Day 688: Thanksgiving Transformation

Today is the big day.

We celebrate… uhhhhhhh, what are we celebrating?

Oh yes! That some very kind Native Americans took some very naive Pilgrims under their wing and helped them to survive. And then, because they survived, they had a feast!

And I think about what those pilgrims were thinking when they looked at their empty wood-carved bowl before the feasting began.

I see one of them in my mind’s eye.

I think that he saw in that empty bowl the terror of the voyage across the ocean. Then of the tragedy as he watched his family die away as they sat and shivered in the docked ship. Then of the fear once he finally disembarked only to discover an unruly and untamed wilderness.

But then the young Pilgrim might look up from that empty bowl and see the faces of his remaining family members and friends. He might see his friend and savior Squanto mingling among the crowd. He would remember the first time he saw the seeds of corn popping up from the ground and remember the elation and hope. He might smell one of the fowl or deer cooking and recall having meat again after having been so desperately malnourished.

And then. Then he would hold out his empty bowl of heartache and disappointment and fear and his friend Squanto would fill his bowl with hope and strength and empowerment.

And my friend the Pilgrim wouldn’t just celebrate having a lot of food.

He would celebrate having overcome.

So today, take a moment before you fill your bowl with food. Take a moment to remember what you have overcome this year- even if it is simply the victory of staying alive through it.

Food issues.
Job struggles.
Family conflicts.
Health decline.
Financial losses.

And then as you fill your plate, remember the hope and strength and empowerment that your Savior can pour into you. Think of how amazingly well this next year is going to be because you have a guide. A helper. A friend.

And He knows just how to get around in this world that is a New World to you.

And He’s ready to help you do more than survive.

He’s ready to help you thrive.

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Day 686: Holy Moly, I’m In The Atlantic!

As an English nerd, then English major, then English teacher… the thought of having your name someday in The Atlantic is one of the most enticing ideas. Never did I imagine that it would happen… I may not be the author of this article, but just having my NAME and my blog The Covenant Diet in it is almost a dream come true! Thanks to my friend Jessica Hendrickson for connecting her author-friend Olga Khazan with me! What fun to be interviewed and what a really great article too! I just had to share on here!

You can click on the picture to go to the article!

The Diet From God

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/the-diet-from-god/281816/

Day 685: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is upon us.

And so are the blog posts.

My email inbox has been inundated with all kinds of recipes that could meet any, and I mean, ANY dietary need. Gluten-free, low-carb, fat-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers. You name it, someone’s made a Thanksgiving recipe to go with it.

{And really, I do understand why a lot of people need and want those recipes.}

Right now, though, I am not thinking about recipes, or ingredients, or calories, or weight.

But I am thinking about Thanksgiving.

And what I’m thinking about doesn’t really fit into a recipe. And it isn’t really diet advice. And it isn’t even really about food at all.

I’m thinking about what Thanksgiving really is.

And I’m thinking that I need to celebrate. You see, I looked up the word Thanksgiving at dictionary.com just cause I was curious. I mean, I remember in elementary school there was all the talk about the Pilgrims and the Indians and there was a big deal to do with like, I dunno, corn or something (which I always find funny because I can’t think of a single Thanksgiving during which my family ate corn). Anyway, the definition said, Thanksgiving: a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

It doesn’t say anything about food. It’s just a celebration. And as I’ve learned over the past 685 days of this covenant…

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A celebration does not have to be about food.

I can celebrate God’s favor by running around with my little kids in the leaves making a point to play so hard I come back into the house looking like I raked the yard with my hair.

I can celebrate God’s kindness by asking my mother to tell me a few stories that she recalls about my Mamaw being kind as we mourn her absence and yet celebrate that she has gotten to spent the past year in heaven.

I can celebrate all that God has done for me by cleaning the dishes for my Aunt Martha who is going to get to host our family Thanksgiving for the first time in ages!

I can celebrate all the kind words God has written on my heart by sharing a kind word of encouragement with each of my family members. My mother for defending my happiness all my life. My father for teaching me how to laugh at myself and the world around me. My brother for teaching me that there is only one place where the bible is wrong: there truly isn’t a friend that is closer than a brother. My husband for always, always, always allowing me to dream and plan and think and imagine even when my dreams and plans and thoughts and imaginations are not feasible.

