Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can God help you lose weight?

I just wanted to explain something before I got much further down the path I've been on for the past week or so.

I've been trying to lose weight for almost 4 years, now (every single day, never stop, no breaks) and in all that time, I've gone through some really tough discoveries about myself. I went through a really hard time, for about a year, when I kept sabotaging my weight loss efforts because deep down, without knowing it, I wasn't giving myself permission to be a better person. I've overcome so many fears that I had no idea could even exist in weight loss. And I've learned so much about myself that I had no clue was even there.

But through all of this self-discovery and through all of my accomplishments, I've ignored one crucial thing—my spirituality as it relates to weight loss. But I have to be honest, it has never occurred to me that spirituality could have anything at all to do with weight loss. I've always seen weight loss is a physical (and most times emotional and mental) thing, but most definitely not a spiritual thing. But now I'm seeing it a little differently. I'm coming to discover that I need to rely on a higher power for the rest of my journey to the physical person I want to become. And for the first time, that totally makes sense to me.

For me, my higher power is God and Jesus Christ.

Since I started my blog (over three years ago), I've been deliberate in leaving my faith out of each post. I wanted my blog to remain spiritually neutral for a couple of reasons. The first of which I just mentioned (not seeing a direct correlation between the food I eat and God).

But secondly, I didn't want to push my beliefs onto others. In my personal life, I've always been a passive Christian and very low key. I've been more of the Jesus-type: let them know me by my actions. I've had very bad experiences and have known many, many people who have been "preached at" in non-spiritual situations that has completely turned them off from hearing God's truth. So I've always purposefully not shouted "Jesus" from the mountain tops. And so I didn't mention my beliefs here, on my weight loss blog, for fear that I'd scare off people who really needed my help (or more importantly, people whose help I needed).

So as I'm going to be blogging about this new part of my weight loss journey for a bit longer, I just wanted to put it out there that I am in no way trying to influence your spirituality or beliefs. In fact, I hope that you will continue to follow my spiritual/weight loss journey but whenever I talk about God or Jesus, instead of being offended (or thinking that I'm trying to convert you) you can just insert your deity or spirituality or motivation into the text and learn and grow with me.

My main purpose with my new journey is really to get to the bottom of why I am so addicted to food, why I crave food CONSTANTLY, and why can't I lose the weight that I so desperately want to lose, even though I'm eating all the right foods.

So I hope you'll stay with me and we can help each other along this journey to lose the weight we want to and become the person God (or [insert your deity or desire here]) wants us to be.

Sound alright?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Small steps on a Saturday...

Okay, first of all, please excuse my blog design changes. I had a perfectly wonderful (in my humble opinion, being as I created it) blog design going on but the background image somehow got deleted from the server and I can't find a back-up of it and so I'm left with using Blogger's new "template design" thingiemabobber which is driving me nuts.

But I digress...

Weigh in this morning!!

I lost 1.6 lbs.

Normally I'd be completely doing cartwheels (if I could) over this loss, but I've had this type of loss A LOT over the past few months, only to be followed by a 2 or 3 or 4 pound gain the very next week. So my challenge for now is to keep it off for just one week. That's a huge challenge for me right now.

So we'll see how it goes.

I didn't do too bad on my eating plan today. We ate at this new chinese buffet today (we always go out on Saturday afternoons with my in-laws) that was actually VERY VERY good even if I'm NOT a huge chinese food fan. I should have stopped at one plate full but I went for one and two-thirds of a plate full. And I have no idea how to judge the points. I had a few dumplings, 3 or 4 pieces of fried shrimp, maybe a half a cup of pork lo mein, something called cantonese noodles, a small piece of stuffed flounder, a few pieces of crab rangoon, and a few other things that were just one piece here and one piece there. So I'm just going to say it was 25 points plus and leave it at that. No clue.

But the rest of the day I was good so far as my food choices go.

The most important part was the self-talk I carried with me through the day. Every time my obsession with thinking about and planning for food came up, I'd try to refocus my thoughts on Him or whatever else was going on at the time. I'm really trying to refocus my food thoughts so I can get control over my constant cravings.

I read some more in the Made to Crave book and I'm really loving it. Chapter 5 is amazing -- "Made for More". Listen to this "We need a power beyond our frail attempts and fragile resolve."

Boy do I ever. I have been banging my head against the cravings wall for so long (my frail attempts) and so far, I just keep giving in to them (my fragile resolve). Here's a prayer she put in the chapter that really spoke to me:
God, I recognize I am made for more than the vicious cycle of being ruled by food. I need to eat to live, not live to eat. So, I keep asking for Your wisdom to know what to eat and Your indwelling power to walk away from things that are not beneficial for me.
How simple is that truth?

So all day I kept asking for His help to keep the food thoughts out of my head. I can't say that I didn't dwell on it a bit more than I should have, but it was less than I thought about it yesterday. So one tiny step forward. I'll take what I can get.

I'm glad some of you have already ordered or downloaded the book. She has a whole website FULL of resources that go with the book. If you're not sure if you want to buy it, she has a 21 day challenge you can sign up for via email and it's what hooked me on getting the book because it has little nuggets from the book. There's a bunch more there, so check it out.

