Monday, March 14, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 4

FIRST, some exciting news from author, Lysa TerKeurst. I received an email from Lysa this weekend that said, "I'm so honored you are working through Made to Crave. We just got word it's on the New York Times list for the 9th straight week. Amazing. Humbling. Exciting to see a God message on the list." Lysa, congratulations. It is so exciting to see what God is doing through Made to Crave!!

NOW, here comes the A word - Accountability. I love it but I also really HATE it. Accountability works for me, but it's also annoying to me. There, I said it. And, it's the deep, honest, raw truth that hides in my heart. I need friends who are strong enough to stick with me even when I start (sometimes without realizing it) concocting schemes to avoid them or the opportunity to be real with them about my eating habits and exercise routine. I don't know why it is this way when it comes to developing these healthy habits. When I'm trying to show more patience toward my husband or daughter, I have no problem with accountability. In fact, I welcome it. When I'm trying to spend more time with God, I join a Bible study group so I can be held accountable for what I've read and the reflecting I've done. This doesn't bother me. Yes, sometimes I fess up about not getting through the whole thing this week. But, I'm always glad that I've been able to finish what I've finished and to share with my friends what God's putting on my heart and how He is refining me. But, when it comes to food and exercise...I RESIST! Why? I'm not sure except that this area is so hard for me and I hate admitting defeat time after time after time after time after...well, you get the picture. But, we've reached the Accountability chapter in Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. And, I must dive in. So, will you hold me accountable by answering the questions too? Maybe together we can face the daunting phase that is ACCOUNTABILITY! :)

Made to Crave Reflection Questions for Chapter Four:

1. When a friend experiences success with healthy food choices and losing weight, do you feel encouraged and inspired by her example, or do you feel discouraged and envious? Do you communicate your feelings to your friend or keep them to yourself?  Jill's Answer: I guess I feel a little bit of both. Like most people, I have a lot of friends who have become really serious about their eating and exercise habits and have made a tremendous change in their appearance and overall health (Lysa TerKeurst being one of them, ha!). And I'm always so excited and happy for these friends. At the same time, though, I remember when I lost 60 lbs before getting pregnant with Alyssa. I remember feeling so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally. I remember having more energy and being able to find things to wear without a big ordeal. And, I feel shame and anger with myself for having gained it ALL back...every last pound! I feel frustrated over the MANY times I've started up again in this getting healthy department only to fail, majorly. Maybe I lose 5, 10, or even 20 pounds, but I always end up right back at the same place on the scale. I feel defeated! I'm happy for my friends who have success but a little bit of me feels like their success is another slap in the face for me. I know that's not true. But it can feel that way! Am I alone here?

2. Complete this sentence: I do/do not want to invite a friend to help me on my journey to healthy eating because....
Jill's Answer: OK, how about both? Ha ha! I DO want to invite a friend to help me on my journey to healthy eating because I know I will have more success when I am being honest with another person who is traveling this road with me. I know I will be more likely to work out if a friend is waiting for me at the gym. I know I will make healthier food choices if I have to fess up to a friend every time I make the wrong choice. I KNOW this would be a good thing for me!
I DO NOT want to invite a friend to help me on my journey to healthy eating because I really LOVE being lazy and eating yummy junk. There, I said it. Popping a candy bar or a handful of chips in my mouth can be done quickly, quietly, and secretly. No one has to know...unless I'm being held accountable by a friend. I can have good intentions to go for a run but when the alarm goes off I can quickly, quietly, and secretly tell myself that I didn't sleep well, I don't feel well, or I'm just plain TOO tired to go right now. The best thing for my body is to rest. friend is waiting at the gym for me. 
I guess I'm realizing this is a war going on within me. A desperate desire to make changes but a desperate clinging to the unhealthy changes that brought me to this place where I find myself at 40 years old!

3. If accountability is crucial, what is the biggest challenge you face in making accountability part of your healthy eating plan? Jill's answer: I have to be completely honest here and say maybe I don't want to change my lifestyle to become healthier AS MUCH as I want to continue eating chips and salsa, Chinese take-out, and an easy frozen pizza that I just popped in the oven for an effortless family dinner. I think I really need to take a look at my desires and motivations. Isn't being healthy and modeling healthy habits for my daughter enough reason to let go of these temporary indulgences? Wouldn't a longer, more vibrant life WITH the ones I love be worth committing to an agreement with someone who will truly hold me accountable and challenge me to stick with the changes I really do want to make? I believe I'm coming upon a fork in the road (no pun intended with the fork, ha!) and the time for me to choose which path to take is here. OH, how I want to choose that right path. But, the other one is so YUMMY and tempting. I'm really in need of a total mind transformation, here! Jesus help me!!!!

