Just Breathe

The quote of the day during spin class at the gym this morning was, “Breathe in confidence..Breathe out doubt.” After the instructor shared it, I began breathing in and out, deeply, as I repeated those words over and over with each stroke of the pedals, yearning to pull myself back to that place.

Oh, how I love being in a place of confidence, filled with joy and assurance going throughout my day, overflowing to a place of being able to encourage and help others… but that has not been the place I have been in, and stayed in, for such a long time. It’s been a long, tough year–a long weight loss journey, along with many ups and downs in health dilemmas with my parents, the death of a close friend, along with a huge job transition time for my husband. With so many prayers that may have seemed to go unanswered so far, sometimes I’ve actually had to stop and remind myself to… just breathe.

I’m so tired of letting the waves of doubt come in. As they hit me over and over again, I find myself drowning in fear….and I hate being in a place of fear. So as the spin instructor reminded me to “breathe in confidence….and breathe out doubt” this morning, I had to go right back to that place and pray, once again, for God to show me how.

So, if I have been at that confident, joy filled place before, how did I get there? How do I get back there? How do I breathe that in? The definition of confidence is, “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.” So, where do I place my firm trust? Whether it is success in the battle with weight loss, dealing with the health issues or even the death of others, or battling doubt and fear, my confidence has come from holding onto, and trusting God’s promises. Therefore, when my confidence is gone and doubt and fear is overtaking me, I have to grab onto those promises once again and get back to a place of complete trust.

A close friend once shared, “make sure during those great mountain top times in your life, the times when everything is going great…that you are making time to read God’s word and take in His wisdom and promises, because when the valleys come (and they will come, because you can’t have mountains without valleys), you will have what you need to get through.” I’m so thankful that she shared this years ago, because I have placed, and continue to place, those promises in my heart and mind, so that I can breathe them in once again….”Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7) “I can do All things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13),  “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Hebrews 10;35-36) ” “He works All things together for good, for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).   He hears, He sees, He counts every tear that falls down your cheeks (Psalm 56:8), He answers, He loves us, He has amazing plans for our lives. This is what I have to breathe in and remember.

When I feel myself drowning, I also shout out an SOS to friends and family who can help. Don’t stay isolated. Reach out and ask for help, shout for help. Staying alone is the worse thing you can do. Others will give you a new perspective, they will do what they can to help, offer support, give you a shoulder to cry on, remind you of the promises you have forgotten, or have not yet heard..and many times God will use someone who has been through the same thing to encourage you and give you hope through their story. Breathing in their testimony with give you hope and renew your faith.

So I breathe in—remembering that He has provided everything I have needed up until this very day, and trust that he will do so, again, tomorrow and the next day….I look back at all of the amazing “God-incidences” (not coincidences) which have happened in my life, and trust that He is working on all of the things I am worried about. I breathe out— letting go of the doubt. Asking him to calm those waves of doubt overtaking me—trading fear for faith. Choosing to trust. Trust….even the word itself, begins and ends with the cross t rus t….”Remember, Wendy, He is ALL that He says He is, and can do ALL that He says He can do. Wipe your tears, let the anxiety go– You can be confident once again… from overwhelmed to overjoyed…….Just breathe.”





“Fall” down….or “Fall” into a new lifestyle this season…

Every single year of my life, “Fall” would be my annual starting time for beginning my diet (again), full on! Fall is when the kids go back to school, life gets back into a schedule, and it’s the perfect time to start fresh. Every year I would go into that “all or nothing” mode. I would create a new plan, I would go to extreme measures to exercise as much as I could, and I would choose a strict diet to follow, something that would promise big numbers to lose in a short amount of time. (we have all tried all of them). My plans would work for a few weeks, until I just couldn’t sustain the “all or nothing” mentality, the crazy, unsustainable diet, or the amount of time I thought I could do extreme exercises. This usually happened right around Columbus Day weekend or Halloween. Holidays and parties and gatherings would begin, and I would start to “fall” a bit.

After a few falls, I would start to tell myself, “ok, after Halloween, whatever day it falls on, just start on the next Monday, again”. The extreme things I was trying to do, had me craving what I couldn’t have, or I was just irritated and hungry, wondering how long I could really keep this up… and the crazy foods and tough schedule was never going to become part of a lifestyle that I would keep doing for very long.

