Portion Control

Part of my weight loss journey has been learning how much to consume throughout seasons of my life.  Your caloric needs change as your weight changes.  I’ve also learned about eating clean and how to portion my foods/meals throughout the day.  I’m about to open up a big “can” because there are so many options.  I can only share what worked/has worked/is working for me.  Feel free to share your opinions, thoughts and recommendations here as a comment or on my FB page.

When I started with a trainer back in 2010 she helped me to figure out my basal metabolic rate by using a formula.  I tracked my foods and allowed her accountability by checking my food diary.  I found out that it wasn’t as simple as “overeating”.  Yes I had been eating too many calories at times in my life.  Also I had been eating too few calories.  You can send your body into starvation mode. By eating too few calories consistently, skipping meals and then binge eating at others I had done a number on my metabolism.  So at first it felt like I was eating a LOT of food (and I was) being at least 140 pounds overweight and being morbidly obese meant that my body needed a lot of calories just to function. Current BMI charts say that a woman my size should be 109-137 pounds.  This is NOT going to be possible for me without skin removal surgery.  There simply isn’t a way after carrying five children and being morbidly obese for 25 years that my body will ever get to that size.

Even though I’ve been on this journey for almost 5 years I still feel quite confused.  I keep getting numbers thrown at me that range from 1200-1860 for the calories I should eat daily and still be able to lose weight.  Right now I’m not tracking what I’m eating in terms of caloric intake.  I’m simply eating healthy, clean and when I’m hungry.  I stop when I’m full and I follow the principles laid out in the Whole Life Challenge.  I lost 20 from January to March, but I’m back at the plateau point that I’ve been at since 2013.  It feels hopeless to ever break through the 170s.  (I’ve actually put some weight back on since the end of the WLC -March 13th.  I’m not proud of it and I’m hoping to lose it as I start a new challenge in May.)

Something though that is even more troubling to me is that I’ve lost site of what my needs are to feed my spirit.  It’s time to practice some spiritual portion control.  Psalm 73:26 says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” There is also Lamentations 3:21-26 ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”  

I’ve gotten distracted by the busyness of life, both the immediate and pressing trauma our family has experienced and the pressing chronic grief I’ve been processing for years, as well as my own fears, agendas and need to be needed.  My relationship with God has been something to do, a part of who I am and not the source of my strength, my identity and my hope.  There is a verse in the song Amazing Grace that usually gets skipped.  It says “The Lord has promised good to me.  His word my hope secures.  He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.”  That’s what I pray my heart can sing with confidence.  He WILL my shield and portion be….that I can find rest, true peace in trusting that God is my shield and portion.  He IS enough.  He is MORE than enough.  It isn’t Jesus + my goodness, or Jesus + my ambition.  It’s JESUS!  He is the answer to every question. Seeking His face should be my only goal, my only priority and Heaven should be my destination.  Everything else is an added gift.

Oh God I submit my physical and spiritual appetites to you.  Please work within me to know when I need more nourishment and when I’ve had enough to be grateful for the sustenance provided.  Psalm 24:8 says “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  Lord I want to taste you in times of trouble instead of another cupcake, spoonful of peanut butter or pint of Talenti.  Lord, I want to know deep, deep, deep down that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I desire Holy Spirit to trust you in a way that I NEVER have before and to submit to you the areas of my life that I’ve been stuck on the sit and spin and trying to get off in my power.  I’m praying for answers to know how much to eat, what kinds of food to eat and when to eat.  I’m also praying for strength and power to seek God’s face, a desire to know Him intimately and the balance to live a full life without functioning out of fear in the spiritual or physical.

Thanks as always for reading.  Feel free to share a comment, tip, scripture or story.  Blessings…~Janelle

 

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The Whole Life Challenge (Review)

I’ve been meaning to do this for almost a month.  Time keeps getting wasted, spent on other things or just slips away.  So today I’m making it a priority to put down my thoughts about this tool, this challenge, this inspiration called the Whole Life Challenge.

