Monthly Archives: March 2013

Spirit Seeker Sunday 2: Obedience or a Gift?

(Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer) Obedience to God, not the scale. Hmmm . . .

When I first read this concept two and a half months ago, I struggled. Reading it again now, I’m still struggling. I prayed for so long for a solution to my weight issues that I felt starting BeNew and the weight loss journey was more of a gift than a task.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t easy, especially at first. But I operated more out of a desire to embrace the opportunity than seeing the weight loss journey as obedience. I tried to do the things I needed to do–like change my calorie intake, choose different foods, and MOVE–because I longed for success. I didn’t really do it to please God as much as to reap the benefits of the gift He offered me.

I grew up with an over-active guilt meter and a tendency toward perfectionism. It was very damaging. In my 30s the Lord did some deep healing and helped me see how boundless His grace is. I do want to obey the Lord. But I don’t want my Christian experience to be a gutting it out, shutting down myself, do it only because I should existence. Instead, I want to embrace His gifts. To learn to walk in sync with His Spirit.

I like the word SURRENDER better than obedience. Obedience in my background was adhering to a list of rules and living in a straight jacket trying to be good enough. Surrender is seeing God as big and full and loving and unexpected. It’s learning to follow His leading. Surrender is also leaning into His empowering grace for all He asks me to do instead of gutting it out on my own effort.

I suppose at its core surrender is still obedience. But it feels more like a joyful choice to me. An opportunity to walk with God in sweet relationship.

That said, I do get the point about the scale. It is super easy to let the scale define me. It is really hard not to let the scale control my mood. It moves, and I’m happy. It stalls, and I’m grumpy. This has been a constant battle for me since October–to just keep believing in this process as God’s gift. To just keep surrendering to the process even when it got hard or when I didn’t think I saw results. To get my identity not from the scale, but from the awareness that I was God’s beloved daughter.

How About You?

Do you like the idea of focused obedience or does it trip you up like it did me? (It’s okay to disagree! God works with each of us differently!)

And have you thought about this opportunity to be healthier and slimmer as a gift? Does that help you or does it just not resonate with where you are. (I’m genuinely curious! On another group I’m in people loved this idea of weight loss being obedience to God.)

The Saga of Emotional Eating – Days 83 & 84

test

looks like sci-fi!

Imagine that. Another round with a specialist that left me upset. I’m begging God for a diagnosis and not just guesses!! I don’t want to enter another round of therapy that might help when the doctor isn’t even sure what is wrong!

Today I ate just to fill an emotional void. I felt so good about resisting this on Friday, but I didn’t win the battle today. It wasn’t that I blew my calorie count; I was still pretty much in line with AMOUNT of food, but I made mindless choices for unhealthy treats out of an attempt to fill an emotional need. I wish I’d slowed down and tried to deal with my angst in a healthier manner.

It doesn’t help that it’s freezing cold outside, and I can’t bring myself to take another 9 degree trek. I did ride the stationery bike when I took Sam to physical therapy, so I got my exercise in. But something about walking outside helps me deal with junk (both the emotional junk of my life and the junk food temptations!) and connect with God, which makes me stronger.

It’s weird. It was a successful day as far as calorie count and exercise, but I still can’t count it as successful because I don’t want to turn to junk to heal me.

It never will.                                                                       ~ January 14, 2013

Yesterday’s little compromise turned into slightly bigger compromises today. I ate chips just because they were there, and I was emotional. I went over calorie count.

I’m glad I’m seeing this. I didn’t think I was that much of an emotional eater, but when life pressed hard, I grabbed Pringles. (Chili-lime. They weren’t even that good!)

I want to grab Jesus. My journal. My walking shoes. Turn to something that truly heals instead of to something that only hurts me in the long run.

I am  going to ask the Lord to help me be INTENTIONAL about how I handle hurt, stress, disappointment, and frustration. I don’t need junk food; I need HIM and the healthy choices He can show me.

Wow. That seemed huge, what I just wrote. I’m now inviting God into my food choices. I’m pretty sure I’d made that off-limit to Him in the past.