4. If you were to imagine a life-giving experience of accountability, one that empowers you and helps you to feel "companioned" rather than alone in your struggles, how would you describe that experience? What kind of person would you want to be accountable to? What do you hope this person would do for you? What do you hope they would NOT do? How would you determine whether or not the relationship is providing effective accountability? Jill's answer: I have already found this person and this relationship. My friend, Katie, helped me train for a 5-K this past fall and for the most part, our relationship was one of trainer-trainee. But, as we continued, we became more along the lines of true accountability partners in this area. She is much further along in her weight loss goals and has much more ambitious running goals (she's training for a half-marathon), but she has always been very patient with my level of training and my own need for encouragement and accountability. HOWEVER, I have begun the evading process. As I have experienced failure I have failed to talk with Katie about running and setting up times for us to run together. I've avoided conversations about healthy eating or tried to focus on what's going on with her instead of me. I've put Katie at a safe distance and it's time to ask her to forgive me and to see if she would be willing to give it another shot. She really is the ideal companion for this type of journey. She's always encouraging me with smiles, cheers, and verses that are so helpful. She's willing to check in with me as much as I want her to and is never condemning when I admit failure. I just hope I haven't ruined the friendship. I don't think I have...but I will need to talk with her ASAP. Well, as soon as I get my voice back that is! (In case you haven't seen my Facebook and Twitter posts, I've lost my voice due to a sinus virus and infection. Not fun for a woman whose life is all about verbal communication. Thank God for the internet, though!) It's time to renew this accountability and for it be a whole lot more of a two-way process than it has been in the past. Katie is one of those rare gems that you don't want to ever lose once you've found her as a friend. I want to be the kind of friend to her that she has been to me. I hope I will have that opportunity! And, maybe God will open new opportunities as well.

And, I hope YOU will find your own Katie. Someone who will provide the right amount of accountability that will encourage to make those important life changes that need to be made. Oh, and I'd love to have a cyber-accountability-partnership with you. As we continue to work through Lysa's book, we can be honest with each other on how we're doing and encourage each other to keep going even when it is OH SO HARD! What do you think? I can't wait to read what you have to say this week!

LOVE to you!!!


  1. First of all, congrats to Lysa! That's awesome!

    Well... it's been a bad couple of days for me food-wise. I had been doing really well for several weeks and then once you do badly, it's so easy to revert back to the old ways. Sooo frustrating!

    So, I'm thankful for this blog and hearing other people going through this as well. Started off the day today depressed because of my food behavior over the past couple of days and today didn't start off well either. But... I made myself walk on the treadmill (I am not a regular exerciser but know I need to change that) and felt much better after that and back on track the rest of the day.

    So, I can see how accountability would be a huge benefit. However, I don't know who the person would be for me. I'm going to pray that God reveals that person to me and that I can be there for that person as well.

    As for the questions, I agree with Jill that if a friend loses weight, I am both happy for them and a little envious. Of course I would never tell that person that, because that's my own issue and I wouldn't want to take away the success of that person.

    I don't know that I actually want to invite a friend to join me for several reasons: embarassment that I need help in this area, fear that the person will not want to be involved or thinks my battle is silly and honestly, not sure I want someone telling me when I'm not eating right, etc. though that's probably what I need.

    I guess it would be great to have that person to talk to when you need encouragement and to call you up and say, "let's go for a walk" when I really don't want to do anything. I would want us to be encouraging to each other and not discouraging when one or the other has a bad day or two like I just went through. Maybe I would've stopped at one bad day had that person been available to me. :)

  2. Cheri, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who struggles in this area. Why are we so afraid to open ourselves up to a good friend regarding our struggle with weight and trying to achieve a healthy lifestyle? I know some of it is embarrassment like you mentioned. But, I also think you hit it right on the head when you said you don't want someone pointing out your poor food choices. Food is such a personal, private thing and can become a personal, private sin as we secretly over indulge time after time. I'm really feeling challenged to start up a truly open and honest accountability relationship. Do you have someone you can approach about this? If not, let's keep each accountable on-line, OK?

