behind the scenes...

(this post was inspired by my friends Danielle B., Brooke F., Tracy one and Tracy two, Kristina H., Liz H., Jennifer S., and Linda Y., and all of you who are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.)

November 2011: 175lbs/January 2013: 145lbs
i have blogged about weight loss many times. i have tried to "lose weight" many times. but it always found it's way home again. i think weight has a nose like a bloodhound! over the past few years, i have tried many things and many ways, including a weight loss pill that ramped my heart rate up so fast i almost fainted(!!) and two spiritually based weight loss programs called "the weigh down workshop,' and 'the Lord's table. i tried joining the Y and working out at home. each one worked for a while, but then i eventually gave up.

i lacked motivation and inspiration.

then i found 'challenge by choice training' and jodi lynn mehan, trainer extraordinaire. you can read about my experience at CbC here.

she literally changed my life and how i now relate to food and exercise.

you can call it what you, nutrition, working out, etc. but to me it's my lifestyle. it took me a long time to get here, and i don't want to go back. as jodi always says, 'if you don't quit, you don't have to start over!' that was me..."mrs. starting over!" i don't want to be that person ever again.

God gave us one body and how we treat this body is a reflection on Him. think about it. in the Bible, we are described and His body. His temple. His Bride. shouldn't we treat this body with love and respect? we are only given one body while on this earth. we need to take care of it. i don't think Jesus did any less.

It's about self-discipline and self-control:
1 Corinthians 9:27, "but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."; Hebrews 12:11, "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."; Proverbs 25:28, "Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit."
(thanks Liz for these references!)

i have been asked by friends and family, 'what's your secret?'; 'what diet are you on?'; 'how did you lose weight?' and so on. and so many of you want a 'list' of tips for weight loss. well, i don't know if i have a list. and i'm not on any fad diet or work out of the month. every day is a choice for me. a choice to choose to eat pasta or spinach. cookies and cake or yogurt and fruit. exercise or not. some days it's a hard choice. but it's my choice.

here's a couple of examples of my choices:

it's 10pm and i'm hungry. i go to my pantry...i look around. i see nothing really inspiring to eat.
i go to my fridge and open the door...hmmm...anything? nothing jumps out at me. well, maybe that leftover 7th heaven chocolate cake! yum!
i ask myself a question: am i really hungry? if the answer is no, i close the door and walk back to the living room and drink some more water. yes. you can do this too! the fridge has no feelings whatsoever. you can abandon it for now ;)
if the answer is yes, i am hungry, i ask myself another question: does this food item help my goal or will it hinder it?
it would be so easy for me to choose that cake! and boy would it taste good! but then the following day, in the middle of my work out, i would fizzle. and i would know exactly why i fizzled. because of that cake! so i might have a handful of almonds instead.
i'm not saying i always say no to the cake. there are times when i indulge in that sweetness!
but i'm finding it easier to walk away from it.
it's 9am on tuesday and my boys are off to school. i have a choice...sit at my computer, or do my exercise challenge for the day. it's so easy to sit...isn't it? but don't do it! because once you do, HOURS go by! it's like all of a sudden you're in a time warp! and you look at the clock and 2 hours have been swept away! so go put on your yoga pants or your sneakers or your running shorts and push play, or go to the gym, or go for a run.! you won't regret it.

today i chose to do that exercise challenge.
but not always.
let's face it, we all have those days when we literally cannot face another challenge.
wether it be exercise, food, cleaning, organizing, that person who gets under your skin...
whatever that challenge might be for you. and that's ok. take a break.
but make it a short break. because if you take a break all the time, it will become a habit for you to take breaks. have i said the word 'break' too much?!

so without any further commentary or ado, here is my 'list' for a healthier lifestyle (credit is given to jodi mehan for these. i didn't come up with them on my own...but this is how i got to where i am today):

1. water water everywhere! bring it with you, drink it, sass it up, whatever it takes! you need to drink a LOT of water. we easily dehydrate our bodies. not on purpose...but we don't think to drink. make it a priority!

