Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dani´s Fitness Journey

 Before    and     After  35 lbs lost in 11 months.

I am totally thankful to the Lord, who has been my strength and Joy through this fitness journey. The more I got in shape, the better I felt to serve Him and my family. In no way, do I want to put fitness before service to Him. My check and balance is my Hubby and you all.

My dear sweet friends, let´s continue to keep our focus on the Lord Jesus and how He made us. Psalm 139 is a psalm I have needed since I was a teen. We are perfectly made in His image. He knows us, but this doesn´t mean we let our bodies go down the drain.

I will explain more in later posts the blessings of being fit and healthy in so many areas. Let´s keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 


Who am I?  I now know who I am to be for the Lord, but here is the testimony of my journey.

A country girl:  I grew up in upstate, "hickville", NY. I was never a very heavy girl, but there were some who made fun of my big butt. I was a little self conscious about that. I played soccer and softball in high school and this helped me stay fit. I loved being active. I loved sports!

When I went to college I vowed not to gain the freshmen 15. I actually lost weight. It was great! However, as  a short term missionary in Paraguay the summer of 1995, I was in a car accident. Thank God for saving my life. All I broke was my collar bone, but between that and the Dulce de Leche (like pure carmel spread) I gained 15 lbs. yuck! But, I was young. Got it back off fast and furious!

A Collegant:  Best shape I was in college. Weighing in at 117! Played soccer, softball, basketball and swam! Don´t think there was anything I didn´t try. Had to do it all! That´s me in the front in the white, trying to get as close as I could to my boyfriend. That was off limits at PCC as many of you know. :)

A Married Women: Mrs. Joseph Contreras! Yes, I got married before I finished college but, I was the happiest graduate around!

We then went on to teach and preach (my hubby did the preachin´of course) at Sun Valley Baptist Church in El Paso, TX. We had a great year!

Then we wanted babies! Joseph remembers me saying, "I want a baby." I deny it now, but I guess, I really wanted to start having a family then.

A Mommy: Well, this is what my first pregnancy did to me. Or I did to me. I am not proud of this picture, but I have to face it. We were on deputation, traveling all over the place, eating badly, and not exercising. Oh, we tried to exercise and eat better but look at me! It didn´t work. It wasn´t enough. I did not stay fit. I was in denial. and for many years after I would be in denial or down about my size.

 Since my babies were born ( the last one in 2001), I have tried to get all the baby fat and weight off.

Here are my babies! Yes, they are worth it! But I just knew I could feel better about myself.

Isaiah is now 14
Andrew is 13
Michael is 11

Yes, I had a baby a year! It about wrecked my body! Can you believe, not only did I get bad vericose veins, and extra weight, I also lost the hearing in both ears? Praise the Lord, they were operable. I now have a prosthesis in both ears. 

Basically, I had been at the weight loss yo- yo for about 8 years. Every time we would go to the states I´d gain weight.

When we got back to Spain, in July 2008 after our second furlough, I really tried to get in shape. Jogging on the beach, early morning swims, and biking, but then we started home school. From the end of August 08 to January 09, I sat on my sofa in the evenings studying for the next day or just vegging and munching. This routine got me frustrated and wanting to do something about it ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Missionary, Mommy, teacher,  January 2008:
 (163 pounds, 74 kilos)

 It was after much prayer and after much desiring to be back to my healthy pre- baby self, that I embarked on my fitness journey. I much prefer to call it a fitness journey as oppose to a diet. Diets change, and that was my problem. My body kept changing. I needed something permanent, long term. That is why I am calling it my fitness journey for life.

We had purchased a stationary bike last year and I hardly got to use it because I was so exhausted all the time. My hubby even asked me if we should sell it. That upset me. I knew I was going to use it. Just didn´t know when or how.

January and resolutions. I really am not one for making and sticking with resolutions, because I know that by February they are moot. I just would rather quietly start something between me and the Lord, maybe even write it down. 

This is how my Fitness Journey began. It was a prayer at the time. Then right at that time I found some friends who were starting to lose weight too. Some of them were bloggy friends I had never met before, but I began to realize I needed this encouragement.

I cut out all white sugar and added more veggies and fruits. Started eating whole wheat breads and lot less empty carbohydrates. This alone started the weight loss on a roll.

It was March, when I joined Sarah F´s  Getting Fine in ´09 challenge,  at All Pain and No Gain, I had lost 10 pounds and wanted to keep going. Wanted to encourage others and needed the encouragement myself as well. Sarah, had so many great ideas. I loved how encouraging she was. When I saw how many calories she was burning, I upped my work out. It was another bench mark in my weight loss. Here is my picture after that challenge, which I amazingly won! 

In August, I ordered four things that would change my outlook on exercise and change my muscles drastically. The book, Making the Cut, and three dvds by the author, Jillian Michaels. She is not a conservative girl, but she knows fitness and health.

