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 629: I Love It When My Pants Won’t Button

if you wake up and your fat jeans wont button consider it a challenge

Okay, well, I love the effect it has on me when my pants won’t button.

Wait. False.

I love the effect on me AFTER the original response I have when my pants won’t button.

Confused?

I bet.

This morning I woke up, did the whole parenting thing, made lunches, got kids dressed, yada yada ya. And then I needed to throw on some clothes to take my son to Kindergarten (He still insists that we walk him into the school instead of car drop off, and well… I indulge him), so I ran into my closet and thought “Oh, I’ll just grab my ‘fat jeans’ and wear those.”

Now, mind you, my ‘fat jeans’ are heinously uncomfortable and actually they aren’t even a bigger size… so ‘fat jeans’ is really quite a misnomer. They are my ‘cheap jeans’ that look terrible on me so I call them my ‘fat jeans’ because they are the ones that I wear around the house.

Only, not today I didn’t.

Because they wouldn’t even button.

I looked up at myself in the mirror. And I could see the dismay on my face.

It’s happening.

I said to myself.

I’m gaining weight.

A lot of it.

I must be if these jeans won’t even BUTTON!

And cue the moment where I spiral into a depression because I am doing the VERY thing that I do not want to do: gain. I mean, it’s cool for me to maintain, but gain?!?! No.

I could feel the horrid self-talk bubbling up from deep inside me… raging to crawl up into my mind and tell me that I’m worthless. weak. stupid.

But then I looked up again… and I said to the mirror, yes, I said it outloud, by myself, in the bathroom, with my ‘fat jeans’ hanging open.

Well then, it’s on!

{Cause I really try to never miss a chance to make my life feel a little bit like a cheesy movie.}

But it was… it was ON!  I decided in that 13 seconds that I was going to go to the pool and swim that morning (even though not even an hour before I had decided to cancel my membership since I hadn’t been in three weeks… which was a post-injury sabbatical of a week that had stretched into three) and then I was going to make a meal list for the week and then I was going to go grocery shopping later today.

Okay… that is the too-much-detail-I-always-tell-too-many-irrelevant-details version of the morning. And I mean, it was cool that a moment that should have gotten me down… a moment that would have knocked every ounce of motivation out of me a couple of years ago… that moment turned into my motivation!

But it got even cooler.

So, I went to the gym (and I am currently straining myself to leave out every detail of the morning between dropping my son off at school and finally making it into the pool) and of course water aerobics were about to begin and you can’t lap swim during that time. Since I was feeling very, very tight I hopped into the hot tub to get my body warmed up. While I was in there I started doing some stretching and thought

This would be a great time to pray.

So that’s what I did… I stretched and prayed… and THEN, I started to sing.

Yep.

In the hot tub.

Which is in the same room as water aerobics.

I just couldn’t come up with a verse or a prayer that was expressing my heart right, and my mind just sorta defaulted into song (which unfortunately, try as I might… I canNOT remember which one it was)! So… I sang.

And then when water aerobics really got jumpin, I got into the small portion of the pool by the steps that they don’t use and I just did some swim-kicks (whatever you want to call it… I held on to the step and kicked my legs as if I were swimming) and I said thank you to God for everything that I could come up with.

Thank you God for this membership.
Thank you God for this pool.
Thank you God for the time to do this.
Thank you God for your grace.
Thank you God for my body.
Thank you God for where I am now.
Thank you God for where I will be.
Thank you God for where I have been.
Thank you God for this revival of my heart.
Thank you God for…
Thank you God for…
Thank you God for…

And it was beautiful. And I did those leg kicks for thirty minutes. Not because I had to but because I wanted to. I wanted to stay there with God. I wanted to say thanks to Him both through my words and through my commitment to stay there and work my body. I wanted to stay there and say thanks…

Thank you God for… the fact that my ‘fat jeans’ didn’t fit this morning.

fat pants made me workout

Day 445: When It Rains, It Pours… Literally.

As in, it’s 2:24am as I start this post and I’ve already been up for about thirty minutes because it is POURING at our house.

With full-boar lightning, the kind of thunder that makes things rattle in the house, and overflowing gutters all around.

Oh, and shall I include a nightmaring toddler?

Not that I can blame him… creation is LOUD tonight.

So, what does a girl like me do at 2am when she can’t sleep cause of the rain?

She blogs.

And reads the bible.

