I admit it! I have some clothes that just do not fit!
Mostly, they are too tight! I have kept them in my closet even though they haven’t fit for years. Yes, friends. These are my “skinny clothes” and really are out of style. These few favorite pieces of mine are from a time when I was much smaller than I am now. This was a time when I got down to my “goal weight” with Weight Watchers. I even worked for them! BUT, in order to maintain my “lifetime” status, I had to eat very little and exercise a whole lot! I was hungry and got tired of eating the foods from my “zero point” list. I had to exercise more and more to earn points to eat and was terrified of missing a workout. I was also terrified of gaining weight.
This was not living in freedom!
So why am I holding on to these clothes that were from a time in my life when I was completely entrenched in diet living? Isn’t it really diet mentality that tells me to hold on to these clothes “just in case” I may ever be that size again? You know. When I find that perfect “diet”?
WAIT! I’m DONE WITH DIETING!
It’s time to give those clothes away!
SPIRITUAL OBJECT LESSON
When I think about getting rid of clothes that hold me back to that diet mentality, I am reminded of something that was in the sermon at church on Sunday.
In Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 we are told that we are supposed to put off the old self or “clothes” and be clothed with the “new self” or a new attitude.
Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God…….So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry…… You also lived your lives in this way at one time……But now, put off these old clothes…..Put off the old clothes with its practices. You have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created it. (Colossians 3:1-3,5-8a,10 NET bible)
Everyday we are called by God to put off or take off the old clothes and to put on the clothes of our new life. So we take off those old, soiled, smelly clothes of our old self (for us in this setting, it may be taking off the diet mentality, beating ourselves up, not loving our bodies, perfectionism, etc. or overeating ) and get rid of them. But something happens overnight. When we wake up the next morning, and hanging on the closet door in plain view of our eyes are our old clothes! Only now they look bright, clean and oh so alluring! They are comfortable. They are what we like or are used to. They call to us. They whisper our name. BUT, they drag us down and away from the wonderful and FREE life in Christ. AND, guess what? They lie to us, for now that we have learned a new way to live in Christ, these old clothes REALLY DO NOT FIT US ANY MORE!
God has another plan for us. He has a new set of clothes that is our new self. We may need help putting on these clothes and NOT changing back into the old clothes. That is why we have the Holy Spirit to help us. He will help us with this new way of living. This new way is peace and life and FREEDOM.
So, now back to those clothes in my closet that don’t fit.
I am GETTING RID OF THEM!
No need to have clothes that not only don’t fit, but also keep me longing for an impossible body shape and size.
So, why go back to our old ways, our old life, our old sin?
Lets take off these old, smelly clothes!
They really don’t fit us anymore, despite how comfy they may seem!
Let’s put on our NEW CLOTHES and walk in the way that leads to LIFE!
I have a favorite bowl/large mug that I enjoy eating cereal out of. It is somehow the perfect shape and size. It is also special because my daughter gave it to me.
This is especially true when I eat a bowl of cereal before going to bed. Even more true when I eat the cereal in front of the TV….
Somehow, every time I eat cereal out of this bowl-mug, I end up eating too much. I have a really hard time stopping until the bowl is empty! I know this. I know this bowl is too big. I know I need to change to a smaller bowl or mug.
BUT THIS IS MY FAVORITE!
AND….I WANT to eat while watching my show!!!
I know I should not eat in front of the TV(for some reason I am only tempted to do this if I get hungry right before bed and I have been watching something already!)
BUT I’M HUNGRY AND I DON’T WANT TO PAUSE THE SHOW! WAAAHHHH!
I have a stern look at what is going on here.
Yes, I become a “mom” to that 2 year old-temper-tantrum-throwing self inside! AND, I OBSERVE and CORRECT!
When I start really looking at it, I observe that my favorite bowl/mug is too big. I observe that when I eat in front of the TV I eat mindlessly and usually too much.
A realization hits.
I talk a lot about surrender. I surrender my body shape and size. I surrender the food so I can eat within hunger and satisfaction.
Am I willing to surrender my favorite bowl/mug?
Am I willing to surrender the TV show?
