Tag Archives: Weight Watchers

Is There a Separation Between our Body and our Soul?

21 Mar

PantsThis morning, as I left on an early walk, my body resisted me for about the first five minutes.  In fact, I was dragging so much before I got out of our cul-de-sac that I was thrown back to a point a little over two years ago.  It was the first time that I, a woman of more than 260 pounds at the time, tried to take a walk.  I had just joined Weight Watchers and I was determined.  Nevertheless, I was panting before I got out of our cul-de-sac.  I walked for about ten minutes that time, but I had to stop for frequent rests.

 It was not always so.  I spent 27 years in the Navy, most of them in top health or close to it.  A bout of breast cancer in 2008 had led to chemotherapy, with steroids and weight gain.  But, in all honesty, I could only lay 40 of my pounds to the account of the steroids.  The rest had gradually crept on as I rolled through life as a foodie.

I am still a foodie, but by God’s grace I have learned to eat lots more fruits and vegetables and to greatly control my portions of the other things.

All that to say that I am on year three of a lifelong maintenance program.  If I could say two things to my younger friends, they would be:

1) The body and the soul are intrinsically linked.  When I could not get out of my cul-de-sac without panting, a lot of other disciplines in my life were lacking, too.  You could be glib and say I was just lazy but I think I was double-pinned down by my weight.  Not only did I have to move a lot more of me from Point A to Point B, but I think that my lack of good nutrition (lots of processed foods and shortcuts) kept my brain foggy and my energy so low I couldn’t find a way out of the weight trap.

2) Life is a gradual process that takes practice and putting one foot in front of the other for long periods of time. Unless something unusual intervenes, you will still be here in 30 years.  Those could even be your best years, in fact!  So it is best to not grow impatient with yourself if you are fighting any battles with your body.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  That is not fair.  I hit 260 pounds when I was 52.  Who would think I would today be at 145, lower than my high school weight and ever so healthy?  God, that’s Who.

I spent that first year, 2012, just shedding pounds on Weight Watchers.  I didn’t even exercise regularly.  About once a week was average, but some weeks I didn’t exercise at all.

In 2013, I added three sessions of weekly exercise.  If I hit more than that, bravo for me.  But my goal was three times a week.

In 2014, I added morning Bible study before I do anything else.  I now have the energy to do that!!!  Well, on Saturday when we arrive at Weight Watchers at 7, I wait to do Bible study over breakfast, but you know what I mean . . .

It is only now that I see how my spirituality ties very intrinsically in to how my body is functioning.  The Greeks got it wrong.  The body is not a shell carrying around our soul/spirit.  Our body is us.  We need to include it in our total reckoning for life.  We become more spiritual, not less, when we do.

After all, God made our bodies.  Why would we think ourselves more spiritual for neglecting them?

I hope that encourages someone today for the long haul!  We have nothing but time, so take it slowly and establish healthy habits you can live out for the rest of your life.

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The Theology of The Lost Weekend

3 Feb

The Theology of The Lost Weekend

I saw The Lost Weekend for the first time tonight and was very glad that it finally presented a message of redemption at the end (in the way Hollywood has traditionally presented such messages, as a “love conquers everything” sort of twist).

I was amazed at the way the addiction to alcohol was presented, quite realistically, I am sure. The main character’s despair at dawn “when the bars are closed and the liquor stores are not yet open” was almost palpable. What a raging force alcoholism must be inside of a person!

I recall a theology professor once saying that part of the hellishness of hell will probably be that addicts are still addicted throughout eternity, with no means of satisfying their cravings for alcohol, drugs, or sex. Wow!

My addiction was to food, for many years of my life. As you can see from the photograph, I have currently learned to control that addiction (since you can’t quit eating cold turkey!). I will, however, have to track my food for the rest of my life on Weight Watchers. I know my own tendencies to excess far too well.

Two and a half years ago, I weighed almost 120 pounds more than this. I can recall pleading with God every morning of 2011 to help me find the key to losing the weight I had piled on following the administration of steroids for chemotherapy associated with breast cancer at age 49.

He showed me. It was hard work to lose the weight, but He showed me how to do it and stood by me as I did.

Oddly, I have never been so hungry (starved of nutrients) as I was when I stuffed myself full of every carbohydrate in sight back in the bad old days. It was like I was never full, even after eating a half gallon of ice cream or half a package of Oreos. No wonder–my food was mostly processed food back then.

Praise God for a better way. No more sodas. Very few processed foods or sweets. And freedom to remain a foodie (I love to chow down, even now) without damaging my body or my health. It is almost impossible to consume too many fruits and veggies!!!

Thank You, Lord, for showing me the way out of food addiction. And, if I ever fall again in that area, your ways will still suffice. You delight to deliver addicts from their addictions.

