Being intentional – and asking for help

A while back, I shared with you that I had chosen my one word for 2013 and was looking for scripture to help me stay focused on it. My word is “intentional” and I really thought I was being led to some of the wisdom scriptures from Proverbs.

And then a friend posted this on Facebook and the matter was settled.

Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

(Eph. 5:17 – The Message)

Pretty much the definition of “intentional”, right?

I’ve also shared with you that I don’t love change, although there are plenty of big changes going on in our lives right now. And in spite of that, I have accepted a loving challenge from my friend Melissa Muir to see who can lose the most weight (as a percentage of total weight) between now and the metal retreat she and I are hosting in September. (More details on that coming soon, I promise!!)

So this morning, we had our official starting weigh-ins and logged those weights into our My Fitness Pal profiles. I’m not quite brave enough to post that starting weight for everyone to see, but I’ve added a weight loss tracker to the “about me” section on the sidebar over to the right. You can see how much I’ve lost at any given time and when I get within 50 pounds of my goal weight, I’ll change that badge to count down to the finish line.

Not the scale I’ll be using.

Here’s where the asking for help part comes in.

I have tried this before and I have failed. Miserably. But because God has walked me through some very eye-opening and life-changing things in the last couple of years, I have a better chance of tackling this particular stronghold once and for all, because I have a better understanding of what’s behind it. I know, however, that it will be a battle, and I’ll have to be diligent and focused and INTENTIONAL about food, and exercise, and rest in order to reach my goal.

So will you help me? I want to rally an army of people to hold me accountable, cheer me on, encourage me, slap me around a little when I need it, and help me celebrate my progress. There’s no official sign-up involved, but here are some things you can do that would help:

  • I’ve created a new tag for related blog posts called “Intentional 2013.” Posts updating my progress and talking about my journey will be tagged with the new tag so you can find them. Will you look for them and leave a few words of encouragement now and then? There would be nothing harder than putting this very personal part of my journey out there and hearing nothing back.
  • If you’re here reading another post here and you see from the weight loss tracker that I’m either making progress or have lost some ground, please post something on my Facebook page or shoot me a message using my contact form. If I know people are paying attention, it will make it harder to slack off.
  • Most importantly, please pray for me. Prayer will be vital if I’m going to succeed at this.

So there it is. I’m reclaiming this part of my life, and giving it to God in the only way I know how. It’s going to be challenging and sometimes painful. But I have to do this. If you’re in, let me know.

And thanks.

Racers cross finish line in 5K run for Navy Chief birthday.

Old hospital scale photo by Valan666; used by permission under a Creative Commons License.

Finish line photo by the United States Navy; used by permission under a Creative Commons License.

31 replies
  1. Lea Avroch
    Lea Avroch says:

    You go girl! I need to do the same. Been looking into different food plans & deciding on the best way for me to do this. I feel like I’ve done it all & always gain the weight back so am researching 1st before I take the plunge. I want this to be FOREVER!! May I ask what eating plan you’re following?

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Honestly, Lea, I’m not really following a plan. It’s going to have to be about a complete lifestyle change for me, so it’s going to boil down to how many calories I put in my mouth vs. how many I expend. The other consideration is that I have some health issues which would benefit from a less inflammatory diet, so I’m planning to greatly reduce the amount of bread and pasta I eat, and try to stick to whole foods that we prepare rather than processed stuff. I suspect that just tracking what I’m eating and doing for a while will be pretty eye-opening. The My Fitness Pal website is free and has a ton of good tools. For now, I’m just going to try to make a few food adjustments and follow their calorie recommendations and I’ll re-evaluate as I go.

      Let me know how you’re doing with your own journey!!

      Reply
      • Lea Avroch
        Lea Avroch says:

        Funny you should say that, that’s pretty much what I’ve been thinking too. Just last night in the supermarket I saw a sign that they were giving a talk on going gluten free on Monday night. I plan to be there.

        Reply
  2. Monique U. (A Half-Baked Notion)
    Monique U. (A Half-Baked Notion) says:

    Being accountable and asking for help are vital to your plan, Francesca, as is (to paraphrase Saint Paul) being careful and thoughtful in your process. If I may offer a single “trick”, the online nutrition and exercise trackers at Sparkpeople.com were so helpful to me last year when I lost over 80 lbs. They also have many additional resources and the site is completely without charge and very user friendly. All my prayers for your success in this commitment to improving your health!

