Minimizing Miss Mustard Seed

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Food & Fitness, Miscellaneus86 Comments

As I mentioned in THIS POST, I’m making some changes in my life to be healthier and lose some weight.  I owned up to gaining 30 lbs since I started blogging.  I didn’t gain weight because of the blog.  I gained weight because I didn’t make my health a high priority. That changed last August when I kicked processed foods to the curb and became a vegetarian.  Some of you have asked for more details of what I did and what I am doing, so I thought I share.  Remember that I’m just sharing my decisions and my experience.  I know food can be a touchy subject (see the thread about baby carrots!), so you have to ultimately make the decision of what’s best for you and your body.

I watched three documentaries that changed the way I viewed food.  Food Matters, Forks Over Knives and Hungry for Change. (They are all available on Netflix as well.)  Don’t watch these if you like your fast food and diet sodas and sugar.  You’ll be bummed.  I was bummed, but then I was motivated.

Step one for me was cleaning out the pantry and fridge.  

I got rid of anything that contained MSG (which is fed to mice to make them fat, for goodness sake!), hydrogenated oils, corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup, and anything else I couldn’t pronounce or didn’t know what it was.  It was amazing how much of the food I ate everyday contained one or all of these ingredients.  Just look at the paragraph of ingredients in dried breadcrumbs!  Is all of that really necessary?  Anyway, I pitched what was open and gave away what was still sealed and hadn’t expired.  (I must say I felt a little bad about that.  “Here’s food I refuse to eat anymore, but you go ahead and eat it.”)  I know this step is hard.  It was hard for me to look at an almost empty pantry.  It was hard to waste food I had paid for.  It was hard to be so black and white.  You might decide to take the “phase out” approach (this is what I did with my kids) and the foods you decide to cut out might be different, but this is how I did it.

Step two was about replacing.

I started by replacing foods that I liked that were not healthy for me with foods that I liked that were healthy (or at least better) for me.  For example, I was a Diet Dr. Pepper addict.  I was cracking one open at about 10:00 am everyday and sipped on them until I went to bed.  I could go a few days without drinking any water.  Really.  I decided to go cold turkey and stopped drinking them.  I felt pretty crappy for about 2 weeks.  I had headaches, was cranky and craved them intensely.  I had no idea I was so addicted.  Then, I looked for a good replacement and found Clementine Izze.  It’s an all-natural, no sugar added soda.  Just fizzy fruit juice.  I know it’s still empty calories, but it was something that was better for me and it gave me that fizzy fix I needed.  I also started drinking a lot more water.  Now, I mostly drink water and have an Izze 2-3 times a week when I want something different.  The more water I drink, the more my body wants it.  It’s great.  Now a new, healthy habit has been established.

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I kept reminding myself that I’m not dieting, I’m replacing!  All-natural dark chocolate instead of candy.  Sliced red peppers and cheese slices instead of crackers and cheese.  Avocado instead of mayo.  I never felt deprived, because I was eating things I really liked anyway.  And I found some treats like Kettle Cooked Potato Chips.  I don’t eat them much anymore, but they were a nice way to transition.  I know they are fried white potatoes, but the ingredients were potatoes, oil and salt.  I didn’t lose a lot of weight in steps one and two – only about 4 lbs, but it wasn’t about weight loss.  It was about change and health.

The main focus of this stage was getting used to eating real, whole food.  Once healthy habits were established, I moved onto step three.

Step three was adding exercise.

If I’m going to exercise, I want to be sweating and exhausted when I’m done.  I don’t like to waste time with a fluffy workout, so I looked for an option that would fit my work schedule, would be challenging and would be working towards a goal.  I did a bunch of research and decided to start with the video workout series called P90x.

I’m three weeks in and I am really enjoying it.  It’s challenging.  It’s varied, so I don’t get bored.  It’s working me towards an end goal and I already see that I’m getting stronger, faster and more agile.  The best thing is that my husband decided to do it with me, so we’re pushing each other on.  He hates Plyometrics (jump training) and I hate Yoga, so we encourage each other through those DVDs. This works for me, because I can do it in my home whenever it’s convenient.  I loved taking classes at the Y, but I have to show up when the class is scheduled and it didn’t always work with what I had to do that day.  It was too easy to skip out.  I also wasn’t working towards a specific fitness goal.  I just took random classes I liked.  As a bonus, one of my readers is doing P90x also, so we’re keeping in touch AND another reader is a Beachbody coach, so she’s become my official coach. I have lots of support.

So, I worked my tail off the first week and ate healthy foods, but I gained a pound.  Bummer.  Time for step four.  This was the step I dreaded the most.

Step four – tracking calories.  

I hate this part.  I get sick of monitoring everything I put in my mouth.  I don’t want to weigh it and write it down.  I just want to grab a handful and enjoy.  The first day I tracked my calories, I realized why I had gained a pound.  I was eating more calories than I was burning.  I made some adjustments, steered myself towards better choices (again replacing, not depriving) and I lost two pounds last week.  As much as I hate this step, I need to do it and I need to make it as easy on myself as I can, so I stick with it.  I’m using two tools…

My Fitness Pal – It’s a FREE App for your iPhone that you can use to track your calories and exercise.   I did it for a few days and decided I would maybe track my calories a few days a week, so I didn’t get sick of it. Well, once I entered in my regular foods, recipes, meals and exercises, it was really easy, so I’ve been using it every day.  In the past, I tracked everything by hand, in a notebook, so it got exhausting.  Since the foods I eat most often are saved (and I’m a creature of habit), it’s just a couple of taps to add in my food.  Writing everything down helps me make better choices…especially when it comes to quantities.


