Category Archives: Encouragement
When you go into a marriage, you each come with a lot of baggage – baggage you might not even know you had. At first, you are so in love you don’t notice the weight you each carry right away. Over time, the burden of carrying the extra junk begins to show – and new junk gets piled on too! In many ways, marriage is like weight loss. It requires a permanent commitment to succeed, and it takes a lot of work, discipline, balance, self-control and constant effort if you want to maintain it.
Today we celebrate 20 years of marriage! This above photo was of Steve and I at a company beach party in the early part of our marriage (in the 90’s – that explains the high waisted swim suit I had on! OMG!). The party was put on by Steve’s favorite boss of all-time, Tom Kane of the Center for Orthopedic Sports & Physical Therapy in Tallahassee, FL. We thought we were so fit. haha! Boy did we have a lot to learn!
Sure, we worked out. We even did occasional cardio! lol However, we were merely in the honeymoon stage of both our marriage – and our fitness. The newness was fun and exciting. We were beginning to do a lot right, but we were still doing a LOT wrong.
Over the years, we not only learned that marriage was going to be harder than we thought, and so was staying fit and healthy! It’s taken years to learn how to eat healthier and work out better (more effectively and more efficiently). We’ve learned how to maintain a healthier weight by managing calories and practicing self-discipline. Instead of yo-yoing up and down, binging (cheating) and then crash dieting, now we eat pretty healthy all the time with small cheats here and there – which is a healthier and happier way to live. We rely less on exercise to erase our food “sins” and more on self-control and keeping our diet and lifestyle in balance so we don’t have to spend 2 hours a day in the gym.
I encourage you to always work to improve. Alway seek knowledge. Always work at it! And always remember you are learning every single day – even in your failures. And, most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP. All the hard work, all the failures, all the mistakes, all the struggles are WORTH IT as LONG AS YOU stick to the commitment you first made. If you quit, all the work was for nothing.
I’m so thankful Steve and I have stuck it out, even when the hard work didn’t seem to work right away (like doing a new fitness program…and you wonder when it will EVER pay off!). Sound familiar? I am telling you! There were days we both were nearly convinced we couldn’t succeed no matter how hard we tried. Now we laugh at that thought! And the same goes for you – in whatever you are striving for. Don’t give up when things are tough…chances are, victory is JUST around the corner!!!
Keep your eye on the prize! Don’t look back and keep pressing on. The reward is greater than you could EVER imagine!!!! Whether it’s weight loss or your marriage. The reward is worth the work!
<3 Love you Stephen James Pfiester!!!
“When Is the Last Time You Attempted Something Great?”
This is a very powerful question. I believe many of us avoid attempting great tasks to avoid experiencing great failure. There comes a time you have to ask yourself, “What is worse? Attempting something great and possibly failiing, or not attempting anything great at all and succeeding?”
I’ve recently been asked to do some pretty scary things – scary to me at least. My first instinct was to say “no”. Then I had to ask myself why I was saying no. Was it because it would hurt me? No. Was it because it would hurt anyone else? No. Was it because I was afraid to fail. The answer was yes – but that should NEVER stop me from trying something. When it boiled down to it, I had no other choice but to decide to do it because I really had no good reason not to at least try.
Sadly, many people never really ever try to do something great simply because they don’t want to fail. I believe we are looking at success all wrong. Success is not reaching your goal without opposition, struggle, failures or setbacks. Success is reaching your goal, or getting closer to your goal, despite all of that. Success is also not just doing what you are good at. You can be successful in just trying. You can be more successful attempting success, even if you fall short of your goal. Your goal may be in trying alone. Let me explain…
The Success In Trying
Someone recently suggested my mom be in the Ms. Senior Pageant. She thought long and hard on it and decided it was time she step outside her box and do it. Her goal was not to win. Her goal was to get out of her comfort zone and to experience personal growth, as well as encourage the other ladies there. Her goal was to show up.
Her dress didn’t come in time but she didn’t stress (I admit I would have freaked!). She could have easily used that as an excuse to back out. She could have taken that as an omen, “well it’s just not mean to be”, but she didn’t. She pressed on. She was scheduled to be out of town for work a lot, and she could have used that as an excuse for poor timing, but she found a way to fit it all in. She had never done a pageant before and struggled with the perception of being in a “beauty pageant” but she focused on what good could come out of instead. She had plenty of really good excuses but decided to not use one of them.
