Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh-Oh, We're Half Way There!

I ran three miles this morning! That's half the distance (basically) for the big 10K in September. This is good. I'm actually beginning to believe I can do this! Of course, I could never do it on my own. But, with Jesus helping me and the support of the ever-encouraging Katie Post, I think I'm in good shape (metaphorically speaking, of course). It's still discouraging to see the body lumps and bumps in the mirror, but I'm beginning to feel some kind of a shift here. And, oh how good does it feel!

How are your summer goals coming? Let's celebrate. Or, if you need prayer to get back on track, we can do that, too. We are in this TOGETHER!!! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Made to Crave Monday - Chapter 18

Hello, my FABULOUS friend! I just wanted to say, "You are beautiful and God loves you!" Don't know why but I thought you might need that precious reminder today.

Well, we are up to chapter 18 in Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst and I have to say things are beginning to take root in me that have been choked out by the rocks and weeds of unhealthy ideas and habits in the past. I hope you're feeling the same way. This week we're revisiting a verse in the Bible that has been a go-to phrase for me during this journey toward healthy. I think it's good to revisit these words and the idea that there are some foods that simply are not the best for me to include in my general lifestyle and diet. That's not a super exciting idea, but I am starting to see the benefits of making some foods a red light for the good of myself and my family.

I'd love to hear what God is doing in your heart through this week's chapter. After reading my answers to the following questions, please take a moment to comment with your thoughts. We're in this struggle together, so let's encourage each other every change we get!

Discussion Questions for Chapter 18

1. "'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible for me' - but I will not be mastered by anything" (1 Cor 6:12). When it comes to healthy eating, what are the things that are permissible for you but not beneficial? Is there anything permissible that might nevertheless have the potential to master you? How do you feel about the idea that you may have to avoid some foods forever?
Jill's answer: As far as eating just for the sake of eating and nothing else, I don't think I could say anything should be off limits forever. Do I need to take them out of the place of God in my life and return them to their rightful spot? Yes, absolutely. But, I have seen in the past the downfalls of writing off an entire food group FOREVER. Especially if it's a GOOD food as long as it's eaten in moderation. Chemicals, poisons, and a lot of processed stuff, yes, I can see a need to say goodbye for the long run. But, a sweet treat made with pure, whole ingredients, I can see partaking in moderation and a whole lot less often. HOWEVER...I do have an issue with the pain that comes with fibromyalgia. Now that I've been allowing sugar back into my diet, I have noticed a significant increase in that pain. So, yes, sugar is permissible, but I can say it is absolutely NOT beneficial for me. It not only causes my belly to grow, but eating it too often and in too high doses can lead to an excruciating pain flare-up all over my body! I'm considering eliminating white sugar from my diet permanently. I realize there will always be those special occasions when a cupcake or cookie would be OK. But, I know the damage it does when I become too lenient. So, yes, white sugar may be one of those foods that I have to say, for the most part, simply cannot be a regular part of my lifestyle.

2. "I can" is a powerful little statement for a girl feeling deprived. In what ways might you incorporate these two very small but mighty words into your healthy eating journey?
Jill's answer: With Jesus' help, I CAN make the right choices each and every day that will not only fuel my body, but help it operate to its fullest capacity with the least amount of pain possible!

3. Think of an old-fashioned  balance scale, the kind with a pan on either side that counterbalances one weight against the other. Imagine placing in one pan all the things you need to give up and in the other pan all the things you've gained and will continue to gain. Which side holds the most weight and significance for you?
Jill's answer: Oh, definitely the pan with the things already gained and yet to be gained by a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating. Being able to get out of bed in the morning with a lot less pain. Being able to lift my five-year-old daughter for a hug and kiss. Being able to make it past 8:30pm without feeling desperately exhausted. All of this and more is a gain that can make me completely forget about the sacrifices. (If only the rest of the world would forget to tempt me as well.)

