Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nearing The Halfway Point

I'm getting very close to reaching the half-way point of my long weight loss journey. So, in light of that (and to help me keep my focus and determination as I continue working towards the goal), I thought I'd share some of what God has taught me so far on this journey.

First a brief recap of how the journey even began...

Last summer I was thrilled to be chosen as part of the studio audience for the filming of Lysa TerKeurst's "Made to Crave" Bible study series. The very funny - and very God - thing about that, is that when I got chosen to be part of the filming I had ZERO idea what the Bible study was going to be about. I just knew it was Lysa TerKeurst...and it was going to be good. Imagine my surprise when I find out the title is "Made to Crave" and it's all about: "finding your satisfaction in God, not food."

Still makes me laugh about it today. God knew EXACTLY what I needed to hear. He had some BIG things in store.

But I didn't want to accept them. I sat in on the taping of the 6 sessions and was excited about everything Lysa was sharing. I knew she was speaking what I needed to hear. But I wasn't ready to do anything about it. I basically came home from that DVD taping and proceeded to argue with God for about 6 weeks. I so did NOT want God to make my overeating and overweight issues to be a spiritual matter. It made me mad. It scared me. It threw me for an emotional loop. Why? Because I knew if I allowed God to have this...it was going to require a lot of hard work and discipline on my part. It was going to change a lifetime of poor habits. And I was scared to death about just how much this was going to shake my world!

Well, shake my world it has. But only in the BEST kind of way.

I was just telling someone last night that I'm amazed at where God has taken me. I've been given freedom in  some very specific strongholds that I never dreamed possible. Never mind that I'm almost to 45 pounds lost total...this journey has been way more about the emotional healing than the physical so far. God has shown this broken self-esteem girl how to love myself. How to offer up grace and forgiveness to myself. How to fill my thought life with positivity and truth. How to daily make some very tough choices for the betterment of my physical body. How to gain freedom and victory one day at a time.

Now that my weight loss is reaching a point where people can really notice it, I'm getting asked regularly: "How did you do it?". Well...here's how (get ready for some real mind-blowing thoughts....NOT!):

  • Don't eat past 7PM
  • Have my Cinch bars/shakes at least 1 meal a day (preferably 2)
  • Eat smaller portions (brilliant, I know)
  • Don't eat until my stomach growls (really novel idea, huh?!)
  • Stay away from processed foods as much as possible
  • If I'm going to eat something less than stellar, I try to only eat it early in the day (before 2PM) and only eat a little bit.
  • Eat lots of RAW fruits and veggies
  • Exercise regularly! (and my exercise of choice has been running)
  • Because this is a lifetime change for me and not a short-term "diet", I have not been cutting anything completely out. It's just not realistic. Plus it brings on that whole deprivation feeling, which leads me to self-sabotage. So...all things in moderation is the key!
The other HUGE thing is that I read "Made to Crave" and did the Bible study with some friends. That book has seriously been the catalyst for all of this. Whether your struggle is with food or some other addiction, I highly recommend you read the book and watch the DVD's. We are talking LIFE CHANGING stuff!

I laugh as I think about what I'm doing to lose the weight. None of it is rocket science. None of it is the least bit surprising. Yet somehow, I had turned the whole process of losing weight into this completely unsolvable mystery. I'm here to tell you it is NOT complicated. It's simple. It is, however, not easy. It is hard work to stay disciplined and do all the things that you need to do. But with God...even this is doable.

If you're out there still trying to get started, I hope you can find some encouragement in this. I'm actually thinking that sometime in the next few months I want to start a weekly accountability phone call with anyone interested in joining me on the journey. I certainly don't have it all figured out, but I do think God has taught me a lot over the last 8 months. If you would be interested in doing a call like this, let me know. I'm just starting to pray about it...but would love to know who's already interested.

Happy 4th of July weekend to you all! Remember: it's not about the food...it's about the fun. So enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reminiscing

Time is just flying by, isn't it?! It is just mind blowing to me that it's already June 26th. Now that the weather is starting to feel more like summer here, I wish we could somehow press the pause button for a while. The speed of which life flies by truly does make me sad. So many reasons and recent reminders to make every day count, and just treasure those we love.

I'm looking ahead to my youngest nephew's upcoming wedding and thinking back on the last big wedding our family had: mine & Dave's. It was almost 11 years ago! I still get teary-eyed thinking of how God changed my life when He brought Dave into it. Those post-college years (and pre-Dave years) were some of the most depressing years of my life.

I graduated from college in December of 1993 and didn't meet Dave until August of 1999. During those years, I was kind of a lonely, single mess. Looking back, I can see the foothold that Satan had on my thought life. In this last year (thanks largely to the lessons God taught me from Lysa TerKeurst's book Made to Crave) I have gotten a tremendous amount of freedom in this area. (Praise the Lord!) But for much of my life, this was a huge problem. And during those 6 years after college (and before Dave) it was probably at its worst.

