Category Archives: Balance

A Big Slice of Humble Pie

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Last week I gave a lesson on the need for both humility and self-esteem. The result for me (that didn’t really hit me until yesterday,) was a big slice of humble pie, and a little voice inside my head with the question: “did you even hear yourself?”

It was not a good presentation (and I am not, NOT, NOT fishing for reassurance, so please don’t go there.) I stumbled over my words. I tanked on trying to explain “asceticism” and tie it in to the lesson. My power point wasn’t readable. I relied too much on my notes. I was boring. (Wow, there are a lot of “I’s” and “my’s” in that paragraph…my first hint that something is wrong!)

So, I’ve been fretting over it ever since. There are a lot of other frets that took up valuable brain space (and heart space) last week, too. Like my fret about my continuing fight against fat, and how I looked, and how my clothes fit (or didn’t), and hating my glasses and how I have to forever take them off and put them back on and how they make my eyes look like I’m ogling the person I’m talking to…and how my scaly heels needed a good pedicure (just keepin’ it real, y’all!) And then, did I hurt someone with my words or opinions given in the afternoon forum that same day? Did I mention that the reason I have these opinions is because I’ve made these mistakes and learned from them? Does someone think I’m a hypocrite? (Wow, do preachers wonder these things every week??) Will someone think less of me if I admit these insecurities? Will someone think I’m somehow disingenuous if I write about my own lack of confidence and humility – and then post it publicly? Fret, fret, fret.

Wow, lots more of those “I’s” and “me’s” and “my’s”.

Back to the lesson last week. What I was trying to relay to the audience was that our confidence and self-esteem shouldn’t come from how we think others perceive us…or from things or looks or smarts or from the admiring masses. Our humility shouldn’t be “pretend” – all the while enjoying the attention that our “modesty” attracts.

The light bulb came on yesterday morning. I already knew that the more I focused on me, myself, and I, the more Satan could distract me from my task at hand. But what really hit me yesterday is how he REALLY uses it against me when the me, myself, and I isn’t a matter of pride at all, but rather disappointment with me, myself, and I. My self-esteem had taken a hit because I was not pleased with how I might have been perceived or misunderstood. Basically, I was simply preoccupied with myself.

In last week’s lesson, I tried to convey that Godly humility looked like the heart of a servant, like Jesus. That humility says “I came not to be served” (or, I suppose, “liked”, or “admired”, or “fawned over”) “but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).  Humility is doing “nothing from selfish ambition or conceit” but counting “others more significant than yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3-4). Hard for me to do, when I’m only focused on myself.

I hoped to show that regardless of how we look or sound to the world around us, God sees our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). The Maker of the universe knows me better than I know myself, and the precious blood of His only Son redeemed me. I am a daughter of the King (Romans 8)! That, truly, is the only confidence I need. Feeling like you’ve presented something with clarity is a good thing. Complimentary, supportive friends are nice, too! But I think they’re the “gravy” in life. My confidence and self-worth has to come from God.

“Physician, heal yourself” came to mind yesterday morning while cleaning the kitchen and thinking of the things I wished I’d said and done differently last week. How sadly ironic. Did I even listen to my own words? I know I believed them. But did I apply them to MYSELF last week?  Evidently not.

I’m trying, now!

OBSESSED

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A few years ago, I saw an episode of an A&E television show called “Obsessed” that gave a glimpse into the lives of people with different anxiety disorders. One man was obsessed with working out. He would get up extra early in the morning to go to the gym before work, and he would work out during breaks at the company gym, and then would stop at the gym AGAIN on his way home.

At the time, I was a complete couch potato and could not fathom ANYONE being willing to subject himself to such torture not just once, but THREE or FOUR times daily! But now…now that I’m a long-distance-runner-hurdler-professional-weight-lifter-and-all-around-athlete 😉 I can relate a bit more. Well…actually I guess I should say that since I now go to the gym (usually) three times a week (except in December) I can relate a bit more.

It is hard not to be a bit obsessive when you’re trying to get rid of extra weight. The grocery store feels like a battle zone with sugar IEDs lurking on every aisle. The “Grilled Chicken Bowtie Festival” winks at you from Carino’s menu, luring you in with the words “grilled chicken” and then slapping you with the sneaky asiago cream sauce. And it’s scary to fall off the workout wagon – because once you’re off, it’s so hard to get back on again!

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Here’s what I’m still learning. It’s okay to have some Bowtie Festival every once in a while, and even then you don’t have to eat the whole plate full. If you have a 14 year old boy, you can count on him to be happy to finish anything you can’t. You can also have some Raspberry M&M’s, if you can make the bag last for a couple of months (yes, months!) And it’s not the end of the world if you go a week without working out. Just get back on the wagon and keep going.

