Author: Carrie

Just sharing my journey to health and hope that I'll inspire people to join me!

The Healthy Games-6 Week Challenge


Hey friends! I want to tell you about and invite you to join me on a 6-week journey of health! Last fall I participated in a health challenge and LOVED it.

Basically, it is an online health challenge. You decide whether your goal is to lose 6% off your body weight or maintain your body weight within 1%. Each day you earn points from things like: exercising, following whatever eating plan you have, drinking water, keeping track of what you eat, reading articles and watching videos on health, fitness, stress reduction, healthy eating habits, basic weight lifting, and posting encouragement on your team’s wall.

It costs about $23 to play and if you meet your goal and earn enough points, you can win back your money plus some.

It’s honestly very fun and I learned so much to help me stay on track and to stay motivated. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Here’s a promo video:

Here’s the link to join:



So I’ve come across a DELICIOUS and easy new alternative to pasta!  I’ve already raved about Spaghetti Squash and Cauliflower and still love both, but love this new option!  ZUCCHINI made into “noodles”=ZOODLES!  You can make them easily with several devices, but I just purchased the one below and love it!  It’s SUPER easy to use and can be purchased just about anywhere for about $15. They are typically in the “As Seen On TV” section or can be purchased on Amazon.  AND, if you have an Aldi Grocery Store nearby, zucchini is super inexpensive!

So I’ve only actually eaten this once but loved it and now want to try out some new recipes!  Here is the recipe I’ve tried plus some I want to try!  Prepare yourself for lots of pictures of deliciousness. . .

Here is the recipe that I’ve tried:
1.  Italian Cheesy Sausage Zucchini Bake:

Here are a few recipes that I want to try (I’m seeing a pattern in my tastes with lots of Asian-inspired dishes):
1.  Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles:

2.  Sesame Zoodles:

3.  Zoodle Spaghetti And Balsamic Herbed Chicken:
Zoodles and chicken

4.  Pad Thai Zoodles:

And of course, a good ole simple spaghetti recipe would probably be yummy with these!

Enjoy and let me know if you come across any great recipes! Oh, and one last thing to leave you with, a cup of zucchini noodles is around 20 calories. . .a cup of spaghetti noodles is around 200 calories. . .I don’t like to count calories, but I do like to compare calories and I think we see who the clear winner is!

Saying Yes

1.  Family Time
-I’m blessed to be close to family and I want to love on and support them every chance I get!  This includes babysitting, going to events, one-on-one time, and just in general taking advantage of any time I get to spend with them!

2.  Healthier Food
-I’m continuing on in my journey to health and a majority of my time, going to eat food that is healthy for me and helps me reach my health goals.  I’m always on the look out for a new healthy recipe!

3.  Choosing an Active Lifestyle
-I’m going to stop making specific goals regarding exercise because those don’t seem to work with me, but I’m going to incorporate an active lifestyle whenever I get the chance whether it be actually working out, parking far from the store, playing tennis with my nephew, etc.

4.  Developing my Hobbies
-Main ones I’m going to focus on are crafts, tennis, and reading.  These are all so relaxing to me and help me feel renewed.

5.  Learning to say NO
-I feel guilty when I say no to things, especially worthy causes.  BUT I need to continue to learn to do this so that I don’t fill up my time with so much stuff so I don’t have time to focus on what really matters to me.

6.  Less Stress/Anxiety
-This is similar to the above one.  Over committing causes stress to me.  Being a perfectionist (in planning activities) can cause stress.  I’ve already made some strides in this area, but want to continue avoiding situations that will cause added stress or anxiety.

7.  Reading through my Bible
-I’m doing this with a good friend and want to commit to following through.  I’m listening to an audio version from YouVersion on my way to/from work each day.

8.  Investing in friendships new and old
-Although I have a lot of amazing friendships, I’ve felt lonely a lot lately, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I haven’t been intentional in my friendships lately.  I can’t rely on social media to renew me in friendships.  I need actual conversations and time together to develop the friendships that I need AND hopefully through this, I’ll be the friend that someone else needs.

