I turned a not-so-needed closet into a cute little nook for my little girl. It was a simple weekend DIY project: a little paint, some scrap wood and a fun shopping trip. A little tip, I bought a cushion for outdoor furniture to use on the bench seat.
So, now that I got all that really hard stuff out, I can now begin to share with you how, in practical ways, God gave me the direction and understanding that I needed to put me on the path to healthy living.
As I received freedom from my food issues I begin praying for God to help me know what to do next. I immediately started becoming aware of when I was tempted to eat– most of the times it did not come from hunger, but something else. Next I started becoming aware of what I ate– most of the time it was something that common sense told me wasn’t very healthy. So I started making some changes: 1) I worked on eating only when I was really hungry and 2) I tried to make good choices of food.
I mentioned in my previous post that this all started to occur during the summertime. It was June. And it was hot. One day I was heading to the pool and normally I’m joined my sister and her kids, and my sister-in-law and her kids. But on this day, for reasons I can’t remember, they were not going to be there. So I decided I would take a book with me to read as I chilled poolside. I stood in front of my bookshelves looking for a book that I felt in the mood to read. There was one book that stood out– Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman.
This was no coincidence. This was answer to my prayer. I was given this book, ummmmm, probably at least three years ago. I had read the first couple of pages of the introduction and then nicely shoved it back on the bookshelf. Ha ha! But now, here I was ready to read it. In fact that day at the pool, I couldn’t read it fast enough!
As I read, I found myself blown away by effects that food has on the body, both the negative effects and the positive effects. I became aware of how ignorant I was about food, health and nutrition. It was so clear to me that afternoon that this book was part two of the formula for my road to recovery. (Part one being the spiritual condition I previously wrote about.)
That day I only read the first two chapters of Eat to Live, but in those first two chapters I got my direction loud and clear. Chapter one is titled “Digging Our Graves with Forks and Knives: The Effects of the American Diet, Part 1”. And chapter two follows with “Overfed, Yet Malnourished: The Effects of the American Diet, Part 2”. EYE OPENING! People, read this book. It’s not just for overweight people. There are many light weight unhealthy people walking around.
“The main principle of this book is that for both optimal health and weight loss, you must consume a diet with a high nutrient-per-calorie ratio.”
I’ve tried many diets and health fads in the past only to find them short lived. Dr. Fuhrman addresses this issue in the introduction and I love his way of encouraging his readers to STICK WITH IT! He writes, “…accept no excuse to fall off the wagon…do not say you will give it a try. Do not try; instead, made a commitment to do it right.” Then he compares it to marriage. “When you get married, does the religious figure or justice of the peace ask, “Do you swear to give this person a try?” “When people tell me they will give it a try, I say don’t bother, you have already decided to fail. It takes more than a try to quit addictions; it takes commitment. A commitment is a promise that you stick with, not matter what. Without commitment, you are doomed to fail.” This stuck in my head so much especially the first six weeks and helped me push through when times were tough.
The more I read the book my focus adjusted. At the beginning my main aim was to loose weight, but as I continued to read my aim became more about HEALTH and not IMAGE. Dr. Fuhrman talks a lot about reversing diseases and preventing diseases. For eight years now I have lived with PCOS and been dependent on several medications to make certain things in my body to function “properly”. I felt bad often. I felt bad if I did not take medication and then I felt worse from the side effects of the medication. I was SO READY for a change. And through Eat To Live, I found my road map to change.
Within the first six weeks I had lost over 30 pounds and there were drastic changes in the way I felt. I quickly became free from all medications! And as extreme and crazy as it sounds I felt like a NEW PERSON! The best thing is I wasn’t doing some crazy fad diet that had me eating in a way that was unreasonable to live off of. Instead I was eating whole, natural foods rich in nutrients. I was no longer addicted to caffeine, sugar, fats, salt and processed foods. Here are some of the basic guidelines I strictly followed the first two months:
1. Make a salad the main dish for lunch and dinner.
2. Eat at least four fresh fruits daily.
3. Eliminate animal and dairy products. (I did eat a very small amount of fish during this time, but it was only on a couple occasions)
4. Eliminate all processed foods and refined sugars.
5. Eat a lot of beans!
I still follow these guidelines for the most part. Although I’m not as strict to make sure I eat 2 large salads daily and I eat a very limited amount of animal products; an egg every now and then, a little bit of fish or chicken here and there. The main thing I do now is I’m careful to not develop any bad habits and I still stay away from the processed foods, refined sugars and high fat low nutrient foods. Here’s the food pyramid that I base my eating off of:
So I’ve been living this lifestyle for about five months and I’m now down 76 pounds, completely free from all medications and feeling better than I have ever felt before in my life. I have more energy, I sleep better, I don’t suffer from indigestion or heartburn anymore. My immune system is stronger, my seasonal allergies have lessened tremendously and I have a pep in my step! Every day I’m getting healthier.
I don’t write these things to lift myself up. I know that the only reason this change has taken place in me is because God has given me His strength to walk this path. If you look back on the last eight years of my life you can clearly see where I got on my own strength– no where, just wallowing in a pit of destruction. I give all thanks and glory and praise to God for making me new. He did not give up on me. He heard my cry and answered me according to His lovingkindness.
So, part of why I am sharing this with the world is because I urge you to educate yourself on food and the effects it has on your body. The saying really is true, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. For several years I lived thinking “well this is just how it has to be for me” regarding my weight, feeling bad and being dependent on medications. For many that is not true! Get educated! Here are some helpful resources:
I hope this inspires you to embark on a healthier lifestyle. And because I know people some times need a visual to back up someone’s words here are two snapshots taken from my Instagram account. : ) Happy day to you and happy eating!
BEFORE: Taken May 2012
After: Taken October 2012
Ok, readers, bear with me here. I am about to spend the next several minutes sharing about a part of my life that very few have seen. I’m going to do some peeling back of the layers of the last 8 years, and for me, it ain’t gonna be easy! However, this is part of my story and I know that part of the reason it has been given to me is to re-tell it to others. So, here I go!
Food. Everybody eats food. Food is every where. We have to eat food.
Food is a spiritual matter. If it were not so, the Bible would not have so much to say about it. So here’s my story of how food and my spiritual life are intertwined and how food became bondage in my life. I’m here to tell you how it got started, the 8 year struggle I endured, and how I received freedom from bondage.
HOW IT GOT STARTED:
Eight years ago, soon after I got married I experienced an agonizing miscarriage that knocked me off my feet. It’s still the lowest low I have ever experienced in my life. Physically it was horrendous. Emotionally I was broken. And spiritually I was in despair. I quickly became depressed. At the time I was so unaware of what was really going on. I put on my smile and my “I’m ok” front and sluggishly pushed through life. All the while I felt so empty and at times the pain felt unbearable. I slowly started literally feeding my loneliness and pain with food. When faced with trials and difficult times we as humans will in return turn to something– either God to help us face the reality or something else to make us avoid the reality. For me it was food. Food became my drug and I was addicted.
THE 8 YEAR STRUGGLE:
I soon found myself not only carrying the burden of the miscarriage, but now I also carried a weight of guilt. I continued to wallow in my despair and self-control was no where to be found.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28
I was like a city broken into and left without walls. The enemy took camp in my soul and I had no defense.
These 8 years looked like a graph of wavy lines with highs and lows. I would reach a point of feeling tired of being defeated so I would turn and run to God and ask for help. I always just wanted a good, quick fix– some rest for my soul. I had my mountain top moments when I felt like I was on top of the world and that I would never eat one extra bite of food again for the rest of my life. There were many days when the desire for victory was about my image. I wanted to look a certain way and be well thought of by others. This all stemmed from vanity and had nothing to do with me wanting to bring glory to God.
I cannot begin to tell you the toll that this sin had on my life. It affected everything. EVERYTHING. How I felt. My marriage. My friendships. My personality. At this point I am not going to get into all the details of those things, but I will say that I felt terrible physically– little did I know what was actually going on inside my body. It was complete haywire!
