Follow by Email

Thursday, May 15, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 83-84 .... The End? Or The Beginning?

Today is my 60th Birthday!  When I started the challenge in February, I knew it would end just around my bithday, and here -- like all things -- it is!  In February, my mom was still with us, Cooper not yet home.  My lilac bush was a bunch of tangled, bare branches.  Now Mom is happily settled in Texas, Cooper at BYU-I.  My lilac bush today is overflowing with fragrant blossoms that we have shared far and wide with anyone who will take a bunch. Three months is such a short time, really, but so much can change.

After a fun visit with Bob before getting up,  my first birthday present this morning is a youtube video of my nearly 3-year old granddaughter singing Happy Birthday, and she sings it not "to you" but "for you".

My next birthday gift:  the scale and the tape measure! Today the scale said that I have lost EXACTLY 8 pounds since Day 1!  I msured and totaled that there 10 inches G-O-N-E.  For good.  1.25 inches from each thigh, 3.5 inches from my waist, 2 from my hips and 2 from my bust.  At less than 5 feet, with a very medium bone frame, I will never be a wispy little Asian, but this is a JOY.  No wonder all my slacks are too big.

Eight pounds is exactly the same size as a healthy newborn, about what I weighed when I was born.  Kind of fun to think about that on your birthday. 

I cleaned out a drawer yesterday and made a crazy discovery -- a little folder of where I have tried numerous times to lose these pounds before, over a 10 to 12 year period.  Measurements.  Weights, Dates, progress carts.  scribbled down.  Oh, how MANY times I have tried, knowing that where I was was "OK", medically speaking but not great as far as trying to dress this solid, short body of mine.

After the past three months and careful recording throughout, I KNOW that the only thing that takes the inches off are the weight training.  I have found that I really ENJOY this, and look forward to increasing my weights, and increasing my strength.

I believe that the Youthin was VERY helpful in kicking those pounds, as they surely had not budged all the other times I had tried.

Equally, probably MORE important is that I have also made some progress that, though not tangibly measurable, feels equally as significant as anything on a scale or tape measure.  More fulfilling scripture study.  More ideas on how to quietly and better support my husband, children and grandchildren without hovering.  More forbearance, charity and kindness with things that are outside of my control.  Definitely more energy, focus and clarity. Do they all connect to the weight management/sugar thing?  I truly believe so.

Will I take after pictures in a swimsuit?  Yes. Over the next several days, as I did in the beginning, but I don't think I'll post them.  Kinda personal LOL.

Will I start another challenge?

ABSOLUTELY.  This time, however, I will be following a WFPB program, and continuing with the weight training.  My core and lower body is where I need to most build strength, and I am convinced this is my best way to address osteoporosis.

In my little granddaughters video she sings "Happy Birthday FOR you" instead of to you.

And indeed, this is an extremely happy birthday FOR me, for so many reasons.  I am humbled and blessed.

What I wanted to do was to attend the Temple.  So that's where we are headed now, and I can't wait.  And then to try a vegetarian restaurant that I've had my eye on for years.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 79-82

My goodness, where do the days go?  I think about my blog posts constantly, but before it's all written down, another day has slipped by.

What has NOT slipped by is not only my intent, but the results of my intents.  Kind of hit a plateau on the scale, but can tell a great deal in my clothing.  It's all such a relief that I wont' be going through the rest of my life with these pounds.  I'm determined to make it a solid 10-12, no matter how long it takes.  I have not been as consistent with the Youthin, and that may be a reason I have plateaued.

Last Friday, I got to my cash register at work and a very large Hershey Bar was sitting there.  I looked at it, and someone said it was from the office as an appreciation gift.  With no thought at all, I threw it in my drawer and forgot about it .... when it was there on Monday, I remembered and unemotionally reflected to myself, "this has no more meaning to me than the fancy gourmet coffee packets that are at a hotel room. I don't drink coffee.  I don't eat candy bars."  I'm sure the candy bar is sitting there.  Hmmm.

Well, our conversation are non-stop on the Whole Food Plant Based diet, as presented in Discovering The Word of Wisdom.  In my mind I'm busy formatting another 12-week challenge for myself, and hoping to develop a plan to invite Meridian Readers along ... JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS living that way for 12 weeks over the summer, when fresh fruit and veggies are extra-plentiful.

The Mothers Day Shout Out is over on the website.  A lot of fun, and very sweet. Also way more time consuming than I had thought, to format the photos, e-mails, banners, webpages, etc. But worth it to share something, and to get more familiar with Facebook, as I know that it's an important part of reaching out.

On Saturday, Bob took me shopping or both Mothers Day and my birthday.  What FUN to buy a very cute pair of much smaller sized jeans, and a darling dress that looks cute now but will be cuter in a couple of months with more workouts.

Best of all was the e-mail from my daughter who, after seeing the family Mothers Day photos my daughter-in-law had taken, wrote:  "You look fantastic!  It really shows!" So that was fun, and
so is life.

