Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Beautiful Way To Move Forward Today

Dawn...Each New Day 

I seriously don't think I could accomplish a single thing if the Lord had not seen fit in His wisdom to allow us a new beginning whenever we need it. And even when we don't think we need it, we get a new morning every day!

I read a blog post by a good friend who talked about her weight loss struggles. It just made me realize how much I have been coasting. I recently joined Weight Watchers again.  I will never give up but sometimes I take long vacations from it.  Too long.  I just have to dust myself off and look forward with hope and determination and resolve.   

Sometimes my perceptions in this department get very skewed.  If ever I want to know how skewed my perceptions can be...I can use the scale as my tool. It seems like when I should be up I'm down or vice versa fairly regularly.  I can't use it for self-esteem but rather as a tool.  And not just one day but serval days in a row which shows me that people fluctuate daily but the trend needs to be downward.  That is all.  If you graph it you will see what I mean.  To know I am doing well I just have to eat well.  Then no matter what the scale says I am OK.  However when I get into the game playing on the scale or ascribe too much importance to an ounce here and there it gets ridiculous and controlling and self defeating.  

As we sing in one of our church hymns, "Do What Is Right Let The Consequence Follow.  When I go long periods staying off the scale I know it is because I know what the consequences are for not making the best choices most of the time.  There is nothing complicated about it.  It is what it is.  Denial is dangerous.

The complexities of what motivates us to do and be who we are continue to confound me. Still waters run deep and I think for each of us it is a combination of so many factors. It is never just one thing but many experiences and hurts, and failures that add up and become the devil's favorite tool~Discouragement. Without hope there is no faith to go forward with a plan that will work. We have to kick discouragement to the curb and just keep going no matter what happens. Never giving up!

We need to stop the negative self-talk. It is more than positive affirmations that are needed. You can tell yourself you are a thin and healthy person even when you are not but, once that hits your brain, your brain tries to figure out if the thought is true. Quickly everything you know tells you the positive affirmation is a lie and you throw it out as nonsense, or worse yet it becomes a negative affirmation. It then produces the 'why am I this way' type questions, leading to discouragement and eventual defeat. This applies to everything not just weight loss.

Recent studies have discovered that our brain works by solving our dilemmas by answering our questions. As an example...When we are unable to succeed at losing weight we ask ourselves why this is? Immediately our brain sets out to answer that question. I am just not good at this, I love my ice cream (or whatever), I have never been successful at this, I'll just gain it back, people will be watching me to see how long I can keep it off, I hate to exercise, it's my genetics, etc.  The thought occurs to be me that being overweight is probably more difficult than losing weight.

What is even more important is concentrating less on the weight and more on being healthy and fit.  This is probably a good idea.  As we improve our lifestyle the weight loss will follow as a natural consequence. Right? That changes the whole process from what we don't want (being overweight) to what we do want (being fit and healthy.)  Thinking and acting in a positive frame of mind is always a winner.  It also takes the sting out of the many past personal failures and puts it where is should be.  Focusing on improved behavior.  You are the same person of infinite worth no matter your dress or pant size.  Sometimes we forget that.

Think of something that you are struggling with, again we will use weight loss as an example...Ask yourself this question instead..."Why am I a fit and healthy person?" Why am I a happy person?" What things have I been successful in accomplishing in my life? Immediately your brain starts to answer you with real, not hoped for positive affirmations! This is powerful. Try it. Seriously try it! Another word for this is gratitude.  I was amazed at the difference and have been using this when my thoughts go to self persecution.  I have had some  very positive results.

One reason I love my Weight Watcher meetings so much, and my friend of over 30 years that is teaching it, is because Lanette goes the extra mile. She puts in lots of hours outside the meeting room, researching concepts like this that really do bring success. The success you will see is not just in the weight loss arena but applicable in many aspects of your life.

Another simpler way of seeing this concept is to ask yourself what am I doing RIGHT to accomplish this goal? Our brain automatically goes to what am I doing WRONG if we don't direct the question differently. I promise you, your brain will answer you and reveal to you what you can and have already been doing. This actually does kick discouragement and a desire to quit to the curb! We all need this tool when struggling!

