The Why.

Have you ever noticed that it can be hard to stay motivated to reach your goals if they aren’t something that you can reach within a couple of weeks?  We live in a land where instant gratification is easy to find and as an American I admit I sometimes take it for granted.  In the past when I had a good day or even a bad day I would go out for Ice cream with my family as a reward OR I would go out for ice cream to lift my spirits! (Now you see where my weight problem came from!)  Well, this week I had a little epiphany that I know can help keep me motivated.  I spoke with a dear friend this week about AdvoCare and the business opportunity that comes with being an advisor with the company.  

Now a back story on this buddy of mine – we use to spend hours dreaming and planning a way to develop a non-profit to educate and help the people who are in need in our country to understand how to handle their finances, pay off debt, stay out of debt, save for retirement/education, and eventually be able to give back to their community both with their time and financially!  We are still very passionate about serving those in need within our community but with life happening and not enough finances to jump start this dream of ours we’ve just put the idea on the back-burner.  I’ve also had another idea that has continued to pop up in my mind over the last year about starting a non-profit to serve the widows/widowers by providing them with meals for the first month after the loss of their loved one along with providing education/help for them in the following year.  Losing a loved one is stressful enough, it would be nice to give them a place to turn that can help remove some of that stress from them allowing them a time to mourn without having to worry about meals, finances, laundry, house cleaning, car repairs, etc.  

So anyways, back to my epiphany:  I sent a message to this friend of mine this week and told her all about the opportunity AdvoCare provides but I found myself apologizing for being “sales pitchy” because the last thing I want her to think is that I’m only reaching out to her to make a buck.  I want her to hear the amazing results she can get health-wise using these products and if she loves them as much as I do I wanted her to see the income potential that can be found through AdvoCare as well.  Well, do you know what her response was?  It was this: “Jess, NEVER apologize for direct selling. It is THE thing now. It’s cool. Wasn’t in the past, but is now. I’m a product of it.”  She also let me know that she had just started doing direct sales with a company called Rodan & Fields and that she’s pumped up about it because of the “why” behind her “what”.  Rodan & Fields is her “what” but do you know why she’s doing it?  Because the income potential is there & she knows if she busts her butt she can make the kind of salary that will free her up to reaching her goal of creating that non-profit! 🙂  That’s it!!!  That is what I needed to hear.

I have been using AdvoCare for a little over a month now and haven’t actually been able to define my WHY yet.  Why am I using these products and WHY have I decided to become an advisor with the company?  On the surface my answer would be 1. To lose weight and get healthy. and 2. To earn extra income so that we can move past Baby Step 3 (for all of you Dave Ramsey fans out there).  But, you know, that WHY is not good enough to keep me motivated.  It’s time I dig deeper and really find a purpose in using/promoting AdvoCare and it’s products.

So here it is – my WHY. 1.  I’m using these products to lose weight & to get healthy so that my husband and I can have baby #2.  My first pregnancy was a tough one – I was so out of shape that I was absolutely miserable towards the end of the pregnancy and made my husband promise me that we wouldn’t try to have another kid until I got down to a healthy weight.  And now that our baby is 2-years old & I’ve started photographing the sweetest, most adorable newborns of all time I’m really getting the itch to have #2 – so I better get motivated and stay focused! 🙂  2.  My husband and I have been very blessed financially – we are debt free and we have a fully funded emergency fund.  At the end of 2012 we agreed to donate a certain amount of money above our tithe to go toward our church’s building fund and a few months later our health insurance increased to $1250/mo. and with the extra output to go towards our health insurance we were no longer able to give above our tithe.  This bother’s me so much!!  We’ve never had to live paycheck to paycheck and now this is becoming our life.  Even with couponing, cutting out the extras like cable and vacations we are still not in the position to give like we once were.  This is my WHY behind AdvoCare.  I truly believe that this company will provide a way for our family to give to our church the way we want – and in my wildest dreams it could help fund the non-profit idea mentioned above.  Wouldn’t that be a blast!

So, it’s time I get out of my head & speak with my heart.  It’s time I let everyone know what is possible if they pinpoint their WHY behind what they are doing in their life -whether it be weight loss or a new business.  Also, a little tidbit I learned from Dave Ramsey that goes along with motivation – it’s Momentum.  If you have focused intensity over time (it could take months or years – don’t burn out and stay motivated) and here is the KEY to EVERYTHING in life: you have to multiply that focused intensity over time by GOD and when you do it will result in unstoppable momentum.

