Losing Weight is More Than Just Pounds

Over two years ago I started this movement toward health. I called it #Fitby30 (you can see other postings on that here). I started this at 29 because I wanted to be fit by the age 30; yet, now as I look toward 32, at the same weight I started with at 28, I’ve learned quite a few things.

What I’ve learned most is that losing weight is a spiritual process.

Spiritual Process – wha-what?

As a Christian, I believe that God created me whole – my body, mind, and soul are all one. I cannot separate the body and soul, though I have tried! I would tell God, “All right, help me lose weight, but let’s not touch my emotional weight I am carrying.” It wasn’t until I started seeing them as the same thing that I began to realize that God was answering my prayer to heal my body, but it wasn’t in the way I thought.

He cares more about the interior than the exterior; although, friends, the exterior can also reflect your interior. So, if you’re a mess on the outside there’s a good chance you’re a mess on the inside. And the mess is okay! The mess shows our desperate need for God. The problem is if you allow the mess to build and act as a barrier between you and God.

There are also people who are incredibly messy on the inside and who are put together on the outside. They still need Jesus as much as I do and the outward perfection is their barrier.

Basically, we all need Jesus.

So, Where Am I Now?

So here I am nearly 32 and finally accepting the good work God is doing in me. I am celebrating that I am a mess and that God is helping me clean it up. I am celebrating that while the last two years have been a battle and I have may have lost some, God has also given me many victories. So, that’s why I wanted to mark this year with a photo.

Before Photos Are Tricky

There’s this big movement to do a before and after photo that seems to show the before image one as depressed, slouchy, unhappy, and most importantly, captured with a poor quality camera. And then the after photo is the complete opposite of that.

I get why we do it. I do. I really do. For one thing, we want to motivate others and even ourselves. We want to show the extent of change we may (or may not) have experienced.

But I’m not about that.

I want to honor God and celebrate the body that God has given me now. I want to confidently proclaim that I am beautiful and worthy at this moment.

Do I still have more weight to lose? Of course. Yet my weight loss does not change how I feel about myself — I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am created in the image of God; and I am the King’s Daughter who is deeply loved and chosen.

Weight loss or gain does not take that away from me.

So to celebrate the work He has done in me and to celebrate the work He will do, I took some before photos.

My Before Photos

I am sure you just scrolled down to this section to see these awesome photos by Heather Love. Yes, a big shout-out to Heather Allison Love Photography for taking these photos for me.

Yes, the bottom right photo is my Valkyrie/Body-Builder Friend Lisa shot.

And lastly, I am posting this shot below because it comprises some of my least favorite parts of my body. And yet still, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.



I am Ashamed


So, I’m ashamed.

I’m ashamed of my weight gain. I’m ashamed of my addiction to food. I’m ashamed of my regression.

My 29th year of life was awesome. I lost so many pounds, but more importantly, I was moving toward health.

My 30th year is the opposite. I’ve gained most the pounds back and I am actively sabotaging my health. I feel like the rug was pulled from under me in December and I can’t get up.

Today I was mistaken for a pregnant woman on the train. Sure, I got a seat, but my pride and shame weighed heavy on me (pun intended) as I drifted to work.

The hard part about having your vice being food is that it’s obvious. Many people have tried to encourage me, “So, you still going to the gym?” Some have asked me, “Should you eat that?” I know they’re trying to help, but it still hurts.

It’s one of the few problems in our society that people think they have a right to comment on, for better or for worse.

So, what is this blog post about? It’s not a ra-ra-I did it. I found a way through this. No, it’s a confession. It’s just being honest with myself and with you. I am not happy with my weight. I am not happy with who I have become.

It’s a start.

Happy (trying to be) Anniversary

It’s been a year since I started this journey of Fitby30.

There were several reasons why I started losing weight, but the one that started it all – the origin, the catalyst, the genesis, if you will – can be traced back to my annual physical when my doctor told me I had pre-signs of diabetes.

So, fast-forward one year and it’s my anniversary!  I returned to the doctor’s office last week and I must say I kicked ass this year. All of my numbers went down in the right direction. And yes, I was giving and taking a superfluous amounts of high fives.


