A new reality

Do you ever wonder why you don’t see somethings coming because they’re so obvious!?

Since my mum died when Zac was just 18 months old I am very deliberate about talking to him about her. I tell him about the things in the house that were hers, I talk to him about the things that she did with him, we have pictures everywhere and try to tell him when he’s playing with something Granny Sue got for him. He doesn’t remember her from his own memories but he’s creating memories through the information that I give him.

So the obvious thing that I missed, or maybe just haven’t prepared myself for, was the fact that because she’s a ‘real’ to him as I can make her he would start to ask questions. Question like “Can we go and see Granny Sue? I’d really like to” and “Where does Granny Sue live?” have popped up in the last week. What I haven’t faced is the reality of having to find answers to these questions. The reality of having to explain painful things in simple terms to a 3 year old who doesn’t yet have the brain power to fully understand so often ends up confused or reasking the question in the hopes that he will understand the next attempt to explain.

Whilst I am so grateful that she is ‘real’ to him and that he can recognise her and talk about her I am also going to have to come to terms with a different version of the grief I’m experiencing. I also have to learn how on earth I explain simply that she was poorly, she died and that she’s in heaven now where we can’t see her. Not a simple task!

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A divided heart? 

Are you expecting bigger results than your commitment?! 

I totally am! I listened to a talk this evening whilst running about having an undivided heart for God. The talk asked what in my life gave me a divided heart. That got me thinking about my weight loss journey. What is giving me a divided heart at the moment is chocolate! That sounds really shallow but let me explain! 

Because I am walking more and running I am earning more calories and so it is far easier for me to fit excess chocolate into my calorie allowance. The problem is that I’m almost certain that it’s causing me to mentally find it harder and that I am finding it harder to lose weight because I am eating that excess chocolate. I’m within my allowance, I continue to be obedient to what I feel God is calling me to do in losing weight and I continue to be disciplined in sticking to my calorie allowance but the freedom of extra calories means that my obedience and discipline is now half hearted. My heart is divided between the chocolate treat I want to eat and can have and the wanted to lose weight. The discipline is lacking because I CAN have both. 
I am looking for undivided heart results of weight loss with a divided heart to the discipline.

My problem is that I can’t find a way out of this half hearted discipline. 

I suspect part of the problem comes from the fact that for 51 weeks I’ve been living in a world of restriction, obedience and discipline. I see results to that world but that world is hard to stay in for such a long time. It’s almost like half of me is trying to find the way of the strict world by making excuses based on the truth that I have the calories to eat the extra chocolate – thing is just because I can doesn’t mean that I should.

I am hoping this revelation to my divided approach to my weight loss is specially when it comes to the food side of it all, will help me to find some focus and help to pull back towards God and the journey is laid out for me travel. 

Moments 

How often do you stop and take on the moment? 

I’m stuck in the babies bedroom with him asleep on me after his nap ended too early. On a Thursday we go to small group so needs to be awake late and so I have resorted cuddling him back to sleep. 

Sat in a dark room, listening to sleep baby snuggles and the irritating clock mechanism (why is it still in here almost 3 years after it first started bugging me?!) trying to stay awake and wishing I was somewhere else. 

And then I actually stop and listen to the babies snuggles and he breaths so sleepily and feel the warmth his cuddle and realise he won’t be my baby for long. Not my baby baby, he’ll always be my baby! 

The three years with Zac have gone by so incredibly quickly. The parenting quote of the days are long but the years are short is so incredibly true! 

And so for a moment I’m enjoying this cuddle and his smell and snuffles and fidget (whilst writing this so I don’t forget or fall asleep!!) and I’m reminded to try and find more moments to treasure in my day to day, mundane life with these two gorgeous and totally infuriating lovely boys! 

Actually I’m reminded that I need to just stop more often. Not just for my mumminess or my memories but my own sanity, for my Sarah-ness. 

There’s so much I can strive to get done. There’s so much I strive to get done and don’t get done. There’s always the next thing and so much to fit in that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount.

But I need to stop. I need to be still sometimes. I need to sit with God. I need to read. To just BE and not to produce just for a little while each day! 

