What I’ve Learned About Weight Loss, Fitness, and “Dieting”

  1. Screen shot of my "goal" tracker page. It was more fun to look at during weight loss, but there's a lot to be said for two years of maintenance.

    Screen shot of my weight tracking page on Lose It. It was more fun to look at during weight loss, but there’s a lot to be said for two years of maintenance.

    Excuses are just that. Excuses. For years, while Christian pushed himself to run harder, faster, longer, I insisted I couldn’t lose weight. Weight problems run in my family. I have PCO, so my weight is a function of my condition. I don’t have time to exercise. I’m not capable of exercise because my knees hurt. I got really angry with Christian when he tried to point out that I was making excuses. (Love tells the truth, even when the loved one takes offense. That’s a blog post all its own. Another time.)

  2. What it takes to lose weight and/or maintain it may involve different regimens for different people, but they all have one thing in common: when you decide it’s a priority, you just do it. If you approach it half-@$$, of course it’s not going to work. So of course, that means…
  3. Weight loss and maintenance requires self-discipline. Not just self-control, as in stopping yourself from eating too much or the wrong things, but self-discipline. Meaning you actually have to drag your butt out of bed and go run or Jazzercise or weight lift, or whatever your chosen exercise is. You have to plan for it, make time for it, make it a priority. You have to stick to the plan. My plan involves calorie counting through loseit.com. If I get lazy about counting calories, the scales shows it. In other words…
  4. It’s a permanent lifestyle change, not a “diet.” “Dieting” doesn’t work, because it’s not sustainable. Whatever you do, you have to keep doing it for good.
  5. Counting calories is much-maligned, but if you do it smart, it’s a very healthy way to handle weight. You have to think about what the calories are, not just how many. Bread racks up a lot of calories. Plain old meat does not, amazingly enough. Even fat (i.e. butter) doesn’t add up as fast as I thought it would. If you pay attention to the balance of foods you eat–and they’re real foods, not “low-cal” fake food–calorie counting works and supports overall health.
  6. You never, ever burn as many calories as “They” want you to believe. Everybody knows I wear a Polar watch and chest band when I exercise and so people are forever asking me how many calories I burn, and they never believe me when I tell them. They think my monitor isn’t working. But I know it is. I know it is because I keep track of calories burned and calories consumed, and I weigh every day. If I was using more than my heart monitor tells me, I would be losing weight instead of holding steady.
  7. To illustrate: My in-laws’ treadmill wants to give me 3x the calories my Polar tells me I burn. LoseIt.com does the same. Jazzercise likes to advertise 600 calories in an hour. I’ve been doing this now for almost 2 1/2 years without pause, and I set a daily goal to burn a minimum of 300 in an hour of Jazzercise. 350 is a good day. And I work pretty darned hard to get those numbers. I’m watching the heart rate on my watch all the time. Despite that, I’ve had to cut calories from my LoseIt.com budget in order to maintain my weight. Which just goes to show…
  8. Every person is unique, and you have to play around to figure out what works. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of losing weight.

I am more fit than I have ever been in my entire life. I weigh less than I did when I got married. I weigh perhaps three pounds more than I did when I graduated high school. And I’m 40. I would rather plant my butt in a chair and write (or read) with every spare minute I have–and with four kids I use the word “spare” with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. But I have decided that health and self-image is a priority for me, and so I have made exercise and weight control a priority too. After all, it’s easier now than it will be ten years from now.

Not everyone is going to get back to their high school graduation weight. Thyroid issues, medical conditions, etc., definitely come into play, not to mention metabolic changes. And yet. It is all too easy for medical conditions and age to become excuses not to try. I know, because I made the excuses, too. But now that I’ve done the work I’m feeling healthier, more energetic, more clear-headed, and more in tune with both body and soul. It’s worth the effort.

Thoughts on Maintaining Weight Loss

When I saw this picture taken in Colorado, I went, "Whoa! I really do look skinny!"

When I saw this picture taken in Colorado, I went, “Whoa! I really do look skinny!”

It’s been about three months since I officially kicked into “maintenance” mode instead of “weight loss” mode. Frankly, I find this stage tougher than the weight loss stage. When you’re losing, there’s the motivation of seeing the number falling to keep you in check at the table. Once you’re “there,” you have to get comfortable with a certain amount of up and down.

