Update and Continuous New Starts

July 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hey everyone!   I hope you are doing well.  I love and appreciate the comments you leave and also the people who write me personal emails.  I want to apologize for not being able to always return emails like I should.   I hope you know I read all of them and they are a blessing to me.  I will work hard at getting back to you because I want you to know I do read the emails and want to support and encourage you as much as I can in this fight!

Here’s the update on how this week is going.   First of all—we got our living room furniture! I can tell you that has already lifted my mood.  We were going on about a month and a half of no furniture and it was just feeling as if we didn’t even live here.  Again I hate to complain about that but I guess it gave me this feeling of constantly being unsettled.   Savannah helped me pick the furniture out and I really like the way it looks in the living room.  I wish the pictures could convey what it actually looks like but here’s an idea if you’re curious.

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My house in Texas has a contract on it and thankfully my insurance agreed to pay for a new roof on that house.  Apparently the roof had hail damage from 2006 but since I don’t hang out on the roof and nothing ever came crashing through it—I never realized the roof was in such bad shape.  Seriously I am just not aware of things like that.  Unless something literally came falling through the roof, I would have no clue there was anything wrong.  So now I am in the process of working that claim out and getting the new roof up.  If all goes according to plan, I may actually close on this deal by the middle of August.  I can’t even begin to tell you what a relief that would be!  Of course I am apprehensive because the last buyers pulled out 24 hours before closing.  However, I am going to remain positive and hope for the best.

 

Savannah ( my oldest)  started her 3 day orientation at UTSA this week.   I am disappointed that I wasn’t there to go with her but she also told me that I wasn’t needed.  (Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing hahaha)  Anyway, she has been calling me daily with such excitement telling me about it.  I am so proud of her!!  Charlotte and I took a picture to send to her the other day on her way to orientation.   I wore my UTSA Mom shirt in support!  I am happy to say that I actually was able to purchase and fit into a UTSA Mom shirt.  That is another awesome thing about losing weight.  I can actually buy clothes that many times would not be available to me unless they sold them in 3X and 4X.   I’m always excited when I get to be a part of something that previously was not available to me because of my size.

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And now for an update on my food and exercise….

First off–I am continuing to struggle with my food.  Sugar is still my enemy and while I know the truth as it applies to me, I still struggle with it at times.  It is like someone playing with fire.  You know you’re going to get burned and yet there you go again.  Once sugar is allowed back into my system, it wreaks havoc.  Quite some time ago, I started letting sugar back in the door always convincing myself that it wasn’t a big enough quantity to cause a problem OR that I could control it.   These are lies.   Lies I tend to believe at varying times in my life.  So due to the fact that I have not been strict with my food for quite some time, I have found myself craving again and therefore gaining weight.  The only way I am going to ever gain total control over my hunger again is if I go back to the very strict no-sugar food plan.  For me that is described here and basically consists of eating nothing that has more than 4 grams of sugar in it.  In addition,  I also do a lot better when I limit the variety of food that I eat and when I do mostly liquid protein shakes during the first part of the day.  I have explained this before but I basically have to go back and remind myself of it.

It is really amazing to me how throughout my entire life, food continues to be such a powerful and manipulative force!  I know I am talking about food as if it is a real person which probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to people.  For me, though, food is not a simple thing.  The act of eating isn’t simple.  The cycle of hunger isn’t simple.  It becomes this very complicated and emotional mess at times.    The way that I can know exactly what works for me regarding food and then fall for lies is really crazy.   I will say that I spent years of my life not knowing what my main issues were surrounding food.  Yet once I found out what the main culprit was (sugar) I still have found ways to almost pretend or conveniently forget the truth at times.

This is why many of us struggle with things even when we know exactly what needs to be done to conquer it.   I can know intellectually what works and yet at various times in my life I will allow myself to go off track yet all the while convincing myself that I’m NOT off track!!  I am my own worst enemy at so many times.  And that can be scary—when you can’t even trust yourself!