How cool is that?? Getting connected with mind, soul, heart, emotions, spirit . . . and BODY.

~ January 15, 2013

Real Time Update:

I continue the path of seeking to understand the connection between body and spirit. God made us flesh AND spirit, mind AND soul. Leaving any part of me out when connecting with Him is to miss part of what He offers me in relationship.

What About You?

How do you deal with your emotional eating saga?

From Lumbering to Flitting – Day 82

jerry - Copy

That man loves to video-tape!

Since I started getting into shape a light often slips into Jerry’s eyes. It’s almost a look of disbelief. It happened as we had an impromptu date at Daz Bog’s coffee shop. I’d hopped up to grab a napkin, then flitted back to my seat when he got that look. He started to speak, then paused to reshape his thoughts.

“Just say it,” I said.

He grinned. “I can’t believe how you’re moving. If I had a video of you walking three months ago—”

In my mind I replaced the word walking with lumbering.

“—and a video of you walking now, you would be blow away by the difference. I could see it happening in a year or even six months, but you’ve done it in three.”

And in that moment all the work—all the resisting food, the exercising when I didn’t really want to exercise, the times I drank herb tea when I wanted an evening snack—was worth it.

Sarah called to let me know she’s been putting mother-of-the-bride dresses on Pinterest. I browsed her choices and thought, “Wow. She thinks I can pull this off?” Later she told me that with my body back I can wear things I don’t think I can.

Instead of dreading shopping for the mother-of-the-bride dress, I’m getting excited. But I still want to lose  more before I shop!                                                                        ~ January 13, 2013

Real Time Update:

I did lose more weight after the above was written. I’m stalled at a new low, 40 pounds down. The last few weeks I haven’t counted calories. Just tired of the discipline of it, I think. But I’m considering returning because I wouldn’t mind shaving another 8-10 pounds super quick before I go shopping!

What About You?

Today’s post is mostly a celebration. Do you have a success story?

Snowflakes and a Hard Heart Made Soft – Day 81

snowflake in windo

One of our homemade snowflakes, which I finally took down the first day of Spring, just in time for more snow!

I’m either totally awesome, brave, and strong . . . or lacking in common sense.

I just returned from a four mile walk. It’s 9 degrees, and I can barely move my cheeks. But I feel empowered. It’s a football playoff day at our house. The boys, glued to the TV, are begging for homemade pizza, and I just earned 520 calories of cheesy goodness. Glad I didn’t splurge yesterday just because I was sad. Glad I was intentional about choosing when and how to eat a heavy, high calorie food.

I awoke angry this morning. All those tests stirred up the weird sensations in my head. It was as bad as it was a few months ago. I cried. I don’t want to go back to that level of functionality. I’d found a peace with the last six months. After all, I’ve received much healing in all parts of who I am, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m in better shape than I’ve been in years. I’d even come to the place I could thank God for the process, be grateful I was “benched” so that I would take time to take care of ME.

But not this morning. I was mad at God. Afraid of what the future holds—how many more tests, what therapies are a head. I’m tired of spending so much time and energy focused on getting well. I want to get on with my goals for life!

I remembered what my friend said about my walking, about how it was Eden walks, when the Lord and I walked together, connected like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. And I didn’t feel all sweet and good about that. I wanted Jerry to be healthy enough to walk with me. I didn’t want to walk alone, even if it meant an opportunity to walk with God. I was mad at Him anyway.

And of course that attitude made me feel even worse because I don’t like to be mad at God. I want to WANT to spend time with Him. I knew my emotions were childish and petty, that this world isn’t heaven and getting mad at God doesn’t do anything to help me.

Maybe that’s why I was so determined to walk despite the cold: to prove to myself that I choose God even when I’m angry, when life hurts, when my emotions rail against Him. (Well, that and I wanted to enjoy no-guilt homemade pizza with my boys!)

So I took off. I made a goal of walking to the grocery store. I figured that would give me a specific plan and a place to warm-up halfway through. As I walked it was hard to think about anything except how cold it was. But when you walk with God (even if you’re ignoring Him) cool things can happen.

