I’m Choosing Which Labels I Accept

Going on this weight loss journey in such a public way has been amazing.

At at times, more of a challenge than I even realized.

You see, people tend to speak without thinking. At least that’s how I’m choosing to view the questionable things I’ve heard. I refuse to believe these things are meant maliciously.

Recently someone stopped me and shared that she’d been following my journey. She told me that she thought I was doing a good job. Then she looked at what I was wearing at the time and made a judgmental comment on my current choice.

I was speechless as she moved on. Immediately the voices of condemnation went wild in my head.

  • Why bother, you’ll always be fat.
  • You’ll never be able to wear cute clothes.
  • Everyone is just being nice, you really look horrible.

As the voices got more insistent, I heard a voice of love speak up. “Don’t listen, and don’t accept those labels.” The Spirit in my soul was reminding me that I had a choice about what I accepted as truth.

The world is always quick to apply labels to us. But just like in the world of manufacturing, it’s only the one who is the creator who has the right to define us. Our Creator does have labels for us:

  • Beautiful
  • Precious
  • Beloved

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” Ephesians 2:10

The world isn’t is kind, but our Father in Heaven is. We know the cruel things that are said to us do not come from the Father of Truth. So from now on,  I will be choosing very carefully which labels I apply to myself.

Setting Myself Up for Success

I do a lot of traveling with my profession as an author, and this is my busiest season. I spent a lot of time praying about even applying to become one of Rob’s Big Losers because I knew I would be gone much of February and March. But I felt God’s clear call and so I left the decision as to whether or not I could do this in His hands.

Obviously He thinks I can.

But one thing I’ve learned in these three short weeks is that I’m either my biggest ally or my biggest enemy. As I get ready to head out this weekend for a conference, I decided to make certain I set myself up for success instead of failure.

Here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Made sure I’m prayed up. Ultimately my strength comes from God. So the foundation of my success rests on my relationship and connection to Him.
  2. Built in accountability. Doing this weight-loss thing here already carries a lot of accountability, but I’ve gone even further. I’ve let people who are going to be with me this weekend know what my goal is and what I have to do to stay on track.
  3. Rearranged my schedule. I don’t have a lot of flexibility with my time when I’m speaking at a conference, but I do have some. I can determine when I get up and when I go to bed. So I’ve found time to exercise and I’ve marked it on my notes.
  4. Invited some comrades. In addition to telling those around me what I’m doing, I’ve asked several to participate in exercise with me while I’m away.
  5. Enlisted a prayer team. In addition to praying myself, I’ve asked several others to be praying for me while I’m away. I’ve given them specific things to pray about:
    • the ability to resist temptation
    • the discipline to exercise even when I don’t feel like it
    • the blessing of good sleep

As I said above, I have the ability to act as a friend or foe on this weight loss journey. Today I’m making the deliberate choice to work for me and not against me.

A Gift for Me

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and I gave myself a gift.

I took time to work out.

I planned my meals and made healthy choices.

These may not seem like very fun gifts—especially since social media is covered up in pictures of roses, candy, and romantic—calorie-laden—dinners out. But making myself and my health a priority was important.

The gift I’m giving myself, with the incredible blessing of HisRadio and the YMCA, is life-changing. It’s going to ensure that I’m able to spend time with my husband and my kids and grandkids as a participant, not just an observer.

How about you? Why don’t you join us and give yourself the gift of experiencing the amazing life still in front of you?

The end of the beginning…

What started twelve weeks ago came to an end this past Saturday! What an amazing ride it has been! I am humbled, honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to be one of Rob’s Big Losers. It has been a journey unlike any other for me, as far as my health is concerned. I have met some amazing people! I have thoroughly enjoyed following the journeys of my fellow RBLs… Gus Edmundson, Jason Day, Tim Bryant, Andrea Huntley, Krisina Satterfield, and Rob Clayborn to name a few. The interesting thing is that I first met Gus, Jason and Tim this past Saturday at the RBL 5K Race.  We had been following each other’s journeys through the blogs and although we had never met face to face, there was instant camaraderie. Even though we were “competitors”, we were also brothers and sisters who had journeyed together over the past 12 weeks. We each arrived at Saturday’s finale having achieved different goals and yet, we were all winners! I love what Rob Dempsey said as he was recognizing those who had the highest % of weight loss. He stated, “Remember, everybody here is a winner! This is not a competition, this is an accomplishment.” Great job to all who started and finished RBL2017! Whether you sprinted, ran, walked or hobbled across the finish line Saturday, you finished! You did it! For that you should be extremely proud!  Congrats to Tim Bryant for being the overall winner! You earned it!

