Hmm... It's hard to even start this post, because I'm not too excited to put it into writing. At the same time, I make it one of my personal goals for this blog to be open. To not post about this would be like leaving out a huge chunk of what's going on in my life.
Every year I say I want to lose weight. Every year I try for a few weeks. Some years I might even try for a few months and lose 20 pounds or so (before gaining it back). It's definitely a cycle I don't want to repeat.
For the past few months it has been on my heart to make some real changes in my life. The death of my Uncle Jim last month caused me to want to make changes even more. He was such a role model of healthy living, and I know that he (silently) must have hurt to see me so heavy and unhealthy the past several years. I can honor him best by taking my own health seriously.
The first of the year rolled around and our church staff asked us to join them in a fast for the first 21 days of 2012. Some are doing a Daniel fast; others are fasting other things that the Lord has put on their hearts. Our family would be in the second category.
Honestly, we are *SO* unhealthy in the way we live. I'd say we usually eat out 3-4 times a week. When we are at home, we fill ourselves with almost all processed food, with a piece of fruit here or there. We go to get something to eat AS SOON as we feel a slight pang of hunger. We eat when we are bored. We eat way after our stomach would signal "full" (or maybe "fool")! We intake LOTS of sodium, and LOTS of sugar, and LOTS of carbohydrates. Thankfully We've done a few things right, and all of our kids drink water except for an occasional juice or soda, and all of them like raw veggies. [I personally do not like a single raw veggie!]
Now that you know how we live, maybe it will be easier to understand that what we are fasting doesn't sound difficult for some, but is a challenge for us. Until January 21st we will be drinking only water, and will not eat between meals except for raw fruits, veggies, or nuts. We will eat no processed sugars. We want to "fill" our hearts with the Lord and His word. A craving is an opportunity to stop and pray. [Please note: I don't mention our fast to gain any sort of praise, but rather so you can see the whole picture of what's going on in our family right now.]
In addition to the things we are doing for spiritual reasons, we are endeavoring to make some other changes. At the very least, Eric and I can be physically active 30 minutes a day. We can work through our current pantry items and replace them with a more healthy alternative. We can commit to eating out NO MORE than 1 time each week. We can exercise portion control, and stop eating when our stomach is no longer feeling pangs of hunger. We can eat MUCH more fiber, far fewer high-glycemic foods, and many more whole grains and other whole foods.
It's a lot of change for our family, but we all need the change. Eric and I need to make changes to become more healthy and increase or life-spans. Taevy and Bright (I think) will benefit with their behavioral issues by eating less processed foods. Samren, like Eric and I, has to watch his weight and activity level. Kendi takes meds that make her more prone to high cholesterol, so a healthy diet is certainly prescribed for her.
How's it going? Honestly, it's sort of rough! We have tried to protect ourselves from doing too much too quickly and then giving up because it's too difficult. At the same time, we want it to be a challenge.
Water: This has been much harder for me than it should be! I gave up caffeine a long time ago, and have limited myself to one (diet, caffeine-free) soda a day for years. But I have picked up Vitamin water as an alternative. I love the stuff! The first day I went to "water only" it tasted pretty nasty (from our fridge or faucet). Seven days in and water now tastes good, but I am far from craving it. I'd still love a soda or vitamin water with dinner!
No Snacking/Healthy Snacking: THIS has been a huge struggle for me. During the day, not so much, because I am really focused on work and kid stuff. But at night, both before and after dinner and ESPECIALLY before bed, this is hard. I usually eat a bowl of (sugary) cereal or eat some other ooey-gooey dessert before bed. And the car! I never realized how much I eat while I'm driving! I have learned I have a big habit of nibbling on skittles or M&Ms (which are kept in the car for Eric's low blood sugar)! The other night I was driving back home alone after dropping kids off at b-ball practice and it was all I could do to not eat a few M&Ms! Not only would that have broken a personal goal, but also a spiritual commitment. A call to my mom got me through without cheating!
The fact is, I am addicted to food. Weight? I'm not even talking about that right now. It's about my RELATIONSHIP with food. I look forward to eating. I plan my next snack/dessert like a crazy person. I eat when I'm sad, happy, frustrated, stressed, and celebratory! I worry about having to feel hunger for even a few minutes out of the day. This is not what I want.
I'm reading two books right now. Both of them are helping me, and yet they are very different and even contradict each other in some ways. "Healthy at Every Size" and "Made to Crave--Satisfying your Deepest Desire with God, not Food."
From HAES I have learned some interesting information about the "obesity epidemic" (or lack thereof). I feel very secure in my desire to GET HEALTHY. If I lose weight, I will be delighted. I will jump up and down (and hopefully no longer have a boob hit me in the face)! It's hard not to put the focus on losing weight, because that's what I'm used to doing and that's what the world tells me I should be doing. But losing weight cannot be my primary goal. In my deepest self, I want to be able to jog around the block even more than I want to go down a pant size. I want to keep myself from becoming diabetic even more than I want to lose my double chin. I have accepted that my personal set point for weight may never be the number I want it to be, but that doesn't mean that I can't become more healthy.
I am still early in the "Made to Crave" book, but it is certainly helpful. It's focused on losing weight, but the book can easily be applied to my own goals. I don't agree with everything the author says, but I think she has some really helpful (and really common sense) tips. When I am in the midst of a craving, pray. Say scripture. Turn to the Lord. I can endeavor to put the Lord in the place where food is currently.
There. I've said it. It's no longer a secret fight for change. At the same time, I shy away from teaming up with friends to help keep me accountable. For me that doesn't work. I just feel extra ashamed when I fail. I need to make a life-long change and I need to be able to do it without a cheer squad. I am sure that I will blog about all of this get-healthy stuff, because for me writing is purging stuff that otherwise festers inside of me.
Now, I'm hungry! I'm off to eat an apple that I don't want, in hopes that it will somehow taste like chocolate!