A Fit Writer in 2020: Eat, Live, Thrive Healthy Lifestyle

By Jennifer Hallmark

I stared down at the scale in disgust. Once again, I’d slowly edged up in my weight until I’d almost reached that number. In my mind, a certain number was more than I could allow myself to weigh. This was the second time in ten years that I’d almost reached it. Something had to change.

Diet short term. Exercise off and on again. I’ve studied diet and exercise. I’ve struggled to do both at the same time because, well, it was too hard to be disciplined in both areas. I did pretty well when I went to Curves, an exercise place that provided a specific way to eat healthier. But then our local Curves closed and once again, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I’d always been active when the children were younger and we had a farm working with cattle and chickens. But I’d semi-retired in 2011 and become a full-time writer. My brain and fingers were the only part of me that seemed to be healthy. At 56 years old, I was dealing with asthma, digestive issues, back pain, fatigue, and low energy. A part could be blamed on menopause but I knew my poor exercise and diet were also to blame.

One day, I heard about the Eat, Live, Thrive diet for women, a lifestyle plan to rev up your midlife metabolism. That struck a chord in me. Finally, a plan formulated for where I was, that understood the hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain.

Here’s the blurb:  Eat, Live, Thrive Diet shows women how they can not only lose excess body fat permanently but also improve their overall health in critical areas such as brain function, resistance to disease, slowing down external aging, and increasing energy. This highly effective eating plan is presented in a compassionate voice by two experienced health coaches who share personal experiences of battling weight and emotional eating issues.

Whereas most diets are short-lived or require substantial upkeep to maintain, Eat, Live, Thrive Diet is a viable eating plan that women can adhere to indefinitely. In addition to minimizing sugar intake, the plan emphasizes the importance of short-term intermittent fasting–a simple lifestyle change that makes it easier and more effective for many mature women to reach their health and weight loss goals. The book also highlights the health risks and drawbacks of many popular fad diets that can be harmful on a long-term basis.

Click to tweet: “I couldn’t just diet. I needed a total change in the way I ate and exercised. But how?” Eat Live Thrive Healthy Lifestyle Diet #HealthyEating #EatClean

I ordered the book and prayed. Could I finally get serious? I’d reached a point where I couldn’t just diet. I needed a total change in the way I ate and thought about food, one I could stay on until I died. 😊 I also joined a gym and saved money to hire a personal trainer for a short time to set me up a cardio and weight-training plan I can stick to.

On September 23rd, I started the first phase, which is food testing, to see how my body reacted to different foods. One note: I also ordered the healthy self-talk download and listened to it. A lot. I knew my mind needed to be retrained with positive talk that agreed with the Word of God and this was really helpful.

I went by the book as much as possible (it encourages you not to be obsessive) and finished that phase. One important part of the plan is short-term intermittent fasting. I would eat during a 12-hour period, then fast for 12-hours. I occasionally fasted longer. Next, I formulated how I would eat according to my body and started the lifestyle phase. By Thanksgiving, I’d lost 15 pounds.

Woo hoo! I’d like to say I lost more after Thanksgiving, but the temptation was strong throughout the holiday season. I had good days and bad ones, eating wise. But on January 1st, I weighed and I’d only gained back 2 lbs. So, I felt pretty good about it.

I start my new gym plan today and am back on the lifestyle phase with the fasting. And I’d like to lose 15 more pounds.

Positive results? I weigh less. I’ve lost a little over one clothing size. Food tastes so much better, mainly because I avoid processed food and sugar. I’m more mentally alert. My asthma has bothered me less than it ever has.

Not-so-positive results? Especially at the beginning, I was hungry. A lot. And I wanted to turn to sweets and carbs for comfort when I was having a tough day. It was hard not to do so. I had to really shop to find what I needed and plan meals instead of just throwing something together at the last minute.

I blew it some days. But one part of the healthy self-talk audio says. “But when I mess up, I get over it and get back on my plan quickly without frustration or guilt.” And “I desire so much more than just good taste. My body deserves the best fuel I can give it.” I remind myself that I want to be healthy, as much as I can.

I’ve found enjoyment in taking care of myself because that truly is the bottom line. Am I worth taking care of? If I don’t do it, no one will do it for me. Only I determine how much I move each day and what I choose to eat.

Writing for years to come is my goal. If I’m going to be able to do that, my lifestyle had to change. For now, it’s working for me. Will it work for you? It might. Make up your mind that writing is important and to do your best work, you need to be healthy.

Start today. You’ll be glad you did. Share something you plan to do this year for your health in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

My One Word for 2017: Persevere

By Cynthia Herroncynthia-herron

Welcome!

I’m so glad you stopped by.

Now that another year’s behind us, I’ve reflected on past goals mastered and met, and a few things I didn’t accomplish. I’ve set new goals for the coming year and I’ve realigned priorities.

As I mentioned in my recent newsletter, I rarely (if ever) make New Year’s resolutions, which are too easily broken, forgotten, or made in haste. I opt for “goals” instead.

Goals force us to examine our dreams and desires, usually through a step-by-step process. We might organize a plan to attain our goals and then enlist mentors to keep us focused and on track.

Last year, along with new goals—for the first time ever, I chose one word to ground me and center my thinking. That word was encourage. It fit me. It’s my life philosophy.

This year, as I contemplated my word, the choice seemed obvious. It’s a tough one—a word writers know well.

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My one word for 2017 is PERSEVERE.

