Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Monday

Freedom is NEVER free!
Hello, friends! I hope you're having a wonderful day off with your family and remembering our fallen heroes and she-roes! Made to Crave Monday will return next week on June 6. Thanks for being a part of this discussion and for making my life more FABULOUS! I'll close with a tweet from my friend Connie P. Shoemaker who said:

Thanks to the families that have an empty seat at their tables so I am free to say grace at mine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 14

Whoa! Where has this Monday gone? What a difference having a little girl at home all day makes, huh? Guess it's still Monday though, so I still have time to sneak in this week's questions for reflection from chapter 14 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

First of all, WOW! Lysa really shares a part of her wounded past in this chapter and taps into something I'm sure we can all relate to, emotional emptiness. And, if you're like me, you can also relate to that void playing a part in those issues with food and weight.

So, without further ado...let's jump in!

Discussion Questions for Chapter 14

1. "Each time my heart felt a little empty, my stomach picked up on the cues and suggested I feed it instead." Do you feel a similar connection between feelings of emotional emptiness and physical hunger? Do you feel you are able to distinguish between physical hunger and emotionally triggered hunger, or does it all feel the same to you? 
Jill's answer: This has absolutely been a pattern for me in the past. Trying to feed my emotional emptiness with physical affection, attention, and, finally, with food. I thought once I had grown as a Christian woman and finally found the most awesome, godly man who became my husband that my desires to look to fill my emotional emptiness with any of these unhealthy things would change. But, not addressing the emotional emptiness meant it was still there demanding to be fed. Christian counseling and growing in many ways has been a huge help in this area. And, just becoming more aware of the times when I tend to feed my emotions instead of my body has been a great tool as well.

2. Lysa describes how she used the phrases of Philippians 4:8 to park her mind in a better spot about the painful relationship with her father. Using the phrases below and Lysa's example as a guide, invite God to give you a better place to park your mind about a painful experience from your own past.
Jill's answers: I'm thinking about my own father who left us a couple days before I started High School.
Whatever is true...Like Lysa's dad, my dad was broken. He was dealing with his own selfishness, lusts, and desires. These broken parts of his character blinded him to the pain he was creating for his three children. It does not excuse his actions to realize this truth. But, it does help me to realize that his leaving had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his own personal flaws and immaturity. I believe my father actually did and does love me. He just became extremely misguided by a series of poor choices and immoral behaviors.
Whatever is noble...When my dad left and refused to see us as important, it made me feel unworthy of love; unworthy of attention; unworthy of affection. But, this is what the King of Kings thinks and feels about me:  The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV) That puts things in a much more NOBLE perspective, don't you think?
Whatever is right...There's one precious memory of my father that I remember providing that feeling that all was right, if not in the world, at least in my family. It made me feel loved and cherished my dad even when other acts or words made me feel differently. I remember those rare days when Dad had wake-up duty. He would come and sit on the edge of my bed and gently rub my legs, feet, or back through the sheets and blankets. And then he would softly say something like, "It's Wednesday! Only two more days after today and then it's the weekend." I still remember the love and affection in his voice as he would whisper that it was time to get up and at 'em. It gives me a warm feeling to this day. One thing I know for sure is that God's love endures forever. That it is always right and it is always real. And, on these mornings so many years ago, my earthly father's love felt as if it was unfailing as well.
Whatever is lovely...On those mornings when Dad came to wake me for school, I felt loved and lovely. I felt a peace and calm that I seldom felt throughout my childhood. I remember wanting to hold on to those moments and not let them go. In fact, some mornings I would pretend to stay asleep a little longer, just so Dad would sit a little longer speaking gently and rubbing my back, helping me to have a lovely entrance into the waking world.
Whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy...I praise God for the fact that my daughter is growing up with a father who cherishes her and tells her so each and every day. A man who'll never leave her to wonder if she's worthy. A man who helps her learn more of God's love for her as he showers love, affection, and kisses on her sweet little face and life. And, I'm so thankful to see Alyssa form lovely memories not only with her dad, but with mine as well. We don't see my father very often but when we do there's no sign of the man who broke my heart time and time again over the first 20 or so years of my life. What IS there is the Daddy who came to wake me up on those precious early mornings that linger in the video of my mind. There's no yelling, criticizing, or overly zealous physical discipline. There's no screaming at my mom or my older brother. There's just a "Papa" who Alyssa adores and looks forward to spending time with at every opportunity. Especially when he's able to pull gold-dollar coins out of her ear, which is several times at pretty much each meeting. She'll grow up thinking of my dad as a kind, funny, and magical person who lights up when he sees her. And, you know what? I'm not going to do or say ANYTHING to change that impression. It is a part of who he is. It is a part of the "excellent" that God wove into his person from the very beginning. He's done a lot of growing over the years and he's still not perfect. But, I won't tell my daughter any differently. Let her continue to see God in yet another father-figure in her life (along with Jeremy, his dad, my step-dad, and her uncles) who loves her unconditionally. And, PRAISE GOD for that!!!

