Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nashville Part 2; Thoughts on Freedom

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On the way home from Nashville, we stopped at Fall Hollow
Waterfalls.   I fully understand the name "Fall Hollow."  
It was a little rougher terrain than I remembered.  
"Unimproved" includes mud, overgrown roots, and steep hills.
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The path down.   It was a lot steeper than it looks.

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This was the better looking part of the path.

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Rooty Roots!

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Small falls
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The larger falls.  
I don't think I could have made it down the path to get better 
shots.   Very pretty, though!   I've made the trip down before, 
a long time ago, but I am certain the path was not as treacherous.

When I first started planning my long weekend in Nashville, I made a mental note of the restaurants I wanted to visit.  One of those choices was the Loveless CafĂ© for breakfast.   Biscuits and jam!  Yes, I ate it, and no, it wasn’t low carb, but it sure was good!  I also ordered this omelette:  
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I only ate half.  Definitely low carb.
I was working the puzzles while I waited for my food.     

I also went to my favorite catfish place, Cock of the Walk...I love that place.

There are some life-long habits I need to break.  One is eating too fast, but I usually forget to work on that until I've already gobbled my food.   Then I think, "I could have enjoyed that a little more."  But the big thing I find myself reverting back to is guilt...or a better term I learned in counseling: "pseudo guilt."    

Eating biscuits with jam and fried catfish isn’t a sin; overeating (anything) is.  That’s when I get into gluttony.  Gluttony is a choice, just like choosing to eat a biscuit for breakfast, or breaded foods for dinner.  So, just because I ate a little jam on two small biscuits, my brain wanted to tell me "You've blown it now."   I've learned to recognize these lies, and I now can put II Corinthians 10:5 to work in my thought process and cast down those arguments, and all the thoughts that try to exalt themselves against the knowledge of my God given Freedom, and bring those thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

(By the way, I can't "blow it" because I am not on a diet.  I have simply cut out all cookies, cake, and candy, the former mainstay of my diet, and strictly limited other carbs such as bread and jam.)

There are certain items I can’t eat without knowing that I am going to face cravings later on.  A little bit of jam on a biscuit this past weekend didn't set my cravings in motion.   For some reason, though, Mexican food does make me want to eat for no reason...
Let me state emphatically that cravings from Mexican food are not nearly as strong as the uncontrollable cravings I used to get while sugar was still a staple of my regular food intake.  Sugar cravings are much more intense, and much harder to withstand.  In fact, I never could manage to withstand them.  Cutting   sugar out makes a huge difference.  (Said after I ate jam this past weekend...)
Later in the evening after a Mexican dinner, when I want to eat when I am not hungry, being able to recognize it for what it is, I am able to stay strong and not keep eating.  

For sure, I’m no expert on this low-carb thing.  It's a learning process, and I am learning as I go.   I know for sure it's LOW carb, not no carb.   :::big smile:::  If I ever figure it all out, I'll be sure to share the info with you.  For now, I just don't want to appear like I'm talking in circles.  

To confuse you (me) even more about my sugar cravings, let me tell you about what I did in early January.  I rarely EVER drink soda, diet or otherwise, but I drank a full leaded Sprite by accident  (I thought it was a Sprite Zero...don't ask how I could do that...I don't know!!), but I didn’t realize it until the next day.  I didn't have any any crazy cravings.  It made me wonder if it’s all in my head, but then I remembered day after day after day of binge eating, a seemingly uncontrollable "need" to eat before I started low carb.  So I know the cravings are definitely real...but I have no answer for why the Sprite didn't bother me, because sometimes I unintentionally eat something with sugar and don’t realize it until later when the cravings hit, and I go back over what I've eaten and have an "Aha!" moment.  

I have already learned that the lower the carbs, the better the weight loss.  (I have also learned that I don’t like plateaus, but I thank God for them anyway, because I feel there must be a reason our bodies refuse to let go of pounds at times.)  I have also recognized that I probably won't ever be one of those people who will never eat bread or pizza again.   However, I have found it’s a lot easier to not overeat when I when I don’t eat those things.  Again, it comes down to choices.