Well, honestly, first I opened up Twitter… not because I was checking anything for my Twitter feed, but because I follow Jesus Calling on there and sometimes they just have one little tweet that rocks my world. I think I was hoping that they would make it easy on me. And after scrolling through the last week or so of their tweets, I was like “Ummmm, I’m in the wrong place” and so I hoped over to YouVersion to see what God had to say.

I sorta stared at that screen for a minute, like, “Uhhhhhh… what should I read?” So I clicked on my bookmarks and skimmed through those. And then, I thought “Well, why am I up in the first place? Rain. I’ll search for verses that have the word rain in them.”

And I saw this one in the book of Joel.

Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. Joel 2:23

And that part “The rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness” sorta grabbed my attention, so I thought… “Hmmmm, I’ll read some of Joel. Cause I mean… who reads Joel?!?!? I don’t even REMEMBER the last time I read the book of Joel. Not sure I even remembered that it was a book of the bible.”

And then I changed my readers version to The Message… cause, I mean, come on. It IS 2am.

And then I was reminded why people probably don’t hit up Joel very often… from the onset you get verses like these:

Get in touch with reality—and weep! Joel 1:5

Joy is dried up and withered in the hearts of the people. Joel 1:12

A black day! A Doomsday! Clouds with no silver lining! Joel 2:2

Yikes… who wants THAT story??? But, just like God’s grace, the story turns…

But there’s also this, it’s not too late— God’s personal Message!— “Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!”Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now, maybe he’ll turn around and show pity. Maybe, when all’s said and done, there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God! Joel 2:12-14

I mean, that was good, don’t get me wrong. But then, there it was… the reason God sent me to Joel. And let’s just say that the “locust” in my life was gluttony.

I’ll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation— Locusts savage, locusts deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom, That great locust invasion I sent your way. You’ll eat your fill of good food. You’ll be full of praises to your God, The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder. Joel 2:25-27

And it just reminded me… God will… wait, no… God IS making up for the years of slavery that I spent to gluttony. And now, I’m eating my fill of GOOD food. I’m full of praises to Him. He is my God, who has set me back on my heels in wonder.

So, like the rainbow was in the days of Noah, rain will be for me. I will remember that like he said in verse 23, “Rain demonstrates His Faithfulness.

Thank you rain, for waking me up.
Thank you toddler, for getting me up.
Thank you Joel, for reminding me.

Thank you God, for saving me.

Day 372: Cathartic Cookie Dough

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Ya know when you hit rock bottom?

Like, take Lindsey Lohan’s rock bottom for example… well, sweet dear… she has had many, many rock bottoms. But, I can’t raz on her too much… I’ve had many, many rock bottoms myself. Fortunately there is not a media chain that is terribly interested in recounting every single mistake that I’ve ever made. And while we’re at it… let’s say a prayer for her. I mean, anyone that is pursuing their own personal destruction so readily must be so sad and empty inside. And she can’t escape the eyes scrutinizing her. I truly feel for her.

But anyway, the experience of hitting rock bottom is… beautiful and terrible… both at the same time.

And I mean the true rock bottom. Like, all of my other “rock bottoms” (e.g. eating an entire bag of chocolate chip cookies from Albertsons, eating an entire bag of Sam’s Choice peanut butter cups, eating an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos)… those were just “rock middles”. I just thought they were rock bottom.

But my rock bottom was when I truly felt completely lost. completely hopeless. completely worthless.

Ya know though… I’d felt all of those things before: lost. hopeless. worthless.

But, you see, look at the meaning and the origin for the idiom “rock bottom” from dictionary.com:

rock bottom: The lowest possible level, absolute bottom, as in Wheat prices have reached rock bottom. This idiom alludes to the presence of bedrock that prevents digging farther down.

And that is precisely what rock bottom was for me… The Presence of The Rock that prevented me from going down any further. So this time it was different because I finally moved in the direction of going up. That’s why I think it was TRULY my rock bottom. I simply could not get any lower (well, maybe I could have… but so glad I didn’t) and so the only direction to go was… up!

And, if you don’t know this story about me crying into the huge vat of cookie dough that I made, while looking up the website for Overeaters Anonymous, while continuing to eat cookie dough… I wrote it out on the page Rock Bottom, and then I referenced it on Day 21: Cookie Dough Syndrome and Day 68: Cookie Dough Success.

BUT.

God is faithful. God found me. God gave me hope. And God infused me with His Worth.

And I saw all of that come full circle last week. I made the exact same recipe of cookie dough. I wrapped and froze the same recipe of cookie dough. And on Thursday, I delivered the same recipe of cookie dough.

And I never. took. a. bite.

So it was a time to thank Him, to glorify Him, to give Him all the credit.

But I have to give my sweet boy’s sweet teachers at his preschool some credit too… they were so awesome that it made me want to make them cookie dough in the first place, and then again in the second place!

And I just couldn’t decide which pic I liked better of the three of us soooo I decided to put this one in too!
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Day 357: First Donuts

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Way back on Day Forty-Two, I was already thinking about this day. I was already planning what I would eat on January 1, 2013. Weird to think that now… I am… here. On January 1, 2013.

But also on Day Forty-Two, I also came the conclusion that I was going to hold back today from eating “whatever” {and yes, I am going to copy-paste a big chunk of it here}…

From Day Forty-Two: Skinny Tuesday Fat Tuesday is pretty much all about getting to over indulge simply because lenting requires sacrifice. It’s almost as if we fatten up on this day because we feel like we deserve it since we will have to self-sacrifice the rest of the time. And that is kind of the mentality that I’m afraid of having.

For example, I have already been thinking and planning about what I’m going to do when my covenant diet is over. Last night I was thinking about what I would have on January 1, 2013… a ribeye steak from Roadhouse… my mom’s chocolate cake (you know, the one that I’m going to miss on my birthday)… a liberal glass of red Merlot…

But now that I get to thinking about this whole Fat Tuesday mentality, I’m kinda of wondering if maybe that’s not what would please God. I mean, my whole thing has been about Him changing my mind, my heart, my soul. Wouldn’t that be just like me turning my back on Him pretty much as soon as He has delivered me into the promised land? Which is so much of what the Israelites did when He dropped them off. After the generation that had been wandering in the desert died off, the people started worshiping other idols in no time. And God was NOT pleased with that scenario. I’m reading through Judges right now and it seems like any time one of the judges gets the people back in order, everything is good, then he or she dies, and everyone gets right back into their mess of looking somewhere other than God. And then He punishes them.

Yeah… I don’t want that.

I want for God to see my actions on January 1st and be pleased. I want for Him to look at me and think… Wow, she really did want to change. She really does want to please me. I really want to give her my blessing.

So maybe I won’t go all out on January 1st after all. Maybe I’ll even follow the same diet for that day. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Yep. That would be a pretty neat New Year’s gift to offer to God.

And so this morning I woke up, totally cool with the idea of giving God my “first fruits”, so to say and not eating “off” of the covenant even though I was technically “allowed” to do so.

(If you are wondering What is she talking about with this “first fruits” stuff? It is essentially based off of the idea that God commanded the Israelites in Exodus 34:26 to bring the very best of the first harvest to Him. So, although I didn’t grow anything to give to him, it’s the idea of taking the “first chance” to eat sugar and stuff… and giving that to Him instead of me eating it.)

And I was feeling a little, admittedly, self-righteous about doing so. Like, I honestly had a few “I’m soooo good to do this” kind of moments.

And then my father-in-law showed up…

… with donuts.

Yep. Donuts.

Donuts with sprinkles.

Well, that certainly was a bit of a buzz kill for my self-rightousness (but it was REALLY nice of him to do… my kids were ECSTATIC)!!!

And after I got over my little pity-party, I thought to myself… Why am I surprised that it happened this way? It had to happen this way. It wouldn’t have meant a thing if I gave up eating “whatever” I wanted all day if there was no temptation. No true sacrifice. It was actually an opportunity for me to really show God my thanks for this past year.

So, today, God I give you… not so much my first fruits but my first donuts. Thank you Lord for providing me with power, forgiveness, compassion, more forgiveness, guidance, wisdom, and self-discipline. Thank you for freedom that You have given me through Jesus. Thank you, quite simply, for my life. Both the physical life that I have as I breathe and walk and live, as well as for the spiritual life that I experience every day. This earth may not be perfect anymore, but with You as my God… I truly feel as if The Kingdom of Heaven IS here.

Day 136: A Fast Shopping Trip

Today was a “me” day.

And ohhhhhhh how nice those “me” days are! My parents watched the boys for me so that I could go get a hair cut and, well, just not be in constant “mom mode” all day. As much as I adore my boys, I also adore… me. And I like to spend time with just… me.

So I dropped them off at my parents house this morning, and went and got my hair cut. I was kind of craving a parfait but didn’t have time to snag one before hand (which I was glad about later).

