Five Things I Learned in Rehab

A few weeks back I started accumulating hours at a substance abuse treatment center as part of my master’s program requirements. On my first day, someone told me that I looked like I had just gotten out of jail, the next week a man who looked a little like Santa called me “middle-aged,” and throughout it all, I learned six things about fear that I applied to my own weight-loss and health journey.

#1 Fear is Normal: At the beginning of every new journey, there is fear. Sometimes fear is good and helps us guide our decision-making process, other times it is stunting and paralyzes. In either form, it is there, normal, and expected.

#2 Fear of Missing Out: This seems silly but how many of us binge just before starting a diet, or lament all of the things that we will miss out on? We have a serious case of the FOMO (fear of missing out)! When I think about this, I try to remember that for 30+ years, I have enjoyed those things and that now is the time to choose healthier things. And what am I missing out on? Future heart issues, diabetes, heartburn, icky skin? Nope.

#3 Fear of Failure: Whether we have been eating clean and exercising for one week or 2 years, living a healthy lifestyle is challenging. It is a process. There are times when we doubt ourselves, fall short of our goals, or act completely the opposite of how we have resolved to act. This is a mind-warping fear because the fear itself causes what we fear to happen (failure) to actually happen. At that point, we can conclude that we don’t have what it takes, or we can keep pressing forward.

#4 Fear of Success: This is kind of like the fear of failure. Hmm, we don’t plan to self-sabotage but it happens. We feel that we are doomed from the start and let self-doubt and fears of what other people think keep us from sticking with it or trying. This fear is rooted in thinking that we can control the future. We can’t!!! I’ve learned to be present in this health journey. I’m not getting lost, focusing on what might be or could be. I am focusing on today and making good decisions.

 #5 Fear of Losing Identity: This one might hit a little hard. Our bodies are part of our identity. This is true for everyone, no matter the body. After years (or a lifetime) of having a one identity, (cue social media names: MzThickness, PHAT Girl Hottie, BigBoi, etc.) it can throw us off to think of having a different identity as our bodies change. This fear can stop us in our tracks. Identity is also fluid; it changes. We are not who we were at 13 years old and we’re not who we will be at 70. Check yourself out in the mirror, accept the new you, and realize that it is just a piece of who you are!

If you’re still reading this super long post, just remember:  fear is normal but we have to find out what is perpetuating that fear and kick it in the face! Fight it with truth! Go get em!!!

What’s Stopping You?

So, honesty time.  A few weeks ago, I had an allergic reaction, ended up having to epi pen myself and took a nice ride in an ambulance. Don’t worry, all is well here in my world. You know what happened though for the entire week after this little episode? Nothing. That’s right, absolutely nothing. My throat closed up for a morning and I got spooked BIG time. I didn’t go to the gym the entire week that followed, and I can admit, I was scared. I was scared that my asthma was going to get in my way if I tried to do some cardio, that I was going to have an asthma attack in the middle of my gym and that I would be the biggest huffing, puffing mess in front of a bunch of fit strangers.

So, I didn’t go to the gym. Instead, I let my fear get in the way of my goals. Has this happened to you? What is it that stops you dead in your tracks? The thing that gets in your head and repeats over and over again that you simply can’t do it. You can’t become the thing that you want to be. You can’t be that amazing person that works out and eats well and achieves their monstrous goals. That you can’t be anything more than the blob you always have been. I don’t know what it is for you, but for me it is that elephant in the room that stares me down every time I head to the gym – my lungs.

Well, thank goodness for my husband. After a week of fear and laziness, he simply said, “Hey, when are you getting to the gym?” I love this. He wasn’t saying that I was fat (believe me), he wasn’t calling me lumpy or overweight or anything like that, but he was simply calling me out, because he knows what my goals are and what I want to do. I need that. I need that accountability and reminder to get going. I need the reminder to let the silly fear in my head go and to simply go be me – work out hard and do what I am capable of doing (not the extremely built people that lift more than my bodyweight times 5). And you know what? It worked. Last week was a crazy busy stressful week, but I got to the gym – 4 times. And this week, I’m heading there again, at least 4 times.

