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:

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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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The Lies That Bind

It seems to happen without rhyme or reason. You wake up and feel out of sorts. Maybe it’s hormonal, the weather, lack of proper sleep, or perhaps the universe has shifted slightly off its axis. Image result for earth off its axisWho knows? There could be many reasons really that cause us to wake up and just feel fat, ugly and toad-like.Image result for I feel fat

Even if you went to bed the night before and felt perfectly fine; without explanation a new day dawns and you wonder if an alien is suddenly inhabiting your body.    Oh wait … maybe it’s just me who has these days!

I’ve had several days like this in the past couple of weeks that find me slogging through my routines and chores. My legs feel like giant tree stumps barely able to propel me forward in simple movement. My brain and the bathroom scale confirm that there have been no physical changes — yet the weight of “something” presses me down.  It’s my logical mind that wages war with my emotional self.

My “illogical self” fears nothing has changed at all and the scale and the mirror are co-conspirators perpetuating the greatest hoaxes of all times. The weight I’ve lost was but an illusion and has merely been hiding for all these months, waiting to reattach itself while I sleep like some sort of science fiction pod person. Image result for Alien pod people

It’s been nearly nine months since I reached my goal weight. My weight fluctuates up or down by no more than a couple of pounds. That’s normal for most people. I try not to rely on the scale to validate me. If I weigh myself more than once a week, I tend to get a little OCD and can quickly spiral down that familiar rabbit hole. On those days when I feel fat, stepping on the scale is affirmation that I’m still okay and not in fact, a supernatural anomaly or pod person.

I fear my head has yet to catch up with the rest of my body. There are days that my brain simply fails to process the fact that I am now much lighter than I was last year at this time. A lot of the problem is that when I look in the mirror, I don’t believe I’m actually seeing what others see when they look at me. Image result for carnival funhouse mirror makes me look fat

My eyes are instantly drawn to all of the problem areas that weight loss and daily exercise has yet to correct. My eyes see that I am thinner, the evidence is unmistakable. The clothes hanging in my closet corroborate a substantial weight loss, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from thinking like someone who is still overweight.

I believe the correct medical definition of my condition is commonly referred to as the “fat head-thin thigh” syndrome. Okay – so I made that up — that’s not a real definition – that’s simply how I classify this weird psychological condition. In truth, what I really suffer from and have borne the weight of since I was very young is a very real condition called Body Dysmorphia.  Image result for Cartoon Body Dysmorphia

The medical definition of this malady is: a pathological preoccupation with an imagined or slight physical defect of one’s body to the point of causing significant stress or behavioral impairment in several areas (as work and/or personal relationships. People suffering from body dysmorphic disorder perceive themselves as ugly, fixating on slight abnormality or an imagined flaw. (Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, February 2008)

Much like a carnival funhouse mirror, I’ve only ever seen a fat, ugly toad reflected back at me. The only explanation is that I am mentally ill in need of professional help. OR perhaps more accurately, I’ve been dogged by the master of all lies since childhood. The evil one – that lying snake, the devil – has successfully robbed me of an otherwise healthy self-image. And what’s worse – I let him do it.  

Now that I’m “older and wiser” I’ve been able to recognize the lies for what they are – but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t occasionally struggle in this area. I know that for us to hate what God created is sin – especially since the Bible tells us we were created in His image. (Genesis 1:27) We know God doesn’t make mistakes — yet in my twisted mind, I sometimes have argued that me, and only me – is and was and will always be — the exception to that rule.

Praise the good Lord for Scripture which I try to ingest every 4 – 6 hours as needed (or 4 – 6 minutes when the mind is really off-kilter).

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The harsh reality of life is that whenever your life seems to be on track and you’re doing well, feeling good and being a productive, contributing member of society at home, work, school or church … the enemy simply can’t stand it.

We really aren’t meant to live happily ever after without problems or trials in this lifetime for the simple reason stated in 1 Peter 2:11: Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. (The Message Bible)

For those days when I wake up, out of sorts and can only see the ugly toad reflected back at me – I tell myself that whenever the enemy is relentless in his attacks on my mind, I must be on the verge of doing something spectacular for the Lord. If I am living solely for myself and doing nothing that benefits the Lord or His kingdom, then I’m not a threat to the devil so he’s likely to leave me be.

