Monthly Archives: March 2014

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Practical Tips to Break the Food Addiction

OUCH: “When the desire for treats is triggered by difficult emotions, it’s not really a desire for treats. It’s a thinly veiled attempt at self-medication . . . our souls are thirsty and ravenous . . . if we fail to . . . fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our loneliness with other temporary physical pleasures . . . this issue is bigger than emotions; it’s really about spiritual deprivation . . . and self-medicating with food . . . vicious cycles I must avoid.” Lysa TerKeurst

One of the best parts of my journey to health has been discovering some of the “whys” behind my eating choices and learning to be mindful of those when I want to reach for food. It’s amazing how the realization that I’m trying to fill an emotional need with something that won’t satisfy, but will instead derail my goals, gives me strength to walk away.

Sometimes it is now as simple as a quick prayer breathed to the Lord, telling Him I want Him to fill my needs, not food.

It was harder earlier in my journey. Maybe because the cravings were more physical than they are now-metting with agent 2-along with being emotional, which they still are. During that time period I found a cup of licorice spice or peppermint tea helped curb the cravings and still felt like a treat. I could sip my no calorie tea and do something else I enjoyed rather than eat–like read a book, write in my journal, chat with a friend, or play on Facebook. I read later that peppermint tea curbs the appetite when you’re hungry and Licorice tea (I like Stash Licorice Spice) curbs sugar cravings!

God is sweet to give us great tasting, no calorie options. Early in my journey I also found that taking a walk when I got a craving was a great alternative. Once I started walking I no longer felt hungry, and the time it required often took me to the next scheduled meal, so I didn’t think about snacking between.

The other cool thing is that walking never fails to connect me back to God. I hear the birds and am grateful for the beauty of their song–and next thing I know I’m thanking God for the gift. Or the sun shines or me, or the sky is a brilliant blue, or I see a flower, a tree, a mountain . . . or I simply feel the fresh air upon my face. Nature draws me to the Creator. Another cool thing that often happens as I walk is that He’ll prompt me to prayer or I’ll use the time to listen to Scripture on the audio Bible app on my phone.

The last few weeks we’ve talked about spiritual practices and how they relate to weight loss, but God created us mind, body, emotions, and spirit. We also need tangible, practical, physical plans to help us succeed in our journey to breaking the food addiction.

What practical plan do you have for the next time you are tempted to self-medicate with food?

Father,

Help me not to self-medicate with food. Give me what it takes to break the cycles of food addiction. Free me to enjoy my life, not just my food. To find freedom not in eating anything I want, but in choosing a fuller life over a fuller tummy. Help me to turn to You when I am tempted to self-medicate. Be my healer. Show me healthy alternatives to my addictions, even if for a while they are simply distractions. But in the long run, draw me to Yourself.

Being practical in overcoming the need to self-medicate with food

PS. I truly believe my Benew products have reduced cravings and helped my physical self in this journey to break the food addiction cycles.

For Bernice

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Bernice is third from the right in the black paints and blue print blouse

It’s funny the things you think of in grief.

Like how I wouldn’t wear yellow this day. She hated yellow and teased me about my affinity for it. Threatened to repaint my yellow mailbox red.

I think it strange I am hungry. That mundane things like needing to eat just continue, when everything should stop for a moment, at least, and just “be.”

Even last night at the hospital, when they came out, the doctors, the nurses, the chaplain. Even as I was both stunned and not. Right then, that early, the stories fell from my lips. Wanting these strangers who tried to save her life to glimpse her. Who she was that they labored over. Her spunk and varied life experiences. I needed those memories, those stories that made me both laugh and cry.

I need them now.

Did you know she asked me to take her to Avatar? “But we have to see it in 3-D if we go,” she said.

Afterwards I asked if she enjoyed the movie.

“It was too long,” Typical, her decided opinion. “They should have had an intermission. That’s what they did in Gone with the Wind when I saw it in New York.”

And I marveled at a life that had spanned Gone With the Wind–the first color movie to win Best Picture and a transitional film in many ways–to Avatar with its 3-D blue people and ground-breaking visual effects.

Bernice didn’t pull punches. When the weight piled on she told me, “You’re getting fat. Well, it happens to the best of us.”

And one day when she answered her door, and the sunshine bounced off my silver highlights it was, “It’s time to color your hair. You’re going gray.”

Funny how she could say those things, and it made me laugh. It never hurt like it would if someone else said it.

Last year when I started losing weight she praised me, but cautioned, “Don’t lose too much. You were too skinny when you married Jerry.”

“You let me know if you think I’m getting too thin.”

“Oh, I will.”

“I have no doubt,” I said. And she laughed. I did, too.

As I type her little dog, Dusty, comes by my feet for some love. My husband–a staunch believer that animals belong outside–said we’d better bring him home with us last night. And so I guess he’s here until arrangements are made for his new home. Dusty doesn’t stay alone at night, and we didn’t have the heart to sleep at her house as we’ve done in the past when Bernice was hospitalized.

