He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9


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Good Things – Part 1 - My Story

I've wanted to talk about my weight loss journey, but I haven't yet....

I think it’s time to talk about it.   I think I’m brave and ready.  I called David this morning and told him...I'm starting to tell my story.  Pray for me!

I admit, as I consider it I hear some of your critical voices in my head..

"She eats m&m’s when she gets stressed?  She doesn’t always perfectly keep up with her house?  She had 67 pounds to lose?  No wonder – she must be a lazy hog.”  

(I guess I should have warned you that this might get a little raw.)  But I’ve decided that the ones who think that about me aren’t why I’m talking about it.  It’s for the others of you who have room to grow – who share in my imperfectness.  Who desire as much as I do to grow in holiness and live daily by the Spirit and become all that He can make you.  For those of you who understand what chocolate chips (or skittles) have to do with hard, busy days and have maybe even experienced  - at least once in your life – the agony of chub rub.  Or maybe you're just a skinny-minny who has a love affair with sugar. This is for you, my friends.  (The rest of you can just sit in your perfect bodies in your perfect houses in your perfectly starched clothes and pray for the rest of us….we know we need it!)
So…now that I’ve sufficiently strengthened my resolve to get it out there:

It started one late night last summer.   June 2010.  I sat in front of my computer and made a deep, quiet decision to change.  I won’t tell you all of the details of what motivated me, but ironically, it involved facebook a little. (Who knew it could be an agent for change?)  I made the decision to join Weight Watchers.  And I signed up for my first 5K race.  I knew that weight watchers is the way for me, and I knew that paying the race money and writing it on my calendar would motivate me to get moving.

I read a book that summer called “The One Day Way.” By Chantel Hobbs.   I didn't do her "plan", but It helped me to get some thinking straight about my thought patterns.  And it motivated me. I was getting serious about permanent change.

I started going to weight watchers faithfully, journaling and re-stocking my kitchen and getting group support from the meetings.  

So far, at the last weigh-in I had lost 45.6 pounds, with 21.8 to go to reach my goal weight! 

(Incidentally, It seems to  me they expect  a 4’10” 33-year-old to weigh about as much as most 10-year-olds. This body has grown and birthed and fed four babies!! What are they THINKING?!)
Anyway, I digress…

David and I did our first 5K together in June, then did one 5K (3.1 miles) race per month together until our first 10K (6.2 miles) on Thanksgiving Day.  Our time was just over 3 minutes from qualifying us for the National Marathon in DC! Now we're training together for a half (13.1 miles) and full marathon (26.2 miles).  I’ll blog more about the exercise side later….
Circle the City for the Symphony Indy 5K - Our third race together.  August 2010

One of my key points for getting healthy is this verse:

He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9)

Here is the principle behind that verse’s meaning for me.

I knew that there were some bad things that I needed to change in my life – habits, foods, etc.  But I also knew that there are a lot of really good things that I love that I should take advantage of.  I firmly believe that bad things must be replaced with good.  (Think of the Bible story of the demons leaving, then bringing a host of friends back into the EMPTY person…..or when we take away bad things from our children’s lifestyle, we must replace them with lots of really good, fun, wonderful options.)  

I love fruits.  I love vegetables.  I love whole grains and (mildly) crunchy living.  I love to exercise.  I love the outdoors.  So I realized that I need to focus on the good things, and making sure I’m staying FULL with the good, so the bad can be replaced! And good habits are just as addicting as bad ones.

The beginning, to be honest, was a lot easier than I expected.  I got in a groove and kept trucking as the pounds melted away slowly and steadily.  I got rid of loads of clothes and pulled out my skinny clothes from college.  I was encouraged to keep working with every single compliment I received that people could tell a difference.

I changed inside.  Forever.

I’m having a little trouble retelling the whole story of the last 9 months…the words want to jumble out in a heap.  And it’s all very mixed in with the running story, but I think I need to keep it somewhat separate for my own writing sanity.

I got stronger inside and outside.  I got more energy for being and living with my kids.   It has been fun to watch our kids focus more on health and they are asking a lot of questions, and starting to monitor themselves more.   It has challenged our marriage (and brought its benefits, too.)  

I am learning where to go for strength and where to not go.  I am learning that the second part of this journey is much, much harder than the first.  I am learning that I haven’t mastered food.  I still can’t be fully trusted.  I still need accountability and motivation and group therapy. 

And I have been touched and overwhelmed by the personal response from so many women who understand this struggle of health (on their own levels) and feel its importance so deeply...
Through the years, I have tried Weight watchers before, many times (and after each baby).  But I always got sidetracked before I reached my goal by the money or the plateau I always hit or the schedule or another baby.   

But this time, we decided it’s for good.  For a lifetime, if need be.  We rearranged our budget majorly to fit it in.  We’ve actually postponed our next baby and done without some things to make it work.  I remember that it was an epiphany for me to realize that I’m never going to be “over” this weight loss battle.  I’m 4’10” with a die-hard metabolism.  And I tend to be a stress eater.  And I happened to really, really love chocolate.  And we would love to have two more babies.  This battle will never be over.  I see that every week when most of the women in my meetings are senior citizens!  And they’re still fighting the good fight.

