Day Thirty

Did I type that right? Did I read that correctly? Is this really Day Thirty??!! What an unbelievable journey!

Oh how I wish I could express to you how amazing these past few weeks have been! Thank you all for your support and your prayers. My journey is nowhere near over, but this has absolutely been the most incredible experience. As for the future, I may not continue the total Daniel’s fast, but I do know for sure that I cannot and will not turn back. God has brought me so far and I have learned so much through truly seeking Him that I could never return to my old ways of thinking. Crazy, huh? I just asked Him…. truly sought Him… and believed that He would show me the way. I feel that I have returned Home and I am so grateful.

My body has changed…. I went from 195 to 179. My outlook has improved. My guilt and shame have been replaced with joy and peace. My relationships have been strengthened. My burden of past issues has been lifted. My surroundings have become more beautiful. My finances have been surprisingly blessed. My understanding has been broadened. All of these things have been wonderful….but I assure you, the above blessings are only the icing on the cake! (No pun intended =)

The REAL deal…the most mind-boggling part of this whole thing…is how much my spirit has been transformed. I became a Christian when I was 15 years old, but I don’t know that I have ever felt the love, acceptance and presence of God in my life as I have over the past 30 days. When you are seeking him, and your need for Him in your life by an experience like fasting, it is amazing how often you pray!! LOL  Why did I not ever think to ask Him before to take this life altering burden from me? Why did I carry this secret for so long and allow my life to be overtaken by this stronghold? For me to realize now that He really was just a (phone) call away….and that He really does care about these things….. man, I wasted a lot of time and suffered so much unnecessary heartache.

One of the most valuable things I have learned is that …. What concerns you…concerns God. He doesn’t want me to carry the WEIGHT of this burden by myself. He has a plan for our lives and this painful grief of mishandling his provisions was never meant to be a part of it. He tells us over and over that he wants us to have an abundant life, not defeated, not destroyed or lost….but an abundantly extant life!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Day Twenty-Nine

If you would have told me 29 days ago that I would see 179 on my scale during this process, I would have probably thought this was a scam! LOL Down another 2 pounds this week making my total lost 16 pounds!!!! In 29 days!!!!! Wow…. God’s ways are awesome!

As I shared before, I fully realize that I have a long way to go, but I am truly amazed by this experience. Not one time have I felt like I was on a “diet.” Instead of feeling deprived, I have felt privileged. It feels like there was this faraway world out there made of people who knew this priceless way of life….  and I was finally let in to the party! Rather than stress and pressure, I have felt uplifted. Rather than fatigue and exhaustion, I have felt energy surpassing that of my youth. Rather than shame and turmoil, I have felt peace and balance.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but my walk with God and my outlook on life is what has changed the most. What a gift!!

The question that I have been asked the most is “What about after the 30 days, will you continue this lifestyle?” My answer is ….. How can I not?!?!?! I can’t imagine going back…. And I don’t want to! I don’t ever want to feel that way again and now I know that I don’t have to! I’m not saying that I will never have a piece of cake or eat meat again, but as far as a lifestyle, I have found my home… and it was right here… all along.

Day Twenty-Seven

I had a close call today. I did not binge and I did not eat outside my guidelines, but I did find myself overeating while watching T.V.  It was a busy day and late this afternoon I sat down for a few minutes and decided to have a snack. Before I knew it, I realized I was continuing to eat well past full. Not cool. I could look at this situation as a disappointment or I could consider it a small victory. It was a victory in that I took pause, questioned, recognized, and stopped.  On the other hand, I really need to pay close attention to mindless eating…. a big contributor to my reaching almost 200 pounds.  Eating while watching T.V. is a terrible habit. That is what I would call what happened today…. a bad habit, not a binge. There was no emotional meltdown that triggered overeating. Rather it was more like a lifelong ritual from my past that surprised me in my present. This is a much better and brighter recognition than falling into an all out binge. As I reflect, I can easily remember those out of control moments of desperation …. neediness …. darkness.

I used to blame my binging on the fact that I was in an unhappy marriage, or because I had financial stress, or because my childhood was unstable or maybe because I felt inadequate without a college degree. There are many reasons that I thought I ate like this, but I now look at those situations and think … those weren’t reasons…. those were excuses. Those were triggers that led to my feelings of helplessness and unworthiness. But you know what I am learning today? I am learning….Life happens….marriages have their hard times…. We don’t all get to grow up like the Cleavers ….money gets tight, unexpected things happen. How am I helping my unhappy marriage by binging and feeling worse –and probably even more unpleasant to be around? Will wallowing in heartaches from decades ago bring me any peace?  How does ordering a pizza or picking up a bucket of fried chicken help my finances? Does sitting around having a pity party about not having a college degree get me any closer to wearing a cap and gown?

