Day 736: Get Your Rear In There

I know that I’ve addressed this time and time and time again… buuuuuuuuut I’m going to harp on it again because of an article I read this week that totally matched up with some of my non-scientific observations.

People: we have GOT to sleep more!

We have just got to get our rears. in. bed.

I mean, just look at this infographic from the Huffington Post! Two of their major points are connected with weight gain and eating! Obviously that’s going to get our attention, but… well, maybe it SHOULD get our attention! {Don’t worry, I have a few tips below it to help us!}

So, can we just agree to do whatever it takes to get our rears in bed tonight in time to fall asleep?

And I’m not saying get your rear in bed at bedtime… I’m saying that we need to put a system in place that gets our bodies in bed, relaxed, and

get ready for sleep before bedtime!

So, here are a few of my little “tricks” for getting my rear in there!

  1. GET UP: No one likes this one so I’m just going to get it out of the way: get your body out of bed at the same time, every day and don’t get more than 8 hours of sleep. (Okay, okay, sleep in on Saturday if you want!) If you are trying to get your body into a habit of getting to sleep at night, waking up in the morning is THE most important thing to do. It might mean a few days of dragging yourself out of bed and just muddling through the day but eventually this can really help you to get to sleep at night because… well, because you’ll be exhausted! But that exhaustion will wear off when you start falling asleep easily (or easier, at least) at night.
  2. DO THE MATH: Figure out what time you need to go to sleep (as in “lights out”) in order to get 8 hours of sleep… even if this means that you need turn the lights out at 9:30, give it a go for a few weeks and see how it makes you feel. Then, plan backwards: 15-30 minutes before “lights out”, you need to be in bed with tech off. I have read the research that supports that your mind can’t “chill out” with the lights of tech in it. And that includes the phone, the laptop, the TV, etc. Now, go backwards more:. 15 minutes before being in bed you need to start getting ready for bed: brushing teeth, washing your face, PJs on, etc. If you look at the “math” this really needs to be happening 45 minutes before “lights out”.
  3. HEAT IT UP: One of my favorite tricks for helping me go to sleep is the heating pad. Lay the heating pad down so that it aligns with your spine (to clarify: so that the bottom of the heating pad is just above your rear and the top of the heating pad is on your shoulders). Put it at whatever temperature you are comfortable with and turn out the lights. The heat will relax all of your extremities and your core making it easier to drift off.
  4. COUNT DOWN: I actually learned this little trick in my high school psychology class from a video that the coach popped in one day, but I have used it time and time again! Lights out, on your back, start with your toes. Make yourself very aware of relaxing your toes (it sounds funny but give it a try) and countdown from 10 with each number relaxing your toes more. Next, move to the balls of your feet and countdown from 10, then move to the arches counting down from 10, then your heels, your ankles, calves, knees, etc. {Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to my knees before falling asleep.}
  5. THINK ABOUT BED AT 2PM: I know I’m gonna have some haters over this one, but really… if you have trouble sleeping at night, make sure that you are cutting off all caffeine by 2pm. You might have trouble even making it to bed the first few days if you have some withdrawal. For some people this can be a huge key to falling asleep easier.

I actually got into being very deliberate about going to sleep when I realized that I am one of those people that simply MUST meet with Jesus every morning before the day starts if I want to be a good person and to help me focus my mind on Him instead of food. And in order for me to meet with Jesus, I just have to get to sleep on time or I canNOT drag my rear out of bed. So, honestly… this whole sleep thing. It might just help out more than just your weight.

Okay, so there are my five (and I think I might have crammed several into number 2 up there), but I knwo that there are other tricks of the trade: let’s help each other out! What are your non-medication tricks for falling asleep at night?

 

Day 735: It Was My Husband’s Idea

A few weeks back my husband mentioned that he’d read somewhere that it was good to eat 8 meals a day.

I gave him that Are you kidding me? look, because I mean, come on… I eat 8 meals a day and gain twenty pounds.

