Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My "Little Black Dress" Moment!

Wow! It's already Wednesday and I still haven't gotten around to posting my weight-loss update, until now! Last week, I didn't even get around to posting it at all! Though, there wasn't much to say anyways considering that the scale showed a 1.8 pound gain (yeah, bummer). However, that was my first gain in a while so I wasn't too upset about it. I've been doing my best. I figured it had something to do with the fact that I was in the last week of the second phase of ChaLean Extremeand I always seem to level off at the end of a phase. Though, the upside was, the tape measure showed what the scale didn't. Almost everything that I measured was smaller (as it should be!). So, I know that I am building muscle and looking/feeling leaner (and my clothes show it too). So, the evil scale doesn't bother me as much....especially when I can wear a couple MEDIUM shirts that my BFF gave me of hers (yeah, I haven't been a medium since 8th or 9th grade!!!). 

I had to comfort myself with these kinds of things as I weighed in again Monday because it showed another gain (1.2 pounds). Though, when checking in today, it shows me down already. So, I'm not quite sure what's all up with that unless I really bombed with my calories (which I did go over a couple times last weekend - which isn't typical). Yet, as hard as I'm working and burning, I've been really hungry. Also, I had had that week a while back where I under-ate, so I wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing that again. Balance - such a tricky thing! You never know what your body is going to do sometimes! Just when you think things are figured out, it throws you a curve ball! 

The other thing, aside from the new and tougher ChaLean phase (oh my gosh, it's kicking my butt!), is probably a stress factor. I won't go into details, but I admit there has been some stress going on. I guess there's all sorts of things that has caused me to gain those 3 pounds in the past couple weeks (though, some of it could be just muscle too). Normally, I would be upset about it, but because my tape measure and my clothes (and my mirror) don't confirm the taunting of the scale, I'm not bothered. I know it will come back off (and then some). There's no stoppin' this. ;) I'm giving it my all and despite any mistakes or anything else that comes at me, I'm going to get there! 

Maybe the most recent thing that has me most encouraged about my progress is the little black dress test. A week from today is my birthday and my friend/sis's birthday is the day after mine. So, April and I decided to have a spa day and then get some BFF photos taken afterwards (and we have been looking forward to this for MONTHS!). We bought our birthday dresses last Saturday. You should have heard me in the dressing room! I mean, ladies, you know how it is when you pick out a dress and think "Oh my gosh, I wonder how that's going to look on me? Hopefully as good as it does on the hanger!" You slip it on and hope not to be disappointed and then your jaw drops when you look and the mirror and say, "DANG! That's me! Oh my gosh, I can't believe it actually looks good!" Yeah, it's a beautiful feeling of accomplishment and you just feel pretty (oh, so pretty!!). Yeah, that's totally how it was for me! I'm going to rock out in that black dress! :) 

So, my "little black dress moment" is enough to keep me in a positive mindset. Though, I still need to be ultimately and prayerfully focused on God because I risk failing horribly if I get to thinking I am too self-sufficient. I think that's why He allows these temporary gains because it is the tap on the shoulder to remind me, "Hey, you aren't invincible. You think you don't need me now? Remember who's really in control here. You can't do this alone (John 15:5). Rely on my strength and not your own (Philippians 4:13)." Yeah, we all need those pride busters to help us refocus! 

Grace and peace to all of you! God bless you all and thank you for your support!! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

God on the Greenway: The Storm




Many of life’s most memorable moments are the things that are spontaneous and unexpected. Whether it’s a pleasant surprise out of nowhere, or an ugly mishap that tragically changes your life, these are the moments that impact your entire being. 

Today, I had one of those moments. It was totally out of the blue; rather, out of the gray. The atmosphere was starting to get stormy and windy and there I was - running on the Greenway. I had been pushing my hardest because I’m hoping to run the Swiss Days 5k again this year (and beat my time). I was proud as peaches to run a mile in slightly under twelve minutes (usually, I’m thirteen or more). All total, I ran three miles in just over thirty-five minutes (I’m hoping to run it in thirty-five or less). I was REALLY pushing it and working hard to get as good as I got! 

However, that wasn’t my “big moment” of the day. Not even close! My moment was when the storm started to come in. I could see the white sky behind me and nothing but clouds in front of me. I had no idea that we were even expecting a storm, but I was rather excited about it! For some reason, I always hope for it to rain when I run because there is just something so refreshing about it (especially when you’re hot, pouring sweat, and your clothes are clinging to you!). However, I always think to myself that God has a sense of humor because He usually doesn’t let it rain for me. Sometimes, that frustrates me because I have actually prayed for rain lots of times when I ran. The irony always is, it rains before or after.  

