THIS! Ladies and gentleman…God has lead me to this place for such a time as this. Revelation Wellness has been transformational in my life. I am starting training in August. Get on board…I can’t wait for retreat in November and to see what God has in store for me, my family, my community. It’s TIME!!! #Iamgonnabeafitnessteachergospelpreacher, #freedomstartswiththisFlint, #finallyfree, #loveisalwaysgreaterthanfear, #freelikeaFlint
Yesterday I went for a walk around the local lake (Lake Tomahawk). Not because I needed to log miles for race training. Not because I wanted to burn extra calories or because I was afraid of weekly weigh-in. I went for a walk because it was a beautiful sunny day and I had some extra time before meeting some friends for lunch.
In fact I lost track of time and was ten minutes late to our meeting. All was forgiven and I didn’t feel guilty. It was empowering to simply…..be. To move my body because I wanted to AND I was able to do so. To want to be in the sunshine and not hiding in the house making excuses about laundry and errands.
While walking there was young boy, no older than two, squatting in perfect form dragging a stick through the gravely dirt. He was so excited to watch the path that he was creating and kept looking up at the sunshine. Then his gaze would switch to the lake and the ducks swimming. Next he would smile at his mother who was watching him with a loving smile on her lips. As I walked past them I said something to the mom about that all of life was an adventure at that age and she replied something about the reminder of the gift of life. I thought about that interaction for the remainder of my walk. I too begin to look up at the beautiful sky, watch the momma duck and her four babies waddling along beside me on the path, notice the people and took it all into my senses.
I’m grateful for the experience. I’m mindful of the reminder to move…not because I have to, but because I CAN. I’m keenly aware of the gift of sunshine, movement, free time to just be alone and in silence. This is what I am thinking of on this #ThoughtfulThursday.
As I type this I am hours away from a wonderful opportunity. A few weeks ago I won two tickets to an Asheville Food Tour. This will create a nice space for Nathan and I to try something new as a part of our “20FirstDates” (a story for another time). This will be date #8. The food will be decadent. The company I’m sure will be delightful and the history part of the tour very informative. I’m sure it’s going to be a great morning of brunch, fun and time to disengage from the chaos. So….why am I anxious about it?
It’s not because it’s a new experience, the flavors will be unique or the company unfamiliar. I’m anxious because there is food involved. Although I’ve never been officially diagnosed with an eating disorder I can tell you that I certainly have “disordered eating”. I have had an unhealthy relationship with food for as long as I can remember. I have had times in my life where I have binge eaten. I have hidden and hoarded food. I have snuck food. I have gone through a drive thru (when I wasn’t hungry) just so I could try a new food from a commercial, and then come home and eat the next meal with my family after hiding the evidence (trash). I currently am struggling with being a food “nazi”. I hover over every snack and meal made by my children. I am Brunhilda when it comes to the amount of milk that is consumed. Currently My Fitness Pal is helping me with awareness of my consumption and although it is a great application it provides me with information that colors my decisions and therefore the decisions of my family. Often this comes in the form of me sharing needless caloric trivia at inopportune times. Just this afternoon at Chick-Fil-A as my children were enjoying free small milkshakes (the April mystery offer), I told them that for the 500 calories they were consuming I could have had an eight piece grilled nugget, a large superfood side and a kid’s lemonade. They looked at me like I was speaking French. It was obvious that this information was totally irrelevant to them. They continued drinking and I watched them longing that I could consume those same 500 calories. So the information I have and the desire of my heart don’t always mesh. That’s for another blog.
Very seldom can I sit down to a meal and not feel anxious, or even a bit consumed by the experience. When we eat out I feel nervous and think crazy things such as “Will we eat here again? What should I get if we don’t? Will I like it? Will it be enough? Should I spend that much on one entrée?”. I used to really struggle with left overs. If something came home (and I mean actually made it to the fridge…yes often I would eat them in the car) then I guarded it with my life. I literally felt anger if someone ate them or even suggested that they wanted them. At times I have struggled with the compulsion to finish the food on the children’s plates and have “taste tested” far too much food while cooking. Almost every occasion is celebrated with food. Even grieving involves food. It’s all too much.