The second tool I’m using was my birthday present – The UP Bracelet by Jawbone.

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 This bracelet does a lot of things.  It’s a pedometer, it tracks my sleep (light vs. deep, how long it takes to fall asleep, etc.) and it tracks my resting and active calorie burns.  How?  I have no idea, which is why I paint furniture and write a home decor blog instead of inventing cool gadgets.

There is an UP app for my iPhone and I plug the bracelet in to track everything from that app.

I don’t use it to track my food, because I like My Fitness Pal better, so I use the two apps together to make sure I’m staying in a calorie deficit each day.

 If you’re a goal-oriented, good-grade-getting kind of person, you would like this App.  I will make extra trips to the basement, march in place when I’m on the phone and walk around the church parking lot to make sure I get my 10,000 steps for the day.  I also make sure I get in bed early enough to reach my 8 hour sleep goal.  I’m really loving this gadget.

As I mentioned, I don’t like the food-tracker on their app, so I don’t use it.  Sometimes it tracks “steps” when I’m rolling up some jute webbing or moving my arm a lot, but am still sitting down.  Other than small stuff like that, I think it’s pretty accurate.  I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks, so we’ll see how it goes.


So, that’s what I’m doing.  Four steps to a minier-Miss Mustard Seed.  I do have some number goals in my head, but my main goal is to get the fittest I have ever been in my life and be at the place where clothes shopping is fun.  I have Christmas and birthday money I still haven’t spent because clothes shopping isn’t fun.  When I get yelled at for the Kohl’s charge bill, I’ve reached my goal.  (Just kidding, hon.)

I’m going to be even more transparent. I was hesitant to share about my health journey, because I’m afraid I’ll get side-tracked and I’ll abandon it.  Sharing it is a big step and I had to muster up some courage to take it.  Some of the things I’m trying might not work for me in the end.  Maybe they will.  Time will tell.  My blog is an outlet for me and this is a big thing going on in my life right now, so it seemed right to share, even though it has nothing to do with decorating.

But I guess this blog has always been about more than that, anyway, right?  🙂


Disclosure: I was not asked or paid to promote any of the products I linked to or wrote about in this post.  I did not receive any products for free or in exchange for advertising.  Some of the links are Amazon Affiliate links, so I am paid a percentage if you make a purchase through that link.

Minimizing Miss Mustard Seed

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86 Comments on “Minimizing Miss Mustard Seed”

  1. Good for you Marion! I am trying to eat clean and have done away with as much processed food in my diet as possible. Can’t wait to see where this road takes you 🙂

  2. Hey Marian!
    You sure are motivated and disciplined! That’s great that hubby is doing the P90X with you. I’d never let anyone see me exercise, lol!! Glad it’s going great, and I like the idea of that cool UP bracelet, a good way to track steps. I got a pedometer once and was shocked at how FEW steps I took when all along I thought that I run around all day!! All the best to you in your journey, I just started my spring cleaning diet, I am in the zone and not a chip in sight! It’s hard when you feed big hungry men, but I have lettuce where they have tortillas and bread!!

  3. Okay – you’re motivating me to stick with it! I made an announcement just yesterday to everyone within earshot of my desk that I wanted to be at my goal weight in 10 months. Yes, yes, I know it’s more important to be healthy and fit than at goal, but I’m so driven by how I look compared to everyone else (I work in the arts, people are funky and look good, it’s hard not to compare). I did P90X for about a month last fall and then stopped. I liked it, not sure why I stopped. I need to pick it back up. I also use My Fitness Pal and love it. We can do this!

  4. Good for you, Marian! We won’t let you get sidetracked! Promise. When it gets warmer and lighter at night, you can take walks as a family. Never give up! Ann

  5. I lost 30 lbs a little over a year ago and have managed to keep it all off. I like how I look and feel soooo much better than before so that is all the motivation I need. to keep it off. I viewed my weight loss as a lifestyle change rather than a diet and that was very helpful. I still keep track of what I eat, but only for educating myself on better choices. I use and it’s terrific!!

  6. I have been trying to loose weight as well. Have lost 6 lbs in a month, don’t know if thats really good or not. I like the bracelet, want to go check it . Thanks for the sharing, and the best of luck to you! You look great by the way so don’t be too hard on yourself. 🙂

    1. Gina – 6lbs in a month is good. A good guideline to use is that a safe, healthy rate of loss is about 1% of your total bodyweight per week. Any faster and you’re likely losing a lot of lean muscle mass.

      So for, say, a 160 lb woman, about 1.6 lbs a week on average would be right spot on, which is pretty close to 6 lbs a month.

      Slower is fine, of course, and some people do lose more slowly. But try not to go much faster than 1% of your bodyweight per week.

