Healthy Body

5 Ways to Re-Energize Your Weight Loss Journey

Before and After me anniversary
June 2017 to June 2018


I have been prioritizing my health and getting healthy for over a year now.

I have lost more than 50 pounds in the past year. Yes, that’s awesome, but I have yet to reach my goal.

And I am getting tired.

I’m getting tired of always making the healthy choice.  I’m getting tired of planning the meals, making time for exercise, making sure I am taking time to refresh my soul in the midst of busy.


Is anyone following me?!

If you are in the middle of a long health journey, stick with me. It can be hard when you have been making healthy choices for a long time, but you feel you still have so far to go.

Friend, don’t give up in the middle! Change takes time. It’s pushing through the hard times that builds our resolve and really creates those habits that will last long past the “diet” phase.

I find that in the middle of a long journey, it’s good to take a break. This is true on a road trip or long flight.

If you’ve ever taken a long drive, you probably stopped somewhere in the middle to get out and stretch your legs. We have done many long road trips. We usually find a place to let the kids run around. We change the music in the car or think of new discussion topics. On a long flight we often get up and do a little walk around the plane.


It is in our human nature to get bored.

But when I get bored on a road trip, I don’t turn around and go back home. That would be ridiculous! No, I change it up but I keep moving forward.

So how can we translate this to our weight loss journey? How can we change things up but continue going the right direction? How do we stop from getting bored?

Below are 5 “breaks” you can take in your healthy journey to recharge and keep going the right direction.

hello fresh box

  1. Take a break from Menu Planning

I’m starting with my own situation.

I am experiencing ‘menu planning fatigue’. Is that a real thing? I have no idea. But I have it.

We started a long round of Whole30 in the middle of February. It’s now June, and while we haven’t done strict Whole30 the entire past 4 months, I have menu planned 7 dinners a week for the past 16 weeks!

In the past year I have fallen in love with cooking. I love menu planning and finding new recipes. But it takes work. It takes energy. And I just don’t have it right now.

I just don’t want to think about what our family is going to eat every. single. night.

While I need a break from all the hardcore menu planning, I don’t want to resort to eating out or caving to pasta, pizza, and other frozen meals.

I still want to nourish my body. I still want to make healthy choices. I just don’t want to have to think about them right now.

So we are re-activating our subscription to Hello Fresh. We did Hello Fresh last summer and it was amazing. This will not be an in depth review of Hello Fresh, there are many of those online if you want more information. Feel free to send me an e-mail or comment below with your questions, I could say more good things than I have time!

Here’s the bottom line: With Hello Fresh I am given six options for dinner for the week and I pick three. Then it gets delivered to our door completely measured out and ready to cook.

My brain loves this right now!

It cuts down the choices from millions of recipes available online to six options.

If a recipe needs a tablespoon of thyme, there is a tablespoon of thyme in the bag for me to use. I don’t have to think at all. Maybe I sound incredibly lazy to you. That’s fair.

But that’s what I love about Hello Fresh. I can be lazy with my menu planning and food prepping and still feed my family fresh, homemade meals.

On the downside, this can be quite expensive. I’m thinking we will do this for a month, or maybe the summer. It will give me the break I am wanting, and then I will be ready to get back into the swing of menu planning. If you are in the UK you can use this link to get £20 off your first box.

Hello Fresh is not the only company who provides these types of meals, but it’s the only one I’ve used. If this description is making your heart sing, pick one and do it for a few weeks. Give your brain a menu-planning break.

 morning bible routine

  1. Take a break from your morning routine

Whether it’s intentional or not, you most likely have a morning routine.

You may get up early and enjoy a quiet house with a cup of coffee and your bible. You may go for an early morning run. You may have a workout you turn on your TV and follow.

Or you might jump out of bed and run around the house like a crazy person trying to get everyone ready to go their separate directions for the day.

Whether it’s organized or chaotic, your morning most likely has a rhythm.

Can you do something to intentionally change this rhythm? Can you add or take away something to give you some new excitement in your journey?

Can you get up 30 minutes earlier and follow a workout video?

Do you need to sleep in an extra 30 minutes to get more rest and get the workout in later in the day?

Can you spend 10 minutes listing what you are grateful for from the day before instead of spending 10 minutes scrolling through social media?

Can you pack lunches, lay out clothes, and sign papers the night before so your morning has a few minutes to spare to pray before you get too busy?

Can you make a change to your morning that will energize you throughout the day?

 fitness on the beach.jpg

  1. Take a break from the way you exercise.

This is usually a really good place for me to start when I get stuck at a certain place in my weight loss.

Sometimes I am not exercising at all. Simply adding an intentional time of movement can give a big boost to your weight loss and energize you to keep going on the journey.

Don’t overcomplicate this. You don’t have to get a membership to anything. Just start walking at a brisk pace or find YouTube tutorials you can follow. Do something in the privacy of your own home if you are not comfortable going out.

If you are already exercising, can you change up what you are doing?

Maybe you love running, but you’ve been running four days a week and you are starting to get bored with it. Run a different route. Ask someone to run with you. Listen to a podcast instead of music. Ask for playlist suggestions for new music to listen to. Do something to change up the feel of your exercise without having to change what’s actually working.

Maybe you want to stop running for the summer and take up swimming instead.

