183.5 miles in 60 days

Yesterday I hit a milestone for the year.  I have completed 3 miles a day for 60 consecutive days!  There has been some jogging in there, but mostly walking.

My Garmin daily step goal is set to 6K because that’s the average number it takes to reach 3 miles.  Of course, I’ve gotten more than that every day.  I would estimate I’ve averaged about 9-10K a day since the start of the year.

As a result, Garmin awarded me the “60-day Goal Getter badge” – woohoo!  This is the second time I’ve earned this repeatable badge.

It’s doubly cool to hit it on a Leap Day and earn the limited Garmin “Take the Leap” badge as well.

Yes, it seems silly for a grown woman to be excited about “virtual” rewards, but the 60 day badge represents so much more than a “steps goal” to me.

I cannot tell you how many days I’ve dreaded showing up for those 3 miles.  There have been some really difficult days that involved some serious pain.  One such day was the hike I embarked on during a snowstorm.  It took me almost 2 hours to complete the three miles because I was wading through calf deep snow.

I’ve been worried that once I hit this mark, I’ll take a day off.  The thought of going for another straight 60 days is a little overwhelming.  Plus, the weather has been a huge obstacle.  It’s only March 1st.  We here in the Colorado Rockies have a couple more months of this at least.

So, it’s obvious I need to focus on today only.  Can I muster up enough to just get it done today and not worry about the next sixty days?  In the wise words of The Little Engine that Could, “I think I can.”

Until tomorrow, I pray you’ll join me in heeding God’s words to not worry about tomorrow, but to focus on dealing with today.

*the mileage in the title only represents the daily “workout” mileage totals and not overall steps (which would be far more than 183.5 miles).

is it still called breakfast at noon?

I’ve been trying to motivate myself to get back on track with eating better since I fell off the wagon on February 13th.  The plan was to resume on Monday (Feb 24th), but I didn’t.

Then, Wednesday morning I woke up feeling absolutely horrible.  I was down most of the day and only got up to use the restroom and do my 3 mile indoor walk (which was torture, but hey, keeping the streak alive).

When I woke up Thursday morning feeling much the same way, I started thinking I’d just wait till the next Monday to work on the food because I didn’t feel like dealing with it.  As I lay in bed, trying to make myself get up, I received a text from a friend asking if I had started back on Monday (I had told her at the memorial that was my plan) – oops.  I fessed up of course.  I thought about telling her I’d changed my mind and would start next week, but I just couldn’t bring myself to type that.  It felt like I was giving up again.

Barb Raveling’s “I’ll Start Tomorrow” chapter from I Deserve a Donut (and other lies that make you eat) echoed in my head.  A battle waged.  Would I concede defeat?

NO!

I knew could do something that day to move me back in the right direction nutritionally.  Last week I read Mastering Diabetes by Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro.  I have been following the “mindful diabetic” (Robby) for a while on Instagram.  His meals are so simple, his enthusiasm is contagious, his exercise regimen is inspiring, and it’s nice to see a diabetic who is thriving.

You may wonder why I would read this book? Diabetes runs in my family – both sides – all “types”.  I was a gestational diabetic (delivered five big babies) and it’s highly likely I’m headed for type 2 (if I’m not there already).

I’m sure I’ll discuss this book more because I’m one of those nerdy people who finds the operations of the human body insanely fascinating.  I LOVED all of the detailed explanations about cells and insulin and case studies.  Plus, I do believe in their program.

Anyway, a suggestion which really resonated with me was to just start with breakfast and make-over that meal for seven days in a row before moving to lunch.  Ironically, I did this many, many, many years ago before I ever read the idea in a book, and it does work if you can be patient with yourself.

I decided that was the thing I was going to do – prepare a breakfast according to the “Mastering Diabetes” guidelines.  Of course, since I’d already implemented intermittent fasting (which they add about 3 weeks into their program), I wondered, “Can I call it breakfast if I’m not eating till almost noon?”

Greens, pineapple, blueberries, dates, and chia seeds 🙂

I suppose I can call it anything I want.  Besides, if breakfast stands for “break fast”, I suppose it applies regardless of what time I eat my first meal of the day.  I tried to load up my serving bowl with whatever I had in the house which qualified.