So, why am I bummed?

[1] I sustained an injury while doing some push-ups.

I tore a tendon and will be starting physical therapy next week. I did this back in January but decided to ignore it. This, my friends, wasn’t the best idea. It led me to further injure myself, but also working out is now associated with the bad kind of pain. I’ve learned it’s best to stop and reevaluate and then modify.

[2] I haven’t seen the results I wanted and I’ve let it affect me.

I have been eating rather poorly as of late. It doesn’t help I am depressed, so I am going to food for comfort and for further abuse. So, of course the working out isn’t going to be enough. So, what did I do instead? I ate cookies.

[3] Allowing other people’s expectations affect me.

While the nurse was giving me high fives in excitement, my doctor was more concerned with my high BMI and wanted to make sure I was going to continue my progress. I understand why he was asking, but it definitely made me feel like all of my hard work was for naught. I have to remember that I am not doing it for him, but for myself.

It’s important to remember the why you are doing something to motivate and sustain your passion. So, why am I doing this?

Here are 3 whys:

  • I want to be healthy (no diabetes for me, if I can help it!).
  • Prove that I can (I’ve told myself that I am a fat girl and I don’t have to be. While other people have said some horrible things about me, what counts most is what I think about myself, so I am changing the way I think about myself through this journey).
  • Motivate others (I have seen the fruit of my obedience and it’s been to motivate others to live a healthy lifestyle and I love it. It circles around and motivates me too).

So, while I wish I could be more like this:


I am more like this:


And that’s okay. I’ll get through this season. And hey, I am still showing up to the gym and eating better — little things add up — and they have.

Happy Anniversary!

An Old Photo Resurfaces

It’s weird going through old photos and not being able to recognize yourself.

I have photos of me at heavier times, but this one popped out at me. I remember myself at this time. I was living with my parents, working long hours at the university, eating all the contents in my parent’s kitchen, definitely not exercising, and I was extremely depressed.

I remember crying a lot when it came to my clothes. None of them fit. And my brother (not pictured) was fit and was constantly trying to get me to exercise and to eat healthier. He was so aggressive about it too. It definitely had the opposite effect.

I remember seeing a photo of my mom when she was over 300 pounds on the fridge every time I opened it to grab something else to eat; something else to satiate the craving for comfort. I remember thinking that I would eventually end up like her, and instead of getting the gastric bypass surgery she received, I would just gain and gain and gain until I died.

I was so depressed and discouraged then.

I am so utterly thankful that I am not that person anymore. That when I look in the mirror I don’t see that picture above. And it’s not because I am pounds less, but because the depression and hopelessness is gone. The inside of me, the most important part of me, has been changed for the better.

Slimming Down 

I haven’t posted recently about my #Fitby30 journey. I am technically 30 now, so maybe I should come up with a new name. Maybe like #FitbeMe or #Fitby40. So I have like 10 years to be uber fit? I don’t know. 

I am midway through the FitbyFirst challenge by Carlos Whittaker. This is my third round of doing this and I LOVE it. 

I didn’t want to wake up today and go to the gym. I had all of the excuses in my head, but my health is more important – I have the problem of putting other things before myself. 

On the way to the gym the doorwoman saw me and said, “Girl! You’re slimming down!”

I can’t tell you how much joy and pride I felt. I’ve been working my butt off, literally, and it’s nice to know others notice it too. 

Anyways, this is what I look like now.  

I love going through this experience. As crazy as it sounds, I love learning more about my body, my strengths, my weaknesses, and meeting a community of people who are honest and encouraging. I’m not alone! 

7 Steps to Getting Out of the Funk & Getting Funky

Written by Tawny and Kelly


On a walk with Kelly, we realized we’re both in a funk. Our default is depression. We both didn’t want to get out of bed and both of us worked from home the last two days not because of subfreezing temperatures, but rather because we didn’t wanna.

So, we walked it out and talked it out and came up with a list of 7 steps that will help us get through and out this funk.