Right away, I put myself on her 30 Day Shred dvd and her 30 day diet. The combination of these two, changed my muscles in one month! I dropped one inch in all areas! It was incredible! It was at this time that I reached 30 pounds lost.

9 months into my fitness journey -

 Before                and...              After 30 lbs lighter and toned!

I have my sights set on a picture of myself playing soccer my junior year of college. Why not? Why not shoot for my best? That was the best I had ever felt in my whole adult life. That´s several inches and another 5-10 pounds. I will keep on my fitness journey for life. It´s a must!

So who am I?

 I´m Danielle Joy Contreras – A Hip hoppin´ Missionary Mamma , aka - Dani Joy

This is me in August 2011, minus the 40lbs! Keeping my weight at 123, and working out at least an hour 4-5 times a week. 

I have gained a bit back, but my ultimate goal is 122. I just want to say I got back down to my college weight. I see it possible this time around. Also, I see how hard it is to maintain. I need all your encouragement.

June 2011 - Women´s 5k race

December 31, 2012  Isaiah (14) Michael (11)Andrew (12 1/2)
 Me in the middle weighing about 132 lbs. 10 lbs over my  ultimate goal.

 2014 with my 14 year old son Drew! Still at it! I turn 40 in August of this upcoming year, my bucket list is to hit my peak weight and fitness! 

I am glad you decided to join us for our seasonal Challenges! You will get what you put into it.

 So ladies, LET´S CRUNCH IT, Spring it, and Sweat it all year long!

Dani Joy


Nina in Portugal said...

Wow!!! Look at you!!!

The last two pictures are amazing!! How much slimer and TONED!!

You are ripin' it, shredin' in and crunchin' it!

Woo Hoo for You!!

Sarah K said...

You sure kept your identity a suprise for a while there! What a great encouraging testimony!

You look great!

Susan said...

Thanks Dani for posting some of your journey for us to read.

I think I would like to order the Julian Michael DVD...we'll see if it actually gets here as sometimes things like DVD's and CD's get "lost" in customs sometimes. Also need to wait till next pay day. :-)

Anyway, am encouraged through your fotos, your outlook and wanting to continue to be your best for our Lord.

Te quiero mucho hermana!
Keep crunchin' it for the Lord!

Cherry Blossom Blessing said...

You are doing such a great job in so many directions, especially in the crunch plan. Thank you. One more challenge for me...getting my ticker going. Did you notice I made it disappear? I am a disaster until I get everything down pat...sorry...Anita

FringeGirl said...

This is a great testimony! I loved reading and didn't care one little bit that it was long. I was glad to hear your story and had no idea that your pregnancies made you lose your hearing. Wow. Glad you're well now.

You've done an amazing job getting fit and are an inspiration to me.

The Herd said...

You look great!!!

KathyH said...

You go girl!!!

Thanks again for organising this challenge. Love you

Joy said...

Glad you shared your story...the health one.I didn´t know you´d lost your hearing!?! Wow, aren´t you glad to have gotten rid of all that extra weight? Your body has to be screaming, "thank you, thank you!"
Glad to be back in touch and look forward to putting healthy "spring" into my weight and my heart.

Dani Joy said...

Thank you, Kathy!!! ;) You are an inspiration to me and I loved bouncing my ideas off of you this New Years!

Joy, My body is so springy now! jeje The boys can´t keep up with me! LOL

So glad to be back on this blog with you all too!! ;)

Ketty said...

You really are an inspiration to keep me going girl. You look wonderful, and I can´t wait to see you .


Shane and Kristy Davis said...

You look wonderful and are a wonderful encouragement to us all!

Annie said...

Dani Joy, you look great! Thanks for inviting Genni and me to be part of your blog. I am very long way away from being fit and trim, but I am determined to get at least half way there. Thanks!

Dani Joy said...

Praise the Lord!

All things are possible with the Lord´s strength! and I know you can do it, Anne!

Big hugs! Dani Joy

Annie said...

Hey Dani Joy! Thanks for the story and the encouragement. I remember you as a sweet young bride and your photo from pregnancy definately doesn't do you justice. I am glad you can't see me now, but I am motivated and encouraged to join you in this adventure. Love you lots!


Charlie said...

I'm so excited to be on this challenge. Thank you so much for inviting me again.

Wow!!!!! Seeing all those pictures in one post really shows the changes in you. You look great!

Sarah K said...

Great picture!
Thanks for once again being the hostess with the mostest - energy!

sherry said...

I miss you! You are an inspiration for me (:

Dani Joy said...

Awww thank you Sarah and Sherry!

You both are going to really Crunch it up! I am praying for you!

Big Crunchin´hugs,
Dani Joy