Day 280: The Skinny Rules Vs. The Covenant Rules

I’m pretty much like every other woman in America right now… I love pinterest. Sure I only try, like mayyyyyyybe once a month, one of the “activities” that I have pinned unlike some of those super-women out there, but there have been a few things that I have found and liked (or other have liked them for me)… snickerdoodle muffins, s’mores cake, the entire style/polyvore thing since I am a complete novice at all things fashion, a couple of toddler and preschooler activities, and my favorite transformation was learning (finally) how to fold fitted sheets so they weren’t just a lump of sheet fabric.

And recently a lot of women were posting about these “Skinny Rules”. Not having cable and pretty much never getting to go to a bookstore anymore (unless I make a beeline with my children for the children’s section), I had not even remotely heard of this book (heck, maybe no one did until pinterest).

But I am intrigued a bit by the skinny-girl mindset versus my own, so I took a look.

Honestly… I sorta checked out around RULE 5… probably cause it had numbers in it.

And it just proved to me how perfect this covenant is for me… cause there are so. few. rules. involved in what I eat. Not that I don’t like rules, but it’s just that I can’t REMEMBER all of those rules whatshisface came up with. Like, here are “The Covenant Rules” for me:

RULE 1: Honor God with the way you eat, what you eat, and how much you eat.

RULE 2: Eat when you are hungry.

RULE 3: Don’t eat when you are not hungry.

RULE 4: Eat food as close to the way it was when it was “ripe” as often as possible.

And really… that is it.

RULE 1 sorta covers it all. It is the breaking away from gluttony, breaking away from foods that even we know are “bad” for us, and breaking away from emotional eating, procrastination eating, frustration eating, boredom eating and the like.

RULES 2 and 3 sorta encompass most of the “diet” part of it… notice that it’s not as much about WHAT food as it is about the APPROACH to food. Food is there solely for sustenance… eat when the body needs food. End of story.

And the last one, RULE 4, is one that I have just sorta discovered on my own through Daniel Fasting. I am the most fulfilled and the least tempted when I am eating on a Daniel-Fast… and really, so much of that is just eating the “foods of the earth” instead of the “foods of the factory”. It means that if I can eat a raw apple instead of a baked apple, I’ll do that. If I can eat a raw carrot instead of stewed carrots then I do that. If I can eat raisins instead of a granola bar then I do that. If I can make my own pasta instead of eating the processed pasta, then I do that. No, at this point in my life (and with how amateur of a cook I am) I cannot do this with everything but it is a goal… because I do think that eating foods the way that God packaged them and prepared them and portioned them is probably the best way to eat simply because it’s as close to the way God intended for that food to be consumed as possible.

(By the way, a quick note: I’m not at all saying that the Skinny Rules above are bad, I’m just saying that, for me, there are a lot of them and I have “broken” about half of them and lost weight!)

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 240: Snack Attack

Here recently I have been realizing that I am snackie, snackie, snackie. I snack all afternoon and oftentimes up until dinner and then I snack a bit after dinner.

It’s becoming too much of a habit again… eating for the sake of eating. eating when I’m not hungry. eating. eating. eating.

So I’m thinking that I might try a new kind of fast for a few weeks… not a food-specific fast but a fast based on the timing of when I eat. I’m thinking of making a covenant-fast to not snack. To switch that into “positive lingo”, I’m making a covenant-fast to only eat my meals.

I can’t really put a time on it (like the no-eating-after-7pm thing) because my life does not fit into scheduled eating. I might eat breakfast with the boys at 8:00 or I might not eat a banana for breakfast until 10:00 when our morning has finally settled down. Lunch is the same. Sometimes my toddler won’t eat unless I sit with him at 11:00 and sometimes I take that moment of him sitting in one place (note: I did not say “sitting still“! Ha!) to unload the dishwasher or unload the dryer so I might not eat until after I have put him down for nap and after I have prayed… around 1:30.

But. I almost always have a sit down “meal” even if it’s small. But lately I have found myself full already every time I sit down to have a meal because of all the snacking I do up until meal time. Sometimes I just don’t eat my “meal” then and sometimes I eat anyway even though I am not hungry (boo!).

