Monday, February 28, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 2

Hello, my FABULOUS friend. And, thank you for joining me for this challenging discussion about the things we crave besides or ahead of God! The book we're discussing is Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa is a friend of mine and the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries as well as the author of many books. She and her family have been featured on Oprah as one of her favorite stories of all time. But, most importantly for this discussion, Lysa's a fellow traveler on the path to good health. She talks pretty openly and honestly about her struggle with food and her words have been both encouraging and challenging for me so far. She claims this is not a "how to" book for losing weight. Instead it's a book about finding your "want to" in making changes for a healthy lifestyle.

Whether or not you have the book or have read chapter two, I would love for you to join this discussion. I know I can learn a lot from what you have to say!

Here we go...

Chapter 2

1. Lysa describes her morning ritual with the scale and her failed efforts to eat healthier as a vicious cycle she felt powerless o stop. When it comes to your relationship with food, what repeated behaviors or events describe the cycle you experience and feel powerless to stop? Jill's answer: Well, how much time do we have here? :) I really could go on and on about the unhealthy cycles in my life regarding eating. But, the main one would be...I'm tired or sore from fibromyalgia pain...I don't work out. I feel depressed and guilty for not working out AND I'm in a hurry, so I grab something quick and unhealthy for breakfast. By lunch I'm starving and instead of eating a salad that just takes WAY too long to prepare I'll eat whatever's closest and easiest...which is also usually the item with the most preservatives, fat, and calories. At work I'm hungry due to poor choices the rest of the day and I search the break room for any community goodies - usually candy, cookies, or chips. I'm satisfied for a little while and then have to go back for just one more. Then at home I didn't take time to plan a healthy dinner so I whip up whatever I can as fast as I can. Or, worse, I'll feed Alyssa the healthiest quick foods I can find, get her off to bed, and then Jeremy and I will order something or one of us will go pick up Chinese and eat it while we watch TV. Then we feel bloated and gross and too tired and/or lazy to do anything else after eating but watch more TV. When we finally mosey on up, we're exhausted and collapse into bed, thus failing once again to make any plans for healthy eating or exercising (at least on my part) for the next day. The next day it starts all over again. AAAAAH. It's time to stop the madness!!! I feel like it's hopeless but I know I hold the choices to healthier life in my own hands. I just have to make the right choices ahead of time and put a plan into action!

2. What reasons motivate your desire to eat healthier? Are these reasons strong enough to help you resist unhealthy eating? (Lysa says, "I had to see the purpose of my struggle as something more than wearing smaller sizes and getting compliments from others. . . It had to be about something more than just me." Jill's answer: My reasons for eating healthier are to lose weight (I'm 50-60 lbs overweight), to be healthy in general, and to model healthy habits for my daughter. I also want to have more energy, less fibromyalgia pain, and to take care of the body God has given me. Unfortunately, I guess all of these very good reasons are not strong enough to help me resist unhealthy eating, because so far I have not done much resisting. It amazes me that I can have all of these extremely compelling reasons and STILL fail time after time. I guess, like Lysa says, it has to be about more than me. I have to find help from God and a true purpose in this from Him as well. Maybe then it will be less about beating myself up every time I lose another battle and more about leaning harder and harder on Him with every failure AND every success!

3. Can you recall specific situations in which you turned to food for these reasons? How do you imagine your experiences might have been different if you had relied on God, CRAVED God, instead of food?

Comfort - Jill's answer:  Definitely! In the fall of 2004 I had just worked hard for a few years to lose weight and had gone down about 60 pounds. Then I got pregnant...and I lost that pregnancy. Jeremy and I both went through a time of grief and depression and I turned to food for comfort. I quickly saw 20 of those 60 lost pounds return...then it was 30...and then I got pregnant with Alyssa and all bets were off when it came to healthy eating. YIKES! If I had turned to God during this time, instead of food, I would have found greater (and maybe even a faster) healing and would have began my second pregnancy at a healthier place! Maybe I wouldn't have gained that additional 30 pounds or so after getting pregnant on top of the 20-30 between the miscarriage and conceiving Alyssa. Who knows? The point is...I would have found more peace in craving Jesus, than food!