3. A mosaic is a work of art made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny, broken pieces of glass or ceramic tile. Lysa describes how God's making a mosaic of restoration and healing in her heart, gathering up her broken pieces and making them into something beautiful. Can you imagine God doing something like this in your heart? If God used the broken pieces of your life to make a beautiful image, what do you hope it would look like?
Jill's answer: If God is making a mosaic of restoration and healing of my broken past and forming it (and me) into something beautiful, then I hope it will look like a woman who understands that most people who lash out do so because of their own inner pain and wounded history. I hope it will look like a woman who loves others without strings attached. A woman who would rather serve another human being than find a cheap feeling (usually tied to food) for myself. A woman who fiercely follows God, absolutely cherishes her family, and truly believes she can make an impact on her world in Jesus' name!

So, how would you answer these questions? Please open yourself up to us as much as you feel comfortable doing so. Let us know how God is taking your broken pieces and making a beautiful piece of art out of your life!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The winner of Made to Crave and an Update!

Good Morning! First I want to thank my big girl and new preschool graduate, Alyssa, for helping me with the drawing for the free copy of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst!

And, the winner is...Katie Meskimen! Katie posted about the new thing she's going to try this summer. Here's what she said: I'm going to learn how to be a better blogger so I can get more followers and help other people. That's a great goal, Katie. You'll have to let us know how it goes. In the meantime, let me know your mailing address. Email it to me at Congrats! And, thanks to everyone who posted about that New Thing you're going to learn or try. Let's do it...together!

Now for an UPDATE!! As of this morning, I'm down 10.4 pounds! Woo Hoo! I also completed my 10K training for the day and am ready to take on the world! Well, at least my little part of it. 

What's the good news on your end of things? Leave a comment with your UPDATE! Can't wait to hear from you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 13 and a free book!

Hello, my FABULOUS friend! I hope you've had a great weekend despite the cold and rain here in central Illinois. How awesome to see the sun shining this morning. It makes Monday a little easier.

I'm so glad you've joined me for Made to Crave Monday because I'm excited to not only dig in to the reflection questions for chapter 13 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries, but also to tell you about a new venture in my life. AND to offer you a free copy of Made to Crave. If you don't already have the book, you will LOVE it. And, you'll be able to go back to the first Made to Crave Monday and follow along and add your insights. If you do already have the book, you'll have a copy to give to a girlfriend, a sister, or your mom so you'll have someone to go through the book with you and join you on this journey to good health. First I want to tell about my "new thing", THEN I'll tell you how you can win the book. Deal Camille?

New Thing

If you had a chance to read last Friday's blog post, then you'll remember me talking about how I want to have fun learning new things in life. And, this week I'm doing TWO new things. I'd mentioned yesterday that I was going to stick my toes into the huge pool that is couponing. I'm meeting with some friends Thursday to learn their shop-savvy ways. That's thing one (Yes, that is a shout out to Dr. Seuss!). Thing two...against my brain's better judgment, I have committed to running a 10K this fall in Morton. A...T E N...K! I began the long training process today that will (hopefully) prepare my body to run over SIX MILES! And, as you see, I'm in need of preparing my mind as well. So, prayers are appreciated.

How You Can WIN

OK, so here's how you can win your own free copy of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. Leave a comment on today's post and tell me something new you're going to learn...this week...this month...or over this summer. One commenter will win a free copy of Lysa's New York Times Bestseller!

Discussion Questions for Chapter 13

1. What are the unspoken truths about food at your church or in your circle of Christian friends? In terms of how they eat and relate to food, is your Christian community an asset or a liability to your healthy eating goals? 
Jill's answer: I'm glad I attend a church that doesn't condone gluttony. Every New Year we begin with a 21-day fast to encourage all of us to give up dependence on food or anything else that may be coming between us and Jesus. So, that's always a challenge and encouragement on this road to healthy. When my girlfriends get together it can be different. We love to eat and chat and eat and chat and eat some more. It's funny how you can throw all healthy guidelines out the window once the kids are in bed or safe with hubby/babysitter and just go to town on some nachos, cookies, brownies, or whatever. And my friends know how to make some yummy stuff. My friend Tasha follows the Pioneer Woman and is all about real, healthy ingredients. But man is it the stuff that diets die by. Cinammon rolls, fruit bars, brownies, homemade fudge sauce. Nothing artificial in Tasha's cooking. Nothing low fat, usually, either.
A. She doesn't need it.
B. Her philosophy about food is completely different (and much better) than mine.
C. She can have one portion-controlled serving and walk away. Me...not so much!
So, I actually had to hide her in my newsfeed on Facebook for a while because of all the yummy stuff she would post almost daily. She's always sharing a peek at the latest scrumptious concoction coming from her oven. So, now I'm challenged to actually have more face-to-face contact with this girlfriend which is turning out to be a little tough, but I'm determined to make it happen!