So whatever goal you set for yourself be sure you know your WHY!  Don’t be afraid to speak from your heart, love on those around you, and always put our Heavenly Father first!  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13  I pray in all things that the Lord’s will be done.  If a year from now I look back and I can share a success story like the ones seen here: then I will honestly have to say it’s not because of me it’s only through Christ that success like that can be possible.  Yes, I can work my tushy off but if Christ isn’t my focus then I know ears will not listen to my story and doors will be shut on me.  I’m greatful that AdvoCare is a company that strives to put Christ first as well – I wouldn’t want to ever have my name associated with something that is not set up to honor our Lord.

I’ll end with Charlie Ragus’s (the founder of Advocare) 10 guiding principles (notice number 1):

  • Honor God through our faith, family and friends.
  • Respect and strengthen the family.
  • Believe in the dignity and the importance of the individual.
  • Creat a standard of excellence recognized by the direct sales industry as superior.
  • Commit to mutual loyalty and trust between AdvoCare and its Members.
  • Establish and continually improve the vehicle of opportunity and the pursuitt of finacial freedome for all AdvoCare Memberes.
  • Commit to ongoing personal growth and development through professional training and educational programs.
  • Build self-esteem by promoting a sense of personal worth among all people.
  • Continually expand our market by providing the most effective and highest-quality products and service available.
I encourage all of you who took the time to read this post to take a look at your life.  What goals have you set for yourself and why haven’t you reached them yet?  Could it be because you forgot to find your WHY? 

A Fair, A Baby Shower, & A Birthday…..

Oh boy!  I have done a poor job at staying on track lately!  In just four days I’ve experienced a fair, a baby shower, and a birthday!  All of these things are huge challenges for me when it comes to food choices.  I knew that losing weight and getting in shape were going to be a challenge but who knew that as soon as you decide you’re going to do this that the temptations increase tenfold!?  Seriously, this is getting ridiculous.  

As much as I wish I could have said I didn’t eat any food at the fair, and that I only ate the healthy hors d’oeuvres at the baby shower, I can’t.  In fact I did the opposite.  I let the excuse of the fair being a once a year thing allow me to eat what I wanted – even though it was the second time I went to the fair in a week!

Bare with me, but here goes the list of junk I put in my body since Saturday:  Fried chicken on a stick, Orange Julius, chocolate covered banana, taco salad w/ the works, one whole cupcake and the icing off another one,  two donuts, a small icee, two diet cokes, fried goat cheese, mac and cheese, and a chocolate cake.  Just typing that out makes me want to crawl in a hole!  I know it’s better to put it out in the open than hide it because I don’t want to let myself “get away” with it.  I’m trying to make a change and the best way to do that is to be honest with myself. 

I’m back on the wagon again and I just ordered some new product from AdvoCare to take while I follow their “Lean in 13” plan.  I think the best thing for me to reach my goal is to stay on a plan – it’s when I start my week without a plan that I find it easier to make excuses.  So, guys take 2! or 10 or take 20!… I’ve lost count.  But I’m not quitting – I’m picking myself back up and hoping back on this wagon.  I’ve got a goal in mind and I’m aiming towards it!  And once I reach my goal I plan to throw a party…with salad and grilled chicken of course! 🙂

One Month Down

One month down and 11 more to go!  I’m actually doing this guys!  I wish I was more on top of my eating and exercising, but even with my slip ups I’m still getting amazing results and I’m happy!

I’ve been meaning to report my final numbers after my 24-day Challenge but have been wrapped up in photo shoots and the day to day responsibilities that I’ve not made time to just sit down and update you guys.  So for everyone following my weight-loss journey here are the final numbers.  Remember my 24 days actually turned into 25 because of the hiccup on day 1.  

