Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just some fun motivation!

So how do we make adopting new life changes fun? Well, sometimes it can be hard to do. When you are just craving some chocolate, or the scales won't tip in your favor fast enough, or you fail and have a bad day of eating and are so bummed and down, it gets hard to stay motivated.

God knew that we would get down. He knew that we had a tough row to hoe when it came to spreading the gospel, and living godly lives. However, HE gave us an awesome verse-one of many- to help us stay motivated! Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

When I read this verse it makes me want PRAY about my struggles! It makes me think about the awesome POWER of the Lord I serve. It makes me remember He has already won my battles, I just have to get up and try again.

Now, laughter is a very good source of motivation and it helps things stay fun. For those of you who really know me, I would say that you know I love to laugh and have a good time. I also love being active. Surprising to some since I have openly disclosed that I am on the super obese charts! But, hey, I am working on changing my thinking in the inner me in order to change the outer me! Just one step of many I'll be taking on this journey to a Healthier Me!

Tonight, I wanted to find me some fun things to enjoy and try to motivate myself. So needing a laugh or two or fifty, I have been hard at it for about an hour now. Here are some of the best videos that got me thinking on how to make a healthy lifestyle fun, stay on a budget, and a little inspiration too!

I hope you enjoy a few minutes of fun! Now, if you can set your computer up where you can stand and walk or jog or dance around in place while you watch you can be burning up some calories. "You've got to move it, move it!" (The first person to hit my email with the name of the movie that little ditty comes from gets a PRIZE!)

Okay....prepare to get motivated. Warning...Laughter is AHEAD!!! This one is a great way to use your kids as free weights!!! I must add, that while this is funny, please, take note that using the Lord's name in vain is NOT COOL! It is SIN! Pray for him! Anyone who has or works with small children should see this. Exercising, keeping them entertained, and laughing too! She has other great videos too. You should check out more of her things!

NOW for those of you out there that are feeling like NOTHING. I understand that! If you look in the mirror and see only negatives, I understand that too. However, YOU MATTER! YOU HAVE VALUE! YOU CAN SUCCEED! The only way you will fail is to stop trying! Take a look at this one.

NOW, which one do you want to be?

I want to LIVE. I want to be STRONG. I want to be HEALTHY. I want to be a WORKER for the LORD. I want to be an ENCOURAGER to YOU.

May the Lord bless our souls today as we seek to stay motivated to live a healthy life. May we be thankful for our health, may we work hard each day to care for our bodies and serve in HIS kingdom.

As always, I thank you for the love and support you have given me on this journey. I am a little frustrated tonight because the scales are tipping too SLOW. I have to remind myself I am deprogramming at least 20 years of bad food practices. I have to remind myself, that every walk, every lifted weight, every prayer for my success, each failure, and each get up and try again will get me to my goal on my journey STEPS TO A HEALTHIER ME!

I am also excited about a new program of Bible study I will be starting tomorrow. To learn more about it check out this blog:

Well, I must get some sleep! It is 12:12 AM! Love and hugs to all of you. If you need someone to talk  one on one with, to pray for you, or to just be a friend, please send me an email to I'll help you any way I can. I don't have all the answers, but we can look for them together!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Encouragement, Accountability, and a Challenge!

As I made my way to the check-out line yesterday I bumped into a friend that goes back to the childhood years. She encouraged me by simply saying one phrase, “I’ve been reading your blog.” We then discussed the costs of eating healthy, and some of the things we were doing individually to be healthy. I was encouraged because I did not feel alone, and I was super glad to know that the food I was putting on that conveyor belt were healthy choices. After all, I am blogging about living a healthier lifestyle!

As I continued on my way I had several things going on inside. I was happy. I had just seen someone that is a friend. I was motivated because something I am doing to help myself, and hopefully help others, showed fruit. I was thankful that I was living up to challenges I had set for myself. I was also already spinning my wheels on another blog topic, and since I was soon to be leaving Florence, AL to head to Jackson’s Gap, AL, I had a lot of time to think about some things I wanted to learn about encouragement and accountability.

Encouragement is something we all need. It is something that we all need to give too. I have a wonderful nephew who at age 11 is an awesome young man.  (Actually I have several wonderful nephews. I am so blessed!) Hank, is a hard worker, and is usually very willing to be a helper. Together we have tackled some pretty big projects around the house and one thing I have noticed when it comes to this young man is that he blooms with encouragement. You can see the effects encouragement has on him as you work with him. It is amazing. His facial expressions change to a sweet little grin I love. His young shoulders go back, he stands a little straighter, and he just puts more effort into his work! It makes me want to be a better encourager to him when we are working together.