Tough days will come….they always do, but I believe God holds our future. That doesn’t mean things always work out the way we would hope. Truth be told, I got divorced…. And if you know any single moms, you know that money stresses happen…. (and….if any of those single moms you know are going to college while working part time trying to raise their kids, you know that those money stresses can happen often). We all go through our mountains and valleys.

May I repeat…Life just happens. I used all of these excuses to eat…to binge….to feel sorry for myself.

What a freakin waste of time!!!

I have reached the expiration date for my excuses! Rather than trying to get out of it, now I have excuses TO change my life by eating clean and working out! I have important things to do! I want to be the best mom I can be. I want to be the exceptional God chosen wife for my future husband …. greatest friend to my friends… a superlative servant to my Savior…. and the most authentic Me to me.

Thank you God for my disappointment/VICTORY today!!!

Day Twenty-Six

Wow! Day 26!! Already? The time is flying by! I want to share with you, my readers,  my genuine gratitude. Today, we hit an all time record high of 121 views…in one day!!! WooHoo! This is a very humbling experience. Thank you so much for sharing in this journey with me. May God truly bless you in your walk with Him!

I have a confession…. I have a complete fascination with…. collar bones. I think collar bones are beautiful. They are especially beautiful when you haven’t really seen your own in a while. Then, all of a sudden, you look in the mirror and there they are!! My long lost collar bones!!! Welcome back!!  I am ecstatic! Who knew collar bones could be so exciting!! However…..

Note to Self:

I know that you feel amazing! I know that you have lost inches and pounds and your mind is full of the endless possibilities in your life right now. However, in order to avoid discouragement, may I recommend that you stop trying on your smaller size clothes? Granted, as of last Sunday you were down 14 pounds…. but you still have a ways to go. You feel great and you are getting there… but you’re not there yet. So, keep on keeping on…. and just enjoy where you are today.

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

Thank you Father that you hold the future of this extant woman in Your hands!

Day Twenty-Four

I am continually in awe of this journey. The changes in my body astound me, but the changes in my heart are astonishing. The most fascinating thing for me is that in so many ways, I feel like I have discovered a big secret. I feel that I have stumbled upon the answers to questions that I have had my entire life. I almost feel like I should call all of my girlfriends and say “I bought the perfect book with the SOLUTION to our weight struggles!” or “I called another number from the greatest infomercial and the kit is being rush delivered for free!” But wait! There’s more!  Actually the reality is far more simple than that. I didn’t spend another $39.99 and there was no shipping and handling charges. I simply cried out, I begged, I pleaded with God….SHOW ME THE WAY! And He has.

The irony…. I’ve simply turned my heart to what He has offered, provided and planned all along. THE Book, HIS Book… that’s where the answers are.

He created the foods that our body needs. He designed our muscles to be used. He meant for us to work and to enjoy the abundance He has to offer:  the feelings of good health… the bountiful harvest of the seeds from the earth… listening to what our bodies need, not mindless eating as a pastime. God provided all that we need….yet how did we get so far away from our original design? How did I spend my whole life seeking love and comfort from pizza and not realizing God, my Creator, is all I need? He wants to be my Comforter!

Thank you God that You are all I need….. and thank you for allowing my food issues to help me realize that!

Day Twenty-Three

The only way I know how to describe Day Twenty-Three is….off. It was just off…off balance…off centered… just off.  Today I totally lost my focus. Before I continue, let me clarify….I did not veer from my fast, my attitude was just all wrong. I began the day with energy and positivity, but the next thing I knew, my thought were that of a grumbling, whiny child. What happened??? I was on such a high yesterday and today…. Yuck! All I could think about was how much I wasn’t getting accomplished… how unorganized I felt…. and how much I really wanted a cheeseburger, fries and a coke. The salads were just not cutting it today! LOL

By the end of the evening (with a little help from my best friend), I realized there was nothing different about Day Twenty-Three than Days 1-22…. except my attitude. I was focusing on all of the wrong things. I just needed to get centered and align my thoughts with His thoughts. This process is not about me….yes, it’s my journey…. but I just want to be the vessel. This isn’t about how many pounds I lose or how many blog readers I have. This started out as my very personal heart’s cry to God. I came to a place of surrender recognizing that this struggle is bigger than I can handle on my own. The Bible tells us to “cast all of our cares upon Him,” and that’s what this is about. Having millions of readers and unlimited cheeseburgers will not give me the true peace that can only come from Him.

Thank You God for being the center and helping me get centered!

8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Phil. 4:8

Day Twenty-Two

I love Sundays! Down another 3 pounds this week…. A total of 14 pounds lost! I feel maaaaarrvelous!! I wore a dress to church this morning that I haven’t worn in over 3 years! It felt awesome and the compliments I received were very encouraging. I have had people say they can tell I’ve lost weight but I have also been encouraged by the comments about my skin. More than once, I’ve been told that my skin is glowing and looks so clear. That’s an awesome benefit to eating well that I wasn’t necessarily planning on…LOL

Wow..…down 14 pounds…. this is unbelievable.….. and I didn’t even call on Jenny…… I called on Jesus!!!

