Four Things I have Learned about Losing Weight this Year

As we come to the end of the year, I think this a time for reflection.  I am praising God that I have lost 11 pounds since August. I am, however, still cognizant of the areas where I need to grow. While 11 pounds may be praiseworthy, I am not satisfied.  At this pace, we will have a LONG road ahead of us.  Below are the things I have learned in the last few months:

  1. It was harder than I thought it would be

 When I first started this weight journey in August, I thought I by now, I would have been down 20-30 pounds. Yea, no. That is not how things went. My weight loss was easier in some ways, but overall, these last few months have felt long.  Things have not moved as fast as I thought they would, and it was discouraging.  I thought I knew, but this 36-year-old body is much different than the 22-year-old body that was originally losing weight.  All my lessons are important, but the implementation is not the same.  There is something different I have to do in this season.

  1. I wasn’t ready to make a true sacrifice

I think I thought that if I just kept eating what I normally eat and work out, then I would lose the weight.  And I did—in the beginning.  But, now, none of what I was doing is working. I have officially plateaued, and I have been in the same spot for weeks now. I did eat my salads, and I did go workout, but OVERALL, I ate what I wanted to. And while that worked for me in my twenties, now that my foundation is not overeating, and regular exercise, I need to do more to push that number.  More intense working out, more often.  More healthful meals. More often. Less pizza and less dessert. More often. I think things just have to be a bit tighter.  My body is like “been there done that.”  I need to do something different.

  1. If it is in my house, I am going to eat it.

Yea, I can make cookies, dessert, and other “fun” foods all I want, but if it is in my house, I am going to find it really hard to not eat at least some of it.  No overeating, but still enjoying it.  And my old self was ok with that, but I just think all the rules are different.  I am really considering whether I need to make a hard cut to some of my favorites for a few months—just to get the weight down. I can always return later, or somewhat return later, but for now, I am getting to the place where “enough is enough.”  I don’t want to be this size in four months.  Like, NO. I REALLY DON’T.

  1. I have a rebellious spirit 

I don’t know when this started, but I have just realized that I have been rebelling against the traditions of nutrition.  In my HEART, I still operate from a “good to me” vs. “good for me” eating paradigm.  Yes, at times I make healthy eating choices, however, I know I still have not fully committed to a life of healthful eating. Even in these last few months, I have been engaging in behaviors that I KNOW in previous seasons I learned not to do (e.g., order pizza every week). For this reason, I have just started counting calories with the Lose It App.  It provides me encouragement and accountability to make more healthful eating choices.  It will also be my way of repenting from the arrogance in my heart that has peppered many of my eating choices.

I do feel hopeful about 2018.  I am grateful for all I have been learning, and know that this will benefit others, and myself.  Happy New Year, friends.

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The Danger when the Scale goes Down

I am down 11 pounds – well, I was before the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I am still counting it though🙂.  You all just do not know how excited I was to the scale move down a few weeks ago.  This journey can be so long, and I have many moments when I wonder if what I do matters.

When I saw that I had finally lost 11 pounds, I felt happy – for a moment.  Then, I started to feel something else – pride. “I’ve got this,” I smiled inwardly.  That pride worked its way into my choices in the next week; I was a bit more willing to say yes instead of no. To dessert.  To getting another helping. To the behaviors that kept me overweight. It was almost like the fire under my drive to lose weight was gone.

The next week, I went to get on the scale. Up 4 pounds.  “Are you KIDDING me??!!!!.”  I could not believe it.  You know my first thought – “whelp, Thanksgiving is ruined.”  And why did I say that?  Because I knew.  All the latitude that I would take if the scale had gone down (and trust, my behaviors probably would have been even worse than the week before), was gone.  I was going to have to be “on my game.”  I was going to think a little more before taking an extra helping of macaroni and cheese.  (sigh). I felt so disappointed.  And then, all the negative, discouraging thoughts came too. “Am I ever going to lose this weight?”  (sigh).

But even though I was feeling bad, guess who did not miss one gym visit this week?  Yup, me. Guess who made sure to push away her plate when she knew she was full?  Yup, me.  Guess who practiced her health behaviors that ensured that she is one step closer to living free. ME.

I heard something in church today that made me reflect, “There is a difference between being free and living free.”  My, how that applies to my food journey.  And, God wants me to LIVE free, more than he wants me to fit into my old jeans. “Why, GOD?🙂.

This scale thing is tricky. I have to admit — as painful as it is to get on the scale and see the numbers remain the same or go up (gasp!), my health behaviors are typically far better in the following days.  I am more cognizant, I don’t miss any gym visits, and I am fighting for my freedom. Now please understand – I am not hoping that the scale will go up.  However, I can see how God uses that disappointment to shape me, and help me push toward the best health behaviors.  I think I win more (e.g. practice the most health behaviors) when the scale reports a number that disappoints me. I live freer when I get a read I don’t like.

