Good Things – Part 1 - My Story

by sarahmfry, February 28, 2011
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....

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