Tag Archives: inside out weight loss

Why I Flirt in the Kitchen

Thanks to some links on my daughter’s fb page I’m thinking about modesty, sex, and what we teach our daughters.

modesty

This image from a fun site all about swimsuits of the 1900s

Here’s the thing. Sometimes in our attempt to raise modest daughters we inadvertently teach them that they should be ashamed of their bodies, that men are animals, and that sex is bad.

(And here I nod to Miss Kiki’s Journey and a wonderful post called Modesty, Lies, and Making People Mad.)

Children of conservative families are sometimes surprised to visit our house. I kiss my husband in front of my children and their friends. We flirt in the kitchen. We hint at the privileges of marriage. This is an intentional choice. Part of it is purely selfish. It’s fun, and Jerry and I like it! Flirting in the kitchen makes the day a little brighter and sometimes leads to a bit of fun behind closed doors later.

But I have another reason for my kitchen flirting. I want my children to embrace the idea that marriage is fun, and tat sex in marriage is a fabulous gift, one to treasure and look forward to. We don’t avoid the topic at our house because sex in marriage is right and good and God-designed.

I still remember one of the first times I hung out with Jerry’s parents. They were a very conservative couple who fit the traditional 50’s image of pastor and pastor’s wife. You rarely saw Ray without a tie, and Fencine is one of the most proper women I know. They were a deeply loving and spiritual couple with very conservative values.

We were in the home of Jerry’s brother and his wife. It was a family setting, no other guests, so things were a little more relaxed. Already grandparents several times over, Jerry’s parents must have been married close to 40 years at this point.

You have the set-up; here’s the punch line. As we headed into the kitchen for lunch Ray popped Fencine on the bottom! Just a little, affectionate, flirty swat!

I was shocked, but I treasure that memory of how a couple who’d been married that long were still flirting in the kitchen.

I don’t mean to be trite. Modesty is a real issue. I do believe men are wired more visually than women. (And frankly, under the clock of married love this can be a lot of fun.) What I don’t believe is that women are solely (or even primarily) responsible for how men respond to what they see.

Here’s another lesson I learned from Jerry’s dad. We all went to Schindler’s List. There is a scene that is not sexual at all, but the women in the concentration camp are stripped naked so the guards can decide which ones are strong enough to continue living. Jerry’s dad very quietly left the theater until the scene had passed. A real man respects a woman’s privacy.

As a mother of sons I expect my young men to be responsible. I applaud Kiki who said, “Boys are capable of looking at a woman without lust. Boys are not animals and we must stop putting it in their minds that they are. Also we need to stop telling that to girls. Men are not to be feared. Every man’s mind is not full of lust 100% of the time. They are intelligent and wonderful . . .”

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Kissing hubby on our 25th wedding anniversary

That’s not to say modesty is not a real issue. We need to teach our daughters that their body is a beautiful treasure to be unwrapped at the appropriate time. We need to teach her she is more than her body, that the sexy images on the big screen and glossy magazines that stress only the body are not accurately portraying the main reason for a woman’s existence.

We are not objects, but we are a work of art. We need to celebrate our daughter’s full person, not chop off the body as the shameful part in our efforts to help her learn self-respect and wisdom.  Modesty should not be stressed in a way that makes our daughters think their bodies are shameful, men are scary, and sex is bad.

Sex is good. Sexy behind closed doors between a husband and wife is fun. I want my children to enjoy their marriage privileges without shame. I want my daughter to be comfortable with her body. I want my sons to know that thinking a woman is beautiful is normal.

It’s why I flirt in the kitchen.

(Jerry just read this and said I flirt because he is irresistible. That, too. ;o))

Naked and (UN)ashamed

Don’t you hate naked dreams? You know the ones. You’re in a public place and suddenly IMAG3123realize you forgot to get dressed. You’re horrified and afraid of being seen.

I had one of those dreams the other night.

What’s really funny is that in my dream there was a young man who upset me. We were in a crowd of people, and he kept doing irritating things. Then he started stripping!

The next scene of my dream I ran upstairs, looking for my father to ask him to deal with the chaos this young man was causing. But before I could find my dad, I looked down and realized that I was naked! I ran and found a sheet to hide in and wrapped myself in it, weeping.

