VACATING GUILT

If I’m being completely honest … this week’s blog was extremely difficult to compose. My spirit and my head have been battling most of the week. My head is telling me life sucks! I suck! I’m a big, fat, fake liar! My spirit is wise enough to recognize these attacks of negative thoughts aren’t how I REALLY feel. I know these negative slings and arrows are being launched at me by an enemy that hates me. An enemy who loves it when I start treading water in the deep end of my own little pity pool. He’s been pretty relentless this week.

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The reason for my angst is this past week I spent four days on vacation celebrating my son’s milestone 30th birthday. It was a trip my daughter-in-law secretly planned for months to surprise her husband. My son was properly surprised and excited to discover that most of our family would be joining him at Disneyland and California Adventure to commemorate his big birthday. 

A grand time was had by all – yes, even me – but it came at cost. 

It’s pretty difficult – if not impossible – to take a long road trip and then spend two days at a Disney themed amusement park without giving in to some pretty unhealthy snacking and eating. I’m sorry to say, I didn’t disappoint when it came to meal time.

I managed to start each day with a healthy breakfast, but beyond that – the rest is a bit of a blur.

Disneyland is said to be the happiest place on earth, and while that may be true for first-time visitors, seasoned pros and repeat park-goers like myself have learned that the happiest place on earth is also the most expensive place on earth when it comes to food. Hence the need to pack in some of life’s essentials.

My husband believes vacation road trips should include staples from every major junk food category, including but not limited to, Doritos, gummy bears, chocolate chip cookies, black licorice, red vines, beef jerky, goldfish crackers and of course, ice cream, candy bars and Mountain Dew at every gas stop. The guy doesn’t exactly make it easy for someone maintaining a weight loss to keep things legal. But being the good wife that I am, I packed accordingly. My backpack was ever ready in the snack department and definitely came in handy while standing in those long ride lines.  Image result for goldfish crackers  Image result for gummy bearsImage result for red and black licoriceImage result for doritos and mountain dewImage result for ice cream sundae with chocolate chip cookies

Most of us know, once you step off a weight loss program, it’s a slippery slope and a quick slide into poor food choices, guilt and regret. I didn’t do as much damage as I could have, or as much damage as I once was known to do – but I was certainly no angel either. Image result for slippery slope meme

The problem with travelling with a large group of people is whenever one person got it in their head to eat ice cream, churros, cream cheese filled pretzels shaped like Mickey Mouse, the delicious Beignets Disney is famous for … or whatever – (fill in the blank of the most decadent foods you can think of)  … everyone jumped on the bandwagon and everyone ate!  Image result for beignets

A pinch of this, a nibble of that, a bite of something else … As much as I tried to convince myself that each small sample barely registered a blip on the old calorie meter – I KNOW that those BLT’s (bites, licks and tastes) eventually add up and have to go somewhere.

One of the great benefits of losing weight is my stomach can no longer hold as much food as it once did. It’s far too painful for me to eat like an NFL linebacker, so I never ordered anything just for me — but there was a whole lot of sharing going on! Even though my stomach may be smaller,  my guilt-ridden mind couldn’t tell the difference whether I was eating a little junk food or lots. Guilt and regret all look and feel the same no matter the sin. At least this is true for me. Image result for guilt complex

Here it is days later and I’m continuing to wrestle with the sin and the guilt. I’m having a tough time getting back on a balanced eating track. (And balanced eating does not mean a cookie in each hand!) My head and my spirit want to resume normal, healthy eating, but my dang flesh has unleashed a beast that demands to be fed junk food at regular intervals.

On the plus side – while I did eat more than normal, amusement parks force you to do a lot of walking. Knowing it was going to be hard to resist food temptations, I forced myself to walk as much as possible. I opted to walk to and from the parking garage to the parks rather than hopping on a tram. I volunteered to walk around pushing a sleeping baby in a stroller while everyone else was riding those scary rides I dislike. We spent two days at both parks and I averaged about ten miles of walking each day.

My last visit to Disneyland three years ago found me lugging around an extra 55 pounds on two bad knees and feet that were in such bad shape, I was reduced to tears after a mere few hours. My previous Disney visits found me sitting more and walking less. I am grateful to God that I now have more energy and am able to walk for miles on end. This news alone should lift my spirits and rid me of all guilt.

But yet …

These last two weeks of the year are probably the roughest days of the entire year when it comes to watching what we eat. That’s especially true in my household since my immediate family celebrates three December birthdays which means – three birthday dinners and three different birthday cakes because everyone demands something different. Any way you look at it – combined with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and that shakes out to a whole lot of high caloric foods in my house. Yeesh! Image result for birthday cakes

So many people completely let loose this time of year and indulge in decadent Christmas goodies. The mindset of many is to enjoy the holidays with the intent to start fresh after the New Year. That is certainly an option, but why risk gaining extra weight now forcing yourself to work that much harder after New Year’s? How do we stay on track and maintain our healthy eating lifestyle through the holidays and into the New Year???

For me … I remember how hard it has been losing weight. I know exactly how many hours on the treadmill and bike it takes to whittle away those extra pounds. Losing weight is hard! Why would I willingly choose to undo all of the hard work I’ve put into this?  I’ve got to spend more time focusing on how I got here. I need to drown out the voice of the enemy. I need to focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas and less time obsessing over ME. Christmas is not about ME. Family birthdays are not about ME. Jesus didn’t send His son to earth as a tiny baby so I could stress out over what is going in my mouth. Life is more than food!

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Life, in fact – DOES NOT suck. I DO NOT suck. I AM NOT a big fat, fake liar – just a girl who wants to be better … act better … feel better … and be the best version of who God created me to be.  I don’t want to fake it till I make it.  I want to make it through the holidays and into next year the same way I made it through this year:  working hard and beating back the devil with all that is within me AND trusting God each and every day!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

A vacation is like love — anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia. ~Author unknown

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NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO … SLEEP?

It’s one of those things that I can say with 100% certainty: we ALL need SLEEP. The human body can only exist for so long without rest. Too many days without sleep and your entire body from head to toe is compromised and works less efficiently.  Sleep (or the lack of it) can have a huge impact on weight loss, depression and anxiety and our mental well-being. 

Without proper sleep, we are in danger of falling victim to “The Seven Dwarf Syndrome.”  You know it as Sleepy-Grumpy-Dopey–itis. Okay, so that’s only three dwarfs. But without sleep you definitely won’t be Happy and eventually, you’ll need to see a professional … a Doc.

Image result for  images for the 7 dwarfsImage result for  images for the 7 dwarfsImage result for  images for the 7 dwarfsOur bodies and brains need time to rest and recharge; there’s no way around it.  Sadly, not everyone is lucky enough to get a solid eight hours every night. Many of us struggle in this area.

I’ve got a lot of good things going for me. I get regular exercise, take vitamins, aim for fairly healthy eating, get annual check-ups … yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.  But that sleep cycle thing … not so much. Sometimes I don’t have a lot of control over what my body (and brain) wants to do while at rest. I can go for weeks on end enjoying a good night’s sleep and then … BAM! With little or no warning that blasted Hormone Fairy visits me at night and sprinkles some sort of destructive estrogen pixie dust all over me. Sticky glitter doesn’t even compare to this brand of “magic,” fairy dust. It clings so intensely, it seeps into my pores making me appear haggard and sleep-deprived and much, much older than I feel. And I’m pretty sure the Fairy and her dust are the cause of facial wrinkles, gobble-wobbles and saggy body parts.  But that’s a blog for another day!

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As if all of that wasn’t enough, estrogen pixie dust contains some sort of mysterious radioactive properties that cause my core’s body heat to rise to a near boiling temperature. Image result for radioactive explosionsMy very survival relies on two fans (one on the ceiling and one on the floor) and the cold night air seeping in through the opened window. My husband and two dogs snuggle under layers of blankets and cuddle together for their combined body heat. Me? I can’t stand to have man or beast touch me in the slightest as it only raises my temperature to even higher heat levels.

As I ignite from within, my internal furnace radiates a fireball of heat from my body. Like a neon “OPEN ALL NIGHT” sign, I glow so brightly with unnatural heat rays, I could guide a lost ship into port in the dead of night. It feels as though I’m sunbathing on the surface of the sun. Image result for images for the suns burning rays I whip the covers off and on so repeatedly throughout the night, my poor husband feels as though he’s sleeping next to a Spanish bullfighting matador.

When the hot flashes reach their pinnacle, I toss and turn constantly – making me feel like one of those giant chickens on the rotisserie spit at Costco.  Image result for images for a roasting chicken on a spitThe tossing and turning fires up my thinking cap and jump starts my brain. The same way my laptop does random virus protection scans, checking all my files – my brain appears to have a similar program. Once that organ is switched to the “ON” position, that all-important REM sleep that my body requires for maximum health benefits is impossible.  Houston, we have a problem!  It’s a “NO-GO.” 

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Ideally, I’d love eight hours of solid sleep — but that’s a rarity. I can manage well with six or seven hours, but when the Hormonal Estrogen Fairy comes calling … she is fairly stingy and allows maybe two or three hours — if I’m lucky. What makes these unpredictable interrupted sleep cycles so hard, is I love to sleep!  When I DO sleep, I’m a champion sleeper. I’m so good at sleeping I could qualify for the Olympic Slumber Team and take a home a gold medal if there was such an event.  Image result for  images for sleepSince I’ve been in a serious relationship with the obnoxious Hormonal Fairy for so many years, I’ve had to come up with a few tricks that allow me to survive those many sleepless nights.

I’ve tried prescription sleep meds and a number of natural products like lavender oil, Melatonin, Valerian and Chamomile Tea. I’ve had limited success with all, with the exception of the tea. The tea might possibly work but it has certain adverse side-effects. It makes me have to get up frequently to go to the bathroom, which kind of negates the whole purpose of a sleepy-time tea.  The pills have uncomfortable side-effects as well. All of the pills cause me to have the most intense, bizarre dreams. I’m talking dark satanic stuff. I’d rather have a sleepless night than wrestle with the devil in my dreams. Image result for satanic nightmares

The one positive outcome from experiencing regular sleepless nights is I’ve learned to “just go with it.” I no longer pressure myself  with “Sleep Math.”  You know what I’m talking about:, “If I go to sleep RIGHT now, I can still get five hours of sleep. Or four or three, etc.”  Sleep math is a pointless, stressful endeavor.

When I’m awake in the middle of the night with little hope of quality sleep, I use that time to talk to God – since I know He’s always awake. God loves to hear from me any time of the day or night.  I’ve had some of the greatest prayer sessions in the middle of the night. Image result for praying

One thing for sure, it makes the enemy really angry if I use my sleeplessness as an opportunity to talk to God. Clearly Satan loves it when I can’t sleep, because he feels as though he’s getting one up on me for the next day. He delights in the knowledge that without sleep I’ll be mentally and physically compromised and most likely, very unproductive.

There’s an Old Testament story about the prophet Elijah who’s overly fatigued after an all day challenge taking down 450 false profits. This account is an interesting and entertaining read and is found in 1 Kings, Chapters 18 and 19. I highly recommend it. The reason I mention it, is that after the miracle of defeating these 450 profits, Elijah becomes overwhelmed and terrified of one woman (Jezebel) and runs away to hide from her.

“Elijah walked a whole day into the wilderness. He stopped and sat down in the shade of a tree and wished he would die. “It’s too much, Lord,” he prayed. “Take away my life; I might as well be dead!” 1 Kings 19:4 (GNT)

God recognizes what Elijah’s real problem is. He’s tired!  God arranges for Elijah to lay down and take a long nap, then wakes him up for food and drink.. God supernaturally sends a raven to bring Elijah food. After he eats, he lays down again and sleeps for another long slumber. The fact that Elijah was so exhausted that he used a rock for a pillow is an indication of just how tired the man really was.

The moral of the story is God cares about our need for sleep!

When I’m battling depression or anxiety or working through a difficult problem, I’ve discovered that things ALWAYS seem better after a nap or a good night’s sleep.

If you’re one of those people who insists they don’t need as much sleep as the next guy or if you stay up late watching TV, playing on the computer, reading … or whatever you do that might keep you from getting to bed at a decent time — do yourself a huge favor and GO TO BED for, gosh sake!  Don’t let that old saying “I can sleep when I’m dead,” put you on the fast track to your eternal slumber. Sleep … it does a body good!  Image result for Psalm 4:8

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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Happily FORever After

There comes a point in every self-respecting human’s life when they have to make the choice to put down the remote – step away from the television – and turn off the Hallmark Channel. I mean, a person can only ingest so many sappily happily-ever-after, cheesy story lines. Image result for happily ever after

That time came for me this past weekend. After having watched what felt like the millionth sappy Christmas movie, my saturation level of cheesy dialogue and saccharin story lines reached its pinnacle.  I reached the diabetic emotional coma stage.. Enough is enough.

Hallmark movies work and so many people watch them because of their predictability. We like knowing everything is going to turn out all right in the end. We need to know  justice is always served; Christmas miracles really do happen; the feuding couple who only met a week before Christmas will of course overcome all the odds, fall deeply in love and seal the deal with a last-second kiss … all within the two-hour time frame – including commercials. Image result for hallmark logo

Binge watching mindless television has always ranked high on the de-stressor list for me. Reading Scripture, prayer, quiet time with God, exercise, and reaching out to friends and family are what I typically advise (and rely on myself) when faced with a pit of despair or a bout of depression. Image result for take my advice

The taking of one’s own advice can be a tricky thing though.

For as much progress as I’ve experienced in the last 1-1/2 years battling my depression, you’d think it would only make sense for me to follow my own sage advice. But as predictable as any Hallmark movie, so is the predictably unpredictable gamut of emotions I experience by turning the calendar to the month of December. (Yes, I still have a paper calendar that hangs on my wall!) Image result for December 2018 paper calendar

It’s a yearly occurrence, which thankfully – isn’t as bad as in years past — but there’s no denying, it’s still there — hovering, just waiting for me to succumb. I’m not going to lie – three days in and the temptation to hole up in bed and hide from the world sounds like a much better alternative than getting up with the alarm and pretending everything is fine.

What should be The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, rarely pans out that way for me and many others who struggle with depression. Even though I may be surrounded by friends and loved ones, December tends to be the loneliest month of the year for me. It’s not even something I can pinpoint. As with most things in my life, it’s likely tangled up in a myriad of unmet expectations from a severely damaged childhood. Not expectations for expensive toys or gifts, but expectations for a normal, happy celebration. My family was the antithesis of A Brady Bunch Christmas.  Image result for brady bunch christmas Our family Christmases were fraught with tension and the inevitable parental tug-of-war between two unyielding parents determined to inflict maximal pain to each other, while using me and my siblings as unwitting pawns in their divorce drama.

My parent’s emotionally driven, divorce anger somehow trickled down to the children, scarring us for life. It’s that trickle-down dysfunction that clings to my emotional state of being this time of year; covering me from head to toe much like all that holiday glitter that is liberally applied to every box, bag, package, card, ornament, ribbon and gift wrap. In the same way that annoying glitter sticks to everything it comes in contact with, so the holiday despair from Christmases past clings to me in a way I’m unable to shake. And I hate it. Image result for Glitter Mess Meme

 

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In past years I’d turn to my “go-to-drug-of-choice,” which not surprisingly, is/was food. If’ it’s crunchy, salty, sugary or sweet it’s got my name on it. But I can’t exactly do that this year and maintain a hard-won 55-pound weight loss battle.

I’ve briefly entertained the idea of doing some serious retail therapy. While I can see the appeal of such an undertaking, retail therapy poses certain obvious obstacles. Number one, shopping would require me leaving my house (because let’s face it, on-line shopping doesn’t evoke the same satisfaction). And of course, number two and the most obvious complication … I have no money!

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Realistically, I don’t want to exchange one addiction for another. I’m surrounded by people whose coping methods are all manner of synthetic substances and self-destructive behaviors. I want to be better! I want to come through my December despair stronger than ever. For once I’d like to see spiritual growth and significant emotional maturity, not another trip around the same old mountain.

I’m smart enough to know that these feelings of despair and depression aren’t going to lift off of me like some sort of Hallmark Christmas magic.  Overcoming depression is a long, hard battle, not unlike the battle we encounter losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. Obtaining anything of value in this lifetime, is going to require hard work and commitment.

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In order to fight the good fight, I want to be a walking example of Romans 12:11-12. What that means is I’ve got to make an effort to serve the Lord enthusiastically.  It’s more important than ever to stay plugged in to God’s Word and reach out to friends and family if need be. Isolation will only compound the feelings of despair. It probably would behoove me to saturate my soul with daily spiritual podcasts and more Christian music and less Hallmark Channel.

In addition, I’m re-reading two of my favorite books, which I highly recommend if you’re struggling with depression or despair. Rick Warren’s book, What on Earth Am I Here For? This book is the expanded version of Pastor Warren’s international best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life. 

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My other favorite self-help book is The Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyer.  I promise you – this book is life-changing! Image result for joyce meyer battlefield of the mind

 

We are not guaranteed a Hallmark happily-ever-after ending in THIS life. Remember, life on this earth is temporary, but eternity is forever. Until then — Work hard, be patient in troubles and keep on praying …. Our Heavenly Father longs for His children to spend eternity with Him where we are sure to, at last … live happily-FOREVER-after!

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PROCEED WITH CAUTION

It’s a common occurrence. Most of us have done it more times than we care to count. I’m guilty. I’ve done it repeatedly. What you ask? I’m talking about pushing the boundaries. Image result for 1 corinthians 10:23I do that with a lot of things in my life. As recently as three days ago, I was guilty of improper driving etiquette regarding the cautionary yellow traffic signal. Surely I can’t be the only person who throws caution to the wind while disregarding the entire purpose of the yellow light at an intersection, can I??? Image result for yellow caution light

Unbeknownst to many – the yellow light is not an invitation to go faster as we approach an intersection. Yellow in fact, means the opposite. Slow, proceed with caution and come to a complete stop. The red light is imminent. Yet, what do we do? We hurry through mentally calculating the minutes we’ve just shaved off our commute by squeaking through another time delayed red-light waiting game. Image result for traffic signals

 

I know I’m not alone as last Friday on my way home from running a quick errand, I found myself flying through intersections, like everyone else. I was anxious to return to my cozy nest and don my favorite pair of comfy sweat pants and baggy tee-shirt ensemble. This of course, is the unofficial uniform of an anti-Black Friday shopaholic.

***INSERT Public Service Announcement SIDEBAR HERE:   For those of you who live outside the United States, the day after our American holiday of Thanksgiving is officially known as Black Friday. It’s a day that has gained popularity and a near religious-cult like status with a broad-based following. A religion created by retail manufacturers for the sole purpose of sucking the joy out of the holiday season; designed with the intent to separate men and women alike from their hard-earned money in order to continue the crippling credit card strangle-hold materialism has over today’s society. Simply put:  It’s a day dedicated to buying more stuff we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t really care about. Image result for black friday shopping

I’m not a fan of Black Friday shopping. Never have been. Never will be. I tried it once, and only once, a million years ago. I refuse to be converted and will not bow down at the altar of bargain priced merchandise. The long lines, mob mentality and people resorting to fisticuffs, name calling and body-checking one another all for the sake of a cheap, so cheap-they-are-practically-giving-it-away, 65” 4K HD television, just isn’t worth the anxiety. 

My Black Friday tradition consists of binge-watching sappy Christmas movies, a veg-out marathon in my jammies or sweats, with a sprinkling of couch potato semi-healthy snacking and the occasional nap attack. 

I make it a rule never to leave the house on Black Friday. I live within a few miles of a busy shopping mall which poses the problem of inflated mall traffic snafus, and an increase of horn-honking and middle-finger salutes.

Thanks, but no thanks – or at least that was my plan. A daughter with a sick infant at home precipitated the need for me to break my cardinal rule of social interaction on Black Friday. I was forced to venture beyond the boundaries of my bingeing bubble for an emergency trip to the grocery store.

Generally speaking, I’m a fairly conscientious driver; one who adheres to speed limits and traffic signs. Mostly. Okay, maybe about 92% of the time. As I was nearing home on Friday though, I found myself driving rather hurriedly, falling into that 8% bracket of traffic non-compliance.  See the source image

Normally, thanks to the installation of crosswalk countdown displays, I’d slow and stop at a light about to turn yellow — but I was anxious to get home to my slippers, sweats and the TV remote. As I raced through the light, I noticed in my rear view mirror the car behind me and three more cars behind that car all followed me through the light that was clearly red by that point. Apparently, I wasn’t the only lawbreaker in a hurry to get home.

Pushing the envelope of good judgment seems to be an epidemic – and not just with traffic laws. Dieting is a perfect example. I’ve been known to take that extra dollop, scoop, bite, lick or taste of whatever unscheduled snack catches my fancy. Rather than heeding the yellow caution sign blinking in my head, I sample the snack rather than stopping and avoiding the temptation altogether. My reasoning is loosely based on the premise, “But everyone else is doing it!” Image result for everyone else is doing it

This is a popular past-time at Costco. A long line forms at a snack cart and the popular opinion is, “whatever it is, it must be good, otherwise all these people wouldn’t be standing here!”

This was never more evident than it was last week at my family Thanksgiving meal. Desserts and coffee were put out and as soon as one person made the first move, everyone followed suit. Even me – in spite of the fact that I promised myself I wouldn’t touch anything sugary! That mob-mentality-everybody’s-doing-it-so-it-must-be-okay flawed reasoning got the better of me. Rather than stopping at the intersection of “I’m full” and “I don’t need the extra empty calories,” I caved and followed the others like a lamb to the slaughter. Thankfully, I didn’t eat much in the way of carbs and desserts for the day on a whole. But I’m still disappointed in the fact that I so easily succumbed to the “but everyone else is doing it” thinking.

If one person ignores the signs and warnings, then it must be okay. WRONG! It’s not okay for those of us pursuing weight loss and good health to chase the herd. Eating like everyone else with no restraints is exactly how most of us end up carrying excess weight. Image result for everyone else is doing it

Just as a yellow light at an intersection serves as a warning, so does that little niggling voice in our spirit that reminds us of what we should and should NOT be eating. What we should and should NOT be thinking. What we should and should NOT be feeling. What we should and should NOT be pursuing.Image result for John 10:27

Every mother worth her salt has at one time or another uttered those famous words, “if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you too?”

I don’t want to end up where I was for so many years … overweight, overtired, depressed and in chronic pain.

Success will only happen if we heed the warnings and STOP for all potential hazards. What are YOUR hazards? A busy intersection of indecision; feeding your depression with junk food;, a long sample line at Costco, the dessert table for the family dinner or the all-you-can-eat buffet? Whatever your issue, make the responsible decision today to proceed with caution! 

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QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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It’s NOT Fair!

Whether it’s … “A day late and a dollar short,” “Win some, lose some,” “Shoulda, coulda, woulda,” “It’s not my fault!” OR “If only ,” … it may come as no surprise that life is rarely fair.

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I find myself arguing this more and more with Thanksgiving being only a few short days away. For those of you who live outside of the United States, Thanksgiving is a day established by our forefathers, set aside for the sole purpose of pigging out. (Oh yeah, and giving thanks for all of our blessings.)

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We gorge ourselves on tons of turkey, piles of potatoes, varieties of veggies (fried, baked and/or swimming in butter and sauces), gallons of gravy, don’t forget the rolls and butter and obviously … a plethora of pies – specifically pumpkin and/or pecan slathered in whipped cream and/or ice cream.

Put on your stretchy pants kids … it’s about to get ugly! See the source image

 

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As my household prepares to host a large family gathering, in between deep-cleaning like a mad woman (because company’s coming!) I find myself uttering those unarguably tough, tough words … “it’s not fair! It’s NOT fair!! IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!!!

I, of course, am referring to my bad luck and familial misfortune of having swum in a gene pool of ancestors whose DNA includes slow-barely-moving-practically-in-a-coma, metabolism. I’m expected to cook, peel, chop, roast, baste and bake a large portion of the holiday meal, yet because of my recent weight loss and sudden stomach sensitivities, I’ll probably not be able to eat much of what is prepared. Hence the complaining …it’s simply not fairImage result for life's not fair

I have a friend who’s birthed six – no, seven kids; that equals seven pregnancies, mind you, and she subsists on Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper and peanut M&Ms, yet she doesn’t struggle with her weight and never seems to gain weight. Talk about life not being fair! Apparently, her metabolism moves faster than a supersonic jet because the aforementioned foods are the main staples of her regular, daily diet. Dare I say it again? It’s so NOT fair!

Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Well actually, Halloween three weeks ago was the tip of the iceberg. Halloween officially kicks off the holiday eating season. Unless you’ve been blessed with a fast-as-the-Energizer-Bunny metabolism — and you’re planning on eating your way through the next five weeks – you better be prepared to gain an average of 7-10 pounds. Statistically speaking, that is the average amount of poundage gained during the holiday season. And NO, I am not kidding! That is a significant amount of excess weight to carry into the New Year when you re-join Weight Watchers! Most weight loss classes and gym memberships dwindle during the holidays! Don’t become a statistic!

Feet On Scale

If we hope to survive the holidays without packing on an excessive amount of weight that will be much harder to lose than it was to gain — it’s up to us to devise a solid holiday plan and stick to it!  Only YOU can customize a plan that will help YOU succeed.

MY plan includes making time for DAILY exercise. With shopping, parties, volunteer commitments and what not – it can be easy to forego regular exercise – even for someone like me who is basically addicted to exercise. Exercise has got to be intentional. A great suggestion is, force yourself to park farther out in the parking lot of whatever store you are shopping at. This shouldn’t be too difficult, since parking is particularly tough this time of year. Image result for Parking far out in a packed lot

I know we’re all overtired and exhausted during the holidays, but push yourself to add extra steps on your fitness tracker. Instead of taking the elevator at the mall or idly standing on the escalator, actually walk up the escalator or take the stairs. If you do all your shopping online, you’ll need to be more creative. Take a walk around the block or take the dog or the babies to the park. Get that spare bedroom ready for Auntie Edna and Wuncle Billy Bob (that’s code for “weird uncle”) by shampooing the carpet. Do some aerobic housecleaning; bed making, vacuuming, floor mopping, sweeping – whatever you can think of. If you’re moving – you’re burning calories! Image result for thorough house cleaning

Exercise is not the only thing to focus on to avoid holiday weight gain. Obviously, watching what we eat is key. If you’re attending a big family function that’s centered around food (seriously … aren’t they all?), fill up on raw veggies or drink lots of water before the dinner bell rings. You might want to skip the wine or cocktails as alcohol is loaded with empty calories. Realistically speaking, alcohol has a tendency to lower our inhibitions. If we’re tipsy we stop caring about what we’re eating. Image result for avoiding alcohol

A daily menu plan is so important during the holidays. Tracking what we are eating is more important than ever. And it goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – portion control, portion control, PORTION CONTROL needs to be the mantra playing non-stop in your head – not just during the holidays – but every day!

Lastly (for now) … speaking of family … The holidays can stir up a myriad of emotions, which can lead to the dreaded emotional eating. Returning to my childhood home has ALWAYS ignited an emotional meltdown for me. For years, my way of coping with unresolved family issues was not unusual or unique. I stuffed my emotions down with food – and lots of it.  Heck, I practically arrived for each visit with a fork surgically attached to my wrist. Too many memories, coupled with difficult (nearly impossible) relatives made for a very ugly situation, which always ended the same way. Eating myself stupid, stuffing all my bad memories and emotional turmoil down with mounds of buttery mashed potatoes, holiday M&Ms,  or hearty helpings of pie and ice cream. Image result for Stress EatingDon’t let difficult family members or uncomfortable relationship situations push you towards the buffet or the bar.  Food and alcohol are not the answer.

I’m not a licensed therapist so I would never presume to counsel anyone on how to deal with difficult family situations. I DO KNOW, however, that stuffing your emotions with Thanksgiving stuffing or sweet potato pie will only aggravate things and make you feel worse about yourself in the long run.  I know it’s easier said than done, but try, try, try not to eat your feelings over the holidays. Image result for eating your feelings

 

Take things one day at a time, one meal at a time, one weird uncle at a time. Don’t completely deny yourself those special once-a-year treats. SAMPLE your favorites if you must. The key word being SAMPLE! Do not snorf down a whole pie and do not make a pig of yourself. For greater perspective, try being an observer instead of focusing only on what is on your plate. Sit back and watch what the other people around you are piling on their plates. Pay attention to those people that blindly shove Christmas cookies or candies in their mouth one after another without even paying attention (or tasting or enjoying) what they are eating. Image result for Thanksgiving piesImage result for Thanksgiving heaping plate of food

The holidays should be about spending time with people you love. Thanksgiving should be a time to reflect on God’s blessings in your life. Remember … LIFE IS NOT FAIR! If you’ve got more than one pair of shoes or a change of clothing; hot and cold running water and a bed to sleep on every night – or if you are reading this blog on a smart phone or computer … you are richer than about 85% of the people around the world. Life may not be fair, but it can be fairly happy and blessed if we remember The ONE who is the source of all love and joy. Image result for thanks be to God

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
 the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
 and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 136:4-9 (NLT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

See the source image

Pay Up!

Pain can sometimes provide us with valuable insight – but how many of us willingly volunteer to sign up to be a guinea pig in a pain experiment? Not me – that’s for sure.

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Last week’s mini-brownie breakdown and handful of Halloween candies provided me with enough insight into what real pain really means. I’ve banked enough insight to last into the next lifetime and then some. I learned that candy and/or chocolate and I are no longer a great combination – prompting me to initiate a relationship breakup.  The reason for this sudden split is the horrific stomach ache (we’re talking epic proportions) that blindsided me last week after partaking of the forbidden sweet treats.  Image result for Images for a stomach ache

In the past 18 months I’ve been fairly successful at eliminating sugary foods and snacks from my diet. During this time I’ve practiced moderation of this “food group,” and unfortunately, last week I discovered (quite the hard way) that anything more than a smidge of the stuff produces a plethora of problems for my sensitive stomach. Apparently, my body can no longer tolerate candy. Who knew?

I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say the discovery “episode” wasn’t pretty. It was a brand-new adventure in pain! Bowing down to the porcelain throne for a significant amount of time created a certain vantage point (hunched over, hugging my thighs, staring at the floor for long periods of time). The eventual result? The proverbial light bulb appeared over my head much like those in a Looney Tunes cartoon. It has become unequivocally clear – seriously, no doubt remains — that I don’t need sugar to survive. I’m officially turned off by the mere thought of sugary treats. Indefinitely. Image result for Ate Too Much Food

This revelation came to me one day last week after several looooonnnnnggg sessions in the “throne room.” When all was said and done — I vowed NEVER to eat sugar again. It was in the midst of severe cramping and intestinal spasms, I negotiated with God like a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal, vowing lifelong servant-hood or missionary work in equatorial Africa if He’d mercifully ease my abdominal discomfort.

Several hours later when I finally made it to bed completely spent and empty to the point that I felt as though I’d prepped for a colonoscopy — I had an epiphany of sorts. Is a nanosecond of tasty pleasure on my lips worth hours of pain and suffering stuck on the toilet? Is staring at my feet bargaining with God and begging to have the stupid eradicated from my fleshly lust of sugar really worth so much physical pain?

The answer is a definitive … 


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The thing is – I’ve had similar experiences with chocolate (or candy) on a number of occasions in the last 18 months, so I should know better. Somehow though, because we typically eat with our eyes first, the power of sight coupled with tantalizing, wafting smells of any confectionery treat mysteriously destroys all reasoning, erasing my short-term memory banks. Image result for beautiful chocolate desserts

The brain of someone with a significant sugar addiction—okay – ME, somehow completely misfires, blinding me to the lies of the enemy and sabotages all common-sense logic. Coming face-to-face with a chocolaty delight, causes temporary insanity or selective amnesia in my twisted brain. I somehow completely forget that eating chocolate will have disastrous consequences for me. The internal illogical exchange in my brain, my eyes, my nose, my taste buds — all possess significantly more power and control over me than my logical brain and sound judgment.

The real problem is that initial bite. As with most things in life that give rise to temptation, I blame the devil. He has an uncanny ability to convince me to “test the waters” with just a tiny taste. If no immediate stomach ache ensues, he persuades me to sample again, convincing me that maybe this time my stomach will cooperate. The real fault is in listening to the heated wrestling match in my head. Do I believe the enemy and his lies and take that first bite? OR do I listen to reason, my gut, and the Holy Spirit that are all screaming at me to STOP! STEP AWAY FROM THE CANDY! Image result for danger signs

If I could simply learn to avoid that FIRST bite, I’d be okay and eventually master the monster lying in wait for me. Succumbing to temptation is the number one reason most diets fail. Diets promise success if we are willing to trade junk food lifestyles for “healthy eating.” Diets, by their very nature are purposely restrictive; requiring us to deny our flesh of the things we crave the most. Statistics show that denial only serves to make us want what we can’t have all the more.

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My most heartfelt desire is to serve God and not abuse the blessing He’s given me with my weight loss. Losing as much weight as I have is no small thing. God has done a bona fide miracle in my life. Why would I ever want to mess that up?

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In order to always remain ever-thankful and mindful of God’s blessings, I’ve prayed and asked the Lord to remind me of my intestinal limitations the NEXT TIME temptation strikes BEFORE I take that FIRST BITE. Because let’s face it, temptation will never be completely eliminated from our lives until we get to Heaven.

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As much as I hate the stomach aches, if a stomach ache is what it takes for God to get my attention and keep me from reverting back to my old, bad habits – then bring it on God. BUT if I am smart (and Oh, Lord I WANT TO BE SMART) – the next time a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup whispers my name, I pray I’ll listen to that little voice in my spirit that asks me … is a gut-wrenching stomach ache worth a couple of bites of chocolate? The alternative is, by giving in to temptation the enemy wins and will always get the last word – which he likely delights in delivering with a smile: You can pay me now –or you can pay me later!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

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FEAR THE FORK … The Brownies Bite

The urge was undeniably strong and overwhelming. It required a Herculean effort of restraint on my part to suppress it.  It’s something most of us have experienced at one time or another. I’m talking about that urge to dive face first into the nearest pan, bowl, box or bag of ANYTHING gooey, chewy, and decidedly unhealthy to assuage the emotional turmoil roiling in my spirit. Image result for images for eating chocolate cake

Oh, wait … am I the only one who turns to sweets when emotionally compromised?

Last week was a particularly difficult one for me. I’ve been dealing with an impossible situation that shows no signs of resolution any time soon. My emotions have been pushed, pulled and stretched in a million different directions, plunging me into a minor funk. The sharp edge of depression was doing its best to claw its way back into my life like an unwanted holiday visitor. Image result for images for choking hands

It didn’t help that I had a family potluck to attend that required my baking skills. I love to bake and my entire family knows this. Baking can be very therapeutic, but it’s also not the greatest hobby for a girl with a not-so-secret food addiction who’s recently lost a considerable amount of weight. Because it was a family potluck though and expected of me, I baked. And I didn’t bake just anything, mind you. I made ooey, gooey, chewy chocolate frosted brownies. Throw in Halloween a couple of days later and I found myself on the business end of a near bingeing breakdown. Image result for images for gooey frosted chocolate brownies

The problematic catalyst for the aforementioned emotional turmoil was the half pan of uneaten frosted brownies left over from the potluck. My husband was supposed to take the pan to work with him the next day, but Monday’s being what they are, chaos ensued and prevented him from getting out of the house with the brownies in tow. So, there they sat, calling to me; whispering my name … all … day … long. It’s quite torturous to bear the brunt of a brownie bite.

In “my old life,” BWL (before weight loss), I would have forked that pan of brownies to death. You know what I’m talking about. Every time you walk past that inviting pan of brownies (or cake or cobbler or whatever), you take the straight edge of a fork or a knife and you cut off “just a sliver” of brownie. You tell yourself you are performing a public service by making the lines of the brownies uniformed and even all the way around. But one thing leads to another, because then you notice that the other side is slightly crooked and you have to even that side out — and well, before you know it – you’ve forked an entire pan of brownies up real nice. Image result for images for eating cake with a fork

In my defense, I didn’t eat the entire half pan of brownies. More like the equivalent of one healthy-sized brownie. Each forked up piece of brownie sliver still slammed me with guilt and condemnation, reminding me that I am far from cured of my sugar addiction. I threatened my husband with bodily harm if he didn’t remove the remaining brownies the next day.

The day after the brownies left the premises was Halloween. Halloween candy doesn’t usually create too much of an issue for me, since I’ve learned the secret to successful holiday candy management. It’s really quite simple. DON’T BUY CANDY!

I volunteered at church Halloween night so I avoided the trick-or-treaters. The best part about this gig … no candy to buy; no candy to pass out; no leftover candy to tempt me. It’s a win-win situation. Where I tripped up though, was stopping at a friend’s house later that night. Wouldn’t you know it – she had a giant bowl of mini candy bars that were begging to be fondled and rifled through. I succumbed and picked out a few mini candy bars; all of my favs. (Let’s face it – there’s no point in wasting calories on candy that is just “meh.”) I had enough forethought to come home and immediately freeze the mini temptresses in a Ziplock bag. Practicing a modicum of restraint, I limited myself to one piece of candy every day – and even then, I made sure to log it and track it for WW points.  Image result for images for a bowl of halloween candy

As we all know, we are coming into that time of year that signals the beginning of the end. What that means is, most weight loss classes experience a substantial dip in their membership. Gym attendance slacks off and many of us slack off as well with our healthy eating and exercise commitments.

Weight that takes months or years to lose can reattach itself at a record pace. In truth, we should treat the holiday season no differently than any other time of year. If anything, we need to be more tenacious than ever about eating balanced meals, tracking the foods we eat and staying active and diligent with our exercise routines. It can be so tempting to let ourselves go this time of year for the simple reason that it’s much easier to hide our bodies under layers of winter clothing. DON’T GIVE IN TO THIS TEMPTATION. Flannel is not your friend if you’re maintaining a weight loss. This is simply another trick of the enemy! Image result for images for layers of winter clothing

If we stumble and give in to those food temptations like I did this past week, it can be quickly corrected but only if we correct it immediately. Don’t wait till tomorrow, or after Thanksgiving … or Christmas … or Hanukkah … or New Year’s … or Valentine’s Day. Holiday excuses present us with convenient excuses that turn into a vicious cycle that concludes with us porking up for the winter- AGAIN.

Holidays present us with emotional challenges as well because few of us have those perfect, happy families. Difficult family members, pressure to overspend and overeat … all are a recipe for disaster for those of us already doing battle with anxiety, depression, food addictions and weight challenges. Stressful holidays are no time to stress eat!

My absolute favorite Scripture for this time of year is the NIV translation of Psalm 141:3: I know this verse is aimed more at watching over the words that come OUT of our mouth, but I like to pray and ask God to help me watch what’s going IN to my mouth.

One day at a time. One bite at a time. One meal at a time. One prayer at a time. Put your holiday worries in God’s hands and purpose in your heart to eat purposefully.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Stumbling Stumbalina

It seems to happen more than I’d care to admit, and more frequently now that I’m older. Mainly because I’m not a very graceful person. I’m talking about all of those times that I trip over my own feet or a tiny raised crack in the sidewalk; a step up into the house; a tiny pebble on the walking path … the toe of my sandal; the heel of my sandal. Heck, just my sandals in general. Gracefulness is in short supply these days. If I’m being completely honest, poise and grace have never been part of my DNA.  Image result for images of tripping

It’s likely that I’m not alone in that department. Let’s face it, most of us have experienced an embarrassing trip or stumble at one time or another. The first thing we naturally do is to look around to see if anyone bears witness to our klutziness and humiliation. It probably happens more than we realize, especially since so many of us get caught up in walking and texting at the same time.Image result for images of tripping while walking and texting

Those little stumbles – the ones that we hope no one notices remind me of my past food-related/diet stumbles. Falling off the Weight Watcher Wagon generally begins with just a little stumble. A little slip. A little fall. You know what I’m talking about. An extra scoop of cereal in the morning because you don’t want to waste the leftover milk at the bottom of the bowl. Just a little extra dollop of potatoes, or a bite of your husband’s burger or fries. The free cookie or fat, fluffy dinner roll that you “forgot” to calculate that came with your meal.  Image result for images for getting caught with your hand in the cookie jarThat additional splash of dressing, those free Costco samples of Zebra popcorn or mini pigs in a blanket, or brownie bites, blah, blah, blah. ALL of those “freebies,” those bites, licks or tastes (BLT’s) are in fact, anything BUT free and can end up costing us more than we bargained for.

All of these seemingly innocent “stumbles” with our daily food diary, when added together at the end of the week somehow end up finding their way to the waistband of our pants. Suddenly the buttons on our blouse gape or our skirt refuses to zip. We blame it on a laundry snafu – that sudden “shrinking” of our clothes surely can’t be MY fault!  Image result for images of too tight clothes

Of course, we never plan to fall off the wagon. We always tell ourselves, tomorrow I’ll get right back on track and keep my food diary. Tomorrow I’ll eat better. If we’re not careful, all of those little stumbles and tomorrow promises turn into our weight regain nightmare. Somehow we find that we’re right back where we promised ourselves we’d never be again.

Just this past week, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in more than a year. She and I were in the same Celebrate Recovery Food Addiction group a few years ago. Her significant weight gain was unmistakable. Try as I might to help her feel comfortable, it was obvious that her own guilt and Image result for images for embarrassmentshame convicted her before I ever could. What’s really sad, is this friend was the second woman I’d run into from the same group who’d had a substantial weight gain.

Seeing these friends made me realize just how fine a line we all walk when we’ve experienced any type of weight loss. I tell myself DAILY that just because I’ve lost weight does not mean I’ll never struggle with my weight again. The opposite is true. Having lost weight means I’ve got to work harder than ever to maintain the weight loss. I’ve discovered that maintaining a weight loss is every bit as hard – if not harder – to sustain than actually losing the weight.

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The problem with most “diets” is that they are just that – a diet. The definition of a diet is: to cause to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules. Image result for images of dieting

People who go on a diet to lose a specific amount of weight for a specific upcoming event (i.e., wedding, high school/college reunion), work hard to shed the weight, but once the event passes, they resume their old ways of eating and quickly regain the lost weight and then some.

If we hope to maintain long-lasting weight loss once and for all, we need to make lifestyle changes rather than just going on a diet. After weight loss we need to continue healthy eating, portion control and regular weekly activities or exercise routines. Yes, ALL of those things we KNOW to do, yet tire of rather quickly. It’s not fun. It’s necessary!

Now that I’ve lost weight, I do allow myself an occasional treat. I love pizza, bread(s) (all kinds) and dessert. I don’t eat any of those things on a daily basis, but I do allow myself an “occasional cheat day.” (OCCASIONAL being the optimum word here!) My cheat day usually falls on the day I weigh-in for my monthly check-in at Weight Watchers. If my weight is at or below my WW goal weight, I usually take advantage of the rest of that day and indulge in those foods I’ve been dreaming about for the last month.  (Because I know I’ll have another 4-6 weeks before I need to weigh in at WW again!)Image result for images for pizza

I’m one of those people who doesn’t care for fast food, but I still crave cheese pizza and sub sandwiches loaded with meats and cheese. (The cheesier the better!)  If I’m going to cheat, pizza is usually on the top of my list. Not surprisingly, I can only consume small amounts of these forbidden foods for the simple reason that since I’ve eliminated unhealthy treats from my diet, my stomach can no longer digest or tolerate these foods. It becomes an internal negotiation of weighing the pleasure of indulgence to that of a raging stomach ache.

The thing is – if you’re working hard to lose weight, it’s not a bad thing to allow for those “OCCASIONAL” treats. It’s only by completely denying our cravings that we seem to lust after those forbidden foods more than ever; thereby dooming us to automatic failure.

A food stumble or an “occasional” treat can be minimized or corrected if we address it as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve tripped up or stumbled to the point of falling completely off the wagon. Don’t let the wagon back up and run over you again. Get up, dust yourself off and climb right back up on the Weight Watcher Wagon. Grab hold of those reins and steer the wagon right back on the designated course.  Image result for images for driving a weight watcher wagon

Losing weight and/or maintaining a weight loss is hard work – that much is obvious. If we hope to be successful WE have to take responsibility for our own actions and our little stumbles. We have to own it. We have to stop assigning blame. We can’t wish it away. We can’t pray it away. No one can walk this path for us. Our weight loss success is up to us. Don’t let that stumble be the thing that causes you to tumble over a cliff to an irreversible caloric crash and burn.  That old statement of “God helps those that help themselves,” is not an actual Bible verse. The statement does bear some truth though. We cannot expect God to supernaturally eliminate our excess body weight or cover our caloric stumbles if we aren’t willing to do our part. Image result for images for falling off a cliff

He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from tumbling. Psalm 116:8 (NLT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down. ~Mary Pickford

Hungry For Change

“Oh my gosh, I’m stuffed full to the gills. I can’t eat another bite!”

This isn’t just the statement that every self-respecting foodie utters after consuming their favorite meal or a Thanksgiving feast – but what the average food/sugar addict, weight challenged/obese individual (okay, ME) utters on a near daily basis. At least – this WAS me up until a year and a half ago.

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Actually, this very common food related statement was the topic of much intense discussion at a recent Weight Watchers meeting. One member relayed a conversation he had with a WW leader while visiting in another state. It was noted that those who battle weight issues and struggle with eating addictions, look at food and meal time completely differently than someone who has no such issues.

The stark comparison came when the WW leader shared the story of her “thin friend.” While at lunch, the thin friend ate a portion of a burger and a few fries and then pushed her half-eaten meal away, even asking the server to remove the plate altogether. The WW leader asked her thin friend, “how can you push that food away? Why didn’t you finish your meal?”

“Because I’m no longer hungry and I don’t need to keep eating,” the thin friend replied. 

The conversation was certainly eye-opening. The clear distinction between those that struggle with obesity and those that don’t is one group eats until they are full (or over-full), the other group stops eating when they are no longer hungry.

My first thought was, NO LONGER HUNGRY! When has that ever stopped ME from eating myself into a food coma? My second thought was, why would anyone waste all that food? In all honesty, until recently I’d be hard-pressed to actually identify what REAL hunger looked or felt like. I spent so many years living life as an emotional eater. Regardless of whether I was hungry or not, I ate my way through depression, loneliness, heartbreak, boredom, rejection – pretty much every emotion under the sun. In many situations I would eat merely because it was expected; everyone else was eating. I ate because somebody brought donuts to work or there was leftover cake after Bible Study or just leftovers. More often than not, though, I used food as an emotional salve for my splintered feelings, rarely eating for the sole purpose of satisfying a physical hunger.

Many overweight people are more likely to “live to eat” rather than “eating to live.” Oftentimes most of us who struggle with our weight are no stranger to eating to the point of discomfort and are certified, card-carrying members of the clean your plate club. Image result for images for cleaning your plate

If we’ve lived our whole lives as people who live for their next meal, or their next binge … how can we change our habits so we can become one of those people who eat to live and only use food as nutrition?

None of us can expect to change these lifelong habits overnight and change will require something much more powerful than willpower. Few of us are capable of experiencing long-lasting weight loss success simply because we possess strong willpower. 

Once we decide to live according to the Word of God and realize that we need to take care of these temples that God has entrusted to us, we need to live knowing that Jesus should be first and foremost in our lives. We don’t need willpower, we need God’s power. We need to give God complete control of this part of our lives. We need total surrender.

Along with surrender, we need to use the common sense that God gave us and seek out whatever help WE need to reset our lives and get off the food addiction/bingeing hamster wheel that’s destroying us one bite at a time.

Our journey may not resemble anyone else’s. My path may not look like your path. BUT we can share some of the same stops along the path we take.

