runner girl: week 1 (take two)

My emotions have been all over the place this past week… taking its cues from the weather I guess. Crazy weather (crazier hormones), but we managed to stay the course.

EXERCISE

We got in all three scheduled workouts (The Beginning Runner’s Handbook), and added two more people to our little walk/jog group. We ran in the cold and rain this week, and decided we felt hard core for doing so. Plus, we had to work around an out of town jaunt to experience the Newsboys united tour concert.

I’ve added my daily step total to the spreadsheet. Obviously, I do more walking than what is indicated by formal workouts. Since I’m actively trying to reach my step goal now (10K/day), I thought it should be listed. Nothing super exciting to report from this week, except that attending a concert is very conducive to racking up steps.

I did earn a few more Garmin Connect Badges in the past two weeks. I think the coolest one was called “well oiled machine”, which I received for improving my running VO2Max levels.

I’m not paying attention to those numbers right now (although, eventually I will care), but it’s cool to get notified that something improved.

NUTRITION

Yes, we’re still doing that nutritarian diet thing. Even more impressive is that we were able to do it on a weekend road trip. How? We took our meals with us. That’s right, I planned ahead and packed all our food for two days.

Normally, we eat in the car, but it’s rather difficult to eat a salad while you drive, so this time we built in a little extra travel time to stop and eat lunch both days. We ended up eating outdoors in the sunshine and it was such a nice break in the drive. One of the times we even ventured off the beaten path to a quiet little park… birds chirping… breeze blowing… lovely.

I cannot tell you how badly I wanted junk food over the weekend though… oh my goodness! Clearly, snacking while on a road trip is heavily ingrained in my system. We did chew gum, which helped a bit.

After the concert, we were exhausted and my mind kept going to our normal routine of grabbing take-out on our way back to the hotel. We had eaten the Tailgate Chili I brought at the hotel before we headed to the venue, but we were so hungry after hours of worshiping with the Newsboys.

Of course, after singing about breakthroughs (Zealand) and being free (Peter Furler, Newsboys), I certainly knew I wasn’t going to cave, but I was genuinely famished… and sweating (Texas is warm). Fortunately, the 14 year old had made us a “strudel” recipe she found in my Eat to Live Cookbook. So, we had that instead instead of our usual junk feast. Yum!

Sunday, when we rolled back into town, we had to shower and head back out for the 15 year old’s piano/voice recital. I cannot even begin to describe how strong the urge for french fries was. I was whining about it to my husband, but mentioned I was afraid I’d gain weight if I ate them. He replied by asking me if french fries were good for my thyroid. Um, no, not at all. Well played, Husband!

Plus, I truly feel God has asked me to give up certain foods for now and eating french fries would certainly be acting in disobedience for me. We didn’t have french fries, but we did have a frozen fruit “dessert” that the 14 year old made in our own kitchen that night.

So, how did the scale pan out last Friday? My body released 1.2 more pounds. At first I was a bit disappointed, but then I renewed my mind about the scale and was able to thank the Lord instead of grumbling. The fact that the scale is actually moving should be a celebration when you’re working up against thyroid issues.

Another week has passed, and now it’s time to focus on the current one.

runner girl: cough, cough

I haven’t been this sick in a really long time. It’s been over a week, I’m still dealing with it, and it’s moved into my chest now. I spent most of the last week laying around, but I wasn’t completely unproductive (more about that later in this post).

Needless to say, my quest to complete The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule is off to a rocky start. At first, I was really angry about this, but it’s a good thing I’m currently going through Barb Raveling’s new Bible study, RALLY. The Taste For Truth Support Group (Facebook) is going through this and last week we were on the chapter about letting go of your “have to haves”. Realizing the reason for my anger was my death grip on my “have to haves” helped me to relax a bit and just rest.

So, as you might have guessed, my spreadsheet was rather unimpressive this week:

The plan for next week is to get some walking in and pray this nasty bug leaves soon. I’m also returning to a nutritarian diet. My immune system seems to be out of whack, so merely being vegan isn’t enough. I’ve read several of Dr. Fuhrman’s books, but recently checked out The End of Dieting as a means of reigniting my motivation. During the foggy days of illness, I’ve also been perusing Kristen’s site, Hello, Nutritarian, for added inspiration. Love her fridge photos!

In February, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and while I don’t agree with her spiritual views, I’ve been “magical tidying” my house since February 5th. It’s not a quick process, but lately I’ve been working on my “Kitchen Komono” (as she calls it).

Using Kondo’s method of “Tidying Up” (keeping only what sparks joy), Kristen’s inspiring fridge photos (which are gorgeous), and other tips gleaned from the myriad of books I’ve read, I am starting the day with a fridge full of veggie goodness:

And my dry goods “pantry” organized:

I’ve placed most of the non-nutritarian stuff out of immediate eye-sight to keep the temptations at a minimum as well. I also have a small pantry pullout with canned beans/veggies for convenience meals, but most of what I eat will come from these two places. This little bit of organization took me a week because I’d work for a few minutes and then have to rest… of course, there were whole days where I hardly got out of bed.

I had the husband record my weight this morning, but I don’t plan to look at the scale for a bit myself. My goal is to eat for health and let the weight-loss be a nice side effect. So, while I do want to know what’s happening there, I’m hoping weighing blind will lessen the scale’s impact on my life.

Well, that was last week 🙂 Hoping to get this runner girl back on the road soon!

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.

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)