  • Starting Weight: 161.6   Final Weight: 155.4 
  • Starting Body Fat: 39.4% Final Body Fat: 35.7% (I still have a ways to go!)
  • Chest: 42″   Final: 40″
  • Waist: 40″ Final: 36.5″
  • Hips: 41″ Final: 40″
  • Thighs: 21″ Final: 20.5″
  • Upper Arms: 14″ Final: 13.5″ (not making a muscle)
  • Calves: 14″ Final: 13.5″
  • Fitness Test: 2 normal pushups in 24 seconds Final:  5 normal pushups in 24 seconds

*** 6.2 lb, 9.5 inches & 3.7% down in BF

The day after my final weigh-in (Day 26) I was 153 and that’s where I’ve stayed for the past week.  A lot of you may think – well that’s not that great BUT it is!  You see I completely fell off the wagon.  It was like I rewarded myself one day for finishing the challenge with a huge taco salad – sour cream, cheese, chips, & salsa.  And that day lasted through the weekend with an Orange Julius, Italian Ice, and Cotton Candy at the Fair followed by a BBQ sandwich, sweet tea and mac-n-cheese the next day, pizza two nights in a row, & even a scoop of ice cream!  Yikes!!  I didn’t work out on those days either.  Thankfully I continued using AdvoCare MNS (Metobolic Nutrition System) supplements along with Spark, Catalyst, and Thermoplus.  I really think that is what helped me not gain any weight.  

Now that I’ve finished the Challenge I plan to stay on the AdvoCare products to help me reach my next goal(s).  That is to run 1 mile in 8 min. by the end of September and to lose 20 pounds by Christmas.  That would put me at 133lb and only 15 pounds from my 1 year goal of 118 pounds.  

This journey has already had it’s ups and downs, but for once in a LONG time I am actually stepping in the right direction.  No more feeling guilty when I make the wrong choices.  I just think of it like tripping.. you just get up and keep moving forward.  I’m sure there will be many slip ups along the way but I am going to do this!  I can’t give up on ME! 

God made us to glorify Him in everything we do!  I don’t see how me as the unhealthy, overweight, glutton who was depressed, lazy, and unsure of herself could point to our Lord – we are made in His image and I’m sure God is none those things.  No body wants to be around a person like that & I’m sorry but an obese, sad woman is not what God intended when he created me.  I can’t wait to be back in the body God planned for me to have and to finally keep it that way.  

It’s nice that AdvoCare’s Guiding Principles start by saying to “Honor God through our faith, family and friends”.  Now this is a company I want to be a part of!  Just tonight I saw two separate posts on Facebook that were very encouraging to me! First: ” I get paid to take the most elite and amazing nutrition on the market, to hit milestones in my health and fitness journey I didn’t think were possible, and I have the most energy doing it. Do your products you purchase in other stores pay you? Just a thought.”  The second: “I use to say about the thin celebrities who are always fighting to stay thin, ‘if I could get paid to lose weight and stay fit, I could do it!’ Now I AM getting paid and feeling great doing it too! Yay AdvoCare!!!”  Guys, I want to really see how this side works as well.  I told myself at the beginning that I would give myself a couple of months to see how these products work for me and if I really can tell a difference then I will know that I want to introduce this to other people!  Well guys, in just one month I have REALLY been able to tell a difference!  My clothes are getting loose, my wedding rings fit, I can wrap a towel around me (it’s the little things! haha!), I have tons of energy, and I am excited about life!  God is good! And I’m thankful he is the giver of life & the giver of do-overs.  I feel like a new person!  




Day 22 – Amazed!

OK.  So I thought I would NEVER show my before pictures until I reached my 118 goal but I just had to share these pictures today.  I still have a long way to go but for really just changing my diet and adding in AdvoCare products I’m absolutely amazed by these results!!  I’ve tried so many things and haven’t felt this confident about my body in years!  I’m telling you guys if you are looking for something that can give you that boost to become healthy the AdvoCare 24 day Challenge is it!  Hopefully this will encourage some of you out there who are in the same boat as me. 🙂


Day 19 – Making Progress

It’s been about 9 days since I’ve given an update on my AdvoCare 24-day Challenge.  I’ve been doing OK with staying on track & I still have hope that I can actually reach the goals that I’ve set for myself!  Over these past few days I’ve given into temptation here and there but I’ve probably done the worst job at getting enough sleep and working out!  

This past weekend was rough – with a death in the family, a busy weekend with photography and a date night with my husband I completely fell off the band wagon.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still took my supplements on schedule and I never over ate but I didn’t workout at all and I ended up eating a scoop of red bean ice cream after dinner one night, some cinnamon/sugar toast for breakfast one day, & I even scarfed down a fried chicken leg and some sweet potato casserole!  I know… I’m cringing too just typing that out!  Through the support I’ve received from friends during this challenge I was quickly able to jump back on board and remember that I’m working toward a life style change.  That means that I’m not going to be perfect 100% of the time but I should keep aim at my goal and stay focused and motivated to reach it.  I can do this!!

