Digging Deeper for Lasting Weight Loss

For most of us, the measure of weight loss success is ultimately based on the numbers on the scale and the size of our clothes.  When we see a loss, there are bouts of internal celebration (maybe external) and we receive a sense of accomplishment.  If you poll anyone who is engaging the process of weight loss, a common desire is often for the weight to be lost quickly.  While most will admit that the weight gaining process did not happen overnight, it seems harder to accept that weight loss – lasting weight loss­ –may take a little longer.  It will likely require us to dig underneath the surface to examine the strength of our foundation and hidden barriers to achieve ultimate weight loss success.

Several months ago, I was fortunate to hear Rev. Nichelle Nelson preach a message about how God often places us in situations where he causes us to “dig deep so that we can build high.” In the message, Nelson used the illustration of the story of the Three Little Pigs to describe the outcome of building a house made with straw compared to building a house made with brick.  The story is common:  the big, bad wolf was able to destroy the pigs’ houses that were made with straw, but was unable to destroy the house made with brick. As I applied this to my recurrent struggle with weight loss, I realized that often I was building a weight loss “house” of straw.  Instead of looking at the deeper concerns that may have facilitated the process of me gaining weight, I would rather make some quick exercise and eating changes in hopes of achieving successful weight loss. Can you relate?

Recently, God has taken me on a process where I have had to dig a little deeper and uncover some behaviors that were hindering me from achieving my desired weight loss goals.  The process has been painful and challenging.  It has moved slower than I expected.  My weight loss has not been what I expected it to be.  However, I have noticed that I am stronger and have been in the spiritual process of building a brick house that is resilient and preparing to shelter me from the adversity that I will be eventually face. As you consider “digging deeper,” here are some things that you may need to consider:

  • Be prepared to explore the reasons for your excess weight

Have you considered the reasons why you may be overweight?  Again, most of us understand we need to eat better and move more, but usually don’t extend the conversation further.  It is important to consider exploring your individual relationship with food.  Why do you find it so hard to resist eating ——- and ———? How do you manage stress or your health?  Why do you overeat at every meal?  Asking questions like these may be some of the first steps toward the development of new health behaviors.  Additionally, these questions may help some of us realize our eating may be a coping behavior we have developed to help us hide or mask past hurts and/or trauma.  If you want to engage in the process of permanent weight loss, this process is essential and will give you clues toward next steps.

  • Lasting weight loss must be measured by more than just the scale

 If the scale says a certain number, many of us feel that our work is done.  We achieved our weight goal!  The converse is also true – if the scale does not say our ideal number, than we are quick to discount any positive change that may have been occurring.  Weight loss success is complicated, and will require new behaviors that will take repeated efforts to master. When we “dig deep” to achieve weight loss, our success may be seen in a change in our eating behavior or in repeated trips to the gym.  Also, success may mean that we have spent more time reading God’s Word and have addressed our desires to use food as an emotional support, instead of for the physical purposes that God intends.  In short, while the scale may be the most preferred method of weight loss success, do not discount all the work that may be going on beneath the surface in preparation for your eventual attainment of your weight loss goals.

  • You need God’s help

You serve a God with the power to help you lose this weight – permanently.  He can do this.  I know I often doubted God’s power and his ability to make a difference in my personal weight loss challenges.  There were so many more significant challenges in the world, and honestly, I thought I should just be able to get this thing together.  But I just couldn’t.

The #1 reason why most of us can’t lose weight is because our weight loss challenges are spiritual and we aren’t prepared for the fight.  Why do you think it is so hard for you to eat right?  Why is it so hard for you to do the things that are best for your body?  If you realize that you are fighting a spiritual battle, you may reconsider the weapons that you use for warfare.  Ephesians 6 encourages us to remember that we need to be strong in the Lord and the strength of HIS might.  Moreover, Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, that we do not fight as the world does, but that weapons of our warfare “have the divine power the demolish strongholds.”  What strong words of encouragement!

Most of us come into this weight loss fight entirely unarmed and unprepared for the spiritual forces of darkness that are coming to knock us out of the fight.  Does your battle with food feel like a stronghold?  Your prayers, obedience, and relationship to God are essential tools to victory.  Stand on HIS word, and watch him move mountains and transform your life.  We must engage the process of “digging deep”, so we can build stronger, higher, and solid houses that will allow us to enjoy a healthy body and mind.