4. "We like to identify our shortcomings, form them into a club, and mentally beat the tar out of ourselves". In what ways have you identified with and punished yourself for your shortcomings? Instead of punishing yourself, can you imagine giving these things to Jesus and asking Him to chisel them away? How might the truh of His compassion help you to break free from your shortcomings in ways that self-condemnation cannot?
Jill's answer: Every time I discover a shortcoming in myself, I become determined to whip myself into shape and totally eliminate the weakness. However, like most people who try to do things in their strength, once it gets hard I give up. I talk myself into accepting that imperfect part of me and to stop beating myself up for being human. This has happened time and time and time again in my 41 years on this planet. However, in those rare situations when I've decided to ask Jesus to work in me and through me, INSTEAD of trying to make the change happen on my own, I've seen a true transformation take place. That is what I need in this struggle with food and weight. Instead of beating myself up and then deciding to just not care so much and accept myself as I am...I need to go FIRST to my God and Savior and simply ask Him to mold and shape my desires and habit into ones that please Him instead of me. I have seen this in many areas of my life, and need to trust that it will be the same with food. Why is this the one area that I continually believe will change if I just have enough determination? Why do I continually go back to relying on what I can do to make things different? Why don't I go to the One who has proven that He can and will give me the strength to break free from the prison of old habits and into the freedom of a healthy lifestyle? It's SO simple, and yet I make it so hard. Self-condemnation and self-deceit have to hit the road. It's time for a new Jill to take shape through the careful and gentle chiseling of my Creator!

Have you decided to give up some foods for good simply because they aren't beneficial for you? How's that going? Please join in the discussion with a comment!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Body HURTS!

Note to self: Do not take 6 DAYS OFF from running and then try to increase your distance by 1/2 a mile!

Two and half miles today in about 33 minutes. Happy I did it. Happy it's over. Happy Katie Post was talking to me the whole time. Happy I was able to inwardly shout out for help to Jesus during the whole run!

Now, I need to remember...CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY!

Countdown to the 10K ~ 12 weeks from this Saturday!!!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Made To Crave Monday - Chapter 17

Good morning, my friends! We are so close to the end of our Made to Crave journey. Thank you for being a part of this with me. I don't know about you, but I often struggle with follow through. So, to see that we only have two chapters left after today is amazing to me. We've been having this discussion for more than 17 WEEKS. Amazing! I usually give up when things get tough or emotionally messy. Maybe you deal with that tendency as well. Well, way to go US for sticking with it and continiuing to encourage each other as we travel along! This week will be no different. Here. We. Go.

Discusion Questions for Chapter 17

1. If you had been in the room with the three pastors Lysa describes at the beginning of the chapter, how would you have answered the question, "Is discipline really sustainable?"
Jill's answer: I think I would have had a similar answer to Lysa's. No, of course not, discipline is absolutely NOT sustainable because we are weak, imperfect beings. In our own strength, biblical discipline cannot take place long term. BUT, with God, YES! With the help of our Maker and Savior, we can find a lifestyle of discipline and obedience that can be sustained for a lifetime. Only by keeping our trust and hope in and our eyes on Him!
And, OH, how I need to renew my focus on Jesus in this area. My daily discipline is so poor it's laughable at times. Except, the impact is has on me...and my not funny at all. My choices impact my husband and my daughter just as much, if not more, than they impact me. It's time to grow up and take repsonsibility for myself and my choices! Jesus HELP me, here!

2. Lysa points out the crucial connection between holiness - being set aside for a noble use - and daily disciplines with food. How do you understand the relationship between your food choices and your ability to "put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph 4:24)?
Jill's answer: When we cross that line of faith, we are new creations. Our slavery to sin is over. Gluttony is sin. It's that simple. I don't like being so blunt with myself, but it's SO true. Eating more than I need to eat, to the point of SIN! Yuck, I hate the S word. It takes what I like to thing of as a mere struggle to ugly disobedience and even indifference to God. If I'm truly going to "put on the new self", I'm going to allow God to rescue me from slavery to my impulses, desires, and tastebuds! I'm going to allow Him to recreate me from the inside out!

3. "The very next choice we make isn't really about the food...It's about whether or not we're positioning ourselves to live the kind of God-honoring lives in which, by God's strength, sustained discipline is possible". Does this idea encourage or frighten you? Why?
Jill's answer: A little bit of both. It's encouraging to know that it all centers on ONE CHOICE at a time. But, it's frightening to think that every little choice can take me either closer to or further away from living a God-honoring life in which sustained discipline is possible with Jesus' help. It really helps me to see the weight of my everyday decisions rather than just viewing them as little meaningless actions! And, I realize how I need to lean on His strength for every little choice that I make.

4. Is Lysa's "Unsettle Me" prayer one you feel you are ready to pray for yourself? What fears would you have about praying this prayer? What excites you about the possibilities of this prayer for your life?
Jill's answer: I have been praying versions of this prayer when it comes to seeing the needs around me and how I can help meet them in Jesus' love. I've been praying this type of prayer when it comes to being the kind of mother and wife I truly want to be and that my family needs. But, when it comes to food, I haven't been praying anything like this at all. I've just been asking God for an overarching 'strength' and then trying to muscle through. I have failed so many times. So, yes, I want to be completely unsettled in this area. Food has such a hold on me, as does a sedentary lifestyle. I want to be unsettled to the point where unhealthy choices and inactivity just no longer satisfy!

