The Worst Kind Of Success

I feel as if I need to come clean before we even get started…

I just ate four Lindt chocolates.

(Hey… at least I went for the good stuff.)

And ya know, I’m not entirely killing myself over it either. It was sort of a test run. First of all, I haven’t had sugar since December 26th and compared to how my covenant eating has gone over the past few months, THAT ALONE is like a flipping miracle!

Tonight I went to my niece’s birthday and someone plopped a piece of strawberry shortcake in front of me. And not just any ol strawberry shortcake, but made from scratch strawberry shortcake… and if you don’t think “from scratch” is an important detail to this story, then maybe this blog is not for you… cause here at this “diet blog” we reallllllly like food. ;) And I thought “Let’s see what happens… let’s see if somehow, in the lengthy experience {sarcasm} of the past nine days, I have possibly found the fortitude within to eat a little bit and then resist.” So, I ate the cake and then that was it! Success!

Until I got home and accidentally stumbled across those dadgum Lindt chocolates. If it had been the icky-no-good-low-quality regular ol’ chocolates then I probably would have been fine. But nooooooooooo. It had to be Lindt.

Well, you know the rest of the story… if you haven’t lived it yourself then you can certainly fill in the blanks: Because I’d already had sugar tonight, I “might as well”, so I ate “just one” whichhhhhhhhhhhh turned into all of them.

But, I’m sorta glad for a couple of reasons. Here’s why…

I was sorta on the fence about going hardcore with the sugar thing again this year. Like, maybe I should try out that whole balance thing again. Honestly, I knew… I mean… I KNEWWWWWWW it wouldn’t work to have both. But I guess I just needed one last reminder.

Even more so though… ya see, my teacher, James Tippit… he has been talking a lot lately about the idea that sometimes the parts of our lives that we think are successes, God might look at them and just brush them away. But parts of our lives that we view as dismal failures… He might say…

Oh no honey… look… look where I was here… here… and here. This part where you thought all was lost, where you thought you were a mess, a disaster, a wreck… oh, dearest… this is when I was DOIN WORK in your life… in your soul. I was filling in those parts where you were weak… to be strong. I was changing you, forming you, molding you. Making you more like me.

And this is why, tonight, after those infuriating (but honestly… totally divine) Lindt chocolates, I wasn’t in utter dispair. Because this looked like a dismal failure.

Heck, this whole COVENANT DIET itself looks like a dismal failure to me right now… but when I am weak, then HE. IS. STRONG. Perhaps He is just using this whole thing to help melt my heart and reform me… renew me… purify me.

So, tonight, I ask God…

Be strong within me God. Show me how strong you are through my dismal failures. Melt my heart and help me to fall in love with You again. Help me to fall in love with your kindness, your compassion, your ever-ready forgiveness, your patience. Help me to look back on my life and see all of these wonderful, beautiful moments that have changed me, formed me, molded me. Melt me down and make me more like You, so that I might be a blessing. I love you, God. I do. I love you.

Day 794: The Only Diet I’ve Ever Truly Loved

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I’ve been on a slew of diets in my day.

Atkins
South Beach
Slim Fast
Weight Watchers
20/30 Fat & Fiber
Juice Fasting
Daniel Plan
Hay Diet
Eat Clean
Sugar Busters
And several metabolism boosting pills whose names I can’t remember.

I lost either a little weight on some of those or a bunch of weight… but you know what is in common with all of the diets listed above? I gained my weight back with every. single. one.

Whether I lost 6 pounds or 60, I gained weight whenever I “quit” my diet. Heck, I gained the weight back even when I didn’t “quit” the diet. Which is when I knew something was up.

That’s when I came across Intuitive Eating… it’s my favorite diet yet! (Link: What IS Intuitive Eating?)

And I don’t mean that tricky kind of diet that the people call a “lifestyle” but you still have to drink blended organic asparagus or something equally bizarre. This isn’t a “lifestyle” diet. And that’s what I love about it…

It’s not a diet.

It’s not about nutrition, or calories, or workouts, or portion control. When it comes to choosing which food… there are no rules. But even better, there is no guilt.

Here’s the way I look at it: I have been dieting pretty much continuously for twenty-plus years. And I’d say that out of those, we’ll say 22 years, I’ve only been “skinny” for probably 5 years. That means that out of the last 22 years, 78% of my life has been spent with

FAILED DIETING.

