Giving Fitness a REAL Purpose

I met Sadie at bootcamp.

A little, blond Curly-locks wandered into the backyard. She was an old-soul. You could see it in her peaceful eyes. Instead of a wild, catch-me-if-you-can grin, like so many kids her age, she confidently walked over to a set of toy trucks and went to work driving over imaginary roadways and through imaginary cities.

Sadie has something I wish had. Sadie has a bearing, a confidence, a quietness, a contentedness, a peace about her. As I learned Sadie’s story, I understood where these qualities come from. Sadie was diagnosed with Stage II Neuroblastoma at the age of 3 months. Praise God, Sadie is now in remission.

Here on Predatory Lies, we have talked a lot about the privilege of pain. Certainly, no one would wish for Sadie’s struggles, hospital stays and the strain it placed on their family. But our Glorious Father has brought beauty from ashes and Sadie and her family have flourished into a sun-ripened, bountiful, life-filled field in the wake of her pain.

I am joining Sadie’s big sister Anna and the rest of their family at the Cure Search Walk for Children’s Cancer, on October 14. If you are able to join us – wonderful! If not, would you consider supporting CureSearch?

I can say with confidence that nearly everyone who reads this post has been touched by cancer in some way. I would be honored and grateful if you would join me as I join Sadie and her family in the fight.

P.S. Brave wants me to tell you that he’s walking too, and he would love your support!

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Does this ring true for anyone?

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Whatever It Takes

How badly do you want to be thin? What would you trade? Would being thin make you ultimately happy – even if you don’t really believe that  – do you think that? Would life be easier, happier, more fun, (add an adjective) if you were thin?

A recent study revealed that many women would give up a year of of their lives to be thin.

Another study discovered that most women would give up sex to be thin.

In April, the New York Times, reported on a new, disgusting trend. Women, mostly brides, in a last ditch effort to be thinner (and therefore in their perception: more beautiful on their wedding day, make that special day happier, etc.) have resorted to feeding tubes.

At first, I was shocked. I remember being inpatient for my eating disorder. One of the sweetest little girls I have ever met, greeted me at the facility’s entrance. Alicia became a quick confidant and encourager for  me. But it was hard to look at her without crying. Alicia was 12, but she had stopped growing when she was about 5. Because of her refusal to eat and seeming determination to starve herself, Alicia wore a feeding tube. This disfiguring device looked just like it sounds. A long tube ran up her nose into her stomach. It was taped in various places down her little body until it attached to a pole, nearly twice her height, where hung a plastic bag of liquid nutrients. Everywhere little Alicia went – to counseling sessions, to watch TV, on pass into the the little town nearby, to bed, to worship – everywhere, her tube went along.

Now, imagine a grown woman, preparing for her wedding day, strapped up with a feeding tube. A little more visually appealing, these brides carry around a purse with their “food” bag instead of Alicia’s pole. Nonetheless, they have a rubber tube snaking up the side of their face, through their nose and into their stomach – to supply them with starvation’s subsistence – a mere 800 calories. How far have we fallen?

Here are some other facts for your consideration:

2/3 of dieters regain the weight they lost within about 4 years of any diet

About 44% of women admit to being on a diet at any given moment

And guess what! Despite all our paranoia, drastic measures, social mores, fitness obsessions, fad diets and self help books, political intervention and endorsement – despite all these things, recently an advocacy group reported that by 2030, more than half of the population in the majority of states will be considered obese. So, apparently, our strategy isn’t working.

Happily, there’s a small, underground minority that is working hard to reverse the trend. Have you heard of Intuitive Eating? Sounds interesting and logical, doesn’t it?

How about a new book, by Greg Archer, whose provocative title (albeit accurate) I’ll encourage you to check into yourself.

Another wonderful person whom I consider a champion of this movement toward reprioritizing our weight, our diet, our life goals, is Emily Wierenga.  It was a recent article on her blog, Chasing Silhouettes, that launched me onto my soapbox again.