An update on my progress – I said I wasn’t going to weigh until the end but I gave into that temptation as well and hopped on the scale this morning just to make sure that I’m still heading in the right direction.  And I am! 🙂  Woo hoo!  I weigh 154 pounds now and my clothes are really starting to feel much better on me.  I don’t feel like I’m smothering when I sit down anymore.  And one of the better things is that I’m not able to actually rest my arm on my belly when I sit – this was a skill that I developed when I was fully pregnant with my son – I just thought it would have left me after I had him!  Haha!  Thankfully I can now say my tummy has deflated just enough that I can no longer do this! 🙂  Also, a BIG PLUS is that my wedding rings fit again!!!  I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!!! 

Now on another note about AdvoCare products – I personally love them (if you can’t tell)!  I’ve been more energetic, flirtatious with my husband, positive, and confident since using them not to mention the weight loss!  So I don’t want to get off of them!  But, the down side is they cost a good amount of money – until you reach their Advisor (40% off) level.  At this point the products cost the same if not less than what you would buy at GNC the Vitamin Shoppe or another store.  So, I have a new goal – to reach this 40% off level so that I can continue to afford these products!  I’ve found a good thing and don’t want to give it up if I can help it! 🙂 So if any of you guys are reading this and are ready to change your lifestyle and even want an opportunity to increase your income then feel free to ask me questions.  I would be glad to send you some product samples & encourage you along the way as you aim for that goal you’ve made for yourself!  Please let me know how I can help!


An Amazing Man of God!

I’ve been going back and forth on what to really put in this post.  I’m not going to speak on my weight loss journey today, but I’m going to try my best to honor a very special man of God.  These last few days I was given a good reminder to never forget about what’s most important  – To first love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with all of our hearts and second to love our family and friends!

This Saturday, my husband and I were gearing up to have an awesome day! I had a bride that I was going to meet at our family farm to discuss her wedding arrangements and the possibility of taking her pictures. After that our family was going to be attending a birthday celebration for my husbands GREAT Granddaddy who was turning 105!  Grandaddy Baker was a big part of our own wedding day – he recited by memory (at the age of 101) 1 Corinthians 13.  It was an amazing moment and a day I will never forget!  In fact, at the birth of our 1st son my husband and I decided to name him after both my grandfather and Granddaddy Baker to honor their names.  After this birthday party my husband and I were going to use a babysitter for the first time and actually go on a date!  Like I said – it was going to be an awesome day!

Well what was meant to be a day to celebrate Granddaddy Baker’s birth became a day to celebrate his life!  At exactly 12 noon Granddaddy Baker took his last breath on Earth and was finally brought home to be with our Heavenly Father.  I’m pretty sure that was the BEST birthday present he could have ever received!  So, our amazing day of fun turned into an amazing day of love!  It’s always hard to see a loved one pass away, but what joy we shared together just remembering stories and feeling the blessings that Granddaddy Baker left with us!  This man lived his life in such a way that everything he did pointed back to God.  I pray that I will be a light in this world and lead by example just as Granddaddy Baker has lead many people to Christ by his example.  I could go on and on about how he touched all of our lives and I’m sure there are 1000’s of people who could do the same.  

I’m honestly lost for words on how to honor his name so I’ll leave you with Granddaddy Baker’s own words.  This is a blessing that Granddaddy Baker spoke over my husband and I during our wedding ceremony:

“Both of you this afternoon are going to walk away to prove a greater thing to the world – and I hope you do with high colors!  And that is this: That you love each other with all your heart and the chapter which I have recited (1 Corinthians 13) will be a guideline for you to follow.  In doing that – thus expressing to the world that not only God is love but it’s possible for two individuals to love each other like He loves us. May that be true! God bless you two.”

I pray that this blessing will be spoken into your life as well.  Don’t take the Lord our creator and the Lord our savior for granted and don’t take your loved ones for granted either.  Each day we are overwhelmed at the vast supply of information that comes to us. Mass amounts of marketing, internet, TV, emails, phone calls, etc. can clutter our life causing us to sometimes lose sight of what’s important.  Take a moment today to meditate and thank the Lord for the life he has blessed us with, thank him for our friends and family!  Be sure to tell your family and friends you love them as well!  Each day we should all take a moment to be silent and reflect on the glories of God.  He is so good!


Bro. W.L. Baker – An Amazing Man of God – August 3, 1908 – August 3, 2013 



Day 8 – Day 10 Planning is Key!