Is there a change you can make to what you are doing that will breath new life into your exercise routine?  

 iphone social media image

  1. Take a break from Social Media

Can we be honest with ourselves? Sometimes watching other people succeed is incredibly motivating. And sometimes it can be disheartening.

Sometime you see people losing weight and getting healthy and reaching their goals and you are so happy for them and inspired to go after your goals as well.

And then sometimes you see it and you think of how far you have to go before you are at that point. You think of all the things you are doing and the results you are not getting. And you start to wonder if those sacrifices you are making are even worth it. Your life is getting nowhere fast, it does not look that good in photos, and it’s hard to be happy. It’s hard to keep your motivation.

Take a break from the comparison mentality. Take a break from the perfect pictures. Take a break from living up to someone else’s life.

Take some time to live your life without sharing it online.

Take some time to love your life, not someone else’s.

There are a lot of positive, encouraging voices on the Internet. I pray and strive to be one of those voices. I follow many people that encourage me to be a better Christ-follower, wife, mother, and person.

But regardless of how inspired we are by someone else, there is a pull in our hearts to compare our life to others. This is not healthy. This is draining. This will suck your motivation faster than anything else.

Friend, be a positive voice.

Share the good. Encourage others. But never become a slave to an online image.

break perfection flower

  1. Take a break from perfection.

My heart needs this one.

A healthy soul, a healthy family, a healthy body—those are life-long pursuits. Those are not things that I am going to follow a program and achieve. Those are things that require time and patience and failure and learning.

There are times to realize you need a change and to stick to a healthy eating plan 100%. There are times to “never skip a Monday” when it comes to your workouts.

Then there are times to drop the expectations and settle in for the long haul.

There will be times I am going to fail. There will be days that I skip a workout. There will be afternoons where I search the house for chocolate and indulge. There will be times when I throw myself a pity party.

And then I will get back up and I will keep going.

Perfection is not a reality on this earth. Perfection is sabotaging. Perfection is exhausting.

Take a break from impossible standards.

Friend, this life is a journey. Sometimes we need to break up the monotony of a long road. So take a breath, pull over, and give yourself that rest.

i will not quit

Are you getting tired on the journey?

Tell me below what area of your life needs a break. What change—big or small—do you think would energize you to keep going?

I would love to encourage you to take that break and then to keep going! Don’t turn back now, you’ve come too far for that!


5 tips graphic




Healthy Body

How I am Changing My Relationship with Food

Me about 1 year ago. Not unhappy, but unhealthy.

Last year I knew I was unhealthy. I knew it because I felt it. It wasn’t just my weight, it was my energy levels, it was my skin, it was my aches and pains—they all told me I was unhealthy. And I was ready to listen to my body and do something about it.

But what was I going to do?

Over the past two years I had seen posts and done a little research into Whole30, but I had no idea what it actually was. I knew it was extreme, and I knew I needed extreme. So I started to read more about it.

As I researched, I realized this was the plan I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for a diet to lose weight quick. I wanted knowledge. I wasn’t afraid of putting in some hard work, but I wanted to know that I would come out the other side empowered and inspired to keep going.

That is what Whole30 has done for me.

I have committed to openly sharing my health journey, and Whole30 has been a big part of that. My relationship with food has changed in the past nine months and I think yours can too.

My goal is to share somewhat of a beginner’s guide to the plan. Whether you are looking to make some changes yourself, or you are simply curious what all the Whole30 hype is about—please keep reading.

What you need to know about Whole30

1) Who is Whole30 for?

Whole30 if for people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

That’s me. Maybe it’s you too. This plan is not specifically for male or female, old or young, overweight or skinny people. It’s adaptable and it’s for anyone.


2) What is Whole30?

Whole30 is a 30-day plan to reset your relationship with food. The creator, Melissa Hartwig, is clear that it’s not a diet. Diets are temporary. Diets work fast. Diets focus on weight loss.

Whole30 focuses on learning your body. What foods fuel your body well? What foods make your body react poorly?

Whole30 aims to eliminate inflammation-causing foods for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them over the next 15 days to see how your body reacts to them. The foods it recommends to remove are done so because they are known to cause reactions in some people.

Are they all affecting you when you eat them? Probably not. But the truth is, I didn’t know what in my diet was affecting me because I had never isolated any specific foods.

By removing all these foods for 30 days, you are giving your body a chance to heal itself. When you start reintroducing these food items one group at a time, you will notice if something triggers an unpleasant reaction. These reactions could be digestive, skin related, headaches, weight gain . . . and the list goes on!

You then have the knowledge to make your future food decisions.

My husband, for example, knew for a while that pizza messed up his stomach. But what was it about pizza? Was it the cheese? Was it the gluten in the crust? Was it the meat toppings he was choosing? By isolating each of these areas in reintroduction, he now knows dairy is not kind to his stomach.

He can use this knowledge to make better food choices when he is out. If there is a choice between cake and ice cream, he knows he likes the ice cream more, but then has to decide whether it is worth the stomachache later. Poor Brian! He’ll probably end up passing on both, because if he can’t have ice cream what’s the fun in cake?!

Whole30 is about arming yourself with knowledge. It is about learning to make choices that serve you, not learning to follow a list of rules to get typical results.

If you are looking for a temporary meal plan that will make you drop some pounds fast so you can then go right back to your old habits—this is not for you.

If you are tired of yo-yoing and looking for something sustainable—this may be for you.

whole30 is arming yourself

3) What do I have to give up?