Day after tomorrow ends this challenge for me --60 Years OLD!   Gotta finish up the survey to send to all my darling fellow challengers!  It's been fun to know I'm not alone.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 78

Nature's Skittles
It felt like summer today. Close to 90!!!!  For years and years, we've wanted a frozen yogurt place close to us.  Well now there are 3 within 5-10 minutes. I'm sure their business was booming this very pretty May evening.  But not from us.  What tasted good to us tonight are the Costco oranges that are sweeter than candy.  And I just LOVED this photo that showed up on my Facebook postings today from a dear friend.  What about you????

Isn't tha fun?  One of my friends tells her children that fruit is "Heavenly Father's candy".  And she's RIGHT!

Yesterday, when I did my aerobics workout on the stair climber, it was amazing how I did NOT get out of breath, and found a new level.  I didn't have to stop at ALL.  I've come so far since when I started on it in March, right when Cooper got home.

This morning, doing squats with the cable machine for my lower body workout, I was able to  lift 100 pounds!  And it really wasn't quite demanding enough ... next time I'll go for 110.

It feels amazing to have strengthened my body so much during these past three months, and I'm VERY excited to see where Challenge 2 will take me.

The new Ensign with the Conference report arrived a few days ago, and my heart is touched with the messages there, and the joy I find in the Savior.

Without a doubt, for me, the past 3 months have strengthened my physical body.  My spirit and testimony, and appreciation for mortality have been greatly strengthened!

Is it coincidental that strengthening your body strengthens your mind and spirit?

Not in my books!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 76-77

One week to go.  60 years old NEXT THURSDAY.

We are now reading "Discovering The Word of Wisdom" by Jane Birch outloud. If someone had told me that a book like this would be fascinating to both of us (as well as entertaining -- she's got the cutest sense of humor) I would have laughed and disagreed.

Furthermore,  if someone, one year ago, had told me that for my 60th birthday I would have kicked sugar out of my life, lost the 7-8 pounds that have plagued me for at least 10 years, be able to let a chocolate chip cookie pie sit in the refrigerator for days without touching it .... and have tossed out the small slacks in the back of my closet out because they are too big, I would have laughed and walked away, and felt sad that it wasn't true.

But it's true.  I will be forever grateful for the past 7-8 months and look forward with even more anticipation to further weight lifting, and increasing the weights for my workouts, and evolving from the B4L eating plan to more fully following a whole food plant based diet.

We've got both veggie steamers rocking every night, and Bob is on board as much or even more than me, as his cholesterol, though not terrible, is a concern for him.  He's always liked veggies, and beans, and not been much of a meat eater, so much of this is not altogether a big change.  I don't think this would have been as easy or as possible if we had teenagers at home.

His birthday is 2 days after mine.  Two of our children have birthdays within the same week.  There have ALWAYS been so many treats, and cake, and donuts, and candy, and chocolate over that week.  This year ... what I want is to go to the Temple and then to a vegetarian restaurant.

But will we have cake? Ice cream?  Some chocolate? Won't it feel like something's really missing if we don't?  It did at Christmas.  So I ate some candy. A little every day for about a week. But it wasn't as tasty or as satisfying as I expected or wanted it to be.

So I don't know.  I don't have the answer tonight.  It seems like you should have SOMETHING more than fresh fruit on your 60th birthday.

I'm not going to stay up figuring it out or deciding.

What I do know is that the oranges this spring have been incredibly delicious.   That I'm perfectly content with what we've been eating.  That I love how B4L has taught me how to eat ever 2-3 hours.  And that my heart and mind are more in tune with my Heavenly Father and the needs of my husband and children since starting.

This morning I wrapped up and sent darling pearl bracelets to my 2 daughters and my 2 daughters in law for Mothers Day.  It's Year 2 of my "All the Allen girls are pearls of great, great price" tradition, and that was the highlight of my day!  So cute in their pink wrapping paper with the gingham ribbon and daisy flower on the top.  Love, love, love my girls and their little ones.  I will do whatever it takes to spend as much time with them as possible, for as many years as the Lord will give me.  How thankful I am for eternal families, and the opportunity to establish a little bit of heaven here on earth :0)

Monday, May 5, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 73-75

Monday morning.  Workout completed: CHECK.  First small meal: CHECK.

I am fully commited to making my last 10 days for my 12 weeks EXCELLENT.  I did some quick measuring (been doing every 2 weeks) and am tickled to see 1 1/2 inches off each thigh,  inches off my waist, and 2 1/2 inches off my bust -- in about 10 1/2 weeks.

And when you think about it, those are just one-spot measurements, as there is no way to really measure with a tape measure the whole length of the mid-section, thigh, etc.

Well, hello, little honey!  No WONDER my slacks are loose.

My B4L world is somewhat rocked by the book "Discovering The Word of Wisdom" by Jane Birch that I have scanned by myself, and am reading out loud with Bob.  My article about is up on Meridian today.  It's a topper (and hilarious).  I will continue my B4L 12 weeks exactly as written.  I have not been doing very little meat as it is, but when I do my next challenge, starting May 16, I will do it  with the whole-food plant based approach,  continue with 6 small meals, and of course the workout.