2. Gluttony of any kind - food, alcohol, drugs, sex - could be described as a desperate attempt to silence the cries of a hungry soul. Have you ever thought of overeating in this way, as an attempt to silence your hungry soul? How might this perspective help you gain new insights about your battles with food? 
Jill's answer: TOTALLY it comes from a desire to fill some void in my life. I absolutely know that I desire that full, satisfied feeling as if it might make everything else in life better. It doesn't. It just causes me to head back to Old Navy for another new pair of jeans because the last ones are actually painful to wear. Ugh! Praying, spending time reading the Bible, singing songs to Jesus, exercising and reading memory verses to myself from a note card...EVERY TIME these things help the cravings go away. If I could just remember the next time the cravings rear their ugly little heads!

3. If your soul is like a ravenous vacuum cleaner, what kinds of things has it sucked up over the years in its longing to be filled?
Jill's answer: Attention, food, recognition, physical affection, 100's of wasted hours in front of the TV, oh the list could go on and on. It's a really good thing I'm not much of a shopper because my family could be in serious financial trouble!

4. Lysa uses the Exodus story to demonstrate how God taught His people to depend on Him by giving them just what they needed each day. In what ways might this story be an encouragement to you? Are you in the habit of depending on God for what you need each day - to be your daily portion of companionship, provision, strength? What "manna" do you long for most from God?
Jill's answer: It might sound crazy but there have been times when I've wished for someone to control my portions for me much like God did in the story from Exodus. Sometimes I think if I had no access to food beside perfectly balanced and portioned meals that someone else provided and delivered to me...I'd have no problem, right? Well, now that I'm reminded of the Israelites and their grumbling and complaining and discontent, I realize I wouldn't last long in that "ideal" situation before I'd start whining a little myself. Like the Israelites, I can so easily become discontent with what I already have in so many areas of life. Often it involves achievement, acceptance, and significance. I mostly need to receive my daily "manna" of self-worth and value straight from God!

5. Have there been times in your life when you struggled because you didn't have what you needed? How might these experiences of deprivation impact your ability to trust that God can give you what you need each day to deal with food?
Jill's answer: When I was in high school my mom, younger brother, and I moved a lot. She was a newly single Mom of teenagers that she wanted to keep in their current school no matter what kind of sacrifice it meant for her. So, we would move into one place, live there six months or so, and have to move again because the rent was just too high and my Mom couldn't keep up. I had no money for new clothes or going out with my friends. So, I worked part-time jobs to be able to afford the things I wanted outside of food and shelter and MANY school activities that my Mom somehow was able to fund. Talk about a giving woman...that's my Mom! But, instead of trusting God to provide and being happy with a few pairs of pants and four or five tops, I wanted to fit in with my friends and went about making it happen myself. I often wonder what lessons I would have learned if I'd given some of that money to my Mom to help with her expenses. Or, simply saved for college and beyond? But, no, I was a teenager whose mind was on important matters like social status in a small city high school. And, I think I still struggle with trusting God to provide. Now I simply turn to food instead of trendy clothes. (Can't wear those right now anyway!)

6. "For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things" ~ Psalm 107:9 How do you respond to this promise? If you could ask God for one good thing that would help you to feel a deep and soul-filling satisfaction, what would it be?
Jill's answer: I LOVE THAT! This is going to be my mantra for the next week or so. He satisfies the thirsty. He fills the hungry with good things! That is so speaking my language. I guess what I would ask God for is to find peace and contentment in Him and Him alone. It's so easy to find it in food, in being a Mommy, in doing a good job at work, in so many things! True satisfaction only comes when I find everything first in God. It's a daily battle. No, it's a minute-ly battle! But, it's so worth it to draw closer to the One who created me to crave in the first place!

OK, you're up! Please add your thoughts to this discussion. And, don't forget to tell me that new thing you're going to learn or try this week, this month, or this summer! You could win your own copy of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I'll post the winner on Wednesday. Thanks, FABULOUS friends!

Friday, May 13, 2011

FABULOUS loves to laugh and learn!

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Albert Einstein 

The other night we asked our daughter what was the worst part of her day and she surprised us by saying, "School. It's so BORING!" Jeremy and I both turned and said in unison, "REALLY?" I was pretty sure our mischievous five-year-old was being, well, mischievous, but I had to be sure. "Really, Alyssa? It's boring to play with your friends and learn new things?" Her little nose crinkled and her eyes sparkled. "I'm just kidding," she squealed. "I love school. It's so much fun! What do you think?" Jeremy and I sighed with relief and laughed at our girl's attempt at a joke. And, somewhere in the back of my mind I made a mental note that another thing kids do better than adults is they have fun learning!

In fact, the reason kids love to learn is because for them learning is usually fun. And that's when I had the AHA moment. The reason I get all these good ideas to learn something new and then fail is because I fail to make it fun (or I just don't have the skill set...but MOST times it's the lack of fun).