As for me, I am thankful for the journey I have been on over the past twelve weeks, but I am even more thankful for the beautiful partner that I have had journey with me! Jennifer Farr, you are amazing! I am so proud to be your husband. You encouraged and supported me so faithfully through it all, while at the same time, you were hustling and working hard to complete your own journey to health! Way to go babe! I am so proud of how far you’ve come. I am looking forward to continuing our journey together!

Twelve weeks ago it was hard for me to get up and move because of my weight; I basically had no stamina at all! I would breath heavy with every step I took and I was very limited in what I could do.

Today, I am a new person! I can walk without getting winded. I don’t come home from work and collapse in the recliner! I have more energy! I’m sleeping better and I need a wardrobe! How’s that for a twelve week metamorphosis?! I still have a long way to go but I am over halfway to my first milestone of losing 100 pounds (only 37 more to go!) It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”! That’s the beauty of this competition! If you commit to it and consistently do what the trainers and coaches tell you to do, you will see results, and you will have a change in attitude, heart and body!

I am so thankful for all who have joined with me on this journey.  Through it all I have felt God’s presence and the love & support from countless family and friends. For that I am eternally thankful! This is not the end for me, it is only the beginning!!!

“Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”Habakkuk 1:5


You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me…

…and they’re off, well sort of.  Yeah so this was not the start of the Kentucky Derby or Belmont Stakes…no this was more like the beginning of a junk yard derby, except my car’s engine never even started, not really anyways. Okay, let me rewind a bit. After all if you’re going to be reading these blogs for twelve weeks you might as well have a little backstory. It makes it so much more interesting. So where do we start, in the beginning, maybe not that far back. Shall I say ,”it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Ok So definitely don’t want to plagiarize anyone, thanks Dickens. How about January 2015 and I had just been selected to be a part of RBL 2015 the Big 10 year anniversary. So excited with an amazing trainer and coach, I just knew I would be successful baring the fact that I must put in the work, which I did. I was so motivated, miserable, happy, sad, hungry, sore and getting in the best shape of my life. Things went awesome, I ended up meeting friends that I will probably have for a lifetime-along with a coach named Lou, who in the end become someone not only special to me, but my family. I ended up finishing second that year behind an amazing man of GOD named Brad Finley. the weight this guy shed was nothing less than a blessing from GOD, but I was pretty happy with my 49.8 pounds dropped too! That changed so much about my life and my family’s lives, heck we even ended up with a new edition to the tribe as a result of RBL2015. Fast forward a little and my wife was Beautiful , Happy, Glowing and 7 months pregnant. So what is the point your asking. Well She wasn’t the only one fulfilling those midnight ice cream cravings. No as my wife would eat more to nourish our unborn child , I too would increase my caloric load to feed my nonexistent baby.

The whole time all of this was going on God was changing me while making tremendous moves in my life. My faith and conviction as well as  my love  for the Lord continued to grow…and my waist line. I told myself that I was not going to fall back into deep disrepair. With RBL2016 starting I thought to myself that , Hey I will just workout and help motivate the new people on Team Verdae. Easier said then done. Life with a new born is hard , heck we had been five years separated from the diaper fillers and forgotten how much time and attention you have to give up. I have to say , “Adulting” (being a grown up) can suck sometimes, but the trade off is worth it. We love our kids so much and thank God for the blessings He has given us, but that still didn’t free up any time to work out especially with things picking up with my photography business. So 2016 is here then it was  gone.

