Upcoming Taste For Truth Bible Study – August 3rd

Hello beautiful ladies out there! If you’ve been struggling to lose weight and have wondered if maybe you need to try a different tactic, consider joining the Taste For Truth Support Group* (Facebook) during one (or all) of our upcoming Bible studies (see group description for the full list).

51n8CMGHsmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_TASTE FOR TRUTH Bible Study

The study will officially begin on August 3rd and run for six weeks. The study worksheets and sign-up post has already been posted to the group page.

Participants Materials List:

So, if you want to go through this short little book packed with so much awesomeness, with a stellar group of gals, pop on over to the TFTSG and join us!

* The TFT Support Group is named after Barb Raveling‘s book by the same name.
** Available only on the TFTSG.

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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”.

runner girl: week 8

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

EXERCISE

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

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

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

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

NUTRITION

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

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

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

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

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

Learning to RALLY

Over the past 8 weeks, some members of the Taste For Truth Support Group (on Facebook) have been going through Barb Raveling’s most recent study, RALLY. I really like Barb’s studies about renewing the mind, but I think this one may rank up there with I Deserve a Donut as a favorite.

RALLY is about learning to grow through the trials (big and small). How is that not applicable to every life on the planet? Right?

I mean, we’re either going through a trial, coming out of a trial, or entering a trial. That’s just the way life is, and yet we often kick against it instead of learning to grow with God in the midst of it. Maybe you don’t… but I do.

She uses the word “RALLY” as an acroynm to help us remember the steps in the process. During the 8 weeks, I have used this with my own trials… to walk the husband through processing frustrations… and to guide my teens through some teenage drama. I love this method at least as much (maybe even more) than the truth journaling method she shares in her other books.

If you missed out on going through RALLY with the support group, you can certainly do it on your own. I even have a series of videos on my YouTube Channel that wrap up each chapter with my personal thoughts on the study (well, except for Chapter 5, I was very sick that week). Still, my thoughts barely scratch the surface of what you can personally glean by going through it yourself.

Try it, it just might change the way you view trials.

Taste For Truth study begins January 12th

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The Taste For Truth Support Group*  (on Facebook) will be hosting another round of Barb Raveling’s, Taste for Truth. The study will officially begin on January 12th and run for six weeks. So, if you want to go through this short little book packed with so much awesomeness, with a stellar group of gals, pop on over to the TFTSG and join us!

Participants Materials List:

* The TFT Support Group is named after Barb Raveling‘s book by the same name.
** Available only on the TFTSG.

RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 12

Moving on to the twelfth week of this challengeLast week we worked on adding a body benefitting goal. This week, we are going to go on our final treasure hunt. 

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

Treasures In Heaven

Most of us would nod a hearty amen at the verse above. We know we can’t take our earthly “riches” with us. We picture houses, money, cars, clothes, and jewelry… to name only a few. It is valid that we must keep all of these in proper perspective. We already know our “stuff” shouldn’t come before God and others.

But how does this relate to our pursuit of weight loss? After all, God wants us to take care of our bodies, right? I am so hopeful that at this point in our twelve week journey you have begun to pursue God above all else… even weight loss.

We have seen that we can certainly worship our boundaries, tools, exercise plans, or even 12 week challenges. Expecting these things to “save us” from our harmful habits and behaviors is futile at best and destructive at worst. Putting our faith in them is no different than laying “up for yourselves treasures on earth”.

If you treasure the tools and methodologies more than you treasure the Lord, your heart will be subject to the whims of this world, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We want our hearts focused on God because He is faithful and He will not abuse that responsibility. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is our constant.  This cannot be said of anything else in our universe.

You can test where your heart is by asking yourself if you are still seeking after “self” or if you are seeking, above all, a true, thriving, and satisfying relationship with the Lord.

Vision Check

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

~Matthew 6:22-23

“How great is that darkness” indeed! Remember week two? We began speaking directly to our souls by looking ourselves in the eye as we spoke truth. I hope you’ve continued that practice. It is so important that we remain in the light. We don’t want to be full of darkness. Our old identities were dark, but our identities in Christ are light.

Where we were once enslaved by habits, we can now walk in liberty in Christ Jesus.

Are you still viewing yourself the way you were almost twelve weeks ago? When we focus on earthly things or the world’s vision, our spiritual vision is hindered and we are unable to see Truth.

Or, have you begun to believe you are who God says you are? I certainly hope so. Some things will take longer than three months to transform, but progress should be there if you’ve kept your focus in the right place.

One Master

 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” ~ Matthew 6:24 (ESV)

In studying this passage from Matthew 6, I was thinking how it seemed like Jesus harps on this way too much. I mean, shouldn’t we get it when he talks about not storing up earthly treasure? But He always has a purpose. He’s gone from something we all concede is really obvious and then He zeroes in tighter and tighter as we go.

He takes us from earthly treasures (external) to the condition of our souls (internal). Then, He goes one step further for those who think they are “managing” both God and their “idols”. They think they can follow both. Perhaps they will say, “Of course God is above all these things”, but their actions prove otherwise.

What do we put first? If we wrote out a timeline of our days, what would this reveal about our priorities? If I only have enough time one morning to have time with the Lord or exercise, and I know whichever I don’t choose will not get done that day (if I’m honest with myself), what does my choice reveal?

If I spend time tracking food and exercising, but fail to carve out time with the Lord, which master am I serving?

The irony here is that serving anything other than God crowds Him out of our vision. We become slaves to that which we give reign over us. When we surrender our freedom to earthly things, we are taken captive by them.

However, the opposite is true by allowing God to be our master. When we bow to Him, seek His face, and obey His commands, we realize we are free. The beauty is, we are then free to choose boundaries and an exercise plan with God’s blessing and help. As we continue to bow to His authority, He gives us the strength to keep our boundaries.

I agree, it makes no human sense to be mastered by something and yet be free. This is only possible when God is the master.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
~ Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

 So, as we go through this final week of the challenge, we are going on another treasure hunt. It is my prayer that by treasure hunting the past three weeks, you will become even more convinced that the Master you have chosen is more than worthy of this position in your life.

Week 12 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

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Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes 6 days, + God glorifying music 4 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 7 days for at least 15 minutes.
Released 4.8 lbs the eleventh week :)*
Challenge Total: -9.4 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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