Reward - Jill's answer: Jeremy and I are trying to get out of the habit of after a long week or a hard day, saying, "Let's just order something...we deserve it!" Yeah, right, we DESERVE clogged arteries and bigger bellies. Ha! Imagine if we would decide to spend a few moments in worship or prayer together rather than dialing the Hut or whatever poor food choice outlet pops into our brains at that moment? Jesus would fill us up and give a renewed spirit instead of hoping for food to do this when it cannot. Hmmm...

Joy - Jill's answer: Sure! Any birthday or anniversary celebration is all about the food, right? Maybe less cake and more thanking God for another year of life, marriage, whatever?

Stress - Jill's answer: Food is my go-to stress reliever. Especially salty, greasy foods like fries. Funny, though, I never feel less stressed after eating this stuff! My friend Katie is working on memorizing scripture while she runs. She's training for a half marathon. I really want to take a cue from my young and wiser-than-her-years friend and find time to relieve my stress through physical exertion and the encouragement that comes from reading God's words to us in the Bible!

Sadness - Jill's answer: Sadness is not as big a motivator for unhealthy eating for me as some of the others on the list, but, hey, I'm an equal opportunity eater! Happiness - Jill's answer: When I'm happy I'm not as tempted to eat, but if it's offered, sure, I'll eat! Kind of pathetic, huh? With both happiness and sadness - finding ways to express through prayer, thanksgiving, worship, etc, would bring so much more fulfillment than food!

4. How do you respond to the idea of using your cravings as a prompt to pray? How has prayer helped or failed to help in your previous food battles? Jill's answer: I've been going back to the words in 1 Corinthians 10:23 a lot! I really liked that Lysa used that scripture to encourage herself when her cravings got really bad. This past week I have kept that at the forefront of my brain, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial!" Praying those words as a reminder and asking God to help me make the beneficial choices has been an extremely useful tool over the past several days. So, I think using my cravings as a prompt to pray is a great idea. It's not always what I want to do in those moments and it's still not what I always DO in those moments. But, we're taking baby steps, right? I guess I could say one way prayer has NOT helped me with my previous food battles is during those times I've been so bold as to ask for God to help me to not gain weight even though I've chosen to eat greasy burgers and fries and all kinds of sweets. I can remember sometimes even breathing a prayer to help make junk food somehow GOOD for me. Talk about insane, right?! I can only imagine God's reaction to those ridiculous prayers. "Um...NO!" :)

5. Brick by brick (or craving by craving), Lysa dismantled her tower of impossibility and used the same bricks to build a walkway of prayer, paving the path to victory. Brick by brick is an effective way to dismantle something but it also takes time and careful work. In your battles with food, are you more likely to choose a drastic, quick-fix approach or a moderate but longer-term approach? What thoughts or feelings emerge when you consider dismantling your own tower of impossibility one craving at a time? Jill's answer: Yeah, I've always tended to be the drastic, quick-fix approach kinda gal! I've told myself, I'm not going to eat anything but these five foods, or absolutely NO carbs whatsoever, or let's try the lemonade diet! I usually last about a day and half on these types of approaches. Then I feel so deprived that I binge for a couple of days and then feel totally down on myself which begins the whole unhealthy cycle all over again that I had outlined in the answer to question 1. A moderate but longer-term approach would be such a better way to go. But, it does take a lot more time, work, preparation, and effort. And, I see now, that it's going to take a lot more prayer. I need to tear down some unhealthy mindsets and habits and begin slowly building up the healthy ones while relying on God's strength instead of my own. It will take setting aside time to be strengthened by and to build my relationship with God. It will mean taking time to plan weekly menus, packing healthy snacks for the crisis moments, and making sure to be prepared in every situation. It will mean setting the alarm clock earlier every other day and getting myself to bed at a decent time so I can get up and out the door to move my body. In the past I've wanted all of these changes to happen all at once and over night. I'm realizing the reality now. Every change is a process that I will need to cover in prayer and take time to fight the battle that will rise within myself even as I try to make that change that will be good for me in the end! So, again, baby steps.

I do have to say I'm proud of myself tonight! When I was home at lunch, I put a healthy chicken meal in the crockpot and set the table for dinner. When Jeremy, Alyssa, and I got home, dinner was totally ready and it was good for us! I even chose the whole wheat tortillas for myself over the white flour option. That one was down to the wire. The white tortilla just looked so yummy. But then I remembered, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial!" Thank you, Jesus! Please help me continue to make good choices each step of the way and to see each craving as an opportunity to draw closer to You!!

