Sunday, May 30, 2010

Much More Than a Feeling

216.6 lbs A Work in Progress!

Sunday mornings can be stressful. They always were growing up, and that was with both parents at home. I get me and my son ready for church alone, since my husband has to be there early to rehearse with the band. As I was thinking of all that I had to do today, including a visit with in-laws, Chocolate Cheerios seemed like the logical choice for breakfast. Boy, I really am conquering this emotional eating issue!

At church we sang a song called "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." No, it's not the traditional hymn most of us know. It is a beautiful song by Christy Nockels. I've tried over and over to post it on this webpage to no avail, so I'm just going to give you the YouTube link here:

So, while I sing this song in church, I feel that God is consuming me, truly consuming me, filling that empty hole that I try to patch with food, and I doubt I'll ever eat again. Why can't that feeling last? I know, I know. Sin. Argh! To feel that close to God when I'm not in front of a full band with a congregation full of people... this would cure me. Feelings are overrated. Truth is, God is with me even when I don't feel so spiritual. I can hear Him even in the quietest of places. The key is in me seeking Him.

When I was 15 years old, all I knew was that I wanted to serve God. I naturally thought this meant that I had to go into missions. I had been taught about missions my whole life. After doing short-term mission trips to Africa, Venezuela, and Mexico, in 2001, I left the US for a two-year mission term in the Philippines. I didn't do this because of my "calling" as a 15-year-old but because I felt a calling as an adult. A few months before I arrived, some missionaries in the Philippines had been taken hostage by Abu Sayaf, a semi-organized terrorist group. Additionally, my dad had been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, which I knew nothing about, but he was placed on oxygen immediately. My whole family took MONTHS to catch up mentally with Dad's condition. Nobody thought twice about me going to the Philippines... until after I left. A few months after my arrival to the Philippines, 9/11 happened and I was confined to my home for 3 days while folks in my mission assessed the danger, since the Philippines has a history of terrorism. I was so lonely. I don't EVER want to be that alone again. I felt like the world had forgotten about me. I felt like God had forgotten about me, and I was angry. I feel the cortisol rising in me just thinking about all of this. There's much more that I don't even have the energy to write about. Not to mention that my mission team was pure nuts. Since my background was in counseling, they had thought it would be great to have a counselor come and try to fix them. I think they confused me for God, because that's the only One who could help these folks! I had to fight very hard to stay a size 12 during this time in my life. Mango, pineapple, and bananas were the order for the day.

God had never left me. He knew that He wasn't going to let my dad die until after I returned home. He knew that, had I not been on the other side of the world when Doug's dad passed away, I might not have felt such a need to be with him and eventually fall in love with him. He knew. It was my need for control that kept me from feeling the peace that He wanted to provide me. I wanted to know what He knew instead of trusting Him. I knew about trusting God, but I trusted my feelings more... not my knowledge. Romans 12:2 says that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds, not emotions. Whether I am surrounded by a song about my God being a mighty fortress or whether it's painfully quiet, God is much more than a feeling.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Power of a Compliment!

This morning the scales were unkind, but I don't have the heart to change my "Today's Weight" scale. I am going to give it a day or two and see what happens. Since my husband's birthday was last weekend, we received many coupons for free food at restaurants, since we're in various e-clubs. Eating out is something I cannot give up. I just have to do it smart. Did I do great at Ruby Tuesday's last night? I wouldn't say great. Doug and I split the bacon cheeseburger, fries, and I had a salad with light dressing and just a bite of the bad-for-you pasta. The salt alone could be the reason for the weight gain, or it could be just the timing of the month. I hope I am being honest with myself and with you. Truth is, I really wanted to bathe myself in fries, shove some into my bra for later, open my purse and pour them in.

After the bad news from the scales, I went to Zumba at the Y. In case you're not familiar with Zumba, it is Latin Hip Hop exercise. I love it. Who says fat people can't dance? Oh, I've paid my dues... pulled my leg muscle so bad that it turned all shades of black and I couldn't walk for days without a major limp. That leg STILL talks to me on rainy days, and the injury occured 9 weeks ago. But I shake it with the rest of them. Actually, Zumba is what inspired me. In my attempt to lie to myself, I decided that I fit in just fine with everybody in the class... when the class was in the big gymnasium. But, when we moved the class into the aerobics room with all of the mirrors, I could see myself. People, mirrors don't lie. It hurt. I was the largest person in the room. So, I found myself a spot in the one place in the room where I can't see the mirrors, and they can't see me. This way, I can continue my Zumba!