Today I'm taking a break from the weight loss journey to remember another very important aspect of becoming FABULOUS. We've covered Fiercely following God, Absolutely cherishing our families, Believing we can make an impact on the world (and making it), and Understanding that healthy habits are crucial (that's the biggie we've been spending so much time on lately)! And, it's easy to stop there. Those can seem to be the majors, the areas that really need covered. But, the FABULOUS woman also Loves to laugh and learn.

There's always a time for just kicking back and having a good time with your spouse or on a night out with the girls. Nobody's learning a new skill or honing a talent, everybody's just having fun. We need times like that! But, I think we already see the need for some good old honest FUN. So, I want to focus on the fact that learning can be a lot of fun, too. Taking a painting class with a friend, dancing lessons with your hubby/boyfriend, or sitting in a room full of other ladies trying to learn to knit can be a source of laughter, sweet chaos, and extreme hilarity. All while you're stimulating your brain and beginning to grasp a new ability. And it's so good for us both now AND later!

Learning something new can help us have a feeling of accomplishment that, especially if we have kids in the house, might be missing in our daily lives. It also encourages our kids to continue finding the joy in learning. And the pros continue as we age. According to, a web site devoted to senior living, continuing to learn as we get older provides all kinds of benefits including keeping our minds sharp, improving memory, saving money as we learn to do things on our own, and providing a new interest that we can share with family and friends.

Oh, I almost forgot one of my favorite things to learn about while having fun with friends...the Bible! Being part of a weekly study group keeps me on track with reading my Bible and praying. And, we have so much fun talking about what we covered that week that sometimes we forget it's a study group. We also have those moments when we get really vulnerable and open up some secret part of ourselves to each other. But, I don't think those would happen if the fun times hadn't bonded us in the first place.

I think I'm going to learn something new next week. Some friends have invited me to a get together on couponing and boy do I have a lot to learn there! Saving money for my family will be a huge benefit from this new skill but I think there will be some laughs along the way as well.

What new thing will you learn this next week? A new language? Yoga? A memory verse? Tell me about it. And have a FABULOUS weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Goal For Today

I'm going to drink 8-10 8oz glasses of water today and see if it makes a difference when it comes to the terrible cravings I've had the last several days.

What are you doing to take a bite out of temptation today?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Having a Tough Time

OK, I'm really struggling this week, not gonna lie! (Why is that a thing we say these days? Why would I lie to you in the first place? Anywho...) This is a TOUGH week. The funny thing is, it's not because of stress really. I think it's more of a hormonal thing. No, I KNOW it's a hormonal thing. I wonder if Eve had never tasted that apple (or pomegranate, whatever it was)...would we still have the pain and mood swings and sudden weight gain because of water retention? Hmmm...well, no sense dwelling on what can't be changed. I just have to get through tomorrow without having a MAJOR binge. I feel like I'm holding on by a thread, here. Ever feel that way? If you're a woman, of course you have! So, WHEN you feel this way...what do you do? Do you give in and splurge a you drown your cravings with water...exercise more even though you feel like you can't move? I need some inspiration. Maybe someone else does as well. Whatcha got? (And, thanks!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 12

The Curse of the Skinny Jeans!
Hello FABULOUS friend! It's time for another Made to Crave Monday. If you're just joining us, this is the day when we discuss the next chapter in the New York Times Bestseller, Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. It's not a diet how-to book. It's all about taking food out of God's place in our lives and craving Him instead of food (or whatever you might currently be craving instead of God).

As we get ready to discuss Chapter 12, I have to say I think this chapter was perfectly placed time-wise for the journey we've been on together. It comes at that point when many of us are starting to see a little success in our quest for fitness and maybe we're even starting to dream of the day when we'll actually reach our goal weight. Of course the temptation is to see that day as THE DAY when all our troubles will be gone. The Day when all our past temptations, struggles, and frustrations will magically disappear because we can finally fit into our skinny jeans! Honestly, I've been guilty of putting way too much emphasis on what life will be like when I reach my goal.

Don't get me wrong, I will definitely celebrate BIG TIME when the scale finally says the number I've been working toward for so long. But, I don't want to make the mistake of seeing that as the reason for this journey, because it's not. Yes, I want to be smaller. Yes, I want to wear smaller sizes. But, mostly, I want to reshape my life into one of healthy habits and activity. And, I want to reshape my heart to focus on God instead of all the foods I used to cram in my mouth without evening thinking. Basically, all the foods that got me in this mess in the first place. So, in light of all this, I see Chapter 12 coming in at just the right time for me.  Maybe you feel that way as well. Let's find out as we dig into the questions. And, remember, even if you haven't read the chapter, I'm sure you will identify with what we cover here, so please don't forget to add your thoughts to this conversation!