It sounds so trivial now that I write it here but when I’m in that 2 year old throw-a-fit mood, it isn’t trivial right then!
As insignificant as it sounds, God is asking me to surrender these things because it is causing me to stay emotionally attached to food.
So, here is the plan.
I am going to hide that favorite bowl in a place where it’s very inconvenient to get when I am tempted to use it.
I’m going to find a cereal bowl that is the right size (about a fist sized portion) to get me from hunger to satisfaction so I won’t overeat on cereal.
I will turn off the TV when I’m eating. (Period. End of discussion.)
Sounds simple, huh? But we all know that sometimes things that appear simple are really more than that.
What things do YOU need to change, surrender or give up to break an emotional tie to food?
If you have read any of the Thin Within materials or Hunger Within, you know that it is advised to get rid of dieting and the diet mentality. I thought I did that a few years ago when I started back to this way of living with Hunger Within.
But, lately I have been doing some real soul searching and I realized that I had made this into just another diet!
I have been so focused on whether I have released weight, how my body is reacting with my clothes and if I am “following the rules” right.
I have gotten rid of my SCALE (and it was so freeing!!!), but slowly that diet mentality slipped back in as I worried about how my clothes are fitting.
I have thrown away my diet books, points calculators and calorie counters. But when I starting thinking about “doing” Thin Within “right” or “wrong”, I started sliding down that slippery slope to diet mentality once again!
I have so desperately wanted to be thin all my life. To be beautiful. To be accepted……but God keeps telling me over and over that His ways are not my ways. That His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. AND mostly….He tells me that
I am HIS. I am BEAUTIFUL at the shape I am RIGHT NOW!
Over and over, he keeps guiding me back to following Him with my eating. Yes, hunger to satisfaction. 0-5. and use the KEYS TO CONSCIOUS EATING as tools.
The KEYS TO CONSCIOUS EATING are Tools, not RULES!
If I follow what He is showing me to do, my body will BE the size and shape HE has made me to be.
Dear readers, I will be honest. My body is not the shape I want. It is not the size I want. This last year I have stopped producing certain hormones and that has caused my body to change in ways I do not like. BUT, guess what? God tells me that even with this….even though I will probably NEVER be what society sees as “thin”,
if I follow HIM and surrender the food, my body WILL be where HE created it to be.
At this stage in my life, my shape and size is healthy and beautiful even if it isn’t what I see in all the forms of media.
So, Dear Reader. I ask you now. Are you focusing on your shape or size? Are you caught up in a number on a scale or clothes? Are you worried you are not “doing it right”?
Remember this (as I must remember too!), this is a process of learning and growing and being. It isn’t going to be like the diets of our past where we do “x” and get “y” results. It is fluid, moving forward and back and side to side as we dance on this journey with the Lord.
And I say to myself and to you….let’s enjoy this journey. Quit beating ourselves up for how we look or a number on a scale. Quit trying to do things “right” and turn to HIM, surrendering the food and our bodies to the one who created us beautiful!
“If you faced any challenges in this last month, raise your hand!”
Several months ago I wrote a blog about this. Over the last month or so, I found I needed to revisit it as a reminder to myself! I can imagine that a lot of us who read this can relate to challenges that happen from time to time. Maybe you face challenges every day! So, I think it is worth looking at this subject again.
One BIG challenge I am facing every day is with my body. I am currently going through menopause (or have hit menopause….) and my body is doing some strange (and unexpected) things! One thing in particular that I really don’t like is my body just doesn’t want to release weight but instead would rather shift it to different areas of my body! Add to that hot flashes, occasional dizziness and appetite spikes and cravings.
Another challenge has been many different and big life changes going on with my family. My son just graduated from college, my husband just resigned from his ministry position at our church (he was bi-vocational) and I just went full-time at my job. (which will not make up the difference financially….but that’s another story of faith!)
.Add to that my family coming to town for my son’s graduation (I wrote about that in an earlier blog).
Then for his graduation trip, we went to Disney World for a week! Yes, it was fun, but can we say FOOD, FOOD, FOOD???
I found it has been difficult to stay focused and eat mindfully with all the challenges going on.
All of us can relate to the struggles of life.
You might have three little ones running around and pulling at you from every direction.