In closing, losing weight is more than just the physical shedding of pounds.  While there are quick ways to achieve some of our physical goals, digging deeper requires us to examine our weight loss behaviors thoughtfully.  With God, all things are possible, and we must engage him in our process.  Remember – we serve a God of miracles.  Let’s allow him to take us on a journey that will result in the transforming of our lives, as well as lower numbers on the scale.

Trying out Daily Weighing

This weight loss journey is NEVER boring! My . . .

So, recently, I have decided to weigh myself every day. For most of my life, I have heard that daily weighing is a “no-no” and can cause you to be over-concerned about the number on the scale, and may impact you psychologically (e.g. make you obsess). I have learned that, for me, I must get on the scale at least once per week. In the past, when my weight would fluctuate more, I noticed that I would gain weight far more quickly if I did not weigh myself on a regular basis. I learned – I’ve got to make myself look, even if I’m scared of the result (at least once a week).

Well, since I started school, I’ve been learning about all the positive benefits of daily weighing. I finally decided to give it a try. I have weighed myself every day for the last 7 days. One thing I learned quickly- no more hiding. Yup. I used to hide from the scale when I ate out, or ate things that I knew were high in calories. I would only weigh on days that were “good” days. I know – don’t judge me, lol. Well, now that I weigh every day, I see which days are actually good and which days could use some improvement. I can watch the scale actually change every day. Watching hasn’t made me crazy. In fact, I believe that now I am more informed about what is happening, and now have enough information to pinpoint when any potential damage to my weight loss goals occurred.

Here is an example: You all know how I have been lamenting for the last year about my lack of weight loss. Sigh. While I have seen some recent improvement (!), the weight loss has been very, very slow. Well, now that I am weighing daily, I realize that much of my hard work is undone over the weekend. Yup. I had a fun weekend off, and was able to watch the scale go up, and then see it take ALL week to come back down, LOL. All that work – the 6am exercise, the salad, no cookies, no pizza, less bread – undone in 2 days. Um, really? I have to admit – that reality stung a bit.

I am still trying to process this morning. And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure if I will keep up daily weighing despite seeing its benefits. Its almost too much information. Despite my feelings though, I can’t deny how interesting it was to see the process of my weight change. What say you? Weigh daily or not?

Eating too often?

You know one thing I have been realizing recently – I eat far too often.  My problem used to be that I ate too much, and for all the wrong reasons.  I used to eat when I was bored, happy, frustrated, stressed – basically just because I existed and food was around, lol. Or I would regularly eat past full and just consume all the food because it was on the plate.   In the past 5-10 years, however, God has helped me break that habit and I typically only consume food when I’m hungry.  Typically 🙂

Well, my recent weight loss attempts have been largely unsuccessful.  If I think of the sum total of my weight loss since Matthias was born, I really haven’t lost anything.  Sigh.  I’ve learned quite a bit though.  My recent revelation is that I eat too many times during the day.  Anytime I think I feel a hunger pain, I’m up and filling my mouth with food.  Any time.  It’s almost like I can’t stand to even think I’m going to feel hungry. In my prayers, God has been impressing upon me to really consider how often I’m consuming snacks during the day.  Some pretzels here, a granola bar there, a piece of fruit, popcorn – I consume lots of food outside of my regular eating times.  It doesn’t feel like lots, but I think that it is.  I just can’t stand to be uncomfortable and I think I fear feeling too hungry.

The old Rachel used to eat half of her food at bigger meals, and save the rest for later. Do I do that now? Nope, not after the baby.  I feel so much hungrier than I used to be; it seems like I need more food to satisfy my appetite.  Maybe I’ve just grown more uncomfortable with letting periods of discomfort linger. I really struggle with the period before true hunger hits.  I know I’m getting there [to true hunger], but I also know that I’m not fully hungry yet.  It almost feels like my body is preparing to give me the hunger signal.  I can’t stand that period, and more often than not, I will usually eat something.This happened a lot when I was pregnant.  I was “hungry” all the time.  I remember eating often. It became overwhelming.  I found myself having to consume food often – more than I was used to.   I wonder if that behavior pattern is still with me.  Hmm.

