Monthly Archives: November 2011


Let me tell you how you might get to be over 300 pounds by the age of 16 (or maybe any age, for that matter): you eat.

Food becomes your everything. You replace emotions, friends, situations, fun… everything, with food. I can remember knowing that my friends were hanging out together and instead sitting home eating entire bags of Doritos (Family size, of course- I wasn’t messing around, and I had a LOT of void to fill) or pans of bars that my mom had thought she had cleverly enough hidden in the freezer.

As the clothes get tighter, your self-confidence gets smaller. You might put up more walls and stop allowing yourself to know love. It’s a lonely life, one that only knows a physical fullness. And usually that’s an uncomfortable-on-the-verge-of-sweating kind of fullness. It doesn’t make you feel good. And if it does, it doesn’t last. The moment of “pleasure” passes and you’re left feeling worse about yourself.

On the outside I was loud, “happy,” energetic, outgoing and… loud. On the inside I was trapped, sad, lonely, and completely defeated. I felt like I was riding a fast train to failure but couldn’t seem to get off. I acted like I was on top of the world, but the truth was, there were several times when I looked for opportunities to disappear into the shadows… to eat.

I missed out on so, so much. 

If this is where you are at right now my friend, please read the next part carefully:

There is hope. You aren’t trapped. And you ARE strong enough to come out of the shadows and live a full life. One where you allow yourself to be loved by others- and fill up with that love. Food gives you stomachaches, but love gives you peace.

By stepping out into the light and out of the shadows of fear, I’ve discovered many new things that I now love instead of Doritos and cake and whole pizzas and candy. (Don’t get me wrong- those are nice treats IN MODERATION, but they’re just stuff.)

Tonight I went to Zumba again. And let me tell you, the room was full of a variety of people that could dance, had no rhythm, were able to do the entire class without blinking, and were there for the first time. Each person came for their own reason, but for the 63 minutes that we were there together, we had FUN. I danced so hard I had to army crawl back to my house. And it was WAY more awesome than any major eating “feat” I can recall. The entire class was hootin’ and hollarin’ and completely there for each other.

Do yourself a favor… put down the chips, the king size candy bars, the entire loaves of bread (yes, I’ve been there)… and try something new. Head to the Wellness Center and find a class to try. Might I suggest… Zumba? Tuesday night- 7:45pm. You won’t be there alone, I promise. I’ll be there. And I’ll ROCK it out with you.

Love yourself enough to make good, healthy choices today. And when you conquer the unhealthy behaviors today, I promise you it will be even easier to do tomorrow, and each day thereafter. Small steps lead to big changes. And you CAN do this. I promise.



So what do you do when you walk into work, a public building, one which is supposed to be accepting and inviting to all, and see a big beautiful Christmas tree?  And what do you do when your heart warms because celebrating the birth of Christ is one of the most amazing and deeply intimate things you have or ever will experience yet understand that a Christmas tree alone does not show acceptance of all?  How do you advocate for the other while you are the majority and you do not want your own celebration to be stifled, questioned, or even- selfishly –shared?

How do you advocate for a belief you do not believe in?

How do you get through Christmas, when to you it is core to who you are while your family is wrapped up in gluttony, complaint, self-centeredness, and arguments?

Would you marry or commit yourself fully to someone for life who does not share the same spiritual beliefs as you? 

How would you raise a child while you have fiercely strong spiritual beliefs yet also feel strongly about wanting that child to choose for themselves what they believe in terms of spirituality?  How would you cope if your child doesn’t believe what you believe in?

How do you fight for the legalization of same sex civil unions, and all other rights opposite sex partners have which same sex partners do, while you believe in a spirituality whose standpoint on same sex relationships is one you don’t fully understand- probably never will?

How do you keep God out of the work place when God is what gets you through your job? 

How do you balance your role as a supervisor and your role as a fellow Christian when your employee brings up God in the mix of work? 

What do you do when God answers prayers you’ve prayed all your life with something the Bible is unclear about or, better yet, something it is seemingly against? 

How do you know when the Holy Spirit is guiding you and when you are hoping that it is? 

How do you deal with loss when you believe that if an individual does not believe that Christ is the only son of God, born of the virgin Mary, suffered, died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead, and has not accept Christ into their life, that they will indeed go to hell, when you have no idea if the person you lost believed or not? 

How do you deal with the idea that anyone you have cared about could be in hell? 

Do you tell anyone if you have dreams that then come true?  What do you do when you dream something like an accident or a death and have no clue if it was just a dream of if it’s something that will happen? 

Where is the line between sharing what you believe with someone and telling them what you think they should believe?  