5. "One wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lastng discipline". Do you esteem your small, daily food choices or do you tend to feel they don't really matter all that much? How might your life be different if you could achieve utter dependence on God and lasting discipline? What benefits would you most enjoy experiencing?
Jill's answer: I think my daily, small choices are allowed to slip by unnoticed for the most part. If I were to achieve utter dependence on God and lasting dscipline, I would enjoy the freedom that comes from letting go of an attachment to food and grasping onto an active lifestyle focused on Jesus. I want to be able to make those healthy choices even when it seems like a small decision. Even when I feel like I've been giving up so much, just a little indulgence won't hurt. I want to remain obedient and God-honoring in the small choices as well as the big decisions. I can only imagine the freedoms this kind of daily obedience would bring. More than smaller size and liking what I see in the mirror. I can imagine more peace and contentment as well! Right now I'm experiencing brokenness. With God helping me to have a daily discipline, I can see that my life would become whole!

OK, this is getting pretty tough, huh? No more excuses. No more blaming hormones, genetices, or even the lack of training I experienced in this area growing up. It's time to get real about dying to myself when it comes to my total addiction to FOOD! God is my refuge and my strength, not food. It's time to live a life that reflects this Truth!

How about you? Where are you in this whole process? Please share your journey with a comment, even if you haven't read the book. I'd love to hear from YOU!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some good news and some bad news

The Good, The Bad, and the Rest...
Morning! I thought I'd give a brief update on how things are going for me on this journey to healthy. I'd love to hear yours as well!

Good news - I'm making better choices over all.
Bad news - I could have chosen fresh fruit at the radio station this morning but I chose half a cinnamon crunch bagel WITH cream cheese instead.
Good news - I didn't eat the other half as well!

Bad news - YES - as you can see I'm no longer adhering completely to my food elimination plan
Good news - BUT, I have eliminated most processed foods and sugar AND soda...for good! Yes, I know the cinnamon crunch bagel has lots of sugar...but things like this have become a more infrequent indulgence.

Good news - I'm holding strong at 11 pounds lost
Bad news - I haven't lost any more weight
Good news - I haven't gained the weight back!

Good news - I can run at least two miles w/o stopping and at a pretty decent pace for an overweight just-about-to-turn-41-year-old
Bad news - still a long way to go to be ready for that 10K (6.22 miles) in September
Good news - the always encouraging Katie Post will be running with me tomorrow!
GOD news - with Jesus, I can DO this!

That's kind of it in a nutshell for me these days. Oh, and I joined a new Bible Study for Made to Crave at my friend Rigan's house. SWEET! It's some extra encouragement I really need right now!

TAG, YOU'RE IT! What's the good and bad news in your journey toward healthy? Let's share with each other and pray each other through!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Made To Crave Monday - Chapter 16

Oh, the diet trap(s). I think I've visited them all. The lemonade diet, the Atkins Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Daniel Fast (not for fasting but for the sake of losing weight...big difference), Herbal Life name it, I've most likely tried it. So, this chapter was a necessity for me! Can you relate? Well, let's jump in then!

Discussion questions for Chapter 16 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

1. Have you ever been lured in by the promises of an infomercial or fad diet? What was it about the diet that appealed to you most? Did it guarantee quick results? Promise you could eat whatever you wanted and still lose weight? What about it made you think, 'Maybe, just maybe this one is a sure thing'? How did you feel when it didn't deliver as promised or you gained back the weight you'd lost?
Jill's answer: Oh, yes, I've been lured in by the promises of an informercial or fad diet! Let me count the ways...ha ha! I think the ones that have appealed most to me are ones that I've seen friends have success on. Seeing their results made me certain it would work for me, too. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't. But, in the long run, when I've gone off the plan, I've always wound up gaining back the weight. This has made me realize that eating healthy and exercising simply have to be part of my life, not a short term diet or restriction (unless I'm fasting and growing closer to God).