So, all of that to say that snacking is starting to become an obvious problem. And… one thing I have learned is that if there is some kind of problem with food, I have to immediately do some kind of sacrifice for God… to refocus on God… to get myself “right” with God.

So, starting today, here is my new three-week covenant fast:

God, I praise you because you are my healer. I praise you because you are my righteousness. I praise you because you forgive. you restore. you are hope. It is in the spirit of all these things that I give a portion of my freedom over to You so that I might become reacquainted with freedom. I covenant to you that for three weeks I will only eat my meals. I will not eat snacks in between meals, while preparing meals, while cleaning up after meals. God, you have revealed an area of eating that is still lost to lust and desire… snacking. I pray that you help me get rid of this sin within me over these next few weeks and draw my heart to you… closer to you… into you during those times. You are faithful God. I thank you for continuing to point out anything in me that offends you,
and leading me along the path of everlasting life. Amen.

Psalm 139:24

Day 215: The Icing Off The Cake

Day 12 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

Confessional time.

I’m not sure what made me remember doing this, but I just thought of it and thought it might help yet another addict not feel so alone.

Oh, I know what it was- yesterday when I was talking about wanting something decadent… I remembered what I used to do when I needed a “fix”.

Sooooo, I was your typical “I’m not gonna buy candy to keep in the house because if I do then I’ll just eat them all.” But then I’d get hit with a craving (or what I thought was a craving- now I realize it might have just been more of a thought!) but I wouldn’t have any candy.

Soooooo, I would get out all the fixins for some good ol’ chocolate buttercream icing.

Powdered sugar.
Cocoa powder.
Butter.
Milk.
Vanilla extract.

And then I would make myself a bowl of icing.

Of course, never would I do this in front of my husband! This was only a sneak eating ritual. But when I started staying home, some days that was my routine. Put both boys down for afternoon naps and immediately come into the kitchen and make myself a vat of icing. Maybe put it in the fridge for a bit so it was more like ice cream.

Now don’t think I’m trying to sound all perfect now. My new “replacement” for that action has been to make my granola bar in a bowl. It might be more “healthy” but it’s the same act.

I want a treat.
I am not hungry.
I’m going to eat a treat anyway.

Chocolate icing.
Granola bar in a bowl.
A freshly cut up pineapple.

It’s all the same now. If I’m not hungry, then… I should not. eat.

Anyway. This was more of a pep talk for me to remember that just because I’m following some Daniel Fast doesn’t mean that I am exempt from overeating. from gluttony. from sin.

Day 145: That Bites

20120603-144138.jpg

Yesterday, I bit my cheek.

I’m telling you… that is some kind of heinous pain.

I don’t know why it hurts so terribly bad, but it hurts… terribly. bad.

Then of course, after you bite your cheek once then you bite it again. in the same place. over. and. over. and. over. again.

And that’s just what I did. over. and. over. and. over. again.

But today, it was a little better, and I didn’t bite my cheek.

Until, I ate when I wasn’t hungry… and I chomped down on my cheek like I was cracking a nut. And then I chomped down on it again, like thirty minutes later… again, when I wasn’t hungry but was eating anyway.

Now I’m not saying “God had me bite my cheek to teach me a lesson.”

But I’m also not denying it. All I know is that I ate twice when I wasn’t hungry and biting the snot out of my cheek sure did bring it to my attention. And, I’ll admit that later in the day when I was about to eat… again… when I wasn’t hungry… I remembered that cheek bite. And I remembered the pain. And I did not eat. I was like, “Ummmmm, I’m not hungry, so if I eat that sweet potato fry, then I bet you a zillion bucks that I will slice my cheek open again.”

And really… I was thinking… I used to focus on the pain of my past to help motivate me to lose weight, but this time… this time is different. This time I’m so focused on experiencing the goodness of God that I don’t focus on the pain of my past. In fact, I’ve almost started to feel separate from that girl. Like I’m truly losing my old self and gaining a new self… still me, but “shedding” my old skin, if you want a really gross comparison. And I think that this verse sorta hits what I’m feeling is happening…

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. Mark 8:35

I tried to hang on for so long to MY life… and I was losing… desperately. losing.

But once I gave over my life through this covenant to Christ, then it was like… in doing so I found my REAL life.

All the same, spiritual lesson learned… but I’m gonna bust out some of that Kanka stuff, because my cheek HURTS.

