Category Archives: Personal

My Public Display of Dieting – July 2017

gelato burger

A gelato burger from Carrello’s – we cut ours in half and shared it

RESULTS: Gained 1 pound for a total loss of 21 pounds

I’ve put off this post until the very last day of July hoping that I will change what I’m doing and see some progress. I’m sad, disappointed, and frustrated to say that I haven’t changed any bad habits at all.

In fact, a Facebook Memory post from one year ago today said that I’d lost 28 pounds! But now I’m down to 21 – having gained 7 pounds in the last few months. Why?

Combination of things – an innocent bit of fun celebrating my birthday, followed by John staying home the last few months to write his next book, followed by a vacation to Michigan where we ate and drank every favorite and missed food, followed by us getting more and more down as we wait to find out when and where the next job will be.

I’m actually not that concerned about my birthday celebration, our anniversary celebration, or our vacation to Michigan and its accompanying overeating and drinking.

It’s the fact that I have no willpower to eat less when John is home cooking every day. I don’t have willpower to eat less when John eats a bigger serving. I don’t have willpower to eat less when I’m feeling down about our life situation. (Not knowing when you’re moving or where to is getting old.)

I don’t know (in fact, never knew) why in late December 2015 I decided I was done being overweight and out of shape and decided to do my 50 pounds in 50 weeks challenge. But I wish I could find that switch and flip it again!

I’ve been saying I want to be my fittest by the time I’m 50 – that’s about 34 weeks away. I could still lose 30 pounds in 34 weeks and win the prize! But what do I need to do inside my head to make that happen?

I’m usually pretty motivated and doing fairly well in the early parts of the day. It’s from about 3pm to bedtime that I’m going into the red calorie-wise and sugar-wise. I know it’s emotional eating. I guess I just have to dig deep inside and ask myself what I need to do to change my heart and mind. (Being by myself all day most days when John was at work all day, I did MUCH better – but because I hate to cook. John loves to cook, and I love to eat what he makes.)

It’s decision time.

What’s most important to me? The comfort of the moment? Or a long-term goal that will improve my health, peace, and happiness?

The same questions can sort of be applied to exercise. I’ve done almost none since the last race five months ago. Granted, I’ve been catching up on work that was put off during our hard times of the last few years. I’ve really been in the groove, putting out two titles already this year, with a third one coming out in August. Exciting!

But my back hurts more than ever. (I hurt it exercising about a year ago, and I haven’t done much to help it.) This is no small matter when you consider that a friend of mine had major back surgery last year and was told, if I’m repeating it correctly, that it was from sitting at a computer all day for years and not doing any stretching or strengthening. Even the weather can’t keep me from doing that because those are indoor activities.

And yet, I’ve barely done anything. (Though I am typing this post standing at my standing desk!)

Why am I writing all this here in a very public place? To shame myself into acting? Shame isn’t a huge motivator for me, actually. Shame would lead me to just stop posting about it. 😀

I’m posting because I need to confront myself and my decision-making process. I want to succeed.

I’m posting because some of you may have gone through – or are now going through – a similar soul-search, asking yourself “Why?”

I’m posting because hiding is not a positive action. We need positive actions to improve our health – physical, emotional, spiritual, the whole health of the whole person.

And if we keep working together, we can succeed together! 😀

Don’t stop trying! We can find a way to do this!

EXCITING NOTE: After I posted this, I went back through the blog here and found that I was still down 28 pounds in February when I ran the Round the Bays race here in Wellington. So I’d kept off those 28 pounds for 7 months! The weight gain started when John stayed home and cooked every day and my exercise decreased dramatically. Okay, that is information I can work with!!

Look at your calendar or think back to when things were going well. What’s changed? What can you do to get back into circumstances more conducive to better health? What circumstances can you change?

If I can make some changes and some progress in August, I’ll post more often and tell you what’s working for me…just in case it gives you ideas for you!

My Public Display of Dieting – June 2017

Kitty and John at Hobbiton, New Zealand

John and I in front of a Hobbit hole in Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand

RESULTS: Gained 4 pounds for a total loss of 22 pounds

I missed checking in last month because…well, I was going to say because I was busy, which I was. But honestly, I kept waiting for good news to post and it didn’t happen. Mostly because I didn’t really try – hahaha!

First we had my birthday celebration in March, then we ate some yummy things at Easter, then it was our anniversary and our anniversary trip in early May, then our two-week trip back home. So LOTS of extra eating and enjoying it and not trying to watch my calories much at all.

Chocolate Stout Pie slice

Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Chocolate Stout Pie – only in June

That being said, I DID write down everything I ate in the My Fitness Pal app. (I’ve entered what I’ve eaten every day for a year and a half now!) And I often had a protein shake for breakfast to start the day well…and so I could have Grand Traverse Pie Company pie for lunch every day. LOL!

