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.

Renewing the Mind: One Year+ Later

It has been just over a year since I began seriously building the practice of daily renewing my mind, and what a year it has been! I had no idea where God was going to lead when I made that commitment last year (June 2015) and I’m still surprised.

Accountability

I’ve had the lovely privilege of talking with Barb Raveling and even going through a study on procrastination with her. She has been a wonderful support and graciously allowed me to host an online study group named after her book, Taste For Truth. That study group has morphed into an ongoing Support Group which the Lord continues to bless. I am so grateful for the fellowship and accountability I’ve found there as well.

God has provided a blessing through a weekly call with my mom to hold each other accountable to renewing our mind. I’m so thankful to call her my mother, sister-in-Christ, and friend.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. ~ Matthew 18:20 (KJV)

Opposition

When I frantically scribbled notes from the audio I mentioned in that first series, I couldn’t have known the opposition I would face from the enemy. My family went through what we are calling, “a series of unfortunate events” that spanned months. I know this was directly related to the progress the Lord was making in my spiritual life, but as usual, the enemy is no match for the Almighty.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4 (KJV)

Holding Boundaries with Open Hands

My boundaries have changed in several areas, but the most significant have been with food and the scale. What I thought were ideal boundaries for me, were not, and I’m not sure how long I would have followed a different (more frustrating) path had I not been renewing my mind on a regular basis and seeking God’s will for me personally.

Although, in my mind, I knew it wasn’t about the perfect keeping of my boundaries, it took some time for the Lord to transform how I viewed them. I finally stopped looking to them for “salvation” from my obese prison and other food related issues. I am far more open to allowing God to choose my boundaries because He knows what is best for me at this time.

With the scale, I am weighing again – two times a week. Once on my scale and once at my WW meeting (they are different days). I still struggle with scale issues, but I’m using this as an opportunity to renew my mind about that number and break the stronghold of scale worship.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. ~ Psalm 32:8 (KJV)

Tools for the Journey

In that first series, I listed a lot of tools I was using at that time. While I still use most of them, there have been some changes. For instance, I no longer read Have your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans TooThis has a lot to do with the boundary shift I mentioned above because my focus has changed and I think far less about “the perfect boundaries”. Also, I don’t view my boundaries as a “diet” anymore. God can use any set of boundaries He chooses to set the captives free. Who am I to limit Him, if I even could?

I have added other tools though:

  • Scripture Lullabies – LOVE these for creating a calming atmosphere while I work on other stuff. They are a great way to passively renew my mind with scripture about who God is, how much He loves me, and who I am in Christ. It is not uncommon for me to play these for hours at a time, very low, in the background of my day.
  • Taste for Truth – A fantastic book by Barb Raveling which walks the reader through building a renewing of the mind habit about food boundaries and other food related issues. Have done this study several times now.
  • Made to Crave – Another great book by Lysa Terkeurst. It is the book which inspired this blog many years ago but means even more to me since beginning to build a habit of renewing my mind daily. I read a bit here and there. It’s important not to get hung up on all the “healthy diet” speak in the book and focus on the meat and potatoes (going to God for His truth and to meet our needs). Of course, a healthy diet is important, but our boundaries need to be chosen by the Lord and not by what someone else is doing.
  • Scripture Typer – This is a scripture memory app. Currently I’m working on verses about Truth and the Armor of God. I can practice verses at any time during the day, but it will also prompt me to review.

TransformationButterfly_Beauty

God is transforming my heart and my mind in regard to food/weight/body image. Overall, I feel much more at peace about this area of my life. When I look in the mirror, I see fewer flaws than I ever have. This is a true blessing as I would often avoid mirrors and cameras if I could.

I am more likely to keep my boundaries than not. This isn’t because my boundaries are perfect, but because God is changing the way I think about food. I just don’t get as much enjoyment out of dancing about outside my boundaries as I used to. It feels more like punishing myself than “treating”. And who enjoys punishment? I don’t.

I use food far less for comfort than in the past. This doesn’t mean I never use it for comfort, it’s just much less because God is proving Himself a much better comfort.

I actually like renewing my mind. That’s right, there was a point when it felt like a chore and a time sucker. Now, I have to actually make myself move on with my day. Not every day of course, but more than not. I do still have days where I think, “Ugh, I don’t feel like renewing my mind right now.” Thankfully, those are few and are perfect opportunities to renew my mind about not wanting to renew my mind – ha!