So once again … body dysmorphia, feeling fat and gross, walking through life in physical or emotional pain, depression, anxiety — basically it all comes down to that age-old fight of good versus evil.

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God knows us inside and out. (Psalm 139). He knows our struggles and is fighting for us. We need to put on our big girl panties – or better yet, the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) and shake off the lies that are keeping us bound.

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My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. James 1:2-3 (GNT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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Two-Minute(s)-or Less-Warning

Nearly half-way through the writing of this week’s blog, I found myself stuck as to how to transition to my next point. Doing what most creative people do when they experience any type of artistic blockage, I checked my emails and Facebook page. 

A memory from four years ago popped up on my FB page that was a picture of a tree in my backyard that had been uprooted and destroyed by a fast-moving, freak storm. I’d captioned the photo, “What it took God 10 years to grow, was destroyed in a mere two minutes or less!”

It’s been said that a picture is a worth a thousand words. That’s certainly true for me because I swear, as soon as I saw this picture and its caption, several thousand words ricocheted around in my brain barely giving me enough time to write them down. In the interest of time however, I managed to trim a little off the top so the average reader can skim this list in … you guessed it – two minutes or less.

Two minutes. Not a lot of time, but so much can happen in a mere two minutes or less.

There’s the obvious two-minute warning during a football game. But who are they kidding? With commercial breaks and time-outs, that two-minutes can last upwards of five minutes, maybe more.Image result for clock of two minute warning

Two minutes or less might be all it takes for an introduction to the person who ends up becoming the love of your life.

Two minutes or less to recite your wedding vows.

Two-minutes or less for an at-home pregnancy test to reveal whether your entire life is about to change forever … or not.

Two minutes or less for your husband (or significant other) to tell you they don’t love you anymore and probably never did, but in fact, they love someone else now.

Two minutes or less to question why you were ever born.

Two minutes or less for the doctor to review the test results of the ultra-sound you needed to determine if what was seen on your mammogram is in fact cancer … or not.

Two-minutes or less can derail your life with one bad decision when proper wisdom or common sense fails.

Two-minutes or less can be life or death to someone waiting for an ambulance to arrive, or a firetruck or a police car.

For the addict fighting off the temptation to give in to the pull of their drug of choice, two-minutes or less can undo years of sobriety.

Without a doubt, the worst, most impossible two-minutes or less FOR ME is the two-minutes it takes to heat a proper lunch in the microwave. Two minutes or less is more than enough time for me to scarf down so much junk food that I find I’m suddenly too full to eat that well thought out meal.  It’s that particular two-minutes when indulged in too frequently that can undo the 18-months of hard work it took to lose a lot of weight.

Two minutes or less can cause a lot of damage in the mind of someone battling depression or low self-esteem.

Two minutes or less to swallow a hand full of pills and end your life.

Two minutes or less for your step-father to touch you inappropriately and scar you so deeply you fear you’ll never be able to have a normal relationship.

Two minutes or less to take a life … Two minutes or less to save a life … Two minutes or less to create a life … Two minutes or less for that last final push to birth a life.

Two minutes … two minutes … two minutes … any manner of things can transpire within the mere span of two minutes … 120 seconds. Dozens, hundreds, thousands of life-altering things can occur within a two-minute passage of time. Most of the things on this list are from my personal backpack of life’s experiences. And these are but a few.

See the source image

But the most important thing that can happen in two minutes or less is changing where you will spend your eternity. Saying yes to Jesus can happen quickly but change your life forever. Two minutes or less can determine if you’ll spend your afterlife in Heaven or Hell. Paradise or Hades?Image result for images for heaven and hell

Me? I choose Jesus, and not just for the next two minutes or for whenever it’s convenient. I choose Jesus for every decision. Every good day. Every bad day. Every minute of the life I have left on this earth.

Two minutes or less of praise and worship to the one who saved me and knows me better than I know myself is better than food binges, alcoholic beverages, exercise endorphins, therapy sessions and/or self-analysis.

