runner girl: week 1

Well, the first week of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule began great, and then we had a weather detour in the program. Still we managed to complete all three workouts this week.

I feel like I probably look ridiculous when I “run” as I’m trying to keep it slow. I looked up several videos on how to focus on proper form and go slow. I’m convinced I look silly, but I didn’t care because I was getting out there and doing it.

The husband and I felt a little under the weather, but it didn’t seem bad enough to skip getting in the workouts. In fact, I felt recharged after, which is highly unusual for me when I’m first starting back to running. Usually I feel pretty worn out and am dreading going out again, but not this time. Going much slower proved less taxing and more motivating.

Plus, my new Garmin Forerunner indicates I’m getting stronger – that’s always encouraging. I even added a bit of jump rope for good measure.

Unfortunately, the week didn’t end as well as it began. Frigid weather (and snow) blew in again on the 13th and we probably should have forgone the workout in the cold on the 14th (although Garmin gave me a Frosty Badge for that one). The workout itself wasn’t difficult, but my body went through some dramatic temp extremes during it. It didn’t once cross my mind that I might have already come down with the 15 year old’s cold (had already gone through the husband and the 13 year old) and any bit of strain would push me over. Well, I was down for the count shortly after we got back and spent all of the 15th in bed.

 

I hoped this would help me recover more quickly than everyone else, but you’ll have to wait till my next post to find out if it did. Most of this week, I stuck very close to eating Nutritarian… not perfect, but close. That came unraveled once I realized I was truly sick though. There are go-to foods that being sick triggers a craving for and I gave in.

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runner girl: returning to the land of the living

I’ve been away dealing with life and surviving… for the most part anyway 😉

I’ve read quite a bit already this year (I’ll consider sharing my reading list soon), and I recently read a book recommended by one of the Taste For Truth Support Group members titled, Every Body Matters. This was packed full of conviction about my lack of consistent exercise.

So, I decided to make a change. Yes, I need to move more, but specifically I want to run again. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life when he cries out, “I want to live again, please God, let me live again.”

I want to run again, please God, let me run again.

I’m starting from the beginning and will be baby steppin’ my way through this process. I picked up a copy of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook to get myself into the mindset of being a true beginner. I’m trying to wipe out my preconceived notions and reservations from injuries past. I’m refusing to look back wistfully at my “glory days” and choosing to accept that I am starting from a place of excess weight and lack of consistent conditioning. It is what it is.

No amount of whining is going to change the present facts, but devising a plan and taking it one day at a time will likely change my future. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun walking more consistently to prepare for the training schedule outlined in  The Beginning Runner’s Handbook. Here’s what those walks looked like:

As you can see from those average paces, I’m not fast. On April 2nd, I made the mistake of trying to hit 3 miles in a time constraint I had. I shouldn’t have been doing any jogging yet. I was overdressed, got overheated, and then got sick. Now, if I can’t carry on a conversation, I slow down. I’m not trying to win any races, I just want to slowly build up and avoid injury in the process. Plus, I don’t want to dread going.

Yes, that’s correct, on the 6th, I stopped to pet a donkey. If you’re following my “God delights my heart” photos on Instagram (@ImBJuled), you’ve already seen this little darling.

Sometimes I get distracted during a workout, but hey, I’m trying to enjoy life a bit more these days… some might call it stopping to smell the roses, but in this case, I just had to stop and pet the donkey.

When I first started walking again, I had to renew my mind about it every time because I really didn’t want to go. I was in the mindset that walking a couple of miles wouldn’t really make a difference anyway, but that was a lie. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to it because now I look forward to walking. Plus, now I’m not missing out on as many sunrises, sunsets, and donkey encounters.

Trial by… water?

I haven’t been online as much as usual of late because almost 11 weeks ago our home flooded (all three floors). We’ve been living in a hotel and trying desperately to find a new “normal” while we wait to move back in. It has already been such a long process and one that has had me asking God a lot of questions… of which He has yet to answer most of them.

So, I wait.

In the meantime, I reached a point where I simply could not deal with the pain I was in a moment longer. Long story short, I need chiropractic treatment for a neck and hip thing and bloodwork revealed that I am vitamin D deficient with a whopping case of Hashimoto’s disease. Lovely.

