Category Archives: fitness

First training session 

OMG.

Today I learned how to do a squat. The trainer, Shane, told me I’d be doing this, and I laughed at him. Yeah right.

If you know me you understand.

But no, really, today I did squats. 

And I learned how to bend and sit.

If you’re someone who knows this stuff, it looks pretty easy.

If you’re me…OMG.

I didn’t actually realize how hard I was working until it was time to leave and I had to walk again. Lol.

My knees are jelly now. 

I’m proud of me, and I’m thankful for the trainer who says “You’re not broken” while he helps me start down this road to strength and real mobility.

*cool thing about the trainer: he did his master’s at MSU. Yay Midwestern!

Advertisements

Gym Time

When I was nine we moved to Texas.

What I remember from that time: every girl could do a cartwheel and most wanted to be  cheerleaders. I could not do a cartwheel, but I did want to be a cheerleader.

In junior high we started gym classes. Nothing in my junior high world was worse than gym. 1. I was overweight. 2. I couldn’t run, shoot baskets, serve volleyballs, hit softballs, do cartwheels, climb ropes or any of that awfulness. I did love that parachute thing we bounced a ball around on, and scooter races were always fun. 

Today I went to the gym I joined before leaving on vacation. I’ve been one other time. That was to meet with the trainer last week.

The trainer told me I have a mental block where athletics is concerned. He thought it might have been because of a bad coach. But it isn’t that. I LOVED one of my junior high PE teachers. She absolutely believed in me. She believed in all of us. 

I don’t really know what the problem is. 

But I know the trainer is right about my mental block.

I know because I have to psych myself up to drive up the road to go, and then I have to psych myself up to get out of the car and go inside.

Today I sat in the parking lot and told myself to stop being so ridiculous.

And then I took this selfie.


I told myself one day I’d look back at the photo and laugh.

But I don’t know. I look at it now and don’t really feel very funny.

A million moons ago I started this blog because it was January, I’d started a diet and I wanted to develop my writing voice.

Going to the gym is just part of the story.

Gratitude Affects Attitude

thanks

I did less this break than I have in years. I don’t regret that. I needed to breathe. To just be for a bit. So I did, and I feel better right now than I have in months. It’s funny how I was dragging all this negativity around with me all semester and how doing that led to something heavy building inside me. Whatever that was manifested itself in sickness that stayed with me until the bitter end of December. It’s funny how taking the time to breathe actually made me physically able to really breathe.

I’ve always believed in mind over matter, that a positive attitude creates positivity, in the laws of attraction, in letting go and letting God. But believing and acting on those beliefs are two different things.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

I’m going to dedicate much of my blog time to reinforcing my life affirmations.

Thankfulness is one of the keys. I’m incredibly thankful for so many people who have been in my life. Without others I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’m thankful for my students over the years who gave so much of their time and talent to the Rider media program. I’m thankful for family members and for my small group. I’m thankful for my old writing group that challenged me and taught me and inspired me, and I’m thankful for my new writing group…even though it’s so far away. I’m thankful for my daughter who has always shared her life with me and for my incredible husband who is my best friend and my love.

I’m thankful for BBC and their incredible mysteries and Gilmore Girls and Netflix. I know that seems silly, but my break of nothingness translated to time spent with Netflix, George Gently, Phryne Fisher and the Gilmores.

I’m thankful for Zumba. I forget how much I like it, and then I get started again and it makes me so happy…two days and counting this time.

I could go on, but I think I’ll save the rest for later. 🙂

Thanks

Such a little word

That means so much

And so little

At the same time

A word full and empty

Like all words but not

Because thanks

Matters.

It seems

Like a word for others

But in reality

It’s a word for you.

A Happy New Year, THANK GOD!

NYE 2015I love new years. Each one makes me sigh in relief. Even if the year before was great, the clean slate of a new year shines like my classroom’s waxed floor in August before my classes stars.

