Monthly Archives: December 2011

makin’ a list

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? It’s always “cute,” in theory:
You reflect over all of the things that you need to improve, change, or “fix” about yourself and contemplate solutions. When January 1 rolls around (or maybe 2), you hit the ground RUNNING.

Suddenly the gym becomes a priority,
you add a few more fruits and vegetables to your plate,
you hit the sheets an extra hour earlier,
you trade your cup of coffee for a glass of water,
you start wearing your seatbelt,
you find time to try a new hobby or sharpen your skills of a previous one,
you start cooking more meals…

and about a week later it all stops. Game over.

It takes, on average, about 3 weeks to either break a habit or form a new one. But most of us don’t have 3 weeks, we have RIGHT NOW.
Am I right?

For however many decades you’ve tried this hit-your-head-against-the-wall method, it hasn’t worked so well. Why not take a new approach?

This year, we’re not going to look at the big pictures.
We’re starting today. And we’re working on today.
That’s it.
Not next month, not 10 pounds, not 3 dress sizes.

Here’s what I suggest you try:

  1. Take a piece of paper. (Preferably something that’s pretty or eye-catching… but that’s just me.) And save room for “incentives.”
  2. On the top of the page, write down ONE goal, one thing that you are going to do today that positively aligns with a healthy eating choice you’d like to work on. (i.e. I will eat 1/2 cup vegetables with every meal or measure my food into correct serving sizes.)
  3. In the middle of the page, write why you are doing these “things.” And I don’t mean something ridiculous like, “To finally be a size 2.” Think of something like “To be an example for my family/friends.” “Because I care about my health.” “I want to feel better.”
  4. On the bottom of the page, write down ONE thing that you are going to do today/this week that positively aligns with some form of physical activity. (i.e. I will spend 30 minutes at the gym 3 times this week or I will lift weights one extra time this week or I will try a new exercise class this week.)
  5. Work on each of those “things” TODAY. Don’t think about tomorrow (unless you need to mindfully plan when you are going to hit your 3 gym sessions in advance).
  6. WHEN (notice, I did not say “if”) you reach your goal, give yourself a cool sticker. (No laughing; it works!)

Now, for the next month you are ONLY held accountable for these two things. When the new month hits, put up 2 new “things” you’re going to add/switch in your lifestyle.

It’s a little less stressful and unapproachable when you think in baby steps instead of leaps.

It took me 2 years total to lose over 100 pounds, and over 10 years later, I’m still trying to figure things out. We are all a work in progress.
Just keep moving forward. 

And if you have an “off” day, forgive yourself immediately and be ready to get right back at it the next day. You’re worth every effort.
Just keep moving forward.
Two little things at a time.


the Reason.

There are so many moments in the “holiday season” that might leave us feeling inadequate; we don’t have enough/the right presents for people, our cooking might not taste as good as another’s, the loss of a special someone earlier in the year echoes in their absence, despite best efforts we still sit alone at a table filled with people who’ve found a loving spouse, we never made it to our goal weight… the list goes on.

Why do we beat ourselves up like that? The last time I checked, there wasn’t a “year-end test” we needed to pass in order to pass GO. When we choose to put less pressure on the “stuff” we no longer feel such a sense of dread and regret… especially when it comes to eating and numbers on a scale. Instead of putting so much thought into eating an entire container of peanut butter blossoms or chippers, concentrate on the time you get to spend with loved ones. Get up and move your body because you can, not because you’ve eaten way too much and you’re hoping that it’ll allow you breathe comfortably again.

Take a minute to stop and think about what Christmas is truly about; Jesus Christ was born!!
God became man, in the form of a precious and totally vulnerable little baby.
His first moments were surrounded by animals.
In a barn.
Talk about a HUMBLE entrance!
And all of this… to save you and me.
(Did you note any sort of “test” in there? Me neither.)

Throughout the season of Advent we light candles, one at a time, in order to symbolize Jesus bringing light into the darkness of our sinful world.
Surely it was nothing we deserved.
God simply loves us that much.

That being said, why is it that you have so much difficulty in cutting yourself the same type of break? What are the major barriers to your acceptance?

This is a season to CELEBRATE Christ and give thanks for all of the great things in our lives, blessings that not a single one of us deserves, but still receive because we are loved by a wonderful God!

I challenge you this Christmas to block out the “noise.” Forget about presents, cookies, outfits, and decorations; rather, spend the weekend in complete gratitude for all of the blessings in your life.
(Even if you can’t see them… I promise you they are there.
After all, you woke up today right?)



