Where Was God?

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a reflection of 2011? My physical transformation as well as my better health  were evident to all. I wrote about things that everyone could see, like speaking in public, getting a job and getting my book out there. Oh, and losing weight as well.

But then I received an interesting message from my pastor. He said he’d be interested in how all this transformation had connected with my spirituality. And he asked me where God was present throughout. Well that got me to thinking…

You see, the Transformation process is very much a spiritual one. I guess I was so excited to share the outward changes, that I forgot to mention the inner ones.

So here we go…

I learned to forgive in Step 8 and I got rid of bitterness and resentments from past hurts.

Colossians 3:13:  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I learned to be grateful, and to express that gratefulness daily, for everything from my relationships and physical comfort to just being thankful for a sunny day or flowers blooming. I expressed this daily.

1 Thessalonians 5:18:  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I learned to have focus and intention in my life, rather than just ‘going with the flow’.

Habakkuk 2:2 Write the vision; make it plain, so he may run who reads it.

I learned to praise others for their accomplishments and their handling of adversity. At the same time I learned to be transparent about my life issues, my failings and vulnerabilities.

1Tim 1:5  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience…

I learned to accept responsibility for my own life and to let the people I love be responsible for their lives, rather than nagging and trying to change them.

Galatians 6:5  For every man shall bear his own burden.

I learned to treat my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is, and to take better care of it by eating healthy food and exercising.

1Cor 6:19  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

As a serious person, I learned to see the lighter side of things, to not take myself so seriously and to laugh out loud.

Proverbs 15:15  …but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

And as I received love and acceptance from my group, I learned to love and accept others, warts and all.

These are just a few of the spiritual benefits of transforming. Others include meditation, organization and giving back to your community. I have to say that as my outward self changed, my spiritual self transformed as well.

God was with me all the way, and He still is.

Thanks Tim, for the reminder!

So How Did I Make Out On That 18 Week Transformation?

A couple of days ago I celebrated my 58th birthday. One year ago I could never have imagined what life would be like at 58; I was overweight, unhappy, my cholesterol was frighteningly high, and my self-confidence was at an all time low. Most of the clothes in my closet didn’t fit and I was starting to bust out of the ones that did. I didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

I believed that I was just going to be a big woman because that’s what happens when you get older. I thought that menopause and hormones would keep me huge; after all, wasn’t it normal to hold on to weight after menopause? I learned that those beliefs were called ‘limiting beliefs’, and they were!

On April 25th, 2011, I decided to take myself seriously and get healthy; as long as I was sitting in my chair,  it was just not going to happen. I started my Transformation on that day, became accountable and joined a group on Transformation.com. As I connected with the them and did my assignments, I started to realize just how much inner work I needed to do. The exercise and nutrition were the easy parts.

When I did step 8 in week 8, it was a turning point for me. Forgiveness changed my heart, and each subsequent day after that event made me feel lighter both inside and out.

Through good nutrition and exercise, I lowered my cholesterol into a healthy range. When I went to the Dr for the blood test results she was grinning from ear to ear; just couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. Yay!

I became 14 lbs lighter.

Another goal was to wear my brown dress that has been hanging in my closet for years but was way too small. I wore it to a wedding on August 6th!

Another goal was to be asked to speak in public, to accept, and to do it. I was asked to speak to the Newcomers Club about quilting, and I did it four days ago, in front of 50 people, with flourish, flamboyance and finesse!

My personal relationships  have improved immensely ever since I gave up the responsibility for outcomes. Now I do my part, and the outcome is not up to me.

I have found myself opening up to my group and not being afraid to participate. Actually this is the first time I have ever stuck with something for this long.

I ran. I never thought I could run before, but now I am up to 8 minutes without stopping and I have walked / run 2 miles, outside.

Basically I was in a victim mindset before and now I have taken responsibility for my health and life. I’ve become a happy and positive person and I like myself. That’s BIG!

And so tomorrow I will start my second 18 week transformation, with new goals and new mountains to climb…..stay tuned!