So, there's chapter 2! I don't know about you, but this is some "in your face" stuff for me! The question that really got me was when Lysa asks, "Is it possible we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God?" Ouch, I can really feel that one! What a challenge to take everything to God and ask Him to help me find strength, comfort, joy, reward, WHATEVER, in Him instead of in what I put into my mouth!

I can't wait to hear what you have to say about this chapter. Even if you haven't read it, I'm sure you have some insights to add regarding these discussion questions. Please comment away. You will be helped by putting some of your inner struggles into words. And, you'll help others as we go along this journey...this long uphill journey...together! I'm SO looking forward to hearing from you and hope you have a FABULOUS night! Jesus bless you, my friend!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 1

Welcome to Made to Crave Mondays!! I'm so excited to go through the book Made to Crave by my good friend and colleague, Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa's latest is not only a New York Times Bestseller, but a great tool for those of us striving to be FABULOUS who need a little motivation in the Getting Healthy department. Each Monday evening I'll post my answers to the next chapter in the book. Please feel free to post your answers as well, or just comment on something I (or someone else) have already said. What a great way to encourage each other on this crazy journey that is sometimes a whole lot more down than it is up. Hopefully together we can see an upward turn.

So, let's dig in with the discussion questions for Chapter 1 of Made to Crave! Here we go...

1. One weight loss company personifies craving as a little orange monster that chases us around, tempting us to eat unhealthy foods. Take a moment to reflect on your own experience of craving, recently and over time.

~ If you could personify craving based on your experience of it, what form might it take? Would it be like the little orange monster or would it take a different shape? Describe what your craving looks like and how it behaves.  Jill's answer:  Sometimes I believe my craving is way bigger than the little orange monster I've seen on those commercials. At times it's like a huge raging tornado that rips through my life and tears my will and resolve to shreds in a matter of nano-seconds. But, it doesn't go away quickly like a tornado, it hangs on like a drought. It's persistent, nagging, loud, and annoying. And, until I eat, it simply won't be ignored. Sure, there are times that I feel a little more in control, a little more prepared with healthy options and "filling" foods. But, the desire to be satiated is always there. I want, sometimes I think I NEED to know that more food is coming. More yummy things will cross my lips...even if I know it will be a matter of time. Just KNOWING that it's coming can be satisfying in itself. Is that a little crazy? Perhaps!

~ If you could sit down and have a conversation with this imaginary craving, what do you think it might say to you? (Jill's answer: "I own you, woman!") What questions would you want to ask it? How do you imagine it might respond? Jill's answer: I honestly never thought about having a conversation with my cravings. But, I guess it could be a good alternative to all the negative self talk and brow beating. Hmmm, what would I ask my craving? I suppose I would ask it to GO AWAY! And, I'm sure it would say, "FAT CHANCE, lady!"

2. How do you respond to the idea that God made us to crave? Have you ever pursued a craving that made a positive contribution to your life? What do you think distinguishes that kind of craving from the craving that leads you to eat in unhealthy ways? Jill's answer: I think realizing that God MADE me to crave makes me feel a lot better. I know Lysa mentions that we might see it as some kind of cruel joke by our maker. But, somehow, knowing this is all part of the way I was MADE to be helps me realize that simply fighting the cravings is not what I'm supposed to do. In fact, it's a futile effort. It's in me to CRAVE. It also takes a lot of the pressure off to force myself to be something I'm not. Realizing that I'm supposed to have this craving in my heart, in my life, helps me not to hate on myself so much. It's all about finding how to crave GOD rather than food. I have experienced a passion that's made a positive contribution to my life. I still remember the first time I sat down behind a microphone at a college radio station in Johnson City, TN. From that point forward I couldn't get enough. I wanted to know more and more about radio, communication, and the ability to encourage people with God's awesome message of love through this medium. A couple of semesters later I had a degree and an even stronger desire to follow this craving. And, here I am, 15 years later and not only am I still following this passion, but I've found a life partner who's doing the same. So, yes, I can see how God has made us to crave the things He has planned for us as well as spending time with Him.

