“you can’t take the sky from me….”

Any other Firefly fans out there? 😉 we just started watching reruns again. Such a short lived series…. But so good…

Anyways, hello!! I’ve been off for a while with intentions of posting for the past month or so and just haven’t been able to find the time…but here we are…

I’ve still been doing pretty well. There’s always room for improvement. My exercise is pretty solid. Still working on my eating and that will always be the case. Just looking to improve day by day.

So ~ wow…it’s been a while and it seems that there’s a lot to talk about???

I signed up for a 5K!! Which is absolutely crazy…. It’s the Glo-Run in Louisville on May 24th. I’ve never done anything like it but it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. It just happens to be on the one year anniversary of my joining Body Under Contstruction. The difference a year can make is just plain ridiculous. This time last year I could hardly walk a mile briskly and here I am jogging/walking 3 miles every Friday to train for the 5K! I’m pretty excited. I can’t say I aspire to be a runner but I’d like to be able to run….and since I’ve been making that a part of the routine it seems like the weight is going down quicker! I am game for that!

Let’s see… Couple of weeks ago me and a group of friends went to see Jillian Michael’s on her Maximize Your Life tour. I had a great time and she was awesome. A few things she said led me to look into some more of her material after we got home so I’ve listened to a few of her podcasts…. She has quite a few and they are very informative. She talks about different topics not always food or exercise, but always something life related or health focused. One particular podcast she was discussing hormones and metabolism and got to talking to a caller about PCOS and I found what she was saying very interesting. For those of you that don’t know, PCOS is a hormonal syndrome, it stands for poly cystic ovarian syndrome. It involves a lot more than cystic ovaries though. With this syndrome you are more susceptible to cysts on your ovaries -which can be no big deal or cause huge issues. In my case, when I was 11 years old (pre-diagnosis & per-menstrual) I had to have an emergency surgery. I had woke up that morning and started having abdominal pain and through out the course of the day I was in unbearable pain and vomiting uncontrollably. When I went to the ER they initially treated me as if it was appendicitis and when they went in to do the appendectomy they found my right ovary was detached from the fallopian tube and so they had to remove it. This happens sometimes in cases of PCOS where a cyst will develop and be rather large and it causes the ovary to twist and sometimes detach from the tube. Once it does that there’s nothing to do to save it, it basically has to be removed. It wasn’t until years later that I learned I had PCOS and that was the reason for my surgery. At the time, being a kid, I just thought it was something that happened randomly. As an adult and understanding the syndrome a little better I can see how one thing led to another.

Anyways, the issue with PCOS besides the cysts is the hormonal imbalance. Creates high androgens which can cause the person to stop ovulating, more prone to acne and unwanted body hair. It can also create an insulin resistance which obviously increases the risk of diabetes. Gaining weight and having difficulty losing weight is also a part of it.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that PCOS is the blame for my weight gain, because I fully take responsibility for my situation. But the more I learn, the more I realize that it probably played a big role in things. PCOS most likely amplified my weight gain and my weight gain amplified the PCOS.

All through high school and early adulthood I would go months without a period. As a teenager I was ecstatic… I was athletic and thought I was lucky to not have periods. But after I got married and the idea of children came up I started to pay more attention to my body and caring a little more about my health. I did birth control for a while because it causes ovulation. I also took Metformin for a while because, while it is a diabetic medication, it also makes women ovulate, so since I had this idea that I wanted to have a baby, I figure that was a sure way to make sure I went through a monthly cycle. I took it for about a year and then decided to stop. I’m not real good with taking medicine anyways, I’ve never been one to stick to a pill schedule because I don’t remember and don’t want to be tied to prescriptions all the time. I take things as needed…otherwise I’m content letting my body be as is.

At some point I decided that I needed to stop trying to have a baby and start trying to get healthy. It occurred to me that if I was to get pregnant that I was in no shape to have a healthy pregnancy and that scares me. I don’t want to put myself or a child at risk. So my focus changed and I decided it was time to get my health under control.

Ever since I’ve made exercise a regular habit (4-5 times a week) I’ve not missed a single period. I’ve read that exercise and weight loss can help PCOS and will help ovulation and hormone balancing. Seems to be true! But back to Jillian… So I was listening to her talk to a caller about PCOS and a lot of the things she said struck a chord with me. She talked about how food can be used to help balance hormones and cleaning up your diet can go a long way to making a lot of things better…. I can’t remember at this moment all of the things Jillian was saying but she mentions to this particular caller that she had a book called Master Your Metabolism and in it she explains all of the hormone stuff and how foods can either help or hinder them. So I got the book… And wow! I’m only about 30% into it but it’s amazing the information about the chemicals in food, the studies that link them to health and hormonal issues, and the things you can do diet wise to help put things back in business. Jillian really recommends seeing an actual endocrinologist if you have a hormonal issue as they are experts in that area and often know the best ways to treat hormonal imbalances, etc.

