I’ve shared the hardest part so far. My fears. The fears that I’ll fail. I was literally nervous as I wrote yesterday’s post, knowing that once I clicked “Publish” my fears were going to be public knowledge and that I was basically inviting a lot of people to watch me either succeed or fail. I have a few other fears…
I’m scared of going to Garmisch where the food is plentiful and so are the calories.
I’m scared of going to Italy and eating out for three meals a day.
I’m scared of not seeing continued progress on my getting-healthy journey.
I’m scared of my trainer returning from the states in a month and having her be disappointed in my progress or lack thereof.
What can I do about these fears?
For one, I have admitted them. To myself, and now to you.
Secondly, I can actually make a plan to help each of those things not come to fruition. I’ve already started to think about the actual days I’m at Edelweiss, what I will eat, what I will NOT eat, and how often I will exercise. It’s harder to plan for that type of stuff regarding Italy as I haven’t been there before and we’ll be spending so much of our time in the car. But you’d better believe that I’m already thinking about what snacks to take that will not sabotage all my previous efforts.
Finally, I am still counting my calories and exercising exactly how my trainer suggested, so if I’m eating well and exercising like I’m supposed to, then there should be positive results when she returns. I should be able to see progress on this journey.
On May 27th I put a note on the first page of the first chapter: “I’m terrified to start this book.” I think it’s brilliant that Lysa starts the book officially with a chapter titled, “What’s Really Going On Here?” Figuring that out was probably half of my battle because I had been able to see what was happening (yo-yoing weight over the past 10 years) but I needed to dig deeper and figure out what was really happening.
I really don’t want to give too much of her text away. I’d rather you buy the book, underline and highlight like I have, and find for yourself what’s going on in your story. But a few lines I simply must share. Here are some treasures taken from within the chapter and squished together.
My resolve feels strong until the next time I get hungry. I give in to that bag of chips or a candy bar because I am so hungry and it will only be for this time. We crave what we eat. Satan wants to do everything possible to replace our craving for God with something else.
When I started this book I had spent a few months noticing a pattern. My resolve would go sky high as long as I wasn’t hungry. After a meal I would find myself motivated to do better and then, as soon as I was hungry again, I’d either forget my goal or simply not care. I was so down (I won’t say depressed, but I was really down) and success was so far from reality that eating was exactly what made me feel better. And as soon as the meal was over I’d feel guilty and determined to start over right then on a healthy eating journey… until I was hungry again.
I found the idea that we crave what we eat to be completely eye-opening. If I continued to eat junk (and tons of carbs and butter and sweets) then my body was going to harass me each time I got hungry to feed it carbs and butter and sweets. I needed to find a way to break the cravings for these things and the obvious way to do so was to stop eating them in the first place.
And then Lysa gets to the spiritual side of things. Satan has a vested interest in making me think my cravings were for food when God created me to crave Him. I had never, EVER seen cravings as a way to draw closer to Him. I had never really thought of inviting God into the exercise/eating part of my life and I think a large part of the reason is because I was constantly ashamed of my my performance in this area. I knew I was failing and should have put the ideas together that He was the best one to help me but I guess our human nature is to hide from God the very things we are ashamed of. (Some may struggle with gambling, finances, sexual temptation, pornography… I just happened to struggle with not eating healthfully, and it seemed less of a problem in the grande scheme of things.) Seeing my cravings for sweets as little invitations to connect more deeply with God has been a new and fascinating aspect of my relationship with Jesus.
Going back to Satan’s sneaky tactics for a minute, Lysa also reminded me of something I had known but never applied to my own food-life: Satan intentionally chooses his tactics to hit us right where we are weak. Trying to tempt me with a new car or with alcohol was not going to work. (I’m not a new-car kind of girl and honestly, alcohol tastes gross to me.) Satan knew that this good, Christian girl would be unable to see the dangers of unhealthful eating and would give in to all sorts of temptations in that area. He knew I’d feel defeated and ashamed and he was thrilled when he succeeded in getting me to that point.