And I can celebrate the freedom and forgiveness that Christ has given me, both eternally and here on earth, by focusing on blessing those around me this Thursday instead of focusing on the food around me.

I can look for as many ways as possible to BE the celebration instead of thinking about GOING to a celebration.

See?

Even just thinking of these things and I’m already SO looking forward to Thanksgiving, but my thoughts have nothing to do with sweet potato pie, or green bean casserole, or even that huge bird.

In fact, all of that seems so very insignificant compared to the kind of Thanksgiving I’m now planning.

Because I am planning on spending this Thanksgiving focusing on acknowledging the divine favor and kindness of my God and my Savior.

For He is truly my Thanksgiving.

 

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Day 682: Becoming A Butt Head

You are defined by God's Love instaquote

Ya know, yesterday, on Day 681: I’m On Steroids, I wrote about taking my healthy lifestyle and tightening it up so that it is “on steroids”: eating veggies, fruits, nuts, rice but cutting out cheese, bread, chips, etc. and amping up my amount of time working out. Just long enough to help me lose the weight and then I’ll taper it back down to a nice, normal, healthy lifestyle.

This is, of course, all just my theory that it will work.

But anyway, as I finished writing yesterday’s post, I was all like… Gosh. Will this even work? What if I fail? What does that mean about me?

And then I remembered a status update that I made on The Covenant Diet facebook page and twitter on Monday…

You are defined by God's Love

And I realized how I have been, yet again, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO focused on me. my weight. my appearance. my rolls. my ability or inability to lose weight.

Honestly, it’s hard not to do that. I mean… when your jeans don’t fit and none of your clothes look good on you… it’s hard not to worry and think about yourself. And that’s where I am at. Which means that I need, more than ever, to press hard toward God.

Because otherwise I’ll just get trapped up again into this mentality that my worth is somehow tied to my ability or inability to fit into my jeans.

And I wonder when God looks at my “brain usage” chart if He’s bummed because I invest so much of my mental energy on wondering how to lose weight. Not necessarily that I think He’s mad or even really jealous of that, but I wonder if He’s like, “Dang, January… I have SO MANY other things of weighty, eternal importance for you to focus your mind on!!!

But in my head, I’m just so focused on the size of my own butt.

I’m literally… a butt head.

{Haha… sorry, but that’s just kind of funny.}

And that’s what I want to change even more than not fitting into my jeans. I don’t want to be a butt head. I want to be a… bible head. (And yes, I know “bible head” sounds dumb… but work with me here.) I want my head in the clouds… I want my mind full, bloated, and stuffed with the thoughts of God.

So, I think that during this 30 Day Experiment, I will also take my usual healthy Christian-lifestyle and amp it up a bit. I’m in that phase of life where I am just hitting Jesus one verse at a time, and that’s okay, but for this “diet” I think I’m going to need to put my relationship with Jesus on steroids too. Like, some serious bible reading and meditation every morning.

And maybe my butt will get smaller and my soul will get bigger.

Day 681: I’m On Steroids

The Covenant Diet 30 Day Experiment

Well, I mean… not really.

Not at all actually.

I’m referring to my post on Monday, Day 678: Such A Yo-Yo in which I had this epiphany that being on a diet is really just picking a healthy lifestyle and then “putting it on steroids”… essentially making it a bit more strict and amping up the working out.

So, I decided to try to lifestyle-diet for 30 days and see what happens.

Cause really… those gosh dern Plexus people are breaking me down. It sounds so easy and it LOOKS like it is easy when I see these women I know just dripping weight off effortlessly, but I’m just so afraid of the aftermath. Ya know, what would happen if I did Plexus’s little “pink drink” and lost these last thirty pounds that have hung on to me since I was 15 and then I STOPPED!?!?

What will happen to me?

Is my lifestyle solidified enough to maintain that weight loss?

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to give healthy eating another run. I’m going to put my healthy lifestyle “on steroids” and see if it works.