You might be one of those people that have to carpool all over the place and that is your life.
You might be someone who has a sickness in your family or you are a caregiver for your aging parent.
You can fill in the blank.
We all know that life can be stressful and unpredictable.
How in the world do we stay focused?
How in the world do we not just jump right back into a pan of brownies and swim around while throwing it all in our mouths? How do we keep from going back to food for comfort and sanity?
Although, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, I can tell you what I do.
I just keep practicing.
I practice saying “no” when deep in my heart I already know that I don’t need the food.
I practice eating 0 to 5.
I practice the different keys to conscious eating that help me stay in my boundaries.
I can only do this in HIS strength, which means I also practice some other important things!
I surrenderthings to the Lord
Sometimes I am giving the Lord the same thing over and over because I’m going through a hard time. That’s what I have to do. I surrender it up to the Lord and I lay it down at his feet.
I take time to spend with the Lord.
Even if it’s just a sentence prayer in the shower or praying while I’m washing the dishes. It may even be just singing a simple praise song over and over again. It may be renewing my mind with His word or listening to worship music.
I know that if I seek Him, keep renewing my mind with His truth and try to follow Him as best I can then I will remember:
HE IS BY MY SIDE. ALWAYS. NO MATTER WHAT.
He will meet me where I am and give me the strength to carry on.
I DO NOT practice BEATING MYSELF UP!
I don’t practice beating myself up when I mess up. I have to stop and I have to just take a moment to say,
“Lord I knew that that extra piece of pie was not going to make me feel better. I thank you that after I took one bite, I realized it and I knew I wasn’t hungry and so I stopped.”
I don’t beat myself up about the one bite. I celebrate the fact that I only took one and I walked away.
Maybe for you it’s that you ate the whole piece of pie (or whatever). BUT you don’t have to beat yourself up for the one piece. Celebrate the fact that you didn’t eat the whole pie! Try to look at the positive and cling to what God is doing in you!
I try to focus on the good things that God is doing. I try to thank HIM.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6
This peace that he talks about may not be something that’s instantaneous in my soul but it is a peace that’s deep in my soul knowing that no matter what, He is still there with me.
Basically, it comes from building a relationship with the Lord. Relationships don’t come easy and they don’t come instantaneously. There’s a give and take in relationships. And it is the same with the Lord. I’m not going to be perfect. Only God is. I can rely on His perfection to help me get through the rough times.
So, no matter what rough time you might be facing….how big or how little… remember to PRACTICE.
PRACTICE relying on Him, renewing your mind with His truth, surrendering to Him and allowing Him to love you through it all.
Last week my son graduated from High School! YAY! But that meant I had some family coming in and guess what??? I was afraid of being judged because my body is doing weird shifting and “stuff”! UGH!Because of this, I have been feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin!
So, last week I had family who stayed with me that could be very judgmental (and sometimes VERBAL ABOUT IT!) regarding body size and shape.
Yep….one visiting family member has been obsessed about weight all her life (hers and everyone elses!) and another one is….well an abuser who is better now, but still says hateful things and has unrealistic expectations (and sometimes expects his way like a 2 year old would). Another family member is very judgmental but usually only says it behind your back.
That was a cocktail environment for emotional eating if ever there was one!
AND a set up for insecurity.
The closer the day came for them to come visit, the bigger my body felt and the more insecure I became!
Taking it to the LORD!
So, I “journalled” about it, I kept renewing my mind about who I am in Jesus and I prayed A LOT. As I took all this to the Lord, He gently whispered to me:
My Love for you, Dear Child, is not based on the size or shape of your body.
I had a realization. (It sort of made me say “duh” because it is NOT new information for me….but oh how the evil one likes to sneak his snaky little ways into my mind!!!)
I WAS EXPERIENCING BODY SHAME!
I haven’t had that in a very long time and thought I was done with that!
But you know what? The evil one is attacking me because GOD is doing HIS work needed to heal me. I am working deeper on issues of codependency. I am back to surrendering my food to God and not thinking about other ways to lose weight….
Yep, I’ve surrendered my food and my love of food to the Lord….and am doing this before I eat each time to recenter my thoughts….but I realized….