Merry Christmas to you all!
I hope you are in a happy place surrounded by love.


I think it’s important to celebrate EVERY success you experience as you work your way to a healthier lifestyle. It’s not easy. And everything from going to the gym when you didn’t want to, to adding more vegetables to your daily intake, is something to be proud of.

Remember that awful day when I got into a car accident and tried a new class at the Wellness center called CardioKick? The one where you get a t-shirt after surviving successfully completing 5 classes?

Tonight I hit my 5th class.
Not only did I make it, but now he says he’ll officially call me by name instead of “Hey You!” And I had to work REALLY hard tonight, too. The class had fewer participants due to the Christmas break, so those of us stupid brave enough to come had to do double  everthing.

I ended up punching myself in the throat, running head-on into a black punching bag (I never claimed to be the most coordinated person), and almost puking for the first time in a long time while working out… but…

What are you celebrating today??

Me vs. the Machine: ROW!

I’m not going to lie: working out isn’t my favorite thing in the world. Granted, there are things that I enjoy doing a lot (dancing and walking), but the majority of the time I kinda-sorta dread the gym (until I get started… that’s usually a game-changer).

I know there are others like me out there. When I stop and think about the things that go through my head before, during, and after I attempt something, I sometimes catch myself giggling out loud. (May be… you might say… I’m somewhat of a “drama queen” …as they say.)

This is the first of a series I’m going to call “Me vs. the Machine,” in which I’ll take you through a few minutes inside of my head while working out. Tonight… we focus on: The Row Machine.

As a bit of background information, I’ve recently started my “ADHD workouts.” Inspired by a dear friend (KD), these consist of cardio and light weights in time spurts that are JUST long enough to either start hurting, sweating, or completely lose my breath. They’re great for those of us who get bored REALLY easily at the gym. Ok, here we go…

I pull up to the gym, and the countdown is on. I’m starting to contemplate how I will spend my time. (Because of a recent workout with my friend MO, I now have more confidence to try different things on my own. Enter: The Row Machine.)

I plan to hit The Row Machine (TRM) after I do some jogging and biking; yes, 3rd place sounds good. There’s a nice looking gentleman currently occupying the middle of 3 machines, and I don’t want to distract him from his efforts, so I’ll let him have some alone time with TRM before I work my magic.

A few minutes later… it’s time. Dang it. He’s still there. And he makes it look SO EASY!! He’s covered in sweat. I better sweat.

I sit down, glance over at him, and strap my feet in.

I can do this. It’s just 5 minutes. 5… minutes. Begin.

(My eyes are closed, my arms and legs are starting to burn, and I’m rocking it out.) I bet I’m halfway to Hawaii by now! It has to have been at least- at LEAST 3 minutes…

(I peek…) CRAP! It’s been 38 seconds. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Ugh. Cute guy is still going strong. How long has he been going, anyway?! (I try to sneak a peek at his timer.) Shoot! Can’t see a thing. But with that much sweat, I bet it’s been at least 3 minutes. Lucky.

(I can feel my face starting to change. I make faces when I work out. I have a really hard time hiding my feelings no matter what I’m doing, and exercise is no exception. There have even been times when I’ve opened my eyes to see people staring at me with a look of deep concern on their face. That… is awkward, my friends.)

My arms are… BURNING! I think I’m developing carpal tunnel as I speak. Maybe I should quit to preserve my wrists. For my own good. Or maybe if I change songs I will have an easier time with this… “Something for the DJ’s” by Pitbull. That’s the spot. Alright… let’s DO THIS!

I must be near the halfway mark by now… right? Please, timer… please be at 2:30… (I peek.) UGH! 1:24… doesn’t effort mean ANYTHING in this place?!?! Ok. Row man is still there. If he’s still going strong, I can do this. I HAVE to do this. Seriously. How embarrassing would it be to walk away now?

Yes… I… Can… Make… It… To… Five… Minutes… I’m going to close my eyes and think about riding in my boat across a body of water. I’ve never been to the ocean, but I’ve seen enough movies to be there in my imagination. Aww… such a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the water is a beautiful blue, and… is that a DOLPHIN?!

Ok. For SURE I’ve hit 5 minutes after that calming visual. (My right eye peers open.) FOUR MINUTES?! Ok. I can do this. One more minute. And I’m going to row so hard that the guy next to me is going to envy my moves.

(With each move, my lungs, arms, and legs BURN. But I keep going. I’ve already invested heavily in this 5 minutes. I’m determined to finish strong.)