I’m eating a vegetarian/Daniel Plan diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and rice (along with some basic sauces and whatnot). Now, my LIFEstyle will also include a bit of cheese, bread here and there, pasta once a week, etc. But to lose weight, I’m going to try to cut those things out.

I’m also going to do yoga and/or my recumbant bike for an hour a day, five times a week. It might not necessarily be an hour all at once.

30 Days (started this past Monday). I’m gonna call it my little “experiment”. And hopefully… hopefully we’ll see that it works.

And that my “epiphany” was right!

Day 680: You Can Go Your Own Way

Recently I sent my friend Suzanne a text.

{Get ready to feel sorry for me.}

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So LAME, right!?!?

But… I was being honest with her and I just really, REALLY felt like I should share it with y’all as well.

Anyway, before she and I could get a chance to meet, I had this, like, pretend conversation with myself and Suzanne:

Me-Prentending-To-Be-Suz: What are the things in your life that are sucking your joy?

Me-Pretending-To-Respond-To-Suz: Working out and cleaning my house.

Me-Prentending-To-Be-Suz: Okay, so, address those things. Fix them or get rid of them. Focus on what will restore your joy and peace.

And so, ya know what I did?

I canceled my gym membership!

AND I’M SO GLAD!!!

{Shocked gasps!}

I know. I was so glad, but as I decided to do it, I could already hear what “they” would say…

But, working out is so good for you! You shouldn’t put it off! Think about all those ‘What’s your excuse?’ fitsporations on Instagram? It should be a priority for you!

Yeah, well. Working out was stressing me out! Seriously! I felt like I HAD to do it because my sweet husband got me the membership to support me, but it just. wasn’t. working. I could give you all the reasons (which, I know, some will view as excuses) but what it boils down to is that my gym membership was HURTING the quality of my life instead of IMPROVING it!

And I felt so much better when I finally said “Okay, that’s it.”

I tell you this because I want you to feel free to do this whole weight loss thing YOUR WAY. If God leads you to do things differently than your BFF or your mom or your husband or your roommate… THAT. IS. OKAY.

It could be that “your way” means going to the gym every day for two hours at a time. Hey… do your thang.

It could be that “your way” means doing 15 minutes of yoga on your kitchen floor at home. Hey… do your thang.

There isn’t a formula and don’t let instagram or facebook or a pin on Pinterest or a group of friends or a Weight Watchers ad or a gym commercial or whatever tell you that there is a formula.

Find your way.

 

Day 678: Such A Yo-Yo

Every once in a while I have an epiphany. And I think to myself: This is it. I have reached a whole new level of intelligence.

Of course, give it a few days (or even a few hours or minutes) and I often realize that my “epiphany” may have been nothing more than me just finally realizing what the rest of the world has already figured out.

Like…… my recent epiphany about dieting.

I always subconsciously fear a healthy eating lifestyle because the closest I’ve ever gotten to a healthy eating lifestyle is when I’m on a diet trying to lose weight.

And gosh… let’s be real here: being on a diet is LAME. not fun. unenjoyable. plain downright sucky.

So, why would I want to do that for the rest of my life?!?!?

Well, I “figured out” this week that dieting is often a realllllllllly different experience than trying to maintain weight. With dieting you have to work twice as hard and abstain twice as much in order to lose. Whereas with maintaining you still have to work at it but it’s not nearly as difficult because you aren’t trying to maintain AND lose weight.

I am seeing that I need to craft my “diet” this way:

  1. Choose a healthy eating and living LIFEstyle that sounds doable.
  2. Make it a little extra stringent and double my working out for a bit to lose the weight.
  3. Once my weight is lost, revert back to the healthy eating lifestyle I picked in the beginning.

For example, here are the three steps that I should follow:

  1. I have chosen a vegetarian/Daniel Plan lifestyle with 30 minutes of yoga a day, 4 or 5 times a week.
  2. To lose weight, maybe I cut out all bread and chips and only drink water, cut my portions in half, and do yoga an hour a day instead of 30 minutes.
  3. Then, after I lose the weight, stick with the vegetarian/Daniel Plan but maybe toss in a tortilla every once in a while, have chips for a side, and bump my working out back down to 30 minutes.

