Day 241: Those Dern Skinny French People

Apparently I have been eating.

A lot.

Often.

Because I am on day two of what I’m going to call my “Sans Snacky” Fast (if you haven’t noticed, I have a thing for titles or names to start with the same letter), and I have gone into the kitchen about 53 times in the past day and a half to get a snack.

How I have lost so much weight up to this point I don’t even know!?!?! Haha!

Y’all know that recently I started doing a no-eating-after-7pm “initiative” and it was really insightful to me as it showed me how much I was eating after dinner… even when I wasn’t hungry. even when I wasn’t craving. I was eating… just… just because.

Well, if I thought that was insightful then this experience is just downright revealing! (There might be a better word to put there but I’m working on four hours of sleep… hubby had a guys night last night so I heard every creak in the house until I finally nodded off around 1am, and then my toddler woke up at 5:00am!)

My mom recently mentioned a book she saw on a morning show called French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules For Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters (which should seriously be considered for World’s Longest Book Title). I found it on amazon and read the description:

Moving her young family to her husband’s hometown in northern France, Karen Le Billon is prepared for some cultural adjustment but is surprised by the food education she and her family (at first unwillingly) receive. In contrast to her daughters, French children feed themselves neatly and happily—eating everything from beets to broccoli, salad to spinach, mussels to muesli. The family’s food habits soon come under scrutiny, as Karen is lectured for slipping her fussing toddler a snack—”a recipe for obesity!”—and forbidden from packing her older daughter a lunch in lieu of the elaborate school meal.

The family soon begins to see the wisdom in the “food rules” that help the French foster healthy eating habits and good manners—from the rigid “no snacking” rule to commonsense food routines that we used to share but have somehow forgotten. Soon, the family cures picky eating and learns to love trying new foods. But the real challenge comes when they move back to North America—where their commitment to “eating French” is put to the test. The result is a family food revolution with surprising but happy results—which suggest we need to dramatically rethink the way we feed children, at home and at school.

And no worries… this post will have nothing to do with my children’s dinner table habits!

But look at the five-mile-long title… what do you think grabbed my attention? Yep.

Banned Snacking.

Eeek.

Who would say such horrible things?!?!?!

But honestly, since my mom and I had this book-investigation a few weeks ago it has been popping into my mind.

And now that I have {gasp} banned snacking for the past two days… okay, okay… for a day and a half, I am starting to get a wee bit more interested in said book with said five-mile-long title.

Because I think the “permission” to snack has made the road to “unhungry” eating (aka: emotional eating, boredom eating, procrastination eating, etc) far more easy to get away with.

When you have a life sans-snacky then there just isn’t as much of an opportunity to eat emotionally, or because you’re bored, or because you realllllly don’t want to mop that funky, funky, funnnnnky kitchen floor. When you aren’t “allowed” to snack throughout the day, eating at mealtimes becomes, ironically, more of a “chore”. You eat at meal times to sustain. And that is the reason.

So much like the concept of “give us this day our daily bread” or in the New Living Translation, “give us our food for today”. (Matt 6:11) Or “give me just enough to satisfy my needs” (Proverbs 30:8).

Sure, dinner might be yummy but I’ll be eating to feed myself instead of to entertain or comfort or even simply because it’s habit.

Anyway, again, for you skinny-minded people that don’t overeat or snack or indulge (and yes, I have discovered that there are women like that out there), this might be a “duh” kind of realization, but it’s been like a revelation from the Lord for me!

Day 211: The Wisdom Of Men

Day 8 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

First of all, I want to say how cool it is how several of you guys have jumped on a hard-core Daniel Fast with me this go round! I’ve loved getting messages and texts from friends and fellow-bloggers that are riding the waves with me! And if you are reading this and have never done a Daniel Fast… wow. You really should give it a go. There is just so much insight that a Daniel Fast will give you in just three weeks (ick, that sounded like an infomercial)… but each time I have done one I am amazed and the new thing(s) I learn about myself and about God. So, look into it if you never had. And you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. For me, it’s simple: I eat fruits, veggies, and nuts. Nothing else (okay, well, like I said yesterday, I eat the dressing on my salads and the sauces on my meals). But I don’t eat rice, or pasta, or cheese, or bread, etc. You could go even more hard-core than me and knock out the dressings and the sauces. Or you could go the other way and eat rice. Either way… it’s just a good experience.

Okay, I think that I have fully exhausted that topic. Ha!

But here is a story that my friend Ana (who is doing a three-week, hard-core Daniel Fast) told me and I thought that it was so great! Here is her story:

Last night I was craving chocolate graham crackers so I called my husband over to help me not want them. And as I awaited some deep spiritual advice he said, very plainly, “Daniel didn’t have little chocolate graham crackers shaped like little animals.” I busted out laughing and said, “That’s your advice?” He said, “I’m trying to remind you why you’re doing this.”