My Love / Hate Affair With Running

I hate running. I have always hated it – things jiggle; I get out of breath; my knees hurt; I sweat; and my heart pounds. As part of my Transformation challenge, when I do my cardio, I am supposed to walk two minutes, jog two minutes and then run one minute. That makes one five minute cycle. I’m supposed to do this five times for a total of 25 minutes. It’s called the 5/25.

Now a couple of months ago I decided to give it a try. Bill Phillips makes it look so easy. Oh my – the first time I tried the jogging part, my arms hurt so much I didn’t know where to put them. I couldn’t believe the pain! But I was running on my feet, so why did my arms hurt? I haven’t figured that one out yet. When I got to the running I was gasping for breath, but it was only one minute and then I was walking again, hanging on to the sides of the treadmill for dear life. I attempted to do this five times. At the end of it I was soaking with sweat – so THAT’S what it’s all about.

I’ve been doing this 5/25 three times a week for the past eight weeks, and now it is much easier. I still sweat, but it’s good sweat, and it makes me feel like I’m really working out, like the pros and the gym rats. It is helping me to become lighter (notice I didn’t say ‘lose weight’) and to increase my endurance. I’m sure my lung capacity has increased as well. This is all good, right?

However…

I seriously cannot say that I enjoy running, but I want to do it! I can’t believe I just wrote that. Anyways, I decided to set myself a goal that by October 15 I will be able to run for 20 minutes without stopping. Yes. Me. So I got someone to coach me to succeed. The first step was to do my 5/25 ( which already includes 15 minutes of running) on the treadmill and then go outside and run to the end of the street and back again. I have never run outside before. This was major for me.

So here’s what happened. I left the house at 8:30AM

And at 8:33 I came back.

The exhilaration was incredible! Who’d a thunk it? After 3 whole minutes?

Well…..

I did it again today and I did NOT collapse! Next week I will try for 4 minutes.

Becoming Lighter

There are 18 steps to the Transformation program. I have just finished #8, The Big Forgive…

I can’t believe how much ‘lighter’ I feel in body and spirit since doing it; the step I dreaded for the past few weeks has been instrumental to my beginning to soar!

I have also learned to think more positively. For example instead of saying I lost 10 lbs, I now say I became 10 lbs lighter – think about it for a minute.

I have lost weight in the past 8 weeks – NO! I have become lighter, in every sense of the word.

It’s funny, every other time I have tried to ‘lose weight’, by the fifth or sixth week I would plateau and then quit. What’s different this time? I am pretty sure that the community connection on the Transformation site  and giving my all to the steps have made an incredible difference. My husband remarked last evening that I look younger – that’s quite a compliment for this 57 year old!

Another thing that is different this time is that through the steps I am slowly changing my thought patterns. For example, yesterday I was driving somewhere and I got lost. I drove more than an hour out of my way to get to where I was going. As I was driving I started to think that this happens to me more than I’d care to admit. And then I started to cry in the car, so ashamed of myself for getting lost again. Then I thought of someone I know who has trials much worse than getting lost,  and I said to myself, “It is what it is”. Don’t let this ruin such an otherwise beautiful day. Instead, get on the right route and have a GREAT day. And later on, figure out what went wrong so that I don’t make that particular mistake again.

I did go on to have a great day; I even bought a pair of shoes!!

I am lighter
My heart is lighter
My body is lighter
My outlook is lighter

My Food Program

I had said a couple of weeks ago that I would tell you what I am eating on this wonderful program. You’ll be surprised at the amount and frequency of my meals. At first I thought that in order to lose weight you had to just about starve yourself, and any diet I had followed in the past was just not sustainable because of that. It’s what makes Transformation so different.