Now, I honestly don’t know how much of this has to do with all the stress we’ve been under the last few months and how much was already there. Since the flood, my diet took a downward turn to the land of fast and processed food-like stuff. I’m sure this affected the blood work and I know it affected my waistline.

The diagnosis explains a lot of course.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I got the diagnosis and I’m still in the process of researching this thing. I’ve gone through a bit of denial and of course outright anger, but I think for the most part, I’m coming to grips with the reality that my diet-style must change dramatically and permanently. No, I’m not going to start eating meat and drinking milk, but there are things I should stop eating… um, like oreos and fried tofu… and things I need to include… like lots of greens.

“Everything in moderation” is not a mantra that supports healing for someone in this condition. Prior to the flood, I had converted back to Dr. Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” plan to help with the pain I was experiencing. It was working and I felt like I was on the road to recovery.

This came unraveled quickly under the stress and inconvenience of the situation. Almost 11 weeks later, I am finally returning to the strict version of the plan. I am also taking a Vitamin D supplement and immune boosting supplement (per my doctor). She will retest at the 3 month mark.

Other things I’m doing include: good multivitamin, getting outdoors daily for at least 15 minutes, a daily pinch of kelp granules (for iodine), exercise, and increasing water intake.

All of this is in addition to continuing to renew my mind to the mind of Christ. Without this crucial piece, I would certainly be wallowing in self-pity right now. Instead, I am hopeful.

from beneath the waves

jesusonwater1

Well, I honestly thought I was ready to move to another set of boundaries, apparently not. The “diet mentality” noise in my head reached deafening volumes about two weeks into the boundary shift. I know it had everything to do with eyes of my heart shifting from relying on the Lord to relying on the diet. I stepped out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, but as we know, humans can’t walk on water in their own strength.

As soon as my inflated ego got in the way, I began to sink. Over analyzing every little thing I ate returned along with feeling the weight of taking back the responsibility of making my own transformation happen. It seemed all I thought about was food and exercise and weight.

Then, I broke the boundary… and broke it again… and again…. and the hours of fruitless research returned. I would find myself googling and reading about all kinds of diet plans, supplements, and exercise programs. Finally, I started through books in my own library that I’ve read over and over.

UGH!

The  noise of “diet mentality” running amuck is horrible and dare I say, torturous! And trying to control my weight and flesh desires is exhausting (and futile). I’m glad I kept up with the practice of renewing my mind but I was so bombarded I felt frozen in my old pattern of behavior.

When I awoke from falling asleep on the sofa after downing an entire bag of snack size Almond Joy, I knew I wasn’t ready for “walking on water” when it came to my food boundaries. Pride is still very much alive in my flesh. I really hate admitting defeat, but I needed to humble myself and cry out to the Lord for help.

Fortunately, on the timeline of my journey, this will be seen as a tiny blip, hardly significant in the realm of damages, but a very significant turning point for me.

One really positive result from this was a re-reading of Lisa Bevere’s You are Not What You Weigh and Sharon Hersh’s The Last Addiction (which I’m still in the middle of). Ironically, reading them again, I came away with an entirely different message which has dropped another layer of scales from my eyes and shifted my focus even more intently to the Lord. I hope to post more about this soon.

I did return to Weight Watcher points as my boundary line, and much of the diet noise dissipated almost immediately. I still have to renew my mind about keeping my boundaries, but it isn’t like having a screaming banshee in my ear all day long. Obviously, clear boundary lines that allow for “real life” are better for me right now.

If you find yourself slipping beneath the waves, cry out to Jesus and then grasp His waiting hand. Don’t let it go on simply because you feel powerless to change… admitting your powerlessness is pivotal to tapping into the unfathomable power of the Almighty.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

when it’s time to change

When I typed that title, the Brady Bunch kids singing a song by the same name came to mind. In a strange 70’s way, the song touches on the transformation we’re undergoing as we renew our mind. Things sometimes get worse, like Peter’s cracking voice, before they get better. And yet, sometimes we must change our boundaries in order to grow.

boundary-line-webRecently, I felt like the Lord was telling me it was time to change my boundaries. As most of you know, I’ve been following the WW points plan since March. I truly believe WW was a good fit for me at the time because of where I was in this journey to living in victory. However, the more I renewed my mind, the convinced I became that it was time to move on.