I view exercise very differently. Exercise, for me, is no longer about weight loss. It is about feeling better. It is about using the body God gave me to do some pretty cool stuff. It is about leaning on God for strength to make it through the workout when my “can’t want to” brat is screaming. It is about time spent with Him (yes, you can exercise with God). Have you ever run down a trail imagining God running alongside you (with perfect form of course)? Try it, it’s pretty cool. I always imagine Him much taller than me where I have to look up to see His face or reach up to hold His hand. If anyone looks at you funny, just tell them you’re on a run with God.

I have released weight. No, it isn’t anything dramatic like “reality” TV, but it is still significant. God has removed more than 30 pounds from my body in the year since beginning to build a daily habit of pouring in His truth about food/weight/body image. I don’t believe that weight will come back as long as I keep my focus on the ONE who makes all things possible. I am still overweight, and while I do get discouraged over that at times, I know God is faithful to do what He says. Those emotions are other opportunities to turn to the Lord for His truth on the matter. The transformation process isn’t my job. It’s His.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time… ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11a (KJV)

boundaries: want vs need

Ever since I heard about “intuitive eating” and “hunger/fullness”, I have wanted to be one of those people. Oh I have wanted it so badly.

Yes, I learned some valuable things during that period of time (like that I can have any food in the house and resist the urge to scarf it all down). I also learned how to let go of “diet mentality” and to stop condemning myself when/if I overeat. I discovered that I’m a pickier eater than I thought I was. Apparently I do have some physical cues that are mostly reliable (like foods my body doesn’t react well to and I can now recognize true physical hunger). And, I learned to put the scale in its proper place.

Unfortunately, I also gained about 30 lbs or so when I removed all food boundaries and gave myself permission to eat whatever/whenever. Granted, I did eventually stop gaining weight, but then my weight just fluctuated about 5 lbs up and down.

Why? Because my hunger/fullness cues are still a mess from years of ignoring them or confusing them with emotional cues.

And yet, I kept trying to rely on my messed up hunger cues because I wanted hunger/fullness as my boundary. I begged (and I do mean BEGGED) God to fix me so I could know when I’ve had enough to eat. If I even considered other boundaries, I would feel like I was “giving up” on my dream of being an intuitive eater.

Failure felt like a daily occurrence as one meal I would undereat and the next I would overeat. Most of the time I wouldn’t realize I had under or over eaten until I was ravenously digging through the pantry or hurting from too much. It seemed like the boundary line of “fullness/satisfied” was illusive at best and subjective at worst. For me anyway. Add a little chaos to life and the lines were blurred beyond recognition.

And that’s when I decided to list out my “needs” in regard to boundaries. I came to the conclusion that I need a boundary line which:

  • doesn’t move based on my feelings or emotions or whatever
  • is clear enough to warn me when I’m approaching the perimeter so I can adequately recognize and address the temptation to cross the line
  • breaking the boundary involves a conscious decision on my part to do so
  • allows me to eat with the rest of my family
  • has some room for real-life events involving food
  • is less likely to trigger “diet mentality” or my old “starve/binge” behaviors
  • still requires me to turn to God for help with keeping the boundary (renewing the mind, truth journaling, taking lies captive…etc)
  • makes what I gain (health, weightloss, peace of mind) worth any sacrifice involved
  • results in the opportunity to release excess weight when lived within

woman-praying

I needed clarity. I took this list before the Lord. He added the word, “accountability” and I pictured myself stepping on a scale at a meeting… yep, you know what meeting I’m talking about.

Fear gripped me and then pride reared it’s ugly head. No way would I step back into another Weight Watchers meeting. No. No. No.

“But God, I’ve renounced WW! I’ve sworn I will never go back! I have many blog posts here on that very declaration!” (didn’t our Mommas tell us to never say never?)

The truth was, as much as I hated tracking my food all those years ago, this boundary really did fit my list. Although I did not want to admit it, I needed more structure.

And then I rebuttled with, “what if I can’t lose weight on the new plan… or worse, what if they change the plan on me again?”

To which God reminded me, change is inevitable in life but if I keep my eyes on Him Who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I will be just fine. He reminded me I am not transformed by choosing the perfect boundaries, but by the renewing of the mind.

He reminded me my personal history shows I can lose weight within any set of boundaries I actually keep, but it will be fleeting unless I replace the lies with His Truth.

He told me to humble myself and walk back into that old meeting room… the meeting where I had reached “goal” and made “lifetime”… and now would return with many (but thankfully not all) of those “lost pounds” having found their way back onto my body.

I arrived in the parking lot early the day of the next available meeting… nervous. I prayed for the Lord to renew my mind about it because I did not want to be there. I did not want to be vulnerable. I did not want to step on that scale. I did not want to track what I eat. I wanted to hide.