Ahhhhh, the wisdom of men. So simply brilliant. Maybe we should listen to them more?!?!!?

Nahhhhhhh.

And I’m not one to stretch out something funny into something meaningful, but really, his little line was a balance of both. Because it’s funny to even envision Daniel sitting down chowing on a bag of chocolate animal shaped crackers! But… well, it’s a really good point.

Cause it made me really sit back and think about all of the things in my pantry and fridge that Daniel would not have had. Wow… it really knocks out a lot of options. Instant rice? Nope. Feta Cheese? Probably Not. Gogurts? Nada. Sour Cream? Nuh-uh. Cheerios? Nein.

I mean, if I really went all super crazy loco nazi hard-core about this, I could remove all of the non-Daniel Fast stuff from my house. It would be interesting, albeit perhaps easier, to do the fast when all you could see as an option were the things that Daniel ate.

Which led me to my next thought… Daniel chose to eat those things twice. Once when he was being set apart by Nebuchadnezzar and he didn’t want to defile himself by eating the food and wine from the King (Daniel 1) and then again when he is in mourning for three weeks he doesn’t eat any rich food, meat, or wine (Daniel 10… this is the typical reference for Daniel Fasters). I guess the hard-core Daniel fast is kind of like his time of mourning… it’s a good time to pray over something and to really refocus your thoughts and energy back at God and His direction. And I guess I think of the other time Daniel chose to eat “right” was in an effort to honor God with his body.

I love both of these. I mean, yes, I’m not exactly like he was during those ten days in Daniel 1 where the Bible says he only ate vegetables, but I am at the same point with Daniel in that I want to eat certain things in an effort to not defile my body. I have a bunch of other choices all around me like Daniel did (I mean, seriously, he was being offered the same food that the King was eating… dang, it musta smelled goooooood), but I am choosing to not eat them. Because I want to please God with my food choices. Do I probably still have a long way to go? Yesssssss. But have I made a lot of major changes in my diet that honor him at least MORE than I used to? Yesssssss. Do I feel that God is pleased with me… yessssss.

But I also love the three-week Daniel Fast… and don’t worry I won’t go into all the reasons again, cause I’m pretty sure that I covered that in the first paragraph. But I think that they can both work… together. I was telling my friend Alice that I am thinking about doing a hard-core Daniel Fast (fruits, veggies, nuts, water) every three months or so… until I feel that I am healed of this… addiction. So, I might end up having to do a Daniel Fast every three months until I die. But… hey, if that’ll keep my eye on the prize, then a fasting I will go!

 

Day 136: A Fast Shopping Trip

Today was a “me” day.

And ohhhhhhh how nice those “me” days are! My parents watched the boys for me so that I could go get a hair cut and, well, just not be in constant “mom mode” all day. As much as I adore my boys, I also adore… me. And I like to spend time with just… me.

So I dropped them off at my parents house this morning, and went and got my hair cut. I was kind of craving a parfait but didn’t have time to snag one before hand (which I was glad about later).

After that I had decided already that I was going to try to find some shoes and a few shirts and tops down at the outlet shops near us.

I went into GAP cause it was near where I parked and I have a friend that wears GAP stuff and I always think she looks classy… and I grabbed a few things that I thought looked cute… both size 10 and 12 in shorts and a few medium tops.

Nervously, I went into the changing room and looked at my options. I was nervous for two reasons:

a. I had not been shopping anywhere but Ross in ages and each store has its own “protocols”… and for some reason not knowing how many outfits I can take in, if I have to wait for an attendant, should I knock on the door or not, etc. all makes me nervous.

b. I had a pair of size 10 shorts. I was about to find out if my size 10 “moment” the other day was just a one-dress deal or if I would be able to wear more size 10s.

Instead of trying on the 12s first to see if they were too big I just went for it with the 10s. And… they. fit. perfectly.

I grinned at myself in the mirror and said a quiet “Thank you Jesus”… and then like all good iPhone users, took a pic of myself!

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And then I tried on another pair of 10s and they fit (but looked hideous). But I got a couple of other shirts and totally thought to myself, GAP is gonna be a good place for me: good clearance rack, trendy but classy clothes options, good “cut” for my body type.

But I’ll admit that I was grinning as I walked out of the changing room.

And still grinning (and a bit giddy) as I checked out.

Still grinning as I walked around the outlet stores.

Annnnnnnd, yep, grinning… as I walked into American Eagle, J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger, and Puma.

And everywhere I walked I thanked God for the restrictions that had brought me so much freedom. I thanked Him over and over again for that freedom.