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Food log today: Egg McMuffin from McDonalds. Chicken tortilla soup and some Garcias chips for lunch. Buffalo pretzel chips for snack. And maybe a Ghirardelli peppermint chocolate square. Four slices of lean brisket and a spinach salad for supper.

Trying to Stay Un-Hefty

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Isn’t “un-hefty” a word? If it isn’t, it should be!

We’ve had a few people ask us “how we did it” (losing weight), and the following is part of an email between me and a friend. I have to say that we still are fighting to lose the last bit and are fully aware that it’ll be a fight to keep it off. I don’t have any illusions that we’ve got it all figured out! I just thought some of you might be interested in a few of the things that worked best for John and me.

By the way, this is one of the photos that I saw of myself that was kind of “the last straw.” I keep it on my refrigerator for motivation. And because I love Gretchen. 🙂

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“Weight Watchers really does work because it teaches you to make better choices and it’s a lifestyle change, not a fad.

As far as my advice – I would say, don’t be in a big hurry because you need to be in it for the long haul. Don’t say “I’ve got to do it in six months” because that can set you up for failure. Also, don’t set unrealistic goals because you may get discouraged.

Track your food / points EVERY MEAL, EVERY DAY! (John didn’t track, he just followed me…but I had to or I’d forget what I’d eaten.) If you don’t have time to record it before you eat it, take a picture of your plate with your phone camera and then you can take time later to track your points.

Set a goal for losing ten pounds, and then go from there. Losing really is motivating, and it’s easier to lose in the beginning but don’t get discouraged if it slows down a little. The less you weigh, the less you need to eat, so your points will go down. Sometimes that’s a little depressing because you already think you don’t get to eat enough…but it’s worth it!

Discover new foods that you like and that satisfy you. The things that helped me the most are good Boars Head deli meats (smoked turkey, Bavarian ham) for breakfast or lunch (I don’t even need bread) – lots of protein and no carbs and fat (but be careful of sodium content)….also Laughing Cow cheese. The light ones are two for one point – great on pretzel chips and on baked potatoes. Also, we love spinach salads with grilled chicken – lots of grocery stores carry frozen pre-grilled chicken breasts so it’s easy to make a salad. There are lots of good light salad dressings, but I prefer the real stuff, I just don’t use much of it. Progresso light soups are filling and tasty.

Find the things that are high in protein (so they are filling and satisfying) and not just empty sugar calories. Most cereals are just sugar, so it was hard in the beginning, because I like cereal – but I hardly eat any now.

Find a good salsa and use that instead of cheese on eggs or baked potatoes, etc….I love Julios.

Give up ANY kind of sugar drink and switch to diet. (A lot of people say the diet sodas aren’t good for you and I’m sure they’re not but it has been pretty crucial for my weight loss to be able to have a diet soda.) I don’t even miss the regular ones any more. At all. And it didn’t take long – maybe a week or two for me to not miss it. I love Diet DP, DP Ten, Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi with cherry….almost all of them are great! Red Diamond splenda sweetened tea is good.

I’ll eat a little teaspoon of peanut butter when I’m feeling munchy – it’s semi-high in points but tastes good and is filling.

Most of this will all depend on your tastes. That’s what I mean when I say – find what works for you. Stick with it every day – don’t have a “cheat day” (unless that works for you) because to me, it would ruin my whole week.

One of the biggest things I guess is – when you’re eating something, ask yourself “am I really enjoying this?” If your answer is not whole heartedly YES, throw it away. Don’t waste calories on it. Save that for things you really enjoy.

If you have a big piece of cake in front of you and you’re feeling guilty – eat a bite or two and then pour your drink on top of it.  That really works for me, because it takes the temptation away and you won’t keep nibbling it.”

We wish you the best!

Bacon Makes Me Happy

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Last Sunday, John made us miserable but today he made us happy. 🙂 One of the things that he said that stood out to me was this:

“The world promises a lot, but delivers little.”

Isn’t that the truth? We love to be given gifts and pampered and showered with adoration and praise – we think THAT is what makes us happy. But God gives a much better picture of happiness:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

We also think that being skinny will make us happy. But today, Oreo Balls and Holiday Bacon Appetizers made ME happy – at least temporarily. Here is the link for those of you who asked:

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http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/holiday-bacon-appetizers-recipe/index.html

They don’t look too pretty, but they were tasty!

Food log today – cottage cheese and one scrambled egg for breakfast, and about 10 almonds. Lunch – 4 oz meatloaf (made with 96% lean ground beef), 1/2 of a baked potato with a Laughing Cow swiss cheese (you can have TWO for ONE point!), green beans. A 1X2 slice of Tim’s birthday cake. Supper…finger foods at our Care Group meeting. I had 3 of the bacon appetizers, some pita chips and hummus, two boneless Wild Wings, some carrots, and a naked Oreo Ball (no chocolate coating – probably cut the calories by a little bit!) 🙂 Not a great food day. Oh, well – tomorrow is another day.