YUM… and I instantly felt more energized than I have lately.  Then, I ended up eating “lunch” around 3PM, and it was within the guidelines too (mostly oranges).  Dinner? It was not within the guidelines; however, I didn’t get take-out and I finished by 7PM.  So, that was another win.

Unfortunately, at around 10PM I could no longer take the horrible migraine which began to creep in at 8PM and I ended up eating again.  I refuse to beat myself up over this.  I did what I felt like I needed to do at the time and I’m hopeful this will improve if I keep pressing forward.  Since I didn’t eat till noon on Friday, I still had a 14 hour fasting window, which I am perfectly happy with.

I don’t know how many days I’ll just focus on “breakfast” in the food arena, but I do know I plan to keep “showing up”. Besides, the slight changes I’ve made since Monday, coupled with the walking habit I’ve been building since January 1st, have resulted in a reduction of 3.2 pounds on the scale in 4 days (weighed Friday morning).  I’m headed in the right direction, thank you, Jesus!

So, until tomorrow, I pray you’ll join me in doing what we can today and not get hung up on meal names or perfection.  It’s “Leap Day”, make it count!

out of the whirlwind

I mentioned the other day about how I started walking on January 1st of this year.  By God’s grace, I’ve been able to continue that daily streak.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been nearly as consistent with another daily habit.

And it’s a rather important one, but hey, just showing up and being real over here.

Many years ago, I started completing a “read through the Bible in a year” schedule every other year.  Last year was the first off year I wished I had made it an annual practice instead.  So, this year I was really looking forward to starting on January 1st; however, I didn’t begin until somewhere around the 18th (at least I think that’s when I started).

This was partly due to having kids home from college (read “lack of routine”), being exhausted from the walking challenge, and attempting to follow a different reading plan than I’ve done in the past.

Over the years I’ve discovered that I prefer reading chronologically when I do a read-through and I have a version on my Kindle that I started using a few years ago.  This is a New King James version (pictured left), which is good.

This year I thought I’d change it up.  You see, my mom had told me about the Bible Project’s annual reading plan and I was really excited to do their program because I love their videos. Their version is “sort of” (but not really) chronological so I thought I could make it work for me.

I guess I’m just a bit spoiled by the ease of using my Kindle first thing in the morning because after weeks of trying to follow the new program (and failing to be consistent because it was far less convenient and more time consuming and not really chronological), I decided to go back to the habit of using my Kindle… but with a twist.

I love, love, love the Bible Project’s overview videos, so, when I begin a new book, I seek out their video summary(ies) for that book.  This has been a really interesting addition to the read-through experience.  I did just realize that they have an app now too.  I haven’t had a chance to check it out just yet, but it looks pretty cool.

Most recently, I went through the book of Job (yes, I’m still behind in my reading schedule, but slowly catching up).  I’ve read this book many times over the years and it’s generally felt rather laborious with all the flying accusations and seemingly conflicting messages.  With friends like Job’s, who needs enemies, am I right?!

Anyway, after years of reading and sermons, I get the general theme of the book, but I really like how the guys at the Bible Project sum it up.  Check it out if you’ve got a few minutes!  My favorite part is when God speaks “out of the whirlwind”.

There’s something about reading Job that just makes you tired and thankful.  Most people will never endure the amount of suffering he did… I say “most” because I know there are still plenty of people who have gone through some really horrible things which would rival even Job’s experience.  The grief and frustration in this book are so palpable they are exhausting.  Thankfully, the gratitude comes from realizing that no matter what happens, God is still in control and worthy of our trust.

I wonder if Job’s “friends” fell on their face when God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind.  What an incredible picture.  Even though life often resembles a whirlwind of chaos and pain and frustration… isn’t it nice to know He cares enough to speak to us in the midst of it?

So, until tomorrow, I pray we’ll continue to show up and allow God to teach us to trust Him in every circumstance.

 

 

crying over shoelaces

By the time January 1st rolled around, I was painfully aware of the fact that I couldn’t tie my own shoelaces.  I cannot express how utterly embarrassing this is to admit.  Not only had I gained so much weight over the 14 months prior to January 1st that my belly was a hindrance to the bending-over needed to reach them, but my general flexibility had dramatically deteriorated as well from a lack of activity.

Ugh.

I cried… in full-blown, “Tonya Harding” fashion, pointing helplessly at the laces dangling from my feet.

The last time I needed help tying my shoes was the last time I was pregnant… which was a really long time ago.