{Of course, let’s not bring up the fact that five out of those eight meals consisted of cookie dough and Hershey kisses.}

But I totally blew him off.

Until I started thinking about Steven Furtik’s new years messages from last year and just the phrase “Change the way we change” kept popping into my head, so I thought that I’d give it a go. Cause I’ve never done that whole 8-meals a day thing even though it’s totally “cool” with the whole nutritionists clan (which is probably part of the reason I didn’t want to do it… it’s a pride thing, but that’s for another blog). But ya know, I knew it would validate my sweet husband a little that I would try his idea and at the same time showing him that I would instantly blow up into a huge blimp.

Only.

Yeah… that didn’t happen.

I loved it.

Cause eating eight meals a day (well, I actually usually only eat six or seven but that is more than the “traditional” three) is awesome. You get to eat, like, all day long. Which is exactly what I was doing before only it was wayyyyyyyy less on purpose and with wayyyyyyyy more overeating and with wayyyyyyy more junk food!

Eight meals a day is like a dream come true for an overeater!

Cause what do we do normally? Well, we eat all day. So what we are doing here is still eating all day, but now we are focusing on our portion control and our hungry cues and smart eating.

It’s purposeful.
It’s fulfilling.
It’s easy.
It fits with any diet!

Okay, honestly, I’m gonna let you look up the science behind it (if you want). I haven’t read any of the science, but I do know that I get hungry about every two hours (if I’m eating smaller portions) soooooooooo, that’s basically my rule of thumb. Since I don’t have a hard and fast schedule like someone might in the traditional workplace, I go by when I ate last. For example, here’s what I might eat in a day:

  • 6:00am – tea with milk, if already hungry, I have a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 toast
  • 8:00am – apple with another cup of tea (or the toast if I didn’t eat at 6:00)
  • 10:00am – small bowl of granola and milk
  • 12:00pm – salad, split in two
  • 2:00pm – salad, the other half
  • 4:00pm – banana
  • 6:00pm – black beans and rice, split in two
  • 8:00pm – (tends to be optional for me) the rest of my black beans and rice (or I usually have a cup of tea)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking:

Uhhhhhhhhh, Rowe. A banana??? Yeah, that is NOT a meal.

Tell me about it.

But I think it’s a meal in the sense that you are stopping what you are doing to eat. I am being deliberate about preparing something for myself. Deliberate about stopping and making food happen. So, if you want to call it three meals and planned out snacks… that’s fine. But “eight meals a day” was just easier to say! (Ha!)

One other caveat that I’d add: I’ve been tracking calories. I know, I know… I always said that I hated it (and I promise to always have at least some mild distaste for the process), but I started doing it because I realized that I needed some accountability and some retraining, so I found this app where other people can see my “food diary”. I’m not like crazy about the calories but it is helping me to get a better understanding of my portions. Like, I always mocked the portion sizes on, for example, cereal boxes… but actually if I’m eating smaller portions (more frequently) then it’s actually perfect. Tracking is keeping me from dumping as much salad dressing on my salad. It’s helped me to know that while broccoli and squash and stuff like that isn’t “free”, it is certainly a great way to “foof” up a meal that would have otherwise been plain.

I know this isn’t a very Jesusy post (but the last few have been pretty spiritual if you need some Jesus: Day 734, Day 730, Day 729, and Day 728), but it’s something that is helping me along my journey from gluttonous to glorious, so I just thought I’d share some of the nitty gritty!

Day 454: I Will CUT You

I taught middle and high school English for about ten years before I became a stay-at-home-mom when my second kid was born. And part of being around teenagers all day means that you are frequently around YouTube videos.

Some are ridiculous. Some are gross. Some are awesome.

