Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It's Time

Here I go, plunging into a topic I haven't ever really discussed on my blog: healthy weight management. (Do I hear some groans out there?) It won't be too bad, I promise! But I have made a few decisions lately which involve some changes to my lifestyle and hopefully will result in some changes to my body! I share them with you all for mutual encouragement and support.

Part of the reason I haven't really discussed this issue is that since March of 2004 until today, I have been either pregnant or nursing all except 10 weeks of that time! And, though it's important to manage your weight in a healthy way while pregnant or nursing, it's definitely not the time to try to lose those five extra pounds or restrict your eating. For me, I always had trouble in early pregnancy just keeping my body going, and actually lost weight at the beginning of all of my pregnancies, though later on I easily gained back what I had lost and then had healthy pregnancy gain.

Now, however, I am not pregnant, Christin has been weaned for 6 weeks, and so . . . it's time.

Healthy weight management is a tricky thing, however, especially when the culture shouts at us so loudly, (thin=beautiful) and the Word can be easy to ignore. Even now, when I feel that I would feel better if I made some healthier choices, and honestly I really would like to lose some baby weight, I sense in myself that I need to be very careful not to let weight loss become a pride issue. It could turn into pride on one hand, thinking "Look at me! I am healthy. I make good choices. I am fit! I can do this all on my own strength! You should be impressed with my self- control!!!" On the other hand, it could turn into an obsession with only the outer appearance, an improper focus on that without the inward focus on the Lord and His word.

I read a post recently on the girltalk blog where a few thoughts stuck out to me: The Bible NEVER tells us that we must be thin in order to be an obedient follower of J.sus. It doesn't say, "Be healthy, as I am healthy." It says, "Be holy, as I am holy." In fact, Paul explicitly tells us that when we believe in, there are now no restrictions on what we can eat. However, the Bible DOES put great focus on our inner person, on our relationship with the L, on becoming a woman of spiritual beauty who trusts in the L.

On the other hand (here's the tricky part), though G.d provides food for our body's use and for pleasure, we are not to be immoderate. We are not to let food become an idol, seeking the pleasure of eating instead of the pleasures found at His right hand, looking for food to comfort us rather than His Spirit to comfort us. I think we would all acknowledge that something is wrong if we more strongly anticipate a home-cooked meal more than we anticipate our daily time with our Father.

I am really just beginning my thinking on this subject, and there's a book by Elyse Fitzpatrick called "Love to Eat, Hate to Eat" that I think deals with a lot of these questions. If any of you have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

So with all of this in mind, and with a heart that longs to be submissive to the Father with all areas of my life, here are some of my new resolutions.

1. Get back to drinking 8 glasses of water a day. I have slipped out of this habit and it's a good one.

2. Exercise is going to be more of a priority. I have set a goal for four times a week. However, if there is a time where I must choose between exercise or time in the Word, my priority will always be time in the Word.

3. Be careful about portion sizes. Along that line, pay better attention to how much I'm actually eating and don't finish the girls' food.

4. Also, pay closer attention to my body's own hunger/fullness cues.

5. No eating between meals. I got into the habit of eating more snacks while pregnant and nursing (very important then!) but now I really don't need those snacks and I've found myself often eating just out of sheer habit. If I truly feel hungry for a snack, eat something that is healthy but tasty: nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, etc.

6. Only weigh myself once a week. Don't get focused on a number on a scale.

7. Don't get too crazy about it all! If I find myself thinking MORE about food, rather than less, there's a problem! The idea is to focus less on food, give it less importance in my life, but also receive what I am given thankfully, as a gift from the Lord.

So there you have it! I'd love to hear some comments from you other ladies and hear how you have thought about this issue in your own life. I also want to seek to be a good example for my girls in this area, so I'd welcome any input.


Erica W said...

