Tag Archives: depression

Fitness for fun…for confidence…for life!

Red Fox

There’s comes a point when you’ve just got to say “ENOUGH”  I don’t know when and where and what that will be for you, but I DO know what you’l get when you make that decision.  Depending on where you are when you start your journey, it may mean you have a way to go, or maybe you just need to firm up and get some energy again, but it’s not a diet or a moment or even a destination really.  It’s a lifestyle!  When you do achieve this, one of the great side benefits is that even though you started out not “feeling it” or wanting to, the fun does come!  It does become something that is enjoyable!

I think this is true because of how utterly great you feel when you start to achieve some results!!  I’ve seen it time and again, sticking with it and hitting some mile-stones and how the excitement starts to build!  Belief that it’s possible to get the results that you are desiring…it’s so exciting!!

I know that it is possible and when you have the fitness and energy again (or maybe for the first time)…confidence comes too!  It’s a side benefit of achievement.  This is true in many areas of setting a goal…any goal and achieving it.  No matter how many times you fall off or come across a set-back, get right back at it and keep moving forward!

  • Regardless of feelings
  • Regardless of your past
  • Regardless of how far you fell
  • Regardless of who’s with you or not


Just keep at it and you WILL get there!!


Who is Leading You?

Who's Leading You?

Yes, I had to ask.

We have these lives that ask us to go to school…finish school…get good grades…go to college or trade school…get good grades (theme here!!)…finish school…get a job….work hard at that job…pay the bills…get more things…pay more bills…take care of our family’s…have kids…pay more bills…get the  kids involved…run those kids around…put the kids in the best schools…pay more bills…get stressed so you take a vacation…pay more bills…work even harder because of the bills and time off….get more stuff…

You get the idea.  You may even be living some of this!  There’s nothing wrong with the school, or the family, or the bills, or any of the above!  It’s a blessing to work and to achieve.  But it can take over our lives and we forget why we even started in the first place!

A few years ago, my brand new husband and I pulled back from a very lucritive lifestyle.  We worked our tails off to get there.  At the height of our careers…we left.  (I wish I could put a huge pause here!!)  Yes we left.  I personally had finally arrived and I loved my job.   I was starting to make a large sum of money even…and I left.  We didn’t just leave in a small way (if you know my husband and I, we don’t do many things in a small way!!), we left our jobs, our lifestyle, our income, our state and retreated up into Northern Michigan.  From the city and shopping and going out to eat and lunch dates and music on the ‘veranda’ to a small farm in a small town.


My Father was terminally ill.  That was one reason.  But I believe that my Fathers illness was a catalyst.  We were able to have 6 months with my loving Dad who was my mentor and friend…He passed away 2 1/2 years ago and I’m still here in remote Northern Michigan.

We felt God leading us to pull back–we needed a retreat.  Both my husband and I had rough divorces that dragged us through the mud.  In all honesty, I felt like I had gone to Hell and back.  Seven years of drama and turmoil that didn’t seem to let up until I met Jim.  I was exhausted.  Loved where God had brought me–New loving husband, Fianlly the side of “town” I always wanted to live in, and a fantastic career–but…exhausted just the same.

The truth…I needed more than a vacation.  I needed a respite.  To pull back.  To think.  To regroup.  To hear and to LISTEN from God.  God wanted something more for me and my family, but I wasn’t going to be able to have that if I stayed where I was.  I loved it too much!  I was able to buy things…and coming from my single-motherhood state, THAT meant something to me!! I did it! I had arrived! Look at me…I accomplished the goal!  Wait…did you hear it?

I, me, my, I loved…I did…

Don’t get me wrong, I leaned heavily on my Savior through all those tough times and years.  He lead me to the point where I was, even with all my mistakes!  Only, when I arrived, I loved it and was very proud of myself for gettting there!! I would have been quite happy staying there!  But, God wanted more.  He wanted to bless me and my family (and my new marriage) in a way that I couldn’t even imagine at the time, but I was having such a hard time stepping out of the way.  I had gone through some pretty rough times…some of you can’t imagine the turmoil!  But now…Now, I was on my feet!  And I no longer had to beg anyone…ANYONE for food, or clothes, or gas for my car, or a job.