Before I knew it, Thanksgiving was around the corner. If I hadn’t blown yet, I certainly blew it for Thanksgiving. After the four day Thanksgiving weekend eating extravaganza… I would be so upset with myself… bloated, stuffed and defeated, I was already telling myself, “ok, this isn’t working for now, and there’s no way I can do this through the holidays, so I’ll REALLY start, full on again after Christmas and New Years. (which really means January 2nd, because January 1st is New Year’s Day, which is usually another day for gathering and eating.) Needless to say, by January 2nd, I was always much heavier than I was when I originally set out to begin in September. I had fallen and failed once again, and was heavier than ever. Sometimes I even missed parties we were invited to, out of embarrassment of how I looked, or because, during yet another year of holidays, I had nothing to wear. Years and years I wondered, “Would I ever be able to break this cycle? Would I ever be able to be victorious in this battle?”…… and I can finally answer….”YES!”

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These past two years, one of the greatest pieces of wisdom that I have learned is, “you are just ONE MEAL away from getting back on track”. When I “fall” down or slip, I can choose to get right back up at the next meal. NOT tomorrow….NOT Monday…..NOT the first of the month….NOT after the holidays….NOT January 2nd. I can be right back on track at the next meal. I am just one great choice away from getting back on track. This has changed my life!

one meal away Another great piece of wisdom…”Don’t let your “Holiday”…become a holi-week….or a holi-month….it is just one day. holidayJPG
If you have already found yourself “falling” a bit with your weight loss and fitness at this point, and you are worried about not “enjoying” the holidays with food and friends, feeling like you should just give up until after the holidays..STOP!!! DON’T GIVE UP, DON’T be that person who quits!! You CAN do this!!!

IstepsJPG fall stairs

Think about this…between now and January 2nd there are only 6 days of holidays….Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We are not overweight because of 6 days of overeating. If you would like to give yourself a little freedom for a meal or a party on those days, then just enjoy those days as they come, decide which parties or foods that day are “worth it” to you. BUT, you MUST make the best decisions for all the meals and snacks for all of the other days in between.

If you have started great this fall, and you are still motivated on your journey, keep on going. Make one great choice at a time. If you have slipped a bit….don’t fall all the way. You are right back on track at your very next meal. Don’t promise yourself to start again in the “future some time”, and then find yourself choosing to just keep falling hard, eating as much as you can get in before the clock strikes “midnight” the day before you “really start”. We have all been there. The damage we do before that date, up until midnight strikes, causes us to be in such a state of regret once again, with so much more weight to take off.

When you hear people share, who have truly been successful with weight loss, and they have kept it off for a good amount of time, they always say, “I finally realized it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” That is what I am striving for this time in my weight loss journey. I’m finding ways to move and do exercises/classes/activities, that fit into my daily life. I am eating great foods that I love that help boost metabolism and cause my body to work at it’s best: Delicious foods, not diet foods—foods that I want to eat the rest of my life, not just for a short time to try to take off the weight. This is how it all becomes your new lifestyle.

Let this fall be the start of your new season of life, making one great choice at a time, leading you to a whole new lifestyle. Find a support group, surround yourself with people who believe in you. Reach out to those who will help and inspire you, people who will help you get back up when you fall. Ask for help. Find the right plan that works for you, one that you can see yourself doing for a lifetime. For me, I have found that Weight Watchers has all of this. It is the only plan that allows me to work in absolutely anything I want to eat, and still lose weight. The more you learn, the more you will make even better and better choices for living a healthy and fit lifestyle. Choose the exercises and activities you love to do, choose the weight loss plan that you can sustain for a lifetime.

And remember… this fall, when you fall, you are only ONE meal away from getting right back on track. (Don’t wait until January 2nd!) YOU CAN DO THIS!!! BELIEVE!!

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Going From A Setback To A Comeback…

Yes, Christmas and New Year’s is officially over, and it is definitely time to get back in the gym, choose to eat healthy, and go back to making one great choice at a time, again. I was doing so great, and allowed myself to slip a bit during the holidays, and boy was it tough going through that first workout on Jan. 2, 2104. But as I struggled going back, like so many of us do, I went to bed on Jan. 1st, and I just asked God to bring back all that I have learned, asked for the strength to move forward, and went to sleep praying for Him to provide all that I needed to get back and get moving, to be able to finish what I started. And again, as the promise states…..”The Lord Provides”.

