Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What if my best really is good enough?

I have always struggled with feeling like what I have to offer is just short of being acceptable. I remember telling a counselor years ago that  I wish I could have a cheat sheet so I could see what people expected of me. That way I could specifically do that plus just a little bit more. I truly meant it. I had felt that way for a long time at that point; I felt like I was falling short. I didn't have any tangible proof that I was letting anyone down. People were not saying they were disappointed in what I was doing or who I was. I was just at a loss for accepting that what I had to offer was good enough. I felt like I was lacking.  I don't desire a cheat sheet anymore. I still struggle. But my focus has slowly shifted from looking to others opinions of me to what God says about me, how I feel about they way He made me, and the gifts I have been given.  While I have come a long way, my goal this year is to continue to get better at accepting myself and what I have to give. 

 I have gained some weight back, and have been struggling with shame because of it. I have't put a lot on. I am still in a size 8, but I am giving my jeans a workout of their own today. Truth is, I am just not comfortable at this weight. I am only 5 feet tall, so while a tight size 8 might be a great size for someone 5'6''or 5'8", it doesn't feel great on this frame. I was out of my typical routine for about a month or so between the holidays and a tight shoulder. I am working my way back into it. I hit a boxing or kickboxing class 5 mornings a week and have a strength workout put together to do after class. But, I have yet to get through a full workout after class. I have done about half. Somedays (like today), just a quarter. My first inclination is that is not good enough. It doesn't count. Fail. What I want is to be proud of what I do, instead of frustrated with what I don't. I should be proud of the fact that I have put together a good workout, and that I stayed after class today and knocked out 50 burpies, a super set of tricep extensions and bear crawls. Especially after the hour I spent working my tail off in Ozzie's class. 

Yes, there was more I could do, but there will always be more I can do. Doing more doesn't alter who I am. It may help me get the weight off faster, but I am pretty sure I don't get bonus points for doing this quickly. What I want to focus on is appreciating consistency. If I look at the big picture, it really doesn't matter if I stay for an hour after class working out, or a half an hour. My body will appreciate and respond to the time I put in. If my goal is to continue to build a balanced, healthy life, then I am right on track. Because even in the steps I take backwards here and there, I am learning about myself, and what I value and desire in my life. If I stay for only 30 minutes extra, but I have time to sit down and eat breakfast before I go to work, that is valuable. 

I make myself face the mirror in class when we are doing lunges, jumping jacks, squats, whatever. It is hard to do now because the weight I gained is obvious. I've got a wiggly tummy and thick legs. But, it is good for me to face what I don't like and realize that literally, what I am doing right that second is part of the solution. It is also good for me to face the truth that those extra pounds do not change who I am. Sadly, I was ashamed for my friends at the gym to see me.  Which is ridiculous, especially in light of what AWESOME people they are. Sure, it is possible that when they saw me they thought huh, Chris gained a couple of pounds over the holidays. Because, ummmm....I did.  I am confident that they would not have thought of me as a  failure, or less of a person, or unworthy because of that. It is important for me to remember to be as nice to myself as they are. When Jesus said in Mark 12:31 that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, there is an obvious assumption that God expects us to love ourselves. That is not being selfish. It is good to appreciate God's obvious care and love in the way he designed us. That is healthy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I feel like a number (I'm not a number)

I was reminded of that Bob Seger song after weighing myself yesterday morning. There can be so much emotion and self image tied to a number on the scale, as if it defines me. My eating and exercise have been off since the beginning of December. I am being reminded just how much those choices effect me physically, mentally and emotionally. I am paying the price. My headaches are back, I am not sleeping well, emotionally I am all over the place, I am tired...bleh. 

When that number came up, 8 pounds over my comfortable spot, I was defeated. And not just in that moment. I struggled all day. Into the evening. Into this morning. I went for a 3 mile run yesterday. It was symbolic of how I was feeling. I was running into the wind, my pace was slow, my body felt heavy and cumbersome, my favorite songs weren't coming up in the shuffle (yes, I can be that big of a baby). The entire run, I had that negative talk running in my head. You are slow. you are clumsy. You are not strong enough. Just stop. Just walk. Give up. You can' won' will never....For three freaking miles. It was a beating, but I didn't stop. I finished the run. I would love to tell you there was a Rocky moment at the end where I felt great and SO proud of myself for persevering. Nope. Not even close. I clicked off my running app and thought to myself, "well that sucked" and I walked 3/4 of a mile home thinking I should have run faster.

