Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This

I’m still in the beginning stages of this journey back to health. It hasn’t even been a full month. Yet, I’m seeing successes in so many areas. Still, I restart every single day and some days are just challenging.

Momma Said

That’s when I turn to what my mother so lovingly taught and always lives out. My mother, who will likely outlive us all, has nearly always eaten for the health of her body. She thrives on fresh food, especially vegetables with a few fruits here and there, very little red meat, and realistic portions. Most of all, while she will enjoy the occasional celebratory meal out, she regularly eats for the health of her body, not for hedonistic pleasure or comfort. This is an example to which I aspire. So how do I get from wanting “treats” to eating what I truly need for the health of my body?

First, I’m surrounding myself with good things. That is, of course, mostly due to the help of my daughter Rachel who does the majority of the main meal planning and shopping. Still, I’ve learned not to “feel sorry for myself” which often led me to stop to get something to eat that is not on plan or to eat more than what is called for.

Next, I’m reminded of something from my daughter Rebecca’s all-time favorite movie “fish are friends, not food.”[1] For me this translates to “food is fuel, not just fun.” I’m learning to fuel my body not to provide treats for it. How? I’m a post-it note addict. I have post-it notes all around my computer space at work. This week I developed a new one that is posted where I will see it either directly or peripherally all day long:

Every Treat

Rachel, with whom I shared this, had more improvements on the concept:

Elevating Food
Did I mention, she knows me really well? Then she shared this thought:

God Doesn't Give

[At the risk of her seeing this I will share, yes, she is very insightful and, no, I truly don’t know where she gets this from – she tends to blame my father and mother. I highly recommend Rachel’s blog for more of the wit and wisdom she shares: http://schnab.blogspot.com/]

All of this was followed closely by one of the devotions I read this week. The bible verse was:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Phil. 4:11 NIVUK
https://bible.com/bible/113/php.4.11.NIVUK

So just as we often seek safety and comfort first from our families and then, unfortunately often from the foods we eat, I found myself seeking comfort in much the same way. This has been a bit of a heart realization. Heart, because my head already knew it before I was able to feel and understand it. So now I work at finding comfort in my faith, in scripture, and prayer, and fellowship. The prayer at the end of that devotion is one I plan on praying frequently:

Dear Lord, I long to experience the contentment Paul knew. I know it is a process that must be learned. Teach me to embrace my circumstances, knowing it is You alone who gives me the strength to accept where You have me right now. Quiet my heart and help me to trust in Your plans for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Progress Report: 10.2 pounds lost – I broke my first “decade”!

Other news: My doctor has suggested I participate in a new drug study for people with Ankylosing Spondylitis (that’s a major cause of the joint issues along with being far too heavy for far too long). I’ve read and signed all the paperwork and await my first appointment. I will receive the medication at the currently approved amount and then either receive an additional dose or a placebo. On the “really blessed” side of this – free medication for 1 year and reducing my medications for this condition from 4 to 1. Woohoo!!

Please continue to pray!

[1] Finding Nemo

What Does This Make Possible

I’m finding myself in a place I never expected to be. If I allow it to, this change could “ruin” my life. However, I have a choice in this: I can choose to become a victim or I can choose to ask “What does this make possible?” I learned this phrase from listening to a podcast by Michael Hyatt. He also has some of the most amazing blog posts. He’s a devoted Christian who is active in his faith as well as being an inspiring leader and teacher. Here’s a link to a blog post of his called “7 Things to ask when bad things happen.” It’s a great read even if you aren’t going through difficult times.

My favorite question that he asks is “What does this make possible?” A question he uses to positively review things that appear to have “gone wrong.”

I’ve dealt with many things in life as have most people. I have many friends who have had to deal with far worse. One special friend is currently battling pancreatic cancer. Yet she continues in faith that God will provide her healing and, at the very least, a life filled with love for others and the grace of the Holy Spirit to continue to support her as she seeks to follow God’s will. Wow! So, as I find myself “other-abled” these days I’m working on asking every day “What does this make possible?”

One thought is that perhaps I can help champion the cause of those who have challenges with mobility. Being dependent on a walker to get around I’ve learned that there are hardly any public places that are truly handicapped accessible. There are some places where it appears people have earnestly tried to encourage accessibility by the handicapped but I have yet to find a place that actually is easily accessible. Handicapped parking spaces, while available, usually mean a longer walk to get to an entrance. Oh, there’s a ramp by the spot but the walk to get to the entrance is around the bend and possibly at an entrance nowhere near the front door. As someone dependent on a walker and needing the shortest route to get somewhere this is the opposite of what I need. And don’t get me started on doors! I can’t even imagine how trying this is for someone by themselves in a wheelchair. Also, ramps are often far too steep. The pain of trying to push my walker and my girth up a steep ramp makes it almost not worth the effort. Even at my beloved church, the access is far from ideal and I know the members of our church have created these handicapped aids in an earnest effort to make life easier for other-abled people.

These are just the mobility issues. What about how we provide for those at the far end of the spectrum of autism? What about those who are hard of hearing, or sight challenged? What are we doing to love our neighbors?

So perhaps one thing my situation makes possible is to learn to champion the other-abled. I hope I can find a loving but firm voice for change. The law requires only the minimum response to making things accessible. I know it’s expensive, but it’s a wonderful way to truly show our love to others and to provide for the dignity of every human being. For this comes from my baptismal covenant (page 305 in the Book of Common Prayer):

Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
being?
People I will, with God’s help.

Another thing this journey toward health makes possible is the ability (the necessity) to slow down. I’m spending much more time reading, writing and reflecting. I have been able to focus on others when I have the opportunity to sit and listen to them. Our lives have become so busy that it’s easy to skip these things in the name of hurrying.