(I stand up, almost ready to victory dance, until I notice the dude next to me, still rowing effortlessly along. I decide to sit down and talk to him because the time passes quicker when someone talks to me. I’m probably doing him a favor.)

“Are you going to Hawaii too?” -me
“Umm… excuse me?” -Row Dude
“You’ve been rowing FOREVER, and I’m just wondering how you’re able to last so long? I would’ve fallen off the machine by now. No questions asked.”
“Haha. Ya, I don’t usually do this. I’m a runner, but I thought I’d do something different tonight.”
“Wow, you’re pretty awesome. I envy your stamina. And if you keep this up, I bet your arms will get bigger than my head!”
“Yes, you’re probably right; although I think I’m nearly done for tonight.”
“I see. Well, good luck. You’re a good role model for weaklings like me who fight for 5 straight minutes of success. Keep it up, kiddo!”
“Hey thanks. You did good, too!”

I moved on to another machine, leaving the sweaty man behind.
A few minutes later, he walked past me and threw me “2 thumbs up” as he left.

To The Row Machine: Sorry that you lost and I won today.
Actually, I’m not really sorry.
I rocked and ROWED (get it? like “rolled”?!?) it out today!

Until next time, Wellness Center… peace!

What happened to the Christ in Christ-mas?

You know that lady who is behind you in a long line who complains the whole time about how some other lady cut her off and she was so ticked that she almost “dumped my whole caret on her!”? 

You know the family who is already complaining and bickering to you about how someone else in the family did whatever insignificante thing that of course was some sort of personal attack and you, of course, are the one who gets to hear it all? 

You know the family member (or members) who make you feel like you have to get them something for Chrass yet you know when it comes time to open gifts they won’t give you anything?  Oh, and then later that same weekend, or trip or whatever, they also comment about how “Oh, I always buy for you.” HUH?

You know that family who doesn’t show up to the family Christmas because it takes the kids so long to open presents in the morning and then they want to play with their toys…so they’re not coming? 

You know that college student who spends their savings (Haha!  What’s that for a student?!) to travel back home only to feel like it was only to be greeted with stress? 


I am not sure what it is this year, but more so than any other Christmas I’ve had in the past, I have not seen our community with extra smiles on their faces, kind gestures, and an overall sence of giving and love. 

I have seen greed, selfishness, anger even, and for those who celebrate the true root of Christmas (or any holiday around this time of year) is really all about. 

Isn’t Christmas supposed to be a time for Christians to remeber what truly happened that night long ago? 

How would you react if you had a dream in which God spoke to you (that alone is enough to freak anyone out, if you ask me) and shared that YOU would be the mother of HIS child?

What about if your girlfriend ended up pregnant all of a sudden yet still claims her virginity? Would you stick by her side?  And if you did, would you believe that the little boy she gives birth to is actually the Son of God?

Would listen (even just listen) to an angel to tells you that the Son of God will be born of a virgin tonight?  Would you follow that agel as she sets out in the correct direction, turning into a star to follow?  Would you too stop and gather gifts, believing that what the scripture says is indeed finally coming to be, that Christ, the prophet who has been promised has finally arrived?  Would you then set out, traveling miles to see this baby that and angel shared waould be born tonight?  Would you trust one single, bright star, to lead you exactly where you needed to be?  When you finally arrived and found Mary, who claims to be a virgin, has just given birth to a little boy that this baby is indeed the one who would change our world forever? 

What if you were Mary?  How would you raise this child, this Son of God?

What would you do if you were born the son or daughter of God?  Do you think Christ knew who He was before He was born?  When did He know? 


Isn’t Christmas about believing that what happened that night, the experiences of each of these holy people was indeed a reality.  Isn’t it a time to think about and remember the life Christ lived and what we now have because He was born? 

More than anything, I hate that I have to ask…. what happened to the Christ in Christmas? 

Don’t forget your skis and skates!

The annual Ski UND/Late Night Skate event is approaching fast, beginning in the New Year

Every year the University of North Dakota holds the Ski UND/Late Night Skate program for students, faculty, and staff throughout the campus. The two events are approaching fast, beginning mid-January.

Ski UND kicks off with the “Ski with the Kelley’s” event on January 14 and will go every weekend until March 9 or when the snow melts. Late Night Skate will start January 13 and will go every weekend until the ice melts. There will also be an outdoor hockey tournament taking place on January 20-21. Anyone can sign up for the tournament, but there will be a maximum of 16 teams, each competing 4 v 4 on the ice.

