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Dear Self,

I’ve been keeping religious track of what goes in my mouth and here are some harsh truths I’ve had to realize. To begin with, my issue is -not- overeating. Shock! Wow! Seriously? That’s right, it’s not a matter of overeating that has put me in the shape I am in. In fact, my portion sizes are adequate if not less than what they should be. One of the things I realized is that I don’t actually eat enough and I don’t eat the right things when I -do- eat. I think some where deep down I translate not eating with healthy and slimming…WRONG!

Sadly, this reality came to me because my 7yr old made the comment she didn’t want to eat much because she wanted to keep her tummy flat. Yes this led to a very important conversation about how beautiful she is, how important the right nutrition is, and how important she is as a person and doesn’t need to change a thing about her appearance…But, where did she learn this idea from that not eating is slimming?

In fact most health experts and nutritionist will tell you that you need to eat more to loose weight. It sounds like a backward philosophy though and in this society also not easy to accomplish without consumer’s guilt. But here is something interesting I learned…When I eat the wrong things I wallow in the guilt and I get down on myself for it. I must not care about myself if I keep stuffing my face with these really good, warm, chocolaty chocolate chip cookies..and yet? They taste so good! We are taught from a young age that moderation is key….Sure..unless that moderation comes every time you feel emotional or you think moderation works every time you decide you need something to make you feel better.

Another harsh reality…I look and need affirmation for my actions when it comes to self-esteem and self-motivation. I haven’t figured out the reality of it or the psychology of why but I’m sure with time I will figure it out. When that affirmation is missing I turn more to comfort foods. Ice cream makes money issues seem less stressful, cookies take away the frustrations of the day, and chocolate..well come on, chocolate is a girl’s best friend. Isn’t this what I’ve grown up learning or perceiving from the world around me?

Well either way..

Whether self taught or learned from some other source..

I need to change how I regard comfort foods and stop looking for affirmation in the wrong things or seeking it in the bottom of an ice cream barrel.

Reality of Fat

Dear Self

No one likes to be fat. I know it’s not politically correct to say and some might even take offense to hearing the term ‘fat’. Here is the reality, it hurts to be fat and I’m speaking from experience. I’m not just talking the aches and pains of physical wear and tear on my body. I’m not just talking about not being able to fit into jeans I could a month ago or having to still wear maternity clothes. Being fat hurts on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level. It’s so much easier to look in the mirror and hate what I see when I am fat. I hate myself and the world around me because I feel like a victim of my own self-image physically and mentally.

Now, people looking at me would say I’m beautiful. They would give me the encouragement that God made me unique and special. I do not doubt that for a moment but that doesn’t mean this is the way God intended my body to be. I am the steward of my appearance and God is the Master of my heart. This is what God gave me and I’m responsible for taking care of it. So why did I let myself get to the point that I look in the mirror and hate what God gave me? Why do I hate stepping out my front door knowing that my clothes don’t fit right, like people will stare, or that I’d rather turn around and go right back to my room?

I don’t think there is an easy answer to my questions and I hate journeys of self discovery that tend to point out my flaws. But it boils down to not loving myself and allowing the pressures of life to cloud my vision of who I can be and what I’m called to be. So I’ve resolved to try something else for a change. I’m taking the challenge of believing that with God all things are possible (Phillipians 4:13). But It’s more than just believing. I’m going to live it. I’m going to the leap of faith and action together to make a change. I hate being fat. I hate being told all my health issues will disappear if I just diet and exercise. So I’m taking the challenge put forth and I’m placing the fleece on my doorstep and asking God for courage to stop letting my weight victimize me.

This begins the journey of total transparency. I’m going to document each day my emotions, my meals, my hopes, my disappointments, my tears, and my accomplishments in battling my weight and self-image. I want to give others the hope I have lacked and I want to show them that with faith comes action. Change doesn’t happen because you wish it. It happens because you pursue it..You make the effort…You take the chance..

So why publicize it?

Because I can’t do it alone. If I could then I wouldn’t be in this place of self-loathing and disappointment. I wouldn’t be sitting here feeling fat and not wanting to leave my bedroom. I would have already made the necessary change if I could do it alone with just the power of personal will and mind. But I suck at being accountable to myself.

I’m asking for help from those that will read this..Help me take this journey..Help me be accountable..

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Day One:  The Facts

English Units
Height  4 feet  11 inches
Weight 189 pounds
Waist 38.5 inches
Neck 16 inches
Hips (Female) 51 inches

Body Mass Index: 38.3 kg/m2
Waist-to-Height ratio: 0.65
Percent Body Fat: 54.3%
Lean Body Mass: 86.4 lb

You are overweight by 30.0 kilograms (66.0 pounds)

I haven’t been 123lbs in years. The last time I was that thin was while I was in the Air Force and it didn’t end up being particularly healthy. My goal is not to become some barbie doll princess but a real woman with the Puerto Rico/Hebrew curves God gave me. So when did I feel my best? When I could sit comfortably at 140-145lbs.

My Long term Goal: 44lbs

Yes I know that leaves me 22 lbs still considered overweight but let’s start with realistic! God gave me a butt and breasts! I’m short, I was gifted the ghetto booty and big boobs (yes I said big boobs). So while I might not loose that extra weight..If I’m healthy, lost some inches and doctors do not automatically see my weight and dismiss my health issues, I’m doing great! Not to mention an improvement to overall self-esteem and maybe stepping outside wont feel so daunting

Now I have no idea what I tend to eat through the course of the day. So this first week is taking a seriously close look of what goes in my mouth, in my heart, and my personal view of self. Brutal reflection but also necessary to change.

