How Ever Did You Do It? Part One: Motivation

***Welcome to all of you who have joined us due to the Proverbs 31 Devotion that is running today. Peek around and leave a comment!!!

karene.jpg Todd and me in August 2005

kareneafter.jpg Me now!!!!!! Thanks to God!!!!

“How did you do it?”

If I had a nickel for every time someone asks me that question about my weight loss, I’d be a rich woman.

But when you think about it ladies, it really is a silly question. If I offered a million dollars to anyone who could tell me the two things you need to do in order to lose weight, that cold, hard cash would easily be snatched up. I wouldn’t even need to tell Howie to “Open the case” !

What two things does a woman need to do in order to drop a few (or in my case a hundred) pounds?


Eat less. Move more.

What girlfriends really mean when they ask you that question is, “But how did you motivate yourself to stick to the simple plan?”

Well, during this week of posting on weight loss, let’s start with that million-dollar question. How did you find the motivation to lose weight?

It was the spring of 2005 and I was miserable. At nearly 250 pounds and sporting a size 24, I felt as if I had ruined my body forever. In my teenage and college days, I was one of those gals who consistantly had an annoying 15 or so pounds to lose. My freshman year of college, I did balloon up the scale due to too much “all-you-can-eat” cafeteria foods, but I took that weight off in the summer and came back my sophomore year still just a size or so more than all of the other “pretty and trim” girls—you know, the ones who complained because they couldn’t zip up their size 3 jeans!!!

In adulthood, my weight would flex about 40-50 pounds. I gained some after marriage and then some after each baby. I was able to drop back down after the birth of our second child, but it was short lived. So I just gave up!

Fast forward to that miserable spring.

As a just-turned-forty mom of three, I not only was overweight, but I had several medical conditions that were causing me even more distress including bursitis in my right foot, a torn meniscus in my left knee that would not heal and that made it excruciatingly painful for me to even straighten my leg when I got up from sitting for a long spell or to bend my leg after having slept all night. I had a cholesterol level that was sky-rocketing over 300. I had fatigue all afternoon and sleepless nights. Worst of all, I had an embarrassing little female issue that I thought was due to having birthed two large boys (after delivering Mackenzie by c-section). However, my doctor sweetly told me one day it was due to the enormous amount of stomach weight sitting on my bladder. That is what made me acquire the delightful ailment of female incontinence. (I promptly purchased stock in Poise Pads) Like everything else about my weight, I just chose to make a joke about it stating that my next book was going to be entitled, “I Squeeze When I Sneeze and I Cross When I Cough: Life After 40” (Don’t steal my idea. I’m still planning on writing that book!)

But seriously, it was no laughing matter. I had also begun to have occasional and frightening, tightening chest pains that I was just sure was the precursor to a heart attack. And I had an aunt who had died in her early forties from heart disease. I was the same size as she was when she died.

In addition to all of these medical issues, I received a rude awakening one day. I popped in a dvd in of a skit I had performed at a recent Hearts at Home moms’ conference to watch for review. When the camera panned to my image, I instantly thought….”Who is that fat woman? I thought I played that part.” When a close-up shot came, I gasped when I realized it was me! You see, I had stayed away from cameras for years—just check our Christmas letter photos- the kids or the kids and Todd. No mom. And as for looking at myself in the mirror, well…I feel I had a form of reverse anorexia, as I heard it once referred to in the 90’s. That is where you look in the mirror, and no matter how much weight you gain, you still think to yourself, “Aw…you’re a three time mom approaching middle age. You look fine, darlin’”

Well, my chest pains and my wake up call from viewing that dvd was motivation enough. I knew if I didn’t do something, that my husband would soon be a widower and my kids would finish their growing up years without a mom in their life.

So, what is your motivation? Do you want to be around for your family too? Do you long to shop in the regular section of the ladies clothing department rather than hang around at the “Plus Size” racks? Want to be able to trot up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing? Have some medical issues that are due to excess pounds? Feel as if you are a bad witness for Christ with a “Glutton” sign posted on your back? Wonder if your hubby is slightly ashamed to be seen with you? Wish you could chase your toddler or throw a ball around with your teen? Tennis anyone?

Whatever your motivation, I know this to be true. God did not create you to be morbidly obese. Our choices get us there. Nor do I think He created you to be super skinny or a show off with your body. No, we are shooting for lean, strong and healthy so we can serve God and our families and point others to Christ. That’s it. Being able to slip on a pair of jeans that are a size or two—or seven or eight in my case—smaller is a side benefit.

Also, I will not tell you what you should weigh or what size you should be. You know your body. You know when you feel flabby and what size would be a good one for you. I have some friends who are a size 4 and some who are a 16. They each are in great shape, considered healthy at their medical check-ups and look proportioned for their height. (Okay, now you are all praying to miraculously grow taller!!)