Most importantly, don’t forget your gear! This is a good time to remind everyone going home for the holidays to bring their skis and skates back to UND before the spring semester begins again in early January.

Ski UND and Late Night Skate are sponsored by UND Student Government, Wellness Center, UND Alumni Association, SWAC, Ski & Bike Shop, UND Facilities, Night Life @ UND, Grand Forks Park District, and Hockey World.

I CAN Prevent Diabetes….my story


Life just keeps getting better and better. I went with a friend to UND’s Winter WUNDerland event on Friday, it was a lot of fun. I had a vegetarian mean and calorie wise even with eating half of the chocolate mousse dessert I stayed under 1800 calories for the day. Education, moderation, and choices: that’s what it’s all about.

I went to my doctor on Friday and he had weighed me in October and I was 223 pounds. I told him I had lost more weight and he asked how much? I said last night I weighed in at 206 pounds. He said no way, let’s see. We went to his scale and it was 206 pounds! He smiled and said you deserve a treat, go home and eat a donut. His way of saying good job! It’s back to our society again. The last thing I need to reward myself with is a donut! So I celebrated by going home and cleaned the cat box instead. That may seem weird but believe me, both my cat and myself were very happy with my choice.

I saw my personal trainer on Thursday and she gave me exercises that I can do anywhere just with my body! I am going to start working on my core. Getting strong from the inside out, so to speak. I am sad because I only have one more session with her. I had unexpected medical expenses and can’t afford her fee. She has been worth every penny I’ve invested in my health and wellness. Something to add, I’m frugal and can make a dollar stretch. By no means is that easy either, especially on a pre-school teacher’s salary, but I do! I feel blessed to have my health once again, supportive people in my life, goals and accomplishments to look forward to.

Hint for the upcoming weeks before the big Christmas day: moderation. If you can maintain your current weight, GREAT JOB. The average person gains 7 pounds during this time, WOW! But remember, 1 pound is equal 3,500 calories. Think of the cookies, rum soaked cakes, fat laden things everywhere. Temptation everywhere. And being “North Dakota Nice” you don’t want to offend people by not eating their hard work and offerings. I’ve solved that problem. I take a little of my favorite food, rave to the host/hostess at how beautiful everything looks and if I had a camera I would take a picture so I could remember it better. Works for me. And believe me, I am sincere. That table laden with coconut cream pies, pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pies, pumpkin/ginger cream cheese rolls, etc. is beautiful and all the hard work and love to make these homemade goodies! My, my makes me think of the groaning table so laden with delicious foods that the table groans with delight.

Have a great holiday season, stay well, eat well, become fit, and DON’T beat yourself up if you gain weight. Enjoy every bite then do something about it. Walk! -Veronica

You are You and I am Me.

How many times today did you see someone and think, “Why can’t I be like her/him?Seriously.

You’re at the gym, and you start to feel all self-conscious when you spot a stick figure next to you on the treadmill just jogging away effortlessly. (Cue the imagination:) She probably gets to eat chocolate cake and ice cream and chips and pizza without any regret. And she probably only works out once a week- that’s it. And her social calendar is full of fun things she’s doing with fun people. Of course she has an amazing boyfriend that worships the very ground she walks on. And no way does she ever have  to study, yet consistently gets high scores in school and easily achieves everything she sets her mind to… Whoa, Nelly!

Do you ever do this? If the answer is yes, my next question is: WHY!?

I’d like to remind you that God made each one of us a little bit different. Or a lot a bit different. There’s a reason that we don’t all look the same, sound the same, act the same, think the same, and believe the same. You do yourself a great disservice when you try to fit the model of another person.

I read an article about body types recently, and it brought back a memory from high school. I have a friend that is naturally thin, no matter what. She has tried to gain weight before (I KNOW!) and just couldn’t (I KNOW!)And it drove her nuts. The majority of women I meet strive to be thinner. Most men I meet desire to be more sculpted, bulky, and ripped. Either way, we are never good enough.

What if we all pledged to treat our bodies right and accepted ourselves right where we’re at, and we do this all as an act of love? Perhaps we change our motives: because we love who we are, and we believe in the importance of  sharing our light and talents to others in the world.

How many days have you wasted this week thinking about how you wish you were different? How many people have you wished you were instead of the person you are?