Plus, it’s a tricky balance to find the right number of calories. LoseIt.com bumped me up from around 1600 a day to over 1800 a day overnight. I knew better than to use them all, so I adjusted my budget by 100, but I started gaining again. Not until I removed virtually all the extra calories did I settle in.

I’ve watched the progression of weight loss and subsequent weight gain among those close to me too many times. Having invested in a new wardrobe now, that has to be my motivation–my own miserliness. That and simply being healthy, of course. My conviction about holistic living–integrating faith and respect for the way we’re created into every daily choice, from family planning to purchasing choices–presupposes good eating choices.

I started this process last fall in the knowledge that I’m just over a year away from age 40, at which point weight is likely to get a lot harder to manage. There have been many times in the past nine months when I have huffed and puffed my way through diaper changes and forcing unwilling children up the stairs, leaning them back to wash their hair, running up and down the stairs to get the baby up from nap…it seems like I’m constantly running around. Why on earth didn’t that translate into more calorie burn? I wondered.

But on the flip side, there were those days when I overdid it and still lost weight.

I realized, eventually, that my body is indeed burning more calories than it’s given credit for; my metabolism is more active than someone without four young kids would be. Otherwise I would have had to work a lot harder at losing weight. Because honestly, it really wasn’t that hard. My age and caring for multiple young kids in a three-level house worked in my favor. Every day now I think about my metabolism when I’m wrestling munchkins and running up and down stairs. (It helps my attitude, let me tell you!)

But I’m also very aware of the coming days. As my metabolism starts to slow from that around-age-forty transition, I’m also going to be doing less running after kids, because they’ll be getting older, more self-sufficient. I’m going to lose that crutch just when it would be most useful.

Fortunately, everything happens incrementally. I guess it’ll be good for me in another way: I’ll be forced to continue adjusting my habits and expectations all the way into my twilight years. Mental and spiritual flexibility is a good thing.

“When Do We Avocado?” and other things I Don’t Understand


It’s been quite a while since I did an edition of “Things I Don’t Understand” (see herehere, here and here for the others, if you’re really interested):



SleepytimePjs <em>Adult</em> Solid Red Fleece <em>Footed Pajama</em>Adult-sized footed pajamas. Really, people? What do you do when you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night?


The fact that whatever item has been thrown on the floor by one child is prime real estate for another child to stand on while watching the TV/talking to mommy/trying to ruin my computer? I mean, they go out of their way to stand on things!


Speaking of computers…I don’t understand the baby’s fascination with the computer keyboard and mouse. It’s not like he can tell he’s doing anything.

Photo by brotherlywalks, via Flickr

And speaking of computers, why on earth would they make a command to turn the viewscreen sideways?

(Yes, my children did do this to me one time. I think it was Alex, actually.)

I mean, WHY?


I am also questioning, this year, why we bother putting up a crèche at all, if it’s going to be used exclusively as a chew toy/action figure set. Nor do I understand why my children think books are better folded backward. I’m sure we singlehandedly keep the packing tape industry healthy.


Nicholas jumping in the leavesI don’t understand about a third of what Nicholas says to me. Not that the words are unclear–they just don’t make any sense. Having spent 8 years around little kids now, I thought I was pretty good at casting about for word substitutions and intuiting true meaning behind seemingly random statements. But Nicholas frequently has me completely stymied. For instance: At breakfast, out of nowhere, he asks, “Mommy, what teacher?” What do you mean, ‘what teacher’? Or in the car, we’re having a perfectly rational discussion about the fire station and cars, and then suddenly he says, “But when do we avocado?”

Ahem. All right, on to other things….


You need a video of Julianna, right? Here’s a short one to show how her speech is progressing.

