Busted!

First, let’s party!  I finally busted my three-week plateau and lost another 5 pounds, bringing my grand total to 40 pounds lost!

Okay, party’s over.

At this part I started to write something negative, and chose to delete it.  If it’s not edifying to me, it’s not edifying to you.  Let’s try this again.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve really concentrated on getting back to the basics to bust through this stalemate over the last week.  Therefore, all glory goes to God.  I’ve put in the footwork, but He’s blessed it because I’ve taken each step in faith–knowing there is something better for me on the other side of all of this.

When I started this whole deal, it was really just because I was cranky about my weight for the nine millionth time.  But I quickly realized all the other “weight” that I’m carrying that I have to get rid of too.  I’ve done a lot of crying at my desk lately.  God’s really been pushing me to look a lot of heavy stuff and be honest with myself about it.  It’s been some serious work to look at the muck and mire.  Just like weight loss, it won’t be conquered overnight…but I’m on the way.

I’ve come to find joy in the process.  I like organized routines, things that I can count on, specific ways of doing something.  Through my intentional time spent in God’s Word, devotionals, studies, reflection, and slowly opening up to others, I have found that I am enjoying the ride.  Instead of having tunnel-vision on the end result, I am rejoicing in the little victories and concentrating on the small goals–something that I haven’t done before.

So, for today, I choose joy.  There’s some circumstances around me that have my anxiety high that I need to deal with, but I choose joy.  I choose joy because God continues to bless me abundantly in the midst of it all. Amen!

Cockiness

“Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale.” -Karen Ehman

I’m falling fast into discouragement again.  Yesterday was a terrible day.  I’m in my third week of this weight loss plateau and doing everything I can to bust it.  I woke up feeling terrible from drinking diet soda the night prior (which I have now decided to give up).  I slogged through work in a fog and had to do some administrative discipline, not my forte.  I got to the gym and was miserable…I couldn’t even keep up my normal pace, I just wanted to leave before I even walked in the door.  I forced myself through it, I mean, a crappy workout is better than no workout, right?  Then I headed to back PT and sat in my minivan almost in tears because I just didn’t want to go.  I went anyway, and cried through the first ten minutes (thank God for patient PTs and techs).  I don’t know what my problem was yesterday, I was just in a bad way all around.

This quote stood out to me this morning when I sat down at my desk to have some devotional time before starting my work.  I think I’ve discovered the root of my downward spiral: cockiness.  At the start of my weight loss, I was in constant conversation (prayer) with God to get me through minute by minute.  I’ve become lax.  I’ve had a taste of a little success and have not relied as deeply on my sole source of motivation and encouragement.  It’s time to pull in the reigns again on all fronts.

What this looks like:

  • Get back to constant conversation with God over every. little. thing.  Each bite I take, each thought I have, every movement I make
  • Continued daily devotions, without exception, focusing on what I need to be working on
  • Tidying up my eating.  I’ve gotten a little free with my eating, especially on weekends–not overeating, just making choices that could have been better.  Just because I have the availability in my eating plan to eat it, that doesn’t mean I should.
  • Exercising properly.  It’s just 40 minutes out of my day.  Bite the bullet and just do it, and if I’m going to do it, do it right–no sniveling.

When I’m living in obedience, I’m doing what I need to be doing to live a free and healthy life.  When I’m in my head, I’m doing what *I* think is best, and not what God has shown me to be best for me.  I have confessed this to God this morning and asked for forgiveness.  Now it’s time to walk again in obedience to God’s leading, and not my own–remembering that it’s not “me against the world” but that it’s me following the One that’s gone before me to pave the way.

Victoriously Unsettled

“Unsettle me in the best kind of way.  For when I allow your touch to reach the deepest parts of me–dark and dingy and hidden away too long–suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.” -Lysa TerKeurst

Dude, this author is in my head.  She gets it.  I long to move past my unsettlement.  I’ve been unsettled.  I’m not content with where I am now, because I know I’m destined to be better than who I am right now.  Some of the dark and dingy has been exposed, and there’s more to come.  It’s not pretty, and I’m definitely not proud of it.  There’s a fine line I’m walking right now to recognize and realize the scum in me that needs to be ridded of and sinking into shame and guilt because of it.