I think this principle applies to anyone at any age attempting any worthwhile thing. If you want healthy habits both spiritually and physically in your homes, which influence everything outside of the home, be an encourager.

I have gained and lost I would say at least 1000 pounds in my life. My greatest times of success for weight loss involved making myself accountable. When I was paying money to go to the gym and meet with a personal trainer I wanted to utilize the gym and make progress the trainer could see. When I was using a medical weight loss program I kept a daily food diary and exercise diary. When I was going it alone, the only time I had great success was when I used a daily journal. Today, I find myself very much aware of things in the Healthier Me journey because I have made myself accountable to God in a very serious way personally, and I am being accountable to the readers of my blog.

Being an encourager is a Biblical concept. Acts 9:26, 27 is an example of the great encourager Barnabas. Could you imagine the task of encouraging your friends to accept someone that had been a former murder? Yet, Barnabas did just that, and just look at the work Paul went on to do in the Lord’s kingdom!

Accountability too is a Biblical concept. Galatians 6:1-2, tells us to carry each other’s burdens. If we shine a light on a problem, which is what confessing the problem to someone else will do, it is much harder to ignore it. Yet, you need to choose your accountability partners carefully. If you struggle with sweets then your accountability partner should probably not be a pastry baker that you visit in their shop!

We all need encouragement, and we all need to be encouragers. We all must be accountable for our actions. Ultimately, we will all be held accountable for the way we live our lives on that final judgment day. However, in this life we need to practice being accountable for our actions. So find an accountability partner. You may choose to confess your goals to God, you may need to write them down and continually check your progress, and you may need another individual to keep you accountable too.

I have been blessed with two great sisters. They are both smart, and they are both great listeners! I can tell you this too, they are two of my greatest sources of encouragement. Yet, they don’t pull punches when I need it either. They don’t beat me over the head with failures, but they don’t let me fall into a trap of making excuses and avoiding recognizing my faulty thinking/actions in different scenarios of life either. In other words, they sometimes force me to be accountable when I am in denial!

So here is the challenge part of today’s blog. On Friday of this week I will put a $10 gift card to Wal-Mart in the mail to the winner. To be a winner you have to do a few things. Your word is good enough for me!

1.       Encourage someone today, for any reason.

2.       Check yourself for accountability. Do you have a person, friend, or God that you confess things to in order to help yourself stay accountable for the things you struggle with or goals you have? If yes, great. If no, please prayerfully consider the need to do so.

3.       Send an email to me at that includes the following statements. “I encouraged someone today!” and “I have an accountability partner!”

4.       I will put your name in the pot twice if you share this blog link on your FB page! Include the statement, “I shared your blog on my FB page!” in your email.

I will put your names in a pot and have someone draw out the winner! I hope the $10 gift card helps put some healthy habits into motion for the winner!

Thank you again for encouraging me on the journey. May your own Steps to a Healthier Me be successful both spiritually and physically! Leah.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dear Family & Friends

Dear _________,

I want to share with you some of my deepest feelings. I am trying to get myself healthy. However, as I go along the journey there are some things that I need, and some things that I don’t need. There are also going to be good days and bad days so be patient and don’t give up on me. Here are some random thoughts from a big person to those of you who have never known what it is to be big, or can lose weight like some people sweat on a 105 degree day in humid Florence, Alabama.

1.       Please don’t put me down. I put myself down enough. If you don’t have something nice to say, or if you can’t say what you need to say with love and concern just keep your thoughts to yourself.

2.       If I am a teenager please don’t tell me things like, “You would be beautiful if you just lost 50 pounds.”, because what I am going to hear is that you don’t love me, you think I am grossly ugly, and that I am unlovable in my current condition. I may never recover from this.

3.       If I am your spouse and I ask you to exercise with me to help me stay motivated, even if it means walking at my waddle speed, please do it, don’t dismiss me because I will feel unloved and I may go eat another bag of cookies as I suffer in silence.

4.       If you are sitting at a table with me and you see my plate piled high please don’t make comments me to your slim friends sitting around the table with you about what is on my plate, especially when yours is piled high too.

5.       If you are my personal trainer please push me and motivate me, but never act like Julianne Michaels. I am not on The Biggest Loser, I can’t exercise hours each day, but I am trying and need you to help me learn what to do to get the best workout for my body in each session I have with you.

6.       Remember, it took years of training my brain to be unhealthy to get here, and now I have to retrain my brain, break food cravings, and I have to let go of one of my best friends…food. It is tough, and if you haven’t been here you don’t know my struggle.