 The shame started to lift a little after my kickboxing class this morning. It isn't gone completely, but at least it isn't as heavy. I realize I was already on shaky ground mentally having been out of my routine for so long. But that number on the scale set a shame storm in motion. It wasn't that I was just disappointed in the number. Every failure from the past settled in around me, reminding me of how many times I've started and failed. It is making me think of the lyrics from the song by Casting Crowns:

                                                 Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I struggle with fear. What if I fail? What if I never reach my goals? I have to be very careful to keep my feelings and fears in their rightful line behind truth. They like to puff up and try to push their way to the front of the line. They are bullies. But just like any other bully, when confronted with truth, they have no other option but relent, and take their rightful place. I am so grateful that feeling something does not make it true. I am 8 pounds heavier than I should be right now. That is true. I am a failure. That is not true. It's not the falling down that is the problem. It's the not getting back up.  I am the same person at 147 that I am at 139 and will be at 125. I am encouraging and funny and faithfilled and irreverent and tenderhearted. Truth is I am a lot of things, but none of who I am is altered by how much I weigh. Where is my focus? On how I feel, or what God says is true about me?In Luke 6 it says:
43-45 “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds."

It is who you are that counts. It is whose you are that counts. We must begin with our own life-giving lives. That is truth...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Don't have to feel it.....

Some days, and if I am to be honest, some seasons, I am just going through the motions. Doing what is next to be done. Not really thinking, not really feeling, just crossing off the next thing.

Some seasons are hard. When I hit one of those tough patches, I tend to isolate. Isolate and eat, feeding whatever negative emotion has me feeling beat down. I just want to curl up in bed and hibernate. It is hard. You may not have such a severe swing down as I tend to have, but we all have those times.  And we all have a choice. Will I lean into the emptiness and try to fill it with food and self pity, or will I do what I know is right even when I don't feel like it? Typically, I gravitate towards self pity; "rewarding" myself with poor food choices and "down time" of not going to the gym. I focus on how hard it is, and how overwhelmed I am.

This time I am making a different choice. Oh, all the feelings are still there. I don't want to do anything. I don't want to plan my meals, go get and prepare the healthy food, or push myself to do more pushups, burpies and mountain climbers. I want to be short tempered with the people around me, and tell them; "you don't know how hard it is to fight this battle every freaking day." But to what end? It's not their fault that I am overwhelmed or discouraged. Giving in to that will only damage my relationships. Not eating right or getting a workout in will only push me farther away from my goal. Why am I still tempted to throw up my hands and say screw it? That is the path of least resistance, and I tend to gravitate toward it. I guess cause I am human.

 I feel weak. But I will continue. I won't necessarily like it, but I will do it. I will get my workouts in, even if I have to mutter under my breath and force myself to take every freaking step. Anyone can give up. If this was easy, I would have reached my goal already. I am worth fighting for. Even if it doesn't feel like it right now. Feeling something doesn't make it true. The bible tells me not to trust my feelings (Proverbs 28:26 "Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe." NLT) He tells me not to lean on my own understanding, but to lean on His. (Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit yourself to Him and He will make your path straight." NIV) God says I am his, I am lovable, and I am worth fighting for. So even on days that none of that "feels" true, I will act as if it is. I will put one foot in front of the other and I will wait for my feelings to catch up. In AA, they say, "rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path..."  Well, it's time to be thorough, and keep on following that path. Anyone can keep going when it's easy; when the victories are many and you feel strong....but what about weeks like this? When your not sure you can reach your goal, when it would be so much easier (and more familiar) to give up, when your not sure you have the strength to keep fighting. What now? Give in to emotion or focus on truth?