I am forever grateful that Drew recommended the game to me.  I will be participating again starting in May and we would LOVE to add you to our team if you would like to be a part of a group of encouraging, hard-working, yet honest and flawed people who are striving for wholeness and health. For more information on the challenge visit this site.  If you need help you could also send me a message.  Our team name is Better Than Yesterday.  Drew Jorgensen is our team leader.

The first few days were pretty difficult.  I must admit that the hardest thing to give up was bread.  I can do without milk, cheese and even sugar wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but bread.  I missed bread.  I missed sandwiches and rolls with butter at dinner.  I think the reason that I didn’t miss sugar was much as I thought I would was because I had already given up junk food and almost all processed food.  The other reason is because I had worked so diligently to prepare meals for dinner that were WLC approved and they were so tasty.  I didn’t feel deprived.  Portion control wasn’t a big issue for me because it’s something I’ve worked on for years.  21-Day Fix (from Beachbody) was very helpful in reminding me of the importance of portion size.  I will probably be trying to combine the two programs for the next WLC.

I loved having an accountability team.  I loved that I could eat legumes (peanut butter), quinoa and lentils.  I loved that it wasn’t as restrictive as Whole30.  I loved that daily I had to focus on other areas of my life NOT just food as with other diets, programs, My Fitness Pal etc.  Mobilization (stretching), food, water, daily reflecting and a specific area (kind acts, meditation etc,) were all part of this daily challenge.  I was encouraged to see my daily totals and where I stood in terms of my team play and even worldwide accomplishments.  Something else that made all the difference is this challenge was NOT about perfection.  I didn’t have to start over again if I “blew it”.  I could make choices.  I could have bad days.  I could lose points and life continued.  It felt so good.

At the end of 56 days I had lost 20 pounds.  At the end of 56 days I had learned that my body could function and THRIVE on less food and not need foods that I thought I had to have.  56 days later I ran a 5K faster.  56 days later I could squat deeper, stretch longer, move easier.  56 days after the challenge started I could breathe more deeply and realized the importance of silence.

Here’s the hard part of this post.  I must admit to you that after the challenge ended I fell and I fell HARD.  I had my 40th birthday.  My son and daughter turned 11.  I went on a mini-vacation.  I thought I could eat pizza and a lot of it.  I didn’t workout daily and I forgot the importance of accountability.  Seriously almost a month has gone by and I feel fat, gross and slow.  I feel guilt, shame that isn’t necessary and I am fighting discouragement.  I’ve put five pounds back on and am feeling frustrated.  Even into this journey almost five years I still need routine, accountability and mindfulness.  I’m grateful to have been reminded of this through the tool of the Whole Life Challenge.

 

Hearing What Isn’t Being Said

You remember in the cartoons there used to be a person who was having a hard time making a decision, perhaps feeling tempted by something and on one shoulder there was an angel and on the other a devil?  They were trying to influence the character in the direction that was preferred (the good or the dark side).  Inevitably whichever side won would smile and beam and the other would “poof away” into a cloud and disappear.

I have found myself in many situations where I feel as if I have two messengers trying to help me navigate a situation or circumstance.  Quite often this can be food related.  The voices that I hear are trying to sway me, pull me in their direction and influence me to make a decision for their camp.  It probably seems silly to some that there would be an internal dialogue over a second helping of something or whether or not to try something on the buffet, or to even have a piece of wedding cake at a celebration you might be attending.  Yet, for those who struggle with a food addiction that struggles is all too real.  It’s also not something that goes away overnight.  I count it a blessing that most decisions I make now in terms of food choices are made confidently and comfortably, but there are still times when I hear things that aren’t being said.  Voices fill my head with sounds that would strive to defeat me.  I must deafen them with the truth.  This takes form in both mental and often audible declarations such as: “I can say no to that food.”, “I don’t have to eat anymore.  I’m not hungry.”,  “Yes I DO have time for a run or a workout.”, “No I’m not going to get fat again.”, “Eat slowly.”, “Drink a glass of water instead.”, and “It’s fuel NOT a reward.”

