Thursday, May 31, 2012

10 Miles with Missy

This morning I want to take some time to write about my morning with Missy.  Ah, Missy Shaffer.  I love that gal.  Missy is intense.  She's amazing.  She loves the Lord.  She works hard to be in shape.  It doesn't come natural to her.  She busts her bootie to stay in awesome shape.   I have been amazed at her growth in the Lord, especially over the last year or 18 months.  
Missy and I are very different people, but that is what makes me love her all the more.  I think our inner motives are the same, but our outward handling of them are very different, which made serving with her on our MOPS ministry team amazing.  Some people get annoyed when people are different than them.  Me, I love it!  I know if the world was full of softy, scaredy cats like me, we would get nothing accomplished.
That's why Missy was my perfect match this morning.  
We decided earlier this week that we would go bike riding this morning.  Missy decided for me (See...I LOVE THIS GAL!) that today would be the day that I finally finish the trail I've been riding for a total of 10 miles.  I agreed, but I was feeling pretty strong when I said yes.
Earlier this week, David and I had rode 6.5 miles.  It was tough on me, but I figured how hard could another 3.5 miles be?  Well, the thing I forgot was that when I rode the 6.5 miles I had rested from bootcamp exercise for a full 48 hours.  Yeah, I hadn't even had a 12 hour break from bootcamp workouts when we started out at 5:50am.  And, when David and I ride, I set the pace.  If I can go fast, we go fast, if I need to slow down, we slow down.  With Missy, she was setting the pace.  (Even though she did slow down dramatically to accommodate me.)  
As we began, I realized that my bike was not shifting the way I needed it to.  And for some reason my bike just seemed like torture to pedal.  By .75mile in, I was spent.  I kept thinking, "Lord, if I'm going to do this, you are going to have to push my bike!".  I kept thinking of my friend Julie telling me the other day to "Just keep swimming..." like Dory from Nemo.  I was doing the best I could until mile marker #4.  That was when THE HILL started.  Missy had warned me about the hill.  I had never gone past the 4 mile marker.  I had only rode out that far and turned around.  But, that hill was the entire 5th mile and it was brutal on my body.  At one point I was pretty sure I was going to heave.  I was crying because my legs hurt so bad, but I wasn't about to let Missy (OR MYSELF!) down.  So, a couple of points I had to get off and push my bike, but I made it all the way up that darn-blasted, meanie head, poopy-butt hill.  (Pardon my French! hahaha!).  I was just at the top of the hill at mile marker #5 when I reported, "Missy, we have a problem."  My pedal was lose.  
Now, here's the thing about me and biking.  I love it.  But I'm "un-eloquent" at it.  I still have terrible balance and it's hard to get over 300 pounds delicately balanced on a thin two wheeled object.  So, when something is wrong with my bike, something is wrong with ME!  
Since we turn around at that hill and ride back, the first half mile or so I was able to coast downhill without a ton of pedaling.  Missy was able to use her mechanical geniuses, and tighten the pedal a bit with her finger, but I was still unable to pedal correctly.  Well, this is when Missy steps up and takes on the amazing ROCK STAR status even farther (she had well earned her stripes by then!).  She offered to let me ride her bike, and she would ride my rickety, hard to pedal bike home.  
So, I was terrified to say yes to this, but I did.  I was afraid I would break Missy's bike.  Or that I wouldn't be able to handle how high her bike was.  But, Missy was offering, and I knew the only other alternative was me walking the next 5 miles, and I had to be home within an hour!  So, I get myself hoisted up on her bike...and LET ME JUST TELL YOU....I LEARNED SOMETHING THIS MORNING.....I'M RIDING THE WRONG BIKE!!!  
I never knew what a difference the right bike could make.  Suddenly, on Missy's bike, my knees didn't hurt, my posture was better, and her bike actually shifted (after I learned how!).  So, while Missy was being tortured on my bicycle, I was enjoying the best 4 mile ride of my life!  Let's just say my dreams of a Kindle Fire are right out the window!  I WANT A NEW BIKE!!!
I still feel bad that she had to endure the torture of my bike, but I'm so grateful she let me experience a new lease on biking.  I wonder if bike shops offer lay-away-programs? :)  
So, for the rest of today, I'm taking it easy.  (I don't say that very often!)  I'm celebrating my victory!  Thanks for journeying with me through 10 miles!  Thanks for celebrating with me!  And, as always, thank you for reading about this roller coaster ride with me!
And Missy Shaffer...God has made you so amazing. You blessed me immensely today!  I hope God rewards you amazingly! :)  THANKS AGAIN CHICA!!! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sorting out my plans...

