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.

God whispers.

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,

Karen

**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?  

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38 Comments

  1. Thank you for this blog. I was brought here by your Proverbs 31 devotion. God is so good! Since February I had lost almost 25 pounds by just eating less and moving more. Unfortunately I have gained back at least 10 lbs. We are moving in three weeks and between packing and trying to finish up our school year (we homeschool) I have not had the time or energy to drag my three kids and myself to the gym and have not been eating well in the midst of all the caos. Last night I was so upset because I had worked so hard to loose that weight and it all came back so quickly and went to bed feeling discouraged.
    Thankfully, I serve an amazing God who loves me despite my shortcomings!!! I read the devotion you wrote, linked to your blog and am now feeling encouraged, not discouraged. I will not give up. I know God has something so much better for me than this. Thanks again for the shot in the arm that I neeeded to keep my focus where it belongs….. Oh Him and Him alone.

  2. Thank you! I believe everyone that is posting has the same heart. We want to grow closer to the Lord and be set free from the bondage of sin. I plan on continuing with weight watchers for the physical accountability but now I know that God is the one that I need to really be accountable to and to know I can do all things through Christ ! You have all truly blessed me and encouraged me when I have been feeling so helpless but know I am ready to just do it!

    Mary
    Columbia SC

  3. Your post today brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how I have listened to the negative voices I’ve heard most of my life. In fact, even when I was not overweight, I was still compared to others who were thinner than I was, which to me said, “you’re fat.”

    I joined Weight Watchers last November and have lost 26 lbs, and I have 74 to go. With the Lord’s help and the accountability to Weight Watchers, I plan to lose the rest and then maintain the loss. My grandchildren, and wanting to be here for them, is a big motivation for losing weight. Of course, I love feeling better and buying smaller clothes, too. My favorite saying, (from my Wt. Watchers leader) is “Don’t give up what you want the most for what you want for the moment.”

    Thank you for so openly and honestly sharing your story.

  4. Thank you so much for your posts this week. I know what I need to do and yet I don’t do it. I will start over today and let God have control. I agree that it is improtant to have accountability. It’s so important that we fix our minds on the goal and give ourselves positive self talk based on scripture. I would love to have a monthly “support group” online to share suggestions and our accomplishments.

  5. Karen,

    I’ve typed out a post each day this week. And then deleted each one. My words can not adequately convey what is on my heart.

    When I say, “Thank you”, please know that it is with more gratitude than you will ever know. You are God’s answer to my prayers of the last 30+ years, ever since I was an overweight child.

    Thank You. And may God return the blessing you’ve been to me 100 fold to you.

    Patricia

  6. On my 4th day of eating healthy. I did WW 4 years ago and lost 31 lbs. Because I learned from that I didn’t gain it back. I’m trying to not look at how many months it will take (I have a lot to lose)—just looking at today. I just use food for it’s pleasurable replacement value. God has allowed a lot of other things to be taken away and I want to fall back on food, BUT I’m choosing to look at this moment. Choosing to believe that the long term goal will be VERY pleasurable for me someday. I LOVED that you talked about how you feel. To get all the weight off and eat nutritionally—I have this fantasy of feeling good, energetic, etc. Thanks for sharing.

  7. HI Karen
    I just want to say thank you for this week of weight loss posts. God has been challenging me with my weight issues for sometime and you have put the things that have been floating round in my head into words on paper (so to speak).
    Thanks for the verses to memorise.

    PS – I had to have a giggle at your challenge about white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake as I have made one for our visitors for tea tonight – God’s timing is impeccable as always.

  8. Karen,
    I am driving the stake into the ground. I want to be more healthy, so starting now I am going to watch what I eat and drink and start exercising regularly. Also I am interested in discussing monthly how we are doing.

    I so appreciate all of your encouragement and telling us your story, especially when you were so busy this week. I hope everything is going well on your home front.

    Have a great weekend!

    Deb

  9. Karen,

    I found your blog earlier this week through P31 and have been following it as the topic of gluttony and weight loss has been one I have struggled with for years. I had “given up” for today. It’s just too hard and I have no real support at the moment. My husband is there for me but he doesn’t “get” the whole struggle.

    With tears I read your blog today and realized I am listening to Satan.

