Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

So, I don't know about you, but I have a picture inside my head of what I look like. In my mental picture, I admit that I am overweight, but when I look in the mirror, the reality of what I see does not necessarily match what is in my mind. Sometimes in my mind I see myself as 400 pounds and feel like I resemble a beached whale. In reality, I am not that large. Other times, I think to myself that I am looking really good, feeling skinny and then I look in the mirror...and what I see is not a skinny person. It's frustrating. I have heard that this a common problem of people with body issues, not just people who are overweight, but sometimes it makes it difficult to want to live in reality. I don't often like what I see when I look in the mirror. Because of this, I have learned to avoid mirrors. I know that I am overweight. I know that I have to lose some fat (ok, a LOT of fat), but I often don't want to face the reality of it. It's depressing. I have heard of people who say they like being fat, and honestly, more power to them, but I don't understand. I HATE being fat. I have never liked being overweight, and I truly don't get why anyone would. Because of my weight, I am limited by what I can wear, how active I can be, and what kinds of things I can do. It's not fun. There are so many things that I would like to do that are either difficult or uncomfortable for someone larger like me. It's often disheartening, and many time difficult to face that I am not in the place that I would like to be. Nowhere is that seen more than when I look in a mirror.

Facing yourself is a difficult thing physically, but I think it's even harder to look deeper into the issues that cause the problems in our lives. Sometimes things lie outside of our control, but sometimes the way we handle life causes difficulties for us. I turned to food in order to control the pain, loneliness and anxiety that I was feeling, and because of that I am overweight. My emotional eating has caused problems for me beyond the ones I was already experiencing. Did I truly know better at the time I started to look to food for comfort? No, but I do now, and I still falter.

It's not easy getting to the heart of the matter. In this society, we aren't expected to look beyond the surface of anything. We have learned to blame our problems on anything but us. We have learned to deflect responsibility because it's hard to admit that you are the one hurting yourself. Take for instance people who have sued fast food companies for making them fat. No one forced them to buy and eat what they ate everyday, but they can't handle placing the blame where it really lies. It's hard to own up to your issues, but can you really move past the problem and begin to be a solution without owning your stuff?

As a Christian, and especially a Wesleyan Methodist, I am called to be in relationship with God as I work toward perfection. I have found that the first step for me has been to own where I am and what I have done to get me to this place. Then I can begin to see what steps to take to work toward becoming more like the person that I am meant to be. I am loved for who I am right where I am, but God isn't finished with me yet, and honestly, neither am I. I am looking forward with hope to becoming more me as I continue my journey.

Do you have a hard time accepting yourself where you are? Have you found it easier or more difficult to begin the process of change but accepting responsibility for the place you are in and what you have done to get yourself there? What has your journey toward perfection taught you so far? I would love to hear what you think about this.

 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Horrible, Not so Good, Very Bad Day

Today is not a good day. It seems like everything is falling apart around me. My mom has been gone three months today. I had to say goodbye to my husband yet again yesterday afternoon, and even though I will see him this weekend, I miss him. It's lonely living without him. I am exhausted, and for some reason, my knee is killing me. I am really not liking today. It's not fun. I am sad, lonely and in pain. Honestly, I just want to curl up in bed, have a good cry and go to sleep. I probably will when I get done writing this.

To be honest, I didn't even want to post today, because I feel like I am being such a downer. The only reason I am writing is because I made a schedule, and I am sticking to it. Sorry I'm depressing today, but well, that's life, right?

And honestly, it's ok to be in this place. If there is one thing I have learned over the past year, it is to live in the moment. Now, I know that people usually use that phrase to talk about not missing the good parts of life, but I believe living in every moment is vital. Yes, I am sad and not feeling so great today, but if I never truly embraced being sad over the loss of my mom, I couldn't even begin to heal. If I didn't feel loneliness and miss my husband, then I could start to take him for granted when he is around. If I didn't feel pain when something in my body wasn't working, then I wouldn't truly appreciate how important keeping my body healthy was. Living in this moment, though it's hard is truly to best thing for me to do. So, right now, I embrace it, welcome it, knowing that it is here for this moment, but I can make it through this.

And in all of this, I am surrounded and supported by my amazing family and friends who love and care for me. And above all, I don't have to be in this place alone. I honestly, can't imagine what it would be like if I wasn't in relationship with a God who loves me and cares for me no matter what.

I shared with a friend today my favorite Bible verse, and I just feel that right now it is so fitting. I shared with a friend today my favorite Bible verse, and I just feel that right now it is so fitting.

"For the Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will comfort you with His love; He will joy over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17"For the Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will comfort you with His love; He will joy over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

What an amazing thing to be loved so deeply by God that he is wrapping me in His arms, comforting me and singing like a mother sings over her child. I am truly blessed beyond words.What an amazing thing to be loved so deeply by God that he is wrapping me in His arms, comforting me and singing like a mother sings over her child. I am truly blessed beyond words.

Do you have days where it feels like everything is falling apart around you? Where do you find hope and encouragement in the midst of hard times?Do you have days where it feels like everything is falling apart around you? Where do you find hope and encouragement in the midst of hard times?