The main thing for me right now is to get back to basics.  Return to what works.  And stop overthinking it.  Today I am going to head out to the grocery store and stock my fridge with my Atkins shakes.  Those are my go-to basic shake that works for me.  It’s easy and simple.  It has the lowest sugar out of any pre made shakes and it’s low carb which is a big part of my plan.  In addition to that, I do not have to make these shakes.  And for me that is a huge factor because having to make and prepare food can play into my psychological downfall at times.

As I’ve said before, I LOVE food.  As in…LOVE LOVE.  Even the act of making food (even healthy food) can become problematic for me.   The whole process of looking for recipes….buying the ingredients….planning it….making it….it’s all like a dance to me.  Like a seductive act of foreplay leading to the big event.  I realize I sound crazy to a lot of people who do not feel this way about food.  But for me—the preplanning, shopping, cooking, preparing—it’s all part of the problem.   It leads me back into the food romance.   It allows me to become fixated on the food again.

Opening the door to the refrigerator and pulling out a pre made shake takes one second.  Opening the top and drinking it and throwing it away is simple.  There is literally nothing else involved.  It takes all the excitement out of food.  I’m not even chewing.  It’s about as uninteresting as it can get.  And that’s what I need when I am breaking up with food after having gone back to it.  Because that’s what I am really doing when I’m gaining weight and struggling with food.   It’s me having gone back to that destructive relationship with it.   And now like someone struggling to get out of a bad relationship,  I have to once again break free.

We all have to eat to live but we don’t have to eat just anything.  Just like we don’t have to date just anyone.  And we don’t have to be good friends with just everyone.  We can be selective with our friends.  It doesn’t mean we don’t see or associate with others. But they don’t have to be in our inner circle.  You only bring people deep into your life that are good for you.  You only want to date people who are going to add positive things to your life.   We don’t have to associate with everyone who comes our way if that person isn’t right for us.  The same is true of food.   There are certain foods that are bad for me.   And I know it.  If I choose to bring them into my life then I’m asking for trouble.   And yet I have a longstanding history of asking for trouble!!!!  So I have to remind myself once again to stop hanging out with food that is bad for me!  Also I have to refuse to fall into the dance.  The love affair and disassociate myself even from the activities that make food such a draw for me.

SO…my plan is to continue working at getting back to the simple food plan that has set me free time and time again.   I know it works but I also know that it may take me several tries before I get back on track.  Today I received an email from someone who told me they are exhausted with “continuous new starts only to blow it a few days later”.  I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her on that.  I totally relate!!   I cannot even tell you how much I relate to this.   The weight loss journey really is many times a series of continuous new starts.  And yes….many times we blow it a few days later.  And in some cases, a few HOURS later.   At this time in my life, I am having really good days followed by terrible nights.  I start out great.  I am back into the routine of working out.  I get up and go walking in the neighborhood.   Later on, I do one of my exercise videos.  I’m actually back to doing about 3 miles a day now with my workouts.  Food, however, is a different story.   I start out great.  Then about 5 pm it all starts to slowly go downhill.   So there I am having to start all over again the next morning.   I find myself trapped in a 3 pound loop gaining and losing the same 3 pounds over and over again.

As the writer of that email told me—-it’s FRUSTRATING.   It’s super exhausting.  And you wonder to yourself–what is the point?

But here is what I can tell you.   Even if you lived out that cycle of starting over continually every day, it is still better than not trying at all.   Even if all I did for the next year was gain and lose the same 3 pounds–I am still WAY better off than the times in my life when I’ve given up completely and found myself 20-60 pounds heavier 6 months later as a result.   If I spend half the day in control of my food and the other half not in control—-that is still better than 24 hours with no control at all.   Yes it’s annoying but it’s still better than nothing.  I have had 6 months of my life where I totally gave up and was 50 pounds heavier as a result.  I’ve also had 6 months where I kept trying repeatedly every day to get it together but ended up constantly floundering.  6 months later I had not lost a single pound but guess what?? I hadn’t gained any either.   The cycle of starting anew every day might have been annoying and didn’t result in weight loss—but at least it didn’t result in gaining 50 pounds.    My point here is that even if we only do well for one hour out of the entire day—that’s still one hour of progress.  And every bit counts.   We absolutely have to start getting into that mindset.  It’s critical for success.     One of the main reasons I could never lose weight was because I viewed entire days as wins or losses.   Only if I was 100% successful for the entire 24 hours did I count it as a win.  Only if the scale showed me at least a 2 pound loss would I count the week as a success.