The idea fills me with fear. How do I fit in 10000 steps?! How do I clean the house?! How do I spend time with the boys? How do i fit in reading bible plans? But stopping is the best thing for me and I hope that by prioritising that I can strive less and thrive more! 

What am I doing?

Someone asked me what I’m doing to lose weight. I thought I’d share my response!

I’m almost at 2.5 stone off in 6 months. There’s a few things I’ve done.

1) The biggest thing was learning that I’m worth the effort and therefore not to just give up. I’ve spent all my adult life trying to lose weight and getting nowhere because when others needed something that got in the way I’d give up.

2) I read a book called Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. It changed my mindset about diet towards it being a journey of discipline with God but that he’s the one who defines my worth and not the scales. SO worth reading.

3) I’m using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my calories and write down everything that I eat. I’ve done slimming world and weight watchers over the years and they just don’t work for me. I find I give up and all I want is the banned food. With my fitness pal I can eat whatever I want as long as I am within my calories for the day (though I have found that I have naturally fallen into making healthier choices because it normally means fuller for longer!) and if it gets to the end of the day and I want to eat something I don’t have enough calories for I go for a walk or I pave around the house to earn the calories. If I don’t want to earn them I don’t get to eat it.

4) I got myself a Fitbit. I started by aiming to walk 5000 steps a day and I really struggled. I now manage between 10000 and 15000 a day. I pace while I read my bible or a book to gain more steps!!

5) I have friends on my fitness pal and Fitbit who keep me accountable. I also make it very open that I’m trying to lose weight including posting my weekly weight losses on my Instagram feed. It means that if I went off plan people would notice because my habits would change and so someone would ask me and bring me back in check!!

It’s a really hard journey and there are so many things that get in the way. I’ve always been a comfort eater and I’ve always been an all or nothing person so I’m either fully on plan or not at all. I’m trying to change both of those things and have seen real breakthroughs partially because of the book.

I’ve been to a BBQ and a baby shower recently where I knew if I started eating the food I wouldn’t stop. Before the BBQ I ate dinner. I wanted to go to the BBQ for the company not for the food. Before the baby shower I told both the mum to be and the friend I was going with that I wouldn’t be eating anything. The sense of achievement I had at walking away from both those events having stuck to my plan was incredible.

 Sorry to have rambled on for so long!! Any questions or anything else please do feel free to message back. It’s something I’m incredibly passionate about and empowering other people to make process in their journey is so important to me too!! So anything I can do to help just shout!

Perception or more?!

This is mostly a rant at myself but you know I can rant at you too if it’ll help?!

Why am I so easily influenced by the worldly perception that showing weaknesses is failure? Why do I let that perception rule my internal thought processes? Why do I seem to think that only perfection is enough for those around me. My whole emotional existence seems to be easily destroyed by such simple comparisons, comments, observations and overthinking.

I’m tired of trying to be wonder-wife, supermum, the incredible friend, captain weight loss and any other super hero you can think of.

It can be putting myself down as a wife because I failed to clean the bathroom or didn’t finish dinner at the time I was aiming for.

Or berating myself because the supermum I aspired to be first thing in the morning turned into the toddler watching almost an entire serious of Fireman Sam whilst the baby naps instead of doing fun activities like making a fire engine out of a box! (and I somehow still didn’t manage to clean the bathroom?!?)

Or a rubbish friend because I forgot something like sending a message or not encouraging someone enough.

Or even just as a person aiming to lose weight. I *should* have lost more. I *shouldnt* have eaten that.

My overthinking mind influenced by a perception from somewhere, where I don’t know, tells me I am not enough and I cannot be enough until I am always achieving.

One of closest and most valuable, lovely friends sent me this the other day.


What if I could live in that mindset?! I don’t really know how it would help me get the bathroom cleaned, the fire engine made, the messages sent or the weight lost but I suspect somewhere God would make it work!!

Achieving is important. Achieving gets things done. Achieving motivates me to do more achieving but the perfectionism and the negative impact that goes with that achieving will destroy me.

So when I feel overwhelmed with an under whelmed soul and an overthinking mind maybe I need to just stop and remember I was made for me!

