Monthly Archives: January 2013

Weight Loss Journey Day 31

Thinking a lot about something my daughter said. She old me she taught her 5th graders in Sunday school about a vending machine.

Actually, about how we treat God like one.

frozen heartIt has been a demanding season for me. I’ve fought for survival, emotionally and physically. Where does crying out for help, for God’s provision, healing, movement, become selfishness?

Have I crossed the line, Father? In these months of anger and helplessness?

I don’t want to become bitter, entitled, demanding.

I am sometimes.

And then my heart feels as cold as ice.

God, I’m sorry. I don’t want to treat you like a vending machine, demanding what I want at the push of a button.

And so I think about His gifts. The healing hands and hearts He brought me. My doctors, counselor, and the chance to be a beta tester for BENew–about how much easier having the support of these products has made this process of weight loss. About how I have energy to take long walks. About how much better I am getting and how thankful I am.nesting in strong branches

I imagine I am safely nested in the wide branches of a big, strong tree.

God holds me safe, in blue skies and in grey.

Later I have a heart-to-heart with Jerry. We talk about what happened to me on the beach, and how I don’t want to hide. About how I want my important relationships, especially the one with him, to be uncloaked, intimate, skin-to-skin, soul-to-soul, heart-to-heart.

I am heard and embraced.

I tell Jerry I don’t want him to hide either.

He says he had to while I was so sick this summer, just as I had to when he almost died a few years ago.

Sometimes people aren’t strong enough for uncloaked sharing.

But I’m strong enough now. And so is he.

Real Time Update:

Let’s face it. Losing weight isn’t just about the body. We have soul weight that needs to burn away as well. Sometimes it’s anger. Other times fear needs to go. Or hopelessness. How about self-bashing? Or bitterness toward others.

Or toward God.

It helps to remember God is big enough for our angst. He loves us even when we’re not acting lovable. Even when we throw our little fits or treat Him like a vending machine.

It also helps to make up with Him, ourselves, or our loved ones when we’ve withheld our love because we’re mad and hurting.

What About You?

Got something that need to GO as you lose weight in your body AND soul?

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Weight Loss Journey Day 30

green apples

Apple pie on the way!

Thanksgiving! (Remember, these posts were written a couple of months ago.)

Today is not about counting calories, even though I do.

I don’t count to stay within a plan, I count to make it up later, so I can even out my week on other days.

Apple pie. Cinnamon rolls. (And let me tell you, I make the best!) Turkey and dressing.

I enjoy it all.

But . . . I don’t eat until my stomach hurts, and this is maybe a first EVER on Thanksgiving.

Real Time Update:

I love that I continued to lose weight through the holidays without feeling deprived. My BeNew did its job. I kept walking. When I indulged in food that was heavier than usual, I savored every bite–then was more intentional to eat well the next meal or the next day. The weight kept dropping off.

That’s one of the best lessons I’m learning–to enjoy my food without becoming over full and to balance a turkey and dressing day with a day of lots of fruit and veggies. For me, weight loss can’t be about deprivation. I can’t live that way long term. But (barring catastrophe) I can eat healthier and move more for the rest of my life.

This is about life change, not just dropping a few pounds to look good in a mother-of-the-bride dress. When that happens, it will just be a fringe benefit.

Weight Loss Journey Day 29

paula 1-13 (2)

Advice today from my heart to yours!

I’m almost giddy with anticipation. Today I will weigh when I go to the chiropractor.

Later . . .

Unfortunately, they put me in a different room, one without a scale. So I ask permission to wait until the other room is empty, to weigh.

The chiropractor gets into the excitement and brings me the scale. I take a deep breath and step onto it.

My heart drops. I’m down 12 pounds. I wanted at least 15.

The chiropractor shakes his head, says I am doing great and shouldn’t expect so much so quickly.

Then I remember that I look different.

That my family could tell.

So I celebrate that 12 pounds.

But then . . .

For the first time in a long time, I eat over 1200 calories. And it isn’t even healthy stuff. It’s Wednesday, discount shopping day, and, even though there is also healthy food, I don’t resist the free junk food.

I’m disappointed in me.

Real Time Update:

Do as I say not as I do! I’m reading the above post now, about 2 months after that experience. I’m whining about losing 12 pounds in 29 days?

I fell into the trap of setting a goal that wasn’t right for my body because I compared myself to others who dropped weight faster. That comparison game will get ya every time. But now I realize my weight loss has been consistent and healthy and just right for me!