I understand that, for me,  this battle with losing weight is very symbolic of my relationship with God. It is easy to point to Him when all is well. It is easy to pray, to go to church, read my Bible and seek Him when life is smooth sailing. I know it brings Him joy to see me desiring those things in my life. But what about these stormy seasons? When I get scared, when I don't know what is next, or when I am mad at Him and I don't "feel" like reading my Bible or going to church. What then? As a parent, I know the great joy and gratitude I experience when my boys make the right choice in spite of what they are feeling. Especially when they don't agree with me on what is right. When they choose something out of obedience instead of ease, my heart overflows with gratitude. I have to believe that is the same for the Lord. I believe in these seasons when I choose to follow him even when I don't "feel" it, He is proud of me, and His heart overflows. To be honest, I am not "feeling" it. I am having to choose to pray, and read my Bible and listen to solid teaching. But I when I get to the other side of this season, I want to know that the choices I have made are making him proud, and the words, "well done" will be on His lips. And that means, choosing truth over emotion. What will you choose today?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I am (not) a failure

I was so down about my weight and about myself when I started 18 months ago. I was beat down, depressed, and completely overwhelmed at the prospect of starting....again. I could not face failing on a diet (again). I wasn't sure that I had another start in me. I saw myself as a failure. I was going through the motions, but I had lost my fire. It was a lonely place to be, feeling like I didn't have anything to offer. So much energy was needed to do anything. Why even try? But there was something down deep that would not let me give up.

I did what was in front of me to do. One foot in front of the other. Making myself move forward. Sometimes in anticipation, sometimes in anger, often in fear...moving no matter what the underlying feeling was. I believe God gave us feelings to enhance our life, to add depth and beauty. All too often in my past I let my emotions run my life instead of simply add to it. It was draining. I would wait until I "felt" something before I would make a change....many times what I felt was sad or overwhelmed, neither of which is conducive to making a positive change. I stayed stuck for far too long.

Long story short, learning to put my emotions in their rightful place has been good for me. Choosing to move no matter what I felt turned out to be liberating, not only in losing weight, but also in breaking the cycle of self pity that all to often kept me feeling like a victim. I still struggle with it from time to time, but it is getting easier to move out of it.

When I first started this journey, losing the weight gave me momentum to keep going. It felt good to see the numbers go down, it felt good to physically feel smaller. Then I hit my plateau. I have not lost any weight for 6 months. Some of that is just a natural plateau, most is probably my eating. I haven't been super diligent with it. But since I have been at this same weight for so long....I have gotten used to being this size and have lost sight of how far I have come. The feeling of failure is creeping back in. When I look in the mirror, I see the things about my body that I am unhappy with, and the fat that needs to go. I feel embarrassed and if I am to be honest, a little ashamed that I have not finished getting this weight off. Those feelings of failure and poor self image are bubbling up. This is the point where I need to use what I have learned. 1.) Focus on the truth not the feelings. I have lost 40 pounds, and gone from a size 18 to a size 8. (yes, I am only 5 feet tall). Those feelings of failure and insecurity have no merit. And 2.) I need to move. So I will begin to use the :My Fitness Pal" app to track my food/exercise. I have also asked a friend to hold me accountable by downloading the app and checking my posts.

I read a quote one of our pastors posted a week ago. I am not sure what it's from, but it really resonated with me. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do With your one wild and precious life?" -Mary Oliver.

What a great question! I believe I have been given the gift of this life, and it IS wild and precious. I am in this place, with these people, and have these opportunities. Why do I allow myself to be bogged down in the mundane instead of embracing the wildness of it? I have hidden for far too long. There are conversations I have chosen not to have, relationships I have chosen not to pursue because I was afraid; of not being accepted, of not being smart, of not being enough. One of my favorite students was over for dinner this last week, sharing what God has taught him this summer. One of the things he shared was in 1 Peter 1:15-16 " But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy:" He was sharing that the word for holy can also be translated "unique". What a challenge; to embrace and live out my uniqueness. It is expected of me. It is a holy calling on my life. I am who I am because this is EXACTLY who He wanted me to be. And who am I to question how he made me.....he makes beautiful things!

Enjoy this video (which features one of my favorite people on the planet) and be reminded that he CREATED YOU, intentionally, and with great care. You are precious and beautiful because you are his. It is ok that we aren't perfect, we were NEVER created to be perfect. You were created to be HIS, and he makes   -----> BEAUTIFUL THINGS.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Me I want to be....

