Two Years of Freedom

I’m finally free- 

free from the bondage of food

now I eat to LIVE 

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Today marks 2 years since I found food freedom!  Two years ago today, I embarked on a new way of eating- a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama”, developed by two fabulous sisters named Pearl and Serene.

Before I tried THM, I was a slave to numbers- counting and imputing the calories of everything I ate in my phone apps.  Counting how many calories I would burn on the treadmill or the elliptical.  Food was a reward and a punishment for me.  And the guilt I experienced when I skipped a day of working out, or when I would eat something indulgent was ridiculous.

And even though I did all the things I thought would help me reach a healthy weight- the weight loss never came.  Just a feeling of discouragement.  I couldn’t lose a pound- no matter how little I restricted my calories and how much I would work out. I was exhausted all the time and miserable.

But two years ago, I traded in all those habits for something NEW!  I got rid of those calorie counting apps, and ditched the scale.  I stopped counting calories and I stopped working out completely for a while.  I cut out sugar and bread.  I ate well balanced meals with lots of protein, veggies, and occasional healthy grains.

I traded in my sugary creamers for stevia and half and half in my coffee- and I actually love it that way now!

I lost about 35 pounds in 8 months, but I gained so much more!  For the last two years, I have learned how to eat to live instead of living to eat.  I feel better than I have in years, and I have stayed at a healthy weight for the last year and a half without much effort.

I am praising the LORD tonight for the freedom I have found from food!

I know not everything works for everyone- but if you have struggled with weight loss or self control when it comes to food, I would highly recommend you look up THM.  The rules are simple- eat protein at every meal, only eat every 3 hours, and have healthy fats OR healthy carbs with your protein at every meal.  Never mix fats and carbs together if you are trying to reach a healthy weight.  That’s the basic idea of the eating plan.  No special ingredients are needed.  It’s that simple!

If I can do it- anyone can do it!  In fact, my whole family has decided to do it with me beginning tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the changes in my family as they begin their journey with me in 2019!

And fyi- the newest book- Trim Healthy Table is available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble for  $1.99!  That’s a steal of a deal!!  Here’s a link-

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trim-healthy-mamas-trim-healthy-table-pearl-barrett/1126396593?ean=9780804189996&st=PLA&sid=BNB_NOOK+EBooks&sourceId=PLAGoNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Google_c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmafhBRDUARIsACOKERPxw2Q8i_9YNOFQX8xGGSaUB-fC5pGMLXwl8JFm15onx-nzFrGE2oEaAvZDEALw_wcB#/

I hope all of you have a very blessed New Year!!!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  

2 Corinthians 5:17

Free at last

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I am free 

like a bird 

flying high I soar 

because I’m not

weighed down 

anymore 

the chains

broke 

the shackles

fell 

and I am feeling- 

pretty swell 

because you see- 

I am finally 

free

New Year’s Eve marked the one year anniversary that I began following the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It has been a year of food freedom for me- but so much more than that!  For years I have been a slave to counting calories- how many calories I consume at each meal and how many calories I burn at each workout.  Even on the days when I would “take a break”… I would still keep a running tab in my head.

And the worst part of it all?  None of that effort made any difference!  No matter how much I worked out, no matter how carefully I watched my calorie intake- I couldn’t lose a pound to save my life!!  For years I felt defeated and discouraged.  My body hurt all the time and I had no energy.

I have my friend, Natalee to thank for introducing me to the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  Just give it a try, she told me.  So I began reading about it and checking out recipes on Pinterest.  I started looking for ways to make the things I already eat fit in with the program. And the great things is that I have found ways to eat everything I love!

For all of 2017, I have not counted a single calorie! That is a miracle for me!  And I have worked out less this past year than I have in the last 15 years!  And praise the Lord- at 40,  I feel better than ever!  I have lost 35 pounds over this past year and I have gained so much more-

-balance 

-food freedom 

-freedom from the scale 

-self confidence

Thank God Almighty-  I am free at last!!

 

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36 

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10

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Oh my, oh golly-

how long it’s been

since I have seen

that number “10”

I’ll shout it from the roof tops,

I’ll say it again-

It’s the number 10

for the big WIN!

Remember my new year’s resolution to get  Lean in ’17?   I am happy to report that I’m still going strong!  In fact, I had the joyous experience of wearing a pair of size 10 jeans today!  I haven’t worn a size 10 in over 10 years!  Praise the Lord!  And more importantly- I’m feeling groovy!

