I've not shared my struggle with weight-loss here before, but as I was writing the following post to a small group of friends and family members, I got an overwhelming feeling that I should share it here. Perhaps there is someone out there who can benefit from what I have to say, or perhaps, from what I'm going through. If God can use it in any way for His glory, then so be it!
Here is part of the letter that I composed...
"...Life has been totally out of control for so long and, for far too long, I seemed to have lost my way on almost every front. I'd flub up, get depressed, and, for all intensive purposes, quit everything. I've done this in so many areas that I nearly quit living altogether! Not good!
Well...no more! Over the past few weeks the Lord has brought about situations into my life that are allowing me to, and helping me, to once again find my footing and get on with it. This whole week (knock on wood) has been good and I have made progress in several areas...including diet and exercise. I am very thankful and I cannot praise the Lord enough for all that He's done for me. I am finally getting a few spiritual concepts that I've held in my head for years, down into my heart and soul where they can take root and grow. I'm thinking that if I just take one day at a time, I will continue to make progress. What I did yesterday, I can do today...right?
Okay...here's the story of where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going...
As you know, I did well with weight-loss in 2010. I managed to lose and keep off 40 pounds. I pretty well managed to maintain that weight-loss through March of this year...gained and lost the same 4 or 5 pounds here and there, but, basically, kept it off for the most part. It was in March of 2011 that I started reading Candace Cameron Bure's Reshaping It All. I determined then and there to start where I was and keep on going, but it was not to be.
At the end of March my dad got really sick and came very close to dying. April and May were lost in a whirlwind of doctor appointments, car trouble, and major stress eating. At the end of it, I had gone from where I was up to 257 pounds. I was devastated! I had gained back back 23 of the 40 pounds that I had lost.
At the beginning of June I determined, once again, to get back on track and stay there. Listening to that radio interview with Amy Parham really helped boost my spirits, and I have teamed up with an accountability partner that has (or should I say...had) nearly as much weight to lose as I did (she actually has been working on this since March, at least, and has made significant progress...I'm very proud of her).
Thus far, I've not done too bad myself. I'm making progress anyway.
Two things that are really sticking with me are...
First off...for the first time in my life I'm starting to see, understand, and accept God's grace for myself. Being of Scots-Irish descent...and coming out of the old, hard-line, denomination church with all their rules, regulations, and dogma, it has always been easy for me to see God as harsh and judgmental, but being able accept mercy and grace has been next to impossible.
And, please, don't mistake what I'm saying here...God IS a God of judgment! And there ARE consequences for our actions...both good AND bad! As Scripture clearly states...we WILL reap what we sow...and oh! How often I have proven it!
But, because we are His children, and because He loves us so very, VERY much, there is also mercy and grace that flows from the throne of our Heavenly Father in abundance toward us! THIS I have never been able to get a hold of, or get a grasp on, until just recently.
And, here again, don't misunderstand. There is a belief that runs rampant within the modern church of today that grace is everything! That there is no judgment! That God is a God of love and we can get by with anything and everything because we are 'saved by grace'...but, that is another post for another day. Today's post is about what God's been teaching me.
Forgive me! Allow me to get back to it...
The other thing that I'm learning is...and this is something that I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd learn...but it is how to allow GOD to fill the hole in my soul that I've been trying to fill all these years with food! Praise be to my Heavenly Father for helping me to get that down in me! That is something that I have heard for years from people...people who have lost the weight and successfully kept it off...and, even though I've heard it...and it sounded simple...I couldn't do it.
Where the idea came from this time I don't remember. I simply remember asking God to, please, in the name of Jesus, show me HOW to do it...and it came! I prayed...and it kept coming! It has come every day this week! I pray in the morning and I purposefully, and specifically, ask God to help me through my day. The biggie is, when I feel extremely hungry, instead of just going and getting whatever I want, I pray again...specifically...for God to fill that hole that's making me hungry...and not one time has He failed me since doing so!
Last night I was so hungry! What I've been doing, basically, boils down to having one larger meal and four smaller meals per day, and by smaller 'meal' I mean anything from a mini wheat bagel and a tablespoon of peanut butter and a cup of tea, to a large green salad with vinegar and oil dressing on it. None of the meals I'm eating are 'large' like they used to be and I don't miss them. But, last night I was really hungry...and I am NOT the kind of girl that can go to bed hungry. I just can't! My danger point has always been after supper. From supper until bedtime...it's just one thing after another after another...a cheese stick, a bowl of cereal, a cookie, a brownie, a big bowl of popcorn...all in the same four or five hours between supper and bedtime! Ridiculous!
When I started this, I vowed that, with God's help, I would not eat a bite after 8:00 at night...and, thus far, I haven't! But, oh! Like I said, I was soooooo hungry last night! And I really was! I believe that I was actually hungry! But I went to bed and I prayed. I just kept saying, "Lord, You take this! You fill this hole! Fill me with You, Lord! Help me to overcome the flesh and gain victory over it!"...and you know what? Next thing I knew I was waking up and looking forward to another day! And, believe me! I'm being much more discerning about what foods I'm putting in my mouth! I don't want to waste one calorie on something that I don't really want!
So...where am I? What are my goals? And where am I going?
As of this morning I weighed in at 247.8. I am 8/10 of a pound from reaching my first goal of losing 10 pounds. From there my goal is to get back to where I was last summer (234 pounds) by my 50th birthday, which is coming up in August. I think I can do it! After that, my goal is to carry on and reach my goal weight of 150 pounds by my 51st birthday in August 2012.
Will I do it? Only God knows, but, one thing I'm sure of, is this...I have a better chance now of achieving my goals than ever before, because, for the first time in my life, I am allowing God to fill a void in my life that, thus far, I have always tried to fill with other things to excess...men that treated me badly, alcohol, cigarettes, and, finally, food. God has delivered me from the first three things on that list, and I have no doubt that He is willing and able to deliver me from the fourth...
...By the way, Amy Parham's book 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl - Living with Less of You and More of Life, arrived today. As soon as I finish reading Candace's book, I'm going to get started on it!"