At this point it was somewhere around a year after I had the miscarriage. David, my husband, and I still desperately wanted to have children. But it’s hard to conceive a child when you feel so terrible and your body isn’t functioning properly. After some time I finally had to make myself go see a doctor. Mainly because David was telling me to. I dreaded facing the doctor. I knew in my head that my problem wasn’t something that a doctor could fix. It was at this point that I was diagnosed with PCOS and started taking medications to regulate my hormones. I felt a little hopeful that we would get pregnant and that it would cure a lot of my problems. After a couple years of doing that and still having zero success with pregnancy I gave up for a while. I stopped taking my medicines and once again I wallowed in despair.
I spent the next couple of years doing all that I could to avoid the conversation with David about pregnancy and going to the doctor. Surely you can get the picture of how miserable this was without me having to go into the details. IT. WAS. AWFUL.
I continued life with a tight grasp on food– Still using it to comfort me, avoid loneliness and bring me a short-lived euphoric moment. Self-control was still far from me, so destruction was constantly upon my heart.
I finally reached some sort of a breaking point and went and saw another doctor and from there was sent to a specialist. It was at this appointment I was given a detailed explanation of PCOS and the effects it has on my body and becoming pregnant. I was put on several medications and educated about how weight loss would help this illness tremendously. We left that appointment feeling so hopeful and on top of the world. I had the “I can do this” attitude. Key word to failure being “I”.
It was a vicious cycle that started at this point. Because I had been told that weight loss would help and because I failed at weight loss I would eat more. Failure. Defeat. Eat. Repeat.
This cycle lasted years. I lost count somewhere along the way. But it brings me up to more current times. This past year.
God in His unfailing goodness to me put me in certain situations. He didn’t leave me in my pit of despair. About a year ago I started a Bible study and I happened to read a book that had a chapter on self-control. There was a lot of stirring going on in this heart.
I still remember the day that I was praying and begging God for a child and in His still small voice I heard Him say, “repent”. It became so clear to me in that moment– how could I be asking God to bless me with a child while I am wrapped up in bondage to food and I haven’t repented.
FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE:
God’s timing was so perfect. I found myself in a Bible study that had me in the Scriptures and had me facing my sin front and center. I had just read a book that I mentioned earlier that had a chapter on self-control. And it was summertime and I had an easy going schedule that allowed me so much time to be still.
By God’s grace, I realized that I had moments of emotional cries to God and desires to change, but I didn’t not repent. As He revealed this to me I just cried out to Him to help me to repent. I don’t even remember the words I said, but God knew my heart and He was all in the middle of this working. I can’t really say that this was a one time prayer. It was more like a week of praying and groaning. It was painful and beautiful all at the same time. I found that as I confessed, I found compassion from Him.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
God gently showed me that my addiction to food was because I was NOT SATISFIED IN HIM.
I cannot create self-control in me. I cannot create victory in me. But I can run to God and fling myself down before Him, confess my sin and MOMENT BY MOMENT rely on Him to give me everything I need for life and godliness.
Even as I sit here and write this I am overwhelmed by His goodness to me. That God did not leave me in that pit of despair, but rescued me. I don’t question why I had to stay there so long, I rest in His sovereignty.
So now, here I am on this side of this journey. I don’t want to paint this false picture that with God all your hard times just melt away and life is a bed of roses. I have to DAILY, MOMENT BY MOMENT seek God’s strength to continue to walk in victory. Have I failed? Yes, I am human. The difference now is by His grace I go to Him, confess my sin and meditate on Scripture instead of pushing my conviction aside and wallow in self.
I want to share with you some of the Bible verses that spoke so clearly to me during this struggle of habitual sin:
- A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28
- He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
- Romans chapter 6
- Galatians chapter 5
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40: 1-4
So there, in a nutshell, you have my story about my struggle with food and how God gave me freedom from it. There is more to this story about my life now. I am going to be writing another post soon to talk some of the practical truths about food, health and PCOS. Part 2 has been written– Read it here: Eat To Live– Just What I Needed
I am currently working on a lengthy post to share in the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be a lot of words and no pictures. So, in the meantime I thought I would share with you some fun stuff– pictures from the past couple of weeks in my life. These are all taken from my Instagram account, so again, I apologize if you have already seen these.