  3. When a friend experiences success with healthy food choices and losing weight I usually feel encouraged and inspired. I am happy for them that they are doing so well. But if I have or I’m not dieting then sometimes I’ll feel discouraged about making healthy food choices for myself. I’m also envious of how they are able to make healthy choices because sometimes I feel like I can’t make them and even worse that I don’t want to make them! Also, if I’m not doing any weight loss plan then it sometimes gets annoying to hear about all of their healthy food choices. I think this is because I’ve had friends before who have always been very focused on their weight and it seems like that’s all they’ve talked about for years. However, when you are both on a weight loss journey then it is very helpful to talk about it. I also think that when you’re starting this journey you need to talk about it more because you’re trying to find your way and make new habits. It is something you start to think about more often. Actually, I’m not thinking about food anymore than I used to (since it was always on my mind...haha)...but now I’m trying to think about how to make better choices with it.

    I also DO and DO NOT want to invite a friend to help me on my journey to healthy eating because...I DO because I think it can be extremely helpful to encourage each other. It would be beneficial to be accountable and to share recipe/ snack ideas. Not to mention how much more fun it would be to exercise together. I DO NOT want to invite a friend because I am fearful that the friend will not follow through with our plan. I’m afraid that if they quit the plan that I will also quit the plan. In the past when I have tried to do an exercise plan with someone it has never worked out. It never lasts and something about the plan always falls through. Made To Crave has made me realize though that even if someone has to quit our plan that I don't have to because I'll always have God to help me follow through.

    The biggest challenge I face in making accountability part of my healthy eating plan is finding a person to make me accountable. As I have explained, I have never been able to find a person who is willing to do this with me. I know we have each other here in cyberspace but I don’t think that is enough for me. I think it needs to be more personal for me to be accountable. I can’t believe I’m saying its easier for me to cheat in cyberspace but it is. I would be so thankful to have this kind of person in my life because I really believe it is very important. I will be praying that God will provide this person for me!

    I think I would describe a life-giving experience of accountability as a very positive experience. An experience where both of us would feel like we are being motivated and encouraged in healthy ways. But I’m not looking to compete with someone, which I’ve felt friends have tried to do in the past. I just want to encourage and be encouraged that God wants more for us than this vicious cycle of defeat. I would want to be accountable to someone who allows for error because we all have a bad day. I would hope this person would help me realize tomorrow is a new day and just because you have one bad day doesn’t mean you can’t start again. I get into this mindset that once I blow it that I just might as well continue to blow it. I would determine that the relationship is providing effective accountability if we are communicating regularly and we are both receiving results. I realize now that sometimes results aren’t just always on the scale but in your heart and in your habits as well.

    Jill, I don’t know Katie at all but you are so blessed to have her in your life! She sounds like a wonderful friend on many different levels. How great that you have found such a rare gem as you’ve described!

  4. Jill, just wanted to let you know that I did approach someone and she accepted, so I'm very happy about that! I really feel like God is encouraging me this week. First with that acceptance and then tonight an unexpected 45 minute walk outside with a friend. Hope you are having a great week too!

  5. Cheri, that's AWESOME! Congratulations. Finding that friend is like finding a pot of gold, or better! On my end, I've told Katie that I want to talk with her about getting back on track with our accountability after the craziness of Sharathon is past us. Yeah!!! I feel like I'm starting to take the right steps. Just praying that I will stay ON the path! LOVE and blessings!!!

  6. I'd love to join this discussion!

    Cheri - So very exciting that you have someone to join you in your healthy eating/working out journey!
    Not only for the tough love/accountability she'll be able to provide for you, but for the fellowship as well. I'm anxious to read future posts from you, hearing about that relationship and how your friend is helping you along in your weight loss journey!

    Megan - It's hard to find that "just right" person to encourage you in this sort of thing. I'll ask the Lord to give you that specific woman, and add in that prayer that he makes that happen soon!! ;-)
    Thank you also for such kind words about the accountability relationship between Jill and I. Her friendship has been a huge gift from God.

    With that said...

    Jill - My dear, dear sister... YOU are such a blessing to me. I'm grateful to have such a God-fearing friend who loves as faithfully as you do! It's a wonderful bonus that we can now serve each other in this way! Thank you for LETTING me be a part of your life as friend, co-worker, and accountability partner.