Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Extreme Weight Loss - Heidi Takes the Lead, Pushing Through PTSD

Normally you see Chris Powell's smiling face and passion for helping people reach their goals every week, but this time is different. It's his wife Heidi who takes the lead in helping Melissa, who reached out to Heidi specifically because she can relate to her as a mom.

Heidi's the one who tells Melissa she is chosen and does most of the work in this year-long journey, but Chris is still there to assist. It's obvious, however, that Melissa chose the right trainer, since Heidi sees more in her than Chris does. Chris does come around, but Heidi is the one who believes in Melissa from the beginning.

Melissa has been through a lot in the past few years.  Her husband Mike came home from serving our country and had a difficult time adjusting after everything he witnessed in Afghanistan.  He had post-traumatic stress disorder, and it took him to such a dark place that he took his own life in an even more horrific fashion than most people who commit suicide do.(I don't even want to write the words to describe what he did...it's too terrifying to even picture.)  This left Melissa to take care of the kids, with one of them also being diagnosed with PTSD.

She had gained over 100 pounds since her husband's death, and when she started this journey with Heidi she weighed 301 pounds.  There were a lot of ups and downs, including Melissa wanting to quit on the first day of boot camp.  But with love and support she persevered.  She even organized a special 10 mile run in honor of her husband, which she finished with flying colors.  It was amazing to see her town (making me proud to be an Ohioan!) lift her up and support her through everything, including the race.

Heidi and Chris planed a vacation halfway through the year in New Zealand for Melissa and her kids, and while they were there Heidi and Melissa jumped from a building - after running the stairs all the way to the top.  I don't think I could have been brave enough to leap off of a building, especially after the run to the top.  But Melissa rocked it!  And so did Heidi...not long after giving birth to her fourth child.  No wonder Melissa looks up to her - she is amazing!

Before the year was up, Melissa had met a man and started dating.  He seems very supportive of her and her family, and just as proud of her as Heidi and Chris are.  Melissa qualified for and had the skin removal surgery, and kept moving toward her goal.

At the final weigh-in, Melissa surpassed her goal of 164, making it to 159 and losing 142 pounds in a year.  Words that Chris said earlier to her (and truer words were never spoken) came back to me - "The more you want something, the more life will test you."

Melissa had been severely tested over and over again, but she wanted to reach her goal so badly that she did what she had to in order to keep going - and she got there, looking gorgeous on the outside but feeling even better on the inside. 

I appreciate how difficult all of this was for her, and she inspires me to get past my fears and struggles to get to my goals.  Thank you Melissa - you, along with Heidi, are now and will always be one of my "She-roes"!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Extreme Weight Loss - Singing A New Song

I haven't been able to watch the first couple of episodes of EWL this season because of work - and then there were those pesky NBA finals.  (At least the Spurs won!) I'm glad that EWL was back already tonight...and it couldn't have been a better episode for me to start with.

I have a lot in common with Jayce.  He's a songwriter in Nashville who always wanted to be the artist performing the songs as well, but his weight held him back.  As for me, being a writer who's written songs since I was 15 and also having the same dream, I couldn't help but root for him.

He also couldn't swim, which is something I still need to learn as well.  My fear of the water isn't as bad as his was, since I love to get in the pool and work out.  But I don't actually swim, and really want to learn.

Jayce started his weight loss journey at 417 pounds.  He also quit smoking at the same time, which is very impressive.  It's hard enough to undo one bad habit - let alone two or more.  He had some setbacks, but conquered the smoking. I felt terrible for him dealing with the custody battle for his son.  His ex-wife has made his life hell, not only while they were married, but also afterward.  Jayce's son told him he deserved to be healthy - showing that in spite of the drama his mother causes he's still learned a lot of good things from his dad.  I pray that the whole situation gets resolved soon, considering that his son would be better off living with him.

Through all of these ups and downs, Jayce persisted and kept losing weight, even if he didn't always reach the goat that Chris set for him.  In the end, he lost 188 pounds to weigh in at 229, qualifying him for the skin removal surgery.  He also performed his music on stage at the final reveal. Plus - Chris had Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte help him overcome his fears and learn to swim.  Not bad for a 365 day journey!

I look forward to seeing - and hearing - what Jayce does in the future.  I just might even have some songs published myself...so here's to writing and singing brand new songs!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Working On My Running - Making a Commitment

I think I've finally found a way to commit to a 5K - with no looking back.

My running really never got off the ground before, so to speak.  I still do a lot of walking and spinning, but even though I've wanted to "graduate" to running, I always let other things get in the way.  My weird schedule and lack of time are two of my biggest excuses, and while they do have some merit I know there's a way to work around them. 

There has to be.  I can't let outside stuff get into my head and stop me from moving forward.

So I made a commitment that will force me to follow through in the only way I knew how - publicly.  I'm a local columnist for my town's Sun News, and a lot of people in my community read my words.  When I discovered that North Ridgeville is hosting a new race on November 1st AND the money from it would go back into my community, I decided to jump in feet first. No, that's not quite right - I prayed about it first - THEN added my feet into the mix.  AND I wrote about it.

With so many people reading about my commitment to run, I know I have support.  Friends, neighbors, and coworkers will know about it, which will help keep me accountable to myself and my goal.  The dream is not just in my head...it's out there for the whole world to read!

With the race being at the beginning of November, I've given myself plenty of time to work up to 3.1 miles. I am starting now - not waiting until October to train, but gradually getting stronger day by day for a few months before debuting my stride in front of a crowd.  This is not something you cram for like a big exam, and trying to do it last minute could only cause injury or stress.  Since I am going to do this, I want to do it the right way.