On my way to Old Navy on the other side of the highway, I decided that I would stop by Paradise Bakery (which I love) after getting a few things. But as I walked out of Old Navy (with several more size 10s and some medium tops), I was just so overwhelmingly thankful to God. Like I wanted to show Him how thankful I was.

And for some reason, I thought, “I should fast for the rest of my ‘me’ day.”

We tend to fast out of obligation, or heartbreak, or concern. In fact in looking for a verse or a time that someone in the bible fasted because they were blessed, I kept coming up with people fasting because they had messed up and wanted God to forgive them or because they were in mourning for one thing or another. But I can never think of a time that I have thought- wow, having such a great time right now… I should fast. Fasting because I’m blessed instead of fasting in order to be blessed. It was just such a new thought for me. But it was great! I thought even more and more about His blessings every time my stomach growled. I was so glad that I had missed breakfast and then passed by Paradise Bakery, so that I could have those fasting moments with Him.

And it helped me keep my focus on the One that made that size 10 possible. I didn’t once look at myself and think, “Wow January. Good work.” Because I know that it was only by His strength that I was able to lose weight. And that’s why I was so pleased with doing that little “blessing-fast”… giving Him my thanks through a sacrifice… makes me think of the One that did the same.

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalm 50:14

Day 123: Leftover Love

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So, I have two kids. One is almost five and the other will be two next Monday. So, food is a pretty constant thought for me during the day. Trying to get them to eat. Trying to figure out what they want to eat. Making them a second meal because they didn’t like the first (yes, I do this occasionally… don’t judge… my eldest boy was at the 4th percentile for weight one year… a mom never really recovers from that). Tracking what they ate the day before and the day before and the day before. Planning what they will eat for the next meal. And… cleaning up after they are “finished”.

Well, I may be “that mom” who makes my kids their own meal cause they don’t like ratatouille, and well, I am also “that mom” who doesn’t make them finish what is on their plate. Partially because my oldest has had this, like, extra awareness of his “full” button. When he was younger we would try to get him to eat more after he said he was finished and if we did, he always threw up. So, I gave up on that and he’s been fine ever since. And then when I read WeighDown I understood a bit more about the hunger mechanism that God has built into us and I decided that I would allow my kids to choose as much as possible what they wanted to eat (so that I could help them respond to God-given cravings) and I would allow them to stop eating when they were finished. Sure, a little bit of that had to do with the nutritionists saying “don’t eat everything on your plate”, but it was more because I wanted them to get a lot of practice at feeling when they are full and stopping.

And surprisingly this is not a post on “how to help your kids eat the way God intended”. Quite the opposite. I have yet to figure out how to teach them the importance of an orange or raisins or whatever. Keepin it real… my kids eat pop tarts. donuts. toaster strudels. jelly beans. etc. I mean, that’s not all they eat, but they are by no means on this covenant with me. Which is what leads to my REAL topic for this post.

Their leftovers.

Honestly, I don’t think that I’m the only mother out there that would often glean their lunch meal off of what their kids left on their plates. Mere exhaustion along with disdain for the food going to waste was often the motivator that plopped me down at their plates once they were down for naps to dine upon 1/4 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with the bread already a bit stale), a few raisins, a couple scoops of applesauce, maybe the remains of a graham cracker.

But I have had to change that habit simply because some of the things that they “leave behind” are things that are not cool on my covenant, plus I’m often “attracted” to them when I’m not hungry. But they are forever leaving a smattering of chips… a few animal crackers… half an Oreo… an entire Little Debbie donut.

And I have to just throw the stuff away.

Ugh, sometimes it kills me to not just shove it in my mouth. I’m still not entirely sure why… but it’s a temptation nonetheless. (Although I will admit that the only thing I will eat leftovers of is avocado chunks… my two year old lovvvvves avocado but sometimes will leave two or three chunks on the plate… yeah, I’m not letting perfectly good avocado go to waste!)

I know that I’m not supposed to eat their leftovers when I’m not hungry and when it’s not on my covenant. And I think that there was a consequence when I tried to take more than what I needed… I was eating some of their leftover chips which were “technically” on my covenant (well, before I modified the covenant the other day to put them on the “no no” list). And that was during that time that I felt wrong. icky. sad. depressed. off.

And I think that this ties in with what some of the Israelites did with the manna…

Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Exodus 16:19-20

Only instead of the food bearing the grossness… I had the feel of maggots inside me. So, honestly, I think that it’s worth not eating some leftovers, no matter how much I might love them, to avoid feeling like their are maggots in my soul.

Yeah, no contest on that one!

