Monday, February 25, 2013

How strong are your muscles?

The last few weeks have been rather challenging for me when it comes to stress and how that effects emotional eating. However, the last several months of wise choice making has reshaped how I think, and it has opened the door to healthier options. The cravings are not gone, the desire to comfort hurts with food is not gone, BUT the mental strength to make better choices is more beefed up than ever. 

So, this makes me think today about strength. It comes as no surprise that mental and physical strength both need to be tested and pushed to their max and beyond in order to grow. Yet, at the same time, you must know yourself and STOP pushing those boundaries before lasting damage is done. And, we all need to take the right steps to protect the health of our mental and physical strength after it is greatly tested.

Here are a few nuggets to ponder as I explore these thoughts for myself today. I hope they help you too.

When life throws us things that hurt us emotionally it is tough. Those hurts are rarely seen by the outside world but they reflect in our reaction to the stimuli, they are seen in our day to day behaviors with others, and they shape the way we think. It can cause us to push good people away, hold ourselves aloof, laugh at things that aren’t funny, etc. It can also push us to many bad behaviors such as emotional eating, promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and even turn good behaviors bad – one for example is over exercising.

If we are wise we will focus on the after effects of an emotionally stressful day. We will create healthy habits for stress relief such as reasonable exercise patterns, trusted confidants for venting that goes no further than that person it just lets us get the poison out, or best of all prayer and Bible reading. God is the best listener, He has provided the best advice, and He loves you more than anyone else ever has or ever will.

We also must evaluate relationships with people that cause great stress in our lives. Sometimes the people that cause you the most emotional pain are the ones closest to you. Memory lane for me is filled with words that caused me to doubt my own self worth. Yet, as time has gone by, the main person behind the words that cut so deep has drifted further and further out of my life. This drifting away is painful even now, but NOW too, I am in such a better place mentally because I don’t constantly see a person that I know views me as lacking in many ways because I am overweight. However, the lesson I have learned from this is words hurt, they cause lasting pain, and I need to be careful with my own words with others. And, when I do fail and hurt another with words I really need to be more humble and apologize sincerely…I am a work in progress!!!
We MUST view ourselves with the value God places on us and that my friend it is HIGH!!! The price God placed on us cost the life of His very own Son!
Yes, God wants us to be healthy. We can’t get away from that when we read the old laws in the Old Testament. Many of the laws God had in place from how to properly dispose of body waste to cleaning up after the slaughter of animals we now understand was to protect the life of His people from unsanitary conditions. And we can see the results of the sin of gluttony running rampant in the streets of America today!

Any athlete knows to build physical muscle you need proper nutrition. You must fuel your body with a healthy diet of good proteins and carbohydrates. You need fuel prior to exercise, during exercise, and after exercise. Imagine your car. It must have fuel in it to start, in it to run, and if you want it to start up again it needs fuel when it is at rest. Our bodies unlike a car never shut off. We are always burning a little fuel just to maintain breathing, circulation, and waste processing. Proper fuel is vital to use and build muscle.

Many women in particular are not interested in working on building muscle but let me encourage you to rethink that if it is you. Muscle weighs more than fat, but it also takes up less space. Muscles aid in movement of your body while fat slows a body down and inhibits proper movement. Muscle BURNS calories even at rest, fat does not it is the storage unit. Muscles in your core (abdomen/back areas) help stabilize your spine to prevent back injury. The list of healthy strong muscle benefit is long! So if you are not trying to build a little muscle or maintain your muscle strength I encourage you to really think about it. I don't know the woman pictured here but the photo speaks for itself and muscle vs. fat WINS! Awesome job Ma'am!!! 

My top three favorite products in the AdvoCare line to help get my body ready, willing and able to work out and build stronger muscles is the Pro20 which gives me a great boost of energy and protein to work out on, Post Recovery Workout which helps me refuel while getting right to work aiding in muscle repair, and Night Time Recovery which allows my muscles to have some great building blocks to repair away while I sleep. Oh, I just can’t tell you how thankful I am to have found some great products that are aiding me in the journey to a Healthier ME!

Strength of mind and body are vital. God tells us in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Our emotions can control us if we don’t control them. Our feelings once hurt, may never heal if we don’t properly nourish them with good things. And sometimes, even when it hurts we must cut out the bad things in life that keep us from being strong body, mind and soul.

I rambled today I know, but I hope you garnered some encouragement for yourself on your own journey to a healthier you. Keep at it! Don’t let anything stay in your way!

As always, I thank you for your encouragement and appreciate you all so much. Leah

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

STRESS! Has it got YOU in a mess?