He told me to trust Him.

I hoped no one would remember me after all these years… but of course they did. And you know what? They embraced me.

Yes, I’m currently using the WW points system for my boundary. Yes, I’m attending the meetings. But this time is very different. This time, the points are just a boundary line. The meetings are just accountability. I’m not placing my hopes in a man-made system.

My hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Any transformation I experience comes about because He brings it to fruition. I need to keep this in the forefront of my mind lest I start to rely on my own strength or the boundaries themselves. So, I plan to renew my mind prior to and following every meeting/weigh in regarding this specifically.

I can still practice listening to my body’s cues and who knows, maybe eventually God will transform me into an intuitive eater. For now, I will trust that He has me where I need to be.

I have been hesitant to do a post on this topic because I didn’t want to inadvertently influence anyone to question their own boundaries. However, recently I was asked what my boundaries are. After explaining why I switched, I decided that perhaps a post on this might be warranted.

I still stand by my previous post where I state:

My food boundaries are my food boundaries. Your food boundaries are your food boundaries. The one thing we may share is the need for those boundaries.

If you are clinging to a set of boundaries simply because they are the boundaries you “want”, then perhaps you need to reevaluate things. If, however, God has clearly told you what boundaries you “need”, stop searching for the perfect set and start renewing your mind about the ones you already have.

don’t it make my brown eyes blue

When I was a kid, I did not understand what Crystal Gayle meant when she sang, “don’t it make my brown eyes blue.” Of course, that’s the only part of the song I could remember, probably because I wanted blue eyes so bad. I would stare into the mirror and wish them to change. I know most girls have something they would love to change about themselves. I remember thinking, “What? What makes your brown eyes blue?” Yep, I wanted blue eyes… until I started thinking I was fat, and then I wanted to be skinny with blue eyes. I haven’t thought about wanting blue eyes for a while because I’m really ok with my brown ones. They are my favorite feature on my face in fact, but a recent meeting with a group of ladies brought that song back to mind. It wasn’t because I wanted blue eyes, it was because listening to them made my brown eyes blue.

I think I’ve reached a point where I simply cannot tolerate “diet talk”. During that meeting it was so overwhelming, I thought several times of excusing myself and not returning. I just sat and listened. What could I comment on? Nothing. I couldn’t join in with, “well, I’m doing diet such and such”. Why? Because I refuse to do a diet. Still, I was bombarded. There I sat, feeling quite fat and thinking, “gosh, I’m bigger than most of these ladies and they are dieting, maybe I should be to.” I couldn’t believe I was actually feeling guilty for not dieting. I also felt “left out” because I couldn’t do the diet talk routine. When a young lady said, “Of course I’m eating this cookie, I’m not worried about being good today,” my heart broke.

Being “good”. I used to say it too. I used to classify food as good and bad. If I was on my diet, I was “being good”. If I was off my diet, I was “being bad”. Thinking about it now it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Who made the diet industry the morality police anyway? Why on earth is it morally wrong to not follow some man-made version of “dietary 10 commandments”. Are we bowing at the altar of the diet god? I mean, we sang the praises of diets for years. We deemed ourselves “good” or “bad” based on how we followed their rules. We condemned ourselves when we “fell off the wagon” and ate a cookie (gasp). Our only redemption was to see the scale move down. That was our “little piece of heaven”. When we “failed” to be “good enough” and regained the weight, we flitted from one diet to another, looking for the one that would “save us” all over again. Yeah, dieting has become a religion in this country alright. I’m sorry to say I goose-stepped to their tune too.

I became so upset, that I have been in a funk for a few days now. I’ve grappled with the pull toward the diet life. The old voices that would berate me for not being thin enough, good enough, pretty enough, perfect enough… came back with a deafening roar. Just sitting in a room full of “restriction talk”, surrounded by celery sticks and carrots (because they didn’t want to “tempt” anyone), all I wanted to do was binge. I found myself “gasping for food” as Josie Spinardi calls it… even though I wasn’t actually the one restricting. So I did have a bit of a binge, but it was nothing like binges of the past. It was shorter, with far fewer bites, and I was able to identify what set it off and why… and stop it.