Also, by the time we got to the last few meals of vacation (all the plane food from nearly 24 hours of flying), we were completely ready to go on a diet. On the first day home, our grocery shopping including about six different fresh vegetables! LOL!

So…here I am, overweight but FINALLY ready to hit the Restart button! YAY!

The scale said I weighed 177 pounds yesterday, or about 80 kilograms. To lose 50 pounds from my original high weight last January (2016), I wanted to hit 148 pounds, or 67 kilos. From today, that’s a weight loss goal of 29 pounds.

Okay, the line is marked in the sand now. 🙂 Time to dig in and work on getting to be my fittest and healthiest by my 50th birthday! That’s 9 1/2 months away.

I can do it!

How about you? How are your goals coming along? Do you need to hit the Restart button? You can do it! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – April 2017

Kitty and Frosty about to go for a trail ride

Kitty and Frosty about to go for a trail ride

RESULTS: Gained 2 pounds for a total loss of 26 pounds

Well…um…yeahhhh….hahaha! 😀

All I can say is – my birthday was last month! And for ten days,  John treated me to so many awesome things from horseback riding to meals at little cafes to big Whittaker’s dark chocolate bars. And I loved every single thing! Haha!!

In fact, that’s why I didn’t post anything last month – I didn’t want to weigh myself. 😀  But the Monday after my birthday I put away all the sweets and cut back on my snacks and took advantage of a free week at the gym. I just finished my last day there today, and I’m going to be able to do a lot of that stuff here at home.

So now I have 11 months before my 50th birthday – 11 months to lose another 25 pounds, gain many pounds of muscle, and train better so I can run my fastest half marathon ever before my next birthday. Woohoo!!

I will say one thing – I was eating pretty healthy, a lot more veggies, for a few weeks before my birthday, and then I got busy/lazy and didn’t cook myself anything because I was racing to meet deadlines. I could REALLY tell the difference in how I felt! Now John is home and cooking for both of us and I already feel better having eaten two vegetables today. 😉

Between more vegetables and tougher and more frequent exercise, I’m looking forward to feeling better than ever. And it won’t hurt my self-esteem at all to see myself looking better than ever before, too!

Have you hit the Restart button lately on nutrition and exercise? How’s it going?

My Public Display of Dieting – February 2017

RESULTS: Lost 3 pounds for a total loss of 28 pounds

John and I at the Finish Line - Round the Bays races, Wellington, New Zealand, 19 February 2017

John and I at the Finish Line – Round the Bays races, Wellington, New Zealand, 19 February 2017

I can’t say I’ve accomplished much in the weight loss and greater-strength-and-health arena during the last two months. I’ve accomplished a lot of other things! Hahaha! But I’m still kind of hovering in the same area I’ve been in for a few months. But there are a few things coming up that I think will help.

  • I’ve got a little breathing room before my next deadline so I hope that I’ll stop skipping workouts
  • My body aches after that last race, so I hope I get serious about doing my yoga or pilates stretches a few days a week at home
  • John and I decided to give up sweets for Lent this year, so I’ll be ingesting very little sugar (mostly from fruit and juice) over the next 6 1/2 weeks
  • My friend Kathleen gifted me with a learn-to-cook-healthy course called Foodist
  • Only 12 1/2 months until I turn 50! That’s been my goal for a few years – to be my healthiest and fittest ever by the time I turn 50

I will say that the morning after I ran the Round the Bays 10K race, the scale showed me down to 166 – the least I’ve weighed in ten or eleven years! But then it popped back up to the 169-171 area where I’ve continued to hover. Still, it gives me hope that over the next four weeks (i.e., before my birthday), I can lose 4-5 pounds and keep them off and restart the downward journey to 148 pounds/67 kilograms. That was my goal in January 2016 – lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, going from 198 to 148. I’m still working toward it!

So how are your health goals coming along? Are you seeing patterns? Rather than focus on what’s happening today, check to see if over the last week or the last month you’re getting healthier or less healthy or staying steady. And remember – you and I can hit the Restart Button anytime!! Keep going!! 😀

2017 Goals – Publish More Books, Start a Podcast

Figure with a check listBecause I knew that I hadn’t accomplished most of my 2016 goals, I made a point of writing down my Goals Master List for 2017 before the end of December. Then I went through it looking for the 7 to 10 major goals that I really wanted to accomplish in all the various areas of my life this year.

