Losing Weight: What Not To Say

This is the first of a series of posts on weight loss.

My friend posted something on Facebook about how she’d lost 100 lbs.  Crap.  I knew she was losing weight but I didn’t say anything.  I see her every week, but all of the sudden, it was 100 lbs later and still I hadn’t said anything–it seemed too late by then!  What was I to say?  I didn’t want to say something that is actually hurtful when I was trying to be encouraging.  Is it bad to encourage someone when losing weight, because would that come across as implying that they had needed to?  This is just a small glimpse into my complicated brain.

Right now our culture makes a big deal about body-shaming, so it is hard to know how to talk about the body and how to encourage healthiness while also encouraging satisfaction with how God made you.  What is the right way to talk to someone who’s lost a lot of weight?  Or barely any weight at all?  Or is dealing with baby weight?

Here’s where I am coming from:  about 10-15 years ago I struggled to be happy with what I weighed.  I was healthy and athletic, but not happy.  People would make comments from time to time like, “You look great!” and follow up with “Have you lost weight?” and I was all thrown off.  Did that mean that the 5 lb fluctuation that I cycled through was actually noticeable and people only thought I looked great when I was on the low end of that fluctuation?  I learned quickly to not say anything to anyone about their weight, because I knew what those comments did to my mental state as someone who struggled with my body image.

But am I right to never say anything?   It felt awkward and wrong to have never said something to encourage my friend who had worked  hard to lose over 100 lbs!  I decided it’s time to write about it, because I can’t be the only one who struggles with what to say or not say in these situations.  I want my friends to feel loved and encouraged when it comes to healthy living, not judged or ignored.  I also want to encourage healthy dialogue on this subject and help people to understand when their comments might be hurtful and best kept to themselves.
Here are some thoughts on when to say something and when not to:
1) What is their age? If the person you are talking to is young…say school-aged or college, be so very careful when saying anything about weight. This time of life is so hard and these young people are so impressionable. Ultimately, their body is their own and they will have to figure out how to make choices that are healthy. Young girls will gain weight!  It is a healthy part of how God made the body to prepare for birthing babies one day.  Sometimes, their thought process is not rational or mature when it comes to weight and body image, and their bodies are changing rapidly–tread lightly in conversations with young people that revolve around weight and body.
2) What is their status? Is it someone who was obese and has finally entered the healthy range? That is exciting!! Congratulate them on it.  Those I talked to in this category always were encouraged by kind comments and recognition.  Is it someone who is already healthy and is losing more weight? Maybe it’s not your business to comment, or maybe it is. Just think before you speak.
3) How well do you know this person? Are you close or do you only see them on Facebook and don’t really have much of a relationship with them? This is a big factor. According to the people I talked to, it hurt when someone would ask hard, personal questions and there really was not much of a relationship that was already established. If it’s someone you are close to, I think it is healthy to be able to talk about the big things that are going on in each other’s lives, but please be sensitive.

4) Did they just have a baby?  We all know that pregnant women gain weight.  It is natural and should be acceptable.  The rate at which they lose weight after the baby is born varies from person to person.  Please be sensitive in comments about weight to pregnant moms or new moms.  I once had an older man say to me that I was “getting fat” while I was pregnant.  I gave him a pass because he was in his eighties, but if you are reading this, you don’t get a pass.  Here is an interesting read on weight gain during pregnancy.
5) What are your intentions? I think this is the biggest, most important thing to consider before saying anything. Examine your heart. Are you jealous? Are you critical? Are you happy for them? Are you kind? If you find bitterness or jealously behind your words, it’s best to not say anything (and maybe consider working through your own issues first). If you have a genuine concern that is rooted in love, then speak gently.  If you are happy for the person and care about their well-being, that sentiment will likely shine through in your words.

It was an honor to talk with a few people who have recently lost weight.  Over the next few weeks I will post thoughts, insights, and wisdom on weight loss from their perspective.

5 Faves for the Face

What you feed your body is important.  What you put on and rub into your biggest organ (the skin) is important too.  That’s why I am careful about the things that I use on my face, especially the products that I use every day. Here are my five favorite face products:

  • Dickinson’s Witch Hazel–I use this to take off my make-up every night.  It’s easy and it has a 1 rating from the Environmental Working Group, which is the best you can get for safety.                                                                                                        Dickinson Brands, Original Witch Hazel, Pore Perfecting Toner, 16 fl oz (473 ml)
  • Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara–My eyes have always been sensitive, so I sought something that wouldn’t irritate them.  Also, I don’t really want toxic chemicals going into my eyeballs…no matter how much it makes my lashes curl.  This mascara also has a 1 rating from the EWG.                                         Organic wear® 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara
  • Physician’s Formula Super CC cream–I love an all-in-one coverage cream, which is what makes this product easy for every day.  I also have used and like this brand’s Organic Wear BB cream.  Super CC Color-Correction + Care CC Cream SPF 30
  • Honest Beauty Lip Crayon–I don’t always put things on my lips because I don’t like the feel, taste, and the thought of practically eating make-up.  When I do, I like this product most and trust The Honest Company as they have the “Honestly Free Guarantee”, which means their products are made without parabens, paraffins, formaldehyde carriers, PEGs, steareth‐n, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, petrolatum, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, or dyes.                      
  • Honest Beauty Younger Face Deep Hydration Cream–Again, I love this brand and when I turned 30, I figured it was time to use a moisturizer that helps fight the inevitable aging process.  You can purchase a bundle with this company, which saves money on the products you buy.                                                                            

If you aren’t sure about what you are putting on your face, check the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database, which is a good guide to seeing how hazardous or how safe personal care products are.  On their website they have the tag line “Smarter Choices, Healthier Living.”  They also have a great app that helps you out when shopping.  If you are looking to start making changes to your beauty regimen, I would recommend starting with the things you use every day.  These are my 5 faves, and I would love to hear about what yours are!

Heart, Feet, Womb

It was a Sunday afternoon.  I decided that I should go for a run to shake the funky feeling I’d been having in my feet for the past couple weeks.  A little exercise usually helped when I was feeling weird…there’s something therapeutic about getting the heart rate up.  However, it was on that run that I knew something was wrong.

I felt horrible.  I mean, I-could-barely-make-it-a-mile horrible.  I knew my heart was in better shape than that.  Something had been up with my feet, but this horrible feeling was in my whole body.  Later that night, I decided I needed to take a test to tell me what I already assumed.  I usually keep a few dollar store tests on hand just in case, so I took one…during the commercials of our Sunday night show.  The show was starting so I went back to watching and figured I would check at the next commercial break.

When I checked back, it was as I expected it would be: negative.  I was about to throw it out when I saw it: the faintest blue line, so light that I thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me.  Hmmm…not possible.  I just finished my period so it was. not. possible.  You don’t get your period when your pregnant; I learned that in health class 101.  It was a dollar store test, so I dismissed it and figured it was not accurate.  After reading the instructions again I decided that I probably let it sit too long.  I mentioned it in passing to Mike and we continued watching our show.

The next morning I took three more tests and they were all positive.  What?!  This time I even splurged on the more expensive kind–the kind that tell you 5 days early.  I just had my period so I shouldn’t be getting positive tests, but these tests don’t lie — I was pregnant!  My heart leaped and I hoped that maybe all would be ok…maybe it was just a rocky start?

The following week and a half was rough.  Lots of blood work and lots of uncertainty.   My heart was anxious over the thought of a possible miscarriage.  I knew lots of women have had them, but I didn’t think I would ever be one of them.  I was healthy and I already had two successful pregnancies so this was unexpected.  I still had hope, but I was preparing my heart for it to be broken.

And it was.  I started bleeding an hour before I got the call saying that the last round of blood work confirmed a miscarriage.  My heart was broken, my feet oddly started feeling normal again, and my womb was lifeless.

I am sharing this very personal information for two reasons.  First, I realized this past November how odd the body is and how unpredictable health can be.  You think you are doing things right but sometimes things happen that are beyond your control.  I never thought that tingling feet would be connected to a non-viable pregnancy, but my body is unique and I needed to listen to it that day that I went for a run.

Secondly, I am sharing this personal information because I believe that all life is valuable–even the life that lasts for a few short weeks in the womb.  Sharing with you about that life that was in my womb is a way of celebrating that it existed.  I am sad that I will not be holding my newborn baby in my arms on the 4th of July this year, and I long to know what he or she would have looked like and what their favorite color was.  I am so thankful for my two precious children and I know God is sovereign and loving.  He knows what is best for our family and how many children we will have.  He knows how my body works–He gives life and he takes away.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6


The Gym: 5 Things to Look For

It’s the new year.  It’s cold outside.  It’s one of the busiest times of the year for gyms all over the country.  Here are five things to look for and think about if you plan on getting a new gym membership:

  •  Location.  If it’s not close, you won’t go often.  And by close, I mean close to either your home or your work.  Any time that you spend driving in the car is time that you are not exercising and that you are away from family.  I am all about maximizing time.
  • Money.  This is important, for obvious reasons.  Gyms do not need to be expensive.  I have heard of memberships that are as low as $5 a month.  Planet fitness is $10 a month, a great option for those who want to be frugal.
  • Friends.  I mentioned earlier that I am all about maximizing time.  If I can workout side by side with someone who I also want to hang out with, than it’s a win-win situation.  It is also great motivation when there are people you know at the gym, and can be great accountability too if you are meeting them there.
  • Amenities.  Some people like to swim.  Some people like Zumba.  Some like TRX, and others like smoothies after their workouts.  Whatever it is that will make your exercise experience most enjoyable, make it a priority because then you will do it more.  For me, the most desirable amenity  is free childcare.
  • “Vibe”.  If you are not comfortable going to the gym, then you likely won’t go often.  Planet fitness’s motto is “Home of the Judgement Free Zone.”  I go to a place called The Friendship Center, which has a great community feel that I really like.  These are things to consider.

