Day 680: You Can Go Your Own Way

Recently I sent my friend Suzanne a text.

{Get ready to feel sorry for me.}

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So LAME, right!?!?

But… I was being honest with her and I just really, REALLY felt like I should share it with y’all as well.

Anyway, before she and I could get a chance to meet, I had this, like, pretend conversation with myself and Suzanne:

Me-Prentending-To-Be-Suz: What are the things in your life that are sucking your joy?

Me-Pretending-To-Respond-To-Suz: Working out and cleaning my house.

Me-Prentending-To-Be-Suz: Okay, so, address those things. Fix them or get rid of them. Focus on what will restore your joy and peace.

And so, ya know what I did?

I canceled my gym membership!

AND I’M SO GLAD!!!

{Shocked gasps!}

I know. I was so glad, but as I decided to do it, I could already hear what “they” would say…

But, working out is so good for you! You shouldn’t put it off! Think about all those ‘What’s your excuse?’ fitsporations on Instagram? It should be a priority for you!

Yeah, well. Working out was stressing me out! Seriously! I felt like I HAD to do it because my sweet husband got me the membership to support me, but it just. wasn’t. working. I could give you all the reasons (which, I know, some will view as excuses) but what it boils down to is that my gym membership was HURTING the quality of my life instead of IMPROVING it!

And I felt so much better when I finally said “Okay, that’s it.”

I tell you this because I want you to feel free to do this whole weight loss thing YOUR WAY. If God leads you to do things differently than your BFF or your mom or your husband or your roommate… THAT. IS. OKAY.

It could be that “your way” means going to the gym every day for two hours at a time. Hey… do your thang.

It could be that “your way” means doing 15 minutes of yoga on your kitchen floor at home. Hey… do your thang.

There isn’t a formula and don’t let instagram or facebook or a pin on Pinterest or a group of friends or a Weight Watchers ad or a gym commercial or whatever tell you that there is a formula.

Find your way.

 

Day 635: The Diet That’s Not A Diet

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I thought about doing Paleo.
For like a day.
Being vegetarian/sometimes vegan is just so… easy for me now.

No defrosting.
No cross-contamination.
No hormone or non-hormone worries.
No lean or not lean.

It just matches me.

BUT.

Props to you people doing Paleo. or Vegan. or Weight Watchers. or WHATEVER!

And that’s one of the things that I love so much about The Covenant Diet… it’s not A diet! It really should be called The Covenant Life (but that website was already taken – ha)!

The thing is – so much of a successful lifestyle change comes from the heart and not the mind. I can count calories for six-months straight but if I haven’t had a change of heart about food, I’ll probably just revert right back.

And this is our goal. We are trying to shift from a food-focus to a faith-focus. Because we need Jesus just as much, if not more, AFTER our diet is over than we did during it.

When the compliments stop.
When another salad is just NOT what you really want.
When your mom makes her infamous chocolate chip cookies again and you haven’t had them in soooooo long.

THAT is when we need Jesus to remind us of our freedom from food.

And so it doesn’t matter at that point if you are vegetarian, vegan, rawist, whatever… what matters is that we work on refocusing our minds. What matters is that we allow Christ to redirect our attention to Him over and over and over again. What matters is that we don’t “go” on a diet but that we live in health and freedom.

And THAT is what The Covenant Diet is really about.

Day 165: All Dressed Up

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Salad dressing.

Yep. That’s the topic of this post… salad dressing.

Which might seem like a insignificant little topic but if you think about anytime you go on a diet what is one of the things that they always regulate?

Salad dressing.

Which is a shame because most salad dressings are sooooooo gooooooood. Of course, this is coming from a girl that really only eats ranch and blue cheese dressings. But both of those are sooooooo gooooooood.

Anyway, even though the medium for this topic is salad dressing, that’s really not the main point. The main thing on my mind is: excess.

And excess is the real reason that most diets limit salad dressings. It is the real thing reason that most diets are trying to limit. And the real reason most people lose weight on a diet… not the specific foods they are eating (although that is important to a degree), but the fact that they are eating less.

Think about it:

  • Calorie Counting: the main goal here is to limit the amount one eats in a day. It works for some people because they limit the amounts they eat to stay in that range. It failed for me because I would tally how many brownies I could eat that would keep me in that range.
  • Atkins:by cutting out carbs from your diet you limit the amount of food you eat. It works for some because carbs are the foods they are “addicted” to. Worked for me once then failed me every other time because I still didn’t have the self-discipline to not eat the foods on the “no” list.
  • Weight Watchers: which is essentially calorie counting but just on a much smaller scale (no pun intended- haha!). But it also causes you to limit the amount of your daily intake. It works for some because they are limiting what they eat in a day, possibly making better food choices as well. Plus I think their groups help a lot too. It seems that most people that have success with WeightWatchers do so because of the groups. It didn’t work for me because a) I hate math and even with the calculator I had to tally all my stuff, and b) again, I had to have the motivation and self-discipline to stay within my points. Plus I did the online version… so, no groups.
  • But all three of those (and there are, of course, a zillion more) limit food choices and in doing so they limit salad dressing. Yes, see, I got back to the topic again! Ha!

    And here’s the deal. If I’m gonna eat a LEAF, then I want to put something on said LEAF to make it taste like……… well, like a not-leaf. And that stuff is called salad dressing. So I don’t want to put on something fake-tasting because then it’ll be like eating a fake-LEAF. And that is even worse!

    So I knew that salad dressings were going to be one of those things that I wouldn’t put a limit on (unless it became an issue and I started eating bowls of just ranch… which I wouldn’t have put that past me). But what I have noticed is that I eat far less salad dressing on my leaves than I used to. (And yes, I looked up the word “leaves” to make sure that was the correct plural of “leaf”.)

    I used to eat what was essentially leaf soup. A handful of salad with globs and globs of dressing. In essence I just didn’t want to taste the leaves at all. But one of the most important retrainings that is happening to me is the avoidance of gluttony. And a truck load of dressing was… gluttony. Yes, apparently, one can even gluttonize with a salad. And so recently when I ate a salad and put on my regular amount of dressing, I looked down at it and thought… not. pleasing. to. God.

    And I scraped a ton of it back into the jar.

    And the salad was awesome.

    Maybe because now I eat salad with all sorts of goodies on it: carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery, cilantro, chopped peanuts, feta cheese, bell peppers, mushrooms, and a good mix of salad. I don’t even give much room for those dern leaves anymore. Heck, I could probably leave them out entirely!

    But I think it was extra good because I scraped off all of that bitter-tasting, guilt-producing, stomach-churning gluttony. And instead sprinkled on some amazingly tasty “honor-God”.

    You should try some… it’ll change your life.

    For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11

    Day 113: Why Be You, When You Can Be New

    So, my youngest son lovvvvvvves the movie Robots.

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I love it too! My husband is an inventor and an out-of-the-box kind of guy and so any story along those lines just totally matches up with our family!

    Well, aside from the many inspiring parts of the movie, there is one scene in particular that caught my attention today when the movie was playing in the background.

    Essentially, the old-school boss of the corporation (Bigweld) has been booted to the side and the fancy-pants money-making robot (Ratchet) has taken his place. Ratchet has decided that it is time to stop making spare parts for the robots forcing them to “upgrade” into expensive shiny new parts.

    And it was his sales pitch that got my attention…

    What’s our big ticket item?
    (“Eye Of The Tiger” plays while images of sleek, sexy robots appear on a screen all the robots are watching)
    Upgrades, people, upgrades. That’s how we make the dough. Now if we’re telling robots that no matter what they’re made of they’re “fine”, how can we expect them to feel crummy enough about themselves to buy our upgrades and make themselves look better? Therefore, I’ve come up with a new slogan: “Why be you, when you can be new?”

    Originally I started to think about how this is such a parallel to our society. We are pushed by marketing into that mentality of “feeling crummy enough about ourselves to buy upgrades”… upgrades being, like, a zillion things… wrinkle cream, makeup, expensive hair gel (can you tell that’s a personal issue of mine- haha), hair extensions, nails, tanning, containers of SlimFast, subscriptions to Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, gym memberships, personal trainers, laser hair removal, contacts, tats, earrings, jewelry, clothes, shoes, purses, lasik, hair dye, highlights, extensions, Botox, plastic surgery, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Now I have worn contacts, had lasik, occasionally wear makeup, have had a gym and a Weight Watchers membership. I’ve tanned, got highlights for my wedding, paid a mint for acrylics, and I would love laser hair removal. I can’t even count how many purses, shirts, and shoes I’ve owned over the years.

    But… well. None of that “newness” matters. I was still the same… me.

    Except where Jesus has made me new. Like I said, originally my entire goal was to mock the catch phrase “Why be you, when you can be new”, but the more I thought about it… the more I realized… wow. That really is enticing if the right voice is saying it to me.

    Why be you… addicted to food?
    Why be you… a liar and a gossip?
    Why be you… who has the self-confidence of a flea?
    Why be you… full of lust and greed?
    Why be you… self-centered and weak?

    So Jesus says to me, “Why be you… when you can be new?” But it’s the kind of “new” that won’t be out of style next season. It’s the kind of new that feels amazing on earth and will be even better in heaven.

    It’s the kind of new that I want to be. need to be. am designed to be.

    Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

    Day Ninety-One: Obedient Kisses

    I am still a bit amazed at how far I’ve come… I mean… how far God has brought me. And I’m also continually amazed at how well this covenant thing works, despite my slip-ups, because the food I eat and don’t eat are not that dissimilar to the ones I have eaten, and not eaten, on diets before. Only a big difference is the motivation and the accountability. And the biggest difference is that both the motivation and the accountability are from and with God.

    Before I would have used an upcoming event- a friend’s wedding, a beach trip, etc. as my motivation. And although those are rewarding, my heart and mind had gotten to the point where the “reward” of chocolate was MORE rewarding than the thought of something in the future. And so the only thing that would motivate me more was my love for God.

    Same with accountability- WeightWatchers staff… they were important but I didn’t care about their accountability as much as I “neeeeeeeeded” chocolate. My family members… who are the most important things in the world to me… but that chocolate would still supersede my love for them. (And that still pains me a bit to admit to even myself, but I can say that a lot of that was because the THINGS of this world were still so important to me that the eternal things, like love for my family, had wasted away). But my love for God was stronger.

    It is strong enough to make me obey Him. And that is how he says he wants us to show Him love… to obey Him. At a women’s retreat, Brenna Stull told a story (and the full, “live” version was way cuter, but this is a abridged version) about how she wanted to take a nap but she had a three-year-old who had dropped her nap, so she told her daughter, “You don’t have to sleep… all you have to do is lay still in bed with me and close your eyes.” Well, once they got settled in for a nap, her daughter started kissing her arm once, then two kisses, three kisses, then all the way up her arm. Finally, Brenna said, “I don’t WANT your kisses… I want you to obey me!” And I think that is where a lot of the reward in this covenant comes from… it gave me not only freedom from food, but a way to SHOW God my love… through obedience.

    If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. John 14:15

    Day Seventy-Seven: No Calorie

    I am horrible at dieting. Always have been. I think because it’s all about numbers.

    When I was in high school: it was about calories… how many calories did a bagel have in it?

    College: it was about carbs… how many carbs did a slice of bread have?

    Working woman: all about saturated fat amounts versus unsaturated fat.

    Newlywed: WeightWatchers… how many points?

    A Mom: high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat levels.

    It’s just too many numbers for an English major to remember, much less to add and keep track of!

    I tried in the fall to keep up with my calories on the Spark People app (which was really great if one is going to keep up with calories) and I would be all into it for a few weeks but then it was just old. boring. the same thing. And I still wasn’t losing weight. So, I lost motivation and that was all she wrote! I continued to use the app but only as a weight tracker.

    It was all just such a burden.

    Enter: Jesus…

    Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28

    We actually just talked about this in church on Sunday and again in women’s bible study. The “yoke” had two meanings back then… the obvious meaning would be that thing that is put on an oxen’s neck for him to pull that would then drag the cart or whatever around. But it also meant a rabbi’s (a teacher’s) beliefs and teachings that an apprentice would have to learn if he was able to choose a rabbi to follow.

    And, well, Rabbi Calorie, Rabbi Carb, Rabbi Fat, Rabbi Points, Rabbi High Fructose Corn Syrup… they have all failed me. Their burdens were far too heavy for me to take on.

    But Rabbi Jesus. Now that’s a different story. No calorie, no carb, no fat, no points, no high fructose corn syrup.

    He has provided me with a customized heart-changing. mind-renewing. life-altering. way of life that is easy to bear and light to carry. And there are no numbers to track.

    Now, that’s my kind of a diet! Haha!