Julianna and Brown Bear


Update on the weight loss thing (I got so many comments last week, I know you all want to hear about it again! 🙂 )…Plateau problem is solved. (Warning! If you aren’t comfortable with the human body, quit reading and go watch Julianna again.) The problem was my cycle. Around the time of ovulation, I hold onto weight. I knew that, I just didn’t realize it was TWO POUNDS that were completely impervious to calorie reduction and thrice-weekly Jazzercise. I lost those 2 pounds overnight when I went into post-ovulation infertility (what we call Phase 3 in NFP lingo). As of midweek, I was sitting pretty at the top of my ideal weight range. I’ve set a new goal to drop 6 more pounds, which would put me pretty close to what I weighed when I graduated high school. I think that’s a good goal, don’t you? 🙂

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 200)

Twenty Minutes

sunrise on the wall

sunrise on the wall (Photo credit: frenzy)

At 6:55 a.m., the household sleeps, but I know it can’t last much longer. The Nordic Track calls. After splurging on a glass of wine and bruschetta late last evening, I’m well motivated to spend the time this morning. Christian’s still asleep, but I’ve given him nearly an hour past the time he intended to get up; I can’t put it off any longer. He stirs as the machine starts whirring under my feet and arms. Buries his head under the pillow.


Ten minutes later, he’s up and about, starting the long morning task of getting four children up and ready for church. He leaves the door open, and I can see across the hall into the boys’ bedroom, where creeping dawn tinges the bunk beds rose. I can hear Christian in the other room, waking Julianna and the baby, but the first pair of eyes I see are Alex’s as he raises his head off the top bunk and perches his chin on the rail, watching me. I smile and wave.

Purple flannel pajamas walk into the room. Julianna has her hands cupped over her eyes. How she doesn’t smack into things is beyond me, but it’s darned cute. “Hi, sweetie,” I say. “Did you sleep well?” She pulls her hands away and gives me The Smile as she watches.

Alex darts into the room and peers intently at my arms and legs moving in sync. When this machine was first bequeathed to us, he tried and tried to figure out how to use it, but never could. Julianna retreats to the hallway right in front of the door, where Nicholas has taken up lounging on the floor. He’s learned well from his big brother, how to lie around and not get up in the morning. An impromptu wrestling match begins on the floor in front of my bedroom. Now I have greeted my whole family, save one. Nineteen minutes on the clock, and I can hear Christian opening and closing drawers, changing Michael’s diaper. One minute, I plead silently, and here, at last, toddles my baby into the room, clad in bulky prefold and Prowrap cover, and not another stitch. He sees me on the machine he loves to play with and breaks into a big grin, and my family is at last complete.

Twenty minutes. “Hey baby boo boo!” I say as I step off the machine. “You ready to nurse?”

And another day begins.

7 Quick Takes, vol. 135



When I was in college, my family drove to Cape Cod for a family reunion. We made a vacation of it, including a trip to the Statue of Liberty, which we approached from the Jersey side because my dad put his foot down; under no circumstances was he going to drive in New York City. This resolution met with fumes and sulking from Midwestern kids who wanted to see the city, and to our delight, Dad made a wrong turn and had to go across a bridge…into the city.

I tell this story because it should teach me not to make blanket statements that cannot be guaranteed. And yet, when I saw this picture while doing research for my novel, I couldn’t help making a resolution of my own. I will never…never…NEVER…drive in Southern California.

(Can that picture even be real????)


As long as I’m on the topic of Los Angeles traffic, let me add that I did an interview last year with Dick Lyles, who founded Origin Entertainment to train film industry workers with a Christian world view. The day I talked to him, he was sitting in traffic headed into L.A. We talked for over an hour and in that time I believe he told me he moved a mile or two in traffic. Let me say again: I will NEVER, EVER drive in Southern California.


This week I realized: I have finally birthed a child who is “my true heir.” I was the only child in my family to break a bone or require surgery, and I have two really big scars on my forehead and hairline from giant head injuries sustained in childhood. On Tuesday, Nicholas jumped into the pool and smacked the back of his head on the wall. And last night, after we put him in bed, there was an almighty THUMP followed by piercing screams. When Christian went into the room, he found Nicholas on the floor, with his scalp, his nose and his mouth bleeding. We really aren’t sure what happened; Alex was still reading books with me, so there were no witnesses. We think maybe he climbed up to the top bunk and fell off. But when Christian asked Nicholas, he shook his head “no.” (Then again, maybe he just knew he’d get in a bunch of trouble. Kids are smart that way. Even at two.)


The reason we think he might have climbed up to the top is that Alex told me the night before, Nicholas climbed up and slept with him for a while. How do you react to a story like that? It’s not safe; you want to pull your hair out…and yet the insides turn all butter-cake gooey and you just want to say, “Awwwwwwww!”