  7. Good on you Marian!

    I am finding myself thinking seriously lately about what I eat, and in particular, what I feed my children. They are 8 and 6. I ‘thought’ we were ok because I am a healthy weight/BMI, and the kids are little skinny minnies (just like hubby and I were as kids). A trip to the dentist last week was a reality check, one of my kids has 6 holes needing filling 🙁 Too many lollies are to blame, and not enough parental supervision/checking over tooth brushing. Mother of the year, I am!

    I like lollies, and so do they (who doesn’t?) But no longer will we have a weekly trip to the lolly shop on Fridays. I’m not cutting them out altogether, but just reducing significantly. Got to have some treats in life 🙂

    The other thing I want to cut right down on(or out completely) for the kids is processed meats (one eats ham, the other, salami, every day in their school lunch). One kid will eat salads etc but the other is fussy so that will be a challenge.

    I want to stop drinking so much fizzy (Coke Zero). While it might not have any calories, I know it isn’t good for me. We’ve been drinking fizzy water instead and really like it (the tap water here is awful…kids don’t seem to mind it though…they have always preferred water over any other drink so I am lucky with that).

    I started walking daily 3 weeks ago and wonder why it took me so long, I live in a beautiful beach village on the east coast of Australia and it looks like a postcard, with beautiful weather to boot…even in Autumn. I am really enjoying that, even though I think I’ve put on weight (muscle in my legs probably!))

    Anyway I’ve gone on long enough, sorry! I will look forward to hearing your progress 🙂

    xx Karen

  8. Well done on your changes and sticking to it. I changed how I eat about 5 years ago and lost nearly 100 lbs. I’ve slipped a little and let some things back in my eating that I need to cut out again – as an occasional treat they’re ok, but I’m moving into a regular habit again.

    I have a few thoughts for you:

    You said you’re subbing avocado for mayo, which is awesome (I love avocado) but you know homemade mayo is not bad for you and it’s super easy to make. Plus it tastes SO much better than storebought. I have a recipe on my site, but all you need are egg yolks, some kind of oil (I use half and half grapeseed and olive), and some lemon juice. I hated mayo until I started making my own.

    Also, I found that my craving for a Diet Coke was more about the fizzy than the flavor. I actually drink a lot of club soda now. I can wait for them to go on sale for $0.50 per 2 liter bottle at the grocery store and stock up. Now when I want a fizzy cold drink, I pour some club soda over ice. You can also make your own sweet sodas adding your own sweetened syrups or honey. (I make my own ginger syrup with honey and ginger and add that to my club soda sometimes.)

    If you ever really want a true cracker for a cheese and cracker snack, I highly recommend Carr’s water crackers. They have 3 ingredients: WHEAT FLOUR, VEGETABLE OIL (PALM), SALT. I don’t eat them often, but if I really need that crunchy, starchy thing with some cheese, they work well. Also they’re a little spendy, so I’m less likely to chow down on a whole pack and just save them for a special cheese and cracker treat with a glass of wine once in a while.

    Finally, I use the Bodymedia Fit device (which sounds very similar to the Jawbone bracelet, which I haven’t heard of before – but i’m off to go research). Knowing what my real life calorie burn is has been so eye opening and I strongly encourage everyone to use some kind of similar device. Even if you only wear it for a month and then sell it on Ebay – it’s SO worth it to know what your body really does instead of listening to the random misinformation and outright lies that are all over the web.

    Congrats on making such big, awesome changes. Good luck on the weight loss!!

    1. Congrats on losing 100lbs! What a huge inspiration that is. Good for you. Yes, I love knowing my burn rate each day. It’s nice to work with real numbers instead of guessing. I’ll have to try homemade mayo. I do still love mayo and eat it sometimes. It’s definitely not banned. 🙂

      Yes, I have bought the Carr crackers. Water crackers are my favorite. I also like the stone ground wheat crackers and those are all-natural, too.

  9. Good for you!!! Health is Wealth…and this is all about decorating. Redecorating your body. Be sure and post the picks when your ready. Carla

  10. Sounds like you’re off to a great start. One of the best ways of staying motivated to work out is to train for something. Then it doesn’t feel like work at all…it feels like steps towards accomplishing something. My husband is training for a Spartan race and before he started training he worked out but it always felt like work. Now he is more motivated than ever and in the best shape of his life. Good luck on your journey to better health.

  11. I am always encouraged by you. It’s not only encouraging to read the things you are doing, but also to hear that you were timid about sharing because of your fear of getting off track. I’ll bet a lot of your readers, including myself need to hear that part of your story. Thanks, Marian!

  12. I have started doing this. I checked out the paleo diet which is similar to what you are doing. Using wholesome foods without additives trying to steer away from prepackaged foods. No grains. You can opt to keep in dairy, lots of protein and lots of fruits and veggies. I have been trying to drink more water since January. Thanks for sharing ….I really struggle with weight loss and the few times I have lost 22 pounds I get stuck there and then gain back more than I lost.


  13. I’m happy for you that you have maintained your commitment and are seeing results. That P90X yoga is truly agonizing. I think it is how L O N G it is that always got me. The P90X2 version is only 1 hour and much more bearable. I love doing the plyo but I have to modify it quite a bit for my knees. I guess LOVE is kindof a strong word….Glad you have a good support group going. I want you to know that I have a masters degree in health promotion and exercise science and have considerable experience with individual health management – so if you find that you need anything beyond what they can help you with, please let me know if I can help.