7.       Please don’t judge me as lazy because I am big because you don’t know me. You don’t know what an effort it is to just exist as a big person.

Thank you, _____________.

If you are reading this and you have a loved one in your life who is dealing with weight loss you are probably very concerned about their health. Many times the people closest to me have been the ones who have hurt me the most about my weight. Sometimes it is not even their fault, it is my faulty thinking.

The best example I have of this situation of my faulty thinking is with my sister Molly. She and I are very close. She is one of my biggest supporters, I get motivated talking to her, I get loads of information about health and nutrition from her thanks to her own research, and she is one of my best friends. Yet, sometimes, I still feel like the ugly duckling, next to the beautiful swan, and just can’t compete. I feel this way but Molly has never told me that I was ugly, never acted like she was embarrassed to be seen with me, and the only time(s) my weight/health has ever been discussed with her it has been with love and concern for me. To me this is the perfect example of the negative thoughts an emotional eater may have that leads to poor self image and poor self esteem.

Molly and I will always be different, even if we were physically the same size. If I gained or lost 100 pounds from where I am right now, my sister would love me the very same. Yet I know a weight gain would make her very concerned for my health, and a weight loss would make her very glad that my health has improved.

As for parents, you are in a very delicate situation. If YOU do not set a good example of a healthy lifestyle before your children then you are at fault. Kids learn from us on every level. Monkey see, monkey do. It stands to reason that if you eat fast so will your kids. If you eat fatty, sugary foods so will your kids. If you skip meals so will your kids. Do you get the picture?

If you have multiple kids here are some things to consider. They are all different. They have different thought processes, and different emotional needs. They all need time with you. They all need encouragement from you. Please don’t compare your children to one another so that they feel the need to compete with each other to be the best. It is very damaging.

If you want your kids to exercise it probably won’t do any good for you to be the drill sergeant sitting in the recliner and yelling at them while you watch TV as they do sit-ups and push-ups at your feet while hoping their butt isn’t in the air too much or that their feet stay on the ground so they don’t get yelled at more. It also is not going to be effective if only one of your kids has to do this because they are the only one with a weight issue. Nope, you are most likely doing more harm than good there.

You probably are not going to be very effective with teaching portion control around the family table by ridiculing your kid with the weight problem for what is on their plate in a hateful way. Most likely this will only make the kid feel stupid, afraid to eat with people around for fear of getting into trouble, and if there are other children around the table they will learn that it is okay to make fun of the fat kid.

If you really want to totally mess with your kid's head then make statements like, “If you would just lose 50 pounds then you would be the prettiest/most handsome kid I have.” That will really, really help a young person struggling with weight issues to feel good about themself and get motivated!

If you are a parent that is concerned about the health of a child, and the other parent is overly critical about the weight issues there are some things you can do that would help. Make sure to positively motivate the kid. Make sure they know you love them, that you are willing to exercise with them, fix healthy foods and eat it with them, and make sure that they know YOU accept them like they are. If possible try to talk with the othe parent about the negative way they are dealing with the problem.

Many of my issues with food came from a very problematic childhood. My parents did not have access to the internet to get information about health and nutrition. My dad especially in his messed up way wanted me to be healthy, but for years I thought he did not love me because I was fat. He was doing what he thought was best, but it led me to binge eating in private that just compounded a very serious problem. Momma did try to ease the pain that his words and actions caused, but you can’t undo some things they just have to be dealt with and life has to move on. I don’t share this with you to demean my folks. I love them dearly. I share this in hopes that if you are dealing with a teenager/preteen with weight issues that you seek first God for guidance, and then a health care professional, counselor, or someone who struggled with weight as a child for advice on how to approach the kid in a positive way. TRUST ME, if you go about it the wrong way, your child may have LIFELONG issues with food and a healthy weight.

As, for siblings, you have the potential to be a good influence or a bad one. We don’t often think about the feelings of others when we are young ourselves, but we should. Be an encourager, and try not to make fun of the big kid in the family.

To all of you other friends and family members out there, especially ones that have never had to deal with a weight problem, please take heart about the things you say. One time, I was at a family gathering. One of my relatives whom had had a baby about four months previous and was already down to her pre-baby weight humiliated me. She had no intention of doing it, but she did. She stated, “Are you going to eat all of that?” The answer was really, “No, probably not.” (You know how it is at family gatherings, you get a little spoonful of everything and end up not eating half, you just want a taste of the different foods…I will admit overeating was most definitely going to happen, but I digress!) But, because I was sitting down with Mrs. I-can-lose-baby-weight-faster-than-any-woman-on-the-planet, and another very skinny woman who had chimed in with, “My, I don’t eat that much in a week!” I felt like a big old pile of worthlessness. I just snapped out with my customary everything is great in my world smile and a big old, “Yep, and will probably go back for seconds!”

