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)

one gal’s boundary is another gal’s prison

Wouldn’t it be great if God wrote a weight loss book? I’d totally be willing to spend a few weeks on a mountain with Him while He inscribed it into stone tablets. Although I’m sure there are others more worthy than myself for such an honorable task, I wonder, would it be high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat…

…actually, I think man came up with what is considered high or low in those categories, not God.

Speaking of mankind, have you walked down the “diet” or “weight loss” aisle in a bookstore? If you want to be overwhelmed and more confused, just take a gander through those rows of books. So much conflicting information in one place, yet the colorful covers are attention grabbing. The bylines and credentials are convincing. And the claims, well, they are enough to make you believe you’ve finally found the answer to your waistline woes.

We take on a different set of boundaries (or add more rules to our existing set) and maybe we even make it a few weeks. The dailiness of it all sets in and we announce, “this is just another diet” or “this is too hard”.

We run into a friend and she looks great. She’s obviously lost weight and while our first thought might be one of jealousy (come on, we’re being honest here), our second thought is probably, “Maybe I should do what she’s doing”.

Our latest weightloss “bible” gets pushed aside for a new one (or we keep adding rules) and we’re off and running again. That is, until we start looking for greener pastures or catch an interview with Dr. Oz on some breakthrough “power food” grown in a remote region of the Amazon Rainforest. This cycle could go on for the rest of our lives. Flitting from one plan to the next and never actually breaking free of anything.

Have you ever considered why there might be a myriad of weight loss plans out there? Sure, part of it is about money. Weight loss books and tools are highly marketable. It is also true that some of it is just “snake oil”.

one_size_headline

But maybe, it has something to do with weight loss not being a “one size fits all” sort of deal. There is a thought that no one knows us better than ourselves, but I beg to differ. God knows us better. He knows exactly what those of us with food/weight/body issues need. He also knows that what works for me might be a stumbling block to you (and vice versa).

This is why it is so important to go to God when choosing our boundaries. I wrote awhile back about taking a list of needs to the Lord and how He led me to the right boundary for me in this time in my life. Even though I know God has me at Weight Watchers right now, that doesn’t mean I’m never tempted to consider another set of boundaries.

When I see someone having quick success on the scale or hear someone bash tracking points, it’s tempting to think, “Maybe my boundaries aren’t ideal”. Worse is if I think that person thinks my boundaries are somehow “less godly” because they are based on a manmade plan.

Let’s get something straight. Food boundaries themselves are not gospel. They do not make us holy. They do not make us righteous. They do not transform us. They are a tool. As a gal in the Taste For Truth Support Group put it, “they are a means, not an end”.

God led me to Weight Watchers because He knows the ins and outs of every fiber of my being. He knows my background and the influences in my life. He also knows the season of life I’m in. Who better to decide?

I can have confidence in knowing I’m walking in the way He’s leading me, and at the same time recognize that what is freeing to me (yes, I think tracking points is freeing), might feel like a prison to someone else. Likewise, there are things God has led me away from because they negatively affect me (trigger my old disordered eating patterns), but these might be some of the very things He knows will speak to someone else.

Of course, there are things which are unhealthy. God is never going to lead us to a plan which will harm your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual well being. So, if that’s happening, it’s not God’s plan for us.

Besides, as Barb Raveling often says, we aren’t transformed by the perfect keeping of our boundaries, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. It’s really easy to make it all about our boundaries, but that’s just exchanging one idol (food) for another (boundaries).

Keeping my eyes on Him is the only way to see clearly and experience freedom while living with food boundaries.

 

 

 

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.