The journey...

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

~Jillian Michaels

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pure water...

Today I prompted a "Water Intake Challenge," encouraging others to shoot for 64 oz or MORE of water today. It's always exciting when you know there are others out there striving for a similar goal.

Something about today's challenge really caught my attention though. There were several willing and excited parties to partake in this H20 extravaganza, however, many wanted to question the "rules."

"Can you count V8 fission as water?"
"Does it only have to be water?"
"Does Crystal light count?"
"What about tea?"

I remember hearing those exact same questions the day the certified nutritionist at the gym talked about water consumption in our free nutrition class. More than any other topic, questions began flooding the room when he mentioned drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day..."What about flavored water, what about kool-aid, what about sugar free tea, what about lemonade, what about coffee, what about blah blah blah..."

EVERYONE wanted to know a way around drinking just fresh.pure.plain WATER.

Some benefits of WATER:
  • Keeps your body hydrated
  • Flushes toxins from our bodies
  • Helps fight bad breathe
  • Helps curb appetite
  • Helps regulate body temperature
  • Helps transport nutrients and oxygens to cells
  • Boosts metabolism - HUGE for those of us trying to lose weight!!!
So why do we try to taint this healthy, odorless, tasteless, much NEEDED refreshment? Doesn't it do it's job alone of satisfying? Why does it have to be water + something else? Doesn't that change the very properties of water? Why alter something that is already perfect in it's natural state?

I won't even go into talking about the children in 3rd world countries who would give their last penny for some fresh.pure.plain drinking WATER.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm totally guilty of this attitude myself -- go to my house right now and there are 3 different boxes of flavored mixes to "spike" my water. I've neglected to appreciate it and accept it simply "as it is."

I think all-to-often in life we try to "add something else" to what is already good.

Ya know, all of this deep thought got me and my mind that lives in the world of analogies thinking. There is a story in the Bible about a woman at a well fetching water. Jesus approaches her and tells her that He will give LIVING water that causes people to NEVER thirst again! He says this water will be INSIDE of them. Pretty cool huh?

How many of us find ourselves looking back to Jesus and saying, "I want that living water + something else though?" We try and take that fresh.pure.plain LIVING water and add a little "flavor," a little "pizazz," a little "excitment," to the incredible (much NEEDED) refreshment Jesus has come to offer us. How often does it seem like people want JESUS + sin? GOD + compromise? PURITY + filth? HEAVEN + the world and all it has to offer?

Some benefits of LIVING water:
  • Replenishes your SOUL
  • Helps reject sin and temptation
  • Helps transport good news to the body
  • Helps HEAL you
  • Gives you HOPE for your future (namely eternal)
  • BOOSTS faith
Why do we like to taint what has already been made good?

I encourage each of YOU to start filling your bodies with fresh.pure.plain WATER for your physical health AND to seek the fresh.pure.plain living water that will satisfy your soul.

Verse of the Day:

John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Friday, February 19, 2010


Yesterday I had the honor of being featured on Judi Finneran's online newsletter. If you have time, go check out her newsletter for helpful tools, insite, recommendations, recipes and can read my story too. *smile*

So how does this relate to my blog title? Don't mistake it for her website because her website ROCKS!


So I don’t know why I find this absolutely COMICAL, lol, but it was classic enough that I just needed to share with some friends and NOW my blog readers as well.

I got a sweet message from a lady yesterday in response to being featured in Judi's newsletter, she was asking if I know a particular person. Apparently he posted a response saying I didn’t lose my weight naturally and what Judi posted was “not true.” But this is the part that absolutely CRACKS ME UP - she told me that he said, he read in the TABLOIDS that I had my stomach stapled...


The sweet lady (doesn’t even know me mind you – but sweet because she trusted what she knew “of me” enough to defend me), she responded to him saying it was not true and he wrote back to her saying, It’s none of your business, I'm only stating what I READ.”


Then she reported him to Facebook and apparently he was blocked!


EQUALLY FUNNY was my manager's response:

"That is great because I always look at the pictures on the tabloid while I wait to checkout. I never once saw you on the cover and this sounds like a cover story. I will have to start reading them while I’m in line. If find it I will buy it for you…. You know you were in the fitness magazine so maybe he got the story confused with someone else. You do resemble the Olson twins. You know being blonde and all."

Loved it enough that I thought I’d share with all of Y-O-U who’ve been there with me along the journey!