3. It it's true that we're made to crave, how might it change the way you understand your cravings? Do you believe there could be any benefits to listening to your cravings rather than trying to silence them? If so, what might those benefits be? Jill's answer: I guess what I can understand is that cravings aren't just an annoyance. They're part of who I am. And, listening to my cravings rather than just trying to silence them can only be a benefit. I'm reminded of watching parents who just want their children to be QUIET. They do whatever it takes...bribes, yelling, punishments, get their kids to just stop pestering them. Have you ever seen that happen? Don't you want to shake that parent by the shoulders and say, "Why don't you take a moment to LISTEN to your child and find out what he needs rather than trying to get him to just leave you alone?!" I guess in some ways this is similar. Of course, that craving is not a child...but if it's part of how we're made, then it must have a purpose, right? It must be a good thing to stop and listen to the craving and try to figure out what it's trying to tell me. Am I craving more time with God, with my husband? Am I craving significance, comfort, rest? Even if it seems like I don't have time, it would probably be so much better to take a couple of minutes to ponder these questions BEFORE ordering a McDouble, fries, and a Dr Pepper.

4. The Bible describes 3 ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God: craving, lust, and boasting...think back over the last 24-hours or the last few days to see if you recognize how you may have been tempted in similar ways.

~ Craving: meeting physical desires outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for things such as food, alcohol, drugs, or sex?
Jill's answer: I am tempted by food ALL THE TIME! Some days are better than others of course, but it's pretty much always on my mind. What can I eat next, how long from now will it be? OK...I'll be fine between now and then. BUT, maybe I should have one of these cookies, just in case...argh!

~ Lust: meeting material desires outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for material things - clothing, financial portfolio, appliances, vacation plans, cosmetics, home decor, electronics, etc.?
Jill's answer: I definitely faced a struggle with this right before our vacation last week. Wanting to make sure we all had what we needed for the cruise, I headed out to Old Navy. But, of course, I found a whole lot MORE than we needed. Before I knew it I'd spent way more than I'd planned to, just because I wanted us all to look cute on vacation. I don't usually go on shopping sprees but I do struggle with this type of thing from time to time.

~ Boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires to prop your significance - perhaps by name dropping, exaggerating, feigning humility or other virtues, doing something just because you knew it would be observed by others, etc.?
Jill's answer: It can definitely be tempting to find significance in what I do instead of who I am! Most days I'm totally able to remember that working for a radio station is all about letting God shine. He is using me. I am not the one worthy of any recognition. But, I'm sure anyone would struggle with losing sight of this fact from time to time. I would think pastors and all people in all types of ministry roles must have a constant battle in this area at some level.

Of the 3 kinds of temptations, which is the most difficult for you to resist? Which is the easiest to resist?
Jill's answer: I definitely struggle most with the craving. The easiest to resist would be the lust. But, I'd say I've struggled with all three areas from time to time.

5. Jesus quotes the truth of Scripture to defeat temptation. Have you ever used Scripture in this way? What was the result? How do you feel about the idea of using this approach to address your unhealthy eating patterns? Jill's answer: I actually have used Scripture (and Worship) in this way. Many years ago; way before Jeremy and I met, I was involved in yet another disastrous relationship. However, this particular man seemed especially intent on persuading me to betray myself in ways I'd never dreamed possible. I allowed myself to be persuaded and found myself full of shame and regret. But, also full of tempting thoughts to return to a situation that was extremely dangerous for my spiritual and emotional well being. I felt attacked by the tempting thoughts and flashes of thoughts and memories that could cause me to give in to weakness. So, I went on the attack myself. Every time one of those thought would flood my brain, I'd stop what I was doing (or go into another room), throw my head down and pray for God to take the thoughts away. I'd recite some words from the Bible or just starting singing a praise song to Jesus as loud and as passionately as I could. I did this for days, maybe even weeks, before I finally got the thoughts under control. What a relief! I have used this approach in other areas of life since that time so long ago. But, it's funny that I've never thought to go there in my fight to make healthy eating and lifestyle choices. That has got to change. My goal for this week to is to write out one or two verses that can help me in those weak moments of desiring a bad food choice. I'll keep them in my pocket and read them when I feel the temptation mounting. I'll pray for strength. And, if I can, I'll sing my heart out to Jesus so I can place my focus on Him rather than food! Wanna join me?