I'll admit it.  Today, I'm struggling. 
I know that boot camp has produced amazing results.  I know that I'm seeing myself do amazing things.  I'm thankful for the relationships that starting, deepening, or blossoming because of boot camp.   I am happy to know that I'm shrinking..even if I can not see it yet.  Even at the 40 pound mark, I still "feel" as fat as ever.
When I committed to boot camp, I told myself I would give it my all for four weeks.  And, 16 days in, I have.  It took me a while to get what exactly was expected out of me, but, I've hung tight and I'm staying strong.  But, I must admit, knowing the end of boot camp was only 12 more days away has had a certain allure to it.  I like knowing that 12 more sleeps, and boot camp will be a part of my history.  Something that I have done.  Something I'm proud of.  But, something I can say I don't have to worry about anymore. 
However, after my weigh in happened on Sunday, I began to think about what was next.  What is my meal plan for when boot camp is done?  It was Sunday that I learned that bootcamp can continue for another 4 weeks.  I began to wonder if maybe I should consider that.
Then, as if to confirm my thoughts, I received an email from sweet Marcey, challenging me (with rewards!) to think about the same thing.  Let me pause here and tell you a little bit about Marcey.  She is the one who told me about NGPT's Melt Away program in the first place.  She also believed in me enough to sponsor about 1/3 of my price for this boot camp.  She's supported me emotionally, intellectually, and financially.  She's a big deal to me.  She's pretty much amazing.  
So, I am going back and forth in my mind.  Where's the line for me?  If I don't do this, am I going to let myself down?  Will I regain everything?  Will Marcey, Hannah (my coach), David, and all my friends be disappointed in me?  Will I have healthy enough habits on my own to keep on fighting.?
Then, on the same side, I wonder if I choose to do it many more social events will I sit there and watch others chow on ice cream, cookies and pizza, while I nibble on my sweet bell peppers and almonds.  (On the converse, how many times have I wished I could do something, but couldn't because of my size...)
I'm actually on the verge of tears.  I know that common sense says that if you have the opportunity basically right there in front of you, that you should take it.  I just do not know if I'm strong enough for another 40 days of this.  I do know that somehow if I can stick it out the rewards will be great though.  
I also know that each one of you is going to have an opinion on this.  And that's why sometimes it's hard to write and be real and vulnerable.  But, I'm risking it, because I have to sort this out.  And this blog to me is like my "memoirs" of this journey.  This is an important decision.  
Adriane told me today, and I know she's right, that this is a LIFE CHANGING decision.  
I need prayer.  For strength.  Decisiveness.  Encouragement.  Steadfastness.  Joy.  Hope.  Discipline. And for answers.
Thanks for reading my jumbled mess, where I feel hopeless.   I know tomorrow I will probably feel brand new...but today is today...and I'm feeling how I'm feeling...and I'm learning, if I don't own up to those emotions, than I'm more tempted than ever to eat because of them.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I want YOU to feel empowered!