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thank you so much, Monique! I’ve committed to using the My Fitness Pal site, because my friend Melissa is already using it and this will allow us to see one another’s exercise progress and food diaries. I’m so grateful for the recommendation, though, and will keep it in mind in case the other site turns out not to be what I need.

      Congratulations on losing 80 pounds!! Wow! That’s a major accomplishment – and I’ll be you feel so much better. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Shirley Moore
    Shirley Moore says:

    You have no idea what an impact your post made to me. You see, ‘intentional’ was my word last year, and I just loved it! There were definitely areas I didn’t use it like I should, but there were many situations where I could see the benefits from me using it.
    Also, my husband and I started working on our own healthy lifestyle on Jan 15th. And I got on the scales this morning for the first time since the 15th. And I was not pleased. After I had my pity party, (but it only lasted a few minutes) I just started praying that I knew God was in control, and I KNEW I could do this, with His guidance and help. I’m not going to give up, and knowing that I can be there for you is even more incentive. I will gladly pray with you, cheer for you,and send you hugs, sweet friend!

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Shirley, thank you so much for this. Really. I am sorry your own journey didn’t get off to a good start, but God’s mercies are new every morning – and that means you can start over tomorrow. 🙂

      Keep me posted on your progress!!!

      Reply
  4. sherilyn
    sherilyn says:

    Drink 6 oz of water and split your dessert with a friend …or eat a sweet treat by cutting it in 4 pcs.. have that 4th before you eat a healthy meal..your body slows down to digest it and your good meal is absorbed longer…

    Reply
  5. Susan Bowerman
    Susan Bowerman says:

    While I need to be doing the same thing and I am not, this concept, which follows, almost “screamed at me” when I read your post. So, when I get a flash of insight this strong, I trust it. Here it is, and it is so compatible with how you have already engineered your thinking. Just chew intentionally, slowly, slowly, slowly and savor the taste, texture, and aroma of each bite. When you are dining, dine! and do so slowly and intentionally. Godspeed on your journey. Your commitment will take you there.

    Reply
  6. Breanna
    Breanna says:

    Way to go! We use MyFitnessPal as well, and it really helps just to be in the habit of paying attention. The holidays kinda derailed me, but I’m working on becoming more disciplined. Some resources that helped us (because Aaron and I both love good food to much to just eat twigs and berries):

    Cutting out processed food. We don’t follow this 100% but it has good recipes and ideas, and I have noticed that we all feel better when we cut out the packaged stuff.
    http://www.100daysofrealfood.com

    Healthy recipes with nutrition info. You must try the garlic baked shrimp. I don’t even LIKE shrimp, but it’s delish!
    http://www.laaloosh.com
    http://www.laaloosh.com/2012/10/31/garlic-baked-shrimp-recipe/

    http://www.skinnytaste.com

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Breanna, thanks a million for those links – and that shrimp recipe looks AMAZING! I’ve been trying to cut out processed food for a while, but it turns out that there are a lot of processed foods I really like. I’m working on it in little pieces at a time. 🙂

      Reply
  7. diane
    diane says:

    I’m not as brave as you, but I’m in the same spot. Lots of changes going on, the biggest being eating more often. Plan snacks, eat smaller meals. Eat something every two to three hours, to keep you fueled, but also less hungry. I’m working with a nutrionist, and it amazes me that by doing this, I’m not only satisfied, but losing weight easily.

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Diane, thank you – I need to plan better for my days. My biggest problem is that I wait until I am starving and then gobble a bunch of food in one sitting. I need to be INTENTIONAL about planning what food to have available and what snacks I should make sure to have with me when I’m working. Thank you for the tip!!

      Reply
  8. Emma Todd
    Emma Todd says:

    Behind you. I can pat you on the back or whack you upside the head, ya know whatever the moment calls for 🙂 think about giving yourself the time to make new habits. I’ve heard many good things about changing a habit a week. Try not to beat yourself up if you can’t every week, there will always be another week. [i too should be following your lead and my own advice… Just not quite in the headspace for success yet I think]

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      LOL! Emma, thanks – so far you’re the only one who has stepped up to be the “whacker” when I need it! And yes, I have to be good to myself through this process. I can’t d it all at once. Master one step, then add the next thing. Thanks for being on the team!!

