Abiding In Jesus is Taking Action

P31 Made to Crave Action Plan Photo Hop #Action

image

The assignment today is to link a photo of our personal action verse. I had this image on one of my Pinterest boards. I chose this verse because as it says, if we don’t abide (remain, attached) in Jesus (the Vine) we can do nothing.

I really want this time to be different than all the other times I’ve tried to lose weight. I really want it to be a spiritual journey with the benefit of physical health and well-being. I want the result to be not only weight loss, but a healthy new lifestyle. For this to happen I need to stay grafted into Jesus, the Vine. I need Him to be in all I do and the strength that I use to make good choices all day, eat well, and move my body – by communicating with Him all day long.

I am currently a homemaker, so I spend a great deal of time alone. I have always been one to keep the TV on all day for “company.” But, it encourages me to sit for long periods, even if I am not actively watching it. But since beginning the first M2C study back in January God’s been working on that, too, as a part of this journey. The TV is staying off (most days) until hubby turns it on after work. I’ve never been a fan of silence, but I am learning to like the silence, because it allows for a lot more spontaneous conversations with God throughout the day. It gives me the opportunity to do something that a mentor, Joanne, once told me: “Julia, the Lord wants you to ‘tune-in’ to His voice more.” It’s hard to tune into God’s voice, that still, small voice, when there is so much distraction and noise.
The silence also gives me the opportunity to worship our Lord – either in spontaneous song or putting on some music, which always prompts dancing (moving my body aka exercise) =). It’s a win-win situation.
Abiding in Jesus, the Vine, the Source of life and strength, is the only way this journey to Craving God and not food, TV (noise)… is going to be truly successful.

When Joanne told me to tune-in my first thought was that I was already hearing God pretty good. But, I respect her and took it and started seeking God in it.  Tuning in goes deeper than casually listening. It’s being purposeful about making time to sit in silence praying and then listening for His voice. This prepares me to hear and recognize His voice when He speaks to me in a specific situation, through a person, a song, or a Bible verse. The tuning in really needs to be intentional, otherwise we will miss Him in the everyday things.

God has a plan and purpose for my life (and yours, too). Being 115 pounds overweight at 53 years of age makes it hard to have the energy and stamina I need to fulfill the plan for this half of my life. Taking action now to change my lifestyle and health is an important step in fulfilling my God-given destiny to teach God’s Word and encourage women of all ages on their own faith journeys.

Thank You, Jesus, for never giving up on me even when I’ve wanted to give up on myself!

Advertisements

Journey into a Healthier Me – Part 1, A God-centered Eating Plan

I refuse to call it a “diet.”  The word “diet” just has so much negativity associated with it. I want an “Eating Plan.” Something that can become a lifestyle way of eating. Diets are usually strict, short term, weight-loss, goal-oriented things. I want to learn to be and eat healthy. I want to be the best me I can be.

I have a Pinterest board titled, A new me in 2014. At first I was pinning only recipes, healthy eating advice and exercises onto the board. Now, I am pinning other things as well, Scriptures, quotes…that can help me overhaul the entire me. Yes, the goal is to be a healthy weight and generally be healthier physically, but if I only focus on the physical it won’t last. It needs to be a mental and spiritual attitude adjustment as well.

As a part of this journey I am doing the online Bible study (OBS), Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst on Proverbs31.org. We just started week 4 of 6. Right afterward we will begin the Made To Crave Action Plan study. Which was written by Lysa and Dr. Ski Chilton. I want this to be about more than the numbers on the scale. Hence, this sign I’ve put on my scale:

 

image

I am taking a slow approach to learning about me and my eating habits and slowly making changes to my diet (how I cook, substituting healthier ingredients for some things, cutting down on others) and tracking everything on sparkpeople.com, so I can have a visual record of calories, fat, sodium, carbs, sugars… I am learning and making wiser choices. If there is something I really want (crave) I think about it and make a conscious decision about whether or not I want to allow myself to have it. So far I have been doing pretty well. Sweets aren’t usually my downfall, my taste buds are more tuned in to savory foods. That’s where my main temptations lie. Meat and potatoes with gravy, pasta, casseroles…. oh, the joys of savory foods. NOT! Not when you’re trying to get healthy. This takes a bit of work to get the flavors you crave without so much of the fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbs. That’s where the flavors often lie. A lot of that cannot be altered in some fashion to make it healthier, but it is a process for me to learn and make those choices. And I am learning.

 This journey is different than ones I have tried and failed at before. This one, I am letting God and wisdom be my guide. I don’t beat myself up if I give in to a craving, but I am not allowing myself to eat impulsively. I am making a conscious effort to make it a choice to allow it or not. Then, I make it a small/single portion and work it into my eating plan for the day. If it’s a high calorie/fat item will I have to take some other healthy food off my plan for the day to accommodate it?

I was at lunch with a friend at TGIFridays last week. I rarely get to go there, since hubby doesn’t care for their menu. I love their Korean Steak Tacos. When I looked up the nutrition info online I was crushed. The meal was 1080 calories. It’s 3 tacos and a small dish of rice. I looked at the menu for other healthier choices. Even their healthier choices were noted to be only under 750 calories. I made an informed  decision and had the tacos. I ate only half of the rice, and when I felt full I stopped eating the tacos (A major milestone for me. That’s so hard, I was brought up as a member of the clean plate club and when I love the flavor of something even if I feel full I don’t usually stop until it’s gone). Later in the day I was thinking about it and I could have easily trimmed off 160 more calories (+/-) by only eating one of the two soft corn tortillas on each taco. I enjoyed every slow bite as I enjoyed the company of my friend over a leisurely lunch. I did not feel guilty. I had eaten a sensible breakfast and I was cooking a sensible dinner. This splurge was deliberate and I did not feel guilty, because it had been well considered and not an impulse.