I bet you’re humming that old classic Simon and Garfunkel song now, aren’t you 😉

As I got ready to leave the house yesterday, I went tell my hubby my good news-

“Babe!  Guess what?!  I am wearing a SIZE 10!  Can you believe it?!”

He lovingly smiled and said-

“You’ve always been a perfect 10 to me!”

Husbands, love your wives, 

just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her- Ephesians 5:25

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counting the cost

fullsizeoutput_1f39In search of solitude

I walk fullsizeoutput_1f3b

and to myself I softly

I talk

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the talking soon becomes

a song

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and then I hum it

all

day

long!

I was compelled the other day to stop and walk on the trail.  There was a green glow about the trees, and the birds serenaded me as I began to walk.

As I walked, I realized another victory He has given me!  For years, I have been in bondage… a “slave” to numbers- numbers on the scale, the number of calories I consume at each meal, or the number of calories I burn while exercising.  I would track them on my cute little phone app all day long.  I was a slave to that app.  And then there were days when I would take a break from tracking the numbers- and yet I would STILL keep a running tally in my brain.

But since Dec 31, I have stopped “counting”.  Cold turkey.  This was one of the things I had prayed to be free from, and praise the Lord I am finally FREE!

So as I walked, I realized that I wasn’t clutching my phone…and  I wasn’t trying to beat my best walking time…and I hadn’t set a goal for distance or calories burned. I was just walking to walk, and it was wonderful!

I no longer need the validation of a magical number to find my self-worth.

I have Him and He is all that I need.

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12 

Steadfast I Walk

every day’s 

another battle 

trying my best 

staying in that saddle 

everywhere I look I see

another roadblock staring at me 

but steadfast I walk with You

I will not be moved 

even though I might be shaken 

I will trust in you 

I’ll never be forsaken 

even when I cannot see 

keep me on the path 

in front of me 

steadfast I walk with You 

even when it seems 

like nothings changing 

help me stay the course 

never wavering 

doesn’t matter how fast the pace 

slow and steady wins the race 

steadfast I walk with You  

I wrote the song Steadfast recently as I prayed for the Lord to help me keep my eyes on Him.  It’s not always easy to stay on the right path because there is temptation all around us.  As most of you know that are reading this- one of my biggest temptations is food.

I have always wanted a healthy relationship with food.  I wish I didn’t have to think about it, but unfortunately we HAVE to eat every day, so there’s no avoiding that one!  And even though I make good choices, for years I have seen no physical changes- despite calorie counting and exercising.  I loathe counting calories, and I have done it for years.  Even the days when I didn’t actually record my calories, I would still keep a running tally in my head.

But today I am praising the Lord and giving Him VICTORY for FREEDOM from this struggle.  It has been since New Year’s Eve- almost 2 months now that I have finally found something that is working for me!  It’s called Trim Healthy Mama and heres’s a link to their website- http://www.trimhealthymama.com.  It’s not a “diet”- it’s a different way of eating for life.  And PRAISE THE LORD- I have found food freedom! No more counting, no more thinking of food as a reward or punishment…just sticking to the plan and focusing on Him!

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36

Lean in ’17

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I’m gettin’ lean in ’17

a lean that’s all encompassing 

I wanna be all I can be 

and represent my Lord and King 

through ALL things, help me to SING

It’s on Him I’m gonna LEAN! 

I have just recently begun watching the show “This is Us” on NBC.  I’m a little bit behind the ball, but I’ve binge-watched almost the whole first season online, and it’s so, so good!  It’s the kind of show that you either love or hate.

This show wrecks me. Even the music makes me tear up.  But the character that I really connect with is Kate.  As a child, she is “chunky” and much of the storyline revolves around her becoming more self-conscious of her size.  Then as an adult, it shows her measuring every meal, obsessing over every calorie of everything she eats…exercising and doing all the right things- only to lose 1 lb.  Kate is charming and lovely, and yet all she can see is her size.

When I watch the show, it’s like seeing myself on the screen.  I religiously count all my calories, and then feel like a failure when I haven’t lost a pound.  Then I over-indulge during the holidays and feel like a failure when I’ve gained a pound (err…or two, lol)…the cycle never ends.