I’ll be honest, the list is daunting! So, I’ll just list off the major things quick—like ripping off a Band-Aid!


Dairy—cow, goat, sheep products
ALL grains—even gluten-free ones
Sugar—natural and artificial
Legumes—beans, soy, peanuts
Additives—sulphites, msg, carrageenan
Alcohol—not even in cooking

Those are the basic things to avoid.

But then it gets into the real heart of the matter.

There are three Key Principles that will make or break your overall success:

  1. No baked goods.

This one rule might have helped me succeed in changing my habits more than anything else.

If I am craving a brownie and I make a delicious concoction with ground up almonds and dates and cacao and use all ingredients that are “approved”, my mind knows that. But all my taste buds know is that I wanted something sweet and I got it. This does nothing to change my actual cravings and habits.

To follow this path out, think of yourself one week after you have finished a strict diet. Every evening when the kids are finally in bed, you have been enjoying a “fake” treat. But suddenly those restrictions are no longer around you and you find yourself slowly reaching for the real, much more satisfying, brownie.

Maybe it takes you more than a week to slip back into your old ways. But when you swap out ingredients to create “just as good” treats, you have not changed habits, you have just temporarily substituted what you really want.

Imagine the same scenario at three o’clock in the afternoon. You are tired and just want chocolate so bad. But you are on a diet. So instead you grab a handful of berries and a banana.

You made a healthy choice.  But you still made a sweet choice.

You had a sweet craving and you fed it. When your willpower weakens and your diet guidelines relax, that three o’clock craving is still there and this time you will reach for the chocolate. I know. I’m talking about myself.

But what if you could actually defeat that craving?

You can tackle it one of two ways:

Option One: You can eat a bigger, more fat-filled lunch that will carry over until your evening meal. I know, “fat filled” doesn’t usually come into play when we are talking about getting healthy.

But good fats fill you up and give you energy. It’s not a bad thing. If you know you ate a satisfying lunch, wait five minutes when that craving comes up. Are you really hungry? Or are you just stressed out or bored?

Letting the craving pass unsatisfied tells your mind you don’t really need sugar at that moment. You are retraining your habits.

Option Two: Maybe you wait five minutes and your stomach starts to rumble and the desire just gets stronger. You really are hungry! Don’t just reach for something sweet—that’s feeding your normal habits and cravings.

Instead, be prepared with a protein and fat packed snack. This could be nuts, boiled eggs, lunch meat, and maybe even a banana with the protein. Basically, have a mini-meal. If you can do it sitting at a table, even better!

Train your mind to know you eat planned, full meals and don’t just snack mindlessly throughout the day.

Changing your habits is hard. It takes time. But when I realize it took me over 30 years to create these habits, it makes it a little easier to give myself some time to change them.

train your mind

  1. No Weighing Yourself

Seeing the numbers go down on a scale is super motivating. But the same number over and over can make you lose all motivation.  If you have ever been on a diet before, you know this first hand.

You have made such hard choices for an entire week. You have passed up baked goods, you have menu planned, you have gone out and exercised.  You step on the scale ready to see the results of all your hard work. And the number has not changed from the week before.

All that hard work seems pointless. You might as well just eat the donut today, it didn’t do any good to pass it up last week.

Or maybe you lost weight, but it wasn’t quite as big as you wanted. So this week you will starve yourself a little more. You’ll push harder in your training. You know this kind of dedication and sacrifice is not sustainable, but you just want to reach that goal quickly.

Real life change takes time.

And real health means so much more than a number. Do not sabotage your success by playing head games with a scale.

If you really follow the rules of Whole30, you weigh yourself on Day 1 and Day 30. And chances are the numbers will go down. They have for me each time I have done it.

But that was just one of the results I have noticed—not the whole picture. 

before and after whole30
September 2017: Before my first Whole30 & April 2018: After 2 rounds of Whole30
  1. No Counting Things

This is one of the things I love most about Whole30!

I don’t count calories!  I don’t count macros!  I don’t count points!  I just eat!  It’s glorious!

I am super unorganized at tracking things. I start and then I don’t follow through. Yes, I need to be more disciplined, but I need to be more disciplined in a lot of areas of my life.

Adding up calories or counting points is not an area I want to give my energy.

I focus on putting healthy, non-processed foods into my body and I do it until I’m full and then I stop.

It’s an amazing concept really.


Okay, enough with what you can’t do…

4) What can I eat?

So much good food!

For real. Meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, oils—it’s all fair game!

Here’s a big thing for me: you don’t have to cut out carbs. Woohoo! I eat potatoes when I am doing a Whole30. I don’t make homemade chips or French fries (that goes along with fake baked goods), but I do enjoy potatoes as an addition to a lot of meals.

Why do I love this? It all goes back to sustainability and motivation.

I know I could lose weight faster if I cut out the majority of my carbohydrate intake. But I’m not looking for a fast solution. I’m trying to change my habits and lifestyle.

I can be as boring or as creative as I want when I am following Whole30. I could eat chicken and broccoli every day for lunch and dinner. Yuck! That would make me go crazy! Or I could spend hours in the kitchen every evening making a variety of gourmet dishes from scratch.

I recommend falling somewhere between repetitive meals and time-consuming meals.

I have learned so much about cooking and tried so many new things in the past year. It’s amazing how much your taste buds change when you totally remove sugar from your diet.