Discussion Questions for Chapter 12

1. What fantasies do you have about what life would be like if you were at your ideal weight? Do you imagine everything in your life would somehow be better - your relationships would improve, your confidence would soar, your problems would fall away, you'd be respected, admired, obeyed? Why do you think your weight has so much power to influence your outlook on life? Jill's answer: I imagine waking up and easily finding a cute little sundress to wear. In fact, my closet would be filled with cute clothes that I don't have to worry about how I'll look in them. I'll be thin, so EVERYTHING will look good on me! Then I imagine walking downstairs into a spotless living room and kitchen, whipping up a super healthy breakfast for the family, and having time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal before heading off for school and work. Of course the work day will fly by full of progress, productivity, and fun - absolutely no headaches. Then, the family will enjoy yet another healthy and yummy meal that I've prepared and spend some time going for a walk, reading together, or playing a board game before my daughter goes off happily to her bed and Jeremy and I have time to - well, you know, do husband/wife stuff, which of course I'll be so much more ready for each and every evening without a care or insecurity about myself and my figure. Basically, I'm tempted to believe that when I'm thin absolutely everything will be easier, better, and more thoroughly enjoyed! This is all going to come true, right? OK- OK, I hear your guffaws and belly laughs. I don't know why I'm even tempted to believe this fantasy that when I'm thin everything in life will be easy. I know a lot of thin people with a lot of problems. But, somehow, I delude myself into believing I'll somehow be different.

2. Movies and popcorn, parties and cake, ballgames and hot dogs, meetings and coffee, TV and chips. What activities do you enjoy in part or primarily because of the food attached to them? Which activities might lose all attraction for you if food weren't part of the experience? Jill's answer: Back in college I spent a summer traveling to different camps working as a counselor and a representative for my school. We would work with the kids and then at the end of the week give a presentation on why we think the students would like our college and encourage them to sign up to get more information in the mail. It was a fun summer and also a time to observe the behavior of a lot of the kids we worked with. One week I worked with a jr. high girl who on the heavy side, but such a sweet, joyful girl. However, one thing she did stuck out to me as a little unhealthy. One morning I observed her going through the day's schedule, talking to herself about what was coming up. And, she counted how many hours she had to wait from breakfast to canteen time when she would be able to buy a snack (usually a candy bar) and drink. Then she'd figure out how much time from canteen to lunch, to afternoon snack, to dinner, and then to the final time she'd be allowed to buy something from the canteen before bed time. Then she would assure herself that she only had about 2 hours between each opportunity to eat. Then she smiled and seemed ready for the day. I remember thinking, how sad that this girl who was barely a teenager was judging how fun her day would be by how long she'd have to wait between meals. She wasn't excited about hiking trails, swimming, making a cool craft, or even learning how to ride in a canoe. For her the highlights of the day were completely wrapped up in the food she'd be able to enjoy throughout it. But, you know what, this is exactly how I can view my days at times, if I'm honest with myself. I can completely associate different activities with food. And, sometimes, find myself even more excited about the food than the activity. Yes, I'm trying to change that in my life. Trying to watch a movie without eating (gasp). Trying to enjoy a party without cake or ice cream, even if others are indulging. Trying to look forward to DOING things instead what I'll be eating before, during, or after doing them. But, it's hard. I'm realizing that it takes a total reprogramming of the brain (and the stomach). That's why these words from the Bible have been so helpful t me in this process: Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. ~ Romans 12:2 (CEV)

3. "We are taught to remain in God's love so that we won't tie our happy to anything but God". To what other things besides God have you tried to tie your happy? What was the result? Do you think it's possible for you to feel full of joy even if you're not where you want to be with your weight? Why or why not? Jill's answer: I've tried to tie my happy to success at work, being a good Mommy, yummy foods, and getting lost in a TV show, movie, or novel. The result is these things don't always come through. Sometimes I don't succeed at work. Sometimes I'm not a good Mommy. Food fills for only a short while, then I'm hungry again. And, TV shows, movies, and novels all have an ending. They don't last forever. And, most times, they're a waste of time. I think the only way to be full of joy even if things aren't going my way, even if I never reach my goal weight, is to find my joy in Jesus. He is the only joy that never disappoints, never fades away, and never changes due to my performance. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. And, the hope He offers for heaven a prize worth striving for above everything else!

4. "Incomplete people are complicated and sensitive and messy in their reactions". Who are the incomplete people in your life? Are these people triggers that make you want to eat? Are there ways in which you might be an incomplete person in someone else's life? For others as well as yourself, are you able to look beyond the incompleteness to the hurt that may be behind the messy reactions? What do you see? Jill's answer: I definitely have incomplete people in my life. I am an incomplete person. It's not necessarily incomplete people that make me want to eat. It's more likely to be a stressful day, period. Whether it's caused by my situation, workload, cramps, my child being sick, a concern over finances, or all of these things, incomplete people may add to the stress but they alone don't cause me to eat. At almost 41, I believe I'm finally at a place where I do try to look past a messy or even hurtful reaction or comment by an incomplete person and try to at least remind myself that their lashing out has more to do with them than me. That they are coming from a broken place; a place in need of healing. Of course, I'm not always able to remember this FIRST in the middle of a conflict or right after a hurtful scenario, but I do try to get there instead of lashing back or working hard to prove why I was right! Usually what I see when I'm able to look at the person rather than their actions or words is a broken heart, a disillusioned soul, and someone who's grasping for some sense of control in a life that feels completely out of their hands! And, boy have I been there!!

