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I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, so I thought I’d give an update.  My last post was about some small steps I had taken to improve my eating habits.  I did great for two weeks, and although I haven’t completely reverted back to my old ways, I have not been as focused and I have indulged several times in the past 10 days.  I’m sure it shows on the scale, but I am not going to check just yet because this is about more than a number.

I’ve been hearing so much lately about different things my friends are doing with their eating, including Weight Watchers, Paleo, and simply counting calories.  I’ve been doing the calorie counting thing, but I missed a few days here and there.  Part of me thinks I need to stick with that because it does help me realize how much I am putting into my body, and therefore somewhat motivates me to do better.  On the other hand, today I was thinking I don’t need to be obsessed with counting every single calorie, but instead just eat when I’m hungry, control my portions, and work on making healthier choices.  That’s easier said than done, but I’m not sure if I can commit to something like Paleo or Weight Watchers.

So right now, I’m just not sure what to do.  For now, I will continue to take it one day at a time, one baby step at a time, and I will seek ways to improve my lifestyle instead of making only temporary changes.  I am a work in progress.  I will make mistakes, but I will not give up.

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Small Steps

It has been 9 days since I have started over in trying to be healthier and lose weight, this time relying more on God than on my own willpower. I am not to the point of totally transforming my diet, and because I’ve been sick for the past week, I have not gotten into an exercise routine, but I thought I’d share some small steps I’ve taken so far.

  • I have tracked my food so I know how many calories I am putting into my body.
  • I have measured my food instead of guessing.
  • I have been drinking more water.
  • When having a big family meal (late Christmas with the step-kids), I planned exactly how much of each food I was going to eat, logged it in my food journal ahead of time, and stuck to it!
  • When planning this big meal, I chose lighter options for dessert than what we would normally have… fruit salad and sugar free chocolate pudding as opposed to pies and ice cream.
  • When having food that was not so healthy, like on New Year’s Eve, I ate half of what I would normally eat.  (Example 2 slices of pizza instead of 4 and 3 chocolate chip cookies instead of 6)
  • I have prayed for God to guide me and give me strength to resist temptation.
  • I have avoided eating for emotional reasons, such as when stressed.  If I craved something because I thought I deserved it or needed it to make me feel better, I did not allow myself to have it.

So these are a few things I have done differently.  I’ve splurged a little, but not as much as I usally do…not to the point of feeling sick or guilty.  The result so far in the past 9 days is 4.3 pounds lost, but even greater than that is hope that with God, this is possible.

Weight Loss Background

I have been overweight as long as I can remember.  I recall seeing pictures of me as a child, one of me holding a package of M&M’s and having chocolate on my face, and the other of me with a look of excitment as I’m eating Baskin Robbins Ice Cream.  They are cute, and I laugh at them, but they also show that my love for food, especially sweets, began early in life.

             

The last time I recall being under 200 pounds was in Junior High.  I remember getting on the scale during P.E. one day and being shocked to learn I was 195 pounds.  Throughout Junior High and even into High School, there were a group of guys who would always laugh at me and make “MOO” sounds, implying that I was a fat cow.  I went home in tears all the time.  I’ve come across my class picture from my 8th Grade graduation in 1992, and I remember clearly that day once again being laughed at and called a cow.  I was not a happy girl that day!

  

Fast forward about 17 1/2 years to the end of 2009.  I stepped on the scale and saw that I was 291.5 pounds.  I thought to myself, “No way am I getting to 300!”.  Of course I waited until after the holidays to get serious.  On January 1, 2010, I began exercising and tracking my calories, trying to eat less and make healthier choices.  I lost about 30 pounds in the first few months, and then continued to go up and down into 2011. I was down to 254…37 pounds from my beginning weight of 291…during the first few months of 2011.

I soon lost that motivation and began to gain my weight back.  I have fluctuated between the 260’s and 270’s for almost two years now. I have constantly struggled with shame, embarrassment, and sadness over my weight and my appearance.  I remember going with my husband to a Dallas Stars game in October 2011.  I was excited and looking forward to the night out.  We arrived and found our seats, but could barely squeeze into them.  It was so uncomfortable.  To make it worse, there were a group of young guys next to us who seemed just as uncomfortable.  They soon got up and moved to another section.  I was so embarrassed.  I couldn’t enjoy the game.  I cried the entire time.  I didn’t sob… it wasn’t obvious to those around me that I was crying, but the tears kept flowing down my face. I just kept my head down or turned away so no one, including my husband, would notice.