    Pray with me that I be deaf to his taunts. This is NOT the body that the Lord wants me to have. I desire the fit and active body that I used to have once again.

    Thank you for your willingness to serve in this arena. To be a support and a strength for those of us still fighting the battle and on the verge of throwing in the towel.

    I can do this through Christ who strengthens me. I can, I know it!

  10. The voices you speak of have been there my whole life so that even when I was actually skinny, I thought I was fat. Now that I am fulfilling the fat prophecy, their voices have been satisfied enough to just plague me in memory echo form. With two small children, a job and a husband who is never home, exercise is a bit of a luxury. The sweets have kept me company and packed on the pounds. Reading your story has been inspiring. I have decided that the only time to exercise is after the kids are in bed. Hopefully that will fill two roles: getting the exercise in so I “move more” and not spending the time on the couch eating the extra calories so I can “eat less.” I will be patient. It has taken me years to get fat – no such thing as instant gratification with weight loss.
    Thank you, Karen

  11. Karen,

    I have been so inspired and motivated by your story, thoughts and encouraging ideas…this time is going to be different. I can only explain it that God is using you and your willingness to share so openly- thanks so much! His timing is perfect…again!

    I am so excited to get back the “real” me..the me at a healthy weight who can enjoy an active lifestyle that I miss and the me who is defeated in this constant struggle.

    Thanks, Karen.

  12. God’s timing is perfect. Food has been my friend, companion, and my idol for a long time. I am 27 years old with a four year old and a three year old. Ever since birthing babies, I have been extremely over weight and I have been wanting to get into shape for them and for my husband who tells me I’m sexy to him all the time but I don’t feel sexy and therefore, I don’t believe him. I have been my own worst enemy and I am ready to truly hand it to God and focus on him to have His help in my struggles. I stay busy and I work full time and I have used this as an excuse for not eating right and not exercising but today is the day. I have followed the blogs for the past couple of days(after following a link from P31″which I love”) and now I know that I Can and WILL succeed. Thank you very much for sharing and for your time devoted to helping women follow God’s calling. Autumn N.C.

  13. I just want to add something that has helped me. I used to blow the whole day if I ate one bad thing. I’d think, “oh, well, I ate that danish, I guess I’ll eat a bunch of ice cream and chips today since I’ve already fallen off my eating plan.” That happened way too many times to count.

    So now when I slip, I don’t let it ruin my whole day. I start back on my eating plan right after the slip, and continue eating well/right through the rest of the day.

    It has made a huge difference in my attitude. I’m not so hard on myself.

    Thanks, Karen, for doing this.

  14. This is the time that I get serious! I’ve tried in the past to get healthy, but laziness takes over. Not anymore…I know God will give me the strength, motivation, and endurance to achieve my goals.

    Thanks, Karen, for your transparency. I have past haunts of harsh words and criticism of people that were close to me. I will pray for God to help me turn a deaf ear to all negativity.

    I would love for all of us to be able to check on how each other are doing with this journey.

  15. So sorry ladies, the songs by Casting Crowns were “Who Am I” and “Voice of Truth.” “Word of God Speak” is another great song but by Mercy Me and it was what I was listening to when I wrote the email :)

  16. I too would be very interested in continuing this chat. This came at a time when a friend and I have determined that we did not want to continue to abuse our temples any longer, and the encouragement and Scriptures I have gotten this week from your blog have helped me to keep going.

    I am driving the stake in the ground and saying the gluttony and lethary stop here and now!

  17. Thanks so much for sharing your step by step story. I have been so inspired by it! I have post-pregnancy weight to lose and I have always tittered on the edge of spilling out of my clothes yet refusing to buy the next biggest size. I finally can admit–I have an unhealthy view of food and I do not have control over myself. I listen too much to what others, especially my own mother, say about what my body looks like and the shape it “just is”. I love what you said about Satan wanting me to focus on food because that is soooo where I am. Thank you so much for pointing me to keep my focus on the Lord. I trust Him to pull me through! Thanks!!

