Saturday, June 30, 2012

Balancing Act

So I'm learning more and more throughout this journey called life about balance.  To me living a life of balance means taking all things into consideration and prayerfully making conscious choice.  True balance is the abililty to live in the moment.  Being flexible and available are character qualities of someone who lives within his/her center of balance. 

I have spent most of my adult life in a state of agitation.  Chaos has been a norm for me.  The past and the future are the two places my heart, soul and mind have often resided.  Well for the past few years I have made a steady, strong effort to be intentional in my living.  Being present is powerful. 

I have a normal Saturday routine.  I like it.  It works for me.  My family has adjusted.  Life flows and goes around my plans.  Well last night I had this feeling of unrest.  Thoughts were swirling around in my head as to what I should do/what choices I should really make.  You see, I had several things I wanted to do today.  There were several things I could have done today.  Probably there were several things I should have done today.  As my head hit the pillow, there was still a debate in my heart and mind as to what my priorities would be for Saturday. 

Well I was allowed by my children to sleep later than usual.  8:15 a.m. is what the clock said when I rolled out of bed to go retrieve a screaming two year old.  My open gym time starts at 9 a.m.  I knew I wasn't going to make that start time.  As the morning unfolded it was apparent that I wasn't going to make my workout.  This was both troubling and freeing to me.  Someone had already offered to take four of the kids for a few hours so that Nathan and I could have some time with our eldest son, Joseph.  However, my father and brother Tyler, decided to join the Barkers and so Joseph decided he wanted to tag along.  After helping to get everyone situated and saying goodbye to the two car fulls of folks I enjoyed an unhurried shower.  Nathan and I went to the tailgate market to pick up our CSA (community supported agriculture) veggies and we had sushi for lunch at Green Tea in Asheville.  There was also a stop by Sisters McMullen in downtown for a cupcake.  We since have watched a movie (only mostly interupted by our returning children) and plan on watching a documentary tonight after the kids are in bed.  My house is a wreck.  I didn't do any exercise today.  To-do lists are highly overrated and mine was completely ignored today.  All in all it's been an incredible day.  There has been no shame, no guilt, no condemnation for not running ALL week, not exercising today and even eating an entire fattening cupcake myself.  I rested, I made choices intentionally and I was available, completely available for Nathan.  I feel as if today I understood balance. 

No this doesn't mean cupcakes and no running tomorrow.  It just means that for TODAY I was able to make these choices and know that my life is still moving forward.  By standing still and resting I was able to make progress.  Pretty neat.  This has been a tough week (maybe I'll blog about that sometime) and I have been struggling for sanity/serenity.  Well I really feel as if I was balanced today and brought honor to God by enjoying Him and myself and my surroundings.  I accepted help.  I released myself of expectation and I allowed change to shape my day not ruin it. 

Peace.  Balance.  Freedom.  Serenity.  Today this was me! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That

That seems to be what I'm eating lately.  I can't keep my face out of food.  At dinner last night I overate.  Yesterday's lunch was less than "clean".  Three EXTREMELY stressful days and unfortunately I have reverted back to old coping skills.  Monday and Tuesday weren't as bad as yesterday.  I also did not do any exercise on Sunday, Monday or Wednesday. 

My dear friend Leslie even warned me about "post race" patterns that I have developed.  This go around though hasn't been nearly as unsettling or counterproductive as the previous two times.  The emotional stability in our home is volatile at best.  Our oldest son Joseph is going through a rough time right now and we are all on edge.  Even though I haven't really undone progress I've made the troubling part is I haven't been proactive in making good decisions or even trying to exercise.  When fear and stress enter into the picture I find myself becoming increasingly apathetic when it comes to clean eating/exercise.  This is troubling to me because those two things, clean eating and exercise, should be weapons to fight off stress and pain.  So...yeah that I didn't binge/pig out/make stupid decisions. the fact that I didn't fight hard enough. 

Note to self....a reminder of sorts-when eating out, go ahead and get that "to go" box at the start of your meal and make half of it go bye-bye immediately!  Another note to self....when you have already made a choice in your brain that helps you avoid a "bad" eating situation...FOLLOW THROUGH AT ALL COSTS!!!