We have a lot of ways to verbalize “STRESS”. Some that pop to mind are: wound tight, about to explode, tighter than a bow string, etc., I think you get the picture. Stress comes at us from many directions in life. It happens in relationships even good ones from time to time, and most especially in ones that are in rocky patches. It comes at us when we or a loved one is sick or injured. It comes when there is not enough money at the end of the month or week. It comes when we least expect it, and it is usually a mess of trouble too.
Personally, I think that it is the devil trying to knock us down. Poor Job, just imagine the stress he was under. He lost all of his children, all of his wealth, and his health in the same day. Following that his closest friends and his wife failed to support him with godly wisdom in those darkest days. Yet, we don’t remember Job for his misery, but for his perseverance and his patience and his faith. I hope I get better at dealing with stress so that my light can really shine for the Lord. I have some work to do in that area.
We all need to learn to deal with stress in a positive manner. I want to share with you a few tips that work for me and that help me deal with emotional eating during times of stress so I don't make a mess out of my goals to get to a Healthier Me.
My number one weapon is sound friendships that God has so abundantly blessed me with in life. I am very thankful to have close family members and friends who love and care about me. When I need wise counsel I have go to people. They know that I am dealing with emotional eating issues. They can be trusted to NOT be so harsh it cuts me deeply, but sharp enough to not allow me to NOT deal with the problems by being in denial. These are key elements in my strategy against emotional eating.
I am also very grateful for the Internet and the connections it provides for sources of quick encouragement to fight off different things. For example, if you can’t get to a “live” friend but are feeling down just go to Google and type in “Images”. Once there type in anything that makes you smile. Let’s say babies. It is hard not to smile at pictures of laughing babies. Or type in sunset and just let your mind be blown away by the setting of God’s awesome sun. I won’t even discuss YouTube and my LOVE for “FUNNY PRANKS”. I have cried so many times from that search. You know the “HAPPY” tears. After spending some time blowing off steam with Internet humor I can often avoid a crisis with my food intake.
I also love to exercise. Swimming is my favorite activity, and I am one of those people who simply cannot eat and swim or I will see that meal again. I often go all day with tiny little meals, sometimes just bites of food here and there when out on the water to prevent the stomach from becoming unhappy. I also love hiking. Who wants to haul extra food on a day hike…reasonable snacks, but not too much! I also find that doing my Can You 24 DVD when the belly is too full is misery! So it helps to avoid over eating if I know one of these activities is on the horizon for me!
Have you ever thought about what God has to say about stress in life? How many times in life is your stress related to emotional issues with a loved one? How many times do you bite your tongue to keep the peace, when what you should do is go to that person for a heart to heart conversation?
It brings to mind Ephesians 4:26. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath.”
If we apply this verse to life think of the difference it would make. We would spend less time worrying about what others thought about a matter, because we would face them in the moment. We would spend less time imagining the next meeting with a person because it would all be cleared up, or we would at least know better where we stood in a situation. And, if we could just remember that when our emotions are running high that we should still act as a Christian should we would be so much better off as individuals and the impact that that in itself would have on our world would be amazing!!!
Life is going to be stressful. However, we can fight it. We can fill our tool box with good things to handle it. I never want to take God out of my arsenal. His guidance to handle the stress of life is without words to describe as far as value. I also pray that I never have to endure stressful things in life without good family and friends nearby. I am getting better with the daily exercise, and I am so very grateful for the AdvoCare products that are now part of my tool box too.
There are two very good products that AdvoCare has created that help with calming the nerves and helping deal with stress. Clear Mood and Oasis. My friend Sally Brown says, “Oh, I use Clear Mood daily! Don’t know what I’d do without it! It has helped me eliminate the use of anti-anxiety medicine and keeps me feeling balanced all day. LOVE IT!”
Another friend, Meredith Tate, says, “I could not do any public speaking without it. It’s what keeps me in the game so to speak. It calms the butterflies in my stomach when I get anxious. Oasis helps me to unwind during stressful situations. And I’ll add Formula W as the bomb when it comes to balancing mood swings during certain times of the month.”

Like always I thank you for your encouragement as I make these Steps To a Healthier Me. I am so grateful for your shared stories and suggestions. It keeps me motivated.

If there is anything I can do to encourage you on your own journey or if you have questions about something I am trying please do not hesitate to get in touch. Knowledge has the most power where shared after all!

May God bless you this week, and may YOUR JOURNEY be one to a HEALTHIER YOU!!!

