Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Those Stubborn 10 Pounds: What Difference Does it Make?

What difference does 10 pounds make?  I'm not writing to sell you on a method, a product, a program, or a special fad diet.  I'm not knocking any of you friends who are sales representatives for them, because according to your daily posts about your products that help you earn a significant second income, they have amazing impacts on your personal health.  However, I want to share my story and how it doesn't just affect my waist line, energy level, or confidence nearly as much as it has taught me much deeper truths.

After "L" left us and returned to her country (for her story, see my posts about orphan hosting) I entered a period of discouragement and despair.  I mourned for the girl who I prayed would be my forever daughter.  I ate more comfort foods, was less active, suffered more migraine headaches, and from the stress even got a misaligned neck needing adjustment from a local chiropractor.  I've discovered I have a lower than average metabolism, so even a week or two of reducing my activity level results in instant weight gain.  Several pounds that had creeped on over a couple years rapidly added on several more, and before I knew it, all my clothes were getting tight, my energy level was plummeting, and my ailments increased.  Many of you may think "What's 10 pounds?  I have to lose 50!"  The reason 10 pounds is significant to me is that it signified I was entering a path I didn't want to go down.  It revealed to me that I was relying on food to be my comfort, not the Lord.  I was more irritable and moved more slowly with my kids, and it was affecting my parenting in a godly way.  Something needed to change.
After running a 5K run down the road with my oldest

I tried exercise first.  I exercised three times a week to the point of exhaustion.  One hour workouts while the kids were running in and out of the house were stressing me out.  I never lost a pound, but actually started GAINING more weight!  So then I started calorie counting on my phone with a Fitbit Kris got me for Christmas.  It seemed to make sense, but after a month of reducing my diet by 800 calories a day (simply eating less) and intensely exercising 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes I had only lost a mere 1 pound.  I was getting really discouraged at this point.

It was around this time I joined a Bible Study at church.  It was about being a prayer warrior, based off the movie "War Room".  Studying what God's Word teaches us on prayer every day for eight weeks taught me how to pray more specifically, passionately, and intimately.  I had to pray before even getting out of bed because if the kids heard I was up, it was over (They are really good about beating me up every morning)!  This new discipline and deepened walk with God refreshed my day to day attitude and my cravings for comfort food to relieve stress throughout the day lessened.  I started replacing carbs (granola bars, yogurt, bread, sugary cereals, etc) with protein (plain granola, peanuts, greek yogurt, low fat cheese sticks, whole grain unsweetened cereals) and never felt hungry like I used to!  No special diet, no fancy expensive foods, no cutting out gluten, fats, etc, but just a big increase in whole foods without additives, substitutes, and lots of sugar.  Sure I eat chocolate sometimes (dark chocolate isn't so bad when you get used to it), and love to eat fruit instead of sugary snacks, but these general replacements throughout the day became my new favorite foods!  And FINALLY the pounds started rolling off!  I lost 1-2 pounds a week for the last 2 months and am finally at my goal- the weight I was before getting married 12 1/2 years ago.

I feel great.  My migraines are much less frequent.  My neck pain rarely returns.  My moodiness is much more level (no more big sugar fluctuations!) and I'm much more patient with my kids during the day.  I have found a new dietary lifestyle and have no intention to go back to my old favorite foods.  And some of my kids actually have learned to like these foods too (but still enjoy their sugar as well)! Calorie counting has been my biggest accountability, but I also know that if I eat junk one day, even if it is 800 calories less than what I've supposedly burned that day the scale will be up the next morning (it never fails).  My metabolism is just that bad!  Some of us are just designed that way, which gives me much more empathy for people who are constantly struggling to keep weight off that they worked so hard to lose.

I want to be the kind of mom who, when I have 5 and 6 kids in a grocery store with me, gets asked the standard "all they all yours?" and when I reply affirmatively, get a response like "You don't look like a mom of six kids!".  That is a testimony that I live by Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  It is true.  By gaining a deeper walk with Him in prayer, the loose ends of my life came together.  He gave me the strength to go for a 3 mile run when a year ago at this time I couldn't even run half a mile without back pain or a headache.  He gave me the strength to keep trying when I was discouraged.  He gave me the willpower to say no to what wasn't good for me so my health could reach its full potential.

Ten pounds are gone, but much more importantly, I feel empowered to be more for Christ now.  If He can get me through the valley of discouragement with mourning the loss of a child I thought would be ours and can get me through losing weight to restore my body and resolve, He can empower me to do even more.  There is more to this story that I want so badly to share, but you will have to wait a little longer!

This by no means indicates my life is all together.  I still struggle with impatience, showing grace to those who I don't think deserve it, and using consistent discipline with my kids to name a few.  I still have days when I don't want to get out of bed and face those hyper children and my disaster of a kitchen that needs cleaning from the night before.  I still am weak, but Christ is making me more like Him one lesson at a time.

We are all on a journey as we grow in our walk and understanding of God and His Word.  He is working in different areas on each of us.  Recently for me it has been simply learning to pray more and letting my daily lifestyle and activity line up with my growing walk with Him.

Got struggles?  Try prayer.  It works! (no pun with the It Works products intended!)