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 763: Ten Things To Do INSTEAD Of Eating

I find myself often eating when I am bored or procrastinating (among lots of other reasons I eat aside from, ya know, hunger). And so today I wrote this on Facebook and twitter

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Then I actually saw my own tweet and took my own advice and cleaned out my bathroom drawer (while my preschooler was taking his bath) and a shelf in a linen closet that, ironically, has zero linens in it! Haha!

I thought it might be helpful to me, and hopefully you too, if I had a list of things that I could reference when all I could do was think about those Big & Chewy Granola bars in the pantry.

So, here ya go!

 

1. Clean Out A Closet – I am finding this very cathartic. It accomplishes something and usually gets you out of the kitchen!

 

2. Write A Letter – Especially if you have an older person in your life that lives in a nursing home… they love “real” mail!

3. Do Some Yoga or Other Physical Activity – I love yoga cause I can do it easily in my home pretty much anywhere, but even going for a walk, hopping on a treadmill, or doing some jumping jacks would be great!

4. Take A Bubble Bath – Yes, they still do make Calgon, so let it take you away… from the kitchen, that is! It’s a great way to relax and get clean!

5. Put On Some Music And Dance! – This is one of my personal favorites! I find a station on Pandora and then just crank it up and get my groove on. (Black Eyed Peas is my personal fav station)

6. Read A Book or Magazine - Rarely do I have time to pull my eyes away from my kids for more than a few moments, but even flipping through the IKEA catalog can give me a brain break from dwelling on chocolate.

7. Give Yourself A Makeover, Paint Your Toes, or Play “Dress Up” - If you’re like me and only put on makeup twice a week (at most) then this would be a special treat and can be kind of fun. Or if you aren’t into the makeup thing, then try on a few “fancy pants” outfits.

8. Memorize Useless (or Helpful) Facts, Scriptures, or Quotes - Snapple caps have a ton of those useless facts (my brother has pretty much all of them memorized), but it can also be neat to memorize a scripture that helps you when you are down and out so that you’ve got it at the ready!

9. Play! - Finger paint, color, bounce the basketball, ride your bike, jump rope. Do something a little childlike… it feels goofy at first but most of the time we tend to slip right back into our little selves.

10. Plan A Vacation – This is kind of like dreaming for some of us, but sit down with a pen and pad and dream out a vacation… who knows, if you win the lottery or get a huge bonus, then you’ll already have a planned vaca all ready!

Day 762: Maybe God’s Not Done

There is always a lesson.

In every heartache, in every delay, in every disappointment.

There is a lesson we can learn.

A lot of times we don’t want to learn that lesson. Or at least we want to say, “Show me something new God… but, just not this way.” We don’t want to admit that His Way of teaching us is the most perfect way… even when it hurts. even when it takes forever. even when it keeps us from the very thing we so desperately want.

Yeah. So I know all that yet I still find myself frustrated, depressed, and downright angry whenever God makes me learn a lesson His Way. So, I continue to turn to Him, like I did in my prayer on Friday.

At my wits end, I turn to Him.

And I as I start to try to see things His way, I start to see a semblance of the lesson He is working in me.

Maybe… maybe I did that first year of covenant for God to show me that He can do miracles in my life. For Him to show me that He cared. For Him to show me that His Ways are so much better than mine.

And maybe…

maybe He’s not done yet.

I mean, maybe He wants to show me even more through this struggle with food… through this addiction to the very thing that keeps me alive and yet is killing me at the same time. Maybe He wants me to see that He is powerful enough within me to conquer my issues with food. That He has the strength to enable me to overcome these issues and develop a healthy relationship with food.

Maybe… yeah, maybe God wants more for me than I even want for myself.

Maybe He’s just not done yet.

And if that’s the case, maybe I’m not done with me either.

Maybe God's Not Done Yet

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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Day 752: Never Too Far Gone

The good people over at Proverbs 31 Ministries shared this on their Facebook page this morning and I just had to pass it on. If there is any message we should think about moment by moment, it is this one.

You’ve never gone too far that God can’t redeem you, restore you, forgive you, and give you a second chance.
- Lysa Terkerst

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Day 751: I’m A User, Baby

I’m on day four of my 7 Fast, and I just have to confess that I am really, oddly enough, enjoying it. It’s so… simple. There’s not a lot to think about in regards to food.  So, as I looked at my list I thought about Jen Hatmaker‘s thoughts in the book, 7, as she embarked upon only eating 7 foods for a month. She just went on and on about food.

I mean, she didn’t really veil it.

Jen Hatmaker loves food.