If you find that the above graphic concerning stress applies to you, then you may find this page very informative:

If you would like to learn more about Clear Mood or Oasis please feel free to visit:

Contact me anytime at:


Sunday, January 27, 2013

What is stopping you?

How many times have you dreamed about doing something, but have had your dreams remain a thought in your head? We only have one chance in life. Every day, every minute, every second…once they tick by, they are GONE! So WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?

I lived for years listening to a very important person in my life telling me that if I were only a certain size/number on the scale that I would be perfect. This destroyed my sense of self worth. Then I spent some time with another very important person in my life that told me my dreams were mythical pipe dreams and I failed to believe in myself.

I don’t share those things to have a pity party or to seek pity. The entire purpose of me sharing my journey to a Healthier Me with you is to hopefully help others to get to a better place in life. Our emotions control so much in our daily lives. How we think and feel cause us to choose professions, marriage partners, how many children we have or don’t have, etc., etc.

I had to face some demons from my past to beat emotional eating. I had to forgive people in my life that have never, and I seriously doubt they will ever apologize or acknowledge how terribly bad they hurt me. I also had to forgive myself for how I reacted to some of the emotional hurts toward these people, and to relearn some behaviors that affect me daily when it comes to emotional eating.

Life is precious. I am choosing to live. I am lucky because I have some very wonderful people in my life that love me for me as I am, and only want me to be healthy. I have friends to exercise with, to cheer me on, and to encourage me and celebrate milestones with me all the time.

That is not all either. I have found some wonderful encouragement simply by being willing to share my journey. Do you realize how many people are facing the overweight demon in life? It is greater than 66% of Americans! Staggering! You are not alone if you are part of the 66%. The question is are you willing to make changes in order to change?

There are some very important lessons we can learn from the Bible when it comes to our health. God forbids us to be gluttons. Over eating causes more than just extra weight, we know it leads to many health problems from joint pain to heart attack. We learn that we are to be forgiving. Science now proves that people who forgive and don’t hold grudges are healthier. We learn we are not to worry. Stress is labeled the silent killer, and for me when I worry I feel the greatest stress.

You don’t have to start your journey alone, even if you are physically alone a lot. Join a weight loss group online. I find visiting sites about health and nutrition so very helpful. I also find that taking time to visit sites on Facebook that are focused on weight loss to be so very encouraging, and I have made some great friends online that encourage me and I encourage them on a daily basis.

I hope you will celebrate with me as I join the -50 pounds club! I have a long way to go to get to my personal goals, but I have so many great tools to get me the rest of the way. If you want to know more about the great AdvoCare products that have helped me as no other product line ever has, then please contact me at

You can get healthy. You can improve your life. You can make changes. You can do it. You can reach your dreams!

Thank you all in advance for your encouragement. It really means a lot.

Good luck on YOUR Healthier YOU journey! DON’T LET ANYTHING STOP YOU!!! Break free and LIVE your dreams!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

MOTIVATION. Let me share some of mine!

Motivation is sometimes hard to come by when you're facing a large amount of weight to lose. I equate it to what one of those people on the TV show Hoarders must surely feel. I can imagine their thoughts: “I know I need to clean this place up, but where do I start?” Sometimes, finding motivation is as simple as looking to your friends. I thought about some people that have been great motivation to me in the last few months of dedicated changes in my Steps to a Healthier Me journey. Here are their stories. 

Vickie Black is one of the sweetest people I have been blessed to meet in the recent years of my life. She is a giving person to her family, friends, community, and she is a nurse. She is so amazing, but is so humble about how much her willingness to share her journey is helping others! I at first was going to pull quotes from her response to my questions, but they are just so wonderful that I want to post them all for you to benefit from too. Be prepared…it is great!

What made you decide now is the time to work on your health? “I’ve been making small changes for a long time. I’m very weary of change. LOL. So I had to sneak it in, but I’m getting older, I don’t want to miss out on my life. So, now is the time to get it together for the rest of my life. 

What made you want to create a FB page like Fit & Fabulous? 

