Podcast: Simplifying at Busy Season

Friday, December 1, 2023

Listen to an encouraging episode about simplifying a busy season. Also, here is the link to support The Eden Project's food drive (the last day is Dec. 8).

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Back to WW: It's okay to gain

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

I planned for the week of Thanksgiving. I prepared for it with a lot of thought, focus, and intensity. Such planning and preparation gave the week a sort of effortless flow. 

Executing my plan went well. I ran three times, one being a family turkey trot. The race went better than expected. Everyone had a good time, including me. 

The goal of eating, pre-planning points, and shopping out of town was to avoid guilt. I can say my week was void of guilt. I confess I looked for it. I'm so used to entertaining it during the holiday but it was not there at all. Thank God for learning new things. 

In the past, I'd judge my holiday but the weigh-in that follows a holiday. I always would say "I always lose or maintain." This year I got introduced to The Ranting Weight Watcher's Holiday Plan. It is a well-rounded plan I never considered before. The plan considers the 13 weeks between October and the first weigh-in of the new year. 

I put pen to paper and discovered the following: 

2017 holidays: - 6.4 lbs

2018 holidays: + 4 lbs 

2019 holidays: +1.6 lbs

2020 holidays: -5.8 lbs

2021 holidays: -6.2 lbs 

2022 holidays: +4.8 lbs

2023 holidays: up for grabs! 

In all transparency, I am 6.4 lbs heavier than I was when I started the 2022 holiday season. I am 14.6 lbs heavier than my lowest weight during my WW journey. 

Now that you know all of that, I can confidently tell you that I gained 0.6 lbs this week and I am okay with the gain. Thanks to the leadership of the great folks at The Ranting Weight Watcher community, I can say that this is not uncommon. My strategy and plan are going to gently and efficiently lead me to my goal. 

I'm glad to have lost 3.7 lbs for the month. The plan for the next week is the following:

• Track, weigh, and measure, daily.

• Follow my half-marathon training plan (3 runs per week) and practice CrossFit (2-3 days a week).

• Drink at least 60oz of water per day. 90 oz is ideal. 

• Sleep 7 hours per night

• Plan my family menu, shop for food, and prepare at least 3 meals for the week on Sunday. 

• Ask, "What if this doesn't work?" and come up with a plan B for busy weeks. For example, I have several frozen meals ready to go such as chili, roast, rice and beans, and shepherd's pie. If I can't cook on Sunday, I can line these meals up for consumption. 

• Accept help. This upcoming week is the busiest week of the year. It's okay to accept help. 

Starting weight: 175 lbs 

Last week's weight: 157.6 lbs (-17.4) 

First Goal: 153.4 lbs (-4.2)

Second Goal: 146 lbs (-11.6)

Final Goal: 136 lbs (-21.6)

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Post Holiday Bounce

Sunday, November 26, 2023


How are you? I hope you are well! Here is a photo of one of our first post-holidays meals, a pre-birthday celebration! 

Listen to a helpful episode about how I plan on keeping up with my health plan post-holiday here

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Listenbee Kitchen this Week

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The holiday season has started and it will only get busier from here. I'd say this week and the next are some of our busiest all year. I planned to get as many meals scheduled ahead of this busy season. Next week, I plan to have semi-homemade meals. If all I need to do is press a button and eat, that will be ideal. This week I have time to cook and we have a special family birthday. Here is the plan: 

Shrimp linguini - I season the past with EVOO, garlic, onions, and bell peppers. I add parmesan to finish the dish. 

Crockpot chili - I've used this recipe so much, I should have it memorized. I discovered it at Pinterest and I use it over and over again. The kids get a kick of whatever sides I serve. 

Rice, Black beans, farofa, Roasted Chicken - Very Brazilian meal except for the chick which will be swarma 

Hot dogs - we have a plethora in the freezer. 

Out - celebration dinner!

Spaghetti with meat sauce - the quickest dinner we can possibly put together. 

Oven-roasted salmon, veggies, leftover sides - I found a good combination of spices for the salmon which makes my favorite protein of late a delight. 

Frozen shepherd's pie - everyone seems to like it so I bought one that's ready to go for an extra busy night. 

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Bible in One Year: not a challenge

Friday, November 24, 2023

"Habits" is a multibillion-dollar business enterprise. You can find books, business concepts, coaches, and challenges dedicated to breaking and making habits. 

Our social media feeds are inundated with the business of changing habits. I especially enjoy the before and after photos of the brave souls who embark on 30, 60, or 90-day challenges. I even enjoy posts that show us home renovations. I often move away unchanged rather than being happy for the person going through the change. 

There is nothing wrong with challenges. I appreciate the professionals who challenge my children to read a certain amount of books. The goal is to immerse the student in a good habit that will be beneficial in the long run. The problem I run into is when I start a challenge, finish it, and I remain unchanged. 

The world encourages us to remain in the challenge cycle. It works this way: you see someone doing a challenge that seems tough but will bring good results. The challenge is often in an area where most people lack results. People go through the challenge, which is often supported by products and services offered by the creator of the challenge. A lot of people may see results. There isn't an abundance of evidence that people change permanently.  

I see a lot of people taking Bible reading as a challenge. They stick with me for a couple of months and some finish their one-year plan. They walk away inspired and move on to the next challenge instead of sticking with the habit of reading the Bible. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard Christians say "I've read the Bible in one year, I don't need to do it again." 

I often encourage my friends with the words of Deuteronomy 6 including: 

"And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. 

Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’" Deut. 6:24-25 (NKJV)

There isn't a shortage of evidence about why we should read and study the Bible in Scripture. I like Deuteronomy 6 because it is very applicable. 

Let's talk about the word "observing." I appreciate people who observe the weather. They pay attention to patterns. They consider the past and present. They make decisions with all of their observations in mind. 

When my oldest was little, a good friend who is a retired teacher came to observe him in class. She was very attentive. She wasn't distracted by her phone or the other kids' movements. She was able to make a great assessment because of that time of observation. 

Reading the Bible regularly gives me access to God's words and ways. My observation leads to application. I don't apply only when I'm challenged to read the Bible. I apply it always. 

Reading the Bible is not a challenge but a command to God's people. It always leads to good things. 

Please understand that God is okay with your Bible challenge, yet He wants more of you and from you. The world's business model is one of lack. Every time you finish a challenge, you are left empty. No matter how many challenges you start, it is never enough. 

God wants you to develop a relationship with Him through His word. I can't imagine leaving some of my best friendships because "we've hung out for 75 days and this friendship challenge is over." Relationships void of commitment need to be reassessed. In the same way, God calls us to be committed to His word. 

Yes, you can come as you are. He is okay with all of the previous times you attempted to read and study His word. He is full of mercy, grace, and truth. He will take you as you are and transform you. 

Every time I read the Bible, I learn something new about God. This year, I was amazed at how many times He speaks about His name. I learned why some people may prefer certain Bible translations. As I read, my comfort zone was challenged. I learned to trust God's word. I also learned that sometimes, you will not have a group doing the same thing you are doing so it's okay to read your Bible alone. After all, we will all stand before God to give an account of our lives by ourselves. I want to be found faithful.

Bible reading in a year (or 6 months) can start as a challenge as long as it ends with the reader at the feet of Jesus praying "fill me 'til I want no more."  

More on this subject here

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