Enjoy her words of wisdom:

No longer [should food be] an object to be feared. It is a necessity to be enjoyed and embraced.  It is another form of communication, another way of sharing in this thing called life, of relating with other humans through a means devoid of words. It is the breaking of bread, which Christ calls us to.

So, as you wisely set health goals, lace up your sneakers, breathe deep during a jog or slice your paring knife through the pale green skin on a tart, fresh apple, wonder : Why am I doing this?

And then do whatever it takes to honestly answer that question with:

So that I might, “present [my] bod[y] as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [my] spiritual worship. [I will] not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of [my]mind, that by testing [I] may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2


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the art of eating

the art of eating.

I need to read this every day

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Weighing In…

I am sure that most people can relate and admit that there are times when you know you know you are “all that”. You have committed to a healthy lifestyle and have stuck with it for a whole week. You have gotten up before everyone else, gotten your workout in, and have a healthy breakfast on the table. You feel ready to conquer whatever will be thrown at you next. Then, your confident self, steps on the scale for a little extra validation of how great you are doing and then……… it all comes to a screeching halt.

Stepping on the scale does not always make us happy. There are times in our lives that the number that we are seeing does not compute with what we are doing in our everyday life and when that happens our motivation and mood can take a MAJOR nose dive.

It is at this point where your mindset can be a make or break. On a good day you assume that you’re retaining water, fat is turning to muscle and the next day it will be down. On those days it is just a number that will change with variables.

Other times a disagreement with the scale can leave you feeling like you’ve been kicked in the gut. You decide you’re a hopeless case who is never going to meet her health and fitness goals and make your way to the fridge. Or, maybe you’re prone to the opposite behavior and begin restricting your diet and run an extra five miles that day. Either way, there is no healthy escape.

We are all prone to either reaction on any given day. In order to foster a healthy attitude as we work on our healthy bodies follow these five pointers when you’re drawn to check the scale:

  1. Don’t weigh yourself every day. Many factors, especially water retention, can cause your weight to vary significantly from day to day. Don’t get sucked into those daily fluctuations in weight—your mood is likely to follow. Who needs another reason to be moody?
  2. Your weight can vary 2-4 pounds during the day so when you do hit the scale, do it at the same time each day. Morning, when you first get out of bed, is best since that’s when most of us are at our lightest.
  3. Be sure to use the same scale each time to weight yourself to avoid confusing accuracy with variance.
  4. Before stepping on the scale be sure to think through the consequences of meeting or not meeting your goal. Only step on the scale if you are confident you won’t let an unexpectedly high number defeat you.
  5. Chuck it (as in garbage can not against wall). Remember that your weight doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead of judging your progress by the number on the scale, gauge your success by how your clothes are fitting, your energy level, your body composition, or your general state of health.  After all, that’s  what living a healthy lifestyle is supposed to be anyway.
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I started to apologize that this post is appearing so late on the promised day. But truthfully, (if you live in Northern Virginia) I hope you were outside with me enjoying this delicious weather – not inside checking out blogs, Facebook, Twitter or otherwise.

Today was one of those days when fall begins an argument with summer. Summer is relentless, hateful to release it’s strangle hold on the thermometer. But fall has started to stealthily sneak in over night. Each morning is a little cooler, a few more leaves dust the ground and all of a sudden the sun is going to bed before nine’o’clock at night! I love this!

Every corner parking lot sprouts a farmers market. Plump pumpkins are pushing strawberries off the farmers’ tables. Hay bales are the new fresh flowers. Don’t you love autumn?

In honor of this most favored season (my personal opinion) I am going to share a new healthy pumpkin recipe that I have discovered. Actually, I just recently discovered Georgie and her blog. She has numerous delicious recipes, only a few of which I have had a chance to try yet. However, this pumpkin bread has been tested and proved true. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Bread that’s Good for You

3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup Splenda for Baking (or 2 tablespoons honey or stevia to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (or 1/2 cup cooked and pureed winter squash of your choice)
1 1/2 ounce walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil the inside of two mini loaf pans.

2. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and Splenda in a large bowl. I like to use a whisk to break up any lumps.

3. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, eggs and stir until combined. Gently fold in walnuts and scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until they feel springy on the top when touched.

4. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!

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Fighting Cancer One Race at a Time

Introducing Erin
Erin is a Mom who regularly attends Moms Who TRI bootcamp and is participating in the Taylor Love Triathlon. This past Monday she organized and hosted a kids triathlon (1oo swim, 1 1/2 mile bike, 1/2 mile run).  Ages 4-15 participated and it was a wonderful event. Erin and her family have quite a story which can be read and followed on The following is an entry Erin recently wrote regarding the upcoming triathlon. I invite you all to read it and be inspired like I was.
I know you haven’t heard from us in a while, but as long as we have this CaringBridge site, you can count on a journal entry or two in September because it’s CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. We’ve shared this fact many times, but it bears repeating: 36 children are diagnosed with cancer every day. Please take a second to really think about that. That’s 252 new diagnoses this week; 1,080 new diagnoses this month. Those numbers are staggering; they’re absolutely sickening when you start assigning names to them and realize that each of these precious children have a unique life and story.
You know Sadie Mae and what she has had to endure in her short lifetime because of cancer. Every year, 13,140 children, just like Sadie, embark on their own cancer journeys. Each of those children has loving parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, etc. And although the overall survival rate for children’s cancer has increased from 10% to 78% in the last 40 years, approximately 2,890 of those dear children who are diagnosed with cancer each year do not survive. I can’t even fathom what the depth of our grief would be if Sadie was one of those 2,890 children. It’s terrible, it’s unthinkable. It’s the truth: children are diagnosed with cancer and are dying from it. It’s got to change. Only research cures cancer and childhood cancer, in particular, is severely underfunded. That’s why we try to do our little part to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer.
This year our family is celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the actual month of September by participating in the Taylor Love Sprint Triathlon on the 16th. Anna is going to swim while friends Mike and Althea handle the biking and running. Ethan and I have been training for months, so it sounds silly to ask you to consider signing up now, just a couple of weeks before, but how about creating a relay team like Anna’s? If you think running 3.1 miles is no problem, find a friend who feels the same way about biking 15.4 miles and another friend who can easily swim 400 meters. There is no age limit for the swim as long as the participant can safely swim 16 laps and follow directions; the minimum age for bikers and runners is 14. Think about it. Seriously! It’s going to be a lot of fun. Sadie will be there to cheer us on.
We are also gearing up for our one and only major childhood cancer fundraiser this year – the Northern Virginia CureSearch Walk on October 14. We help to coordinate it, but Team Sadie’s Stars is all Anna’s. She will host her annual lemonade stand this weekend during the Burke Centre Festival, so please stop by on your way to or fro. As always, all donations will be sent to CureSearch in the name of Sadie’s Stars. The greatest satisfaction that Anna derives from the Walk every year is having all of her friends together in one place, supporting this cause about which she is so passionate. I can’t tell you how meaningful your participation is to all of us. Please mark your calendar and join us, if at all possible. We totally understand that it is difficult to attend on a Sunday morning and is nearly impossible for all of you out-of-towners. If that’s the case, would you consider being a “virtual walker” or simply make a donation to Anna’s team? We’ll do the walking for you! Search for “Sadie’s Stars” under Team Rank.
Finally, a medical update. I’d love to tell you that it has been smooth sailing since Sadie earned her remission status in the spring. Ethan and I were so thankful and wondered out loud to each other if we could really put the fear of cancer out of our minds. We tried. We made all sorts of fun plans for the summer and swatted down the nagging questions about possible late effects of treatment. The girls had been passing a stomach bug back and forth that presented with a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. At one point, Sadie had a high fever, but none of the GI issues; she would, however, whimper, “My chest hurts,” while clutching it. Who takes complaints like that from a new 3-year-old seriously? Our pediatrician does and ordered a chest x-ray. She thought that Sadie was developing pneumonia so she ordered an antibiotic and a follow-up x-ray a week later. That x-ray showed absolutely no improvement. What now? We rushed, carrying yet another suspicious x-ray, to the pulmonologist who originally found Sadie’s tumor sitting on the top of her right lung. Long story short, he does not suspect cancer. It appears as though Sadie has significant scarring in both lungs; one of the chemo agents she had likely is to blame. We were so relieved it wasn’t cancer. Then we were so sad that she was permanently damaged in this way. We will just have to watch her closely when respiratory illnesses pop up and make sure that they don’t get out of control. As Dr. Chester said (I’m paraphrasing): It stinks, but Sadie is here today. We will always feel terrible about the choices we had to make for Sadie when there really weren’t any good choices at all. Honestly, we hope and pray that the worst is behind us, but it feels as though we will never really be able to say that Sadie’s cancer journey is over.
We appreciate your continued prayers. Love Love, Erin
p.s. The first time I read about the triathlon on Taylor’s CarePage, I totally dismissed it. The next day, I actually had to find the message in my trash folder. So if you’re at all entertaining the thought of doing it with us, think about Sadie. When I’m swimming my laps, I like to picture Sadie frolicking in the pool. She truly is a spectacle. Sometimes we would hear audible gasps as she flung herself off the diving board and swam to the side of the pool. She seems to be part fish and absolutely loves the water. SWIM LIKE SADIE! When I’m biking, I like to picture Sadie seated on her tricycle. She zooms all around on that thing, but has not yet mastered the pedals. Although I think the “correct” way to ride it is to pedal, all she cares about is that she’s moving from point A to point B and is having a great time. BIKE LIKE SADIE! When I’m running (and usually bemoaning how much I dislike running), I like to picture Sadie running, arms flailing about. Like me, she’s not fast, but unlike me, she seems to delight in the mere fact that she is able to run. RUN LIKE SADIE! Don’t delete this message – you may want to access it tomorrow so you can sign up for the triathlon on September 16. 🙂
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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