This last year was NOT great. It should’ve been. I saw plenty of personal successes. But it wasn’t. I saw this image on Pinterest yesterday. It seems appropriate for what was 2014.

lost

I’m glad the minute that was 2014 is over now. It’s easy to find yourself at the end of a two-week break. I look forward to continuing that journey. And if I lose myself, I hope to do it in a way that is fun and fulfilling instead of a way that leaves me sick and tired and demoralized and up two sizes.

Here’s the thing. No person or entity or schedule or dashed expectation can make me lose myself. I know that. In the moment, though, it’s easy to forget that. It’s easy to place blame and waste tears and sink into the morass of dejection and powerlessness. But the deal is I’m only powerless if I cede my power. I did that in ’14. That’s over now. 🙂

I’m looking forward to 2015 and all it’s waxed floor shininess. I plan on moving the furniture of my life and expectations around a bit and scuffing the floor of this year. I’m going to be a grandma–sometime in the next month–and I’m getting rid of these two sizes I’ve gained and I’m going to write more Liz Lee romances (those are the steamy ones…proceed with caution). More than anything, I’m going to surround myself with positivity. That doesn’t mean I’ll accept the awful in education. I’ll still fight for fixes there. That doesn’t mean I’ll be okay with hate and misogyny and inequality. I’ll still post stories that expose those behaviors. It does mean I won’t let those things take away my joy.

I’m looking forward to 2015!

Oh Sugar

My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I’m addicted to sugar.

I THOUGHT I could handle it. Just a little, what would it hurt?

Processed sugar doesn’t work like that for me. (If you’re one of those people who can eat anything without consequence, I hate you. Okay, not really, but seriously, that is so not fair!!!!)

If I smell processed sugar, I gain ten pounds. If I eat a bite, well, that’s a joke. No way am I eating a bite. I don’t even understand how people do that! DH can keep a pound of M&Ms by his chair and not even blink. If a pound of M&Ms is by my chair, they’re gone in a day…or two…maybe three ( hahahahahaha! a pound M&Ms for three days. That’s a good one!) No way are they sticking around for weeks. It’s like this voice in my brain clicks on and says, “Hey, if you go ahead and eat them all they’ll be gone and you can get started on your low-carb lifestyle again.” AND even though that voice has been lying to me for years, I DO IT. I actually believe that’s the answer. At least in the moment. Afterwards I wonder why I didn’t take the junk and dump it. And then I usually eat something else carby because hey, I’ve already blown the diet to hell, so why not?!

Story of my life: Me VS processed sugar. And if I’m not vigilant, sugar wins every time.

I know I’m not the only one who faces this issue. Every time I post about it on Facebook a ton of people comment. If you face this issue, too, I highly recommend The Atkins Diet book. I’ve added fruit to the mix right now. We’ll see how that works. I’m hoping it helps kick the processed sugar cravings.

The Girls in the FamilyIn the meantime, I’m going to think about my family. We took this photo one night while DD was visiting (from 1300 miles away! BOOO!!!). My mom, sister and niece were here, too. I was sooooo good at eating right and drinking water while she visited. Water is key, too.

Do you have to stay away from processed sugars? What are your tricks to staying healthy? Any foods you recommend? Feel free to share in the comments!

*****

legs 1600by2400smallDon’t forget to sign up for my author newsletter here. (Giveaways and MORE!)

Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3, OUT July 20!!!

Divine Dining FREE! Guest Post by Janet Brown

I’m thrilled to have my good friend Janet on the blog today! Her book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness is free on Amazon now. –MB

***

DivineDiningCover 8-7-13 copyThe National Health and Nutrition Survey in 2004 tells us 133.6 million (66%) adult Americans are obese or overweight. I heard on TV the other day that the percent has risen now to 72% of adult Americans.

     A Purdue University study indicates conservative churches such as southern Baptists, Assembly of God, and Church of God fight this battle most often. Richard Kreider of Baylor University gives further insight into this. These denominations “avoid dancing, tobacco, and alcohol, but give no guidelines for overeating.” He goes on to say our churches more often attract with food, not action events.