As I neared the end of my run, it was getting extremely windy and dark. It didn’t look pleasant, but I had peace. I didn’t feel scared, even though it nearly looked like tornado conditions. There was even a car that stopped and a gal rolled down the window and said, “Melissa, get in.” I was pretty sure that it was my friend Patty, but I couldn’t see very well (come to find out, it was my friend, Lora). I didn’t stop and I kept going and told her I was just parked up ahead (thanks for offering though, Lora!). ;) I just couldn’t give up; not when I was that close! I had to persevere and push through! I knew He was with me and that I was going to make it! I had no doubt!

I finished my run and walked around the parking lot to cool down and bring my heart rate back to normal. I felt accomplished, victorious, and relaxed as I waited for the rain to make up its mind. I was still hoping to get caught in a downpour as a sort of celebration. Gently, it started to rain a little. I love the smell and feel of rain! It felt so good and calming and I was grateful for it; but wishing for more. It was so light and I felt like the drops were falling harder all around me except for ON me. I smiled as I thought of my friend Amy and how we always talk about “dancing like retards in the rain”. 

I also felt the crazy urge to be like Lieutenant Dan in “Forrest Gump” and scream, “YOU CALL THIS A STORM?!!” I desperately wanted more because a while back, I had begged God to let it rain on me to show me that he was weeping with me (in regards to some personal pain I don’t wish to disclose publicly at this time). I didn’t get a drop that day, and it killed me. Though, I felt as though while I was begging for rain, somewhere there might have been a person who was begging for it NOT to rain. “Ok, God, I’ll give you that,“ I had said. I know that sometimes, we don’t even know what we’re asking for anyways and tonight, that totally dawned on me while I was walking and having my Lieutenant Dan moment. I had never really understood WHY God would only allow it to rain before or after my chance to go outside and run. I thought He was being a little funny with me by withholding what I wanted (or thought I wanted). You know what the reality is? He could give us exactly what we want (or deserve) but He holds back. He restrains. He disallows. Not to be mean, but to spare us and show us mercy (just like with Job and how He set limits on Satan and what he could do). Though, what turmoil He DOES allow develops our character. 

Everything suddenly seemed so obvious to me. He was saying, “Do you realize you are ASKING for a storm? A downpour?” Sure, I had a calm in the storm, but why ASK for it? What God really wants is for me to be sheltered and safe; to protect me. He will allow what He allows, but will not give us more than we can handle. He has withheld the rains and the storms (literally and figuratively) for reasons that only He knows. He has spared me from myself and who knows what else!!

All of these times, I would be thinking of Superchick’s “Stand in the Rain” song, or Michael W. Smith's “Healing Rain”, "Let It Rain", or any number of songs that celebrate being drowned in Jesus and overcoming pain. Yet, I was missing the clear message that God was sending me: You’re not alone in the storm. I will be your peace and your calm. I’m holding back the damage that can be done; the damage that sometimes you even ask for or bring on yourself. Why ask for the storms? There will be plenty of them to deal with and embrace without having to ask. 

I just couldn’t stop pondering and taking it all in. Even so, I felt numb; like I couldn’t even feel it. I wanted more, even though I was already drenched. It really was coming down (and I was soaked) but it wasn’t enough. I reached my hands high to the sky as if reaching for His presence. I knew that my heart’s longing was much deeper than a yearning for rain. It was about intimacy and presence; fellowship and assurance. I wanted to absorb it and drink it up. I wanted to experience something much deeper than what I could put my finger on.

By that time, I knew that I had stood outside for an efficient amount of time and that God was urging me to the safety of the van (He signaled with a soft thunder roll). I kept wanting to just stand there and be - I don’t know - washed. However, I felt like He was saying that it was enough and that He wanted me safe and out of the storm. So, I sat inside the van for the longest time; not really doing anything. The fire trucks that I seen and heard were reminders that there was danger in the storms and I prayed that whatever was going on, the people involved in the emergency would be ok. 

In the depth of my heart, I felt like I needed a bigger release. I wanted to cry, but couldn’t. For the most part, the tears just wouldn’t come. Either I have forgotten how to cry or I have conditioned myself enough lately to stop wasting tears that I can’t even see the need for it anymore. Even as I type this, I feel that I’m on the verge - but nothing is coming. Well, Solomon said there is a time for everything. Even though I was alone and had the opportunity, it just wasn’t the right “time” after all. I think I was just crying on the inside; it didn’t necessarily have to “show” on the outside. Or, maybe I have already grieved and moved through its stages more than I thought and that’s why I have kind of a sad calm. 