As some dreams withered and died, others have been resurrected. Still, this writing journey isn’t easy.

The writing life takes tenacity, focus, and flexibility.

It demands work, self-direction, and wit.

It requires courage.

Balance.

Shoe-leather skin.

Transparency.

Good judgment.

The high road.

A sensitive heart.

An intuitive spirit.

A listening ear.

Drive.

Determination.

Sometimes, tears.

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As one year melds into the next, defeat would seem the saner option.

However, I’m a writer.

Sanity is overrated.

And you know what they say about insanity.

However—I would add this caveat.

We persevere until we get it right.

As we learn, grow, and try new things—while testing what works and discarding what doesn’t—while envisioning success.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…” (James 1:2-4 NIV)


cynthia-herronCynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

A hopeless romantic at heart, Cynthia enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. She has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cynthia is a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014.

Besides writing, Cynthia delights in serving the Lord and spending time with her family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. Join her at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ for weekly encouragement.

Endless Possibilities for 2017

by Gail Johnson

Have you made plans for 2017?

I admit it took me a while to understand this thing called New Year’s Resolution. In the past, my resolutions were nothing more than a wish made and broken in the same month. Unfortunately, without a fairy godmother to wave her magic wand, I was doomed to fail every year. But not this year!

This year I didn’t stop with a resolution. I took it a step further and made a plan. That’s right, this pantser made a plan. And that process began with questions. Lots of questions.

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Why make a resolution in the first place?

One synonym for resolution is the word purpose. Purpose, for me, brings stability to my life.

 

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How will I reach my goal?

How encompasses the what, when, where, and who. Knowing the how keeps me from wandering aimlessly throughout the year.

 

 

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What do I want to do this year?

That is the question we must ask ourselves. The answer, for me, was obvious. I want to publish my book.

 

 

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When do I have time to work on my goal?

I failed in the past because I forgot to make room for life. Life happens. If I can’t write for one hour a day, I write for thirty minutes. If not thirty minutes, then fifteen minutes. This plan also works well in pages.

Did you know if you wrote one page a day you would have 365 pages at the end of the year? Even if you pencil in two months for holidays and vacation, you can still write over 300 pages in a year! That is a book, my friend! So, don’t set yourself up to fail. Live your life and set aside a portion of your time to write.

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Who can help me?

You will find many writers who will happily share their knowledge with you. When you find these generous people, cherish their friendship. Do what you can to help them by promoting their books by word-of-mouth or by a review on social media. Both if possible. You won’t regret it.

However, not everyone will bother to answer your questions. Don’t take it personally. Discouragement is the enemy of productivity. Move on. Find someone else to ask and keep asking until you find someone willing to share the answers.

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Where do I go to get helpful information?

This may take a little longer. In fact, it may take a lot longer. In the past eight years, I’ve waded through the overwhelming number of writing websites only to glean just a few keepers. Some sites I bookmarked and still visit often, and others I discarded. It wasn’t the person or the information–just the same info in a different package. Choosing the perfect ones for me was a combination of things. Along with writing advice, I looked for interaction and teaching technique. In the end, I found my fit. Find your fit and stick with them. They will teach and encourage you along the journey. And while you are looking for that perfect site, don’t forget Writing Prompts. We would love to have you visit every week!

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So, if you haven’t  made your New Year’s resolution, why not take the time to do it now?

The possibilities are endless!

 

Writing Prompt: Mary read the letter once more before laying it aside. Rejected. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe God had other plans for her. Staring at the blinking cursor, her hand hovered over the delete button…

How Can a New Year’s Resolution Help My Writing?

By Jennifer Hallmark

new-years-eve-1941665_960_7202017. Relief washes over me as I realize it’s a new season. A time to start again, with a feeling almost like spring bursting forth in all its glory.

Except it’s cold. And nothing is blooming.

But it’s still a time of newness, and many people make resolutions or set goals every January for what they’d like to do, see, lose, gain, or buy during the New Year. Others, like myself, don’t like to promise to do things (mainly lose weight or write more) since they probably won’t follow through. But resolutions are worth looking into…

I pulled up dictionary.com and looked up the definition of a resolution. They say a resolution is: the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action,method, procedure, etc. A decision or determination; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

Oh. This sounds more like a plan than wishful thinking. Maybe there is something to making resolutions. But first, I always pray about a focus for each year. A thought or scripture to wrap my mind around so when life gets hard, I can remember and not lose heart. This year, my focus is to be thankful. Just pure, simple gratitude.

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Okay, so I have my focus to remember to be thankful. And maybe coming up with a plan is not a bad thing. I’ve researched this and found some very useful articles. So if you’re a writer and need help getting started this year too, here are the results of my research:

(1) Writer’s Digest. How to Develop a Writing Plan.

(2) Writers Helping Writers. Will This Be Your Year? Making a Writing Plan and Take Out the Guesswork.

(3) The Write Conversation. 9 Writing Productivity Mistakes to Avoid.

(4) Helping Writers Become Authors. 5 Ways to Make Better Writing Resolutions in 2016. 

(5)  Writer’s Digest. The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again.

pencil picCheck them out. Then, like me, sit down and write out a plan or guide to keep you moving forward in 2017. And if you decide on choosing a focus, write it down and place it where you can see it often.

And let’s keep on writing!

Writing Prompt: Edith stared at the computer screen. She’d written Chapter One at the top of her page. Her first novel began with three words, the ones she couldn’t get out of her head. They were…