Hope it made your Friday too! Thanks again for supporting me…I mean through all my hidden surgeries and all!

ps. Let me know if any of you get a hold of that tabloid, I'd LOVE to read it. :)

Verse of the Day:

Proverbs 12:17
"Truthful witness by a good person clears the air, but liars lay down a smoke screen of deceit."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

KFL Valentine's Banquet

Before I get into a subject that is VERY dear to my heart, I wanted to include the picture above. Last year I attending Kansans For Life's annual Valentine's Benefit Banquet. It was two weeks into my weight loss journey when this very REAL, very SHOCKING, very EYE-OPENING picture featured to the left (above) was taken. WOW! I dropped my first 10 pounds and was weighing nearly 330 at the time. The picture shown to the right was taken two nights ago at the same banquet holding the same dessert from last year. I don't know if I'll ever stop looking at split photos and being left speechless! GOD IS GOOD!

Now, what is this "KFL Valentine's Banquet" you may ask. Kansans for Life is a non-profit organization that exists to spread the truth about the PRO-ABORTION movement and bring about legal justice for the innocent baby boys and girls who are being robbed of life.

I was initially going to write an informative message on how BRUTAL and violent the act of murder, legally known as "abortion" is and how 3700 babies are snatched from what should be the safest place in the world for them - the womb - and their lives are prematurely ended because of what we like to call a CHOICE in America! Instead of getting into all of that I decided to bring this a little closer to home today.

In late October, I was honored to receive a phone call that nearly brought me to tears! I answered to the voice of a 6 year old that I had grown to love and cherish who had a really IMPORTANT question to ask me.

Connor: *nervous* "Mesha, I was wanting to know if anything were to ever happen to Mommy & Daddy, would you want to be my godmom? And I need someone to ask questions about God and stuff. Please say Yes!"

Mesha: *shocked* "Buddy, of course I would LOVE to! That was so!"

Connor: *whispers to mom* "...she said you go!"

He later changed his facebook status (yes, my 6 year old godson has a monitored)...but he changed it to, "im so hape, my godmom said yes."

Now, as you can assume, there is more to this story! Connor's Mom got pregnant with him at the young age of 16 and had him at 17. She was able to attend the KFL banquet with me last night and emotionally sent out an email to a group of friends yesterday. Part of the email is below:

I don't know how many of you know my story, but long story short --> I was 16 when I got pregnant with Connor (he is now 6, you do the math!) I was given MUCH counsel, and the woman at the health department went as far as to schedule an apt to have an abortion. The date was set, I knew where I would go. I didn't need my parent's consent. Can you believe that? I remember thinking how 'easy' it would be. I remember being asked, "What would be better, Ali? Living on welfare the rest of your life, trying to make a living for your child, ruining a man's life, and having to care for someone else when you can hardly care for yourself?? Or taking care of the mess you created and being able to live a full, beautiful life - that being said, able to have children when you CHOOSE to..." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I looked at her through my 16 year old baby eyes, thinking to myself, "This woman has serious issues." I stepped foot into the car that day in tears, imagining what people were going to say, how they would react, when I would tell them that I was keeping MY baby. This beautiful gift. I know God was with me that day. There is NO other explanation. I was NOT a Christian. I had no one telling me not to have an abortion. Everyone I spoke with said the complete opposite, and tried encouraging me otherwise. So...what other explanation is there other than the Holy Spirit was with me that day. God knew I was trying to make a change, that I was reaching out at the time to GET saved, I just didn't know how. He knew, and He was there with me. Somehow, despite all the advice I was receiving, I knew better. That didn't come from ME. It goes to show how close you can come to the reality of abortion though, doesn't it?

I've already asked her permission to post this, but there is even MORE to this story that she didn't include above. Should she have got pregnant at the early age of 16 - NO! But do two wrongs make a right...absolutely NOT!

As you can tell, Ali chose LIFE for my godson who was born in May 2003. But here's the part that brings me to tears about the lie of death (abortion) and that entire "CHOICE mentality" that was presented to her. Two years after being so falsely "advised" by a health department employee that she should wait to have children "when you CHOOSE to..." Ali was informed in July 2005, at the age of 18, that she was pre-menopausal and likely could NOT have children anymore. She was also told that even had she gone through with the abortion, her diagnosis would have been the same. WOW! When health care "professionals" would have advised her to wait til it was her CHOICE to have a "Connor," had she gone through with an abortion she would not have had the ability to make that supposed CHOICE today!

My heart goes out to the young ladies in our country who are daily misrepresented and daily misinformed that it's not a "baby," it just a "mass of tissue." My heart aches for the teen in crisis who may have been hurt, may have made a poor decision or may simply be confused who makes the irreversible decision to TAKE a LIFE. I praise God that although that choice is something that will never leave them, that decision will never be changed - they can be healed and God does offer forgiveness for them if they are ready and willing to accept it.