Whew! This is some soul searching stuff, my friend! Chapter 1 has definitely challenged me to rethink cravings and who/how I was made to be. Very encouraged by Lysa's writings, too. How about you? I can't wait to read your answers and/or thoughts. I'm really looking forward to continuing this cyber book study over the next several weeks and I'm so glad you're starting this journey with me. Please feel free to invite a friend or two to join us as well! I can't wait to read your comments!

Have a FABULOUS night, my friend! ~ Jill

Friday, February 11, 2011

U = Utilizing the help of others!

In our journey to FABULOUS we've covered FABULO so far...which brings us to the second U and for some of us it's as hard (or maybe even harder) than all the other areas in which we're striving to grow. What is it about getting help that makes us feel so inadequate? Let's think about that. I want to share more on this, but what I'd really like to do first is hear some of your stories about a time when you found it difficult to accept help from a family member or friend. Why was it so hard? Maybe we can all see a little of ourselves in what another one of us has gone through.

It's a FABULOUS Friday...and you're a FABULOUS YOU!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

FABULOUS is a daily choice, isn't it? Ugh!

OK time to get geared up to meet the awesome
Katie Post for a workout. I've already put it off an hour (for a semi-legitimate reason). But I don't think it'll fly if I call her to push it back AGAIN. So, I have got to get off this couch and go. What a pain. Didn't I just work out like two or three days ago? Ha! OK on the count of 3. One. Two. T. H. R. E. E.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Congratulations to the Made to Crave Winners!

This is so exciting. I just drew five names from my list of folks following this blog. Each one of you will be receiving a copy of Made to Crave, the New York Times Bestselling latest book by my good friend, Lysa TerKeurst!

And the winners are (please perform a drum roll on your desk or just in your head, whatev!)


(I'll just need each of you to email me at with your mailing address and I'll get the book out to you!)
Yeah! (Music, applause, confetti!)

And, don't forget, whether you won the book or're invited to a cyber book study to help us toward our goal of FABULOUS. Beginning February 21, it's Made to Crave Mondays right here! I'll post my answers to the discussion questions for chapter one and you can do the same (or just respond to something someone else wrote). Can't wait!!!

In the meantime, have a FABULOUS and warm weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Made to Crave is made for a give away! :)

On this journey to FABULOUS, it's always great to get a little help from a friend. And, my good friend, Lysa TerKeurst, has given me 5 copies of her latest book, Made to Crave! I'm so excited because this New York Time's Bestseller is not a diet "how-to" book, it's all about finding our "want-to" and learning to put God in food's place in our lives. Something I desperately need to train myself to do!

I can't say enough about Lysa and her impact on women's lives all around the world. As the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries (and a two-time guest on Oprah), she writes and speaks to the female heart with the understanding of a best girlfriend. I've been privileged to work with Lysa as the radio consultant for the Proverbs 31 Ministries one-minute radio program for women for about 7 years now. Wow, has it really been that long? Actually, I started working with them in 2003, so it's more like 8 years! Shew! Time doesn't just fly, it jettisons!

Anyway, I'd suggest taking some time to learn more about Lysa at Her life is full of stories I know you'll relate to and her daily blog is refreshing!  Plus, right now she's doing a live podcast series on Made to Crave on Monday nights. You can read about that at her site, too. It's a lot of fun on top of being inspirational and informational!

So, how am I going to give away these little books that have been hard to get lately? I'm simply going to do a random drawing. But, there's stay tuned!

All you have to do to win the book is sign up to follow my blog right here ( That's it. But, do it right away because I will draw the five winning names from the list of all my followers this Friday (2/4/11) at noon, central time.

Now for the "there's more"... Whether or not you win the book from me, I'd like to invite you to a cyber book club. Each week we'll read one chapter of Made to Crave and go through the discussion questions together through my blog. I'll post my answers to the questions and look forward to having a great conversation with you as you post YOUR answers or other comments. We'll begin with the questions for Chapter 1 on Monday, February 21, 2011. I'll post my thoughts by that evening and we'll continue with Made to Crave Mondays until we finish the book and are ready for bikinis, ha!. Seriously, I'm looking forward to drawing closer to God and allowing Him to take the priority in my life that I've freely handed over to food for several years now.

OK, good luck! Remember to sign up to follow the blog so you can be eligible to win! And, I'm looking forward to a whole new way to travel together along the road to becoming FABULOUS!!!!