Those ladies will never know how awful I felt that day. I wanted to cry. I wanted to get up and leave the table. However, I did not want to make a scene. I did not want to tell them as they made comment after comment about food and weight as we sat there that I wished I would drop dead, that I wanted to punch them in the face, or that the biggest comfort to me at that moment was knowing that one of my aunts had made her punch bowl cake and I was going to have a great big piece as soon as I ate each and every bite on a plate of food I didn’t even want anymore. BUT, I had been conditioned as a teenager to show no emotion, to pretend all was well, and the best way to get even with the world was to do exactly what I wanted too, not what was healthy for me.

Thankfully I also had many wonderful friends. The people I babysat for throughout my teenage years have no idea how much I NEEDED them. I always felt appreciated and accepted. One of them, who is now one of my most dear and best friends, even made it a point to tell me that I was beautiful, and that one day the world would see it too. As for all those children, they did not care if I was big or small, they just wanted to play, have stories read to them, and to go swimming!

Now, if you are struggling with weight issues and this is a letter you would like to share with your own family or friends that is great we have something in common. However, it is VITAL that we as emotional eaters, binge eaters, etc, deal with the fact that it is our job to control self. When we cannot control ourselves then we are out of control. Plain and simple, we are out of control.

If you are following this blog and wonder how this relates to Steps To a Healthier Me, I understand. I have found when I ask myself questions like: “Why are wanting to eat?”; “Why does this PERSON’S actions/words have so much control over you?”; “Who are you trying to please with THIS weight loss effort?”; etc., that I can really focus on the root of my problem which is usually that I am not leaning enough on the Lord, that my faith is weak, and that I am ignoring the big white elephant in the room instead of dealing with problems in life with other people in a Biblical manner. Until, I can learn to deal with personal relationships in a healthy way I may never overcome emotional eating. However, it is MUCH easier for me to deal with any problem no matter what area of life it is in when my WALK with GOD is goind well! Sometimes, that take brutal self-examination, and some very hard conversations with people who are hurting me.



Thank you to everyone who is being so kind via comments and emails about this blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. PLEASE if you know of anyone who is struggling with emotional eating or binge eating please share this blog with them, my email address, or my Facebook page with them. They may be feeling alone and seeking someone that knows their personal struggle in order to find their way to their own journey to a Healthier Me. I don’t have all the answers, but I am not afraid to look. I will be glad to be a resource of encouragement for them. Thank you again.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fortify and Conquer

I don’t think anyone likes to do self examination into the area of personal problems anymore. We have a quick fix for everything, or a pill that will numb us to the symptoms, and even in our religion we “justify” our actions. Today, I continued using, The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Weight Management, as part of my regiment to attack my weight problems and deal with my emotional and binge eating issues. It would be very easy to fall back into a pattern of depression, hurt, anger, etc, BUT the goal is to face MY problems not make excuses or continue to hurt myself with food.

So, today, as I worked on a new recipe – a trip to a farmers market over the weekend beckoned me to create a healthy recipe for gumbo which I’ll share later! – I worked on my workbook and I did some Bible study to help fortify the inner man. It was much easier to deal with my past and even my failures after taking a stroll through God’s Word. I literally had to put the workbook aside and spend some time with God in order to get out of the funk facing some painful memories caused today. God is good, and led me right to a passage that lifted me up!

Go with me to Psalm 28 and take a moment to read this short chapter please. Verses 6-8 really gave me a burst of positive thinking, a boost of can do spirit, and bolstered my faith in the promises of God to be there for me.

1.       Vs. 6 - God hears my requests! I know that as long as my requests are God’s will for me, and I do believe he wants me to be healthy body and soul, then my requests are heard and He will help me!

2.       Vs. 7 - I don’t have to count on my strength alone because God is my strength! He will shield me from temptation! He will help me! These thoughts truly do make me happy, and it does put a song of praise in my heart for the Lord.

3.       Vs. 8 – God is my strength and my Saviour!

So, with my soul nourished, and my head set on facing my problems I set out to identify one word today – gluttony. What is it? One definition I found summed it up as: excessive eating or drinking. So what does the Bible say about gluttony and why is it wrong? This question led me to this very well written article. I hope you will read it. It is not very long and really gives a good Biblical look into gluttony.

