Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Everyone has a broken heart...

One of the things I have realized in my journey is that it is important for me to come to terms with old wounds in my life.  I haven't shared most of those with you for a couple of reasons.  For one, I don't want to sound, well, whiney.  The telling of the really painful bits doesn't lend itself to the confines of my short blog posts either!  Suffice to say, I have had my heart broken.

I held onto those old hurts, and used them to excuse myself from doing things like eating right or taking care of myself.  I felt I was entitled to be miserable and to do as I pleased...to make up for all that had gone before.  I had my story, and even if I didn't want to tell it to anyone, it was my very deliberate justification for indulging myself.

Then I began to understand that everyone has a story.  Everyone has had their heart broken.  This is a good thing for me to remember when I start feeling jealous about someone else's life or appearance.  Realizing that we all deal with brokenheartedness has helped me to begin to get over myself, and to take some baby steps toward a healthy life.  The inward rage and sadness I have carried for so many years has begun to melt a little bit.  Whatever I have been through, I am still extremely blessed.  Part of my healing has been to focus on the blessings instead of the old hurts. 

But I am learning that even the hurts can be blessings.  The more I am able to give my brokenness to God, the more I am able to experience the healing that only He can give.  It's the same old story:  Surrender!  Surrender!  Surrender!  All the bad things from the past do not have to dictate who I am today!  God will always be there to catch me when I fall, and when someone else knocks me down.    His Perfect Love can pulverize all my fears.

Monday, February 27, 2012

More Veggies, Please

Now, here's what I'm talking about . . . food with a sense of humor!  I can identify everything in this picture except the red blob over his banana eyebrows...a strawberry?           I am happy to report that eating vegetables, fruits and legumes is fun!  I do not miss meat.  So far.    I read once that we should eat food as close to the way God made it as possible.  Such a goal would point us toward a whole foods, natural diet for sure.  He did supply us with everything we need to survive, and there are no trans fats in anything He makes!  I also love that He designed foods so that we can be healthy whether or not we want to eat meat.  There is protein in broccoli!  Who knew?  There is also calcium in broccoli! 

Today I just want to enjoy knowing that God promises to and does provide for all my needs.  He does that in ways that I cannot comprehend and that I often don't even notice.  As I go through this weight loss journey, I'm noticing that a lot of my anxieties about food and eating are melting away.  I'm beginning to appreciate the bountiful harvest that God provides for my eating pleasure.  Food used to be the enemy...now it is my happy, crunchy companion.  Before I started this blog, I could not have imagined that I would feel at peace with food.  I thought the changes I would experience would all be physical.   But my mind is changing.  Even my heart.  This is about so much more than losing 137 pounds.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weigh Day - No change!


Not even one lousy stick of butter this week.

Then it hit me.  So what?  Even if I never lost another pound I'm still way better off than I was seven months ago.

I feel better.  I look better.  My clothes fit better.  I have more energy.  Food is no longer the enemy!  We've made peace.

My weight loss has been slowing down.  When I started I was losing around 10 pounds per month.  Then it went to 7.  Then to 5.  Over the last four weeks I've lost 3.

Yes, I wish it was happening faster.  But it IS happening.  And it will keep happening if I just keep hanging in there and stick with the program.  I have so much to be grateful for, and I'm truly enjoying eating healthier and feeling better.  It's about SO much more than the numbers!

(But I love the numbers...don't you?)


Friday, February 24, 2012

Daniel Fasting

I'm into Day 3 of my Daniel fasting experiment of giving up meat.  I chose Lent to do this not for spiritual reasons but because I thought people would be less freaked out about the announcement of my change in diet and therefore not bug me about it.
Boy, was I wrong!

Many people have shared their opinions.  I've been cautioned, called crazy, and more.  Amazing.  So I am upping the ante.  I'm going to make it spiritual after all. 

Turns out there are many books available for following a fruit and vegetable "Daniel fast" along with daily devotions with a purpose of bringing you closer to God.  I got one of those books.  It's 21 days of selective fasting and praying. 