Under my new husbands love for me, he said, “Let’s go!”  So, we did.  It has been a struggle.  My Dad passed away.  Jobs up here are scarce.  Money is even scarcer (is that a word??).  The winters…geesh!  They are long.  We are in a small town and can hardly find a Starbucks!!  What is that?!?!  I mean, we have chickens in our barn!! Hahaha…  it’s just the life I’ve needed.  Time to think and re-evealuate.  Time to become one with that wonderful new husband of mine!  Man, we’ve been through it.  In the last three years, we’ve had a lifetime together!!

So, now it’s time.  Time to step out again.  This time trusting God and His leading.  Holding my husbands hand and moving forward with the dream that God has given me.  Lifting and encouraging others, because now that I’ve healed a bit (oh yes, I still have scares!), I can smile and point others to the True Source of strength…Jesus Christ.  All that I am (at least the parts that you may like) are from him!  (Keep in mind, I may have parts that you don’t like…they are still me trying to exert myself! Sorry about that!! I’m a work in progress!!)  We (which is a much different term than I was using before my respite)…WE are moving forward, being lead by Who…not what…not Self..

And ya know what’s so great about all this??  I really don’t know what’s going to happen next!! It’s a complete adventure full of surprises!! Who could ask for anything more?

  • Gorgeous, loving husband who fully supports me
  • Beautiful children who I respect and they respect me
  • Adventure in my life that I can relax with (not that I always do…)
  • Success beyond what I dreamed of (This doesn’t necessarily mean money yet…)

Yup…I’m living the dream life (Which means most days I’m content to be lead!) and it’s getting better and better!!  Who knew it could be this simple?  …God did!  And He has much much more in store.  His provision, His timing, His plan…god has it all worked out.  I have to trust in that plan and do the steps that He has placed before me.  That’s what it means to “Walk by Faith”

So…Who is leading you?

Journey Back From Letting Myself Go

I’m so excited to have a friend of mine, Mark Brown, telling his story today!  Not every journey is about losing weight!!  Sometimes we need to gain weight and lean our muscle mass!  Either way, it’s all about taking care of the precious gift we’ve been given…our lives and the bodies that get us up and moving!  Too many of us wallow in self-doubt, fear, anger, and regrets.  God wants so much more for us!  We buy into the lie that we aren’t worth it…NOTHING could be further from the truth!  What we eat, the activities we do, what we allow into our bodies through all 5 senses direct our lives and either add to or take away from us.  To “feel” great, we need to put great things in and this comes from making a decision!  All High 5 areas are connected!! Mark Brown and his story is living proof of this!  Mark is a humble guy who just wants to honor God and we are so glad he decided to share with us his journey!  Here’s Mark’s story:

Over the last 10 months or so, I have worked hard, to first and foremost become more healthy, but also to bulk up by adding lean muscle. Several people have asked what and how I’ve done it, what I eat, what supplements I take, and if I have any tips. I’m by no means an expert, but I do know what’s worked for me. So I wanted to explain how the transformation has happened and hope that maybe it will help motivate others to live a more healthy lifestyle. And that’s what it is, a lifestyle change, not an overnight fix.

The first thing I believe we have to do in order to help others and ourselves is to be transparent. My journey to adding weight and concerning myself with heart health and strength began with a mental and spiritual transformation. For me, this was essential for my physical health. I went through some difficult personal things over the last few years that “I” completely let wreak havoc on my body. When hard times come, some people choose to eat, and gain weight. I on the other hand, stopped eating, stopped exercising and basically stopped living. Then there was that “ah-ha” moment. I was talking to an old family friend about how I had basically fallen into depression, didn’t want to be around anyone, and had no joy in my life. He looked at me and said, “Think back to when you were the healthiest you’ve ever been, physically, mentally and spiritually. What were the things you enjoyed doing? Pray that the Lord will give you the strength to start doing those things again even if you don’t feel like doing them, and ask Him to give you joy in those things again.” I thought “that’s easy for you to say”, but than I got over my pity party and started praying. I use to love working out, lifting weights and counting calories, protein intake, etc. and seeing results. And although I’m introverted by nature, I loved spending time with family and friends. ALL of these things I had basically deserted and instead “holed up” in my room for hours/days at a time. This was a process, but slowly I began to do these things again, asking God to please give me peace and joy in all things, and help me enjoy life. As a result I grew closer to Him, I started thinking positive again no matter the circumstance of the day (after all it’s one day at a time), and began to believe that no matter what He had a plan for my life and it WASN’T to be miserable and feel sorry for myself. This is where my physical transformation began.