The thought that gluttony is all tied into self control or the lack of it really got me to thinking today too. I must learn to be in better control of my thoughts over many matters, especially my actions and my words. Gluttony is really just an out of control desire to please myself to the detriment of my physical body and an act of rebellion against my Lord. I must learn to fuel my body wisely and as needed with food, fill my soul with the wisdom of God, bare my soul to the Lord via prayer, and educate my soul through study of God’s Word. In other words, fortify my soul and conquer sin! I can do this!

I have already lost 5 pounds on my journey, Steps to a Healthier Me. Yet, I will tell you now, the biggest encouragement has been you. I have had people share their own insecurities regarding weight and emotional/binge eating. I have had comments of encouragement poured out on me. You all have been such a blessing. I hope my ramblings motivate and encourage you on your own journey to good health. Have a great day everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Letting Go of Guilt

Guilt is very dangerous and very helpful all at the same time. When we do something that is not right our conscience is pricked and we fill remorse for what we do. That is when feelings of guilt are positive. These positive feelings of guilt help us recognize that we have made a mistake or that we are veering from the course, and they cause us to want to correct our faulty behavior.

However, guilt turns deadly spiritually and emotionally when we defeat ourselves with it. When we experience guilt for falling into the same old trap again, and do nothing positive to change. Sometimes we even participate in more of the negative behaviors because it makes us feel better at the time on some levels.

Today’s Step to a Healthier Me, is focusing on the dangers of guilt and not being forgiving towards MYSELF. We will leave the discussion about forgiving others for another time.

Today our Bible lesson to focus on will be from Luke 5:19-21

19And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

20And when he saw their faith, he (Jesus) said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

21And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

This lesson from the Bible was about the paralyzed man, and the great faith he, and the faith the men who lowered him through the roof top had, so that he could see Jesus to be healed. This roof top most likely was not just a pile of straw that was easy to break through. I would have required great effort to dismantle and open a whole big enough to be able to lower the man down. Yet they did what was necessary to accomplish their mission.

Notice what Jesus did in verse 20. He saw their faith. When you are trying to make changes in your life whether they are spiritual or physical changes do you have faith? Do you have faith in God to help you? Do you believe Matthew 7:7-8?

7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

We must be faithful. When we seek God via prayer for assistance with our petitions, or desires, our most secret dreams, which we sometimes don’t even want to acknowledge to ourselves, we MUST believe that He will help us. God is powerful. He loves us. He wants us to be happy and healthy. He wants us to be successful.

Yet, does our faith get bogged down when we keep dumping guilt down on ourselves for our past failures? Can we achieve the kind of faith that would lead us to tear any barrier down to reach our goal so the Lord can see our faith shining through? Or do we let our successes get u bogged down under an empty pizza box, or entire party sized package of M&M’s when we stumble along our path to a healthier eating lifestyle?

I have to forgive myself for my past failures so I can move on to success today, and tomorrow. I have to have faith in God’s promises. When I pray to Him and ask His help with my health and spiritual goals, ones I know that are in alignment with what the Bible says is His will for me, then I have to believe that He will give me the strength and the tools I need to succeed! If I don’t believe, then my faith is weak.

Notice the second part of our Saviour’s actions in verse 20. “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” We must repent of gluttony if we are guilty of it. If we refuse to eat enough to care for our bodies properly, then we must repent of harming the bodily temple God gave us in this manner too. Whatever, your poison, drugs, alcohol, food, pornography, etc, etc., in order to receive forgiveness we must repent. Repentance means to change, to turn from that sin. When we ask for forgiveness with a truly repentant heart and a heart full of faith in His promises we must believe in those promises.

Ask yourself right now these questions.

1.       Have you truly repented of your unhealthy food behaviors?

2.       If yes, have your forgiven yourself?

3.       If no, then why have you not forgiven yourself? After all God forgave you, and wiped it away forever! Let it GO. Learn from it, and let it GO.

Today was a heavy day for me on my weight loss journey. I took a BIG STEP. I am going to share my numbers with you. They are sad, and they are SCARY from a health perspective. But, I want to share my journey with you fully, in hopes that any success or failure even, can help you reach your health goals.

I have been reading a book I bought at least 2 years ago. The name of the book is The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Weight Management. (Again, I am NOT buying any new material. I am pulling from my past purchases and free sources on this budget friendly Healthier Me journey!) Apparently, at some time in the past, it did sink into my brain enough for me to know that I need to work with the Cognitive side of my brain. Cognitive means the processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning. Or in SIMPLE terms, I grasped years ago that I had to change how I THINK!