I’ve been eating what I didn’t want to eat, how I didn’t want to eat it, or I’ve been starving to death and miserable… for what? For nothing!

So, I think that’s why it was so easy for me to just give up, stop dieting, and give Intuitive Eating a try. Because, seriously, think about it… if I’m dieting and I’m still overweight, then I might as well NOT be dieting and be overweight. At least I don’t have to walk down life with the heavy burdens that comes with failed dieting: guilt (remember this post?), depression, crushed self-confidence, shame, hopelessness, doubt, and you KNOW that the list could go on and on and on and on.

Instead, I’m getting a chance finally to let my body be my guide.

I’ve released myself from the terrible, overwhelming pressure of HAVING to lose weight.

I don’t fight the cookies or the chocolate in the pantry. {And truth be told, I desire them far less than I use to when I was dieting.} Sometimes I eat them and sometimes I don’t. I eat whatever I’m cooking, whatever’s being served, whatever I’m craving. I just eat. I don’t have to think, or dwell, or ponder, or wish, or lust, or dream, or conspire, or hide, or sneak. I just… eat.

And I bet you can understand how wonderful that might be… especially if you’ve been on a slew of diets as well since you were 13 (or earlier).

It’s a new kind of freedom.

A scary kind of freedom.

And, well, I think it’s probably just like the freedom that God intended in the first place.

Day 785: Sometimes I Just Want To Punch God In The Face

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Sometimes I just want to punch God in the face.

I know… major sacrilege there.

But be honest… you’ve been there. There have been times that if God were a physical dude sitting across from you and He said something like, oh, I dunno… “Hey, you should thank me for you being overweight.”

You’d probably punch Him in the face.

Well, that’s pretty much what happened this morning. I was reading my Jesus Calling devotional and that’s essentially what is was about. {And yes, I know that Jesus Calling isn’t God Himself talking to me, but I also know that God does talk through authors like Sarah Young} Check out this little chunk:

“The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties.”

I mean… seriously. It’s so accurate.

I hate that it’s accurate, but it is so true.

So, today as I felt myself slipping down into a pit of despair as I attempted to find something semi-cute that fit me because my group of bible study ladies was going to lunch (without our kids!), I said…

Thank you God for making me overweight.

Yeah, weirdest prayer ever.

But I am gonna tell you… as soon as I said thank you, I started thinking, “Why? Why be thankful for this???” And I actually came up with a few reasons. So, give it a go. Tell God thank you for whatever issue it is that you are dealing with and just see where it takes you.

I have a feeling, if you go at it with the right heart, you probably won’t want to punch Him in the face anymore.

At least not today. {Hehe}

Day 780: The Hardest Part About Dieting

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One of the hardest parts about dieting and pursuing health isn’t the strict eating plan. It isn’t the hours you are required to work out at the gym. It isn’t having to weigh yourself at a group meeting. It’s not even trying to squeeze into that dress bought solely for the purpose of motivating you to not eat chocolate cake. It’s not counting calories. It’s not tracking carbs.

The hardest part is dealing with the emotions when you mess up. deviate. get off track. forget. get lazy. gain weight. plateau. binge. purge.

The hardest part about dieting… is the guilt.

So let me tell you… dieting from the time you are 13 until you are 35 and then suddenly just… not …dieting anymore, well, yeah. That’s a major paradigm shift. Cause all of a sudden that guilt is gone.

Well, some of the guilt is gone.

Cause, of course, as I learn that dieting in and of itself is what led to my binge eating, I start to see the possibility that maybe this whole covenant with God to only eat certain foods, maybe it wasn’t the “right” idea afterall. I start to think… “Gosh, I’ve wasted all this time spinning my wheels doing this whole Daniel Fast/Plan type eating and it was all for nothing! In fact, even though I was going to God for help, I was just perpetuating my issues!”

Then I thought about how this week I was hungry and so I went and grabbed a bell pepper and chopped it up and ate it on the way to pick up my son. And here’s why that’s a big deal…

I was hungry and I WANTED a bell pepper.

It wasn’t that I was supposed to have a bell pepper or had to have a bell pepper because of a diet plan. I wanted one.