Oh the voices…they are there.  Sometimes they take form in an audible voice such as a friend or family member inviting me to a place to eat or suggesting something that I know I just can’t do/have at this time.  Sometimes the voices come in the form of a picture, advertisement or a commercial featuring something amazingly yummy, sweet and tempting.  Sometimes I have planned ahead and so I know that when the voices come I can answer them appropriately.   Other times I’m caught off guard and I listen to the wrong voice. The best times though are when I’ve planned ahead, prepared by saving calories/nutrition points and done extra workouts and so I don’t even have to listen to those nagging voices.  I know that I can make a choice that I normally wouldn’t make on a daily basis, but it will be acceptable.  I had such a time on Friday night, on a date with Nathan when I could share a piece of Key Lime pie with him and not feel badly.  I could eat a piece of bread with dinner and know the world wasn’t coming to an end.  It felt great and it absolutely did not sabotage me for the next day or the weekend.  The only voices I heard that night were the ones saying “Why don’t you date this man more often?”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not crazy.  There aren’t audible voices that tempt me, but I hope you understand that seriously there is a war that wages within me. It’s not just about food.  I admit that I hear things that aren’t being said in terms of emotional, spiritual and mental hurts, habits and hang-ups I have.  When someone offends me there are the voices….”How dare that person treat you that way.  You don’t deserve that.  You shouldn’t forgive them.  Hold onto that grudge.”  When I’m misunderstood or disrespected….”People just don’t get you. Probably because they aren’t smart enough, deep enough or capable compassion. Just dismiss them and their actions.”  Oh the things that I hear that aren’t true. These voices seem so loud at times.  I’m often bombarded with voices that seek to keep my drowning in fear, anger and sorrow.  These voices want to keep me isolated and destroy my relationships.  Popular music is often full of melancholy lyrics or anger.  That’s why I stay away from it in general.  A lot of movies have negative themes and a lot of art and fashion can be displeasing as well and cause emotions to rise within me that aren’t healthy.  Notice I said SOME because there is a lot of great art, music, sculpture, art and movies.  I’m just saying that I believe I should be careful what I’m putting into my heart and mind.

I’m grateful for the renewing of my mind and the truth that I hear.  Even though my situation or circumstance might not speak truth, it’s still being spoken over me, to me and in me by the Holy Spirit.  God’s Word helps to counteract the lies that I’m faced with but to hear the small, still voice of my Shepherd I have to practice listening.  Just as I have been trained in certain exercises and continue to train myself to be disciplined in moving my body more and eating less I must train myself to read, ingest and memorize the truth.  I can also hear God’s voice on a trail as I run, while I listen to worship when I’m cooking or doing laundry, as I run and talk with a friend, as I play with my children.  If my soul is ready to listen it can hear.  But to listen I must stop speaking.  I must be silent.

Also I surround myself with positive people who speak truth, have a greater understanding of reality and most often are aware of my struggle.  This support community intentionally tries to uplift me and be that “angel” on my shoulder helping me hear the voice of reason, the voice of truth.  I have such a community in Celebrate Recovery.  I’ve written about accountability previously, but I find it so important that I reiterate the point. It’s not bad to hear things that aren’t being said.  The question is….how will you respond?  How will I respond to what I hear? Will I have the courage to quell the negative voices and send them “poofing” away and walk in truth that is so much richer, higher, purer than a moment of temporary satisfaction that usually leads to guilt, shame and destruction.  Lord…may your still voice be the loudest that I hear.  May “You Speak”!!!

 

 

The Whole Life Challenge

So my friend Drew introduced me to the whole life challenge.  We started last Saturday and for 56 days I will be practicing making mindful, purposeful choices about eating clean.  This means no bread, milk, cheese or sugar for eight weeks.  It also means taking a supplement daily, working out for at least 10 minutes daily, doing the practice of the week (i.e. mindfulness, gratitude) and stretching for 10 minutes daily.

I’m uber excited to take this challenge because somewhere in the course of my stressful yet amazing last year I’ve gained 16 pounds.  So I need to get back on track, get this party started and get to GOAL!