Bob and I had a long conversation yesterday about the years ahead of us.  I'm my mother's daughter in so many ways physically -- very much the same body build, and excellent constitution -- other than  the osteoporosis that we're so proactive with.   But as far as our hearts and organs, we're extremely blessed.

Meaning that I will live well into my 90's (as she is) and very probably to 100, as her Grandmother and aunts have ...

If I'm going to live to 100, I'm going to be as healthy as possible!  I'm going to be as HAPPY as possible! I'm going to be as INDEPENDENT as possible. That means that I need to be happy, enthusiastic and embrace taking care of myself as a joy, and not a burden so that I won't burn out way too soon.  There are 40 years ahead of me that I hope I don't need anyone to help me with, very much ...

If that means there needs to be a bit of vanity, with the motivation of looking better in clothes and the fun of styling myself up a bit, then I guess that what it means.

My head is a-whirl with the fact that these miserable 7 pounds, that I have tried SO MANY TIMES in the past 10 years to lose, are actually G-O-N-E. Along with quite a bit of the clothing that has been my "go-to" wardrobe that is now just plain-old too big.

 Muscle is now developing and it is burning calories all day, allowing me to eat and not be hungry -- allow with the 6 small meals a day, there's never a reason to be hungry.

Well, I'm just excited on this Monday morning, and committed to B4L and seeing where the next 10 days will take me to for my end date ofMay 15, my 60th Birthday!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

12 Week Challenge DAYS 65-72

It's hard to believe (and I sure don't know where this week went), but I'm only 2 weeks away from finishing my 12 week challenge.

Although I haven't written in this blog as often as I intended, or followed the B4L program every day 100%, I am SO excited about my progress.  I can happily say that I've followed it over-all at least 90%, maybe even 95%.  Do I look like the before and after photos in the book?  No, but there's a definite improvement and I'm ready to take on the next challenge. 

And I still have 2 weeks left!

Emotionally, spiritually and socially, (ways that can't be tangibly measured or photographed) I am so much stronger, happier and "on-top" of myself, and in turn, feel much more in tune with my Heavenly Father, and my own immediate family.  It's hard to put into words -- even for someone who can't stop talking (and typing) like me.

I'm down nearly 8 pounds.  Pounds I have been trying to lose since I turned 50 and the aging thing hit hard, on top of never losing the last 7 pounds from my youngest child. They might not seem important (or even noticeable) to anyone else, but my energy is way up, and my smaller slacks are too baggy to wear!  The #1 skinny jeans now fit -- not comfortably enough for long-term wear, but they do, indeed fit.  And I'm going through old things and saying GOOD-BYE.  I have no intention of changing too much, other than living the Word of Wisdom more closely and with more joy as I progress.

I had an amazing conversation last night with Jane Birch, the author of Discovering the Word of Wisdom (her website is and having a great time preparing my Meridian article for next Monday ...

I'm laughing, remembering that old TV show "Father Knows Best" ... well, Heavenly Father is REALLY the one who knows best, what our bodies need.

And I'll be forever grateful to the Body For Life and Michael Phillips for kickstarting the weight training that has become so "just right" for me.

The only regret (besides the days that I was not able for one reason or another to do better on the program) is that I did not take regular photos of my lilac bush after the post on it 6 weeks ago.  It would have been such a cool time-lapse comparison.  It is just barely-barely starting to pop out a few blossoms, and will, as ususal be at its peak for my birthday on May 15, when my challenge ends.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 63-64

I think the thing I'm most delighted about with the challenge is how the exercise element is becoming a habit.  A true, genuine habit.  I so missed my workout on Monday, and writing about it helped me realize that without it, the day isn't quite right.  So what to do about that?  Just make sure there's 30 minutes FIRST THING that doesn't get absorbed into checking e-mails and facebook.

Saying NO to sugar has become a habit too.  Yesterday, at my little day job, our manager came back from the front office with a half-tub of large chocolate chip cookies.    She came to each of us with it, but when she got me, she said in a very cute way, "I'm offering, just to be polite, but I know what you'll say."  And I thought to myself, "Darling, if you ONLY KNEW how many years a tub of cookies like that would have dictated the rest of the day.

What a RELIEF, yes a RELIEF it is to just have those things come and go, like at social events where alcohol is served, and I don't even think about politely saying, "No thanks."  Over. Done.

It's a beautiful spring day here. The marigold border is in on one side of the front door gardens by the front porch/door.  I'm going to go do the zinnia seeds right now, then by Saturday, it'll all be done.  Marigolds booming, azaleas on their way, black-eyed Susan's putting out new leaves like crazy, growing, and zinnia seeds to make it ALL sparkle later in the summer.  We're not fancy gardeners, we just like old-fashioned stand-byes that tolerate the afternoon sun with no shade.

It's so exciting to know that by the time there are zinnias blossoms, in their glory filling
the front window, I'll be 9 months into being sugar-free, and blossoming just beautifully in other (much sweeter) ways, and hopefully glorifying my Father in Heaven with a purpose-filled life to better celebrate the lives of those I'm blessed to call my family and friends, and readers.