By the way, I am in no way associated with her, her organization or her publisher. Actually, I work for a rival publisher of hers. That's how I found the book in the first place--her publisher advertised the book in one of our magazines.

Well, onward and upward. Let's see if I can make it through Sunday without obsession over food or even worse, giving into my Sunday cravings.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Turning onto a new path in my weight loss journey...

I've turned a corner in my weight loss journey.

Well, no, wait a minute... not in my weight loss journey, but in my heart.

The most I can hope from this turn, is to not do a u-turn and head back down the path I've been on for the past couple of years.

As many of you might know, I've been on Weight Watchers since May 2007. So in a couple of months, I'll have been trying to reach my goal weight for FOUR YEARS. (yikes) I still haven't reached goal. 

Sure, I've reached major milestones along my journey, all of which I'm extremely proud of, but I haven't reached my ultimate goal weight yet.

Well, now I hope with this new turn, I can get there.

A little bit of history about my weight loss journey, for those of you who are new. Weight Watchers has taught me SO much about how to eat right. It's taught me what foods are good for my body and bad for my body. It's taught me that I can eat whatever I want to eat as long as I eat responsibly and watch my portions. It's taught me proper exercise. And an all around healthy look at the way I eat.

I've also tried a few other diet plans along the way, though none of them I've stuck with for very long. Maybe even a few weeks at a time. But each time I dabbled in something different, I learned so much more about foods and how they interact with my body.

I learned a great deal from the Eat Clean Diet. Man, if you ever want to learn exactly what food does to your body, that's the place to start. My husband tried a medical weight loss diet and I learned  a lot from his journey about carbs and sugars and protein and how they break down in your body for the good and bad.

So, all in all, I'd say I have a pretty good grasp on how to diet, or rather how to eat right and exercise to lose weight.

But here I sit, still 30 pounds from my ultimate goal (20 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal).

I was almost at my wits end when I recently stumbled across a lady who'd written a book about cravings. It started me to thinking about how throughout the 200+ blog posts and 4 years of daily eating and exercise habits, it has always come back to cravings for me. That's always been my down fall.

My cravings are SO bad. I'm sure you can all identify with it. A real good visual is the orange fuzzy monster that Weight Watchers came out with a couple of years ago to represent the "cravings monster" who stalks us and follows us wherever we go. I can say I've never physically seen that monster in my path, but I have definitely felt him emotionally and mentally taunting me and teasing me and making funny faces at me ALL THE TIME. My cravings are such a real and tangible thing.

So back to this book. It's by a lady named Lysa Terkeurst and it's called Made to Crave.

The book is about how God made us to crave, but not necessarily to crave food but more to crave Him. Listen to this verse: "How lovely is your dwelling place, oh Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:1-2). It says 'my heart & flesh cry out for God'. If I had to be completely honest with myself, my heart and flesh cry out for cheese fries, juicy burgers, lasagna, cheese & bacon soup, coconut cream pie, bacon & onion mac & cheese, donuts and full fat lattes (though my list of "crying out for" foods, could continue for another paragraph or two, to be truly honest). And I'm afraid that I've let my cravings for food consume my craving for God.

Here's an excerpt from her book that really sums up how I feel right now. She's talking about her endless cycle of waking up each morning and weighing herself just hoping that the scales would be kind to her, but they never were, and so she'd step into the kitchen and each whatever yummy thing she could find for breakfast, and start the cycle of bad choices for another day only to repeat this process every morning. Anyway, here's the excerpt:

And the cycle I've come to hate and feel powerless to stop continues. ... But I did need to make changes. I knew it. Because this wasn't really about the scale or what clothing size I was; it was about this battle that raged in my heart. I thought about, craved, and arranged my life too much around food. So much so, I knew it was something God was challenging me to surrender to His control. Really surrender. Surrender to the point where I'd make radical changes for the sake of my spiritual health perhaps even more than my physical health.
Part of my surrender was asking myself a really raw question.
May I ask you this same raw question? Is it possible we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God?
That hit me like a ton of bricks.

I am a deeply spiritual person and I rely on my God and my Saviour, Jesus, for every breath I take and everything move I make. How could this be humanly possible that I could love food more than God?

But I think back over the past 4 years, heck, the past 44 years, and I can see where my life has almost always revolved around food. I schedule for it. I anticipate it. I devote serious amounts of time to food every day of my life. You might even say I'm a bit obsessive compulsive about my lovely food. 

So maybe there's something to what she's saying.

Well, that is where I am right now. This is the corner that I've turned. I have no idea what's around the corner, but I know that I need to reexamine myself and my heart and get my priorities and my cravings set straight.

I'm only on chapter 4, but I feel like I'm on chapter one of my weight loss journey. And I feel really good about that. I really feel that if I could knock my cravings, or at least get them under control, I could beat this weight loss thing.

Well, I'll let you know how it goes. I plan on journalling more frequently (I know, you've heard that before). I want to work through this new process a bit more and I'm gonna need your help to get me through it. We'll see where I go from here. I hope it's to a better place and a more sane reality for me. Because I just don't know how much longer I can stay on the path I'm on continuing to not reach goal.


P.S. If you're interested in the book, I can post more info about it. Just let me know.