That would NOT have happened if I had not done the Daniel Fast/Plan for a year. I wouldn’t have even HAD a bell pepper in my house before that! I didn’t even know what health was before I did the first year of my covenant. I certainly had no clue of all the food options out there before then.

So, the more I thought about this journey, the more I realized that me doing the Daniel Fast/Plan first was really the only way. Like, it just had to happen this way! Cause now that I have gone a couple of weeks of Intuitive Eating and getting to choose what I want to eat and not thinking about nutrition or dieting as I just realign my thinking, my appetite, my ability to listen to my body’s hunger cues, etc… I find myself starting to realize that junk food is just… well, not satisfying like I remembered it to be. But it’s like the idea holds: if it is “forbidden” then it MUST be good. That’s how my thinking has gone for so long. And I’ve been eating junk for two weeks and I’m already… ALREADY… kinda burned out on it.

I literally said to myself today, “Man. I kinda want to eat the good stuff again.”

Now, keeping it real, I said that AS I was eating a bowl of S’mores Snack Mix… which I finished. Despite the fact that there were four apples, 7 banans, a pineapple, and a bowl of strawberries all within arms reach of me.

But I’m here to say that I’m not rushing myself, or beating myself up, or getting scared that this might all go wrong.

I’m allowing God some TIME to work in my soul.

I’m not rushing HIM. I’m not blaming HIM. I’m not afraid of what HE is doing! I’m not in it this time to be a size 8 by the time bikini season hits (let’s be honest, even if I had a rocket hot bod… I don’t want to wear a bikini!!!). I’m in it this time for permanent change of my heart, soul, and mind.

Let’s get on that train together, people! Let’s drop what the world says and look to Him and let His Wisdom guide us toward true freedom.

God, gosh… sometimes I wish that your plans were fast. I wish that your change was immediate. I wish that your purposes were more aligned with the world. But then I realize… no. No. That’s NOT what I really, really wish! I really want freedom. I really want true change. So God, please, please, please… HELP ME BE PATIENT! Help me to keep my eyes on the path knowing that You are there all along the way, guiding me, directing me, picking me up, pushing me on, sitting with me when I am just too darn tired to make another step. And give me a vision in my heart of what you are doing in me so that I can press on to that goal! I want to be as much like you as I can. I want to portray a wonderful image of you to the world. Help me to slough off the things of this world… the stuff that holds me down and holds me back! You make this all worth it! I run to you! Amen!

Day 771: The Question Of The Ages

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I have come across the question of the ages…

You might think that it’s “How do we obtain world peace?”

Nope.

Or “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Nah.

How about “Why don’t men replace the toilet paper roll when it’s all gone?”

Okay, well, that is a close one… but still not it.

The question of the ages is this:

Why do we go on diets?

I mean, instead of just doing this whole Intuitive Eating thing? And just eating when we’re hungry and eating what we’re craving… why diet?

Okay, yes, I know the obvious…  we go on diets to lose weight.

But I mean, why are we so pushy? So… rushed with them?

Because of time.

You have a reunion coming up at which all of your childhood buddies will be there.
You are going to be in a wedding in a few months at which a photographer with a very high resolution camera will come and take LOTS of pictures of you wearing a (very likely) extremely unflattering dress.
You gained twenty pounds over the winter and the warm weather is coming and you won’t be able to wear any of your spring clothes.

THAT is why we diet. Otherwise, we’d probably be more comfortable taking it a little slower. Being a little more “real” about it. But we care so. very. much. about our appearances so we rush about and restrict ourselves and guilt ourselves and hate ourselves and then love ourselves and then hate ourselves again and we are just… miserable.

And while I will openly confess that I am terrified that the warm weather is coming close to me and I quite literally cannot fit into any of my shorts or capris… over the past few days that I’ve embarked upon this new path with food (Intuitive Eating) I have fully enjoyed living without guilt and self-loathing and anger and frustration and fear (well, there’s been a little bit of fear, I’ll admit that…).

In lieu of those feelings I’ve had some pretty cool conversations with myself:

January, your childhood buddies will love you and your laugh and your smile and your jokes and your stories no matter your size.
January, no one is going to care about the pictures of you in that bridesmaid dress. The bride will only look at herself every time anyway. (Besides, no one looks good in a bridesmaid dress.)
January, you can just go to Goodwill and drop $20 for a “new wardrobe” until your weight has gone back down a bit. You’d spend $20 at Target in a snap anyway; it’s no big deal.