I stand in victory today.  God is with me.  God is for me.  God has gone before me to pave the way for this journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.  I’m not alone.  I don’t have to fall apart, shattered into a broken person, to become a better version of me.  I used to think that was the way it worked, and maybe I still do a little bit…but instead of going backwards in order to go forward, I understand that I can move forward from right where I am.  Yes, I do need to look back at some of the past–there’s some hurts, habits, and hang-ups that need to be addressed there, but I don’t have to live in the past.  It’s just information for the journey.

I get glimpses of the future that I cling to with all that I am.  I’ve seen the person that I long to be, not in another person, but I’ve seen it in myself.  It brings tears to my eyes when this happens, because the feeling of sheer joy and freedom that accompanies it is simply overwhelming that I just can’t handle it.  I have images of the person that I know I’m meant to be seared into my mind’s eye, and that’s such an exciting thing.  Pictures of goals accomplished and victory over self litter the hallways of my head.  It’s a thing of real beauty.

And my humanness wants these things *right now*…and it’s just not reality.  Change doesn’t happen overnight, and I have to be okay with that.  So for today, I’m finding joy in the process.  I’m okay with being unsettled.  It’s okay to not have it all together.  Thanks be to God!

Jealousy

“Jealousy is counting someone else’s blessings.”

I heard this on the radio yesterday morning as I was sitting in my office getting prayed up for our worship service.  At first it just struck me as fairly profound, but now it’s just eating at me.  I’ve never really thought myself as a jealous person–cynical yes, jealous no.  When I look at it in this context, I am in fact a terribly jealous person.

I often weigh myself up against other’s accomplishments and wonder why I’m not good enough to do those things?  Or why was I not chosen for that? Or…I could go on in a thousand ways.

I wonder “why” a lot.  Am I not good enough? Smart enough? Do I not work hard enough? Is my testimony not dramatic enough because I choose not to wear my hardships that I deal with on my sleeve?  Does God’s redemptive work in my life not matter?

I see a lot of the 80/20 rule (or is it 90/10? I never remember…) in the ministry that I am involved in.  The same people are always chosen to do the same things.  I’ve questioned why before, and have experienced a variety of answers from “that’s just the way it’s always been done” to “no one else wants to do it.”  None of these answers have ever really satisfied me.  I don’t think people know how to break into the small clique of people that are doing it all.  How does one scream from the rooftops “I’m worthy enough” to be able to contribute to the whole without being looked down upon?  I’m getting off my topic here…

Jealousy is a dangerous place to live because too often it leads to judgment.  I was in a text conversation with someone this weekend talking about someone I used to consider a friend, someone that I thought cared about me the way I cared about them, and their accomplishments.  I realize that I am jealous of this person and their accomplishments because they have done the things that I want to be able to do in ministry–the things that I believe God has gifted me to do.  They’ve done it and I haven’t.  Someone along their way has encouraged them to pursue something further and they have accomplished something that no one has seen in me.  I’m jealous.  And it hurts.

I have to look at the flipside of this situation too, and look at the person.  Their accomplishments have changed them.  They are no longer the once humble person they used to be.  They have left behind a lot of friends they had and pursued friendships that appear on the outside to solely be for status and personal gain.  I don’t want to be that person.  That’s a judgment.  And that hurts that I can be ugly like that.

So how do you move past jealousy?  I don’t know.  I do know what I need to do–and that’s to get my nose out of everyone else’s business and mind my own.  Easier said than done.  But that’s reality.  I really have no right to judge–ever–and jealousy is sinful, it just leads to more trouble.  It feels good at the time, but that ugliness builds up.  And then I find myself right where I am.