We are asked to walk by faith, not by sight.  But let me ask you this, which do you follow?  Which do you want to follow?

Happy Thanks to my blessed life…

Brick Wall Reminders

Finals are just around the corner, and even though I’ve graduated from college already, I still have nightmares of the last push to Christmas break occasionally.

The truth is, no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in, it’s important to remember that we have limits, and we must act accordingly.

Remember when I told you that I recently moved back for a new job and new adventure?  I still love being back in Grand Forks. And I still love what I get to do at my job every day… but I recently learned that there are moments when I might fall off Cloud 9.,r:1,s:194

For the most part, my job keeps me very, very busy. And because I love what I do, I think about it… almost all of the time. And because I’m a very “do it now and get it done” kind of person, I catch myself even sending emails in my sleep. The truth is, it doesn’t bother me… or so I thought.

Ever since my accident, I’ve started a downhill-spiral-caught-in-a-snowball-toward-a-tree kind of thing. It wasn’t necessarily that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things kept happening to me, I was just extra sensitive to the every day things that just sort of “happen.” Because I was busy reacting, my head was in a fog, and I started to just numbly coast toward Thanksgiving.

I was working out last Monday. A meeting went later than expected, so I missed a class I wanted to attend (another layer on the snowball). I decided to do some running/walking around the track… and the running part felt so good: I was FREE! Eventually I finished and started stretching. When I stopped, my racing mind caught up with me, and… so did the tears. Luckily I was sweating enough that the tears weren’t too noticeable (at least in my own mind). But as soon as I went outside into the fresh air it hit me like a ton of bricks.,r:10,s:81

I’m not sure what “it” was, but it made breathing difficult. So I did what every daughter in distress does: call home. I talked to my dad about the Sing-Off, the weather, the upcoming vacation, and just about anything else that he could think of to distract me. Eventually that suffocating feeling passed, but sleep was the furthest thing from my mind.

I made it to the long weekend, and “home.” I slept 2-3 times longer than I had in weeks, turned off my phone, and laughed with loved ones. I ate good food (but not until I was sick), made sure I snuck in physical activity at least once a day, helped Christmas puke all over our house come alive through decorations, and enjoyed the simplicity of life for a few days.

As I was driving back at the end of the long weekend, I started to think about what led me to those tears while I was stretching. The truth is, I was trying to do too much. The lack of focus resulted from trying to think of too many things. I was so busy trying to be one step ahead I was tripping over the imaginary hurdles right in front of me.  I hit my brick wall of reality.

WORKINGSPIRIT wrote about the importance of slowing down a few weeks ago, and I just have to say “ditto.” After a few days of slowing down, I feel refreshed and ready for the week ahead- finally.

As you approach the finish line- whether it’s in the form of tests, papers, projects, meetings, tasks, or anything else that is in front of you, make sure that you take care of yourself and pay attention to what you need. Set aside one hour to hit the Wellness Center for some activity; it will leave you feeling refreshed, happier, less stressed, and and sleeping better. Even though you’re surrounded by some pretty amazing(ly rich) foods, enjoy them in moderation; healthier choices  give you energy, make you feel better about yourself, and sleep better too. Sleep enough– 7 to 8 hours at least every night- that means you may have to make a schedule and stick to it. Being tired won’t help your thought process. Know that it’s OK to talk to someone if you need too (being honest with loved ones helps me tremendously).

Although You are pretty darn amazing, it’s good to know your limits and respect yourself by respecting those boundaries.

Best of luck as you enter the week (and the challenges) ahead!

Let’s Get Physical

For those of you that don’t know about Healthy UND, it is a campus coalition that was launched over 10 years ago to promote campus-wide health and wellness. Since then it has grown to over 156 members, including students, staff, faculty, and administrators, and has many successes under its belt.  You can find more information about Healthy UND at

The Healthy UND Coalition just held their monthly meeting last Friday.  The topic was physical activity, and the turn-out was tremendous!  I could feel my excitement building while scrambling to find places to fit more chairs around the table.  Seeing new faces continually file in through the doors only added to my excitement.  When we finally found a seat for everyone, I was looking around the table and thinking  “I wonder where we could have squeezed in even one more chair“, this really showed me the coalition is acheving  great strides in their work, and really getting the word out about health and wellness in the campus community. 