So I’m going to switch gears really quick to share with you that I had a doctors appointment today. It was one of my check up follow ups that I’ve been doing every few months. I had labs on Monday to check the usual…blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. I also “weigh in” so to speak and discuss things with the doctor and how they are going, etc. I am extremely HAPPY to report that all of my blood work is in normal levels. My HGB A1C is in complete normal range and I am no longer pre-diabetic!!! Which she told me that last time but I was still on the the high end of the range, but now I am right in the middle of normal!! Woohoo!! My LDL (bad) cholesterol is in good range and my HDL (good) cholesterol is also in good range. She was very excited at my progress…in lab values and also my weight as I am down 20lbs since I saw her last. So that is awesome news!!

What’s really cool are the other words that came out of her mouth…

“You’ve basically reversed your PCOS”. Omg, seriously!?! I never dreamed I’d hear those words!

As happy as I am that she said it, I still requested to see an endocrinologist. I’ve never seen one before and I’d like to have more in depth tests of my hormones done to make sure they are all in good shape and the endo that I’m seeing also specializes in metabolic and diabetes and so I think she’ll be a great fit in making sure internally everything is going well and in alignment. It won’t hurt to know and I think will probably give me a great peace of mind. I do hope to have kids one day and I want to be in the best shape possible when I do. This is one area that’s obviously been a big factor in my health and it’s probably way long over due that I see a specialist… Even though my GP says I reversed it. After having read and listened to Jillian talk so much on hormones I just know this is something I’ve got to do. Even if all she does is tell me I’m good. 🙂

So that’s the biggest gist of what’s up with me these days. I’ve been learning a lot about foods and their capabilities to heal or damage your body. I don’t just mean vegetables vs fried foods. I’m talking about chemicals and manufactured “foods” that are really linked to so many health issues. I heard a story this week which seems to be a common opinion amongst many books and articles and topics I’ve heard and that is…. Food can heal. The story I heard this week was of a woman who was diagnosed with liver cancer and she completely changed her diet..switching to clean healthy eating – lots of vegetables and natural whole foods. And she is completely cancer free now having not taken any chemo or radiation or the likes. That’s just one example of many that I’ve heard. So many things in our body can be changed and reversed if only we’d feed our body nutritious whole foods rather than manufactured processed crap and eliminate all of the chemicals.

We’ll have to discuss this further in future posts, I’m sure you’re tired at this point as am I. (It’s 2 a.m.) 🙂 We’ll talk soon my friends… Thanks for stopping by!

Taco Chicken Bowl – Feb 23rd

This is a recipe I pinned off pinterest a while ago and thought I’d give it a go this week…. mainly because I already had the majority of the ingredients here already which made my grocery shopping a lot easier! One of the most useful and convenient things we do when meal planning is taking stock of what is in the freezer/pantry/fridge and building menus around ingredients on-hand. This is wise financially as well… 🙂

So this week I bring you…. Taco Chicken Bowls…. for the website that this originated on click here.

1.5 lbs chicken breasts
1 (16 oz) jar of salsa
1 (15 oz) can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
cracked black pepper to taste
2 cups dry rice (brown)
garnish with shredded cheese and cilantro (optional)

tacobowlI put the chicken breasts in the crock pot, the jar of salsa, corn, beans, seasonings. Add about 1/4 cup of water just for good measure. Stir everything together but make sure chicken stays towards bottom of crock pot. Now the original recipe said to cook for 8 hours on low. However, I didn’t have that kind of time since I didn’t get started with my prep until 5:30 pm Sunday night. So I found a conversion chart for cooking on high instead of low and that was 4 hours. So 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  Once finished, I took a butter knife and a fork and shredded the chicken up and stirred it all together.

Then I cooked up some brown rice… and then assembled them into my bowls for the week. About 1/4 cup brown rice then topped with chicken mixture…and there ya have it. I went ahead and sprinkled chopped cilantro on top so that I wouldn’t have to fool with that during my lunch break and it was finished. You can add shredded cheese on top if you desire and you could even add some diced avocado.

I used a mild salsa so this dish is not spicy. Which normally I would want spicy but since it’s a 5 day dish, I think going milder is better. Anyways… I already had the rice, chicken, beans and spices on hand so all I had to get was salsa.

It’s pretty tasty! This would be good as a taco night, taco salad, etc. The fun thing about dishes like these is they can be easily modified to your tastes and used in different ways!

Preparation = Success. 🙂

 

What is love?

I think all too many times, the word love has lost all the power that is really behind it. It’s almost cliche, overused, and tossed around nonchalantly.