That should have been enough to light a fire in me and make me want to change, but it wasn’t.  I mean  I “tried” to lose the weight, but with little effort and little success.  My love for food overpowered any desire I had.

On December 18, 2012, I came across the website for Overeaters Anonymous.  I explored it a little and then joined in on an online meeting. The theme for the night was “The only requirement is the desire to stop eating compulsively”.  I had the desire, which is what brought me there, but the desire was not very strong.  Not strong enough to keep me from over-indulging at work two days later when everyone brought in tons of goodies to celebrate Christmas.  That day I was the definition of a compulsive overeater.  I declined some of the goodies at first, but later, when no one was looking, I ate everything that was left…donuts, popcorn, brownies, candy.  I was sick to my stomach later that night and felt like such a loser.  Over Christmas, I continued to indulge.  It’s hard to say no to my aunt and my grandma when they offer so much good food.  I didn’t want to say no…so I ate.

December 27th, 2012, I stepped on the scale and the result was 277.3 pounds.   I spent time in prayer and decided this was the day to surrender this area of my life to God.  I began tracking my calories again and started the “Made to Crave” Bible study again.  I had done it before, but didn’t really let the information sink in.  I also “attended” another OA meeting online and began reading the book about the 12 Steps.  Step 1 says, “We admitted that we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.”  I can relate that, but I can now say I am 5 days abstinent from compulsive overeating.

I am grateful to God because of the new hope and desire He has given me.  I realize that I cannot do this alone.   I need Him.  My own desire, my own strength is not enough.

More of Jesus

I attended church last night and as I was standing in the presence of Jesus singing along with the worship music, my eyes were filled with tears.  I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I spent time in the Word or sang a song of praise to Him, except for when I’ve been at church.  I also realized how much I need Him…all the time.  Yes, that should be obvious.  We all need Him all the time, but sometimes I treat Him more like an acquaintance than the Lover of my soul.  Occasionally He will come to my mind, I’ll say hello, and then I’ll go about my day.

Because He hasn’t been my focus, I have neglected some areas of my life where He has called me to be obedient. Yes, I try to live in a way that pleases Him, I treat others with love, I generally make good decisions, but recently, I have felt like I have been merely existing.  I go to work, I eat, I watch TV, I sleep, and then I do it all again the next day.  I have been too complacent, yet Jesus said life is meant to be lived to the full.  (John 10:10)  I can’t live life to the full if I’m lazy and disobedient.

As I consider where to go from here, I will end with a prayer, the words to a song from the service last night…

Holy Fire burn away
my desire for anything
that is not of You but is of me
I want more of You and less of me

I never really learned how to manage money or save, but I was doing okay after college. I didn’t have any in savings, but I didn’t have much debt either, with the exception of my student loan and car payment.

This all changed in 2004-2005 during a time in my my life when I was feeling very lonely and I got into a couple of unhealthy relationships, one after the other.  At the time, I didn’t mind paying for movies, dinner, etc. because it meant that I wasn’t alone.  Both of these guys were not in a position to support themselves financially, and I thought I was “helping” them, so whatever they needed, I put on my credit card.  Clothing, food, household supplies, deposit on an apartment, phone, computer, and an overdue ticket are among the things I paid for.  Along with those things, the second one introduced me to gambling, and we made multiple trips to the casino, which I paid for.  We (foolishly) got engaged, and I paid for my own engagement ring on my credit.  Even after ending the engagement, I bailed him out of jail and put my name on the bail bond for him when he got into trouble with the law.

I finally came to my senses in regards to relationships, and I turned back to God.  By this time, however, I was way over my head in debt and didn’t know what to do. I signed up for consumer credit counseling and consolidated my debt, but continued to accrue more.  I got into the payday loan trap…taking one out to pay the other, etc…wasting lots of money in the process.

When I got married, I still had all this debt, and Josh brought some into the marriage too, but the plan was to pay off all the payday loans first. As time went on, I still struggled with managing my money, and my husband thought I had it under control, so he didn’t help me with budgeting. He left all the finances to me. He never looked at the bank or the bills. He was clueless. Meanwhile, I got back into gambling, this time online. I won some but lost more than I won, and was in a mess, so once again I got into the payday loans. I had several out at one time and couldn’t handle it, so I sought the advice of the credit counseling company I was using, and they said the only way to stop payday loan companies from taking my check was to close my account. So I convinced my husband to switch to another credit union, without telling him why.

