I cannot tell you how the last 2 weeks have been for me. It is as if someone came in and turned on the light. For such a very long time I have been struggling like crazy to get back on track. I could not find the motivation. I could not find the power. I could simply not stick to anything for more than a few hours or a day at the most. I had all but resigned myself to total defeat. And I do believe it was when I finally gave up that I found my way again!!
Two weeks ago I wrote some fairly despondent and depressing things about the state of affairs on my blog. I was feeling fairly hopeless. While I had never completely given up, I would admit I was hanging by a thread. I could not seem to even imagine a day when I would ever once again feel any level of success. After almost 10 months of continually trying and failing, I had just about had enough of it. And I really felt as if there was nothing left in me. Have you ever just felt DONE? As if you’ve tried too many times? It is tiring. That is one thing I want to say about this battle. If you are someone who has struggled with their weight and/or food addiction then you probably know just how very old it can get ESPECIALLY when you are always on the losing end.
To fight with someone else is disconcerting. To be in an argument with a friend or a relative is disturbing. But to be in a never ending fight with YOURSELF is far worse. Because THAT is a person you cannot get away from!! If you are in constant turmoil with YOURSELF then you are never going to be happy. Wherever you go…there you are. You simply cannot get a break from it. And every second of the day you are battling the thoughts in your mind. You want to have control but you simply don’t. And that fact alone is so frustrating. Day and night you try so hard to make progress only to fail again and again. And to be unhappy with the person you must spend the most time with makes for a very long day!!
I simply could not see clearly anymore what had happened. Or how it was that I could have at one point had so much control over my appetite only to completely lose it altogether. I have been feeling like a runaway train for quite some time. I could see disaster on the brink and yet I was powerless to stop it. I finally just threw my hands in the air and said ENOUGH. I placed it all at God’s feet and said I was done trying. I could not do it anymore. My writing was full of mostly depressing and hopeless musings. None of which I am sure were helpful to anyone at all. Even in my own writing I could sense no clarity at all. It was as if someone blind was writing it. Someone who couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
Three things happened when I found myself at this point. And those three things turned it around
My brother texted me and without mentioning a single thing regarding my failure or regain he simply asked if I would like to do a shake week. This is the sugar detox I have talked about time and time again on my blog. It is THE road to freedom for me. It is the way that I break free from sugar cravings and get it out of my system. It is the way that I regain control over my appetite so that it does not control me. I agreed. And we began texting each other pictures of our shakes every 1.5 hours. This encouraged me greatly. There was absolutely NO discussion over what I had done wrong. There was no conversation over all the ways I had screwed up. There was no condemnation or judgement. And there was no expectation of perfection. It was just “Let’s do this” and that was all! For me, this was extremely important. For I have spent already enough days and hours berating myself. I simply didn’t need to hear it from anyone else. My brother was able to come in and offer me support and encouragement without judgement. When I was struggling he simply offered some simple advice and the continuing notion that “Left, Right,Left” is the way. That there is nothing we can do but keep going. Keep marching. And if we screw up, we just move forward again. Dwelling on things never helps. And this straightforward approach began to clear my mind from the junk that had been weighing it down.
For two straight weeks my brother and I have done the no sugar protein shakes together. I want you to know that I have done this sugar detox many times. It only takes about 3-4 days for me to find control again. If I can be totally pure for 3 to 4 days then usually around day 4 I have a significant breakthrough. It still is not easy but after about 3 or 4 days the sugar has significantly left my system and I no longer am living in never-ending torment at the ravenous cravings. THIS Is the key. We think that when we give up the sugar or the food we are craving that we will have to live forever in torment. That it will never end!!
The truth is that we only have to live in this hell for about 3 or 4 days. Usually by that time (if you remained pure during that time) you will suddenly find yourself gaining a significant power over your hunger. It is amazing actually the change that occurs.