After that I had decided already that I was going to try to find some shoes and a few shirts and tops down at the outlet shops near us.

I went into GAP cause it was near where I parked and I have a friend that wears GAP stuff and I always think she looks classy… and I grabbed a few things that I thought looked cute… both size 10 and 12 in shorts and a few medium tops.

Nervously, I went into the changing room and looked at my options. I was nervous for two reasons:

a. I had not been shopping anywhere but Ross in ages and each store has its own “protocols”… and for some reason not knowing how many outfits I can take in, if I have to wait for an attendant, should I knock on the door or not, etc. all makes me nervous.

b. I had a pair of size 10 shorts. I was about to find out if my size 10 “moment” the other day was just a one-dress deal or if I would be able to wear more size 10s.

Instead of trying on the 12s first to see if they were too big I just went for it with the 10s. And… they. fit. perfectly.

I grinned at myself in the mirror and said a quiet “Thank you Jesus”… and then like all good iPhone users, took a pic of myself!

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And then I tried on another pair of 10s and they fit (but looked hideous). But I got a couple of other shirts and totally thought to myself, GAP is gonna be a good place for me: good clearance rack, trendy but classy clothes options, good “cut” for my body type.

But I’ll admit that I was grinning as I walked out of the changing room.

And still grinning (and a bit giddy) as I checked out.

Still grinning as I walked around the outlet stores.

Annnnnnnd, yep, grinning… as I walked into American Eagle, J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger, and Puma.

And everywhere I walked I thanked God for the restrictions that had brought me so much freedom. I thanked Him over and over again for that freedom.

On my way to Old Navy on the other side of the highway, I decided that I would stop by Paradise Bakery (which I love) after getting a few things. But as I walked out of Old Navy (with several more size 10s and some medium tops), I was just so overwhelmingly thankful to God. Like I wanted to show Him how thankful I was.

And for some reason, I thought, “I should fast for the rest of my ‘me’ day.”

We tend to fast out of obligation, or heartbreak, or concern. In fact in looking for a verse or a time that someone in the bible fasted because they were blessed, I kept coming up with people fasting because they had messed up and wanted God to forgive them or because they were in mourning for one thing or another. But I can never think of a time that I have thought- wow, having such a great time right now… I should fast. Fasting because I’m blessed instead of fasting in order to be blessed. It was just such a new thought for me. But it was great! I thought even more and more about His blessings every time my stomach growled. I was so glad that I had missed breakfast and then passed by Paradise Bakery, so that I could have those fasting moments with Him.

And it helped me keep my focus on the One that made that size 10 possible. I didn’t once look at myself and think, “Wow January. Good work.” Because I know that it was only by His strength that I was able to lose weight. And that’s why I was so pleased with doing that little “blessing-fast”… giving Him my thanks through a sacrifice… makes me think of the One that did the same.

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalm 50:14

Day Fifty-Two: And The Youth Will Lead Them

My oldest boy (he is 4 1/2) has been really into telling me about what he’s learning in church on Sundays in his class. Which I am esctatic about because that means that he is 1) really listening and 2) really interested!

This past Sunday the lesson was about the ten men that Jesus healed from leprosy while only one came back.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Luke 17:11-19

Now I think as adults we tend to analyze this a bunch of different ways, but the “kid analysis” was so simple and so brilliant.

So after Pasco told me the story, I asked him my typical, “What can we learn from this story?” And his response: “Mom, you need to thank Jesus when he does something nice for you. Just like the sick man said thank you.”

That was it. So simple. So true. It wasn’t shocking or anything but there was something about hearing it from someone else and especially since the “you” was in there- it made it… personal.

January, you need to thank Jesus when he does something nice for you.

Hmmmmmm- like healing me from a leprosy of my soul, for example? Because that is just what Jesus is doing for me. It didn’t necessarily happen in one flash of lightning, but just like those men with leprosy… it is happening “along the way”.

So, like my son said, I need to thank Jesus… because he has done something nice for me. Sooooo…

Jesus. Where do I begin? Thank you for every moment of freedom that you have given me already. Thank you for every moment of freedom that I can look forward to in the future. Thank you for renewing my heart and for giving me an obedient heart. Thank you for helping me to bring my mind along with that same renewal. Thank you for the Word that you have given me. Thank you for the time to read it. And thank you for the way it changes me, renews me, purifies me. Thank you for healing me of my addiction to food. Thank you for my salvation. Thank you for loving me so much more than I could ask for. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Amen.