Monday, October 29, 2012

How Do You Eat An Elephant? ...One bite at a time!

Alright, I know some of you are sitting there thinking that what you just read sounds great and all… but how?!  I have a long road ahead of me you crazy lady.  One prayer for help won’t fix it.  You are right; one prayer will not fix it.  But a lot of prayer sure will go a long way! If you need a step by step then I can give you a step by step, or at least point out to you the steps that I took on my journey.  

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  That is the mindset you need to approach this because if you do not then you will get overwhelmed, discouraged, and then you will quit before you get started.   

Step one would be to pray.  Ask God for Him to lift you up in his strength.  Admit to him that you cannot achieve this goal without him.  For me, I had to pray before I ate any food.  My prayer was that I would find satisfaction with this food on my plate and not be tempted with more after my portion was gone.  I would pray before I ran that God would bless me with stamina and endurance.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step two is to be accountable to yourself and write down every single thing you need to stick in your mouth.  Don’t cheat yourself.  When I first started working out with a personal trainer she asked me to write everything down in a food journal.  So I did… write down what I ate… but just the good things that I knew she would approve of.  By doing that, I was only cheating myself.  If I was too ashamed to write it down, then I should not have been eating it.  Hold yourself accountable with some sort of journal.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step three is to figure out your portion and listen to your body.  When I had to lose 20 pounds before my gastric bypass surgery I went on the South Beach Diet and my husband told me he would do it with me for support.  Great! Awesome idea!  I was like 290 something and my husband weighed 148.  The man did not need to be on any diet at all but maybe a healthy clean diet.  In the first part of the south beach diet they restrict your carbs for 2 weeks.  To like, no carbs at all.  I lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks.  My poor husband was getting dizzy and having headaches so he went to the doctor.  The doctor told him it was the south beach diet and that he needed carbs.  He started eating carbs and his headaches went away and he quit having dizzy spells.  Moral of the story, not every “diet” is for everyone.  Everybody is different.  Now to maintain my body weight I just try to eat clean- meaning I try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and try to stay away from any foods that may have been changed in any way.  So I try to stay away from foods with additives, preservatives, and processed foods.  I eat lean meats, whole grains, and heart healthy fats.  I avoid saturated fats, sodas, and high calorie foods.  I drink tons of water every single day.  I don’t count calories. I try to stick to the portion of a dessert or bread plate and I eat about 4 times a day.  Listen to your body.  I try to eat everything in moderation.  If I am craving an Oreo… I eat an Oreo after I pray over that Oreo.  By forbidding foods I would resist and resist and resist until I couldn’t take it anymore and then the whole bag would be gone because by the time I let that temptation overcome me, praying about it was the furthest thing from my mind.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step four is to Get moving!  Get out and walk, walk, walk to get started.  When I started to exercise I started the couch to 5K program.  You can find it if you Google it.  It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you are moving.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step five is my final step… Have fun.  Laugh at yourself because let’s just be honest, we might all cry if we don’t laugh at ourselves.  Try new things.  I recently wanted to spice my exercise routine up so I took a pole dancing class.  Yes, you heard me right, a pole dancing class.  Best arm workout that I have ever had in my life, it was fun, and it made me laugh at myself and allowed all the other girls in the class to laugh at me too.  I have also tried Zumba… let me tell you, things were shaking on my body that I didn’t know could shake.  I loved Zumba so much that I went and got certified to teach it!  Have fun while you beat temptation with determination.

The last thing I want you to do is to get overwhelmed by these 5 steps.  I would like to challenge you by taking 1 of these steps and apply it to your life this week.  The next week, while you are still applying the first step then add another step.  Do this until you have concurred all of them.   
Beat temptation with determination one bite at a time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Feeling Weighted Down

Prayer works. Our Heavenly Father wants to help you; you just have to ask Him for help.  I am not going to lie, it is hard and it stinks.

I have to constantly check myself and my heart every single day.  The days when I try to resist temptation by myself, I fail miserably.  On the days when I seek God to help me resist temptation, I am pleasantly surprised that He is there!  It gets me every time too when I use the strength of Christ and I have a really great day with moderation and I have kept my diet in balance… it is the sweetest blessing!  I feel great about beating temptation with determination that I found in Christ.

By the time I decided to have gastric bypass, I felt like it really wasn’t an option- it was something I had to do if I didn’t want to die.  I was a busy mother of two babies that were under the age of two. I was weighted down. I never did anything for myself.  My existence was for my children.  I loved my children so much that I was willing to go through this life threatening surgery so that I could be around for them longer.  That was a totally awful mindset to have.  That mindset makes me understand the love God has for me and all of his children, but it was the wrong mindset.   

All of us, especially women, are so caught up with our lives and all the other people in it that we forget to do anything for ourselves… like being healthy.  Your excuse may be that you do not think you are worth it, you do not think you are good enough, or putting everyone else before yourself.  Well, you need to stop it.  You do it for yourself.  Why? Because you want to glorify God with the beautiful temple he has blessed you with.  Your love for the Lord will radiate from you and pour onto others.
Everyday we pile things on ourselves that keep us weighted down.  Some of us are working women who carry the stress of our everyday work problems, dishes, laundry, keeping the house clean, our husband and his needs, our children and their needs, keeping up with friends and neighbors, bible study, car pool, PTA, some of us may be getting a degree, feeding everybody and making sure they don’t famish- at my house that is a full time job in itself! Lastly, if you think like I do…  we add your issues and whatever they are.  Mine might be my temptation with food and wanting to over exercise.  You are so weighted down.