“The page was created because I wanted to share my life journey with others. Anyone can make a change, but you have to start somewhere. For me that was learning to accept myself, to love me for who I was and to stop judging myself according to what I weigh. I love me. If God loved me enough to let his Son die for me then how could I cheapen his love by demeaning my self worth based on someone else’s view of fat? I was not lazy. I didn’t eat all the time. As a matter of fact, I starved myself a lot. Yes, I binged. I battled depression. Then I decided I was not hiding from family portraits anymore because I am a good mom, a good wife and a real friend. My fat didn’t define that. I wanted to be remembered for that. God made me who I am. Who can argue with that? So I wanted people to have a place of acceptance, no matter how they achieve their healthier lifestyle. I also wanted them to have a place to learn to love themselves at 400 pounds or 100 pounds. We are all beautiful in His sight! We just need eyes of love…that creates acceptance…and when you remove all the self disgust then you can move forward!”
What is the best motivator you have when the slump days get you? “Sometimes nothing helps. I just crash and burn. LOL! But, I get back up a whole lot quicker now. If I blow it, I don’t wait until Monday, my birthday, New Year’s, etc., to start back. LOL! I can start eating right or moving in the middle of the day. Besides giving it to God, I’m a control freak you know!, I love how my friends on Fit and Fabulous support each other…it is an amazing thing!”
 Is there any one thing in your better health/fitness routine that you plan on never giving up if any way possible?  “I am not an exercise freak. LOL! I just want to keep moving, whether it is playing with the kids, walking, dancing, etc. I love social networking. It opens up so many doors. I never want to quit sharing it gives me the strength to keep on keeping one. Sharing success and failures…it is empowering to not be alone!  Oh, and I love me some Spark Leah! Sometimes it’s the little boost I need. It keeps me away from quick carbs! LOL!”

Power!!! Sharing!!! Motivating!!! I know that those of you who are seeking better health via weight loss got some encouragement from her words too!

The next person on my list is Christie Cooper Wallace pictured to the left with her husband in December 2011 and to the right with her Grandmother in December 2012. I've known Christie for years. Christie had worked hard to get weight off with success of her own via exercise and a better diet. Then she hit that hated PLATEAU! I asked her the same questions I asked of Vickie and here is what she had to say.

“I decided to take this journey to become a healthier me. I have let myself go for years, I have constantly been a yo-yo dieter and realized this is not working for me. I haven't always been in the greatest health having insulin problems and high blood pressure. I knew I was too young to let myself continue down this bad path having to take all kinds of medications. I knew I needed to lose at least 80 to 90 pounds and everything I was doing was not working. I was exercising but something just wasn't right. I wasn't losing the weight I needed and still lacked a lot of energy. I needed big time help and that's when Advocare entered my life and has changed it beyond words. The three products I can't live without, which are Spark, Thermoplus, and Omega Plex. When I am having slump days, I just think to myself “I have worked hard and if I don't continue to work hard, I will just go back to that no energy, 48 pound heavier lady who had lost her confidence and zest for a lot of things in life.”

Another person that has had a very powerful impact on my life in the last few months is Eric Tate pictured here with his sweet wife Meredith. He is another one of those people I have known my whole life. 
Eric at one time had a big soda habit. Four or five Mountain Dews or Dr. Peppers a day.  He said, “I had tried to stop before only to feel drained and have headaches. Spark solved all that. Just by replacing the drinks I dropped 15 lbs. in the first month.” Yes, just by making one change he dropped 15 pounds!!! (The amount of weight sugar drinks can add to you is staggering!)  Talk about a motivating experience! 
This caused Eric and his family to  look into changing more to get healthier and that is exactly what he did.  Eric said,I was excited about the initial weight loss. So when I discovered the 24 Day Challenge I was even more excited. It motivated me to think I could possibly lose another 15 lbs in the coming month. And I did, I lost 16 more on that first 24 Day Challenge.”
Once again, Eric had found a source of motivation via products that worked to help him reach his health goals. He also states that, “My oldest daughter and my wife did that 1st Challenge with me. It was a lot of fun for us to start a healthier lifestyle change together.” And that my friends, is one of the biggest motivators of all…a family on a journey to better health. Encouragement in the HOUSE!!! 

There are many forms of motivation. Your life and your successes may motivate others, the same way the lives and successes of others motivate you. When we open ourselves up to share our journeys, it is amazing to see how people are willing to share with you their journeys. Traveling the hills and valleys in life with people that inspire you to keep one, keeping one as Vickie said, is where the real motivation is found.

This week has been tough for me as I nurse a foot injury. However, my detailed plan that I WROTE down and determined in my head that I WOULD FOLLOW NO EXCUSES, motivated me to modify exercise to keep this body on my path to Steps to a Healthier Me. I have found the new DVD of exercise videos AdvoCare came out with this year to be very helpful. The 24 minute work outs, and the ability to modify them to accommodate Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced was very helpful to me. I can happily report that I am 6 pounds down since last Friday’s post!