It was the main thing she worried about, that her little dog wouldn’t be alone.

The boys often ran her to the store or drove her and Dusty to the groomer. This little trips meant they’d come home with a frozen lasagna for supper or stop by Dairy Queen after the grooming appointment. She didn’t mind asking us for help, but she always found a way to give us something, too. I think she especially enjoyed letting Sam drive her car on his first date.

Funny the process of grief. At the hospital I stood by the bed. The shell that was once her lying there. We prayed. Cried. I kissed her cold forehead.

Titanic_300PixWide_BlogAdThen I had to pull out my kindle, show a total stranger my book cover with Bernice’s hand on it. “She was a hand model in her teens in New York, you know.” It seemed important this woman glimpse her, see the span. “And then she modeled for me.”

Bernice had wanted to use the other hand, felt it was less drawn by age. I explained it was the very age of the hand that I wanted for the book cover, and she shrugged, set aside pride, and complied. And I loved the picture, the spotted, gnarled, arthritic hand. The hand I’ve held. The hand that only a few months ago made me cookies.

Before Sarah married, Bernice and I went shopping for a new outfit. She didn’t like using her walker, so she leaned on the carts at the store, incredible stamina for 84 years old. She bought a new ring with a red stone with a gift certificate from her grand kids, then scanned the jewelry department looking for something for me, insisting I choose a bracelet. (Always a gift for someone else.)

We picked out a new pant suit for her to wear to the wedding, and she bought herself some slacks and pair of jeans. She was excited at the skinny leg styles. She had thin legs, used to dance on those legs in New York, often dreamed of being a Rockette, but said she was not quite tall enough and the Rockettes liked their dancers thin those days.

We ate at Red Robin, her favorite place for a hamburger. It may have been that day we splurged on shakes, too.

Before the wedding she handed me a beautiful ring, with two little diamonds and two purple stones. “Try this on. I’ll bet it fits you now that you’re skinny.”

It fit. I smiled and handed it back to her.

“Why don’t you wear it for a while?”

So I wore it a week. Maybe more.

“You know I’m giving that ring to you, don’t you?” This one day, out of the blue as I sat across from her at the oak table we bought years ago at a garage sale. “You need a purple one for the wedding. That’s Sarah’s colors.”

She took a sip of her diet Dr. Pepper and then leaned forward. “When I bought it years ago I wanted red, but they didn’t have red. Now I know why. Because it was for you. For the wedding.”

It was one of those strange thing I thought about this morning when I awoke with tears–how I would put that ring on, as I’ve done most days for the last year, how I loved that ring.

How I loved her.

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Heart of the Matter

Want to find hope and healing and success? Let’s get to the heart of the matter! How? We can start at our mouths and follow the trail. Solutions don’t come from treating the symptoms, but the symptoms can give us clues to the cause, then we can truly heal from the inside out.

Video: Want hope and healing? Follow the trail to the heart

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Sitting in Silence

Sitting in silence . . .IMAG3148

How often do we truly sit in quiet, seeking God’s presence and agenda? I don’t know about you, but sitting and silence aren’t so easy for me. I can sit–and talk, or write, or read, or watch TV or . . . but in silence?

A few weeks ago a friend encouraged me to set a timer, turn on music that makes me feel loved, and simply sit in silence with God, inviting Him to love me. My execution has been sporadic with varied results from profoundly beautiful to annoyingly distracted.

I find it comforting to be reminded that the Holy Spirit prays for me even when I don’t know what to ask for. God Himself prays to Himself on my behalf, asking the Father to help me know Him in increasing measure.

I like the idea of being still to connect with God’s love. I also like the idea of practicing silence for the purpose of discerning His presence and His agenda. I do this often in a prayer group I’m in. We don’t mind stretches of silence as we seek Him. But I find it harder when I’m alone.

IMAG3162Before I began the weight loss journey the only time I truly faced the Truth that God had an agenda for my body that didn’t include obesity was in the silence and vulnerability of the night. I believe now that the Holy Spirit was calling me to pray, nudging me to ask the Father for help with this very real issue of defeat in my life.

Times of introspection, prayer, and silence are invaluable to the weight loss journey. What if we asked God some hard questions and sat in silence a few minutes each day until we got the answers we sought?

What if we said, “God, why do I struggle with my weight?” or “Lord, please show me the root cause behind why I feel powerless to change in my body.” Or maybe, “Are there specific health or nutritional choices I need to make to help me with the journey to losing weight? If so, what are they, God?”

Then we waited a while. In silence. And if He chose not to answer right then, what if we whispered, “I’m still listening, Lord,” and sought to keep an open heart to His answers as we returned to our routines?

Lord,
Teach us to discern Your presence, Your voice, Your heart. Reveal what we need to understand about our relationship with food–and heal us.

Share this devotional: Finding Truth in the Silence

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Spring

It’s a snowy day here in Colorado, but even if it feels like winter, the calendar says March. This week heralds the first day of spring.