I said to myself, “Yeah. I love food too.”

But then I really thought about it: No. Actually, I don’t ‘love’ food. I mean, I enjoy it but I don’t like cooking. I enjoy going out to eat, but it’s not like a “have to”. I could eat Chick-fil-a every day of the week for every meal and not get bored. Peanut butter and jelly for lunch every single flipping day? No prob here. Now, chocolate, I really do love a good, decadent piece of chocolate. But food… it’s whatev.

So why in the heck do I eat so much of it?!?!?

Because. I don’t love food.

I use food.

The Covenant Diet - I'm A User, Baby

Photo cred: LegalJuice.com

I use it to nourish myself, sure. But I use it for a gazillion different reasons too.

I use food to comfort myself.
I use food to procrastinate doing chores.
I use food to give myself a treat.
I use food to make me feel better when I’m sick.
I use food when I’m bored.
I use food to help me forget.
I use food to escape.
I use food.

And I am reminded that this is the entire goal of this journey. Not to lose weight. Not to be healthy. The goal of this journey is to switch from using food for all of those things and to start using God instead.

God, when I open my life like a book, I see all the areas where there are small holes designed to perfectly fit you inside. But I see that I have filled those empty spots with food. And it’s so ingrained in my daily way of life that I’m having difficulty throwing out the food and replacing it with You. Help me, God. Help me to throw all of my energy into focusing on You. into using You to fill the emptiness inside of me. You are the only one that can and You are the only one that I want to. Amen.

Day 750: I’m In A Relationship And It’s Complicated

The Covenant Diet Blog - I'm In A Relationship With Food And It's Complicated

I’m in a relationship.

Yep.

And it’s not with my husband.

I know, this is kind of frowned upon nowadays but well, it IS the new millennium.

But ya see…

I’m in a relationship with food, and it’s complicated.

Okay, that was my lame attempt at a little humor this morning. {Am I even gonna get a pity laugh out of that one?!?! Ha!}

That probably wasn’t much of a shocker to anyone reading this though… I mean, it is a diet blog. But really, I’m realizing more than ever that a) it is some kind of weird co-dependency relationship with food, and b) it is just terribly complicated for me.

Recently I went to lunch with my best friend, my very own psychologist Dr. Laura (yeah, that’s weird… when did we get old enough to have doctorates!?!?!??) and although she is always wondering how things are going, she is never pushy with advice (even though I know that she has a slew of solutions or suggestions for me). But recently when we met and I lamented a little bit about having gained some weight, but that I wasn’t worried about it she said, “Yeah, you are just in the process of discovering what it means to have a healthy and balanced relationship with food.”

Seriously.

I thought about that for weeks. You see…

Originally, I didn’t really want to find balance.
I wanted to find SKINNINESS.

As I’ve journeyed along I’ve realized that balance is really probably… better. And as I thought about it even more after talking with her, a thought came to my mind: what if I’m limiting God by saying I just won’t have chocolate ever again. What if what He really wants to do in my life is completely change me, completely renew me, and make me completely strong, resilient, balanced. What if He really does want me to find balance instead of just restriction?

Honestly, I think learning how to find balance with food… learning how to have an uncomplicated relationship with food… that would be even more of a miracle than never eating chocolate again. It would take a whole new level of reliance upon Him.

I think that I’m up for it. This is, after all, a journey from gluttonous to glorious, and I’m starting to see that maybe there is an unexpected turn in the road up ahead. A new direction that will teach me to rely on Him and find balance with food.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

 

Day 749: I Start a 7 Fast

Clothes
Spending
Waste
Food
Possessions
Media
Stress

All the areas that Jen Hatmaker decided she had in excess and wanted to go against them. Just looking at the front of the book and seeing that list, I knew she and I were probably two peas in a pod.

7 - Jen Hatmaker

I recently got into a little book club that is reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker and I immediately knew that I was going to love/hate the book because I knew that it was going to enrich my life… by ruining it. {Ha!} But I’ve just finished another of her bible studies and I’d heard such great things about this one, so when my friend Mandy asked me if I wanted to read it with her and a couple of friends, I jumped on it. We’re only reading one chapter a month and then doing the “experiment” that follows to attack a specific area of excess.

Cause there is no question that I struggle with excess in my life.

I mean, heck, one area of excess, food, is the entire topic of this blog!

