when the scale doesn’t do what you want

For people who battle their weight, the scale often becomes a nemesis or a friend… or both in the same day. I won’t rehash all my scale woes today as you can take a trip through my previous blog posts and discover I have had a love/hate relationship with that hunk of metal in the past.

When we first begin a weight loss program, we’re usually excited and motivated by those first couple of weigh ins. Unfortunately, this rarely lasts very long, and the dailiness of sticking to our healthful boundaries begins to wear on us. We work all week to see if the scale will reward our efforts.

Some weeks it does…

… other weeks, not so much.

This morning, after not weighing for 28 days, I was cautiously optimistic about stepping on the scale. I say “cautiously” because I know I’m still dealing with the Hashimoto’s monster and sometimes it seems he plays games with me where the scale is concerned.

As weigh in day approached, I thought about how many pounds I might have released in the past 28 days sticking to my food boundaries (nutritarian). I felt like four pounds would be reasonable taking into account the thyroid craziness. Unfortunately, I guessed wrong. It said I was only down two pounds.

((grumble))

Fortunately, I’ve had three years of renewing my mind about food/weight/body image, and was ready to face it head on like a grown up.

The first thing I needed to recognize was that I still had something for which to thank God. That’s right, whether I saw 2 pounds as an accurate representation of the hard work or not…

…I still released TWO POUNDS… gone… “bye-bye, woo-hoo, see ya“.

Secondly, I needed a reminder that I’m not keeping my food boundaries just to release weight. I’m also keeping them to honor God and to change my health. I think leaning on the Lord to keep my commitment of avoiding refined sugar/flour for the past 67+ days counts for something on both fronts whatever the scale may say.

Plus, I released TWO WHOLE POUNDS!

Third, I needed to ensure I wouldn’t fall for lies like, “What’s the point of all this hard work if it isn’t going to pay off” or “I might as well eat my comfort foods because this isn’t working”. I mean really, how can one say it isn’t “paying off or working”?

Did I mention, I released TWO MORE POUNDS?!

So I pulled out my journal and my worn copy of I Deserve A Donut (And Other Lies That Make You Eat). I turned to the “Bad Scale Eating” questions/verses and did what I’ve done countless times before. I methodically wrote out each question, followed by my answer to it. Then, I prayed through the scriptures, praising God for His blessings and promises that hard work does matter.

And fourth, I needed to recommit to the journey for the long haul. This isn’t about one week, or even 28 days. This is about changing how I do life in regard to food/weight/body image. That doesn’t happen overnight. So, I settled down, made my fruit and greens breakfast smoothie, and continued on the journey…

…TWO POUNDS lighter.

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I wanna be a “wise overcomer”

I’m sure I first heard about Teresa Shields Parker last fall at the Taste For Truth Support Group, and I immediately ordered her book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor. Her battle with sugar addiction resonated with me greatly and I just could not get it out of mind.

For a while now, I’ve felt a gentle prodding from the Lord to give up refined sugar/flour indefinitely. I would dabble with it, and then cave with the mentality of “everything in moderation”. Moderation may be effective for some people… maybe even most people (though I doubt it based on my personal observations), but it is a real problem for me.

When I read Teresa’s book (as well as Bright Line Eating around the same time), conviction stirred in my soul. Sometimes you just know you will never see things the same again, this was one of those moments for me. While I knew I couldn’t continue as though I didn’t know better, I still grappled with the thought of never having sweets again. You see, I wanted to “have my cake and eat it too”… or better yet, I wanted to be fit, trim, and healed from Hashimoto’s while eating cake too.

With this conviction nagging me, I tried to buckle down harder with the boundaries I was keeping at the time (Weight Watcher’s Freestyle). I figured then I could release weight, “cut back” on refined sugar/flour, but not have to eliminate it altogether. I could keep the foods I loved most (which was obviously still way too important to me). Unfortunately, I still felt lousy, and to make matters worse, I would release weight for a couple of weeks, then it would bounce back up with a hormonal fluctuation and take a couple more weeks to bring it back down… just in time for a repeat of the cycle. And yes, I was keeping my WW points boundary.

So, now, I physically could not release weight while still eating certain things – even in moderation. This angered me. That may sound really awful, but let’s be honest, I was angry. Mentally, I rationalized and justified my position on the matter (moderation). Physically, I continued to eat the very things I knew would cause me harm. Spiritually, I ached with the nagging feeling I was being mastered by something other than God.

Reality check: If you are vehemently against giving up something, even to your benefit, it’s time to consider addiction as an underlying possibility.

