Sunday, August 9, 2015

Diagnosis - Obesity?

It’s about time for an update!

I am so proud and excited to announce that I have lost 11 pounds since my first blog about my weight loss journey! Once I got through the initial head aches and fatigue from changing my eating habits, I began to start feeling better. I have a tad more energy, and my cravings have lessened quite a bit. Getting sugar out of my system is the best thing I could have done!

So far, what I have been doing is to cut out sugar and white flour, most processed food, and especially pop. I eat my fill of fruit and vegetables and drink fruit, kale, and spinach smoothies. I limit bread, rice, and starchy foods, even whole grains. I eat lean meats, nuts, etc. I also allow one or two cheats a week to help me stay on course. When I plan my cheats, I try to make it worth it!

Exercise has been more of a challenge. I have pain in my knees, hips, and feet that has become so severe that I can hardly handle most forms of exercise. When I go for a walk, do a video, or even do housework, I can barely walk at all the next day. You should see me hobble! Just call me Crip!

A few days ago, I discovered a lump about the size of an egg at the base of my thigh, just above my right knee. All I had to do was go to WebMD to scare my pants off! The possible diagnoses really scared me.

When I went to the doctor, she felt the lump and said that it just feels like inflammation in a tendon. She also believes I have developed arthritis in my knees. I am still waiting for results from x-rays to be sure. It is possible that it could be a tumor, but not as likely.  I also have plantar fasciitis and heel spurs in my feet. I had healed from that in the past just by losing weight, and that is basically all I need to do now to heal my feet again.

Here is what really got me…

As I left the examination room and headed to the check-out desk, I couldn’t help notice what the doctor had written on my discharge form. Under the word diagnosis, she had written nice and boldly – OBESITY! Obesity? What an ugly word, and she was talking about me? I had gone to her to check out my knee, and her diagnosis was obesity. That word really shook me up! She had written several other things, but that was the only word that jumped out at me.

Then it hit me. All of my physical problems and the debilitating pain that I struggle with every day has its root in one source – my weight. I have been compromising my health and quality of life by my own poor choices. I have done it to myself. What have I done?

The good news is that it is not too late to make changes. My doctor gave me some words of encouragement and hope. She did tell me that I have to lose weight. She recommended that I swim or ride a bike for exercise for a while to protect my aching joints until they heal. She said that losing weight is the very best remedy for all of the pain I have been suffering from, and that once I lose more weight, I’ll be able to do other forms of exercise more easily and with less pain.

She was pleased that I am on the right track and moving in the right direction. It sure is a long road to travel, but I am on the journey!

It is tempting to become discouraged and overwhelmed when I look at how far I still need to go. However, I didn’t get this out of control overnight. I won’t get back in shape overnight either. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of fretting about all the work that lies ahead of me, I will celebrate each milestone as it comes.

Today, I celebrate 11 pounds! I celebrate my new healthy eating habits. I celebrate my noticeable increase in energy.

I’m getting there, y’all!

I sincerely hope that as I share my struggles and progress that you are inspired and encouraged in your own personal journey as well. I would love for you to share your progress and struggles with me as well. Drop me a note in the comments section and let me know how you are doing. Let me know how I may pray with you as well.

God bless!

Shari Lewis

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mulling in Frog Stew or Today's Frogs/Tomorrow's Freedom

Do you want to be free today, or hang on to your frogs for one more day?

Moses asked Pharaoh, “You name the time. When do you want me to get rid of these frogs?” Pharaoh replied, “Do it tomorrow.” (For the whole story, see Exodus8:1-10.)

I have always found his response so thought-provoking. If Pharaoh had truly become sick of all the frogs, then why did he not say, “Do it now? Get rid of these infernal creatures this very minute!” The entire country of Egypt had been overrun by these obnoxious amphibians. Their beds, ovens, dishes –you name it! – had become infested, and they had no peace. However, Pharaoh chose to hang on to his misery for just one more day.

Oh how we can all see ourselves at times in this scenario! What is it that has invaded your life, has stolen your joy, but yet, you have become comfortable with it? Sometimes it is easier to stay miserable rather than to make the effort to change because we get used to a life of bondage. Sweet freedom lies right there on the other side of our willingness to make a change, but we continue to choose slavery to our frogs, because mulling in frog stew takes much less effort!

We can attribute this metaphor to just about anything in our lives that holds us in bondage, but my frogs have been in the form of overeating, not exercising, being overweight, and being unhealthy. I have allowed those frogs to overrun my life and to rob me of a life of health, energy, confidence, and the joy of freedom.

When I see the opportunity to make a change and to finally rid my life of these frogs, I do just like Pharaoh, “Do it tomorrow.” I want to sleep in just one more day instead of exercising. I want one more day of eating junk food. I have to wait until our freezer is empty of all the ice cream, and my pantry is cleaned out from all the faux foods. I am willing to feel like crap just one more day because I don’t want to get rid of my old life of bondage.

Why do we do that? Why do we hold on to what makes us miserable when joyous freedom is in our sight?

Even since I wrote last week’s blog about surrendering my fat, I am still struggling with wanting just one more day of bowing down to the frogs. I know that sweet tea is a terrible choice for a drink, but I want it! That handful of M & M’s will only cause me to veer off track, but I want them! Do I really?

Maybe it’s my “want to” that is all screwed up! What do I really want? Am I really willing to give up my long term goals just for a fleeting, temporary craving? Or, am I indeed ready to deal with these frogs once and for all? All it takes is to conquer my short term indulgences so that my long term desires can be fulfilled. Once I take the plunge and get used to living without my frogs, I won’t even want them anymore. Once I get a taste of sweet freedom and the joy of restored health and wellness, I won’t even believe that I traded all that for a life infested with frogs. But, the reality is that I have done exactly that.