And then there’s that whole being mad at myself for blowing it. Of course it wasn’t a great idea to eat junk food, but beating myself up didn’t help anything. And the longer I’ve eaten well and taken my Life Force nutrition, the easier it is to resist the bad stuff. I didn’t know back then how much easier it would be today.

In the weight loss journey you gotta celebrate every victory! You can’t get hung up on the negatives

Here’s a fact of life. You drift toward where you focus. If you focus on your failures, you’ll fail again sooner. If you live in condemnation your ability to succeed the next time is affected. I hang onto Truth I’ve found to help me fight life’s battles. One I treasure is “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (That’s  from the book of Romans in the Bible.)

For this perfectionist that’s good news. I don’t have to live in condemnation! I can live forgiving myself when I blow it instead of beating myself up. And the fresh breeze of forgiveness is life-giving!

Of course even though I know Truth; sometimes i slip into old habits. When my last plateau (which just ended this week) lasted longer than I expected, I gave into negativity. But you know, the Paula from several years ago would have stayed there longer and been harder on herself. I celebrate that I got up the next morning and went for a walk instead of lingering in bed feeling down!

So that’s my advice for today, friends. Celebrate the victories. Forgive yourself for the missteps. Live in the sweet breeze of freedom!

What About You?

How do you offer yourself grace when you’re disappointed in yourself? How do you handle disappointment when you’ve done everything right and still not met your dream goal?

Weight Loss Journey Day 28

Since I’ve returned home I’m trying to live a little like I did at the beach. I splurged on salad stuff instead of waiting for the discount store to have some that looks fresh and make a point to fill at least a third of my plate with it at the dinner table. I try to add a little beauty to our family meals, like candles or a tablecloth or pretty food.

And best of all . . . sometimes I walk as the sun sets.

denver sunset walk

Or break from my rushing to slip into the backyard to watch it descend over the mountains

denver sunset mts

Or pause and gaze through my kitchen window as the orange filters through the tree branches

denver sunset tree branches

Real Time Update:

It’s hard to think about the important things in life–like sunsets or pretty food–when life gets busy. But I’m still looking for ways to embrace beauty, to pant after joy, to let peace envelop me. And I’m still eating salad!

This weekend was amazing. I attended a BeNew celebration in downtown Denver. I was asked to be a runway model for the product (not really as glamorous as it sounds, but super fun.) It’s been a long time since I had to find my inner ham while on stage. I have to admit having dropped 32 pounds helped me be willing to flounce across the stage! (Did you catch that? The plateau is over! Yay! The scale has started moving again!)

How About You?

What little every day pleasure are your purposeful about enjoying? As you’ve lost weight, where have you noticed more courage or confidence?

Weight Loss Journey Day 26

IMAG0263

Playing in the candles–what I get for trying to bring home Kathleen’s elegance to a household of men . . .

I’m home.

I have to cook for three teenage boys.

I do. I fight not to have the carbs they need.

I walk.

I stay beneath calorie count.

I’ve learned a lot from Kathleen, from our healthy meals, our daily treks on the sand.

But I’m disappointed when I climb the big hill by my house, that long mile that ascends. I look at Jerry and laugh. “I guess I’m still not in as good as shape as I thought I was back at sea level.”

Yup. I’m back home.

A mile high.

Real Time Update:

It was so much easier to eat low calorie when I didn’t have to worry about growing boys. I still struggle with this issue.

What About You?

How do you stay on the weight loss journey when you’re around others who need more calories than you do–especially if you’re the cook?

Weight Loss Journey Day 25

saying goodbye to flThere’s a Christmas wreath on the door to our condo when we pull away, the sky still dark. Someone must have placed it there in the night.

I am dressed in a new navy tank top I got at Wal-mart on the clearance rack next to my bikini top. I have a long sleeved shirt to go over it, dressed for Florida and Colorado.

But I’m mostly dressed to show I am skinnier. I think the tank top says it best. And I’m desperate for my husband to notice.

We get lost going to the airport—of course—but planned ahead enough it doesn’t really matter, though it makes us walk faster, lugging our suitcases, and I think of burned calories.

Exhausted once we’ve finally checked our baggage (and I’ve taken out a few pounds to carry with me rather than pay another $20), we settle in at the airport’s Starbucks to wait for our flight.  I know the calories are ticking, clanking, adding up with my sugary coffee, and the long day of flying has only just begun, but after almost a week of being 200, 300, 400 calories below 1200, I’m not worried. And after getting up at 4 a.m., I want the caffeine.