5. Compassion for incomplete people - including ourselves - translates into acts of kindness. When you think of the incomplete people in your life, especially those who may be eating triggers, how might a compassionate act of kindness change how you feel about that person? How might it changes how you feel about yourself and your own incompleteness? Jill's answer: It's kind of like those times you feel God putting an act of kindness on your heart that you know doesn't make sense. He tells you to go buy a cheeseburger for that guy holding a sign in the middle of the road who looks and acts like a meth-addict. And, you also give him some money or something else of value. Your brain tells you he's only here because of his own choices. He's going to waste that money on drugs or alcohol. He's not even going to eat that cheeseburger. Other people are going to think what you're doing is stupid. But, when you give it to him and you look into his eyes, even for a brief nano-second, and see the pain behind them, you's enough to have simply been obedient to the urge God placed on your heart. You've just said that the person is more important than his actions. You're giving to him even though he may squander the gift. You're giving to him despite the wrong choices he's made. You're giving to him even though he might not say thank-you. You're giving to him because he matters. And, you realize, I am the same as this man. Maybe you can't see my addictions (except for the fat that has resulted because of one of them), but I also have a weak spirit when it comes to wanting to make changes but finding it too hard to do so. And, how many times has God given me priceless gifts that I've either ignored or used irresponsibly? And, yet, He still gives! How many wrong choices have I made that must break His heart over and over again? And still, I am more important to Him than those choices. I'm more important to Him than the gifts I've misused. I'm more important to Him than my many weaknesses. He did not and does not give to me because I've earned it, deserve it, or will even use His gifts in the way they were meant to be used. He gives to me because I matter to Him. And, if I can apply this thought process when I'm led to give to a total stranger...can't I do the same with the people in my daily life who sometimes make it difficult? I can give them the gift of forgiveness even though they might not ask for it. I can give them the gift of understanding even though they might throw it away. I can give them the gift of grace even though they might misuse it or fail to thank me. Because I've been given these gifts time after time after time by the One who knows me better than I know myself. The One who knows my incompleteness and longs to make me complete. Because He gives to me, I can give to others. And, I have to remember a verse that has to do with more than money or material wealth, but with all of God's gifts: Much will be required of everyone who has been given much.~ Luke 12:48 (NIRV) or, as it's phrased in The Message: Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!

Excuse me, friends, but I feel the need to stop and pray right here. Please join me if you'd like: 

Thank you, Dear Jesus, for the countless gifts you have given me. I don't deserve them. I haven't earned them. I so often misuse or neglect them because of fear, insecurity, ignorance, or apathy. Please help me to receive each and every gift from You freely and gratefully. Please help me to use each gift You give me in a way that will help me serve You and make a difference in someone else's life. And, please help me to give to others as freely as all of Your gifts have been given to me! AMEN!!!!

Woo-hoo! I feel more like I've just completed a Bible study than a chapter about learning to give up food cravings. But, I guess it's all intertwined, right? I hope you have receive a lot of insight after this chapter and taking time to read through the discussion questions above. Now, it's up to you. Keep the discussion and the encouragement going. Tell me what you've been tempted to believe will happen when you reach your goal. And, tell me about how you handle those incomplete people in your life. Can't wait to read your comments!

LOVE, Jill

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oh, yeah, I hear ya!

Saw this tweet from my friend, Olivia Ward, who's a contestant this season on the Biggest Loser: Somedays I just want to eat the house down. Today is one of those days!

Even after losing more than 100 pounds, Olivia's still dealing with temptation. So, I'm realizing that (A) It never gets easy and (B) This is gonna be a lifelong thing and (C) I need to call out for help from my friends when I'm feeling this way!  What do Olivia's words bring to mind for you? And, I'm curious, what would you say to someone who said this to you face to face?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wrapping up a Wednesday

As of today I'm down 8.6 pounds. Not bad for six weeks, I guess. It seems slow but it's more than a pound a week. I have to remember I'm not a contestant on the Biggest Loser. I'm making changes that fit my lifestyle and the weight is coming off. Slowly. And, the number I need to lose is going down, too. So, that's another way to encourage myself. Only 46.2 pounds to go now, compared to the original 60 I thought I had to lose. That makes it seem like a lot, doesn't it?

Isn't it funny how we can keep ourselves psyched up even when things are inching along? You're making progress...just not at neck-break speed. And, that's OK. But you have to keep yourself energized and remind yourself not to give up. What do you do to stay motivated even when things aren't snowballing? Share your tricks, I need to learn from you!

In the meantime, I hope you have a FABULOUS sleep.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Finding out more about me...