Hopefully you guys didn’t start thinking I had slipped back into my old ways!  I’m still very serious about creating this new lifestyle for myself!  I’m now starting Day 11 of the challenge and continuing to aim for my goal of becoming healthy and getting back down to 118 by this time next year!  Days 8-10 came with a lot of struggles.  Thankfully I never over ate or had a binge but I sure made the wrong food selections and I blame my lack of planning on those slip-ups!

This morning technically marks the end of the cleanse portion of the 24-day challenge.  I weighed myself this morning and am officially down 6 pounds since Day 1. (I’m 155.6 & I plan to not weigh myself anymore until I am finished with this challenge! It’s starting to get a little out of hand – there is no reason I should be weighing myself every day!) Personally I was hoping for a little more weight loss since my weight on any given week tends to fluctuate between 155-160 and it just so happened I started this journey at a high of 161.6.  I’m going to be EXTREMELY happy and surprised if I make it into the 140s by the end of this.  I haven’t seen the 140s in over two years and at this point it’s hard for me to believe that I’ll ever get there but I am sure going to try!  Also, I did have a realization that I’ve not been taking the supplements as suggested on the packet!  This frustrates me because I wanted to give as close to an example of exactly how the AdvoCare products work on your average individual.  

Here is where I messed up:  

1.  I had a stomach bug on day 2 causing me to skip one day on the cleanse.  I am making this day up today by taking my last fiber drink. 

2.  I was suppose to be taking at least 3 Catalyst (Branch Chain Amino Acid Supplement) two times daily along with at least 2 OmegaPlex (Omega Fish Oil supplement) with dinner.  I have only been taking one Catalyst 3 times a day and one OmegaPlex a day.  So starting tomorrow I’ll be following the recommended dosage.

3.  As much as I’ve been trying to get my almost gallon of water a day I’ve not been that successful.  It’s a good day when I finish 8 (8oz) glasses!

For those of you guys who are looking to get healthy the number one thing that I could advise would be to plan, plan, & plan!!  When I decided to sign up for AdvoCare and use the 24 day Challenge to jump start my weight loss I quickly developed a plan and promised myself I would follow it to the T (see image below).  Unfortunately life happened and after a weekend family trip and photography/freelance projects I quickly realized that half of the week had passed and I still hadn’t been to the grocery store!  

When I don’t plan that’s when junk food & processed foods pick up my slack.  You wouldn’t believe it but I ate a single serving bag of Cheetos the other day!  Talk about unhealthy!  I think my body was trying to reject it because within ten minutes of finishing the bag my mouth started to burn and felt like it was swelling up – the closest thing I could compare it to is when you burn your mouth on a hot cup of coffee.  My taste buds felt rough and irritated and the roof of my mouth was swollen for a whole day!  Note to self: Cheetos = allergic reaction and it’s empty/useless calories, therefore AVOID!

Today I got back on track with eating healthy and working out.  I just walked two miles and finished a bowl of tuna with whole grain mustard (yeah it sounds gross but I personally like it!)  Last night I had a thai inspired dish that I just made up.  I cooked buckwheat soba noodles and poured a coconut milk/red curry stir-fry concoction that had lean pork, broccoli, and tomatoes on top of the noodles.  It sounds weird but it was quite tasty in my opinion! 🙂  Tonight is going to be sweet potato gnocchi with eggplant and some type of tomato sauce…. I think.  

So, long story short – when you are trying to change your lifestyle you will experience ups and downs, but one thing is certain if you don’t have a game plan put into action you will get caught up in a lot more downs than you will ups!

Luke 14:28-30 – “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and was unable to finish.'”

Now it’s time I take my own advice and get a realistic plan together for next week! 🙂

By the way, here is and example of my planning for the 1st 10 days of this Challenge.  I would be glad to email anyone my excel spreadsheet if you’d like to use it to help you plan out your challenge as well.



Day 7 – Week One Complete & Faith is Strengthened!

There is something very refreshing about making it through your first week of a challenge and feeling good about the progress.  I ended my first week on a high note too!  I actually turned down some delicious strawberry marshmallow iced cupcakes at a baby shower today.  They were even topped with adorable little white sugary pearls!  One of my favorite treats (and this will sound disgusting to some… or most) but I would much rather eat a large spoonful of marshmallow fluff than I would a scoop of ice cream!  So you have to realize that turning away a marshmallow iced cupcake was a big step for me.