As odd and strangely painful as it seems, all of it was a beautiful moment and I will never forget this run. What stands out most in my mind is something I heard once (I can’t remember where): ‘Sometimes He calms the storm. Other times, He calms His child.’ No matter how the wind blows, or how the rain pours, there is safety in the storm. He wants to get you to that place; He always provides it. Sometimes, you will boldly “Stand in the Rain”, just like the song. Though, you will always have a shelter from it. You don’t have to brave it alone and when God says “enough” you’ll rest in His refuge and He will cradle you in His loving and merciful embrace; drying you off from the downpours of life and wiping away your tears. He’s always right there. 

Grace and peace be with each and every one of you through all your storms! Our Father is our strength, our comfort, and our refuge! God bless you!  



Monday, June 14, 2010

Progress and "Problems" ;)

Everyone knows that I'm not a "Monday" person. Furthermore, I am not a morning person either. However, I have learned to love and appreciate both in the last few weeks. 

Of course, today is weigh-in day and I am happy to report that I am down another 1.6 pounds. I now weigh 186 (and falling). ;) Praise God!! 

I am very satisfied with that loss. I didn't think I would have one at all because throughout the week, my weight showed that I was staying exactly where I was. Despite burning over 4,000 calories last week (I know, right?!) I knew that I would have trouble showing a loss. Why? Because I wasn't eating enough. 

The thing is, none of this was really intentional. I worked out the same as normal and usually burn 2,500 calories. It ended up being more because of a few spontaneous workouts (as well as pushing harder when I DID workout; partly because of wanting to get some frustration out). One of my extra workouts involved the the Shaun T's Fit Kids Club video (I was helping Casey learn how to do it - and it's a very fun and simple video! I highly recommend it for kids!!). Then, I had a short workout with Brandi when I was showing her how to Turbo Jam. And finally, I decided to run on Friday (my rest day) because the Swiss Days 5k is coming up and I haven't run in a while. So, I burned quite a bit last week! 

Everyone knows that exercise burns calories, so I should have literally burned my entire butt off with that kind of number. ;) However, what you may or may not know is that if you don't consume enough calories, your body freaks out and hold onto all that it gets - and I know that. Typically, this is not my problem. Usually, I would be blogging about the opposite issue: overconsumption. However, due to the Shakeology, I have not been craving food (including sweets). That is an AWESOME thing for me, but now I have to be very purposeful in my eating. I still got an amazing amount of protein (and for once, my carbs and fat weren't on the high end of the spectrum) but I still didn't get enough calories. I KNEW that I was sabotaging myself by not eating enough, but I just couldn't seem to make myself do it (especially on the days where I had a nervous stomach - and those of you closest to me know why). Heck, even when I gave blood yesterday, the thought of eating their cookies to replenish made me feel even more sick to my stomach. But, I did have a cookie (and a couple doughnuts). I wasn't craving them and surprisingly, they didn't really taste that good to me. I NEVER thought I would have to MAKE myself eat the kind of stuff that I used to think I HAD to have lol. I did feel better and more stabilized after eating it, but that's the only reason I ate it.

Ok, so my goal for this week is to make sure that I eat enough. I'm still going to work just as hard and am excited about finishing this final week of the "push" phase of ChaLean Extreme. My fellow Beachbody coaches have told me, "just wait until 'lean'" so I am VERY excited to see a new surge of progress when I start that phase! I'm ready for it!! The "push" phase has been GREAT and I have really enjoyed it. Though, I can tell that my body is ready for a fresh change if it's going to continue to progress. No plateaus here!! Got to keep changing it up! 

Speaking of changes, I still can't help but do double takes whenever I look in the mirror. I am finally SEEING the changes in my body and for the first time, I am seeing and feeling the strength and definition in myself. Plus, there are clothes that I can wear that were tight only a few weeks ago (and now, they're not)! ;) Though, this also presents a very unique problem because there is going to come a point where I exceed the smallest size that is in my closet. Back in 2007, I got to 178. I am EIGHT POUNDS away from that, so anything beyond 178 (as I aim for my 150 goal) is going to mean that I'm seriously going to need a tailor! ;) And, I continue to have a frustrating shoe problem, because my size 11 shoes don't fit right anymore (but my feet still seem to be too big for a 10). So, progress is bringing its "problems". ;) Though, these kind of problems (while mildly irritating) are actually pretty welcome problems to have. ;) And, all of you KNOW that I'm tough enough to tackle it and will overcome!! (Philippians 4:13). 

Thank you all for reading and for supporting me in this!! Grace and peace to all of you! And, as always, if you have questions about Shakeology or ChaLean Extreme (or anything Beachbody) please feel free to ask! I'm an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and I'm here to help (sign up for FREE by clicking "sign up" on my page and I will be assigned to you as your coach!). God bless you all!! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

EXTREMELY Excited!

