Tag: Goals

The Start Experiment: Days Nine through Twelve

Well, blogging every day is proving to be more challenging than I thought 🙂

We’re halfway through The Start Experiment and I’m pretty happy with my progress.

To review, my “risks” were as follows:

  • I will choose to eat “clean” and strive to make great food choices.
  • I will do a minimum of 24 minutes of exercise each day.
  • I will choose to become more self-disciplined about reading the Bible, journaling, and praying by doing these things every day for 24 days.
  • I will blog every day for 24 days about my progress, including a before picture (ugh).

I have been doing very well with eating and exercising, though I haven’t been legalistic or strict about it. I am choosing to celebrate victories rather than dwell on failures. I’m also okay with making the best possible food choices given my available options, because that’s reality. For instance, while we were in Canada I had to really work to make good food choices since I wasn’t at home. It taught me that I’m not always going to be able to eat “clean” food 100% of the time; rather, I need to learn to make the best possible choices no matter what, while offering grace to myself when I fall short.

With the exception of blogging everyday, I’ve been pretty consistent with everything else. There’s definitely room for improvement, though!

I’ve lost 4.5lbs in 12 days, and it has come off pretty effortlessly so far. Amazing what eating “real food” and exercising can do! 🙂

Each day is showing me that I can be self-disciplined and that it’s not as hard as fear tells me that it is. 🙂 One day at a time.

The Start Experiment: Days Four through Eight

Well, when I committed to blog every day about my progress I forgot that I would be traveling right in the middle of this project and we don’t own a laptop. So, I’m going to summarize our trip in this post.

B & L on the "Maid of the Mist", Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
On the “Maid of the Mist” – Niagara Falls, Canada

Overall, I didn’t do terribly. We walked a TON while in Canada so that was the exercise component (though we also spent two days in the car with little exercise). I made mostly good choices while dining (it was hard to find totally clean meals, but I did the best that I could) but did have a little sugar while there, too.

I weighed in this morning at 2 lbs less than on Day 1, so I think I did reasonably well.

I read my Bible three of the five days, prayed each day, and journaled a few times. Definitely need improvement there.

At first I was slightly frustrated that this trip fell during this 24 day experiment, but then I realized that since we love to travel, this was actually perfect. I was so much more aware of the fact that preparation will be even MORE important while traveling in the future in order to maintain this new lifestyle. And, throughout the trip, I continued to think of ways to continue this project while not completely derailing our plans. I also offered grace to myself on the days that we were driving because exercise would have been really difficult to squeeze in given our time constraints.

So, overall, I did okay. But I learned valuable lessons and that is what matters the most. 🙂

The Start Experiment: Day Three

Biggest accomplishment of the day: signing up (and paying in full) at our local community center for a year-long membership to their pools/gyms/classes. SO excited. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time and God provided the money last pay period. We went tonight and tried to swim laps. Well, we did swim laps, but not continuously. 🙂 I did 4 total (I think it’s a 25 yard pool, so I swam 200 yards), but would have to stop for several minutes at the end of the pool each time. Brennan swam more laps than me but had to stop as well, so that made me feel better 😉

I now have no good excuse for not working out. We’ve paid for this membership, it’s air-conditioned, and there are plenty of options in terms of workout activities. I’m committing to go during the day, and probably also in the morning, early, with Brennan. I know my arms are going to be sore in the morning, but that’s okay. It’s worth it.

I spent time this afternoon reading 1 Peter, which focuses a lot on holy living and being set-apart. Of course, part of being set-apart is having self-control and he mentioned that a couple of times.

That’s the whole point of this for me: to honor God with ALL of my life. It’s not about what the scale says–though that’s a bonus. It’s about making choices that honor God, even in the smallest areas.

I met each of the small goals that I have set (clean eating, exercise, time with God, blogging) today. I’m also blogging MUCH earlier so that I can go to bed at a decent time! Today’s challenge was not emotionally eating when I found out that I broke one of my camera lenses–one that I use the most. Sigh…

We leave for Canada tomorrow night so things might be tricky in terms of blogging, but perhaps we can go to a Starbucks with wi-fi so that I can blog! If not, I’ll at least blog in my journal and type the posts when we return 🙂

The Start Experiment: Day Two

Today was a success! I accomplished all of my goals for the day, plus some that I added in the moment.

I still need to work on being more prepared and eating a more filling meal in the morning so that I’m not super hungry by 10am.