I realized how stupid I had been, and asked God for His forgiveness.  Months went on and as I spent time in God’s word, I was convicted, and knew I needed to tell Josh the secrets I had been hiding. I knew I couldn’t truly embrace God’s forgiveness and move on when I was hiding things from my husband. So in January of 2010, I came clean. It was hard, but I am so glad I did it. Josh was disappointed of course, but very forgiving. This is when he became involved in our finances. He checked the bank daily, got involved with knowing what bills we were paying, and we began making decisions together.

In September of 2010, we began Financial Peace University, and it has been a life saver! We have since gotten on a budget by using You Need A Budget software and we have built up a small emergency fund (Baby Step 1 in Financial Peace University).  We have paid over $16000 in debt.  We still have a ton of debt to face, but we are making progress.

I thank God and my husband for their incredible mercy through this!   I am no longer a slave to sin, because God has set me free.  Until the debt is paid, I am a slave to the lender, but in time, I will gain my freedom and never go back!

My intention was to start a blog and post regularly, but I haven’t followed through with it.  I’ve posted some of my older writings on here, and still plan on adding others.  As for now, I will just give an update on my life since it’s been a while.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, I have grown in many areas of my life and am still making progress.  To name a few…

Health & Fitness – I stepped on the scale one day and I was nearing 300 pounds.  I thought to myself “NO WAY AM I GETTING TO 300!”  January 2010 I started focusing more on this area and I lost 37 pounds pretty quickly.  Unfortunately I got off track and gained about 20 back.  I’ve been up and down and up and down since then.  I recently started losing again and am currently 22 pounds down from my highest ever.  I am working on making small changes little by little so that they will last long term.

Financial – Josh and I decided it was time to stop being controlled by debt and fear.  From September 2010 through September 2011, we have paid off $13,378.99!  We still have a long way to go, but we will get there.  We have increased our giving, and no longer stress between paychecks, and it feels amazing!  I can’t wait til we are completely debt free!

Professional – A little over a year ago, I learned of an opportunity at work to grow as a leader by going through a Professional Development Program.  My first thought was I am no leader.  I’m too quiet and shy.  Then I started thinking about my daily responsibilities and how people seem to come to me for guidance.  I had also been hearing from God that I needed to step out in faith.  I didn’t know in what way, but that message kept coming to me in different forms, so I decided to apply for this new program.  I had to fill out a 5 or 6 page application and answer questions such as why I thought I would be a good leader.  Only a few would be selected to participate.  I told myself it doesn’t matter if I get chosen, what’s important is that I took the risk and applied.  A few weeks later, I found out I was accepted into the program.  The first day of class, the director told us we should be very proud of ourselves, because there was an overwhelming number of applicants and only 10 or 12 were chosen.  Each session was on a different topic and throughout the program I learned a great deal about my strengths and weaknesses.  More than anything, it was a tremendous confidence builder.  Now in my job, I have been put in charge of a couple of ongoing projects, and occasionally given other tasks to help me continue to improve my skills.  Hopefully one day, it will lead to more growth in my career.

Spiritual – I came to a point where I was in desperate need of God’s healing.  I had been holding on to some pain from my past, as well as continuing in sin because I hadn’t dealt with those things.  I asked God for His forgiveness, but I couldn’t fully embrace it while hiding things from others. True healing came through coming clean to my husband and a few close Christian friends early in 2010.  A scripture comes to mind that someone shared with me:  James 5:16-“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  Because of the healing I experienced, I have been able to grow in all the other areas mentioned above.  Now I am just seeking what God has in store for me next and praying for Him to use my experiences to help others.

So there you have it… the last 2 years of my life.  The best 2 years of my life so far!

Dave Ramsey

My husband and I attended Financial Peace University from September-December 2010.  We now spend a lot of time listening to Dave Ramsey, reading his books, playing his new game, and trying to apply his principles.  Josh wrote on facebook the other day that it was so funny for Christmas I got him the new Act Your Wage game, and he got me The Total Money Makeover book.  Not that Dave Ramsey is God, but he has walked through a financial mess and has overcome it, and now God has placed the calling on his life to help others do the same.  I do not worship Dave Ramsey, but I learn from him as I worship my God and seek true financial peace.

