Navigating the Holidays

December 14, 2016

Let’s be honest, December can be a train wreck for healthy living. Hectically busy schedules create an environment where compromise is a matter of survival, unfortunately in our lives often that compromise is related to our health. So, you’re running around shopping all day and grab a late meal from McDonalds, your starving tired and completely stressed to find the perfect gifts! Sooooo you order that extra-large french fry, you tell yourself you’ve earned that giant milkshake and about 3,000 calories later down that slippery slope you’re swimming in a sea of regret & shame. Has that happened to any of you? Or maybe you are planning your week and can’t find even 1 hour to squeeze in time to the gym with all the decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and parties. Oh, the parties, parties on every night of the weekend, meals with friends, white elephant gift exchanges galore! All the wonderful holidays foods that are so special we only make & indulge one time or year. This is such a hard time of year to navigate living a healthy lifestyle, don’t you agree?

A few years back I wrote a Holiday Confessions blog in which I shared a very thorough plan that we used for a healthy & meaningful holiday. Reading it again inspired me so check it out! I am a planner, I love to plan and always function better in life with a good solid plan. As I prepare for the holiday this year my energy & time are so stretched that my approach is simply to survive without gaining weight. This may be disappointing to some but I really believe it is best to be realistic about your expectations and build from there. That said we are making a few major changes that I want to share with you.

This year I am navigating the holidays by:

-Planning & cooking healthy whole food meals for the lunches & dinners we have at home.

-Eating breakfast smoothies each morning which maintains our healthy routine and controls our calories to between 250-300.

-Drinking water all day every day. We’ve been adding some lemon or grapefruit essential oils in our water which serves a gentle detox and tastes amazing. Message me for info on therapeutic-grade essential oils.

-I am not baking any cookies or pies this holiday. {GASP!!!} This is a MAJOR step I am doing intentionally as a healthy choice this holiday. Every year I bake upwards of 40 dozen cookies as gifts to family & friends, for parties, and to eat at home and have done so as long as I can remember. We have eaten much healthier this year and I don’t want to sabotage all our hard work and start off 2017 in a sugar hangover. Sorry friends & family but no cookies this year!

-Gifting homemade winter wellness gifts to friends & family rather than sweet treats. My heart to give & create remain in tack but this gift is healthy for all of us. Here’s a snap shot from Monday when I practiced a natural chest rub recipe I’m making.


-We are not buying any boxes of chocolates this Christmas. Let me explain, it had been a tradition for years in my family (Dad’s side) to buy a HUGE box of chocolates to share with friends who visit during the holidays. Well at various times in our marriage we have kept that tradition, but especially the last few years. Well inevitably I would eat a good amount, ok the majority of that box of chocolates. Yikes! Well not this year. We are controlling our environment by not buying chocolates.

-Making sure to not head into the big holiday meals starving! Ugh that is the worst because you eat everything in sight. So, we’ll eat a normal breakfast (smoothie in our case) and lunch and enjoy a wonderful meal while not being out of control.

-Enjoy the wonderful foods we love but NOT taking any home. I don’t plan to deprive myself of anything specific while we are eating the holiday meals but I’m going to control our home environment very strictly. This limits our unhealthy choices to one meal on one day rather than an entire week or eating crappy food. Also, I’ve shared in the past that I don’t do well when deprived, I end up obsessing about whatever it is and then overeat on it later.

What are your tips to navigate the holidays in a healthy way?

What are the foods you look forward to? What are the foods you could give up?

How do you remain active & moving during the busy season?

I’m praying you all have a wonderful & healthy Christmas & New Year! I am looking forward to starting 2017 off right with a 30-day challenge, more on that coming soon!


Breaking the Silence

December 5, 2016

How has it been almost four years since I shared our journey with you? We have so much catching up to do! For those of you just joining this blog, welcome! Let me recap where we have been.

In 2010 I got very sick with a fungus called aspergillus in my lungs and at almost 300 pounds of weight I was quite literally “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead” (great documentary btw). It was a huge wake up call for my husband and I, and although my health struggle continued for several years we began a journey to physical, emotional, & spiritual health. We began with what we could control, since so much of my health problems were out of our control, and joined Weight Watchers, attended a weekly meeting, found a trainer, exercised almost daily, and began to learn about having a chemical free home. In 2011 I felt God leading me to share our journey with others so I began writing in this blog and sharing via my Naked in the Potter’s Hand Facebook page. We moved to New Jersey in April of 2013 and my husband became the Pastor of Shadyrest Bible Church on May 19, 2013. By that time, through diet & exercise together we had lost approximately 214 pounds!!!!

As we moved to New Jersey I was at the height of my health crisis having 12 cases of bronchitis/pneumonia and 55 weeks of bedrest in only 2 ½ years. Our beloved church family was abundantly gracious when we arrived very aware of my fragile health. (*Please note, what I am sharing here has zero to do with the people of Shadyrest Bible Church, it’s a wonderful place filled with awesome loving people-so come check us out sometime!) Beyond my health struggles the move brought so much change into our world. I have learned through this journey that I am not the best at navigating change in the best of circumstances, and with my health the way it was these were hardly the best circumstances. Our move brought a new job for my husband, a new church family, new friends, new home, new neighborhoods, new routines, new daily/weekly schedules, new Weight Watchers group, new grocery stores, new gyms, ….. and I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Many things stayed the same, we still maintain a chemical free home, I still LOVE to cook healthy meals with real unprocessed foods, and we still drink only water (and a lot of it!). However, in the end that amount of change rocked my world and rattled me to the core. Our healthy routines began to decline and we regained much of the weight we had lost.

I honestly believe part of why it has taken me this long to break the silence is because I have wrestled with SO MUCH shame and regret from regaining so much weight. The emotional journey is much harder to navigate than the physical and the Lord has been so beautifully and remarkably faithful through it all. 2016 has been a great year of refocus on our health filled with emotional & spiritual healing. I have learned SO MUCH about myself over the last few years that I can’t wait to share with you. A big lesson I have learned is that life is a journey, with ups & downs, successes & failures, disappointment & great joy. As I reflect on my own personal journey, I’ve learned is no matter what you face to NEVER GIVE UP! Never give up on Jesus, on yourself, and on your journey to health.

This site chronicles my personal journey to regaining my physical, emotional, & spiritual health. Being transformed day by day! Naked means: uncovered, stripped away, or bare. I don’t want anything to get in the way of God’s plan for my life. I see God as a Master Potter molding me into the final product he desires. I hope you’ll join me as I continue this journey toward heath, 2017 is going to be EPIC! Welcome to my adventure!