I think that it’s ok for us to think about those things at times, but with a realistic and purposeful mindset: If you wish you were someone else because he/she travels the world… maybe it’s time for you to start putting money away little by little and planning your next vacation (no one is stopping you). If you wish you were someone else because he/she writes beautifully… maybe it’s time that you pick up a pen and a fancy notebook and filling the pages (just let your thoughts flow, you have beautiful music inside of you). {Side note: this applies to whatever it is that interests you. Today is a GREAT day to start.} If you are jealous of someone because he/she has sculpted arms and legs… maybe you should stop avoiding the weight room (and find a friend who knows what they’re doing to show you the ropes).

The bottom line is that you have a lot more power than you give yourself credit for. It’s important that you don’t spend each day living for “some day” or “the perfect body” or “certain circumstances.”  

You get today.

You get right now.

You are you and I am me.

Embrace your circumstances with thankfulness

now go out and create some magic.


To weigh or not to weigh… that is the question.

Studies show that weighing yourself will likely produce better results in not only losing weight, but keeping it off; in my opinion experience, it’s a fine line.

The more I write these blogs, the more I want to divulge every in and out of my weight loss journey. There are so many layers. And I want to share each one. Sometimes for the simple fact that I feel it may help you. Sometimes because I sincerely hope you never make the same mistakes that I have.

This is one of those “honest-to-goodness” blogs that make me own up to one of my many stumbles.

As my weight loss progressed, people said things like: “I can’t even imagine you being that big.” or “You are such an inspiration.” or “I want to be just like you.”

Zoiks. That’s A LOT of pressure, people!

I guess it’s also  good accountability, though.

Anyway, I’ve written a bit about how we measure “success.” It’s important that you don’t get SO wrapped up and reliant on the scale and the numbers pop up after those few seconds that take forever. Yes, it is important that you aim for a certain weight (aka your BMI), but it’s also important that you are building/maintaining muscle, drinking enough fluids, and not becoming so driven by the numbers that you become irrational (aka  stop taking care of yourself).

In college, I bought a scale to “keep me in check.” It kept me a lot more than just “in check;” because of that dang scale, I was a slave to time, clothing, eating, and working out.

Please, dear friend:

Do your best to be at peace with the scale.

First things first. Remember that it took you some time to get to your current weight. And getting angry and depressed will not make change the number. Use it as motivation- healthy motivation– to keep trying rather than a torture device.

At one point in college… (gulp, here comes the raw honesty)… I was weighing myself 3 times a day at least, wearing the exact same outfit (I had to change a lot), having eaten the same thing, after exercising nearly the same amount.

I was a robot. I was trapped. It was awful.

Sometimes I would beat myself up for fluctuating- even 0.2 pounds. Let’s put this into perspective using a fewinteresting points: If you drank one liter of pop it would add about 0.10 pound if you didn’t burn it off. It would add over 2 pounds  with just the “liquid weight.” After using a bathroom, you might to down 1-1.5 pounds.

So let’s be real here. Big picture.

Concentrate on eating right and exercising, and staying within your healthy caloric range. If weighing yourself is a “must” to keep you on track, do it only one time a day, in the morning after using the bathroom and without clothes on. Remember that slight fluctuations are no need for panic. Just so the numbers keep generally and gradually heading a downward direction. I guarantee that freaking out isn’t going to change the scale.

And we all know that it’s important to include weight resistance in your workout routine, right? So important that you implement it, yes? True, building muscle may slow/halt the scale temporarily, but in the long run you are better off, as your body will burn more calories and operate more efficiently. (And your new found strength will make you feel more like a rockstar/superhero.)

No matter where you are in your weight loss/healthy living journey, consider each day a gift. You have the chance to start over or begin again today. You have the chance to overcome the negativity in your life that brings you down. Not only chances, but strength.

Believe in yourself and make it happen one healthy step at a time.

And know that I’m with you… every step of the way!

I CAN Prevent Diabetes….my story




It was pointed out to me that diverse populations carry and lose weight differently than the average white Anglo person. They questioned whether this program would work for them I don’t have that answer and since I am not diabetic now I don’t know a lot about carb counting etc. I weighed in at the Prevent Diabetes group and was 206 pounds! I’ve lost 20 pounds in the two months that I’ve been in this educational and supportive group. The facilitator made me feel proud of my accomplishment and I hope that I can be of support, help, and encouragement to others. This is no easy task. Because I weigh less no, my fat gram goal went from 50 to 42, the price to pay for getting thinner! It’s like a treasure hunt to find good foods that have the nutrition (and low fat and calories) that my body needs.

Take care of you! Eat well, read labels, get support, and reap the benefits of your choices and hard work.


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