Have a good day.  Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

Today I was surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  No they weren't the saints that had gone on before literally, as in death, but they were the saints cheering me on at the finish line.  They were the saints running the race in front of me, beside me, and behind me.  They were the saints that prayed for me to beat my personal "best". 

"Let me run the race that is set before me, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith.." (my emphasis added).  Today I was running my race.  I am ever so grateful for my friend and sister in Christ, Andi Stewart.  She was my help today.  When I wanted to give up, just walk, not push myself, or stop she was there.  At one point (the last half mile, after Andi had pushed on ahead) I literally felt as if I was going to cry.  Several times throughout the race I felt really overwhelmed and then I was reminded that as I was fighting through my pain, my issues, my nausea, why I was even running today.  I had/have nothing to prove.  Today's run was for a cause greater than me.  It was to support a woman named Melanie.  Melanie, a single mom of two girls, just fought and BEAT a very aggressive form of breast cancer.  At the moment she is cancer free.  She is going to have reconstructive surgery in the fall and the medical bills are piling higher than her head.  Today's race was to support her. crunchy knee, my stitch in my side, my feeling sorry that I'm still too fat to run as fast as I want...NONE of that was as dramatic, or as life changing as Melanie literally fighting for her life.  As I pressed through the selfishness I was able to sprint to the finish line and hear people calling my name.  What a blessing.  What a joy.  What a feeling.  

Jesus is the reason that Melanie has been able to navigate cancer with grace, faith and beauty.  Jesus is the reason I'm 81 pounds lighter.  My faith in my loving God has given me the power, will, commitment to walk this journey.  The perfecter of my faith was working on me, even today, during the race.  My faith was being made stronger as I realized the beauty of the body of Christ, the church, in action.  As people shared in Melanie's burdens we were made lighter.  Praise be to God for sending Jesus.  Praise be to Him for his loving mercy and grace.  Praise be to the Holy Spirit for his guidance and teaching me more about the character of Christ daily.  Today I prayed that they didn't see me run the race, or cross the line.  Once again I prayed that Jesus would be evident, if even for a moment, through my pain, panting and sweat ;-).  His strength is being perfected in my continued weakness.  What a DAY!!!   

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

3rd Time's the Charm??? third race is Sat. morning. I'm hoping I can break the 40 minute time barrier. I've run the course once and I didn't time myself. The course has a few hills that are well...hilly ;). I'm also dealing with a "crunchy" knee. At this time it isn't painful, but it sure is noisy. My husband and children ask me to stop bending around them. I probably should have it looked at soon, just to avoid injury and confirm that all is well.

Wish I had more to say/report, but at the moment I'm at a stand still again. I can't wait for the day I can type...199. That day is getting closer. I did have an exciting workout last night. Leslie timed my circuits. My first round was 5:06. My second was 4 something...Third was 4:07 and last was just under four minutes. It was fun to push myself. I'm not sure of my consistency because my partner and I were sharing kettle bells. So some rounds I did exercises with the 20s and others the 25s. was fun and I'm sore today.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Replacing the Lies!!!

"It's hopeless!"
"You'll never be able to lose weight!"
"Nathan would be able to love you better/more if you didn't look like a slob."
"God would love you more if you were skinny."
"This wasn't the life you were meant to have."
"You are second-class."
"Your friends left you because you are fat."

These are some of the lies that the voices have told me for years.  I've believed them whole-heartedly for years and attached them to myself.  Almost two years ago I started trying to break through this lies and replace them with TRUTH.  It's been a very hard process.  Precious people in my life, my husband, Leslie Raper, my mother and mother-in-law, Angie Barker, Laura Crockett and others have encouraged me.  Along this path they have shared truth, love, a listening ear, tough love, encouragement, tears, laughter and other blessings.  Daily I face the old, faulty perspective I've developed/adopted.  Even 77 pounds lighter I still see myself as a tired, obese, washed up woman.  I used to refer to myself as "Jabba the Hutt". 

