Who Are You Listening to?: Part 4- Mental Gymnastics
**Note: If you are jumping in on this week’s series of posts on weight loss, scroll down to see my before and after pictures and to get caught up on what we’ve been covering.
*Welcome to you who made your way here via www.firstimpressionsbaby.com. Glad to have you! And a heads up on what is in store for next week here on this site… on Monday author, speaker and Proverbs 31 Magazine editor Glynnis Whitwer will be interviewed about her book Work at Home. Glynnis is a wonderful resource for those women who want to make the transition from working outside the home to owning and operating a home business. She’ll offer tips, solutions, and a peek into how she does it. She will also be giving away some copies of her book to a few fortunate winners who leave comments. Please pass this info on to any friends and family members who have, or would like to have, a home-based business. The post will be up all week to give lots of women time to comment and share info with each other about the hopes and challenges of balancing family and work in the home.
Who are you listening to?
This was an important question that I had to ask myself often on the way down the scale.
For years I listened to the negative, echoing, and cutting comments from a handful of people from my past.
Like the cousin who, when I was about eight, once glanced around my grandma’s spare bedroom where we were playing and announced, “Someone in this room is fat.” I was sitting on the floor with her and two other skin and bones relatives. I looked around at the four of us in our pastel summer shorts and determined that, since my legs were the thickest of the bunch, it must be me.
Then there was the cheerleading uniform fitting where the coach grabbed all of the skirts out of the storage bin from the year before and after peering at all of the tags on the insides, tossed the biggest one—size 11, my way and said, “Here. We’d better start with this one for you.”
I still recall the fat jokes by my brother. The mooing emitting from the mouths of some boys as I walked by the loooong wooden bench in my high school corridor. The well-meaning, but critical relatives who made back-handed or cleverly cloaked remarks about my size.
They made some bad choices. However, I made the worst choice of all.
I listened to every one of them.
Their words went straight to my heart. They stung my soul.
And I chose to replay them over and over again in my mind.
Ultimately, I chose to believe them and let their carless and sometimes cruel words defeat me.
When I finally let God have His way and rescue me from the life of slow suicide that I was living due to the horrible mistreatment of my body, I began to listen to the words of life instead.
Things clearly in the Bible. Like God has a plan for me. It is full of hope for my future. It is for my good, not my ruin. It will be a delight, not a disaster. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
But there were also many warnings in His word.
Warnings that my body is the very temple of the Holy Spirit. I should take care of it, not kill it. I am not my own. I was bought at a great price. Therefore, I must honor God with my body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
That I must note well what is before me when I eat and “put a knife to my throat” if I have a gluttonous appetite. (Psalm 23:1-3)
And the most haunting passage of all to me which I knew, if I didn’t change, would be my fate:
….And you mourn at last, When your flesh and your body are consumed, And say: “How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, In the midst of the assembly and congregation.” Proverbs 5:11-14
I had to let God’s Words, His perfect, flawless and TRUE words, become louder than the words of the world and the naysayers. There was just one slight problem.
The world shouts.
I had to get to the place where I was focused and intent on listening to His still, small voice over the negative cheers and jeers of the world.
While scripture was of the greatest importance, I also had many phrases that became meaningful to me. Let me share a couple with you.
First…..nothing tastes as good as being fit feels.
I mean it gals. Nothing. Not smooth, dark chocolate. Not salty, snappy potato chips. Not a brownie with nuts, ice cream and hot fudge. Not two extra helpings of potluck cheesy potatoes. Not even white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake. NOTHING!!!
While I feel that God did make foods for us to enjoy IN MODERATION and to be part of our celebrations, He did not intend for us to gorge ourselves on them. And, even the most wonderfully tasting foods cannot match the feeling I get when I slip on a pair of shorts eight sizes smaller than my “fat” shorts and take a brisk walk outdoors with my hubby or kids. Being at a weight considered fit for my height and frame is a fabulous feeling.
Next phrase…..Whether you think you can or you think you can’t…you are right.