Now to January 26th, kickoff RBL2017.  I had decided to give it another try, if I was chosen. I think one thing Rob likes is when he meets people that don’t give up despite having set backs. He is such an amazing inspiration and motivator. So  I was picked again and was to be back on Team Verdae.  I can’t express how joyful it was meeting my new teammates and especially seeing Lou again, an what a fun night. So the following Saturday we ran our mile to get a baseline time, except I didn’t run, I walked. Waking up on Saturday I felt so congested. I thought to myself man what a time to be coming down with a cold and not be able to breathe. I spent the rest of the weekend doing two photoshoots on both days. Each day I felt a little worse, but I just attributed to a super busy week and that I was just tired. I also happened to notice that my mouth was a little sore on Sunday. Not sure why, I figured while wrestling with one of my two children I must have gotten popped in the mouth. Then comes Monday, “Monday Monday, so good to me” uh no, not this day. My wife is normally always awake before me since she is a teacher, well when I awoke I knew something wasn’t right. I felt this intense pain radiating from the front of my mouth and no ability to move it much, at least not enough to call for my wife Keri.

Tracking her down to the bathroom I walked in only to receive a look of horror with a slight dash of sympathy glazed over with urgency. I peered into the mirror to bare witness. WHAT! I looked as if I had been hit in the mouth with a baseball bat or punched my Muhammad Ali. Trying to make sense of what happened I looked at Keri and in a muffled voice asked , what did you do to me? Keri responded, I’m calling in and we are going to the dentist. All the while I have seemed to notice my inability to breathe. What started out as what I thought was just a sniffling cold had mutated into something much more sinister, without a doubt something evil. It had to be evil, only the minions of the underworld could makes such sounds emitting from my chest. Needles to say after visiting with the dentist and learning, or I guess I should say confirming  I had a full blown abscessed tooth a and also full blown bronchitis. You’ve got to be kidding me…really? The first week of RBL 2017 and I am out of the race for a week. I didn’t even get started. I felt like I let my teammates, my coach, my family and myself down. I just felt so bad. I even posted on Facebook at one point that, I think I would have to get better to die. This week has been so tough. I did muster up the strength to hop on the treadmill Thursday night for a few miles, I mean heck I thought I was feeling better. I guess I paid the price. Today,  was pretty rough. I felt horrible most of the day but chose to eat clean the entire week. As I type this now I am unsure if I will be able to participate in my team’s first bootcamp in the morning, but one thing is for sure, regardless of how I feel I will be there to support my team. Soon I will be over these speed bumps and will be hitting it all full speed!

God Bless

Jeremiah 33:6 ” ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace…”

His mercies are new everyday…

So I have psoriasis.  It is a skin disorder where you get thick, scaly,  red, ITCHY patches all over your skin. I have gotten rid of it a couple of times before by going gluten-free, but I find that lifestyle so hard to maintain. When I was chosen for RBL, I decided to go all in and go gluten-free in my diet as well. So I am happy to report that I have been one week GF, and already my psoriasis is starting to thin. Yay! It will take a couple of months before it is completely gone, by my estimation anyway, but I would love to be psoriasis free by the 5k!

On another note, I learned something else today. I learned to always keep snacks handy. I usually have a bag of snacks with me, at least since starting RBL, but today I left the house in a hurry and forgot to get them… ugh!! I ate out healthy for lunch… (grilled house salad from Zaxby’s with no fried onions or texas toast, and lite vinigrette dressing), but I wasn’t planning on being  out as late as I was. Went and completed my workout, which included the beast mode hill at GIT YMCA, and some rowing.  My nephew is in the hospital,  for what we thought was going to be emergency surgery, but God answered another prayer and gave us another miracle!! No surgery!!! He is feeling much better today too. But anyway, back to the point, I wanted to go see him. This put me out even later, and after that workout, I was starving. I ate a p3 pack… Love those, but it just wasnt enough tonight. Long story short, I ended up caving and wound up in a drive through line. Ugh….

I am not beating  myself up, as I learned a very important lesson, and as someone quoted on my Facebook page, “His mercies are new every morning” I just have to get up and keep going. Tomorrow is another day, and I have a long journey ahead of me… it wont be perfect, but I will get there. thank you to all of you for your words of encouragement and private messages with tips/tricks. You guys are a great support system! !

I need your help!