Inspired

There are many many people who inspire me in my day to day life but today I am particularly inspired by my amazing friend Jo. 

She pushed herself beyond what she thought she could do and at times beyond what she wanted to do to achieve running a half marathon yesterday. She is quite frankly amazing. 

She inspires me with her perservance at work, her commitment to her family, her passion for life and her heart to see everyone achieve their potential. I love her energy, her excitement, her passion, her big heart and her striving to do better. 

Joanna you inspire me in ways I don’t have the words to describe. You encourage me for the future and you push me to do and be a better version of myself without putting my current self down. 

My mum would have been SO proud and impressed. She’d have thought you were nuts for doing it in the first place, mind you, but she’d have been so impressed! 

I do not doubt the same would have been of your mum. What a spectacular young woman she created. 

#shedefinitelycanshedefinitelydid

Kids and food

What was your experience of food as you were growing up? Your parents approach to healthy eating? Your parents thoughts about dieting? I hope it was a positive one.

For me I grew up in a house where we ate the same foods each week and we weren’t very adventurous although to be fair much of this was because my dad worked a more than full time job and cooked because my mum was well enough to. When I had concerns about my weight in my teenage years my mum exclaimed she wasn’t having me getting worried about weight things at my age. Our food was not unhealthy but my weight certainly was.

So since my early teenage years I have been unhappy with my weight and have tried different ways of losing weight including several years of Weight Watchers and Slimming World. In those years I learnt that somethings you shouldn’t eat and somethings you should. The ‘shouldn’t eats’ became more appealing, FAR more appealing. The ‘shouldn’t eats’ were things you only had a treat or on special occasions and when you did have them it was GOOD.

So in the times of losing focus, losing motivation, losing heart, feeling overwhelmed, useless, a failure, fat, lonely and not worth the effort, I would turn to the shouldn’t eats, the treats, the things you only have on special occassions, and eat them without care.

Problem is that I would come back from those times of lost focus or come out of my overwhelmed state to find myself more overweight that I was and so having further to go to fix it.

It frustrates me and annoys me that I have made my journey longer and harder but at the same time I know there’s nothing I can about it. Except learn to not lose heart when things are tough. I can also learn from the experience and I can share that with others.

I already wrote a post on things being permissible but not always being beneficial which is certainly on of the big things I have learnt BUT it’s also taught me a lot about the treats and special occasions food mindset. (See that post here)

If we teach our children that sweets and chocolates are a treat and only for special occasions we do not teach them moderation and we make them more appealing and tempting. If we teach our children that we can have these things whenever BUT we have to have them in moderation we teach our children that these things are just another type of food but to be wise with how much we have of them. When something is BANNED I want to have it more.

Maybe that’s my mindset but I have seen it with my biggest boy, Zachary.  I have never had bans on when Zac can have certain food because of how I viewed food and knowing the impact that it had for me. Zac can have a little bit of chocolate or some sweets when he asks nicely, sees someone else with something or when I need to blackmail him with something (!). He knows he can only have a little (often saying ‘just a bit’) but actually rarely asks for them despite knowing where in the cupboard they are.

Don’t get me wrong I know he’s not yet 3 and he’s not a scientific study but at the moment he has a healthy approach to ‘treat’ like foods that we will continue to instil in him in the hopes that as he becomes old he will have ingrained in him a healthy mindset, even if it’s something he forgets for a few years in between when he first starts buying his own foods.

I guess it’s similar to a friends experience of alcohol. His parents didn’t allow him any alcohol at all as he was growing up so when he hit 18 he spent much of his time drinking too much, being irresponsible and not recognising the impacts of alcohol on his system. This in comparison to someone who has tried alcohol at home with their parents in a safe environment, recognising when they’ve had enough that it perhaps is changing they response is less likely to binge because alcohol is a new experience but more likely to do just it just because they want to. Hmmm perhaps that argument is a little light but hopefully you get the gist of what I mean!

Anyway, the whole of my post is just to encourage you based on my experience to not make foods banned, shouldn’t have, special occasions food but rather to make them everyday, normal, in moderation food.