I’ve heard people saying addiction isn’t real and that it’s really just a spiritual issue. I’ll not deny, there is a spiritual aspect to it for sure, but to say it is only spiritual is to ignore what happens in my brain when I eat refined sugar/flour. We are three part beings, and I would go so far as to say it is physical, mental, and spiritual. I believe all three must be addressed.

Earlier this year, I read Every Body Matters:Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul (Gary Thomas) and was even further convicted by my obvious disregard for my health (per my actions anyway). Still, refined sugar/flour caused cravings I felt powerless to ignore. I kept thinking about Teresa’s story and wondering if maybe I could admit that I had a problem with refined sugar/flour. Like really admit it. I’ve said I was addicted to it before, but I didn’t want this to be like every other time. I wanted to be sure I was ready to let go of it forever if need be.

The desire for physical change in this area surrounding refined sugar/flour was great. I wanted to alter what I ate and my activity level for the better. I had already been dealing with my mind for over two years (three years this month), so I was addressing the mental aspect… and even the spiritual as I renewed my mind with God and His Word.

And yet, I did not realize one crucial element was missing… that is, until I listened to Pastor John’s Four Signs Food has Become an Idol podcast. I came face to face with my sin regarding certain foods as he discussed the following:

  • gluttony – sinful enjoyment of God’s gift of food
  • disordered loves
  • ceasing to exalt Christ (or exalting food above Him)
  • contentment in God fades and food takes its place

These were concepts which jumped out at me; However, his list of evidences that food has become an idol struck my inner being with such deep conviction:

  1. We become indifferent to the harmful effects that food is having on the temple of the holy spirit – our body.
  2. We become indifferent to the way we steward our money as we spend unwisely on wrong foods.
  3. We start using food as an escape from our problems and a kind of medication for our sadness, or misery, or discomfort.
  4. We stop enjoying food as a way of enjoying God… we start replacing the goodness of God with the goodness of food.

I was missing the element of agreement with God over my sin. Saying gluttony is a sin is far different than believing gluttony is sinful. The picture he painted was a broken one and I had to admit it was me. Contemplating my long track record of chasing after “disordered loves” showed how undeserving I am of God’s grace. I could no longer look at those “loves” with affection. I saw them as the false gods they had become and couldn’t rationalize it away any longer. The shame makes me nauseous even as I type all these months later.

While undeserving, I knew I desperately wanted and needed His grace. Praise God His grace is available and sufficient. Even still, I could not continue in the way I had gone. Comprehending His grace, even on my finite human level, has a way of compelling one to want to change. I simply could not ignore it. So, I laid aside refined sugar/flour and bowed at His feet in repentance. “I’ll give it up forever if I need to”, I told Him. Why? Not because I believe those things are sinful in and of themselves, but because they had taken a position in my life that wasn’t theirs and wasn’t beneficial.

I began asking, “What is beneficial?” in the area of food, and allowing this to dictate my food choices. I even downloaded the book recommended in the podcast and started through it. I had intended to go straight to the chapter on gluttony, but have been moving through it slowly from the beginning and allowing God to teach me.

The other day, I was excited to see that Barb Raveling had interviewed Teresa Shields Parker about her 5 stages of the weightloss journey. I listened to it while I walked and having been without refined sugar/flour for 65 days, I found myself nodding in agreement a lot.

I’ve spent the most time in the first stage (Wishful Thinker), and while I’d like to think I’ve at least visited aspects of the next three in the past (Willing Owner, Watchful Learner, Wholehearted Traveler), I’m not sure. What I do know, I’ve never been in those stages as deeply as this time and I’ve certainly never been in the 5th one (Wise Overcomer).

Listening to Barb’s podcast made me realize that I “willingly owned” my addiction the day I heard Pastor John’s message on food idolatry. I didn’t do it because of peer pressure, my flesh desire to be thin, or worldly influence, it was because God had drawn me to a place of truth. Once faced with it, I couldn’t hand it over to Him fast enough. I knew I couldn’t fix it, that is God’s job, but I could take responsibility for my own actions.

Next comes the “watchful learner”, so I looked into strategies for dealing with sugar addiction and began to gather resources. I continued to renew my mind and remind myself that I do not want to be mastered by food. I personally don’t think I’ll ever abandon the “learner” phase because I do believe we continue to learn as we walk this journey no matter where we are in the stages. But this phase is certainly more focused at the beginning. Gathering information, learning from others who have overcome…etc.