We have welcomed fall with arms wide open around here. Good bye summertime I’ll look forward to seeing you next year. The day I took this picture it was crisp, cool and all-together incredible outside.
And just in time for that beautiful fall weather, my bike got repaired! Woots! I’ve been riding all around my neighborhood. p.s. I ride a boy’s bike. It use to be my dad’s. Oh well, it’s super comfy and smooth riding.
Us from our wedding day. Eight years ago. I’m happier and love him more now than that day and you know, I just didn’t think it could get better than it was then, but it SO has! Thanks be to God and His goodness and grace to us.
I got this awesomeness at a thrift store for $20! I was flipping out when I saw it. My heart literally started racing. It’s an original piece of art and IT IS HUGE. It now hangs on the wall in back of our sofa. I’m sure glad someone decided to donate ‘this ‘ol thing’ to Goodwill.
H A P P Y W E E K T O Y O U !
Here’s a few of my latest pictures from my Instagram. They tell stories, but to help you out I’ve added captions!
David, the Mister in my life and from California, officially became an Arkansan as he dressed in camouflage and went on his first ever hunting trip last weekend. As he puts it, “I shot at 15 doves’ shadows” — meaning he missed. Oh well, he had fun!
This is Noel, our 7 year old Cocker Spaniel. She gets lots of lovin’ from us and doesn’t seem to mind having her picture taken. Although in this picture I was trying to get her to get in the chair but she was very distracted by the buzzing cicadas!
And this is Noel’s favorite place to rest– on the back of the sofa. This time she kept sliding down off the cushion and eventually her nose was pressed against my shoulder. She was snoring. It was so adorable and I’m so glad I was able to snap a picture of it.
This is my new succulent plant. Since they require little-to-no maintenance I have been wanting one for a long time. The last several times we’ve been shopping at Home Depot I have spent several minutes looking at the display shelf full of them. Well, this time this one was so cute I had to buy it. I’m really wanting to name it, but I still have not come up with the right name. Suggestions appreciated.
Avocados were in stock and on sale at the grocery store almost every week this summer and I bought some every time I went shopping! Also between my Dad’s garden and my brother’s garden I always had an abundance of homegrown tomatoes. Oh the possibilities that come with a fresh avocado and fresh tomatoes. This ended up being one of my favorite meals. Fresh guacamole on toasted whole grain thins and sliced tomatoes! Yummers! I started a drastic change in the foods I eat at the beginner of this summer….more on that in another post that will happen soon.
And because of the drastic change I made here’s a picture of all the medicines that I NO LONGER HAVE TO TAKE! I’m not going to go into all the details of the names of the medications and what they did, but I will say this, all of them were related to an illness that I have that effects the production of hormones in my body. Through my new way of living I have pretty much reversed the illness without the use of any medications. Bottom line GOD IS GOOD and I am FOREVER GRATEFUL!
I hope you have had a nice summer!
p.s. i am ready for fall.
My birthday is not until Tuesday, but we planned to spend the Friday before it celebrating. David told me we could do whatever I wanted that day…the sky is the limit…not really, but I knew what he meant. I was happy that I remembered my camera so I could document in pictures our day. Here’s what I picked to do for my 32nd birthday.
This year going into my birthday feels so different that the past several years. There’s a sense of hope that I have never felt before– and THAT is an incredible gift!
Between getting lost in the summertime blues and breaking my computer (again) I have been MIA for quite some time. But, now, here I am!
I have much to share, but I am typing on a mobile device (yep, the computer is still in the broke state) which makes typing zero fun and zero fast for me. And I still have to get all my thoughts together for a couple of the topics I am wanting to write about on here.
I have recently joined the millions on Instagram. So for now I will keep it simple and just share a few of my ‘grams with you.