By the way, after the semi-carby weekend, I think my plateau is finally over.  I am 74 pounds down.   

One last thought to share with you:  Freedom is real.   You can have it, too.  If ever I doubt that it's real, I only need to wake up the morning after a bad food choice (such as, for example, a fried catfish dinner) and be able to go right along as though I ate broccoli and broiled fish the night before.  Please never doubt that, indeed, you can be free from the shackles that bind you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Weekend In Photos

For my long birthday weekend, Ole Boy and I went to Nashville. 
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 Isn't this a pretty view of the skyline?
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  I needed to straighten this shot, didn't I?

I had to do some climbing to get to this view.
I'm looking down (catching my breath)
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  And then I had to do more climbing.
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 And still the climb wasn't over!
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to get to the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge
 I got some great shots, but you'll just have to wait until April 
during the A to Z challenge to see them.
(I know you're excited!)

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 This is at the Bass Pro Shop at Opry Mills Mall
We did a lot of walking at the mall!  

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Flowers at the Opryland Hotel
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The Nashville Flea Market
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The chandelier at our hotel.  It was five stories high.
Almost looks like water, doesn't it?
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Isn't this chair ugly?   It's so ugly I didn't sit in it!  
But the truly great thing is that I didn't sit in any chairs,
And I walked all the way around the mall.
It's a really big mall.
(We walked another mall, too, the Cool Springs Galleria)
There were also benches along the Pedestrian bridge, 
and I didn't sit, not one time! 

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There were lots of great aromas in the mall, 
but I didn't fall for these tricks!   
The funny thing about Sweet CeCe's 
(to me, anyway) is that back in 2009, 
I named my eating issue CeCe,
Compulsive Eating Compulson Epic

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And sugar didn't win.   I did.

On this trip, we were a lot more active than in recent years!   I think I was more excited about all that I was doing than I was about the trip itself.  (I don't know if that's sad or not.)  In years past, I just had no energy to drag myself around a mall, much less TWO of them!   And you can rest assured, I did more sitting than I did walking.   Not this time!  No sitting, all walking.   We walked at the Flea Market, which included a big hill, more walking at the malls, hills on the bridge (again, no sitting!) and a trip through the Opryland Hotel, and I had to walk from the mall parking lot to get to the hotel.   

It's been a long time since I really visited a mall, other than running in and out of only one or two stores.   I didn't realize they've turned the mall into a fair midway of people trying to grab you and suck the life out of you get your money.  Their favorite pick up line was "Can I ask you a question?"   Folks wanted to know if I washed my  hands a lot.   ??!   Or did I clean my face?   Or "Hey, let me give you something!"   Yeah, right.

I did fall for one of those "deals."  It cost me $200.  No lie.  However...I'm quite happy about that one.

Come Sunday, I was pretty tired.   But that didn't stop us from stopping and taking a short side trip along the Natchez Trace to see some waterfalls.   Only...The path was pretty steep and wet, so I didn't go all the way down.   I will try to post pics of that tomorrow...but I didn't get a lot of good shots.

Speaking of tomorrow (or the next day), we'll talk about all those wonderful Nashville restaurants.... 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Believing When the Scales Slow Down

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As I mentioned the other post day, I started dread-milling last week.   One reason I decided to start a little exercise regimen is because the scales aren’t moving.  Since late January, the scales have only fluctuated between 70-72 pounds lost.  This morning, it was 72.4 pounds, and that’s after 5 days of exercise.  I wish I could say that my attitude has been perfect through this whole plateau, but I’m sure you are smart enough to recognize a lie.   It can be flustrating (a cross between being flustered and frustrated) to step on the scales day after day, and weigh the same.

So what’s a believer to do?

For me, when it gets to the point that I forget to be thankful for freedom; when the number on the scales become more important than just being grateful that I am no longer in the cycle of binge/guilt/binge/loathing myself, it’s time to stop weighing for a while. 