The end of your life can come at any time like a thief in the night … and may not actually allow you the luxury of having a two-minute warning. Do you really want to take a chance on something that huge? WARNING:  Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Choose Jesus.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“At most, you will live a hundred years on earth, but you will spend forever in eternity.” ~ Rick Warren

Deep, Deep “Down-ness”

Deep down, I’m basically a pretty lazy person. When the alarm goes off, I’m at least a “two-snoozer” kind of gal, who regularly tries to eek out another 10 minutes of pillow time. My flesh would opt for sleeping in every single day if it had its own way. I’m sure there are people who love to wake up early and are happy from the get-go. Sadly, I am not one of those people.  Image result for Reaching for Alarm Clock ImageThe laziness in me isn’t just limited to getting up with an alarm, but spills over into regular daily routines as well. Making the bed, working out, showering, doing my hair and makeup – even preparing daily meals can feel like so many chores that get old after a while.

I think it’s the routines that make me feel like such a lazy person. Life can be pretty boring when you live a life dictated by schedules and doing the same things, the same way at the same time every day. It’s all so blah, blah, blah.Image result for blah blah blahBut deep down, deep in my soul – I’m a woman who loves God and one who has the Holy Spirit residing in all of my “deep-down-ness.” As I get older and my priorities shift, life is all about working towards letting the Holy Spirit dictate more of my life rather than letting my lazy flesh rule me.

I may only be one person, but I function as a 3-in-1 being. Some days my brain, which can be logical tells me I need to get out of bed and get moving with my daily “chores.” The brain is a stickler for my “To Do List.” But I’m not just made up of a logical thinking brain. My body — that lazy flesh of mine, tends to have a mind of its own and periodically it’s difficult to make my body cooperate when it’s time to get out of bed, particularly when it comes to exercise.

The third part of my “tri-part team” is my soul, where the Holy Spirit resides. It’s in my soul where my moral compass distinguishes right from wrong. My soul longs to obey the Lord so I know that taking care of my body and living with purpose is what He created me for. Jesus didn’t sacrifice His life so I could lie around the house like a lazy useless lump, living only for what pleases me rather than being a contributing member of society. In spite of the fact that my logical brain knows all this and my soul wants to follow through on all these noble things in life … my flesh still struggles to cooperate.

These struggles are a result of a very real enemy I (we) have whose sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy life as we know it (John 10:10). The devil delights in attacking my mind as soon as I wake in the morning, usually before I’ve even put my feet on the floor. I’m convinced that this lazy, do-nothing, tired-of-doing-the-same-thing-day-after-day attitude is an arrow shot at me by the enemy.Image result for arrows hitting a bullseye

These attacks are designed to cripple me as early in the day as possible in order to keep me from doing anything productive for the Lord. I’m not going to lie … some days his aim is true and his plan has a modicum of success.

If I manage to overcome the lazy attitude, the enemy finds a way to attack me in other ways. Things like, I find myself complaining about little things, or struggling with a cynical attitude or giving into despair. The devil stirs the pot of depression when it strikes me, and delights in my anxiety when facing a seemingly daunting task.  He laughs when I give in to temptation to overeat because of my emotions. The enemy doesn’t care how he interferes with my day. He knows he has the advantage if he can gain the tiniest of footholds. He knows he’s got me if I let my guard down even slightly.

Thanks in part to the many changes I’ve made in the past year with my health, I am more on guard than ever for these attacks. My mind is starting to feel more settled. There has been a definite shift in my priorities. In the past year I’ve gone from praying that God would steal me away to live with Him in Heaven while I sleep, to finding joy in the little things and appreciating even the boring hum-drum days. Yes, even the alarm and daily chores of bed-making, exercise, showering and putting on makeup have made me realize what a privilege life itself is.

“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.”  Psalm 39:4

Most days as soon as I’m conscious, I do my best to remember “This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Even though many days I seriously don’t want to — I drag my lazy self out of my comfy bed, strap on my sports bra and workout clothes, lace up my worn-out Fila’s and engage in my daily workout. It’s not something I LOVE to do, but something that maintains my sanity and is strengthening my mind and my body for whatever the future holds. Exercise is a privilege.

Image result for exerciseWhen I begin to feel like I’m tired of these boring, time-consuming “chores,” the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that I am blessed to have a nice home to live in with hot and cold running water. I have access to toothbrushes, hair brushes, soap, shampoo, shoes and clothes, gas in my car and a pantry and fridge filled with food. There are people around the world who sleep on dirt floors and forage for their next meal in trash heaps. In many countries people walk miles to collect fresh water to drink, cook and wash with. Why should I dare to complain that waiting for the water to get hot for my daily shower takes too long? Image result for complaining

“Do everything without complaining and arguing,”
Philippians 2:14 (NLT)

In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest deliver’s one of life’s most iconic lines, “Stupid is as stupid does …”Image result for stupid is as stupid does

 

The devil thinks I’m stupid and will give in to his taunts and attacks. If I refuse to live according to the Word of God and fail to obey the Holy Spirit, then I’m letting the enemy know that he is right. BUT for now during this new season of my life, my prayer is: Lord, help me to be anything BUT stupid!