Nor can I give personal medical advice to you. I only know that when I lost weight, all of my many medical conditions disappeared WITHOUT ANY MEDICATION!!!!! Not a pill.

So, as we journey through this week together, just start here. What is your motivation? Write it out. List the reasons God would want you to be more healthy and at a lower weight than you are now.

Then, today, eat less and move more. That’s it. We’ll discuss what I ate and how I moved along with other topics later this week.

And to close, if you are up to it, memorize this verse that was key for me as far as motivation is concerned:

Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD; “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “And will bring you back from captivity”

Is food holding you captive? God has the keys to set you free. And He has a wonderful future full of hope prepared for you.

Sweet Bond-Breaking Blessings,


**Please note: While I am excited to be talking about this during this week long series of posts, my life is swamped right now with a possible house sale (please pray!!! It has been on the market for 22 months) writing deadlines, preparing for a graduation commencement address and the upcoming Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference not to mention a family that needs me—mostly right now to sit and watch them at the ball diamond. (Baseball season is in full swing with two boys who each play two nights a week—you guessed it—on opposite nights!!! Lots of lawn chair sitting for Kenzie and me. Hubby works afternoon shift and can’t go.) All of this to say….I cannot answer individual emails, although I would LOVE to be able to. My family would not be happy dwelling in a severly neglected house and eating frozen pizza off of paper plates for a week in order for me to do so. (Okay….so one of them does love frozen pizzas, but it ain’t gonna happen J) So, please feel free to leave comments here. Tell us your motivation. Tell us your goals. Talk to each other. Ask questions. Vent. Offer suggestions and encouragement. When I can hop on and leave a comment, I will. Or I’ll attempt to answer the most common questions and comments in my later posts. Really, I will. Good ‘nough? Thanks for understanding!!


  1. Karen, I just spent some time reading through all your weight loss posts. Thank you for taking the time to write all this for me! (SInce I bugged you about it now I get to take credit for it!)

    First, I wanted to say that, after reading this, I think more than ever that you SHOULD WRITE A WEIGHT LOSS BOOK!!!! Ok, had to say it.

    Second, I wanted to say that looking at those photos of you before and after, I am so proud of you. You look just beautiful. You were always beautiful inside, and now your outsides match your insides– instead of shying away from the camera and generally feeling bad about yourself, you radiate God’s love and actually seem to be glowing in that “after” photo! Not that anyone needs to be super skinny to reach people for God, but your weight loss story makes me believe that when you take care of yourself and honor God with your eating choices, He will draw others to you as a result.

    Ok, I hope I said that right– touchy subject. But just know I love you my friend and I am so, so proud of what you accomplished and have stuck to for the long haul.

    And no, I am not jealous that you now weigh less than me and look better than me… not at all, not at all. :)

  2. Karen,
    Thank you SO much for submitting this devotion and it’s timely manner of arriving in my email inbox. The night before I received this devotion, I was in the bathtub absolutely sickened with my own body. I am like many of the other ladies who have posted, I am at my highest weight of my life, 263 lbs. I am only 5’4 and wear a size 26/28. I have been with my husband since I was 15 and have more than doubled my weight than when we got married 12 years ago. On October 1, 2005, I was involved in a near fatal riding lawn mower accident, in which I almost lost my right arm. I was nursing my 11 month old son at the time and had never been away from him overnight, must less the 14 days I was hospitalized. I had seven surgeries, one in which the doctors had to amputate my thumb. I had a bone graph and a large skin graph in which they harvested skin from my thigh. All of this while my milk had to dry up. After I was released from the hospital, I entered a downward spiral of emotional turmoil and was admitted back into the hospital, only this time in the mental ward. I was there for another two weeks (missing my baby’s 1st birthday, his first steps, his first McDonald chicken nugget…) and was given a diagnosis of being bipolar, with extreme hypomania, severe depression, post traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Fast forward to today… I have to see my psychiatrist every few weeks to keep my meds adjusted and I see my therapist weekly to deal with a lot of the issues that have happened since the accident and things that happened in my childhood. I have gained 65 lbs. in less than three years, have a noticeably disfigured right hand, and zero self esteem or confidence. Admitting that I have a problem with food is a HUGE deal to me, because I feel like I am turning on my best friend. Food has always been there for me. Realizing how I have abused food and disgraced the temple the Lord has blessed me was a wake up call to me. He was so faithful to me during my surgeries and my terrible time at the mental hospital and during my long recovery of rehab for my hand, I know that He will be faithful to me during this journey of my life. I want to live a healthier life for my husband and son and I want to be a better witness for Christ. Thank you for sharing your story and I have enjoyed reading the other ladies’ comments. I will be praying for each of you!

