Saturday, April 1, 2017

Still Standing My Ground

I lost 12 pounds in March.

I wasn’t perfect. 
There were days I struggled.
There were lessons I learned.

I have said for years that diets don’t work. “Lifestyle change” is just another word for a diet. Is there a diet I haven’t tried? Probably, but it would just be a recycled version of one of the countless plans I’ve tried before…many of them repeatedly, but all with the same loss/regain result. Falling off the wagon came easy. It seems insane to let one meal, or one “wrong” thing derail a whole month of struggle. Then there’s the discouragement: after being “good” all week and only losing .5 of a pound…but here’s a thought:

If I lost only 5 pounds a month for a year, I would weigh 60 pounds less. Would I have loved to have started this year off 60 pounds less than I did? You better know it.

In two years, I would have lost 120 pounds, and I would have been ecstatic, had I lost only 5 pounds per month and not gotten discouraged! Actually, I probably did lose close to 120 in two years, trouble is…I lost and regained those same pounds on a vicious tilt-a-whirl carnival ride.

Hard fact: If your goal is the number on the scales, in five years, you’ll still be riding the same merry-go-round…or roller coaster, with its ups and downs. I keep telling myself…and anyone who will listen…we have to find a way to eat that we can live with for the rest of our lives! And it shouldn’t involve spending 2/3 of our day planning/counting/stressing/worrying about food.

Here’s the biggest thing I am learning: 
It’s not about the weight. 
As long as I keep making it about the weight, I’ll keep failing. 

Let me interrupt myself…if this is your first visit here, please consider reading Choosing My Obsession and Standing My Ground (Part 1) and Pit Pollution (Part 2).

My Love Affair with Sugar:
A few weeks ago, I went to Nashville to celebrate my aunt’s 89th birthday. There was a plate of home-baked chocolate chip cookies on the counter, and eventually, I ate one. On the first bite…before I even swallowed, I thought to myself, “This is not going to be enough.” (Which tells me sugar addiction is partly mental!) I had two more, and I shared a piece of coconut cake with Ole Boy. Later, I had a fried dinner…catfish, fries, hushpuppies, slaw, cornbread. The next day, I ate at a Chinese buffet.

Normally, a weekend like this would be enough to derail me for the rest of the month…or year. But I remembered (or perhaps God reminded me) that I can’t rely on my own strength. It has failed me countless times!

So I made me an index card and propped it up on my desk at work:
I have written more on it since this photo.
See the end of this post for my Power Verses.
I read that card often. I cannot tell you how many times I said myself, “Lord, feed me with knowledge and understanding.” These scriptures worked every time. Every. Time.

To be Clear:
This is not about just reading/reciting scriptures! It is about having faith in them…believing the words are living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is renewing the mind!

Let me tell you yesterday:
I decided to eat an old standby for when I’m on a binge (yeah, who knows my reasoning?!) I stopped at Jacks for a bacon & cheese biscuit, fried potatoes, and a large sweet tea. My intention was to go on to Walmart and get some cinnamon buns, or donuts…you know, something for a binge. On my way to Walmart, which was only a few blocks from Jacks, I gave my normal thanks to God for my food, and asked Him to bless it. I often feel funny about asking God to bless food that are really bad choices, but I ask Him anyway. Then I just talked to Him.

I told Him that my eating the fast food wasn’t a sin, it just wasn’t a good choice. I asked Him to help me remember that even if I have a whole day of bad choices, I still do not have to be a glutton.

Y’all! It’s not about the food.
It’s the obsession.
It’s the gluttony! 

I sat in the parking lot and ate my food, telling myself I’d just get one piece of pie, or only one or two donuts so that I couldn’t binge. I mean, that makes sense, doesn’t it? I just ate a bad-choice breakfast, so I’ll top it off with an ever worse bad choice, even though I was full, because I cannot deny that when I eat sugar-laden food, I find myself obsessing about eating. Making better choices helps me in more ways than one.

While shopping and thinking about what sugar product to buy, I realized I was relying on my own strength: justifying, plotting, planning…obsessing! See where my own strength gets me? Somewhere near the shoe department, I recited my power verses…out loud, (but under my breath so that no one would think I was crazy). And I believed in the power of those verses.

