Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In The Beginning...

The genesis of my health problems was my family's brokenness and the death of my brother. My Grandma Johnson dealt with her grief and my pain by saying, "Here, have a donut!" "Would you like some candy dear?" Yes, I am responsible for my own choices, but what 6-7 yo would not go for a donut or candy when offered? Not too many would refuse.

Shortly after this period I began my first diet. I was either 7 or 8 years old.

These two events began a long struggle, one which I hope to terminate! The first battle is with using food to comfort. The second is with dieting. Every diet I have been on has contributed to the enormous size I am today! Diets do not work! Sure, you can take off weight with them, but unless you change the entire way you eat and live, the weight will come right back on. And as most of us who have been on this roller coaster ride know, when the weight comes back on, it brings friends.

Throughout my adolescence, not only was I plagued by the need to diet, but also by an unrealistic view of my actual body size and shape. At the time I felt as if my body was a ghastly 300#. Today I weighed 323#. I look at the pictures of me at 120, 150, 175, 200, 250... and I wish that I weighed that now! Not only did I perceive my body incorrectly, but eventually I came to a point where dieting would trigger bouts of anorexic symptoms. To this day, I can start out with good intentions and end up eating 500 calories a day in order to make it "work". It becomes a competition. I starve. I binge. I hate myself. It's a viscious cycle.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to set aside the Cinderella thinking (or the grass is greener, it will be better when... etc) and focus on the problem. I am a child of the King of all the Universe. Why should food conquer me? Why should an inanimate object gain so much attention in my life that it distracts me from truly important things, that it limits my ministry possibilities, that it takes me away from fun with my children, that it shortens my life? Not that I ever wanted to die early, but being a late in life Mama changed my perspective a little. My children inspire me to do better and live healthier and longer. However, I will not diet again. Diets destroy me. Instead I am seeking healthy habits to implement and learning as I go. A slow and steady weight loss is better than gaining each year as I have in the past!

When I was 11 years old, I asked Jesus to be my savior. (If you would like to know more, please ask or click on the Ready? button above.) I truly believe "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) So, my first step on the journey was to submit to Christ and ask for His help. It took me several years to learn how NOT to eat for comfort. Food is an integral part of our culture's celebrations and is often used as a reward. Food comforts not only in times of depression, stress and sorrow, but also in times of success and happiness. This is not easy to undo. After some time I have learned to go pray, drink water, find something I enjoy doing etc. instead of eating. I am glad to say that the times I seek comfort to fill my emotions have decreased and occurences are rare. Still, it is a continual struggle and I need to be on guard.

After learning not to comfort myself with food, the next step was to control portions. My husband, though not obese, also struggled with this. We both load up on carbs that taste good... and if we are honest, "feel" good. His greatest weakness is ice cream; his second is cheese. My greatest weakness is fried potatoes and eggs (yolks only), no kidding! I would rather have that than candy, but good pastry/pie comes in a close second. We are gradually helping each other rethink what goes in our mouths. And, I have to admit that sometimes I am too exhausted to make a whole meal and put it all together, so we end up eating 3 or 4 portions of the main dish instead of one portion, plus veggies, plus salad etc.

Our children have really made us think a lot about what goes into our food. The fourth step was to eliminate high fructose corn syrup. Step five eliminated MSG. And step six was to start eliminating animal products which used hormones and antibiotics. Step seven introduced organic foods. Currently I am considering an 8th step, eliminating wheat and possibly also gluten altogether. I have not decided yet.

My steps:

1. Submit to Christ who strengthens me.
2. Eliminate eating for comfort reasons.
3. Portion control.
4. Eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup.
5. Eliminate MSG
(Steps 4 & 5 included eliminating processed foods)
6. Eliminate animal products which use hormones and antibiotics (including yogurt, milk etc)
7. Eat organic fruits and veggies and local as much as possible.
8. Reduce/eliminate gluten/wheat.

Every Wednesday I post a "Wellness Wednesday" post on my Stitches of Grace blog (link at left). I will continue to do this and may double post, placing that information over here as well. I will check in with my weight. Scary, yes. I can no longer diet. I will no longer diet. But, I must reduce my weight. The blogs provide some accountability for me.

This blog will contain more than just my weekly post at Stitches of Grace. I learn by reading and then "regurgitating" what I learn through notes and sharing. So, this will be my format to share and hopefully I will learn from the rest of you as well. Okay, so far the rest of you is probably 2 people. But that's okay, God knows who should be here. If you would like to join me on this health journey, let me know and I will post a link to your blog in my "Joining Me On The Journey" section on the left hand side.

If you made it this far. Thanks!


Deborah said...

I really like your blog concept here Theresa! I enjoy the honesty of your writing.

Are you going to add any kind of exercise to your steps?

Denise said...

Love you! Love your goals.

You encourage me so much.

Teresa said...

I am so much in the same place you are right now with longing to be healthier (not just me, but my entire family). Thank you for your candidness. It's very refreshing and encouraging.