This morning, I noticed a piece of Russell Stover sugar free coconut chocolate candy on my kitchen counter.  Then I remembered, I set that out to eat last night, but forgot.   I put two pieces out last night, ate one…but completely forgot the other one.   That, my friend, is something that has never happened in my life!   So, for me to define myself by a number on the scale is completely ridiculous!   I forgot a piece of candy…chocolate coconut candy!   The fact that I only got out two was a miracle in itself, but to only eat one?   I am free!   No matter how little the scales move. 

Saturday, I was scrounging around in the garage looking for some clothes to wear, because my clothes are too big these days (and I refuse to buy any right now).   As I was piddling around, I happened to put my hand on my hips, and I felt something.   I would have freaked out thinking I had a knot or something, except that it was on both sides.   I called over to Ole Boy, “Come here and feel of this!  What is it?”   He came and pushed around a little, and said, “That’s your bone!” 


It’s been a while since I’ve felt that.
I’ve felt of it a few times since Saturday.

Plateaus are a part of losing weight.   I am not above hitting one.   I didn’t want to hit one, but I’m no different than anyone else.  I refuse to give into the “flustration” of defining myself or my God-given freedom because of the number on a scale.  You, Believer, are a child of God, a joint heir with Christ.   Jesus laid down his life for our freedom, and just as we believe for our salvation, believe for your freedom.   My friend, it doesn’t matter what chains you are struggling with, He is your freedom.   

If you are bothered by the numbers, stop looking at them!   You know in your knower if you are doing “everything right” just as you know if you’re fudging a little.  If you’re doing everything right, then be patient.  There must be a reason that God gives us plateaus.   Keep believing.   

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Inadvertently Obeyed God....Part II

Over the years, my eating was out of control, and my prayers were desperate pleas for help.  And what did God do?   He answered me!  Over and over!  I’d pray, “God, if there is a way I should be eating that will help me, just tell me!”   “God, I can’t do this!  Please help me!”   “I’m in this pit, and I need help!  Where are you God?!” 

And all along, He was answering me!  The Overeater’s Anonymous leader told me on my first meeting, “Get off sugar.”  Two doctors told me, “Watch those carbs.”  One counselor gently suggested I had a food addiction, the other counselor suggested I check into to a place to help with addictions.  While I was begging God for help, he was sending people with the answer.

But I still didn’t get it.  It wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  Every time someone suggested I get off sugar, I automatically shut them out, because, to me, that was NOT freedom.  

My days consisted of wanting to eat all the time, feeling guilty because I couldn’t manage to control myself, and planning my next meal (usually while I was eating).  I wanted freedom from this obsession.  I wanted to eat like a normal person, and be able to stop when I was full!   I wanted FREEDOM!  But I didn’t want to give up sugar.

During the first week of August, I attended a ladies meeting at church.  The leader (whose name is also Margaret), asked us if we would pray for her.  She then described every thought I had about my own weight issues.   (And she was nowhere near my size, either!)  I asked them to pray for me, as well. 

One of the wonderful women with us said something about obedience.   I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I knew that the word “obedience” was for me.   Only, I didn’t understand exactly what I was to do with that information!   Obedience by not giving into to gluttony?   My Lord knew how I had wrested with that very thought.   But no, it wasn’t that.   It was much more simple than that.   Obedience!   It had taken me some ten years to get to this point, and I. Still. Didn’t. Get. It.

God finally had to send me an up-close and personal example.   My co-worker, Salena, had lost over 100 pounds.   She works on a different floor than I do, and I hadn’t seen her in some time.  When I ran into her, she looked fantastic!  We had a long conversation about what she was doing; and of course, she was eating low-carb.  For some reason, my eyes didn’t glaze over.  I didn’t resist the idea of giving up sugar. Suddenly, I was very aware that this was for me.  It clicked.   Finally!

That freedom that I had so long prayed for?   It’s mine.  From the first low carb day, no more continual cravings, no more overwhelming urges to eat!  No binges!   Do you hear what I’m saying?  NO BINGES!   No daily feelings of just barely hanging on to my “plan.”  My Plan is Christ.   He is my freedom, my strength.  And I am hanging on with all my might! 