  14. Good for you! I have been doing a similar path with my eating but the thing that really helped me was that I stopped eating gluten starting in February. I was suspicious I had a problem with it and I felt it would be good for my health to rid myself of it. I cannot believe how much better I feel even though I had been doing so many good things with food. By the way, even though I lost weight before this change I have lost more that 10 pounds since I eliminated gluten! So good luck and I love your blog.

  15. My Fitness Pal has made all the difference for me! I was grossly underestimating the calories I was consuming (like 3,000 instead of 2,000). And it is great for tracking my exercise. I have 2 young kids, will be 40 in a few months and I am in the best shape of my life.
    I am looking forward to hearing about your progress. You go, Mini Mustard Seed!

  16. Congrats!! Keep up the good work! And….I have some fun waters for you:
    Put a pitcher of water on your counter (cold is harder for the body to absorb) and add:

    sliced lemons and cucumbers
    sliced strawberries and mint
    lime juice and fresh rosemary
    a bit of pureed watermelon, mint and lime juice

    Promise you they are all super yummy! Thanks for the motivation!!

  17. Good luck!! I think we bring the most glory to God when we are healthy and feeling good. I know this is important for you. Thank you for sharing with your readers. 🙂

  18. So glad that My Fitness Pal is working for you! I find it helpful when I’m on the brink of eating one too many cookies or wavering about whether I’m going to exercise that day to remind myself that it’s the small choices, taken cumulatively, that result in transformation. Try not to worry too much about whether you can sustain this effort for the long term; rather focus on making those seemingly small, everyday choices that make the difference. You can do it!

  19. I saw your post title on another blog’s sidebar and decided to investigate. Great steps you’re taking; I decided on whole foods about a year ago and now cook and bake from scratch. Don’t know if I could give up meat entirely but have limited red meat for quite some time.
    I’ve been using My Fitness Pal on my iPad & Macbook where the info is synced. (don’t have an iPhone)
    The bracelet looks enticing and I’ll check it out. My biggest failure for losing weight is to regularly track my food and like you said, a little handful of this or that won’t hurt – wrong! if I could lose pounds with weight watchers, I’m sure I can do it again, for free this time. (it all came back)
    Your post has inspired me to try harder and record everything I put in my mouth.
    Thank you.

  20. Good for you! I cut out sugar last week – which includes all breads – I am living on nuts and salads and beans and meat – but I feel a bit better. Still cranky from the sugar detox – once I am sure the detox is over, I’ll add back healthy carbs – like whole wheat or dark chocolate. I was too, too, too addicted to sugar.
    I am going to make my family watch the documentaries you suggested.

  21. Wow Marian, good for you! I know I’m in serious need of exercise, I’ve denied it as long as I could, but I guess it’s time. We’re trying to eat as healthy as possible (o but chocolate is sooo good), my next step should definitely be: action. Not the ‘I’m-so-busy-with-three-small-kids’ action, but the ‘Stop-kidding-yourself-and-get-moving’ action. I’ve started to read the book ‘Made to crave’, realizing that a change of heart (and mind) is what I need first. Then I have to come up with a plan I know will work for me (no more excuses). Thank you so much for sharing your journey, it’s an inspiration!

    1. I lost 35 lbs after I had my second son and as I started my business. It was hard, but I ran all over the place with my boys and often “bench pressed” my youngest. I exercised all day. 🙂

  22. So glad you got your UP! I have mine set to vibrate if I’m idle for more than 45 minutes. It reminds me it’s time to get up and move around and get some steps in. I also love that you can team with friends to encourage one another. It’s such a fun little gadget.

    Thank you for sharing your health journey with everyone. I did the same with my facebook friends back in January. It was hard to put my business out there about my weight loss goals and my quest to do a complete life style change. However, it was time for accountability for me. Each week, I weigh in and post my success. My friends and family have been so encouraging and it has motivated others to jump in and make changes too. We have several friends that have cancer or in remission. If these beautiful ladies have been so brave to fight their battles with cancer, the least I can do is get healthy and fight my battle with weight. It’s because of them that I changed my eating habits. We have started a facebook page for eating healthy. Everyone posts health tips and recipes. We are doing friends fun walks and many are starting to enter 5K races and warrior dashes. Together, my high school buddies have started a health movement and bringing new meaning to being 50 and fabulous! Some of us are still holding at 49 (or at least for a few more months). LOL

    I commend you and look forward to reading more about your success. Let me know if you have any questions about your UP bracelet.

  23. You are awesome, I am so glad you shared,because it isn’t just about the decorating although that ranks up there pretty high. Knowing that you share the same issues as all the rest of us make you mortal and it’s nice to know that you are. Tho I was thinking you you were pretty angelic and super human with all that you accomplish in a days time. Good luck with your health changes. They seem very reasonable and a much better fit for you as well as your family. Smashing that the hubby is on board. Nothing says accomplishment any better than companionship!!!!