The plan for the Coalition’s meetings this year is to have a focus of each meeting, relating to the five priorites chosen by the Coalition.  These priorites were chosen by reviewing credible data sources and hosting focus  groups.  The meeting on Friday marked our first focus meeting.  The first half of the meeting consisted of a discussion forum, where members shared their input on how to move forward with the Physical Activity Priority Action Group’s general goals, recommendations, and objectives. (See the Call to Action Report on the Healthy UND Coaliton website).  There was a lot of great input on how the Coalition is already moving forward with this priority, such as having more of a physical activity focus during the Weight Watchers at Work meetings, establishing a walking path in the parking garage, and implementing a computer reminder for a “stretch break” to employees. In order to continue to move forward, and reach more resources in promoting physical activity on campus,  the suggestion of establishing a physical activity subcommittee was given.  The idea was well received, and is now in the process of being established.  If you are interested on the Physical Activity subcommittee, or on being involved with the Coalition as a whole, please email me at

The next Healthy UND Coaltion meeting, is on December 9th, 2011 in Swanson room 17. The focus of this meeting will be Alcohol and Other Substance Use/Abuse.  Please feel free to join, and invite anyone you think may be interested in this topic or in Healthy UND as a whole.

Healthy UND Coalition

Healthier UND Students, Faculty and Staff

Work in partnership to promote healthy lifestyles choices by enhancing awareness, building skills, changing social norms, and creating a healthier environment.

Overarching Principle
In May of 2000 the Healthy UND Coalition adopted its current overarching principle which is to emphasize all 7 dimensions of wellness including: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, and environmental.

For this, I am Thankful.


I have started making more of an effort to stop each morning and give my day to God, asking for help in living a life of love for others (actions, words, and thoughts). I also take a second or two to give thanks for something (or many things) as I wake up each day. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I challenge you to try to do the same.

There’s something about that silent stillness before the chaos of the day that is so peaceful, so beautiful, and so necessary to start the day off right. When you spend a few minutes thinking about the good things in your life, it’s hard to look at the day with anything other than gratitude and happiness.

I admit that there are days when it’s hard to feel thankful for anything- the times when you’ve gotten little-to-no sleep, when your alarm didn’t go off and left you late for everything, when you look out the window and see a ton of snow or pouring rain (or just cloudy skies), when you ended up getting into a fight with someone you care about, when you get news you didn’t want, when a week of hard work at the gym and healthy food choices don’t give you the results you want, setbacks, death, accidents, etc etc, etc… Things happen. That’s life.

Enter: resiliency. We all face challenges, but we get to decide how to react to what is happening. You can either complain about going to the gym or be thankful that you can physically do so. You can either be upset that “healthy food is expensive,” or learn to budget and be resourceful because your health is important to you. (By the way, it’s just as affordable to eat healthy. Trust me. I know.) You can be overcome by disappointment if you don’t get a certain job or promotion that you were hoping for, or you can appreciate your current situation and look forward to better things coming your way. It’s all about your outlook. 

A funny thing happens when you look at life with gratitude instead of entitlement… the skies seem a little brighter, the challenges seem a little less daunting, and life is more of blessing and less of a curse.

Give thanks for something today. And if your day is especially challenging for some reason, write out a list of the good things in your life. Then think about those things and see how your day transforms.

Somebody’s Someone

Who was the last person you interacted with?

Was it positive or negative?

Being made fun of is an unfortunate reality for too many people in this world. I’ve heard that mean words are like papercuts: even though you can’t see the damage they cause, there’s a lingering sting.

Thinking back to me days as a “fat kid,” there are 2 events that really stick out in my mind:

The first put me into counseling. I was riding the bus to help with church choir practice, just another Wednesday. Two boys who were in the class above me often made it their mission to try to break me. Because I don’t like to “lose (or show weakness),” I put on a stone face and just took whatever they dished out. Day after day, they would torture me with comments about my weight. That day, it happened to be “Could you please move to the middle of the bus? You’re weighing us down.” I broke. I called my mom and told her I was absolutely at the end of my rope. Shortly after I started to see someone who introduced me to the idea of writing my thoughts down on paper.

Fast forward a few more years. I was a sophomore in high school and nearing my highest weight of 300+ pounds. I wasn’t the only person that was picked on at school; there were a few other “targets.” I remember that I was having a pretty good day, and it was just after lunch time. (At my school, people sat in the hallway to wait for the bell to ring, so they were often people-crammed by the time our break was over.) I walked towards band, past all of the juniors and seniors, and heard, “Jeepers, is it thundering outside?” I closed my eyes and hoped I had heard that wrong. When I turned around and saw everyone laughing my fears were confirmed. I…was… deflated.

With the advancements in technology, torturing another person has become easier and easier… people can be anonymous. And so hurtful. A part of me gives thanks that I was able to lose weight before things like Facebook were invented.