And now that my girls are entering the teen years, I try so hard to say and do the right things…

I say things like– Eat healthy so you can be HEALTHY, not THIN.  Exercise so you will feel good and feel good about yourself.  Wear clothes that fit you and flatter your curves.  Recognize that people come in all shapes and sizes, and embrace the body God gave you! You are beautiful!

But deep down, I fight those negative thoughts every single day.  I recently admitted this to someone close to me and told them that maybe this is my “cross”.  You know how Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him?  Well this love/hate relationship with food and my weight is just that- something that can either get me down every single day- or it’s something that He can use to keep me close to Him. Every moment I go to Him instead of turn to my own thoughts, well that’s another victory!

So I’m committing to getting LEAN in ’17!

I’m going to LEAN on HIM and NOT myself! 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

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finish your own sentences

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While I am not slim by any means, I do try to take care of myself.  I watch what I eat and exercise at least 4-5 times a week.  My girls have joined me in this quest to be in the best shape we can be, and so the three of us- along with one of the girls’ friends- went to run/walk at a local track.

I was so proud of the girls!  They kept on going, even when they got tired.  They commented that they stopped before they had wanted to.  But you showed up-I told them in my best “Jillian Michaels” voice… I’m proud of you!

As I ran, I passed by two elderly ladies.  They seemed quite surprised that a girl of my size was running, and I could tell that each time I passed them they made comments about me. I know I don’t look like an athlete or anything, but I am healthy.  The last lap I heard them say “That girl in front of us- that girl with those big wide hips…”

Fortunately, that was all I heard before I was out of ear shot of their comment.  Usually, that’s all it takes to get me in a bad mood… to discourage me from working out in front of other people.  Honestly, I didn’t know how they finished that sentence, but I had a feeling it was not positive.  But 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ!  As I kept running, He told me to finish it…

And so as I jogged along, He brought to mind all of the things that I’ve accomplished, and all I have to be thankful for…

 this girl with those big, wide hips-

-is BLESSED to be ALIVE and have breath in her lungs and legs to RUN with

-has given birth to two awesome, amazing girls

-lost over 100 lbs before I had my children

-loves her curves… because that’s the way He made me

-is trying to set a good example for her girls by taking the best care of her body that she can

-got a college degree and worked multiple jobs to pay for it (and I’m STILL paying those loans!!)

-knows where to find her SELF-WORTH…. in CHRIST ALONE!

-has a stronger walk with the Lord than ever before

You- yes, YOU,  are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Don’t let anyone else try to finish your sentence.  Give God that pen and let Him write it for you.  By His grace, He will turn it into something beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end-  Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Living for NOW

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Looking for the perfect Christmas ham, I ventured into a high quality food store- only to be shocked by the extreme prices of their meat!  Why, I could buy an entire week’s worth of groceries for the price of one of those fancy hams! So I went to store #2 -and much to my dismay there were no hams.

I got everything else I could find from my list and found my way to the check-out line.  The store was so crowded, I couldn’t go anywhere- I was stuck in the farthest check-out line, which also happened to be the longest one. Sigh

“Are you trying to get past me?”  the lady ahead of me in line asked me.

“Oh no, just waiting in line… I love your coat, by the way!  It’s so festive!” When she turned, I noticed how beautiful she was- she wore a cranberry colored coat with ruffles down the front and a silver scarf around her neck that made her salt and pepper hair shimmer.  Her eyes were sky-blue and her face glowed.  I felt an instant connection to her.

She gave me a half smile and admitted that she had bought it a long time ago, and that it used to be big on her. With tears in her eyes, she confessed that she had looked in the mirror that morning and was disgusted with herself- for the weight she had gained and for how she looked.

“And the crazy thing is that this was my dream… when I was a young girl, I was tall and skinny- when it was so “in” to be plump.  I wanted to be plump and curvy when I grew up! Now that I am living my “dream”, I want more than anything to be that skinny girl again.”

She spoke with tears in her eyes, and I found it so ironic that this gorgeous woman (who, by the way, was NOT overweight at all…and was stunningly beautiful) did not recognize the beauty that was so easy for me to see.

“Oh my goodness!  You are beautiful just the way you are!” I said to her.

We hugged one another, as she poured her heart out to me- right there in the grocery check-out line.

Then, with determination, she exclaimed that she was going to live for the now…and that she was going to stop lamenting over who she was, or who she wanted to be. We talked about how blessed we both were.  To have good health, a family, clothing… to be able to buy the food that was in our shopping carts. I told her of how I was searching for the perfect Christmas ham, but hadn’t been able to find one that was reasonably priced.