I love flavor now. I love experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.

Will this happen for everyone who follows Whole30? No.

It’s like anything else in life, you will get out what you put in.

food collage

5) How Hard is this really?

We’ve all said it, “I could never go without chocolate for 30 days!” Or “I just can’t drink my coffee black”.

Right away some of you have read these rules and told yourself, this is too hard for me.

Melissa Hartwig is maybe most famous for her tough love on this subject. You can find her now famous response on the official whole30 website.

This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

I agree. There are harder things in life than drinking black coffee. I have gone through one of the hardest things anyone can face in life when I lost my son. I’m not even going to compare the two.

But that said—THIS IS HARD!

It is hard for the same reason grief is hard. It forces us to get real with our own thoughts. You will have to fight through every excuse you or someone else will throw at you. You will have to determine beforehand that there are no “cheat days” and that you can’t tell yourself “just this one time”.

You will have to know your health is worth more than 30 days of sacrifice.

I think there were a few things that helped me achieve that focus and complete a “cheat-free” Whole30.

First, I bought the book * (Whole30:The Official 30 Day Guide  or if you are in the UK, this version) a month before I started.

I read the book. I absorbed the message into my heart. I wanted to change my habits and not just achieve a quick fix. I recommend you do the same. If you aren’t going to buy the book, at least spend some time on the website.

Next, I had a partner.

brian and I in the rain
Encouraging each other even in the storms

Brian was 100% committed along with me to do this thing. This was best-case scenario and I realize that. My partner was my best friend who also happens to live in the same house as me, do life with me daily, and had my best interest at heart.

If you are single or your spouse is not interested in participating, I believe you can still be successful. You can enlist accountability in other friends who are going solo, or even find an online community.

If you can’t find current accountability, find someone who has gone through it in the past and will tell you, “Yes, it’s hard, but it’s possible!” (Cough cough, me!)

I’m not saying Whole30 is for everyone. There are very few things in life that are for everyone. But it was for me. And maybe it is for you. Are you willing to find out?


*This post contains an affiliate link. That means if you clink on the link and buy the book, I get a portion of the sale and you don’t pay any extra!

Healthy Body

How I Set Balanced Weight Loss Goals


I have officially been back on the healthy train for two months now. And in those two months I have lost exactly 20 pounds.  I have done this largely as a result of following a Whole30 lifestyle.

However, Whole30 is not really concerned with weight loss. In fact, if you follow the rules, you should not weigh yourself at all while participating in Whole30.  So I packed away my scale the first time I completed a Whole30 and I think it was the best thing I could have done.

Numbers on a scale do not define success.

But numbers get people’s attention. Numbers get my attention. I will say over and over again that a number does not tell the whole story, but it does contribute to the story.

That 20 pounds that is off of my body, that’s 20 pounds that my joints had to carry around every step I took. That’s 20 pounds that was eating up my energy and the resources I was putting into my body to fuel it. That’s 20 pounds that I no longer have to account for in my daily life. That’s a big deal!

So how do we come to a healthy balance of knowing the scale isn’t everything and knowing that it does mean something?

For me, a lot of it comes down to goal setting. If all of my health goals are based on numbers going down on a scale, then yes, I will be super concerned with those numbers and base my view of success around them. But if we can expand our goals, I think we start to achieve balance.

How do I set healthy goals?


1) I define my “why”

Why do I want to lose weight?

I want to have energy to live my life. I want to work throughout the day without a 3 o’clock pit of despair (my totally non-dramatic way of describing what usually happens to me mid-day). I want to have energy to play with my kids when they get home from school. I want the energy to cook a healthy meal for my family. I want to be able to keep my eyes open to enjoy my husband after the kids are tucked in at night.

I want ALL DAY energy!

I want to feel comfortable in my clothes. I’m not talking about wearing a specific size, just to feel like I can move and sit and live life in comfort.

I want to fit into small seats. This became a big motivator for me on one of our flights a year ago. As I buckled the seatbelt around me, I realized I was dangerously close to not making the “click”. Around the same time we started our first Whole30, we also booked a dream vacation for our family the next year that would require me to be able to fit into rides and buckle safety belts. That vacation is still four months away and continues to be a big motivator for me.

I wanted to heal some health problems I was experiencing that I was pretty certain were linked to my diet. I made a list of all the things that felt slightly off—or even way off! Many of these issues have cleared up at this point, and that’s great! But I keep a running list of things that may or may not be related to what I put into my body.

And most importantly, I want to gain a healthy perspective on my body. As a Christian, I believe this body that I live in is important. I believe God created it in His image. I believe Christ died for it. I believe the Holy Spirit indwells it. I believe my physical body is important to God. And I believe that I can take care of this body as an act of worship to Him.

Looking at this list, I have quite a few “whys”.

Maybe you have one big one. Maybe you have more than me. But have you ever sat down and actually written them out? Can I encourage you to do that right now? Open a note on your phone or grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Actually take the time to physically define why you want to lose weight or get healthy.

Take the time to write out your reasons

2) I set measurable “non-scale” goals

These goals relate directly to my reasons I set out for wanting to be healthy.

My Why: I want to work throughout the day without a 3 o’clock pit of despair.

The Goal: Eliminate my afternoon cup of coffee.

While I cannot physically measure my energy levels, I can know weather I got to the end of the day without multiple cups of caffeine. (This is a goal I’m still working on by the way.)