By the time I got to the cake and pie section, my intention had changed, without any effort on my part. My effort had been walking through the store reciting scripture. I walked right past all the donuts, Little Debbie’s, cakes, and pies, and hardly glanced their way. I picked up some grapes, a honeydew melon, some peanuts, and came home.

I didn’t binge, and it wasn’t a struggle.

When I am obsessing about food, I want the food more than I want to read my power verses. Sometimes the pull of the obsession far, far outweighs my desire to lose weight or get healthy, and sadly, my desire to please God by not being gluttonous. I have to make the hard choice to give in or rely on the Word. And the Word has not failed me. The next time I find myself seriously considering giving into gluttony (a binge, that is, I am not talking about just making a bad choice), I think I’ll meditate five minutes on my power verses, breathing in the “living and powerful” and breathing out the words.

Still can’t let go the number on the scale?  Remember this:

If you hope to lose 15 or 20 pounds a month, you set yourself up for failure. Other than the first month, that is an unrealistic goal. Eight pounds a month for an obese person is a reasonable goal, remembering that there are times you will only lose five or six pounds, and you cannot let that derail you.
My Power Scriptures/Prayer:

  • Lord, You are my Shepherd.  (Psalm 23:1)  Feed me with knowledge and understanding.  (Jeremiah 3:15)
  • Let me taste and see that You are good, let me take refuge in You.  (Psalm 34:8)
  • I will trust in You and do good; I will feed on Your faithfulness.  (Psalm 37:3)
  • Lord, I will not worry about what I will eat.  (Mathew 6:25)

This is the scripture that I came across in my daily reading that put me on this path:
Jesus speaking:

  • Do not labor for the food with perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.  (John 6:27)

9 comments:

  1. I think that is wise to meditate on your power verses which are all good ones when thinking of a binge. Waiting that 5 minutes and penetrating your heart and mind and soul with the word of God certainly can your focus from food to him. Good weight loss in March.

    Betty

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    1. It's the only way for me...and still a work in progress! Thanks, Betty.

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  2. This is an amazing and powerful post! I am praising God along with you!

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  3. Congratulations on the weight loss! And isn't God gracious? Once you turned to Him for rescue (rather than asking Him to bless your "bad choices"), He graciously responded and enabled you to pull obedience right out of that opportunity for rebellion. I am continually amazed at God's willingness to show up strong on our behalf.

    My March oly had abut a 4 pound loss. Except for that gluttonous slide, I had eaten less than 1000 most days, BUT the Tegretol I had to take reduced the effectiveness of the Synthroid...so weight loss ground to a halt. I'm not as annoyed as I'd think I'd be, tho, because I really do feel good about my obedient eating. Except for that slide, of course. I'm just grateful about that! Getting quickly back on track is not something I usually am able to do, so it's all good. And God is great!

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    1. Hah. Let me clear up that "obedient eating" ting so that I do not sound more virtuous than I was. First, I do realize that eating less than 1000 calories a day is not a good, nor an obedient, thing for the most part. Secondly, I was only able to do that without no effort on my part whatsoever because the Tegretol that snuffed out the Synthroid, also so reduced the nerve firings in my brain that I had NO appetite whatsoever. None. I mainly just had protein shakes...or noting. It was a very interesting feeling to not have cravings or even much interest in food at all. I'm hoping for that someday again--only due to a change in my attitude towards food rther than a drug induced temporary cessation.

      Just felt like I needed to clarify that.

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    2. That whole change in attitude toward food...yes! That is exactly it. To only think of food when I'm hungry...what a victory that will be. I believe it will happen.

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  4. Thank you, Margaret, for sharing what I call beauty secrets here! I am copying those scriptures for sure because I am addicted to sugar big time. A few days ago, I met for lunch with a new friend and we both decided to hold each other accountable about the sugar. I told her this morning at church I plan to have a cookie because we are doing our taxes! I want a reward! But knowing I have to fess up to her is helping me. I really believe you that when you recited scripture, He changed your desire. I have seen Him do that with me too. It's about attitude and getting a healthy mindset and relying on God each day, isn't it?

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    1. Attitude...and decisions. I've been toying with an "undisciplined mind" entry because how can I have a disciplined mind with an undisciplined mind? But most of all, relying on God, yes! (Oddly enough, it is so easy to forget to rely on Him...) Thank you!

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