Well, since I started praying about this thing more, God has been helping me do better.  I see it more clearly now, and I’ve been trying to leave more food on the plate and wait until I feel a true hunger pain before I eat.  I really want to lose 10 pounds before June.  I know its not supposed to be about the weight, but I’m just keeping it real – it is.  I’m growing though.  Struggling through this and even if I don’t lose 10 pounds by June 1, I believe I’ll be closer to the place I need to be so that I start losing the weight. I’ll keep you updated 🙂

Yet ANOTHER entry about Pizza

2013-04-30 12.03.55

I am here again.  Yet another blog entry about my relationship with pizza.  In case this is your first time reading, I will provide a brief refresher:  I love pizza. I’m trying not to love it too much, and I have struggled with recurrent times where it becomes a little bit much, especially when I was pregnant (e.g. eating it twice per day type stuff). I’ve taken steps to gain control over my pizza intake; most recently, I decided to only order it “out” once per month, and make it at home any other time I was in the mood.  Things have been better, but I can definitely still say” I still got love for you pizzaJ.”

Today’s entry will focus on the events that occurred two days ago.  Money has been tight over here for several months.  But, on Friday, we received a good payday.  The first thing that came to mind (as it usual for me) is how fast I can order pizza.  Yup.  Not what I can buy or what bills can finally be paid.  Nope, just pizza.  I love the simple things ;).  So, since my husband and I were both working at home on Friday and we didn’t have much to choose from for lunch, I decided to order pizza.  Whoohoo!

When the pizza arrived, it smelled so good and looked just like I hoped.  We found a new pizza chain a week ago (the last time we ordered pizza, lol), and I was excited to try them again.  I eat the pizza (probably too fast) and enjoy my 5-10 minutes basking in pizza heaven.  I did overeat a bit (should have been paying more attention), and I noticed that my stomach started to hurt.  The pain wasn’t horrible, but I definitely knew my body was responding to the pizza.  Maybe it was the grease?  Or maybe the cheese and pepperoni?  I couldn’t be exact, but something was definitely wrong.  My stomach hurt (slightly) for the next 2-3 hours.

At dinner time, we had enough leftovers so that we could have pizza again.  Guess what I do?  Yup, you know it.  I had it again.  Even though I knew I was going to make my stomach hurt.  I didn’t care.  The pain was worth it.  I just wanted some pizza.  Sigh.  Jesus.  Help your daughter.

I was so embarrassed after I ate it again – and my stomach started to hurt. AGAIN. I couldn’t even say anything.  What was I going to do?  Ask God to help my stomach, despite how I already knew what my actions would do?  Nope.  At that moment, I didn’t even want to know what God was going to say. I sure didn’t feel like talking about it.

Eventually, I did talk to God about it, and I still didn’t really have much to say.  Why?  I still don’t really know.  I just love pizza.  But I don’t need to love it that much and this is just further reminder that I need to keep myself vigilant.  On guard.  I probably need to go back to having pizza twice per month.  It was better that way.  Its almost like I get weak with too much of it in my presence.  Oh Lord.  Pizza?  Yes, for me – its all about the pizza.

But my goal is to not have anything control me, and to be growing in my love for God – rather than food.  I lost this Friday.  But, I’m going to press forward, and use this passage (Philippians 3: 12-16) for encouragement:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”

I’m moving forward. Can’t spend too much time in the past and dealing with my food losses.  My Truth:  I love pizza.  The events of last weekend are another reminder. But, as I press on, I’m trying to downgrade that love to really like and am trusting that God will help me as I move on towards knowing and loving him.  Prayers for you all.

A Faith to Believe God

In 2005, after much begging and pleading to God, I decided to finally listen to him and do what he says – in regards to my weight.  For the previous 5 years, I had been asking God to help me lose weight.  He would tell me the same thing every time, and then I wouldn’t do it.  Every time.  I would cry, and whine and say how hard it is, and how I just couldn’t do it.  “Maybe I’m not meant to be thin,” I would tell myself.  “Or maybe I just need to accept that I’m just a bigger girl.”  “The weight isn’t that bad, right?”  These are all the lies I would accept to allow me to be comfortable in a situation that I secretly wished would change.  Desperately.