When I awoke from this dream I immediately equated it to my life, especially the stuff I’ve been processing the last few weeks. When I wrote my Tension Tummy post I spoke about how boxes and legalism have hurt me and a lot of other people. I ended with these words:

I’ve had ample opportunity to process legalism and judgment lately. . . My human self comes up with all kinds of wonderful ways to fight . . . Instead I ask God to shed Truth and Grace where it is needed.

Including in the ugly remnants of legalism and religiosity in me.

See, my heart is to be loving and grace-filled, but I never perform up to my own desires. When I am hurt, or worse yet when someone I love is hurt, judgement and legalism are right there, ready to take up space in my attitude.

I think my dream is a reminder that while I am passionate about speaking out against boxes and legalism, I can never do it without that voice inside reminding me that I, too, am not perfect.

I have not yet let go of judgment or stepped out of boxes to the extent I want to. My mind is ahead of me even in the progress I have made. Often my thoughts and emotions don’t keep up with what I believe to be true. Sometimes even my actions contradict the grace I believe in.

I’m a work in progress.

There’s something in the Bible that talks about Jesus giving us robes of righteousness. That is the only answer to my naked problem. My raw, naked faults will be exposed from time to time. Hopefully I’m processing forward and becoming more loving, not less. But no matter how I long to be perfect, I’m just not.

That’s when I remember Jesus never left me naked and exposed. Long ago He gave me that righteousness robe to cover all the humanity I wish the world never saw. So when I feel hurt by my own lack, I look to HIM, to HIS fullness. To the way He cares, forgives, and covers me with the Good that is Himself.

Then I grab hold of His hand and hope I can listen to His Voice in a way that helps me be more loving and less judgmental the next time.

It’s not my desire to take away from anything I said in that Tension Tummy post. I believe those words to be true. It just seems important to say that even in my passion for freedom and against religiosity I have to say, “Me, too.”

I too am trying to find my way out of legalism.

I too have boxes I wish I could step out of.

I too fail at this grace thing, no matter how much I wish I didn’t.

Thank God HE is always there to remind me that failure is not the end of the story. That my missteps are forgiven. That He will help me journey down that road to loving more like He does.

Gulps of Grace

I just clicked off on the cordless phone, thoughts churning. My friend is an abuse survivor, no longer a victim, a woman of great integrity and strength. One of my heroes. I’m reminded of her journey forward, of how her abuser kept her in a stranglehold of condemnation and low self-esteem for far too long. How even survivors, victors who’ve long overcome have to keep fighting to maintain their freedom, especially when people who don’t understand knock them down again.

On the radio yesterday a woman called a talk show for advice. Her “husband” was clearly destroying her emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, but still she argued that she “should” stay to do the “right” thing.

If you know me well, you know I am not easily angered. But this. This makes me want to fight hard against the lies, against the boxes, for FREEDOM!

challah bread 9This morning’s phone call from my victorious friend who’d once again endured a senseless assault by a clueless do-gooder left me reeling, as did that lady on the talk show.

I reached for Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts Devotional in an attempt to right the churning inside of me. Ann reminded me that giving thanks is declaring my trust in God and that without the ability to trust God there is no joy.

For years I begged God for joy. Instead His offering was to allow seven years of grueling circumstances far beyond my control. I’m beginning to understand Ann’s words, that giving thanks is about joy and about trust and about choosing. It is curling up with the Bread that nourishes my soul.

So I today I wrote little notes of gratitude instead of dwelling on all that angers me. And what came out surprised me.

I thank Him for: freedom air gulped and eventually breathed in natural rhythm. 

When I first stepped out of my own crap, of walls self-imposed and imposed by others, of boxes of perfectionism and guilt and performance, I couldn’t breathe freedom every day, every minute, like life. I grasped for it. Looked for it. Begged for it. Gorged on it when I found it.

I found it in grace.

I gulped grace. Sucking it in for survival. Guzzling it. Only pure grace, the truth of it, fed me. The gulps pounded into my malnourished system, setting it free, a little at a time.