From here, I moved forward yet another step to the “wholehearted traveler”, and if you’ve been following my “runner girl” posts, you’ve seen that my heart is definitely in this new path. I feel like I’ve been on a crash course of the wholehearted traveler phase with many challenges to navigate just in the first 60 days. I’ve chosen to grab the hand of Jesus and hang on for dear life. He tells me I can survive without refined sugar/flour and I believe Him. Standing strong in Jesus despite copious amounts of temptation has served to make me stronger still. Situations that would have sent me wallowing in a bag or box of something are much more manageable and less threatening.

I think the thing I liked most about Barb’s interview with Teresa was when she said that it typically takes 2 years of being in the “wholehearted traveler stage” before you reach “wise overcomer”. TWO YEARS! I’m sure that isn’t what most overweight people want to hear. We typically want to achieve as quickly as possible; but see, becoming “wise” in an area takes time. We must use the traveler stage to grow in wisdom and understanding… because all the knowledge in the world is useless without the wisdom to put it into practice. Of course, I’m only 65 days into my traveler stage, so I have plenty of wisdom yet to acquire.

That’s how I know this time is different for me, I wasn’t put off by the “two years” statement at all. God had already been embedding the mantra “for the long-haul” on my heart. So, I pictured how I might feel after two years of wholeheartedly sticking to my boundaries and trusting God for the transformation. I pictured a confident, stronger, contented, and yes, slimmer version of myself. My mind going straight to this visual made me realize I’m not gauging where I am on the journey by a destination number on the scale, but rather in the sum of many victorious days. I want to keep collecting because, one day, I want God to be able to say I’m a “wise overcomer”.

runner girl: week 8

We’re on the home stretch of this 13 week journey. I cannot believe the time is flying so quickly.

EXERCISE

Week eight of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule was another recovery week and we were thankful for it. Nothing really exciting to report except maybe hitting a sub-15 minute mile average during the second session.

It’s probably important to note that these paces include the walking warm-up and cool-down. Equally important to note is that my uphill jogging paces aren’t much better than that day’s overall average. Still, my focus isn’t pace, it’s putting in the time and letting my body acclimate to the pounding of jogging.

The husband has been doing his running in India the past couple of weeks, but finally got home on Saturday. We are thrilled to have him back in our little family running group.

I am feeling more fatigued, so I decided to take a look at what I’m eating.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 63 days on the nutritarian diet, and decided to up my fruit intake. This seemed to help significantly with my energy level. So I’m guessing I needed more fuel.

No weighing again this week because the husband was still out of town on Friday, but on day 60 I snapped a selfie in hopes of comparing it to a mug shot I found from about 60 days prior. Now, neither picture is great… hair not styled and the only makeup is mascara in the one on the right. However, it’s obvious I have less inflammation in my face and my eyes are brighter.

So, that served as my “weigh in” for the week. I do plan to weigh again on Friday and I’m really hoping the scale has moved. Years ago, I would have no doubt that it would move when I’m eating clean. Hashimoto’s changed things for me though, and I know that the scale may do whatever it pleases at times irregardless of what I eat.

If it doesn’t do what I want, I’ll just pull out the “Bad Scale” questions and verses from I Deserve a Donut (And Other Lies that Make You Eat). I cannot express what a difference it’s made to renew my mind about food/weight/body image over the past three years. That may seem like a really long time to be doing something and still have so much weight left to release. Renewing my mind is about identifying and eliminating toxic thoughts (typically lies) and replacing them with God’s truth. If I had before and after photos of my mind, they would shock you. Alas, I do not, and so I wait for my outward appearance to catch up with the change that’s been taking place on the inside.

I’m in this for the long haul. God is changing things about me a bit at a time and I give Him the glory, honor, and praise for any transformation with which He chooses to bless me.

runner girl: week 7

The week was “ok”. My mood was all over the place and I just felt “blah” a lot.

EXERCISE

Week seven of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule is in the record books with more interesting stories. We were a bit intimidated by session one this week because our jogging interval times doubled. Well, about a mile or so into the workout, we realized we were being tracked by a coyote. Nothing like a wild animal skulking about to take your mind off your workout. It tracked us for over a half mile and was closing in when we hit the turn to head back toward the van. Our abrupt turn startled it and it crept back into the brush.

I had also forgotten to load the workout into my watch so we were having to keep track of what interval we were on. We ended up running through all but 20 seconds of the last walking interval because we forgot my watch wasn’t going to prompt us. We felt really stressed during that workout, but we finished it.