I want the TRUTH to spread about the LIE of abortion and I want our children, the smallest amongst us to be protected in this nation where we are supposed to ALL be promised the gift of LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT of happiness. That cannot be revised to read, the PURSUIT of happiness even when it requires taking the LIFE of another to feel "LIBERATED!"

"Thank you Ali Trier for choosing LIFE for my precious godson, Connor, who was NOT a mistake, who is a blessing from God. God knit him together in your womb and has called him with a purpose in this life.

Moreso, thank you GOD for loving us even before we loved you. For watching over both Connor and Ali through the good times and the bad. You pursue us long before we are in pursuit of you and I'm thankful for your lovingkindness!"


If you have had an abortion and are seeking healing, my heart goes out to you! Visit this website and find resources on how to find someone to talk to:

Visit the links below to get some truth on abortion, planned parenthood and the type of "advice" given to women in crisis at abortion clinics.

Verse of the Day:

Psalm 139:13-16

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed and in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

...and I do too!

When SOMETHING means a lot to you, you want to share about it, right?

When SOMEONE means a lot to you, you are proud to talk about that person to others and share how much you love them, right?

When OTHERS mean a lot to you, you want to share with them things that will help their life, right?

Reason I say all of this is because yesterday I really did some thinking. About an hour before my work day ended, I had two customers sit down at my desk that I had the opportunity of talking to for a considerable amount of time. Our small talk ranged from my "easy button" on my desk, to the chairs at Cracker Barrell, credit card fraud and weight loss.

As you all know, weight loss and better health means a lot to me and in turn I find myself always wanting to share. I've mastered turning any conversation into one concerning weight loss and how it really is possible to conquer obesity. Someone could walk up and be like, "Did you know your car is getting towed," and I wouldn't be shocked if I responded with, "Really? Well did you know that one year ago my life was being towed away because my body was broke down, beat up and just in the wrong place." Okay, maybe that's not too realistic, but I think you get the point.

Well, ironically enough, we ended up talking about the "Biggest Loser" competition I'm hosting at work and how I've lost 122 lbs in one year. Both of them gave their "Congrats!" and proceeded to joke about how they could lose a few pounds. The usual questions were asked:

"Did you have surgery?"
"Are you on any kind of diet plan?"
"How did you do that?"

Then I proceeded to pull out the KC Fit Mag and show them my "Halfway There" article (perfect reading material while a customer That's the point of the conversation where it took a pivotal turn that gave me chills - a dose of numbing REALITY.

The gentlemen states, "Wow! You must feel a whole lot better?"

"OH YES!" Then I pulled up my previous blog and read off the daily struggles I faced prior to making it this far...

· Had excruciating heel spurs

· Severe acid reflux and indigestion

· Lower AND upper back pain

· Knee/joint pain

· Restless sleep

· Daytime wheezing

· Shortness of breathe

· Inability to stand for extended periods of time w/o pain

· Abnormal fears of death at night (from weight related risks: heart attack; stroke; suffocation from excess weight around neck as I laid down; sleep apnea; aneurysm - I always feared no one would find me and paramedics would have excess struggle to revive me due to weight)

I watched as this couple turned to emotionally look at one another while nodding, then slowly dropped their heads towards the ground. It was like the breathe was taken out of EACH of them in that moment. The wife, who weighs what my article weight was, broke her silent gaze by saying with a cracking voice, "Yep, I understand, I completely understand." Then the husband, weighing mid-300's, politely interrupted his wife with watery eyes by saying, "We just lost our daughter in November. She had a blood clot in her leg that moved up to her heart. She was 33." The wife finished by softly saying, "She was a bit...well, chunkier and she experienced every single one of those symptoms you just listed *pause* ...and I do too!"

It was like a million bricks fell into my lap all at once and I got chills as I replied with, "Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear about your loss." The wife smiled back at me and said, "Oh no, you're fine! I just got chills. It just really hit home and's so true. I know we really ought to do something..."

This conversation quickly went from light-hearted to sobering in a moment. I felt so emotionally connected to this couple from that point on and saw how my story, although sparking a painful memory, caused the wheels to REALLY start turning. When the left, they both had made mention about how they can't keep putting this off, they've got to start making changes for their health. From that point on I personally held back tears thinking about their loss, but deeper down inside of me I found myself PRAISING and THANKING God for empowering me to do this and do this NOW. Their precious daughter, 33 years YOUNG...that could have easily been my story. At the weight I am now 220 lbs, that STILL could be my story, but at least I know I'm actively taking strides to CHANGE that.