So why weight watchers?  It’s good, solid nutrition.  I can control what I eat.  Totally.  It teaches good habits, not part-time starvation.  It's a lifetime plan for monitoring my nutrition, not a diet.  I can eat what my family eats (for the  most part).  It takes out almost all of the guesswork. And it includes the aforementioned group therapy.  It just works for me.  I CANNOT do this alone.  I’m a weeny.  A strong, determined, motivated, disciplined pathetic chicken of a weeny. (How can we women be all that at once?  A mystery.)

This is such a simple but complicated matter, and for me it involves sleep and exercise and schedule and vitamins and communication and stress management.  It’s not an easy thing, which your heart knows full-well if you have stuck with this post this long.  We lost the perfect girls a long time ago.

I am crying even now.  I am so grateful and overwhelmed by my Abba’s mercy in my life.  For His caring enough to change me.  For bringing good thing after good thing in my pathway to keep me going.  Books, tools, words of encouragement, opportunities, health, my sleek but supportive husband….it all comes from Him. 

Sometimes I think it’s a bit confusing, the connection between our spiritual lives and our physical health habits.  Like, if we were REALLY spiritual we wouldn’t struggle with healthy eating or regular exercise.  Bologna.  Whooey.   

 BUT…!  At the same time, every single step.  Every good thing.  Every ounce of strength comes from Him.  Every donut or pizza slice I have said no to – because of His grace in my life.  Every good thing comes from Him. 

He has overwhelmed me with good things.  He has opened my eyes.  He is filling me up.  

I’ve been in a really tough place in this journey for a couple of months.  I have played with about 3 pounds, up and down.  I finally "broke" the self-imposed plateau I've been on and got the numbers going down again.  But sometimes it's just really tough!  I run over 20 miles a week – with one of those runs usually being 10 miles or more at one time.  And I STILL only lost .2 pounds last week! Two-tenths of a stinking pound!  Doesn’t a sock weigh that much?  (I almost said another article of clothing, but David probably wouldn't want me to say that on my blog.) This body of mine has no mercy, and like I said, it would have adapted well to pioneer days, I suppose.  

But I’m not giving up.  I didn’t do too well this week.  I am motivated by positive reinforcement, and I did a terrible job of framing that .2-pound loss as a good thing when I worked so cottin-pickin’ HARD!  But I’m going to that meeting tomorrow morning and I’m trucking on.

The benefits outweigh the effort by far.  This is for me.  For my husband.  For my children.  For our future. And for my Abba.  And now, it's for you too.

He fills my life with good things, yes He does.  I can do all things through Him.

He can't change us until we look bravely and honestly at ourselves and face our weaknesses.  And He has the strength to help us grow into Him.  Whether you are trying to change your attitude toward your husband or curb your social addiction to facebook, or break your gossip habit or turn off the constant negative chatter in your brain....We can do all things.  Because He strengthens us.

And now that I've put it out there, all raw and real,  I might pop in now and then with the new nitty-gritty things I'm learning.

But for now, I've gotta go eat lunch and do dishes....
Heidi said...

Yay for you! Congratulations! Thanks for the lovely, encouraging blog. I am on WW as well. At the beginning of this year, I finally realized this has to be a lifetime commitment and I'm ok with that. The extra baggage has to go! It zaps my health, my energy and strength and when my Colombian babies finally arrive I want to be able to keep up with them!

Regina said...

Good for you! I've been working on my weight since November of last year and so far have lost 24 pounds. Only 46 more to go, which seems endless! But having people keep me accountable has made all the difference!

Stephanie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I have had a weight issue since childhood, and although I don't obsess about it, I'm getting older and it is affecting my physical health, as well as my ability to be the mom I really want to be. I tend to be turned off by women who are consumed by diets, skinny clothes, etc., but I know that cannot continue to be an excuse for my sedentary, undisciplined lifestlye. This gave me some "food for thought", and extra motivation. Keep up the good work. You look great, but more importantly, you feel great...and it shows!

Stephanie said...

That would be "lifestyle". My brain and my computer haven't been working too well together as of late! :)

Laura said...

Appreciate this post, Sarah. You inspire me to keep working at the things God is putting His thumb on in my life.
(I fully understand and appreciate the accountability concept. I'm ever grateful for family and friends who have and continue to help hold me accountable. Curt and I have each found that some areas are only conquered as we humble ourselves and seek help through accountability.)
These bodies we live in seem to want to have a mind of their own, but thanks be to our loving Abba, He can help us bring them into submission to His will.
Bless you, my blogging friend.

matannjess said...

Sarah, I have been "lurking" on your blog for a long time and am always amazed at your insight. You know where those of us who are willing to be real and honest are. I truly appreciate and am encouraged by your posts like these. May God continue to use you even when you may not be aware of it, and may He give great blessings to you and your family.