  3. I am another woman who has struggled with weight, but until I realized that mine is a “self control” issue, not a food issue I wasn’t able to lose weight and keep it off. The bible is full of self control verses. Plain and simple it is sin when I eat uncontollably! This was truly a revelation to me. What has worked for me is to renew my mind with verses about self control and being disciplined. I feel like it’s extremely important for us to examine why we are eating. Satan has used this to keep me oppressed and make me an ineffective Christian. The more time I have spent with God (free from this sin) the closer I have become to Him and the more He continues to work in my life. I truly believe that we can have unconfessed sin in our lives when we are not aware of it and God cannot do a work in us. I did not realize that I was sinning against God therefore I was praying to lose weight, etc. but my life was full of unconfessed sin. God is so good. He wants us to be healthy, disciplined, and self controlled for Him. We can do so much more for Him and be such better witnesses. I especially love this verse, it truly sums it up when you think about all of the Christian women struggling with their weight. Satan has devoured me and others for too long enough and we can be overcomers with Christ!

    1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

    Thank you for sharing your story with others and reaching out to help. It breaks my heart to see women in such bondage. I have been there. I will be praying for all those reading your blog.

    In Christ,

  4. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for this timely article! I have many of the same health issues, and am on some meds for them.
    I am very overweight, and I feel tired and sick all the time.
    I have been struggling with this all my life. I am well aware that I eat to reduce the stress in my life. I eat for comfort most of the time. God had been dealing with me on this., but I am stubborn and have not obeyed Him. I need to lose the weight to save my life.
    I will start by making the changes you suggest. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers.

  5. I just wanted to say thank you. I found this site through proverbs31. You are definately an inspiration.
    Thanks again.

  6. As I sat down to read Encouragement Today, I experienced the female condition you spoke of in your devotional. And for the FIRST time in my entire life, I realized that it was a bladder problem, not anything else that I had used to excuse it away, before. It was a light-bulb moment for me. I didn’t connect it with my weight until after reading the devotional.

    I am 28 years old. I am 5’5″ and weight 220lbs. I am miserable. I cannot do anything in or outside of my home without crushing humility. I am a single mother of a 6yr. old daughter. She has covered my behind when I picked her up from school before. She said, initially that it was because my behind is special and she didn’t want anyone looking at it…but, later admitted that it embarrassed her. I ignored the situation and stayed faithful to my dysfunctional eating habits. I over eat and take huge bites eating very quickly without concern for others around me, it’s like I’m in a trance.

    I’ve almost always had about 15 lbs. to lose, my legs go to sleep on me, my knee does the same thing that yours does, I, too, have acid reflux and on medication for it. I”M 28 YEARS OLD-SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!

    I hate myself, I haven’t had a date in years…and certainly not a second date. I have a pretty face and personality, but no one looks long enough to see that.

    I will not go shopping for clothes in my size (18). I will not. I make lists upon lists of how much weight I could lose and how long it could take me and what weight I’d be at for each holiday, etc. Yet, I am still obese.

    I am praying that God will replace the idol of food in my life.

    I’ve done the Body For Life program in the past and lost 26lbs. in three months…but, it was a lot of hard work…I’m intimidated by the prospect of doing it again…but, I’ve got to get to a healthy weight…for myself, my daughter and certainly my Lord.

  7. Thanks Karen for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this. I to am a captive to food. I would like to lose 60 pounds.

    My motivations are that I want to get healthier so that I can grow old with my husband. I also want to live to see my grandchildren. I want to be ready to minister for God and what ever he has in store for me. Also I want to help the symptoms of my acid reflux and I know losing weight really helps.

    Have a blessed day!


  8. God works in AMAZING ways! Just yesterday, I posted this post, on my blog:

    Then today, I check my email & find today’s Proverbs 31 Devotion.

    He knew I needed this extra encouragment!

    Currently, I weigh 298 pounds. I have high blood pressure, but haven’t taken meds since my 2 yr old was born. I have a lot of aches & pains & tiredness, that I want to get rid of.

    I’m doing this, for me, but also for my girls. I want them to live happy & HEALTHY lives & I know they’ll look to me for the support they need through life. Plus, I want to watch them grow up! Be HERE for them.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement! I’ve added your blog to my bloglines & look forward to future posts from you!

  9. Thanks for today’sProverbs 31 devotional. I have experienced eating less moving more. It works!! A few
    years ago I was asked by the doctor if I was trying to
    lose weight. I dropped 17 pounds in 5months. Then
    I was told not to lose any more. I started to be more
    liberal with cookie snacks etc. My weight began creeping upwards. Then I finally broke the cigarette
    habit after 30 years of continual quitting. I’ve started
    increasing my activity by climbing the stairs of my
    upstairs apartment several times a day. The doctor
    told me to walk every day as I was just staying even
    with the stair climbing. I’ve been at the daily walking
    about a month. I find marking my kitchen calendar
    to remember I’ve taken my meds, climbed the stairs
    and walked reminders and incentive for me.

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