While God gets all of the credit for the successes we have as believers in our weight loss endeavors, your believing (or not believing) in yourself is key. If you think you can’t do it, you can’t. If you believe that, with God’s help, you can, you will!
And finally…Satan wants you to focus on food. God wants you to focus on Him.
Do not get trapped into thinking about food and its calories all day long and stressing and obsessing over what you can and can’t eat. Put yourself on a calorie budget. Record what you eat. Use your calories wisely asking yourself with each bite…
Am I really hungry (or still hungry)?
Is this something I want and need?
Is this worth the calories?
If the answer is yes, eat it, record it and go on with your day. Focus on God, His word, your family and your ministry to others. Satan wants you to focus on the food and whine and pout because you cannot eat whatever you want.
And I simply must share with you this little story that my leader at Weight Watchers read to us one day.
While scripture was where I got my strength to make my life changes, I have to tell you ladies, that next to the Bible, this little story was my greatest motivation. I first discovered it right before a holiday gathering where there would be lots of food and lots of mental torment from a few “food pushers” and “naysayers” in my life. (The former tried to sabotage my eating by forcing foods on me or pouting when I didn’t eat large helpings of what they brought. Or they’d slather the veggies in butter before I could dish any out because they knew I was trying to watch what I ate. The latter group of people just made their off-handed, cleverly disguised, but cutting comments that chipped away at my resolve and tempted me to just throw in the towel, give up and stay fat forever.)
Then, I heard this wonderful story.
There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a climbing competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.
A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began. No one in the crowd really believed the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.
Heard throughout the race were statements such as, “Oh, way too difficult,” “They will never make it to the top,” “Not a chance they will succeed,” and “The tower is too high.”
The tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one—except for those who, in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, “It is too difficult! No one will make it!”
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But ONE continued to climb higher and higher. This one refused to give up.
At the end of the race, all had given up climbing the tower except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!
All of the other tiny frogs wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it. They asked him how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal, despite the horrible odds and the cruel taunts and jeers of the crowd.
It was simple. You see, it turns out that the one determined, focused, and disciplined frog …….was utterly and completely……….DEAF!!!!
My prayer for you is that you will turn a deaf ear to the discouraging words in your life whether they are from your present, your past, or even from your own self-talk as you think in your mind, “I can’t do this!!!!”
Yes, sweet one, you can. But only through Christ.
Are you ready to begin? He’s always been there waiting for you to get serious.
You can start right now.
No….not AFTER you go eat a bunch of junk from the fridge or cupboard.
No, not after your lunch out today when you order the most fattening thing on the menu and polish it off with a huge dessert.
Not after, on your way home, you swing by a drive thru to grab a huge cheeseburger and some jumbo french fries and quickly consume them in secret.
No, not first thing tomorrow morning.
Nope, not next Monday after you pig out all weekend.
Not even when you turn the calendar to June 1st.
I said now.
Believing You WILL Do It,
**Okay, so here is the deal. If you feel God calling you to drive a stake into the ground and say “The gluttony stops here.” Do it. Leave a comment for us stating so. Then, drink His word deep into your soul. Memorize the scriptures posted this week. Find a weigh in-buddy. Eat less. Move more. Eat more whole foods and stay away from the junk. Build a FEW treats into your week as a reward. And DO NOT GIVE UP WHEN YOU BLOW IT!!! You will still have times when you will blow it. I do. The key is jumping back on the bandwagon at one or two pounds gained. Not twenty. And please stay tuned. I have had such a response to this topic that I am praying about us checking in with each other monthly, chatting about a topic related to weight loss and maintenance and even finding some way to see your successes when God enables you to drop a dress size or two (or ten!!!!) Would anyone be interested in that?Thoughts?
ok. I will jump on board. Close my ears to self doubt and defeat and listen to the Lord.