Let me quickly recap my week so that I can get into the more important stuff – my spiritual walk.  Alright, so if you’ve read anything about the AdvoCare 24 day Challenge you would know that it is very important to get your recommended daily water intake – unfortunately I am struggling with this aspect.  Most days I would down 7-8 8oz. glasses of water in addition to my 2 8oz. glasses of spark.  I’m supposed to be drinking 10 8oz. glasses of H2O though.  Also, you are suppose to eat every 3 hours – well I find myself getting wrapped up in caring for my little one or working on chores or photography and I forget to eat those snacks.  I get my three meals in and typically one snack but I’m not managing to get in food every 3 hours.  Lastly, I’m suppose to be taking these vitamins and supplements in a certain order each day.  This week I ended up taking all of the supplements that were recommended but I was not always doing it in the correct order.  Hopefully these three things wont effect my results too much.  Next week I will try to improve in each of these areas.

OK – the importants stuff:  My walk with God. 🙂  This week my husband and I both finished two books.  The first was The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler and the second was Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo.  These are great books guys!  

The first book really convicts you of searching more into the Gospel, learning and developing your faith, and shakes you out of your selfish ways and helps reset your focus on God and His glory.  Guys, if you haven’t heard, it’s not about us – it’s all about Him.  Our life should be lived in a way to always point to the Lord our creator.  I believe this with all my heart but I have to tell you, this one is a hard one for a selfish human like myself!  Some days I wake up late, jump out of bed and start racing through my day.  Before I know it I’m crawling back into bed and begin to say my first prayer of the day!  Ugh!  How can I be a Christian and only focus on God and Christ for the last 5 minutes of the day – sometimes even dosing off in the middle of my prayer.  This aspect of my life really breaks my heart.  God has blessed me with so much yet sometimes I forget that He’s the reason I’m here and I start thinking more about me.  Thankfully this is beginning to change – the more I read, pray and study God’s word the deeper my love grows for Him and the more I long to be near Him.

Now the second book helped me to fall in love with Heaven.  I’ve always had this fascination with Heaven, angels, and life after death.  I’ve tried to envision it in numerous ways but one vision that seems to always nag at me is one of us singing hymns to God for eternity.  I don’t know about you but that vision is a little frightening to me!  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE to sing but singing non-stop for the rest of forever sounds daunting.  After hearing this child’s description of Heaven I’ve not been able to stop day dreaming about this glorious place!  A place that is so colorful. A place that is never dark because of the light radiating from God and Jesus.  A life in communion with our Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  We not only praise Him but we will talk with Him.  And don’t forget our loved ones – Oh how I can’t wait for the day that I get to hug my grandmother again! 

I’ve been meaning  to share a spiritual “Ah Ha!” moment that I had last week so here is goes:  If any of you have read Ecclesiastes you probably have thought to yourself:  “Goodness that’s a depressing book!”  With verses like “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless!” (Just read Chapter 1) you may find yourself quickly hurrying over to James or another book that will help encourage you through tough times not make you feel worse.  I’ve been there before.  You know the trick – you pray “Lord, please help me turn to a word that well help me at this moment.  A word that will encouraging me, strengthen me, and give me hope.” And then you proceed to opening the Bible to whichever random place you see fit and hope for the best. 🙂  I’ve done this numerous times and when Ecclesiastes pops up I quickly try again.

All this time I never realized why Solomon was going on and on about how meaningless life was until I read The Explicit Gospel.  Solomon was the richest man of all time.  He had everything and I mean EVERYTHING a man would ever want!  Yet, he looked back at all of his worldly things and realizes that it’s all meaningless!  Solomon realizes that no matter how many possessions he builds up for himself it will all be pointless if he doesn’t know God.  

Maybe this doesn’t hit you the way that it did me but at this particular time in my life I needed to hear that everything on this Earth is meaningless.  There have been times I’ve felt depressed about life – I’ve wanted to find something more. feel joyful about life. and be content with where I am.  Ultimately I’ve wanted to find happiness.  The problem is I’ve been looking for happiness here on Earth and now I know I wont find it.  The wisest man on Earth, King Solomon, discovered that everything here on Earth couldn’t make him happy so why am I expecting “things” to fill me up too?  They won’t!  But you know what will?  If I seek God first and His Kingdom!  I want to study His word.  I want to know His word.  I want to share His word. As simple as it might sound to some, this was the moment I realized that I can finally relax and stop searching for that something that will make me “feel” complete.  That feeling can only be filled with being in the presence of God (like when Adam and Eve used to walk in the Garden of Eden with our Lord – they were complete.) God will one day welcome me home. Until then, I’m afraid the feeling we get that “there’s something more” is going to continue to be inside of us.  We will never completely feel whole until we enter the Kingdom of God.