So it’s not really a hugechange from the diet to the lifestyle.

So, what am I rambling about with my epiphany that wasn’t really an epiphany?

A diet is not forever. It is a way to get your body back to what you view as its “best”. You often have to work and sacrifice to do this.

When your body gets back to its best, the “reward” shouldn’t be chocolate and steak for breakfast but instead that you don’t have to work and sacrifice as much or as hard to keep that “best body”.

Like I said… you might be reading this and thinking, “Uhhhhhhhh hello? Everyone knows this.” But it really just sorta hit me this week.

I always thought of it like this:

Struggle through my diet
Lose weight
Go back to original eating habits

No wonder I have yo-yoed with my weight my whole life.

A diet is simply a healthy eating lifestyle… on steroids for a while.

For some reason it just makes me feel better knowing that. Knowing that maybe if I take this approach I won’t be such a yo-yo this time!

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Day 676: God Of The Arcade

We took my boys to a high-end, fine dining establishment tonight that was also complete with an arcade.

Yep. You guessed it… Cici’s Pizza.

Fine dining at its best.

My oldest had asked to go and although I believe that he genuinely does enjoy their macaroni and cheese pizza (which I have never tasted because I need only look at it and I throw up a little in my mouth), I do believe that the main reason that he likes to go is because of the games that he can freely run back and forth through.

I dug through the extra change bin before we left the house and so when we arrived, I gave him four quarters and said that was it. He ran off, played a few games, and very happily returned to the table and ate his “specialty” pizza.

I realized while he was playing that I had counted incorrectly and that I had two more quarters to give him. But I never let on, and (sweet thang) he never asked for more. So, after he’d eaten a few pieces of pizza and was totally not expecting it, I gave him two more quarters.

The look on his face… well, it was truly, truly happy.

And it was so much more fun for him (and for me) than had I given him six all at once.

Of course at that moment, I immediately thought of God. Cause I think God’s love is like that sometimes. God knows that when we find happiness and joy in what He’s given us, the extra and unexpected gifts will mean so much more.

The key is in that we find happiness and joy in what He’s already given us. If we look at what we have right now and we aren’t content, then what kind of “extra” joy or happiness are we going to get with more?

I know that you’re probably thinking that there is no way that I can pull together a post about Cici’s pizza, quarters in an arcade, and God and somehow relate it back to food (or if you are a seasoned reader of mine, you probably actually won’t be surprised at all). But it does tie in.

Say I lose five pounds.

Am I content with where I am? who I am? what I look like?

No.

Cause, keepin it real here people… I. want. to. be. skinny.

But I have learned (and I am learning) that this verse applies here:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

Let me change it up a bit for you though to make it work for us specifically here:

I know what it is to wear a size 18 or a size 8. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether it is with a skinny body or an overweight body, with a thigh gap or thighs that rub, with no rolls or lots, with smooth skin or cellulite bumps. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

This is what God desires for us to learn FIRST. He wants us to learn to lean on Him no matter what the circumstance or situation is. Then, when we receive an “extra” gift from Him that is neither asked for nor expected… well, just imagine how much fun that will be for us.

And for Him.

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Day 671: Well, Well, Well

Only I’m not “well, well, well.”

I’m sick – sick – sick.

Like, we are talking, I have the flipping plague over here.

And how interesting is it that when I make a huge commitment to God to not eat sugar… it didn’t take Satan long to get all up in my grill.

And ya know what?

He did the exact. same. thing. when I first started my covenant. On Day Five of my covenant I got strep throat.

Ugh. Satan. Such a party pooper.

Only, I kinda like to twist his plans. Cause ya know, when I realized what was going on and that Satan just couldn’t come up with ANYTHING even remotely original other than giving me a sickness when I started to go on a diet, instead of getting down and out and discouraged, I said to myself “Ohhhhhhh. If he feels the need to mess with me, again, then I am so totally on the right track. He saw how freeing this whole experience was the first time and he’s attempting to derail me again.

