Monday, October 14, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago today I completely changed the way I eat.  One year ago today I quit eating bread, pasta, white potatoes and all grains.  I got rid of my vegetable oil.  I quit eating sugar.  And I did it all cold turkey.  I’m not sure how I was able to make such a drastic change in a day.  Maybe it was because I had spent so much time wallowing in what psychologists call the pre-contemplation and contemplation stages of change.  Maybe it was because I was just plain sick and tired of myself.  Maybe it was because I have six little people depending on me and I need to live as long as I can.  One year ago today I made a change, and today there’s 46 pounds less of me because of it.

I credit my success to two things: the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, and the blog Mark’s Daily Apple by Mark Sisson.
Made to Crave
Lysa TerKeurst takes a biblical approach to weight loss and her book is full of wonderful nuggets of wisdom.  She doesn’t provide a weight loss plan, but she does promise to help you find your “want to.”  I thought I had my “want to.”  What overweight person doesn’t want to lose weight?  But I was missing the heart of the matter.  What I found in her book were pieces of a puzzle that spoke to my heart and helped keep me on track as I started eating differently.

One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control.  I had read the verses in Galatians 5:22-23 many times before: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control.” (NIV)  Whenever I didn’t display these traits, I assumed I wasn’t a good enough Christian.  What I decided is that these fruits are there for me to grab, like actual fruit hanging from a tree!  If I'm living in the spirit, then these are available.  When I don’t feel like I have self-control, I can reach out and grab the self-control of the Holy Spirit.  I grabbed and I grabbed and I grabbed, day after day after day.

You crave what you eat.  Duh!  I craved popcorn because I ate popcorn.  I craved ice cream because I ate ice cream.  If I changed what I ate I would eventually crave different types of food.  When I craved popcorn, part of what I was looking for was crunch.  Now I grab a couple of big orange carrots, peel them and crunch away.  Yes, I actually crave carrots!

I was made for more than this.  I was made for more than to feel defeated by a bowl of popcorn.  I was made for more than to waste a single moment feeling bad about the way I look.  I was made for more than excuses.  I was made to glorify God.  My eating was distracting me.

Mark’s Daily Apple
When I decided I was ready to change the way I was eating, I decided I wanted to try low carb because, well . . . because I had never tried low carb before!  In my on-line search for what low carb meant, I came across Mark’s Daily Apple.

Mark Sisson started his blog in 2006, sharing with the world his views on the standard American diet.  He has a background in biology and he's a former triathlete.  His blog posts are full of links to studies backing the claims he makes about how the food most of us in the US are eating is making us fat and unhealthy.  At the heart of his beliefs is that humankind evolved to eat animals and plants, but not the cultivated kind, like wheat and corn.  He cites evidence that human health (and even our teeth!) was negatively impacted when we ceased to be hunter gatherers and became farmers.  After writing his blog for several years he compiled his beliefs into a book with ten guidelines he calls The Primal Blueprint.  They’re simple guidelines that touch on everything from food to exercise, sun exposure to sleep.  (You can buy the book, but everything you need to know is available for free on his website!)

I read and I read and I read.  I learned about good carbs and bad carbs, good fats and bad fats.  If I had a question, I did a search on the website and read and read and read some more.  If I didn’t agree with something I read, I did my own research.  Most of what he said made sense to me, so I took the plunge.

As I said, I’ve lost 46 pounds.  I can honestly say it was easy!  And it isn’t just the weight loss, it’s how I feel both emotionally and physically.  I feel normal.  I don’t feel defeated or distracted.  I feel strong.  And I’m hopeful that my six little people will have me around for a very long time because I made a change for the better.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Just OK is OK

I used to be really uptight (yes, more uptight than I am now!).  My older kids lived under the tyranny of having to have things "just so."  After a few (or more) babies, and then when John was on chemo for three years, it was impossible to hold onto any kind of standard of cleanliness or neatness.  And then John had liquid diarrhea for months on end.  "There isn't poop on the floor?  Great!"

Today as I stood in the bathroom drying off my hands, I noticed teeth marks on the white faux wood blinds hanging in the window, many well formed, half moon impressions.  In the past I would have taken this as a personal insult.  I would have hunted down the guilty child (and I know exactly who that child is based on the height of the marks) and dragged them into the bathroom for a serious talking to.  But because there's been a considerable whittling down in the area of caring about such things, I just chuckled.

Don't get me wrong: I like my white faux wood blinds.  I still like having nice things.  And I will speak to the guilty child, but I know now that bite marks on my blinds aren't very important.

When my older kids were little, I'd hear other parents talk about the things their kids had done, and I'd marvel at their calm reactions.  How did they know what was important way back then?  Why didn't I figure this out a long time ago?

My house may be a mess, my nice things may not be so nice anymore, and I may have bite marks on the white faux wood blinds in my bathroom, but I'm a calmer, more loving mother who has been far happier with just OK than I ever was with just so.