Thank God Julianna isn’t my daredevil child, that’s all I can say. As many repetitions as it takes her to learn something…you know what that child does every time she takes a bath? She plays with the soap for ten minutes, until her hands are caked with the stuff…and then she rubs her eyes. I mean, surely after the tenth time you’d learn!


Well, these Quick Takes are going quickly this morning after all. I have been getting very stiff fingers in the night. Particularly my left pointer. I’ve always known I’ll fight arthritis; it was promised/threatened/warned me by those who cared for me when I broke my arm and, even more, when I struggled with tendinitis. (Who am I kidding? I’m having a tendinitis flareup now, only I can’t use ibuprofin.) Still, I never expected that it would onset as early as 36-almost-37. I get up every morning and do some combination of the many trapezius/finger/neck stretches I’ve inherited from my massage therapist, and so far, so good. I’m hoping some of it will go away post-partum, too.


In conclusion: man, it is HOT. Usually even in the summer, you get an hour or two of semi-pleasant outside time in the morning. And yet this whole week, I step out the door into a sauna–and it’s 5:30 a.m., still near-dark.  The only thing forcing me out into that misery is the thought of the scales waiting upstairs, and the 12 pounds I’ve already added in 18 weeks.

Ah, well. Pretty wordy today, so I’ll just say: Have a great weekend!


7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 135)

At Dawn

Originally uploaded by Stigs



I slept poorly last night, haunted perhaps by the images on the movie screen, or more likely a prisoner of my own adrenalin. The children moaned in their sleep, and I woke. My husband, ensconced downstairs on the couch with a cold, coughed, and I woke. A dream ended, and I woke up.

So when the alarm sounds at 5:30 this morning, the last thing I want is to get out of bed, tie the running shoes, and pound the sidewalks. I grab the basal thermometer and stuck it in my mouth out of habit, and while it measures, I try to convince myself I don’t need to go, but I know better. And so, when the thermometer beeps, I roll out of bed.

As I cross the room, my shadow startles me as it flits through the dim pool of green cast by the smoke detector. I creep past Christian on the couch and go outside, where a brilliant early morning starscape greets me. When I come home, I’ll go in the back yard, away from the street lights, and enjoy the view. But when I reach the top of the first hill, I realize I don’t have that long. Out of our little valley, already the eastern horizon glows white. And so I forsake the usual maze of a cookie cutter development and jog along the straightest shot to the neighborhood park.

I lie down on the gravel path, hoping no one is watching. The sharp edges of rocks bite into my head, but my attention is fixed on the sky. Orion, Cassiopeia, the seven sisters, shimmering against charcoal gray. Then a thread of fire traces a path from north to south, a split second of beauty that makes my breath catch. Why don’t they last longer? Do they really burn out so quickly?

I drink it all in, the khee khee khee and ch-ch-ch-ch-ch of the insects filling my ears, as dawn comes creeping westward, stealing the stars one by one. And when I rise, pulling fingers through tangled curls to check for gravel, the world has changed. It is full of magic—the best kind of magic, the kind whose inevitability surprises.

Homeward bound, my breaths conform to the pounding of my Asics on the pavement: In-two-three, out-two-three. I cross over the dewy imprint of rabbit tracks on the concrete, and a moment later the rabbit itself startles from its hiding place in the grass and darts across the street.

I arrive home to find the trees in our little creek valley silhouetted against the murky light of predawn. The birds fly silently across the sky, as if positioning themselves for the morning chorus. And sure enough, as the sky visibly brightens, as the last stars wink out, the singing begins.

WFMW: Weight Loss (Real and perceived)


Ah, it’s that time of year again. Carbo heaven in November, cookie kingdom all through December; cream cheese-laden appetizers and desserts, multiple family feasts…and even as we gorge our way through the holidays, we cringe inwardly, knowing that there is a price to pay for all that richness.

It’s January when everybody gets “serious” about weight loss, but I have a better idea: keep it under control as you go.