My emotions are high at the halfway point of my 4 week Melt Away Bootcamp.  I have had about a million people ask me what exactly bootcamp entails, so let me tell ya first off!  Bootcamp is an exercise and eating regimen that is optimal for burning fat.  So, I'm not just "losing weight."  I'm actually getting rid of the fat in my body (and replacing it with muscle!!!)  I eat a very strict diet and I work out at least 300 minutes a week, 3 hours of those being actual boot camp workouts, which push my body in the most amazing ways.  

Anyways, 2 weeks of following that schedule, the last 8 days following it to a "T" and I weighed in and measured this morning.  I couldn't believe it!  My belly measured a full 4 inches smaller!!!  And my weight was down to 319.8, which was a total of 17.8 pounds lost.  (Disclaimer: the last two weeks before bootcamp began, I ate a lot of "last meals" so my weight had shot up a decent amount.).  I WAS AMAZED!  I had taken "before" pictures the night before bootcamp started, and today I put on the same exact clothes, and made David point out all the spots on me that made me look smaller! :)

The numbers have been amazing!  The results have been great.  But, let me tell you what has amazed me even more...THE SUPPORT!

You, my friends, have given me more support than I could ever ask for on this journey!  I have had people praying for me, exercise along with me (even if they live hundreds of miles away...Sheila!), let me cry to them (Mary Beth!), and my friend Adriane even lets me call her when I'm on my recumbent bike.  I usually just say, "Talk to me.  I have 3 miles left," and she will talk until she hears the bike beep.  That my friends, is amazing stuff!  She listens to me huff and puff and even let out weird exercise noises when I can't believe I still have another 1.25 miles to go! :)  And so many of you just make sure to check my daily boot camp updates, and encourage me with the "I'm proud of you's!"  Please, don't ever underestimate the power of them! They help me keep going when it's almost too hard!

Just like at the race (see the blog post, "I finished last"), there is a verse that keeps coming to mind.  It's Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race set out for us."  I love that beginning part...

Now, I know when that verse talks about the great cloud of witnesses, its referring back to chapter 11, when the Bible talks about all the great people of faith like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and so on.   But, I think also of the believers that God has put around me to encourage me.  Everywhere I turn, there is a neighbor, a friend, a family member, a MOPS mom, a church friend, or a Facebook friend cheering me on.  I want to lose weight for me, to break the addiction that food has had on my entire family, but I also want to do it to make YOU all proud of me.  

I know this struggle is not just isolated to me.  I know many of you struggle with your weight, with food addiction, or maybe just with lack of physical activity in your life.  I just want you to see a used to be a 360 pound woman (whose wiggled her way down to 319.8 right now!) can do boot camp.  And not just "do" bootcamp...but "DO" bootcamp...that you feel like you can do it too.  I want you to not be afraid to give up foods you never thought you could live with out (chocolate, anyone?).  I want you to sweat like me!  You know what I mean...the kind of sweat where your kids are not sure if you just stepped out of the shower or exercised!  It breaks my heart when I hear people say, "I could never do it myself."  YES!  YES YOU CAN!!!  I"M DOING THIS!  SO CAN YOU!  I want you to feel empowered.  Because this last week, when I traveled on a road trip for 4 hours with my kids, I was able to stay on my plan.  Because yesterday, when my sweet mother-in-law got married, I stayed on plan (that's right!  I said "NO" to wedding cookies!).  Because, when I felt like I may pass out from all my physical feats, I STILL stayed on plan!  Because, I have found a way to stretch a non-existent grocery budget and been able to buy healthy food to stay on plan.  (Ok, that one is all God's doing, but still...I STAYED ON PLAN.)  Those things are empowering.  "Impossible situations" are no longer my excuse.  Next Generation's (my bootcamp home) motto is "Make progress...not excuses."  My prayer is just that for each of you.  That you will find a way to feel empowered in your own life.  And that you can see how your situations do not have to limit you.  
I pray that you will feel blessed tonight.  The support of all of you has made this first two weeks bearable.  And celebrating with you all has been fantastic!  Thank you for loving me, for supporting me, and for cheering me on.  Love, Sarah