I am reading a book with that title. It is written by John Ortberg, and even though I can not prove it, I am pretty sure he wrote it just for me. I have already read it once, but it is full of such great encouragement and truth, I am reading it again. Much of what he says has me nodding my head, and agreeing....all the while struggling with a little that I now these things.... I have do things differently. What good is knowing that God designed me to flourish if I am going to continue to play it safe and hide? Amazing how truth can be encouraging, convicting, and scary.

One of the things I am hearing from God recently is said perfectly in this book, "God wants to redeem you, not exchange you." One of the biggest struggles I have faced is learning to love the way God made me. I have spent most of my life wishing I was less like me, and more like someone else. I have come a long way, from not liking myself at all, to actually embracing and enjoying the quirky way he made me. I love Jesus, I like working out to music by Eminem and Justin Timberlake and Los Lonely Boys. I enjoy camping and hitting the heavy bag at the gym and getting a pedicure. I am opinionated and sarcastic and tender hearted. I can be a little rough around the edges. I love the outdoors and I like my blue nail polish. I used to be embarrassed about some of these things...not anymore. Because those parts of my personality don't take away from the fact that I am an encourager. I am faithful, passionate, empathetic, and loyal. It is ok that on the surface some of those things don't seem to go together. That is what makes me, me. So now that I am at a place of appreciating his work in me, it has become VERY clear that it is now time for me to DO something. That is where the fear is creeping in. If I believe he made me this way intentionally, with these specific gifts and talents, and he has placed me where he has, with these people and these opportunities.....then it is time to let him use me the way he chooses. It is time for me to get uncomfortable again.

 I have said all along that one of the biggest reasons I wanted to loose weight was so that I would be available for him to use. That is pretty easy to say 40 pounds heavier, while I am right in the middle of playing life safe and hiding.  It sounds pretty spiritual and it also doesn't demand anything other than lip service....I can get excited and be open to something that isn't requiring anything from me right now. But here I am, stronger and healthier...with new doors opening. My first reaction is, "AWESOME!" followed quickly by......"ummmmm....wait a minute. What if I am not enough?" As I have dug into that "what if I am not enough" what I am finding is that isn't really the question. What I think I am scared of is, what if I am not the best? I have always struggled with worth. If I am not the best, I can't be lovable....and since I am not the best, I must not be lovable. I thought I had made some headway in this...but apparently there is another layer of it that I need to uproot. It caught my attention in my boxing fitness class the other day. One of the girls I work out with is a "bad a" on the bag. She is strong, has great form, she is fun to watch hit. Then I became aware of what I am thinking...I wish I could hit like her, look like her....All of a sudden I am self-conscious. I am having trouble with my combination. I am clumsy and embarrassed. I can't hit like her, I can't look like her. She is probably 20 years younger than me. She is a foot taller than me. She has different skills. By focusing on who I am not, I began to flouder,I wasn't enjoying my workout anymore. (in the book Ortberg talks about languishing, it is the condition of someone who may be able to function, but has lost a sense of hope and meaning. it is the absence of mental and emotional vitality) It was a very important example of what I am struggling with in my daily life. I have an opportunity to work with some students soon, and facing that in the gym made me realize that was one of the fears I was facing with this opportunity. What if I am not the best leader? It is embarrassing to admit that, because it is so full of pride. But if I am going to be honest, it was a fear that was lurking. Truth is, I will not be the best leader. I have never lead a team of students on a mission trip. I am going to make mistakes, it will be a little messy. But that is ok. What they need from me is love and Jesus. I love working with students, and I love Jesus. Check. Nothing offered in love is ever lost.

What I need to celebrate is that I am now in a place where answering yes to this call is an option for me. Two years ago, it wouldn't have been. The last 18 months have been full of wrestling with spiritual truths, insecurities and the discipline it takes to hit the gym consistently and eat cleaner. Those were the things I needed to do, but those weren't my goal. My goal is to be stronger, healthier and ready for him to use. Ortberg says it well, "We do not just drift into becoming the best version of ourselves...."  What actions can you take today that will move you closer to flourishing, to being your best self... a little "you-ier"?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's up to me

So in my last post I shared with you that I haven't exercised in two weeks and my eating hasn't been spot on. Boy, that can have some consequences for me. My headaches have started coming back and yesterday afternoon, my anxiety started creeping back in.