Now, there are the really obvious things—portion control, diet, exercise, and all that—but here are three evening techniques that I find helpful:

  1. Eat early, & go to bed hungry. It seems like the dinner hour is 7, 8, 9:00 for a lot of people. I grew up having supper promptly at 6, but now, with three nights a week taken up by lessons and choir, dinner is at 5:30 (or as close as I can make it). This means that I’m finished eating for the night by 6:15 p.m., which lets me run off some of the meal before bedtime. For people who work, I have three words: CROCK POT—LEFTOVERS. You may roll your eyes at the stay-at-home mom, but I teach three afternoons a week, and I can’t cook on those days. So I cook on the days I can, and when I can’t, it’s CROCK POT or LEFTOVERS.
  2. Go to bed a little bit hungry. Whenever I do that, I find that my weight inches downward the next morning.
  3. Brush your teeth. In college I had a roommate & best friend who brushed her teeth every time she got ready to practice. If you are like her and don’t mind brushing your teeth often, I can’t help you. But I hate brushing my teeth. I do it in the morning and at night, and I will pass up food and drink if I’ve already brushed my teeth. So if I know I’m baking bread or working in the kitchen at night, where there are cookies lying around, brushing my teeth saves me a lot of calories.

Now, let me share one other nugget: it’s not all about real weight loss. Sometimes it’s about perceived weight loss.

I am 8 ½ months postpartum, and flirting with my pre-pregnancy weight. I haven’t made any significant progress in about two months…and yet all of a sudden, in the last week, everybody keeps saying, “Kate, you look great!” How to explain this?

(Disclaimer: In real life, I am a very down-to-earth person who has no problem talking about earthy subjects. After all, I teach Natural Family Planning. We use words like “mucus” all the time—without blushing. However, in “print” I usually try to be a little more circumspect. So I apologize for this, but…)

It’s the bra.

Out of the last 5 ½ years, I’ve been pregnant for 2 ¼ and nursing for well over 3. And I have three nursing bras. One for exercise, one for wearing in the early days of engorgement (meaning minimal support); and one that I wear every day. I mean every day.

I needed a new bra even before Julianna weaned, but I didn’t want to waste the money just in case we never managed to get pregnant again. Plus, I wanted to wait to replace it until I had another baby, and the milk came in, because that’s when the breast size is the biggest. I know from unhappy experience that tight bras cause plugged milk ducts. So I waited till Nicholas was born, and I could drive again…and then, Julianna was in the hospital, and then I didn’t have the money in my budget, and…well, you get the idea. Here I am, 8 months in, wearing the worn-out Medela nursing bra with holes in the band.

And then, last week, I cleaned out my drawer and discovered a nursing bra buried in the bottom. I bought it while I was still pregnant with Alex, and it turned out to be WAY too small for the early days of nursing. But at this stage, it fits great. I put it on, and suddenly…well, rather than get too explicit, let’s just say my body shape has improved dramatically.

And that is what Works For Me.

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit http://www.wearethatfamily.com/.

Little, Littler, Littlest (an ice skating story)


It’s been four years since we went ice skating. Pregnancy, nursing babies and a general lack of time have kept our dates much closer to home. But Alex had begun to be interested in the idea, and Christian suggested that we take his parents skating last week while they were in town for a visit. So the day before Thanksgiving, we packed the van full (two grown women and a preschooler do NOT fit in the back seat of a minivan) and took off for Jeff City.

Child #1: “Little.”

When it came right down to it, Alex had some anxiety about the whole idea. “Is there water under the ice? What happens if the ice breaks? I don’t want to go on the ice on skates after all. I’ll just go in my shoes. I don’t want to fall down.” But the Zamboni resurfacing the ice relaxed him. (Zamboni’s are just cool.)

“Whoa-oa-oa!” were his first words when his feet hit the ice. He clung to his PVC-pipe contraption and tried to walk around this ice. I kept trying to give him pointers, but he really didn’t want to hear them. Eventually I gave an inward sigh and let him stumble (literally) through it himself. Guess what? Sometimes trial and error is the best teacher. Alex was bound and determined, and characteristically independent. We had to rotate on and off the ice so that someone could sit with the little one/s, and my son waited for no one during shift changes. He just kept trucking away, round and round the ice and picking himself up, all the way to the bitter end. Despite three collisions between ice and head.

Alex and his Grandpa Basi

Child #2: “Littler.”

Ah, Julianna. Poor Christian spent fifteen minutes getting her around the rink the first time, but eventually Daddy and Daddy’s girl figured out a system, and got it down to nine times per round. I tried to take her once. She kept picking her feet up and hanging from my hands. And when she had her feet on the ice, they slid out. My only fall of the day came when my own daughter tripped me. She howled howls of great exhaustion, but any time we took her off the ice, she howled even more loudly, determined to convince us that she wanted MORE ICE SKATING!