I don’t want to be ugly–inside or out.  That’s kind of the advent of this whole personal overhaul.  It’s time to stop comparing myself to others in every situation and focus on myself and who I am as a child of God.  I can’t say it now, but I do believe someday I will be able to say that “I am enough.” (cue tears)  God has created me to me, and it’s time that I get to know that person instead of making myself into someone else.  I am called to a particular mission in life that’s all mine, and it’s going to look different from someone else’s calling, as it should.  In the end, it’s all about showing Jesus to a dark world.  May I never let anything, including myself, stand in the way of that.

Plateau

I’ve hit my first stumbling block.

I know there will be many, many, many more on this journey…but that doesn’t make it okay.  I’ve hit my first plateau in weight loss.  I have remained the same weight the last two weeks in a row.  I know, I know–I shouldn’t complain, at least I’m not gaining weight, but I’m not losing weight either.  I know exactly why–some biological factors combined with food vs. exercise.  I’ve increased my exercise, but this last week I increased my eating a little bit too.  Darn you chocolate and your amazing allure!  It’s all a numbers game, and I’ve been playing it too loosely.  Time to reign in my choices and keep on the straight and narrow.  I refuse to be the Nazi I was on weight watchers previously, because that’s just going to end in failure, but I do need to be a little stricter with myself. One step at a time, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Speaking of marathons, I was thinking it would be really great to start training for an event…work towards something.  So, I have decided that in September I’m going to enter the Chamber of Commerce’s Color Your Sole 5k (https://www.facebook.com/coloryoursole5k).  This gives me just under 5 months to get in shape enough for the 3.1 mile jaunt.  Right now, my treadmill speed is 2.5 MPH for 30 minutes.  So, my first goal is to get up to 3.0 MPH for 30 minutes.  Then I’ll be halfway there!

I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m really struggling with my “future view.”  My goal weight is 180 pounds (because you have to be 200 or less to go tandem sky-diving, which will be my goal weight reward).  I don’t know what I would look like as an adult weighing 180 pounds, as I was quite young the last time I weighed that amount.  I’ve been scouring google for images of women that I would imagine I could possibly look like as assigned for our peer-to-peer Christian weight loss support group (man, that’s a mouthful!).  I think I found an image of what I can imagine being a “healthy” size.

Goal Picture

From the brief caption that I read, this woman lost like over a hundred pounds doing Zumba.  Which is awesome, because I soooo do not have the coordination to dance. My Wii Zumba disk started collecting dust long ago.  But I would like to look like her.  No offense, but she’s not a skinny-Minnie, she’s still got some meat on her bones.  She looks strong, in shape, and happy.  She looks healthy.  She’s what I would consider “normal size.”  (and she’s not a size 2)  I think that I can start to wrap my head around this image.  I can’t quite put my head on her body yet, but I can start to dream a little bit of what I might look like.  I could be happy being her size (yes, I do know that size does not equate to happiness in and of itself–hence the emotional and spiritual parts of the gig).  I could be really satisfied looking like her.  So for now, I’m going to stick with this image.

I promise I’m not going to turn into a promoter of products, but I’ve been diving into Lysa TerKeurst’s “Made to Crave” Ministry Set (www.madetocrave.org).  I’ve been reading the trade book as I prepare to lead the accompanying Bible studies with our Christian weight loss support group.  Reading isn’t the right word–devouring is more like it.  Talk about someone who gets the daily battle with food.  I look forward to learning and growing more as I explore my relationship with God and food through this particular study.  I’ve also started another one-on-one discipleship program that I am doing with a friend that is proving to be quite stretching, it’s kind of a rigid 90-day program…rigid isn’t something I’m used to in my walk with God.  This program is based on Proverbs 31.  If I became half the woman mentioned in Proverbs 31, I’d be doing pretty darn well.

And, as Paul Harvey puts it, “that’s the rest of the story”

Confidence 

Two of my deepest, darkest secrets: I have zero self-image and people terrify me. 