Theology of Food

24 Sep

This post is an invitation to those Christians who are with me on the lifelong journey to have a right relationship with food . . .

I have a lot of questions.  I have some ideas of what the answers might be but . . . I also don’t speak dogmatically where the Scriptures are silent.  I welcome your ideas.  

It is much harder to put food in a proper context in life because, unlike other things that can harm us, we can’t give up eating altogether.  We can give up drinking.  We can avoid tobacco and recreational drugs.  We can avoid extramarital sex (or even be single all life long and live without sex altogether).  But we all need to eat.  And we need to do that without harming ourselves or our testimony in the process.  

As a very good friend has recently written, contradicting our testimony by being a glutton is not helpful to anyone.

Yet, the balancing truth is that God has clearly let us know He has richly given us all things to enjoy!  Food is one of those things.  

There will be a Marriage Supper of the Lamb someday.  We enjoy fellowship over food.  So having a hate relationship with food doesn’t seem to be what we are after either.  

How do we love food without loving it too much?  Without making it an idol which blocks our view of our Saviour?

Again, God gave us the principle, but not the specifics.  

And the specifics may differ from person to person.  Sometimes Christian freedom is like that.

For example, now that I am at my Weight Watchers goal (for almost a year) I seem able to eat a lot of fruit without regaining any weight.  I know a handful of friends who can’t do that.  Is it sinful for them to eat vast quantities of fruit, but not for me to do the same thing?

On the other hand, I live without dessert, by and large, except for my once-a-month piece of Carnegie Deli cheesecake from a local deli that imports it.  

There are some gals who are naturally thin and could eat a slice of that cheesecake every day without gaining weight.  Is it sinful for me to eat cheesecake every day but not for them to do the same thing?

I suspect that much lies within the attitudes and intents of our hearts.  But in some cases, we may be governed by our body types, too.  My particular body would be fat if I ate a big piece of cheesecake every day.  And, back to my friend’s observation, I would have a hard time being credible while teaching on Christian discipline to young women if my own body were almost 300 pounds.  

Sometimes we just have to go with what we’ve got and trust that God gave us the right body!

See how many questions I have?  I would love to dialogue with anyone else who sees that there is a deeper theology in play here.  Counting Weight Watchers points works, but I always like to understand the underlying facets, too.  Especially as it relates to my relationship to the Lord and how to better glorify Him . . . 

Come with me on the journey?

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Maintenance of my Weight Loss: Life in the Real World Seven Months Later

26 Jul

Maintenance of my Weight Loss:  Life in the Real World Seven Months Later

This photo is of me, having my piece of mile-high cheesecake that I have gotten every month since embarking on my weight loss of over a hundred pounds in January 2012.

I now eat the cheesecake approximately every three weeks. But it is about the only sweet I eat. So it is the best of both worlds, motivating me to stay away from sugary substances most of the time . . .

That is where the rubber hits the road. I am now on my eighth month of maintenance after my weight loss. Maintenance will last the rest of my life, because if I decide to leave maintenance, I will regain at least some of the weight I lost.

I know myself well enough to know that is the case.

But I also am overjoyed that I am able to do this with just as much enthusiasm now as when I started in January of 2012. It just feels good to do something that is healthy for me and that allows me to move so freely now, unencumbered by extra pounds.

Praise God!

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When Food Tastes Delicious . . .

22 Jul

When Food Tastes Delicious . . .

I have noticed something as I have embarked on my journey to maintain a lower, more healthy weight for the rest of my life.

We who live in the U.S. are in a food-rich country, so the idea of denying ourselves the pleasure of good food is not a common one.

But what about the idea of reserving some delicious foods as very occasional treats?

I can resonate with that. In fact, the way I enabled myself to not eat sweets at all initially during my Weight Watchers loss was to promise myself a piece of mile-high cheesecake from my favorite deli once a month. I still have that custom going on!!!

But there are other foods being added to my list of “very occasional treats.”

For one, I noticed at a recent cookout where we all brought our own meat that the 85% lean ground beef patties I had purchased at Food Lion were turned into the most delicious medium rare cheeseburgers ever by my Pastor’s skillful hand on the grill. I can still taste that burger, if I close my eyes. And I have to say it was among the five best burgers I have ever had.

I only eat burgers perhaps half a dozen times a year right now. Nothing wrong with them (if I count the Weight Watchers points). It is just that they have gone from being an everyday food, consumed two or three times a week, to being a huge treat.

I wonder whether my Pastor’s cheeseburger would have tasted quite so delectable if I were still in the habit of having burgers 2-3 times a week!

Last night, I had a piece of dark chocolate cake, celebrating my son’s departure for college. It was a big piece, very moist, with creamy frosting. Delicious.

I counted my 14 points and savored every mouthful. It seemed to be the best chocolate cake I have ever had.