I NEEDED TO SURRENDER MY BODY TO HIM TOO………AGAIN.
ALSO, Jesus helped me see my family members through HIS eyes. They are broken people just like me. They may be critical of me and other people, but IT IS BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN DYSFUNCTION to control and THEIR OWN INSECURITY.
They no longer will have control over me.
JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY!
HE CALLS ME HIS BEAUTIFUL CHILD AND HIS BELOVED!
For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
I have loved you, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
Ever so gently, I felt HIM whispered to my heart….
“My Child, I (the God of the universe!) do not condemn you (2 Tim. 1:7), so why does it matter if imperfect people condemn?”
So, Dear Readers….guess what?
I am taking OFF that cloak of shame that the evil one has placed upon my shoulders!!!
I don’t have to wear it! And every time those shameful thoughts come in my head when something doesn’t fit or I feel uncomfortable in my body, I will say
Last week I shared with you my “dirty little secret”, about how I wanted to give up and was so discouraged because my body was not releasing weight. I have been so frustrated because I *felt* like I have been eating between hunger and fullness! Why, oh why have I not been releasing weight but seem to be going in the wrong direction? I was even tempted to go back to a diet!
The thought of going back to a diet is like asking me to go back to prison!
I just can’t do that!
So, As I usually do, I cried out to the Lord to show me what HE wants me to do with all of this. I have been praying and seeking HIM.
The next day, I wanted to share what God revealed to me with my good friend and accountability partner, Deanna Burris (who is another author for this blog). We feel comfortable enough to be honest with each other and so I had already shared my frustrations with her.
And now, I want to share it with you:
Good Morning, Dear Friend.
I think God has whispered something to me today. I have been wondering (more than praying….) about what to do regarding my weight gain. I have been thinking about diet pills, trying “healthy eating”, reading another intuitive eating book ….just whatever.
Do I REALLY want to go back to the diet lies???
Also, God has shown me that I’ve been lying to myself….
He has shown me the TRUTH
This morning the Lord ever so gently showed me that although I think I’m eating 0-5, I am not eating mindfully. I am distracted most of the time and honestly, with letting go of some of my co-dependent behavior, feeling full (probably an 8) brings me emotional comfort.
So lately I say I have been eating in my boundaries, but when examining and getting real with myself, I have not. And I think there probably have been many more times that I have had the blinders on about this.
BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS!
Instead of guilt, I am feeling HOPE!
There is hope because it’s NOT Thin Within that’s “not working” but I’ve not been honest with myself. Also, I am not beating myself up about my body or how I’ve been coping with things.
I am going g to prayerfully seek the Lord in this now that He’s shown me some things.
I admit to feeling a little rebellious in that I don’t want to stop eating over the counter or while watching TV. (The Lord gently showed me that I now rarely eat without doing these things).
I’ve gone back to eating out of large bags of food instead of serving myself a small portion.
When I look back on the last year, I see that I only have rare days when I stay within these secondary boundaries, thinking I can just listen to my stomach. But what happens is THIS:
Because I’m distracted, I’m not really listening.
I’m just stopping when I feel like it and have eaten more than I really needed (I think a 6 or 7 has become my new 5). No condemnation here, just being honest with myself.
I am going to give my body grace with its shape since I am in menopause.
I have gone thru loads of BIG stresses (and am doing some hard and deep work with in myself with the LORD…some huge layers of grave clothes God is working on and has been for a while…). So there is GRACE there, too in regards to how my body has been reacting.
I am going to be on my face before the Lord for direction on what secondary boundaries HE wants for me so that my primary boundaries (0-5) can be kept on a regular basis.
I am opening my hands that have been grasping food for comfort etc. and grabbing on to JESUS, HIS PLAN for me and HIS FREEDOM.
Most of all……I am surrendering to HIM.
ALL TO JESUS,
I SURRENDER ALL.
What about you? When you examine yourself, do you find there are things you need to surrender to the Lord? Are you being honest with yourself? Are there boundaries you might have let “slip”. If this is so, TAKE HEART and have HOPE for HE has given us the tools we need in Thin Within and Hunger Within. Let’s use these tools that have been given to us!