As I have been on this almost six-year journey I’ve wanted to stop thinking so much about food. However, it’s not been my experience. I am meal planning, shopping, cooking, eating or cleaning up after a meal. I am putting money on the children’s lunch accounts, fixing snacks for them or our new family obsession….watching shows on the Food Network. My life is full of food. My head spins and I struggle with anxiety when I have to go to the grocery store. This has taken a toll on me.
I have currently enlisted the help of a friend. She has made some suggestions in terms of meal planning and she actually met me at the grocery store and lovingly, patiently and supportively walked me down each aisle. I came in under budget for groceries for a week. I tasted food from a cooking demonstration (and didn’t worry about putting the calories in on MFP). I donated money to March of Dimes and even bought sushi for lunch. It was a much different shopping trip than I am used to having. I saved $30 and even received a coupon for a free item. I must admit that my first trip to Publix was wonderful and I am in debt to my friend Mandi. We are going to meet again next Tuesday and I think try Trader Joe’s.
So all I have to do is come up with basic meal plans and I have a theme for every day of the week. Monday is “Mexican”. Tuesday is “Tasty Tuesday” where I usually try something new from the Allrecipes site. Wednesday is “Hump Day Hamburgers” and each week I try a new burger recipe. There is always a plain burger option for Joseph. Thursday is “This isn’t Breakfast Time” where we have different breakfast options. Friday is “Fend for Yourself” where we eat leftovers or they can fix their own dinner. Saturday is “Pizza” night (either take out or frozen) and Sunday is “Sabbath Soup and Sandwich Day”. This has been super helpful for our family. This is still a work in progress, but things are really starting to turn around and I’m not nearly as anxious about food preparation.
So…back to tomorrow. I thought about running extra miles today so I wouldn’t have to worry about the caloric intake of tomorrow’s brunch tour, but time didn’t allow it. I thought about having a protein shake before we go so I wouldn’t eat as much. I thought about just tasting one bite of everything. And then…….I took a deep breath, said a prayer and realized this is one morning in a long line of mornings. This is one experience and I can shape it negatively or positively. I can be present in the moment and look for awe and wonder or I can give into misery and anxiety. It’s my choice. I’ve asked a dear friend to pray for me. I’m going to talk this through with Nathan tonight and I’ve made myself accountable to you ALL that read this. Tomorrow is a gift. Remember I won the tickets. So…why would I squander this day away with unnecessary spinning around in my skewed thinking and disordered eating patterns?
Strongholds can be broken. Habits can be replaced. “An old dog can learn new tricks”. I am finding order from “disordered” as I ask for help, pray specifically about this issue, memorize Scripture to change my thinking patterns, re-read helpful books such as “Made to Crave”, and make plans. I am employing accountability, journaling and blogging more regularly. I am even posting videos on my FB page. I am weighing weekly. I have registered for a half marathon in October to give me a training focus. These are all things that will help me to continue to move forward.
There are still days, moments and times where my “stinking thinking” comes to the forefront. I fall down, but I don’t have to stay down. I make mistakes, but I’m not a mistake. I am surrounded by food, but I don’t have to let it rule me, control me or destroy me. I’m beautifully broken, but I’m humbly being healed and I appreciate you sharing this part of my journey.
It has been months since I’ve written anything new. I could start this post with the obligatory apologies, but I’m not going to do that. This is my journey and it’s been full of lots of obstacles in the last months/year. Besides that is what this post is all about…forward motion. I’m not focusing on the past. I’m picking up and continuing to move towards my goals and dreams. Forward motion for this chick!!! My new Friday focus is going to be #ForwardMotionFridays. I will focus on ways that I am moving forward in my life, my faith, my weight loss and fitness goals. I will provide a chance for people to share ways that they are working towards becoming more well-rounded, full, satisfied, forward moving person.
