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 397: Lovate

You know that relationship that you had in high school (or maybe college) during which you were desperately, insanely, blindly in love?

Past all judgment.
Past all hurdles.
Past all advice.

He was…… it. The end all. be all. of existence.

You had some kind of almost supernatural bond with him. You always deferred to him because you wanted him to be happy. You could have been stranded on a desert isle for years and had a grand ol’ time. You were just… connected. Not at the hip, so much… but connected in the soul.

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And he was totally, completely, thoroughly, absolutely, and altogether horr.ib.le. for you.

You despised the hold he had over you. Felt terrible because of all the times you told yourself you were over him. Felt even worse when you would let his opinion of you become truth even though it was often false. Lived in fear that one day he would leave you… and then who would you be without him?

You loved him.
You hated him.

You… lovated him.

Heyyyy, ya like my new word?!?!

Lovate: v. to simultaneously love and hate someone or something.

Brilliant? Yes, I know.
And yes, I promise that I have a point. It’s coming. In a minute.

I spoke of “him” as a generic figure that we have all interacted with… {and shout out to my guy readers, I went with the “he” analogy cause, well, I’m a girl, but feel free to replace “he” with a “she”!} …but, in reality, this boy was a real figure in my life. A real “love”. A real emotional torture to my soul.

I went off to college far away from him, got myself a good, down home boyfriend and pretty much moved past the emotional hang up with my former lovate.

{Oooooo, look, my new word is also a noun apparently!}

And thennnnnn, my good, down home boyfriend broke up with me.

And so what did I do? I reverted back to my lovate again. Knowing that he didn’t love me. Knowing that he was terrible for my self-confidence. Knowing that nothing good would come from my running after him again.

But I did it anyway.

You see, looking back on this experience today, I thought- Wow. You would think that after a year of being without him and away from him that I would have realized what a terrible match we actually were. You would think that I would have realized by then that it would never, ever, never work and that it shouldn’t ever work. You would think that after a year I would see what I see now. that I would have laughed at the thought of returning to him. that I would have perhaps sighed a bit in sadness at the poor, confused little girl I had been.

But I so quickly slid right back into what had given me my identity for so long.

Much like I did this weekend with sugar.

Sugar. My other lovate.

I love it.
I hate it.

I love the way it tastes. I love the way it takes me away momentarily. I love the explosion of feeling on my tastebuds. I love the connection and the memories that I have with it.

I hate the way it makes my heart race. I hate the pimples that I always get. I hate that I can’t manage to have just a little. I hate that once I’ve had some I can’t stop thinking of it again.

But more than anything, I hate that I can’t seem to tell it no.

And this weekend, as I prepared on Friday night for my husband’s family birthday party, and all day Saturday… I just went back to my lovate of sugar. Even though I have found True and Lasting Love in my God… I went back to sugar.

And I hate it now. I gorged myself on it all weekend. And I felt almost entirely guiltless. I felt superior. I felt… bad. sick. sad. empty. hopeless.

I. DO. NOT. LIKE. TO. FEEL. THAT. WAY.

I realized… wait, if it took me years, and years, and years, and years to get over my first “love” so long ago… then perhaps I should expect my loveate relationship with sugar to be the same. Perhaps it IS too early in the game to even allow myself “celebrations”. Perhaps I was just asking for it by allowing myself to dive back into that so quickly.

So, I revert.

Tomorrow sugar is out again for the year. I will make one exception. On my birthday, I may have ONE PIECE of cake that my mom makes. But that’s it.

Sugar… my lovate of days past… farewell. Perhaps we shall never meet again. And… well, perhaps that is for the best.

Day 351: Last Days

“Today is the last day. Then tomorrow I’ll get back on the wagon.”

Ohhhhhhhh, how many, many, mannnny times I have said that to myself. And said it to myself while eating something “wrong”. And, well, today was one of those days. It’s like I’m skipping past rationalization and just admitting to myself, “Okay, so I’m just gonna go ahead and sin today and then tomorrow I’ll get righteous again.”

So, I stood in my kitchen and ate my fourth muffin of the day after polishing off four biscuits from yesterday’s breakfast and said to myself “Today is the last day. Then tomorrow I’ll get back on the wagon.” And I might have added a little “It’s Christmas, after all” there at the end as well.

Santa's Food

Only, it’s not Christmas.

And, who cares? Even if it IS Christmas… why would that mean I should or could eat four muffins and four biscuits in addition to everything else I’d eaten for the day!?!?!

I dunno… maybe it’s that mindset of “Every day is a new day.”

But really, it’s not like all of those sins are washed away. I mean, yes, we sing that song. And, yes, when I meet up with God and am asked to account for my life, all of those sins will have been “paid for”. But, there will still be an accounting. I will sit with Christ and account for every moment of my life. every seed of hate. every wisp of gossip. every slide of laziness. every bite of gluttony.

And it’s not that I want to feel bad or guilty for those things… it’s that I want to choose good. I want to choose holiness. I want to choose righteousness. and purity. and power.