I thought perhaps it would inspire you to do the same if I shared with you my goals. Here they are:

  1. Publish the first three books in the Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series
  2. Publish “My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine” by February 14
  3. Outline Burden of Magic, the working title for the supernatural thriller that I’ve been working on and thinking about since grad school in 2011
  4. Create a business system for writing, marketing, finances, etc.
  5. Finish creating the video-based self-publishing class that I started, and update the time management class I teach
  6.  Begin my new podcast in late spring (I’m so excited about this!)
  7. Read one or more nonfiction books on business or writing, and one or more novels every month
  8. Lose 25 to 30 pounds to get to 145 by December 1
  9. Run one half marathon at my fastest time ever by December 31
  10. Create a habit of 60 minutes of Bible study and prayer daily, Monday through Friday

And then I have my extra goals, the ones I’ll do if I have time while making sure my primary goals get accomplished first. They include finishing every class and course I have ever signed up for! Haha! And to also finish writing and publish Rent-a-Wife, book 2 after Little Miss Lovesick in the Traverse City in Love series.

As you can see, some of these goals will have many smaller parts to them. And a few of these are smaller parts of bigger goals. For instance, for several years I have said that I want to be my fittest, strongest, fastest ever by the time I hit 50. I turn 49 in two months! So I only have 14 months to sign up for and run a half marathon, and make it my fastest one ever. And I’ll need to be my fittest ever in order to reach that goal, which includes losing those last 25 to 30 pounds.

This year, I tried to balance my work and personal goals so that I don’t ignore one part of my life in favor of another. There are a lot of factors that may change the likelihood of me accomplishing any or all of these goals, of course, just like for any of us. But I’m excited to have a list that looks challenging as well as doable.

Smiley face with thumb upWhat about you? Do you have 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 goals that you’d like to accomplish this year? Have you written them down yet? And have you written down the steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish those goals? I hope that by sharing my list I’m encouraging you to work on making this year your best year ever!

Good luck! I know you can do it!

Ending on a High Note is a Huge Blessing

Hand pushing the restart buttonI just finished typing up my 2016 End of Year Report for my writing life and my personal life. It was not surprising to me how many low points there were last year. But, as is often the case, writing down everything that happened reminded me that there were a lot more positives than I remembered.

Financially, mentally and emotionally, and in most aspects of my business life, 2016 was among the worst in years. I missed most of the goals I set for myself last year. But there were a lot of spiritual, relational, and physical highlights that bear repeating.

When I challenged myself to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, and write a weekly blog post detailing my journey, despite everything I was able to lose 25 pounds. In my experience, that is no small feat.

Me in a swimsuit Oct 6 – first time I’d gotten into this suit in four years!

I can’t say for sure what my spiritual life was really like, only God knows, but I strongly suspect that I was growing deeper roots through all the troubles and challenges of last year. I don’t know if there were very many blooms for others to see, I don’t remember seeing them in myself, but I do believe my relationship with God is stronger than ever. And that’s worth a lot!

Relationally, it was a good year. Despite rarely being able to see my friends in person, I was able to keep up some amazing relationships, both encouraging and being encouraged by some of the best people on this planet. Despite the fact that 2016 might have been the worst year in John’s and my life, he and I stayed tight, and continued to have an amazing relationship. This, too, I attribute entirely to God, without whom we never would’ve made it through last year.

The year ended with two huge blessings! The legal side of John’s motorcycle accident from 2014 was finally settled. What a huge weight off our shoulders! And then – drumroll, please – God blessed John with his dream job! He accepted a position at Weta Digital and we moved to Wellington, New Zealand in November!

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington

For me, the cherry on top was being able to rent a cute little beach house right on the water where I can look out the window every day while I’m writing and see the ocean and hear the waves. Especially after the last few years of hardships, this seems an amazing and entirely undeserved blessing that I feel the need to thank God for every single day!

Are you wondering yet why I shared my end of year report with you? It may seem a little too personal to some of you, or a little to dry to others. But last year was a really tough year for us, and I didn’t expect to find much good in it looking back. But look at the surprises I found! I hope you take this as encouragement to look back over your 2016 and see how many other blessings you forgot you had last year.

I hope it takes your breath away!

My Public Display of Dieting – 2017 edition!

STARTING WEIGHT: 173 LBS, 78.5 KG (gained 2 pounds/1 kilo over the holidays)

Christmas book treeHappy New Year!! I hope you had a great holiday! John and I sure did! John had a week off work so we went walking and exploring almost every day, rented movies from the library, watched Netflix, went to the beach (remember it’s summer here in New Zealand), and built our first book Christmas tree. So much fun!