I had been out of the gym for almost 2 years, a place where I use to live for at least an hour, 2 hours a day for 10 years. I got over my initial “gym fear” of being out of shape and thinking everyone would be looking at my pitiful physical self. I joined the YMCA in February of this year, with a goal in mind, to gain 20 pounds by the end of the year. Not only in my mind did I set this goal, but written down and with someone to keep me accountable. I’m not going to lie, the beginning was tough. If you’ve ever worked out and taken a few weeks off due to illness, injury or busy schedule then you know all about the “first sore”. This is when you’re muscles haven’t been worked for an extended period of time, and as you stretch them and tear them in places they haven’t been worked the days following are brutal. And it had been 2 years! Also was the fact I had lost pretty much all of my strength and not being able to lift weight anywhere close to what I had been able to in the past was depressing, but also humbling. And this MOTIVATED me! I had made a decision, I had set a goal, and I wasn’t going to quit. As the days, weeks, then months went by I started to notice good changes. Not just physical appearance changes, but my energy level was increasing, I was happier, calmer, and motivated in all areas of my life. Now as things would pop up that would have derailed me in the past, I found myself appreciating the opportunity to conquer each situation and use it as future motivation. Some of the biggest things I’ve experienced through this whole transformation are: First, God wants us to be healthy. How can I serve, and love others if I’m constantly tired, worn out and only concerned about myself. Second, He gives us willpower. God is in control, but we have the choice to get up in the morning, really live, strive to impact others, or just let the World pass us by. And lastly, if you believe it you can achieve it. Sometimes you have to remove negative influences from your life, but you CAN do it. I’m living proof, and I’m no more special than the next person.

All in all, to this day I have exceeded my initial goal of 20 lbs and gained 30 lbs since February, while decreasing my body fat to 6%. I have gone from 145 lbs (the lightest I was since middle school) to 175 lbs. My week goes like this: Monday-Friday I train extremely hard at the gym, most workouts lasting between 1-2 hours and single muscle groups at a time. I eat a clean diet, lots of chicken & rice, venison, fish, organic brown rice or whole grain pasta, egg whites, oatmeal, etc. I also supplement throughout the day. I removed foods like potatoes, breads that aren’t whole grain, high sugar foods, and I don’t drink alcohol. I’m currently taking a Whey Protein made by Body Fortress (gotta get the Chocolate Peanut Butter!). A typical day I will do a shake in the morning, post workout, and before dinner. Protein bars are also a great way to get 6-8 meals in a day. Most of my whole foods come at breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks throughout the day like nuts & raw veggies. I also take Glucosamine for joint strength and a men’s once a day vitamin.

I’ve included a few of pics (before & after) to show you that when you want something bad enough, you CAN achieve it. At 34, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, healthier than I’ve ever been, stronger than I’ve ever been and I’m not looking back! All the glory goes to God, and many thanks to family and friends who continue to encourage, pray for and support me. Also a BIG THANK YOU to Pamela and Red Fox Fitness for allowing and encouraging me to share my story. Live Healthy, Live Happy! This is my transformation…

Thanks you so much Mark for sharing with us!!  It doesn’t take perfection, it takes a decision!  A decision to not take for granted the gift of our lives and the bodies to live them with!  As Mark so beautifully puts it, we can’t help others or pursue a calling when we are not at our best!!  Now, what’s your choice going to be today?  Make a decision and stick with it!  You just never know what is coming your way!


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What Holds Us Down?