Bench Press

We can either continue to live in our fears, letting those conquer and settling to be what we always have been, or we can acknowledge what our fears are and push pass them to become what we want to be. I’m for that. So, keep rocking it out and getting it done, Fit Mitt Reader World. Hope that it is a great week for you all!



(3) More Unexpected Rewards

So earlier this week I posted about four unexpected results of a new healthy lifestyle that don’t involve the scale.

And today I have three more to share that are physical rewards.

Clearer Skin
I have struggled with acne since I was 13. So ten years now (wink) and it’s uber annoying. I’ve tried prescription meds, creams, exfoliators, you name it. Some of it has worked for a time, but never long term. But when I started eating better, my skin decided to get on board too. At first, it purged. As in, total breakout. But then, beautiful, pink, skin. Yay! Drinking lots of water helps the purge to go faster too.

Strong Hair and Nails
I’m a nail biter by nature (mam, I’m revealing all my vices here). But part of the reason excuse for biting my nails is how weak and brittle they are. When I started fueling my body with healthy foods, my nails got stronger…and longer. Woot!

Smoother Potty Sessions
Sorry. But yeah, I’ve also dealt with my fair share of stomach (read: colon) issues. I’ve never really been regular. Until….yes, until, I started eating better. Healthy fats likes avocados and olive oil. Coconut oil and mango. Lean meats and lots of veggies. It’s like my body said, “Yes, this is what we needed to regulate and move food through.” No more tums, antacids, antidiarrheal meds…you name it.

So there ya have it. What more do you need to be convinced that a healthy diet will change you? Literally, from the inside out.



Unexpected Reward

Come on, losing weight is always the primary focus of diet change. You know it and I know it. And by losing weight, I mean the intended reward of looking better. But what if you don’t really care?

Huh, you say?

Believe it or not, some of us (yeah that was inclusive), don’t care. We don’t care because we’ve given up on being a size (insert ideal size here) or we’ve decided were comfortable in our skin. Maybe we’ve looked this way for so long and been accepted, that there’s really no pressure to look a different way.

But what if the reward of adopting a healthier lifestyle extended far beyond looks and even physical health? I mean, really. What if we had something more to look forward to and our jean size was just an after thought.

So in an effort to inspire and motivate myself, I made a list of rewards that don’t include physical weight loss. Boom! Here you go…

Increased energy
It’s pretty amazing how awesome you feel when you begin fueling your body with the food God intended. Processed junk is hard work for our body to…well, process. But eating whole foods are quite the opposite. Your body was made to use them in a most fascinating way. Test it. I bet you have a new level of energy even after one day.

Deeper, more satisfying sleep
Sign me up! Do you toss and turn at night? Feel like you just can’t get the right amount of rest? Start eating better and exercising and I guarantee you’ll sleep like a baby. Again, it’s how God intended for us to thrive.

Joy upon joy
First, let me say this, if you don’t know the true Prince of Peace, then you’ll never know real, lasting joy. But if you’re fueling your body correctly, you’ll probably notice a mood change. Yup, ask my kids. Mommy can be pretty cranky (or hangry) when experiencing a sugar high, sugar low, etc. Start eating whole, real foods and you’ll find that your moods even out. It’s pretty cool.

A renewed focus
Food no longer becomes a source of something, but a means to an end. Throughout this post I’ve used the word “fuel” in reference to food. That’s because food isn’t the end (though we do get the opportunity to enjoy what we eat – thanks tastebuds!). Whole foods are used to give our body the health and energy it needs to: go to work, clean house, help kids with homework, run a mile, and so on. Using food as fuel reminds us why we eat and therefore helps us decide what to eat. Choose the best fuel source to get you through the day.

