soul and body meet in faith, food, and fitness


Keeping my progress in perspective

Transformation with Beachbody
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long while now. I’ve done the big piece of the prep and had professional photos taken to show my transformation story (scroll all the way down), but I’ve been hemming and hawing for weeks over how to write it out.  I’m trying to convince myself it’s simply a problem of inertia and that once I start writing, I’ll be able to move along at a nice clip and get my story out.

Yet I doubt.  I doubt there is value to what I’m writing. I doubt there is value to my story.  Remember that post a few months ago about how Jen Fulwiler’s story doesn’t compare to mine? The doubt has crept up. How can my story compare to hers? Her story is inspring! Yet, I want need to push through and share more of my story. I need to share it because I’ll doubt I’ll every truly feel like my story is ready to tell, like this journey towards being fit is done. After all, the summer has gotten away from me and a few of those pesky pounds have crept back on while I wasn’t looking.  So I need something to encourage myself even, I need to keep my progress in perspective.  This is a lifestyle change I’m working on here and if I’m not paying attention I slide back towards old unhealthy habits.  Change is hard and all that, right? Right.  So here goes…my story might be a work in progress, but then again, so am I.

If you’re here just for my transformation photos – welcome! Scroll to the bottom. If you care for all the details, carry on…

Believing the lie

I bought into the excuse (read lie) that I would always be a size 10 and there was no going below it.  Brief periods of time found me at a size 8, but I quickly regained that weight after I stopped paying attention to my eating. I reasoned that it was simply my body type and I needed to come to terms with being larger than I wanted. I wasn’t happy about it, but there it was.  So get used to it.

In 2012 I attended a local TEDx event and heard a speaker go on about setting a BHAG – a “big, hairy, audacious goal.”  I went home that evening and wrote frantically that I wanted, no NEEDED a BHAG in order to finally lose weight and get fit.  I wanted to lose 30 lbs and was going to start out strong!

April 2012

Me and the Stoney ladies at Lifeteen’s Women’s Retreat around that time.

I started counting calories, checking in with a friend about once a week with a weigh-in, and after a several weeks I lost 10 lbs. I felt great! …and then I promptly lost momentum when the summer season hit. And the weight went right back on. Again. 

Fast forward 6 months to the end of the holiday season at which point I was feeling fat and lazy trolling through Facebook. My friend Michelle is a mom of six and I’d seen her drop weight and get fit throughout that time. Now, she was inviting any of her friends to join her in what she called a “Challenge group” where I would commit to a specific fitness program and have the accountability of others to check in on me daily.

Hoping this would be my ticket, I decided to join and invest more than I was used to in a fitness program. I was scared of failing, scared of not being able to do it, scared that I was wasting my money, but I needed the outward accountability and encouragement of the women in my first challenge group to help me believe I could reach that BHAG.

I’ve reached major goals before, but I didn’t believe that I could reach a weight loss goal (let me be honest and say, I still have trouble believing it). I didn’t believe I would ever be happier with my body.  I didn’t believe I could make working out anything more than a chore.

A work in progress

And while I’m still a work in progress on body image, I see the strength my body possesses, thanks to challenging myself to make fitness an important element of my life.  I still see the areas where I’m weak, the areas I hope will become leaner and stronger in the coming years, but what I believe now is that I can achieve it. I can making a lasting change in my lifestyle – I know it because I already have.

The change was is hard. There were many days at the start where I remember figuring out ways to cheat and get extra calories or eek the most possible food out of my allotted calories for the day.  Days where I would do a second workout, simply to justify another snack.

As I journeyed, I moved beyond those early tactics and began to see what truly keeps me well fed, what nourishes my body, and helps make me stronger for tomorrow’s workouts. I examined my crutch foods and now try to keep them out of the house, I write my workout down each day on the calendar hanging outside my bedroom, and check in each day with my online community. Seemingly small changes that build over time into a healthier life.

Importance of community

That very first challenge group where I was a participant (and now the challenge groups I run as a coach) gave me a community of people who are striving for similar goals.

My life didn’t look like theirs.  Some were stay at home moms, some were professionals on the road each week, others were working corporate jobs and taking care of their families. But they too wanted to figure out how to live a healthier life without disregarding their soul. Without giving in to doubts whispering through our heads.

On the days I didn’t believe I could get out of bed at 5am when my alarm went off, I knew they weren’t hitting the snooze. Danielle would be up on the other side of Ohio and be pushing play on her workout.  And Katie would be squeezing it in between home schooling sessions with her kids.  And Joia in between life as mom and minister. On days when I didn’t think I could do it, seeing their commitment inspired me.  They would cheer me on.

So as much as my transformation story is about me and the things I’m still processing through, it’s also about them.  They are my people in this part of my story.

So, did I reach that BHAG of losing 30 lbs? 


Not yet. But I’m not giving up. 

During these summer months I’ve slipped backwards slightly, yet I want to cling to those things I’ve learned before.  I want to cling to the belief that I can make it all the way to that BHAG.  The doubts are pinging around in my head rather loudly still, but I know they are of the same origin as that original lie I believed about not being able to change.

This is only a mid way point for me.  I’ve made significant progress from where I started and I can be proud of the milestones I’ve reached so far. That’s the perspective I don’t want to lose. The journey won’t end, until my time on earth is spent.  So I’ll keep working on both the soul and the body part of this. Won’t you join me?
Transformation close up 000-2a 000-8a running shot Professional shots Transformation photos brick wall close up

Photos by the lovely Corynne at Paper Lantern Productions


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The Blessing of Community

Real community
After a week of hiatus in my current challenge group, I’m feeling very blessed to have the SoulMeetsBody community around me.  This week I have been traveling in Guatemala for work and had super limited computer and internet time.  Just enough to say hi to my boo and quickly post a couple updates to Facebook and Instagram.  Reading the posts in my Beachbody Challenge group had to wait.  When I finally had uninterrupted internet access, it took me a solid hour to read through and respond to all the check ins.  And I have to admit, it was an hour that has inspired me!

A Beachbody challenge group is a group of people who have made a commitment for 60-90 days to journey together as they start to lose weight and/or get into better shape using a particular workout program and the nutrition plan alongside it.  Using Facebook, we form a private community where we can share challenges and celebrate wins day by day. It is in this accountability that our community is forming and becoming a blessing to me.

The community formed when you walk on your weightloss journey with others can be an incredible motivator! I’ve written before how it has made such a difference in my own journey as a member, but this week as a facilitator of my own group – I’m reminded once more of the blessing of community.

Group members are not simply posting in the group to check another “to-do” off their list, but are encouraging each other as we all learn how to make better decisions for our health and fitness. They are praying for those who faced sickness this week, encouraged those who are discouraged, and celebrated the wins of squeezing in a workout on a busy day.

This community is not about putting up a facade of being perfect. After all, real community is not formed with masks and facades.  Real community is formed because a few men and women in the group are sharing their challenges and disappointments as well as their wins.  And it is in this vulnerability that others can begin to feel comfortable sharing their life as well. After witnessing this week how this community is coming together, I can’t help but feel blessed to be part of it.

What communities are a blessing in your life?