In our technoligically savvy society, we think we have all the answers.  We know all about everything we care to know about, and if we don't know, we look it up on the internet.  The more we think we know, the less we may think we need God.  I want to take a purposeful step toward Him.  There are many examples fasting and praying in the Bible, and Jesus even said, "..when you fast," not "..if you fast."  We don't, as a culture, fast.  We look suspiciously at those who do.  Yet, Jesus said, "...when you fast..."

I guess what I'm saying is that the negative feedback I've been getting about fasting from meat has made me realize that I need to look at this from a spiritual point of view.  I wouldn't be here without God's love and grace.  He deserves my full attention.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is Getting Bor-ing!

Sometimes I feel like I'm in the desert.

Funny, isn't it, how even with the success I have had, I still get bored with the whole "dieting" thing.  It isn't every day...just some days.  Today, for example.

But I guess it's like everything else worthwhile we do in life...it isn't always fun.  I remember telling someone once after I started a new job:  I like the work, but I get tired of the all-dayness and every-dayness of it!  Eating right is all about all-day and every-day.  Over and over again.  Forever.

And yet, ironically, the thing that makes it boring is also the thing that makes it work.  All Day.  Every Day.  Make good choices.  Write it down.  One foot.  In front of the other.  Repeat.  I don't have to be consistently excited about being on the path I've chosen in order for it to work.  I just have to stay on the path. 

I must admit that at times I let a toe or two slip off the path.  So far I've managed not to fall completely off.  I do know, however, that I don't want to turn around and get back on the path I used to follow of eating too much all the time.  Come to think of it, I got bored on that path too.  If I must be bored, I choose to be bored on my way to a healthier life. 

One foot.
In front of the other.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weigh Day - 47.4 pounds!

So close to 50 I can almost taste it.

This morning for church I put on black pants and a coordinating top I bought right before Christmas.  It's the last time I'll be wearing that top.  It's just too big!  I'm hoping I can take it up.  Although I have a super decked-out sewing studio, clothing alterations is not exactly my thing.

People are really starting to notice my weight loss.  I'm starting to notice it!  From day to day, I feel like I'm standing still.  But those little sticks of butter do add up after a while.  I am starting to feel at peace about tiny incremental losses.  As long as they keep coming (or going, come to think of it), they keep adding up.  It's that whole One Step At A Time, One Day At A Time thing.  I just keep taking that next step...keep counting those points every day...and the weight keeps coming off.  It's like magic almost. 

Not that every day is perfect...far from it.  But I can certainly see the benefits of hanging in there when I have a tough one.  (I have to keep telling myself these things so when I have another tough day I'll remember to hang in there!)


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ice Cream Surprise

Needless to say, I haven't been to the local ice cream parlor very often in the last few months.  It looks amazingly like this drawing, complete with stools set very close to the counter.

The last time we were there, my giant thighs didn't fit under the counter when I tried to sit on the stool.  I was very uncomfortable and very... uncomfortable.

Last night we took some friends out for a treat (I had a single scoop of vanilla ice milk) and...you guessed it!  I sat on the stool and my legs fit under the counter!

Just a little victory in a big world. 

It was amazing.

Friday, February 17, 2012

No, revisted

I have a really hard time telling people, "No."

It happens with food.  It happens with activities.  It happens with being asked to volunteer. 

As a result, I eat things I don't want to eat, do things I don't want to do, and find myself heading up comittees I didn't want to head up.

All that causes stress, which makes me want to EAT uncontrollably and with abandon.

I do all these things because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  But I end up hurting myself!  Now, that's just not right.  It is also entirely possible that all these hurt feelings I'm afraid of causing in other people are simply imaginary to begin with.  But even if they are not...even if saying, "No," hurts the person asking, is it right for me to say, "Yes," when I really don't want to? 

There are times when it is appropriate to look beyond ourselves and our own needs so that we can help another person when asked.  There are emergencies where we drop everything to deal with the situation at hand.  There are also things we do for others because we can and it's not a big commitment...we are happy to help!  I'm not talking about those times.