I got off work earlier than expected. I ran home hoping to see Tanner before he left for church. I made it...just barely. I got to grab a hug on the driveway as he was heading out and I was heading in. I didn't expect to see him until 9 or so, so touching base and getting that extra hug in the late afternoon was a nice treat.

I walked in the house and thought of all the things I should do...start a load of laundry, make the lunches for tomorrow, clean the upstairs bathroom, sweep, vacuum. You know the drill.  I knew we had leftovers for dinner, so I didn't have to cook. I could use this time to catch up on some other chores...but I really didn't want to. I just wanted to flop on the couch for a bit. So I did. I watched a little tv, feeling more sluggish with each passing minute. I was feeling a little guilty for not doing all the things that needed done around the house, but I have also realized recently that there will always be things that need doing, and sometimes a little downtime is more important. Then my heart started racing. Not again. I knew that feeling well. My anxiety. At least it wasn't a panic attack, I HATE those. So I got up, took a couple of deep breaths.  Nope, heart still racing. I have learned in the last year that the best thing for my anxiety and depression is working out and eating clean. I pulled up the website of my gym, Title Boxing, to see if there were any classes on a Wednesday night. Yup, there was one in an hour. I wavered on going, my hamstring was still sore. I would wait and see how the anxiety went. I could justify not going with my hammie still bothering me. I would still feel like crap in an hour, but it could be justified. At 6:05 I made the decision to go. I ran upstairs, threw on my workout clothes, washed my face and ran out the door. I wrapped my hands at stoplights so I would be ready when I got there. I walked in and was greated by name and with smiles. (That always makes me feel good.) I was honest with the trainer,letting him know that I haven't worked out in two weeks because of a pulled hamstring...but I struggle with anxiety and it's bothering me tonight, so I really needed a workout. He told me he totally understands, and reminds me to adjust my workout and just do what I can. I drop my gloves by "my" bag and walk around a bit to get my head in the game. Class starts, I take it easy running and with lunges. We finally get on the bag and it feels REALLY good to hit. But I can't catch my breath, and my heart is STILL racing. It was so frustrating. I just continue to do what I can, but I am having to stop hitting the heavy bag over and over and take a lap to slow my heart rate and catch my breath. My anxiety will not let go. It was 45 minutes into class and I was still dealing with my heart racing and being out of breath. I just stayed with it, doing what I could. We finish up with abs and afterwards, the trainer calls be over to show me a good stretch with the band. Tells me to just hangout, get a good stretch in. So I do. Time alone to stretch and relax. And I realize my anxiety is gone. I feel so much better. Just as quick as it set in, it is gone. I relax into my stretch thanking God for the gym, and for the trainers here who know me and care enough about me to help me when I need it. Earlier that day I had received a text from my usual trainer checking on me since I haven't been to class. That made me feel great. Community is important. I let them know when my anxiety is bad, when I don't feel strong, when my eating is off. They know me well enough to call me out in the middle of a workout when they see that bug is in my head telling me I am weak, I am fat, I will not reach my goals. We can only be loved to the extent that we are known. I am vulnerable here.

I went home feeling like myself again. I hung out on the couch with my husband watching the storm coverage, laughing way too much over silly things. Tanner got home a little after nine and joined us...still laughing way too much over very silly things. Rick was up imitating the weather man in front of the tv, we were cracking up. Just one of those family nights filled with snuggling on the couch and laughter that feels so good. I knew that if I had not gone to the gym, the night would have looked very different. I would have been lethargic and tired, probably either still struggling with the anxiety, or wrestling with the depression that tends to follow it. I was so grateful that I did what I knew I needed to do instead of letting my feelings rule. The payoff was huge.

