Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't You Quit

I saw this on a writing blog I frequent.

I memorized this poem, "Don't You Quit" as an assignment back in elementary school. The whole class recited it in that sing-songy way that only children can do. I believe the author is unknown.

As I watched this video, so many years later, the words came right back to me and I found myself whispering them as I watched.

Think I'll have my kids learn this one.

It's worth it.

Do you have poems or verses you learned in childhood that inspire you?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everything You Need is Already In You

Do I really know EVERYTHING I need to know to lose weight? Then what's the problem?

Previously I said, "The bottomline is that living life in a healthy manner--physically, emotionally, spiritually--begins with me. It's about my choices, my attitude, my actions."

God whispered this into my spirit. He does that, usually to teach me something new in His Word or to remind me of a past lesson.

Lest you think I'm a total egomaniac, I went on a Scripture search this weekend. That's the next step following a God whisper. I knew there was a passage that speaks to this.

I found it in 2 Pet 1.

From the New Living Translation:

1 This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,

6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,

7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A couple of things stand out for me:
  1. God has given us everything we need for living a godly life

    There it is! We're guilty of thinking if we just had this or if we only knew this or if we could only achieve that... But we already have EVERYTHING we need. For certain, there are conveniences--more and more everyday--that make a particular task easier or faster but those are wants, not needs.

    We have what we need.

    Of course, having everything is not quite the same as knowing everything, as I said previously. But "having" speaks to inner capacity, the capacity or capability for everything.

  2. These are the promises that enable you to...escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

    Wow! Stop right there. A promise! To escape the negative results of our desires. Like eating too much or the wrong kinds of foods? Like watching TV or sleeping when I might be exercising? In my case, the desires that corrupt my health.

  3. "...make every effort to respond..."

    This brings me back to "It starts with me." God made the promise. Now I have to do my part. If I make every effort to lose weight, part of living a godly life because it means I'm taking the best care I can of the body God has given me, then I should have success.

    As I've said, I've had short periods of success over the years but I can't honestly say I've made a determined effort, every day, year in and year out, to take the best possible care of my body. Can you?

  4. "...Supplement your faith ... with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control..."

    Self-control here means doing the things we know we should do and not doing the things that we know we shouldn't. Like eating that 400 calorie chocolate bar Saturday evening I brought home from the pharmacy and hid from my husband. (Note: He occasionally reads my blogs but he already knows about my bad habits.)

    Controlling self. I get that. I really do. It's just soooooo HARD! Don't you agree?

  5. But then the Word continues with "The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be..."

    Not one verse suggests anything about this being easy. Things were pretty easy in the Garden of Eden. Look how that turned out.
It might seem as though some folks decide to go on a diet or change careers or grow their hair long or write a book or whatever, and they have immediate success.

For me, it's not that way. Time to accept that.

But if I stay focused and do what I need to do, because I have everything already in me, and if I supplement my faith with knowledge and my knowledge with self-control, then I should see results. And as I continue to do this, I'll get better at it.

So will you.

Read that as SUCCESS.

What's the biggest issue for you? Is it self-control? Is it knowledge? Is it faith, i.e. trusting in God's promises? Have you made every effort?

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Will Bless The Lord

This song rang in my head all day yesterday. When that happens, the song usually will continue playing throughout the night, while I sleep, and on into the next day or so.

Can't help it. Just happens.

But it's not a bad refrain. I will bless the Lord, Bless the Lord at all times...

Sending up heartsung praises.

Have you blessed the Lord today?

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekly Check-In

From Psalms 103:1-5,
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Here at It Starts With Me..., we're going to pray together, praise together, laugh together, and encourage one another to become our best selves.

To this end, I have a number of goals. I'm sure you do too.

But I have to pick one to truly focus on. I'll make progress on several fronts and talk about those too but the one I'm going to focus on, at least until I get a handle on it, is losing weight. Those who are interested in how I'm doing on my writing goals can always hop over to that blog, Readin' N Writin' with Patricia.

Each Monday, I'm going to give a mini-status of how I'm doing. If you too are trying to lose weight, I hope you'll share your status too.

My week, for the purpose of weight loss, begins on Monday and ends on Sunday.

Week of July 21, 2008:
Weight Loss: +0.5 lbs. (Scale measure in 1/2 lb increments.)

Average water per day: 4 cups

Number of days exercised: 5

Total min exercised: 140

Not as bad as that sounds. Was 2.5 lbs lighter on Saturday AM. (I weigh myself every day.)

Snacked a bit over the weekend and began taking iron pills again, which results in water retention and constipation. Solution? Need more water. Also, I purchased FiberSure to make sure I get enough fiber each day, no matter what I eat.

In fact, with the increase in exercise and no change to diet, I saw the scale drop 1/2 lb almost daily. Until I swallowed that iron pill on Saturday and ate that 400 calorie chocolate snack I couldn't resist.

Not to worry. Today's weight was back down to the extra 2.5 lbs. So except for that weekend blip, I lost 2 lbs last week.