Cool thing #1 is that even though it wasn’t snowing, some flakes from the dusting we got last night jumped from a roof as I walked by and followed each other in a lazy waltz as they descended to the ground. My heart lifted at the beauty, and a song began in my heart:

And somewhere it’s snowing

See the soft drifting down

As the snowflakes surrender

To the hardening ground

Like the good grace of Jesus

That now covers our sin

In the kingdom of heaven

It’s snowing again.

I sang a little as I walked, breathing in the cold and panting between choruses. His grace washed over the hard ground of my heart. I sensed His love, His patience with my bad attitude.

Cool thing #2 happened as I passed a house that always has amazing Christmas decorations. Of course they are down now, but each holiday season I make a point to drive past this house and enjoy the array of Christmas scenes they display. When the kids were little, it was a family experience.  I’ve long treasured the gift the people of this house give the people of mine.

This house is over a mile from ours, so I don’t know these people. I’ve signed their guest book, but never been able to thank them personally. As I walked by a woman was unloading a bunch of groceries in the miserable cold. I rushed across the street and started helping. Of course I’m a total stranger to her, but I just had to do it. It was just a tiny token of appreciation for all the joy they have brought my family and me. It felt so good to finally thank them face-to-face.

Of course you don’t have a unique encounter like that without thinking about Jesus. I felt His smile, and I returned it with one of my own. I’m convinced He orchestrated that sweet moment so my anger could melt into joy.

Cool thing #3 blossomed as I thought about Him again. I thought of how He is with me every single moment, and how I am never alone even when it feels like I am. I imagined Him walking next to me. I thought about what I would say to a friend walking with me and tried to concentrate on chatting with Him like that. I was only successful for short spurts before my mind wandered to whatever caught my attention as I walked past. This frustrated me. I longed for deeper connection, for a true Eden walk.

Then I thought about how it is when I walk with Jerry. Sometimes we talk, and sometimes we just enjoy walking together, letting our thoughts drift in companionable silence. I looked to my left and believed Jesus was right there. I smiled because He chose the side next to the traffic, just like Jerry does. And I felt protected and loved.

Cool thing #4 happened as I warmed up at the grocery store. There was a wonderful woman offering samples. I had walked into my usual lunch time, and my cheeks were stiff with cold, so I paused a moment to accept a sample (60 calories, I checked) and chat while I warmed.

What a woman! Eighty-five years old, she retired from the police department and works at the sample table so she can travel the world! How cool is that?? Just a few months ago she flew with her daughters to Barcelona and the cruised the Mediterranean. What an inspiration! I want to live fully at 85, continue to chase my dreams, find places to make friends and be useful, like she has.

My new friend Norma had a strong faith that shone as we talked. She told me pieces of her story—and isn’t that what life is really about, how we all live in the big story of life and how your story and mine intersect?

I saw her strength, her joy, her willingness to reach out to me, a perfect stranger, in the midst of some incredibly difficult circumstances.  I saw how she didn’t stop living when hard things came, how she found ways to breathe and celebrate and travel all 50 states and most of Europe.

Warmed in the grace of her smile, Jesus and I headed back home. We didn’t talk much. I was so cold I mostly just wanted to walk fast and get to the heat of my very own house, but that whole freezing two miles I knew Him and His presence.

Sometimes life’s journey freaks me out, makes me mad, disappoints me. But today’s four mile journey in the cold reminded me that even in tough situations cool surprises happen.                  ~ January 12, 2013

Real Time:

I’m glad the Lord is so patient with me! I’ve been mad at him again this week. I really hope I outgrow that someday.

What About You?

How does anger affect weight loss. What do you do when you’re mad?

Emotional Eating and Snuggy Blankies – Day 80

Am I an emotional eater after all?

My struggle with cravings and eating for emotional support have seemed less than many of my friends talk about. But today I am seeking comfort, and I found myself wishing I could think of something to eat that would give it.