Image result for Psalm 119:73

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Faith is not about everything turning out okay, faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out. ~ Author Unknown

Snap Out of It!

A few weeks ago, I watched an old film that I’ve always loved but hadn’t seen in years. I enjoyed the movie so much that I’ve officially added it to my favorites list. The movie is called Moonstruck which was released way back in the 20th century in 1987. This movie stars Cher as Loretta, who is an Italian-American widow who becomes engaged to Johnny, played by Danny Aiello. Shortly after proposing, Johnny leaves the country to visit his sick mother in Sicily. During his absence, Johnny’s younger brother, Ronny, played by a young Nicholas Cage seizes the opportunity to woo Loretta. Ronny hopes to steal Loretta away from his brother whom he has a major grudge against.

My favorite scene is when Ronny (Nicholas Cage) finally gathers his nerve to passionately confess his love for Loretta after the two share a night of passion. Despite not being in love with her fiancé, Johnny, Loretta wants to remain faithful to him. As Ronny declares his love for Loretta, she knows the relationship can’t possibly work because of her commitment to Johnny. In order to deter Ronny, she slaps him across the face, not once, but twice and yells at him to “Snap out of it!”

Things would certainly be much simpler if we could apply that “snap out of it!” logic to all of the problems we face in life.

Sure, maybe some people are capable of “snapping out of it!”… Whatever their “IT” is. But me … not so much.

I’ve had well-meaning “friends” and even family members that have given me their version of a “snap out of it” lecture, with regards to my depression or anxiety. They’ll suggest something like, “just think positively.”

When I’ve dared to talk about my food addiction I actually had someone tell me, “just stop eating junk food, if you aren’t happy with your weight.” Or “Why don’t you go on a diet?”  Or my personal favorite, that age-old classic of … “you just need more willpower.” 

Gee … like I never thought of that before!

People who make these “snap” suggestions or “easy fix” solutions, are obviously “perfect people” who’ve never battled their own demons.

If life has taught me anything it’s that applying “willpower” only works for so long. Fighting depression or an addiction can’t be fixed by just making your mind up to “feel better,” or stop doing that thing that makes you hate yourself.

We don’t need more willpower … we need more of God’s power. Where I personally fall short is that sometimes I don’t always turn to God FIRST. My natural inclination is to try to “fix” whatever is broken on my own before I turn to God. It’s like I think I can actually control things. Which is silly, because the Bible tells us:

 

Maybe rather than the idea of “snap out of it,” I need to “snap to it.” Which translated means, I need to make a choice to FIRST turn to God and ask Him what I need to do before I succumb to the darkness or do a face plant in a tub of ice cream.

I know I shouldn’t be so “me focused” but more “God focused.” I can “Snap to it” by searching the Scriptures when I need a word of encouragement. Or “snap to it” could mean I need to clear my head and get outside and get some fresh air; take a walk around the block and look at things with a different perspective. Of course, my go-to “snap to it” solution will likely always be exercise. Nothing clears the brain fog quicker than a good workout. But I’m not above calling someone to talk me through whatever I’m going through. Sometimes I just need a friend.

For me … the black holes are never going to completely disappear. The food temptations are always going to be knocking on my door. In order to be a survivor and not a victim who lets my depression or food addiction define me, I need to learn to manage these parts of my life. I will never be able to totally “snap out of it.” In order to manage it, I must fully surrender every part of my life, my body, my brain, my emotions, my addictions, my shortcomings, my choices (both good and bad) … literally every single part of me must be completely surrendered to God.

It’s easy to say I’ve fully surrendered my struggle with depression and my food addiction to God, but if I’m continuing to struggle … me thinks maybe not so much.

Lord, I want to “snap out of it!” I believe with YOUR HELP I really can … but please help me in my unbelief!