  24. Congratulations on making steps to healthier eating. I too was eating a lot if processed foods…mostly for convenience. When my daughter and her two children lived with us for a few months we had to eat nothing but “clean” foods. My grandson is allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs, soy….you name it he can’t eat it. Anyway we ate what he could ….lots of lean meats, fruit and Veggies. Everything Gluten free. In 6 months I dropped 40 lbs! I feel like a different person! Not as tired and sluggish! I like to say I sleep better but that’s a whole other story! I send you lots if encouragement ! Check the site for some really great recipes. Cooking is actually fun again! Best wishes, Joy

  25. Good on you! I’ve made similar changes this year (turning 50 this summer will do that to a gal!) and you’re smart to do it while you’re younger.

    You might get a kick out of this cartoon: There’s an overweight patient standing in his boxers on his doctor’s office scale. The doc says, No, Mr. Smith; you seem to be retaining FOOD.

    I like to remind myself of this when I say I’m feeling “puffy.” It’s not water weight, it’s food weight.

  26. Congratulations on making this huge life change! I too have struggled with putting my own health as a major priority. I also watched the same food documentaries (as well as others…I got a little obsessed) and was horrified at what I was putting in my body unknowingly. It actually made me a little angry. I vowed then and there to make huge changes and it really does make you feel like a different person. I log my calories on the same app, and I love it! I have wondered about the UP bracelet since I first saw it a couple of weeks ago. It sounds like that might be my next purchase in my road to a better me 🙂 Thanks so much for your transparency. Being accountable is the biggest motivator to me too.
    Many blessings,

  27. I’m not a big water drinker either, but I drink a lot now, what I do is cut an organic lemon in slices, then add it o a glass pitcher of water in the fridge, I love it, it’s like lemonade but no sugar & after a while you don’t even miss the sugar, hope this helps

    ps: love, love, love your blog, I’ve been reading it every day for about 6 months now

  28. Aww, this is so awesome for you!! And I’m happy to be reading about your journey and cheering you on. I plan to try a similar path as yours after I deliver my bean in Nov. I kindof dread my “dates with Tony” again but his program works. Keep it up Missy Mustard Seed;)

  29. The Monday after Valentine’s Day my husband and I started a ten day detox. Since then we
    have eliminated all wheat and sugar from our diet. No counting calories. I have lost
    ten pounds and my husband has lost twenty pounds. My skin has cleared up, I am not
    hungry between meals and feel terrific. I recommend reading the book “Wheat Belly”.
    It has changed our lives!

  30. Marian, I am proud of you for the health decisions you have made. It will pay off in time!

    I have been using My Fitness Pal also and I love it. It just opens your eyes to how many calories you are consuming without even realizing it.

    Wish me luck, my 24 and 17 year old daughter’s and I are starting the Insanity workout today. I keep saying I’m 45, I can’t do it, but they say I have to try harder. I have been walking/jogging with my oldest recently and I feel so much better. I can feel a difference in my weight and energy level. I will be participating in my first 5K this June and I am excited!

    We need to remember that our bodies are the Temple of the Lord and we need to take care of ourselves!!

    Thanks for always inspiring me!

  31. Hi Marion
    I too kicked bad food to the curb after forks over knives and reading dr. Furhman, the china study and engine 2. I have been vegan for over 4 years now and my block was cheese. I went cold turkey and never looked back. So excited for you.

  32. I have been making small changes, one per month. I feel if I make a small change that I know I can handle (such as cutting soda or fat free coffee creamer instead of full fat) then I can lose weight the healthy way. If I quit everything and start eating nothing but veggies (which I hate) all at once then I’ll last a week and be right back where I started. I have a 5 yr old at home with me and don’t have the luxury of going to the gym or getting a sitter but this summer I can start exercising and she will start school in the fall which will really help! I have 40 lbs to lose.
    I’m going to look into that bracelet and those videos. thanks 🙂

    1. Yep, that’s how I started. Small changes over about 8 months and now I’m ready to take it further. I’m doing so much better now that it’s a genuine life-style change and not a crash “I’m going to start on Monday” kind of diet.

  33. I love, love my jawbone!!! I considered telling you about it, but I thought anyone who took on P90x would be too hardcore to like it. I love the step counting, all other pedometers fell off me and I can’t count the number of times I’ve reset them by catching them while they were falling. The sleep tracking is very helpful as well. I’ve had sleep problems since having to go on complete thyroid replacement about 32 years ago. This app follows my sleep so well that I’m able to figure out various things that affect it. It’s been a huge help to me.

  34. Congratulations on your new diet, I wish you luck. Its a good thing.
    I am asking people to pray for Boston, we are going through a tough time
    because of the terrorist bombs. Please pray for healing, its a hard
    time for everyone around here.
    We lost a child, a young woman and another student and hundreds lost limbs. The most
    important marathon was ruined by these horrible incident.
    People trained very hard for this, my neighbor runs everyday for hours to train, she finished to encounter blood all over, smoked, people yelling with pain. It is a tragedy.

    Thanks Marion for requesting the prayers.


  35. I really enjoyed reading your post and wish you all the best in your health journey! I love that you are focusing on health versus weight loss. Yours is a story so many women can identify with and I love that you’re using your blog to inspire others so make positive changes in their activity levels and take control of their nutrition! And best of all, you are not trying to kid yourself. Too many calories in to our mouths, no matter how hard we’ve worked out (and think we “deserve” it) equals weight gain. And all that extra weight not only makes it hard to shop for clothes but is toxic for our bodies, as well. So bravo to you and keep up the good work! I admire your courage, thanks for sharing!!!