I just returned home from the latest specialist to try to find a reason for the icky feeling I so often get in my head. Some of my tests were abnormal. I feel pretty off-kilter. I’m validated to finally have someone find a REASON for what I have been describing and trying to heal for six months.

But the unknown is scary.

Next week will be another consultation.

I walked home from the doctor’s office. It was only about 2 and a half miles from here, all our cars were in use by the many drivers at our house, and I thought it would be a good way to get my exercise in. The walk was fine except that I was sort-of upside down inside of me. Jerry was teaching, and I couldn’t interrupt his class, so I called my brother. It was good to have company as I walked home. I didn’t want to be alone.

But it’s 32 degrees out there, and I’m still cold an hour later. I wanted something warm and salty, so I ate basically healthy, but skipped my usual lunch—my BeFull shake with fruit. One cup of brown rice and 3 oz of London broil later (349 calories), I feel full, but not satisfied. I can’t bring myself to grab a salad or fruit.

I don’t feel hungry; I just feel empty.

So far I’ve resisted the urge for something hot and cheesy or buttery. (Funny, chocolate doesn’t even sound good. Huh. I think I used to reach for it when I felt empty. I think the nutrition of BeNew has decreased sugar cravings.)

snuggy blanket

My favorite blankie atop my favorite chair, the old blue recliner

I suppose I’m ignoring the empty by writing this journal entry. But I still feel sad, a little scared, and a whole lot of tired of my brain/head not functioning normally.

The cravings persist. I could make myself popcorn or pizza or something creamy, like homemade mac and cheese, but I don’t want to rush there. I’m processing why I would think food would make this better. I don’t want to fill the empty with crap. I want to fill it with Good.

I want Him to comfort me.

So I’ll grab a warm blanket and rest awhile. One of my best friends told me to remember my 3 R’s – Rest, Recuperate, and Rely on Jesus.

Funny, Rigatoni with cheese sauce wasn’t anywhere on the list . . .                                ~ January 11, 2013

Real Time Update:

I still don’t know what’s up with my head. A week ago I would have told you the symptoms were 75% gone, but the last several days they have been back with a vengeance. I used to be able to connect the worse times to computer work, but now I’m connecting the symptoms to fatigue. If I push with a full schedule as I used to before the accidents, they return. I’m trying to look to these symptoms as a reminder to keep balance and rest in my life, but I’m not always successful.

As far as emotional eating goes, the battle continues, especially in the harder days, like a few weeks ago when Jerry had surgery. This morning I read a quote by Graham Cooke that said, “Fullness is our destiny; but emptiness is our crutch.” I’m still processing what he meant by that, but as the above post shows, I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with filling up on cheese sauce and everything to do with the fullness of God offered to me.

What About You?

I’d love to hear your emotional eating stories or advice! We’re in this together, my friends!

It’s a Gift! Day 77 & 78

Made a point to do a quick run/walk mile this morning since I was going to be gone all day and didn’t have time to wander the neighborhood for miles. I’ve heard if you do something to get the metabolism up first thing in the morning, you burn more calories over the day. So maybe even though I didn’t exercise very long today I’ll have good results.

I missed my long walk, though. A friend told me today that they are “Eden walks.” I really like that thought. In the story of Adam and Eve, God would come into the Garden of Eden and call to the people He’s created. Then they would walk together.

This walking does often feel that way—like a call to hang out with God. And as I walk, feel the fresh air and sunshine, it is easier to believe the places in the Bible are true when they say that He loves me and works everything out for my good.                 January 8, 2012

gfitThis morning I read a weight loss devotional. The main idea is that instead of allowing the scale to control our emotions, we should ignore the ups and downs of the scale and focus on doing what we do as an act of obedience to God.

All day I’ve let this though twist and simmer in my head.

This losing weight thing didn’t feel like a command; it felt like a gift.

How do you obey a gift?