Day 125: Uh Oh…

Haha – well, I knew what I wanted to title this already but I just sorta started to think that someone might look at just the title in their inbox and think, “Oh, poor January, she musta broken her covenant again. Bless her heart.” (Which, I’m a southern woman… “Bless her heart” never means that for real, it means, “Oh thank heavens someone has messed up so I can feel better about myself!” haha)

But, it’s not so much about that at all (Thank Ya Jesus!) but about a friend of mine that called a couple of days ago (whom I have yet to call back because I’m a crazy woman with crazy kids that can’t seem to be quiet long enough for me to make a phone call and when they are sleeping, I have to be quiet so that they can sleep, y’all know the drill… even if you don’t have kids then you probably have some crazy sister-in-law or cousin who has young kids… we tend to be pretty crazy protective of the nap time!!!). She recently started the covenant and called saying that she was a little freaked out because she had gained four pounds.

So I’m going to write my friend Rhonda a post in response to her call… sorta kill two birds with one stone, ya know? Plus, I had another friend, Christy, who had the exact same thing happen to her.

First of all, I don’t know! haha! I had no idea that I would lose weight myself so quickly. I had no idea if I would lose weight at all… I just hoped that I would.

GET OFF TOSS THE SCALE: So, really, my first thing would be to say that it cannot be about the weight. If I have learned anything through this process, it is to not weigh. Allow your clothes not fitting to be your only guide if you have to have a guide… as difficult as that may be. We just need to forget all of this weight stuff… these arbitrary numbers. This body of ours that God has designed is infinitely complex and it responds to eating, not eating, changing diets, etc. exactly as it should. So, if you know that you are eating foods that honor God and only eating until you are satisfied/no longer hungry, then just turn your focus to Him. Which leads me to my next point…

FOCUS ON HIM: I think that the best part of the covenant so far as been how much it has forced me to read the Word of God. I mean, like I have said, I have been reading through the bible since October but this has taken it to a whole new level because I am relying on the Word to save me (in a non-get-salvation-go-to-heaven kind of way, of course). When I need some of those things that I turned to food for before (comfort, entertainment, relief, relaxation, etc), now I turn to the Word (well, at least 95% of the time – haha… okay, okay, 92% of the time). And it has been so awesome to see Him sustain me with just the Word. It truly is POWER and it keeps me from overeating or eating when I’m not hungry or eating what I have agreed not to eat… which leads me to my next point as well…

WHAT’S THE PROB: I think it’s important to take a real-honest-to-God look at myself every once in a while and evaluate the way I eat and decide if I think it honors God or not. Most of the time… well, actually, so far… All of the time that I have been gaining or not losing it has been because:

  • I was overeating (eating when I’m not hungry for some “other” reason that wasn’t hunger and/or eating when I am already full) or because
  • I was eating too many processed or “easy” foods (i.e. bread, tortillas, peanuts, cheese) instead of foods that would really honor God because they are beneficial for my body (i.e. fruits and vegetables).

In fact, this has been really good for me to write about because I have been going through a similar “Why am I not losing?” kind of phase. I think that knocking out the bread and chips will help me out in that area because they were becoming an all-too-frequent “go to” but I also think that I’m going to come up with a new rule for myself… if I am hungry and it’s not a meal (like it’s snack time) then I can eat fruit. I still don’t tend to “default” to fruit even though it completely rox my sox and I really have gotten to the point where I love it…

  1. I just need to have it around all the time so I need to be more diligent about getting to the store… the same way I am about whole milk for my toddler I need to be about fruit for me… if we are out then I need to get my bootie to the store and load up, and
  2. I need to help renew my mind so that it defaults to fruit. I have gotten my mind to “default” to the Word to sustain me and now I need to retrain this “go to” into a fruit thang.

Okay, Rhonda, again… sorry for not calling back but turns out it was really good for ME to have to sit down and sort of hash this out! Haha! And well, it IS all about me, right?!!? Haha! Either way, this post is for you!!!

Update: Rhonda texted me a couple days after this post to let me know that she had lost 7 pounds but was gonna stay off the scale for the next month and a half! Blessings and peace to Rhonda!

Day 123: Leftover Love

20120514-214712.jpg

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!