We have gotten on a budget and we have built up a small emergency fund. We have lots of debt to face now, but with the emergency fund in place, I don’t have to worry when unexpected events occur and I won’t have to turn to more debt!   We just completed our baby emergency fund two days ago, so now we are starting the new year ready to tackle this debt!  The debt snowball is about to get rolling and I am so excited!

We have a long way to go, but now I live with hope instead of fear.

2010 In Review

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I know as the new year approaches, people are making resolutions and looking back at the good and bad of the year that’s passing.  I am not making any resolutions this year because I’ll just fail anyway.  I don’t say that to be negative toward myself.  What I mean is whenever I make a resolution, I try to accomplish whatever it is through my own will and strength, and then I just give up.  So I only pray I will continue to allow God to shape my life in the way that He desires and through His power.

2010 has been an amazing year for me.  There were some areas of my life in which I needed a healing touch from God, and I got it!  As a result, I have grown in my relationship with Him and with my husband.  I also took some steps to improve my health by losing 30 pounds, although I still have a long way to go.  I’ve learned to allow God to be in control of my finances, which has resulted in less stress and worry!  Finally, God has been dealing with my insecurities and teaching me to step out in faith and take risks.  Now I am looking forward to the next step in this journey!

Back To Jr. High…

I have been going to an exercise class at my church on Monday nights.  They claimed it was for “all fitness levels”, but seriously, it was not for beginners!  The first night I went, I was exhausted from just the warm up, and I could not keep up with the class.  After that, I told myself, “This is too hard; I am NOT going back!”  Well, I went back, and I’ve gone 4 or 5 times now.  I still cannot keep up, but I do my best, and I feel so much better after it’s all over.

This past Monday I was doing the class as usual, and of course, I stay on the back row so no one can watch me, other than the instructor.  Well, at the end she decided to change it up, and had us divide up in pairs and race against other pairs, running back and forth to different cones, then doing 10 jumping jacks at the end.  This is where the insecurity set in.  I started feeling really nervous and I really didn’t want to do it because I knew I would be last and everyone would be standing there watching me.  I am the heaviest, most out of shape member of the class.  We had 2 rounds.  I did the first round, and yes, I was the last one, but the next group went for their 2nd round so I finished and tagged my partner.  When she came back to me though, I saw that everyone was finishing, so I gave up and didn’t complete the race.  I couldn’t stand the thought of 9 or 10 other people finishing before me and just watching me til I finished.  I had a flashback of my junior high days, being the heaviest girl who couldn’t keep up with the others, the girl that the guys would laugh at and make MOO sounds, implying that I was a fat cow. So I quit and hid behind my partner til we moved on to the stretching portion of the class.  I was really embarrassed, but I held in the tears and finished the rest of the class.

So anyway, I’m not sure what the point of this blog is.  I am proud of myself for losing the weight I’ve lost so far, and for sticking with the class, but I am disappointed in myself for allowing the insecurity and fear to  get in the way.  I want to change my life, which is why I started this journey.  I want to be healthy, and I want to have more confidence in myself, so I don’t always feel like the “fat girl” and let it hinder me from accomplishing greater things.

All In God’s Time

After years and years of waiting… finally I am getting married!  Josh and I found each other a year ago and will be getting married September 8, 2007.   

 We have kind of done things out of order, but that’s okay… I’ve learned things don’t always go as planned!  We’ve been talking of getting married almost since the beginning, but the indecisive one that I am, wanted to make sure it was right.  We did our premarital counseling, then as we were finishing up, I finally decided I knew for sure I was ready to marry him.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, after some guidance from our Pastor, and others, we set the date for September 8… a lot sooner than I was planning as well!  

 Sunday night, Josh set up a romantic candlelight dinner for me in his apartment, where he officially proposed, giving me an envelope which noted inside the ring is to come soon.  Today I got the ring!  

So it’s kind of funny… but in the end what matters is that we have each other. 

It is amazing the support we are receiving from others.  Financially, a wedding is out of reach for us, but so many people have offered to pitch in and help make it a special occasion.  Thanks to all my friends and church family for the prayers, advice, encouragement, and help in making this possible because we certainly could not do it without you!

 And thanks to God, whose timing is perfect and whose plans for me are far greater than any I could dream up of my own!