Wanna join us?

7 Steps to Getting Out of the Funk & Getting Funky

1. Create and keep boundaries

We want to help everyone. We want to take on all of the projects. We want to be there for every coworker and friend. We want to defend the innocent! We want to be superheroes, saviors, etc., but that’s not our role. We need to say and be okay with saying, “No” to people and projects.

2. Be grateful

Jealousy and envy robs us of our joy. We become judgmental, critical, angry, and envious, and honestly, just sad. So we need to list out what we are grateful for when we are upset. When something doesn’t happen our way, we need to remember all of the blessings we do have.

3. Stop grabbing

We have a tendency to grab things when we are depressed. Things can include new projects, food, responsibilities, relationships, etc. We want to concentrate on something other than what’s going on in our hearts and  heads.

4. Release responsibilities

This goes along with number three. Stop grabbing ALL OF THE THINGS and the things you do have release them. Release responsibilities to things that are not  yours. Did God give you that? Did he ask you to take that on? And you know, even if you are responsible for it, you can still release it to God and He can carry it for you.

5. Health is your wealth!

  1. Walk & Talk – We realized we need to do this as much as possible. It’s important to take a break from your day and go outside and walk for a mile discussing your feelings, thoughts, stresses, or relay hilarious tales.

  2. Drink water – Drink lots of water! You know why! Enough said.

  3. Exercise – We realized how important it is not just for our physical health, but our mental and spiritual health to exercise daily. Kelly is a runner and I am a WOD and Just Dance type of lady. Find what works for you.

  4. Chose healthy food – We’re both not perfect at this but we’re working on it. We’re keeping one another accountable. It’s important to remember that we are gaining and not losing anything when we choose healthier options. And it’s okay to eat chocolate every now and then.

6. Know your body!

Our bodies go through rhythms and it’s important to know where our body is at. As females we have periods. Take that into account when you’re emotions are running high and you can’t quite pinpoint what is going on. Also know that our hormones are heightening what’s going on in us, so it’s important to listen.

7. Pray

Prayer is one of the easiest, yet hardest thing for us to do. We want to control things. We want to do it ourselves. We need to pray. Talk it out with God. Release our responsibilities to him. Stop grabbing things that aren’t ours. I put this last but it’s the most important thing. We can’t do steps 1-6 without God. If we try to do all of this in our strength, we will fail – plain and simple.

Over the past year, Kelly and I have been working on incorporating these steps and we’ve seen tremendous success, but we also have our bad days. We write them down now to remind ourselves.

I hope you were able to gain something from our list. Do you have a list? Share yours in the comments below!


I made us posters to print and have on our walls. Please help yourself!

download pdf

getting funky - 1-03

getting funky - 1-02

February 1, 2016 – Read This

So, it is day 5 of #FitbyFirst and this round I have homework! No, it’s not just working out, it’s also answering some homework questions in a journal Carlos made for us.

The question was: Write a note FROM yourself on Feb 1st TO yourself today. How are you feeling?  What is different? Be brave with these few sentences. DREAM.

I wanted to share my answer. Even though I am writing to myself, it was like writing to someone else and I realized I am incredibly critical and hard on myself, but kind to others. I need to treat myself how I would treat others.

So without further ado, here it is:

Congratulations, Tawny B! You lost 10 pounds. How do you feel? I am proud of you. You worked hard. Here’s some truth: You don’t need to stress about what you look like dear old friend, you are beautiful- 10 lbs heavy or light – you’re the King’s daughter. So smile and take pride in the beauty God has given you. Love you!

And with that, I leave a photo of myself on New Year’s Eve, a night I think I received the most compliments ever.


Some background on this image: When Flirting (top) How I look; (left) How I think I look; (right) How I think I ought to look


A Week of Milestones

I’ve been lucky this week as I have experienced three milestones  (and it’s only Wednesday!).


