Feb 9, 2013

The Mind-Body-Soul Experiment

Did you know that there are about 75 million Americans dieting?  Some sources say that those same Americans spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 BILLION dollars a year trying to lose weight. From Jenny Craig, Medifast, and Weight Watchers to the hundreds of books published each year telling us how to shed the pounds for good... there isn't any shortage of opinion on how to best lose the extra pounds.

It's no secret that weight loss is one of the most challenging things you can do... especially if you tend to eat your feelings like food too much.  Over the last decade (give or take a year) I have been struggling along trying to figure out how to lose weight, and keep it off without "dieting".

This is very difficult.

I have successfully lost 30, 20, 15 pounds at several different points... and it all comes back to me eventually, like a little lost duckling... only less cute.  And much bigger.

I've read a dozen weight loss books, I've joined Jenny Craig, I've joined Weight Watchers, I've done the South Beach Diet, I even read Dr. Phil and journaled and cried my way through his book... and yet here I sit.  On my very cushy backside.

I know what my problem areas are.
A. I eat too much.
B. I don't move enough.
C. I eat emotionally (I think stock in Hershey's goes up once a month because of me).

I have great external motivations to get to a healthy weight (now).

A. I'm 35... it's only going to get harder from here.
B. I have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries (resulting in heart attacks, strokes and aneurisms)
C. I like to be able to move around... i.e. carrying 60ish extra pounds can't be good for the knees in the long run.

 For the last couple of years I've been on a spiritual journey of sorts.  Nothing overly mystical or new age... just spending time learning about my value as a child of God, understanding what sin patterns influence my desires to eat, and learning what a "Godly" motivation could look like.

Now here are some "internal" motivations:
  "For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good." Psalm 107:9
  "...for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
  "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Hebrews 12:11
  "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2
 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own..." 1 Corinthians 6:19
 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love."2 Peter 1:5-7

You see, I KNOW what I need to do. I need to eat fewer calories than I burn every day. Which for me means to eat fewer empty calories, and exercise more.

Truly.  There is no magical pill or shake or  "secret" - I know that not everyone has the same metabolic rate, I am aware that not everyone can physically get up and get moving (because of health concerns or just too much weight)... but God made us all pretty similar inside.

We need to look at food as fuel.  We need to do our best to consume the right kind of fuel to optimize our potential... and cut out the junky fillers that just slow us down and gunk up the works.

Food tastes good... and God meant for us to enjoy it.  BUT I am convinced that, like sex, we've put food up in the "idol worship" category... for goodness sakes there are whole CHANNELS about food... think about it.  (Side note... am I the only one who thinks that the Food Channel is as bad for foodies as pornography is for sex addicts??)

So, once again I am embarking on a journey... and like the book "Unglued" says... I'm not planning on "perfection", but am hoping for "imperfect progress".  I may make mistakes... or eat 3 cookies in one sitting... but I want to keep moving forward... even if I'm crawling.

I am already 4 weeks into this process and I wish I could say that I feel great... but I am really tired and have lost only 4 pounds.  But... the goal is health, hoping that weight loss is a natural by-product of that.

As I've been preparing I found this great article from Psychology today about behavior modification and dieting.  In a nutshell it says that you can't lose weight without addressing WHY you gained weight to begin with.  DUH! 

Rolls Eyes.  I know.   I decided that I have dealt with the "whys" quite a bit (not sure I'm ready to share that much today), and have moved on to implementing changes that will lead to a (physically and spiritually) healthy lifestyle.

This is how I am changing my lifestyle one thing at a time...
Week 1: Add 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily, add bible verse a day
Week 2: Add 2 30 minute work outs, add 10 minutes to prayer time
Week 3: Add Drinking 64 ounces of water a day, add 3 days a week of 15 minutes of quiet meditation
Week 4: Add 1 additional 30 minute workout and remove refined sugars after 8pm.

This is where I am in the process...
Week 5: Don't add anything this week.  Physical: Focus on getting in 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables,  64 ounces of water a day, ,cut out the refined sugars after 8pm and 3 30-minute work outs per week.  Soul Care: daily scripture reading, set- aside praying for 15 minutes a day and 3 days of 15 minutes of quiet meditation. (Lent is starting this week... maybe I will take out one more thing)
Week 6: Add 1 Yoga workout, write 1-2 intentionally ministry focused posts a week on the blog.
Week 7: Keep on keeping on.
Week 8: Add 2 weight & ab workouts.
Week 9: Just keep swimmin' just keep swimmin'
Week 10: Do a raw vegan cleanse to kick start the spring.  AND done... just keep maintaining the new changes... and don't let any of them go... just keep going!!

That's where I'm at.  I would love to know if any of you have any suggestions or questions... if you have no suggestions, tell me what your most challenging diet struggle is and I look forward to reading!!


  1. I like how you tied in healthy living with healthy spiritual living, too. It is hard! My mom always said that "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels," but I beg to differ. I am always struggling between wanting to feel better and eating. hahaha

    1. :) I think it's impossible to keep the weight off without looking at it as a spiritual thing too... LOL... I think Chocolate tastes better than thin feels. I feel really good when I'm eating chocolate... it's when I get on the scale after a month of it that doesn't feel so good. :) THanks for the comment!!

  2. good luck!
    just like praying...our kids watch us eat!

    1. FACT! :) I try my best to NEVER say anything negative about my body in front of my girl... so far, so good.

  3. I struggle in the same way that you do to be honest. I would like to lose at least 20 pounds, but I struggle with emotional eating. I just need that comfort in food. I have also found that it gets worse when I come home. At work I am able to control it a bit more and I do not have the access to food like I do at home.

    I have been trying to eat healthier by drinking a chocolate protein shake every morning and pack a healthy lunch. I try to eat a snack as well between lunch and dinner as there is a long stretch between the two. I just think that food control is the number one thing. Adding in some exercise will not hurt either.


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