From my own true story, I can say that though I gave my heart to God at age seven and attended church regularly, compulsive overeating almost ruined my life. I teetered on the brink of suicide and divorce for several years. Praise God, He gave me an emotional and spiritual healing in time.

Even if you don’t suffer from compulsive overeating to the point where it almost ruins your life like I did, still unhealthy eating habits can slow you down and diminish your witness.

Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness inspires compulsive overeaters to rely on God for their true spiritual nourishment day by day. One woman’s journey to healing leads the way.

Here’s one of the devotions from Divine Dining:September 11

254. My Do It Myself

“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13

My oldest daughter and son-in-law bought an inside basketball goal for our first grandchild, their niece. We put it away and brought it out for each one thereafter. By the time, my third and youngest grandchild was born, the basketball goal was worn, but still usable. The pen that held it to a certain height kept getting lost, so I hid it. My grandson loved that goal. By age two, he was wise to my tricks of hiding the pen. He’d drag the whole contraption into the living area and say “pen,” indicating I should get the lost part. He would take it from my hands and say, “My do it myself.”

He would aim and miss several times. I’d say, “let Mimi do it.” But no, “my do it myself.” In God-given grandma wisdom, I covered his right hand with mine and guided the pen into the hole. His eyes lit up. Then, he swatted away my hand and reaffirmed, “my do it myself.”

What a picture of us at times. We’re taught to be independent. When faced with a compulsion we can’t control, we argue with ourselves saying, “I’m an accomplished, capable, intelligent woman. I can get on a diet, stay on it and control this thing.” But, we try and try, and can’t. No matter how many times we tell God with our actions and words, “my do it myself,” we can’t.

Finally, God holds our right hand and puts the pieces together. But, do we still shake His hand away and say, “my do it myself.” We can’t. God help us. We never can.

Prayer: When I try to walk in my own power, remind me of my grandson slapping away my hand. God, I need You to hold my right hand.


Notice: Amazon is offering Divine Dining for free during the dates of Nov. 12-16. Here’s the link:

Janet K. Brown  Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Though she has written most of her adult life, since her retirement as a bookkeeper and medical coder, she writes as a second career and as a ministry.

Divine Dining is the author’s second book. It encompasses her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.  Janet released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012. She continues to write short stories for teens and adults. The sequel to her young adult is contracted to release in June, 2014.

She and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren, and work in their church. Find her at http:/ /www.janetkbrown.com on Twitter, @janetkbrowntx , on Facebook @  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707

***
Thanks for being here, Janet! And thank you for being so open and honest about your weight loss journey and your walk with God. I know Divine Dining is helping others!

Low Carb: How It Works For Me #MyWANA

Several people have asked how I’ve stuck to low carb for so long.

This is what’s worked for me.

imgres-1First, I purchased the new Dr. Atkins book. I read the entire thing before I committed. I wanted to know what the steps were. The book changed my thoughts completely. When I got it, I thought this was a diet. It’s not. If it’s a diet, you get the same results as every other diet. You’ll lose a ton and then gain it back. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change.

If you’re like me you’ve spent years gaining weight at the scent of cookies while friends and loved ones could eat what they wanted in moderation. From reading the book, I learned the idea that weight loss isn’t exactly one size fits all. I finally understood why it took me hours in the gym to lose weight on the traditional low fat diets, and I understood part of why I suffered with cravings for years. There’s a reason we’re the most obese nation in the world even though we’re inundated with lowfat options everywhere.

Second, I followed the induction phase one plan religiously. This is the only way to break your body from its addiction to sugars. Read every label carefully. Fillers are everywhere, especially in meat. LABELS are important! Plan on lots of fresh food, but no sweets. Not even fruit.

