Monday, April 30, 2012

How far He's taken us...

On November 25th of last year our family made the commitment to begin eating healthy.  Here's a few sentences out of the first email I sent committing to a lifestyle change:

"I have 58 lbs to lose total...uuggh.  I'm not looking forward to any of it, but I want to honor God will ALL areas of my life.  And, this is the area where I have failed miserably.  I cannot do this on my own."

Originally my goal was 58 lbs - to get down to 150. These were the exact goals I sent to my accountability team (which was smaller then) back in December of 2011:

  • Goal 1:  Lose 20 lbs and increase water intake; exercise regularly
  • Goal 2:  Lose 10 more lbs; walk a 5K
  • Goal 3:  Lose 10 more lbs; walk/run a 5K
  • Goal 4:  Lose another 5 lbs; run a 5K entirely
  • Goal 5:  Lose 5 lbs, begin training for a 10K

Today, I looked at the scale above.  Technically it was yesterday and it actually said 157.6 the first time I stepped on it.  I wasn't prepared with the phone to take a picture and the camera apparently affects the weight on the I guess I'll have someone else take the picture so it'll be more accurate!

I've lost 50 lbs so far which means I only have 8 more pounds to hit my original goal.  However, after looking at numerous charts and talking to some experts, my goal is now 145.  So that means I have 13 more lbs to go.  All of the other goals I originally established exercise-wise have been met.  I'm now training for a 10K.

After last week I took a break of 3 days (considering advice from several friends and family).  I ran a 5K entirely this morning and was only 4 seconds off my fastest time (32:16).  So, I'm thrilled with that.  I'll keep pressing on and remembering where I've come from...


Friday, April 27, 2012

Fail but not failure

We went on vacation and had the time of our lives. It was glorious...seriously...just plain glorious! Then, we return to the real world where 5 people are constantly calling my name, I must wash my own dishes, actually pay for meals and laundry will not stop calling my name. And this is how my week started.

Not to be outdone on Monday morning, I tried to get up early and get a head start on all of the bills, paperwork and emails that were piling higher and higher on my desk. I have a hard time doing anything else knowing that there is so much work to be done. So I organized it all into neat piles and whittled down the emails to a manageable few hundred.... I did not run in the morning as I usually do (as a side note, I REALLY like and prefer running in the dark when it's cooler...). So I had to get my exercise in somehow.

I figured out a plan...I'll run while the girls were in piano in a nearby neighborhood. I've never scoped this place out for running but I'm fairly certain that it will be flat (first mistake). Second, I'll be running in the afternoon and surely it'll still be cooler (second mistake). As soon as my girls stepped out of the van, I got out too with appropriate running attire and earphones in. I stretched in our piano teacher's yard and headed in what seemed like a flat direction (third mistake). I definitely didn't stretch long enough (fourth mistake). Did I mention that I'm somewhat directionally challenged? I can get lost in my own neighborhood, and right/left are not exactly my forte. If you are ever riding with me and need to give directions, please point. If you point one way and say the other way, I'll go in the direction that you are pointing. You have been warned.

It was not a good run but I managed to get back to the van (praise Jesus). And, it was my fastest time for a 5K yet...32 minutes and 12 seconds. I congratulated myself and made a note that I will break 30 eventually. I ran a 5K again on Tuesday was just okay.

Tuesday afternoon came along, and JT and I had volunteered to help a friend with her students' projects at Samford. It was a fitness say I was under prepared is a severe understatement. We both came home moaning and groaning. And my runs since then have been PITIFUL. I have barely run at all. I tried a track at a local park (again in the afternoon when I was overdressed and there were some huge distractions), and then I tried our neighborhood yesterday. My brother asked me why it was so bad, and all I could say was this..."There are a ton of reasons, but they are all just excuses. I have no idea." So, I figure that I've somehow gotten a little "off" in my running and I have failed several days in a row. My eating has still been right on target, but I'm VERY disappointed in my running. That being said, I'm going to take a 3 day break from running and get back to it at 5:00 Monday morning.