I remember a few years ago a good friend church had called me with a burden. She had been praying while jogging on her treadmill and said God had placed me heavily upon her heart. She said she felt like God was showing her that there was something wrong with my heart and I NEEDED to do something for my health. For about 1 month we worked together on it but it quickly became a faint memory of the past. When I started this journey February of last year, I remember that playing over and over in my head, "There's something wrong with your heart."

I have never discredited that burden and I've settled it in my heart that it's fitting to thank HIM for what was likely a warning. I don't know any differently, but I have to believe that by the state of my health that I was surely not in a good place. I feel like that warning from God was not JUST speaking of the physical state of my HEART though, He was shining light on the depths of my heart as well. There has been something WRONG with my heart - the difference is that latter each one of us has. TEMPTATION, ULTERIOR MOTIVES, BITTERNESS, UN-FORGIVENESS, LOW SELF-ESTEEM...SIN.

THE GOOD NEWS: Just like OBESITY, YOU can make a decision to overcome them and not let them rob Y-O-U of living with fullness of LIFE!

Today I'm PRAISING & THANKING my Heavenly Father for blessing me with life. I'm humbled by His provision and how He speaks to us through others for not only our well-being, but for His namesake. For walking WITH me through 122 pounds of weight loss. For daily showing me His GRACE & MERCY and offering me FORGIVENESS through His son, JESUS CHRIST!

Verse of the Day:

Jeremiah 17:9-10

"The HEART is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]? I the LORD search the mind, I try the HEART, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ONE YEAR of success...

@ the beginning of 2009 I DAILY experienced the following:

· Had excruciating heel spurs
· Severe acid reflux and indigestion
· Lower AND upper back pain
· Knee/joint pain
· Restless sleep
· Daytime wheezing
· Shortness of breathe
· Inability to stand for extended periods of time w/o pain

· Abnormal fears of death at night (from weight related risks: heart attack; stroke; suffocation from excess weight around neck as I laid down; sleep apnea; aneurysm - I always feared no one would find me and paramedics would have excess struggle to revive me due to weight)

ONE YEAR ago I was 342.2 lbs and realized I was OBESE, UNHEALTHY and NEEDED to change.
ONE YEAR ago I decided that I was done “pretending” that my weight didn’t bother me.

ONE YEAR ago I got off the couch and made the first step that is leading to a body that is WHOLE.

While attempting to NOT get overly emotional, I’d like to celebrate ONE YEAR of success today!

At the end of January 2009 I watched my first episode of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and reality hit me. I weighed MORE than most female contestants to date on this EXTREME weight loss reality TV show and my situation was a lot worse than I ever allowed myself to believe. I held back tears as I sat inspired by the determination of
Kristin Steede whose starting weight I was only 20 lbs less than at the time. That day I recognized that I couldn't push this “under the rug” and act unaffected by it anymore, excuses were running dry and every day lost I was robbing myself of LIFE.

In February, I began my journey with Weight Watchers and lost my first 25 lbs before growing my own wings. I am thankful for Weight Watchers because their program gave me the confidence that I could do this. It helped me prove to myself that I was capable of losing weight on my own.

Since making that first step I have successfully shed 122.2 lbs off of my body leaning on God's strength, and I hope to never see those pounds again. This has proved to be one of the most exciting journeys I’ve ever travelled with everything that goes along with it. Although weight loss can at times be emotional, stressful, confusing and HARD, it’s most certainly worth every part of the trip. I always tell people that the eating right and exercise are the “EASY” parts when it comes to losing weight, it’s the mental and emotional struggles that are the greater battle.
On April 17th I wrote my first blog with the hesitant declaration that “This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.” I set out for this blog to be a means of encouragement while documenting my journey. I've tried to share in my posts with you what GOD has done in me over this past year and how it's all been so parallel to my life as a Christian - the two truly have gone hand-in-hand.

In May, I completed my annual 2 mile benefit walk for
Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers and for the first time did not finish LAST, actually I finished towards the front of the walkers.

In June, I completed my FIRST cancer “Relay for Life” benefit walk with my mom and walked 1 ½ hours before injuring myself. June 22nd I completed my
first weight loss competition with one of my best friends, Audrey Katzer, and won 2nd place with 46.2 lbs and 23.5 inches lost in 12 weeks.

