4 Weeks to the Finish Line

Faithful FitnessOn December 31, 2013, near midnight, I chose 26 guide words, one for each letter of the alphabet. This took the place of yearly goals, New Year’s resolutions or the ever popular “one word.” The idea was to let these words guide me toward transformation, a new me, fulfilling Romans 12:1

Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.

These words were to be thought about, prayed over, and acted upon. I blogged about these words in the A to Z Challenge. E was for exercise. ALL I DID was meditate on the word and it’s value in my life. I also talked to the Lord every now and then about what exercise would look like if it became a part of my life.  Then in October amidst my 31 Days of Writing Challenge, Sara and Faithful Finish Lines found me and rescued me from a life of unhealthy eating, no exercise, and unwanted pounds.

Since November 3, I have been following this amazing program. With three weeks behind me, I am astonished at the change in me!

My husband is hearing me say strange things like,

“I’m going by the gym on my home from work.”

“This meal has really good protein.”

“I am an athlete!”

This is coming from someone who has never been an athletic person. I was always the last one picked at softball, I nearly flunked badminton because I could not get that racket to connect with the ball in PE class. I am sure I am the least athletic person you could know. As long as I can remember, I have always felt that I was ten to 20 pounds overweight. About 20 years ago a friend and I successfully reached our desired weight and I kept that off for three years.

‏rollsThen we started having business meetings once a week at a restaurant called Quincy’s, and I willingly succumbed to the deliciousness of the homemade buttery yeast rolls that were brought out to the table.This started a gradual weight gain which continued to the present time. Other than two brief periods of short term weight loss, I basically did nothing to lose this weight, or change my eating habits. I thoroughly enjoyed foods with rich sauces and cheese and all manner of sweets.

I am incredibly grateful for the changes that have occurred in my life over the last three weeks. I absolutely feel and declare that this will be a lifetime change for me. I am enjoying it far too much to not pursue it. Here’s the list of what I’ve learned so far.

 

Twenty-Four Things I’ve Learned While Running Toward the Finish Line

celery and appleAbout Food:

  1. The more good foods you eat, the less attraction there is to bad foods.
  2. If you eat less starchy, fatty foods, you will have more room for good foods like celery, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, apples, grapes, and bananas.
  3. Salads make a fabulous meal, even without globs of blue cheese dressing. (This was truly a surprise!)
  4. Water is your friend.
  5. After not having diet drinks for two days, they taste bitter.
  6. If you drink diet drinks anyway after not having them for two days, the bitterness goes away, and they taste good again.
  7. Celery and apples are my favorite foods.
  8. You can change bad habits.

About Exercise:

  1. The more you exercise, the better you eat.
  2. You can do more than you think you can.
  3. Going to the gym doesn’t have to be scary or boring.
  4. Going to the gym can be really fun!
  5. Passing time on the treadmill by meditating verses or praying for others will bring you joy.
  6. Exercise gives you energy.
  7. Exercise improves your mood.
  8. You can create new habits.

About People:

  1. There are some wonderful people in the world.
  2. There are people who have struggled with things I have never had to face.
  3. There are people who have an amazing ability to bring others together with a common goal of better fitness.
  4. I can benefit from the experiences and wisdom of others.

Other Things I Have Learned:

  1. God answers prayer in surprising ways.
  2. Many things are not as hard as you think they will be.
  3. It is fun to understand why your husband likes to work out and eat healthily.
  4. If you mess up, it is not the end of the world.