The same was true of exercise.  Only if I could walk an entire mile in at least 20 minutes did I count it as worthwhile.  At 417 pounds, I could not walk a mile in 20 minutes.  I could not walk a mile AT ALL.  I couldn’t even buy shoes for goodness sakes because my feet were too swollen.  I could barely get out of a chair without assistance.  Nothing was ever going to be good enough.   It was only when I gave myself permission to change the standard by which I measured success that I was able to finally start experiencing what it felt like to be successful!  When I made my workout 30 seconds long—I was able to accomplish it.  Adding 30 seconds at a time was do-able for me.   I started out walking in my hallway.  I would count laps touching one end of the hallway and then the other.   That was my workout.  And it counted.  It counted because I said it did.  I no longer listened to what the world told me was acceptable. And as a result of that, I finally was able to experience success.

Many times I tend to fall back into old patterns.  It’s like I forget what has worked.   Maybe it’s because we are so programmed to do things the way the world says we should.  Maybe it’s because those bad habits and self destructive thought patterns are so deeply embedded in us that even when we get away from them they still hover like a shadow waiting to jump back in the game.  But I know what works.  And what works is to make it simple.  To give yourself permission not to be perfect.  To forgive yourself mistakes but always give yourself credit for every single second that goes by which involves you sticking to your plan.  Every second counts.  And all is not lost because of a few mistakes.  It’s still progress.

This journey really is many times a continuous series of new starts.  And that’s ok.  There will be times when (if we keep at it) we reach a steady level where every day isn’t a struggle.  Of course there are always times in our life where the struggle returns like a rainstorm we have to wait out.  But if we keep plugging away and not giving up, we will once again reach a point of peace where it isn’t a constant battle.  Right now I’m in the constant battle mostly due to my own actions.  But I also know that if I keep working at this every day, I will once again reach a point of peace.

The email I read this morning really hit home for me.  I know how she feels.  The “continuous new start” every day can feel exhausting.   But then I was reminded of this scripture—

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies are new every morning.

(Lamentations 3:22-23)

I think God knows that we struggle.  He knows we need a fresh start.  Not just every week.  But every single morning!!

And if He has provided us with a fresh start to every day….with fresh grace, mercy and compassion every morning….then how can we not bestow the same gift upon ourselves??  If even God would not withhold a fresh start from us every morning then who are we to not allow ourselves a fresh start?

The continuous new start is a blessing not a curse.  That is how we have to see it.   We need to remind ourselves that it’s our brand new start every day that is so vital to the journey.  And then we must forget what lies behind (Philippians 3:13) and move forward into the new day letting nothing from yesterday hold us back!

It may be frustrating to have to deal with the struggle but it’s all part of the process.  I am frustrated too.  Frustrated at the weight I have regained.  Frustrated at bad choices I have made that have resulted in regain.  But you know what?? This is just part of the process.  Another opportunity for me to learn something about myself.    And it in NO WAY means that I have lost the fight.   God has promised to finish what He starts.   He said if He begins a good work in you then He will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6)

I sure thought that this “work” of losing 300 pounds would have been completed by now.  But you know what—the journey was longer than I anticipated.  It was filled with things I didn’t expect.  But it doesn’t change the promise.  He promised to see me through to the end.  And I take Him at His word.

We aren’t finished yet!