9.  Following the Holy Spirit’s prompting
-I just want to be sensitive to what the HS is putting on my heart whatever it is, even when it’s simple like sending a word of encouragement or telling someone I love them.

10.  Trusting God in my finances
-I want to continue to tithe and give faithfully and in general, spend my money wisely and trust God to provide what I need.

Refocus: 60 Day Challenge


Ok, time to get back on track!  I’ve still been trying to eat well for the most part but haven’t stayed as disciplined and have plateaued on the weight loss, so I decided that I need to refocus and set some new goals.

My birthday is exactly 2 months away, so I’m going to use that for my goal date to accomplish my new goals! My overall goal is to lose 20 more lbs. by my birthday.  That’ll be a total of 50 lbs!!!  That’s exciting to think about and to believe that this can actually happen!  I’m already thinking ahead that at the 100 lb. weight loss, I’d like to do something to celebrate. . .maybe a cruise?  I’ve never been on one and always wanted to go.  Anybody interested? BUT SERIOUSLY, I really want to go on one.

Here are the things I want to do in the next two months:
1.  Lose 20 lbs. (that’s 2.5 lbs/week which is a healthy and realistic goal if I stay disciplined)
2.  Exercise at LEAST 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.  I know that’s not a lot, but a good place to start.  My plan is to do Zumba at my house.  I also have a gym membership and may take advantage of that as well.
3.  Stick to the 5 & 1 plan AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.  (This is part of my health plan with Take Shape for Life).  If necessary, I can have two lean meals in a day or if I’m in a situation where I don’t have control over my food, I will eat small portions and make as healthy of choices as possible. On Christmas Eve, I am planning to enjoy pizza with my family as it’s our tradition and on Christmas, I will eat whatever my family is eating with smaller portions (and some healthier options I’ll suggest).  My health coach introduced an idea to me for Thanksgiving that I really like.  When a special holiday or occasion comes up, have a plan and stick to the plan.  If you plan on going ahead and eating that piece of pumpkin pie, eat that pumpkin pie and jump right back on your normal plan after.  It’s easy when you are trying to eat well to eat something you weren’t planning on eating because you are tempted and give in to that temptation.  Then you often feel guilt AND it’s SUPER easy to say, “Eh, I already messed up, may as well enjoy the rest of the day/week/month and start back again on Monday.” This is a terrible cycle that I’ve been in many times before and that I don’t want to ever be in again.  The cool thing about this concept that my coach taught me is that since you PLANNED to eat the piece of pie, you are still in control of your health.  You haven’t “messed” up or “cheated”, you’ve followed your plan.  The feelings of guilt and cycle of putting off your health to another day don’t have to continue.
4.  Drink at least 64 oz. of water per day.
5.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

And that’s it!  I put these on here to refocus myself and to gain accountability.  You know what I’m working on so PLEASE feel free to ask how I’m doing!  If you’ve gotten off track on your journey to health, jump back in.  Refocus, set some goals, give yourself a deadline, seek out accountability.  I want to end with repeating something I had shared in an earlier post:

Lysa Terkeurst (author of Made to Crave) shares on her blog, “What is this truth? We were made for more than this. More than this failure, more than this cycle, more than being ruled by taste buds – we were made for victory. Sometimes we just have to find our way to that truth.”

We were made for victory, not feelings of defeat and guilt! Isn’t that breath of fresh air?  Let me repeat myself, WE DON’T HAVE TO LIVE IN FEELINGS OF DEFEAT.  John 10:10 says, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

My hope and prayer for you all (and for myself) is that we can live in that freedom and live abundantly, how we were intended to live!

Spaghetti Squash Deliciousness

So I’m often slow to jump on bandwagons.  I like trendy things about a month after they are no longer trendy anymore, but GUYS, JUMP ON THE SPAGHETTI SQUASH TREND cause it’s DELICIOUS, VERSATILE, & HEALTHY!  When trying to create new habits of health, trying out new fruits and veggies is a great way to keep things interesting!

