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 😉.

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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.

Lessons in the New Year

I don’t know why it is so hard for me to write these blog entries.  But, Lord help me, I’ll going to keep trying.

I’ve been learning a lot – beneath the surface.  That seems to be the way God works.

I always want him to do the easiest work first (e.g. lose the weight), but God keeps reminding me that he is working to make me whole.  I need to look deeper.

Honestly, I think I ‘m healthier than I’ve ever been, despite looking like the opposite on the outside.

My heart is healing, and I’m learning to let my desire for health lead – from the inside out.

Learning to eat healthy foods – just because it is good for me, and not because anything may happen on the scale.

I’m being disciplined with my exercise behaviors, even trying to hit that 150/minutes per week mark (as recommended) – just because.

I’ve been running – regularly.  Always surprised to put running and my name in the same sentence.

I’ve been asking God to forgive me from bowing to the idol of the scale.  I always thought that if it said that I was ok, then I was ok.  Its approval was what I thought I needed.  God gently reminded me that I need to change that perception.

I was running in the gym the other day, and this older gentlemen told me, “good job, sister.”  I almost cried.

And yes, pizza.  Even been doing my best to limit my purchase of it to every other week.  My love for it may also be changing too.  Not what it used to be.

Yes, in total, I am healthier.  Learning and walking with God, and waiting for the beauty of the work on the inside to be reflected on the outside.

A Thanksgiving Blessing: 5 Tips to help you NOT Gain the Weight this Holiday Season

Think of me as your best friend who was sent from above to help you NOT gain those 5-10 lbs. that are usually associated with the holiday season.  It DOES not have to be like that this year! I write to you as one who has definitely BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, and WILL NOT be doing that (gaining any additional weight) this year.  NO.  While I still continue to work at my weight goals, I have figured out how to eat successfully during this season. Thus, I thought I would give you some tips to help you enjoy your family, enjoy the food, and NOT feel guilty and all self-deprecating once you get up from the table. This year can be different.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Be HUNGRY at the Thanksgiving meal.

 How many times do you waste your appetite on Pre-Thanksgiving snacks?  The chips, cookies, fruit, etc. that are just lying around.  Friends, this is called GRAZING. You don’t really even want those things! The goal – go into Thanksgiving meal HUNGRY.

Your Task: Find out what time you will eat (approximately).

Plan on cutting off all eating 2-3 hours PRIOR to that.  Yup.  Cut it off.  Go outside.  Call a friend.  Watch a movie.  Just don’t sit around eating all day.  Most of that stuff is just filler – not even that good.  Save your appetite for the food that really matters.

2. Eat what you want first.

Yes, so the holiday season is all about lots of yummy, high caloric foods that are typically present in ABUNDANCE. We kind of lose our minds when we see all of our favorites on one table.  And we haven’t even made it to dessert!  This year, BEFORE you go in on everything, I want you to STOP and think about what you want to eat more than anything. LOOK AROUND. Pay attention. Once you have narrowed down your choices, I want you to make sure you get a bite of those things first.  Savor the taste of _____ in your mouth.

This is imperative. Necessary. And it leads us to our next point…

3. No Stuffing (not talking about the Turkey kind)

Yup.  I said it.  This year, in order to win, you have to pay attention. As you are savoring your favorites, I need you to eat mindfully. Slowly.  And start to notice when you are getting full.  This year – don’t let yourself go over into that “I’m going to be sick.”  Remember – You CAN ALWAYS GO BACK FOR MORE. Leftovers are what this holiday is about! If you have eaten what you want first, it will be much easier to stop. Our goal?  To feel comfortable.  Satisfied. Content. This will take practice, but try to do your best.

4. Don’t linger in the DANGER ZONE

Once you have decided that you have had enough, and you are feeling good, it is important that you find something else to do.  The next temptation will be the, “Oh, one more bite won’t hurt thought.”  LIES, LIES, LIES! Get up from the table. Put your food in the microwave.  Throw it in the trash even (well, that may be going too farJ).  You get the point.  Separate yourself from the source of temptation. Remember – you will be hungry again, and then you can eat what you want.

5. Just say NO to the food pushers.

We all have that family member.  The well-meaning one who insists on you eating more than you would like.  They don’t mean any harm (I think), but it is still not helpful to have someone tell you to eat more. It sometimes goes like this:  “OH, is that all you are eating?” “You might as well eat the rest of that.”  “Here, have some more!”