I was going through a time recently where I couldn’t understand why someone who is suppose to love me, didn’t express and show that love in the way that I wanted them to. We’ve probably all been there whether we recognize it or not. Far too often we internalize this issue and think “there must be something wrong with me that they don’t love me” During this difficult time, a very dear friend of mine said something extremely wise and deep and it made so much sense that I believe it truly changed my outlook on this matter.

I am going to try my best to set this up so that it makes sense to you in the way it did me.

Love originates with God. We were created by God for love. He wants to love us, he wants us to love him and love one another. But oh how the enemy has really distorted and perverted this very simple truth…and we believe the lies about love. That love has to be earned, or that love comes with strings attached…or that love is based upon your performance. But that’s not true.

It took me a long time to understand this love from God. I found myself trying to put God into the confines of my own understanding. Ever have someone tell you that they “loved” you and ten years later that person is no longer in your life? Whether you were old or young, that teaches you something about “love” with other humans. People can tell you they love you but when you are no longer meeting some need in their life, you are disposable. That’s not true love. I could sit here and go into the 1 Corinthians 13 chapter, often deemed as the Love chapter, but I imagine most of you have heard it.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.

When you start viewing love where it originates, you start to get the picture of what love means to God. What true, infalliable love really is. There’s nothing about those verses in Corinthians that is confusing…it’s pretty black and white to me…but we are no good at that kind of love…

Back to my dear friend… I was hurting over someones failure to love me in the way that they should.. and her words of wisdom were “They don’t know love like you know love. They haven’t grasped the love of God like you have, and therefore they do not know how to truly love you in the way that you want them too. They love you the best they know how.”

And I was like, wow. That’s it. Because I see love as God originally created it. Unending, unfailing…perfect love.

The inspiration behind this post I’m writing to you comes as an extension of church this morning. I witnessed people recieving a word from God today and I saw people really beginning to understand this idea: God loves you. And some of these people are people who are in church every Sunday. And I wonder…how many people haven’t truly grasped this concept?

I am just overflowing from the heart to tell you… whoever you are reading this right now that you aren’t looking at this blog by chance. Many of you are probably people who read for the fitness side of my blog. And that’s okay. But you are reading this specific post for a reason.

You need to know that God loves you. Not in a generic “oh he created us all so he loves us all” kind of way. I don’t say this lightly. He created you just the way you are. Regardless of what you’ve done in your life, regardless of what has happened to you, and quite honestly regardless of whether or not you believe in Him. He made you for love…and He loves you. He is not mad at you and he is not disappointed in you. You are his child and you are always welcome in his house. There are no strings attached. No matter what you do after you read this post, he desires to fellowship with you.

You have to come to know how much he loves you. Because once you grasp that …everything about your life will change.

Maybe you have some misconceptions about God and who he is. Maybe it’s stems from past hurts, or difficult times in your life. It’s understandable, I’ve been there… I wasn’t “raised” in church and I didn’t always know what I know now. I know pain, I know disappointment and I know abuse.  But I also know this: God doesn’t put harm on you, he doesn’t punish you, he isn’t out to reprimand you and beat you down. The things I experienced in my life weren’t God’s fault. There’s an enemy that’s out to steal, kill and destroy and he will stop at no ends to do just that. God promises that he makes all things new… and the person writing this to you now isn’t the same girl she was years ago when hell was breaking loose around her. Not to keep quoting songs or even scriptures, but he makes all things new and He redeems us…he brings beauty from pain. I have the heart I have now because I experienced the things I did. I know love because I know pain and I know loss. I can appreciate things deeper because I understand what it means to be without….

Regardless of what you’ve done and what’s been done to you…He created you, He see’s you, He knows you, and He loves you. You are important. You are valuable.

I’m attaching a favorite song of mine… it’s been done by several artists, but this is powerful… take a moment and just attempt to fathom how loved you are… I don’t want to get into long rants of theology and try to explain the ways of God and why we have pain and hurt in our lives. I have one message for this post and it’s really an attempt to get you to even consider how special you are, how loved you are and how important you are….so humor me for just a couple more minutes and listen to this song…

 

 

The BAND Wagon….

You know the phrase… “get on the band wagon” “fell off the band wagon” “jumping back on the band wagon”

Did you know that this phrase goes back to the days of Barnum and the circus? The circus used to parade through town on what they called Band Wagons to advertise and get people to come to the circus. Politicians later adapted this method when campaigning for office. Now that I know that, I think back to high school when we would have the homecoming parades and we would create floats and cruise around town and people would jump on or jump off of them… that’s the mental picture I get now when I think about a “band wagon”…

We often use this phrase to talk about joining an idea or thought or habit… and we use it when we stop doing that thing we had joined. A lot of times (in my world anyways) it’s referred to when dieting or exercising. We fall off the band wagon when we have a period of time when we are eating junk and not caring and we jump back on when we suddenly decide to diet and exercise again. I have said it many times (probably in a former blog post at that).