On Wednesday, at my exercise class with skinny Amy, a Brazilian woman recognized me from the Zumba class the day before. She told me that she always stays in the back of the class and can see everybody. At this point in the conversaion, my heart wasn't beating quite normal. I've known a lot of Latin folk. They tend to speak their mind, and she was small. And, Latin folk can boogie! She then says, "You're good at Zumba!" I now walk a little taller. So, this morning, I danced for her! I gave my all, shaked it all... and I mean ALL... and sometimes things shook that I didn't meant to shake, and sometimes things just couldn't stop shaking after I got them started, if ya' know what I mean. But, I was proud. Thanks, my new Brazilian friend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Initially this morning I weighed 219.4. I felt like a cow! But, I knew I didn't usually weigh at this time and that I hadn't "done my business" yet. Just keepin' it real and honest. Since I ate about a pound of lettuce at last night's dinner, I knew that this was an important factor. So, I'm proud to say that I dropped to 217.4 lbs once I... um... released some tension. Okay, this information may be a bit more real and honest than what you really wanted, but it leads very well into what I want to write about today... honesty.

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook page that I was doing this blog. I didn't post my blogsite, but I just asked for feedback on the idea. Someone told me how brave I was. No, I'm not brave. Complacent, maybe, but not brave. Desperate, perhaps, while basically scared to death. What if I fail? What if someone judges me? First, if you judge me for the number on my scale, you've got just as big of problems as an obese person. Your problems just look different. They may manifest themselves in a problem child or unhappy marriage. So... BACK OFF, she said in a sweet Christian tone! The truth is, weight is only a number. You can look at me and know that I need to lose weight. If you know the number on the scale, this does not change the way I look. I, like most everybody, have always been shy to reveal my weight. Believe it or not, it's a form of dishonesty, in my opinion. It parallels our country's economic crisis. So many people lived outside of their means, spending more than they made, all so that they could APPEAR to be something they're not. Suze Orman taught me this. I love her. It's called "living a lie." Those folks lie to themselves and others. I'm guilty of the same thing when it comes to my weight. That's why I sometimes go for weeks, maybe even months, without weighing. It's the same as people who don't keep track of their expenses or balance their check book. All a lie. So, now you know what I weigh. Do I look fatter to you? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Do you look at your weight and think "But I don't look as fat as her" when you're hovering over the 200 mark? Let's get honest.

Lieing to myself is not ALL my fault. My mind plays tricks on me, and I know that I'm not alone in this. You see, I haven't always been big and obese. Now, chubby has been an appropriate descriptor of me since birth. (Today I prefer to refer to myself as puffy, but that's only true if we redefine puffy as big and obese.) When I was in college, I had a summer where I took classes, ate right, and exercised. Traded in chubby for thin and tone. The attention was addicting. Boys... oh the boys. Good times! (Just enjoyed the attention... nothing else!) Now, where was I? In my mind, I was still chubby. I was a size 6. When my good friend Lisa, the girl that every boy dreamed of... aerobics instructor, cheerleader, homecoming queen type of girl, looked at me and asked if I thought she was fat, it started to dawn on me that we might be a little messed up. I didn't stay a size 6 for long, but I did manage to stay between an 8 and 10 for many years. Eventually my mind caught up that I wasn't chubby anymore. Why can't my mind just be honest with me?

The reverse phenomenon is true as well. When I started to get into the size 16/18 range, I didn't notice. It was the craziest thing. My washer just kept shrinking all of my clothes. And, THEN, they started making sizes SMALLER when I'd go shopping! And, every photographer would mess up pictures by getting the angle all wrong and making me look... puffy. Get the picture?

The Bible says that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). I need to be honest with God, myself, and you before I can get this weight off.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Relationship with Food... all around the world!

Today I'm 218.2 lbs. You know, I've actually been around 245 lbs. When you're this size and lose 25 lbs, nobody notices... especially with how slow I lose weight! But, I'm very glad not to be 245 anymore. I can tell the difference.

I worked out really hard today at the Y. On Wednesdays, I have this teeny tiny aerobics instructor named Amy who has to bring her knees all the way to her chin before she can squeeze ANYTHING on her stomach. I like her, though. One thing I like most about her is that she LIVES it... exercise, sports, activity are her life. She's competed in the collegiate Ironman. I think that I want to be like her in one way; exercise and fitness are her drugs!