 

Oh, and a HUGE shout out to my dad, Michael Strickland, for the awesome new blog design! I am loved!!!Oh, and a HUGE shout out to my dad, Michael Strickland, for the awesome new blog design! I am loved!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Back at the Starting Line

So, here I am, finally back after what seems like forever. My life has been extremely tumultous since the last time I posted. Most importantly I lost my mom to a three year battle with cancer. Actually, one of the main reason I stopped blogging was because of my mom. She, of course, being a mom, always read my blog, and when I knew the outlook wasn't good, she had yet to accept it. That meant I couldn't actually write about it here, so it was hard for me to post when I wanted to share what I was actually dealing with over these last months.

As you know, I am a serious emotional eater, and my life being in such upheaval with my mom's illness, decline and death certainly played a factor in my lifestyle choices. I can't say that I have made the best of choices, because, well, I haven't. Especially ever since mom died in late June, not to mention, that I was offered a new job and decided to move to Vancouver, WA just a couple of weeks later. Needless to say, my life has been pretty crazy, but I'm back. I had lost a total of 78 pounds. It looks as though I have gained about 20 back since this whole thing started. Not great, but I can live with it. A net loss of 58 is still great. I'm trying to focus on the positive that I have made it through the hard times without gaining all my weight back or more. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE!!! Instead of my usual beating myself up for falling of the wagon and gaining any weight back.

So, I'm back, and it feels like I'm starting over. Yes, I have been here before. No, it wasn't easy then and it won't be easy now, but I am trying my best to eat healthy and getting myself moving again. That is what counts!

And I've noticed that my spiritual life seems to be inextricably linked to how much I am working on taking care of myself and being healthy. So, as I've begun again to focus on balance and health, so I have begun again to focus on relationship with God and others.

So, here I go again. Three steps forward, one step back, but at least I am moving in the right direction.

Do you find it difficult to get "back on the wagon" after falling off? What things do you do to help you recover from failure and backward momentum?

 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Emotionally Speaking

I am an emotional eater.  I know I have filled you all in on this little tidbit before, but I just felt the need to reiterate it.  The times I find it difficult to stay on my program are when I am experiencing great stress because of my emotions.  The last two weeks have been extremely difficult for me because of this.  For those of you who don't know, my mom has stage 4 cancer in several places of her body.  She started chemotherapy earlier this month to try and kill the cancer.  Two weeks after beginning the chemo process, the chemo started attacking her body causing her to have to be admitted to the hospital where she has been for the last couple of weeks.  My mom and I are very close, so needless to say my stress level has been high.  Add that to the struggle of eating right around the holidays, and well, I lost some momentum.  I gained weight.  I fell off the wagon.  It wasn't a huge amount, but it's really the first time since I started my journey that I have completely eaten off of program, didn't really exercise and ended up gaining weight.  I am back on track now, but it is amazing to me how easily I can be derailed.

I know that this whole learning to eat right, exercise more and live in an overall healthy manner is going to take time.  I also realize that there will be setbacks.  I also know that it is how I handle the setbacks that really makes a difference.  I have never claimed to be perfect (Thank God!).  I will make mistakes.  I will veer off instead of sticking to the straight path.  It's pretty much the human condition to fail at times.  I accept that.

In the past though, I would have just given up.  After veering so far off track and gaining weight, I would throw in the towel and say that it really wasn't worth it anymore....I mean, who cares anyway, right?  But this time I decided that I had come too far to just give up.  Yes, I may have gained some weight back, but I still have lost over 40 pounds.  That's still pretty awesome.  Instead I chose to jump right back on the wagon and start again.  So Monday morning, I got up and began eating on program.  I started implementing exercise back into my daily routine.  I will keep trying because ultimately I am worth it.  Yes, there will be times when I fail.  There will be days that I fall off of the wagon.  There will be times when I choose to eat emotionally rather than for sustenance, but ultimately, I will conquer this.  How could I not?

How do you respond to failure? 

Monday, December 19, 2011

When It Feels Like Nothing.

I have lost a total of 44 pounds since I started my journey.  I have lost more than 10% of my total body weight which was my first major goal.  I am now under 300 pounds which was my second major goal.  And I have to say that 44 pounds is impressive.  That's a lot of weight.  And yet, sometimes (okay, really most of the time) when I look in the mirror all I can see is the fat girl.  I still have quite a bit of weight to lose.  I still have the love handles upon love handles upon love handles,well, I think you get the idea.  So, because of what I see when I look in the mirror, I tend to lose sight of the fact that I have come a long way already.  I know that the weight I have lost so far is no small amount, but well, it just doesn't seem like enough.  I want to be thin now.  Okay, I do know that that is in no way realistic but it doesn't make the desire any less.
I feel that when I look in the mirror I should see more progress.  Yes, I can tell that my stomach is smaller, my hips are smaller, and my bust is smaller (oh yeah, that's annoying :-)).  My clothes definitely fit better.  I had to ask Santa for new pants for Christmas since all of mine seem to be falling off.  But sometimes it seems like it's not enough.
I feel like this often in my spiritual life.  It's crazy but I compare myself to those around me.  Because I work in a mainline church, there are a lot of people in the congregation who are older than me.  I love them all.  They are fantastic.  And often I am in awe.  Their faith is so rich and deep.  I am amazed by how strongly they trust and and how much they rely on their faith.  And then I start comparing myself which I know is ridiculous, but it's what I do.  I want my faith to show as strongly as theirs.  But I have to remind myself that they have more experience at this.  They have had more life than me.  Maybe when I am their age I will have a faith like that.  Well, at least I hope so.
Just like working toward losing weight, I know that building my faith takes time.  It's not going to happen overnight.  Real change and growth takes time.
So, I need to remind myself that even when it feels like nothing, I am making progress and that is really what makes a difference.