My addiction to the sugar and my defeated mentality had subsisted so long this time, though, that I was totally unable to get through even ONE day without screwing up. Every single day for about 14 days straight I had some issue. I would eat something off the plan. I would screw up. I would give in to temptation. But this is what I did differently. I JUST KEPT GOING. If I gave into a craving and ate something then I still drank my shake at the designated hour. I refused to go off THAT plan. Maybe I had just given into temptation but I would still forge on anyway. I didn’t even care if I gained weight. It was not about that. It was about sticking to what I had planned even if I had just fallen off the wagon 10 minutes ago. This time I was not going to start again “tomorrow”. I would keep going and keep going. And not give up.
By being unable to purely get off the sugar it became a slower process. By not being able to go 3 or 4 straight days I only extended the torment on myself. But that was the best I could do. And each day I seemed to get better and better. Now it is day 15 and finally for the first time I was able to get in an entire pure day. Yesterday was the first FULL day I have experienced in a very long time of control. It still was a struggle. It was still tough. But it was no where close to the struggle it was 15 days ago. And now I truly believe that today I will have another successful day. Doing the sugar detox and having someone nonjudgemental and positive to help me through it allowed me to piggyback on the motivation of someone else when mine was all but gone. And it helped me in a significant way to start digging my way out.
And that is the key. To just keep digging . If someone can help you dig out, that will go a long way. But the key is to just keep at it. Even if you mess up. Even if you ate a Big Mac. Don’t put the shovel down. Don’t let the slip up deter you. Dig, dig, dig. And don’t give up.
Even while at my worst with food, I have found that the FitBit has been a HUGE help to me in getting motivated with exercise. Every day I try to get to 10,000 steps if possible. But 2 weeks ago at my lowest I could barely find the desire to get out of the chair. I was so depressed and so beaten down that I had no interest in walking even across the room! I just couldn’t seem to get myself interested. My best friend, Amanda, asked if I wanted to go for a walk outside. Once again I must say that there was no condemnation or judgement. She didn’t say “You need to start exercising again to lose weight”. In fact there was NO mention of my failures or my setbacks. None at all!! It was simply “I’m going for a walk. Want to come?” This was critical. When people are really feeling down on themselves and have no motivation left we often find people with good intentions putting pressure on us at the exact moment when we really have nothing left to give. Being judged or condemned never helps me. But someone coming along and just simply saying “Let’s go for a walk” does help!! And I decided that anytime she asked I would go. There was no set time. There was no set plan. There was no “We have to do this every day for this long!”…..It was just simply whenever the sun was shining the offer was there. And I made a point to never turn down the offer. Just doing that allowed me to get back to hitting my 10,000 steps and MORE! Many days we were up to 15,000! And exercise improves the mood. It helps when you are fighting the cravings. It gives you confidence to keep going.
And a quick picture of me with Amanda from the other day!
#3 Prayer and Encouragement
Awhile back through my blog, I became friends with a woman named Anne. She has been such a support and encouragement to me that I can only imagine God Himself put her in my path. When just a few weeks ago I was feeling so depressed about everything she called and left me voicemails telling me that I was a special person. That no matter what was happening I was loved by God and that I could and WOULD find my way again. She sent me messages of hope and encouragement. She sent me a card. It was just a wave of positive thoughts. And it made me start to see the sun shining again.
These three things have enabled me I believe to get through the past two weeks and make enough progress to see hope again.
This is the truth for me: The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41)
Sometimes even our spirit seems to have deflated and we have little left in our reserve tank. But with the encouragement and support of others we can often find ourselves being renewed. Every day I have been praying that God will GIVE me that willing spirit once again. Most importantly I stopped beating myself up for not having that in me. The fact that I still wanted to try even in the midst of being unable to accomplish much was progress enough. It was still something! And every day that went by I just continued to pray for God to give me the strength to press on.
I believe He is answering that call. This has been one battle for the ages. I’ve been on hooked on sugar before but for some reason this time it has taken an army to get me off it again!! It has taken me almost 15 full days to finally see some relief. But now I am starting to feel once again that power returning. And it is truly what gives the mental clarity I had been lacking before. The fog WILL lift. The cravings do NOT last forever. The mind will deceive you. It will make you believe that you will have to fight ravenous never-ending hunger for the rest of our life. But that simply is not true. Once it leaves your system, it is gone. And in its place you will find control. You will find an appetite that is NOT relentless. But only if you can press through.