I have hit a 5,000 word milestone according to NaNoWriMo. Now, I’ve hit 6,000 words. It’s day 4. I am on track! Let’s hope I can keep this momentum going. If all else fails, I’ll take advice from Ron Swanson:



I’ve hit the three-year mark at my job. It’s amazing to see how much God has blessed me with this job. I remember three years ago in October terrified that I wouldn’t find a job. I had moved to Chicago from California and had spent months applying without any response. It was definitely a season of trusting God completely. I try not to forget that feeling of utter dependence on God because in reality I still utterly depend on God though I try to mask it with independence. Anyways, I am incredibly thankful for God’s continual reminder of His blessings through my day job.


I hit a goal weight! I am finally in the 100s! I have been in the 200s for such a long time. I didn’t think I would see a 1 in front of my weight, especially this year.

I began this year at 224 pounds and I was terrified that the number would just continue to rise. I am so thankful for the support I’ve received from friends and coworkers to keep on keepin’ on!

Here’s an awkward photo of me in the lockeroom. My coworker suggested I take my photos of my progress. I’m trying. 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Perseverance ain’t no joke

Thank you https://skinnysweetsdaily.com/
Thank you https://skinnysweetsdaily.com/

Let me tell you about my #Fitby30 secret, it’s called perseverance.

[To make this blog post experience worthwhile, please click on the hyperlinks. I promise. It’s worth it.]

This morning hit a good 38°F — winter is coming — and I had no intention of getting out of bed as it was warm and quite comfy inside of my bed, but I am an adult and work is my responsibility. I tried bargaining with myself. If you go to work today, you don’t have to go the gym. In fact, get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. You deserve it! That’s not a true voice. That’s the voice of Sabotage!  So, despite its best efforts, I headed to the gym!

After doing a relatively hard workout (relatively to myself, the guy next to me was Hulk status), I got into the shower. Well, silly me, I forgot my soap/shampoo bag. All right… uhm, well I have to take a shower. I am gross. Soap. The gym gives us liquid soap… I guess this will have to do for hair too. Oi, my hair is going to be gross today. Ah well. It’s fine. It’s fine.

Let’s put on clothes! I forgot my bra, are you serious? Okay… okay… put on the stinky sports bra. Great. Okay, I’ll work with it.

What’s this smell? Oh my gosh my spaghetti squash dripped on my clothes! That’s right folks, spaghetti sauce stained underwear, sweater, and jeans. Lucky me.

Then, I don’t know, I decided to do my weekly weigh in not expecting anything fantastic (please see my shower experience) and well, I hit a goal weight! I hit a freakin goal weight! 

It’s taken me months to get here. Literally, I have been working toward this goal specifically since July and it’s now here. I could’ve easily given up like I wanted to this morning, but I didn’t. I pressed on. Persevered. And now I am here – a smaller, healthier version of myself.

Sure, I smell like spaghetti, sweat, and some weird soap, but nobody ever said exercising was going to be sexy (or did they?)

Fit by 30: Things Change

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo, this month has had its ups and downs. I was excited to begin the fitness plan mapped by Michael Matthew’s Thinner Leaner Stronger, but I realized that my gym did not have the right equipment. And as I basically have a free membership and it’s in my office building, I am not leaving.

So, I’ve created my own workout schedule. This is what I did today: I grabbed weights (I am now at 10 lbs which is a huge accomplishment for me) and did this routine from @WorkOutLabs, then I did 15 minutes of ab exercises from the Sworkit app, and then I finished it with a-I-can’t-breathe-or-something-hurts-run (I am at 7 minutes now).

So, I’ve had to learn to be flexible. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. Things change, and isn’t that the ultimate goal anyway? Change your lifestyle, change your body, change your future.

Another resource I use is the MyFitnessPal app to track my eating as one’s diet is incredibly important in losing fat and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The hardest part about this app is just taking the time to add in my meals, but if you look at the sum of your day, what is 15 minutes of doing something simple that will impact the rest of your life?

Another great thing that happened? I wore this outfit. I never thought I would wear a shirt that was tucked in, but I did and I think I look pretty cute.

My hand is raised in the air because apparently I am a cheerleader. You can do it! 

Let me know in the comments of any resources you use!