I want for those to be the things He sees.

In those true last days before I start my eternity in worship, I want for Him to sit with me and see the choices I made and look in my eyes and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Let’s celebrate together!Matthew 25:23

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RANDOM ADDITION: By the way, I live in Texas… and we had snow… on. Christmas. Day. (I actually don’t like to go IN the snow, but it is pretty to look at and my oldest son thinks the stuff is awesome!) I stuck my head out in the stuff for about .4 seconds to get a pic of me in it! Ha!

Christmas Snow

Day 300: Almond Joy

Ahhhhhh, day 300. Now, I’m not so hot at math but I know that if I am on day 300 and there are 365 days in the year, THEN I have less than 100 days left. (How’s that for a word problem??? My 4th grade teacher would be so proud! Ha!)

And still my journey is rocky and rough at times. Although, I continue to grow and discover why it is rough and rocky. And so I consider myself “well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.Philippians 3:12

I laugh at myself a bit here as I look back at the first sentence of that last paragraph… “And still my journey is rocky and rough at times.” This is true, but when I think back on the grief and weight (both literal and spiritual) of last year… it is so. much. better.

And it is honestly exciting to think, as I come closer to starting in on year two, how it will be THAT much better next year on day 300!

Thinking about that made me want to find a verse, and I was looking for a verse about the future and had seen Ecclesiastes 9:4There is hope only for the living.” And then I kept reading and I came across verse 7: “Go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!” (Ecclesiasties 9:7)

I was kinda like… eat my food with joy!?!?! Hmmmm, ya know, this focus on weight and weight loss, this struggle with gluttony and food-greed, the lack of self-control and discipline with food, and the ill-placed comfort from food… it has stolen this opportunity for finding joy in my food. Food is the enemy. Like this sign I saw recently at my retreat…

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All we think about anymore with food is how it will affect our rear end or our thighs or that flabby stuff under our arms. We think about if it is off-limits or allowed and then we pine after those things that are off-limits or, worse, we give in to the off-limits food and then have to endure the guilt and shame, failure, and inadequacy. We find ourselves enveloped in despair and hopelessness. All of these things… because of FOOD. Oh these words are a far-cry from eating with joy.

But, now, as I sit here, I am able to happily, joyfully snack on almonds and raisins. Why? Because for 300 days I have been freed from the guilt of food, the shame, the failure, and inadequacy. I’m not saying that I am totally free of food… but oh so much closer just to have a freedom from sugar-food. It’s certainly a step in the right direction!!! I can look at a plate of brownies and know that I don’t need to despair… that it is not hopeless… that Christ has given me power and strength… and oh what a joy that is!!!

Day 166: Thor, Table For Two

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I know. I know.

A picture of pizza and Thor?!!? What am I thinking? But there is method to my madness…

You see, my five-year old is on this cheese pizza kick, and he is sooooooo not an eater. Not a healthy eater. Not a bad eater. He’s just not much of an eater.  I think it comes from the days when I was nursing him and realized, a bit later than I should have, that he was in the 4th percentile (which is an indication that either a kid is starving or has something seriously wrong with them) and in our case… he was starving… my milk was not so much milk as it was… water. Yeah, as if nursing isn’t already the most difficult part of motherhood, add the guilt of starving your first child.

That was a rough time for me… we’ll leave it at that! Haha!

Anyway, so when he likes a food… I pretty much jump on it. Unfortunately the effect of this is that he then almost ODs on whatever food he likes and then never wants it again. But until I choose to learn from that mistake, when the kid asks for a cheese pizza (which is really only like every other week or so… I’m being over dramatic about it simply because he almost never requests food), well… then I give him a cheese pizza.

And this one time in particular, he asked for a cheese pizza on a Friday and I was exhausted from being up really late the night before, so I conceded reallllllllly easily to his request. And then when he came across this pizza at Target and it had a picture of Thor on it… well, whatever defenses were left completely crumbled! (I’m sort of an Avengers nut thanks to my kid… and my favorite is either Thor or Iron Man… wow. irrelevant information yet again!)

Oh wow… ANYWAYYYYY all of this to say, he ate about half of the pizza. And so what was left? Yep… the other half of a cheese pizza. A cheese pizza that’d had Thor’s picture on it.

I was doomed.

Sure, I had already eaten my dinner. No, of course I wasn’t hungry. And I already mentioned that I was tired.

This is a bad combo… pizza + tired = fail.

And I ate his left over piece and two more pieces.

Shame. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Resolve. Shame. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Resolve.

You know the cycle.

But one thing that I have started to add in to that cycle whenever I eat when I shouldn’t or eat something I shouldn’t or eat in a way that is not honoring God because it’s eating for a reason other than eating to live… then I add in the step of evaluating WHY I ate when I wasn’t hungry. or what I shouldn’t have. or too much.

And a lot of times it is because I am tired.