My weight loss goal is to lose the other 25 pounds that I didn’t lose last year. (My 2016 goal was to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.) I’ll try for one pound a week again, but I’ll consider it a success to make my goal by the end of the year. 😀

I’m trying to reorganize my blogging and be more regular as well as more interesting, but also without taking too much time away from writing novels. So I’ll post my results once a month this year instead of once a week. I’m also going to try to post once a month about my running, and once a month about my writing, and anything else that comes up.

I hope you have great plans for the new year! Remember, if you write down what you hope to accomplish, there’s a higher percentage of likelihood that you’ll achieve it! I’ve written down my weight loss goal here. We’ll see how it goes! Have a great January! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Weeks 49-50

RESULTS: Total loss of 27 pounds!

John and Kitty in Wellington

John and me in our new house in Seatoun, Wellington, New Zealand

Well, folks, we’ve officially come to the end of my 50-week quest. Thanks for walking with me on my journey to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.

As you can see, I made it a little over halfway. With everything going on the last five months, I’m amazed and thrilled that I made it this far. 🙂 We’ve had a lot of big changes – big disappointments and ginormous celebrations – but I think the accountability of knowing I had to post my progress every week made all the difference.

I now weigh about 3 pounds more than what had been a long-time average (168 pounds, 76 kgs), but I still want to lose 23 more pounds. Then I’ll have met my 50-pound goal. Yay!

This is one part of my bigger goal that I’ve had for a couple years – to be my healthiest ever by the time I hit age 50. I also want to run my fastest half marathon by or before 50. 😀 I’ve got 15 months to go, and I know I can meet my goal if there aren’t too many more crazy disruptions in our lives. LOL!

I am currently at a place where I can focus on my fiction writing for a few months, so I won’t post about my continuing weight loss journey every week. I’ll just update you occasionally and encourage you in your health improvements. 🙂 I hope you keep going, never stop working on your health. I’ll be right there with you.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have a fabulously indulgent Christmas week! LOL! John and I want to try several restaurants in our new home town that we heard were good. It’s summer here in New Zealand, so of course we’ll have to have gelato a few times. And New Year’s Day we always spend all day in a movie marathon – that is often partially an eating marathon. LOL! I start baking today, so…I don’t know what I’ll weigh January 2, but I’ll hit the restart button again then. I hope you do, too!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! I hope 2017 is a peaceful and blessed year for both of us! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 48

RESULTS: Might’ve lost a couple pounds??

Our house and car in Wellington, New Zealand

This past week I’ve been packing up to leave the hotel, going to the Weta Christmas party, and unpacking into our new home. I’ve been running errands, but today was the first day in a week that I’ve been able to take time to run again. (I was tired, but it still felt good!)

The movers expect to deliver our belongings next week, so I’ll be able to start weighing myself again and see how I’m doing. Yesterday I was wearing a pair of pants that I couldn’t get on in January, but were almost embarrassingly loose yesterday. 🙂 That’s something!

Even without the scale, I feel like I’m making a little progress. Of course, part of it is because I need to thoroughly clean the kitchen, cupboards, dishes, etc. with hot water and bleach because this place has been empty a little while. (When I saw the mousetrap, I kinda freaked out, but I haven’t seen a mouse. Just a few small bugs that I don’t like but probably can’t keep out.)

Once I feel everything is clean enough, then I can start cooking a little and eat fewer sandwiches. It’s a summer house, so there isn’t much cupboard space, so I won’t be able to buy too much food at once, which is good. But my friend Elena (Southern California) is going to give me some cooking lessons via Skype – yay! And my friend Rachel (in Melbourne, Australia) wants to bake together via Skype – yay! We just have to make the times work since I’m in Wellington, New Zealand now. But I’m excited!

I’ll keep you updated for another week or two, then I’ll take a Christmas break and come back with a new goal in January! How are YOU doing with your health and fitness goals? Don’t give up! Take a break if you need to, but let’s not lose what momentum we’ve gained. We can do this! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 47

RESULTS: No idea!!! Hahaha!!

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington, New Zealand

Hello from our new home in Wellington, New Zealand!!!

I haven’t forgotten about my 50 pounds in 50 weeks weight loss goal. I just can’t measure it until we move into our new home and our stuff gets delivered – including our bathroom scale. Once I can weigh myself again, I’ll have a better idea of how to restart my goal in 2017 and I’ll let you know here.

Meanwhile, my clothes fit well and I’m walking a lot even when I could be driving or taking the bus. (I’m also overeating with cookies, crackers, and restaurant food.) Plus, I started slowly getting back into my running routine again. It feels GREAT! I’ll post some pictures here for you soon. Right now, I have a ton of stuff to do to get us settled into our new home.

Hopefully, I’ll have Internet next week and be able to update you on My Public Display of Dieting as well as our new life! 😀