I’ve been able to tell myself wonderful, uplifting things instead of constantly “You shouldn’t eat that” and “Why did you eat that?” and “Great, now you’ll be a fat lard for summer.”

I’ve been able to say…

You are loved.

Tell yourself that right now… regardless of what “issues” in your life make you feel the opposite… close your eyes for just a moment and tell yourself ten times… slowly, emphatically. Speak it into your soul. Ask God to say it to you.

You are loved.

God, you are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

 

Day 769: THE Thing That Is Ruining My Dieting And Weight Loss Efforts

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Okay, so it’s time for the “big reveal” from my terrible/terribly mean cliff hanger at the end of my post on Thursday.

I have finally discovered something: after yearrrrrrrrs of dieting and failing, dieting and failing, and dieting and failing… I have figured out what to blame!

Like I wrote about on Friday, Day 765: Why I Really, Truly, Honestly Started The 7 Fast, I had finally come to a point where I was starting to eat with balance… and I was beginning to feel at peace with food. All food. But then I decided to do a “7 Fast” (for all the wrong reasons, unfortunately) and before I started the fast I went on a total binge-fest! So, I decided to start the fast early… mainly to stop myself bingeing.

And that got me thinking: basically my life has consisted of the cycle of bingeing, dieting, bingeing, dieting, repeat, repeat, repeat. For as long as I can remember there was never a time where I just… ate. I have always been at polar ends of the spectrum.

And THAT got me thinking:

What’s causing these binges?

The answer was not exactly what I wanted to hear…

My DIETING was causing me to BINGE eat! Holy Moly! It was so obvious and yet I have missed it for yearrrrrrrs. Seriously though (and ironically), my DIETING is what was keeping me from losing weight, keeping me from having peace with food, keeping me from just eating to live.

I mean, think about it… every time you are going to go on a diet you go through what the authors of Intuitive Eating call “Last Supper” eating. You act like you’re never going to see these foods again and so you’d better just have at it! I think of it as “Fat Tuesday Mentality”. It’s like we think:

“Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we DIEt.”

Honestly, that’s exactly where my thoughts ended. I realized it and then that was it – no changes in my life or anything. Until I finally picked up the book that my best friend/counselor recommended: Intuitive Eating. I’m reading through it now and it’s already rocking my boat… in a good way.

I’m going to enjoy sharing some of the things I’m learning, although I have to warn you… it’s a bit of a divergence from what I’ve typically touted on here at The Covenant Diet. So, I remind you…

We are on this journey together.

Although I lost at boat load of weight following the eating plan you see in the menu above, I also started to gain it back as soon as I “went off” of it. When I started this journey, I didn’t ask for God to make me lose weight… I asked Him to help me be FREE FROM THE PULL OF FOOD.

And even though it might seem like a suuuuuuuuper round about way, I believe that He is leading me, guiding me, forcing me into learning how to find just that.

Day 765: Why I Really, Truly, Honestly Started The 7 Fast

Supposedly.

I’m supposed to be a Pinterest Perfect mother.
I’m supposed to run 5 times a week.
I’m supposed to cook gourmet cuisine every night in my kitchen.
I’m supposed to volunteer at my kids’ schools every week.
I’m supposed to write and manage a fun, trendy, cute blog.
I’m supposed to keep my figure slim and rocket hot.
I’m supposed to…
I’m supposed to…

I’m supposed to.

Most of the time I’m an open book about the things that I’m not doing that I am “supposed” to be doing. I mean, we live in an awesome age where it’s okay, even cool, to be “real”. And that’s the whole reason I created this blog… was to be real with myself and my family and my friends about what I was eating.

But ya know what happened?

My blog got kinda popular.
I started to get, like, a lot of followers.
It felt like people around me were… watching.
Watching and waiting for me to mess up.

And I felt the need to keep up this “everything is great” face sometimes… because otherwise people might not still “believe” in my blog, or they might think I was an internet fake, or… or… or…

But then I gained twenty pounds… in five months.