So, here is the goal:  Live free (e.g., practice those health behaviors) no matter WHAT the scale says. I am pushing toward that goal, though sometimes it feels like I am on my hands and knees, and barely crawling.  I still don’t see it like that, but I am trying. More than that, God is fighting.  And he NEVER loses. Let’s keep walking.

Prayers for you friends.

God’s goal isn’t for me (or you) to be skinny

“God’s goal isn’t for us to be skinny. God’s goal is for us to be healthy – spiritually and physically.” – Lysa Terkeurst

Well, I should have known.  My goal, however, was to be skinny.  Healthy would have been nice, but skinny was what I wanted.  I remember when I first started losing weight.  All I wanted to do was fit “a size 14.”  Wear clothes in a normal size. Weigh anything under 200 lbs. Now that I reflect, I see how short-sighted my goal was.  Yes, accomplishing all those things were nice, but I also had back pain, hand pain, and made some poor choices in my relationships that caused me a lot of pain. I was lazy. I also carried a lot of fear.  Again, I was skinny, but was I healthy?

Fast forward about 10 years, when I was still in my goal weight, I noticed the Lord beginning to shift some things.  Again, I should have known.  My first warning sign should have been the challenges I had losing some of the weight I gained from my pregnancy.  His first stop – dealing with my “let’s do the bare minimum spirit.”  I had mastered my appetite by this time, but your girl had not stepped foot in the gym for MONTHS.  Almost YEARS.  Crazy, huh?  Buuutt, I was skinny.  My goal met. I remember when my gym called me after the birth of my son – asking me to come back.  Isn’t that something?

Then, the Lord began to deal with my diet.  It was so hard for me to lose even an oz. of my baby weight.  That process forced me to rethink my eating, and to acknowledge that my diet needed a tune-up.  Again, by that time, I had learned the master my appetite, but the wisdom in the foods I would choose was questionable. But, carrying more weight than I wanted, and having to work extra hard to lose it forced me to a place where I had to eat better.  I was on my way to being healthy.

Remember that back pain?  Well, because your girl was so lazy, I dealt with it for YEARS.  Went to chiropractors, physical therapists –ALL because I did not have a back-exercise regimen that I would do consistently.  When I started dealing with PCOS again, and started experiencing some weight gain, I then became interested in my back exercises.  Shame.  But finally moving.

And finally – the fear.  That was probably the hardest.  I knew God put the “Freedom Chasers” ministry on my heart years ago.  But I was too scared to really move forward.  I would take the smallest steps – only to have a setback that would undo the progress I had made.  By creating turmoil and complete chaos during the last years of school, God was finally able to do the work needed to “free” me from the fear of man that held me.  While I am still a work in progress, I am moving faster than I ever have been before.

So, as I reflect, and consider this journey, I can honestly say that I am HEALTHIER than I have ever been before.  It took SO much to get me to this place. Right now, I weigh more than I EVER have in my entire life.  But, I am also more whole, more disciplined, and sure of my work, and feeling FREE.  Even while the outside reflects chains.  Funny how that works.

When I was in the last phase of school, God placed this verse on my heart: “But he knows the way I should take, and when he has tested me, I shall come forth as pure gold” (Job 23:10). Looking forward to seeing what shall be revealed at the end of this journey.

 

 

Five pounds lost, 60 to go

I lost my first five pounds. Once I finally got in weight loss mode, it took me about 6 weeks to get there. I know it’s only the beginning, but I cannot tell you how excited I was to see that scale finally hit the mark. I have had seasons where nothing I did added up to even 2 pounds; Being here feels like quite an accomplishment.  I’m coming back, y’all! As promised, this is OUR weight loss journey.  I am going to walk you through everything I feel that has been helping.

BEFORE WE BEGIN:  I have learned this:  God first = weight loss. When I first started in August, I was in willpower mode, and was not doing very well. But then, I remembered my spiritual toolbox:  reading my bible, praying and seeking God’s help, following what he already told me (discipline, eating within hunger and fullness), and sharing my testimony with others (e.g. YOU ALL)

Alright, let’s start at the beginning:

  1. I fast one meal, one day per week.

I had done this when I first lost weight, but until I started the group, did not really think this needs to be incorporated.  Nope.  Still matters.  Here is why: Fasting denies the “flesh”, i.e. the part of me that usually is the reason why I gain all the weight in the first place.  By praying about my weight loss (e.g., praying for self-control, God’s help to make me stronger) and concurrently not eating when I really, really, want to, I am becoming stronger and increasing my SELF-CONTROL. I have been noticing I am less tempted to eat when I know I should not, and I find it easier to stop when I notice my body has had enough.