I also need to work on going to bed earlier (note the time of this post!) so that I can get up earlier without it being painful. 🙂

Today’s verse was Hebrews 12:11 —

I’m going to write these daily verses on index cards so that I can carry them in my purse. This will give me easily accessible truth with which to combat the “voices” that try to bring me down (or when ice cream is calling my name).

I spent a lot of time today cleaning/finally decorating/organizing my house–something I’ve been known to procrastinate about. I worked up quite a sweat doing it, which was an added bonus! I need to Start focusing and stop procrastinating on the little things in life, like cleaning the hardwood floors. 🙂

I will be starting to read a book on Spiritual Disciplines that our church leadership team is going through together (funny timing, isn’t it? 🙂 ) and that will only help me in this process, I believe.

This is exciting. Discipline is NOT fun, but I know that the fruit that will be produced from my disciplined life will far exceed anything I will be “giving up” long-term. 🙂


The Start Experiment: Day One

Overall, a successful day.

It started with serious temptation in the form of donuts, but I overcame the temptation and did not even touch them.

I learned a lesson today, thankfully early on in this journey, that I always need to be prepared and have healthy snacks with me when I will be away from home for a long time. Hunger can easily turn into weakness and makes me more susceptible to temptation.

I established my reading/journaling spot in our home on our brand new couch and am really excited to spend time with God there each day.

I am going to focus on one verse each day (in addition to other reading), a verse that deals with self-discipline. I chose 2 Timothy 1:7 today:

Fear is alive and well already, trying to bring me down. I’ve started transcribing  the “voices” in my head that keep trying to make me fail. The ones I’ve identified so far are these:

You can’t do this; you’ve failed before.”

People see you as overweight and that’s all they see.”

Life is too short to eat healthy foods! Give in and enjoy life!”

I am working on truths to combat these voices whenever they enter my mind so that I can “punch fear in the face” (as Jon Acuff says so fondly). And today I was successful. Fear has no place in my life. God has given me everything I need to combat this fear/doubt because I have Him with me!

I met all of my goals today and feel excited about tomorrow.


Our Budget Plan…

I was asked by a friend how we do our budgeting, so I thought it would be a great blog post! I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

First of all, we love the teachings of Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. We cannot recommend him enough! Because of his wisdom the only debt that we have left is our student loans.

We maintain two spreadsheets: Our budget, and our “Special Expenses by Month”

The first one is our budget. Every other Wednesday, I (Lesa) enter the amounts that are due for this pay period. We always budget to “zero”–meaning that every dollar is accounted for. We use cash for food, necessities, clothing, date nights, etc. so we pull out the cash on pay-day. The line items below often change based upon our needs for that pay period (i.e. if we need clothes, we’ll add that line item).

We have our spreadsheet set up to automatically calculate things, so once we enter our income (we usually know by Thursday morning all of our income for that pay period) into the purple section it tells us how much we are over/under budget so that we can adjust accordingly.

When you are trying to get out of debt, it is important to use any extra money that you have to make extra payments. That is how we paid off our credit card debt so quickly–it requires sacrifices, but it’s so worth it.

(Click on the image to make it larger)

And our Special Expenses by Month looks like this:

This spreadsheet helps us to never be surprised by a bill that is coming up. It allows us to plan for them and be prepared! It would make it very easy to total up your special expenses to divide by the number of pay periods per year so that you could save little by little, as well.

Because we get paid twice a month, we do our budget twice a month. However, you have to do what works for you! This has been such a blessing to us because we always know exactly what we have to spend. We pay all of our bills on pay-day for that pay period which also reduces time and stress because we never forget to pay a bill.

If you have additional questions, please let me know! Budgets are not constraining–they are truly freeing!

Finish Year Update: Mid-September

Brennan and Lesa:

  • Finish one book a month (minimum)

Brennan: Reading another book about Tim Tebow currently…

Lesa: Finished “To Heaven and Back” and “One Call Away”

  • Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012

We have paid off 98% of our credit card debt! We will have it paid off by October! Praise God! We will then start paying off our student loans in a couple of months after taking a short break to build up our savings account and travel fund.

  • Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates

make a list and schedule on calendar as “date nights”

We have 3 Groupons left to use. We started with 12 Groupons and 4 gift cards, and we’ve bought some since we started this.


  • Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently

I have lost 8 lbs… 🙂

  • Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan
  • Send 30 thank you notes this year; finish sending wedding thank you notes

I have sent 12 thank you notes this year…that’s it.

  • Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts

  • Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

  • Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”
  • Finish funding emergency fund ($1,000)
    Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund
  • Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with tiny closet)