My revelations on the importance of sleep are going to come up more in another post, but in essence, if at all possible… I need to get enough sleep. Sure, I have a toddler, so this is not always possible. But when I can get enough sleep, I need to shut down facebook, shut down my bible even, shut down the dishes and go. to. bed.

Otherwise, I’m asking for it the next day. And why set myself up for a struggle… doesn’t Satan do that enough as it is? Why should I make it harder on myself!??!

And I love The Message’s version of these verses… encouragement to do what we can, or as my husband has taught our son to say, “Do my best and trust God to do the rest!”…

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3

Day 163: Just Food

I was recently having coffee with my friend Alice and we were talking covenant stuff. She mentioned that one of her struggles was that she felt the need to be strong enough to resist on her own. She said with a sarcastic note to her voice, it’s “just food”. She felt that she should be able to deal with “just food”.

And I have been really thinking on that a lot since then.

Cause really… she’s right. We so often feel a little extra dose of extra guilt because we can’t resist this stuff that is “just food”.

But as I have thought about it, a few thoughts have come to mind about “just food”…

Satan used food as the first form of temptation in the Garden.

Jesus performed his first miracle changing water to wine.

Christ compared his own body to bread and wine at the last supper.

It’s not “just food”.

And honestly, I thought and thought about WHY it’s not “just food”… WHY does it have more of a power than other things in our life?

And I’m thinking that it ties, in a weird sort of way, to our level of faith. Satan knew that Adam and Eve were provided every piece of vegetation in the garden except those apples (or whatever they were) from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And I think he played off of a small, tiny fear that has glowed in our hearts for all of time… the thought – the fear -  that we might not have enough. Not necessarily that we haven’t gotten to experience everything, but that deep down we fear that we might come across a time of… want. need. starvation.

And now I live in a time where most people in America live in a situation where there IS abundance like in the Garden. there IS enough for all of us. there IS plenty.

But we still have these images from the Holocaust. I can still remember stories of the Irish Potato Famine and the mass exodus that ensued. We see pictures pouring in from Africa, India, Asia, Russia of men, women, and children bare boned and sallow eyed.

And although we might grab another brownie it’s not typically because we are consciously thinking, “Oh, man, I’d better stock up on brownies tonight because we might all be starving tomorrow!” But in the ever increasing state of unrest in the world, it is more than likely in the back of our thoughts.

So, I wonder if much of this addiction and pull to “just food” is in response to our fear… and our subsequent need to control that fear.

But God has instructed us that food is now to become… insignificant. a non-issue.

I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:25-33

And He gives us a promise here… that if we run toward Him that He will give us everything we need. He doesn’t promise that we won’t starve, He doesn’t promise that we won’t be hungry, He doesn’t promise that we will even live. But He does promise to give us everything we need. And once we start to learn to trust that He will take care of us… then we can free ourselves from stressing over “just food” and then it can truly become exactly that… just. food.

Day 159: Hide And Seek

Yesterday I wrote about how I’m learning to “treat” myself in ways that are not food related. And at the top of the post I had this picture…

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Well, I want to address a bit more of the whole story behind that picture.

Don’t get too excited, it’s nothing super fantabulous, but it was one of those moments that I realized after-the-fact that I have had a whole “mind renewal” that is essentially complete and I didn’t even realize it…

sneak eating.

Ya see, once upon a time, any time that my husband would leave the house… and by any time I literally mean every time he would leave the house… I would take that opportunity to sneak eat something that I would be embarrassed to eat in front of him. A bowl of cookie dough, or I’d make some chocolate icing (this was one of my favorites because there was no evidence… make the icing, put away the ingredients, eat the icing straight from the bowl, wash the bowl, do a bit of self-loathing and he’d never the the wiser), finish off the bag of Twix I got for my son’s lunch bags, and well, you get the picture.

But yesterday, I didn’t even think about eating something while he was gone. I wasn’t tempted by anything. That whole “What can I have while he’s gone?” question never entered my mind even a bit. And ya know what I did?

I took my toddler on a walk. A lonnnnnnnng walk. And I found those clouds in the pic. And I felt the sweet breeze (that felt a lot like an ocean breeze for some reason). And I raced my boy down a hill. And I relished in a big glass of water when I got home.

And it was great. There was no guilt whatsoever. Mind you, I was more worn out than my toddler I think, but it was that good kind of “satisfied” worn out. Anyway, when I was writing that post yesterday about treating myself in ways other than food, the realization that I hadn’t thought about sneak eating hit me.

Because all along, I may have been hiding those eating “sessions” from my husband, but I was never hiding them from God. I knew that He could see what I was doing, but I think I just smushed the guilt far down in my soul… haha, thinking that it wouldn’t matter then.

But God adores me, and He still tracked me down and found me.

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. Psalm 139:7-11

And those moments were dark. dark. dark. but I could not hide from Him (thank goodness). So God, no matter how far away I try to go, please allow your hand to guide me there and your strength to support me. I love you.