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.


Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Great post, Cara!

I would have to say I'm not an overly religious person (more spiritual), but I liked your message.

You've definitely given me something to think about - there's something comforting in the idea of stopping loving food so much so that we can focus on loving what truly matters.

With that in mind, I can't imagine that, even with the new turns in the path you're on, could lead to anywhere but exactly where you want to go.

--cara said...

Thanks, Debbie. I need all the help I can get. And your encouragement helps greatly. :)

Casey said...

I just ordered that book! Now I'm really excited to get it!
You have made amazing changes and I'm looking forward to reading more about you, and learning from you.
I have definitly waited too long to make some changes, thinking I would some day.Last October I started, but I feel like I need to restart each day, too!

Holly said...

Oh I sooo love this book! Just went through a Made to Crave Bible study too. It has made me totally rethink all of this. It has given me a new way to look at my food /weight struggles.

Buttercup said...

This is great. I downloaded this book onto my kindle, but haven't looked at it. Definitely need to start to read it. Thanks for the tip.

Rose B. said...

I'm new to your blog, but thank you so much for this post. I also often make food my "god" rather than my Savior Jesus Christ. Love that I found a blog of a fellow Christian who also realizes that it's not just the external, but the "heart".

Princess Dieter said...

I've downloaded that book (did it in January, still haven't read it!) to my Nook. Need to read it!

Girl, I've been trying to lose weight for 25 years. I remember reading FREE TO BE THIN in the early eighties (my first "Christian" weight loss book). The original author ended up regaining her lost weight and getting WLS. I haven't heard about ehr in 10 years. Just goes to show that even knowing the Biblical basis for overcoming--all the verses, all the doctrine--doesn't always overcome the habits of the flesh and temptations of the world.

I remember other books from the Christian bookstore--by dietitians, by Stormie Omartian (she was big into fasting, and she'd had an eating disorder), by preachers. I read the Weigh Down diet (and that didn't last long for me). Then the doctrinal scandal with Gwen Shamblin (whose church seemed to get mighty cultish about thinness). FIRST PLACE had plans (and still does, far as I know) like WW in various churches.

There have been some good and some not so great. But I do know that for believers, the spiritual side must be addressed at some point, it's just logical--and that's for any faith, cause I would guess most religions say something about food and eating more than one's needs require, be it from a "fleshly" perspective or from a "responsibility to share our food with the starving" aspect and "not abusing Mother Earth" aspect, etc).

I bought Made to Crave because I am a Christian and it seemed like something good to read on my weight loss journey. No Christian book for dieters has helped me the way the scientific ones have--like THE END OF OVEREATING or WHY WE GET FAT and SWITCH. I guess my INTJ nature prefers the research and logical steps toward change and how to approach foods.

BUT...I know that my spirit is part of this struggle. I can't ignore it.

Hope you post more about the book...