Lysa shared that the way to combat cravings for food is to quote scripture. I had NEVER thought of that! I had used that very tactic when I felt so overwhelmed with our debt and was afraid of being crushed by it. I had used 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. As long as I was quoting that over and over, the fear that threatened to overwhelm me was erased because I fully believe the enemy cannot exist in the presence of praise or within the sound of Scripture. I sang the song I had learned at Floyd’s Creek, “I cast all my cares upon You; I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet; and anytime I don’t know, what to do; I just cast all my cares upon You.” The scripture that helped me out SO VERY MUCH during the early weeks of my current journey was 1 Corinthians 10:23. “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.” Sure, those Oreos are permissible. God is not going to be mad at me if I eat one or six. But are they beneficial to me? If I eat one it will not hurt me physically, but if I eat one, I will later crave one, and I might not stop at one. I was at a place where I needed to avoid all junk food until my cravings were under control. I quoted the “permissible/beneficial” scripture over and over for a few weeks.
The questions at the end of each chapter have been incredibly insightful. In answering one of the questions I realized something about myself that I had never tied into a craving. In response to one of her questions I wrote:
Before this book I never really thought I had “cravings.” I hadn’t defined them or pinpointed mine, I just thought I needed to finish off a salty with a sweet… A meal with a sweet. Now I recognize my sweet tooth as a craving.
Lysa asked what my craving would look like were it personified. A bag of sugar. A box of Oreos. A tall Carmel Frappuccino with extra carmel and whipped cream. When it comes down to it, the best tasting thing I’ve had in a long time was the chocolate mousse from Cafe Maldaner.
This post has run long and what’s amazing is that I only shared about half of what I gleaned from that chapter. There were so many other amazing tidbits I could have told you!
I know I’m sort of writing about what I learned at the end of May but I also want to document for my own journal purposes where I am today. I have lost a few pounds, nothing dramatic on the scale, necessarily, but my trainer says not to worry about that. I’ve lost 19 inches overall and am down about a size and a half. (I say “and a half” because the new size is already too baggy on me but I’m not quite small enough to go down to the next size down.) I’m feeling SO much better emotionally with no “blue” days anymore… much more like my normal self. I have energy and almost never feel the ‘need’ for a second cup of coffee. Before, I felt like I ‘needed’ one every day around 3 or 4.
I’ve been doing two-a-day workouts, five days a week, since the first of June. On the sixth day I only work out once, and I get to take the seventh day off. A year ago I was, at most, working out three days a week for 45 minutes. My trainer has said that I start doing two-a-days twice a week next week and I’m excited and nervous at the same time.
One fun result I’m seeing is that when I started this, I’d push the limit of my calorie allowance. I’d check “My Fitness Pal” to see if I had any extra calories I could consume without going over. Now, without even thinking about it, I’m staying well within my calorie allotment, not even using many of the exercise calories I’ve “earned.” (If you use My Fitness Pal, you’ll know what I’m saying when I say that for a month I was going to bed happy to see green numbers in the 200-300 range. Now I’m going to bed with 800-1000 range after having consumed around 1200.) Basically, all that to say I’m no longer craving sweets that are loaded with calories but am happily eating things that are better for me and have good-for-me calories.
So, although I started this post out sharing the fears I have, I’m excited to report that I am, at least, seeing great rewards for sticking to the plan and I pray that, with God’s help, I can maintain momentum even with a trip to Garmisch this month, a BIG trip to Italy in a few months, with the holidays just around the corner, and with a PCS to the states, where we will be tempted with Outback, Chick-fil-a, Zaxby’s, boiled peanuts, Starbucks on every corner, drive-through fast food chains, Olive Garden, Carrabbas… If I could give myself one word of caution: Jennifer, remember the good feeling you have now that lasts all day long and do not exchange it for a feel-good meal that lasts thirty minutes and is followed by an all-day-long guilt trip.