Workout two had the challenge of bad air quality. It was really smokey out and our nose/throats were burning. We couldn’t wait for that to be over.

And then came the third workout. We went out a little later and encountered far more people and dogs than usual. Normally we don’t encounter other off-leash dogs, but plenty of on-leash ones that like to lunge at us and our dog. All the while, my dog trots along with us happily off-leash (lots of training went into this).

I truly don’t care if someone’s dog is off-leash or on, as long as they have a way to get their attention and recall them when necessary. We learned early on in his training that our dog would need an electric collar for those sensory overload moments (mainly bunnies and squirrels) to prevent his running into traffic or knocking down small children (kids are so fascinating to him). He just could not hear us when he reached that point of excitement. The collar immediately gets his attention and snaps him out of it.

I’m also very conscientious that not everyone on the planet likes dogs or feels comfortable around them. So, if there is anyone approaching from any direction, my dog is always recalled back to my side until we have enough clearance for him to explore without anyone feeling threatened.

During session three, there another “off-leash” owner hanging out just off the trail with his dog. Not having knowledge that this man was there, I didn’t recall my dog at the point I normally would, and he basically let his dog do whatever it wanted. It was intent on disrupting us from the moment it spotted our little troop. It taunted my dog to play and he relented. We continued running and I finally got through to my dog with the recall button on his collar (it vibrates and gets his attention). The other dog ran ahead of us once my dog rejoined me and stopped right in front of me on the trail. Seriously, my dog doesn’t run the show, did it think I was going to let it be in charge? Ha! I don’t think so! So, we had a bit of a battle of “chicken”, I growled and lunged at the dog. It moved and left us alone. The owner never once called to his dog and certainly didn’t apologize. Bad owner.

Ok, ranting about irresponsible dog owners aside, we finished the workouts. I’m just thankful these encounters didn’t result in any injuries.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 56 days on the nutritarian diet, but it wasn’t my favorite week. I’m not sure what else to say besides that. I’m going through a phase where I don’t feel like I’m releasing any weight, but it’s probably not helping that the husband wasn’t available to weigh me again on Friday. I almost caved and looked at the number just so I could weigh in, but I didn’t.

Could also be hormonal, and my eyes play tricks on me when it comes to my size anyway. I guess I’m still dealing with residual effects of disordered eating.

Plus, nothing tasted good this week. I mean, nothing. I found myself hunting for ways to make my food taste like something… anything… without resorting to salt. I did use honey a few times and tried some rice… blah. Maybe this is another layer of detox? I don’t know, but I hope it subsides soon.

My glands swelled up for a couple of days too. Of course, my wrists, hands, feet, and ankles look a lot thinner. LOL I guess that’s something at least.

 

runner girl: week 6

I my goodness, I cannot believe I’ve made it six weeks into a running schedule without an injury!! Shocking!! Praying this trend continues!

EXERCISE

We finished week 6 of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule. The kids were a bit intimidated at first with the increase in jogging time for session 1, but it turned out to be ok. Clearly, this schedule is designed to gradually prepare us for the changes, at least, I hope that’s true since we take a dramatic leap next week.

As you can see, I’ve resumed T-Tapp. I’m doing the Basic Workout Plus (BWO+) and CRT Skin Brushing. I feel stronger and more balanced when I’m doing BWO+ on a regular basis, so I’m going to make a real effort to incorporate it several times a week. It looks simple, but bless my buttons, it’s a tough workout if you’re trying to do it correctly.

The skin brushing… well, that’s because I want to exercise my skin. I’ve been much bigger than I am now (delivered 5 rather large babies), and I want to see if my skin can bounce back better than it has. I’ll tell you one thing, that brush hurts at first. I was wincing and thinking I must be crazy to do this to myself. It did get better toward the end of the week.

I noticed a difference after the second day of brushing (and first day back to T-Tapp). Later that day, when I put on my PJs… the same ones I’d worn the night before, the pants seemed noticeably roomier. I stood there and thought, “Is that even possible?” Not that I’m complaining – I’m all for shrinking my backside, even if I have to endure that stiff bristled brush for 5-7 minutes a day.

And yes, I realize I didn’t “rest” on Sunday. I actually wanted to go out for a leisurely walk. Everything was just so lovely and before I knew it, I had done four miles.

Changes In Perspective

Something I realized while reading skin brushing and T-Tapp testimonials was that I don’t care if it takes a little time for the results to really show. It seemed like most people go for the quick results, maybe even get the initial blast of inch loss, but then quit when it gets tough. The ones with the most dramatic change were the ones who stayed consistent for the long-haul. I want to be among those dynamic women!