Well, there was this one video back in the day from MAD tv that some of the kids showed me and I thought it was hysterical. This “character” named Bon Qui Qui works at King Burger and she’s always calling security on people who make complicated orders and at one point a girl gets sassy with her and she says “Oh, I will CUT you.” My friends and I still joke around saying that… and, yes, we all try to say it just the way Bon Qui Qui said it. And yes, we probably look more like fools than cool. And yes, we don’t care because it’s too fun!

(If you are into MAD tv kind of stuff, here is the YouTube link if you’ve never seen it. It’s totally clean but stop at 3:15 if you don’t want to watch a little dance between the two.)

Anyway, lately I have really, really been thinking more about my portions. This is a cycle that I go through. I do really well eating just until I’m full for a month or so and then it’s like overnight I lose all ability to use self-control and I eat WAY too much stuff. My bloggy friend, finneyfer, recently commented on an older post (Day 365: My Portion) that I wrote about portion control and re-reading my OWN journey really helped to get me back on track with my thinking. {I love that God led me to do this blog for soooooo many reasons, but being able to go back and minister to myself is definitely one of my favorite reasons!} This part in particular has been a good reminder:

When I started thinking about “portion control” I remembered a commonly said phrase “The Lord is my portion”. I was pretty sure that it was a verse but didn’t know where it was in the bible or what context it was written in, so I looked into it. And I came across this:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

And I don’t know Greek or Hebrew, but from what I could read about it, “portion” most often means “inheritance”. So, how can God be my “inheritance”? Well, I guess I was thinking that the inheritance was what your parents passed on to you to support you, to maintain your life, to give you a boost financially, to help you.

And well, God is all of those things for me. He supports me, maintains my life, boosts me, helps me.

God is my portion. He is my portion control.

So, when that huge bowl of soup, or second-serving of pasta bake, or fifty-third cashew is calling my name, I can remember… God is my portion… I don’t need this extra stuff. I have the portion that will last forever.

I have the portion that will last forever… just that one thing gives me goosebumps just to think about even!

And another thing that got my attention was a friend of mine from high school who recently posted this:

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In one of the comments she answered someone’s question, “How did you do it?” to which she replied, “It wasn’t as hard as I thought… it just took actually wanting to do it. No sodas for 2 years, cut my food portions in half and walked. That’s it… NO tricks… NO gimmicks!”

I really thought about that for a while… like, wow. She just cut her food portions in half and walked (for some reason I never really got into big soda drinking) and got into a size 4. What if I could do that? The walking and half-portions part of it… not so much the size four part, which is why my comment on her status said this:

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Anyway, and then the other day after all that I had baked a potato for lunch and I looked at that thing and went all Bon Qui Qui on it and said, “I will CUT you.”

And I did.

And I ate half of it.

And I was totally satisfied.

See? All of those hours teenagers waste watching pointless YouTube videos just might eventually lead to a really deep, spiritual insight that will help someone out of their gluttony. You just never. know. Haha!

Try as I might, there was simply just no way to get a baked potato cut in half to look photographically “cool”. But, anyway, here… is my baked potato. cut in half. Ha!

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Day 365: My Portion

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I’ve noticed the past few go rounds at dinner that I have been so. full. after eating. I wasn’t eating any kind of crazy foods… still vegetarian, still sugarless, and now breadless, and chipless.

So, why would I be so full?

I mean, who gets super stuffed after eating soup!?!?

Well, as I’ve learned over and over and over and… over, it doesn’t matter WHAT I eat if I am eating TOO MUCH.

And…… I was eating too much. Even soup.

So there it was… the trick of gluttony sliding in under the guise of healthy food. under the guise of SOUP. Tricky. Tricky. Tricky.

Overdramatic-Me thought: Oh woe is me! What can I do to stop this?

Calm-logical-Me answered: Uhhhhhhh, I dunno, maybe… eat less food?

Yeah, that wasn’t a tough thing to figure out. But any time you are dealing with gluttony it is a tough thing to DO.