I hope you have a happy gym shopping experience and end up a place that is a great fit for you!

Walk the Dog

“Walk your dog every day, even if you don’t have one.”  Dr. Kenneth Cooper said this, and I love quoting him on it.  This Christmas, we got a puppy for the kids (and for us) so now we will actually get to walk the dog.  Whether you have a dog or not, it’s always a good idea to go for a walk!


Kids indoor exercise activity of the day: play with puppy.


Holly is so little that we only made it 3 houses down when we went on our first walk.  Something is better than nothing!


5 Faves: Adult Stocking Stuffers

I always  have loved opening stockings.  There is no reason it should stop being fun for adults, too!  Here are some of my favorite health-inspired ideas (Mom, don’t read this yet until after Christmas):

  • Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer:  This is the perfect little thing to put in a stocking.  It’s affordable,  100% natural, and everyone loves a little shimmer.  It even helps moisturize dry, winter lips while adding a smidge of glam.                                                                                    
  • Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream: Dry hands are a serious problem for me.  This hand cream has a good rating from EWG for safety, which is just as important to me as keeping my hands from bleeding every winter.                                                                                                                                   
  • Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans: A Friend gave me this for my 30th birthday and I was hooked.  Thanks, Ashley! Product Image
  • Kiwi Magazine:  One of my favorite things to do while on an exercise machine is to read a magazine.  This magazine is good inspiration for raising healthy families.  You can also consider other health-related magazines, just roll it up and put it in a stocking!                                                                KIWI Magazine December 2015/January 2016
  • Essential Oils:  The three I use most are Lemon Oil, Tea Tree Oil and OnGuard from duTerra.                                                          on guard bottle                                                       

Happy stocking stuffing!

5 Faves: Kids Stocking Stuffers


  • Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish:  One of the safest brands of nail polish out there!  The less chemicals that are in beauty products, the better (and the healthier)!  This polish dries pretty quick and has no odor so I have no worries about putting it on my 3 year old daughter.                                                                                   
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste:  Studies show that good oral health is connected to good overall health.  Help create healthy brushing habits by making it fun!  Noah will be getting a lightsaber toothbrush and Gracelyn will get a spinning princess one.  Firefly Kids! Star Wars Darth Vader Toothbrush, Soft- 1 ea
  • Cape and mask:  What better way to get a kid to be active than to put a cape on them and let them save the world!    Personalized Boy's Superhero Cape & Mask
  • Newman’s Own Peanut Butter Cups: Having a treat is special and so is Christmas, so a little something sweet in the stocking is ok.  These are one of my favorite sweet treats, but you could also go with a PayDay candy bar.  Of all the candy bars out there, these are two of the better options, according to The Environmental Working Group’s Food Score rating system.    Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • Magnifying Glass:  There is nothing healthier than a kid playing outside and exploring nature.  Let’s encourage them to do this more!  



Next up will be my 5 fave stocking-stuffers for adults.  Stay tuned!


We recently moved and one of my favorite places in the house is the kitchen.  I have been slowly “making it my own” and today this lovely sign went up.  The word nourish has been in my mind for a while because I wanted our kitchen to be a place where I was inspired to provide fresh food that would “supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cheer, foster, and keep alive; and to strengthen, build up, and promote” (dictionary.com).  I am hoping that having this sign prominent will remind us when we eat that the whole point of consuming food is to feed and care for the body.  It sounds obvious, but we often spend time eating and not nourishing.




That being said, I also wanted to have my kitchen be a place where I was more inspired to cook and bake…because when it’s time to consume special treats, it’s better they are homemade with ingredients that are real.  I got the idea from a post from Mending the Piggy Bank to use our gourds to write things that we are thankful for throughout the month of November.  Today, after having homemade pumpkin pie, my kids said they were thankful for special treats…and I am thankful that they said this after eating something I made instead of something a factory made 🙂



Torn Asunder

“There is something more important than self-preservation.”  I heard those words said on Sunday at church and immediately wrote them down.  In my last post, I challenged readers to think about how they viewed things that do just that — self-preserve.  That is what healthy living is all about, right?  Trying to live as long as possible and as healthily as possible.  What could be more important?