Just showing up for her was a big win. We were all so proud because we knew she was way out of her box. She was proud of herself. She said she would sit there at practice thinking “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” As I watched her on stage, I marveled at her bravery, knowing it wasn’t easy for her. I gleamed with pride and reflected on my own need to step outside my comfort zone. She not only did it – to her surprise, she won.
What If You Fail?
What if she failed? What if she didn’t even get to be a runner up? Would she really have failed? Absolutely not. She met some amazing ladies and she could celebrate the victory of stepping out of her box. The moment she said “Yes, I’ll do it” she succeeded. The moment she stepped on stage, she was a winner because she attempted something great. She practiced and performed her song. She memorized her philosophy. She learned how to walk, dance and prepare for such an event. She walked away with more experience, more confidence and more ways to encourage people. Whether she walked away with a crown on her head and a sash across her chest or not, she would have left a better person, a more fully developed person with one more great experience under her belt. Victory was inevitable.
I want to challenge you today to try something great. Don’t just attempt to lose 20lbs, attempt to lose the full 50 you need to lose. Ladie,s don’t try to just get any man, aim to find the BEST and GREATEST man for you. Don’t settle for a job you are miserable, keep applying for the job you’ve always wanted. Don’t settle for an average marriage, work hard to develop a phenomenal marriage. In every single attempt, you will likely see much improvement whether you reach your desired goal or not.
“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” (Les Brown)
[strengkth, strength, strenth] noun
Are you ready to get STRONG?
If you are struggling, remember what strength is. It’s not the weight you lift in the gym (definition #1: muscular power), it’s the being the woman you were called to be. It’s sticking to your goals and seeing them through no matter what (definition #3: firmness). It’s focusing on being a blessing to others (definition #3: moral power) – and you surely can’t do that if you are neglecting yourself. Blessings are very powerful – they strengthen both the giver and the receiver.
Strength is LIFTING others up. Weak people try to expose other people’s weaknesses so they APPEAR stronger. Strong people realize other people’s strengths and allow it to inspire them to improve. It’s creating support groups (even if it’s just a workout partner and yourself) for more accountability and strength in numbers (definition #5: strength in numbers) so you can be your absolute best. As you choose your circle of friends, you are choosing your area of influence, whether good or bad. This is why you must choose friends wisely, choosing people who can help strengthen your faith, strengthen your body and support you on your journey (definition #4: power of reason by influence).
Strength is having victory over the fork and power over the mind (definition #2: mental power). It’s practicing inner AND outer strength. Strength starts in your mind, flows out in actions. As Joyce Meyer always says, “where the mind goes, the body follows”.
Do you want to be strong? Truly strong? You CAN be as strong as you decide to try to be. Strength isn’t based on genetics or your personal upbringing. Strength is a DAILY DECISION to do things and think on things that strengthen you.
Here are 12 scriptures and promises that strengthen me when I get weary:
- I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
- Two are better than one (reminding me of the need for support & fellowship when I’m tempted to go it alone), because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
- For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight (you don’t have to fight battles alone) for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ Deuteronomy 20:4
- God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability (if you are facing it, He knows you can handle it), but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
- But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength (a reminder that strength can be renewed); they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (a reminder that it is still work). Isaiah 40:31
- But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (a reminder that it’s in the weak times that we remember our need for the Lord’s strength, and it’s in OUR weakness he can show himself to you and others).” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
- Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (motivation to keep going). Galatians 6:9
- Be strong and courageous (notice it’s a command, meaning you have the option and the ability to do it). Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good (reminding us that nothing is wasted. He can use all of our struggles and weaknesses for good), for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
- So I do not run aimlessly (a reminder to live with purpose); I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control (and a reminder that God wants us to be disciplined and not let our body boss us around), lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9: 26-27
Yesterday I saw a post from one of our struggling future first-time competitors in our private Bikini Boot Camp group on facebook. She has been totally rocking, her body is leaning out, she looks amazing, but since life happens (and all the junk that comes with it), she got a wave of doubt and began to lose motivation. So she reached out to the rest of the girls for encouragement.
It just so happened I already had created this quote for today’s blog, so I shared it with her (and the rest of the girls) along with this note. After I posted it, I decided I’d share some of it with you in hopes of giving you some encouragement too.
“This goes out to all the girls out there struggling, feeling weak, unmotivated, tired, sore, hungry, grumpy, teary-eyed, frustrated, full of doubt…
You can do this! This isn’t just about getting a hot body. It’s about being YOUR best! It’s about being healthy, taking care of the body God gave you. We all have “weak” friends, family members and people who NEED us to be STRONG for THEM! This isn’t just about you, it’s about who you can be for everyone you love and everyone who loves you. The happier you are, the better mom, wife, friend, co-worker, neighbor you are. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else – because you can’t give something away that you don’t have to begin with.