 

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Caron July 30, 2014 at 5:24 pm

A few years back, when I was still buying Slim Fast shakes, I used to free them so that I could eat them and it would be more like a meal. Just a thought. You need to transfer it to some kind of container before you put it in the freezer and the texture will probably be icy, but it lasts a lot longer and cools you down to boot. 🙂

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Caron July 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Sorry Holly, that should have been “freeze” in regard to the shakes. 🙁

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Living400lbs July 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm

The living room is beautiful & looks so comfortable!
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Pam Holmes July 30, 2014 at 8:10 pm

For some of us, food is indeed a big old ugly living monster. And we all are guilty of ignoring what we know it does to us, but eating it anyway. I liked what you said about constantly starting over and even an hour of being “good” counting as a “success.” I too have struggled for the last 6+ months with over-eating, and gained 30 pounds. For the last month, I got back on track and have dropped 10 pounds so far. Thanks to you, I realize how bad the gain could have been had I not been trying every single day during that time, and having at least some success, because had I let myself completely go, I’d have gained 100+ pounds in that period of time I’m sure. Small successes lead to BIG successes!
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LosingTheRolls July 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm

First, let me tell you that I love your furniture! It looks both sophisticated and comfortable. Also, what a sweet, sweet picture of you and Charlotte.

I often identify with what your write as I am or have experienced much of the same (except the losing weight part, I haven’t done that yet). At over 390 lbs, I pretty much have new starts constantly. Just as you said that losing and gaining the same weight or not losing at all, but still not gaining is progress. I am in that boat and have been for a few years now. I do not want to reach 400 lbs and so far I haven’t crossed that bridge, although I am way too close. I’m tired of being this size and not living a full life. I made another ‘start’ last Friday and am doing well so far. I hope I can make it last for awhile.

Good luck Holly, I believe in you!
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Steelers6 July 31, 2014 at 4:19 am

Wow, beautiful living room!! Well done, ladies. Aw, it sounds like some things are coming together.
Furniture, roof, interested buyer, Savannah…these things are progress! It sounds like the roof repair being covered is a real God thing!
Thanks for the update.
Great pic of you & Charlotte.
Chrissy

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Joy July 31, 2014 at 7:37 am

Thanks for sharing. I have been struggling since last September. I have put back on 25 pounds partly because of back issues. My back is finally better and slowly I am running again. Like you I have great mornings and afternoons but as soon as night hits my eatting is bad. It is tough when you keep on losing and gaining the same five pounds for months! But I am not willing to give up! Good for you Holly! We. CAn do this!!

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Beverly July 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. I just joined your blog via subscription several months ago. You speak directly to my heart. I am 57 and weigh 365. I was almost to 400 earlier this year. I took care of my mother in her final days and sadly neglected myself in the process. I understand multiple relationships with food. For me food is a friend, a lover, an enemy – all of this rolled into one. Yes, food can seem like a person.

I look forward to hearing the rest of your adventures!

HUGS!
Beverly

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Anneli July 31, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Oh Bravo! Yes!!! My blog rebeldieter.blogspot.com is basically a record of THREE Years of trying hard and staying at exactly the same weight! I lose a little, I regain, yawn, repeat, repeat, repeat. But you know what? I AM learning something. I am staying just ahead of the middle age spread. All my frustrating “getting nowhere” means that I weigh the same weight I did 22 years ago before having my daughter. Of course, that sounds better than it really is because I was about 50 pounds overweight back then and still am. But at least I’m not 100 pounds overweight or worse now. The danger here is that I think because I at least somewhat successful (and I am!) that I’ve done enough. The journey isn’t over yet by a long shot! And we’re going to win! God promised us that we’ll win. We’re not going to quit–we just have to be patient.

Anneli
PS–the furniture looks GREAT
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LHA August 1, 2014 at 12:34 am

Thank you for this post. I also use Atkins shakes (encouraged by your earlier post on sugar detox) and they work so well. It is not that hard to do, but sometimes it is just doing it for one meal, or one day, or one week that is hard. After that it is pretty easy. I hope you find that great rhythm with it like you have had before. You can do it! I would like to add that when I am off sugar completely I have a decrease in depression and anxiety so that is a good reason to kick the habit also. Sugar and carb overload seems to be bad for me, mind and body. Good luck!!