Today on my FB page I mentioned that I am training to run in a half marathon in Cherokee on October 1st. I was scheduled to run the Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon last October but it was canceled due to inclement weather. I was unable to run the rescheduled date. Talk about a let down. Sheesh….training for half a year for a race that I didn’t get to run was disappointing. The entire weekend was a bust. We rented a cabin that actually was unlivable due to blue mold. We only got a partial refund. We drove hours in the rain before realizing the race was canceled. We only received a partial refund on a train ride we had scheduled. The entire family was disappointed and even the dog barfed in the van. Ha!!! What a memory. This was one of many emotional disappointments I faced in 2015. I did not accomplish my weight loss goal (40 down by 40…or even 41). So my 41st birthday has come and gone and I’m actually up in weight. I am at 191 as I type this entry. This girl could give up, give in and collapse into fear, doubt and stress. That was my old way of coping. I even debated on deleting this blog, canceling my FB page and just throwing in the towel. After some thought and prayer I decided no….this was started as a way to chronicle my journey for me and to leave a legacy for my children. If even one other person read these meanderings….that’s a gift, but not expected. So…it’s still brought2ubythenumber40. I will be in my 40s for a few more years. The significant time period of 40 is still important, and I can accomplish the other goals related to this dream. My ultimate goal of health, wholeness and holiness will never change. I do believe that I can see 142.8 on the scales. I just need to reassess the way that I get to that point and extend grace to myself in the process.
So I am currently still drinking Shakeology regularly, counting calories using the MyFitnessPal program/application, and using exercise videos at home (Cize, 21 Day Fix, Kettleworx, and Beachbody on Demand). I am using a new bodyweight only exercise app on my iPad and phone called Runtastic Results and the 7 Minute workout application. I use a Runtastic walk/run training schedule for my half marathon training. I am contemplating the next round of the Whole Life Challenge which begins in May, a Daniel Fast and repeating a round of 21 Day Fix. I am prayerfully considering the right path and asking for wisdom to find a course to help me back on track and to finish this race well. I am looking for a new doc and hope to get a physical done. It’s been a few years since I’ve had one done. So many things swirling around in my brain, but I know I am capable of making the right decision.
So discouragement is a real part of life. It has been a big part of my adult life and I used to succumb to discouragement. I would delude myself into thinking I was handling my emotions by overeating, not getting enough sleep, talking to everyone about my problems, crying a LOT and even allowing myself to feel bitter and jealous towards those I thought were always succeeding. It was and is an unrealistic thing to think that everyone succeeds all the time and that life is easy for people. Everyone has stuff. Everyone hurts. Everyone faces disappointment daily. My life isn’t any easier or harder than others. However, it’s my life and it’s time to start moving forward again. The founder of Mary Kay cosmetics (Mary Kay Ash) once shared that….
Isn’t that great? So this falling and failing forward has a purpose. It’s not just an accidental happening or a shortcoming in my character. It is what is actually aiding my growth.
Forget the to-do lists that never got finished. Forget the numbers. Forget the goals that weren’t achieved. Forget the plans that didn’t manifest. Forget the haters. Forget the doubters. Forget the shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Today I’m focusing on forgiveness and gratitude and falling forward (forward motion) into my new, my good, my next leg of this journey. Success looks differently than it used to and it certainly looks different on me than it does others, but it’s a personal thing.
Today…I’m moving forward into health, wholeness, success, healing, holiness, joy and peace. You can come along if you wish…..
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
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”!!!
Today was an amazing day. The Mount Mitchell Challenge and Black Mountain Marathon took place today in my home town. Although I was unable to see the start of the race I did get to see a few finishers come in to the finish line at our local lake. It amazes me what the human body is capable of and that these athletes could accomplish such an amazing feat. These well-seasoned, trim, strong people of ALL ages and from many places ran in the elements on trails for either 26.2 miles or 40 miles. The ultra runners actually summited Mt. Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi river). This is mind numbing to me and I hope next year to be able to spend the day supporting the finishers, maybe even volunteering somehow for the race. Here is a funny article written by a challenge finisher in 2013.