I cooked spaghetti squash once maybe 5 years ago and honestly have no clear memories about it.  I THINK I ate it with spaghetti sauce.  I stumbled across a delicious recipe that I made TWO TIMES in one week.  Yes, I made it to test it out, LOVED it, so made it later that week for Thanksgiving.  It’s called Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and it blew my mind!  I LOVE potato casserole and it was a VERY CLOSE and yummy substitution.  Don’t omit the thyme seasoning, I think that’s what really made it good.  I doubled the recipe and cooked in a 9 x 13 pan. Leftovers were just as delicious as the first time around. Here’s the recipe:

For a lot of the recipes, the squash has to be pre-cooked.  Here is a link for 3 ways to cook it.

Here are some pics of what it looks like:
Here’s a link for how to cut it.  BE CAREFUL it can be hard to cut through.

AND here are some other recipes I’m going to try next!  Spaghetti squash has a very basic flavor so I think it soaks up the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with.  I think it’ll substitute well for pasta, potatoes, and maybe even rice.  It’s definitely more expensive than pasta, potatoes, and rice, but the good outweighs the price!

Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash

Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spicy Spagetti Squash with Black Beans

Thai Peanut Sauce Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Happy experimenting!  Now I’m hungry for some Spaghetti Squash after reading all of those recipes!


BUSY last two weeks!  But I’m still here, still working on it, haven’t given up, won’t give up.  I went to my 10-year College Reunion this last week and AMAZINGLY, somehow, laughter and walking aimlessly around campus burned more calories than normal because I actually lost weight.  I stepped on the scale this morning, expecting a bigger number and graciously, it was nice to me!  I didn’t eat terribly while on vacation and still for the most part tried to make smart choices, but I also didn’t stress too much about it.  I tried to make it more about the people I was with then stressing about what I’d be eating or not eating. God also brought me some amazing friends to encourage me to continue on in my journey to health.

Although it was sad to leave my college friends, it is fun to think, “Next time I see you, I’m going to be significantly healthier!  We could go clothes shopping, and I won’t have to wonder if something will fit!”  And like I’ve mentioned in another post, something is different about this time around.  Several people have asked me what prompted this new attitude, and I really can’t pinpoint just one thing.  There are many things that have slowly brought me to where I am.

I TRULY believe that I can actually do this. I have the tools I need, am learning the discipline I need, am surrounded by friends and family who are FOR ME, have the motivation I need, and have the Holy Spirit helping me when I feel weak.  What an amazing feeling!  I have HOPE.  Hope is such a freeing feeling.  It takes away the stress and the feelings of potential failure and fills me with anticipation of what will be. Hope allows me to have joy in the journey.  I always thought that ONCE I got healthy, then I’d be joyful, but that’s not the case.  I can be joyful IN the journey.

Joyful in Hope
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Dear Halloween,

I am breaking up with you!  I know you are coming soon. You come every year at this time.  I have to tell you that I love the ritual of getting out and getting to know neighbors and seeing how much fun the kids have, but here’s the thing. . .sometimes you are an excuse to act very irresponsibly when it comes to eating.  And let’s get real; I can’t live like that anymore.

This year is different for me.  I will not be participating the way I have in the past.  Those bags of candy are NOT going to sit on my counter and I’m not sneaking some when the kids are not looking. Listen, it’s not you it’s me.  I am changing.  I still want to be friends and all that.  We can still hang out and have a great time together; we just can’t be like we used to be.  It’s for the best, and in time you will see that.  This will be hard at first, but time will make it easier.  Maybe next year we can have a small candy apple together, but this year I really want to stay on plan, and remember that it’s ok for me to take a year off so I can get where I want to be.  Thanks for your understanding.

Adults Everywhere

(I got this from my great health coach, Janelle, and just loved it so I had to share it.  I actually wrote a VERY similar note to cheeseburgers a while back and will share at a later time!)