I know many of the reasons why it was such a miserable time: for at least half of those 6 years, I didn't have a roommate (so I was alone a LOT), I was recovering from a broken heart (we "dated" for almost two years but I spent at least that much time afterwards trying to figure out where things really stood), I really thought that men found me repulsive (a long story of how this idea was formulated...but my 6 years of having not one single date sure made me believe it was true), I watched the show "Friends" and wanted my social life to be like theirs...but it wasn't even close. You get the idea. I was caught up in what the world said made you happy (men, big social life) and failed to see the person I was in God's eyes. I wanted to be loved and validated from other people...instead of finding my self-worth in God.

Want to know the timing of when God brought Dave into my life? Right about the time I got a grip. (No, seriously.) I had finally gotten to the point where I decided it didn't matter if I was single. I only needed to find my happiness in God. So I totally ramped up my level of Bible study & prayer. I filled my mind and heart with all kinds of positive things. I even got to the point of taking better care of myself (and I had lost about 25 pounds...right about to where I am today, as a matter of fact). I went from a self-loathing downcast spirit...to one of joy & vitality. God had done a big work in me and He was about to do the biggest work ever.

The day that I first saw Dave in person (walking up my driveway on his way to a cookout at my house), I KNEW he was the man I was going to marry. His smile warmed my broken heart the way no other man's smile had ever done. He treated me like a princess...instead of like the ugly duckling I'd always thought I was. 9 1/2 weeks later we were engaged...and one year later I was walking down the aisle to meet the love of my life on the other end...smiling from ear to ear as I did it.

Our pastor shared these verses in Ecclesiastes 4 (verses 9-12) at our wedding:
     "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."


Then he went on to talk about how much better Dave and I will be as people because we are Christians joined together in marriage. That having God and Dave and I as our "cord of 3 strands", our relationship will not be quickly broken. His prayer for us was that years down the road as people look at us, they would see that I am a better person for having Dave as my husband...and that he is a better person for having me as his wife. And I believe it's true, but only because of the work God has done (and continues to do) in us.



So as I think about my nephew - my godson - taking his vows of matrimony in less than two weeks, I get very sentimental. I think about the amazing gift of marriage in my life. The person that I wouldn't be if it weren't for Dave and the three children we're blessed to call our own. I think about my parents who have been married 57 years - what an amazing legacy of love they are leaving all of us. I think again about just how fast time flies.

Let me encourage you in these things: don't let Satan keep you down - with God you CAN find freedom from whatever stronghold you're under, don't forget to find your self-worth through the lens of God's eyes - no other view will show it to you straight, and make lots of great memories with the ones you love every chance you get. Laugh together. Take lots of pictures. Make your moments count. Because life...it goes by faster all the time.

Have a great last few days of June!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

No More "Just Enough"

God has been speaking to me lately about my propensity to do "just enough." Just enough housework to feel like it looks good. Just enough Shaklee to say I tried. Just enough Bible study to keep from spiritually starving. Just enough exercise to not lose progress. Just enough eating right to...well, see the scale go at a snail's pace.

I suppose if I were OK with the results of doing "just enough", this wouldn't be an issue. I mean, I'm sure there are times where doing just enough housework to get by is certainly better than doing none and living in filthy chaos. Sometimes life is just so busy that "just enough" HAS to be good enough.

No, I'm not talking about those times. I'm talking about living a life where I seem to do "just enough" all the time.

In my weight loss journey, it seems that my "just enoughs" are more productive this time than anytime in past weight loss attempts. BUT, that doesn't mean they're going to see me through to the finish line. I'd really like to REACH the finish line of this weight loss journey at some point this time. And that means I have to move past the just enough stage and into full determination.

Determination. That's the word that I chose at the end of my 7-week "Made to Crave" Bible study in my home. It's my key word for this journey. I have it on a key chain on my purse, so I see it regularly. Well, I was fully convicted this morning (Yes, it was in the shower again...I know. My #1 ah-ha moment spot.) that it is time to let go of this just enough mindset. Stop letting myself "get away" with eating something I know I shouldn't. Time to make exercise a regularly scheduled activity (my training has taken a severe nosedive since the race). Time to get re-focused and re-energized! These goals of mine aren't going to happen when I'm only doing "just enough"!

So, after my little talk with God in the shower, I then e-mailed a friend to be my accountability partner on these two things: for the next 5 weeks (until my nephew's wedding) I'm not eating dessert until I eat wedding cake on July 9th & I'm running for 30 minutes every Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning before Dave leaves for work. I've also told Dave and the kids to help me stay accountable on the no dessert thing (it's easy to sneak a cookie here or there). AND, I guess, I've now made myself accountable to my blog readers as well.

Do you have an accountability partner in life? Whether your goals are in the area of weight loss or some other discipline, accountability partners are critical. I've found that I can't make my husband my weight loss/exercise accountability partner because I get too easily offended. Of course he might occasionally have to help push me out of bed when that early alarm goes off 3 days a week for my runs.

Here's the other thing about the next 5 weeks: whether I hit my 50 pound weight loss goal or not, I want to at least know I gave it my all. Not that I gave it "just enough" to get by.

Imagine if I stopped using that mindset in every area of my life! It's almost scary to think just where God might take me when I do.

Have a great week friends!