Why will I continue to run? Because God told me to run. I've failed time and time again, but I'm not a failure. I'm a child of the King who paid a dear price for my life. I am indebted to Him forever. I will run because He told me to. I will fail again, but I will continue to try. He pursues me endlessly, and I cannot outrun Him. Praise His Holy name!

The photo at the top of the post was taken by our friend, Allison Lewis. She's amazing and you should hire her. She's probably already booked up, but here's the link just in case she can squeeze you in:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Run the race

Just over a week ago, I sent an email to my accountability team asking for prayer. JT and I were leaving for our anniversary trip in Cancun, and I was SCARED. I was fearful that I would revert to my old ways very easily...gluttony, laziness and poor choices. You see, for me, vacation = relaxation = do nothing = laziness! How easily I can choose and take that path EVERY day.

I am a quitter. I quit very well. I give up easily. I make choices that favor laziness. I choose the easy path. Those WERE my tendencies until God changed my heart, changed my preferences and changed my focus. Oh, I STILL want to quit...all the time. When I'm running I want to quite every 1/4 mile...seriously. Every time the Nike app voices notifies me that I've made another 1/4 mile, my mind says "Quit now!" Sometimes I give in and start walking. But most of the time, I hear the quiet voice of One who says, "I didn't design you to be a quitter. Press on. Run the race."

Back to the vacation of a lifetime. Let me begin by saying that this vacation was a gift to us...a precious gift from my brother and sister-in-law, Daniel and Amanda. She works for a great company called 31 Gifts where she is awarded trips occasionally. They graciously gave this trip to us...what a HUGE blessing! We have enjoyed EVERY moment...from snorkeling on the reef to riding jet skis to afternoon naps on the beach beds! What memories we are making and will never forget. God's beauty in creation has never been so clear as it is here...what uninhibited joy I am seeing each hour! Praise His name!

This resort is one of those all-inclusive shindigs where we can eat whatever we want whenever we want. You want Italian for breakfast...they'll make it happen. An omelet for lunch...done! Steak at 2:00 it! It's crazy! So we had to come in to this relaxation festival with a plan. Stick to what we already know and are doing at home. We have been able to find foods that we can eat EVERYWHERE! Plus, we can get bottled water whenever we want it...ha! Our eating has been right on target! Praise God for the discipline to say no to desserts and to choose wisely!

Exercise has been my demise but only in my mind. We have run every day but one (taking a rest day on Wednesday). It is HOT in the Caribbean, and the road where we have to run happens to carry every busload of employees on a one lane strip at the same time we like to exercise. So, now all of the workers holler at us to keep running and high five us along the fun is that! My body wants to give up and my legs are screaming at me, but I press on for the cause of Christ alone!

Just this morning JT and I both stepped on the scale here for an update (we established it as accurate the first of the week when we both weighed the same here as at home). JT has now lost 85 lbs and I've lost 49....I'm SO close to 50! But that means the scale now says 159....I've come a long way for 208. But my goal is 140-145 so I have at least 14 more lbs to go. Weight loss has definitely slowed tremendously, but I will NOT go back. Pray that I will be patient and persistent in doing what God has commanded. I could do not this without all of you cheering us on!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blessed to be led.

Just a few years ago, I woke up early as usual. As I made my way into the living room for my quiet time, I discovered my sweet husband sitting in the recliner. He is not the early riser at our house so I figured he had fallen asleep in the chair the night before. That was not the case. JT is not a complainer and handles pain very well. In fact, he once broke his wrist building a deck and didn't know it for weeks. He's fairly strong and well, we like it that way! But that morning he was holding his chest and had sweat beading up on his forehead. He was complaining about difficulty breathing and a sharp pain in his chest. We talked and debated for all of two minutes and then..I called 911.

We had no clue what to do but immediately got JT to the nearest fire station (after waiting 26 minutes for them to get to our house when it burned down, we decided that we should drive). They immediately took him to the hospital. I remember following behind the ambulance and calling Jim Houston. "I think JT has had a heart attack. Please pray." I was frantic, and I called out to the Lord. I called JT's mom and a few friends. I KNEW this was urgent and life-threatening.

