Day 710: I’m Just Gonna Say It… Sugar. Is. A. Drug.

I taught middle school and high school long enough to know a little bit about drugs.

I didn’t use drugs when I was in school so I don’t really have any personal experience, but all it takes is a few days where you let the kids talk and work on a project or something in class and WOW. You will learn a LOT about what is going on in their personal lives.

Wayyyyyyy more than you ever wanted to know in a lot of cases.

And I’ve counseled kids through deciding to go to rehab, telling their parents, getting busted, etc. It is a terrible, terrible road to be on when you are a child of 14 or 15.

{Now go ahead and take a minute if you need to get all political or anti-capitalist or whatever it is you do or think when you see someone talking about kids and drugs and school and America… and then, stop. Stop all of that and take a second to just pray for all these kids that are already getting wrapped up in the world of drugs that has the potential to utterly and completely ruin their hopes, their families, their lives.}

So, I’ve heard a ton of them say that they went to a few parties (or even just one) and drank some beer and then they went to a few more parties (or even just one) and they smoked a few cigarettes and then they went to a few parties (or even just one) and they smoked some pot and then they went to a few more parties (or even just one) and they smoked some crack or whatever “hard-core” drug was there.

And, after the fact, you know what I’ve heard them lament?

Not the crack.

Not the pot.

Not the cigarette.

Not the beer.

The party.


It’s the PARTY that they regret.

Because you know what they say… “If only I hadn’t gone to that first party. That was the thing that let everyone know that I was open to whatever.”

And gosh, don’t we, as sugar addicts have the same story. “Oh, I was doing so well until Icemageddon hit.” or “I had lost 10 pounds but then Halloween rolled around.” or what is coming up, “I really want to lose weight for Christmas when I see my whole family.” and then we proceed to eat our weight in Christmas colored Hershey Kisses.

Now, listen.

I’m not saying that sugar and drugs are the same thing.


Ya know what? I’m gonna go ahead and say it.

Sugar. is. a. drug.

Look… there’s even been some studies done recently that are “lending support to the hypothesis that high-fat/ high sugar foods can be thought of as addictive”.

Seriously people.

That’s disturbing to me.

When I read that, it contributed to my decision to quit. Quit eating sugar.


And when you look at the similarities of how those of us who struggle with this particular drug and how it compares to those who struggle with other types of drugs: the planning over how to get it, the lusting over having more, the sneaking around to get some, the lying, the guilt, the pain, the need… it’s so similar.

Yet our “drug” is legal.

It’s in our pantries. our refrigerators. our grocery stores.

It’s at our parties. our celebrations. our everything.

It’s a gift at Christmas.

Even SANTA puts it in our stocking.

It’s no wonder that so many of us find ourselves in a life-long struggle with it.

So, stop thinking that this is just a game called “weight loss”. If you struggle with sugar (or even MSG which has very similar properties) then know that your battle is real. It’s not entirely in your mind. But it also means that it’s time to get serious about getting this out of your life. I’m not saying that it’ll just suddenly go away as an issue if you get serious, but it is time for all of us to start pursuing freedom from this drug.

Christ came to set us free… come on, let’s get free.

Day 700: Stop. Collaborate. And Listen.

My husband said the other day,

“In the morning, I always know who I want to be and how I want to act and what I want to do. I know all of that in the morning. It’s maintaining that throughout the day that is the tough part.”

Then tonight, I thought the same thing as I was brushing my teeth. “Here I am at the end of my day, and I can look back and see all of the things I wish I’d done differently and I can look myself in the mirror and say ‘Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll be who I want to be. I’ll be what I want to be. I’ll act the way I want to act.‘”

But then tomorrow always comes, and despite all of my resolve, all of my willpower, all of my hope, and self-promises, and pep talks… despite all of that, I still find myself just sleep walking right back into the “old” me. The old-me who didn’t follow through on all of that resolve, willpower, hope, promises, pep talks.


Way to be depressing, January.

But I’m always up for a little introspective conversation, so I asked myself, “Why? Why do I know who I want to be in the morning before the day starts, then sleep walk through the day making the SAME OL STINKING CHOICES AGAIN AND AGAIN, and then know who I should have been when it’s night again?

It’s like a can’t, or don’t… stop. I need to… I just need to… stop.”

And then, of course, what started to run through my mind?

The Covenant Diet - Stop Collaborate And Listen

Stop, collaborate, and listen.

Yep. That’s right. Vanilla Ice’s famous song began to run through my head.

But really. It’s so. totally. spot. on. to what I need to be doing with my life. with my eating. with my prayer.

I’ve got to stop.

And I mean literally, physically, spiritually…


Honestly, I picture myself standing next to my fridge.

In my mind, I can see the candy buckets up on top.

And then I see myself, stopped.

Both hands on the edge of the counter.

Leaning over, looking down.



Taking a deep breath.

And remembering again… remembering who I want to be. how I want to be. what I want to do.

Asking God to help make me into that image that I have in my mind.

Asking God to help make me into His image.

While I stop.

And ask God to stop with me.

And collaborate with me.

While I listen to Him.

Day 699: Icemageddon (aka: Icepocalypse)

Well, Icemageddon hit Texas this week.

And it has all but shut. us. down.

Cause you see, here in Texas, we just don’t “do” ice and cold. It’s not that we’re snotty or too good for it or weak… it’s just that we so rarely have gotten ice in years past, that a few responses tend to happen:

a) When they say ice is coming we tend to ignore the weather anchor because whenever we seem to prepare for ice then instead of ice, we have a heat wave.

b) We are almost… amazed… at this copious precipitation coming out of the sky. I mean, gosh, we’ve been under “drought” warnings for the past few years.

c) We get so excited at the prospect of being “snowed” in like those places of lore that we buy out every ounce of food in the grocery stores and, as this Observer article says, “every time the weather media goons predict the end of the world, Dallas swims in homemade chili”. Ha! So true!

d) We are called in to work despite the fact that we have one truck to sand the roads for a whole town, half of us have never even seen snow chains for tires, and from what I have personally witnessed, most Dallasites can barely drive under normal conditions… add some slick roads to the mix and we are one big pile up.