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bootcamp Update: Week 1

I've started writing two other blog posts that I was never able to finish this week...but, to sum up what they said...BOOTCAMP IS NOT FOR WIMPS.  Unfortunately, I think I may fall under the wimp category.
I thought I was ready for this. I am used to being self controlled, active, and disciplined.  But, as the name implies, BOOTCAMP is HARD!  Way harder than I imagined it to be.  I just want my coach to be proud of me, but it seems every day I make one or two mistakes, and I miss out on the goal that she wants for me.  I feel like BOOTCAMP sets me up for this incredibly hard line of perfection that I do not reach very often when it comes to my eating.  It's difficult to stay positive when you feel like you are failing, even if you are failing only by not reaching perfection.  I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me.  (It actually reminds me of the Old Jewish law, and how it reminds us of our need for Christ, because we can not be perfect on our own.)
Really, if you, or anyone else besides my accountability coach looked at my diet, you would think I'm a rockstar.  I'm eating almost all veggies, with a serving or two (depends on the day) of carbs, and a decent amount of protein.  It's a healthy diet, and its a good things I like vegetables.  One day, I ate so many vegetables, I thought my brain and my belly were going to strike up in a revolution.  The thing that gets me is that my "oopsies" are always little.  Like a bite of dry stuffing mix (I really wanted bread! lol) or a spoonful of lasagna filling I made for my family.  It's not like I'm downing a Reese's cup or anything...but, the plan is the plan, and I really struggle sticking to this plan.
The good news?  The diet has helped curb any real cravings for sweets or chocolate.  However, this diet has not conquered the mental connection.  Last night, all I could think about it how I wanted a campfire and a s'more.  Normally, on my diet, that would be allowed.  I would work it in my calories, and indulge in one.  Not during BOOTCAMP.  Is it a veggie?  Chicken?  Fish?  Occasional fruit?  NO??? NOT EATING IT!!!
   Oh yeah, let me tell you about BOOTCAMP workouts. Normally, I love to workout.  I crave it.  It makes me smile.  These workouts not only make my fat cells cry, I'm usually in tears too.  I have no idea how I'm supposed to get my 330 pound body to do "bodybuilders" or "mountain climbers." I just chug along doing the best I can.  At least I can survive a 60 minute workout now.
Oh, and did I mention, I have a sinus infection to go along with all of this fun.  So, my head feels as if it is filled with concrete, and that it has expanded a foot or two!
So, to say the least, it's been  a hard week.  I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity of BOOTCAMP.  I know it's a blessing, and its a great way to boost my weight loss.  But, I have to say I'm literally counting the workouts and days left.  9 more bootcamp classes, and 21 more days.  :)
My friend Sheila has committed to boosting her workouts in support of me, and I really really appreciate that.  It's helped knowing that someone else is out there pushing their limit too!
Next Sunday, I will be able to report my two week measurements.  And, I am planning on being able to say I'm stronger, and more mentally stable, because let me tell you, this last week almost did me in.
I'm also planning on finding a way to spend more time in the word.  I forget time and time again about how much strength I draw from God's word.  I am planning on doing the Made to Crave devotional every day this week too.  Both of those will probably make a huge difference in my success!
Thank you for cheering me on, for asking about bootcamp, for sneaking peaks at my plate and for praying for me.  I appreciate my team!  Love you all!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I keep wavering between gratefulness, trepidation, irritation, and low morale lately.  Have you ever been to the point where you are just not sure what you need?  Or how to snap out of a funk?
I'm feeling a bit "funkified" the last few days.  I think weeks with high expectations always leave me that way.  Tuesday was my birthday, Thursday was the anniversary of David and I beginning our relationship, and today was Mother's Day.  None of those special days were spent in marital bliss with David or spent harmoniously mothering my children, or relaxing at a spa, or even sipping tea.  No.  They were chaos.  And sometimes lonely.  And I've cried a lot of tears the last few days.
I'm very grateful for those who helped me acknowledge those days.  They just were not ANYTHING like I had envisioned.  I had also planned on spending the last week planning for the beginning of my boot camp. Yeah, that didn't happen...  I'm so afraid of failing that I almost backed out and didn't even try.  I also thought about sending an email that said, "Send me a refund!"  But, deep down, I'm not that kind of girl.  I refuse to give up, especially before I even tried. I kept trying to convince myself that there are better, more ideal times in my life to attempt such a feat at four weeks of utter and complete discipline.  But the fact of the matter is, my life, right now,  is pretty chaotic.  And I know that when it comes to my health the race is against the clock.  So, it's time to whip myself into shape.
I am praying that the next four weeks will help me be more willing to give up the food that I hold so dear.  I'm wondering how I will make it through 28 days without a chai latte?  Or yogurt?  Or chocolate?  Seriously?  No chocolate?  What in the world was I thinking?