To prepare adequately and have healthy, compliant choices on hand Drew and I had a marathon shopping/cooking day last Saturday.  Seriously including shopping, prepping, cooking and bagging it was a ten-hour event.  However, I have meals to last us until February 7th and I came in under budget.  This process is for another post all together.  It was my first experience with bulk/freezer meal cooking.  Next time it will be EVEN better.

Tuesday I was exhausted and so I chose to lose points because I didn’t do a workout.  I didn’t feel any self-condemnation and didn’t catch flack from my team.  I love that about this challenge.  Really it’s about you becoming a more whole, balanced person not about winning or losing.  Today I had coffee with a friend and she had already poured milk in mine before I could say anything.  It wasn’t worth wasting the cup.  I’m not slave to lists, rules or other’s opinions.  Losing a point was worth enjoying coffee with Bette.

I’m grateful to be in a place in my life and health journey that I am not derailed by such a thing.  Years ago I would have felt like a failure for something so small and would have had trouble picking myself up and trying again.  You see being held captive by food for so many years can take a toll on every decision you make.  Lately I’ve found myself feeling a bit more obsessive when it comes to food choices and so I’m looking forward to this experience because it will help me see food as a gift a source of fuel to be enjoyed, not abused. I can make wise choices, one meal at a time.  Even if I falter, it’s okay.  Next meal is a chance to start over again.

I’m seeing the scales move again in the right direction and I’m going to take my measurements sometimes this week and some “before” pics.  I’ll try to post those.  I haven’t missed milk or cheese, but bread is hard and I think I have a bit of a sugar detox headache.  I do miss half and half in the mornings, but I’m getting used to my black coffee.

Overall I’m quite pleased with my progress this week.  I’ll try to post the recipes that we used for our freezer meals when I can.  I’ll review each one also.  Blessings and thanks for reading.  If you are interested check it out at http://www.wholelifechallenge.com.

A Lot Can Happen in 100 Days

So for years I’ve heard about the #100HappyDays challenge.  I’ve never felt compelled to participate until recently.  I started on Monday December 8th.  The significance of this date is that it is 100 days until my 40th birthday.  That’s what this blog is sort of centered around….me turning 40.

Well….my weight has climbed and if you have checked in on the numbers, my goal of 142.8 by 3/19/15 is NOT possible. I’m totally bummed about it and I’m going to write a blog about my “detour”.  However, for this blog I’m going to focus on the remainder of this calendar year and the 100 days that lead up to my birthday.  I’ve been in a very dark place for the last year.  More accurately it’s been a whirlwind of chaos, discouragement,  and fear.  It’s time to change perspective.  It’s time to celebrate gratitude, joy , peace and happiness.  So as a part of this site and my journey toward 40 and beyond I’m going to capture moments of happiness in writing and photography.  I’ll be sharing my moments daily on my personal FB page.  I know it could be confusing that I have a personal FB page, a blog FB page and then this word press site.  If you want to follow my journey of happiness feel free to hop on over to https://www.facebook.com/janelle.flint and check in daily.  I’m going to try to post some of those moments here if they are appropriate for this specific part of my journey.

Yes, a number on a scale still carries a bit of significance to me.  I’ve blogged about how I’m learning to focus more on health than the “numbers”.  So this practice, this journey, this tool of capturing happiness will be a great way to celebrate my 40th birthday regardless of what my weight is on that day.

Today is Day 3 of my #100HappyDays and I’m celebrating a few things.  I’m celebrating water and it’s importance. Total aside but water is essential to health and weight loss.  I’m happy that I’ve learned to drink it and appreciate it.  I’m happy because I have a new book from my friend Molly.  I’m also happy because I’m a work in progress (thus the motivational plaque).

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So here’s to 100 days of being intentional in noticing the joy all around me.  I pray that I can notice the BIG love, the BIG grace the BIG joy and beauty that is a part of my world.  Participating in this 100 day challenge is a way to shift my paradigm, to change my perspective and celebrate my life no matter what age I am!!!  Thanks for being a part of my journey and may you find happiness today and always.

~Janelle