I sucked in the grace air as I could understand it, when I could appropriate it.

Grace.

God’s complete unconditional love and acceptance. The favor He offered even though I didn’t deserve it.

Wiki says it this way: . .  grace has been defined, not as a created substance of any kind, but as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it”,[1] “the condescension or benevolence shown by God toward the human race”.[2] It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man – “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved”[3] – that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God.

For years I lived without freedom. I didn’t know it. But I was controlled by the self-condescension of one who could never live up to her own ideals and of one who tried so hard to please others that I lived in a straight-jacket of effort and failure.

I didn’t understand grace saturated the very air I breathed. That I didn’t have to chase after it or fight for it, grabbing and suffocating.

I didn’t get that always, always, always my Creator surrounds me with loving acceptance, cheering me on in my victories, helping me to my feet in my failures, never condemning, only offering Himself and His grace, longing to love me and remake me into one who could love Him, myself, and others.

I had heard about God’s love, about grace, all my life, but I didn’t appropriate it to myself–thus the gulping when I happened upon grace. The gorging on it when I began to understand.

But over time–years, not weeks–I began to feel less desperate. My soul began to know grace would never run out, never be beyond my reach, never disappear.

And I began to breathe normally. Rhythmically.

In freedom.

Once in a while something happens. My throat constricts once again, and I struggle. I am hurt or I hurt others. My imperfections are glaring. And my breathing gets erratic as I take huge, gulping, heaving breaths.

Grace. My lifeline.

As I inhale I stabilize. My breathing becomes natural. Saturated with freedom.

As I type right now I finally understand how all of this comes together. Why in my need to reach for hope, for peace, I seek to offer thanks, to trust God, to hold onto joy. Why in the midst of this churning I wrote those words: freedom air gulped and eventually breathed in natural rhythm. 

It’s because of the process of freedom. It’s because when my friend first fought out of an abusive situation she, like me, had to gulp grace bubbles. She couldn’t yet understand the air was saturated, and grace was always there, free.

It’s like my friend and I spent years under putrid water, pressed down by the voices that said we would never be good enough to deserve such freedom as normal breaths. But eventually we had to breathe, to lift our heads out of the water before we drowned. At first we could only raise our head on occasion, could only allow ourselves stolen gulps because we thought we deserved no more. Didn’t even deserve those gulps, really, just needed them so much we had to take them.

Over time we began to understand that the air was ours, given freely by a loving God, and that we didn’t have to earn it with good behavior. We bobbed for a while at the surface where the air was  tainted by the smell of stinking water. But it was better. At least we were breathing more often, even with the times we were pulled back under. Then came the day we slowly swam toward shore. Swimmers still get their face wet, but they also have air. And they are moving forward

It was a while before we climbed out, touched the shore, realized how good and pure the air could be and that we were given the right to breathe it.

And sometimes, on bad days, we still forget. That cesspool of unworthiness and condemnation is always there, waiting for us to climb back in.

But we’re getting better, my friend and me. We’re choosing to stay away from the stinky water.

We’ve gulped freedom and are learning to breathe it in natural rhythm.

Breathing with you today, my friend.

Until next time,

moldenhauer signature3

It Will Still Be Here

On Superbowl Sunday a ton of food showed up at my house. Lots of yummy, high calorie, not always available food. I didn’t way overeat, but because most of the food was based in flour, sugar, chocolate,IMAG3245 and/or cheese I’m sure the caloric in-take was more than I want to know. (I did start the party frenzy with an apple in hopes to cut some of the hunger space and make sure I consumed something healthy!)

Monday morning I awoke wondering how to handle the left-over treats. Would I allow myself a small piece of cake or a brownie with my morning coffee?

All of this focus on the treats left me chewing (pun intended) on a thought. Sometimes I overeat because I don’t want to miss out.

Seriously?

IMAG3246Do I actually believe I will never again see a bowl of cheese dip or a bag of chocolate?

Of course not.

Then why is there that niggling desperation to make sure I don’t “miss out?”

Here’s a truth. In most American homes treats are not a one-time experience. They show up often, not only on special occasions but in every day life.