In the past, I was always in a hurry. How fast can I reach a certain size? How fast can I reach a certain weight? But now, now I just want to take care of my body and allow it to heal.

I’m not thinking in terms of “where can I be two weeks from now” (or even at the end of a “challenge”), but rather “where could I be six months to two years from now”. Here’s the really shocking part, when thinking about reaching a healthy weight/size, I haven’t once thought, “When I get to ‘goal’, I’ll get to eat anything I want again.” On the contrary, I’m picturing a woman who enjoys exercise and nutritious food.

NUTRITION

I attribute this change in perspective on food to 1) renewing my mind regarding food/weight/body image for several years now, and 2) eliminating foods which trigger addictive behavior in me. Personally, I don’t see the way I am eating as being radical. It just feels normal and even, dare I say it, peaceful.

Yesterday, I hit 49 days on the nutritarian diet. Being off of sugar/flour for 49 days is a really big deal for me. I feel like the alcoholic in AA who can say, “It’s been 49 days since my last bite of the refined stuff”. I downloaded an app to keep track of the number of days so I wouldn’t have to constantly count back to the start date. I don’t like the ads on it though so I may look for something else.

As for weight, I’m noticing a perspective shift there too. Years ago I would say I didn’t care if the scale said I weighed 400 lbs if I still fit into my size 8 jeans. That girl is finally returning – except with a stronger mind. For years I’ve obsessed over that number. Fortunately, this too is something I’ve addressed with renewing my mind, but I’m thinking far more clearly than I have in a very long time since changing what I choose to eat.

When I realized the husband wouldn’t be available to weigh me on Friday (I don’t look at the number), I decided I didn’t care. It doesn’t matter. It’s not like I’m going to go off the rails if I don’t get scale confirmation that “it’s working”.

Simply put, I feel better (mind, body, and spirit). My clothes fit better (some reaching “too loose” status). My mind functions better. My hormones fluctuate better. My body eliminates better. I sleep better (most nights anyway).

Chocolate cake simply cannot compete with all of that.

runner girl: week 5

That’s right, we just continued right along with the schedule even though we didn’t finish week 4.

EXERCISE

We finished out week 5 of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule feeling pretty good despite the walking interval times being cut in half. With this change, I decided I was stressing out way too much over hitting 10K steps per day and opted to focus on getting in the workouts and let the steps fall where they may. Eventually I’ll likely be averaging 10K per day without having to pace around my house or go for extra walks. I must be patient and not push it. It is more important to make it to the end of the training schedule than it is to rack up steps.

With the “step count pressure” put on the back burner, I decided to bring back my weekly rest day. For now, that will be Sunday. My legs have needed more rest than anticipated. So, unless I just feel like going for a walk on my rest day, I don’t plan to worry about my step count.

My IT band has been really screaming at me, so I was more intentional with the foam roller this week. I stretched and then rolled after each workout. By the end of the week I was experiencing much less pain overall. I’d like to get a more dense and longer version than the roller I have (pictured right), but I’m using what I have at the moment. The double benefit is that using this thing on your lower body works your abs and arms too.

NUTRITION

Yep, you guessed it, another week on the nutritarian diet. This brings me to 42 consecutive days. Wow, six weeks! This week felt like a breeze compared to last week. I focused a lot on comparing what is permissible to what is beneficial when renewing my mind. This is just common sense to me now… beneficial is better.

I have noticed a slight increase in hunger. I think this is due to the jogging and am trying to eat more as a result.

Because it had been two weeks since I last weighed, I was nervous about stepping on the scale. Some old feelings about it crept in and I had to take them to God. I really didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I haven’t consistently dropped weight on any plan since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Plus, I usually swell when I travel to lower elevations and/or sit in a vehicle for extended periods of time.

I did weigh though, despite my apprehensions and my body released 3.2 more pounds since my last weigh in. Praise the Lord!! This is rather miraculous with these thyroid issues and I am so thankful for the progress. That brings me to 14.2 pounds gone in less than six weeks (weighed the morning of day 40).

I’m really glad I finally listened to God’s prompting to let go of foods which were harming me. This must be what the drug/alcohol addict feels like when they hit 42 days of sobriety. Yes, I still sometimes think about my old “friends” (harmful foods), but then I remember that they weren’t my friends at all. They were destroying my health… and for what? Momentary… fleeting… pleasure? Wow, so not worth it.