2. set SMART goals. specific, significant, stretching; measurable, meaningful, motivational; attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented; realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented; time-based, timely, tangible, trackable. it's a lot to take in, i know.

how about this: take one bad habit and replace it with a good habit. one habit, one month. then take your next bad habit and replace that for one month. it takes at least 21 days for something to become a habit.
the very first habit i broke was snacking at night. it was hard. i used to snack on cookies or ice cream or anything sweet, right around 8-9pm. then go to bed. instead of getting rid of eating at that time, i replaced my sweet indulgence with something healthier. i had 6oz of plain greek yogurt with a bit of fruit in it. i've learned to love it!

3. throw away your scale! yes, i said it! you don't need it. it will only depress you. the scale is not your friend. it's deceitful. it lies to you. it tells you mean things like, "you've gained back that last 2lbs you lost," "you can't do this," "you're a failure." don't listen to it! it's not about the's about your body composition. the muscle to fat ratio. muscle is denser than fat. therefore, muscle takes up less space in your body. so a better indicator in the 'get healthy' lifestyle is how your clothes fit. and INCHES lost. i am living proof. i have only lost 30lbs. but MOST of that weight was fat pounds! so it looks like i've lost way more than that!

so get your body fat tested and get your body measured in the key places (hips, thighs, waist, upper arms) to see where you're at. then work on losing the fat and gaining the muscle.

4. eat WHOLE foods. clean out your kitchen! get rid of anything that doesn't support your new lifestyle. don't keep it 'for the kids.' if it's there, you KNOW you're gonna eat it, right?! get rid of processed foods with a million ingredients you can't even pronounce. get rid of cookies and candy and cake so called 'diet' foods and peanut butter. yes. even peanut butter! unless it's all natural PB with only one ingredient: PEANUTS! then stock your fridge and pantry with fresh, whole foods.

5. eat protein. i'm not saying carbs are our enemy. but the only way to build muscle is by eating lean protein. get into the habit of eating lean protein at every meal...even snacks. EARN your carbs with exercise.

6. i like to move it move it! exercise. obvious right? not always. you need to do whatever motivates you! don't just pick up the latest fad and dive in. test the waters. try pushing play on a dvd at home, or going out for a run, or taking a zumba class at the Y. ride a bike. walk a 5k. do what motivates you!

7. no alcohol. oops. did i just say that? well, i suppose it's easy for me to say that. i haven't had alcohol for over 20 years. when you live with someone who's sober, it goes without saying. anyway...the reason: your liver cannot metabolize fat while it's metabolizing the alcohol. it takes the average person 2 hours to metabolize just one average alcoholic drink. so if you must indulge, just have one.

8. keep a food journal. there's something about writing down everything you put into your keeps you accountable. (and you should be held accountable. maybe call a friend and have her read your food journal, or perhaps even your husband).

9. Zzzzzzzz! get a good night's sleep! weight gain and too little sleep have been linked in studies. so turn off the TV, put down that book, turn off your Kindle or computer, and go to bed!

10. do something different. you know the definition of insanity right? doing the same thing over and over expecting different results! change it up every now and then! jodi says, 'train insane or remain the same!' i get that now!

there are many options out there for you to get healthy. and i haven't even began to touch on some of them, such as fasting! be smart. do some research. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

then ask yourself, am i interested or am i committed?
if you're just interested, you will do it for a time and then quit. but if you're committed, you will do it for life!

take what you want from this and leave the rest :)

challenge yourself by choice. (jodi mehan)


  1. lovelovelovelovelovelove!!!!!!!!!!!!!! fabulous post, mare!! so proud of you! xoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks K! You've inspired me over the years with your own fit lifestyle! Love you!

  2. This post is AWESOME!!! Very inspiring! You have really changed a lot since I met you Mare. I'm so proud of you! You are amazing!

    1. Thank you Sherry! It feels good to be fit :)


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