  36. P90X is the best! Hope you enjoy it, my husband and I have been doing it for years. I’m going to have to ask for the jawbone for my birthday! Congratulations on the big changes!

  37. COOL! Someone’s probably already mentioned this, but maybe try a smoothie a day. I make them with vanilla almond milk, spinach or kale, and then add fruits and berries. I’m sure it will be a help that you’ll be updating us, just knowing that people will be cheering you on and want an update, and knowing you’ll have to report will help keep you honest. Looking forward to it 🙂

  38. Wow, that bracelet looks cool! I want one! I think the way you are “dieting” by changing your lifestyle and taking it one step at a time is brilliant, and the very best way to get into the shape you want. I like that you are not denying yourself stuff, you are just changing what the stuff is… really smart. This is sooo gonna work… i mean, it clearly already is. And can you believe all the unnecessary crap that they put in food. There are so many good things to eat without all the hydrogenated fat, and msg. Have you even tried real maple syrup, it’s heavenly, and even good for you!


  39. I HATED drinking water. But heard about all the bad stuff in diet soda, so switched to water containing a few drops of Young Living Essential Lemon Oil and some liquid SweetLeaf Stevia. I’m surprised how easy it was to get off the pop as well as how much I LOVE the water!

    Going to check into that bracelet!
    Thanks 🙂

  40. Girl,
    You just got it goin’ on!!! Your honesty, transparency, whatever you call it. I call it real….thanks for that.


  41. oh marian, i can feel the love and conviction in this post. i love what you’re doing and know i can do better with eating and exercise too. we all can. i don’t even have the weight to lose, but my heart and other organs are depending on me to take good care of them.

    thanks for being transparent. thanks for the heads up on this new technology. cheering you on!


  42. Thank you for sharing this…I know how hard it was. I shared my own weight loss story last fall and I almost puked after I hit the publish button. Seriously. I was 100% honest so some of it wasn’t pretty. I too counted calories. Obsessively at times! It took me 2 years but I lost 40 lbs. The very best result was that my health improved and major issues I was having just disappeared. Keep the faith Marian. I wish you good health!!

  43. I just wanted to say, ‘keep up the good work!’ I too am doing P90X. I have had a weight gain of 25 lbs over the past 10 years, am in menopause at 53, have hypo-thyroid and adrenal fatigue. I am always tired, especially after working out. I just started working out a few days a week with an outrigger team at our local ocean harbor. This makes me feel so young, but the next day I am exhausted.

    I have changed my diet significantly as well and will go back to My Fitness Pal to track my calories. (Thanks for the reminder!) I use a heart monitor/calorie device when working out to track my calories, etc. I notice I gain weight because I am building muscle. It IS a wonderful feeling to have strength and sore muscles. It’s a feeling of well being and health that I love.

    Many blessings to you on your journey, Marion.

    Maria Ricci

    1. Sounds like you are dehydrated the day after your big workouts. Several thousand units of D3 helps also. Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy (Cancer) has now been diagnosed with adrenal problems, so has several posts about it. Good luck and don’t give up. I haven’t lost much weight, either, but am getting suoer strong.

  44. You can do it! I am going through a similar thing where I gained 25 lbs. back (after I had lost it twice before!) since I’ve been blogging-and you’re right, it’s not due to the blog. I’ve changed my lifestyle recently (and tried a few times before and was discouraged) by watching my calories (I’m a food blogger and surrounded by temptation), working out about 4 times a week and I gave up pop as well. I too didn’t get much water in a day but that’s much better these days. I’m down 8 lbs. in this first month! P90X is a good one. I also enjoy Chalene Johnson programs like Turbo Jam. Gotta agree with you again and say if I’m not drenched in sweat it’s not good enough. Slim in 6 from Debbie Siebers is a top pick of mine. Seems basic and kind of boring (until you put on your tunes) but effective and I’ve never felt pain like that the following few days. Ouch! So, we can do it and you sound like you’re doing amazing! Keep it up! If you need any recipes let me know. I have a number of them now from past lifestyle changes (not diets) and today. Plus, I’m always looking for new ones and calculating the calories.

    1. Water is the key to health. I sound like a crazy, but I live in the mountains half the year, so I am always thirsty. If you weigh 150 lbs, you need half that in ounces of water a day. 75 ounces. I have a bottle of water with me at all times, especially in the car. It really helps.

  45. awesome! I love MFP – I lost 30 lbs cleaning up my diet ans using it to become aware. However I went off it for about a year and have gained 20+ back – eek. Time to get back on the bandwagon. Love the barcode reader on it – even produce is barcoded nowadays if it’s from the grocery

  46. Getting in excellent physical shape can seem daunting…sooo much info, books, diets, do-hickies to track this & that.
    Just 2 simple steps will get you there…eat less & move more! And if you don’t do that for one day just start again tomorrow. YOU can move “mountains” ~ you certainly can loose 30 pounds.
    Good luck!!