What Do You See In the Mirror?

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360_anorexia_0615Back in 1981 when the world as we knew it had only three channels, I watched a movie called “The Best Little Girl in the World.” The movie was about Casey (Jennifer Jason Leigh, remember her?) – a teenage girl who struggled with an eating disorder. I vividly remember one scene in which Casey stood alone in front of a full length mirror, wearing only a bathing suit. Her eyes saw chubby thighs, a spare tire around her middle, and a double chin when she was merely skin and bones. Casey’s mother (who had no idea the extent of the condition her daughter was in) suddenly opened the door and was horrified to see the reality of shoulder, rib, and hip bones jutting against Casey’s skin. I was a petite little girl at the time – and couldn’t imagine anyone deliberately making themselves upchuck (Mom’s word) but I remember a character in the movie saying it was “better than being fat.”

Body image is a complicated thing. When I looked in the mirror 75 pounds ago, I saw a pear shaped woman. Guess what? When I look in the mirror now, I see a pear shaped woman.

I don’t feel more worthy, more valuable, more important or more significant than I did 75 pounds ago. That’s not to say I haven’t noticed improvements in my life: among them a sense of accomplishment and increased energy. But I’m certain that to God, my value didn’t go up as my weight went down and I know this is true of every fat, skinny, high-waisted, short-legged, beautiful, not-so-beautiful, blonde, brunette, unibrowed, wrinkled, brawny, puny, “red, yellow, black or white” individual on the planet.

I say all this not to discourage anyone from losing extra weight, but as encouragement to focus more on health and less on appearance. (Oh, I’m not going to lie – of COURSE looking better is a bonus!) But what is important to God should be reflected in our lives: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Food log for today is early because I’m going to a Christmas party catered by Carino’s  tonight and I may or may not want anyone to know what I eat later. 🙂 I got crazy and switched things up at breakfast, and had an omelette with one egg and about 1/4 cup shredded potato and some salsa, plus about 10 cocoa almonds. Lunch was a cup of beef vegetable soup and some pita chips & hummus.

Misery

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Today John made us miserable. Wait, I meant to say that he told us HOW to be miserable! (I know a few people who don’t need any help in this area and can be perfectly miserable without any help from me, thank you very much.) Of course his point was to show us how our actions and attitudes may be counter-intuitive (I had to look that one up) to our own happiness. I couldn’t help thinking that many of his points mirrored how I often felt about my size.

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First – he said to think (and talk) about yourself as much as possible. I may not have verbalized it very often, but I thought about my weight a lot. A LOT. Like, every time I passed a mirror, or bent over, or tried to button a pair of pants. That was a lot of brain space I used up thinking about myself and how I looked. Being self-absorbed with my physical appearance took away from my ability to be a whole-hearted servant of God. (And by the way, these are MY experiences…I know not every person who struggles with their weight has the same issues as me.) God wants us to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). In a weird way, my weight was a source of negative conceit, which one definition explains as an exaggerated opinion of oneself. Losing some of the “baggage” has freed up that section of my brain that was preoccupied with thoughts of ME.

John also said that I could be miserable if I was suspicious and jealous of everyone. Now, being suspicious isn’t one of my character flaws…but I have to admit to some jealousy. Especially if a person was naturally thin, or was successful at losing weight. I wondered what it was like for those lucky thin girls to slide into a pair of size 8 jeans, or ESPECIALLY to be able to (1) eat a juicy hamburger, (2) dip their fries into ranch dressing and then (3) chow down on a chocolate-drizzled slab of cheesecake without gaining an ounce. Sigh. I guess I still have some work to do on this jealousy thing. But yes – I also used to be jealous of people who managed to lose weight. If I could, I would write the following sentence in a teeny tiny font where you couldn’t read it. I would tell myself “they’ll gain it all back.” The thought of the possibility of my friends hoping I’ll gain my weight again makes me sad. I’ve learned to appreciate even more what God says about love – it is kind and doesn’t envy and doesn’t think evil of others. I am thankful for friends who rejoice when I rejoice and weep when I weep – and I regret the times I have not been a better friend to others in this way. I am resolved to do better.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. I feel like I should pay a therapist’s fee to whoever reads my blog. But don’t hold your breath.

Food log for the day: 1 ½ cup raisin brain in milk for breakfast; roasted chicken breast and ½ cup pinto beans for lunch; too many of my favorite Buffalo Pretzel chips, spring mix salad with 2 oz chicken breast, boiled egg, 2 tbsp feta cheese, and 2 tsp Olive Garden dressing (FROM SAM’S – GO GET SOME, IT’S YUMMY!) for supper, and a package of maple cream of wheat for a snack. And I confess to eating 6 M&M’s. And a teaspoon of peanut butter.