And I’ll tell ya. You can fake a lot of things but you can’t hide weight gain. Oh, the shame I started to feel. I was like Icarus… I flew so high but now I was falling back down to earth. I was gaining it all back. And fast. I started to decline invitations to go places. I started to search for leggings and long flowy tops to at least attempt to hide it.

And ya know, gaining weight back: it was supposed to really motivate me to get a hold of things, to really buckle down, to make myself change.

And ya know, it kind of did. I started to focus more on balance in my life. I would allow myself to eat a bite of chocolate here or there. I wouldn’t let a binge get me down.

I was starting to feel a bit of peace about this whole food thing.

But then I decided to read this book called 7 (which is awesome and before we go any further allow me to explicitly state: I am not bashing the book) and the first month you do a fast. I chose to only eat the 7 foods (well, I chose ten actually) that Jen Hatmaker ate.

Well, in anticipation of going on this fast, I did what every person would do who struggles with food and binge eating…

I ate everything in the house.

If it was sugar, I wanted it. If it was pizza, I devoured it. If it was bread, or pasta, or a burger, or tacos, or fast food… I was going to get it.

So, realizing that if I kept this up for another week I’d gain another ten pounds, I got all gung ho and started the fast a week early. The first week was awesome! {See my rosy-cheeked post about it on Day 749}

But it backfired.

I started to make a bunch of little allowances (“Oh, I can eat carrots because they’re healthy” and “Well, I can’t say ‘no’ to a piece of cake at Nanny’s house) and then it just sorta crumbled and turned into me saying “Why still fake it? I’m not doing the fast at all anyway.” which turned into “Well, if I’m not fasting then I’m just going to binge, binge, binge.”

Cause I can’t control this.
Cause I’m out of control.
Cause something is wrong with me.

That’s how I felt.

And why?

Why did it all fall apart on me?

Because… I didn’t do that first month of the 7 Fast for God. I didn’t do it to help me understand better the plight of the poor. I didn’t do it for anyone other than myself.

{Alert: Confession coming…}

I did the fast to lose weight.

All because of this one little phrase in Hatmaker’s book from Day 21…

“Do you know what happened this month? After eating only whole foods and virtually no fast food, my pants are falling off.”

I remember almost being disappointed when I read it because I knew… I knew instantly that my motivation had changed from desiring to focus on Him to desiring to focus on me and finally getting my re-gained weight off.

And that simply wasn’t enough of a motivator to keep me going. Doing a fast, under the pretense of doing it to get closer to Jesus, so that I could lose weight? Ick. It just felt wrong…

So, needless to say. I just stopped. I realized that going through the cycle was just making me sicker and sicker emotionally and mentally and spiritually. Best to stop the fast than to be sick at heart.

And stopping allowed me to look again at my motivation… and to see yet another connection in this journey. I think I’m starting to realize what is sabotaging me. What is ruining me.

But… that’s a post for another day.

{I know, sorry… that was just the worst and meanest “cliff hanger” ever! But honestly it mainly because this post is already reallllllly long and that post is gonna take another chunk of time! Look for it… realistically, on Monday!}

I’m not sure that this post is really spiritually helpful for anyone else, but in a way, I think this part of my journey will prove to be integral to my eventual healing and I wanted it documented. So, thanks for indulging me!

Day 759: A Prayer

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God,

I feel this struggle with food pulling me… toward some epiphany about You, your power, your plan.

But, honestly, this whole experience hurts and I’m tired. I just want to give up and try a bunch of short cuts to just lose weight. I just want to be skinny, fit into my clothes, and never worry about food or fight with food or lust for food.

So I come to You.

Oh God- Refresh me. Renew me. Give me a fresh and new purpose and passion to care for this body you’ve given me. Help me remember that it is an honor to You when I honor my body.

And please God, give me wisdom. Whisper in my ear what to do, which way to go. Guide me to information that will help me overcome. Light it up in my heart so that I might become determined and disciplined once more.

I know that You always have great, amazing and sometimes shocking plans and I know that I often don’t see the entirety of your plan. Help me to walk in faith and know that even through this struggle you are working a miracle of faith in my heart, that you are laying a path for a future prosperity in my soul, that you are doing something purposeful.

God, I love you. I trust you. I believe you.

I will wait.

Give me patience to wait on You and Your plan.

Amen.

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