And I mean it wasn’t a terrible idea.

feed a cold starve a fever

I, too, have heard the phrase “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” And that is JUST what my body wants to do when I have a cold… eat. It’s a good reaction. My body is designed by God to do that. He designed it to get really hungry to search for the nutrients that it needs to help combat whatever is making me sick.

Well. Sorry, Satan.

FAIL.

I’m gonna stick with my covenant.

{Side note: Did I eat really well during this onslaught of sickness? Uhhhhhh, no. Wish I had, but instead I ate every piece of bread in sight. But… BUT. I didn’t eat sugar. So, even though it wasn’t the “perfect” reaction where I ate nothing but green smoothies for three days (which I wish I had)… at least I didn’t give in to sugar. It’s a step.}

 

Day 667: Making Room

I am going through a lot of my old posts to make sure that my links made it through the transition from my .wordpress site to this new .com site and I thought it would be cool to “repost” a post from the old days when I first started writing. Kind of a great way to look back and see where I have been and how it relates to where I am going.

I loved this one because a) It just shows how great my hubs is, and b) It reminded me of how people might not see this as an addiction, but for those of us going through it… we KNOW that it is, and most importantly c) It reminds us all that Satan has already lost this battle. Really take a look at the last paragraph though to remember how a Daniel Fast/Daniel Plan can help make room for that victory in your life.

Day Three: Resistance On The Home Front

By

So… I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly tell my husband I was planning on doing this. He sorta found out by reading my Facebook post about it. Yeah, I know… I know… a fail on my part. We were lying in bed and I was drifting off to sleep when the following conversation went down:

Hubby: [reading his Facebook on his phone] What? You’re doing a year long Daniel fast? Hmmmmmmm, not sure how I feel about that.

Me: silence

Hubby: Why? You know you can just cut 500 calories a day out of your diet and lose weight. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this… I don’t want you starving yourself or being hungry: it could affect your ability to think. Hon, I think there are other ways for you to lose weight and maybe something less extreme.

[Side note: this might make him appear unsupportive, but really it was all out of concern for me... when my blood sugar gets low I get really loopy.... annnnnnnd a leetle moody, and he knows that. And he wasn't saying this in a jerk tone either... it was really a sweet voice. Okay... just thought y'all should know that! haha]

Me: Well, I’m not really doing this to lose weight.

Hubby: How do you mean?

Me: I am not doing this to lose weight. I mean, I’m sure that I will lose weight but that’s not what it’s about. Hon… I’m addicted to food. I think about it all the time. I want it all the time. I sneak it all the time. I need to be free of it. I’m a captive and I’ve tried a bazillion “normal and average” things to rid myself of this addiction and none of them have worked. I can see how this might appear extreme and I agree that it is, but since normal isn’t working… I’m going to have to turn to extreme. I need to be free.

Hubby: Ohhhhh, okay… I get that. Okay. And remember: you have already won the victory. Christ has won the victory for you. You don’t even need to fight, all you have to do is accept his victory. Cause needing to be free… I get that.

Me: Thanks for being concerned for me and thanks for understanding me needing to do this. I promise to take care of myself and make sure that I am getting what I need.

I posted this because I wanted to remember the conversation… it was a good conversation and I was really impressed with the way that my husband responded in the long run.

I posted this to point out that not everyone will understand this kind of thinking. That this is not about a diet but about breaking the chains of an addiction that isn’t really commonly thought of as an addiction: most people think fat people are just lazy both physically and mentally and although I’ m not saying that there aren’t those types of people out there, I think a good many of us simply have accidentally fallen into this trap of gluttony and it’s too late to get out easily.

And I posted this to remember that I have already won the victory through Christ. This Satan guy… yeah, already defeated. The ability to conquer this addiction… yeah, already complete. What this fast is enabling me to do though is to allow that victory room to flow through my heart, soul, and mind and take over. It’s not that the victory hasn’t been won… it’s that for some reason food has the overwhelming power to create such a fog that I can’t see that victory.

But no longer! Cause here comes the Son… burning that fog away!

{And I just had to post this cutie pic of me and my hubs!}

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