Do you ever feel like you are not making progress on your goals?  How do you keep your perspective positive?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Building My Core

I know it's been a long time since I've blogged, and I am sorry.  For some reason I've been kinda down in the dumps.  I know that's no excuse, but it does make it difficult for me to focus in on writing.  So, again, my apologies.  I am working on being more self-disciplined.  I will do my best to write more frequently.

So, yesterday I FINALLY signed up for my friends workout site called Fit 2 Be Studio (you can check it out at fit2b.us if you want to).  I've been thinking about it for a while, and I want to say that I am so glad I finally signed up.  Bethany has some great workouts over there, and today I started using the service.

I learned a lot about the shape of my body when I started my first workout.  I have been mainly focusing on cardio over the last several months.  I knew that I should start doing some strength and flexibility training, but I've kind of been putting it off.  So, I started with a yoga workout today.  Now, I would like you to know that the workout I did today was a little shy of 15 minutes and by the end of it I was sweating and trembling.  And you know what the worst part of it was?  I found out that my core sucks.  Bethany had me activating my core during the entire workout, and I pretty much sucked at it.  Yes, I know that I am not going to be perfect right away, but when I think about it, my core muscles should be stronger.  These are pretty much the most important muscles in my body.  They hold everything together and keep me moving.  If they are not strong, then my whole body suffers.

Now, I do want you to know that I let myself have a brief pity party, but then I decided that what I really need to do is start working on my core.  So, the plan is to focus on my core muscles for at least 15 minutes at least 3 times a week.  This is something I will need to work hard at, and not blow off because it's important.

Just like developing my body's core muscles, I need to work on my spiritual muscles as well.  Now, in the Bible these aren't called muscles, but the Fruit of the Spirit.  To develop my character I need to work on my love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  These are the things I need focus on when I walk my faith every day.  If I am living a life of following Jesus Christ and yet, I don't show the fruit of the spirit, then I am not fully living my faith.  Just like the core muscles of my body hold everything together, the fruit of the spirit holds together my inner character. 

Now, I know I am not perfect.  Trust me, I know.  There are many things I need to work on to fully show the fruit of the spirit.  There are many days when I don't love everyone like Jesus would.  There are times when I don't feel like being joyful.  I don't always feel and radiate peace.  And patience, what's that?  Kindness is tough when I become frustrated with those around me.  Goodness, well, yeah, not great.  Faithfulness, this is probably the one I'm best at which isn't always saying much.  Gentleness...hmmm. And self-control.  Well, I did myself to over 300 pounds, so let's say we are still working on that.  But just because I am not good at all of these things, that doesn't mean I can just throw in the towel and say forget it.  No, it isn't easy, but ultimately it's worth it.

So, ultimately I have a lot of work to do, but I think I am up to the challenge.  How about you?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Being a Team Player

I started a new challenge on my Nutrisystem Discussion board today.  Two weeks ago I finished an 8 week Biggest Loser Challenge where I competed with and supported 36 other people.  Now, if you know me, you know I love competition, but I found that even though I was competing, I still didn't give it my all all of the time.  I did end up coming in 9th place for weight loss by losing over 5% of my body weight, but I know that I could have done better.

This time the Biggest Loser Challenge has two components.  There is still the individual competition, but for those who want it there is a team aspect.  I am a proud member of the Blue Crew!  And already, it has helped me.  I was super tired today.  Yesterday was a pretty busy day with church and then Pioneer's Got Talent, and I think it kind of wiped me out.  I was all set to come home from work and just chill on the couch and watch tv, but then I remembered that I have a team that is counting on me.  Not only are they counting on me to stay on program and lose the weight, but there is also an exercise aspect to the contest.  If I didn't get in my minutes today, then I would be letting the team down.

So, I did my 60 minutes.  I feel great.  I am glad that I did.  And I am truly glad that I had a team that was counting on me to exercise or I would never have had the motivation to get my heiny up and move.

I always find that I work harder as a member of a team than as an individual.  I am not surprised that it's a biblical concept as well.  In Ecclesiastes 9-12 it says,
"Two are better than one,
   because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
   one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
   and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
   But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
   two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken"

We aren't meant to be alone.  We are built for relationship.  First with God and then with others.  I believe that if we try to go it alone, we lose so much.  And honestly, can we ever fill our full potential?  I don't think so.

What do you think?  Is it necessary to be in relationship with others?  Is it possible for you to live a fulfilled life on your own?