1I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.  (Psalm 121)
God is very good.  He is faithful, and to be trusted!  I am more grateful than I could ever express in words.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Musings: The Exercise Edition

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Dear Treadmill: 
I hate you.   There is a reason I have nicknamed you “dreadmill.”

Dear Muscles:
Groan.   Why do you hurt me like this?

Dear Sketchers Shape Ups:
You are getting the well-placed blame for my calves and hiney being so sore.   Who knew 1.5 miles per day would make every step painful?

:::::I interrupt this regularly scheduled Monday Musings to bring you the following tale of woe exercise::::

I was off on Friday, and I thought it would be a good day to get on the treadmill.   I decided 30 minutes at a comfortable pace would be the perfect place to start.   It went pretty well, I think, considering it was the first time in a lonnnng time to be exerting extra energy.  God and I had a nice talk, and I had some Psalms taped to the dashboard panel, so I worked on some memory verses.  

I told myself I wouldn’t look at the timer or distance tracker.   When I thought I had walked forever, I finally looked.   Only 20 minutes!  10 more to go…and I had only walked a mile!  I gave thought to quitting right there…suddenly I was very hot…and thirsty!   My desire to talk to God or memorize scripture flew out the window that I was wishing was open!   But I made it 30 minutes, and 1.5 miles.   Not bad for a fat chick, eh?  

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At some point during the walk, I cranked up the speed for several minutes, so I was actually winded, and very dry.  Ever try to drink from a glass when you’re really hot and really winded?  It ain’t pretty, but it can be done.

Saturday, I absolutely did not want to get on that thing.  I looked for my Walkman to listen to music, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.   I got on and set the pace for something comfortable, and I whined to God that I didn’t want to walk.   I didn’t want to memorize my Psalms, I didn’t want to talk to God…I didn’t want to walk, but I did it anyway.   And I had to walk a little longer to get to my 1.5 miles, but I did remember to turn a fan on.

Sunday, I decided to be thankful.   As I climbed on the treadmill, I thanked God for the 70+ pounds that are gone, and I thanked Him for a lot more, too.  I walked my 30 minutes, and I was particularly thankful to have that little feat finished!  

During this journey, I do intend to be honest…so tomorrow, I will be posting Part 2 of my obeying God inadvertently, and then later this week, we’ll talk about believing when the scales slow down.  

Now aren’t you waiting on the edge of your seat?


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Inadvertently Obeyed God...

I inadvertently obeyed God and He showed me a thing or two about myself. 

Part 1

At a young age, I had self-image issues that revolved around food.  As an adult, each passing year saw me grow in more than just age.  I rode the weight roller coaster for years, up and down, up and down.   The ups were always much higher than the downs, when it came to numbers.

UNA Lilies
When I first started praying about this issue some ten years ago, I was desperate, and felt very alone, and very ignored by God when I wasn’t seeing immediate or lasting results.  When I say I was desperate, I really was.  I was in the grips of something so heavy (pun not intended) that I couldn’t see clearly enough to get loose.  I didn’t even know where the door was!  Nor could I see any light at the end of the tunnel. 

Mine was a life of hopelessness, discouragement and despair.   Going to bed disgusted by another day of gorging and walking up hating one’s self is no way to live.  Some people can accept their size, like themselves anyway, and live.   Not me.   It affected every area of my life, even my walk with Christ.

UNA Lilies
People who have never had a problem with food obsession absolutely cannot understand the plight of the morbidly obese, and most have fixed ideas as to why we are the way we are.   How can others understand what we, ourselves, cannot explain?  Well-meaning people have plenty of advice; to them, the answer is so simple.  To the overweight, it is anything but simple.   It’s a vicious cycle of heartbreak, failure, and self-loathing.

Like so many others, I tried over the counter diet pills, prescription diet pills, various and sundry diets, Weight Watchers, Weight Watchers, Weight Watchers…did I mention Weight Watchers? Atkins (Yes, I’ve tried low carb before, who knew that sugar laden weekends “off” would sabotage even the strongest uninformed dieter?) I went to three different counselors, bless their hearts!  They really tried. 

