Bringing Order from “Disordered”

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.

 

~Janelle

Made to Crave

Lysa TerKeurst, the president of Proverbs 31 ministries, wrote a book entitled Made to Crave in 2010.  I’ve read it three separate times, but decided I needed to read it again and prayerfully, slowly answer the questions at the end of each chapter.  It is a jewel of a book, filled with humor, personal anecdotes, tips, challenging thoughts and inspirational Scripture.  It’s an easy read in terms of difficulty, but can be a bit convicting at times.  You see I never thought I wanted anything more than God, and certainly not food.  I’m a good American girl that doesn’t believe in idolatry.  I put my God and family first.  It wasn’t until I really begin to take a look at myself and dive into thoughts, patterns and behaviors while looking back at my past, and praying about my present that I saw the truth. Until I was ready to share openly in Celebrate Recovery about my food addiction and emotional and compulsive eating my weight loss efforts had been in vain. You see Weight Watchers only helped temporarily.  Walking daily and portion control helped with a bit, but then when I stopped that program the weight packed on again with some extra pounds in the mix.  I had to find the root of the issue.  Pride, unforgiveness, and idolatry were all at the heart of the matter.  I was allowing food to comfort me in a way that it was never intended to and I was selfishly thinking that I could control my body and make wise decisions apart from boundaries, healthy rules and God’s guidance.

Apart from recommending the book I wanted to share a bit of info that I think will be helpful to anyone on a weight loss journey.  I’m also sharing it so I can refer back to this post myself.  I’ve written before about my struggle with the scale and how the numbers can affect me.  Those posts are entitled “One Size Fits All” and Crunching Numbers. Chapters 7 and 8 have resonated with me in a profound way and there is a quote from chapter 7 that I want to share with you.  “I’m a Jesus girl who can step on the scale and see the numbers as an indication of how much my body weighs and not as an indication of my worth.  WOWZERS!  Doesn’t that sound awesomely liberating?  Some days I’m there.  Some days I’m NOT, but I’m praying to be there more consistently.  See people look at me and see a woman who has lost 100 pounds.  I’m grateful for every ounce.  However, my lens is still blurry.  Sometimes I see through the viewpoint of a morbidly obese woman, struggling with perception and a victim mentality.  Sometimes I see the past rising up and I view myself in an unhealthy way.  I still see the OLD me, and it can be debilitating.  I still see the numbers that I want to see.  I have a dream, a goal and sometimes I allow it instead of motivating me, to consume me.  I’m praying for balance and the eyes of Christ to see myself as HE does.  As this internal dialogue ensues I need to apply 2 Cor. 10:5 that states “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  Lysa says “We can literally say to a thought that presents itself to us, ‘Are you true?  Are you beneficial? Are you necessary?’ and if the answer is no, then we don’t open the door of our heart.  We make the choice to walk away from the negative thought that could harvest if we let it in.”

So what can you and I do when the numbers on the scale aren’t budging?  Maybe worse, they are moving in the wrong direction.  What about when the tag in the back of our jeans says a number that is different from the one you’ve imagined? Perhaps someone you love said something hurtful to you.  How do you manage all that in the midst of trying your hardest and making consistent, healthy choices?  Chapter 8 deals with this very thing “Making Peace with the Realities of My Body” has a clue that might be helpful.  Make the shift from accomplishment to motive .  Are the numbers important or is delighting the Lord the ultimate goal?  I can define my days, my weeks by obedience and not the numbers.  What a better, more accurate gauge. Here is a list of six questions that Lysa gives to stop and ask yourself when you are in a place of plateau or struggle.

  1. Did I overeat this week on any day?
  2. Did I move more and exercise regularly?
  3. Do I feel lighter than I did at this time last week?
  4. Did I eat in secret or out of anger or frustration?
  5. Did I feel that, at any time, I ran to food instead of to God?
  6. BEFORE I hopped on the scale, did I think I had a successful, God-pleasing week?

If I can remember to use this checklist I know I will be a much more fulfilled, peaceful God’s girl.  Yes I’m going to continue to work towards goal weight and I have some BIG dreams, but the most important motive is obedience.  I want to live a life, resting in reality of who I am in Christ, not the parts of me that I want to change.  May I view my body as a good gift from God and use it to bring him honor.  As I share my heart and vulnerable struggles with you, may He receive the glory and may our good come to pass.  I’m finding my beautiful a little more everyday and I’m grateful….so grateful.

“Restore Me to Sanity”

Celebrate Recovery step 2 says “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  That’s what I need currently…sanity. Throughout my life I’ve had seasons of doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results. Isn’t that insanity?  I’ve tried to be successful or accomplish something using an old pattern or behavior that no longer works for a current situation.  This coping skill has been tried not only in my personal life, but in this journey to health and wholeness.  Things must change and adapt and so must I.  God wants me to live a balanced, sane life and to make decisions wisely and with patience and clarity.