Honestly, if you heard my self-talk, you would likely question my salvation. I am horrible to myself in the things that I tell me about me. I set impossible standards that I would never be able to achieve.  Then I beat myself up over it. This is something that I’m working on. I’m learning how to set achievable goals that I can actually meet. It’s still new to me. It’s a strange sensation still for me to meet a goal–that feeling of success, a good feeling, is taking some time to get used to. 

And yes, I am the queen of introverts. People literally scare the crud out of me. Funny thing for a pastor to say, because people are my business. New situations, social gatherings, parties, large crowds, meeting new people–all strike severe anxiety in me. I have to force myself to be sociable. I’m a pretty good faker though, most people can’t tell I’m dying inside when trying to force myself to hold up my end of a conversation. 

Coming out of my shell–and out of my warped head–is definitely a process. I notice lately that it is starting to get just a little bit easier. As I’m losing weight, I can honestly say that I’m slowly starting to feel better about myself. I’m still pretty hard on myself, but there are those moments once in a while that I feel pretty good. 

Today I had one of those moments. I left a meeting and could physically tell that I was holding my head a little higher. I had carried on some pretty decent conversations with people, introduced myself to some new folks, and didn’t feel quite as socially inept as I usually do. Small moves in the right direction….

I’ve also been fairly productive in working on some of those attainable goals too. It’s a good feeling to see yourself getting things done. I’ve gotten some new projects started and I’m excited to see how they pan out. I love that in my work, some of the projects that we undertake not only help others, but are beneficial to my growth and spiritual walk as well. Definitely a win-win. 

Im not saying that I’ll be all cupcakes and gumdrops to myself anytime soon, but in my journey to a better me, there’s definitely progress on all fronts. 

The Awkward Shift

Now that I have lost the weight of a bag of my dog’s food (35lbs), I have *finally* noticed a change.  It’s a positive change, but an awkward one nonetheless.

I lose weight from the top-down.  The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I lost 4 shirt sizes before I barely lost a pants size (oh, I *love* my genetics that I have to thank for this body shape).  I notice now, sitting here in my uniform shirt, that there is a bit of bagginess that was not there prior and the sleeves fit a bit better.  I’ll take it.  I’ve needed to feel a change in me for a long time.

Weight loss is hard work, man.  There’s a cute quote floating around on Facebook that says something like, “I wish fat screamed when being burned.”  I wish that there were more tangible feelings/rewards/differences along this road to grab onto.  I admit, I’m an incentive-driven person.  I need gratification to keep plugging along.  Things like “you’ll live so much longer” or “you’ll be so much healthier” just aren’t big motivators for me.  Changes I can feel–a more billowy uniform blouse for example–is what does it for me.

There’s another quote I saw I Pinterest that says, “Do it for the “Oh *bleep*! You got hot!””  That doesn’t work so much for me either.  While I am committed to losing a significant amount of weight in this journey to living healthier, you’re not going to someday find me lounging on the beach in a bikini.  My goal weight is 180lbs.  Still considered “overweight” for my 5’8″ frame, I would be over-the-moon to reach that weight.  The slightly disconcerting side of that is that when I reach my goal, I will be what I weighed in around the sixth grade.  Sixth grade.

That’s one of the scary sides of this journey–I have no idea what I will look like when I lose weight.  I have never in my adult life been a reasonable weight.  To me, that is a little bit scary.  I wonder–will I be toned and healthy looking from proper exercise?  Will I have sagging skin? (Which in my research, the jury is still out…I’m young and resilient still, and only about 10% of people that lose large amounts of weight have sagging skin that requires surgery to combat, but I haven’t found any studies on those that have been overweight literally their whole lives)  Yes, it sounds like vanity run amuck, but I think it’s a legitimate fear to wonder what the future holds.

I guess that goes back to trusting God.  I know whatever the turnout will be down the road, that I’ll be just fine.  Whatever may come, I will just have to take it in stride.  Random thoughts for the day…