It does not matter what the number on the scale is. Your life matters because God made you. If you need encouragement please contact me anytime. I truly understand the trials of weight loss, emotional eating, yo-yo dieting, etc., etc., etc. One of the worst feelings is to feel alone while coping with a serious problem. I hope you will take a look at Fit and Fabulous. It is a very positive place for me. I will post links below to Fit and Fabulous and to a link about the Can You 24 video.

Please visit Steps to a Healthier Me and leave encouraging posts, tips, etc., for me to enjoy as well as others. I will be trying to post on that site daily with a word of encouragement and any health tips that I may find. We are all one bad day away from failure, and one great day away from success. And sometimes it is the boost we get from a motivating word, picture, product, etc., which pushes us from failure to success!

I thank you as always for your encouragement on this journey. Today in a very special way I thank Vickie, Christie and Eric. The three of you have been great encouragement to me this week for sure.

God bless all of you, and may you do well on your own journey to better health!

Contact information:

Can You 24 DVD information site:

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013...Do You Have Your Journey Planned Yet?

2013 started off with me a whole lot lighter than I was at the start of 2012! I am thrilled with my weight loss success of the last year, but let me tell you folks I am hungry for more!

I want to share with you some of my goals, motivators, and tools. Why? I want to share health and hope and have as many people with me on this journey to better health too. The more of you who encourage me, or receive encouragement from my own journey will boost me along…especially when those valleys hit…and they always do!
My main goal is to continue on a road to better health. Losing 40 pounds since the first of August last year has been a great thing for me. I know my hard work, and better self control is the main reason, but folks I found some POWERFUL tools that have helped me on this journey!
The number on the scale doesn’t really matter to me. It is the things in life I can accomplish with a healthy body. Like, running up the stairs with my tiny tot 3 year-old niece in my arms to play “UPSTAIRS!!!” and be able to go straight to playing…not gasping like a guppy out of water to catch my breath. And the ability to rise from the floor with ease…I mean, how can you play with a small child and not get in the floor?!?

The ability to conquer mountain trails, to swim circles around my teenage nieces, or to be physically able to go help my 13 year-old nephew pull a big old deer out of the woods is nice too. Life on the side lines…it just is not appealing!

My biggest motivation is to be healthy. And my biggest motivators are my family and our desire to solve some health issues for all of us, but one in particular. Getting healthy by household instead of individual is so much easier! So very, very blessed! My brother-in-law, Jerry/Jerome/Jer, is the dry comic in the bunch…his zingers are usually totally out of left field, and I often crack up over them for days afterwards! My sister Molly, is the fire ball, go getter, cheer leader, CRAZY LADY, and the “We’re doing it.”, in the house! She keeps us on our toes. Then we have my sweet mother Margaret. She is the one who keeps us all level headed! She listens, and she helps. She just told me today as I made up my plan, “Just let me know what you need me to do to help.” I also have kids in this family that encourage me to get fit by exercising with me, praising me, or simply by just “being” they make me want to be healthier so I can play more with them. Mom is also filling the role of our “Juicing Master”. I think juicing and I will be friends for life!
I also have some motivation that comes from a huge support network behind some great tools and products that found me last year. AdvoCare is the name, and health and hope is the game folks. The feel good and the effectiveness of the AdvoCare products that I use make me a very grateful product advocate. I LOVE the AdvoCare network that connects me with medical professionals at the corporate head quarters and thousands of people on their own journey to health and wellness too. Healthy living advice at the tips of my fingers! I am so lucky to have found this amazing line of products, and blessed to be part of such a healthy and helpful group of amazing and caring people. 

The desire to be healthy can be easily side tracked. Goal setting is a must. Goals are most often accomplished when they are written down, talked about, and when you have folks holding you accountable. So, make a plan. Talk about your plan to a person or people you trust, that will motivate you, and start your journey to a healthier you.

Remember that one of the best ways to sideline your goals is to not take them a step at a time, but you will never even come close to your goals if you never set them or start your plan of action!
I am posting a link below to Choose the Challenge. It is a site that will tell you all about the 24 Day Challenge…the heavy hitter in my arsenal folks! It is also an EXCELLENT tool to help you best utilize the 24 Day Challenge. The Choose the Challenge cookbook is a great reference and is available to you at this site.

I hope your 2013 is filled with health and hope. I would love to hear about your weight loss goals. Your tips about weight loss will be very welcome! I love informational sites, and would love to have links sent to me to study things for myself!

You may send emails to me at: 

You may visit Choose the Challenge at:

I can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you in advance for your encouragement as I continue making Steps to a Healthier Me!

Have a wonderful 2013!