As it came to pass (and I only say that because I love the way it sounds), JT had picked up a parasite that can be traced back to a particular region in Guatemala. The parasite manifested itself in such a way to simulate a heart attack. However, that finding allowed JT to end up in a cardiologist's office. The doctor told JT that he could not control what genetics had given him but he could control what went in his mouth. Our regular physician put JT on Diavan, a medicine designed to treat high blood pressure. It was like living with an elderly knocked the life out of us. We had gotten ourselves into this boat by overeating time and time again as well as failing to all. We recognized our part in allowing our laziness to get us to this point.

Fast forward to last Monday when JT entered Dr. McClean's office. The nurse came in and asked if they had weighed him yet. "No," he replied, "but I've been looking forward to this for a while." JT stepped on that scale 80 lbs lighter than when he last went in. Praise God! And he no longer needs ANY MEDICINE!!! God is SO good!

This journey God has us on has been such a learning experience. I must say that we could NOT do this without JT leading the way. It would have been an uphill battle that was almost impossible to win. He has led our family so well throughout this time. He has eaten well, cooked healthy foods, and exercised almost daily. He has set the example for all of us. I'm a proud wife and pretty blessed.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cleaning Out

JT tried on his high school letter jacket...and it fit...He has lost 78 lbs now!

This past week I posed a question to all of my friends and family on Facebook - do we get keep or get rid of all the clothes that no longer fit us?  I was prepared for answers on either side of the issue.  Obviously, I was wrong.  God made it perfectly clear to JT and me what we needed to do.

My friend Allison E. reminded me of a post I wrote (not too long ago) about "no plan B."  I have to admit that I am FEARFUL of going back.  I'm scared that I will slip and fail and just coast all the way back to over 200 pounds.  I cannot believe I just typed that.  That's fear right there staring back at me.  Do I go back and erase that and put "my former weight" as if no one will know?  Do I reveal my sin to that degree..yes.  Actually, I weighed 208 pounds on November 1, 2011.  I want to erase this so badly, but I cannot.  I must lay it all on the line.  There is no plan B.  Thank you Allison for this reminder.  

Several people including Jeannette, Cheryl, Jennifer,  and Jacquelyn encouraged me to donate my clothes so that others can use them.  What am I thinking...why would I hold on to clothes that clearly do not fit?  They don't even come close.  JT has some pants that will NOT stay up without a belt, shirts that swallow him whole and shorts that look ridiculous now.  How would we be honoring God with our stewardship if we kept clothes that others could use?  We cannot.  We must honor the Lord in our possessions, and this is part of that process!

My brother David sent me the following quote:  "Once the warriors had been offloaded from their boats onto their enemy's shore, the Greek commanders would shout out their first order, "burn the boats!" The sight of burning boats removed any notion of retreat from their hearts and any thoughts of surrender from their heads. Imagine the tremendous psychological impact on the soldiers as they watched their boats being set to the torch. As the boats turned to ash and slipped quietly out of sight into the water, each man understood there was no turning back and the only way home was through victory." (Note...this quote is on several websites so I'm not sure who to give credit for it.  It was not from me, obviously.  It belongs to someone else. I am just not sure who...).  What a great visual to see how committed the warriors were to their aim.  We are in this battle for the long haul, and we are going to fight every step of the way.  Burning the away the clothes.

My favorite comment came from my friend, Dave Walkup, from Georgia.  He and his precious bride, Nellie, are friends of ours who have walked this same journey.  They speak from experience.  He mentioned 1 Kings 19:19-21 when Elisha was plowing in the field with his oxen.  Elijah finds him there and calls him to follow.  Elisha returns to the field, sacrifices the oxen and gives the meat to the people to eat.  I'm not going to stretch my situation to fit this Scripture by ANY means.  It IS a good reminder to me that I must not look back.  God has called us to honor Him with our bodies, and we must continue on this road until He calls us HOME!  So, we press on for His calling.