JULY!!! JULY was a very influential month for me, JULY is when I’d say the switch flipped and I fully realized that God was doing an incredible work in me and I had a powerful TESTIMONY in the making that was changing lives! Early July I had the honor of being featured on Kristin Steede’s blog for her fun “Sweat T-Shirt” competition which was the beginning of some amazing connections with others personally fighting obesity. JULY I met a group of young ladies, each with 100+ pounds to lose, who shared similar goals and stories and we formed a support group FKAThe Sisterhood of the Shrinking Pants.” Although the group disbanded as “The Sisterhood” only 3 months later, those 3 months accelerated my weight loss into overdrive. The love, support, encouragement and FRIENDSHIPS that were formed from that spontaneous and incredibly random adventure are something I will NEVER forget. In July I also celebrated my
24th birthday and FIRST birthday that included ALL healthy selections with my best friends.

In August, I hosted a
100 mile challenge amongst family, friends and co-workers and successfully completed OVER 100 miles of cardio exercise in one month. This month meant so much to me because I had both my Mom & Dad right beside me going on ridiculously long walks almost DAILY as we all fought to reach that goal. I also completed the 9 week weight loss competition that I hosted at my job, finishing in 1st place with 40.6 lbs lost in 9 weeks. As a whole, our group lost 147.5 lbs which brought tears to my eyes seeing how “ME,” “ONE PERSON,” a little encouragement and the phrase “BE MOTIVATED AND MOTIVATE ONE ANOTHER” could spark such a change in lives. I blubbered like a baby after winning over $500 and then being awarded a gift card (organized by participants) in addition to my competition winnings for hosting and inspiring them. WOW!

September 27th I proudly reached my 100 pounds lost milestone and documented with a post titled:
“Giant Slain! 100 Pounds!!!”

In October, I ventured on one of the most RANDOM trips of my life to meet 5 total strangers for the
Sisterhood Retreat in Wisconsin Dells. It was a girl’s weekend I’ll never forget and although there were both good and bad from that trip, the good is what I hold in my heart dearly. I also had the privilege of meeting my initial inspiration, Kristin Steede, and her Mom (Team Purple Teammate), Cathy Skell. These are two of the most down-to-earth, understanding, HILARIOUS woman to talk to. After hours of conversation at Chili's, we parted ways but have distantly kept in touch. Having the opportunity to meet someone who inspires/inspired you in life is unforgettable. October was also the first month that I made split photos and encouraged facebook followers to create their own to. What a amazing day that proved to be looking back and reflecting on everyone’s emotional journeys.

In November, I ventured to INDIANA and CHICAGO for the first time ever and got to support a friend on her journey as an act of love PROVING that she is worth it and CAN do this! That trip initiated me getting on an airplane for the first time since I was a child and although I never experienced flying at a heavier weight, I was PROUD to fit in the seat when I've heard horror stories from overweight flyers with airplane seating. In November I also had the honor of sharing my weight loss testimony (when put on the at church over Thanksgiving weekend.

The holidays, well, they got the best of me and I “
re-found 12+ pounds” on an emotional eating spree while living through the misfortunes of a dear friend…

In December/January, I was featured in an article titled "Halfway There" with KC Fit Magazine. It was a neat experience having this type of feature with a full centerfold article. Also, one of my weight loss sisters and best friends, Ali Trier, and my godson moved in with me and are working on starting a life in Kansas. We completed a ONE MONTH bootcamp at Golds Gym and BOTH took off all the holiday weight we had gained!!! PRAISE GOD!

NOW for the most exciting news, a dream I’ve had since that switched flipped in JULY…to pay it forward and pour into other people’s lives the way I feel I’ve had the rare blessing of receiving in weight loss. Last week F.I.T. “Finding Inspiration Together,” a private group (and fanpage – come follow us) on facebook was birthed by 4 incredible ladies and myself who all share a vision to ENCOURAGE & MOTIVATE other people as they strive to MAKE.IT.HAPPEN in their own lives and conquer discouraging statistics by losing extreme amounts of weight without surgeries or hypnosis. Without “miracle pills” or “fad diets.” Woman who have decided they want to lose weight and reGAIN their lives back! Together we are finding the inspiration to go the distance and it’s brought MANY tears of joy seeing these incredibly STRONG women interact.

I can PROUDLY state that in my ONE YEAR on this common journey of weight loss, overall it’s been a SUCCESS!

THIS is a year in the making of a BODY that is WHOLE:

Body, Mind & Spirit!

Thank you for all of your love and support, I hope to make each of you PROUD in 2010.

(ps. ALL of those painful DAILY experiences listed at the top of this post…GONE!)

Verse of the Day:

Psalm 118:24

"This is the day that the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"