So, five years later, after I was still not the weight I wanted, I felt it was time to include God a little more in this weight loss process.  It couldn’t be any worse than it was previously.  I decided to pray more.  I found this online weight loss Bible Study (www.settingcaptivesfree.com) and it helped me to be more intentional about including God in my weight loss process.  A friend of mine reached out to me about her weight loss struggles, and we supported each other in going to the gym a couple times a week.  Things were getting better. And I started losing weight.

After 20 lbs. (I had about 40 more to go), all weight loss stopped.  Nothing I was doing was no longer working.  When I prayed and asked God what was wrong, he reminded me of what he wanted me to do originally (Eat when I was hungry, and stop when full).  I felt sick in my stomach.  “You still want me to do that,” I whined.  “But God, that is so hard – why do I have to do that?”  Another month went by and still no more weight loss.  Ugh.  I was at a crossroads.  Either I was going to listen to God or I was going to continue to do what I wanted to do and be overweight.

In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus instructs his followers to ask and seek after God, and trust that he will give good gifts to us – just as we would want our earthly fathers to do.   God is trying to give many of you good gifts in regards to some of the things you want in your life.  He wants to answer your prayer.  He wants to help meet your need.  He wants to help you lose weight.  God is for you – not against you.  God is FOR you.  Here is the problem:  We won’t listen and obey him.  And without obedience, we won’t see the changes we seek.

 It took me awhile to fully understand this and recognize how my obedience to God impacts my weight.  A long time. But, eventually, I could not ignore it anymore.  I wanted to lose weight.  So, I had a decision to make.  Was I going to listen?  As you all know, I did decide to listen.  Finally.  And when I say God kept his promise, and provided me a good gift, I mean every word.  My job was to believe him.  My job was to do my best to seek him and listen to what he would say.  And He changed my heart, made me want to do the things I thought I couldn’t ever do.  He did it.

What is God telling you to do?

From one weight struggler to another – in faith and trust, do it.  Take a risk. Trust him.  He won’t fail you.  I will continue to pray for you as you journey forward.

How do I get started losing weight?

That is THE question. There are so many ways that you could begin your weight loss journey. Many. And if you stick with the plan you choose, it is likely that you will see some weight loss. However, I think many of us want more than just weight loss. What about sustained weight loss? That is, not having to re-lose these 5 or more pounds a couple of months later. If you want your weight loss to be closer to the sustained end, there are a few things that you will have to do differently. I have learned the difference between my temporary and sustained weight loss attempts (10+ over the last decade). If you are wanting to do something different, here are the first 2 steps you should follow:

1) Pray.

Yup. You need to pray and ask God to help you. In my temporary weight loss attempts, this was something I did:  a) after I had done everything else, b) halfheartedly, or c) not at all. I was surprised to learn that God cared about my weight. To pray means to talk to God. Just like you’re talking to a friend. You can get on your knees, or you can be in your car. Just talk to him. It may feel strange at first, but it will become more comfortable with time. Once you start praying, don’t stop. Keep praying about your weight. And be ready when God provides you an answer. Oh, and it would help to follow his instructions too.

2) Read the Bible.

Again. Another surprising answer. Read the Bible. Pick a verse, a scripture passage, or a devotional online. Or read with a friend. The most important thing is that you read. Why? Reading the Bible can be thought of as a tool to gain supernatural strength. This tool allows you to learn what God says, and provides you with instructions to follow to make right choices about any concern you may be facing. When you pray, ask God to show you a verse that is relevant. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but your difficulty managing your weight is more than about your decisions regarding your eating and exercise. So what is it about then? This part is learned by reading :-).

Here’s the thing: we usually start our weight loss attempts like this:

pyramid #1

Look at the pyramid. Notice the base. Very weak. You are attempting to make a significant change on the basis of willpower. However, as most of you already know, willpower isn’t enough. Willpower doesn’t help when the pressure is on or if you are experiencing stress over a family or work matter. Nor does it help when you are struggling to sustain your eating choices after the excitement of the new journey wears off. Willpower is typically associated with my temporary weight loss attempts.