I'm talking about the times when it is appropriate to say, "No."  There are times it is respectful to say, "No."  It's certainly more respectful to say, "No," than to say, "Yes," and then be upset about what you've agreed to do.  I need to quit being so afraid and to start saying, "No," when I should!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vegan Revisited

Okay.  I've been reading some more books.  Watching some more videos.  More and more I am convinced that eating vegan or at least vegetarian is a good thing, health-wise.  But then there's the whole "This is how I've eaten my whole life" thing.  Hamburgers.  Steak.  Grilled chicken.  Some of my favorite foods.  Some of your favorite foods.  Favorite foods of all the people who invite me over for dinner.  Favorite foods of the ladies who bring food to the church pot-lucks.

For me, the social aspects are the biggest obstacle.  But maybe, like the other things I've worried about since starting this journey, it won't be such a big deal.  My sister suggested that I go vegan for Lent.  A six week trial.  I like it!  People are more understanding about changes you make during Lent.  Lent begins a week from today.  That gives me some time to get my pantry ready - time to study recipes.  The proponents of this eating lifestyle tell me that at the end of the six weeks I won't want to go back.  I could lose 10 pounds.  I'll have more energy and feel better.  I'll still be on Weight Watchers and counting points.  That will be interesting since fruits and vegetables have zero points!

Maybe the bigger question is, "Who has the right to decide what I am going to eat?"  I have given that right to so many people.  Basically, if someone puts food within reach, I eat it.  Doesn't matter if it's good for me or not.  Sometimes it doesn't even matter if it tastes good.  It's just there.  My seven months on Weight Watchers has taught me to restrain my "eat-it" reflex when I'm around food.  But what if the changes I need to make are more fundamental than simply restricting how much I eat?  What if the doorway to health and freedom is in restricting the kinds of food I choose to eat?

So it looks like I'll be taking the Daniel Challenge (Daniel 1:8-16).  He only asked for a ten day test and I'm talking about six weeks, but I don't think I am going to starve or anything.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Almost forgot Weigh Day! 46.6!

If I'm remembering right, that's two more sticks of butter.  Looking forward to 50!  I'd stay and chat, but I'm busy cooking some healthy no-fat no-points vegetable soup to counteract last night's food disaster.  Still feeling a little .. wobbly.

Never Again

I am writing to you at 2:00 on a Monday morning because I can't sleep.  I can't sleep because we had dinner at a friend's house last night and I ate too much.  I feel absolutely MISERABLE! 

Yesterday was a hungry day.  I knew we were going to this dinner, though, and I appeased my hunger with low fat pita chips and fruit.  When we got to our friend's house, there were appetizers:  mini quiches, boiled shrimp and smoked almonds.  I ate some of all of them.  Along with a glass of white wine.  By the time the appetizers were gone, I was already feeling a little dizzy.

Then the pork tenderloin arrived on the table from the back yard barbeque.  The scalloped potatoes came out of the oven.  Hot rolls with butter.  Caesar salad.  Steamed green beans.  Applesauce (no sugar added).  It was all delicious.

The dizziness didn't abate after eating All of The Above.  If anything, it got worse.  Then a slab of three-layer chocolate cake appeared in front of me.  I didn't say, "No, thank you."  I ate some of it.  I don't even like chocolate!

Now, my body is rejecting this over-the-top eating experience in every way you can possibly imagine and I'll leave it to your imagination.  Why did I eat that cake?  Drink that wine?  Nobody made me take a hot roll and slather butter on top of it!  But I ate.  Drank.  Slathered.  It was almost like the old days.

Notice, I didn't say the good old days.

I cringe when I think how a meal like that would not have phased me eight months ago.  It would have just been another day at the trough.  But now --- my system simply can't handle this kind of abuse.  So why did I do this to myself?  I don't have an answer.  But I am determined never to do this to myself again.  Whatever it takes, I will never do this again!  I know now that food can be delightful and healthy and life-giving.  What I did last night was something else altogether!

Lord, help me remember that some momentary pleasures have devastating consequences later.  Help me use the memory of this night to say, "No, thank you" when I need to.


Friday, February 10, 2012

I see it!