As I journey toward a healthier me with the hope of one day walking unaided, I choose to slow down, enjoy the journey and focus on not only serving others in new ways, loving my neighbor as myself, striving for justice and peace while respecting the dignity of every human being but also thanking God in all circumstances. When my focus is on these things I’m not so focused on wanting to stuff my feelings and comfort myself with food that doesn’t benefit my body.

Tweets or posts I’m reveling in:

“When we trust that God has a greater purpose behind the opposition, we can walk confidently through any hard situation in our lives.” (Proverbs31.org)

What I’m listening to:

I’ve become a rather overboard fan of Ed Sheeren. This week I discovered one of his songs and even sent the lyrics to my husband. Here’s a link to the lyrics. The video is also awesome if you are a dance nerd like Rachel and me.

What I’m eating – Sweet Potato Wedges. I’ll be adding the recipe to the recipe page of the blog shortly.

Progress report – nothing gained, nothing lost. That’s actually great considering we celebrated Richard’s birthday not once but twice. There was also a tea for my daughter Rebecca in preparation for her upcoming wedding. The tea, which was at 11 am, was lovely but we all looked at each other afterward and said, “so what’s for lunch?” Way too much food for progress so staying even is a success.

Have a great week friends!

Rescue Me

To get through the day we sometimes need something or someone to rescue us. Before I got on the straight and narrow and finally committed to a more healthy diet I created some index cards with sayings to encourage me and keep me on the path. I learned this from the bible study some friends and I participated in last year called Made to Crave (by Lisa Terkeurst there’s also a book and a book of devotions). Then my oldest daughter, Rachel,  hearing me say how deprived this new plan made me feel, suggested I create a list of things I was already deprived of. I used both ideas to create my rescue cards.

When I’m having a difficult day and want to stuff my feelings with food I take a look at my cards. When I “feel” hungry but I’ve eaten what was on my plan and it’s not time to eat again, I take a look at my cards. Sometimes I read them at the beginning of my day just to give me a little strength. I highly recommend creating your own Rescue Cards! Here are the words from a few of my cards – be sure to create cards for yourself that carry weight and meaning. Let me know how you are doing (I finally fixed the comment posting issue).

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Corinthians 10:31 (see also Father Bryan O’Carrolls sermon from June 10th).

I never, ever want to wear a seatbelt extender on an airplane again!

Food is fuel. It is not a way for me to cope with my feelings or comfort myself.

Update – down 8.4 pounds to date.

Freeing Myself to be Me

What will it cost to be a healthier, happier me? On April 11, 2015 I logged in my highest weight ever – 281 pounds. I hid my weight well but let’s face it – that was beyond way too much for a 5 foot 6 inch woman. Since then my weight has fluctuated with my lowest weight happening on my birthday, April 7, 2017 at 239.8. People were telling me how great I looked. But I still needed to lose 78 pounds to be at the top end of a healthy range. It was daunting. By July 3rd I managed finally to drop to 227.2. About then I hit a horrible plateau. I revamped my snacks, I added exercise, I even prayed. Nothing happened. That was all she wrote. I stayed there and then started wavering up again. I find it hard to believe I let all that good effort go to waste. Or is that waist? By May 14, 2018 I was back up to 260.6. Sheesh!

On May 21, at 257.2 I was told I was a strong candidate for hip replacement surgery – as long as I lost 55 pounds first. It felt like the end of the world. I had previously lost 53.8 pounds so I could do this again, right? Still, at this point I am using a walker to get around as the pain in my hip is so great. How am I going to exercise? On that day, this news felt nearly like a death sentence. I understood the rationale given by the doctor – when people are overweight, especially if their weight is out of control, they are more likely to have a hip displacement following surgery which can put them out of commission entirely.

Wavering back and forth between “I can do this, I’ve done it before” and “what if I hit a plateau again?” Along with “How am I going to stand depriving myself again?” I forged ahead.

Taking a step back here, I need to tell you that I have two amazing and wonderful daughters who each have extremely difficult self-imposed standards for themselves. Usually, they don’t impose those standards on others unless of course you ask for their help. The older daughter has had some great success in the past losing weight by diet. The younger daughter is a physical therapist and an active exerciser and volleyball player. So naturally, I’ve asked for input and advise from both of them. Look out!!!

Oldest daughter – starts me on a strict diet high in protein. Lots of vegetables, very balanced, very different from what I’m used to. At first, I cried. It took me a while to come to grips with it. It’s taking me a bit to understand it and plan accordingly. But I’ve planned the first night’s dinner and snacks for the week. Everything will be prepped ahead of time so that I’m safe from failing. I was very upset when she told me what had to change. I am very unsure I can stick with this extremely difficult and radical change. Knowing I was feeling very deprived she had me write down all the things I’m currently “deprived” of doing. Those things include wearing a seatbelt on an airplane that doesn’t need an extender, walking on my own, traveling, sitting on the floor with the children during Young People’s Worship at church, doing yoga, and I’m sure there are more. That exercise helped some.

Younger daughter – is guiding me toward chair exercises and thinking creatively about how I stay active. She’ll have more input when she comes to visit at the end of the week.

As for me, I’m praying. Praying I can adjust to these changes. Praying that they work to help me lose enough weight for the surgery in a rather short amount of time. Praying that I can sense God in this with me as I walk the talk.

Today is June 10th. Thus far I have lost 4.6 pounds (since June 5th). Only 50.4 to go before I hit surgery weight. Just 97.8 before I hit my final goal weight. It’s a long journey ahead. But I feel like I can get there.  With a little help, that is.