Let’s look at another pyramid.

pyramid #2.jpg

Whenever I have lost weight for a sustained period of time, it is usually when I have operated on the basis of this pyramid. Look at the foundation. It is strong, secure, and provides me with an anchor of support when I have to engage in the difficulties of weight loss and changing my eating behavior. Additionally, because I start with the foundation of my relationship with God, he helps me to have the strength to make the changes I need to follow through on my eating and/or exercise goals. Totally different experience. Just try it. I’ll be back with more tools soon. I am praying for you.

Transitioning from a “Scale First” Focus

scale help  So, if you were hoping to read about my amazing weight loss in these last few months, I will be disappointing you.  I haven’t lost more than 2 pounds.  However, that does not mean I haven’t made progress.  I’ve lost some things I unknowingly picked up along the way.  Pride.  Laziness. Poor eating habits.  There has been a lot of work that God has had to do in my heart.  He always has new things to teach me.

Since my last entry, I have been working out.  At least twice per week and sometimes three.  I have limited my pizza intake too – order it once per month, and make it myself any other time I want it.  I also limited my pancake and dessert intake– once per month.  I have been trying to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables with my meals too. It is hard, but I am sick of feeling like a slave.  I’ve been growing.

My weight loss journey has been incremental.  In my previous seasons I have been focused on overeating.  In this season, it’s all about the exercise and the healthy foods/behaviors.  I feel like I am starting to see hope on the horizon.  For my weight, that is.  I don’t like being 20 pounds over my ideal weight, but I have been feeling better since I have been exercising.  There are some moments where it feels like nothing will change.  But more often than not, I feel hopeful. I see my new behaviors and know they will reap a benefit eventually.  I see my son (as I drag him to the gym with me) and I know this will help him learn to take better care of his body too.  All worth it.

So often, I look at my health behaviors ( working out and eating healthy) as things I do because I want to see numbers I like on the scale.  However, I feel God has been beckoning me to think of my “eating as unto the Lord.” What does that mean? Look at this verse with me:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-25).

My previous reward has been the numbers on the scale.  Good, but not enough.  I need to see this current weight loss attempt – the focus on eating healthy and working out, as something I’m doing to please God.  Such a higher calling.  I still have more work to do, but am really feeling like I’m on a better path.  I also will consider updating this blog as something that I’m doing to please God.  I’ve been fearful of being consistent with it, but I plan to update it once per week now.  Your prayers are requested. Praying with and for you all as you journey too.

She’s BUILDING a Brick House

brick houseHere is a hard truth for people who consistently have weight issues to except: exercise is going to have to be a part of your life if you want to maintain a healthy weight long-term. I think this is something I knew, but really, really hoped I could be exempted from! Ha! The thought of exercising consistently over my lifetime seems like a little too much. Like, as in forever. No end. As long as I have breath in my body. Wow.

This week, I went to the gym 3 times and walked with Matthias twice. I think that is most exercise I have done since I was in high school and was on the basketball team. I was active more days than not. And honestly, I had to drag myself to the gym. There was no joy in making the decision to go; I just knew it was something I had to become disciplined about. The same discipline I put toward my relationship with God, or in doing my work, I need to apply to exercise. It is and will have to be a part of my life.

So often, my view of exercise has been as a tool to help me lose weight. Once the weight has been lost, its importance was negotiable. I could easily sleep in a little longer, or skip a couple gym sessions if something more important came up ( that seemed to always happen). But in reality, exercise needs to be something that is more than a tool, but a building block that is seen as essential to being a healthy person. If I don’t exercise regularly, there is a higher likelihood of eventual weight gain.

My new goal is to build “brick houses” with the choices I make in my life – strong, firm establishments that will last for generations to come. I look at Matthias and I really don’t want him to have a weight problem. Really. So, you know what that means? I’m going to have to get up and model to him what it looks like to live a healthy life with the combination of my relationship with Jesus, a healthy relationship with food, and taking good physical care of my body. Help me Lord! Lots of work to do. How are you doing building your weight loss house?