Phase one is HARD at first. But it’s so worth it. You’ll feel better, and you learn to  really listen to your body about food. It’s easy to binge on a bag of potato chips. Not so much a block of cheddar. 🙂 Speaking of binging, a lot of my weight issues are mental. I have serious food problems. Anyone who can gain and lose 60 pounds in one year more than once in a decade has something other than food problems going on. I’ve starved myself so often over the years that the binge mentality became my norm. Some of you will relate. For instance, before my low carb lifestyle I’d buy a bag of M&Ms for the family to share (HA!). Those M&Ms would call my name until they were gone. No one else in the house cared about those M&Ms, but I DID. And after I ate them all in less than 24 hours, I HATED them and myself.  I’d swear to “be good” the next day only to binge again. It might be a month later, but the binge would happen. Guaranteed.

Since March 2012 I’ve binged twice: once on green beans and once on spinach. That’s makes me laugh when I write it, but it shows how ingrained my issue with food is. I remember exactly what happened with those binges and how crappy I felt afterwards and how I realized my food issues were bigger than food. I’m careful with both veggies now because I know they can trigger a binge, and even though that kind of binge won’t result in weight gain, it’s still an unhealthy behavior.  The good part of this is two problems in over a year. Pre-low carb, it was two a week.

After phase two, I quit following the Atkins plan word-for-word, but I’ve maintained my weight loss for several months by continuing low carb. My keys to success were and still are bacon, eggs, heavy cream, butter, coconut oil, almonds, almond milk, olives, pepperoni, cheese, cream cheese, cauliflower, spinach, flax, Atkins bars and protein mix. If I’m hungry, I can always make a protein smoothie, but be careful. A lot of those mixes are FULL of carbs.

Be super careful about eating sugar-free candy. A lot of it is made with sugar-alcohols, and while they don’t count as carbs, your body can process them like carbs. I found that other than Atkins bars, sugar-free candy made me crave sugar. I do use Splenda. I know the research says to get rid of it, but I haven’t found anything else that tastes right in my coffee.

I’ve added berries to my diet and I’ve started doing Pilates. My next goal is to add a cardio workout because I know that’s important for heart health.

Since dumping sugar, starch and flour from my diet, I’ve felt better, looked better and had more energy. I no longer crave carb-laden foods.

One more bit of advice: Pinterest and Google are your friends when it comes to great low carb recipes.

This is what worked for me.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.#

Title plate

 

 

Less Than Perfect No Longer Acceptable

Crown JewelsEarlier this month when I heard a former Biggest Loser contestant was being sued by the fitness firm who hired her to peddle their wares, I was irate. When media professionals made a big deal about Princess Kate’s day after giving birth baby bump, I could not believe it.

The cases are different, but both show the problem people have with real bodies.

Anyone who’s studied nutrition and exercise knows the axiom slower is better is absolute truth. Biggest Loser contestants drop over 100 pounds in a short time with several hours a day of that time spent in a gym. The chances of the weight staying off is slim 🙂 . People big enough to go on The Biggest Loser haven’t embraced the gym lifestyle. And weight is so psychological as well. It’s an identity. You might drop pounds, but if your mindset doesn’t change, too, the pounds will come back. The gym that hired the contestant should’ve known all that. They wanted the before and after photos of the girl who’d transformed practically over night to sell their product. Instead, they got the truth. A gym alone isn’t the answer to a weight problem.

Princess Kate doesn’t have a weight problem. There’s nothing psychological at work, and a gym wouldn’t make a difference one way or the other. She just had a baby. She looked amazing and gracious and happy. And the media wanted to focus on her stomach? UGH! I wanted to punch someone.

It seems like less than perfect is no longer acceptable for people in the public eye. Because of that we see all sorts of strange cosmetic surgery results. If we’re not careful the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld will be something other than science fiction. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend.#

 

Weight Loss, Writing and Commitment

my weight lossIt’s been a while since I talked about my weight loss journey. And it really is a journey. There’s nothing fast about it. Nothing miraculous. It’s what’s worked for me.

I don’t eat sugar or flour or bread. At all. And I haven’t since the middle of March 2012 (other than my 11-day trip to Ireland and the UK).

Some people say that strict of an eating plan will fail. For me the opposite has proven true. Cutting it out completely makes it easy to follow.