Progress? Yes, I think so.

adrenals & thyroid: 14 days

I began treating my adrenals 14 days ago, and my thyroid 7 days ago. I’ve learned a couple of things in the last 14 days. My adrenals are affected negatively by ibuprofen and inadequate sleep. The morning after I had ibuprofen before bed, my basal body temperature plummeted. Now, this drop also coincided with what appears to be an ovulation shift in my chart, so it’s difficult to say how much of the drop was ibuprofen and how much was ovulation. I’ll keep an eye on this in the future. Secondly, the night I stayed up till about 4am the next morning (resulting in 3-4 hrs sleep), caused a dramatic drop in my basal body temperature that took two days to recover back into the previous range. Still, my temps are more stable than they were even with these interruptions. I’m currently reading Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson. I don’t expect this resource to alter my treatment, but so far it suggests I have had moderate to severe adrenal fatigue for quite some time (some symptoms since childhood).

Now, let’s talk about the current temperature range. Since I was charting my temps for a few days during this point in my previous cycle, I have something with which to compare the last 4 days. I only have 6 temps before our Disney vacation, and I didn’t temp while in Florida because I figured the lower altitude and change in climate would most certainly skew the numbers. Anyway, comparing an average of the last four days with this same point in my last cycle, I am showing a 1.25 degree average increase in my body temperature. This indicates an increase in my metabolic rate. Despite this increase, my body temperature is still too low overall. So, after six days at my initial thyroid glandular dose, I’m increasing from half a pill to a whole pill. I plan to maintain this dose for 7 days to evaluate it’s effectiveness.

Some symptoms that have improved in 14 days are:

  • The debilitating fatigue has become more manageable. While I still feel an overall “tired” feeling, I feel less like I’m fighting to stay awake most days. I had reached a point where any activity would zap everything. We’re talking worse than 1st trimester fatigue. The only reason I had any energy for Disney was probably due to the forced rest I had with a knee injury and then a nasty cold that hung on for over a week. Well, that and I had a lot of caffeine on that trip. I usually do de-caf everything. After our trip to Disney World, I was on the sofa for about 3 days straight… spent, exhausted, migraine. I would get some energy after dinner for a couple of hours, but then crash again.
  • Most days, I feel more up to accomplishing simple household tasks that require physical energy.
  • I felt like taking a walk yesterday… so I did. If I exercised before, I wouldn’t feel energized, I would feel like crashing afterward. I didn’t feel like crashing yesterday.
  • I feel less irritable, which is rather miraculous at this point in my cycle… well, I just snapped at two of my kids… so obviously I’m still somewhat irritable lol.
  • My cravings for certain foods have diminished even more. I believe this was already happening very slowly by eliminating diet mentality, but it seems to have sped up since starting treatment. The biggest difference has been not seeking out food for pain, fatigue, and boredom as much. I think sometimes I was eating to keep myself awake too. Generally this meant something that would give me a sugar spike. Overall, this has lessened significantly in the past few days.
  • More in control of my emotions.
  • I feel warmer. My hands, feet, and nose felt like ice most of the time. Mostly they are just “cool”, which is better than “icy”, but occasionally they’ve actually felt warm (without exercise).
  • I’ve had some really restful nights. Not every night has been, but more than usual. Last night wasn’t one of those nights, so I do feel tired right now. In fact, I could probably go back to sleep very easily.

That last bullet point just proves that this is a process… often a long process… toward healing. It can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to heal the adrenals. The fact that I’m having any marked improvement this early in the game is marvelous.

stay calm, StAy CaLm, STAY CALM!

I’m having an “I feel ginormous day”. Today I feel like humpty dumpty… waddle, waddle… and I’m doing everything I can not to “fall off the wall” and right back into a diet. I’m fighting diet thoughts BIG TIME. I even thought about stepping on the scale – which hasn’t crossed my mind lately. Part of me wants to see the number in the hopes that it’s not as bad as I fear it is. Either way though, if it’s not as bad as I fear… I’ll still be angry with the number. And if it is as bad as I think… oh Lord, have mercy.

((Panic))

I’m trying to tell myself to “stay calm!” I just want something positive about this process to pop into my head right now. I think, “well, isn’t it nice to eat what you want?” And then I yell, “NO!”

I had an allergic reaction last night to something I ate. I don’t know what I reacted to, and now I can’t eat anything I had last night until I figure out which item was the offender. Maybe the allergic reaction is what’s setting off this panic feeling. Maybe that’s what has me questioning everything.

My PJ pants are tighter and I want to have a mini temper tantrum in the middle of the floor.

Then I go to the coffee maker and the Husband has left a note beside it saying, “it’s not working again.” NOOOOOOOOOO! Seemingly small, but wouldn’t you know the thought, “well, you shouldn’t be drinking coffee anyway” pops into my head. Seriously, could the diet police just shut up for a moment. This is why we need to tell our kids, “Oh be careful little eyes what you read.” Every diet book, blog, article I’ve ever read is flooding my mind at the moment.

StAy CaLm!