  47. Hi Marian Congratulations on your life style change. Everybody is different so our metabolisms work differently. I can only imagine how hard it’s been since you have so much on your plate daily to tend to.
    Last year I lost about 20 lbs. due to curtailing all the junk we’d been eating continually. I also have hypothyroidism, born with thyroid not working at all so my weight has been an issue for me since I was a young woman. Seemed once I started having children boy did I gain weight. I had 3 kids in 4 yrs. then another at almost 30.
    Last Spring and Summer we spent much time outdoors cleaning out our shed and all the “stuff” in it. What a job. It was hot and I drank sun tea and water continually, good direction. We also did not have the money to buy junk let alone having enough to buy groceries so that meant we had to ration what we ate to make it last. We’re on SS, I’m 72 as of last July and hubs is 71 as of Oct. Our shed is down below our house, have to go up and down a slight decline that seemed to help also as I was hauling a wagon full of “stuff” up the hill all that time. I didn’t even realize I was losing weight until I went to put on some of my summer clothes and they were all big, YAY. I’ve kept it off but it’s starting to creep back on just couple lbs. but I’m doing what I can to stop that right away. I can’t do some exercising due to back, leg and shoulder problems but I do what I can without hurting myself. I’ve gotten more flexible and stronger. I still need to work on the french fries and sweet stuff but that’s in progress also. Maybe you’ve inspired many of us to think about food and our health more, always a good thing.
    Good for you for realizing what direction you were heading and making good food decisions, I’m sure we all need to be more observant what’s going into our bodies and our families. Keep up the good work.

    1. JaneEllen – Get in a pool. There must be one near you somewhere. Water aerobics has changed my life. I have actually improved my bone density with the pool alone, no drugs. These days the classes are different, you wear shoes for bouncing, you don’t wear weight belts. A lot of hospitals have pools they use for rehab. They also have classes for the rest of us. Many nursing homes have exercise classes where you sit in a chair. You can do that also. French fries will kill you. About 700 calories in each serving. I am 66, you can improve at our age. Keep going! Ann

  48. I feel like we have been on the same journey. I did P90X last year for a few months and not only lost weight, but got in the best shape of my life. It is HARD!! You do need someone else to do it with to stay motivated. Try some of the recipes – the Island Pork Tenderloin Salad is one I have made over and over.

    I also tried My Fitness Pal this year when I started to gain weight. Normally I hate to track calories, because it makes me obsess about food (even more than I usually do!). But the app makes it super simple and fast. I stopped tracking for a while, but your post has given me the incentive to start again.

    Good luck!

  49. Woooo Girl!!! Congrats on making it three weeks of P90X! I made it maaaaybe one week. That is BRUTAL. I’ll stick to running. Good luck on your new life journey!

  50. I too have gained about 30 lbs. in the last 10 years. I have had some health issues recently that are screaming at me to do something! I have started by trying to get off the soda ( I am also an addict) and am down to 1 a day. I am making healthier food choices and I am putting in a garden so that I can eat fresh and healthy, too. At 51, I am finding this isn’t easy, but necessary. Thank you so much for sharing you journey. I know you can do this and are on your way to a better, healthier you! Keep talking about it… I find that it keeps a person on track! 🙂

  51. One pound bag of dried garbanzo beans…soaked overnight…drained the next morning…dump into roasting pan…drizzle with 1 tbl EVOO, cracked sea salt, cracked pepper and roast until done. It’s one thing I do for myself to keep from eating junk; it’s replaced most of the junk and is a lot healthier than junk.

  52. Congratulations on making those tough changes. I’m on the same journey and i love my fitness pal! I been making better food choices for myself and family but haven’t added exercise consistently yet due to illness. I know how hard it is to find vegetarian recipes that your family will eat but my hubby and kids both love this recipe – it only takes about 15 minutes to make. I found it on Bon appetit’s website. Search for Chana masala – it an Indian chickpea dish that is filling and awesome! Being such a busy girl I thought you might appreciate a super fast veggie gourmet meal! Keep up the good work! You’ve inspired me to get moving. That’s what I love about your blog…it’s always inspiring no matter the subject. Thanks Marian!

  53. I watched those same 3 documentaries on Netflix and I’ve made radical changes, too! I’m feeling much better. Also, I know exactly what you mean about giving away the food that you have decided is unhealthy. But the folks who got it all seemed happy and they think I’m a bit of a nut for giving the stuff up. One more thing – a great breakfast I’ve just discovered. I don’t eat process cereal anymore and really missed the ease of it. Now I have a cereal of my own without any grains at all. Just pick out 2 different types of nuts and put a scoop of each in a bowl. Add fresh fruit and almond milk. A dash of cinnamon and a bit of vanilla make it even better. It’s wonderful, fast and easy and the only iffy ingredients are those in the almond milk. I hope to get back to making my own almond milk one of these days – then this cereal would be PERFECT.

  54. I rarely comment but felt compelled after reading your post. You are very brave to share your story. It is very difficult to own up to an unhealthy lifestyle. About a year ago, I decided to no longer live that way. I started going to a crossfit gym and cut out all processed garbage from my diet. 80 pounds later I had minor surgery and started to fall back into my old bad habits. I put on a few pounds but turned it back around after the holidays and am back to losing weight again. It just shows what a journey leading a healthy lifestyle is. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you are not alone, to know that other people are facing the same obstacles in life. Great post, you are brilliant no matter the subject matter!