      Reply
  9. Christie
    Christie says:

    I struggle with my weight too- and am praying about the direction that God wants me to go, because nothing I do seems to work. I’ve used MyFitness pal before and it’s a great way of tracking food- and for making food choices. I was at Cracker Barrel one time and put in the salad that I ordered- it gave me another choice that was lower in calories and carbs that I didn’t know about, so changed my order! It’s hard when there’s a lot of emotional stuff going on if you’re an emotional eater like I am. Blessings on your new chapter, and I’d love to be a support person for you! Christie

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks so much for being on the team, Christie! I had no idea the My Fitness Pal app had that feature – really, really good to know. Keep me posted on how your progress is going!

      Reply
  10. Susan Marling
    Susan Marling says:

    Way to go! That’s great that you have an awesome buddy to do this with. I love the scripture and the spirituality you have brought to this. I’ve joined Weight Watchers – to be accountable. I will be glad to cheer you on and draw inspiration from you and Melissa. Good luck.

    Reply
  11. Melissa Muir
    Melissa Muir says:

    Glad you are with me buddy. 🙂 Let’s get skinny… Oh, and I am totally going to kick your butt. I REALLY want to win. So you had better start saving your money for my new tools. 🙂 hehehe

    Love you!

    Melissa

    Reply
  12. Kristi
    Kristi says:

    Good for you Francesca. I’ve lost 30+ pounds in the last year and improved my health dramatically. For several years before that I have felt miserable, thought I had fibro or lupus or some other thing that makes you feel like crap all the time. Turns out 90% of it was my diet. I totally changed my lifestyle, I now eat all the fruit, veggies, beans, rice, whole grains (bread and pasta is great if it’s whole grain and doesn’t have alot of unnecessary garbage in it) I want and I eat ALOT!! I can honestly say I can’t remember being hungry (not like when I was dieting) this entire year. Taking dairy, meat, sugar and processed food out of my life has made an incredible difference. I’ve had so much fun finding recipes and experimenting and changing the way I live with food, it’s been a terrific journey and I’m so happy I did it. If you’re interested here is where I got my info http://engine2diet.com/ I wish you all the best and if you are interested and have any questions don’t hesitate to ask, I’m very excited to talk about my journey. Take care!

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Wow, Kristi – that’s awesome! I was diagnosed with fibro last year, and I think it’s exacerbated by the extra weight. Honestly, I just want to feel better. I’ll take a look at that link and will be sure to get back in touch with questions! And thanks for the support!

      Reply
  13. gretchen
    gretchen says:

    For me the key was to cut back carbs – really far back and the weight came off. It’s not easy, we were all brought up with that starchy carb on our plates (have extra vegetables with a sprinkle of cheese) and holding together our sandwiches (you can now find low carb sandwich rounds!) and getting a cookie for a reward (now I have a sugar free one for a treat), but it’s so worth it. Don’t bring it into your house and get rid of what is there.
    Read the ingredient list of everything, because there are carbs hiding in the most unexpected places.
    It works better than counting calories – count your carbs and if you can get it down to 25-30 or less a day, you will watch the pounds drop after the second week. I promise! I didn’t discover this until my youngest was out of high school and out of the house, so it works even when you are older.
    Going out for a walk, even a short one, once a day can get to be a habit and make you stronger, too.
    Good Luck! We are all on your side!

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks so much for the tips and the encouragement, Gretchen – I knew going in that cutting pasta and bread would be mandatory, which is hard because I’m Italian. (Sometimes I think starchy carbs are part of my DNA!!) I’m sticking to high protein, low carbs, and moderate amounts of healthy fats – altogether, I have to stay under 1700 net calories for each day. And I’m really, really trying to stay away from processed foods as much as possible!

      Reply
  14. Sharon Foster
    Sharon Foster says:

    You’re on the right track food plan-wise! I read the book Wheat Belly and gave up all grains and lost 46 pounds to date. My health issues are solved, and my doctor (and I) are thrilled. I’ve struggled with my weight all my adult life, and this is the only plan that produced results for me. Your determination is obvious, and I’m rooting for you. God will help you, and you have lots of friends to support you. YOU CAN DO THIS!

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks so much, Sharon – and congratulations on your own weight loss! I don’t have sensitivities to wheat, but I know that I always feel better when I limit pastas and breads (although I love them – a lot). I’m glad you’re coming along for this part of my journey. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Katie N-N
    Katie N-N says:

    You are brave to go public with your “intention!” I’ll gladly cheer you on, and hopefully find inspiration to get my own butt in gear!

    Reply

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