Jan.2nd , I woke up early, dreading having to go to the gym, but worse than that, already beating myself up for all that I felt I needed to “un-do”….the yucky eating, how gross my body and stomach felt, the pounds gained so easily in less than 2 weeks, that took months to take off. And so here comes the first big choice…keep condemning myself and give in and wallow in this and continue to eat the wrong things still in the house from the holidays…or, choose to start putting those logs on the fire, (great choices) one by one (as Olivia Ward, winner of the Biggest Loser) shared with us…in order to get fired up and burning with passion and desire and motivation again.

At this point, I have to remember I’ve lost about 95 pounds, so clearly I know how to do it, but I have to choose to get back to doing it again. That was going to take holding onto all that I had learned…not only what to eat, how much, etc…. but holding onto every truth and every bit of knowledge that got me here.

I stepped out of bed with words from Andrew Pittsenbarger in my head (he spoke to us at Unleash the Champion..had lost over 140 pounds at the time). He told us that just by choosing to show up and move and exercise, no matter how fast or slow you are going, you are lapping everyone who is still sitting on the couch! I grabbed my bag with my spinning shoes and stuff for the gym, and all I said to myself was, ‘Wendy, just choose to show up at the gym, and you are already lapping everyone on the couch.”

When I got to the gym, and set up the bike, I was still dreading the workout. My body felt so gross from all the junk I had eaten. I had already stepped on the scale and was 10 pounds up (I know all of that weight is not all real, (salt, last day of binging before getting back on track, lack of drinking all my waters, etc… and will come off as soon as I stop the insanity, and the faster I get going, the faster it will come off and not stay). I had to face the damage and move on.

The music started, everyone came in to set up…each and every person admitting to sabotaging what they had worked so hard for, giving into the pressures of the holidays…but we were all back and ready to get going.

At that point, I thought about another thing Andrew had shared with me when we were on a hike…he said, “picture the ocean, and then picture pouring a pepsi into the ocean. Does the pepsi pollute and wreck the entire ocean? No, because the ocean is so much more vast, and you are only dumping one can of soda. Think of your week like that.” He continued to share, “all week long I would eat horrible things, and then I would throw in a few salads or healthy things, expecting to lose weight, but most of my week was bad things, so these few healthy things couldn’t make a difference. In my life now, my weeks are filled, meal after meal with healthy things that fuel my body and make me strong and healthy. If once in a while I would like to enjoy a piece of cheese cake, I do. I enjoy it fully, and it doesn’t change what I have done, because for weeks and weeks my food has been good. I’m putting a can of pepsi in the ocean…my ocean is all good stuff now. That one treat will not undo everything.”

I also remembered one of the most important things I learned from Carter Hays, when we worked out with him on his turf. He expected us to bring OUR best, not anyone else’s. The only person I need to outdo every day is me. This workout was tough for everyone in the room, even the very fit woman on the bike next to me. She was moaning and having a really hard time breathing and pushing through the class, and I was a bit relieved to hear others having a hard time along with me. It’s really frustrating how taking off almost 2 weeks can affect your strength, ability, endurance, etc. But step by step it will come back, and even faster, since we have been working so hard most days this past year.

As Elyse, our WW instructor says, “you may have fallen down a few steps, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself down the entire flight of stairs. Stand up and turn around and start climbing again. Step by step, choice by choice. You will reach the top.”

As I pedaled and started the spin class, I had to remind myself… This week and a half of some really bad choices is not going to take away what I have done these past 2 years of changing my life. I have worked so hard for over 100 weeks, and stopping the wrong choices now and going back to what I have been doing right the rest of the year will keep my ocean, my life clean and back toward a new lifestyle of healthy eating, getting stronger and more fit. Time to stand up, turn and face the top again, and take it step by step. I will reach the top.

I continued to spin and pray and bring to mind so many of the truths I have to now grab onto again, and move forward and back into this new lifestyle I want to be my beautiful ocean of life.

*You are only 1 meal away from getting back on track.

*Get up and drink your hot water and lemon juice first thing and take your vitamins

*You must track your food and your movement (bottom line, if you don’t move more than you consume, you will not lose the weight.)…back to writing down, measuring the food, food scale back out on the counter…and putting my heart monitor on as soon as I get up in the morning, making sure the calories burned are what I need for the day.