Please check out my column "Running down a dream: North Ridgeville News and Musings" and follow my progress both in the Sun News and this blog.  I will keep you posted on how things are going....and I appreciate your support whether you live in my town or read my words across the miles!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Toward Summer Workout Playlist

Thank God that it's finally spring, because I know how sick we all are of the wintry weather.  We made it through one of the worst winters in years - not always patiently, but with prayer and perseverance, here we are on the other side of the snow.
There are still some chilly days, but we can finally get some outdoor workouts in.  I mix it up right now, since on some days the weather still doesn't cooperate.  This playlist will work well whether you are stuck on the treadmill or hitting the trails:
Happy - Pharrell Williams
Stronger - Mandisa
Automatic - Miranda Lambert
On Top of the World - Imagine Dragons
Heaven Knows - Donna Summer
Chainsaw - The Band Perry
Don't Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet - Hayden Panettiere (Nashville Soundtrack)
Counting Stars - One Republic
Let It Go - Idina Menzel (Frozen Soundtrack)
I Hold On - Dierks Bentley
One Way Or Another - Blondie
Beat of the Music - Brett Eldredge
I Ain't Leaving Without Your Love - Jonathan Jackson/Sam Palladio/Chaley Rose (Nashville Soundtrack)
Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker
Mixing up the music also keeps me going, since the variety of genres prevents boredom and appeals to the many sides of me that all need to come out to play - or work out, as the case may be.  It's always good to keep it as interesting as possible!
So...please share with me any songs that you love to work out to right now.  We can all keep each other motivated as we move through spring an toward a fitter summer!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - Making Wise Choices Over Time

"Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Making healthy choices continuously over time is so important to success.  It can also be difficult.  You have to be careful that you don't allow the occasional human slip-up to send you on a downward spiral, right back to where you started.

I've been on that path before.  But - this time it's going to be different.  I won't say that I will never make the wrong choice again.  Face it...none of us are perfect, and that definitely includes me.  What I have to make sure I do is work through it - choice by choice, prayer by prayer - so that I build up my success one choice and one prayer at a time. 

Perfecting holiness doesn't mean we are perfect. Only God is perfect.  It does mean that we keep working at it, getting as close to perfect as we can and never giving up.  God knows - that I'm trying, that I want to get to that place where I'm always making right choices.  And that counts for a lot with Him. As long as I keep moving toward the goal and pick myself up when I make a mistake and continue on, I'll be on the right track.

And as long as I pray and talk to God continuously, especially when I make a mistake, He will be happy.  That is where I need to find my peace - and I will get there.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - God, Fill My Soul

"For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." - Psalm 107:9

God promises to fill our souls, so we will hunger and thirst no more.  This is so important...so why do I forget way too often?

Food and drink cannot truly fill us.  Those are temporary fixes that still leave a void after the eating is over.  That's why we always feel so much worse after a binge.  It's not just the sick feeling in our stomachs or the thoughts of all of the extra calories that we don't need.  It's because food does not actually FILL us.

But sometimes I don't stop to think about that - especially when I'm stressed.  I feel like I need a "reward" after putting up with different issues or situations, without thinking what the real reward is.

The real reward is a closer relationship with God.  Turning to Him to fill me instead of food is much more satisfying. 

What I need to do - and will start doing as of now - is to take a deep breath and really think before committing to a "treat".  Why do I want the treat?  Is the reason something that would be better served by prayer or a heart-to-heart conversation with God?

I'd say the majority of the time the prayer needs to win out; if I do decide to have a rare treat, it will be because I talked it over with God first so He will help me limit it to a small serving instead of binging.  The only way I will win in this lifetime is by talking to God instead of turning to sugar or junk food.  And that would also cause me to be in better shape (body, mind, and soul) the next time I need to make a decision.  Then I can build the healthy cycle of prayer and better decisions into something consistent to make me a stronger, more confident child of God.

I think it's time to put a big sign in my kitchen - GOD FILLS MY SOUL, NOT FOOD.  The more I remind myself of His promise, the better I will be at saying no to unhealthy foods.  In turn, the better I will be at fulfilling His purpose for me!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - The Voice of Truth

There is a song by Casting Crowns that always hits close to home for me.  If you haven't heard it yet here are the lyrics: 

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

  Published by  Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Can you relate?  I know I can.  I've lost count of how many times in my life I've been afraid to do something, tried to get my courage up, and felt like there was a vice inside of my head saying, "What makes you think you can do this?"  or "You've failed before, you're just going to fail again."
But what is the actual truth?  That negative voice is the devil whispering in my ear.  He wants me to fail again - or worse yet - not even try.  He knows that God has a lot He wants me to accomplish for Him, and he doesn't want me to accomplish any of it.  Even when I do have some success, the enemy tries to tell me that it was a fluke...that I'd better enjoy that moment because I'll never have another one.  Sometimes he even uses people I know to try to bring me down, and it's hard enough to hear those negative things from my own head, let alone outside of it.
The truth is that God made me - so of course I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  God wants me to succeed, to listen to His voice telling me to put the fear aside and trust Him.  He won't steer me wrong. 
I know it will take time to get the enemy's voice out of my head, because even when things are going well he's always going to try to get me to stop believing in God and myself.  The key is to stay in continual prayer, so I can clearly hear the Voice of Truth and do what God wants me to do.
I'm ready for the challenge.  How about you?