And man, I was ready just like the rest of them… I ran into the store before it hit and loaded up on food for my family for the weekend (although I have learned the hard way that cold boys eat infinitely more than usual). I thought through activities to do with my kids since we wouldn’t be able to go outside as much. I made sure jackets, coats, gloves, and hats were at the ready. And first thing yesterday morning I cranked up the space heaters and got the fire going.

But you know what?

I forgot one thing.

And I feel terrible.

I forgot my mother’s ferns.

You see, my parents sold the “family farm” (not really a farm, but a house with a few acres) several months ago and are building a house in the “big city” (okay, not really the big city, but in a suburb of Dallas) and they are currently living in a condo with zero patio space for the progeny of my mother’s extremely green thumb. So, we were given the ferns to watch over.

Well. Yeah.

I forgot. I mean, I just plain forgot. I was so busy thinking of everything inside my house and my husband was in charge of the “outside” (meaning covering the exposed pipes that have kept us without water before during freezing conditions), so I just… didn’t think about them.

And then I went back and in a feeble attempt covered them up so that the last layer of ice wouldn’t get on them, but I’m pretty sure the deed is done.

The Covenant Diet - Icemageddon

As the ice begins to melt today, I will go outside and find them both to be just a pool of primordial sludge.

And ya know what?

My mom will totally understand.

Sure, she’ll be a little disappointed that her new beautiful patio won’t be adored by her two beautiful ferns, but it’s not like she’s gonna read this post and call me to say “Well, that’s it January. The final straw. You killed my ferns and so now we are done for. I am divorcing you as my daughter. Too bad you weren’t perfect.

But dang… isn’t that we expect for God to be?

Like, we stumble or slip or forget and we just are waiting for Him to say,

Well, that’s it January. The final straw. You ate a Hershey Kiss and so now we are done for. I am divorcing you as my daughter. Too bad you weren’t perfect.

And so what do we do whenever we slip up? So, often we RUN from Him.

Remember, just like Jonah.

Just like Adam and Eve.

Just like little kids.

We run.

We hide.

And so often we DIVE right into whatever it was that separated us.

“Oh dang it! I gave in and ate a Hershey Kiss! Well, I guess I should just spend the rest of the day (which often turns into the rest of the WEEK) eating the remainder of the Hershey Kisses… and a whole pizza… and a bag of Doritos…”

It’s like the equivalent of me being like “Oh, gosh, I ruined my mother’s ferns. I’m gonna just go ahead then and go over to her house and spray down all of her herb plants and trees and flowers with water so that they will freeze over and ruin as well.”


But that is just how we respond when we “mess up”.

And you know what the best part about messing up with God? You don’t HAVE to make things right. Like, I don’t HAVE to go buy my mother new ferns the same size in order to make it up to her. She loves me. The end. Ferns or no ferns.

And I don’t HAVE to do a Daniel Fast for 21 days to “make it up” to Him. He loves me. The end. Hershey Kiss or no Hershey Kiss.

AND THEN what is even MORE AWESOME about God (and my mom) is that He will give me another chance just like in a few years if my mom needs me to babysit her ferns, she would probably ask me again even though I all but vaporized these.

Okay, so blah blah blah… what am I saying?

I guess it’s what I keep on saying to myself and to you guys over and over and over again…




Even when you mess up. Even when you “do wrong”. Even when you aren’t perfect.





At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9


Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Day 693: Leaving Luxury (Celebrating Advent)


Advent season is here!

{If you aren’t familiar with Advent, the word derives from “Coming” and it starts four Sundays before Christmas… this year it started this past Sunday, December 1st… and it is when Christians anticipate the coming of Christ’s birth!}

I feel like, finally, everyone else has caught up with me and they are ready to celebrate Christmas now that Thanksgiving is over! (We decorated on November 1st so we’ve been in this mode for a while now!)

In the previous years I’ve always gotten a book or an app or a reading plan to celebrate Advent, but this year I decided that I wanted to do my own! It’s mainly happening on my Facebook, twitter, and Google+ pages where I am posting throughout the day on a typical focus.

My personal focus this Advent is giving to Christ. I mean, He has given me SO MUCH and since He is the focus, then I want to give HIM gifts. But of course, unlike my 6 year old, God isn’t really interested in Lego’s Lion Chi Temple… but He is very interested in me. in my actions. in my attempts to honor Him.

So each day has a focus like the past few days have had:

Day 1: Give Him your service.
Day 2: Give Him your praise.
Day 3: Give Him your luxury.

And I’m afraid that already Day 3 is going to be the most sacrificial gift of all.

Because for Advent, I’m going to give God the gift of giving up a luxury.

Diet sodas. Tea. Coffee.

On hold for the remainder of Advent.

Water only here.

Oh. my.

Because not having those things, well, it is going to get my attention… and that is why I am doing it. Like I said on one of my social media posts, giving up a luxury is like making a mental speed bump. It makes you stop and think, “Wait. I’m used to having this… why can’t I have tea? Ohhhhh! Oh yes! Because I can use this moment to direct my mind to Christ!

And really that is exactly what I want to be happening all through Advent… I want to be looking to Christ! Anticipating Him! And getting ready to celebrate Him!

Because when I really think about it, all of this “luxury” is really just stuff.

He is truly what makes my life luxurious!



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.


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

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.}


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!


{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!