“You know, I have a friend that owns a butcher shop.  I will give you her phone number when I get out to the car!  That is where I go to buy all of my meat these days!”

Both of us had left our phones in the car. I told her where my next stop was- just across the street.  She said that was her next stop, too.

“I’ll see you there, and I will give you her phone number!”

I felt an immediate connection to this lady.  It was like God put her there to just give me that message-

live for NOW… not yesterday, not tomorrow… NOW! 

I got my groceries, put them into the car, and headed to my next stop.

I searched up and down the meat aisles looking for a ham, and watching for my new friend and her festive cranberry coat to come waltzing through the door…

And just when I had lost all hope of finding a ham, I found an entire aisle of them- perfectly pre-baked honey-glazed-to-perfection hams at a fraction of the price of the first ones I had found!

I never saw that lady again, but I will never forget her honest, earnest words- and how she said to me the exact thing I needed to hear-

live for Now… not yesterday, not tomorrow… NOW!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  

Matthew 6:34

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Breaking the (food) chain

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peel me like an onion

heavy on the layers

I shed the outer skin

as I go to You in prayer

crying as I’m sliced up

a little more, I’m diced up 

I’m ready for the next plan

dump me in the pan

straight into the fryer 

turn the heat up higher

cook me till I’m done 

I’m in refiner’s fire

the hotter I’m becoming 

the more clearly I can see

molting all these layers 

leads me to transparency 

Tears welled in my eyes as I sliced the onion in half. I broke through that top layer of skin, and the tears freely flowed down my face.  Onions have a funny way of doing that to me.

I tossed them into the hot frying pan to sauté them. They sizzled as I stirred them back and forth. I was no longer tearing up, but noticed the sweetness of the aroma.  After they had been sautéd, their translucency was striking.  

Isn’t it something that an onion could be so drastically different in appearance, in taste, aroma, and in sight- after experiencing a little bit of “heat”?  Honestly, I don’t like being uncomfortable.  That’s why we all like comfort food, right?  It makes us feel good.  But it’s only an emotional reaction- not the real thing.

For  my entire life, I have used food for reward, punishment, pleasure, and emotional comfort.

I’m tired of being comfortable. I want to be all God wants me to be- and I really do believe that He wants me to be free from this ridiculous food obsession.

I woke up this morning, ready to cook some eggs, and I tried to tell myself that it was what I really wanted for breakfast.  Not true. I really just wanted a ginormous bowl of oatmeal.  But more than oatmeal, I want to break that chain…the never ending cycle of obsessing over food and using food for comfort.

And the only answer is more Jesus. And less self-gratification.

Less of me (literally and figuratively)…more of Him.

I’ve jumped into the frying pan with both feet, I’m feeling the heat, and I’m ready to be changed!

God- make me uncomfortable so I find comfort in YOU not FOOD! 

eat to live, not live to eat

There is power in His Name to break every chain!

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 

Exposed

IMG_2843When everything is stripped away

exposed for all to see

When all the rustling leaves are gone

it’s simply just a tree

How beautiful His radiance

and endless glories shine

right through these spindly branches

straight into this heart of mine

I admit that I am a fan of pretty things.  I also use these pretty things to hide myself quite often.  As pretty as the fall foliage was, the bare trees are just as beautiful- and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that His light shines through more clearly when the trees are stripped of their beauty.

It is so easy for me to get caught up in my insecurities about my weight, or other silly things- and at times it can become an obsession.  It is a vicious cycle, one I pray about often.

The past few days, I have felt like that spindly tree…exposed before Him.  As His light shines down on me- He is showing me all kinds of things I need to work on.  As I release these “little things” to Him, His light gets brighter.

I recently made a commitment to change my diet… no, I’m not going on a diet, but I am changing what and how I am eating. Far too frequently, I turn to the instant gratification of food to satisfy my desires.  I have managed to stay away from all processed food and have greatly limited the amount of sugar I intake.  I must say that the past few days have been difficult, but this has definitely drawn me closer to Him.  He is always faithful…even when I am not.

 I am desperate to change, and change only comes with being willing to be changed.

The less I focus on me-

the greater my focus is on “He”

When I bare my soul to Him, He bears my burdens all the more.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him- Psalm 37:7