  18. I think that the “Mental Gymnastics” you refer to, Karen, are really the key to losing and staying at a healthy weight for our bodies. Excess weight is really just a symptom of a larger issue- pain in our lives that hasn’t been dealt with. We’ve used food as our healer instead of God. Thank you for sharing your story of hope with us all this week- it’s been very inspiring.
    A few little things that have helped me with this journey of healing are music and notecards. Whenever I want that brownie (or 2 or 3) I try and listen to songs that are full of promise and hope. Two of my favorites during these time are both by Casting Crowns, “Word of God Speak,” and “Voice of Truth.” They both remind me who God made me to be and how He wants me to be victorious. I also have made little notecards that I read in the morning and keep wih me throughout the day. On the first one I list all the reasons why I need to be at a heathy weight and the next ones I have favorite quotes and verses that help me get through the most powerful of moments when Satan is coming at me full force. One quote that I have to share comes from a book by Geneen Roth entitled When Food Is Love:
    “Do I want to live while I’m alive and embrace what sustains me or do I want ot die while I’m alive and embrace what destroys me?”
    Grace and Peace to all.

  19. Thank you for the encouragement. It has been an eye opener to read your story. My daughter and I did WeightWatchers about two year ago ,then she headed back to college….so we stopped.and I couldn’t continue alone…..Recently she had surgery for a tumor (thank God all went well) and told herself she wanted to lose weight when she could start doing things after her surgery. I am going to forward your blog to her and pray it will encourage her to keep going……she is up to walking 2 miles at least twice a week, sometime three. She keeps inviting me to go with her (she has now moved back home) but I didn’t think I could walk that far….but have encouraged me to get started……with WHATEVER amount I can do………it will get more and more each time.
    I am glad I found Proverbs31devotional about a month ago and then was lead to your site…….its all God’s plan.
    Blessings to you.

  20. Karen, thank you so much for sharing your journey and encouragement with us! I would to check in once a month & am even willing to share pictures on my blog. I thought of you this morning, as I got out of bed. You were in my head, telling me I can do it! I’ve been dancing & moving with my 2 yr old all morning. She loves dancing, so why not join her? Plus it’s great time to spend with her. I am getting ready to open a notebook to start jotting down what I eat & counting my calories! Thank you again!

  21. Yes, Karen, I would be VERY interested in continuing this topic of discussion by checking in with each other periodically and maybe even sharing some great before and after pictures!!

    Thank you AGAIN for sharing your weight loss journey. I don’t even know if it is so much a weight loss journey as it is a “giving God first place in your life” journey! ;)
    You have inspired me to start doing this immediately. (Like yesterday)! I praised God this morning for helping me get through a successful first day of my own journey to being a better steward of my body. You’ve also inspired me and a good friend to pray about starting a weigh and pray group at our church! AND I am printing out the scriptures you’ve shared and taping them to my fridge and pantry doors! By the way, one other passage of scripture God laid on my heart was this (I love the part that says not to offer parts of your body to sin, but to offer it to God instead!):

    “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

    Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

    In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:6-14)

    For His Glory,
    Amy

  22. Thank you for your story. It has inspired me to get back on the bandwagon…I can do this with God’s help. I think it would be good to check in once a month. Accountability is the key. Thank you again for the inspiration.

  23. Karen,

    I cannot tell you what this week of posts have meant to me. I followed the link here from the Proverbs 31 Devotional. God’s timing is perfect, everytime. He has been dealing with my heart over my food issues for several weeks and even sent a firend to encourage me. But not until I got that devotional, and read the posts that have followed, have I trully been able to get serious about it all. This week I HAVE moved more and ate less, and I plan to continue. I KNOW that I can do this with my God. Never before have I linked two and I know that this is the key for me. Thank you, agian, so much for opening up your heart to share. God has trully used it to change my life! May He bless you in ways you never dreamed!

    In His Love,
    Misty in NC

  24. I’ve been really inspired by your journey! Thank you for shaing. It has renewed my confidence that I CAN do this with the Lord on my side!

    Blessing to you,

    Tameka from CT

  25. It is so strange that this came to me through Proverbs 31 at a time that I really needed it. I started Weightwatchers again after many unsuccessful tries over the last couple of years. I realized that I was not asking for God’s help and found a devotional book (Faithfully Fit) to help me. And then I also found your website. What wonderful encouragement and support!

    I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill last night. I felt great after I was through.

    We are also going to Olive Garden tonight. I have already picked a nice reasonable point meal to enjoy with my husband and in-laws.

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