It's  a really good thing I have the promises of God holding me up!

I'm also nervous about all the cardio.  I feel like it's a miracle when I accomplish 10 miles on my bike.  That is going to be an "easy day" feat...*sigh*  

Feel free to send prayers up to Heaven for me. I'm not trying to be dramatic here, just real.  I'm nervous. I'm scared.  I've never felt less organize nor more weak in my life.

I usually try to have words of wisdom tucked into my blog.  But, tonight I'm so tired and so preoccupied that the only thing I'm going to close with is..."Yes, I'm tired and disorganized and weak...but somehow, I'm going to dig down deep and find a way to do this!" THE END.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rights vs. Blessings

I'm in a very contemplative mood today.  I don't think I've stopped thinking for the last couple weeks.  Words like RIGHTS, FREEDOM, BLESSINGS, DESERVING, POVERTY and many others have been rolling through my head.

I talked about it a little bit in my last blog.  Freedom isn't really what we think it is.  True freedom is loving to do what is right!

I want to address a topic very carefully here.  RIGHTS.  My generation especially is all about demanding rights.  Now don't get me wrong, I do not think a person should be mistreated.  I do not think that because of someone's skin color they should get paid less, or that a woman should be beaten for not being respectful.  Please do not misunderstand me.

But, rights, most of what we consider rights, are not "rights."  They are blessings people.  We think we have the right to come home to the house we've worked hard to get the mortgage for.  We think we have the right to eat (and then throw away) large amounts of food.  I, as a mom, think I've earned the "right" to some alone time every now and then.  No, folks...those are not rights.  They are blessings.  I'm calling it like I see it from now on.

I am begging God to transform my thinking.  Over the next four weeks, due to bootcamp, I'm giving up my blessing to eat what I want, when I want.  I'm trading up the blessing of sleeping in until the last minute for the "blessing" of working out. (Maybe someday I'll be able to take the quotation marks off that blessing! hahaha!) I'm giving up a lot.  But, I must transform my thinking.  I'm not giving up rights.  I'm giving up blessings.

But when did we, friends, become so self-enamored that we began to think we deserve these things? This shocked me when I realized how much I thought I deserve...

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Philippians 2.  It talks about Jesus, gave up his RIGHTS as the Son of God.  He left Heaven to serve us.  He gave up everything.

I'm seeing this whole new side of living that I want to pursue.  It's a radical side of living.  Where I give away more than I consume.  Where I am willing to give away prized possessions and the coat off my back.  I want to meet needs.  I want to cheer weary souls.  I want people to turn to Jesus.

This is part of my "WHY" for this bootcamp. I can't accomplish these things with very much effectiveness at 330 pounds.  I'm tired.  I can't fly in a plane.  And there's no homeless people my size out there for me to give my clothes to.  I consume so much food on my own in one day that I often wonder how many people could eat on the money I waste on restaurants, pizza, or the occasional ice cream cone.