Like everyone else I struggle when the scale doesn’t move for a while. Many people say it so affects them they binge. I haven’t had that problem since I started BeNew. I’m not sure why, because weighing at the doctor’s office the last few years or getting my yearly, “you need to lose weight” lecture did trigger food cravings. (Part of it probably has to do with the intense nutrition of BeNew. It helps with the cravings.)

But since I’ve begun my weight loss journey, it feels like such an answer to my heart-cry, to the prayers I’ve prayed for a few years now, “please, Lord. Show me what to do about this weight.”

It’s a gift to move again. To have more ability to walk, run, do a crunch.

To get out of a chair effortlessly.

Sure, there are days I’m sick of thinking about what’s going in my mouth. I don’t want to take a walk, even if I do think God meets me there.

But the gift is too wonderful to squander.

So I make a cup of herb tea instead of eating junk food. I take a walk more days than I don’t.

I don’t like to think of it as an obedience issue, but rather like opening a present.

What About You?

Is there a spiritual component to your weight loss journey? Do you see it as connecting body and spirit? If so, how does that relate to how you think God views your journey?

Muddling in the Middle (Days 75 & 76)

uphill climg

Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

As the journal entries below show, the newness of the joy of weight loss wore off about half-way there. Suddenly the climb seemed a little steeper.

I’ve had some frustration, a little muddling around about half-way to my weight loss goals. The good news is this is pretty normal–AND I DID lose more weight! And just as important, I continue to learn about life, about me, about God.

January 6, 2013

Life with a weight loss goal is up and down. I wrote about joy a few days ago. I’ve had more peace and joy in the last few weeks than in a long time. I also had a lot of affirmation the last few weeks as people started noticing my new size. Super fun!But today . . . I’m frustrated. I’m more often hungry again—and fighting more cravings. I don’t know if my metabolism has sped up due to consistent exercise and that makes me hungrier, or if holiday foods were less healthy, and it messed with everything. But I’m not craving sweets. It’s cheese. Gooey and piled on. I had a little cheese on a small potato with ground turkey and salsa for lunch. Thought it would be wise to have a little of what I craved rather than ignore the desire and then binge.

Still, it’s weird to suddenly fight the process again. I was mostly at peace with it for so long.

I am on BEPure this week. Maybe I’m going through another emotional purge. The last cleanse didn’t bother me, but I’ve been weepy over all kinds of stuff today, especially over my on-going head symptoms and inability to concentrate for long periods of time. I’m entering month six without diagnosis or complete healing . . .

On the positive side I know I’m smaller ‘cause I just had to take off my ring to type. It kept rolling around too much . . .

January 7, 2013

They say the first weight off is easier than the last weight. It is coming off slower for me, now, despite the fact that I’m eating healthier and exercising consistently. This morning I worked for a while on writing stuff, like this blog. My head symptoms that began over six months ago flared, but I pushed through for a while. By the time I quit they were going pretty crazy.

Frustrated.

  • That the scale isn’t dropping very quickly.
  • That no one can tell me why my head gets weird.
  • That I’m still having symptoms associated with a car wreck that happened last June.
  • That money is tight
  • That hubby’s computer crashed again and . . .

So I went walking. The first half mile or so all I did was grumble to God. At a mile and a half I took a break, popped into my favorite coffee shop, asked for water, and went to the bathroom. Then I circled the nearby school.

I prayed about hope, standing strong, looking to God for answers. As I prayed for the school, I realized I also prayed for me, for our family, for our whole neighborhood. By the time I’d circled a few times, pouring out my heart, I felt better. I walked past the abandoned strip mall, praying for good things to come there—asking again if it might be a church. Then I walked to the high school, surprised by a nature path I didn’t know about. It was beautiful!

This walking thing isn’t just about losing pounds; it’s about losing bad attitudes, finding faith, believing in hope. Seeking the Son in His sunshine.

Walked close to 5 miles.

I’m home now, enjoying a cup of tea and a homemade persimmon cookie that I don’t feel guilty about. Yes, there’s a little sugar, but there is also a lot of healthy ingredients in it.

And I’ll have plenty of extra calories today!

How About You?

Anybody else find a new round of struggle about half way to your goal?