“the hour you spend in the gym, makes you a better you the other 23 hours a day”
At first glance, you may feel your time in the gym is selfish – that it’s selfish to work so hard on “you”. But, TRUST ME. The hour you spend in the gym, makes you a better you the other 23 hours a day. You need this. Your kids need it. They need a strong mommy! Your husband needs a confident woman who feels as sexy as your husband sees you. Your friends need it. People are more likable when they feel good about themselves.
Strength goes beyond the gym – WAY beyond the gym. What you do in the gym creates an outward reflection of the discipline you are learning to apply in your life, to control your flesh and not let the world beat you up so you can be the best you you can be. Showing others you don’t have to give in to the Biggie Size temptations of this Biggie Size world. You CAN’T give up! People depend on you. It’s not just about your success, your success has the potential to impact every single one of your friends who are watching you and thinking “if she can do it, maybe I can too”.
YOU are a walking testimony for everything you believe in. It can be a good testimony or a bad one – that’s up to you.
Personally, I want to be a positive reflection of everything I believe in. I don’t want to teach my friends to give up on fitness, marriage, family, goals, career, God or anything else I truly believe in. There are people who depend on my success to motivate them to just even try. I want to encourage people to keep trying and to never give up – and that starts with ME not giving up. Who you can impact starts with YOU never giving up.
The hard work in the gym and kitchen is nothing compared to the victory you will have KNOWING you GAVE IT YOUR ALL, and that your all impacted people around you to give THEIR all. No one will EVER be able to take that away from you.
Now, let’s take things up a notch and act like the STRONG WOMEN I know each of you are! Let’s DO THIS! Can I hear an AMEN!?!?!?! <3
Let’s commit to lifting each other up, helping people stay encouraged and pressing on toward their goal! Lift Someone Up Today! Share this post if your friends need encouragement on their fitness journey! :)
MORE STRENGTH & ENCOURAGEMENT COMING TOMORROW!
I’ve spoken to so many people who apologize for being weak. They say stuff like “I knew I was weak, but I didn’t realize just how out of shape I really was” or “I’m so sorry I am unable to keep up“. Or they say stuff like “I can’t” because they believe they are not supposed to experience such weakness. The truth is “THEY CAN”, but it’s going to be hard. Unfortunately, people often walk away with their head hanging, discouraged at their bodies difficulty to perform the way they had hoped – feeling like a failure, instead of realizing their need for weakness.
PICK YOUR CHIN UP! If you are doing what you are supposed to, you should feel weakness. You HAVE to feel weakness in order to get stronger.
If I bang out 12 overhead presses with ease, I am not getting stronger. I am only demonstrating my EXISTING strength. That’s when I know I need to add weight. When I do 12 reps, but the last 4-5 are really challenging to finish (and maybe the last 1 or 2 seem nearly impossible), THAT’s when I’m changing my body.
This principle applies in many ways. For example, you don’t become a better musician by continuing to play music you have already mastered. You get better by trying more difficult pieces. If you can finish the piece without a mistake, you are not challenging yourself enough. If you are not challenging yourself, you are not improving. You are simply performing. You MUST fail before you succeed. Sadly, no one likes to fail. So, as a result, many people avoid failure (or experiencing any kind of weakness) at all cost – and only do what they are currently good at and currently strong enough to handle.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan
I don’t like extreme cardio. I do Kickboxing and LiveXFit because I know I need it. Feel free to take a class with me, or follow me online at LiveExercise to see for yourself – I can GUARANTEE you will see me reach failure (and it ain’t pretty!). However, I do it because I know it will make me stronger, better and healthier. I’d prefer to run, but I can already run. I’d prefer to rest more between exercises, but that won’t improve my cardio and conditioning. So I huff and puff my way through each workout, just hoping I can make it through.
Do I enjoy failing? Do I enjoy feeling weak? NO! I hate it, BUT I realize it’s a requirement for getting stronger. If I want to get stronger, I have to experience those weak moments.
So, celebrate your weakness. Celebrate reaching failure as long as you don’t give up! It’s in that weakness you are made stronger. :)
You know the saying “that was a shot in the arm”? We use that saying when talking about needing boost, or an injection of encouragement. Well, how about a shot in the leg? That works too! How do we know? Because Steve was accidentally shot 2 weeks ago (through both thighs) and, just like a shot in the arm kills a virus, that 40 caliber hollow point bullet was exactly what the Good Doctor ordered. It was what Steve needed to close out 2013, and that chapter in his life, and get ready to write a new chapter.