After I started praying about this prison from which I so desperately wanted escape, I tried countless different ways to make freedom happen.  I failed every time!   My efforts at dieting were futile.  But I always believed, even in my most hopeless hour, I believed.   There were moments when I asked myself if I’d missed it…was I believing only what I wanted to happen?  There was a part of me that knew…deep in my heart, I knew...that there was freedom from these chains, because God spoke to my heart one day during prayer and told me He would give me new dancing feet and freedom.   

Read Part 2

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Musings: The ♫♪Music♪♫ Edition

Dear Grammys:
I hardly know ye!   Who are all these bizarre people making strange noises on your stage?

By the way, dear Grammys:
Some of your nominees don’t play…music…

Dear ♪Music:
You ain’t what you used to be.

Dear Real Talent:
You so rarely show your face these days!   Please come back!

Dear Rap/Hip Hop Lovers:
I can’t believe these are some of the folks you’ve made rich and famous!

Dear Grammy Lover:
Yes, I am aware that not everyone feels the way I do about today’s song composition.   But many do agree with me…  

Dear Music Awards Shows:
I haven’t watched a full show since the Red Hot Chili Peppers publicly thanked satan on the MTV awards in 1992. 

Dear Music:
I really do love you!   These days, I usually limit my enjoyment to contemporary Christian, a little country, and 70’s tunes.  I’d venture to say the pop/rock and roll music world doesn’t miss me…but considering that true rock and roll recordings died sometime in the early 80’s…I don’t miss them, either.
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Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters:
Come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation; let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.   (Psalm 95)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What's in your thought life?

If you seriously want to lose weight, you really have to modify the way you think, and you have to change the things you say.   At no time should you give food power over you, nor let it dictate how your day is going to be.    (Food may not be your obsession, but whatever it happens to be, there is freedom over it.)

Stop saying “I can’t.”   You can.   God gave you a free will!   He was serious when He gave it to you, and He is not going to leave you alone to blindly grope along your prison walls looking for the way out.   He doesn’t give you freedom, He IS your freedom, and you can.   Yes, you can!   You must BELIEVE.   Believing what God says about you is your first step, a very vital step.  Psalm 146:7 "...the LORD gives freedom to the prisoners."

Don’t trade one obsession for another.    My history has been either obsessing because I was on a binge and couldn’t get satisfied, or obsessing over every fat gram or calorie that went into my mouth.   You can have success by doing that…but is that freedom?   It wasn’t to me!  I hated every minute of it.   My successes in counting calories were fleeting, and more pounds came back than went away.  

It has been a long hard battle to get where I am right now, and I promise you, it did not have to be that way.  God does answer prayers, but sometimes we have to be listening, even if it’s something we don’t want to hear.   Keep in mind that God really does know what’s best for you.   I never, EVER would have dreamed that giving up the staple of my diet would be the answer to my prayer; that it would fit me so perfectly, and it would be so easy.  

The only time I feel like I might be losing control and think, "I can't do this forever" is when I’m carbing it up with, for instance, Logan's yeast rolls or Mexican tortilla chips.  When I do start feeling that way, I remind myself, out loud when necessary, that I am a child of the King, I am free, and who the Son has made free is free indeed (John 8:36).   It’s a fact.   A fact!   Do you believe?

In January, I was more liberal with higher-carb foods, and I noticed that it's easier to give in to "too much" the next time when I over did it the last time.  I had to ask forgiveness for gluttony a time or two.  I have decided to tighten down again for the next few weeks because I did have some negative thoughts trying to creep in and cloud my outlook over the last few weeks, and I refuse to give into that!      

It’s real, and it’s mine!  
It can be yours, too!  

Capture those thoughts of defeat, discouragement and hopelessness and toss them away.  One roll, one cookie, even one Italian meal doesn't have to toss you into a binge!  If I notice serious cravings after I eat something, I can choose to not eat that again, or I can remember the next time I eat it that I will be dealing with cravings later on.  The choice is mine, and I may choose to eat a cookie one day!  That doesn't mean I have to eat the whole bag.   

