time. I still can’t find that couch…

5 –…

View original post 131 more words

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Less Than Palatable

There’s nothing like food and family.  That seems to be what Thanksgiving is all about for most of us in America.  It is the biggest travel time of the year–people traveling to be with family.  I am fortunate enough that all of my immediate family is close by.  We can all be together for every holiday.

This year was no different in that there was more than enough food for everyone.  We had the traditional Thanksgiving fare of turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and rolls, as well as various casseroles, salads, and desserts.  It seems like every family dinner we end up with more food as if we’ve lived through a famine and are afraid there won’t be enough.  This year we had so much food that there was no place to put it all.  Our solution was to stack the desserts on top of each other.  It brought a whole new meaning to the words ‘food pyramid.’

As I do every year, I looked forward to this meal.  Not only to the time with family, but to the food itself.  Most of the dishes that were served I only fix twice a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas) simply because we’ve changed our eating habits.  When dinner was served, I fixed my plate.  I took a little of everything and filled my plate with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, a roll, and a few more dishes–all loaded with carbs.

I had spent three weeks planning this meal, shopping for groceries, and then actually preparing the food.  That was three weeks of thinking about what was to come.  How delicious it was all going to be.  Then, I took my first bite and another and then another.  Let’s just say that I was severely disappointed.  This salt and carb-laden food which I had spent three weeks looking forward to consuming no longer tasted good to me.

Overall I thought this to be a good thing and thought how I would make different choices for Christmas dinner especially since I will not be hosting it and fixing the main courses.  What frightened me were the things that DID taste good–the chocolate brownies and the cheesecake.  I also remember taking a swig of Coke a few weeks ago and for the first time in over two years it actually tasted good.  I felt like a back-slidden sinner.  It scared me to death.  Evidently, my palate still needs some work.

Looking on the positive side, I did manage to get in a run Thursday night.  It did make me feel a lot better after having a heavy dinner.  And, I was pleasantly surprised to find Friday morning that the scale had not moved.

“Mom, you’re not old,

you’re only 58!” said my 8 year old to her 49 year old mother.