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Shay from Trashy Blog August 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I LOVE the new furniture! And as I was reading, I thought to myself, “I’m going to comment and tell her to NEVER give up the fight.” Then I got to the bottom and saw that you had already said the exact same thing. You’ve got the idea…you can do it!
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Renu Bakshi August 2, 2014 at 6:32 am

At the outset, I noticed the beautiful & comfortable new furniture. Your living room looks so cozy. Enjoy!!!!
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Karen P August 3, 2014 at 1:34 am

Hey Holly. Abstaining from white sugar and grains gave me the clear mind to attack weight loss and maintnence for the final time after 40 years of yo-yo dieting. Here’s to taking the steps you need to take and to finding your path. Keep going. Onward!
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Kerstin August 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

Dear Holly, firstly: I love your furniture! So stylish and cosy. No wonder you’ve been feeling so unsettled, living on the floor will do that to you! Secondly: I think a lot of what you are experiencing is also mourning. You are in mourning because you ‘lost’ your old familiar life as well as your eldest daughter who’s been such a support to you. Please understand that all your feelings are perfectly normal for someone in mourning. Transitions do take time. Even for me, who has moved so often, they can still be traumatic at times. In the last two years I completely uprooted my life in the US and moved back to my home town in Germany after an absence of 23 years. Then, last December, we relocated to England (where I previously lived for 15 years so it wasn’t unfamiliar) and this last move really took it out of me and it’s taken until now for me to find my bearings again. What helped me was accepting my feelings of unsettledness and homelessness (this is not our forever home, we are planning to return to the US eventually). Once I stopped fighting everything and everyone around me I was able to take a deep breath and focus again on the journey ahead. Which for me is also a substantial weight loss. You are such an inspiration to so many people, Holly, please make sure that you yourself also seek support and comfort, do not be afraid to reach out. You are amazing. Hugs, Kerstin xo
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Deja August 4, 2014 at 2:52 am

I just stumbled upon your blog today and feel like you have taken words straight from my own thoughts. There is no one I know that understands the draw that food has for me and even though I don’t know you I am so happy to feel that I am not alone in this and that there is someone else who knows how much of a battle food can be. Many times I have read stories of people who have lost weight but when they didn’t need to lose as much weight as I need to lose, I feel defeated like I have so much work that needs to be done and I can never conquer. Thank you for sharing your testimony and putting it out there for the whole world to see. Your blog brings glory to God and renews my faith that I can stay the course. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really needed to find this blog.

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Dagny Kight August 4, 2014 at 7:55 pm

You touch on a lot of points that I’ve been writing about awhile now! I believe we all need to acknowledge our own unique truth. I am also a person who feels more comfortable when I limit the variety of food I eat and I know there are certain triggers that if I let them sneak back in, I will have trouble getting back to a place where I feel that sense of control again.

I look at it this way—We are not “out of control” rather we are always fighting to be in control. It IS exhausting! It is the difference between being a prisoner in jail (when you give in to a sense of victimhood and use labels like “addict” for yourself) or being a soldier in battle who does not give up. When you keep working at it, you are proving that there is something you feel you need to do.

I believe we fail when we do things that aren’t going to work for us. We must shut out all the “advice” and look inside. We MUST acknowledge what is our own truth! For myself, I admit without shame that I LOVE FOOD and yes, like you, my brain LOVES to think about food!! I stopped listening to everyone who tried to me I was an addict or I was broken or I just needed to get motivated and instead I learned to deal with how my mind and body work. I found what works for me. You know where you want to go, but only you can find the path to get you there.
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Andy August 9, 2014 at 12:02 am

Hi Holly,

Wow what an amazing transformation, congratulations. Your story here needs to be shared because it’s truly inspiring! You have overcome an obstacle that millions of Americans deal with yet are afraid to face.

It’s fortunate that you where able to get your roof replaced through insurance. For future reference here are a few tips that may help you catch or spot a damaged roof before it gets too bad. If there is water damage then you can sometimes see a discoloration in the paint seeping through those spots. Also, if your children see curling or loose shingles that could also be a sign that it needs to have maintenance done.

Well Holly, again your story is inspiring, and I am quite interested in following your progress.
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Donna August 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I loved reading your story…keep writing. I have lived your struggle my whole life with the dance with food. My mom sent me your story as it is inspiring her. I have managed to keep my dance within a somewhat acceptable weight but I have always said, if I followed my cravings, I would be a 400 pound woman. I am so happy for you and I pray my mom will find that same success!

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