So, I have been undergoing a journey about what makes me tick. And, the emotional side is not so pretty at times and I am still focusing on that side in my private time at this point.

But, I am going to share with you the physical side of my Healthier Steps journey today. I got in touch with my numbers. As of August 16, 2011 my weight is 309 pounds. I discovered today that I am off the charts and not in a good way! I fall into the Extremely Obese category with a Body Mass Index of 49.86% (I like that number better that rounding my BMI up to 50%).

When I looked online for other sources, I found that I was beyond what we have heard called Morbid Obesity and fall in the class of Super Obesity. WOW! Can you say tough to hear!

But, the numbers didn’t stop there. This work book encouraged me to measure my waist line. The number is quite sad, 55 inches. This puts me in a category of substantially increased risk for problems in the following areas: Blood Pressure; Lipid Profile: Cholesterol/Triglycerides/HDL/LDL cholesterol; Fasting Blood Sugar; Sleep Apnea; Nutritional deficiencies: B12, Folate, Calcium, & Magnesium; Thyroid Status, Depression, Anxiety, Binge-Eating disorder; Gynecological issues. I took the liberty of highlighting some things I have already had problems with in the past, and if I still struggle with them today they are underlined as well.

If you want to figure out your BMI you can do so by using this website:

Folks, I am laying it out there. I need to work on getting this issue with unhealthy diet and poor exercise and get it under control. As they like to say at Overeaters Anonymous, “I have to trust my Higher Power.” Well, that Higher Power is God Almighty, and if HE is on my side, then I can beat this.

I want to leave you on a positive note. I also got to a number that is obtainable and that I have already made progress towards since August 16, 2011. (Yes, I am saying that the scales are already slowly tipping downward on my journey!!!) I set a REALISTIC weight loss goal. I did not look at my ideal body weight based on my height. I figured 5-10% of my current weight, which for me is 15.45 to 30.90 pounds. I am shooting for a minimum of 3 pounds per week, with a 10 week deadline for the 31 pounds.

I am also going to be ASKING for God to help me, and I am going to have FAITH that He will give me all I need to be successful. I hope you do the same for your weight loss goals.

Stay tuned to my progress, please keep encouraging me, and may your successes be greater than my own! I will be traveling with work for a few days so I may not be able to check in with you all. I hope my in box, and comment section is overflowing with motivational tidbits from you when I get back in town. My next blog will probably have something to do with the difficulties of eating healthy and getting exercise while on the road!

If I spoke with you on the phone, via email, comments left, or private messages yesterday I want to say thank you for all the wonderful encouragement. It means a lot! AND, I have to add that the comments, questions, and words of support from people who feel like I do made me see that we need each other...people with similar struggles doing the samethings to become successful. Which leads me to a thought about the wisdom of God. Who does He encourage us to hang out with more, worldly people or Christians. Which then makes me think along these lines: like begats like, run with the dogs you'll smell like the dogs, hang out with motivated people you get motivated!

One last thought. I have to have a little faith in myself too. Even with my past failures at weight loss, or keeping weight loss off, I am not at a hopeless point yet. It is when I give up and stop trying that failure is accomplished. All I have to have is just a small amount of as a mustard seed can move mountains.

May your Steps to a Healthier Me bring your closer to God above in the spirit, and to better health in the body! Love and hugs to you all! Leah.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Savory Tidbits

Welcome to the Steps to a Healthier Me blog. I am pleased to inform you that I had several people respond with encouraging words, ideas, and shared views about wanting to be healthier yesterday. It was a tremendous encouragement to me personally, and I hope the comments that are posted here on the blog and on my Facebook page ( for those of you that may want to be friends on FB) encouraged you too.

Here are some of my successes from yesterday towards my goal to a Healthier Me. I spent time studying my Bible. I had a great motivator, this Blog that is focused on not only helping myself, but helping others! I also, was focused on making healthy food choices because I don't want to be hypocritical while participating in Steps to a Healthier Me. I also went out to eat, practiced self control, made wise decisions, and it was a spur of the moment trip too.

Today, I want to go to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I tend to be a happy go lucky kind of gal. However, I will tell you that most of the mirrors in my house don't show the full me. I can also tell you that I hate having my picture taken, but I will not shy away from the camera for one reason. I know the people wanting my picture love me and love me like I am. They may want me to be healthier, but they want that picture for their memories. So I grin and bear it knowing if I see the picture I will be disgusted by what I see, but at the same time, I treasure those pictures too because of the memories being made with loved ones.