Trust me, I know how difficult it is to decide on a set of boundaries. So, if you’re having difficulty, Barb Raveling has a wonderful post that might help titled: 13 Questions That Will Help You Choose a Weight Loss Plan

But what about when you feel like it’s time to change your boundaries?

For most people, we’ll think we need to have a different set of boundaries simply because the ones we have are difficult. Or maybe we have a friend who is having success on another plan. It’s very enticing to think the grass is greener somewhere else.

These are not reasons to change our boundaries. In those cases, we need to renew our mind about them and gain a different perspective.

However, there are legitimate reasons it might be time to consider a different set of boundaries. These are just a few:

  • You’re consistently following your boundaries but aren’t releasing weight.
  • You’re consistently following your boundaries but you don’t feel well physically.
  • Your lifestyle has changed and your boundary lines are no longer a good fit.
  • God is prompting you to change them to bring you to a deeper relationship with Him (make sure it is God, His motives will not be the world’s motives).

Not Releasing Weight

If you’ve honestly been consistently renewing your mind and following your boundaries for at least a month, but have not released weight (or have gained), it might be time to consider trying something else.

I say at “least a month” because expecting quick results is part of what has landed us in the diet rat race in the first place. Sometimes our weight loss is delayed a bit because we are actually weighed down by a lot of lies and once those begin to change, our bodies let go.

Sometimes our weight loss is delayed because we’re telling ourselves we’re keeping our boundaries when we really aren’t. It might be that your boundary lines just aren’t clear enough for you to recognize you’re breaking them. Get honest with yourself.

The point is, we don’t want to be switching boundaries every couple of weeks. It’s tempting to keep changing them in search of the “perfect” set of boundaries. Well, let me just tell you, there is no such thing. Every set of boundaries will have it’s pluses and minuses and none will be “perfect”.

If you’re frustrated because keeping your boundaries isn’t as easy as you had hoped, that’s not a good reason to switch either. Keeping boundaries is hard and requires work, determination, and a whole lot of renewing our minds to the mind of Christ. Once you’re keeping them consistently for at least a month, reevaluate things.

If you are releasing weight and you just want it gone faster, that’s not necessarily the best reason to change boundaries either (unless directed to do so by a doctor). Instead, you’ll probably need to start working on your discontentment or greed issues. I Deserve a Donut  (book or app) has some great questions and verses in the “discontentment” and “greed” sections to help you renew your mind in this area.

For me, I was still releasing weight on WW (although it had slowed down), so I wasn’t really motivated by this to change boundaries.

Not Feeling Well Physically

If you’ve been consistently following your boundaries for at least a month and you don’t feel well physically, there could be any number of things going on. My first recommendation is to check with your doctor. Tell them what you’re doing and see what they have to say. Tests might reveal a root cause that has nothing to do with your boundaries.

Lack of sleep, overeating, under eating, food allergies, wrong food combinations for your body…etc could be at play as well. If you’re following a plan where you have eliminated addictive foods, you might feel horrible for the first few weeks because you’re going through withdrawals. You could also be nutrient deficient. Check into these possibilities and tweak your boundaries as necessary.

This was one of the major reasons I felt prompted to change my boundaries. Even while following the WW plan, I began to have chest pain again just over a month ago. I haven’t had chest pain in years. I stopped sleeping well. I felt really agitated and I had general pain all the time in my joints. I had started popping Ibuprofen regularly just to function, but when the chest pain started, it freaked me out. Sure, I was still releasing weight, but what fun is it to be smaller and feel terrible physically? I had a thought growing in the back of my mind over a couple of months that I needed to up the nutritional value of what I was eating.

It’s true, I could have done this while still on WW, but there was more at play.

Lifestyle Change

This could encompass a multitude of scenarios. Some examples that come to mind are:

  • One of your children is diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy and those foods must be eliminated from your life.
  • You end up traveling across country with your truck driving husband and no longer have access to your kitchen (yes, thinking about you Barb R).
  • You move to another country with a different eating culture.
  • Your husband is laid off and you have to cancel your WW membership.
  • A diagnosis requires dietary changes.
  • You’re training for a marathon and require a different nutrition plan to fuel your workouts.