  55. Oh Marian, you are on the right track girl. I started walking everyday and using ” My Fitness Pal” at the same time about a year ago. I lost 35 lbs in four months. I also kicked the diet soda cold turkey and started drinking tea sweetened with Stevia. As you said, it was hard for a couple of weeks but then everything got easier. I was doing great but my husband had a health crisis and I backslid while dealing with his problem ( he is ok now). I regained all but 5 lbs. and have just started walking and watching what i eat again. My advice is be persistent and try not to let anything interfere with your plan. It is easy to think its ok to have one soda or one cookie but in my case it just doesn’t work. I think MFP rocks and I like that it gives you extra calories for working out. Now I’m going to find a Jawbone bracelet.

  56. Last year my husband developed a corn allergy and we had to cut out anything made with “corn” & MSG in it. Almost everything has corn of some form in it, even salt. I too gave food away. I also had a diet drink addiction. About 3 weeks ago I had the flu and couldn’t drink them and haven’t had one since. I drink water now, something I never did and hope never to go back to drinking diet drinks. I feel so much better. As a bonus I no longer crave “sweets.”

  57. I’m really proud of you for making your health a priority and for being so diligent! It’s not easy being as transparent as you are, but honestly, I don’t like it when bloggers only show all the perfect stuff…as pretty as it is…this is real life too! Love it! Thanks for sharing your journey. You are very inspiring!!! I’ve always been sort of a health nut myself, but it’s amazing how many “levels” there are. Just when you think you’re healthy there’s something else you need to take out of your diet. Ha! Do you ever feel that way? I don’t see it as discouraging though (and I really want to watch those videos on Netflix) but a challenge. Healthy living is a huge interest of mine, but like you said, everybody has to do what works for them. One person’s health regime will differ from the next. Anywho…!

    Have a blessed day!


  58. I am so proud for you MMS, and I thank you for sharing your healthy changes journey. I watched a documentary by President Clinton’s doctor (after he had his heart attack). I can’t remember that doctor’s name, but I am sure he pleaded the Vegan cause as well, because it was the first time I considered it.

    I will watch those documentaries soon, and see if I can add to the many changes I have already made towards healthy eating.

    Thank you for your inspiration!


  59. woo! get it! I love when people realize how horrible our food system is. Read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. Also, if you ever want to have a healthy chat/b!tch session about HOW MUCH CORN SYRUP is in EVERYTHING, you know where to find me 🙂

    PS: If your bread has 18 ingredients…is it really bread?
    PPS: Hooray for vegetarianism!

  60. Oh, I so want that bracelet! My family doesn’t need to loose any weight (except me ) but I have decided to clean up our eating too. One day I just looked at all the ingredients in the food we eat and was disgusted. Now I try and make it myself or I look for things with “real” ingredients like your chips. I replaced all my mixes with DIY ones that I found online like ranch dressing, taco mix, and gravy mixes. They are the worst X P

  61. Keep us posted on the UP bracelet. I’ve never heard of it and interested to see how you like it over time. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers but haven’t been very good about tracking my activity.

  62. You should be proud!! This is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of determination and HARD work.

    I know because I have lost 10″ in my waist, 7″ around the caboose and 2″ around my thighs since I started working out in November and changed my diet. I work out 6 days a week. An hour for 3 days and 1 1/2 for the other 3. I call it going to the Torture Chamber. My husband always tells me to have a good time. My response is always if it was fun everyone would be doing it.

    I too use MyFitnessPal. I love it! I am down 3 dress sizes and can’t wait to meet my goal. Keep up the great work and I think it’s awesome that your husband is doing the workouts with you!!

  63. Thank you SOOO much for sharing your journey! Thanks to some health issues, Prednisone and being in my 40’s… I’ve gained about 40lbs. over the past 5 years. I’m doing MUCH better now, but have lost my motivation as well as my stamina! I SO need this type of information and inspiration! Keep up the great work. I pray I can get going myself! 🙂

  64. It is always nice to see what other’s are doing to get healthy. I found that I had a similar experience as you did going off Diet Dr. Pepper. Mine was Pepsi! Boy, my poor family could barely stand me. That was months ago. I like drinking water with lemon. I also love drinking fruit tea. I am going to start juicing as I kick the junk food habit. Best Wishes with your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

  65. I’ve been behind in reading the posts, but I had to stop and say, “Yea! for Marian!” I am so proud of you! I have been hoping and praying for this revelation and action for you since your surgery last year (wasn’t it last year?) How amazing that one of the same films that influenced us (Forks Over Knives) was also action-prompting for you. God has used you to inspire and bless so many folks, and I think it’s only fitting that this be one of the next steps in your ‘becoming’ and growing …. and helping others to do the same. With so many influential people in our world using their powers for “less than good”, THANK YOU! for being prayerful and considerate of how you use yours. Can’t wait to see what God does with you in your new abundant health and vibrance, Marian!

  66. Great Job Marian! That’s great that you’ve made so many healthy changes. I have a similar journey. Beginning in Jan 13 I gave up drinking diet soda cold turkey. I also started doing the BB program Turbo Fire. I finished 90 days of that and had lost 15 inches and 15 pounds. i was so thrilled that I immediately started the Insanity program and am running a small challenge group of people doing Insanity. I am really loving the BB programs and the inspiration and energy I get from getting people together for a healthy cause. So happy for you! I’m sure you will have bumps in the road but with all of us here to cheer you on, you can’t help but be successful!

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