Now, I’m not saying that I’ve always been the nicest person to the people I’ve met. I think that at some point we’ve all been guilty of forgetting that every person is “somebody’s someone.”

The power of a kind word has played a major role in my (continued) success, in any area of life. Not only words, but a smile. It’s the easiest, simplest, cheapest way I can think of to build a person up.

As you go about your day make it your mission to be a light for others, even if you are having a rough day. “It is in giving that we receive.”

Secret Weapon

Ever since last week, I’ve been burning up… with a fever to ZUMBA! That is the funnest “workout” I’ve done- may be ever.

I was disappointed knowing I would have to figure out a way to workout for 4 whole days by myself starting last Thursday. And this morning, I jumped out of bed excited for Zumba classes to FINALLY happen again! A busy day of meetings and a really wet snowfall didn’t even phase my one-track mind.

Now, earlier today someone had given me a FREE ticket to a holiday show (aka all you can eat, drink, and be merry for) tonight, which I was going to plan to carefully squeeze in between a meeting and the class. Due to the before-mentioned snowfall that turned almost immediately to ice, I had to make a choice: feasting or dancing.

Zumba won. After all, I got new shoes JUST for that purpose this weekend (to help with the blisters), and they were begging to be used:




I skated to the Wellness Center, and was bummed to find out that the class was cancelled due to illness. REALLY bummed. (There’s something about winter that makes working out so-much-more-difficult.)

Since I was already there I decided to stay and workout. And my attention span was about as long as… a goldfish’s. 10 minutes felt like 10 hours.

In moments like this, it’s important that you have a SECRET WEAPON. Mine? A group of songs that will keep me going with a little extra pep in my step pretty much without fail. Literally.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been spotted on numerous occasions dancing down the sidewalk or hallway while listening to the “said” songs. (And when people pass me I just try to pass it off as a limp.)

What keeps you going during your workout?

Are you ready?

This question keeps ringing in my head tonight…

Think about when you might hear this question. Before getting a shot, taking a test, competing in a big event… and pretty much most other things that make me feel like I’m going to throw up from nervousness come to mind for me.

And, according to the Little Doubter, or for the sake of having some fun in this blog I’ll call her Little D, inside of me the answer is always “NO!

Could you imagine how your life would be if you actually listened?

Today alone, Little D would’ve kept me from:

  • getting out of bed
  • driving in busy traffic (remember my accident?)
  • making a phone call
  • going to a class at the Wellness Center
  • finishing a class at the Wellness Center
And in my life, if Little D won every battle in my mind:
  • I would probably be well over 400 pounds
  • I wouldn’t be able to say I have been white water rafting, climbed  the side of a mountain, or traveled to fun and interesting places
  • going to college and making it through? HA.
  • there’s no way I’d love my job SO much.
  • my list of friends would be alarmingly small
  • life would be… DULL.
The truth is that it’s hard to take risks sometimes. It’s scary to think about doing something we’ve never done or we’re not used to doing. But in those moments, we grow and we learn.
When I first started Weight Watchers, we had to find a quote to help us out when we needed an extra lift. Here was one of mine:
“One does not discover new continents without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” ~Andre Gide
Little did I know that fateful Monday night, I was about to start a lifelong journey to living healthier. I had no clue it would be- both then and now- SO challenging. But it’s been a great challenge; one that has helped to shape me into someone that is less afraid to take chances andhave confidence in my abilities.
No matter what it is that you need to overcome, know that you have the power to get started and get through it. I didn’t get to 300 pounds over night, and I didn’t lose it that quickly either. But I took it one day at a timeone obstacle at a time, and made it.
And now I must press on with that same mindset, quieting Little D when she tries to get in my way.
I challenge you to do the same.
When did you take a positive risk that helped you overcome a challenge in your life?

Will you choose to UNDO on November 17th?

Starting today, November 14th, join the “TALK TOBACCO” campaign by going into the Health and Wellness Resource Office in the Memorial
Union to pick up resources, which you can then use to TALK TO TEN other people about UND’s tobacco free policy and cessation options.  The first 50 people to come and pick up resources will receive a FREE T-SHIRT!

This campaign is in recognition of the 36th Great American Smoke Out, which begins Monday, November 14th and runs through Thursday, November 17th.  This nationally recognized event by the American Cancer Society urges tobacco users to abstain from using tobacco for one day or plan that this marks the day you quit.

For more information about the tobacco free policy at UND and cessation options, please visit
REMEMBER……. Quit Kits and Quit Spit Kits are available in the Health and Wellness Resource Office in the Union.

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