I've been learning a lot the past week about baby steps to change. I'm not big on change inwardly. I love outward change, spontaneous moves to shake things up a bit, adventures, but get me down to the inside of me and my habits and you've hit a brick wall. Yeah God that He is stronger than my will!
(if you don't want to hear my story, you can skip down to the important stuff)
I have struggled with weight ever since my first pregnancy. I never dreamed I would, I was so skinny. I have no younger siblings, and I was never around pregnant women having babies (or if I was, I was too much of a tom-boy to notice). When we conceived Princess on our honeymoon I was not fearful at all. I was not fearful because I had not a clue what was going to happen to my body. I remember the day like it was yesterday ,that I looked in the mirror at six months pregnant and freaked out because overnight I developed all these purple streaks accross my previously newlywed hips! I called my mom. "What are these!?" I asked, feeling like I'd been taken over by something. "Honey, those are called stretch marks." And so my life began to change forever. Would I have gone back? No, I loved that I was expecting, but the shock of what was happening to me was hard.
I also took an attitude of "pregnancy liberty" when it came to food. If I craved a cheeseburger (or three) I ate them. If I wanted a Snickers bar, Rick ran across the street to fetch. Neither of us knew what we were doing. I was one of those dumb women who thought that someone removed the cushions magically at the hospital and I would still come home in my size six jeans and tiny knitted top. Oh, poor naive girl that I was!
I gained fifty lbs. Only ten were gone when I came home with my beautiful baby girl. She was seven point nine of them. I was not too worried, I was enjoying my fullness in other areas that I had never had before, and I was distracted by babyhood. I went from "pregnancy liberty" to "nursing liberty" with my eating and was almost worse because I was so hungry all the time. The hunger was of course, for carbs. Again, I had never been close to anyone who had been through this that I could glean wisdom from. Exercise became less and less an option with each pregnancy because I was so sick w/ Lilo and then on bed rest, and again on three months bedrest w/ Superkid. I felt like a beached whale at the end of his. That was a precious time for me though as I spent time leaning on the Lord and talking to my baby boy through the day as we were left home by ourselves to rest. He would wiggle, I would talk, good times.
I'm not making excuses for my weight gain; I just want to visit where my mindset was so I can praise God for how much He has taught me since then.
When Princess was about 26 months old, I decided to focus heavily on regaining my health. Rick's friend and Sister were both getting married up north and my mom said she would take me shopping for a whole suit dress outfit if I reached my goal weight. I did it but with the help of the then popular "Metabolife". Now of course, it's main ingredient "ephedra" (sp?) has been banned. It worked but made me very jittery all the time and a little cranky even.
I dropped near thirty lbs and enjoyed it for two-three months until.......yes, I got pregnant. I was happy to be so, we had been trying for eight months. Lilo's pregnancy was different. I did not eat as much but I was also very ill the whole way. Still with bad nausea and eventually weeks on end of bronchitis, I still at the end put that glorious fifty on. Oh, the magic of hormones!
Ever since then I have not been able to focus enough to go back down that thirty or so lbs. I have gone down ten to fifteen and up again many times but I have not put change into my lifestlye enough for a return to healthy weight.
The me before kids did not crave things. I was not a big eater and believe it or not I did not like sweets too much. Rich foods I could only handle a bite of. I attribute this to the way I was raised w/o sugar and on whole foods. I didn't like it much, but it did have an effect on my health. Pregnancy, and marriage to a chocolate/all sweets lover changed my metabolism in a drastic way.
So, now that my mom is paying the money for me to use the Arbonne Figure 8 system. I am feeling like I need to be a good steward of her money and give her a good return for her investment. It's good because it gives me a drive to focus. My personality requires an all or nothing stance for big change. I don't really like that I'm this way, I would rather be more consistent and patient, but I'm learning these along the way too. Exercise is my largest bane. I was never athletic...NEVER. Yet, to make a great change it is so important. Not only does it get my body into the mode it needs to be, it also releases those endorphins that help my mood and stamina in the day with the kids and even my responses to my husband. It's crutial and yet so hard to do.
I'd like to share what the Lord is teaching me if you'll let me. I've been wanting to write these out for myself but you may find it useful if the Lord has been laying similar things on your heart.
Steps in the Journey:
1. Prayer- "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:4-
I need to pray about this as any other area of my life. I pray over homeschool, groceries, marriage, parenting, money......why would I not pray about health? My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so God is very interested in what I'm doing to damage it or make it strong. He want's to be involved and leading as in everything else. The desire of my heart is to get to a healthy weight, I delight that He is with me, I trust HIM to do this in HIS time. I pray that my motives will remain pure, and I pray for all the following items trusting His Sovereign will and His Holy Spirit's aid.