It’s amazing to me how little I know.  I think I know so much…but when it comes right down to it, I’m limited.  A few years ago I went through a storm.  It lasted what seemed like forever!  It was 7 years long.  My marriage of 13+ years and 4 children crumbled in a horrific way.  That story is for another time.  But I do mention it only to say with all the fear, drama, and  topsy-turvy of that hurricane in my life, I really wouldn’t change it.  The remnants of what seemed at that time a black hole, has given me abilities and understanding in a deep and profound way that I would have never acquired without that turmoil.

One of the missions that I dove into was learning about thinking.  Apparently, I’ve always been a deep thinker-I learned that more recently from moving back to Michigan for my Hiatus.  Before my divorce, I was a fairly small-minded, opinionated, black and white thinker.  There was a right way and a wrong way.  I had my world (and it was perfect of course!  Ha!): my children were well-behaved, my spouse and I owned our own businesses, I went to one of the “best” churches in the south.  I had it all, even the picket fence!   That was all on the surface of course.  When that all changed, I had to re-invent myself or get buried by life.  I had to figure out how to do this thing on my own.  Not only survive, but succeed I knew from my upbringing that going through all of this meant that I was to help others at some point.  That was the purpose for it all (along with drawing me closer to God Himself) so, I had to figure it out.

One of the hardest areas to look at in myself in order to revamp was that I couldn’t point fingers or blame.  I received no benefit from looking outside of myself but bitterness!  It didn’t put food on the table or a roof over my head!  I became determined to look at the way I thought so that I could change my actions and therefore succeed!  I had no idea what a journey I was diving into!

Thinking comes from dwelling on a particular line of thoughts.  Thoughts, I learned come from 3 areas.  Now…I hesitate a bit to tell you this.  But, it’s what I learned.  I’ve tested this out many a day now not only with myself, but with others.  You can do your own testing.

Thoughts come from 3 areas:

1.)  My Past Experiences:

All that I’ve learned through my 5 senses have been gathered up and called my experiences.  I lean on these to move forward.  Like when I learned to ride my bicycle for the 1st time, I started out with training wheels.  After trusting those and learning how to balance a bit, I moved forward.  Life is the same.  The problem with only leaning on this thought pattern is that I have had some bad experiences too.  When I learned to ride my bike, I fell a few times.  I skinned my knee and my elbow and my Mom had to patch me up.  Why would anyone after taking a fall like that, get back up on that bike (here it is…are you ready?) to just get hurt again?  Our natural tendencies lead us to say “No way!  I’m not getting on that bike again!”  Something outside of us (whether we realize it or not) is encouraging us to move forward and past our hurts.  That something (or someone) is teaching us to trust their experience and knowledge and “Get back on and try again!”  You can sort of say they are a “higher power”.  The adult helping us with words of encouragement and smiles!  They are like area number 2 in thoughts.

2.)  God’s Placement of Thoughts Into Our Spirits:

I want to say first and foremost that God doesn’t ever say something that goes against what he’s already written down.  So what that means is He is consistent.  Quite frankly, it ‘s impossible for Him to be inconsistent.  God deals with the spirit side of ourselves.  Our spirit then lets our minds know what we need to think.  Our experiences deal strictly with our minds.  The natural side of us only.  When we hear from God we typically say that “I just know” or I “feel” it.  But the truth is it is our spirits (which separate us from all other living things) that are being spoken to.  Now, if we do not know God, our minds do not know how to deal with what’s happening.  The Bible says in Romans 8:7 that our natural minds or sensual part of us cannot know God.   So we need to “…renew our minds daily…”(Romans 12:2).   This is key because of the third area of where thoughts come from.  If we know who God is and what he wants for us (which if you read in Romans 12:2 further, His plan is perfect and good for us!), then we know what to do when negative words or thoughts come our way!  Get rid of them!  No dwelling!  And by all means don’t speak them out loud giving them power in our lives!