When discouragement comes and is allowed to follows that it's very hard for us to continue on any kind of journey when we feel sad, alone, depressed or afraid of success. We may have a habit of thinking that we can never measure matter what we do.

This can be brought on by something someone will say or just something we think and it drags us down to the depths for days sometimes. Thoughts precede feelings. This I know for sure! We have to control our thoughts and not allow anyone else to have this power over our thinking or to allow ourselves to think we are incapable or unlovable. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why we do this.

Just like God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is, we must love ourselves because of who we are (His daughter/son) not because of who we perceive ourselves to be. (Our self-esteem) Isn't one of our greatest desires to be loved unconditionally rather than judged and misunderstood? In Christ we have that. Where does the hope and faith come from if not from this gift? I know I cannot find it anywhere else.

Passing unrighteous judgment on ourselves or others destroys hope. We have to stop doing this. And sometimes when others do this to us we have to realize it is because of who they are not because of who we are. What a brilliant concept. Why would we assume they are always right? This is not a good way to think.

I am one, I am only one, no more than one, no less than one. We cannot keep internalizing offenses, we just have to be more thick-skinned and carry on, secure in His perfect love. We need to listen and contemplate criticism, but we do not need to beat ourselves up, even if there is some hint of truth in what is said. We need to take a positive spin on it and just quietly determine to become better, ever moving forward. In this way we abandon pride and acquire humility or the ability to be taught. Simply put, our brain can derail us or help us. We just have to pursue the right questions as we try to solve our dilemmas. This really works; talk about new beginnings! We just have to retrain our brain to think in a way that helps and encourages success, not defeats it.

Sometimes the whole scramble gets confusing~
we need to step back and view each component specifically!

And remember we need to be a friend to ourselves
as well as to others.

Staying closer to the Lord seems to be the answer to every problem, burden or concern. For all things unto the Lord are spiritual. My desire is to remember this day by day! I will ask myself the right questions to my dilemmas and trust in myself in addition to the Lord, so I can accomplish the desires of my heart. I am putting all my eggs in one basket~The Lord's.

When I hear something that is true,
I know it~ if I am living close to Him.


Sister Susie Says said...

Bonnie, I have been in the same boat with you concerning my weight too! I have been overweight since I was in third grade. I didn't over eat. I had plenty of exercise (since we lived in the Fla. Keys on the water. I was swimming in the water until my skin was like prunes. If not that, we were riding our bikes all over the Key we lived on!

As an adult, I struggled with losing weight in Weight Watchers 3 or 4 times throughout my life. It's amazing that since I retired from the school system, I've lost 22 pounds and continuing! I've not changed anything from before other than I am no longer under the stress of the politics of education, uncooperative students (and their parents even to the point of the Sheriff Deputies having to be called in by the principal), being forced to teach homosexuality as an acceptable life style, yet not allowed to mention Jesus Christ... So I would say that stress was a major factor of not losing weight...for me anyway.

I have never been a binge eater, compulsive eater, and wouldn't eat whenever I was upset. I always thought from very young, "I like myself. If someone doesn't like me how I am, it's their problem, not mine." Your true friends and family know this and they love you for who you are.

In my older years (and now retired) I have found to not let life's discouragements STRESS me, as you said to not let it be, "allowed to stay." It's a life lesson in trusting the LORD to guide our ways to not worry. It is easier said than done, I know. However, the LORD keeps me in training! The truth is, if I find myself stressing out, I know for sure I'll gain weight!

I think the stress of sadness, loneliness, depression, and fear actually causes weight gain no matter what you do diet wise or exercise wise! I know that has always been my "switch!"

Psalm 116:7, "Be at rest (calm) for the LORD has been good to you."

I treat criticism as a "lesson" to learn something, or to share something. As you said, "We need to abandon pride and acquire humility." We must let the Holy Spirit's lead us.

Thank you, Bonnie, for another thinking session for me! Susan