Digging Deep to Build High

So, just maybe, that thought I had about not losing weight for another 6 months was actually God letting me know what is going to be happening these next few months. Got on the scale this morning. Weight is the same. Since I had my revelation last week, I’ve been exercising more frequently, even working out more than 3 times last week. Eating about the same. But no change. And honestly, I don’t think there is going to be a change. For 6 months. But, what I’m going to have to do is workout for this entire 6 months without any reinforcement on the scale. God got me. LOL. He sure knows how to discipline this child. After these 6 months, I won’t pull this stunt anymore. Never again.

At some point during my post-preganacy months, I saw the scale go down after I attempted to be more intentional about exercise. However, the next week, the scale went up 3 pounds ( after more pizza and cake), and I got frustrated and quit. I saw some things online about certain breastfeeding mothers retaining weight, and I just knew that had to be me. There couldn’t be any other reason why I wouldn’t lose weight, could there? . Well, the breastfeeding is obviously not the answer. I stopped more than a month ago. No weight change. What is probably more likely is that my lazy butt should have been exercising more consistently and working hard at weight change, instead of taking God’s grace for granted and existing in laziness. Did I tell you that the gym I am a member of ( 1 min up the street) would watch the baby for little to no cost for 2 hours while I exercise? Ask me how consistently I took advantage of that. Once I chose to believe that I wasn’t going to lose any weight during breastfeeding, my motivation to exercise became practically non-existent. Shame.

Truth: I could have probably lost this weight 6 months ago. By working hard at it. That sucks to realize. But instead, I will have to keep this weight for another 6 months. And work hard anyway. I clearly see what God is calling me to do: go the gym consistently, even if there is no change on the scale. Gulp.

All I can do is shake my head. That’s it. I know me. And I know that once I saw that I could eat and maintain my weight and not exercise, my relationship with the gym was over. Done. Finished. How am I going to be encouraging people to lose weight if I am not going to model the discipline of healthy living? Wow. I think I’m going to have to let that settle for awhile.

On Sunday, one of the pastors at my church preached a message on how God often places us in situations where he causes us to “dig deep so that we can build high.” She used an illustration about the Three Pigs, and how we should not be building “straw houses.” Personally, I’m all about the high. Being on the mountain. Getting to the destiny. I live my life building straw houses. Ask my friends. I’m all about doing as little as I can to get the results I need. And that friends, is precisely what needs to change in this season. God has never been pleased, and will not allow that behavior trait to continue to be part of my character. Sigh. Can I just say I don’t care for the digging section of the season? Ha. Let me find my shovel. #beingmadetobebetter

Taking Advantage of God’s Grace

I realized something yesterday: I’ve been taking God’s grace for granted. It was only his grace that allowed me to lose the weight all of those years ago. It was his mercy that allowed me to learn the incredibly difficult task of eating only for hunger, and it was only his favor that enabled me to take hold of the freedom his Son’s death enabled to be mine. How have I been taking it for granted? By almost expecting, that with little effort, I could lose weight. I used to never be under that idea. But, years of living free have caused me to be expectant, dare even say entitled, that certain behaviors (eating per hunger) will promote certain results. In my mind, I have believed that I “deserve” to lose weight. Once I realized that I could not exercise and maintain my weight just by eating, guess what I stopped doing? Yup. No exercise. Oh sure, I moved a little every now and then, but overall, nothing.

Since I have stopped exercising regularly, my back has really been hurting. When I was going to the gym regularly (about 3 years ago now!), I had no back pain. Nothing. Almost forgot my back was weak. However, I learned to deal with a weak back because the number on the scale said my weight was in a good place. Never mind I’m aching and rolling up back supports everywhere I go; as long as the scale said the right 3 numbers, nothing else mattered. Oh Rachel! You have so much to learn!!! Urgh.

What I’m realizing is that growth for me in this stage isn’t as much about the heart issues about food, but rather, the discipline of engaging in health behaviors – just for the sake of your health. Not working out because you are trying to see a number on a scale, but working out because you know it is the best thing for your body. Growth. Discipline. Sigh.

So now, when I am in the “wonderful” position of having to lose weight again, I’m being forced to acknowledge that exercise is an essential piece of the plan. However, since I learned I can maintain my weight without it, it has been so hard for me to drag myself to the gym! Historically, I have a bad habit of jumping for the low-hanging fruit and being satisfied with just that. Not too much extra effort, but enough to “get by.” Just terrible.

Dear God, please forgive me. I am going to do better. I promise.