Aww - I am excited for you... I know that it is never fun to jump on the weigh-loss wagon, but when you see success or feel like you have made a victory in certain areas, it is very encouraging. And - I am happy to have a friend on this journey with me! I still have a long way to go.
I think that the biggest realizations I have discovered over the last 3 months that I have really been working on it are 1) I really dislike exercise. Blah. 2) I have an addiction to sugar. and 3) I have some deep down issues with eating and weight that God has to heal in my life.
So - I have asked Elizabeth (my almost 4 year old) to hold me accountable to exercise during our time together in the afternoons. She talks, I do my elliptical. It is a sweet 30 minutes. Also - I basically avoid sugar. I can tell that after 3-4 days of not having any, I don't really crave it anymore, but those 3-4 days are basically a detox. Then if I do allow myself some sugar, I crave it all the more. Now I am not saying that sugar is evil - well, maybe I am. HA!
It has been interesting to me as I have started to learn why I eat and what tempts me. I really am hopeful that this time I can learn enough to really change my life. Not to fall back into the bad habits that I had developed.
Can't wait to hear how it goes for you! Thanks for sharing all you are learning!

sandra said...

Rachel you are so completely beautiful because of the awesome work that Father is doing in and through you. People are drawn to you because of how much you radiate our Father.

Yes, 8 glasses of water a day is a good one. Easier in summer than winter, huh?

I've found that if I don't have a specific time for exercise, then I never get to it. I have a step counter that helps me see how much I'm moving in a normal day. Rainy days are a bummer!

Not finishing my little one's food has been hard for me. I hate to waste, but I'm not eating it because I'm hungry.

Limit carbs. Maybe our bodies are different, but I don't need two bowls of rice a day. Less rice. More veggies.

Also, I've been enjoying snacks too much! Not eating between meals is a discipline I need to start again.

I stopped weighing myself. We don't have a scale and actually turned down a free one from a foreign teacher. I keep my weight in check based off of my clothes. Are they tight? Are they loose? How does my body feel? Am I energetic or sluggish?

I'm a late night snacker. Once the little guy is in bed, I like to have a treat with Hubs. Baking is a stress relief. But that's food intake right before sleep. SO, no eating after 7pm. Hubs helps by also not eating after 7pm.

All these little tricks add up. I could lose 20lbs, but I'm not anxious to do so. If it goes away through healthy habits: veggies, exercise, etc. Yeah. Being thin is not my purpose on this planet.

You have such good priorities! Let me know how it's going.

Anonymous said...

I second the late night snacking being a problem. I tend to want a sweet treat after a busy day with two little ones but that is not good for me! I am trying to eat an apple or something sweet but nutritious if I am hungry after supper. Finding time for exercise is also difficult. I get up early to do my devotions but don't have time to exercise then. I am trying to discipline myself to exercise as soon as I put the kids down for their nap. I often want to clean, organize, etc but my husband said just exercise and the other things will wait!
It also helps with water intake to add some lemon or lime for taste. I try to fill up my 20 oz cup of water several times a day.

Rachel said...

You are all so sweet. Thank you so much for these thoughtful comments. I really appreciated hearing from each of you.

Erica, I really peifu you. You are leading the way, sister! I think what you said about WHY we eat is right on--I often find myself eating because I want to relax, as a stress relief, etc. That will be something that with the L's help I will really be thinking about in the coming weeks.

Sandra, thank you so much for your very, very kind comments. I resonated a lot with your last comment: being thin is not my purpose on this earth! That is so counter-cultural but SO true! We need to keep ourselves in line with Him. It's all about motivation.

Kristie, I also tend to want to have a treat when the girls are down! That is a habit I am breaking. So glad to hear that Jay is happy to encourage your exercising! Obey your husband! :)
It does make it easier to have support, that's for sure.

Thanks again, you all. The week went well, better than I expected. I feel encouraged, the L really helped me! PTL!


Jennifer said...

I know you've been busy and out of the country, but, well, how has this been going?