Took a personality test today and it's really no surprise to find out that I'm outgoing, a talker, and not very organized. Maybe you've heard of the DISC personality profile? Well, apparently, I'm a high I (Active/People Oriented, known as Sanguine) followed closely by a next higher D (Active/Task-Oriented, known as Choleric). My combination of I and D puts me in the category of Inspirational Doer. And, I believe this is very accurate. I've taken this particular profile at a few different key times in my life, and the results have been very nearly exactly the same each time.

Here's the short paragraph that describes the typical behavioral blend of people like me: They love large groups. They are impressive and can easily influence people to do things. (I guess that doesn't include influencing a five year old to clean her room!) They need a lot of recognition. They exaggerate and often talk too much. They jump into things without thinking them through....They are motivated by exciting opportunities to do difficult things (like running a 5-K when you've never run in your LIFE!). If not careful, they will do things to please the crowd and get themselves into trouble in the process. They make inspiring leaders and determined individuals. A Biblical example of this type of personality is Peter. Hmm...this pretty much hits the nail on the head. I can totally see me being the one to jump out of the boat to go after Jesus and then realizing, "wait a minute, these waves are PRETTY HIGH!"

And, you know what I realized today? GOD MADE ME THIS WAY! Just like He made me to crave Him (thank you Lysa TerKeurst), He designed me to have this particular personality. Actually, this is kind of freeing because in becoming FABULOUS, I need to be more and more comfortable with who I am. Many times in my life I've falsely believed that to improve myself I should change who I am. I should be more quiet. Not so outspoken and opinionated. Not so chatty. But, you know what? That talkative, outgoing nature is part of who I'm supposed to be. I'm in radio, right? So, at least I'm using that natural tendency to not only put food on the table, but also to hopefully reach out to others with love and encouragement. Of course there are moments when I need to be better at reigning it in. But, who I am is not bad. It's God-designed!

Knowing more about my personality type is also helpful because I can recognize the areas in which I need to grow or at least be very careful. I do need a lot of recognition.  It's hard to admit this to myself but it's true. I ache for accolades. When I was younger I acted out in pretty embarrassing ways to get recognition. Either I became determined to be the best, or I compromised my values, or I acted catty or hateful toward the ones who were receiving recognition instead of me. Today? I probably tend to turn to food when I'm feeling unrecognized or insignificant. But, it's so good to know that this could be a potential trigger for me. I can be aware, alert, and watchful. And, yes, I do tend to talk too much, and jump into things without thinking.

Another beneficial takeaway is the part about being excited and motivated by the opportunity to do hard things. That confirms to me that challenging myself to do things like run a 5-K actually works for me. It's part of how I get excited and motivated. And, that keeps me working out when doing it just to get in shape never does.  So, I'm doing something right by entering these different races and giving myself difficult goals like going three months w/o sugar, dairy, gluten, or grains!

So many people have told me the way THEY lost weight, the way I SHOULD be doing it, or just pointed out what's wrong with my current approach. They've had the best intentions, I know. But, I realize now that they believe their way is the best way because it's what worked best for them and their personality types. I can't even begin to explain how much pressure that takes off of me to try and explain why what I'm doing works for me. It's my personality type! There, plain and simple. Don't get me wrong, I love to hear what's worked for other people. But, now I can be freer to hear those ideas, celebrate with my friend, and then decide if something they're doing would work for me considering what I know motivates me and my personality type.

Hmm...maybe there's something to this. Can't ya just see me writing a book about getting fit based on your personality type? Ha ha! "Understanding Yourself Thin" - look for it to hit bookshelves in the spring of 2012. Wait, maybe there really IS something to this?! Uh oh...there I go being all impulsive again. Jumping in without thinking it over first. But, it could be a great idea, right? ;)

Anywho...if you have a chance to do the DISC personality or another trusted type of personality test, you never know. Maybe it could help you make greater strides in your journey toward healthy and FABULOUS!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 11

Stinkin', Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day!
Oh, yeah, I've totally felt this way before. And, when I do, it is SO easy to look to food for a little relief. I deserve it when things have been extraordinarily tough, don't I? Come on. A few egg rolls, a little rice, maybe a Crab Rangoon or two, and everything is so much better! Just this once won't hurt, right? This is actually some of the dialogue that courses through my brain after an especially hard day or week. It's ironic that I think a reward is something that's not good for my body and will most likely only make me feel worse than I already do. But, apparently, addiction causes you to come up with some strange reasoning. And, really, I think that's what I'm dealing with. When things get hard, I actually CRAVE something greasy or salty or full of fat. It kind of reminds me of all the smokers in my family. When the going gets tough, the tough get smoking. Their bodies long for it and it calms them down. Makes it all better. Isn't that exactly what I do at times with food? Hmmm...maybe I've been WAY too quick to judge in past years. Well, that's a story for another blog post. Maybe right now we should just jump into this week's questions for reflection from our friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and her New York Times Best-Selling book, Made to Crave! Even if you haven't read the chapter, I'm sure you'll be able to relate and will have so much to add to this discussion. So, here we go...