My weigh in was Thursday last week, so tomorrow will be one week.  Loving it so far!  Even the soreness feels like a blessing, at least I know I can do it.  Last night we completed our first walk/run, and it was harder than I thought it would be. The GIT YMCA has a KILLER hill!!  LOL!  I am looking forward to watching my body conquer it! A friend of mine posted on my Facebook page last night that this was my “WOW YEAR”!  Love that!  It is definitely going to be a great year!!  Loving the YMCA!  All the staff has been so helpful!  

I haven’t seen the pounds really drop off yet, like some others. I am only down about 3-4 pounds.  I will take it though. The competition aspect of this motivates me to succeed, but I didn’t sign up for the prizes…  it was just about getting healthy!  I want to feel good, look good, and have energy to play with my nephew when I can.  This is my year!!

There is one thing that I need your help with today guys!! Today is my first day since signing up that I cannot get to the gym, so I am going to do something a little different for my workout today.  I am sitting at my mom’s house with my nephew (4 years old), and father.  I am unable to leave the house, even to go for a walk,  because I have to watch them.  I did bring my water bottle and healthy foods with me, but I have no gym or workout equipment whatsoever here… so I need your help!!  COMMENT on my post with an at home exercise that I can do!  I promise I will do whatever you post!  LOL!  Bring it all!  I want a workout!!


Here I am!!!

Okay. let me start at the beginning.  I am 35 years old, and have been overweright the majority of my adult life. At one point in my life, I lost 95 pounds.  I was so proud of myself.  Then I had several huge lifestyle changes… I got married for starters, then for our first home, we moved into a house that had no kitchen.  I spent a long time using a hot plate and toaster oven while we remodeled.  Needless to say, we ate out, A BUNCH!!  A few months after we were married, I found out I was pregnant- that was the happiest day of my life at the time.  Unfortunately, a few short weeks later, I miscarried.  I was devestated- and I got depressed. I ate to comfort. I gained about 50 pounds back during that time, then I got a promotion at work, this promotion led to lots of stress eating.  I am definitely a stress eater.   So there I was… all that I had lost was now back on my hips and waist… I felt defeated. Although my husband and I have tried to get pregnant since our miscarriage, we haven’t had any luck. I have tried on my own for the past year or so, off and on, to lose the weight, just one yo-yo diet after another, and my weight has been a roller coaster.  I just cannot seem to find the balance between my new lifestyle and getting ME together.

One night,  I couldn’t sleep; it was 2 or so in the morning.  I was scrolling facebook to pass the time and hopefully, eventually drift off to sleep… I saw Rob Dempsey’s post about being a Rob’s Biggest Loser,  I didn’t hesitate.  I signed up right then; sent my photo in and everything.  I was thrilled when a few weeks later I received a phone call for an interview.

I told Lauren that I would make this a priority if I was chosen.  I really wanted to do this. I needed something to help keep me accountable and motiviate me, so that I could get in the habit and then continue it from here on out.  Having lost the weight once, I now know how critical it is to keep a maintenance plan in place once it is off.  I have already looked into 5k’s after April, so that I won’t stop once this ends. I won’t go back to being the person I am now.  I am going to put myself on the hook to keep this up.  I want to be able to run the Cooper River 10k next year, and GOD willing, I will.

I didn’t make it to the kick off, and I was so disappointed in myself for not being there. That Monday was holiday for me, so all day long Tuesday, it felt like Monday, and not Tuesday.  I must admit that I really thought I didn’t have a chance to get picked as well.

I was shocked when I received a phone call on the following day telling me that I had been chosen to be on the RBL team at GIT!  I was so thrilled!

I went Thursday night to the gym and met Sue!  LOVE HER!!  She is awesome! Did my assessment and got my shirt.  I went immediately to the grocery store, and stocked up on good, healthy foods.  Then went Friday night to do some cardio and met Will.  Love Sue and Will.  They are always so willing to help and very motivating. Today I did my first workout on ActivTrax.  I feel like putty still, but that is the best way to feel after a workout.

It wasn’t an accident I was chosen to be on this team.  God knew what he was doing!  I needed this.  I am blessed!  Thank you Rob Dempsey and His Radio for this opportunity.

I look forward to getting to know all of you on this journey to health! I will post as often as I can and give you insight into my emotions and my progress during the journey.

I am more than a conqueror!  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I know that I can beat this!    God made me strong!  So here I am…  LET”S DO THIS!!