3.)  The Devil’s placement of a thought:

Yes, it’s true.  There is a Devil.  Look around.  Look within your own mind!  God wants good for us.  God wants to encourage us.  God wants to build us up and make us stronger and more capable-like our parents when we were learning how to ride our bikes!  We didn’t like it when we fell and hurt ourselves, but they knew it was all part of learning how to ride.   They knew the other side was freedom to roll where we couldn’t before, so they picked us up and brushed us off and put us right back on that bike to learn.  The Devil does not want that for us.  He wants to hold us back, to stay down, to lie there grumbling.  To ride and be free means enjoyment and happiness.  The Devil doesn’t want anything to do with those things!  Why?  We might help someone else  to “learn how to ride their bikes!”  Happiness would spread.  True freedom would spread!   You see, he made a decision long ago saying to himself that he knew better than God.  He wanted to take matters into his own hands and grumbled about God.  He wants only that misery for us too.  Misery loves company, right?  Don’t fall for it!  Now I said earlier to not speak the negative thoughts out loud.  God…well, He can read our thoughts.  He helps us out with them (of course we have to listen).  The Devil cannot read our thoughts.  He can place a thought into our minds (natural self remember) and watch to see what we will do with that thought, but he can’t know what we will do.  He is limited.  Isn’t THAT good news?!    We need to be careful at this point to replace whatever the Devil is telling us with a truth instead.  We don’t want to create a void we want to keep the space filled up but with positive, truthful statements instead.  If we say it out loud…all bets are off!  The Devil can hear you when you speak out loud!  Shhh…keep yourself quiet!  If you are going to speak out loud, say something positive!

Practice healthy thinking by not dwelling on that negative thought.   Keep in mind that you can’t just get rid of it.  Nope!  You must replace it with something else!  Something positive.  Something truthful.  Here’s an example that I struggle with:  Say I go to start something and I’m nervous.  I’m afraid I’ll mess up.  If I’m feeling that way, I’ve already had quite a few negative thoughts race through my head.  I have to push through telling myself, it’s ok.  Keep going.  Fear isn’t from God.  It’s either my past experiences (natural self) or the Devil keeping me down.  Either way, I’m not living up to my full potential and freedom!  I have a free will and I have to use it in this case.  “I can do it!”

There are ways to get a handle on this thought life thing.

1.  Take an honest look at how many negative thoughts about yourself and situations and others you are saying…BE HONEST!!!  Do you have cut-downs that are “just joking”  Do you tell yourself that you can’t  or won’t or could never???  Do you look at others and compare yourself or what you think is an ideal?  Do you bark out orders to others and they just don’t ever measure up?  Are you proud of yourself and taking good care of yourself physically?  That should get you started!

2.  Start to “Renew your mind daily”  The word daily is here for a reason!  You need to get into a habit my friend-this comes with daily repetition only.  Go to books, blogs, articles, (dare I say it for some of you???) the Bible.  God wrote down exactly what He thinks of you–It’s all good I promise!  He loves you and wants the best for you.  I know for some of you out there, we Christians have really messed this up.  I’m sorry.  We’ve judged poorly, said things we shouldn’t and have hurt way too many of you!  Don’t let the Devil whisper lies to you.  We fallen Christians may not be great or think good thoughts, but God IS great and thinks only good thoughts about you.  Look into Him and His word not to a bunch of yada yada’s (that includes me).  We try, but we do fail.  God’s not finished with us yet!

3.  Surround yourself with mentors and people that have been-there-done-that.  They can help with the whole encouragement part!  Lean on them and their encouragement until you can encourage yourself!

Thinking, like anything else, is a part of a healthy lifestyle.  It takes practice and repitition in our lives to get better and better at this one.  We are NOT victums!  We have a free will and we choose daily what thoughts we will dwell on and which ones we will replace!  It’s our choice!  I love that!  A tree doesn’t choose-we do!

What thoughts are YOU Choosing today??

Here are some resources for you to take a look at to get better in this area!

The Bible

Start with Proverbs or the book of James.  If you don’t know God at all, start with the 3rd book in the New Testament:  John.  Learn just how sweet, caring and tender God really truly is!


Hung by the Tongue by Frances P. Martin 

Quick read but oh so valuable!!  Empowering really!  Mine is well loved!