But when I call on Jesus,
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles’ and soar
When I call on Jesus,
Mountains are gonna fall
‘Cause He’ll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call

“Call on Jesus” by Nicole C. Mullen

Have you called Jesus yet? =)

Day Twenty-One

It’s been a great day. I feel so balanced and peaceful and it’s awesome. Today, I am grateful…extremely grateful. When I think of how my thoughts and inner struggles were…just a few short weeks ago, I feel so incredibly blessed. When it comes to healthy living, we hear it all the time: “It’s not a diet, it’s a life-style change.” Well, I don’t even fully understand the changes that I have gone through since this all started, but I know for sure, this has truly been a life-changing experience. Choosing to seek wisdom, understanding and guidance by doing the Daniel’s fast is one of the best things I’ve ever done! God is so good!

Several readers have asked for the banana bread recipe…. And what my readers want…my readers get!

Banana Bread

1 teaspoon coconut oil (for pan)

½ cup coconut oil

¾ cup agave nectar

2 cups bananas, mashed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups whole grain, whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to lightly grease the bread pan, then lightly flour.

In a large bowl combine the agave and coconut oil. If the coconut oil is solid, melt in the microwave prior to mixing with the agave.

In a small bowl combine mashed bananas and lemon juice. Add to the agave mixture.

In another small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the agave banana mixture and mix well.

Pour into pan and bake for 55 minutes.

Enjoy!  You just won’t believe how yummy this is! God’s goodness is wonderful!

Day Nineteen

This may sound silly…but I am actually giddy!! I bought sun-dried tomatoes today!! Me!!! The woman whose kids have primarily eaten hot dogs, ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper most of their lives!! I have been learning to cook in a whole new way and it’s so cool! I am buying spices and herbs that I didn’t even know how to pronounce much less what to do with them! This is big! Working in the kitchen has not really ever been a strength of mine. However, I am loving our new way of life.

Recently someone asked me if eating this way has been more expensive. Surprisingly, it has not. When I consider how much money I spent on fast food, the meat market and all of those processed foods, I’m actually saving money … and eating better than I ever have!  I have found many helpful recipes online that are within my guidelines. I must admit, when I used to see recipes like this, I would always get intimidated because I didn’t know what some of it was….or what to do with it…or where to buy it. I am happy to report that with the exception of one item (Bragg-a soy sauce alternative), I have found everything to completely makeover my fridge and pantry from…….. Wal-Mart. Who would have thought?

I have now lost 13 pounds and people are starting to notice. It is very encouraging. Today I made some banana bread (Daniel fast style) and it was awesome. I shared it with a few friends and neighbors and no one could believe it wasn’t full of sugar. I am realizing that I have lived a lifetime of looking past the natural God given goodness and choosing MANufactured foods!!  Those days are over!

Day Eighteen

Comfort. We all need it, we all crave it. From where we chose to seek comfort is often a problem and sometimes what we consider “comfortable” can be a problem. It is comfortable to stay in our old routines….sometimes it is comfortable to remain in toxic relationships…. buying the quick and easy dinners so that we can spend our evening on the couch is comfortable. What I am learning is that it takes great courage to be uncomfortable sometimes. The interesting thing is… by focusing on the uncomfortable things rather than the things that truly bring genuine comfort; I have been missing out on so much.

Today I decided to take my workout outside. I went for a walk/run…..meaning I walked a whole lot and attempted to run several times. I am not a runner. I have tried taking up running before, and I enjoyed it, but just like so many things, I did not stick with it. When I first began this morning I set little goals….like I’m going to run from this mailbox to that street sign or from this power line to that fence. Baby steps …but steps nonetheless. As I was walking, I was thinking about comfort and how the walking part was OK but the running was not very comfortable. For instance, it is not comfortable when your thighs touch or when your body feels like jello as each foot pounds the pavement. If I focused on those things, I could easily talk myself into turning around and going home. So I decided to focus on the beauty around me instead. I started to really feel the clean crisp air after a rainy day. I noticed details that I have driven by every day for years but failed to see. I stopped to feed a horse the thick, luscious grass from the ditch (because in some cases, the grass really is greener on the other side). I watched the breeze cause peaceful ripples as it swept across the resaca. And did you know that some cows actually do have those adorable curly eyelashes and that it’s not just in storybooks?

I changed my focus about what was comfortable and I walked/ran 4.6 miles. It felt great! It was such a peaceful time of …well, I would say solitude….but I don’t really feel that I was alone =).

“May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.”  Psalm 119:76

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