But as nutritionists have been saying for years, it’s all in the portion control. It’s in the serving myself a smaller bowl of soup instead of in my mega-cereal bowl of soup. It’s in eating my portion and then instead of going back for seconds eating some fruit or drinking a glass of water. There are so many well-known tricks of the trade of “portion control” that it’s not that difficult to know what to do. Again… it’s just in the DOING IT.

When I started thinking about “portion control” I remembered a commonly said phrase “The Lord is my portion”. I was pretty sure that it was a verse but didn’t know where it was in the bible or what context it was written in, so I looked into it. And I came across this:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

And I don’t know Greek or Hebrew, but from what I could read about it, “portion” most often means “inheritance”. So, how can God be my “inheritance”? Well, I guess I was thinking that the inheritance was what your parents passed on to you to support you, to maintain your life, to give you a boost financially, to help you.

And well, God is all of those things for me. He supports me, maintains my life, boosts me, helps me.

God is my portion. He is my portion control.

So, when that huge bowl of soup, or second-serving of pasta bake, or fifty-third cashew is calling my name, I can remember… God is my portion… I don’t need this extra stuff. I have the portion that will last forever.

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Day 213: Peach Portions

Day 10 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

This morning, like most when I am on a Daniel Fast, I woke up and wasn’t even thinking about breakfast. Really, for the past 200-something days I have breakfasted on coffee with almond milk and an occasional day with fruit or oatmeal or something. But most days I don’t eat breakfast because the coffee and almond milk fill me up.

Since I am not having any coffee during these 21 days I have I had to actually eat breakfast. But I don’t usually get hungry until 8:00ish or so.

And so this morning around 8:00 I was taking some medication and knew I was hungry so I thought to go ahead and eat a banana.

About an hour later I thought, “I’m hungry again.” Which is not atypical with this diet to be hungry every hour… so I went ahead and had a bowl of peach slices.

Thirty minutes later… hungry. I thought, “Okay, I need to have something with substance this time.” So I had a couple of spoons of peanut butter and a few raisins. Much better. I made it until lunch on that.

But what I was thinking of is that how cool it is that fruit has sort of been built-in by God with portion control.

I mean- a banana comes in its own wrapper. Once you’re done… you’re done. An apple- in a wrapper. Orange… yep. a wrapper. Peach? Messy, but still in a wrapper. Now berries… those are a little different. They are sorta like buffet style. But anyway. A lot of fruits and veggies are almost like designed for you to just eat one.

So I started trying that. Just eating one thing to see if that satiated my hunger. Cause I used to be all like “Oh I’m hungry” and then I’d automatically pour myself a huge bowl of cereal. or make myself a complete sandwich. or eat a batch of cookie dough. But now I sorta “probe” at my hunger. I think it’s kind of like how nutritionists say that it is better to have like 5 small meals a day. I think I kind of eat like that now.

There isn’t really any deep spiritual principle with that one. I just think it is pretty much the opposite of gluttony… and that is on the right track spiritually.

Day 149: Covenant Christy

Lately as I have conversations with other conventers, I find that some people expect… or maybe it’s that they hope… to have the same results as me. Nooooooot to sound cocky, but I think that if I was watching someone else undergo a similar transformation… well, I would want it too. So many of the people that know me have seen me go from 210 down to 160 (well, that’s what I weighed the last time I weighed a few weeks ago) and that’s a big change. Even I have had to make myself acknowledge the change a few times because it seems so drastic for just four short months.

But, God tends to be drastic sometimes.

But, God also tends to work differently through each of us. He works at different speeds. He moves our lives according to the “big picture”. He blesses some with an abundance of worldly gifts and some with eternal gifts. He is just… God.

And so I want to say first and foremost, that no one is going to have this covenant experience. It is mine. It is God’s. And that combination cannot be replicated. Which… is kind of cool for me: this moment in time as I write these words is completely and utterly unique. And it should be cool for you… this moment in time reading these words is completely and utterly unique.