My Why: I want the energy to cook a healthy meal for my family.

The Goal: Cook 5 meals at home this week.

This is measurable. It gives me some room to have left overs a few nights or go out if it’s just one of those days, But it sets the goal to eat at home which usually means healthier meals. Right now I probably cook six meals a week on average. It’s something that I actually enjoy and try to make a priority.

My Why: I want to feel comfortable in my clothes.

The Goal: Be able to easily button my jeans the first time I wear them after washing.

You know what I’m talking about here. There’s that false sense of excitement you get when you think your jeans are getting too big and then you wash them and suddenly “they shrunk in the dryer”. Yeah, it happens to all of us.

My Why: I want to gain a healthy perspective on my body.

The Goal: Memorize scripture that relates to this area.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is a great place to start:

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Write verses on notecards and tape them around your house, screenshot verses and make them your phone background. Do what you need to do to keep this journey in an eternal focus.

verse image 1

I won’t go through all my goals, but I think the picture is clear:  Turn your vague “whys” into measurable goals that don’t mention numbers or require stepping on a scale.

3) I don’t tie my scale goals to a calendar date

I wanted to lay all that out first, but I also want to be honest that I do set scale related goals for myself as well. But I don’t link those goals with a certain time frame.

For example I don’t say, I want to lose 50 pounds by summer. I can control what I put into my body and how much I move my body, but I cannot control how quickly my body responds to that. So if I say I want to lose 10 pounds a month and I only lose 8, that’s failure. And losing 8 pounds should never be considered failure!

So instead I usually write out my weight descending 10 pounds every line.

For example, if your starting weight was 200 pounds, you would write:

200 —
190 —
180 —
170 —

And then I come up with a reward for each milestone.

This reward is not linked to seasons or clothes. So I don’t say I’ll buy myself a pair of flip-flops when I lose 20 pounds, because I might reach that in December. I don’t say I will buy myself new jeans when I lose 30 pounds because I might need new ones when I lose 15 and they still fit the same after I’ve lost 30. The number on your scale does not equal your body composition and does not predict the areas you will lose weight in.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Some rewards I have set in the past include: a manicure/pedicure, new book, sunglasses, massage, or a new piercing. They could build up to something big like a weekend away. I think it’s important to think of these rewards ahead of time and have them in mind.

When rewarding yourself, a scary/fun selfie is a must!

I set my rewards at ten pounds because I have a larger number I want to lose. (Also my rewards usually cost money, and I need time to save up that money in between rewards.) But if you have a smaller amount you want to lose, set your rewards every five pounds or every two pounds. Or reward yourself every week that you stick to your healthy eating plan weather you lose weight or not.

Just please don’t reward yourself with junk food. That makes no sense.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I found myself at one point deep in grief and heavy in weight gain. Since that point about a year ago, I have lost almost 50 pounds. That’s incredible! But it has actually been such a long year of back and forth, that I did not even realize that until I just looked back at my notes from when I first started and wrote out my goals and rewards.

Again I will say, write these things down.

You think you will never forget how you feel or that number on the scale right now. But you will. When you start changing your habits, you start creating a new normal, your body starts feeling different, and you forget that it used to hurt to move that way. Your scale gets stuck at a new weight and you forget that it used to be stuck much higher than that.

Nothing is as encouraging and motivating as remembering how far you have already come.

april before and after

And if you haven’t even started yet, let me encourage you with how far I have come. I haven’t arrived where I want to be yet, but that’s okay—it’s not a race, it’s a journey.  It’s not about weight, it’s about health.  It’s not just about physical health, it’s about total health. And I’m committed to continue on this journey. Even if it’s a year before I lose another 20 pounds, that’s okay.

The scale doesn’t tell the whole story.

Subscribe at the bottom of this blog to continue on this journey with me, and then tell me your ‘why’ in the comments below. I’d love to hear it and gain some encouragement from you as well.

— Rebekah

Healthy Body

Life Between the Before and After Photos

blog cover photo 1

Something amazing happens when you lose a significant amount of weight. You have a confidence and belief in yourself that is sky high. You have just done something hard. Real hard. When you start seeing results from hard work that you have done, it makes you believe that you can keep doing that hard work and you can keep getting those amazing results. Weight loss is addictive. At a certain point it turns fun! Passing up baked goods and sweet coffee is no big deal because you know you are on track. You start to believe that healthy feels better than junk tastes.

I was there two years ago. I had lost 60 pounds in just 9 months. (I even wrote a blog about it.) I didn’t do any crazy diets or ridiculous workouts. I just changed my habits. I ate good, nutritious, real food and I moved a lot. I was changing my mindset not just doing a quick fix.

This phase of losing weight is usually documented by lots of full-length mirror selfies.

Then I got pregnant. It was planned, it was wanted, but pregnancy changes everything for me. Actually, it was a pretty healthy pregnancy but I still did not move as much and I did not eat as healthy. But all of that was easily excused by a little human growing inside of me. I could say, this isn’t forever, just nine months—and then eat the brownie.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase of life is often documented by lots of growing belly shots.

Pregnancy alone is a short phase and in my opinion, it’s doesn’t have to sabotage healthy eating habits. It’s the post-baby newborn phase that does me in! Combine the lack of sleep and lack of time to prepare healthy meals and all of my hard work just a year ago was gone. The scale was back to where it was pre-weight loss and I was drinking lots of coffee with sugar and eating all the pastries. But again, I could tell myself, this is only temporary. Babies are only babies for so long.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase of life is documented by lots of face-only selfies at a good angle that also include the cute baby as a distraction.