Ever feel like you’re pushing through winter when you thought you’d be embracing a new beginning?

(Sorry this is posting late. That nasty stomach virus finally got me, and I’ve spent the last few days in bed! Hope you’re having a great week!)

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ The Desire Beneath

treatLife’s deepest lessons are learned and relearned at ever-increasing levels.

Years ago I read The Sacred Romance and Journey of Desire by John Eldredge. These books helped me process the idea that behind every desire was a deeper, more potent desire for God.

It was a time of deep financial struggle for our family, and I remember processing my lack through a spiritual lens. For example, I’ve always loved layering scented body wash and lotion, and for many years my favorite store was Bath and Body works. But during this season buying fragrant body lotion was simply out-of-reach.

As I prayed about this disappointment I remember thinking, “underneath the desire to smell beautiful is the deeper desire to live beautiful. I want to live in a way that leaves the fragrance of Jesus trailing after me.”* The thought brings a lump to my throat even today.

The struggles of that time pushed me deeper into Christ’s arms. I took my craving for good gifts and looked beneath them for a craving of of Jesus, of heaven. I never became so spiritual that I stopped wanting stuff, but it did help me focus on my longing to experience God over the longings I had as many of life’s pleasures were denied me.

As I write today, I wonder that this concept didn’t help me more with my physical body, but I never remember applying it to what I ate, other than to help me overcome disappointment when I couldn’t afford to buy certain foods. But this looking beneath the desire to the deeper desire applies to weight loss, too.

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about turning our cravings for food into a reminder of our craving for Jesus. Filling emotional needs with food will never satisfy. Even real hunger is a metaphor pointing to a deeper need, our need for God to satisfy our innermost soul.

During our financial lack I grieved not being able to purchase some special chocolates I loved that were only available around the holidays. I told myself I could look beneath that desire for chocolate to a deeper desire, to taste the wonders of God. There was even a Scripture I applied, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Funny how back then the concept didn’t connect with the fact I was putting on pounds. But today the application seems natural. When I crave that treat, what if I looked to Jesus as the ultimate treat? What if I stopped my thoughts and looked beneath them, then spent the time meditating on the wonders of Christ’s love instead of munching?

“After all, the ultimate goal of this journey isn’t about making me a smaller-sized person but rather making me crave Jesus and His truths as the ultimate filler of my heart.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

Share this devotion:

Is there a deeper desire than that treat you crave?

*You can read 5 short devotionals that I wrote about this concept on my other website.

From My Journal ~ A Mother’s Heart

sunflower candleThe gentle glow of a candle graces my kitchen table. All clutter is cleared from my view. In the background is my beautiful sunflower gift from my friend Kim. Red wine flickers with a hint of purple, just a little in a stemmed glass. A single cheese biscuit awaits my nibbling, resting upon a sunflower saucer.

Today I’ve moved like honey–sweet, gentle, and slow. Restorative properties come from such a rhythm.

It’s a pouring into myself, really, a healing from an intensive 9 days of pouring out to others.

Sometime deep joy feels almost like grief. Passages are right and good. Perhaps tears lubricate transition, easing the forward movement. The exhaustion of this day, spawned by ignoring my own physical boundaries in the need to serve, helps me embrace this day of sipping from the cup of change.

The place I am in this tiny space of time is also a culmination of spiritual outpouring. A repetition of days and sleepless nights pouring a mother’s heart before God, asking for outpourings of HIS heart for my children. That they would know Love. His Love. That they would be shaped by this, not anything else, certainly not despair.

The days of children slip through my fingers like sand in an hourglass. I see how little is left before the top half is completely emptied. Maybe when there is only see-through glass, maybe then I will be willing to turn it upside down and discover a new life, but not now. Not yet.

I don’t try to hang on. It would do no good. It would harm. So my fingers are open. The goal is to experience the sensations of letting go. To rejoice in the passage. To cry when I need to. No going numb. No clinging to the past.

But the sand’s pace is furious. And my heart finds it difficult to learn that hurried rhythm.

What’s funny about today’s tears is I”m not sad even though I grieve.

There’s actually new hope, new joy. Motherhood’s joy has extra validation today. The prayers cast like bread upon water have washed back to me, swollen with possibilities and wide, grand, newness.

I’m an old romantic. Time may prove me naive and mistaken in my musing of these saturated bread crumb dreams. Still this moment. For this fleeting sand of time, I feel dreams launched. Decades of prayer fulfilled. The tears fall, in part, because the dreams are worthy. the whispers of their fulfillment worthy, the life in process worthy.

After a week walking my friend through the valley of the shadow I sensed myself cloistered and safe. I experienced abundance, blessing, doors wide open. Amazed and breathless I felt HIS whispers of approval. Of Love.

My thoughts flow in a stream of bubbling gratitude, then meander in the awareness of the True FaithJournal and how His faithfulness flows for me.

Humbled by joy so deep I cry like one who mourns.

Who will ever understand a mother’s heart?

Only the One who gave it to her.