God loves you so much that he sent his only son to die for you so that you can have eternal life.  God loves you.  He thinks you are worth it and he wants you to be healthy so that you can live for him and be his legacy.  You are good enough and He wants to see you succeed at being healthy.  When I was finally able to realize what I meant to God and how deep his affection was for me, it changed the way I looked at myself in the mirror.  When God looked at me as his child, he didn’t see the overweight and ugly person that I was disgusted to look at in the mirror.  He saw his gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, and sweet daughter that He was absolutely crazy about.   When I finally wrapped my mind around God’s true feelings about me, I was able to realize that I am worth putting the effort into.  It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I was able to look into the mirror and see what God sees when he looks at me.   
So while we are dealing with our worldly issues, let’s ask for Christ to strengthen us as we deal with the stress of work, home, friends, family, kids, husbands….  And I promise you, you will be pleasantly surprised at how successful you will be when you give your weights of the world to Him and find your strength in Christ.  Beat temptation with determination. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Over Eating

When I was morbidly obese I would over eat all day everyday.  Let me just tell you that gluttony is so horrible to me because it was a sin that I had to wear daily with my obesity.  It was such a shameful sin to wear.  There are many different reasons that we over eat.  One reason is because we are emotionally eating.  We are using food to fill the void that is meant for Jesus to fill.  Food made me feel better temporarily. There is tons of research that says it has to do with the feel good chemical reactions that come from eating certain foods. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates can release serotonin.  Dopamine is released when eating protein rich foods.  Phenylethamine is released when we eat chocolate.  Oh my goodness, I love to eat chocolate!  I could sit here and tell you about all the different hormones that are released that make us feel good when we eat certain foods, but the bottom line is that I needed those feel good hormones in my body to make me feel complete.  I was missing and seeking something.  Food would cure my emptiness, but only temporarily.  Food became my drug and I was addicted to it.

 Proverbs 25:28  says: 
“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”   

I know how that man feels when he is lacking self control: frantic, anxious, worried, desperate, distressed, distracted, susceptible, weak, helpless, defenseless, exposed, and vulnerable. 

The bible also says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control and those fruits of the Spirit are in you.  

Did you get that? If you call yourself a Christian and realize that you have received your salvation from the blood of Jesus Christ, then the fruits of the spirit are IN YOU! If you are anything like me then you are wondering where it is in you...

One day I was talking to a lady from our church that home schooled all her children.  I told her I thought that was awesome that she home schooled her children and I just did not have enough patience to home school my kids.  She said, “Sarah, patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit and it is in you.  You should ask God to help you develop more patience.”

I used to joke about the levels of each fruit of the Spirit that I had in me and when it got to self-control I would show that I had a pinch and then laugh it off.  I quickly realized that I needed to ask God to make the fruit of self-control in me stronger and I did this through lots of prayer.
My advice to you about your food issues, or whatever temptation you struggle with is…. pray, pray, and then pray some more.   

He listens and He is faithful.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My biggest struggle comes from the temptation of food.  There were times I had absolutely no self control over food. But there are a lot of other temptations that people struggle with out there such as: smoking, pornography, drinking, gambling, sex, drugs, collecting random things, criticizing people, talking about the physical disapproval of others, exercise… the list goes on and on.

Don’t you ever wonder why some things are more of a temptation than others?  Why is alcohol more of an issue for some people and not others?  You can blame it in genetics, peer pressure, emotional events, depression, boredom… maybe that is just the distraction that some turn to and then for the people that use it excessively- they like the way the alcohol makes them feel. Then they keep wanting the feeling that alcohol brings and that makes it an issue.

Temptations can easily become addictions.  You know a temptation has become an addiction when you keep on allowing that obsession you are tempted towards win you over despite the unpleasant cost or destruction that come from these behaviors.  Your body then starts to crave the short term fulfillment that comes from that temptation that has now become an addiction.  

I gained 68 pounds in one year. Right after I got married in 2005 and we moved away to TX because that is where my husband was stationed in the army.  I went from being around friends and family constantly to being so bored out of my mind.  I tried to fill my boredom with productivity.  I went back to school and tried to find a job.  I tried to make friends and I had no luck. I found a lot of comfort in sitting on the couch, watching tv, and eating.  I ate all day long.  I didn’t think I had a problem.  I would find myself aimlessly walking around the kitchen, thinking about food all day long, I would have vivid dreams about food and if I woke up in the middle of the night I would go eat.  That is what my food addiction looked like. 
How do we handle temptation?   
How is it possible to beat temptation with determination? 
Where do you find your fulfillment? 

There are many excuses that I used when I would fall under temptation and over eat.  I used to tell myself, “I just want it.”  I would joke and tell people, “The heart wants what the heart wants”. When I was morbidly obese, it was not hard to tempt me.  But the Bible has a solution to our problem of temptation.

The Bible tells of a time when Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4: 1-4: 
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
 This verse is so powerful and changes my perspective on the way I see being tempted. 

Even in difficult times his love toward the Father transcends the gratification of physical needs, emotional desires, and rational deliberations. In his perfect obedience he is the real servant of the Lord who not only sets a perfect example to be imitated by his followers, but even more so is the lamb without blemish, the one that was able to take away humanity's sins.
Jesus remained faithful in temptation and became the model for all believers when we are tempted.