It sounds radical even to me...but I can't help but wonder what is on the other side of consumerism.  The other side of demanding what I think I deserve.  Do I have a chance to raise children that are not entirely self absorbed with personal gratification?  Do I have moments ahead of me to live like the real Jesus would have?  Healing, meeting needs, living prayerfully and intentionally. I HOPE SO!!!

Please pray for me.  I feel like God is stirring my soul in a brand new way lately.  I want to see success at boot camp and get ready to serve God in a whole new way.  Giving up my blessings, forgetting about what I think are rights, and loving him with my HEART, SOUL, BODY, and MIND!

Monday, May 7, 2012


"Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long."
"Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws."
"My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end."
"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."

These are verses from my time with the Lord this morning.  They all come from Psalm 119.  If ever you are struggling with falling in love with God and His word, I think this is a great place to look.  It makes me want to please God with all that I am just because of all the love He put into His Word.

I've been thinking about FREEDOM a lot lately.  And how the American ideal of freedom is so messed up.  For some reason our culture has boxed freedom up in an odd shaped package, and then filled it with toxic gas.  Freedom is not doing whatever we want, whenever we want it, saying whatever is on our minds and however it benefits us, and making sure the world revolves around ourselves.

For me, God's words tie in with freedom.  See, true freedom is desiring what is right.  Let's think about this.  If I began my life early on desiring what was right, I would have began desiring fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water.,  Instead, I began my life desiring what was wrong.  Pizza, cookies, soda, and chips, all in too large quantities.  I thought I had freedom because I could eat what I wanted when I wanted it.  It was "my body" and I could do whatever I wanted with it.  But, now, I know that living in obesity as a consequence to my decisions...that is no where near freedom.

The same comes to debt.  We think because we have "earned the right" to have these little plastic cards that we can purchase whatever we want, whenever we want it.  We go on trips, buy movies, buy extra little things for around the house, buy a new wardrobe, and basically spend what we want, whenever we want, all in the name of FREEDOM.

I bet, if you ask anyone who has "maxed out" those cards, and now has a house full of stuff they do not need, and the word that comes to mind is not freedom. Perhaps bondage.  Or oppression.

TRUE FREEDOM IS DESIRING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT.  Think about it.  When we choose to do what is right, we are not only pleasing God, but we are avoiding the consequences of sin.  The temporary hard decision to do what is right is often hard to do, but well worth it in the end.

The phrase "delayed gratification" comes to mind.  I remember in psychology class were we watched a video about a study where they left kids in a room with a bowl full of candy.  They told the kids that if they could stay in the room and not eat any of the candy, they would get twice as much candy than what was originally in the bowl.  Sadly, most of the kids could not hold out.  They gobbled the candy up quickly, and missed out on a future reward.  But, there were a select few who held out.  They were successful because not only did they not eat the candy, but they actually ignored it, knowing it wasn't the proper time.  Those kids who demonstrated delayed gratification were shown in a later study to have higher IQ's and higher success rates as adults.

This is kind of where I am at in about a half of dozen areas of my life.  I'm seeking delayed gratification.  And for me, the only way that can occur is by relying on the strength of God, through His word.  I'm working on weight loss, rebuilding my marriage, memorizing Scripture, parenting during a rough season with my children, trusting God with our finances, and trying to figure out just exactly what God has down the road for us in a few months with my employment situation.  I want freedom.  I'm tired of being held in bondage by my sin.  I desire holiness, a sweeter disposition, and trust in the Lord that is unending.  That for me is freedom.

How about you?  Where are you seeking freedom?  Are you trusting God?  Or is your hope placed in the material things of this world?  I pray that you will open up His Word and find the true freedom there.  Oh, how encouraged I was as I spent time reading from Psalm 119 today.  How amazed I was as I spent time in prayer listing everything I had to be grateful for.  How hopeful I am as I trust God to meet all our current and future  needs.  How free I feel as I begin to let things go...