I rarely talk about my weight with anyone, especially on this blog or other social media. It is intensely personal to me and my self-worth is (unfortunately) really wrapped up in how I look and feel and my health and my self-control. I don't do a lot of "negative self-talk" in other areas of my life but when it comes to weight and food and my appearance related to those, I have a constant voice berating me in my own mind and have for several years. After much thought (and avoidance), I've come to realize this is specifically an obedience issue in my relationship with the Lord; if I'm turning consistently to food for comfort, entertainment, satiation, then I am looking in the wrong places for fulfillment. I've known this for quite a long time but haven't been able to let it go, haven't found the tools that will enable me to be steady in changing my habits and my heart. I've been praying about this long term diet change for a long time, asking for His help to figure out what to do, and as soon as my doctor brought up the DASH diet, there was a still small voice whispering that I knew what I had to do.
My blood pressure has been a continual source of anxiety, too much anxiety to make sense, for the past four years in spite of being well controlled with medication. There has been a lingering worry in my mind that the medication will stop being effective or that I'll gain weight and I'll have to increase or change meds. I feel I'm too young to be dealing with high blood pressure and the host of possible health complications that can come with that but I have at times just felt resigned to my genetic fate while also feeling like change would be too good to be true. But when my doctor recommended looking at the DASH diet eating plan (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension), I decided it was time. There are a few different versions of DASH, one directed mainly at hypertension and one geared toward weight loss. The latter includes basically a two week sugar/carb detox to help your body reset in terms of triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin, etc. I've been pretty convinced over the past year or two that I'm dealing with a sugar/carb addiction and have been too chicken to try to let go of that, so Jesse and I decided to jump in with both feet, eliminating carbs pretty completely as we follow the strict menu plans for the next two weeks that are included in the book. I typically roll my eyes inwardly at the trend of detox, but I really see the value in just cutting out sugars to start a little more fresh when I begin the official DASH plan. This will hopefully be really empowering so that when I begin to add fruit and dairy and grains back in I'll be able to have more self-control and still avoid refined sugar more. I bought a book for each of the plans above, so after these first two weeks I will use the system in the hypertension book (which is probably pretty much the same as the weight loss book).
Although I'm just going into our third day of the diet changes, I've been really proud of myself. I've stayed completely on plan, which means protein and veggies almost exclusively - two food groups I'm not naturally very fond of. Answered prayers have held me up and even as I write this and think about His faithfulness to help me resist temptation, I'm encouraged toward tomorrow and each step of the day. My other plan is to use God's Word to help me. When making dinner I put on a CD of Scripture set to music; when eating a meal I wasn't very excited about, I pulled out my Bible and worked on catching up on my Bible reading plan. And it sort of surprised me that it has helped; the Spirit has helped remind me that being as healthy as possible is a good design for me, that having a healthy view of food and my body and myself is a good thing and worth fighting for. And that my children are watching and learning about nutrition and food choices and body image. I'm not eliminating any food groups for them of course, but we are eating a lot healthier as a family because what Momma does, everyone does, and I can see they are proud of me as they are trying to understand what and why I'm changing for myself. I want them to be healthy, to understand that food is a good gift but it is only a gift - not the Source of joy or comfort or peace. My daughters are lovely and stunning and beautiful and precious and it pains me to think of them growing up with patterns to lead toward obesity and wrestling with their weight the way I have for so long; it pains me because I know how they would feel about themselves if they follow my example to this point. It's not too late for things to change and I'm so excited and hopeful that I will be a healthier momma, and that I won't feel shame and sadness over my own example in their lives. I am worth it. They are worth it.
I have mixed feelings about hitting publish because, as I said, it's so personal in my heart, but I like to journal here things that are significant to my life that I want to remember. This is one of those things. I hope to look back on this week in a year and be amazed at all the changes the Lord has brought about in my health. I always hope that maybe someone else will feel excited or challenged or hopeful by reading my quiet musings as well. Happy Valentine's Day, my friends. I hope it is warm and joyful and that you are able to make someone you love feel that warmth with you.