2. Lysa describes her experiences of diets as sacrificing for a season and then regaining the weight when she gets tired of sacrificing. Instead, she says she is now "on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness". What do you think about this distinction between diets and a journey with Jesus? How might your decisions about food and healthy eating change if you could really see them as part of a spiritual journey rather than a diet? Is this an idea that feels possible for you or unrealistic? Why?
Jill's answer: I guess I like to think of my whole life as a journey with Jesus and learning self control and healthy habits are just one part of that journey. I do think changing my mindset to view my entire relationship with food as something to submit to Jesus on a daily basis just as I would any struggle in life is way bettter than choosing to follow a rigid eating plan for a specific amount of time without dealing with the issues behind my struggle with food and weight. In these cases I usually start splurging as soon as the specific time is up (or even before at times). So, a day by day, step by step journey is probably a much more realistic approach to eating for me. It's hard though, because I'm a very impulsive person and prone to deciding to start some new plan, diet, or fad at the drop of a hat. Self control is key in this area for me, I believe!

3. "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Cor 10:13). This is a promise with which many of us who grew up in church are very familiar, maybe too familiar. Do you believe, and really believe way down deep, that this promise applies to you and your temptations with food? For Lysa God's "way out" is to plan in advance what she will eat. How hard is it for you to look for a way out when temptation catches you off guard?
Jill's answer: My head believes it, but I don't know if my heart truly does. Well, I guess it obviously doesn't or I wouldn't find myself typing these repsonses today at almost 45 pounds overweight!! Planning ahead is a really good tool and a perfect "way out" from temptation. My biggest struggle seems to be when the food is planned by someone else. Sometimes I see that as carte blanche to eat whatever I want. Sometimes a treat is OK, sometimes I go overboard. The goal here is to learn to make every bite count and enjoy treats on a much more infrequent basis. Then, looking for a way out when temptation catches me off guard is necessary, too. It can be hard, but it will be crucial if I'm going to make lifelong changes.

4. "Idolatry, in the case of food, means the consumption of ill-sized portions and unhealthy choices because we feel like we deserve it or need it to feel better". Do you agree with this definition? If so, what was the last time you committed idolatry with food? What prompted you to do so? If not, do you believe it is possible to make an idol out of food? why or why not?
Jill's answer: I'm not sure about that for a definition of idolatry. Maybe for gluttony? However, I do believe anything you put before God in your life IS an idol, so maybe in the case of food this definition could work. I have just committed this form of "idolatry" yesterday. I decided to "treat" myself, because I had been so diligent with my food elimination eating plan, with ice cream at Baskin Robbins with Alyssa (my five year old) and some friends. The only problem was that I not only gave myself "permission" to eat my scoop, but also at least half of Alyssa's scoop that she didn't finish! It seems that when I start down this path of flawed thinking it SO quickly snowballs into a full-fledged BINGE! Yikes. I need to be able to have a more balanced approach to all foods, including ice cream.

5. There are two elephants in the room when Lysa talks about feelings of deserving certain foods or needing a treat to get by:
~ Elephant 1: "It's my party and I'll eat cake if I want to. Don't tell me I have to give up all treats for all time."
~ Elephant 2: "I don't think this sounds like a spiritual journey. I think this sounds like a legalistic approach to eating."
With which elephant do you most resonate? Do you feel you can eat treats as you usually do and still make healthy choices? Do you resist the idea that your battle with food can become a liberating spiritual jouney? What past experiences inform your views?
Jill's answer: I definitely resonate with Elephant 1. "Deserving" a treat is such a way of thinking for me. I "deserve" it because I've been working so hard, because it's my birthday, because I haven't had one in a while, because it's Monday, whatever! Having a treat isn't a bad thing, it's the frequency that gets me into trouble and also failing to make healthy choices in other areas of eating and exercise. Learning to have balance when it comes to these choices is the goal because it is something I'll need to maintain for a lifetime, not just a few days, weeks, or months. So, yes, I strongly believe that my battle with food can become a liberating spiritual journey, just like any area of temptation can. Every day, every decision can take me closer to trusting God to help me overcome the grasp food has on my life!

What do you think? Please comment with your answers to this week's discussion questions so we can keep the conversation going!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

There's a first for everything...apparently!

I guess I really had thought that, since I started going gray at 18, somehow I was going to get out of the whole wrinkle thing. WRONG! Over the weekend, guess what I found? Yep, the first wrinkle. It's kind of significant in a woman's life, don't you think? That first wrinkle. I even toyed around with the idea of naming it in order to give a proper amount of ceremony to this momentous occasion. But, I couldn't come up with a name that quite captured everything I feel about this new find. So, if you have ideas, I'd love to hear them!