So there’s four pretty significant ways that you’ll be (almost) immediately rewarded for improving your healthy lifestyle that don’t involve weight. Woo hoo!

But, I guarantee you. If you eat well and exercise, you will lose weight. Bonus!


How to Change Your Life – Step 3

All this week, I’ve been talking about simple steps you can take to actually change your life and make your goals/resolutions stick. Since we are in the last day of 2015, I thought I would sneak one last one in for you as you prepare for 2016 and think through what you want to accomplish. To me, this is the most important step you can take and the one that will help you the most. You ready? Here we go.

Know your reason for motivation.

This is by far and away the best thing that I can tell you. There is something inside of you, or something that happened to you, that is the reality behind your drive. It will be the thing that will keep you on track on the days when you want to quit. It will be what keeps screaming at you when you want to give up. If you haven’t actually thought through what is motivating you, then you need to sit down and do that. Otherwise your goals and resolutions just become a list of things that you think would be a good thing for you to do, and not something that you are determined to change or accomplish because deep down you actually have something driving you forward.

For me, my motivation is my mom. She passed away in 2011 because of diabetes. At that point in my life, I was about 40 lbs heavier than what I am today. My glory days were long gone and I was a shell of the confident woman that I was constantly portraying. It was my mom’s death that was my wake-up call to say to myself that I don’t want to end up like she did. I wanted a different life, I took a hold of it and my life changed.

BeforeAfter small

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – no one actually wants to go to the gym. On my best day, I still have to drag myself there and kick my butt even when I don’t want to actually be there. But I can choose to sit on the couch and become a potato or I can remember what drives me – and for me, it is and always will be my amazing mom. So, as you write out your list, let me challenge you to write out right next to it what your reason is for doing this. And come January 12th when you want to quit, look at that reason and let it fuel your fire. Here’s to an amazing 2016 – may you seriously kick some butt.


How to Change Your Life – Step 1

We are coming up on that time of year when gym memberships increase, every where you turn someone is talking about some new fad diet or committing to Whole30 for January, and people who never had a shred of self-determination before all of a sudden find that they are more determined than a shirtless Putin on a warm day sitting a top a horse.

Let’s get real though. How many of us do this every December and come January 3rd, 12th or maybe even February 2nd, we are off our determined wagon and eating chicken parmesan with a heaping side of pasta and a piece of cheesecake afterwards? From someone that lost 34 lbs because she was determined, can I just say this? You/we will never achieve our goals unless you/we become something that you/we are not. It was not determination that got us to where we were, it was life and laziness and thinking that we can never become something we are not.

This is an incredible week because I fully believe in starting something now rather than waiting until a specific month. You can rev yourself up for January by working out 3 times this week. Get to the gym, go for a walk, sit in front of your tv and do 500 sit-ups, 100 push-ups and 500 squats and you will be golden. Eat well this week – toss the cookies and fudge and whatever else seeped into your home this Christmas season and get some carrots, apples, hard boiled eggs and just plain old nutritious things that will make you feel good on the inside.

This week, I want to get practical with you all. So, I’m going to write about some steps that each of us can take to begin to change your life. Because trust me, it will not happen because January magically comes each year.

So the first step is this – what can you do today to make it a better day for your goals? For me, it’s starting my day off with a little black coffee, a couple of hard boiled eggs and in an hour a trip to the gym. 2015-12-28 07.33.56What about you? You probably still have some holiday dinners, lunches, etc. scheduled – so make the wise choice and get a salad with some awesome veggies and protein all over that mother. You can do this. We can do this. Just start with step 1, which means focus on what you can do for yourself and your goals TODAY.



What’s Your Reward?


This is me and my friend Hannah, getting to do something really cool for work. Yeah, its a selfie and I’m not ashamed. We snapped this just moments before we went on set at our local TV station to talk about the great work happening at Holland Rescue Mission. I was so proud of Hannah and the way she talked about how her life has been changed since she entered our program.

I know, this is a healthy lifestyle blog. What’s your point?