Then came the unexpected tragedy. That baby that I had sacrificed my weight loss for, the one that I lost countless hours of sleep over, the one that I was willing to change my life for—was gone in an instant. Suddenly my life was about one thing: grief. All of my energy went into making it through each day. Healthy eating and an active lifestyle weren’t really important factors in my mind. Grief is overwhelming and it affects everyone differently. I went through a lot of phases with grief.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase is best documented with photos of things that really matter. Things that still make you smile on the darkest days.

A few months into the grief process, I had gained about 40 pounds and I was smacked across the face with the fact that I am an emotional, comfort eater. I have a memory of a clear, defining moment when I came to grips with this. I was staring at a photo taken of our family on the day we had a memorial service for Beckett. A lot of people had prayed for our family over the past month. A lot of people had prayed for that specific service. I wanted post a photo on social media to thank everyone for their prayers and tell of God’s goodness on that day. The problem was, I was not at all happy with how I looked. I debated for longer than I care to admit about just posting a comment with no photo or not posting at all.   But I finally told myself, this is reality, people see me look like this every day, and I am not changing anything by refusing to post a photo of how I look. I was in essence saying, this is how grief has physically changed me:


I would love to say that moment was a wake up call and I took control of my health after that. But I didn’t. That moment lead to a few brief healthy months, but it was exhausting. People continually made comments about how strong I was. I wasn’t. I was in shock.  I honestly don’t think I truly started to grieve Beckett until about 5 months after he died. Then it hit me hard. I stopped caring so much about eating healthy and working out and instead focused on starting to actually work through my grief.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

This phase of life was not photo documented too well. It was spent writing, praying, reading and tucking myself away for a little while.


Around September I knew I was at a pivotal point. We were 8 months into grieving and we were approaching Beckett’s first birthday—a moment I knew would be emotional for me. Not only were we approaching what would have been a birthday celebration, but we were sending our other two kids to school. I would be alone in the house each day and I would be faced with the fact that my baby was not there with me. There also came a point when I knew I needed to get healthy. This was not because I was unhappy with how I looked (I was), it was because I realized how much life I was missing out on by being constantly tired and not feeling my best. I knew grief and a busy life contributed to part of this feeling, but I knew what I was eating and putting into my body contributed to a large part as well.

If you are—or ever have been—overweight, I’m sure you have come to this all-important moment as well. You know you need to change, you just aren’t sure if you can. Maybe you’ve tried before and haven’t been successful. Or maybe, like me, you have tried before and have been very successful. But you know how much effort and work it took to be that successful and you just don’t know if you have it in you to do it again.

Despite a very low confidence in my self-discipline, and the knowledge that I was an emotional eater, I decided to go big. I suggested to Brian that we do a Whole30 for the month of September. Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into an advertisement for Whole30. In a nutshell, Whole30 is thirty days with no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, no legumes, and no added sugars. (It is so much more than that and I do have SO much to say, but I’ll save that for a different post) I won’t try to sell anyone on a certain program, but it was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.

I didn’t just read an article and jump into a crazy strict diet. I bought the official book about Whole30 and I bought fully into the concept of rewiring my eating habits. I went through a month with a lot of emotional triggers, and I was forced to find different, healthier ways to deal with my grief and stress than my normal choice of coffee and chocolate.

I celebrated what would have been Beckett’s first birthday by serving cake to close friends and abstaining myself.

I took a bath at night to relax instead of going to food or drink.

I promised myself I would walk the kids to school every day, no excuses—and I did it!

I started shifting my focus from weight loss to enjoying a healthy life with energy and focus.

Some phases of life require you to give yourself some grace and do the best you can.

And sometimes ‘the best you can’ is pretty freaking awesome!

This phase of life was documented by photos I took but didn’t share. They were the “before” and “during” photos that would one day look great next to my “after” photos.

I should have written and shared my journey at that time. I was excited and I was going a new direction. But I didn’t. It’s scary to share a journey when you are still in the middle of it. I like to write about lessons I have learned once they are over. I really wanted my next health post to be, “5 Things I did to lose 60 pounds…Again!” and be able to show the success of my hard work once again.

I don’t have that success story yet. But I do have a success story. I am daily making healthier choices and I am more convinced than ever that what we put into our bodies makes a huge impact on every aspect of our lives. This time I’m not waiting until I have arrived to look back on the journey. I’m taking a step out there to share the ups and downs.

My hope in sharing this whole story is that someone might see themselves in one of these phases.   And if that someone is you, that you would be gracious with yourself and do the best you can. New mamas—that might mean slowing down instead of racing forward right now. If you are grieving, give yourself time and the emotional space to do that. And by the way, grief doesn’t just come from the death of a loved one, you may have experienced the loss of a job or the death of a dream. It all sets you back. There are legitimate reasons to prioritize other parts of life and take things easy.