I learned a lot that day. And many days before and after. Although I made that choice to allow myself those tacos, that cannot be a daily thing to allow this kind of indulgence. Otherwise, I would train wreck not only my weight loss goals, but also my health in general. What I need to do is learn how to make a healthier version of those tacos at home. Hmmm…there you go! I need to make that a plan. That’s really what this journey is going to be about for me. Planning. God-assisted, wise planning. It’s about controlling the food and NOT letting the food control me. It’s about depending upon a power greater than my willpower (or lack thereof). The power of God is Christ in me. I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He gives me wisdom and strength when I acknowledge that I cannot do this on my own. So many times I’ve tried and failed because I tried to do it in my own power. I just cannot do that. I don’t have it in me to do this on my own. We aren’t created to go it alone. We were always intended to be in a constant, intimate relationship with our Creator and Lord, Father and Friend. He is the God who sees us and He knows us by name. He cares so much about us that Jesus said, “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” We have a God who wants to be a part of everything in our lives, not stuck in a box to come out on Sunday mornings and when we have a problem and need His help like a genie in a bottle. With Jesus as my constant companion I know that this time will be different. It already feels different. My focus is different on God and getting healthy, not on a list of NOs I cannot eat and a list of DOs I don’t want to eat. I have to live by this and many other truths of God’s Word:

Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything ” (1 Corinthians 6:12 HCSB).

So, I take this journey, with God as my guide. He is my inspiration, my strength, my power, my will to succeed. Not, so I can wear skinny jeans, not so I can say I weight 125 pounds like I did when I got married, not so I can feel sexy or any other reason other than, I want to take care of this body because it is the temple of the Lord. I want to be healthy and strong enough to serve God for as long as He has planned for me, to accomplish everything He has purposed for me to accomplish, and, God willing, to be healthy and live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.

“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” Proverbs 21:20 NIV

I found this verse today. I have read Proverbs many times over, but this verse never stuck out to me as it did today. This verse made me think about making wise choices when I plan meals and when I grocery shop to buy the choice (best, healthiest) foods and to also think about what I’m eating and not just gulping it down, in a hurry, without a thought as to what it is or why I’m eating it. I think the actual meaning of the verse is to store up food for the future (no grocery stores back then), rather than feasting on the abundance now without regard for future needs. That actually works for now, too, because sometimes I eat things just because they’re there, whether I’m truly hungry or not. Hmmm… So, I am trying not to buy too many things that aren’t all that healthy. I’m trying to be prepared enough that if we get snowed in a few days we have plenty to eat, yet not so much of the wrong things that I will eat just because they’re there. I do have a couple things I keep around as a treat. I do allow myself 2 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises a day. It’s dark chocolate and therefore it is healthy, but a half a bag in one sitting would not be healthy. Two chocolates is only two-fifths of a serving. I don’t feel the need to eat a whole serving, if for no other reason, the calories begin to add up, but usually two and sometimes one is satisfying enough for me as I take small bites and savor the flavor. I also have a package of Stella Doro Breakfast Treats (Jim and I call them air cookies) on hand most of the time. If I really want something more cookie/cakey I’ll eat one of those. Especially if I’m having a coffee or hot tea. One is only 90 calories. Granted, they are pretty much “empty” calories, but for that little bit I can deal with it, if it keeps me from pursuing something more decadent. I don’t like sweets so much that I will indulge in more than one of these cookies. Now, if it were an Oreo that would be a different story. And I can’t have Oreos without a glass of milk for dunking. Pretty soon that becomes a very fat, calorie, and carb costly indulgence. 

 

1When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, 2and put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite; 3don’t desire his choice food, for that food is deceptive (Proverbs 23 :1-3 HCSB).

This verse really puts hunger vs appetite into perspective. If I am truly hungry, I will look for something more healthy and satisfying than a cookie. One (air) cookie will not satisfy true hunger. It would probably take a whole package to make a dent in that and all I’d have to show for it is 1080 empty, unsatisfying calories. A good portion of a whole days calories wasted. I am taking to buying ready to eat packages of carrots and celery. A tablespoon of peanut butter or hummus rounds out these veggies as a very satisfying low calorie snack. Sometimes I will snack on a serving or even just a half a serving of roasted almonds – natural or Blue Diamond’s dark chocolate ones just to take the edge off if I start getting too hungry between meals. It’s better than going into a meal so hungry that you eat very fast and too much, because you don’t give your body a chance to recognize it’s full. It’s working, too! Yay! I am learning that a lean protein at each meal, and as part of a snack, can be much more satisfying than carbs alone. That was a trap I was in for so long. Eating carbs without protein just wasn’t satisfying and led me to eat more of it and more often. Fiber, also, helps curb the hunger and keep it at bay longer.

So, I am working out a plan as I go. Learning from the food tracking I’m doing on sparkpeople.com how to use wisdom in planning and that planning works out better than last minute decisions, especially if those decisions take you to fast food restaurants in desperation. I am learning to consider each thing I put in my mouth before I eat it. No more regrets. No more mindless eating. Just God-centered, wisdom choices. Amen, thank you Jesus!