You really, really, really need to read the book to get the full understanding of what is going on here (and trust me, it is totally worth the read and very quick and easy, especially if you only read a chapter a month)! Basically, Hatmaker chose 7 foods to eat for a month:

  1. spinach
  2. avocado
  3. egg
  4. chicken
  5. wheat bread
  6. apples
  7. sweet potatoes

Oh, and water only to drink! I’ll be adding doTerra lemon oil to my water, but that’s medicinal.

I’m doing pretty much the same thing but with these variations:

  1. I’ll be eating rice instead of wheat bread because, well, honestly I’d eat nothing but bread. Rice isn’t as “enticing” to me so I’ll only eat it when I need it.
  2. I’ve added popcorn to the list. I know, I know… why popcorn!?!? It’s a light, slightly filling snack for me. I might get rid of it later or I might just ignore it as an option, but for now it’s on there.
  3. When I eat out (which is not very frequently at all), I’m going to try to get as close to the 7 foods as possible, but, for example, if I go to Jason’s Deli and they don’t have avocado out then I’ll eat a close replacement of fresh veggies.
  4. I’m going to allow balsamic vinegar into the mix. Now, this might seem like a decadence to you, but I’m a Ranch and Blue Cheese kind of girl, so this is still a major sacrifice for me to only use balsamic and oil on my spinach.

I wanted to record what I ate, but I’m not going to post that every day in an individual blog post, so I’m just going to come back to this post and update it every few days with what I ate but actually more importantly HOW I ate it. Just in case you feel like doing a 7 Fast “Hatmaker Style”!

Sunday – Day 1

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled and then “fried” into a roll up burrito (imagine the egg part of an omelette without any of the “stuffings”), apple
  • Lunch: Went to Jason’s Deli with my parents: spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, balsamic
  • Annnnnnnnnd then there is no point in recording anymore today because I got a massive migraine (possibly from withdrawaling from coffee which gives me terrible headaches and exaustion) and then it got so bad that I (sorry to be gross) puked my guts out mid afternoon. So I pretty much ate toast and bananas the rest of the day.

Monday – Day 1, for reals

  • Breakfast: 1/2 apple, sliced into spears using one of these, 1/2 avocado, cubed (For breakfast? Yep! When you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything!)
  • Snack: handful of air-popped popcorn, plain (Uhhhhh, that’s not on the list. I know, but I think I’m putting it on my list. So, yeah, I’m doing an “8 Fast” I guess. Hehe)
  • Lunch: 1 cup of cooked basmati rice, and then an hour later: 1 cup of cooked basmati rice mixed with 1/2 avocado cubed small
  • Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup at Chick-fil-A. Well, I thought that I didn’t eat out a lot. It really is very rare (it really only happened two days in a row because my husband is out of town).
  • Snack: handful of air-popped popcorn

Tuesday – Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1/3 sliced fuji apple, 1 scrambled egg
  • Snack: 1 grilled chicken strip
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup basmati rice mixed with 1/2 cubed avocado and 1 small baked sweet potato, skin removed, cubed (much better than I expected!)

That’s all so far, but I’ll keep coming back to update. I’m not sure yet if I’ll go for 4 weeks like she does or just go through until the end of February even though I started earlier. Either way, there will eventually be at least 28 days of “what-I-ate” and then I’ll post a blog at the end of the month with my thoughts!

Praying that God would reveal Himself to me through this experience… through this “experiment”!

Day 616: Seven-Day Daniel Fast

seven day daniel fast

Tomorrow I start another seven-day Daniel Fast! Several of you joined in for the Four-Day Daniel Fast and I know that it was as eye opening to a lot of you as it was to me. It was the first time that I had felt that freedom from food in months.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I don’t make mine a Rest-Of-My-Life Daniel Fast. Honestly, I think that God is working on me with that one with the whole “shoulda done a LIFEstyle change instead of a YEARlong change”. But hey… that’s why this is a journey, right?

Here is, admittedly, a copy-paste of the information from the Four-Day Daniel Fast

If you are still more curious about a Daniel Fast, here is a website that I used the first couple of times I did one. And danielplan.com is also a great resource if you click on Food and go to recipes! Now, I will say this: I think that there are different “levels” of Daniel Fasting.

- Daniel Fast: veggies, fruits, nuts, and water (I’m doing this one this week…. Oh, and I consider beans as veggies)
- Organic Daniel Fast: all of the above using organic produce
- Flexible Daniel Fast: all of the above and then add any or all of these items: breads, pastas, beans, rice, coffee, tea, cheese, eggs, fish (this is the one that I do usually)
- Specific Fast: if you are aware of your area of weakness (aka: addiction) then you can fast from only that, e.g. fast from sugar or fast from snackies like chips

Now one note: I don’t worry about salad dressings or sauces… I just include them and don’t worry about their ingredients. It’s already a big sacrifice for me to cut out rice, pasta, bread, cheese, and fish that I’m getting the spiritual message here without leaving out the sauces. Plus, like I said, I can still feed my family this way!