  1. When I can pick what I am eating, I operate by the 60/40 rule (totally made up by me, ha!)

 Over all my weight loss attempts, I have finally become mature enough to know that permanent weight loss is associated with eating more of the foods that I know are best for me (e.g., fruits, vegetables, brown rice and beans, light on the bread, no dessert).  So, Monday-Friday (4pm) (about 60-64% of the time), while still eating within my hunger/fullness, I eat with maturity.  I know what is best for my body, and I try to feed it accordingly.

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Now here is the fun part:

Starting on Friday at 4pm, I eat typically what I want, i.e. no food restrictions:  I just follow the rules:  Only eat when I am physically hungry, and stop when I had enough, pay attention to my body, and still use wisdom.  No calorie counting, no stress.  Just eating like a normal person without a weight problem:  within my hunger and fullness signals

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Also noteworthy, but KEY: I TRY MY ABSOLUTE HARDEST to not eat between meals and snacks. No grazing behaviors allowed. That usually keeps me in a good place of normalized eating signals (e.g feel hunger throughout the day, and can stop when I’m satisfied, knowing I’ll eat again in about 2-2.5 hours.

  1. I work out at the gym at least 3 days/ per week for at least 30 minutes

I have toyed with this rule, but have come to see, if I want to lose weight (e.g. 2 pounds/week), I MUST get a good workout (i.e. sweaty and gross afterward) at least 3 days a week.  I typically do a couple things: 1) use the rowing machine for about 15-20 minutes, and break up the time by walking fast on the treadmill 2) take a Zumba class 3) running intervals (run 2-4 minutes (speed: 4.4), walk 1-3 min (speed: 3.2), repeat until I get to 30). I also usually end the workout by either doing sit-ups or using 2-3 weight machines (reps: 10-12, 3 times). On a good day, I will work out for 60 minutes, but if time is tight, 30 will have to do.

If I am really on my game, I will take another walk at some point in the week. Usually while I am at work. Nothing strenuous – just brisk walking for at least 20 minutes.

NOTE: I have also started usually high interval intensity training (HITT).  That means:  I go as hard as I can for 1-4 minutes, and then I rest (1-4 minutes), and repeat.  I think this has also been helping. It is supposed to be a great fat burner.

  1. Talk to my Freedom Chasers Group, making videos, and praying for you all

I believe my weight loss is attached to you all.  We are in this together.  I know God did not bring me here just for me to have another self-focused weight loss story. I pray for your freedom, and know that the encouragement I receive from your stories, and likes and loves helps me to keep going.  Thank you, friends!

In summary, I walk around feeling free, no stress, no rules, just discipline and wisdom.  Could I lose weight faster if I followed all the diet rules?  Perhaps.  But, I know from previous experience, that this is a lasting 5 pounds. Not likely to come back.  I am building a strong foundation (Luke 6:46-49) that will bless me, and my family.  Prayers for you all as you journey!

 

What is a “freedom chaser?”

For so many years, I felt like such a “slave” to food.  It was unreal.  If a plate of cookies was sat before me, I had no hope of winning the fight, and I was guaranteed to clean that plate.  Often, I felt discouraged and ashamed of my relationship with food.  Much of my eating was in secret, and I remember planning with joy the times when I would get to “eat” a food I really enjoyed.  It was just too much.

In 2005, God took me on this journey where I began to understand my relationship to food, and began taking steps toward freedom. I quickly began to see that I relied on food to fill too many God-shaped holes, and I was going to have to make some radical changes if I was going to get this weight off and come to a healthy place.  The journey was longer than I thought it would be, but I have seen victory.  And despite not looking like it on the outside today, I feel freer than I ever have been before.

I am creating this community because I want to support you getting the freedom that is yours to have through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your weight does not have to be the constant battle that you face; it can be over, defeated, finished.  You can be a freedom chaser, one who runs with perseverance after a healthy relationship with food and weight, and toward wholeness and peace, with no chains attached (e.g. rules, calorie restrictions, fear). You can learn how to eat, understand why you run to food, and through prayer and a closer relationship with God, be free from this food and weight-related burden.

Freedom does come at a price, but with God’s help, I guarantee that you can make it there. I’ll be walking you through the journey 😉.

How to HOLD it Together when you are NOT LOSING WEIGHT(and you really want to)

Girl, come close.  I can tell you about this season.  The one where you throw EVERYTHING (at least from your perspective) at weight loss and you get NOTHING in return.  You get on the scale – only to see it go up. You put on your clothes – only to see they STILL don’t fit.  (sigh).  Nothing.