The first picture was taken in November, and the second a couple of days ago (February).  So I'm calling it my "Holiday Weight Loss".  It is gratifying to see that all those sticks of butter do add up to something I can see!  Can't remember exactly, but I think this is around 10 pounds difference.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bet Your Bottom Dollar

"The sun'll come out...tomorrow,
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun."  (From "Annie")

His mercies are new each morning.  This is one of the verses that keeps me going. (Lamentations 3:23)  Even when I have those hard days, I know that His mercies are new each morning.  The sun is going to rise again.  Each day is a brand new opportunity to live in His grace and His will.  Every day is a fresh chance to do what I am supposed to do.

I can get through the hard days because I know they are temporary.  I know that the next day might be a little easier.  I know that after a good night's sleep things that seemed impossible the day before aren't so intimidating. 

I am learning the value of waiting.  Getting through.  Trusting more than doubting. 

Doubts come and go.  They do not define me.  They are annoying, yes, but temporary.  I am so very grateful for the dawn! 

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow,
You're only a day away!"

"Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Storm After the Calm

Every day is hard.

Sometimes it seems all I think about is food and eating.  Yes, I'm counting my points.  Yes, I'm losing weight.  Yes, I'm a third of the way to my goal.

But.  Every day is hard.  I put on a happy face.  Do the best I can.  Pray. 

But.  Doubts creep in.  I'm approaching a point in my weight loss beyond which I have not traveled in over 20 years.  Can I break through the barrier? 

Last night I "stressed ate" a bowl of baby carrots.  I wanted a maragarita.  So bad.  Earlier in the day I had fought off the temptation to eat a donut.  Had to call my husband to "talk me down."  Today I find myself immobilized...unable to accomplish anything except that I am Not Eating.  The struggle feels unrelated to the success.  The success does not ease the struggle. 

Every day is hard.  But some days are harder than others.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weigh Day - 46.2 pounds gone!

I seem to off the eternal teeter-totter!

All I have been doing since we got home is counting my points.  No exercise to speak of...no super-healthy vegan days.  In other words, effort of any kind can yield results!

The message for me in this is to Do Something.  Every little bit counts.  Consistency--and not perfection--appears to be the key.  It's impossible to do it all perfectly anyway.

I'm having an "AHA!" moment!  Whenever I have tried to go on a diet and do it perfectly, I beat myself up for every little slip and imperfection.  Then I told myself I couldn't do it, so why even try?  And I quit trying.  For years I kept trying to diet making my goal having to do it perfectly.  And for years, when I failed at perfection, I quit trying at all.

But now, through God's grace, I accept that I am not perfect in any way and He loves me anyway.  He has already forgiven me.  Now I am learning to forgive myself.  The only one who benefits when I believe the lie that I have to perfect is the evil one.  He is the one who tells me that lie in the first place.

So, thank You, Lord God!  Your grace is boundless, Your mercy is amazing, Your love wraps around me and holds me together!  Amen.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's Time

The day my son was born, my mother came into my hospital room and said, "It's time to start letting go."

What?  Because of complications with his birth, I hadn't even held him yet!  But Mom had the long-range perspective.  Becoming a parent meant it was time to start acting like a parent.  And now I feel it is time--past time, really--to act like a grown-up about eating.

This whole process of dieting and blogging for the past six months has helped me see how I have misused food most of my life.  I ate because I was happy, or sad, or mad, or confused.  I ate because there was food in front of my face.  I ate because I couldn't think of anything else to do. 

These days, I'm eating because my stomach is growling.  Food is fuel.  Food is wonderful, delicious, and enjoyable...but it is still fuel.  God could have provided only manna for us to eat--the same bland food day in and day out forever.  But He didn't!  He gave us a beautiful Garden-of-Eden smorgasbord of delightful and delicious foods to fuel our bodies!  As I transition away from eating little powdered sugar donuts and french fries and toward munching on crisp apples and juicy, sweet oranges, I taste what I've been missing all these years.  Eating healthy food is not a deprivation; it is a delight!  And I need to quit stomping my foot and pouting about missing the inferior foods I don't eat in mass quantities like I used to. 

It's time.