2. Prioritize- I need to map out what is priority. I need to do this often because it changes. Some things always stay at the top but many others fluctuate. Different seasons of life create different priorities for different people. This may not be on the front burner all the time, but let's try to keep it on the stove shall we?! This is a crucial step that involves step #1. Why? Because my priorities may not be God's and so I need to seek Him. When our kids are little we don't have as much time for this. Ask God to show you how and if He want's you to take this time. It may only be ten minutes, but if it is that, it's a start. You may also have to put this above napping, reading or TV time for a while until you get closer back on track.
3. Plan- "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." That is a good quote for me. Planning is not my strong point because I have a spontaneous personality. I have finally come to peace with the fact that, in general, I am not a scheduled person. I am however learning to find a routieen. I like routieen because it can move inside time and really is more like a process of accomplishing priorities, which is why step #2 is crucial before this step. Timing is everything, and so it is true with this. For me, morning is crutial during this intense time of kicking off my goals (what I mean by that is that I am committing this two months to really stress this area of my life so that I can firmly develop some healthy habits- again this is an aspect of my rather intense personality and may not be the best for someone else), later I may find that I can fit it in anywhere. If I do the morning, it's done. I am not a morning person so I am praising God that he is doing a work in me in this area. I get up to have coffee w/ Rick, see he gets off to work w/ all he needs, spend some quiet time w/ the Lord, and then exercise.
Another planning need is food. This is crucial because if I don't have a plan, it's easier to grab the nearest thing which is usually corn chips and peanut butter and jelly.
4. Prepare- This is where I need to remove obstacles both mental and physical that will stop me and bring in what is helpful to the goal. Examples: Make my time, their time. My kids like to wake up slow so it works good for me to be ready w/ something for them to watch at about seven am when I am ready to walk. This is their only TV time so it becomes special to them which makes them want to sit still. (You may have different circumstances such as tiny ones where this is not as easy especially if you don't have older children able to watch them in a playpen or whatever- so, here you refer back to what your priorities were and perhaps give up your nap or part of it so you can walk while the littles nap, and the olders watch) The best way may be for you to exercise with your children (this does not work for me, a treadmill is better because it removes a lot of obstacles like weather, kids don't feel good, etc. Don't think that money has to be a hindarance either, I bought mine for 10$ at a garage sale and it works great). I am preparing good viewing as well. This includes educational or biblical themes. That way they are watching and getting something. Yesterday they watched the IMAX "Deep Sea" movie from the library and it was beautiful. Veggie Tales, Superbook, Greatest Bible Adventures (Hannah Barbara series), National Geographic's (or Christian versions), Boz the Bear, all are good choices.
Get on the library computer system and you'll be amazed what you can find.
Preparing myself means I don't shower till I'm done walking (is that preparing or the lack there of?:*). I exercise in my pj's w/ the only change being a sports bra added. That way I don't dirty up more sweaty laundry. Nightgowns not recommended :)
It also means favorite music. I made a CD from songs (many of which were on last month's playlist)that mean a lot to me and get me moving. I always end up having a worshipful time because of the music I choose. I would be happy to mail anyone a copy of this CD (it is formulated for exercise but is also great for housework or driving) if you email me- my treat.
5. Push (yourself)- I encourage my girls to do their school and clean their room even when they don't want to. I need to do that for getting on that treadmill. I may not want to for the first 20 min even (as was the case this morning) but I always get felling better as my body adjusts, and I'm ALWAYS glad I did it when I get off. This is a great testimony to my kids that mommy is pushing herself for what is good just as I'm asking them to do. I can also let them know I'm in prayer to have the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Pushing yourself includes you pallet (your tastebuds) as well. I push my kids to eat their healthy foods, should I not push me too!? Hey, if the bushmen in Africa can adjust to grub worms then I can switch to mustard only on my sandwich w/o complaint. Their tongue is the same as mine.
6. Patience- I have to remember that this is a journey, not a "beam me up Scotty" sort of thing. Results take time. Some are immediate: I feel energized, I think more clearly etc. Others take patience. If I went to MacDonald's and downed 12 double cheese burgers I would not be 10 lbs. heavier when I walked out the door. Eventually it would show up. Taking it off is the same way. I cannot expect to get off the treadmill, go look in the mirror and be amazed.
I have to also be patient w/ the change of plans. What I want to do may not work out and I need to be okay with that. This brings me back to step #1.
7. Persevere- Here is where I fail. I get interrupted by life and fail to get back on track. This also brings me to #1. A good support group is necessary. My husband is very supportive in helping me if he can but I am also need accountability to someone. "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor" Ecclesiastes 4:9 I have learned from experience to go to someone who is strong enough to tell you the truth and is just as committed to the goals as you are.
8. Praise- I need to remember to praise God for every step toward improvement in this journey. I have to remember that this is not MY work, it is HIS. I have to lean heavily on the Holy Spirit and obey His convictions. I have to open my eyes to see what God has done and thank Him for it. He is the vine, I am the branch, and apart from Him I can do nothing. I find that my exercise time becomes a wonderful time of reflecting on the Lord. My music helps with that. I find myself praising him that I'm even on the darn thing to begin with.