I learned a long time ago to hide feelings that hurt behind a mask of pleasure. If something hurt your feelings, or if some one's words hurt your feelings they must not know. If they did it would be worse for you in the long run. Yet, I was not really happy, I was miserable.

As a student of the Bible my entire life thanks to my mom, I tended to read stuff, and let it go in one ear and out the other. I would remember just enough to fool my mom, do well in my Bible class, and spit out Biblical beliefs when called upon. I did not allow the wonderful morsels of God's Word to soak into my heart. Today I want us to focus on, to SAVOR, some of the Word of God and the food we eat.

1. God wants us to be happy! How can we "rejoice evermore" if we are not happy. This means when applying it to food issues that we should be able to enjoy our food without guilt. We have to learn how to do it. Portion size matters. Quality matters. So today, try to think of healthy foods you like and enjoy them. Rejoice that you can have a healthy portion!

2. Pray without ceasing. God wants us to be in communication with him all the time. Is there anyone you stay in touch with on a daily basis? Do you text, phone, email, FB, Tweet, etc., to stay in touch with anyone or more than one person daily? If yes, now ask yourself if you spend as much time with God via prayer or Bible study? It really puts it in perspective doesn't it!?! Today, as you rejoice over healthy food choices you have thought about, savor each bite and as you slowly chew your healthy portions pray without ceasing as you embark on your Healthier Me goals!

3. It is hard to over eat when you give thanks for food that you have and reflect on the many others who do not. As you make your healthy food selections today remember to be thankful. Thankful that you have food in your home, or money to go to the store to buy food.

4. Understanding God's will. What does this passage tell us? That God wants us to be happy, to talk to Him all the time, and to be thankful. So if you are asking yourself questions about getting healthier today reflect on God's will for you as shown in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Then apply these principles to your food choices today.

I want a healthy relationship with God more than a healthy relationship with food. However, I believe I have to get my unhealthy eating habits under control, or else I am enslaved to them. God sent Jesus to buy me out of bondage, yet, when I live in a sinful way I allow myself to be placed back in bondage. God does not want that for me or for YOU.

Here are some cheap ideas about eating healthier on a budget with common foods.

1. Check out the dry bean isle at the grocery store.
I am looking at a 15.5 oz can of Tiny Green Butter Beans. The contents are: Lima Beans, Water, Salt, Sugar, and Calcium Chloride. The can also cost $.87 for 3.5 servings. I promise one can of Lima beans will only dish out 2 servings of beans, but according to the label it 3.5. That comes to nearly $.25 per serving when going by their recommended servings. Plus, I am getting what quality of water? (I recommend water with no fluoride, chlorine, etc. Zero tolerance on added chemicals whenever possible!.) You are getting salt and sugar too...and what is calcium chloride??? It is a salt of calcium and chlorine according to Wikipedia. Now, do we really need this extra salt, sugar, salt, or chlorine in our foods.
I am now looking at a bag of dried black beans. Now, I realize I am comparing butter beans and black beans, but I am using what is on hand. We are doing things on a budget remember! LOL! One 16 oz. bag of black beans costs about $1.80 (I think. Memory Lane is not what it used to be.) It tells me that there are13 servings. Which is about $.14 per serving. Every time you serve dry beans verses canned beans you have a savings potential of $.11 per serving. For a family of 4 that is $.44 of savings per meal. As I look at the contents label I am shocked to see the following listed: Black Beans. No, no, no, I want my added sugar, salt, and calcium chloride!!!
Just by choosing to expend a little extra time soaking dry beans (this will also help in getting rid of the gases that cause us to have gas.) and tossing them in a crock pot to simmer away all day I can save a lot of money. If it takes 6 cans of processed beans to yield the 13 servings I get from one bag of beans then I stand to save a lot of money. If the cans cost $.50 each that is $3.00 v. $2 or less for a bag of dried beans. It is definitely worth the little extra work to bypass the chemicals and other added ingredients that we get in processed foods.

2. Grow your own foods or find local farmers to buy from. Many of us don't have time or the know how to garden these days. However, you would be surprised at the amount of produce you can yield in very small containers. I encourage you to learn about container gardening. If you have flowerbeds, use them to grow food. I also recommend that you use non GMO - genetically modified - heirloom seeds for all things you grow.
Caution on corn. Sadly, even if you use a heirloom seed, you must be careful to not allow cross pollination to occur, or your corn will be corrupted by a GMO product by cross contamination via the pollination process. Other than growing your corn in a green house with a controlled population of butterflies/bugs/bees to assist with pollination or an air pollination system there is not really any way to prevent this from happening. Especially, if you live in my neck of the woods where we are surrounded by GMO corn Fields.
If you know of a good local farmer ask if you can help with the gardening in exchange for produce. Many hobby farmers get overwhelmed at times, want to go on vacation during the summer, or just need some help and may be glad to trade out services.
If you do garden remember to save your seeds. They are like free food for next year. You can very easily Google proper drying techniques or seed saving guides online. You may want to reap the knowledge of any family members from the gardening era in your family!