Thank you Lord for this week! For those reading my journey to health I encourage you to pick up these books – you wont be disappointed! 

Day 5 & 6: I goofed…

Guess what I’m doing right now?  I’m sitting in my family’s farm house while my mom (just as I am typing this) walks through the room with a plate full of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!  The smell has officially filled the house and the sight of my husband enjoying each delightful bite while washing it down with a glass of cold milk is about to destroy me!  I WANT COOKIE NOW! But…. I have already goofed this week – not once but twice!  I can’t give in a third time in just two days!

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I would share a couple of epiphanies – one was spiritual and one was in relation to my health.  I’ll get into that in just a bit, but right now let me make my confessions and get it out in the open.  Yesterday I had my first binge.  I ate probably three servings of brown rice crackers, a large spoon full of peanut butter, and two bowls full of watermelon!  Yikes!  And today I ended up eating one of my little boys shortbread cookies and half of his fried chicken strip that he didn’t want.  

These are my typical eating habits that are beginning to come back through.  My first slip-up was prompted by hunger (I waited too late to eat my snack) and procrastination/laziness (I really didn’t want to pack for our trip, do the laundry, or wash the dishes).  My second slip-up today had more to do with a sweet craving (the cookie) and the need to not waste food.  It’s always been hard for me to just go off of my satiety cues and leave food on my plate – now that I have a child I find it difficult not to clean his plate too!  Man, oh man, this has to stop!

OK.  Enough with the slips-ups.  Let me share the health insight that I gained during my first week on this challenge.  I’ve realized that my issue is NOT cravings.  Sure I do have them here and there but I’m not really struggling with eating healthy.  I actually like eating healthy.  The flavors are fresh, light, and crisp and the textures are more entertaining as well.  My issue is actually more with laziness or taking the easier road traveled.  It’s easier for me to grab fast food and the quick processed snack than to spend a day peeping and cooking health food.  

Here is where I had the “Ah Ha!” moment: Dieting is a lot like cleaning the house – it’s overwhelming at first but really the hardest part is getting started. Once the ball is rolling it’s much easier to get the work done – the key is to not lose momentum.  Once you skip a day of chores it makes the next day even harder to pick up where you left off.  The next thing you know you have a full day of cleaning to accomplish instead of just a 10 minute chore.  Once again you are left with the struggle of starting to clean.

That’s it!  It’s the START that is causing me problems! That’s been my issue with weight loss all along.  Now I know your thinking – I’ve seen some of your past posts – it looks like you’ve started your lifestyle change many times in the past.  Maybe it’s really the finish that your having problems with Jess.  Yeah you’re right – I have an issues with all steps but NOW that I’m aware of how hard the start is perhaps I can talk myself out of ruining a whole day, week or even a month because I “cheated”.  Typically the slip-ups that I had today would have completely thrown me off of the plan. I would have beaten myself up about it and just given up.  Well the next day it’s even harder to get back on track with working out and eating.  After one week of eating poorly and not working out you realize you’re back into the same old habits and have a weeks worth of mess to clean up instead of just 10 minutes!  

Unfortunately, I’ve got much more than 1 week of cleanup to do when it comes to my health and I can’t afford to not keep my momentum on this one.  I’m not sure I have another “start” left in me.  Though I did “cheat” I have to say it was a little different than normal.  I realized immediately after what I was doing and I ACKNOWLEDGED it.  I asked myself WHY I did what I did, HOW did I feel before/after I ate that food, and WHAT could I have done differently so that I can avoid this in the future?  And guess what, it’s working!  You know those cookies – well there is now a half-eaten plate of cookies sitting four feet from me and I didn’t touch a one!  I call that a success even if it’s just a small one!


Day 4 – I feel great!

Good news guys! I must have had a stomach bug the other day because last night I took the herbal cleanse and had absolutely zero problems! Woo Hoo!

Now as much as I would love to go into more detail about the day it’s going to have to wait. My computer is down at the moment and I’m finding it difficult to type this with my phone. Tomorrow will shed some light on how this challenge is going and how I’ve had some spiritual “Ah Ha!” moments as well.