A friend said this to me this week: “I have failed time and time again with this “weight loss” issue. It make me cringe when I say “I’m gonna do it this time, this time it’s for real, this time I’m not giving up”  And I know exactly what she is talking about. It’s hard to go through that cycle, it just makes you feel worse every time.  And then we take those negative feelings and we want to turn around and cope with food, furthering the issue! And then we don’t want to tell anyone that we’re going to try to lose weight for fear of accountability and if we fail then we have to own up to it.

Here is what I think the problem is… we are too hard on ourselves and we leave ourselves no room for failure. I can’t tell you how many times (in the past) I would start a “diet” and I would do so great for a few days, maybe a few weeks, and then I’d have one bad day and cancel out everything I had done up to that point and use that as an excuse to eat junk …until the next wave of motivation came along and then I’d start the cycle all over again. How frustrating is this?

I know all of this because I have been through all of it. That’s why it took so long for me to get to a breaking point. I was stuck in this tail spin for a long time.

doing How true is this saying? I’ve heard it in different forms over the years.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

“To get what you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

And so on. But it’s all the same meaning. I spent years in that cycle. I never saw real change. I would have spurts of success but never anything that lasts and I never really felt different.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned: I’m going to have bad days, weak moments… it’s inevitable.

The trick to this whole journey that I am on is this: Each day is a new day. Each experience (whether good or bad) is a learning experience. So I resolve to get up every morning and try again. To improve upon yesterday and to take notice of what I failed at so that I can learn from it. Every time I fail I get stronger. I embrace it. I am obviously not purposefully failing…but I am not beating myself up for a bad day or a weak moment. That is the key to where I am right now.

I am not perfect. And I hope I never come across that way. I decided to be open and transparent with this journey which terrified me…because as many people do, I was worried what everyone would think of me. What if they knew what my numbers were? What if they talk bad about me and gossip and I’ll look like a bad person and be ashamed and hurt by it. Quite frankly, it’s been the exact opposite. Opening up about it, facing it head on and allowing others in has given me strength and support I did not anticipate. And quite frankly, if someone is talking bad about me or judging me by those numbers, it really speaks to their character and not mine, and so I will not define myself by other peoples flaws. Back to my original point: I am not perfect. Yes, I am seeing results, and I am choosing to celebrate the little things and the big things, but I don’t have it all worked out. I’m a work in progress. I just wake up with the desire to get it right and I try again. And every day gets a little better. So….I have decided that I’m burning the band wagon. There’s no more jumping on and falling off. I’ve got a one way ticket towards my goal and I won’t stop. Even when I fail or get it wrong, I’ll just try again tomorrow.

mercies

My Source Of Strength….

Deuteronomy 20:4“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Psalm 118:14“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 40:29“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

2 Samuel 22:40“You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.”

Philippians 4:13“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

Today’s theme is strength. Strength to fight off the feelings of insecurity and weakness that we need food to make us feel better. We draw comfort from the Holy Spirit, not food. And God gives us the strength we need to withstand temptation.

One last one about temptation:

1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind, and God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Comfort is NOT FOOD!!!

2 Corinthians 1:5

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so should our comfort come through Christ.”

 2 Corinthians 1:6

“If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”

 Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they will comfort me.”

 Deuteronomy 31:8

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.”

 Psalm 55:22

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Food is not our (mine or yours) comforter. The Holy Spirit is our comforter. J

The Puzzle That Is Me

I just had a funny realization about the metaphor with puzzles. Funny how when you get  a puzzle you have a picture of what the completed scene is, and when you get all the pieces out it’s just a jumbled mess and you can’t make out any of the scene. You can see pieces of it, but without the reference, you have no idea what it’s about. But slowly and surely someone takes and puts the pieces where they should go. Twisting, sliding, nudging, pushing, pulling, one by one each puzzle piece lands in it’s correct spot. 

At the end of this puzzle, in it’s completion, if you step back and look at it, it’s perfect. It’s a completed picture. You can’t see all the cracks and crevices of the pieces unless you get close enough and look at them. But look at the scene as a whole, you can’t tell it was ever broken.

You see where I am going with this? We are all puzzles. Some of us are shattered into pieces, some of us have started putting those pieces together and are coming together nicely. 

For me… I am the puzzle. Jesus is the puzzle-doer. The “reference” would be the word of God. And slowly but surely He is placing my pieces together. And it’s a life-long process. When the puzzle is complete and solid I believe is the day I am standing before my maker and He has made me new and whole.

Revelation 21:5  “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”