As far as menus go, I’m going to follow a lot of the same things from the four-day Daniel Fast and just mix it up a little bit. After all, it’s been almost two months since we did it and so I think that a lot of the recipes could easily be repeated again.

Day One

  • Breakfast: fruit smoothie: take any fruit you want and blend it using water as the liquifier. I usually combine a handful of frozen blueberries, six or seven strawberries, a frozen banana that’s already been sliced, four or five inch frozen mango slices, and four or five inch frozen pineapple slices. I use a Ninja… and it makes a yummy smoothie. If you don’t have frozen, then just incorporate some ice!
  • Lunch: salad with carrots, celery, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds and dressing
  • Dinner: Caribbean Black Beans , fruit bowl, side salad
    • you can have these with rice if you are choosing to do a fast that includes grains
    • If you have someone in your family that is not fasting with you, then you can throw in some ham at the end after you’ve pulled out the ham-less version for yourself

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

  • Breakfast: Just found these! Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Veggie Lettuce Wrap: Large “sheets” of romaine with avocado, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, diced red bell pepper, sunflower seeds,
  • Dinner: Black Bean Soup (this is, by far, one of my favorite recipes of all time!) We don’t eat anything else with it, but I’m sure any side that would be good with enchiladas would be great with this too!

Day Five

Day Six

  • Breakfast: Granola with Almond, Coconut, or Rice milk
  • Lunch: We really haven’t had too much salad so far, so let’s have one for lunch today! Here’s a bit of a guide for a super yummo salad! Build a Perfect Salad
  • Dinner: Mexican Baked Potatoes… these are really, really, really yummy! Even my hard-work-farming father-in-law is a fan!

Day Seven

  • Breakfast: Let’s have the rest of our Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Easy Rice and Beans
  • Dinner: Veggie Tacos (I’m actually going to post this one tomorrow… but super easy, all you’ll need are tortillas, lettuce, avocados, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomatoes… sour cream and cheese if you are eating dairy)

And, of course, it’s not about the food but about what your heart and mind are doing while you are not eating, while your are cooking, while you are eating, and when you have finished. We are focusing on the One.

Day 574: All Figured Out

I think I’m going to stop saying “I got it all figured out.”

I’m gonna even stop thinking it.

Because that always seems to backfire. And then I have to LEARN something that God wants to show me.

Okay, a bit of sarcasm about the “learning” thing there… I always LOVE that I had to learn something, AFTER I have “finished” the learning.

And, well, for the past seven months I have been doing a lot of learning.

A lot of learning, the hard way.

I’ve been learning that God is not a quick fix.
God is not a Weight Watchers plan.
He is not Jenny Craig.
He is not Atkins. South Beach. The Zone.
The Lord of the Universe is not Slim Fast.
Or Advocare. Or Plexus. Or Body by Vi.*
God is not even a Daniel Fast, biblical though it may be.

God is His own plan.
And God has His own plan.
And His plan is not made or designed or produced by us.
His plan was intricately woven in Heaven.
Thousands of years ago.

And as much as it hurts sometimes, His plan involves us going down painful roads. Roads of confusion. Roads of disappointment. Roads of trial.

So, that’s why I made that insta-whatever-you-call-it today. (And puh-lease ignore my typo in it… I swear I proofread that thing a zillion times and still missed it!) Because it is so very, very important to remember in those moments of pain, confusion, disappointment, and trial… it is so very important to remember that GOD IS WORKING OUT HIS PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

But he is.

So when you can’t button those “fat jeans”… pray that He would help you.
When the scale is ten pounds more than you hoped for… pray that He would heal you.
When your doctor tells you that you are now a type II diabetic… pray that He would guide you into health.

Because God WILL work out His plans for your life. It is not over. Stay by Him. His faithful love endures FOREVER.

Psalm 138 prayer…

Oh God, help me to see You as you work your plan for my life. Help me to know that your faithful love, God, that it endures forever. Please don’t abandon me, God, because you made me. I am yours. I pray that as soon as these words leave my lips that you will answer me and encourage me by giving me strength. I praise you now for your unfailing love and faithfulness. I give you thanks God with all that I am. Help me and guide me and love me. Oh God, love me. Amen.

.

*By the way, not dissing those diets if they work for you… they were “quick fixes” for me, that’s why I listed them here.

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