In the meantime, I found this short video with ideas on how to not age yourself by making common make-up mistakes. Maybe you'll find it as helpful as I did. It's amazing how a simple change in application technique can make such a HUGE difference. Check it out...

Happy aging, my FABULOUS friend.

What's your favorite tip for looking younger without spending a lot of time or money?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 15

Ah, the boundary issue!
I don't know about you but I've always been a HUGE fan of boundaries except when it comes to actually putting them in place and living within them. Whether it's unhealthy relationships with people or with food, it doesn't matter. I can see that it is so healthy to have them, but when it comes down to it, I've always struggled with the implementing of boundaries. A lot of growth and strength is needed here. Can you relate? Author Lysa TerKeurst takes us there in this week's chapter of Made to Crave. Let's talk about it...

Discussion Questions for Ch 15

1. Congratulations! You've been chosen to participate in the latest reality TV show. How much would your eating change if you knew that dozens of tiny hidden cameras were strategically placed throughout your life, recording everything you ate and broadcasting it live on a local cable channel? 
Jill's answer: I think my eating would change a LOT - at least until I got used to having the cameras on 24/7! :)

2. As Lysa was modifying her eating, she had to flee some temptations because her brokenness could not handle certain freedoms. What areas of brokenness in your life aren't yet capable of handling freedoms? How do you typically respond to temptations in these areas?
Jill's answer: Definitely the area of eating as well! I've been trying to give myself some freedoms for special occasions/holidays lately and I have gone COMPLETELY and TOTALLY overboard! I can't believe how easy it's been to go from my elimination eating plan to giving myself "just one" treat to throwing it all aside. The past couple weeks have been horrific and a telltale sign that I am still broken in this area and not ready for certain freedoms.

3. When it comes to boundaries with food, it's important to focus on what we can have rather than what we can't have. When you think of what you can have right now, for what three to five foods are you most grateful? How might focusing on these foods keep you from dwelling on the foods you can't have right now?
Jill's answer: I am extremely thankful for Lara bars, walnuts, salads, mini coconut ice cream fudge bars sweetened with agave, and sweet potatoes! If I can focus on these foods and the other foods I can have right now, it will really help me avoid dwelling on the the foods I can't have. When I start dwelling on those foods, I start giving myself "permission" to have just one bite here, just one handful there, just one binge...oh no! It really goes downhill quickly!

4. Lysa describes 7 healthy boundaries that are helping her on her eating adventure. For each of the boundaries listed below place a number from 1 to 10 to indicate whether the boundary feels more like a punishing restriction or a hedge of safety for you. (1 meaning all the way to the boundary feeling like a punishing restriction and 10 meaning all the way to the boundary feeling like a hedge of safety.)

God has given me power over my food choices. I hold the power - not the food. So, if I'm not supposed to eat it, I won't put it in my mouth. 7

I was made for more than being stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat. I am not made to be a victim of my poor choices. I was made to be a victorious child of God. 10

When I am struggling and considering a compromise, I will have to choose to either remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation. 5

When I'm invited to a party or another special occasion rolls around, I can find ways to celebrate that don't involve blowing my healthy eating plan. 3

Struggling with my weight isn't God's mean curse for me. Being overweight is an outside indication that internal changes are needed for my body to function properly and for me to feel well. 9

I have these boundaries in place not for restriction but to define the parameters of my freedom. My brokenness can't handle more freedom than this right now. And I'm good with that. 7

Take a moment to review your responses. What do they reveal about how you view boundaries? Which boundary feels most like a restriction? Is this something you've struggled with before? What boundary feels most like safety? How might you lean into this boundary to give you strength and confidence with the boundaries that might be harder for you to keep?
Jill's answer:  It looks like I like the idea of boundaries and the freedoms they actually bring a whole lot more than actually putting the boundaries in place and living within them. I loved the thought about being a victorious child of God and realizing that being overweight is simply an outward indication that I need to make changes to feel and look better. And, apparently, I realize that healthy boundaries actually provide freedom rather than inhibit it. However, the thought of actually removing myself or a temptation when things get tough is a different story. That feels really hard. Also, finding ways to celebrate that don't involve food feels so unfair. Everyone else gets to have cake at a birthday party or wedding. Why can't I? It feels almost imprisoning in many ways. But, I think this is where my thinking needs to change in order for true freedom to be found in my relationship with food. If I don't make these changes in my thinking and in my actions, I believe I will never win this battle with weight and food issues. Much prayer and determination is needed here!

What are your thoughts? Please jump in and take this conversation to the next level. Maybe we can learn the freedom of boundaries together!