What’s the one thing you never have enough of? What’s the one thing that if you had more of it, you’d do more of everything else you don’t do enough of? Good guess, it’s TIME.

At the risk of alienating another audience, I’m going out on a limb to suggest that moms probably have the least discretionary time of any people group. One of the first things to go in a tight schedule is exercise. It seems selfish, expendable and subjective, not to mention tiring, painful and difficult.

For years researchers have vacillated on their exercise recommendations. First it was long and slow – an hour a day at least. Then, it was fast and furious for as long as you can go. We idolized marathoners, triathletes and gym-rats. For a while we were told that long nature walks would do the trick. “Just take the stairs, or park far from your destination.”

What do you have to do to lose weight? What do you need to do for a healthy heart? Does anyone know?

A new study out of Denmark offers a promising perspective.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have shown that 30 minutes of daily training provide an equally effective loss of weight and body mass as 60 minutes. Their results have just been published in the American Journal of Physiology.

The study analyzed a group  of “average Joes.” These were sixty, 40-something men who were relatively healthy but still overweight. The study revealed counterintuitive information. Half of the group was instructed to exercise an hour a day, everyday for three months. The other half only worked out for 30 minutes. Neither group killed themselves. In fact, they were simply told to exercise to the point of breaking a light sweat. Three days per week they increased the intensity.

Google Images

At the end of three months, the 30 minute group had lost more weight than the hour-long exercisers! Both groups lost about the same body mass.

There are a number of different theories about these results. A leading suggestion is that the group who only exercised for 30 minutes had more reserve energy to spend being active throughout the rest of the day. Additionally, 30 minutes seems so doable. It is much easier to get motivated for half an hour of exercise than for a full hour.

So what does this mean for you, Busy Mom? It means no more excuses! It also means, quit beating yourself up if you’re not doing long runs training for a marathon. Quit thinking you’ll never reach your goals with your limited time. Quit thinking you’re slacking off and just make the absolute most of that sweat session!

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