We fly to Atlanta and I fight tears as we part, each of us destined to travel alone the final leg of the journey. I am glad I packed a healthy sandwich back at the condo. I love not wasting left-overs, and I love not eating or paying for the expensive, high calorie airport food. Starbucks will be my only splurge.

I miss my five miles walk along the clear water of the Gulf, but know I must be burning extra calories lugging my carry on and rushing through the maze known as the Atlanta airport. I walk a long way to find my flight. Once aboard I finally begin the book I took to the beach, the one my counselor recommended about different ways people connect with God. I’ve been concerned about my lack of Bible study, my lack of journaling. She keeps telling me it is a season of rest, of healing, not of shoulds.  Finally she said, “new thing, Paula. He is doing a new thing.”

I wonder what it is, how He will connect with me. I want more intimacy with Him, not less. I miss the long rambling prayers in my journal. I especially miss the times He spoke, and I wrote His words onto the page. Reflective, I treasure that one day at the beach when He and I went deep. It did me good. I wonder when I’ll have the nerve to share my thoughts with those at home. When I’ll dress in a bikini top figuratively speaking.

Denver_International_Airport

Denver International Airport. Photo from Wiki Commons

Finally the plane touches the runway at Denver International, and I think I will go crazy waiting.

I need to see my man.

We meet at baggage claim. He hugs me tight. He tells me I am thinner. I thrill that he can tell.

We get home, and the kids notice too.

So it has to be true, what I thought I saw in the mirror.

I am thinner.

Real Time Update:

The new thing He is doing with me includes my adventure walks right here in my neighborhood. And the choice not to hide, I think.

How About You?

Do you have a “I’m thinner!” story? A time when someone finally noticed? How did you celebrate? How close are you to your weight loss goal?

Weight Loss Journey Day 24

I know I am thinner. Though my tummy barely shows a tan, the exposed places do. I look good. Well, at least better. Surely the family will see the difference.

I am torn in two. So lonely for Jerry I can’t stand it. But loathe to leave this place.

Kathleen and I go exploring.

We have to climb a sea wall

adventuring corner

and slip into the ocean

adventuring coral

to reach a new, mossy rock beach.

mossy beach

We wade, feeling the freedom of an empty beach and crashing waves.

adventuring freedom

Discover coral

coral

Find seashells. (One later scurries away from us, trapped in the bathtub. We return the little creature and its home to its natural habitat. We’ve no desire to take captives.)

sea shell home

We watch the birds as they stand

bird on beach

And take flight.

bird in flight

I see my dream house. It’s even yellow.

adventuring dream house

We adventure. Walk. Swim. Burn calories.

Evening comes. We eat healthy. Enjoy a glass of wine. Watch our last sunset.

sunset on beach last

Take a stroll in the in the moonlight.

moon on beach

Not ready to let go, we watch a movie about a couple on a beach. And we pack.

Real Time Update:

Talk about a wonderful way to burn calories! We scrambled over rocks and coral, waded the ocean, shuffled through the sand–had an adventure. Once home I was determined to keep walking, and I’ve had some adventures right here in my own neighborhood .  . . but you’ll have to tune in over the next couple of months to hear about them.

What About You?

What’s your favorite way to burn calories? If you can’t be on a beach, how can you turn exercise in an adventure instead of a chore? How do you embrace nature and activity in every day life?

Weight Loss Journey Day 23

sunset cloudsI’m feeling it. That sense that this blessed rest is almost over. Tomorrow will be our last day on the beach. We’ll be gone before the sunrise on Saturday.

Introspection takes over.

I’m tired of not getting sun on my tummy.

I’m tired of hiding next to my condo door when I want to feel the ocean on my feet while I seek the sun.

I do it.

I wrap in my towel. Drag the lounge chair and my journal to the ocean edge. Where people will walk by. People who may or may not even notice that I am there, just another sun-seeker at the beach. Another middle-aged woman in a bikini top. (The bottom swimsuit piece is still granny style. Just can’t go there all the way.)

I pull the towel away and quickly plop onto the chair letting my toes dig into the sand and delighting in the tickle of the gentle tide that laps over them. I feel the sun. I relax.

Someone walks by; I panic. I imagine they are a conservative couple who would never have a bikini top in their home, and who have read my articles. I imagine they are now appalled to see me like this . . .

But they don’t even notice me, not really. And I am angry with myself for this crazy game. I’m tired of being afraid.

I’m tired of hiding.