 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24 NLT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

 

I’ve “BEAN” UP and I’ve “BEAN” DOWN

It’s crazy to think that just by exercising a little self-control with regards to what we eat or by monitoring our food portions, we can actually change the way our bodies look and feel. Boy, that’s a lot of power … AND a lot of responsibility! The key word here though, is a word most of us don’t like: “Control.”   

Controlling our appetites – or better yet, NOT controlling our appetites is the main cause of why so many of us are unhappy with the way we look. The poor choices we make when we choose not to control our appetites is what leads us to despise stepping on the scale with any amount of frequency.

Because I’ve been at my ideal body weight repeatedly, I always find myself “stymied” as to how I end up regaining lost weight. Okay, that’s just my denial talking. The truth of the matter is, it’s really no mystery at all. I’m a person who chooses to feed my emotions rather than dealing with them in a healthy, balanced way. Name a feeling, and I bet I’ve got the perfect combination of junk food to throw at it.

Sure, I had times when weight gain was expected. Three pregnancies to be exact. But even then, I CHOSE to make poor choices with regards to my diet. That whole, “I’m eating for two,” really got the better of me. After my third and final pregnancy, I rejoined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time and eventually lost my baby weight. And then for good measure, I went to work for Weight Watchers to insure my weight loss success would be a lasting one.

But, as with most things in life … LIFE got in the way and had other plans.

I can remember the exact day in which I willingly stopped making good food choices and the moment I fell off the Weight Watchers wagon. And trust me when I say, I fell off that wagon pretty darn good and hard! I not only fell off the wagon, but I stretched out on the ground and let the wagon back up and run over me. Repeatedly. And it all started with a no-turning-back-the-only-way-to-go-is-down shove off the wagon by a Styrofoam container of refried beans.

These weren’t just any ordinary refried beans, mind you. These beans are indescribably delicious, and possess some sort of magic property that changes a person’s brain chemistry, elevating them to a near blissful endorphin euphoria. Hmm … perhaps, that’s a slight exaggeration .. but at any rate, these beans are still one of my favorite treats.

I turned to the beans shortly after my mother passed away very suddenly and very unexpectedly. She passed peacefully in her sleep the day before Mother’s Day 18-years-ago. I was overcome with as much guilt as I was grief since she and I had a very challenging, oftentimes, difficult relationship. Her unexpected death left me with so many unresolved issues with no way of resolving them at that point.  I’d had opportunities to work through our problems in the past, but always opted to wait until “the timing” was better. Now there would never be “a better time” to resolve anything.

My Mother, Antonina “Lena”

October 6, 1933 – May 10, 2003

 

 

After receiving the news that my mother had passed away, I was numb for days – a veritable advertisement for The Walking Dead. My father passed away three years prior to my mother’s death – so to suddenly find myself without both my parents was tough to process. Even though I had a husband, children and a grandchild and in my early 40s, I felt orphaned. For once in my life, rather than feeding my emotions, I completely stopped eating for an entire week. In my mind, my mother was dead and somehow it felt wrong to reward my body with any type of nourishment. It makes no sense, especially looking back at it now – but at the time it made perfect sense to me.

I lost about eight pounds from the day my mother died until we buried her six days later. The minute they lowered my mother in the ground though, something happened. My brain developed it’s own opinions on how I should grieve and flipped a self-destruct button to the “ON” position. I suddenly became ravenously hungry. My cravings ignited, my hunger and appetite were insatiable. My body wanted — no demanded — comfort food and lots of it.

My husband made a special trip into downtown Phoenix to a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican food restaurant (aren’t those always the best places to get authentic Mexican food), to buy a couple of pints of my favorite refried beans. These beans are so mouth-wateringly delectable and are likely made with pure lard and lots of secret Mexican ingredients, slow-cooked for days over an open fire by a hunchbacked Hispanic woman who is at least 104-years-old. (Okay, I made that last part up. I don’t know how they cook these beans, but they are worth the 45-minute drive into town and back again. Absolutely THE BEST refried beans you’ll ever eat this side of the Rio Grande.)

After I polished off the beans, it almost became a contest to see how much food I could “secretly” consume. I couldn’t let my family know the depth of my grief and depression, so when they were home, I ate “normally.” When they all left for school or work, it became a marathon of binge-eating anything and everything not nailed down. Almost like an out-of-body experience, I watched as I ate myself stupid, ending every day falling asleep in a full-blown food coma, having eaten to the point of feeling sick. Filling my body to excess to the point of extreme discomfort took the focus off of my grief, temporarily. At least, that’s what I fooled myself into thinking.