If you want to know more about low carb, check out the Atkins book. It’s what I used. I promised myself I’d add cardio to the mix this week, because that’s what makes the heart healthy.

Here’s the deal, though.

I LOVE Zumba and the elliptical. I mean, I LOVE them. I love working so hard my shirt is covered in sweat. I love the way my heart kicks into overdrive and my breathing grows deeper and I can feel my lungs. I LOVE it.

BUT getting to the Y, even though it’s two minutes from the house…UGH. I wake up with the best intentions ever and then before I know it, it’s 10 p.m. and I’ve watched a million episodes of Criminal Minds or cleaned house or spent five bajillion hours on Facebook. My best intentions are not cutting it. If I’m going to work in the cardio, I’m going to have to commit, just like I’ve committed to the low carb lifestyle.

That commitment is what’s necessary for my writing, too. I can’t start the day with the best intentions and then waste the day on projects other than my books. My poor office gets used for blog posts and critiquing others’ work, but it’s not seeing a lot of new words making it onto the pages of my current manuscripts.

So I’m committing. Because just like with low carb, when you commit, when you say this is how it’s going to be and there aren’t any excuses, the results happen. #

 

 

Fat Girl Hell and Getting Over It

IMG_2768My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I was born fat.

I’ve talked about my struggle with weight and food in the past. In fact, this blog started with several posts about my weight and weight loss and Weight Watchers back in 2005. Since then I’ve lost and gained hundreds of the same pounds. A little over a year ago I discovered low carb living, and life has changed a lot. My struggle with food addiction isn’t gone, but it’s not so ever present. I’m not skinny, and I never will be, but I’m healthy and I’m happy.

I love that I can shop in regular sizes…but I don’t have to. If I want the extra length, I can grab a loose 1X.

What I mourn now is how much I HATED, LOATHED and DESPISED my body for years. I remember going on the cabbage diet in high school because I’d crossed the line to a size 14. I lost weight and gained it right back plus 10 pounds. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “you’d be so gorgeous if you lost a little weight.”

My stretch marks showed up about the same time my cycle started. I was far more mortified by those pink marks on my legs and breasts than I ever was at my period. I remember trying to eat one meal a day because my thighs were fat.

I started down the road to Fat Girl Hell early on, and it led me to a lot of self destruction, physically and emotionally.

I used my fat to hide. I used it for comfort. It was my identity even though I hated, despised and loathed it.

Today two things happened that brought this all back. One of my former students posted about a shirt  carried only in “fat girl” sizes and how much a person said they hated fat girls and fat girl only sizes and Huff Po carried a great story on plus sized models.

The fat girl comment hurt my former student’s feelings. I totally understand.

I can’t tell you how many “moos” or “can’t she just exercise?” or “with a little effort, you could do it” I heard over the years. If you’ve never struggled with weight, you have no clue how far from true all that is. There’s a reason the weight loss industry is booming, and it’s not because those of us who struggle need to exercise a little more.

The model story gave me hope that people are starting to see beauty in something more than weight.

Today I realized I don’t hate my body any more. I don’t despise it or loathe it. (Okay, I’m still really unhappy with my fat arms! If one more person tells me I inherited them from my Grandma Hagberg, I’m going to scream!) I’m not in the best shape ever, and I definitely need to get back into Zumba but NOT to lose weight. I need to get some cardio going for my health. Hearts need cardio. But I don’t have to be a 14 or 12 or 10 or 5.

I’m not going swimsuit shopping with a camera any time soon, but I’m cool with my curves. And all those people who told me I’d be beautiful if…well, I know they meant well. They weren’t being jerks on purpose. But they were being jerks, and they were feeding my self-loathing.

I’m going to end this with my words on Facebook today: Girls, love your bodies. It’s about health not inches. But I’m going to add one more thing: If you hate your bodies, it’s deeper than that. Don’t go there. Embrace who you are right now. In this moment. Regardless of the scale. Look in the mirror and say I am beautiful. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. Be cool with your curves.

*****

Current Liz Lee (steamy romance with heart) book Close to Home available on kindle!