Continue reading What Holds Us Down?

No Brainer “Go To” Snack!

Yes I love to eat!  It’s true.  I am hungry an awful lot and I need quick “go to” foods so that I can get the nutrition I need and satisfy the hunger all while giving me the energy I need to keep going strong.  So here is yet another snack of mine that I love!

Baby Organic Carrots:

I love those sweet baby organic kind.  They are quick and easy.  NO DRESSING FOLKS-SORRY!  I don’t dip them typically unless it’s in guacamole and then it’s a whole different snack!

Pepper Jack Cheese:

I do love cheese, but I keep this to a minimum when I’m trying to lose fat.  You can substitute a low-fat type of cheese, but still keep the intake low.  Cheese does give great protein benefits!

Kashi Roasted Garlic Whole Grain Crackers:

This is a new find for me.  I know, I know…manyof you have known about Kashi brand a long time.  I tried one of their cereals a long time ago when my older kids were young and they refused to eat it-I didn’t blame them (wow!!)  This company has come a long way baby!! Whole grains, fiber, wonderful flavor…I can’t say enough!  So Kashi crackers are a new favorite with my whole family!  We are astonished at the flavor difference-no processed anything!  Go for this snack!

Reinventing Myself!

Ever hear about the changes companies make to reinvent themselves?  They do it so they can accomplish goals and achieve higher standards.  Musicians do it too.  You’ll see a group get in shape so they can get a bigger following and handle the concerts!  As I was talking with a friend today, I realized that I’ve done this with myself a few times.  Sometimes it was for business-I own my own and my image IS the business.  Mostly though I’ve reinvented myself for personal growth and to shed off areas of my life I don’t like!  And, to add some ares that I’ve enjoyed in others!

I don’t let go of who I am-my core values don’t change.  However, I do take an honest look at myself and see what’s working and what isn’t.  What I DON’T do is look at all the bad in me and beat myself up for not being more!  NO…that doesn’t serve any good purpose and is a waste of precious time and energy!  If I’m honest with myself, I have loads of good stuff that I and others like along side of some areas…well…I’d rather not admit to.  Twice in my life, weight has been or was quickly becoming an issue.  I needed to make changes or face all kinds of problems.  Since I didn’t want to accept being bigger because I’m “older” or “I’m a Mom” or “That’s just the way it is”, I knew I had to take a major turn and stick with it until I reached the changes necessary.

I had other areas too that in all honesty were actually some of the causes for my weight gain.  I let emotional and spiritual areas of my life slip and therefore took it out on myself.  Since I horribly hated where I was at (both times), I decided to make some changes.  This took looking at myself and what I liked and what I didn’t.  It’s important that when in a down-hill state, it’s the areas I liked (either in myself or in others) to come first!  The boost is important!

One of the valuable things I did was to write it all down.  I didn’t wallow or roll words around in my head.  I wrote down the good the bad and the ugly.  Next, I wrote down where I wanted to be and who I wanted to be.  I put these words into the present tense as if they have already taken place!  This is so important…Tomorrow never comes!  Think about it.  We have been given today…really this moment.  Put desires and dreams into right here and right now.

I came across a list of mine from when I was a single Mom from my journal and I thought I would share.  Weight wasn’t a problem at this point, but doing it all on my own (four kids in tow) financially was a burden that at the time, I felt I was failing miserably.  I couldn’t seem to break those chains.  What I realized was, I was claiming these chains daily to be wrapped around me.  I said “NO MORE!”  Here’s what came of it:


Oct 29, 2007

“New Puck…New Game!”

It’s time to re-invent myself:

I am:

  • Exceptional
  • Unique
  • Special
  • Inspiring
  • Loyal
  • Healthy
  • Smart
  • A Leader
  • Creative
  • Ready for Marriage
  • A career woman
  • A wonderful Mom
  • Blessed
  • On top of my game
  • Purposeful
  • Steady
  • Organized!

I can because I KNOW I can!


I read that list out load to myself daily!  Many days twice a day!  It all became my mindset and life changed!

What’s your list?