ER Going said...

Congratulations to you. I know this has not been an easy decision. What an inspiration to others, that they too can do this hard thing of losing unwanted weight. I enjoy keeping up with you and your sweet family through your blog.

Andy said...

I HAVE to do this after this baby. This is the final one. I started WW a little over 6 years ago and lost 20 pounds in around 4 months..then got pregnant. Had Ethan..started WW and got pregnant the next month, and repeated it once again. After Chloe I just totally gave up and ended up gaining 50 pounds over the past 3 1/2 years.
You have inspired me lately on your blog, but I'm really afraid I won't have the discipline to do it alone. If my name ever pops in your head...throw out a prayer for me if ya don't mind. :o)
Congrats, by the way, you look great!

Liz said...

Now I'm crying too!!!

I loved hearing your story... and I wish you could have seen my face (& heart) when we were chatting on the phone several months ago and you mentioned in passing that you were "losing weight" and I asked how much and my heart jumped for joy...

I'm on my own journey...and I'm trying not to be afraid of the grace that I need, but focus on the "good things." And remember He is big enough to change me. Even me.

Love ya!

Charity said...

You go, girl! I'm a WW lifer, paying now since I'm up a little. I also am a strong, determined weeny chicken. Love this post!

Kim said...

It is amazing how your story mirrors so much that is going on in my own soul and life. Thanks for posting. Loved it and Love you more!!

Janella said...

L.O.V.E.D. this post Sarah!! We imperfect women need encouragement too, and that you did. I so want to get to where you are. The mind and body working together to make a healthy body and lifestyle. I have found my mind the worst to conquer!! If my mind isn't in it all the way I just can't seem to lose the weight. So thanks for posting and btw you look awesome and I'm proud(in a good way;) of you! Wow all those miles!!! Love, Janella

Barb said...

Thanks for sharing your "story", and for being your wonderful,
TRANSPARENT self....I'm heading to WW TONIGHT!! love your blog..... You're an inspiration! Blessings to you and your family TODAY....and
A L W A Y S!!

Sharlyn said...

Love this line: He can't change us until we look bravely and honestly at ourselves and face our weaknesses.

So very, very true. Thanks for sharing your story. It is so encouraging to work through our struggles together rather than in isolation.

20 miles a week and still only 0.2 pounds??? That would be discouraging!

Proud of your progress! Keep truckin' girl and making good choices!

Jodi said...

Inspiring! Loved this. I can not wait to read part two.

Misty said...

I can relate so well to the stubborn pounds and your feelings; I didn't loose much weight with WW or T-tapp; very discouraging but I am determined to start T-tapp back up as soon as I can post-partum.....Congratulations on your progress!!

Actually last summer I told my husband I wanted to do a marathon; he thought I was crazy....then I found out I was pg....and then it was twins!! BUT, a little God thing here...God sent me a Christian midwife, that guess what! started running, and does marathons...in a skirt =) I will get there and in shape one of these days.... You have re inspired me!

Misty said...

A question for you....how do you find the time to run with little ones? Do you mainly use the treadmill? Go early in the morning?? Trying to figure out how I could do this with 6 kids.....


Stephanie said...

Sarah - Wanted you to know that your email to me the other day totally made my day...the "your the inspiration" song thing totally cracked me up! I am SO PROUD of you and your running. VERY PROUD!

I know firsthand the battle at times to get out there and run and I also know the battle sometimes to KEEP going once you are out there running. Some days its all I can do to eek out my measly 2 miles! I want to hear all about your 1/2 marathon...(a dream of mine too!)and am so excited for you to reach this milestone. Run on, girl! So happy for you! Love God's grace and the GOOD things He gives.

Love you!


P.S. Caution: those 5K and more races can be addicting. :) It feels good, doesn't it?

Dorcas said...

Hello Sarah,
I'm one of those who have been lurking on your blog for a long time!! Not sure you'll remember me, but my husband pastored the Wesleyan Methodist Church for 12 1/2 yrs. in Barberton, Ohio. What an encouraging post about your journey of losing weight!! That is awesome. I've been dieting for the last 3 1/2 weeks and as of Monday have lost 13 pounds. It sure makes you feel good when you see the results :o) Also, it was so wonderful to see your parents here yesterday visiting the Cayman Islands! Your dad was going to fix some instruments in our school music room and then they were anxious to go snorkling in the Sea. I live in the Caribbean and would love to go on a cruise sometime out in the future! Keep pressing on with your dieting.

Sarah said...

Another lurker saying 'hello' a little bashfully. I find your blog inspiring and delightful and this post is particularly touching. I'm training for my first 1/2 marathon too and I'm blown away by how dedicated you must be to fit training in around your lovely family.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

p.s. Is that a British habour town in your header picture? I'm sure that lifeboat and rather grey sky must be these damp but wonderful isles!

sarahmfry said...

Yes, Sarah! That picture is the view across the water from my sister's house. She lives in Portrush, Northern Ireland. I LOVE it there! Where are you from?

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