Again, I wondered whether that was due to the fact that I have had cake about four times since the beginning of 2012. I assumed that was the case.

If I still ate cake at least once a week, even chowing down on lesser storebought cakes, I doubt that I would be able to appreciate the superior quality of the bakery version I had last night.

I think I may have the best of all possible worlds and I am extremely grateful for where I am in my new healthy lifestyle.

I live in a country with lots of food choices. I have enough money to afford the food I wish to eat. But I voluntarily have set aside certain things that I used to eat regularly, putting them into the category of occasional special treats. And that seems to be working out very well for me. My food, when I have it, tastes delicious. When I don’t have it, I never feel as though I am missing out on anything . . .

Does that make sense? Anyone else forming a similar conclusion with their lifestyle choices?

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Hunger is Not an Emergency!

11 Jul

Hunger is Not an Emergency!

A friend at Weight Watchers came up with the above motto or borrowed it from somewhere.

I just love that. Reminds me that I can always wait another half hour before eating, even when I feel hunger pangs . . .

Yesterday I took my son to get his TB test checked before he had had his breakfast. After we had had his check, just before the doctor’s office opened at 9, I took him through the drive through at Chick-Fil-A next door. A typical young man of 21, he wanted a couple of chicken biscuits and an orange juice.

Time was, I would have joined him in something high fat and delicious.

As it was, I remembered that I had a packet of nuts and apple slices–one of those Nut-rition products that are pretty good!–in my desk at work, so I waited till I got there, then had a lower calorie snack.

That seems to be the key for me–waiting a bit longer to eat when I feel hungry and substituting something a bit lower cal for most of the foods that we Americans typically grab!

I will always be a foodie, but I am learning that I can eat a granola bar mid-morning and something with nuts mid-afternoon without blowing my daily Weight Watchers points.

Yes, I do believe I can do this for a lifetime!

My Weight Control Program is Superior to Your Weight Control Program!

1 Jul

I have been thinking about how people, even Christians, tend to spend most of their lives being simultaneously proud and deceived.

How we quote a few Bible verses, intended to bring someone else under conviction (never us!) and think that that establishes our bona fides as a spiritually mature person!

How we find a program that works for us, like I have found Weight Watchers, and then develop an “us vs. them” mentality that leads us to look down our noses at the South Beach Diet guys, while they look down their noses at us.

How we simplistically divide the whole world into two types of people, then spend an inordinate amount of energy defending the superiority of our group in comparison to the other artificial group we have constructed!

I know, off the top of my head, that I don’t have to go far on the Internet or in person to find someone who will defend the idea that:

1) all good Christian moms should breastfeed

2) all good Christian parents should homeschool

3) all good Christian parents should have their children in private Christian schools

4) all good Christian parents should have their children in public schools in order to witness to the non-Christians around them

5) Etc., etc., etc.

You see how it is.  People find a pet cause or conviction in life, which is great, but they then try to apply it to everyone else, which is not so great.

<lowers voice to a whisper> A really good cause will sell itself and gain followers without us having to guilt people into joining it.  If you are having trouble selling people on the advantage of joining your particular homeschooling group, you might look at the quality of what you have to offer (we always had a “wait list” for our homeschool support group and co-op, as Terri Walter and Jean Robbins, who started the groups, knew their pedagogical material well and knew how to lead other parents toward professionalism in their teaching!).  

What I am learning as I am now into my seventh month of maintaining my weight after a 110 pound weight loss last year is that:

1) I don’t know everything and a little humility goes a long way.

2) I am able to identify experts in any area (in this case, people who have also lost large amounts of weight and have kept it off for years).  Once I have identified these people, I need to listen to them.   

3) I can learn from anybody, but I need to find the areas where that person is an expert and listen intently in those areas. 

4) I have a huge tendency now that I don’t impulse eat anymore to go to the other extreme and be overly regimented about food and my food tracker (if that is possible, and I believe it is).  That can come across as very proud and self-satisfied to people who are struggling with weight issues.  I need to be aware of that.  Not that I can do much to change someone’s perception if they are determined to think I am a proud person, but a bit of self-awareness goes a long way in not creating problems from my end of things.

5) I would rather struggle with being overly regimented with my tracker than struggle with impulse eating and having 110 extra pounds on my frame.  I have always said this struggle, for me, was about getting healthy.  I am the healthiest I have ever been in my adult life right now.  That should give me lots more years to figure out how to not be so regimented with my tracker . . . <smile>

6) Everyone on the planet needs grace.  Even when they belong to “that other group of mothers who did not breastfeed” <giggle>.

Seriously, folks, we only have one chance to go through this life.  Let’s not make it so hard on the folks around us, okay?  God gives us lots of grace.  We can afford to give a bit of it away to someone whom we don’t personally find to be heroic!    

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