Waking up to this realization made me angry.  Yes, I have thyroid issues.  Yes, I have a severely compromised immune system and have been sick (very sick!).  Yes, I’ve been on an emotional roller-coaster, but NO, I was not helpless despite what my lack of effort indicated.

I am not usually a “sit in the mud and sulk” kind of girl, so I have no idea why I seemingly just “gave up” for the better part of 14 months.  That is not me and as 2020 approached, I began to see that I had some decisions to make.  More specifically, there was one thing I vowed to change starting on January 1st (and I hate New Year’s Resolutions).  I was still discouraged just enough to recognize that “the mud” was too deep to change everything immediately, but there was one thing I knew I could do.

I could walk…

…that is, if someone else would lace up my shoes.

It was a humbling moment.  That first three mile walk of the new year was so slow and painful.  And while I’ve sped up some from doing three miles a day (every day) so far this year, I am still experiencing pain most of the time.  Being out of shape is tough, people.  It isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure!  Thankfully, after a few weeks, coupled with paying closer attention to what I was putting in my pie-hole, I was able (with some grunting) to tie my own shoes again.

Most days, it has taken all of my willpower to complete the three miles.  Some days that was the only sense of “accomplishment” I had, but I thanked the Lord for the ability to take each step.  I have no idea if I’ll keep up the “three miles a day” streak indefinitely, but I’m not focusing on that.  I can only deal with today’s decisions, not tomorrow’s.

So, each day I decide if I’ll walk or not… and there have been some really difficult days already… days of pain… of sorrow… of grief… of darkness… of physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.

Some days I do it because I feel like it… some days I do it because it is good for me… some days I do it because the sun is out… some days I do it because I can and I know others who can’t… some days I do it because I want to keep the streak alive… some days I do it because I refuse to let my “can’t want to” brat have the last word… and some days I do it because I just want to make sure I can still tie my own shoes.

It’s about just showing up and asking God for the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  So, until tomorrow, may the Lord help you to take another step in the right direction.

 

just showing up

Yes, it has been a while since I posted out here.  I’ve started posts over and over, but never clicked that little “publish” button.  It’s difficult to explain where I’ve been and why.  Perhaps I’m not supposed to explain at this time.  Perhaps I’m just supposed to show up and let God work out all the other stuff.

I’ve been on a journey.  No, not an entirely positive one, but that’s probably not surprising to hear when someone returns from such a long silence.  I don’t know how much I’ll share because that will depend on what God lays on my heart.  For now, I’m just showing up.

I thought about titling this piece something inspirational like “Finally Getting 20/20 Vision”, but that would hint at a bit more enthusiasm than I’m feeling at the moment.  In reality, I still feel rather “blah” and “uninspired”.  That’s why I’m just showing up.

A new year. New stages of life. And I’m praying for “newness of life”.  I feel as though I’ve woken from a long sleep, far from refreshed, yet clinging to a tiny ray of hope which has somehow managed to penetrate the darkness.

So, my plan is to take you with me, for those who care to come, as I choose life and love.

Until tomorrow – may the Lord give you the strength to “just show up” in your life today.

 

runner girl: week 11 (with juicing)

This was a tough week as I was going through some detox and fatigue.

EXERCISE

Week 11 of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule began ok and then I made some dietary changes which knocked me on my rear (more on that later).

On the 11th, I went for an additional walk with a friend, which felt fine… but the morning of the 12th I wasn’t feeling so well. I decided to take that day off and resume with session three on the 13th. Unfortunately, I felt worse the next day and had been up all night in pain from head to toe.

Apparently I needed the rest because on the 14th I got up and busted out that workout hitting new records for “fastest mile” and “fastest 5K” since I started 11 weeks ago.

I know I did some T-tapp, foam roller, and skin brushing this week but I failed to write down which days I did what, so I’m just not including it in this week’s chart.

NUTRITION

Sunday was day 84 on the nutritarian diet, but I added juicing, green juice powder, and a multi-vitamin on Monday. I’m following Chris Wark’s recipe from ChrisBeatCancer.com. I make about three times his recipe and it produces 30-40 oz of juice. I divide this up into three jars and have it between meals with a scoop of the green juice powder.