However, there was another rising to the challenge experience today that I want to share. My friend Drew and I (lovingly chauffeured by her husband Darrel) participated in the Band-Aid 8K. This was a really fun race for a great cause. My friend from college, William Talley and his wife Emily are the band directors at Asheville High School. So I reconnected with a friend today and supported a great cause. This was a fun course but had lots of challenging hills. The temps were cold, but the views spectacular. I think the best part of this well-organized event was that the band actually positioned themselves into smaller ensembles all along the route and played for the participants as they ran. From classical to pop music we heard it all. There were even band parents along the way at every turn with cowbells or drums cheering us on to the finish. It was well-marked, well attended, well-organized and just a ton of fun. I should have trained more consistently for this race. I seriously hadn’t run in 27 days. I walked on February 8th but hadn’t run since the 1st. So…my hips are a bit sore due to being asked to run 4.97 miles after that sabbatical. However, my heart is full. After the race I was treated to a lovely meal by my precious friends Drew and Darrel. We went to a yummy Korean restaurant in Asheville and I had my very first stone bowl. Filled with varieties of seafood, veggies and brown rice and topped with an egg, it was the coolest meal ever. It was Whole Life Challenge compliant and I enjoyed it tremendously. So my first 8k, my first time at a new restaurant and eating a new cultural food made for a full day.
So how was this rising to the challenge? Well…if you remember a few short years ago I couldn’t run AT ALL. Now I’ve participated in several 5Ks, an 8K, a 10K and a half marathon. I wasn’t last, even though my time was slower than I would have preferred. I ROSE to the challenge. I didn’t quit. I didn’t avoid running a race. I tried a new food. I took a day for myself, felt unhurried and allowed expectation to be erased while I did something for me without feeling guilt, shame or regret. I talked about the trim, svelte, conditioned athletes that ran the marathon/challenge. Well today there was a variety of shapes, sizes and ages in the 5K and 8K races. Yet…looks can be deceiving.
I want to talk about a runner I met today. She finished last. I must admit that when I saw her running and lagging behind I wondered if she would finish the race. Remember I said I wasn’t last…well it was only by two runners. These women amazed me. They didn’t drop out of the race. They were running at a pre-determined, planned pace and enjoying their experience. After the race (Darrel, Drew and I were some of the only ones that stayed to cheer them on at the finish line) I congratulated them and met them. One woman who I’m sure by medical standards would have been considered obese (as am I actually..still even after a loss of 107 pounds) has run in more races than I have. She’s completed a full marathon in Nashville and is delighted to be a runner. I was every bit as inspired by her as by seeing the finishers for the challenge. Rising to a challenge, any challenge is a gift, an accomplishment, a miracle. The human body, and spirit is capable of amazing things. I was encouraged, inspired and challenged today. I want to keep rising to the challenge.
What is my challenge? Is it a race, a specific mileage, a PR on a time? Is it to lose the rest of the weight I desire? Perhaps it’s to finish other things on my dream list? Maybe though, just maybe it’s to be the best me I can be with all of the information, knowledge and faith I’ve been given. I think it’s to love and be loved. I think my challenge is to live a full, God-honoring life by loving people as Christ does, trying to accomplish more than I ever thought I could through God’s strength and sharing His love with others in the process. Rising to my challenge means fixing dinner when I’m tired, washing laundry when I’m exhausted, listening to my child perseverate about a topic, doing endless hours of homework (all without being appreciated). It means listening more than I speak, loving more than being angry, praying more than gossiping, and trying and failing more than being afraid. My challenge is multi-faceted. It’s bigger than I am, but it’s not impossible. There will be many people on the same path that I am (trying to be a good spouse, a good parent, life-long learner etc.) but it’s my race. It’s not going to look like anyone else’s. It will be at my pace, my speed and ebb and flow.
I’m a blessed woman. I’m so grateful for lessons learned, experiences shared and challenges accomplished. I’m looking forward to 40 and beyond. Maybe if I keep racing I’ll eventually be in an age group where I’ll place ;-). Thanks for reading. Share with me something that you’ve accomplished. How have you risen to YOUR challenge?