Obviously I didn’t get to 285.6 overnight.  Lately, I have been really wondering…how did I get there?  Even more recently how did I gain almost twenty pounds in 17 months?  How am I going to find my way back to “healthy”?  I want to dig deeper, to change the things that haven’t worked and to embrace reality.  I want to view ALL areas of my life with the clear lens of godly counsel, the Word of God, and truth, not fear.

I have been a part of a program, Celebrate Recovery, for 9 years and five months.  This program is based on the 12-steps of AA.  The difference is that the steps are paired with eight recovery principles and Scriptures that partner with each. My life in the past was filled with fear, anxiety, anger, co-dependent thinking and behavior and lots of pride.  This was almost a daily response for me. Those traits rear their ugly head from time to time and I’m always on guard for negative thinking and strongholds in my life.  I’m grateful for the tool of accountability and the program of Celebrate Recovery.  Because of my willingness to share in a safe place about my fear, depression, anger and food addiction I through the grace of God have lost over 100 pounds.  Learning to forgive and be forgiven has been amazing.  I now approach relationships with healthy boundaries and I’m loving people without expecting anything in return.
It doesn’t have to be Celebrate Recovery.  It could be therapy, Weight Watchers, a support group, OA, but I would encourage you to find a safe place to share.  I have a sponsor.  I have a running buddy and food accountability partner.  It makes a world of difference.
I’ve made big strides when it comes to fitness, exercise, health and accountability.  Food choices, organization, shopping, cooking, attitudes that surround food, and consistent losing of pounds are still a struggle at times.  I tend to be more up and down than I would like.  What I want is to come to full realization of negative patterns, behaviors and habits that are holding me back and keeping me from succeeding.  My prayer is for pure motives and a clean heart.  I don’t want to lose a pound if it is replaced with pride.So I journey on, daily praying for revelation, willpower, strength to get to the next phase of my journey.  I keep pressing on to the prize.  Phil 3:14 in the New Living Translation says “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”  As I’ve journeyed it has been great to meet people in person and on FB.  The connection with others who are on a journey towards health/wholeness/freedom/weight loss has been inspirational and uplifting.

 

I want to be healthy, whole, thinner, sane and joyful.  I desire to live a balanced, God-honoring life full of gratitude and peace.  Leaving a legacy of service, joy and love is important to me.  I have big dreams, but I have an even bigger GOD!!!  Fat 2 Fit by FAITH.  Ok…there’s also a lot of hard work involved too, BUT I can only do it by faith.  I’m so grateful to be running towards God, health, freedom, clarity, sanity and joy instead of towards chaos, people’s opinions, fear, food and bondage.  Here’s a song for the journey.  Thanks for reading.

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.

Moving Forward

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in his honor I wanted to post a famous and inspirational quote of his “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

I’ve been working hard to create forward momentum in my life and in my weight loss/fitness journey.  I’m back on the clean eating bandwagon and even started the Whole Life Challenge on Saturday.  I will write more about this process as it unfolds.  I’ve been running regularly and the scales are moving in the right direction again. I even spent HOURS (probably 10) shopping and preparing meals for the freezer with my friend Drew this past weekend.

It’s slow going.  Sunday I ran with a friend in the cold, up hills and it pushed me to the edge.  I felt weak and frustrated.  Yet…I finished.  Yesteday I “pushed play” on a video I hadn’t used in months.  I’m significantly weaker than when in WA and so I struggled during parts of this video workout.  I was able to complete it and for that I’m grateful.  Battling unmet expectation, self-disgust and disappointment slow me down and take up too much mental energy.  Yes, I’m out of shape, but I’m stronger than I was in 2010.  Yes…I gained some of my weight back but I’m losing it again.  Being aware of my old patterns and behaviors and asking for accountability and receiving help is key for me.  Every step counts.  I’m still trying to find my groove and balance work, play and creativity.  Being more mindful, intentional and purposeful in every decision and action is difficult but very rewarding.

Nathan and I are in therapy.  Our entire family is as a part of an intensive in-home intervention.  Monday evenings are our couples session.  Our session was hard, but we MOVED FORWARD.  Listening and sharing honestly are gifts and I’m blessed to have a partner that is working so diligently to give and receive love. Learning to be clear in what I need and present it in a loving way and well as   being able to hear the word “no” and to say it without unfair expectation is powerful.

Whatever it takes…walking, crawling…I’m not giving up on my faith, my marriage, my family or my health and fitness goals.  I’m MOVING FORWARD.

I hope you are creating momentum in your life. Thanks for reading. Here’s one of my running songs. Thought you might like it!!!