Your response:  “No, thank you.  I’m full.”

Practice saying this.  Over and over again. No further explanation is needed.

Friends – I am praying for you today, and I hope that you can enjoy this holiday season! Many of us have so much to be grateful for.  You can do it!

Just eat right – please.

So, I’m here again.  Yes, writing another entry about weight loss.  I really thought I was done with these entries, but somehow, we’re back.  (sigh).

For the past few months, I have seen the scale go up, and I have not seen the weight come off.  Not that I haven’t been trying.  I’ve been working out, trying to eat better, you know . . .But, No. Nothing.  Its gotten so bad that I have stopped weighing myself. What’s the point of doing that, when I know nothing is going to change?  Its just a mood killer.

Today, in a rare moment of clarity, I realized I need to be better.  Eat better regularly– not because of what is happening on the scale, but just because I know better.  I know what I need to eat.  But, my endless struggle, is having the motivation to do so – outside of the results on the scale. If the numbers on the scale are not in my favor, I tighten it up nutritionally.  If things are looking good, then I give myself permission to be a little more relaxed.  Good strategy, right?

No. no. no. Not for someone who has a history of weight issues, and wants to achieve permanent weight loss. No. There has to come a point where it is about more than just the number on the scale.  I don’t know if I’ll truly remain free if I continue to base all of my decisions on what the number on the scale says.

There has to come a time when I am able to be mature enough to eat the things that I need to eat regularly.  Period.  On purpose.  Not with any stipulations or exemptions.  I just need to eat right.

Man, its funny.  When I had my son, the lesson was about physical activity.  And now, I’m learning about my nutrition.  So tired of these lessons.  I promise – one day I’ll get it right.

How do I get started losing weight (part 2)?

stop sign

Now that we have established your foundation (How do I get started losing weight?)*, the next most important thing can be best explained by the metaphor of a STOP sign.

I think it is fair to say that many of us drive, and encounter our share of “STOP” signs on a regular basis.  By now, most of us have learned that when you see a STOP sign, more often than not, you need to STOP.  Or at least pause.  Why?  We may want to protect our safety, the safety of others, and/or prevent getting a ticket. We have learned that this is not optional.  Not based on how we feel.  No matter how fast we are going, or what else we are in a hurry to go and do – when we see that STOP sign, we hit the brakes on our car.

Similarly, our body sends up its own version of a STOP sign when we are eating.  In her treatment, Appetite Awareness Training, Psychologist Linda Craighead reemphasizes the importance of learning to recognize and abide by your body’s signal for fullness.

Unfortunately, in this culture, most of us have learned to ignore fullness.  We may not even know what it feels like anymore.   Our bodies may have even stopped trying to tell us.  All we know is the difference between “I’m starving” and “I’m stuffed.”  And when you feel like you are “stuffed” – you’ve gone too far.

When you start to feel like you are moderately “full” this is the body’s version of a STOP sign.  That means – no more food.  Your body no longer needs it.  Your work is to start treating the voice of your body with the same honor you have learned to give the road signs for your car. We must stop telling ourselves that this is “no big deal.”  That is not true.  And I’m sure you have experienced or know someone who has experienced the consequences of long-term consequences of eating too much (e.g. , weight gain, diabetes, heart disease).

So, what’s my next step?

Stop ignoring fullness. Begin to take the time to listen to determine when you are moderately full, and practice the habit of not allowing one morsel of food to cross into your mouth when your body has said STOP.

Will this be difficult?

Yes—at first.  We have grown quite accustomed to making our eating decision based on what we “want.”  But, as with any habit, once you keep doing it, and you start to see positive results, you will notice wonderful changes.  And remember – you can always go back for more!  In most cases, the food will be there in a couple of hours or the next day.

From my own personal experience, once I began to do this regularly, I found it much easier to be “in control” rather having the food control me. I would pray that God would help me learn how to “stop” when I had enough.  I really didn’t want to at first.  I failed often, and got discouraged.  But, God gave me strength to keep going – one meal at a time. Once I had my control back, I was surprised how easy it was to begin to make better changes to my health.  In my opinion, this is one of the most important things I learned to control my weight.

Give it a try.  Let me know how it goes.  I’ll be praying for you.