Turning to a weight loss organization; joining a gym, hiring a trainer; seeking the help of a doctor or nutritionist, medication … whatever works for you! I encourage you to get the help you need and take the steps necessary to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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At some point, you are going to need to change your thinking. Rather than living as someone who must “live to eat,” you need to become someone who wants to “eat to live.” That’s going to mean you will have to endure some discomfort. Going to bed with an unsatisfied, grumbly tummy might need to become your new normal. It won’t take long for your body to adapt to fewer calories and in the end, you’ll discover that going to bed with a hungry tummy is far more tolerable than going to bed with an over satiated one.

Every time we fall into sin and give in to another emotional eating binge we are giving the devil one more victory; one more notch on his soul sucking yardstick. The food coma is the enemy’s playground and he delights in our shame and guilt. Image result for images for guilt

I look at food completely differently now. For so long, food was my god, and I worshipped at the alter of the fast-food drive through, the candy aisle at the Mini-Mart and the all-you-can-eat buffets. Now, I’ve learned that I WANT to live according to God’s Word.

We may be tempted to argue that “the devil made me do it,” when it comes to stuffing our faces full of unnecessary calories. The fact remains that WE ALWAYS have a choice. Do we choose eating until we are stuffed? Eating ourselves stupid to the point of a food coma? Living to Eat?

OR … do we choose to eat to live and train ourselves to recognize that we are no longer hungry and push the plate away? It’s our choice …

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25 (NLT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Does Size REALLY Matter?

If I were a betting woman, I’d wager to say that the average American woman has roughly 3-5 different sizes of clothing in her closet at any given time. Yet many still complain, “I have nothing to wear!”  Image result for Jammed Packed Closet

This is every bit as true for me now that I’ve lost weight as it was for me when I was much heavier. In the past, even if clothes were too large (or too small) – I kept everything because a girl can’t be too careful. What if I gain all my weight back and have nothing to wear? This kind of reasoning and logic only provides a way out or a back-up plan to that old lose-gain-lose-gain, yo-yo weight loss treadmill that I lived on for so many years.

With this (and what I hope will be my LAST) weight loss journey, I knew that in order to guarantee long-lasting success, I was going to need to shed more than just excess weight. I needed to shed the excesses in my closet and thereby rid myself of excuses and back-up plans. EVERY WEEK I go through my closet and try on clothes, keeping what fits and donating items that are too large. Even though I’m not a real clothes-horse to speak of, I’m finding that I’ve always got an ongoing give-away pile. Image result for Clothes piles

I used to hold onto clothing that was too small for me, “for inspiration.” I can’t even count the number of items I kept because I was convinced that “as soon as I lose a few pounds, this pair of pants is going to fit me perfectly!” When in reality, by the time I could actually fit into those smaller sizes (because everybody knows weight loss is rarely quick), the styles were no longer fashionable.

I’ve been known to purposely buy clothes (usually something on sale!) too small for me because I was confident that I could lose enough weight to fit into it soon. Sometimes even spending money on something you hope will fit you at some point, isn’t enough of a motivator to stay on a weight loss program. Image result for sqeezing into too tight clothes

 

My closet has undergone a complete turnover in the last couple of years. Donating so many clothes has left me with few options as to what I can actually wear out in public.  If I had my way, I’d live in over-sized tee shirts and leggings – but a girl has to occasionally leave the safety of her house. I have a favorite second-hand store where I donate my old clothes to and shop for replacements as well. This second-hand store supports one of my favorite charities (Big Brothers & Big Sisters) so it’s a win-win situation

Now that I am finally comfortable with my new size I’ve noticed an alarming trend with clothing manufacturers though. Sizes are extremely different from one brand to the next. Even though my weight has held steady for nine months now, I’m finding that I still have at least four different sizes in my closet. What might be a size 6 for one manufacturer can be something entirely different for another.

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Truth be told – I have no idea what my true size really is! (Hmm, the same could be said for my hair color. Who knows what that color really is?) Why can’t clothing manufacturers get their &^%$ together and give us universal sizes???  Image result for clothing labels with differing sizes Pants aren’t the only items that are labeled with sizing inconsistencies. Small, medium, large and XL tops aren’t always true to form either.

With so many conflicting sizes, it bears asking … Does Size REALLY matter?

Honestly, I think it depends on WHO you ask and WHAT kind of mood SHE is in on any given day!

In high school, I “porked up” to a whopping 145 pounds (I know, I know … Stupid teenage angst mentality). I was squeezing myself into a size 14 and I thought I was a cow based solely on the size of my jeans! Now at just under that same weight, I’m wearing mostly size 6, but I’ve got a great pair of pants that I love that are a size 4 and another that is a size 8. How is this possible – UNLESS clothing manufacturers are purposely labeling clothes smaller so women will feel better about themselves and buy more clothes. It’s quite the fashion conspiracy they’ve got going on there!

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The beauty of growing older is that at this time in my life, I’m not as obsessed with the numbers the way I once was. I’d much rather be comfortable than have numerical OCD. If I had a dollar for every time I bought a piece of clothing in a smaller, uncomfortable size just because I was too embarrassed to wear the next size larger … well, I could probably afford an entire new designer wardrobe by now!

As with most struggles in our lives, those of us who may be bothered by the size of our clothing need to stop listening to the lies of the enemy. The same way the number on the bathroom scale does not define us … what size our jeans or tops are doesn’t make us any more valuable as a person.

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There’s a great Old Testament story that speaks to the problem of putting too much emphasis on numbers. The story found in 2 Samuel 24:1-25 focuses on King David who is punished by God for ordering a census of his troops. There are conflicting debates as to why God punished David for something so seemingly innocent. The story is repeated in 1 Chronicles 21 and places the blame squarely on Satan for seducing David to disobey God (1 Chronicles 21:1 The Message Bible).  Image result for Census controvsery Thanks to the devil’s masterful seduction, David let his pride get the best of him and ordered the census to determine HIS own power and not God’s. He trusted in the number of HIS army rather than God’s power.

As I’ve mentioned a bazillion times before, the enemy has one jobto destroy God’s people and keep us from following Christ and spreading the Gospel. So why should any of us be surprised that there are millions of women out there fixating on and/or having emotional breakdowns based on what we weigh or what size we wear? (Okay, maybe it’s not always just women.)

Weight Lost

David suffered God’s punishment for his screw up – but if we call Jesus our Lord, if we confess our sin of pride or obsessive behavior over something as silly as what we weigh, then God has already forgiven us. Whenever we fall into the trap of being depressed over our weight or fixating on what size we wear, it would behoove us to have Romans 12:2 locked, loaded and memorized to defeat the lies of Satan.

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AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF NUMBERS …  how many times do we obsess over our Social Media followers or Likes??? Are we any less likable if we don’t get very many “Likes” over a Facebook post … Twitter retweet … Instagram share … You Tube views?

The numbers on the bathroom scale do not validate or define us and neither do the numbers on our clothing labels — be they pants size, dress size, blouse, bra, panty or shoe size. WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER TO GOD! He created us uniquely and specifically to be exactly who we are and He loves us unconditionally … Size 4, 14 or 40 … it makes no difference to God! You are loved!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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