But, not anymore!

I will approach this one day at a time.

  • Today, I choose to trade my fleshly cravings for something much better – restored health and wellness.
  • Today, I will drink water instead of sweet tea.
  • Today, I will go for a walk instead of staying on my can all day.
  • Today, I will turn to God for emotional support instead of self-medicating with food.

  •  Today, I say good-bye to the frogs for good!

Are you ready to kiss some frogs good-bye? Be encouraged. If you would like prayer for strength, let me know in the comments. You are not in this alone.

Be blessed!

Shari Lewis

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Surrender My Fat for a New Me

This is me at 120-30 pounds overweight. It's time to do something about it!

  Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires…  Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Romans 6:12, 16 NLT

I’m going to go a completely different direction with my blog for a while. My passion has been to share insights with you that I have contemplated through my study of Scripture and of life experiences. However, now I am going to just be real with you and share an intimately personal struggle. I know I am not alone, and perhaps this journey will inspire others to make positive life changes while at the same time holding me accountable.

I have struggled with my weight and an eating disorder for years. Whew! I feel freer just letting that out in the open. Well, it is actually already out in the open because anyone can see that I have gained about as much weight as a whole person! Of all secret sins, overeating is one that cannot stay hidden for long. I feel so ashamed and frustrated!

I hate this picture, but it works perfectly for my before picture. I can't wait to hold it next to my after picture!

Call it self-medicating, coping, or whatever the excuse, I know that I have allowed it to become an idol. I have allowed it take control of my life. It is plainly sin, and I am reaping the consequences.

Understand that I am not a legalist. I know that my relationship with God is fully intact, and I am 100% forgiven because of the price Christ paid for me. However, to continue in sin without repentance drives a wedge in my relationship with God, and prevents me from fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. I know that God accepts and loves me, but I also know that He disciplines me because He loves me and wants what is best for me. I have played tug-of-war with the Holy Spirit’s conviction for far too long, and my heart is grieving to know that I have allowed something to hinder my walk with Him. I just can’t do this any longer!

I can’t help but feel that I am dishonoring my Creator by not respecting and cherishing what He has created. I want my body to be a prime example of His handiwork so that He will be glorified with my life. I know that He understands my weaknesses and compensates with His strength, but to be a living sacrifice for His glory is a form of worship to Him.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 ESV

Big mama!

Putting the spiritual aspect aside for a moment, I could go on and on with the physical negative consequences I am enduring as well:

  • ·         Poor health, no energy, constant intense pain, high sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
  • ·         Nerve damage
  • ·         Lack of confidence and insecurity which has had an effect on virtually every area of my life.
  • ·         Self-consciousness around my husband and uncomfortable physical relationship
  • ·         Mal-nutrition leading to multi-nodular goiters and removal of thyroid, which in turn lead to paralysis of a vocal nerve. That led to constant choking when eating and drinking and being unable to sing for three years. Although I have been healed, my voice has never returned to its former quality. I allowed my poor eating to rob me of the thing I have always loved to do best.
  • ·         Foggy thinking and memory
  • ·         Poor dental health and having to spend a fortune to correct teeth
  • ·         Struggle with guilt
  • ·         Possible shortened life span and lessened quality of life
  • ·         Miserable sweating and overheating

Have I painted the picture of how miserable I am with my weight and poor habits yet? For the most part, I am a joyful and fulfilled person in so many areas of my life. I thank God that I am so blessed! However, I want to show my appreciation by living a life of freedom and longevity since Christ came to set us free and give us an abundant life. No longer do I intend to continue in this bondage!

My moment of realization hit the strongest during the week of Vacation Bible School. I hadn’t realized just how out of shape I had become until I tried to do choreography with the kids. I had to constantly take Advil just to get through the week, and all the panting and sweating was really embarrassing! I also made up my mind that when my grandson wants to play dinosaurs, I am going to have the energy and stamina to enjoy playing with him.

So, here comes the moment of truth. I don’t want to say how much I weigh, but I’ll give you some clues. I weigh 90 pounds more today than when I was nine months pregnant with my daughter. I am approximately 130 pounds overweight. So, you see, I am not talking about a few uncomfortable pounds. I am talking about morbid obesity!

I want to have confidence to sing without being self-conscious.

I refuse to depend on surgical procedures, fad diets, or medications. My goal is to restore health, and I want to do it in a healthy way. I know that I am horribly addicted to sugar, and that is where I need to start.

My plan is to omit sugar completely until I can manage allowing an occasional treat in moderation. I will also follow a diabetic formula of thinking of percentages with each of my meals: 50% vegetables, 25% protein, and 25% whole grain or starchy veggies. Of course, there is room for healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats as well. In between, I will drink plenty of water and snack of fruit and nuts. I will learn to pay attention to true hunger and eat in moderation. I will not follow this rigidly or legalistically, but I will obey the conviction of the Holy Spirit to take care of His temple.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself. 1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT

I also cannot do this without including exercise. Since I am so out of shape and in a lot of pain, I will have to approach this gradually. I am committed to walking and beginning an Ann Jillian program for beginners. I can’t wait to get back in shape!

I will share pictures and progress reports with you along the way. I hope this inspires you to make some positive changes as well. There is strength in numbers. Share with me, and we will go through this journey together!

Here is to optimum health!

Shari Lewis