Here’s my point. 90% of my trouble with eating healthy comes in the form of reward. I did a great job at work today: let’s eat cake. The kids are all in bed before 8pm: let’s gorge on ice cream. I’m coming down from the rush of this awesome, wonderful thing (you name it): we deserve (chocolate, steak, blah blah blah).

It occurred to me after this TV interview that I have started to turn a corner. Typically, I would say, “That was awesome, what a rush!  We deserve a sugary, piece of death.” But today, today was different. Today, we hugged, we celebrated the opportunity that God gave us to share our story and then we celebrated differently. I grabbed a piping hot cup of black coffee and headed to the office. Still celebratory, but without the shame.

For me, its not about setting lofty, long-term goals that end in failure. At least not anymore.  Now, its about making the next right choice. Is planning necessary? Yup. Do I frequently have to remind myself to exercise discipline? Yup. But the reward comes after the decision has been made to: say no to that dessert, not put sugar in my coffee, skip the buttered roll, walk an extra flight of stairs…the list goes on.

So, stop rewarding yourself with bad food and ponder what next right choice you’re going to make today.


In Need of a Reset?

For me, its always ‘all or nothing.’ And when you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, that mentality can be so destructive.  Especially if you’re a perfectionist, rule follower, like me.

Yes, I’m a joy to live with. Ask my dear hubby. Last year I took a personality test and it compared me to Judge Judy. Mhm.

But I digress.

When I did a 30 day clean eating challenge last June, I succeeded with flying colors. Not one intentional cheat. I gave it my all.

And when I cheated two weeks ago during a weak moment at work, I quit and never looked back. Yeah, I’m ashamed to say, that was my nothing.

Thankfully, I have friends in my life who don’t let me get away with excuses or thoughts of quitting. Instead, they challenged me to ‘reset’ and ‘take baby steps.’  I love those words. Notice they don’t include all or nothing?

So, this is me officially hitting the ‘reset’ button. Starting today, I’m challenging myself to make wise food choices this week. I plan to blog frequently for accountability and will check-in on Friday to give you the low-down on my success (or failure).

Challenges that await me this week: my twins’ celebrate their 4th birthday today (read: CAKE), my work Christmas party is Tuesday (Read: MORE CAKE) and I’m certain a long day at work will be met with the temptation to eat out and somewhere unhealthy.

So, there you have it. I’m not perfect (not that I thought I was fooling anyone). But I do want to lead a healthier lifestyle, so I’ll start with this week. Check in on me to see how I’m doing. If you see me out, slap that piece of sugary death from my hand and encourage me to make a better choice. For real.


33 Things I’ve Learned Now That I’m 33

Tomorrow I turn 33-years old. As someone I know always says whenever anyone turns that age – “33? That was the year that Jesus died!” And….thanks.

Maybe it’s that I’m getting more sentimental in my old age (yeah, yeah, I know, I’m not that old), but I thought I would give you a short (ha!) list of 33 things I’ve learned now that I’m 33. Catchy, right? No particular order on this, I really just spewed things out. Here we go (and God bless you for reading).

33. Wrinkles mean that I have laughed a lot.

32. Gray hair means that I refuse to put chemicals on my head.

31. I’m an introvert and will not be ashamed to tell people that I don’t want to go to a big party and instead want to sit in my home with a good book.

30. Being a friend is a two-sided thing, and I have to realize that sometimes I am not holding up my side.

29. I will always enjoy a good burger. Always.

28. After enjoying a good burger, I will work out to justify eating such awesomeness.

27. If I don’t challenge myself today to work out, I won’t do it.

26. With that in mind, no one ever wants to go to the gym (unless you are one of those people that are there for 6 hours every day). No one wants to go, we just do it. Nike was onto something there.

25. No one likes low rise jeans, no one. Whoever invented these, please realize that the constant pulling up of jeans is not a good look. They should have cut you from Project Runway a long time ago – You are out, auf wiedersehen.