The highlight of the week was when the child of one of the members in our group accepted the Lord as his Savior. It is a joy to share in the struggles and victories of those who would be strangers except for the wonderful privilege of technology and the caring and wisdom that brought us together in Faithful Finish Lines. It’s 4 Weeks to the Finish Lines. Let’s go!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Here are two of my “Gratefulness” posts, I’d love to share with you:

Three Things I’m Grateful For

A Thankful Heart

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5 Weeks to the Finish Line

Faithful FitnessDear Bill,

I got your message, and I am so glad you got to go on your cross-country skiing trip. As you requested, I will be glad to tell you how I’ve been doing with Faithful Finish Lines. Here are my results for the second week:

Wrote down what I ate every day

5 out of 7 days had no sweets

Added grapes, apples, celery to my diet every day

Added salads twice

Did a .73 mile outdoor walk on Monday

Went to the gym on Wednesday 1.5 miles in 31 minutes on elliptical with interval training

Went to the gym on Friday and did 1.87 miles on the treadmill in 40 minutes. This was when I knew I was going to make it!

Went to the gym on Sunday and did 1.62 in 30 miniutes on the treadmill.

And the big news is I signed up for the

Myrtle Beach SC – The Color Rave Electric Santa Snow Glow Run – December 6, 2014

Now that is BIG news!

While you’re on your trip, Bill, be sure you’re getting enough protein. As you know I’m a big fan of quinoa, one of the best sources of protein in the world. I’m also adding some string cheese to my snack list.

I’ve never experienced anything like Faithful Finish Lines. I consider this plan and this group with Sara and Jill and the other girls a marvelous answer to prayer!

Something else Sara told us  to think about is “incorporating a meaningful mission into our Faithful Finish Lines goal.”  My mission personally is to get healthy, lose weight, and gain more energy. Sara is suggesting that we find a way to reach outside of ourselves and do something for someone else within that mission.

Who can I help through doing this? Should I donate a can of food for each mile walked, (counting each week’s totals) or should I give a mile of prayer to certain individuals? I don’t know about this yet. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

runnerNow here’s what I’m super excited about: “My Top Ten Verses to Run With.” Some of these verses I’ve known and meditated for years; others are not quite as familiar. Each verse leads to the next so the path is easy to follow. I take one verse for a tenth of a mile or more and meditate it as I run/walk.

This gives my mind something to do, and strengthens my spirit while my body is working out. Just thinking about it makes me want to go walking. So follow the path these verses take you on. I know you’ll be glad you did. Hurry back! I’ll look forward to hearing about your progress as well!

Your friend,

Dr. Sharon

My Top Ten Verses to Run With

  1. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
  2. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10
  3. Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full. John 16:24
  4. Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe you receive them, and you shall have them. Mark 11:24
  5. Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea,’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatsoever he says. Mark 11:23
  6. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, my fortress, my God in Him will I trust. Psalm 91:2l
  7. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
  8. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because He trusts in thee. Isaiah 26:3
  9. Commit your way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
  10. Delight in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your 5 . Psalm 37:4

Bonus:

5 More Verses to Run With

  1. If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7
  2. Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
  3. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
  4. It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord. Zechariah 4:6
  5. For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Psalm 91: 11, 12

 

6 Weeks to the Finish Line

Have fun reading the story about Dr. Sharon and Bill’s first week of Faithful Finish Lines, then pick up you gift at the end of the story, and consider leaving a gift for someone else in the comments.

Dr Sharon3Last week, Bill came to see his doctor and friend, Dr. Sharon. He was concerned about his appearance in a recent vacation photograph and appealed to Dr. Sharon for help with his problem. Fortunately, Dr. Sharon had run across the help they needed in a blog called Faithful Finish Lines where Sara Borgstede promised to lead the group in achieving fitness goals they set for themselves. She would use a common sense approach with faith, exercise, and goal setting as her method of operation. At the end of the appointment, Dr. Sharon gave Bill a pat on the back and said, “I’ll sign us up, Bill, and when I find out what we are suppose to do first, I’ll give you a call.”

Faithful FitnessAs promised, Dr. Sharon called Bill and gave him the weekly guidance from Sara.

“Here’s what she says to do, Bill. Write this down. Three words: Food Log and Movement. That’s it.”

“Food log and movement. Got it. What does it mean?”

“It mean write down what you eat, whatever it is and get moving. Walk, run, dance, any kind of movement or exercise just do something and do more than you usually do.That’s all we do the first week. Then there’s just six more weeks to go. We are going to cross the finish line on December 23!”

