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

Grundy_051913_184331

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.

Tips on Maintenance from a Professional

Today’s post is from my friend at the Ravenously Disappearing Woman.

Yesterday, was an education day at the bariatric center. The behavior modification specialist did a wonderful presentation on maintaining weight loss.  Though I’m only 1/3 of the way through the program, preparing to sustain my recent and future weight loss is crucial.  I’ve lost and gained in the past because once I’d reached my goal, I’d slowly return to my old way of eating.  This time I have way too much invested, in terms of health risks and the overall cost of this endeavor to return to old habits.

Unfortunately, I’m aware that chronic obesity is a disorder that has no real quick fix and no long-term cure.  The only way to stay at a healthy weight for life is to be ever-vigilant of food choices, portions and physical activity. It sounds incredibly daunting to do for a lifetime, doesn’t it?  However, I’m trying to re-wire my brain to view chronic obesity as something that must be controlled, like high blood pressure or asthma.  Just as must take my asthma medication and avoid potential asthma triggers, I’m equally bound to make the right food choices, practice portion control, and exercise daily.  Here are some of the wonderful tips that I learned to aid in maintaining weight loss:

  • Journal all food and drinks that you consume at the time you eat or drink them.  This helps to keep you mindful of what you’re putting in your body.  If your journal isn’t nearby, write down what you’ve had on a scrap sheet of paper and transfer the info to your journal later.
  • Exercise and engage in physical activities, at least 30 minutes per day, but make your exercise plan realistic for your lifestyle.  Find the time of day that suits your schedule.  If you choose to workout at a gym or wellness center, be certain that it’s close enough to your home that you’ll actually feel like driving there.  I remember learning in a college fitness course that statistics have shown that people who live more than 15 minutes from their place of exercise are more likely to skip working out.
  • Actively Practice Portion Control.  Learn what an appropriate portion size is.  Web MD offers a great portion size guide.  I’ve printed this and keep it on my refrigerator.  Using smaller plates, cups and bowls that contrast the color of your food give the appearance of a fuller plate.  If you eat out at restaurants ask for a to-go box with your meal and put half of it to take home for the next day.
  • Plan your meals and snacks weekly. This will decrease your likelihood of making impulse decisions about food choices.  It will also teach you to not use food for immediate gratification, because you’ll know what and when you’ll be eating.
  • Remember that you are in control of what you eat. Choose carefully the foods that you allow in your home.  Don’t allow others to talk, or guilt, you into eating foods that could jeopardize your success.
  • Practice mindful eating.  In doing this, you should be aware of what and how much you’re eating.  Additionally, you should be eating in the moment and not chowing down mindlessly in front of the TV or computer.  Focus on your food and take the time to enjoy the fuel that you’re giving your body.
  • Identify the things that trigger your overeating.   Avoid situations that may cause sensory stimulation like the sight or smell of food. The Food Network channel is probably not the best thing to watch!  If avoiding a trigger is impossible, plan ahead to have a healthy alternative.  Also, realize that sometimes the things that our body craves are really signals of something else that our body actually needs.  If you’re craving something salty, you may actually be thirsty.  If you’re snacking because you’re overly tired, you probably need protein.
  • Learn from previous weight loss failures. Think about the choices that you made the last time you lost and regained and don’t repeat your mistakes.  I thought I could go back to my normal style of eating and still magically keep my weight off.  Boy, was I wrong!  Read all of the information that you find on maintaining weight loss.  There are so many great online resources on weight maintenance you’ll never run out of material!

AND FINALLY…

  • Focus on the health of your one and only body!  Just focusing on the number on the scale won’t do.  Lot’s of people decrease that number through unhealthy means.  Think about yourself as an entire, beautiful, amazing package that thrives on healthy, well-portioned meals and activity to keep going.

What do you think?  Do you have any other tips for long-term weight maintenance that could be added to the list?  Tell me about it below! :)

 

Share it: Successful Weight Loss Maintenance

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Abundant Thinking

Every day we face opportunities to embrace abundant good or to be held back by destructive forces. Today’s makeover explores the choices we face in how we are going to interact with these forces.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ The Deep Happy Isn’t From Skinny

Body size does not determine happiness.

Haven’t you seen unhappy people at all sizes–and visa versa?

If we’re not happy overweight, we won’t be happy at a normal weight either.

From a spiritual perspective the deep inside peace–happy, if you will–is achieved when happiness is tied into embracing the identities we are given from our Creator: forgiven, set free, accepted child of God, holy child of God, made new child of God, loved child of God, confident child of God, victorious child of God, you get the idea . . .

Lysa TerKeurst says, “Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else will only set us up for failure. But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor we can cling to no matter what our circumstances might be.”

I don’t know if I could have chosen to deal with my weight issues if I hadn’t first felt loved. I’ve been around long enough to know that if I don’t feel loved when I’m heavy, dropping a few pounds isn’t going to solve the issue.

What I cling to is this Truth: Heavy or thin, we are completely loved and accepted by the One who made us. He has brushed our hearts with His mercy and declared us good and beautiful and treasured. When the weight loss journey is hard, I press into that truth. I ask Him to help me persevere because I know He loves me and cares about my journey.

That said, there is JOY in the weight loss journey. It’s not so much an identity thing as a freedom thing. Losing weight has freed me to move differently, to break some strongholds, to feel stronger and healthier and to enjoy activities that were before too draining because of the extra weight I lugged around. I think there is also some emotional cleansing tied to weight loss. I actually read that the toxins in our fat can also store emotional pain! I’ve had plenty of tears as the weight has burned off–and the other side of tears is usually a new lightness and peace . . .

Father, 
Please help us to build our identity on YOU and your love, not our body size. Convince us deep down that we are loved forever and always, deeply, passionately, and fully. Help weight loss to become an act of joy, not because our identity is tied to it, but because of the new freedoms found there.

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Body size does not determine happiness