24. Makers of fashionable boots only have girls with tiny calves in mind. I am not one of them.

23. Every generation thinks that their SNL generation was the best. Well, other generations, you are wrong. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey were where its at.

22. What About Bob? is quite possibly the funniest movie ever. Everyone should watch it and enjoy the neurosis.

21. I am addicted to ice cream. There, I said it.

20. My body shape is mine and no one else’s. I’ve stopped comparing it to other women a long time ago.

19. Glory days are fun to remember, but I like to live in the present and make new ones.

18. You can always raise a voice in protest, it is much harder to invest in a life.

17. If you want to lose weight, then eat for that goal weight, not the way that got you to the weight you are now.

16. I much rather prefer to do a beast workout in 30 minutes than a sluggish one in an hour.

15. U2 makes me happy and I love them, even when they sell out.

14. I may not live there, but people from Michigan will always be my favorite people in the world. We just get each other.

13. Michigan State basketball is my life in March, and I worry about the day that Tom Izzo retires (like I think about this often).

12. You have today to live your life to the fullest.

11. I am constantly compelled by the fact that Jesus asked me to love like He did.

10. I will never know God unless I read what He gave me and talk to Him.

9. I love books, tea, beautiful walks, and all things British – essentially I am the female version of C.S. Lewis without the insane creative genius for writing.

8. When Harry Met Sally had the most truthful statement on love from pop culture ever, “When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start now.” I love you, Dave.

7. Some days you need to listen to Adele and cry and some days you need to listen to Pink and rock out that anger and sadness instead.

6. There is always someone that is smarter than me in the room – I want to find them and learn as much as I can.

5. My sisters are amazing women who I have laughed more with than any other women in this world. I want to thank them for the hilarious text messages each week. #DeutschBaby #ForeverFacial #CampbellSoupChildren

4. For those of you who are in your 20’s, enjoy life and exploring what you want to do. You will get there in your 30’s.

3. I may be sarcastic, but I won’t pick on someone for something they like or believe in. That’s not sarcasm, that’s just being mean. Sarcasm is an art that is cultivated with much thought and precision and only the best of us know when to say something and when to leave the line uncrossed. As much as I try, I cross that line too, and for this I apologize.

2. I’m into sports, I paint my nails, I wear make-up, I lounge around in huge sweatshirts, I wear dresses and skirts, I lift like a dude, I love to cook, I am a huge feminist – I refuse to be put in a box, so stop labeling me.

1. I will always own my age, because it reminds me of the fact that I have lived an amazing life for which I am incredibly thankful.

Bday Collage


Stop Giving Me Christmas Cookies, Please

It’s the most wonderful time of year. Really, it is. I love Christmas time. I love December. I love winter. I love it all.

Now, you can go all Scrooge and bah-humbug and “I hate snow” on me, or you can get over it and allow me to bask in my favorite time of year, please. Good? Thanks.

Here is one thing though that I do request. Please stop giving me Christmas cookies as gifts. I feel bad that I have to say this, but I’m going for it. I am a disciplined person, for the most part, and I really don’t eat a ton of sweets on a regular basis. This stays the same for me throughout December. Just because chocolate fudge abounds and cookies in the shapes of snowflakes are everywhere doesn’t mean that I eat them nor do I want to eat them, nor do they make great gifts for me, nor do I think that because it is December that this gives me a license to somehow change my diet. Wow, that’s a lot of nors.

It is really funny what happens when you lose weight and live a disciplined life of eating healthy. People come out of nowhere telling you that you should have everything in moderation (as they stuff their faces with their 12th cookie of the day). I grin and thank them for that piece of advice and then continue to live my life very happily eating in moderation lots of veggies, fruits, eggs, bacon, meat galore, potatoes and even once or twice a week some ice cream.

So, thanks for the cookies this time of year, but no thanks. Instead, I like Starbucks coffee, black and dark – that will do just fine.

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