But I can’t stay calm because negative thoughts are pelting me. I feel like I’m in the middle of a storm. I’m getting tossed about the boat like a rag doll. I picture Truman trying to escape the dome of his fake life. The show’s director says, “what actually disturbs you the most is that Truman actually prefers his cell.” Do I actually prefer being a slave to diet mentality? Do I want to live the rest of my life chasing something so fleeting as a number on the scale? NO!

STAY CALM!

And then I’m reminded of another storm. The passengers in the boat are frightened. They are at the mercy of the waves overtaking them. They are powerless. Their doom is imminent… unless…

The disciples went and woke him [Jesus], saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. (Luke 8:24)

Oh Lord, rebuke the storm that rages in my mind. Draw back the waves of discontent, distrust, and disbelief. Calm my spirit. (Psalm 42)

 

Essential Oils: PMS

Oh the topic every women loves… PMS. Yes, yes, I can “treasure hunt” having to deal with this monthly “gift” with the best of them. Yes, yes, I’m thankful for it if for no other reason than I have four precious living children to enjoy daily. Still, let’s be honest, physically, it can be a pain. So, I’m going to make this short and sweet. I no longer use ibuprofen to help with cramps… now I use Young Living’s Dragon Time EO. What a perfect name don’t you think? Within minutes, my cramps are gone. I usually don’t have to apply it more than once in a day, but I have had a particularly bad day where they returned a few hours later and I reapplied. This may help my mood too, I’m not sure though because I do this recipe daily. Here’s an example of how I apply Dragon Time with prayer:

DRAGON TIME™ EO
– place one to two drops in your hand and rub over the lower abdomen, then inhale scent from hand while praying

Lord, help me to be thankful for my femininity, even during this time. (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Please relieve the pain and discomfort I’m feeling so I may be able to accomplish your will today. (Philippians 4:6)

Super simple and it smells nice too.

 

*************************************************************************************************
If you decide to sign up with Young Living because of this post, please consider listing me as your Sponsor/Enroller. My ID is 1967271. Becoming a member allows you to order these EOs at wholesale prices.

Essential Oils: Depression and Anxiety (part 2)

In my last post, I gave you a bit of background on my struggle with depression/anxiety. I also mentioned that I’ve decided to try Young Living’s Essential Oils as a treatment option. Do I believe EOs have “power”? Well, plants do put off energy and many of them have healing properties. If you want to call this “power”, be my guest. I choose to believe that God has the power and can use the plants to administer it.

So, that being said, I searched online for an EO cocktail for depression and anxiety. I found this posted message. Immediately I ordered the two oils I didn’t already have (Harmony & White Angelica). I often include prayer as I apply oils. It might be something as simple as, “Lord, please make me more aware of your presence” (when applying Frankincense EO). Or “let this fight off the infection” when applying Thieves. I wholeheartedly believe the notion that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he“. When I take in oils, I want to associate them with words, beliefs, and convictions that will benefit and not harm. God tells us to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy”. (Philippians 4:8He created us and knows exactly how positive and negative thoughts impact us.

I’m going to give the recipe mentioned above, along with some of the things I pray as I apply them. I don’t quote this verbatim like some ritual. In fact, it’s different every day because it’s a conversation with God, but this will give you the jist.

VALOR® EO
– place one drop on your wrist and then rub both wrists together

Lord, help me be strong and courageous today. Help me turn all fear and dismay over to You. Make me aware that You are with me always. (Joshua 1:9)

HARMONY™ EO
– place one drop in your right hand and rub over your solar plexus

Lord, bring my hormones and cells into balance. Help me to live in harmony with myself and others. (Romans 12:16-17) Allow Your peace to guard my heart and my mind. (Philippians 4:7)

JOY™ EO
– place one drop in your right hand and rub over your heart

Lord, remove any grief or depression. Remind me that the joy of the Lord is my strength and my stronghold. (Nehemiah 8:10) Bestow on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

WHITE ANGELICA™ EO
– place one drop in your hand, rub hands together, and brush down your body (head to toe).

Lord, please protect my mind, body, and spirit (Psalm 91:11). Help me put on Your full armour that I may resist, stand, and fight. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

I guess that about sums it up. That’s how I apply prayer, scripture, and essential oils to this battle with depression and anxiety. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and I can tell a difference. Before I got the other two oils, I was already using Valor and Joy to combat these feelings and thought processes. I think the combo is more effective.

 

*************************************************************************************************
If you decide to sign up with Young Living because of this post, please consider listing me as your Sponsor/Enroller. My ID is 1967271. Becoming a member allows you to order these EOs at wholesale prices.