It felt like I had a shot of caffeine that first day. Immediately felt more energized. By Wednesday afternoon I was beginning to show signs of detox though. I began running a low grade fever, my stomach was upset, and then I got a fever blister on my face. By Wednesday night I was in pain from head to toe. Everything hurt and I couldn’t sleep. I ended up taking a pain killer, but still only slept a couple of hours.

I decided to press through and keep up with the juice. This required renewing my mind about it because I seriously wanted to quit. I mean, cleaning out the juicer is a pain, and if I’m going to feel crummy too… ack! Lots of prayer and reviewing why I was doing this in the first place. Thankfully, the Lord brought me through.

I would have periods of time where I had outrageous energy and then I would feel so sick I didn’t want to move. By Saturday morning I felt better and even felt like if I didn’t get in some exercise I was going to explode. I started craving the juice and exercise. I even had moments where it seemed my body was “revving”. I haven’t felt that in decades. My overall body temp seems to be running hotter than it has been as well. I’ve thought about taking some temps with my basal thermometer to see if there has been a shift there. I don’t see how it hasn’t shifted because I’m warm all day long and have had to reduce the number of blankets I sleep under or I sweat through my clothes.

I do want to be clear, I’m not doing a cleanse or a fast. I simply added more nutrition in the form of juice, green powder, and vitamins to my normal eating routine (nutritarian). Since my weight had slowed significantly, and I’m guessing it’s somewhere around my “sticking point”, I thought maybe my body struggles to get past there because it thinks it has to hold onto the fat as some sort of defense mechanism (long story). So, after prayer and research, I’m trying this experiment to see if a larger influx of nutrients will signal it to let go.

As you can imagine, I was nervous about stepping on the scale… I mean, I’m ADDING stuff, not taking things away… and I skipped two whole days of exercise. Plus, the lovely monthly was here in full force on weigh in day…. and I had hardly slept the night before…. oh, and I had potatoes for dinner lol…. So, you can imagine my surprise when the husband told me I had released 1.4 more pounds. Say way?! Thank you, Jesus!

I did take Sunday off from juicing, but resumed Monday morning. I guess it’s time to move on to week 12.

 

 

runner girl: week 10

Still cruising along through this journey. Let’s take a glance at week 10.

EXERCISE

Week 10 of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule I got a little ahead of myself. I think I was all pumped up after last week and then session one felt like a beating. It seemed as though I was trying to race myself and I was supposed to be focused on taking it easy.

As a result, I was all over the place… too fast… too slow… couldn’t find a cadence that felt good… ugh. Seventy two minutes of “I want this to end now”.

I felt better during the next two, but was still pushing a bit… as my pace would indicate.

I did do one pilates workout this week. Thought it might be fun to add in a little arm work, but quickly realized my arms are too puny to do the whole thing.

NUTRITION

Sunday was day 77 on the nutritarian diet. Closing in on 80 days is rather a big deal for me.

When I started with this nutrition plan, I genuinely thought the weight would fall off. I guess I figured it seemed ridiculous that it wouldn’t considering what I’m eating (and even more importantly, what I’m not eating). I decided to step on the scale again Friday and was disappointed yet again. Down 0.2 for the week.

I think I said something like, “Are you kidding me? At this rate it will be five years before I reach a normal weight!”

Oh goodness. So, I spent some time with God about it, hoping for some perspective. I also did the “Tired of the Struggle” questions/verses from I Deserve A Donut (And Other Lies That Make You Eat). In the end, I am thankful to have released weight, even a little.

I don’t know why I keep expecting it to move faster since my body has declared its resistance to weight loss over and over again. Friday morning I just felt really tired of the struggle and was feeling sorry for myself a bit. If a “normal” person ate this way, the weight would be flying off… not for me though. It seems I will get to claw my way all the way to the end. Even still, that 0.2 is gone and I will do my part to ensure it doesn’t return. I don’t know why God isn’t clearing the boulders out of my way faster, but I will trust in His plan and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I also started asking Him if there is anything I need to tweak a bit.

On Sunday, the husband and I decided to grab a smoothie from Jamba Juice and have a meeting about some family stuff. I stood in line debating which fruit/veggie smoothie I wanted. I felt a nudge toward the one with ginger juice added. Instantly, I regretted this decision because the ginger was so strong and it burned my throat.

You see, I’ve had tonsil issues for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was little, doctors and dentists and orthodontists (and anyone else who actually sees my tonsils) would comment on how crazy inflamed they always were/are. I’ve had strep numerous times.