This list could go on for a while. Even if your life changes significantly enough to warrant a boundary change, we still need to keep in mind that life is going to throw us challenges no matter what our boundaries are. This is where renewing our minds comes into play.

If you experience a lifestyle change, try to keep your original set of boundaries for a couple of weeks just to make sure they aren’t still a fit. Yes, it will be challenging. If after a couple of weeks it’s clear they aren’t working with your new life, change them.

For me, this played a very small role in the boundary change, but it did influence it. We recently decided to dramatically alter our spending habits because of some financial goals we had set. In doing so, we cancelled some memberships (WW and the gym) and we tightened up our grocery budget. This is the other “renewing the mind project” I’m doing right now. I was already considering the dietary change before we decided to tighten the budget, but it definitely made it easier to take the leap. It wasn’t enough for me though. I was still afraid I was changing them for the wrong reasons. I was also afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep stricter boundaries (cause I didn’t want to). I didn’t actually change them till God prompted me to do so.

God is Prompting the Change

This one can often be confused with our own feelings and emotions if we aren’t consistently renewing our minds in the process. If you are seeking God on the matter, He won’t be vague.

Even if He is the one prompting the change, you may feel scared and even have some doubts, but God will give you peace if it is His will.

For me, it began with a thought of, “Beloved, are you willing to give up certain foods for Me?”

Yikes. I didn’t like where this was going.

He challenged my mantra of “everything in moderation”. I said, “But everything is permissible.” To which He replied, “Aye, but not everything is beneficial.”

I was primed for this message with how terrible I felt physically. Then the husband and I started working on our financial project and I asked myself what I was willing to give up to meet our goals.

I remembered a plan I had done a while back, so I got out the book (one of the few “diet” books I’ve kept) and read it again. Convinced I was supposed to change my boundaries, I stepped away from WW and switched to a “nutritarian” diet a few weeks ago. The chest pain went away immediately and I have minimal general pain now (praise the Lord).

You see, when God prompts you to change your boundaries, the timing will always be spot on. He knew exactly what I needed and knew when I would be receptive to the change. I don’t know how long I’ll be “giving up” some of my favorite foods. I don’t even know that I’ll never return to WW, but you know what, it really doesn’t matter. Food is just food. It isn’t love. It isn’t peace. It isn’t joy. I’m going to take this thing one day at a time.

Transformed By the Renewing of the Mind

Even if we decide it is time to change our boundaries, there is one crucial thing we must keep in mind:

It is not our boundaries which transform us!

swordGOD transforms us through the renewing of our minds. I challenge you, even before you settle on your boundaries, pour your time and energy into renewing your mind about food, weight, and body image. Pour in His Truth at every opportunity. This is the only way I have a remote chance of keeping any set of boundaries long-term.

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. ~ Romans 12:2 (AMP)

using boundary breaking to our advantage

About three weeks ago I felt like the Lord was telling me to alter my boundary lines. I’ll talk more about that change another day, but this alteration brought up some deeply rooted lies I hadn’t dealt with yet on my WW points boundary.

With the points, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted as long as I had the points to do so. Sometimes that would mean extra exercise just so I could have a high point item. I started to get good at playing the points game so I could still do some recreational or emotional eating (albeit, less than before).

Well, my new boundaries don’t afford me that luxury. At first, I was feeling pretty good about the boundary change because I physically felt better, but then I suddenly felt worse, stress increased, and I was left suffering without the option of self-medicating with certain foods.

At first, I didn’t realize this was going on. I justified eating outside my boundaries because I had a headache and knew certain foods would help it subside. This triggered “failure” feelings. Then I started to think about foods I wouldn’t even eat on WW because the points just weren’t worth it to me (orange tofu). This triggered feelings of deprivation (which is really “discontentment”).

One evening with broken boundaries turned into three evenings with broken boundaries. I would make it all day and then cave in the evening all over again. A little “I’ll start tomorrow” eating crept in.

I thought, “Good heavens! This looks way too much like my old pattern of behavior.” It scared me to think I might return to that life if I didn’t put a stop to it right then. So, when I woke the fourth morning, I lay in bed and talked to God about what was going on. He pointed out two lies which seemed to be at the root of the deviation.

LIE: If I have a headache, I must need to eat something.