Ready, Aim, FIRE!
On December 13th, I had just arrived at the Melbourne hospital to visit my Uncle Mac, when I got the call. It was Steve, and he said “Hi baby. Umm, I got shot”. The fact that he is talking to me is a good thing right? I asked him to repeat himself just in case I misunderstood, but he confirmed what I heard was correct. I was an hour away and was about to take the longest road trip home ever.
Now, you could look at this accident as really bad luck, or you can look at this from God’s view and try to figure out what in the world God is trying to teach you. We choose view #2, and boy did God have a lot to show us both.
Like my grandmother always said, “It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you respond to what happens to you that matters most”. Sadly, there are people who get shot every day, but they are too busy trying to figure out who to sue when they could be focusing on what they are supposed to learn from the experience – which could be far more valuable than any settlement they could get.
How’s a gunshot for a little motivation?
Of course getting shot is not something that happens to people every day, but there are many other more common things that can happen to you that can really change your life if you LET it. Your “bullet” could be a heart attack, a breakup, a layoff, or a health issue. The key to success following something like that is looking inward. If you have a heart attack, what do you need to change to strengthen your heart? If it’s a breakup, what can you improve on to be a better mate? If it’s being laid off or a health issue, do you need to be a harder worker or be a better steward of the body God gave you? Even if whatever you are experiencing has NOTHING to do with you and is totally unfair, you can still choose to figure out what you can learn from the experience. That’s what Steve and I did, and what could have turned out to be one of the worst Christmas’ ever turned out to be one of the most special of all.
Here’s Steve’s story, complete with photos and what happened that day…
To everyone who is ready for a new year and a new life. Happy New Year everyone!! 2014 can be your year to change too!
Too many people let their past failures define them. They dieted before and failed, so they believe they are doomed to never lose weight. They joined a gym before and quit going, so they fear they’ll just waste their money again the next time. They have a tendency to be lazy, selfish, and lack self control, so they fear they will always be lazy, selfish and lack self control. This type of thinking uses past failures to sabotage tomorrow’s successes.
My grandmother once quoted Barbara Johnson, an encouraging author known for helping women have hope and joy in discouraging times, saying, “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” Focusing on past failures causes us to worry about continuing to be a failure, and Barbara reminds us worrying wastes time and interferes with tomorrow’s opportunities.
Free From Failure
What we think about is a choice. We have the choice to think about all the mistakes we’ve made, and what mistakes we could make in the future OR we can think about changing our actions, breaking the cycle, becoming the person we want to be, learning from our mistakes and succeeding. Sure, it’s easy to look at the facts. Believe me, I know about failure. I remember paying for a gym membership for 2 years and never going. Did that stop me from joining a gym again? No. The next time I went a little more than the first. I continued to join gyms until I found the one that kept me going, and I learned to make working out a part of my life, and not an option.
Of course, this is just one type of failure. There are much worse failures than just wasting a gym membership or quitting a diet. However, the application applies to all failures. Just the same way you can list off all the good reasons you’re sure you could fail again (where statistics could help prove your point), I can shoot off some statistics of my own that prove you could succeed.
Aim for Success
I have countless encounters with people who have never had weight loss success who joined our gym, or did a boot camp, and got the results they wanted after many failed attempts. I could remind you of all the failed relationships who decided to never give up and who made it – stronger and better than they ever hoped. We can look at all the countless men and women in history that led lives of failure, but are remembered for their great successes because they didn’t let their failures define them or stop them from continuing to try to become a success.
No matter what your struggle is today, decide now to accept your failures as HISTORY. You can be a failure yesterday and be a success today. Be a success for several days in a row, and before you know it you ARE a success.
No matter how bad you were on Thanksgiving, no matter how much you’ve let your workouts slip, no matter how many poor mistakes you’ve made with your finances or relationships, decide to stop making the mistakes that haunt you, decide to think about the possibilities if you succeed, and and decide to make this week a successful week!
What if he quit trying?
“This was a man who failed in business at the age of 21; was defeated in a legislative race at age 22; failed again in business at age 24; overcame the death of his sweetheart at age 26; had a nervous breakdown at age 27; lost a congressional race at age 34; lost a senatorial race at age 45; failed in an effort to become vice-president at age 47; lost a senatorial race at age 49; and was elected president of the United States at age 52.”
This man was Abraham Lincoln.
“I have failed over and over, and that is why I succeed” Abraham Lincoln.