Anyway, they’ve been irritated lately (more so than usual), which I figured might be an indicator of detox. Anytime I have an infection, my tonsils react first. Well, for weeks the left one has been covered with white spots (yeah, I know it’s gross) – which looking through pictures of throat issues looked like tonsillitis to me.

So, I’m drinking this smoothie and it’s burning the heck out of my throat. I look in the passenger side mirror and there are my enormous tonsils, with the left one covered in white stuff. I keep drinking the smoothie because I’ve gotten used to the ginger and it’s starting to actually soothe my throat a bit. Several minutes later, I feel a pinch and some pain around the left tonsil. I look in the mirror and most of the white stuff is gone… GONE! And my tonsils are now significantly reduced in size.

Now, since I’m actually working on this post after Sunday, I’ll go ahead and finish the story. Monday, we went for Jamba Juice again and I got the same drink. Less burning this time, but by the time I got home my throat felt different. I checked out those tonsils again and discovered the white stuff was completely GONE and my tonsils were pink and barely noticeable. I was shocked.

I’ve been reading up on juicing (in regard to cancer – another story), and had been considering adding this to my dietary regimen. After seeing what that ginger juice did to my tonsils, I’m definitely going to give juicing a try. Hopefully I’ll have more to report on that next week.

 

runner girl: week 9 (whoa!)

Can you believe it? I’m actually looking forward to the run/walk workouts now. This is the point I’ve been waiting to reach. I love the sense of accomplishment, but mostly, I love being out in creation… seeing bunnies, deer, and sunrises… smelling flowers… hearing birds and cows… it’s invigorating and peaceful all at once.

EXERCISE

Week nine of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule was probably my favorite week so far. The first session pushed us into more consecutive jogging minutes than I have done in a really long time. I felt energized and as though I had crossed the threshold back into “runner girl” status.

During the final 5-10 seconds of session 3, I cranked up my pace while trying to maintain form. I didn’t really feel like I was trying to sprint, I was just moving my legs faster and hit a 6:23 pace. I felt amazing (despite the fact that the kids and husband passed me as though I were standing still lol), but this was short-lived as my left knee swelled by end of day Saturday and hurt by Sunday.

Suddenly, I regretted not foam rolling or doing T-Tapp this week. Maybe it had nothing to do with the bolt for the finish on Friday, or forgoing the foam roller. It’s possible that wearing heels to the funeral of a sweet lady from our homeschool co-op on Saturday was the culprit. Either way, I need to foam roll most days of the week, and T-Tapp probably twice a week.

I did use my rebounder on Sunday evening to work my lymphatic system a bit, but my knee didn’t like it.

For some reason I was thinking a lot about breathing and oxygen this week and realized I haven’t mentioned another factor which influences pace.

Altitude.

We workout at about 7+K feet above sea level, and despite living here 10 years, it does affect my pace. I don’t know by how much, but an example is that when we were walking in Texas, my walking paces were faster by at least 1-1.5 minutes per mile. Of course, there are other factors, like elevation gains/losses as well since I live in a hilly area… and the slight oxygen advantage we have in the first few days of being at lower altitude.

One benefit to higher altitude though, there is always a significantly cooler part of the day to run in the summer… and this week’s runs at 4:30AM proved to be down right chilly at times.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 70 days on the nutritarian diet – That’s 10 weeks people! Wow.

On Friday I weighed in, and while I was disappointed at first with the measly 2 pounds in the last 28 days, I got over it. This brings me to 16.2 pounds gone in just shy of 10 weeks. I don’t know when I’ll weigh again. I might do every other week, or maybe once a month. If the scale is going to move much more slowly, maybe it’s better to not weigh as often.

We did try two new recipes from Dr. Fuhrman’s cookbook. One we liked, and one was a little weird for my taste (French Minted Pea Soup). My youngest daughter liked both and I’d say she’s got a more discerning palate than I.

I mentioned earlier that we attended a funeral on Saturday. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted fried food the rest of the weekend. Grief is such a powerful emotion and I’m used to stuffing emotions with food. It was also sobering because this sweet woman wasn’t much older than myself and had been battling cancer for 18 months. She was such a giving and kind person. She will be sorely missed. I decided that she would not want me to harm myself in my grief for her, so I stuck to the program, but it was far from easy.

Life goes on, although not the same for certain.

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.

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”.