This lie was the actual trigger which set everything off. I had been dealing with an incessant headache for days and I was tired of it. When I ate a cupcake that first evening and it disappeared, I ended up eating three more to keep it at bay. It seemed to “confirm” the lie.

I distinctly remember complaining of headaches as a child and being told, “Oh, you must be hungry”. Now, it’s highly likely I was hungry then, but over the years it morphed into, “have headache, must eat”.

In reality, that morning prayer with God revealed to me the headache was due to a lack of restful sleep and eating too much too often. I asked God what I should do and felt like He told me to drink water but to wait to eat.

Well, this triggered another lie.

LIE: I need more food, and frequently, to fuel my day.

This lie plays on my fear of being without food. I have a genuine fear of being hungry and not being able to eat. So, I panicked when I had gone half the day without eating and only drinking water.

Instead of going to God about it, I ate two oranges. The headache returned. Essentially, God had told me to fast that day, but I was too scared of going without food. I would go several hours without eating, but then I would eat something because my mind kept telling me I needed to eat despite not feeling hungry.

I was actually surprised at the fears and beliefs being dredged up by a simple change in my boundaries. More time in prayer made me realize I don’t need nearly as much food (even the nutritious stuff) as I thought I did. In fact, I was overworking my digestive system and not giving my body a chance to rest and heal.

All things together for good…freedom-chain01

You may be wondering what could possibly be an advantage to breaking my boundaries. I mean, I gained weight during those three days. I felt bloated, agitated, and miserable. On the surface it looks like a total failure because it derailed my weightloss goals. How can this be helpful?

Well, God tells us He works all things together for good to them that love Him. I do believe the passage is largely talking about circumstances outside of our control, but I can’t ignore that He says, “ALL things”. I believe this means He can use our mistakes to His and our advantage. What the world may see as a failure, God sees as an opportunity to teach us, refine us, and transform us if we go to Him for help.

In the past, I would have viewed three days of breaking my boundaries as a total loss. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have just been three days. Thankfully, the truth says they aren’t a “set-back” in my journey. Now I see them as a “set-up” for future success because God shined a light on more lies to be extracted. So, no matter how badly we mess up with our boundaries, there is always something to be learned. We don’t have to remain in a place of defeat. We can allow God to make us stronger instead.

Psalm 119:33-40

squishy bits and all

It’s been a really long time since I was “buff”, but there was a time when I had visible muscle definition. I have no idea if I’ll ever get a glimpse of that body again, but there are days when I look in the mirror and think, “where did all these squishy bits come from?”

Of course, one might wonder, how on earth can you ignore the elephant in the room when that elephant is yourself? For years, I couldn’t see past the obesity. I hated even walking by a mirror let alone standing in front of one. I was totally aware of every jiggle, every pinch in my clothing, and every stare. Now, though, the squishy bits actually catch me by surprise at times.

This isn’t because I’m ignoring the extra weight, but rather because most days I am able to view it through God’s eyes and not man’s.

…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. ~ 1 Samuel 16:7b (NKJV)

However, if I let my “fat eyes” run wild, I’ll find myself in a full blown pity party on the brink of a dive into a bag of something sure to blow my boundaries right off the map. When I notice I’m focusing on my physical imperfections, I have learned that it is time for a perspective check, and lately, that has meant dealing with discontentment. I don’t even have to feel discontent about my body for it to trigger thoughts of food.

Before I began this journey of intentionally renewing my mind to the mind of Christ, I probably would have said I was a content person… or at least mostly content. I certainly didn’t think it was a stronghold or anything. Ha! Lies can be so blinding.

When God removed the binging from my repertoire of coping mechanisms, I was faced with a very ugly reality. I was one of the most discontent people I knew. Sure, it was lying there under the surface, squashed down by bad habits, but it was there, like a cancer, robbing me of really living.

Discontentment usually comes around when I’m believing a lie or making something more important than it should be… or both. This is one of the reasons I really love Barb Raveling‘s book, I Deserve a Donut: And other lies that make you eat. I can turn to the page of questions which addresses discontentment and get a much needed reality check.

By the time I’m finished journaling through the questions and the verses, my perspective has changed. Discontentment says I’m unloveable if I’m overweight, but God loves me, “squishy bits and all”. Because of this, I am able to worry less about the extra weight and focus on what really does matter, like loving God and others well.