Discussion Questions for Chapter 11

1. Recall a recent stressful experience that tempted you to overeat or make poor food choices. What specific feelings did the experience elicit? Whether you resisted or gave into temptation, how were your emotions impacted as a result? Jill's answer: Whenever Alyssa is sick I get those cravings BIG TIME. I don't know why for sure. But, the worry, the anxiety, the fatigue, it all equals bad-food-binge in my book. Sometimes I resist the temptations, telling myself the way to best help Alyssa is by taking care of myself so I can better take care of her. But, other times, after she's sleeping I pile some big glob of yummy junk on a plate and go to town. Wow, it doesn't sound so appealing now that I put it that way. Maybe THAT'S something I can remember the next time Alyssa's running a fever or throwing up.

2. When you experience problems or difficult seasons in life, are you more likely to put on a mask and pretend everything is okay or to take off your mask and ask for help? How has this tendency impacted your ability to resist food temptations at such times? Jill's answer: I don't think I put on a mask, I just go into pure survival mode until that moment when I can crash. At those times I simply want to veg in front of the TV eating an entire bag of popcorn by myself washed down with a big soda and some chocolates or ice cream, just in case the popcorn didn't fill all the empty spaces inside of me. What I need to do at these times is turn off the TV, talk with God, tell my hubby or my accountability partner what's going on, and ask for some help and encouragement. Because what I've been doing isn't working. I never feel better after this kind of episode. So, why do I repeat the same actions over and over, expecting a different result? Isn't that the definition of insanity? Just sayin'!

3. Discovering how to pray without words helped Lysa to feel like she was connecting with God, something she hadn't felt in a long time. Have you ever prayed this way, simply spending time with God in silence and allowing the Holy Spirit to intercede on your behalf? Does this idea intrigue you or scare you? Jill's answer: OK, I'm going WAAAAAAYYY back for this one. I remember once during college that I did something very similar to this. It had been an extremely rough semester. I was struggling to keep up in classes. I had been sick a lot. My finances were a mess. Relationships at home and school were all screwy. It was just a very rough period for my young self. So, one morning in chapel during the worship time, I was sitting all alone and feeling hopeless. I don't even remember what song was being sung by one of the music majors on the stage, but somehow it hit a chord deep within my soul. I closed my eyes and bowed my head to pray. I wanted to cry out to God. I wanted to lay it all at His feet. I went to open my mouth to whisper a silent prayer to Him and nothing came out. All I could do was cry. And, the longer the song went on, the harder I cried. I just sat there silently weeping. I had no awareness of anything around me. I don't know if any of my classmates even noticed. But, I felt a deep connection with God and a profound sense of peace after that experience. I still had a lot on my plate but I knew I was going to put my head down and make it through that semester with His help. There have definitely been times since then that I have just been silent with God. When my friend Tara was suffering her final days battling breast cancer. When Jeremy and I had a miscarriage. When we cried out to God for my family members who don't know Him. When those planes took so many innocent lives on September 11, 2001. But, this time in college was the first time I'd experienced this and it sticks out so vividly in my mind.

4. Lysa demonstrates how she replaces old lies about food with new truths about God's love. In the course of a regular day, what old lies about food make it difficult for you to resist temptation? Do hard times makes these lies harder to resist? Drawing on what the Bible teaches about God's love, what new truths might you use to replace your old lies? Jill's answer: I tend to listen to the lie that food will make me feel better. That I deserve to eat whatever unhealthy thing I'm craving because I've been through something miserable. I remember believing these lies as a younger woman about going to far physically on a date or drinking too much alcohol or following the crowd and experimenting with other options. For a few moments, the good feeling was there for me. Then, the guilt would flood in as well. It is no different today with food. Maybe it's more acceptable in Christian circles, but it's still a lie. And, it's still SIN! Food does not fulfill. God fulfills me. And, He is always there. I can rest on the fact that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And, that His love endures forever!

5. "See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut" ~ Revelation 3:8  If God were to speak these words directly to you about your struggles with food, what do you hope you would see and experience on the other side of the door? Jill's answer: Joy, peace, true and unconditional love, power, strength, help. JESUS!

OK, I know we all have those stinkin', rotten, horrible, no good days. (I think I'll move to Australia. Remember that book from childhood?) Some of us have more than our share. Maybe that's you. Maybe you don't know how you're going to make it through today, let alone this week or this month! But, turning to food is not going to help any of us. In fact, our drug of choice can be just as deadly as a needle, a pill, or a cigarette. We need to stop the insanity. Yes, I remember that lady in the 80's who coined that phrase and got everybody on board with her weight loss method. But, it's not about that. The insanity is believing we can find fulfillment in anything or anyone but God. Not even being thin can bring about true peace and contentment. So, let's pray for God to fill us up this week, even in those really difficult moments. Pray for me and I'll pray for you. Agreed? Let me know with a comment! I. LOVE. YOU.