Because we all process grief differently my way of dealing with my mother’s death was to punish myself in a way that would hurt me the most. My self-esteem has always been tied to my weight and my physical appearance, so sabotaging my weight was the most self-destructive thing I could do to provide maximal pain to my splintered emotions.

The weight that had been so difficult to lose and maintain, returned almost instantly. As you would imagine, sudden weight gain is not the greatest endorsement for someone who works for a weight loss organization – especially one that requires monthly weigh-ins for their employees. I was forced to quit my job, siting “personal reasons” for my sudden departure.

In no time at all, the number on the scale that I vowed never to return to, was suddenly surpassed and at the highest it had ever been – including those months spent gestating a human baby inside of me. I was plunged into a pit of depression so deep, I thought I’d never escape. The years that followed were a blur of fad diets, yo-yo weight loss/weight gains and the darkest emotional times of my entire life leading up to the wedding of my two younger children nearly two years ago.

What makes me so sad is that my entire struggle could have been avoided if only I had sought the proper medical attention immediately following my mother’s death. Both my siblings and my aunt relied on treatment for their grief and depression with medication. I tried an anti-depressant for about a nano-second, but gave up almost instantly because I didn’t like the way the drug shut down my emotions completely. After that brief trial, I willingly chose to self-medicate with Double-Stuff Oreos, Cheesy Doodle Puffs and Bunny Tracks Ice Cream. These were my “go to” junk food staples I kept locked and loaded. And these were just a few of the caloric weapons in my total self-destruct arsenal.

In spite of the fact that I was a strong Christian at the time of my mother’s death, I fell into such a state of despair that no amount of praying, church attendance or Scripture reading could alleviate my self-induced suffering. It was as if I didn’t feel I deserved to be healed, healthy, happy or whole. I willingly chose to let the enemy, the master deceiver, the chief liar – Satan himself – destroy me … one lie at a time … one bite at a time.

If only I could turn the clock back and undo all of the damage the devil did to me way back then. If only I would have willingly chosen to chew on Scripture verses like Romans 15:13 rather than junk food … Think of the emotional pain I could have avoided.

Simply being a Christ-follower is no guarantee that we will have a perfect life free from challenges. And of course, merely reciting Scripture and praying may not ever fully alleviate our pain and suffering. But for me, it’s comforting to KNOW that I’ve got the Creator of the Universe in my corner. It’s encouraging to KNOW that He grieves with me, even collecting my tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8) and that my suffering has not gone unnoticed by Him. God’s Word also promises that He will never leave me (us) or forsake me (us.) (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5)

Even after all of these years, my mother’s passing reminds me that I need to cherish my relationships and right any wrongs sooner rather than later.  Falling off the wagon reminds me, that eating my way through any difficulty only makes the trial that much harder to bear.  To avoid any future setbacks I MUST remember, FOOD IS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE the answer to dealing with life’s trials! MY answer is a healthy mixture of Jesus, prayer, Scripture reading and memorization, portion control, exercise and making good choices TODAY!

In this season of learning from my past mistakes, I vow to fight with everything that is in me to never willingly be defeated by my food choices again. Not every day is victorious, but there are victories in each and every day. Life is for living one day at a time … one challenge at a time … one bite at a time … one workout at a time.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them. ~ Charles C. West

Don’t “THREAT” The Small Stuff

The human body is a natural wonder in the fact that it is capable of growing, shrinking – even incubating and birthing another human being. What a marvelous piece of fleshy machinery God has created.  

Over the course of my life, my body has transformed itself a multitude of times. Due to three full-term pregnancies and decades of yo-yo dieting, I’ve gained and lost well over 500 pounds over the past five decades. Yes, you read that correctly!

After having lost weight AGAIN for what I hope will be the last time, I’m finding that at this more “mature” age, my body is transforming yet again. Decades of all that yo-yoing and I’ve created some pretty significant challenges for my aged body. Not to mention, I’ve been double-teamed by Mr. Gravity and Father Time, who’ve had their way with my skin and various body parts. Things sag and hang lower than they used to. Joints creak and ache; muscles hurt more and take longer to recover. Getting older is no joke!