And while it’s true with two 6-foot-tall-male-teens in my house that food disappears quickly, it is also true that it reappears with regularity. The pictures I’ve posted are treats that showed on Sunday without any effort of my own and are still in my kitchen. I didn’t buy or bake those treats, but here they are.

And when those are gone, I’ll bet something else appears.

It will do me no good to eat up now believing it’s just this once.

Just this once will be here tomorrow. And the day after.

It is a lie that if I don’t indulge now there will never be another opportunity.

Abundant opportunities will come. At a coffee shop with a friend. At a family dinner. At the movie theater.

Here’s the truth: Treats will still be here tomorrow.

And, so thus reassured, I can take less. Or skip them entirely.

At least in theory.

How about you? Do you ever have more than you should because of the lie or misplaced fear of missing out?

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Do we overeat from a fear of missing out?

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Open War I

Too often I allowed ground to be taken from me instead of advancing in life. The most visual area is in the area of weight gain. Pretending the pounds weren’t creeping on, ignoring the battle waged against my body, didn’t make it go away. Open war was upon me whether I risked engagement or not.

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Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not (Aragorn, Lord of the Rings)

Shining

hot partyToday I’m writing the post I’ve avoided since last October.

It felt weird to draw attention to this issue.

It’s about letting the Light within shine out in all ways.

It’s hard to talk directly about shining in my body, especially when it includes issues around my figure.

But today I read an amazing journey of inside out transformation on another blog, and it prompted me to be more transparent with these thoughts I’ve primarily kept to myself.

I’ll start with last week, mostly because I’m a chicken about going all the way back to October. I’ll get there, though.

My church history includes calm churches, choir-singing churches, and a lot of churches with a praise band. I’m not often in dancing churches.  But here’s the thing: I’m a closet worship dancer.

Or I was before I let crap shut me down.

Most of my worship has been in my upstairs living room. The boys, watching ballgames in the family room below, no doubt roll their eyes as the thuds and thumps on the ceiling sound anything but graceful.

One time I danced on a real stage at a writer’s conference. It was this thing between God and me, my opportunity during a very rough time to make a public statement that I still worshiped the One I claim, even though my life at the time was so difficult I spent most of the conference hiding in my room, just trying to survive. My friends said my face was radiant that day. It was a high moment for me even though in my private thoughts I was embarrassed to dance in front of others carrying all the extra weight I had.

Life got harder and harder. My body got heavier and heavier.

I mostly stopped dancing.

Last weekend I attended a conference where there was worship music for an hour before the speaker. People there worshiped however they wanted: waving banners, clapping, stretching out on the floor, and DANCING.

I slipped out of my seat to an open area at the back of the room where I hoped I could dance without much notice of others.

Only I hadn’t done much worship dancing now that I have a figure again.

Immediately the voices started, telling me I shouldn’t dance, that it would attract attention to my now more attractive body, that if I was going to dance I should hide. Or at least do it when I have on clothes that aren’t fitted. That since I have a figure again it would be wrong to dance in public.

But another Voice spoke over me. It said to pull my shoulders back and stand tall and proud as a beautiful daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It said it didn’t matter that I had on jeans and a t-shirt that fit. I didn’t have hide in loose fitting clothes to dance freely.

And so I danced. Long enough and hard enough to work up a sweat. Sometimes small and sometimes large. But always, always free.

I have no idea if I’m still the 5 ft 9 inch klutz I’ve felt I am since I grew way too fast and spent months tripping over my own feet, or if I now look graceful and beautiful. But it doesn’t matter because when I dance for Him, HE is enamored with the beauty HE placed in me. HE finds my worship graceful because while man looks at the outside God looks at my heart.

Which brings me back to last October.

I went to a party where there was dancing and music. It was not worship music; it was dance music. And I danced.

Freely.

In my new body and a great dress.

Jerry wasn’t with me. I didn’t dance with another man. I just had fun.

But then I noticed men noticing me. It’s hard to get used to that again after years of being overweight, and I awoke the next morning consumed with guilt.

I called one of my best friend in tears and asked her if she thought I’d dishonored the Lord by dancing my heart out in a great dress that didn’t hide my new figure.