Six days a week I eat six meals per day. Yes you read right – six meals per day. Now they are not huge meals but they are satisfying. Each meal must contain a protein and a carbohydrate and any amount of vegetables. It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare; in fact, at any given time I can have three meals waiting in my purse if I’m out for the day. So here is an example of what I’m eating:

7:30  1 whole wheat toast with peanut or almond butter and a half banana

10:30 Protein shake with 2/3 cup of blueberries

1:00 Salad with chicken on top and 2 ryvita crackers

3:30 Protein bar

6:00 salmon with rice and steamed broccoli

8:30 apple with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese

In between I drink a few glasses of water, not enough to be waterlogged, but enough to keep me hydrated.

On the 7th day I can eat whatever I want. This is the time that all the cravings I had during the week can be satisfied: chocolate, pizza, fries, ice cream, whatever I want. When you are on a diet of sorts, the body starts to hold on to the fat and you stop losing. Did that ever happen to you? It always happened to me and at that point I would quit. Having a free day interrupts this phenomenon. The body doesn’t need to hang on to the fat because you are eating the fatty foods and sugar once a week.

The beauty of this food program is that you can get all your food at the grocery store and so it doesn’t cost any more than buying unhealthy food. And because you are eating six times a day, small meals, you are never too full and you are  never hungry. During the week if I have a craving I write it down and save it for my free day.

There is a book that Bill Phillips wrote called Eating for Life; that is my cookbook of choice as it has plenty of balanced, low fat meals…and they’re all good. In fact, they are delicious!

There is more to this program than just food and exercise. I’ll tell you about one of the other parts next time.

Keep healthy!

I Wanted to be Ten Again

Did you hear the story about the woman who was turning 40 and her husband asked her what she wanted for her birthday? She said, “I want to be ten again.” He told her he would do his best –

So on the day of her birthday he took her out to a fairground and took her on all the rides: the rollercoaster, the loop de loop, crazy teacups and the merry go round. Then he bought her some cotton candy and he even won her a giant stuffed monkey at the balloon-busting contest. After that he took her to a fancy ice cream parlour and treated her royally to an ice cream sundae. To finish up they went to a toy store where she was able to choose anything she wanted. Finally at the end of the day they arrived home and she was exhausted. He asked her if she had enjoyed her day. Her answer?

“You idiot! When I said I wanted to be ten again I didn’t mean my age; I meant my pants size!”

Don’t we all want to be ten again? I know I do. As my weight crept up the past few years I graduated from size ten to twelve and then even those started to be tight. I wanted to be ten again so badly.

The good news is in: I AM ten again!! I went to a store the other day and started trying on some nice black jeans – the ones I finally bought are size ten! This is a milestone for me. The program is working. Trust the process, they said, and they were right.

Now what do I want next?

I want to be eight again!

My Exercise Plan

Now it has been six weeks since I crossed the abyss – I have been having fun! Once the decision was made to jump in and DO something about my weight, I jumped in all the way. For the past six weeks I have been exercising with more intensity than ever before. Three days a week I do 25 minutes of cardio. I’ve been told that you don’t have to exercise for hours on end to see results, but you do have to do it with intensity. I mean, if you’re not sweating, then you’re not working intensely. So I walk for 2 minutes, jog for 2 minutes and then run for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. I repeat this cycle five times for a total of 25 minutes. Sweat? Yes I sweat, but I’d rather call it ‘glisten’. In fact, the other day I was on the treadmill and I felt drops on my bare shoulder; I kept looking at the ceiling to see if there was a leak. There was no leak – it was me, sweating so much that it was dripping on my shoulder! Wow!

For three other days a week I do weight training. I do upper body one day and lower body the next time. So that gives me a break from the cardio and running. I do all the shoulder muscles, back, abdominal, quads and glutes. And it only takes about 30 minutes each time. So 25 minutes one day and 30 minutes the next for six days does not take up too much of the day.

In the past six weeks I have lost weight, and my body has firmed up to the point that already I have changed jeans sizes! I am thrilled, to say the least. I feel stronger and I sleep much better than I have in the past five years. In addition to that, I feel much more optimistic, positive and in charge of my life. Who would have known that a post menopausal woman could feel so great?

Stay tuned for what I am eating…