I sit a while longer. The sea washes over my tattoo. The one on my foot that reminds me that Jesus delights in me. The one that matches my daughter’s, connecting us as she gets engaged and prepares to connect with someone else in a new way. The one that says we delight in each other.

my cool tattoo

The one I sometimes hide.

I let it go, this angst.

Then, finally, I pick up the little blank book.

journal2

Then finally, I write.

writing

Maybe you’d like to know what. I’ll tell a little, carefully edited. Raw but not completely revealing:

“[Last Thursday] I was tired of crying alone, of hiding . . . of having no human place to undress. Years of compressing anger, the fears, the pain, have taken a toll. Sometimes it expands, too often and unbidden, to full size. And sometimes when it does I cry. I know it as raw, feeling pain—but other times it doesn’t feel like anything.

Then a car comes out of nowhere, and my body hurts. I hurt.  I rest and try to heal.

All used up.

. . .

I don’t want to be a burden. To hurt others. To ask for what can’t be given.

But I don’t want to be that little girl crying out for solace into a void where there is no one able to give it.

. . .

I want to be naked and unashamed. I don’t want to cry alone. I want to cry with arms around me. I want uncloaked intimacy of body, heart, and soul.”

And as I wrote these things I saw a little girl Paula. She watched to see how the words would be received. She heard voices of the past that kept her quiet.

And I remembered the little girl who wrote in her journal, unable to write real words sometimes, just harsh, cutting marks, bearing down so hard that for pages after her quiet explosion the writing space was ruined.

Nobody else was strong enough to be trusted. Just God and her journal.

But now that little girl looks curious. She’s watching to see if I truly unveil. She’s watching to see if there are people strong enough for all of her.

And I write more:

“I’m afraid I’m just a vapor with nothing left to give substance. I’m afraid of leaning and being leaned upon. What if relationships topple, too much vapor for leaning?

I know God is in this somewhere. I’m pretty certain I would have already crashed and shattered without hope of being put back together again if He weren’t. But right now I don’t want to be told He is holding me up. (Though I’m sure He is.)

. . .

I’m wearing a bikini top as I write. I’ve wondered why—at 47 and very overweight—I would crave the sun on my stomach, on the long unexposed part of my breasts. But I’ve begged it to come and color me bronze. I long to feel its heat in those typically hidden places.

The first few days I cowered, barely leaving the lanai, begging the sun to meet me there. Funny. I have burned shoulders and upper chest, but these places I expected to be so tender, those so long hidden, have not seemed to draw in the sun at all.

Today I did the unthinkable, dragging my chair out where people are, so hungry was I to have the hidden places touched. I think the water might reflect the sun, and I might actually show that I have been changed, there in those vulnerable parts.

There is risk. A few still walk the beach, and I am seen. I might even be noticed, though I hope not. The biggest risk of this exposure is that my vulnerable, hidden places will not only be warmed bronze, but seared.

Real Time Update:

So far no searing . . .

There’s some confusion about how I’m doing this blog, especially with people who started following the blog after this post released, so check it out if the timing stuff confuses you. Basically, the heart of today’s blog is about what happened on the 23rd day of my weight loss journey even though today I’m at something like day 87. The real time updates talk about my present struggles/success, but in less detail. I hope getting both perspectives help!

And about yesterday’s real time update–I did get it together to return to exercise, and I’m researching plateaus and praying about how to approach this one.

What About You?

Have you hidden? Come out of hiding? Been seared . . . or healed?

Weight Loss Journey Day 22

the beach walkingIf I were home today would be my “weigh in and tell BENew what my pounds and inches are” day.

But I’m not home.

Maybe the extra week before I weigh again will show some real results. I’m starting to feel different. I look in the mirror and my eyes aren’t so sure, but in my heart I KNOW I am different even if the mirror doesn’t SHOW it.

I can’t believe I can walk the whole beach like this. I’ve come so far from the woman who spent all those hours on the couch or in bed this summer. We see lots of cool stuff as we walk.

Today’s expedition included a small shark

shark closer

And a weird stump that sprayed ocean water as the waves rolled over it. I wish I were an artist and could paint it.

walking 2

I’m still doing nothing. Not reading, writing, or even watching movies. We sit on the lanai and talk for hours. We walk the beach or swim at the pool.

I lay in the sun in my bikini top.

Bikini top. Still weirded out by buying one and even more by wearing one. It isn’t about showing something off. With my weight and stretch marks that isn’t even possible. It’s about something . . . more. About not hiding. About not holding back because I fear what people think. About being brave enough to do something differently than I did yesterday–or even for most of my life.