“Yes ma’am!”

“Bill, let’s meet on Monday, November 10th to talk about what we accomplished this week, and then make a game plan for Week 2.”

“Yes ma’am! I’ll look forward to it”

A week later, Bill sauntered cheerfully into Dr. Sharon’s office.

Let’s go to the snack room, Bill. I think we’ll be more comfortable there.”

food logThey sat down at the small table and Bill started off by absentmindedly reaching his hand into the bowl of celery sticks on the table. “Well, here’s how it went for me,” he announced proudly. “I did like you said, I wrote down everything I ate, and I started moving. I ran 12 miles a day, and I lost 12 pounds. I have measured my arms and they now measure 2 inches more of solid muscle.”

Dr. Sharon looked at Bill in astonishment, “Bill, what on earth are you talking about? What you have said is utterly impossible. My results were nothing like that, and I was quite pleased with myself.”

“Don’t let that disturb you, my friend. Keep in mind that I am a fictitious character and fantastic results can happen to the fictitious!”

“I see your point,” Dr. Sharon acquiesced. “Well, here’s my results: I wrote down everything I ate. My greatest day for sugar intake was Saturday when I succumbed to the persuasion of 2 cupcakes, a brownie, a zinger and 2 and a half cookies. I also ate some celery that day. I went to the gym twice during the week and walked in the neighborhood three other days building up to 1.2 miles. I weighed this morning, Bill, and just one week after starting Sara’s program, the scales were down .7 pounds. Considering that I am not a fictitious person, that’s pretty good for me!

“Those are pretty impressive results! So, how do you feel, Dr. Sharon?”

“I feel great, Bill! I believe this is a program I can really stick with. There’s a lot of support in Sara’s group, and of course it’s good to be working with you, as well, Bill. You’re really encouraging me in this.”

“Glad I can return the favor, Dr. Sharon, and now what do we do for Week 2?”

fruit “This week, Bill, we add fruit and vegetables to our diet. I have already discovered the more good foods I eat, the less attraction there is to bad foods. We are suppose to keep moving, and I am going to keep writing down what I eat. Seeing all of that sugar on my list last week clearly showed me where my real problem was. Adding the fruit and vegetables are going to be the solution to that problem. We’re also suppose to set our fitness goal by the end of the week.”

Bill stood up to leave, “Mrs. Sara is a genius, isn’t she, Dr. Sharon?”

“I believe you’re right, Bill. Of course remember the title, Faithful Finish LInes. Without faith. . .”

“It is impossible to please the Lord,” Bill finished the well-known verse.

“I have faith, Bill, that we are going to lose weight, get healthier, have more energy, and please the Lord all by following Sara’s Faithful Finish Line.”

“I’m with you, Dr. Sharon. I’m already looking forward to having my picture taken on the beach at my next vacation.”

“Me too, Bill. I’ll meet you back here next week, and we can talk about our success at adding fruit and vegetables to our daily food intake. I’m expecting great things from you. I can’t wait to hear what you say you accomplish.”

“I’m excited about it, too, Doc. I really think I’ve found the secret: have fun, make progress, count your successes, and. . . if you are a fictitious character, you can make up whatever you want. But Doc, in your case, you better stick to reality.”

“I know you’re right, Bill. I’ll do that. See you next week!”

Be sure to check in next week, to see how our friends are progressing!

Here’s the gift I mentioned: It’s a thought you can take with you.

 

Count your small successes.

They will be the building blocks for reaching higher goals.

In other words, don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back and say “Good job!” Have fun!

Please leave a word of wisdom or encouragement for someone else as your gift.

 

 

7 Weeks to the Finish Line

While completing the 31 Day Writing Challege in October, I stumbled upon another exciting opportunity. I had been praying about my next step in reaching my yearly goals, and I have found the answer as you will read about here. Come join the fun.

Dr Sharon3“Bill, nice to see you, Is it time for your yearly check-up, already?” Dr. Sharon asked as she warmly shook Bill’s hand and motioned for him to sit on the end of the examining table.

“No, Dr. Sharon, it’s not time yet, but I came to see you about this!” Bill carefully pulled something out of his pocket and hesitantly opened his hand for her to see.”

“It looks like you had a nice time on your vacation.”

“Look closer, Doc! Don’t you see it? Surely you would be able to guess why I am here after looking at that!”

“I’m sorry, Bill. You seem distressed. What am I missing here?” the doctor asked.

big man“50 pounds!” Bill shouted. “Don’t you see it! It’s right there! I’ve got to get rid of it, and I’ve got to get rid of it right now! You’ve got to help me, Doc. I’ve got to get rid of 50 pounds!”

Dr. Sharon soberly shook her head, “Bill, I hear what you are saying, but you know I deal in matters of the heart. I was able to help you when you were feeling hopeless, and I helped you when you were in fear. I even helped you when you felt so good you had thankfulness flowing through your veins, but losing weight? I don’t know about that. That’s not my specialty. In fact, I could stand to lose a few pounds myself.”

Bill looked alarmed, then he looked solemnly down at the picture as she returned it to him. “Dr. Sharon, you’ve been my friend and doctor through all of my trials and joys for the last two years.  I thought you would be here for me in the hour of my greatest need. I guess I was wrong.” He sadly turned toward the door.

“Wait, Bill,” Dr. Sharon reached out and touched his arm. “I may know someone who can help us.” She went over to her desk as Bill cautiously tilted his head toward her with a glint of hope in his eyes. She sat down and began moving her fingers agilely over the keyboard. “Here it is,” she yelled jubilantly as she turned her laptop to show Bill the screen. “Here’s the answer for us, Bill!”

Faithful Fitness

Faithful Finish LInes

Bill looked at Dr. Sharon suspiciously. He had never seen her so excited, so unprofessionally excited. “Uh, Doc, what do you mean? What are you talking about?”

“I’ll tell you what I mean, Bill. You and I are going to get fit and lose weight. We are going to have our picture taken at the beach, and not only are we going to look awesome, we are going to feel awesome! Bill, we are going to feel better than we have ever felt. We are going to have more energy, more youthfulness, and better health. Did I mention that we are going to look awesome, too, Bill. What do you think of that? No more being embarrassed when we see ourselves in a picture. No more deleting selfies because we look overweight, no more unbuttoning our pants at the dinner table because we are uncomfortable. We are on to something big here, Bill, and our friend Sara is going to help us every step of the way, and I do mean step!”

on the beach

“I don’t know about this, Doc. I haven’t exercised in years, and I’m used to eating whatever I want whenever I want.There’s no way this will work for me. It’s just not something I do. It will be painful, and you know I don’t do pain. Why, I’ve been in here whining about every little thing; you surely don’t think I could go through a rigorous training program and start counting every milligram I put in my mouth, do you? Well, do you?”

man exercising

“No, Bill, now that I think about it, I really don’t think you could do that, or would do that, and I wouldn’t ask either of us to do that. But look what she says right here:

“I promise this won’t be a strict, harsh program, but fun, invigorating, and exciting. You will feel successful and motivated as you head into 2015.”

Bill brightened somewhat. “Fun, invigorating, exciting. Now you are talking my language. Okay, if you think she can help us, I’m in. Let’s do it! What’s the first step?”

Check in with us next week to see how Bill and Dr. Sharon take the first steps toward the Finish Line. You might also enjoy reading Sara’s 31 Days of Weird Faithful Fitness.

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I’d sure love to hear your experience with weight loss and/or exercise. What’s one tip or word of encouragement you have for us? As you can guess, we need all we can get! Have a great week and keep moving!

 

And here’s a word of encouragement for you:

Whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. Mark 11:24

Consider this:The way to control what you believe is to control what you think.

I’m also linking up with Coffee for Your Heart with Holly Gerth.

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