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Joyce Meyer says “Where the mind goes, the body follows” and this is so true. If you want to lose weight, you have to first believe you CAN lose weight. If you want to be a professional athlete, you have to become one in your head first. If you don’t believe you can do what you want to do, it will never happen.
Muhammad Ali said, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” What he is saying is he was told himself he was the greatest even BEFORE he felt great, BEFORE he was great, BEFORE he succeeded. I think we can all learn something from that statement. We have to tell ourselves who we want to be and what we want to become. Sadly, we normally do exactly the opposite. We constantly tell ourself that we are a failure. We say things like, “I’ll never be able to do XYZ”. Guess what? Your body listens to what you tell it and if you keep telling yourself that, you will never be able to do XYZ.
Ask yourself today. What are you telling yourself? Are you talking about being successful, strong, honorable, good, kind, loving, loyal, patient, forgiving, determined, steadfast – or are you constantly reminding yourself of your failures, shortcomings and inability to change? Choose your words carefully.
Food For Thought
I found this super interesting today and wanted to share this with you. Whether you are a Christian or not, I think you will find this text super interesting. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a NEW person by changing the way you THINK. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” Romans 12:2.
I find it super interesting that this scripture didn’t say you need to renew your heart or change the way you feel, but it said transformation begins with a renewing of your mind and changing the way you think. If we want to think correctly, we need to read scripture and understand how God thinks. Then, and only then, can we begin to be transformed and know God’s will for our lives, and act in a way that is pleasing to Him – and this most definitely overflows into our work, our fitness, our marriage, our relationships.
How often do we make decisions based on how we feel. We don’t “feel” like working out. We don’t “feel” strong enough to lift that. We don’t “feel” like loving that person. We don’t “feel” like we can do this or that. Obviously God wants our heart to change, but scripture points to the real heart of our problems and failures – and it all starts in our mind.
I encourage you today to set your mind on what is good and positive, and practice pushing out negative self-defeating thoughts.
Wikipedia explains the Second Wind as “a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion. The feeling may be similar to that of a “runner’s high“, the most obvious difference being that the runner’s high occurs after the race is over. Some scientists believe the second wind to be a result of the body finding the proper balance of oxygen to counteract the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Others claim second winds are due to endorphin production, while still others believe it to be purely psychological.”
It really doesn’t matter where our second wind comes from, what matters is knowing it will come. Whether we are talking about fitness or life, sadly, many people never get to experience the second wind because they give up too soon. No one ever said weight loss would be easy. No one says that life is easy, so why are we so surprised when things get tough? If we plan to run a marathon, we know it’s going to be a long grueling haul. Weight loss is a marathon of sorts. So is marriage, our career, raising kids, and maintaining friendships. They all require a certain intense level of commitment – a commitment to the finish.
If you plan to do a race, you plan to finish. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, the goal is to cross the finish line. Sadly, many people give up on their goals, hopes and dreams as soon as things get tough. I want to encourage you today, you WILL get a second wind – but you don’t get a second wind before the pain sets in. You don’t get a second wind before you run out of breath, or before your body shuts down. No! You get a second wind AFTER you begin to feel defeated. AFTER you’ve been on a plateau for too long. AFTER you’ve cried and started to doubt if you could “do this”. AFTER your mind starts turning on you. The second wind DOES come, but it doesn’t come when things are going smooth. It comes right when you need it the most …in the very last possible hour.
Test Yourself. Don’t miss your second wind because you choose not run long enough in your first one. Train hard. The more you reach the point of needing a second wind, the less doubt you will have that the second wind will come because you’ve experienced it before. However, if you quit every time something gets hard, you won’t have the past experiences to encourage you in your next race.
Never Give Up.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
When I think of what fitness is and how someone gets fit and stays fit, it’s painfully obvious it has little to do with how athletic they are. Fitness has little to do with abilities, coordination, strength or stamina BUT it has EVERYTHING to do with the BRAIN. Success begins in the noggin.
You don’t have to be Einstein to get results (thank the LORD, because I’d be DOOMED!), but you do need to get your brain fit before you can get your body fit. The problem is, people are working on getting their body healthy but their mind is still sick.
Sure, you have to burn calories and you have to do work to get results, but many people let their mind sabotage their body – when they have very capable bodies to get the results they want. I have witnessed people doing “less work” than another person, or lifting less weight than another, and getting amazing results. Why? It’s not because their body is in better shape (often times they are more out of shape) – it’s because they aren’t letting their mind get in the way of their body’s success. They keep showing up and giving THEIR 100% – no matter what that is. Read the rest of this entry