While I believe this with all my heart, please don’t park your mind there. There were a lot of people who assured me I was right to focus on my grief and not care so much about my physical health. The month that I was facing a lot of emotional triggers that I talked about earlier, it would have been acceptable to those on the outside for me to ‘take it easy’ through that time. Only I knew the inside. I knew I was ready to handle more. I knew I was ready to make a change. I knew my health and my quality of life needed a change. You know if you are in a legitimate season of taking it easy or if you are in a season of excuses. If you are at a point where you know you need to make a change and you are just scared, quit saying you are doing the best you can and take that first step out into the journey. Make a choice to get healthy and tell a friend or your spouse. Find support of some type and start to share your journey. Don’t do it to look better or to compete with someone else, do it because your physical health is important.

I would love it if you even let this be your first step—comment below and tell me what phase you are in. Is this your first time trying to get healthy? Have you been down this road only to come back again? I would love to be able to tell you that you can do this! Let’s be people that can do hard things and let’s do them together.

Let’s document this phase of our journey with “in the middle of it” photos and not wait for the “after”!

in the middle 5

— Rebekah


healthy family

Big Sister and Baby Shared Room Part 2

Yay! The time is here to finally welcome our Number 3 into our family.  We are probably nowhere near as ready as we think we are, but we are excited to take on this new adventure none the less.

I gave a complete look at the “big girl” side of the room in a previous post (Part 1).  The room started out as a messy 5-year-old girl domain.


After 3 weeks of painting and decorating, it is now a cozy spot to welcome our Little Explorer into the world.


The gender of Baby 3 is unknown, so we kept it neutral with gray paint and lots of aqua and mint green.  I planned to add in some “girly” colors if need be, but I actually love the soft look and don’t think it’s necessary.  Big Sister’s pink curtains do overlap into this space, but it doesn’t bother me.


Baby is being born, and will be raised, in a country different from his passport country.  It only seemed fitting to theme the nursery space around adventure and exploring.

I love all the little details that came together to make this special.  Like the hot air balloon print that I ordered and didn’t realize until it printed that it has the baby’s birth town labeled right at the heart of it.

Storage was important in such a small space.  The shelves under the bed were a cool surprise.  I bought one set for toy storage on the other side of the bedroom and immediately thought it would be cool to raise the crib on a double set while the baby is still small.  But I knew we could not afford to just buy 2 more.  It was a want but not a need.  When I was posting the last blog, I linked to the store where I bought the shelf.  When I went and found the link, the store was having a half price sale on that exact shelf that ended that night!  I thanked God and got 2 for the price of 1.


Speaking of that crib- I love it!  I ordered a white one online at the end of June.  The first week in August the company emailed me and said they were out of the white but would offer a substitute.   I was tempted to go a little emotional-pregnant lady at that point.  But instead looked at the website and found this “dusty aqua” color and loved it!  The map print was already hanging on the wall and when I saw it all together I knew it was another unknown answer to prayer that just made everything come together that much better.

And of course we had to make sure it could hold weight once it was put together 😉



So there it is.  The room is done.  The hospital bags are packed.  We are now just waiting on the baby to make it all complete.

I promised this tour of the baby side of the shared room a while ago.  Pregnancy is a crazy weird time.  As I was finishing up painting the room 2 months ago, I noticed my hands starting to go numb as I was using them.  Since then, pregnancy induced carpal tunnel has taken over and my hands are pretty useless.  The new crib arrived and it sat for a while before I finally tackled putting it together.   Then the room was complete, but usually had some big sister “love” spilling over onto the baby side and not quite photo worthy.  Eventually, the photos were taken but due to my now constant pain/numbness in my hands, typing is not my friend anymore.  Yikes!

With my first pregnancy I got sudden and severe pre-eclampsia and had an emergency surgery to take care of it.  Since I have been through a life threatening complication, I feel like I should not complain about anything smaller.  But honestly, even small things can be frustrating.

I feel like we take this approach to problems in life a lot.  We don’t want to bother people, or even God, with our “little” problems when there are people in the world going through so much worse.  But thankfully, that’s not how God sees it.  1 Peter 5:7 tells me to give ALL my worries and fears to God.  And it says to do it because HE CARES FOR ME.  God doesn’t only care about me when I am going through really big things in life, He cares for me all the time.

Big or small, you are seen and you are loved today.  That is a promise to rest in.  Now, I’m going to go have a baby 🙂



healthy family

Big Sister and Baby Shared Room Part 1

Brook before after room 1

Sometimes I get an idea, a burst of creativity, and the timing can be all wrong, but I bust into it head first anyway. That is exactly what happened 3 weeks ago. I had in my mind that our new baby would have a little “nook” in the hallway. As I tried to fit a changing table and some kind of storage in that tiny space, it became clear I was not living in reality. So then I started crying because we would have baby things spread all over the house, and I just wanted a place to make cute, and the changing table didn’t work at all, and I was selfish and didn’t want to give up our office space, and well . . . I am 7 months pregnant, it doesn’t take much to make me emotional these days!

For a while we have said when this baby gets old enough to sleep through the night it will share a room with our oldest. So I just decided, let’s go ahead and set up the room for that day now. I knew there was no way I could purge and paint in her room with my save-everything, full-of-questions, 5-year-old. So Big sister moved into the guest room and pregnant momma went to work on the makeover. I told her it would be one week. Three weeks later- we are finally ready for the room reveal!


The Before:


Oh goodness this part is embarrassing!  Notice the random paper taped to the wall, the crayon drawing on the wall as well, outgrown clothes and forgotten toys stacked in tubs and boxes in the corner, and the utter chaos in general.  This room needed some serious love.