Day Eighty-Two: Damning Demands

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I sat down this morning before the boys woke up, cuddled up in my chair with my coffee (upgraded with a little unsweetened almond milk), and opened up my phone. I saw the Bible app on my phone (which is where I do almost all of my Bible reading these days) right next to my WordPress app.

Knowing that I was behind a day on my posting, I thought “Oh, I’d better come up with a blog topic.” But nothing immediately came to my mind. Now, mind you… this is all happening during the time that I have set aside for reading my Bible… not for blogging, but for some reason there are times when I… don’t want to. It’s usually when I have fallen behind on my reading and need to catch up several days worth (which is the case this time).

But luckily, I had no immediate thoughts of what I could write about, so I sighed and tapped open my Bible app.

I read a bit through 1 Corinthians 15, and then the next reading section was in Psalm 78… and here is what I saw:

They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. Psalm 78:18

Oh boy, was this ever a grab for me. Luckily the rest of my reading was in 1 Kings 6 and 7 which is all about building the temple, because my mind could not get off of that verse in Psalms. Not so much because it had the word “food” in it… although of course that is what grabbed my attention in the first place, but of the specific words and what they revealed to me about the condition of my heart pre-covenant (and sometimes the during-covenant).

I have tested God for years… not so much on purpose, but by just relying on other things to “save” me. And by thinking that being skinny was the end-all-be-all of life. As if being skinny would make all of my problems go away. To give you an example of how sick, sick, sick my heart was… there were times that I would secretly (and I mean secretly) hope for cancer so that I could be forced by chemo into losing weight. SICK! I’m so ashamed that I have ever had such thoughts, but part of this blog deal is to be open and honest. And if my cookie dough experience wasn’t enough to convince you that I needed help, then maybe that little tid bit of info might.

But the demanding part really got me as well… because I have had that kind of attitude with God for so long. As in, well, I’ll give up bread and chips and sodas… but do not ask me to give up chocolate. Seriously, cause I won’t do it.

Well, completely unbeknownst to me that it was happening, my “I won’t do it” turned into “I can’t do it”. And I found myself… not just wanting God’s help but needing it. having to have it. being unable without it.

And so, I guess this is just a reminder of how desperate my heart needed some… reconditioning.

And reconditioning it, He is.

Day Sixty-Eight: Cookie Dough Success

Yesterday I made another meal for some friends and I decided to make them some chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Last week I bought one of those tubs of Toll House cookie dough at Target to make cookies for another family and still had some left so I figured that would be an easy dessert option, plus I like that I don’t have to make 3 dozen cookies like when I make it fresh.

Anyway… sorry, I just love random and pointless details. If you don’t know me, imagine me telling a story… I take for.ev.er.

And again I digress. So, yesterday when I was making them it was this nice leisurely June Cleaver type experience (well if you don’t include the fact that I was making cookies with pre made cookie dough)… the boys were playing sweetly by themselves with toys, I was wearing an apron, the kitchen stayed clean the whole time. This was a perfect opportunity to indulge… or get lost in the moment… or to simply perfect the gloriousness of my life right then with a little snippet of cookie dough. I mean, it looked sooooo inviting. sooooo chocolate chippy. sooooo delicious!

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I didn’t do it this time (wahoo!) because I thought of my “issues” with cookie dough and of my confessional post, Cookie Dough Syndrome. I think it was kind of like having a memorial stone in my mind, having written that post.

And I was wondering just now why I was tempted yesterday when I was making the cookies but not on Wednesday when I was making them.

The main difference that I can figure out is that on Wednesday, I was rushed. It was not a June Cleaver moment. The boys were not playing sweetly. I was not wearing an apron. And the kitchen was not clean.

Honestly, I think it was that I didn’t have time to think about cookie dough on that day.

Now. I’m not saying that keeping myself busy is going to be a fix for not being tempted. Being busy is what led into a lot of my overeating- I would grab a bag of chips an chow the whole thing while I was busy being busy. Or I would not eat at all while I was busy and would then eat everything in the pantry because my that time my body needed so many things I couldn’t distinguish a craving from another craving.

At the same time, being calm and carefree isn’t the answer either. Summers should have been the time when I would lose weight… I would be so active, swim a lot, and be always out and about but as I have said before, eating for me was not about being hungry. And a big reason that I have eaten during my life was because I was bored. And… well, summer can get boring (at least before I had two kids and a husband it could)!

So again, the answer came back to this covenant. This desire to please God. Whether I thought all the way through that yesterday or not… it is now becoming a part of me, flowing just beneath the surface of me.

And again I realize how important it will be, once this year is over, to keep some kind of “food covenant” with Him for the rest of my life.

Because I don’t want this cookie dough success to turn back into a cookie dough syndrome. I want the success to be… for.ev.er.