What's your goal and how'd you do? (Mind you, it doesn't have to be weight-related.)

Peace & Blessings,

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Conquering the Weight Loss Woes

In my welcome, I said that I'd be talking about my weight loss woes.

This is very personal for me as I've struggled with my weight pretty much my entire life. Had I known years ago a lot of what I know now, I might be in better shape. But that's water under the bridge.

The reality: I'm 5'2" and as of this morning, I need to lose 77 lbs. to get to my goal weight. Clinical assessments would deem me "obese", which is not a word I ever would associate with myself. I fit well in the back seat of any car. I take up only one seat on an airplane. I can buy clothes on the rack in the Misses department and my two-digit size does not begin with a numeral greater than 1.

Yet I am considered obese.

77 lbs. is a lot of weight to lose. I'm in my mid-forties so I'm not in a good place but I'm not in a very bad one either. I still have the ability to be fairly active and I make the majority of the food decisions for my family.

So what's the problem? In addition to being a middle-aged, overweight wife and mother of four (three living, one deceased):

(1) I am insulin resistant. In fact, I'm pre-diabetic.
I learned this during my third pregnancy. I fought a raging battle with gestational diabetes that had me injecting myself with insulin three times a day to no avail. Insulin resistance makes it difficult to lose weight because the body is not processing insulin, which is needed for proper use of the energy derived from food, correctly. Turns out my family has a history of this, including full-blown diabetes. Would have been nice to know this and understand the potential impact on my life much earlier.

(2) I've never been particularly active.
Back when I was coming up, girls weren't encourated in sports as they are today. (Besides I was busy being The Brain.) Oh, I've had active periods in my life, like when I was 25 and lost 40 lbs. by going to the gym three days a week. I was single, living alone, and working 15 min from home so what better way to spend the evenings? Not so easy to do when one has a family and a 45 min commute, one-way.

(3) I have a love-hate relationship with junk food.
Bypass the ice cream? No problem. I might talk myself out of that piece of cake, those cookies, or other gooey treats. But I struggle with walking past chocolate bars and lose EVERY TIME to the salty, crunchy snacks like potato chips.

These are my greatest challenges.

There's more stuff going on, emotional stuff that I'll deal with at a later point so as not to depress you or myself from the onset.

Now before you offer words of advice, understand that I know EVERYTHING that I should be doing to make a difference in my situation. The key words here are "should be". I find it easy to exercise but not diet, to diet but not exercise, to exercise but not drink enough water...

You get the picture.

My challenge is putting together all of the things I've learned and carrying out a solid, full-throttle attack on my weight problem to conquer it once and for all.

Occasionally, I pull it off. Last year, I lost 17 lbs in about eight weeks. Not bad. Then I rewarded myself by taking a vacation from everything I'd done right, resulting in a net weight gain of 7 lbs.

Do you see the problem?

So I'm trying again to do the things I KNOW work best for me:
  1. Get plenty of sleep.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Exercise a min of 30 min at least 5 days a week, combining cardio and strength training but focusing on the latter.
  4. Eating reasonable portions of foods that are low on the glycemic index and minimizing or avoiding foods that aren't.
  5. Taking daily vitamins and iron to help my body work most efficiently.
  6. Most importantly, seek God's strength and wisdom, minute by minute if necessary.
What else is there? (I said I know EVERYTHING but I didn't really mean it. Well, I did but not really. If you know of something else, feel free to share.)

Recording my progress (or stumbles) here will help me, and maybe help someone else. So at least once a week, I'll recap how I'm doing. I have no timetable and no goal other than I'd like to lose at least 5 lbs. every month. At that rate, I should be at my goal by October 2009.

Let's pray I begin shrinking in size and gaining in health.

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, July 25, 2008

You Are God

Hubby sent me this video today. (We share like that throughout the day all the time.)

This is the kind of song that ushers me straight into a worship mode. I'm overwhelmed by the awesomeness of God and full of a sense of His love, His mercy, His grace.

Take a look.

Peace & Blessings,

It Starts with Me!

Welcome to It Starts with Me!

This is my personal blog, the one where I can cheer myself on, vent, or wonder about whatever topic's on my mind. Here I'll chat about my weight loss woes, the spiritual a-ha's that are whispered to my heart, or simply the latest fun thing that I've done, learned about, or wish I could do.

The bottomline is that living life in a healthy manner--physically, emotionally, spiritually--begins with me. It's about my choices, my attitude, my actions.

God is the author and finisher of my faith and the head of my life but He has a permissive will that allows a lot of latitude.

That's where I come in.

I'm not big on blaming other folks for what ails me. Or at least I try not to. I may even go overboard with looking at myself and trying to figure out what works well for me and why or what doesn't and what I could have done differently.

This is the place where I will get some of that stuff out of my head!

So as I experiment with and get better at living within His permissive will, I'll talk about it.

I hope you'll join me.

Peace & Blessings,