All of that to say… I’m going to bring up my friend Christy again. I know, I know… I talk about her a lot. It’s just that she’s so extremely open about her life, her feelings, her thoughts, her experiences, etc. So, she gives me a lot of material to work with! Haha!

And Christy still has not lost weight… in fact, she has gained weight. So, I asked her the question the other day that I have had to ask myself many a time, “If you had to blame it on something, what do you think is causing it?” She knew pretty quickly what to say. She said, “I need to lay off the fruit salad.” Well, I’ll be honest. I was a little surprised that a bunch of fruit salad would make her gain weight… until she clarified that it wasn’t just plain fruit salad. It had fruit, and pecans, and some kind of fake cool whip. And she said she was really hittin it when the kids would go to bed. She’d sit at her laptop and eat fruit salad.

And her truthful self-analysis led me to do a bit of a self-analysis as well…

At the time I responded that I think part of why I have lost weight is because I really don’t eat as much as I used to. Like, she does a great job of making sure that her family is well fed. She makes meals. She keeps good produce in her house. And, well, I’m not like that (wish I was, but I’m not), and so quite often I would find myself coming up upon lunch and thinking, “Well, hmmmmmm, nothing much to eat, so I guess I’ll have a bowl of tomato basil soup. or sweet potato fries. or a salad.” Whatever was easiest. And often the easiest thing didn’t have a whole lot to it, so I was cutting down on the amount of what I was eating.

Now, my portion control is a bit more under control simply because I’m eating less and less “stuff” (i.e. chips and bread) and instead more fruit (like, I made a deal with myself to only eat fruit when I’m snacking). Plus, I have been really focusing more and more as the covenant goes on with the beneficial versus permissible and eating in such a way that would make God pleased. So, even though this really started out as a Daniel Fast… more often than not, my covenant is less about what I am eating and more about how much I am eating. First, I had to cut things out (like chocolate and meat) to just get over the “I have to have” mindset. But once I got past that, then I have had to refocus on “I need more” versus “I want more”.

And that’s what it boils down to… not only am I eating closer to what I think God intended my body to eat, but also I’m eating closer to the amount that God intended my body to eat. Eventually, my weight loss will stop because I will have, truly, found my body’s homeostasis.

But, in the meantime… honestly… I’m totally fine with losing weight! Haha!

 

Day Forty-Three: Obedience Is Bliss

(FYI: I am writing this on the evening of February 21st around 9:10pm. It was a post that I needed to write immediately before the awesomeness of it wore off, but since I already posted for day forty-two then I’m scheduling it to post on day forty-three.)

I had a blunder tonight.

Hmmmmmm, perhaps that is putting it lightly. Perhaps that is me not choosing the right word. Perhaps that is me trying to go easy on myself. I’m going to try again.

I broke the covenant tonight.

Yep. Broke it. Shattered it. Demolished it.

Cause that’s what happens to an agreement when one side “breaks” their oath… their bond. The “agreement” is null. void. pointless. non-existent.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop being over dramatic (not that me being over dramatic is a shocker to anyone who knows me). Here’s what happened: I planned a nice meal for us and I even reveled in it during day forty-two’s post: potato and carrots in an onion sauce, baked apples, and a salad. Only, let me just tell you that the baked apples weren’t so much just “baked apples”. It was a Baked Apple Crisp. And I think that any foodie out there is well aware that a Baked Apple Crisp has quite a lot of brown sugar in it.

At dinner, I did a great job of not eating everything on my plate (cause I had gotten an old-me-sized portion… as in, a big ol’ honkin serving). So I stopped when I felt a little bit of pressure. I only ate a few bites of the apple crisp. And that was that. It would have been a perfect evening… except I left out the remains of my meal while I bathed the boys. And then afterwards I came in and ate a few more bites even though I was not hungry. And then after I got both boys down, I snuck (and yes, I say snuck because I walked down the hallway extra quietly so that my husband wouldn’t know that I was finished putting down my oldest) into the kitchen and started chowing down on the leftovers in the baking dish. Oh my gosh. Sooooooo good.