Breakfast Consisted of:  I started my morning at 8am and didn’t eat until 10am

Nutrilite meal bar
– Calories: 200
– Total Fat. 6g
– carb.26
– protein 13

Nutrilite Meal Replacement Shake
– Calories 140
– Total fat. 3
– Carb. 15g
– Protein 15g

And let’s not forget half a chocolate chip cookie…..(I’m addicted!!!)

My lifestyle I would classify as sedentary because I’ve given into the belief that pain is bad. I have a chronic illness that leaves me in pain every single day. Why would I want to add more pain on top of what I already experience? Somewhere in the back of my head, I decided the pain to loose the weight wasn’t worth it and yet in order to experience change…Pain is often necessary.  So what happens if I push through the pain and I try to change? What happens if I loose the weight and get in shape in spite of the pain? Then who is in control?  The pain or me?

Stay tune for updates…..

 

The Weary Traveler.

We all know the story of the weary traveler. The one who is beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road. We hear his story from the eyes of the Good Samaritan that comes to rescue him after several others have passed by. Sometimes, I wonder if the story would have been different in the Bible if it had been written from the perspective of the one beaten, bloodied, robbed, and left for dead..

Would we have learned a different lesson? Understood the trials of endurance that come our way? Would we have been able to grasp the emotional impact that each failure or triumph of his recovery brought? Would we tell him to suck it up? Would we show empathy for his plight and give him a listening ear? Was the Good Samaritan’s work done by simply taking him away from the side of the road, giving him aid and then continuing on?

Ecclesiastes 9:11, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.”

I think sometimes I have to wonder…What would the weary traveler tell us about his journey. How he overcame the beatings, the pain, the nightmares, and the humbling humiliation of needing someone’s kindness to get back on his feet. I think he would show us all the human shortcomings that go with learning to persevere. I think he would weave a tale of sorrow, happiness, and eventual triumph. Most of all, I think he would show us the grace of God in the face of adversity. The grace that lifts us up again when we have hit rock bottom or when our way is too dark to see through. Sometimes we overlook the weary traveler’s tale because we are so focused on the deeds of the Good Samaritan..

I am a weary traveler. I have fallen down, given up, and then realized that my journey is not yet finished. It’s not my strength that keeps me going. It’s not my understanding that makes failures and successes. It is the grace that I’ve been given. when I feel I can’t take one more step forward; when the pain tears me down like the traveler on the side of the road; I am once again reminded and humbled to remember ….. Not my will but His…..

Romans 5:3-4, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

Today I am weary…but tomorrow I will run again…

~Michelle~



The Real You

It begins before we are even old enough to comprehend what we are doing. We force a smile for the sake of our parents. We stop crying though we are still upset to avoid punishment. We pretend to be sweet and innocent when we are really devils…we know how to the play the courtship well. A dance of grace and invisibility…one that requires perfect balance…

“I can’t let them know who I really am,” she said with pain in her voice, “Because they’d be so disappointed if they knew I wasn’t doing as well as they all think I am — if they knew I don’t have it all together.”….It’s the little white lie we keep telling ourselves convinced its the absolute truth.

I tried pulling myself out of the mental hole I’d fallen into; I said I am merely human, just like everyone else, so i wasn’t perfect, just like everyone else. But the topic was closed and my mind had no desire to be thrown anymore ropes. My mind wanted to stay in the hole. Like so many other people, my mind had decided it couldn’t allow anyone to see the scared, broken, hurting person behind the mask. Some would scratch the surface of my mask and claim they knew all there was to know and while they rejoiced at the pretty color beneath; I simply painted on a new layer of color.

We learn at a young age that life is a large and elaborate, 24/7 masquerade ball, and if you’re going to play the game, you have to hide your shortcomings, struggles, pain and imperfections behind a painted smile, just like everyone else does.

Unfortunately, while we watch the endless parade of smiling, confident faces stroll past us, we often forget we’re attending a masquerade ball, and that almost every face is completely hidden from view behind a bucket full of paint. Everyone else appears beautiful and put together, so we desperately cling to our own masks a little tighter, hoping no one will notice the confident, perfect grin we’re showcasing will smear the next time it rains.

It’s the domino affect in action, and it starts with just one person deciding to sport a mask. The people around them then analyzed their own wrinkled and tired faces in the mirror and decide they’re falling short, so they invest in masks, as well. Before long, there isn’t a single person left who even remembers what it’s like to be transparent, honest and real.

So, how do we break the unending cycle? How do we strip away the masks? How do we let others see the real us beneath the facade we’ve created?

The answer seems simple enough…Take down the mask…. right?

Wrong…How long have you been wearing the it? Do you know what lies beneath?

Ever seen “Man In The Iron Mask”….Remeber the part when the mask was finally removed… He fumbled around afraid and even startled by the light that shined upon him…His own reflection was foreign and frightening to him…He had to learn who he was all over again…

That is why its so hard to break the cycle…we fear ourselves and our own reflections… we are afraid of what we will find underneath all those layers of paint we have thrown up over the years…what if we don’t like what we see? More so what if others don’t like it?

So where do we begin to stop the cycle? By scraping away one layer at a time and learning to embrace each piece of ourselves and if we are lucky enough some one will come along the way before the last layer falls and embrace and see the real us hiding in our skin. They will give us the courage to strip away that final layer and reveal all that we are and all that we can be to ourselves and to society…..

We cannot hide who we are from the sight of God..He knows us and has called us by name..We are each one found precious in His sight..and it can be a hard reality to accept..that He would take us as we are..flaws, masks, and all…We cannot hide behind masks with Him…Let this be an encouragement to you to begin letting other and yourself see the real You inside….