One way recently that I felt led to replace the lies with the TRUTH is to memorize Scripture.  I am going to memorize a verse for every pound lost.  Preparing myself spiritually is every bit as important as having plans in place physically and mentally to keep this weight off once it's gone.  The first passage I'm working on is Phil. 3:7-14 (NASB) "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

A specific number on the scale isn't the end of my journey.  My prize is knowing Jesus and sharing life with Him for eternity.  That's my prize.  I keep doing what I'm doing, striving for health and wholeness because I want to know Him.  I want to be more like Him and losing myself to find Him is an honor. 

These are the other passages I'm memorizing....
  • Psalm 46
  • Romans 12:1-3
  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Psalm 118:6
  • Psalm 143
  • Psalm 37:1-11
  • I Peter 1:13-16
  • Phil. 4:4-9, 11-13
  • Eph. 6:10-18
  • Gal. 5:22-26
  • Psalm 107:8-9
  • Phil. 1:6
  • Phil. 2:12-16
  • Psalm 1
  • Heb. 12:1-3
  • I. Cor. 6:19-20
I've got a long way to journey yet, but I can see myself now as a woman who is learning, growing, changing and resting in the truth.  I still see all the cellulite, flab, wrinkles, spider veins, etc., but I also see a more healthy, whole, blessed woman of God.  I'm a better person, wife, mother and friend because of this journey. NO MORE LIES!!!

Goal-Reaching Rewards

Here are some things I've considered doing with my "miracle money" when I hit 199.  Please hear that it is just my 1st goal...not THE goal.  I do think my benefactor meant 199 since he/she included $199.  I'm sure I'll add/take away things on this list, but here's a start (not in any order).  I'm also sure that $199 won't cover all of this, so what I can't do I'll save for NEXT goal!!!  ***This goal was acheived on 8/3/2012
  • Bungee jump at the mall with my kiddos!  I will gladly get on the scale and look at the man's face as he's waiting to see the number creep up past 200.  When it stops on One Ninety Whatever...I'll see that as a victory.  I won't care how much I bounce, flop or jiggle.  I won't care that it's silly.  I won't be embarrassed.  It's gonna be fun!
  • Buy flip-flops
  • Get a mani/pedi
  • Have a chiro adjustment
  • A new journal (to record/write down all the Scriptures I've been memorizing.  One per pound.  Also to include spiritual insights.) *Purchased from Tobey Bechle.  A beautiful handmade, leather journal.  I transcribed my Scripture list into it while on my getaway with Nathan (8/17-20).
  • Put a group together for a hike to High Windy or Mt. Mitchell
  • Have a massage
  • Do 87 squats
  • Register for a race (an 8 or 9K, maybe even a half marathon)
  • Treat myself to one day/night away from hubby AND kiddos.  Nothing too dramatic or far away, it could be a B&B or even a friend's house.
  • A new book (any suggestions???)
  • A nice clean, fresh healthy meal from Early Girl or Sunny Pointe or Morning catch the drift.  Once again open to suggestions.
  • A new water bottle
  • A new sports bra
  • Buy the first piece of lingerie since 1996 (I know TMI)
  • A roller
  • An armband for my android phone so I can use it while I run.
  • A food processor *My friend Jan Allison found an old one she had and shared it with me.  Works great for now.  One blade is still MIA and she's looking for it.  So this can wait for a while.  
  • Take a cooking class
  • Run 5 miles *This was achieved with Leslie Raper and Wendy Moseley.  A ten-miler (run/hike) in Montreat/Ridgecrest on 8/2/2012
  • A new purse/bag
  • A new pair of boots (dressy/cowgirl)
  • A new pair of trail shoes/hiking shoes
  • Treat myself to a facial
  • The Eat-Clean Books by Tosca Reno
  • A heart rate monitor/GPS watch
  • Dentist appt.
  • New haircut/color
  • Some new running tunes
  • A "100" charm bracelet or some piece of custom designed jewelry
I know this probably seems extensive.  This is the longest "want list" I've ever made.  I feel completely selfish even typing it, but I must admit that 100 pounds is quite an accomplishment.  It's humbling to think that I really was just doing the RIGHT thing (taking care of my body) and that it feels so celebratory.  There is still shame, guilt and sadness connected to this process.  For years I was living in a state of denial, false reality and security.  There is forgiveness and healing in this process too. So what I'm really celebrating is true repentance, submission and freedom.  Good stuff, huh???