In addition to being older and somewhat wiser, my body now has the uncanny ability to predict the weather. Whenever the barometric pressure changes, my arthritic joints (mostly knees) begin an old familiar ache. Thankfully we don’t get a lot of precipitation in my neck of the woods, so the achy joints only flare-up periodically. There doesn’t even have to be any real rain in the forecast, but just the mere threat is enough to cause my knees to ache. 

Because Phoenix averages about 300 sunny days per year, my brain and knees tend to forget that weather changes cause my joints to ache. Whenever my knees start to throb I head into panic mode thinking things are going back to the way they were before I had knee injections. But then it’s like, “Whew, never mind … it’s just the weather. Everything is fine!”

Last week I had a threat of a different kind. When I weighed myself at my regular weekly weigh-in, my weight was up three pounds. I know that three pounds is pretty insignificant, but for someone who’s just spent the last 18 months working to lose weight, those three little pounds were enough to push me over the edge of sanity and reason.

Familiar phrases ran through my mind: I’m so fat and disgusting! I hate myself! If I gain any more weight I’m going to kill myself! I’m such a loser! Blah, blah, blah, and a whole lot of other self-deprecating words, threats and lies conveniently supplied by the master of all self-destruction … our old lying enemy, the devil.

If you’ve ever suffered with any manner of self-hatred due to depression, anxiety, obesity, etc. you probably can relate – maybe even have your own self-debasing inner dialogues much like mine.

Because I truly believe I am wiser thanks to my relationship with Jesus and years spent poring over my Bible, this latest mini-meltdown over three little pounds crashed and burned out rather quickly.

As if on some pre-programmed auto-pilot, I had a “come to Jesus meeting” with myself. When my anxiety rises due to circumstances, I thankfully have a number of “Go-To” Scriptures that I say out loud designed to take the focus off of ME and my problems and put it back where it belongs … the Lord Jesus.

I refused to let this threat best me as it once would have. After chewing on the meat of these Scriptures for a bit, I did a quick inventory of my past week and what could have caused this slight weight gain. The likely culprit was that my husband was on vacation for the past nine days, and that man can eat! He’s very tall and thin and manages his Type 2 Diabetes by eating six small meals a day. Every time he would eat, I’d start thinking I needed to eat as well. I tried to limit my frequent snacking to zero-point Weight Watcher friendly foods. FACT: Those zero point foods are still dangerous if enjoyed in excess. Over the course of two days, I practically ate an entire 10-pound watermelon and about five pounds of grapes all by myself!

One of the drawbacks of maintaining a weight loss is that it still requires a lot of diligence to track what I eat daily. As with last week’s slight weight gain, portion control – weighing and measuring my foods – is crucial. Even fruit! Grapes might be a zero-point WW food, but three pounds of grapes contain a LOT of natural sugar and calories.

Most of us know regaining weight takes very little effort on our part. In fact, I could be the queen of that club! What took a year to painstakingly lose, could reappear in a matter of days or weeks. Portion control and pushing myself to exercise a little harder than usual will help to keep that three pounds from morphing into five or ten or more pounds.

Gone are the days of telling myself, “Well, I already blew it for today – I may as well eat a sleeve of Oreos or that bag of chips in the pantry! I’ll get back on track tomorrow.”  Many of us know, tomorrow can be put off indefinitely! The time to act is NOW!

I opted to immediately rectify the weight gain situation. I added five-pound ankle weights to my morning treadmill walk. I normally walk three miles with varying incline settings, but now I pushed it to four miles. I walked at a much steeper incline and a faster pace than normal. It was a great cardio workout that had me sweating like a sumo wrestler wearing a wet suit in a gym sauna room. (That’s code for a LOT of unladylike perspiration!)

By simply being diligent with portion control and increased activity, my weight was back to normal within two short days. What this little weight gain showed me though is that even the mere threat of regaining lost weight was enough to send me down the rabbit hole. If I wouldn’t have been immediately proactive, that three pounds could have doubled and likely sent me spiraling out of control, drawing me once again into the black hole of depression and the bottomless abyss of self-loathing.

The bottom line takeaway this week is: less food and more movement = less me and more God-given peace and joy. Don’t THREAT the small stuff. We can only do so much on our own, the rest is up to God.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

How strange to use “You only live once” as an excuse to throw it away. ~Bill Copeland