She spoke truth.

I hung up the phone, still teary. My daughter and son-in-law were nearby. They’d seen me dance. I asked, “Did I dance in any way that was inappropriate or dishonoring to God?”

Their truth was the same my friend had just spoken.

Sarah said, “If anything you honored God by enjoying the new body He’s given you.”

Then my son-in-law, David, spoke. “It’s a new lantern you get to shine. A new way for you to show people what God has done for you and to help them.”

And I wept.

See, before I’d left for this event I had a God moment. In that half-awake stage of the night, He sang over me, “Be a Light.”

And so I dance.

Even if I look really good.

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Shine! No Hiding Allowed!

BeNew!

IMAG2696It’s not just about looking better, it’s about living better.

This time last year I was about half-way through my 55 pound weight loss journey using the BeNew products. Here’s what I’ve learned now that I’ve lived multiple months at a NORMAL weight instead of putting up with obesity.

There is great joy in freedom of movement. It’s not not just the big stuff like the fact that last Saturday my husband and I took off on a trail we’d never traveled, and I didn’t worry about how far we might go or whether or not I could walk it. That was fabulous, joyful, and free. But it’s the every day stuff that means even more. I can bend over and tie my shoes without effort. I can sit on the floor. Hop off the floor. Curl up in a chair or on the couch. I WANT to enjoy active pursuits instead of fearing or dreading them. This alone is worth taking the BeNew journey, even if how I looked never changed–but of course it did, and that is fantastic, too.

There is great joy in no longer hiding. I wear what I want to wear without looking for big clothes or jackets to hide me. I’m not embarrassed to be caught on camera. I’ve started making video blogs without feeling uncomfortable when I see myself. I don’t hate mirrors anymore. I can dance without feeling embarrassed about my body. I can climb in a hot tub or swimming pool without running from the towel to the water. And (hope this isn’t TMI) but I’m not hiding like I was in the marriage bed either! That may be the very best part.

There are great health rewards. Besides simply feeling better, I have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and increased ability resist whatever crud goes around. I also experience less joint pain in my hips and knees and have more strength and energy. While I attribute a lot of that to weight loss, I also focused on losing weight in a healthy way. The BENew products are health focused, not just weight focused, and I also supported my journey with what I believe is the most effective nutritional supplement on the market, Body Balance.

Shopping is fun! If you’ve ever spent hours looking for the perfect outfit to minimize the fat, imagine with me what it is like to go into a store, throw a bunch of stuff in the cart, and like ALL of it when you try it on. Seriously! Taking the BeNew journey has transformed shopping depression into delight! Last week I hit the after holiday clearance sales. I bought a pair of jeans from the JUNIOR department in the size I wore over 20 years ago. I can’t tell you how amazing that felt. I almost called my husband and best friends right there in the dressing room to shout out the news.

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With my friend, Eric Howard, who has lost over 100 pounds and counting using the BeNew products.

Confidence comes more easily. I truly believe in the inside person. I was not less of a person when I was 55 pounds heavier. The real me still worked hard, applied herself, sought to love others, and followed her dreams. But I have to admit that confidence comes easier when I’m not carrying the extra baggage of obesity. Maybe part of it is that people trust me more quickly. It’s as if climbing out of the stronghold of obesity gives me credibility in other areas.

As I lost weight on the outside I grew on the inside. Overcoming the hurdle of obesity required overcoming some interior hurdles as well. A healthy weight loss journey isn’t just about dropping pounds, it’s about dropping other stuff, like emotional baggage, bad habits, skewed mindsets. If you let it, a BeNew weight loss journey can strengthen your inner person and teach you a lot about life.

If you’re toying with the idea of taking your own BeNew journey–or have started and are wondering if it is worth it–pay close attention to all those happy words I just wrote: joy, fun, free, confident, fantastic, fabulous. Then jump in with both feet–or at least dip your big toe in the water. It won’t be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be one of the best.

PS If you’d like to hear more of my BENew story as well as about the products I use, please call 206-402-0100 at 5 p.m. MST tonight (Thursday). There is a 30 minute presentation that includes yours truly. Once you’ve called, the guest access pin is: 299215#