Karen You look awesome. Thank You for writing to us so we can all find our strength in the same way you did.. I can’t wait till I lose my weight (75 lbs) and give God all the Glory. When others ask how I can share my love for the Lord. I’m looking forward to this journey. Please continue on with updates
Thank you for your timely encouragement! Praise God for His perfect timing! I often visit your blog and go to the P31 site daily..but needed the encouragement found here more than ever last week. My OB/GYN yearly physical last fall went like this..”KIm, do you know that you weigh more now than you did full term pregnant with all 4 of your babies?” OUCH!!! Even though those “babies” are 16-26 now it put just how unfit i am into a new perspective. So i lost 10 pounds, then a crisis with one of the teens came and i gained 12….then after Christmas i lost 15…then my daughter broke her engagement and was devestated, so i grieved with her and gained 10….and on we go. But i am determined now to start anew and get healthy so i will BE HERE to watch the new grandbaby arrive, the daughter happily marry the RIGHT man, and the younger two live out their dreams as well. THANK YOU for these post and PLEASE continue to follow along with updates. God is using you and your site to encourage so many.
Thank you so much for these posts. As I read the end of this one tears began to stream down my face and I knew that God was talking to my heart. You are such an inspiration to me. I am at a weight of 215 pounds. Not my heaviest but still very heavy. I committed to losing 50 pounds this year and I had lost 11 but I have gained 5 of those back. I am starting weight watchers today and I am believing that in a few short months I will be a better, smaller person. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for sharing your story. Just thank you!
This is a great site, and great motivation! You’ve done a terriffic job and you look great!
I am hopping over from Lysa’s site as a She Speaks attendee. Hope to see you there!
Thank you for your constant encouragement and inspiration. I am so blessed to know you and work alongside you with Proverbs 31!!!
Can’t wait to see you and Kenzie soon!!!
Thank you for sharing your amazing story. And also to all the people leaving their comments. It helps me to know I am not alone in my struggle. And what a struggle it is. But I know that God is here for me. He will be my strength. I have used food as my crutch all my life. I realize that now I need to walk freely with God. I always used food as a reward – I deserve to eat this because I do so much for my husband or my children. I know that I need to change the way I think along with the way I eat. And the way I move…or in my case, the way I don’t move. I have a long. long road to go, but I need to remember that I am not alone on this road. God is with me always.
Karen – God used you to speak directly to me this week. Always striving to be the fit person I know that I can be (at 30-40 pounds overweight), your words have been exactly what I have needed to encourage me and and move all of my head knowledge to heart knowledge. I am more focused this week than I have been in a very long time! And how I can relate to your last post. The voices of the past. Not only did I believe them, I became what they said I was. Thank you for opening my eyes up to this truth.
This was a great post (again). : ) Thank you. I read it on Friday and didn’t have an opportunity to comment. I just wanted to say that I would be very interested in participating in the monthly check in you mentioned. Thank you for inspiring us.
Karen, you have been such a motivator through your posts over the past several day. A few days before stumbling upon you weight loss posts (thanks to Proverbs 31 Women daily devotions) I felt God nudging me to get back to taking care of myself again. (I’m about 20 pounds overweight.) I suppose I didn’t stumble but in reality was led by our loving Father. He knew your words would be of great encouragement to me. Thank you!
Praise God for an Encourager as I needed one! Thank you!
Hi Karen! I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months and I really enjoy what you have to say. I’ve seen your interview on the 700 Club and thought “Wow! If only…” Now that I’ve read today’s post, I realized that I do have to believe in myself….believe that I can do it with the Lord’s help! I just recently went to the doctor…I weigh too much, and my blood pressure and cholesteral are slightly high. I want to lose weight now and not wait until I have extremely high blood pressure and cholesteral levels. Thank you for the encouragement!!! And yes, I would love to see a monthly segment devoted to this issue! Thank you so much for caring enough to share…truly, this is one of your ministries!
Heading to put on my workout gear. Yes, monthly postings would be good. I’m pumped for the weeks ahead. I’m striving for a pound a week until I reach my goal. Thanks for all of your encouraging words.