"Take full responsibility for your environment and your behaviors. Everything you do sets you up for success or puts another obstacle in your way." - Craig Ballantyne

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I am reading Jon Acuff's book, "Start". It is about not settling for average. Pushing past the fear that speaks to all of us, convincing us to not dream too big, live too boldly, or shine too brightly. Fear has always been an issue for me. I am just now realizing that fear is an issue for most people.(wait, you mean I am not unique after all?!) I was so busy comparing my insides with your outsides, all I could see was that they didn't match. Had I been smart enough to realize that wasn't a fair scale, I might have dared to look a little deeper. What  I missed was that while most people's outsides look put together and confident, their insides are often as messy as mine. Riddled with the insecurity and questions. But what if I am not good enough, liked enough, smart enough? What if I don't fit in. What if I don't have what it takes?

A little over a year ago I  was shopping for homeowners and car insurance. I got quotes from 8 different companies, then sat on the decision for 4 months because I was so scared to make the wrong decision. Really? Wow. It's insurance. Look at the numbers. Pick one. Move on. I wouldn't. I was overwhelmed by the fear of making the wrong choice. I read somewhere not long after that (Thank you, God) that some of us treat decisions as if they were moral issues. WOW.  That was so true for me. Decisions are choices, nothing more. If I make the wrong one, I can readjust and move forward. My identity, or moral compass, will not be altered by paying too much for homeowners insurance. In Acuff''s book he says it this way, "No matter what fear and doubt tell you, your identity is not at stake with the decisions you make and the actions you take as you learn.....You were you before you walked in the building. You'll be you when you walk out. Only more awesome." I love that. He is so right.

So how does this tie into nutrition, exercise and weight loss? Well, for me it brings up the issue of my all or nothing thinking, and how often it sabotages me. Maybe I am the only one who has tied self worth to my eating or my success on the scale. Or given up and jumped off the "diet" because I ate a cookie. Eating and exercise is just like every other decision I face every day. It is not a moral issue. I am not a failure as a person because I ate a candy bar. Was that the wisest choice considering I am still trying to loose weight? No. Has my character or integrity taken a hit. No. Will it now take me a little longer to loose the 20 pounds I still have left. Yes, a little. Do I suck as a person now? No. Ok, so that may seem a little silly, but seriously  the emotions that are generated from that cyclical pattern of negative thinking and self sabotage are strong. I can actually convince myself that I am a failure because I ate what I shouldn't have or I didn't exercise. Talk about pressure. Geez. All too often in the past, I have let one indulgence lead me down the path that tells me I have blown it. I should just give up. I will never be successful. Who I am is not altered by what I eat or how often I exercise. Popeye had it going on with his, "I yam who I yam". (mmmmm....yams. Sorry, I am easily distracted) Is it possible for me to be a happier version of me because of what I eat or how often I exercise...absolutely. But that is because I am taking care of my body, feeding it healthy food and challenging it. I am giving it what it needs to function at it's best. The by product of taking good care of my body is having more energy, more balanced hormones and a brighter outlook.I can feel better because of good choices, but  I am not a better or worse person because of what I eat or don't eat.

I haven't worked out in over a week because I pulled a muscle in my leg. I was running a lap at the gym a few weeks ago and tripped (graceful I am not). I hyperextended the part of my hamstring way up near my yeah, it's like I pulled a butt muscle. Who does that? Really? A pulled butt muscle? Yeah, that is me all over. So ANYHOW, I digress....I haven't been working out, and my eating hasn't been great. Those old tapes start playing....I am fat. I am a failure. I will NEVER loose all the weight I need to. I will never reach my goals. That thinking is trying to sneak back in. When I take a minute to really think through it....I know none of it is true. I am still overweight, still have around 20 pounds to go...but truth is, the 40 pounds I have lost are still gone. I am still a size 8, instead of the size 18 that I was. I have taken liberties with my eating, but it hasn't been all horrible; I am still getting a lot of nutrition in. I have lost 2/3rds of the weight I need to loose. I've gone from only being able to jog a half a block, to jogging a half marathon. That isn't failing. But if I gave in to my feelings, I would be focused on what a failure I am, and be convinced that I will never reach my goals. What I choose to focus on is important. Phillipians 4:8 (from The Message): "Summing it up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious,-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse."

How do you see yourself? Do you tie your worth to performance?  Do you feel like a failure when your food choices aren't perfect? You are not how much you weigh. You are not defined by your choices in food or exercise. Who would you see if you looked at yourself without that self imposed filter? Can you even see past your weight to see who God created you to be?