I think we need our "mermaid pants"!

Child #3: “Littlest.”

And Nicholas, as he had been all week, sat at the sideline being cuddled and held, because any time you set him down, cute and cuddly turned into soul-piercing, ear-shattering whining. He was none too happy about being passed from person to person. Any time he saw me pass by, he let me know about it. Have I ever mentioned that he can throw hook-lines from his eyes to mine, and drag me across a room? The only defense is not to look!

Cuddling with Grandma on the bleachers

My parents-in-law kept the kids at the end and let Christian & I run around a few times by ourselves. When it was all over, we had three very tired and cranky kids on our hands. I decided that the only way to ensure that the day was a success was to go get…what else? Central Dairy ice cream! Of course, no one really wanted dinner, but we made paella anyway, and topped off the day with yet more cookies and ice cream. Ice, ice cream, and cookies and ice cream…a recipe for a successful day. 🙂

WhyI Love Bonkers


I want to follow up yesterday’s post about unstructured play by saying how totally awesome Going Bonkers is. For those who aren’t familiar with this type of place, it is a three-story indoor jungle gym. But not just a jungle gym. It’s a jungle gym, bounce house, swingset, slide all in one. A perfect place to go burn off some energy when it’s 100 degrees outside.

And it’s totally unstructured playtime. On this jungle gym, kids learn physical coordination (climbing through tiny holes from one level to the next), spatial relationships (it’s a maze to get through), memory (you have to learn the route to get to the place you want to go, because it’s always counterintuitive), turn taking (because everybody wants the slides and the swings), and the list goes on.

But there are some other, much simpler reasons to love this place.

1. It’s not very expensive, considering what you get.
2. It’s fun! The kids go bonkers over Going Bonkers, if you’ll pardon me.
3. I get to climb around in the jungle gym too!
4. Last but definitely not least–they wear themselves out, so they take VERY good naps afterwards! 😉

You Can Do More Than You Think You Can


I don’t know about you, but I am essentially lazy.

Now, that’s not a universal truth. I’m rarely lazy about writing, for instance. And every late winter, I get the gardening/landscaping bug, and vow that this year is going to be different. This year, I’m going to really stay on top of the garden!

But every year about this time, when the cool of the night only reaches 75, and in the 95 degree afternoon, walking feels more like swimming…when I growl, “I want to move to Colorado!”…about this time, I get very, very lazy.

This year it’s the running that’s getting me. Another area in which I am habitually lazy. I…HATE…running. I hate sweating. I hate the stitch in my side, the heaviness in my legs, the on-again, off-again shifting in my kneecaps.

But this year, I’ve got baby weight to lose.

A nursing mother isn’t supposed to diet, and that’s good because that’s another thing I hate. I’m a believer in the idea that the proportion of activity to caloric intake creates an equilibrium at a certain weight range, and the only way to lose weight permanently is to shift the proportions permanently. I’m old enough now to notice metabolism slowing down, which further complicates things.

So as much as I hate it, running is high on my priority list this year. In between early morning storms, short (interrupted) nights, hospital stay and so forth, it’s been hard to get going consistently this spring. I’ve been very lazy. Christian fusses at me. “If you want to lose weight, you need to push yourself!” he says. Well, a couple weeks ago I overslept, and after much grousing, I decided to go ahead and run, even though it was already 7 and he had to leave for work in twenty minutes.

Knowing I was on a time limit made me push harder. And that was the day I realized: I can do more than I think I can.

So this morning, after being up late with Nicholas, and awakened at 1:20 and 1:50 by Julianna, and at 2:30 by Christian moaning in agony (reprise of the bug he got the night before Nicholas was born), and at 3 by Nicholas, and again by Julianna at 4, and by Christian again at 5, and then sent to the store for Sprite…all I wanted to do at 5:30 a.m. was collapse back into bed.

But the scales have been a pound kinder the last three days, and I didn’t want to waste that. So I ran anyway. I figured however little I did, it was better than nothing. In the past, I’d’ve wimped out and walked half of it. But today, I repeated my new mantra: You can do more than you think you can. You can do more than you think you can.

And what do you know? I did!