My mom has always been thin as well. Not fit, like Amy, but thin. Heck, I'd trade thin and unfit for fat any day! Mom's sorta typical... eats what she wants in moderation and then diets for a few days if she gains anything. I'm not going to tell you her size, because I don't know how she'd feel about it, but just trust me when I say that she looks good and always has.

Mom and I both told each other on Monday that we had to cut back this week on the calories. Yesterday, when she was babysitting for me, she told me about all the vegetables she was going to eat for lunch. Then, today she calls to see if I would like for her to bring over two cranberry/walnut cookies that she would bake in my oven while we visit. I declined!!! Yeah for me!!! Later, on the phone, she was eating the cookies and then told me about the fried chicken she got at a nearby restaurant for lunch. Now, to my Mom's credit, she is going to eat just veggies for dinner. But, when you're ME, you can't do the cookies and fried chicken and call it "cutting back." Oh, this road is lonely!

Back to Amy: Amy talked today about how tv will sabbotage a diet. She's right. She went on to talk about how events and celebrations need to be about activity and not food. Right, again. For New Year's, she and her friends celebrate by doing a run. While I know she's right, I told her I'd have to give up my family, probably even my husband, if I took food away from our celebrations. Oh, and tv... I've had a love/hate relationship with tv my whole life. I have some of my best memories involving food and television... quality family time! I remember having warm fuzzies on a cold winter evening when Dad cooked a pot of spicy chili, aroma lingering in the air, while I watched The Carol Burnett Show once my homework was complete. Of course, those types of memories are abundant.

This type of relationship with food is everywhere, even on the other side of the world. I lived in the Philippines for two years as a missionary. Of course, traditionally, Filipinos are very thin because of the poverty. In the past 10 years, the economy there has gotten better, so not everyone is as skinny as they once were. A woman with meat on her bones is considered "sexy." Think about how freaked out I was when, as a solid size 12/14, I was told how sexy I was all the time. Of course, I just heard "fat." In my mind, I would have traded bodies with any of them.

Well, I better go now. I'm wondering if anybody wants me to post what I'm eating. Hmmm.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why "Eat The Faith"?

I titled my blog "Eat The Faith" because it is a play on the phrase that I've heard so many times to "Keep The Faith." You see, I'm a Christian, and I do believe in the role of faith in Christ for my life. Christ is my Savior. But, I'm a miserable failure at letting my faith deliver me from my horrible tendency to turn to food for comfort. So, I guess you could say I'm a hypocrite. While I believe that God knows all my problems and can comfort me through the Holy Spirit, I turn to an immediate comfort found in a sugar rush or carb-overload. Here's how it goes: My son is sick, fussing, can't be consoled; I snack all day on all the 100-calorie packs of cookies or crackers I can find in my pantry. If I'm "lucky," I will have chocolate chips in the house or some ice cream left from a recent birthday party. It actually goes deeper than this. It's a viscious cycle. I'm fat. Every time somebody is rude to me or I get bad treatment at the local market, I think it is because I'm fat. And, because I don't feel good about being fat, I need comforting, so I may choose to take my son to McDonald's for lunch rather than eating at home. And the cycle continues.

No matter how many episodes Oprah does on emotional eating, I just don't feel like anybody gets it. I was a chubby kid. My mother put me on Weight Watchers when I was 10, back in the day when you had to have so many servings of fish and liver. When my 5th grade class won a pizza party, my teacher made sure to bring me a can of diet cola while the other kids had regular. I don't remember any kid making fun of me due to my weight before the 5th grade. I had low self-esteem regardless of my weight. When I lost weight on Weight Watchers, I don't remember my friends telling me how good I looked. I don't even remember feeling more confidant. I mean, I was in the 5th grade. Back then, 10-year-olds weren't even allowed to have opinions!

I'm turning 40 this year, and I want another baby. I have a 17-month-old son who is the joy of my life. Before I get pregnant again, I want to lose weight. So, I have four months. Yesterday, Monday, I was 220 lbs. Today I'm 218.6 lbs, because I did pretty good yesterday and we partied over the weekend with chips, dip and cake as my husband turned 45! My first goal is to get down to 200. But it is a daily struggle, and I will share my struggle on this blog! I'm exercising at my local YMCA, which is a mix of frustration and rewards, but that's another day of blogging. I am also going to keep track of my points. Points are the Weight Watchers system of tracking what you eat. But, most importantly, I am going to blog about how this goes. We'll see where I'm at in 4 months!

Oh... I'll post pics at some point. Be patient. Today's just day #1 for my blog!