We have officially cleaned out the closet. We gave away everything that was too big for us. As you can see from the picture above, that was quite a bit. No more 3X shirts for JT or size 42 pants. And no more XL shirts for me. It was a cleansing feelings. Honestly it reminded me of a story my friend Amiee R. told me...she skyped with her son in Uganda for a while before seeing him face to face. Every time she would see him in the same sweater. She fully expected her son to be wearing that sweater when she saw him at the airport. But, he was not. That sweater was probably at his grandmother's house. Did she need that sweater? No..she just wanted it for the memories it held. Now she knows that when she travels back to Uganda, she's likely to see another little boy wearing that sweater...for the glory of God alone. It is a reminder of her son's past and where he has come from. We can remember the past without living in it. Amen, my sweet friend. I needed to hear that. I'm moving on....

We will NOT go back.  We will press on for His great name and His glory.

Sheryl Turner 1Way Ministries

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lessons far

Four months have passed since we started this journey to honor the Lord with our physical bodies. Beginning month five has brought a new sense of excitement to our house. JT is now down over 75 lbs, and I have lost over 45. Both of our older girls have lost quite a bit of weight (out of respect for 2 teenage girls, I'll not post their results). Our family is in a much healthier place! We are eating well and exercising 4-5 days a week.

I must say that my favorite days are the ones where JT and I both get to run in the morning and then head to the park in the afternoon so we can all ride bikes. Playing together as a family has its perks!

Over the past month JT and I have both been inundated (in a GREAT way) with lots of emails, messages, and phone calls asking about what we are doing. People seem to want to know WHAT exactly we are doing to lose the weight. My first answer is such an encouragement: "It is really hard. The hardest thing I've ever done. Is that what you want?" If someone responds positively, I figure he/she must really be interested. So, here are the basics for Team Turner:

1. We read the Bible, specifically the verses about food, taking care of our bodies and honoring God with every part of us. God convicted us quickly about our eating habits and lack of exercises (i.e. gluttony and laziness).

2. We got on our knees and repented for our pride, laziness, overeating, mindless eating, lack of self-control, apathy, etc.

3. We begged God to show us His ways and to strengthen us to walk in them.

4. God directed us to a particular eating plan (the 17 Day Diet by Dr. Moreno). It is a 17 day cycle plan with 4 cycles. It focuses on eating lean meats and vegetables. We also eat yogurt and drink green tea daily. Carbs are allowed but only healthy ones. We do not eat carbs or fruit after 2:00 any day. Every family is different, and this plan has worked well for our family. However, we encourage each family to seek God's plan and not our endorsement.

5. We first, we went for ....hold on to your horses as you are about to be blown away...17 minutes. Yep, you read that right. We only went for 17 minutes on a treadmill. And, I guarantee that we barely made it a mile. We eventually went for longer and faster, but it took a lot of time. We downloaded Nike+ apps to our phones and began keeping track of all of our walks/runs.

6. The only advice we have for exercise is this...just walk and run as far as you can every day. Keep going...don't quit! Our bodies have learned how to run and how to breathe over time. It takes does not come quickly. But, it DOES happen!

7. An accountability team was critical for me. I needed people who knew what I was eating, how I was exercising, etc. in order to keep me in line. I report to my team every Monday. I tell them how much weight I've lost, any struggles I've faced, how I'm running, etc. They have access to my Nike+ app so they can check on my exercise at any time.

8. We share our successes and struggles with each other. It's awesome to be able to say, "My clothes are too big" or "Do you have a smaller shirt?" JT weighs less now than he did when we got married, and I'm headed there quickly. What a joy! Having the support system at home is critical to our success.

Recording our journey on this blog has also been a huge help to me. I write so that I can look back and see where God has brought us from and where He is taking us. I NEED to remember. I rejoice in recalling the tears I've shed, the prayers I've prayed and the ways God has taught me for the past four months. I pray that God does even more in the months to come!