When this season is upon you, there are several things I have learned that may encourage you.

Focus on the behavior, not the outcome

Make a list of all the things that lead to a healthy weight.

Did you make your list?  Good.

Now focus on just doing those things.  Every day.  With no stipulations (e.g., I will only do this if I am losing weight).

I have learned that I need to do the following:  Not overeat, work out regularly, restrict dessert, bread, and pizza, eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

What have you learned?

Ok. Now that you’ve done that, your next job is to commit to those behaviors. No matter what.  No matter if the scale says your ideal number, or if it does not.  This is the trap that you must avoid.  Bowing to the god of the scale.  The scale, while helpful, can cause us to become too wrapped up in “keeping it happy” then being healthy.  The scale may be higher than ever, and you may be closer to true health.  The opposite may also be true – your low number do not necessarily indicate you are healthy. You will start to feel a little better.

Don’t make excuses for poor eating behaviors

Make a list of behaviors that do not add to weight loss. Things you know you should not do.  Example?  Eat the more than 3 slices of pizza, have dessert every day, overeat.  No “what the heck” moments!  Don’t just eat whatever you want. Even though I am not losing weight, it is STILL not ok to overeat, to eat pizza every week (my own rule), etc.

The lessons I have learned on my journey about myself, my eating behaviors, and the things that make me feel like a “slave to food” are still true. Just because it is not leading to weight loss in this this season, does not make the lessons you have learned any less true.  I am learning, like the journey of faith, achieving optimal health is the result of a “long obedience in the same direction”.

Avoid the temptation to jump on the fad diet/quick weight loss train

One of most dangerous ways we can be tempted are with programs or eating plans that promise quick weight loss.  The faster you lose the weight, often, the faster you will put the weight back on.  If the weight loss is not coming quickly, we assume (often incorrectly) that we must change our approach.   Not always true.  Through my many weight loss attempts (;)), I have learned that true health is complicated.  There are several factors that will help you lose weight.  And you have a lot of behaviors that you need to work on in your journey toward health.  A LOT.

Spend Time with God

Have you ever taken the time to pray about the difficulties you are having losing weight?  Not a quick 30 second, “Help me Now”, but a heartfelt prayer about how this thing feels.  Ask for wisdom about your approach to weight loss. You may or may not be a person who is spiritual, but there is no time like the present. Find music that encourages your heart.  Find a Bible verse that makes you feel better.  Ask a friend to say a prayer for you.  You say a prayer for you.  Just open the lines of communication.  This has been the most important thing that has helped me find lasting success in my previous weight loss success.  Even now, when things are not going how I would like, praying has helped me find peace and keep my heart from feeling overwhelmed with despair.

I will be praying for you all friends.  Journey well.

Choosing to Rise

I haven’t been on here for some time now.  I honestly feel I didn’t have that much to say.  I’ve been in a season where everything that once made sense, including my weight, has been turned upside down.  There was a period when the events of my life appeared linear; If I did X, then I could count on Y to happen.  These past years have been NOTHING like that.

Well, for the last year, the number on the scale has not changed positively.  It just keeps going up.  I have gained so much weight. I am so embarrassed. I don’t want to discuss anything weight-related or get anywhere close to the topic of health for fear of judgment.  “What could I have to say”, my inner voice mocks; “you obviously don’t have anything you need together.”  I feel scared on many days that I will never get out of this hole.  Nothing I do matters.  Nothing.  Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I know why (though it is hard to believe it, and I have incredible peace).  God has been faithful, and kind, and loving to me, blessing me in every way possible, except in the area that I most want him to.

Despite being annoyed by the previous paragraph, I must acknowledge this victory. I have been healthier than I have EVER been. Collectively, I have done more working out, paid more attention to my eating – without it being attached to the number on the scale.  This IS A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. Before everything was attached to the number on the scale – if I needed to lose weight, I ate healthier, and the reverse was also true – If I was at a good weight, my diet started slipping.  It was always about the number on the scale. I also have been strengthening my back.  Haven’t needed the chiropractor, and have been able to wear heels with no problem.

These last few years have been some of the hardest in my life.  Part of me is annoyed with them, while the other part knows how beneficial they have become.  I find myself longing for the life that I used to have, despite knowing that it wasn’t all that great.

Of recent, I have realized that none of the above is any reason for me not to still write.  I have lots of lessons I have learned, and still know God has called me to minister in this area; I can’t quit now.  So, I am going to write, and trust God with the rest.  While much is still not clear, I know that God is faithful.