I’m not saying that low carb is your way, but I am saying there is an answer for you.   I will also venture to say that if you are morbidly obese and obsess about food continually, you probably do have a sugar addiction.   Giving it up will change your life.  Child of God, you are not alone.

Start your journey today with some positive words to yourself.   You are in control of your free will, and you don’t have to spend one more day on a binge.   Remind yourself that you are in control, and you can make good decisions for your health.   I’m not kidding…words are powerful, and you need to TALK TO YOURSELF. 

You don’t have to start with baby steps!   I took giant steps my first week, and I lost nearly 15 pounds, too.  I was never hungry, and I didn’t obsess about every morsel I ate.  One thing I noticed right away was the constant pull for something else to eat was gone.   Without the sugar driving me, I automatically ate less.  I really could stop when I was full, and I wasn’t on the diet sidelines somewhere just waiting to pounce on my next allotted meal.   For me, that is just not freedom, and I am all about some true freedom.

Have I mentioned I have yet to start exercising?   I am pushing 70 pounds in just over five months...

Coming Soon:   I inadvertently obeyed God, and He showed me a thing or two about myself. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday, Monday, so good to me....

I barely lost 8 pounds in January!   That puts me at almost 68 pounds total.    People are noticing now, and it’s very encouraging to hear the nice comments from family, friends and co-workers.   I’ve made it a goal of mine…if I even think someone looks like they are losing weight, I’m going to mention it!  

Clothes that were once too tight are now getting too loose.   I refuse to buy anything new right now…so I am going through stored clothes to find some interim apparel.    Hopefully, I can come up with some decent items to tide me over.   I am also planning to donate the ones that are just too big to get by with any more.   Believe it or not, that thought gives me a little angst. 

I still have a lot of weight to lose, so it surprises me a little when people are genuinely interested in what I’m doing.   When I tell them I cut out sugar, their eyes usually glaze over…much like mine did in times past.   If ever I thought of giving up sugar, it would be in terms of a temporary exclusion.   Without going into a lot of detail on this post (because I don’t want your eyes to glaze over) let me tell you just a little about what’s going on.

Since I started low carb on August 13, 2012, I have not had candy (except sugar free), cake, cookies or pasta.  As long as I limit carby items such as bread, this is the easiest weight loss I’ve ever experienced.  January's weight loss was slowed way down because I ate more bread, I even had french fries and pizza.  I did find myself slipping back into that old way of thinking, "I've already "messed up" today, I might as well eat, eat, eat!"   And I found myself having guilt pangs, as well...all because I ate french fries, or some other "bad" food (pseudo-guilt, because I had nothing to be guilty about).  I had to stomp on that feeling in a hurry, because I am FREE, and freedom doesn't include mentally beating myself up because I eat pizza (or any other less carby item) for dinner.  

Some time ago, in another blog (if I could remember which blog it was, I would go and share my thoughts) we had a discussion about how staying on plan was so easy some days, and "easy" could last for weeks, then suddenly we couldn’t manage to have a successful day, much less two days in a row.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to why one day things were good, the next day all we wanted to do was eat.   I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but for me, those out of control days do not rear their ugly heads as long as I am low carb.  

That explains why back in my (numerous) Weight Watchers attempts, I had the best success with the Core Plan.  Grains, rice and pasta were limited and whole grain; lean meats, fruits and vegetables were the mainstay of the plan.   My problem was that we were allowed 35 “points” per week, and I used those points for sugar on the weekends, which usually put me right back at square one. 

The only time my ex-best friend "Hopelessness" creeps in is when I’ve had too many carbs, these days usually in the form of bread.   I remember to shut her up in a hurry because hopelessness is not in control here.   I make the decisions!   Above all…my strength is in Him…Jesus is my mainstay.   He keeps me on track, gives me hope, and reminds me to rely on Him, not my own strength. 

There is uh lot more I could talk about when it comes to this… like booth anxiety…but I do not want to overload you nice folks reading these words.  This is a subject about which I am very passionate, so I can’t tell if I’m going overboard to a normal person…however, I do believe I will post more about this area of my life this week.   Perhaps even tomorrow, who knows?

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