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Miracle

Yesterday I received a miracle via "snail mail".  I hardly ever get anything in the mail that isn't junk or a bill, so I almost didn't open the envelope that had no return address.  It had a blurry postmark that I think said Asheville, NC.  I opened up the envelope to find a typed letter.  This is what it said.....

"Dear Janelle,
     I believe you WILL make it to 199...I know you WANT to make it to 199...
     So here is a little incentive for you and the funds for all you wanted to do for yourself when you made it!
     But you can't spend it 'til you have reached your goal!
     With lots of love and encouragement,

Me ;-)"

Who the heck is Me????  I am still stumped.  The letter was also accompanied by 199 dollars!!!  WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!  I just stood in my kitchen and cried.  What a blessing.  So now to ponder, pray and consider what I'm going to do with my blessing. 

By the way, if my "angel" is reading my post...199 is just my 1st goal.  The next goal will be 185.6 (100 pounds lost) and then my final goal is 145-150. 

I shared this not to try and reveal the secret identity of my benefactor, but to share that God THROUGH me has inspired, encouraged and touched others.  Someone heard and saw Jesus at work in my weight loss.  That's the best gift of all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Food" for Thought

Sobering as it is a quote from my newest read "The Maker's Diet" for Weight Loss by Jordan S. Rubin. 

Here are "Seven Truths to Think About" by Gus Prosch Jr., MD (obesity specialist in Birmingham, AL-deceased in 2005). 
  1. If you're obese, you have a lifetime disease.
  2. Your metabolic processes will always tend to be abnormal.
  3. You cannot eat what others eat and stay thin.
  4. Anyone can lose weight and stay slim provided the causes of weight gain are determined, addressed, and corrected.
  5. Understanding insulin metabolism is the key to losing weight intelligently.
  6. There is absolutely no physiological requirement for sugar or processed foods in your diet.
  7. You must address all the contributing factors causing obesity.
WOW!  Whether or not you agree with all of these statements they are still worth really considering.  Think of each one in order before you move on to the next.  Really ponder and ask yourself if these might be true to you and your situation.  I have learned so much since the start of this journey, but I have so much more to learn. 

I'm looking forward to reading this book (I'm just in chapter 1).  I'm also looking forward to finally getting below 200 pounds and staying there the REST of my life.  I'm so close....this morning the scale said 208.5.  YEAH!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The New "Normal"

My "Old" Saturday
  • Scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy or pancakes and bacon
  • Watching the kids play Wii
  • Taking a nice long bath and an after breakfast "nap"
  • Cleaning the house
  • More sitting around
  • Fixing lunch for the kids
  • Taking a nap
  • Laundry
  • Playing the "what's for dinner" game
  • Putting the kids to bed early and watching tv with Nathan
My "New" Saturday
  • Up at 5:30am and 6 am to spend an hour (at least) in the Word (Bible) with coffee in hand
  • Breakfast for the family- and then 1st meal for ME *this now means usually a protein shake/smoothie
  • After breakfast dishes I head out for a walk, jog, hike (try to start by 7-7:30am)
  • 9am Circuit Training class with Leslie and my "posse".  I'm so grateful for these ladies!!!
  • Home to shower and have Meal #2 or my new breakfast obsession "Baked eggs with veggies" (a recipe from Whole Living) or a fritatta/ crust less quiche. I also am enjoying a slice of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread with a little butter.
  • Laundry
  • Reading lots of books with the "Bubbies"
  • Possibly an afternoon nap with Nathan
  • *Renewed energy*
  • A trip to the grocery store (possibly)
  • Cooking a nice dinner for the family.  Eating outside/watching the kids play.
  • Watching tv with Nathan (usually a documentary or we are just now watching "24")
My "normal" is so different now and I really enjoy this new pace of life.  Finding a new rhythm has been helpful and my body and soul are craving peace, stability, movement and REAL food (the Word and physically).  I post this not to brag, but to show as always that change is possible (if you really want it).  I'm hoping to incorporate the local tailgate market some this summer and other local activities.