And then… the war began.

Stop!!! January, stop! This is not right. This is breaking the covenant. This is gluttony. This is not what God wants. It’s not what you want. Yes it is… are you kidding me, this is flour and sugar and butter and more sugar. Why would I not want this? Why would God not want this? It’s not gluttony… it’s just enjoying good food. It’s not really breaking the covenant, I mean, it’s got apples in it for crying out loud! This is fine. I don’t need to stop. January. Stop. Think about tonight. Think about five minutes from now. Think about tomorrow. Stop. I. can’t. stop. It’s too good. I. can’t. stop.

And then the moment that I have been hoping for these past forty-two days… here was my next thought…

God, make me willing to obey.

And it worked!

It’s was almost as if my fork was stuck in the next apple. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to disobey. I wanted to obey. I wanted to be willing to obey. I was going to obey.

And I will admit that I broke into tears at that moment. Because God is so great. Forty-two days in and He is greater than I imagined He could be. His Word… that one verse from just one day… written on my heart… swooped in and connected me to God in a way that saved me. And I stood in that kitchen by myself and raised my hands in thanks to the Almighty Of The Universe for His mercy. His compassion. His adoration. His Love. His help. His salvation.

And I knew that immediately I had to come sit down at this computer and write this post.

THIS post is totally going to be one of my memorial stones. I have been wondering what I could do… well, here was a moment where I needed to cross a river and God dried up the water so that I could pass… and here is a stone that I am picking up to remember that He is faithful and He is just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all of my wrongdoing and wickedness.

Today has been the best day of my covenant experience… which is SO JESUS… because today is the day that I broke the covenant and therefore should have been my worst day. Today though… today was mercy at its best. And hope at its best. And forgiveness. And all things new. Because today He lifted me from the pit and He “turned my wailing into dancing; He removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing His praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise Him forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

Read your bible peeps. Read it. And you will. be. changed.

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Day Forty-One: Control Freak

Today my recent overeating has been on my mind. I have had several instances of it happening at snackie time and at dinner. Again, I know this stuff might be easy to fix for a veteran skinny girl, but I’m totally in new territory.

I think that I have realized two things:
1) I need to serve myself much smaller portions. Going back for seconds isn’t a taboo thing as long as I’m still hungry, and it’s a lot easier to avoid overeating something when there is a limited portion on my plate. I just need to set myself up better.

2) I need to get out a bowl or a plate and “serve” myself a snackie. Doing so would serve two purposes. First of all, it would make me have to consciously choose to eat a snack instead of just grabbing something that is out. And it will enable me to better monitor and control how much I am having.

Both of these things are about me being in control of my consumption. When I realized that just now, I found it interesting because I needed to do this covenant in the first place because I haven’t been able to control myself in the past. I needed God to BE my control.

But the Bible points out a lot about us having self-control. Which is the only thing about the Bible that has frustrated me over the years… if I need self-control then why doesn’t it tell me how to get it. Well, as I have done this personal study I have found that the Bible does address that just not necessarily in a subtitled chapter called “How To Gain Self-Control”.

First of all we have to know that the Devil is all up on a lack of self-control! Not having any is not only a beat down to us but it also confuses those around us… makes them wonder who is running our life?

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

And then we have to pray and realize that no matter how many ways out God gives us, we need Him to change the way we think. This is almost like a preventative thing. Our minds have to be changed and altered.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

And finally, the two add up to this: if we are keeping a watch our for where Satan is going to attack and we have asked and allowed God to start to change the way we think, then He will show us a way out!

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Just like He has done for me with these thoughts about portion control. He has helped me to see the way out. Which makes me feel better that it’s not me trying to “steal” back control from God as it is Him giving me self-control. Pretty decent gift. I’m looking forward to using it more in all the areas of my life! Haha!