I have such a great update for you all!! I am so excited I can hardly stand it!! I have so many good things to report and I am just SO THANKFUL!! Praise God! What an answer to prayer!! 

Ok, first of all, I have an AMAZING loss to report! Last week, I was 192.2 but now (get this!) I am 187.6!! Can I get an AMEN?!! Woo hoo!! GLORY!! That means I lost nearly FIVE POUNDS this past week (nearly eight since starting Shakeology three weeks ago). I had been stagnant for far too long and I am SO EXCITED to finally be moving in the right direction! So glad to make it to the 80’s!! I feel like I am out of my own personal “fat” zone that I‘ve been lingering in for too long (if that makes any sense). I can’t wait for the 70’s! ;) The closest I got was in 2007 when I made it to 178. Getting beyond that is going to be one heck of a milestone accomplishment for me, that’s for sure! 

That’s not the only good news! My body fat is down by over 1% since the end of April! I am getting SO CLOSE to my goal of 150! I have been saying for YEARS that I was going to get there, but THIS YEAR is finally going to be THE year!! ;) 

Of course, I am super excited about my weight-loss, but maybe even MORE exciting is the fact that I am seeing the difference as well as feeling it (I got some curves!). Pretty soon, my clothes are going to be way too big (they are getting rather loose now) and my muscles will have even more definition as I continue building strength with ChaLean Extreme! Did you know I can actually do 1-2 pushups on my toes?! Ok, so I still do MOST of them on my knees, but WOW! Do you know how HUGE that is for me?!! I could NEVER push myself up before and I HATED push-ups! I scoffed when Chalene said that I would learn to love them. Dare I say it, I’m getting close to loving them! LOL That and I can lift up to 25 pounds (each hand) on some of the exercise! Count it, people! 50 pounds total (lower body exercises - like the squats). NEVER in my life have I been this strong - EVER! I feel so incredibly awesome! I’m getting strength and endurance! I am getting PLENTY of protein and Chalene is right, “your body loves muscle!” Finally, I’m making good choices and it’s all paying off TREMENDOUSLY! Thank you, God! 

Oh, and this isn’t all!! The other pleasant surprises I have gotten through drinking Shakeology every day is the fact that it really does what it says it does! My cravings are GONE! I am NOT kidding!! My sweet tooth has disappeared and I am not insanely hungry and consumed with thoughts of food and eating all the time! Actually, quite the opposite! I have to pretty much make myself eat! I do “feel” hungry, but I am not really hungry “for” anything. You know what I mean? So, that’s nice because then I can actually choose nutritious foods on purpose because my body isn’t demanding that I eat pizza or something else that is bombarding my brain. I think it’s because the nutrition in Shakeology is so perfectly complete that my body is saying, “Hey, we got the essential nutrients we have been telling you to feed us. We won’t bug you with food now. Thanks for giving yourself what you need to function! Anything else is bonus! By the way, we‘re getting rid of the extra fat now that we know we are getting a steady supply of the right nutrition. We don‘t need this ‘cushion‘ anymore!” 

Another pleasant surprise that I started noticing is the fact that my eyes aren’t itching like crazy. This time of year, my allergies are HORRIBLE! I can’t remember the last time I itched and itched at my eyes! Could it be? Is this awesome and delicious nutrient packed shake helping with how my body copes with my allergies too?!! Oh my gosh, no way!! This is HUGE for me!! 

The verse that is on my mind right now is this: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” - Matthew 5:25. 

You know what that verse means to me? It means that for the first time in my life, I know the relief of what it’s like not to think about food all the time. I truly have better things to do! There is more to life than food and I am LIVING it! I feel so incredibly free! Food is now just that: food. I eat for the purpose of fuel and nourishment and that is it! I’m not binging or craving insane amounts. I am satisfied; so incredibly satisfied! This may sound cliché, but Shakeology has been such a miracle for me! I only wish I had tried it sooner. If I had only known that I would feel so much better, truly have more energy and not be so tired (oh how I battled depression and fatigue!) and gotten more….um…..”regular” I would have done this a long time ago! Well, I can’t get back lost time, but I’m sure making up for it now! Praise God! 

I feel like I’ve gotten my nutrition and exercise straightened out so well! Now, I can focus on other things now that I don’t have to try so hard with this! I am so grateful! Now, I am free to help and inspire others and be a better and healthier me now that I can function better! I’m so excited to continue on this journey!! I feel like I am living life now and I LOVE being a coach and helping others to achieve their goals too (click here if you want to sign up for a FREE Team Beachbody account and join my team!! I would LOVE to help you! Just click "sign up" at the top of the page). 

Grace and peace to all of you! Thanks for all your support!! God bless you all!!