When we find ourselves beaten down what we really do NOT need is judgment. We need encouragement. A mere two weeks ago, my life was filled with nothing more than judgment and condemnation. I was piling it on myself and even those around me. If you read my blog a few weeks ago you may know that I wrote a few posts that were deeply entrenched in a lot of that negative talk. Not only was I unhappy with myself but I was unhappy with my (now adult age) daughter. I was being judgmental towards what I felt were HER mistakes and she was being judgmental towards what she felt were mine. I’d say the culmination of all this ended with me writing a very negative and defeated blog post which I have since pulled. And I apologize for it. It wasn’t appropriate. It wasn’t uplifting and it wasn’t helpful. And I will tell you why. Judging yourself won’t help. But Judging others won’t help either. We mustn’t pull each other down. That is actually a way to fall further into the miry pit of negativity. All it does is lead to food. Lead to stress. AND even lead to illness!! Do you know that not only had I managed to allow my own worries and frustrations to lead me back into food? I also allowed it to lead me straight into heart palpitations and an ulcer. When you find yourself literally SICK simply because you are not controlling your emotions—it’s time to RE-EVALUATE!
If I had to say one final thing that has helped me breakthrough—then it’s this—LETTING GO. I have struggled to let go of my daughter who is now 19. I have struggled to let her make her own decisions without having to listen to MY personal opinions on the subject. But the truth is this. She is an adult and while the transition isn’t easy we must allow people to be who they are. To make their own decisions. And to both fall and get up without our judgement and condemnation. We cannot be so deeply entangled and enmeshed with people that we take everything they do personally. Oh how hard this is for a Mom!! But letting go is critical. And that is what I have done. It doesn’t mean I am not here to support and encourage her when she needs me. I will never remove that! But it does mean she is an adult now. And it’s time I let her be one. My daughter and I are finally back on track. And that is a good place to be. But there will be no more judgement. Not from either side. Because no one is perfect. And I could spend hours upon hours tormenting myself over mistakes I have made as a parent but it would do no good at all. I could spend hours upon hours tormenting HER over mistakes she has made but again—this serves no purpose. Instead there is no more condemnation. And no more whining and crying over past mistakes. It’s moving day. And by that I mean MOVING ON! And moving forward to the new day!
No one is perfect. Least of all me. But I am happy to say that I will not dwell one more second over any mistakes I have made. I have a tendency to sometimes blow up my mistakes as if they were life ending. Even in recounting the things I have done I believe I have a tendency to make them worse than they are! It’s one of the many traps that people who have struggled with their weight fall into. It’s one of the great cognitive distortions where we blow something up and exaggerate it. Making ourselves out to be the worst person in the world. Not only can I do this to myself but I suppose others can do it to US. And that has been true in my life. We cannot do this. Not to ourselves and not to each other. It only leads us further into destruction.
Who among us hasn’t made some mistakes? I mean really…WHO?
So I am happy to say that judgment day has come and gone. Whatever mistakes I have made are in the past. Whatever mistakes others have made are now well into yesterday! I will no longer hold myself in a debt to those things. Nor will I hold others to it either! I’m moving on! And I will give that same grace and mercy to my own children. The same grace and mercy I was shown in the past few weeks by those around me. Those who came to lift me up instead of pull me down. This is the way out of our misery!! Through building one another up and not tearing one another down!
God’s mercy is never ending. His strength is far greater than anything the enemy can throw our way.
So we must seek and find within each and every day that speck of hope— no matter how small!!! And then cling to it. It will grow and it will build. So press on!!! Press on when the road is long. Press on when you grow weary. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Then let’s start smiling!! I’m wearing my smile today!! Here is proof! So put on yours too! Because positive things are coming our way!
And keep going!! The breakthrough is coming for us all!