I walked outside this morning to a front yard that had died.  Just yesterday, it was vibrant with purples and oranges and now it was ugly and dead after the frost we had last night.  There are wonderful things about October: pumpkins, colorful leaves, post-season baseball, boots, sweaters, etc.  It’s a great month, but when you think about it, things are starting to die.  Leaves are blown off the trees and flower beds freeze.  To top it off, as I walk with my kids around the neighborhood, I have to explain to them why people put ghosts in their windows and hang skeletons from their trees.  Death.  For the past five Octobers, there has been a pang of sadness for our family.  We watched my husband’s mom die that October.  October is a reminder that winter is coming.

Here is what started all this — I was introduced to a song last week called “When My Heart is Torn Asunder”, and it had this line in it: “My body might be dying but I’ll always be alive.”  In light of how I have been feeling about October, this hit me hard.  Phil Wickham talks about this song that he wrote by saying “For Christians…when you think about your greatest fear and you take it to the end, there’s heaven…there’s hope.”  I was/am slightly obsessed with this song as the lyrics are phenomenal and the melody is sweet.  It is so clearly about the fact that there is hope for the hopeless…for the helpless.  When death is near, when your heart is torn asunder and broken to pieces — physically or emotionally or spiritually — when the world just falls apart, THERE IS LIFE.

This past week, something else also happened:  I got the Christmas itch.  I starting pinning all kinds of things on my Pinterest Christmas board.  Maybe it was because I was so aware of death’s darkness, but the good news is that Christmas is coming.  We celebrate Christ’s birth in the midst of a cold and dark winter.  The fact that a Divine King had the humility to come save dying and helpless people is mind-boggling.  THERE IS HOPE.  There is something more important than self-preservation.  We all will die, but do we all have life?  “My body might be dying but I’ll always be alive.”

Phil Wickham – When My Heart Is Torn Asunder Lyrics

Artist: Phil Wickham

Album: The Ascension
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/phil-wickham/when-my-heart-is-torn-asunder-lyrics/#clFwsAu5Ije4kixi.99

When my heart
Is torn asunder
And my world
Just falls apart
Lord You put
Me back together
And lift me up
To where You are

There is hope
Beyond the suffering
Joy beyond the tears
Peace in every tragedy
Love that conquers fear
I have found redemption
In the blood of Christ
My body might be dying
But I’ll always be alive

You have turned
Mourning to dancing
You have covered me with grace
The struggle here
May last a moment
But life with You
Will last always

There is hope
Beyond the suffering

Joy beyond the tears

Peace in every tragedy
Love that conquers fear
I have found redemption
In the blood of Christ
My body might be dying
But I’ll always be alive

When the age
Of death is over
And this world
Has been reborn
I’ll be there
Beside my Savior
This is our GREAT
And rich reward

There is hope
Beyond the suffering
Joy beyond the tears
Peace in every tragedy
Love that conquers fear
I have found redemption
In the blood of Christ
My body might be dying
But I’ll always be alive

The Gospel of [Insert Health Trend]

The thing about the health industry is that people get sucked in.  There is always a new diet plan to try or the latest and greatest exercise regimen that will guarantee health.  I have been sucked in before and it is so easy to jump on bandwagons that promise glowing and healthy bodies.  I am not saying that these things don’t work or that they aren’t scientifically valid or even that you shouldn’t give them a try.  There are a lot of good products out there–I often get excited about these things too. I am, however, asking you to take a closer look at your heart…not the health of your physical heart, but your emotional, spiritual heart.

I often find myself looking at social media and am drenched in daily personal testimonials of how a certain health product has changed someone’s life.  Recently I saw another health testimonial and I literally said out loud “Is this your Savior?”   Here’s the thing:  I am not immune from acting this way either.  For some reason, when it comes to health and wellness, we go fanatical!

I found the word “kailo” for this blog when looking deeper into what it means to be healthy.  Who knows how accurate I am because all I know is English (and honestly, I am waiting for someone to call me out on it), but what I found was that kailo was a Germanic root word meaning “to be whole, uninjured, and well.”  People will do all kinds of things to find this wholeness and, again, it is not bad to do so.  But are you acting and talking as if it was those things that saved you from utter despair and worthlessness?  I think we go fanatical because we have a deep desire to be whole, and we surely live in a broken world.

There are plenty of things I am not saying in this post, but what I am saying is this:  there is a way to heal your brokenness.  It is not in the form of a shake or a diet or an oil or a certain fitness routine or a new gym, it is in the form of Jesus.  He was broken when he died on the cross so that you don’t have to be.  Isaiah 53:5 says:

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

By the grace of God I have peace and am healed…I am whole–now THAT is good news!  Are you fanatical about things that promise health because you are broken and seeking to be whole?  Christians, are you speaking the ‘gospel’ of a certain product more than the true source of your spiritual wellness?  While the product may be something you “truly believe in”, we need to make sure we are not worshiping created things over the Creator.kailo2