So I expose this previously unexposed part of me to the sun, longing for it’s warmth, wanting to be kissed brown even as I fear I will scorch.

I keep cutting back on sunscreen because I’m not even tanning on my tummy, much less burning.

As so passes another day at the beach.

It’s peaceful as night falls here.

palm tree and dusk

We eat healthy

food florida

And watch the sunset as we do.

sunset and bird

The birds lift their wings to freedom, and I long to follow.

Real Time Update:

The brave thing of this week wasn’t buying clothes but giving them away–three garbage bags of three different sizes. It’s even braver to do so since I’m frustrated by that plateau I mentioned yesterday. But I will NOT return to 190 pounds. Or 183 Or 180. And I will NOT give up on losing another chunk of weight.

Though to be honest I’ve avoided exercise today. It is self-sabotage, this grumpy-I’m-not-going-to-do-it-if-I’m-not-going-to-see-results-attitude. I’m not giving into it long term. But for today . . . I’m nursing my emotion as I try to decide whose advice to follow: eat more, not less, for a short time; add more intensity to exercise; change up exercise patterns; drink more water; eat less; get more fiber; reduce carbs.

It’s overwhelming.

But I WON’T give up. Just taking today to process (okay, and to feel sorry for myself, although it’s not making me want to eat, it’s making it hard to force myself to eat.) And when I quit feeling so mad I’ll pray about this, make a decision, and keep on keepin’ on.

What About You?

What would be a freedom choice in your life? How do you process disappointment? Or make good choices when you get conflicting advice?

Weight Loss Journey Day 21

You didn’t think I’d do it, did you?

I did.

Bought a bikini top on clearance at the Sarasota Wal-mart. I didn’t grow up wearing a bikini so this is not a normal place of comfort for me. I only wore one once, on my honeymoon for my husband. But there is something to this, something I don’t yet understand. Like I mentioned yesterday, I think it has something to do with my need to quit hiding.

bikini

Yes, this is what I bought. NO I will not model it on the Internet!!

Do you think I’ll get burned in those places that have not been exposed? I’m slathering the sunscreen.

And NO, I am NOT wearing the top while we walk the beach, but only when I slip just barely out our sliding glass door, away from most of the people, and let the sun kiss my fat ole tummy.

Heavenly.

We decided to add swimming at the pool to our routine when I returned from drinking in the sun. For the trek I threw a cover-up over the bikini top and skirted swimsuit bottom. Since I hadn’t seen anyone at the pool, I figured it didn’t matter what I wore. Of course now a family, which included a teenage boy, splashed in the water.

I went back to the condo and put on the top goes with my mature-woman-cover-up-stuff-skirted-swimsuit

With all that extra exercise I was under calorie count today, I but didn’t feel hungry. And with all the healthy choices we’re making, I feel fantastic.

I’m surprised I still have no energy for any of the stuff I expected to do, like write in my journal or read. That’s where I usually turn when I need to work things through, like what’s up with this hiding thing, how do I think about all the trials of 2012 (and before), and my obsession with not hiding.

Maybe I don’t want to put the energy into journaling because of the icky feeling in my head that has haunted me since that last car accident. (It bothers me to do computer work and even fatigues me to write in my journal.)

But this resistance feels like something else.

When I lie in the sun I talk to God, but it seems disjointed and jumbled and rambly. I miss the deeper conversations I had with Him with pen in hand, helping me focus.

Still, I’ve no desire to pick up a pen.

Maybe I am still in rest and unwind mode.

Real Time Update:

I did eventually process some of the stuff buried inside. If I’m brave enough I’ll post parts of it in a couple of days.

As to what is happening now, about two months after the above experience, I’m in another plateau. The first time I plateaued I kept doing what I was doing for a couple of weeks, and all of the sudden I dropped  7 pounds. This plateau is starting to concern me as it is lasting longer. I did some research this morning, and I have a few ideas–like being more careful about water intake, which I’ve become slack about. Also, I may need to watch types of foods more carefully, not just amounts. And it may help to push myself a little with the exercise. I am stronger now. I walk farther and without getting as winded, so it’s become pretty easy. If I was wanting to maintain this would be fine, but I’d like to drop another 25 or so.

I sound pretty cavalier about the plateau, but it’s starting to bug me.

What About You?

Any ideas about how to handle plateaus? What do you do when you’re frustrated with the weight loss journey? Have you ever felt tired of hiding–physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally?