Tiffany’s Updates

Tiffany, Week 17: How I Learned To Listen (And Talk) To My Body


In October 2010 I made a decision that changed my body, mind and spirit. I decided I was going to run the Des Moines Half Marathon, the following year, in October 2011. I’d be rising way earlier than the 8am starting time to run through the streets of downtown Des Moines farther than I’d jogged. I was headed towards a huge training commitment A) because I was going literally from no running to running 13.1 miles and B) because I was extremely overweight.

On May 8, 2011 (Mother’s Day 2011) I went for my longest training run so far. I felt great and just kept running past my goal. Unfortunately, I wound up hurting my left knee and that landed me in physical therapy all summer. I was devastated by this injury because it wasn’t part of my plan. I cried my eyes out for about 3 hours then I picked myself up and said to myself: “This is a detour. And because of this, I will become a better runner.” Rather than let myself fail, I did all of my physical therapy and I learned to listen to my body.

I want you to know that I crossed the half marathon finish line on October 2011 and got my medal. I didn’t run the entire race. Instead, I did a 10 minute run and then a 5 minute walk until the race was complete. It was very hard to train for this while being injured but I knew I had to do it! I had to prove to myself that I had it in me. Other than marrying Andy and having my kids this was one of the greatest personal achievements in my life.

Has an injury ever tried to knock you off course from a fitness goal? Post a comment and tell me!

Tiffany, Week 16: How This Challenge Changed Me


It’s been four weeks and this self-proclaimed night owl has turned her habits around. Part of this month’s challenge was to go to bed every day at the same time and wake up at the same time. At first I thought that was a joke because I work 7:30 to 4 so I’m up early, which means I’m in bed early. Well I wasn’t too happy about it but we managed. We didn’t always get to bed at the same time on the weekends and we slept in on occasion, but all in all we did a great job. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night was kind of tough at the beginning but once my body got used to it, I had to have it.

And all the sleep behaviors we changed had some very positive results. I have more energy to devote to Andy, the kids, work. My workouts are more intense because I have more of a drive to push through.

We still are implementing practices we developed in this challenge and will continue to do so. What I’ve learned in this sleep challenge is that sleep is essential not just to weight loss but also to a healthy life.

What would it take to get you to change your sleep habits? Post a comment and tell me!

Tiffany, Week 16: My Sleep Apnea Is Gone!


Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep is more complicated than turning off the TV and giving up caffeine after 2 p.m. My problems with sleep go back many years. I had sleep apnea and had to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Basically, you put on a mask connected to the machine it increases the air pressure in your throat so the passageway doesn’t collapse when you’re asleep. Then, two years ago, I had my tonsils removed and I stopped using it. Felt better but never 100%.

Before this sleep challenge, I did a sleep study because I knew with weight loss, working out, eating the right foods, etc. I should feel less tired. I’m happy to report that my sleep apnea is GONE, that I hardly snore at all and I don’t have any episodes where I stop breathing.

I also found out that a medicine I’ve been taking in the morning really should be taken at night because it can cause drowsiness. Now with me taking my medicine at the right time of the day and getting at least 7 hours of sleep, I truly feel like a new person!

If you feel like your sleep issues are more complicated than quick fixes, definitely talk to your doctor. It can make a world of difference.

Have you ever seen an M.D. for sleep troubles? Post a comment and tell me!

Tiffany, Week 15: The Hardest Summer of Our Parenting Lives

the lehmans

As I’ve shared, our son, Jack, is autistic. His formal diagnosis is PDD-NOS. Jack is a very normal 6-year-old boy. He loves all things sports, loves to ride his bike, loves to get dirty. He has two speeds: fast and sleep. There is no middle ground. Jack also talks all the time. While his vocabulary is vast, his ability to communicate is delayed which causes a lot of frustration for him. He gets so frustrated at times that he becomes very aggressive and violent.

Jack just finished his first year of school and did well. He thrives on set schedules and one-on-one attention. This now being summer break, it’s really been hard on him to adjust. What’s hard for him is hard for us. Without diving into to many details (although if you want to know more or you just need support and a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate in the fun milestones, know I’m here for you), this has been the hardest summer of our parenting lives.

The old Tiffany would dive into self doubt, blame, anxiety and shame and face plant into candy bars from the vending machine, pizza, Chinese take-out, too much beer, too much wine, etc. The new and improved Tiffany still had a lot of self doubt, blame, anxiety, bitterness, etc. However, I wouldn’t turn to food and drinks for comfort. Instead, I turned to the gym and my personal trainer. I have had some tear-filled sessions with Lass and have let out a lot of aggression on a giant tractor tire and a heavy lead pipe. I did slip a few times with the food, but all in all, I ate very healthy and it’s almost funny in an ironic way how when you’re out of the bad food mode that you don’t just stop, drop and roll back to it. It’s all a slow progression. Weight gain, weight loss, fitness is all a slow progression. You know the saying: “Slow and steady wins the race”? Well it’s true.

I’m happy to report that school is going to be starting back up soon. Jack is excited, we’re excited, we’ve learned much better parenting techniques through this process. I’ve gone from having an angry and bitter heart to a heart of love and appreciation for Jack. I have gone from “Why me?” to “Thank you for giving this to me.” I put myself in his shoes and I think if I’m this frustrated, I can only imagine what he is going through. We have also learned that in order to fully help Jack (Anna too) that we have no choice but to be the healthiest we can be. We have a legacy to lead.

Has a struggle with your kids made you turn to food or drink for comfort? Post a comment and tell me the healthy ways you’ve found to handle tough times.

Tiffany, Week 15: How I Got My Daughter To Sleep In Her Own Bed


My 10-year-old daughter, Anna, recently has had some issues with sleeping. Before telling more of her story, which is personal, I did get her permission. Our hope is that it will help others with young children who have sleep issues.

Anna has been a great sleeper since we brought her home from the hospital. Always slept contently in her crib and her regular bed. But about six months ago, our neighbor’s home was broken into and thousands of dollars of stuff was taken. Andy and I realized that most break-ins happen in the daytime and didn’t really think a ton about it other than how unfortunate that was for the family. Anna, however, became Ms. Homeland Security of Lehman Land. She would make sure all doors and windows were locked and she always made sure the garage was shut so no one would come and take anything from our garage.

Then she started having nightmares–about someone kidnapping her or coming home from school and finding all of our possessions gone. She would wake in the middle of the night crying and asking to sleep on the floor in our bedroom. So of course we told her yes and we would nightly pray with her that her bad dreams be taken away and give her peace.

Fast forward to a month ago. It was starting to get so bad that she would just sleep on our bedroom floor rather than trying to go to sleep in her own bedroom. We knew this wasn’t healthy for her but we didn’t know how to fix it either. That is, until we met Dr. Robert Oexman. He did a phone interview with us, asking multiple questions about our sleeping patterns, and we told him about Anna. He talked to her like a father talks to his child. He was so nice and caring for her! You could really feel over the landline how he wanted to help her.

So what we did is we would go into her room with her at bedtime per Dr. Oexman’s advice. I have an iPod touch that has some ocean wave sounds and a timer. I’d set the timer for a couple of hours and put the iPod on the docking station. We’d listen to the calming waves, talk about the day, pray, talk about anything she wanted to talk about. After 15 minutes, we left the room and checked on her in 5 minutes. If she was still awake and needed us, then we’d sit in her room with her again for 5 minutes this time not saying much of anything and same thing, leave after 5 minutes and then come back.

Most nights she was out by the 1st 5 minutes. Also in the middle of the night rather than just sleeping on our floor she would have to wake Andy or me up (who ever was on duty that night) and we’d go with her in her room, not talk at all and do the same thing (in her room for 5 minutes, out for 5) until she was back to sleep.

We did have a couple of set backs but really she did very well. She’s sleeping all night in her room alone and in her bed. Her quality of sleep has improved so much, so has ours and we have noticed our bedroom is much bigger now thanks to not having a child laying next to our bed in the morning!

Have you had any problems with your kids taking over your bedroom? Post a comment and tell me!