3. Another incentive of portion control. You make your groceries go further. Plain and simple. If you eat only half of what you normally do in a day's time you have saved 50% right off the top.

When I first started portion control meals I was shocked at what my intake really was. I even commented that "it is a wonder I can fit through the door ways!"

I hope that by sharing with you my ups and my downs, and some of the things that helped me get to where I am today with my weight and my food struggles, that you find some encouragement. Just knowing that you are not alone as you struggle to be a healthier you. That it is not only you that stands in front of the pantry knowing you are not hungry but wanting something to fill a spot inside of you, and hoping something you are looking at will do it.

So today join me as I rejoice in all the things and the healthy food God has blessed me with, as I seek Him out in prayer all day with a special focus on the healthy food he provides, and as I try to be so very thankful for all of my blessings, and one of them is you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baby Steps

Welcome to Steps to a Healthier Me.

I hope you found this page because you are on a journey in your own quest for a healthier you!

I wish I had all the money in the bank I have spent on attempts at being healthy. I have had successes in the past, yet today finds me starting a new climb again into getting healthy. I got to thinking that I wish there was a place I could go to that had other people like me sharing ideas and getting support. Then that led me to thinking that I needed to start it!

I am not computer savy. I just get by. So please bear with me as we start a journey together.

I won't promise to blog everyday. I may even blog that I am struggling and need you to encourage me at times. That is what I want to find. I want to find people that are struggling with weight issues and are looking for everyday affordable approaches to losing weight.

I am a firm believer that knowledge is powerful. If we start steps together concerning weight loss, and share what works for us with others starting the journey what a wonderful way to stay motivated to be healthy.

I had a very active childhood. I also learned some terrible eating habits as a teenager that haunt me today. Binge eating. Emotional eating. Closet eating. I have been on the roller coaster. I would like to get off.

I once went to Overeaters Anonymous and found that it was a great support group with people who understood my frustrations. It was with others who knew what it meant to be obese and hurting. It was a group of people who shared their stories and gave support. Yet, I found that I simply could not make it to a meeting, or could not afford to get to a meeting. If there is a local OA group in your area I stongly suggest you use it to your benefit.

While going to OA, I learned about the 12 Step Program for Addicts. I really like the idea. Yet, because I could not go to meetings regularly, I found myself with yet another idea, but no "will" to do it alone.

I also went to Weight Watchers group meetings, joined online, and did WW points on my own at home, but soon lost motivation. I know several people that have had great success and I do believe WW is a great tool if you can afford to take advantage of it.

I went to a weight loss clinic for weekly injections, pills, and barely 900 calories a day. While doing this I spent roughly 1.5 hours in the gym six days a week sometimes seven. Yes, I did get results, but I couldn't keep up with the cost. So first it was the chemicals that were helping me lose weight, and then I had to stop the gym dues. Needless to say, it wasn't long and all that hard work was a memory.

Today, I want to start something new. I will not buy anything. I will use books I have already purchased...and believe me that list is LONG...or that I can check-out via library loans or online. I will also, not be buying any exercise equipment. I will use what I already own...which again is rather extensive. Remember I said I wished I had all the money I had spent on stuff to help me loose weight in the past. I would say it would easily total 5 figures, as in 10's of thousands of dollars!

Here is what I believe.
#1 I can't do this alone. I need to understand what God wants for me when it comes to health.
#2 I can't keep doing the same things that got me here today.
#3 I need to be motivated, and I am the best motivated when doing for others.
#4 I want to be knowledgable about health, exercise and nutrition.
#5 I want to surround myself with others on this journey to a Healthier Me.

I am sure I will tumble down the steps a lot and so will you. Yet, I know that WE can encourage each other on this journey, and that will motivate us to get up when we fall. It will encourage us to try different things. It will encourage us to reach out for help and to help others. It will bring success if we just keep trying to take small positive steps each day to a Healthier Me!

Please leave feedback. If you see something that isn't correct let me know. If you want to know more about something let me know and we can learn together. If you find something that works for you let us know so we can try it too.

I hope that you have made the first step to a healthier you!