I spent an entire day cleaning and moving bedding and curtains out of the room. I way overdid it on Day One and Brian threatened to get me a babysitter if I didn’t promise to slow down. So I did. Husbands… 😉

These are the things I kept in mind while planning her “Big girl” side of the room

  • She LOVES crafts. This normally accounts for 75% of the mess and damage in her room. I wanted to make sure she had a space to be creative.
  • She doesn’t really play with “toys”.  Stuffed animals are great, but traditional dolls and toys are just not her thing.
  • She wears a uniform to school and is rarely in “real” clothes at home. Normally, she can be found in dress up clothes or a nightgown. So I wanted something functional for clothing storage, but it didn’t need to be huge.
  • She loves adventure and exploring! This was already the theme I had picked out for the new baby, so it was not hard to transfer it over to her side as well.
  • And maybe most of all: She LOVES being a big sister. Her relationship with little brother is one of the sweetest blessings in my life. I love watching them together. She is already so excited for a new baby. She even reads a story to my belly every night before bed. Talk about sweet!

So this is the result of all of those random thoughts meshing in my head



I am so excited with how it all turned out!  I have been tremendously blessed with some great online finds, repurposing older items, and generous gifts that have allowed me save a load of money on the new baby, and to get a few special new items for this room.

One of those items goes along with the number one item- her LOVE for crafts


A new small table and chair.  There was absolutely no need to buy craft supplies, or even organization for it- but I wanted a table large enough to be able to work on, but small enough to not take up the majority of her floor space.  This chair and table are from IKEA and they fit perfectly.


A place to display her work was absolutely important.  Maybe the most important of all.  I had a really cool thick white frame that I had strung twine across and put cute clothes pins on to hang artwork and pictures from.  The morning I was going to reveal her room, I walked in and the frame had fallen off the wall onto the floor.  It was heavy.  Like, for real, heavy.  No panic, no tears, I just did something quick and easy.  I don’t love this plain wooden board (the bottom of an old drawer from a no longer used dresser) hanging on the wall, but I have no doubt she will have it so covered with masterpieces I won’t even see the wood soon. It works.

The next area is for toys and stuffed animals:


I love this storage unit from B&Q and would love to put a comfy cushion on top one day.  But for now, her friends fill it quit nicely.  Like I said, we didn’t need a lot of room for toys, but I did put a few sets of figures in one box, and filled one with baby dolls and accessories.  I’m thinking there is a chance she will be more interested in baby dolls when we have a real baby in the house.  But if not, that box can easily be switched out for something else.

Then we get to the clothes:


This odd little closet area used to be an outside entrance.  It’s now a closed off door, but with a cool little frame around it. So I painted the inside purple and bought 3 cheap tension rods.  Now there is a place for Baby’s clothes on top (when we know what gender clothes to buy), one for her dresses, and then the easiest to reach is everyday tops.  Underclothes, PJs, and bottoms all fit into the small dresser beside her bed. The dresser is a left over piece I found from a vanity set and then glued a sample tile to the top.


A smaller dresser makes precious space for the most important clothes and shoes of all- dress up clothes!  The hooks were just relocated from a different spot in the room and the quote is my favorite from the new Cinderella movie, “Have courage and be kind”.  Words for all princesses to live by.

And that just leaves adventure and exploring:


A small gallery above her bed really carries over from the baby side of the room.


Brian captured this photo of the kids on a recent family hike and it’s perfect.  It’s 16×16 and makes all of us smile when we look at it.  The quote is a print I downloaded online and it also could not be more perfect for my girl, “Here sleeps a girl with a head full of magical dreams, a heart full of wonder and hands that will shape the world”.  The mermaid and feathers are also downloads that just fit with her spirit.  I do all of  my photo  printing on photo box website.  I can usually get a good deal and I am always happy with what I get.

One last detail I thought was incredibly important was a list to help her keep the room tidy.  At this point, everything has a spot- but with my girl, that organization can quickly deteriorate.  She loves to tidy up, but needs some direction with it.


I am praying this dry erase marker does not end up all over the other frames in her room.  Time will tell… But on the first day she checked and erased the entire list about 5 times as she played and cleaned up each spot.  Who am I to laugh at a girl who loves a to-do list?!

I don’t want this post to go on forever, and I’m still waiting on a baby bed to be delivered.  So the “baby” side of the room will be Part 2- coming soon.  But it’s good, I promise!

I said at the beginning, sometimes I rush into things before I really think about what I’m doing.  I’m also impatient in the middle of a project, moving things I have no business moving, learning to drill holes because I don’t want to wait for someone else to do it, climbing higher than I should probably climb.  I’m not saying it’s a good quality, but it’s truth.

The first week of this remodel I was a mess of expectations.  I found out I was way more pregnant than I was admitting, and the room was way more work than I had expected. The ironic twist is that I was doing this whole thing for a girl who has no concept of time.  I told her at the beginning this would take one week.  At the end of 3 weeks I asked her how long she had been in the guest room.  Her answer: one week.

The reality is, this doesn’t just happen when I’m pregnant, and it doesn’t just happen when I’m painting a room.  It happens a lot in life.  I put higher expectations on myself than are realistic.  And I am usually the only one holding myself to those expectations.  Thankfully,  I am hopefully learning to slow down.  Rest is good.  Rest is important.  And help from others is important as well.  Now, I’m off to repeat those last two lines to myself as I look at my to-do list for today.