This Post Brought to You by the Letter R for Random

I know this will sadden all of my readers greatly, but today’s post will be the last of the reader questions. I’ve taken long enough to answer these, right? Most of the ones I’m answering today are ones that I can answer quickly, so I thought I’d try and cover a bunch of them. Consider it an online survey made by you and answered by me!

From Mary, an excellent weight loss/health blogger:
What is your favorite hobby (um, besides blogging)?

This is rather sad, but I don’t know! I used to be an avid reader but now struggle with finding time to read, so the most I read is during my lunch break at work. I also used to play the guitar, and I am thinking about trying to learn how to play again.

If you could go anywhere in the world, right now, where would you go? Italy, all of it, but especially Florence and Venice. I have wanted to go to Italy for years and years. Someday I will get there. (Right, Stephen?) 🙂

From Renee, a lovely poet whose first chapbook is coming out soon:
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
It is hard to imagine myself in 10 years, but I will be 38 (eek!), and I hope to have one or two children by then if the Lord wills. I hope to be at home with them, happily managing our household. I want to be as madly in love with Stephen as I am right now (or more so), I want to be pursuing the Lord wholeheartedly, and I want to be in service to the church in whatever ways I can.

What are some things you’ve improved on in the past five years, and what are some things you’re still working on? I think I’ve become less of a perfectionist, which is a HUGE victory. I also have become more flexible, more confident, and less affected by unkind words. On the flip side, I am still far too concerned with what other people think, and I am still a very fearful and anxious person most of the time, and I know each of these things hinders my walk with Christ.

From Heather, another lovely writer:

What is your ultimate dream job?
To have children and stay at home with them. If we’re talking outside the realm of probability, I’d love to work with dolphins. Or be a famous singer or writer.

How do you keep your spiritual life fresh? What devotionals/books would you recommend, specifically for women, if any? That’s a good question. I find that it helps me to have a reading plan of sorts, to give focus to my devotional time. For example, I just finished reading what I call the General Electric Power Company (aka, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians). I now have moved on to the minor prophets. I also like plans that take you through the Bible in one year. I haven’t actually read any devotionals directed toward women, but I love My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I also love this really wonderful little book called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. It’s comprised of journal entries that are a glimpse into the heart of a woman trying to follow God. I highly recommend it.

From Sarah E.:
Tell a funny/embarrassing story.
When I was in middle school, I decided to run for student council vice president. To this day I really don’t know why I thought I had any chance of winning, but I was very gung-ho about it. Each candidate had to give speeches to each grade at different assemblies, and when it came time for me to give my speech to my grade, I completely froze, forgot I had notecards in front of me with ALL THE WORDS ON THEM, and rambled for a bit before bursting into tears and sitting down. Needless to say, I didn’t win the election. 🙂

From Lauren, a true bibliophile:
How do you cope with the munchies?
I munch. Just kidding! (Well, most of the time.) I try to keep myself busy. I will chew gum or drink water, and if I am at home, I avoid the kitchen when at all possible. At work it’s not as hard because there’s no vending machine (praise the Lord), and I just bring one snack to work with me every day. If it’s at night and past my self-imposed curfew of 8 p.m., I try to ONLY eat if I am really hungry, and then I limit my selection to fruit. Brushing my teeth also helps a lot.

How has your journey towards being healthy effected your marriage? your relationship with friends? family? This is a really good question. I think my marriage has been improved in that I have been able to see just how supportive and awesome Stephen is. He has been my biggest cheerleader and source of strength during the whole process, and without him I don’t even know if I would have begun trying to lose weight. I was fine just talking about it until he asked, “How will you change it?” I don’t feel that my relationships with friends or family have been affected to much, besides the fact that they too have been so supportive and encouraging.

From Macy, who shares my love of all things purple:
Do you ever do creative writing? short stores? poems? It seems like you would be the kind of person who would, and if you do, sharing it here with us would be lovely! 🙂

I started writing when I was in the fourth grade and have always enjoyed it. (Back then, my favorite poem that I wrote began with, “Colors, colors everywhere, / A little here, a little there.” Even then my genius was evident.) Although the only writing I have done in the past few years has been on this blog, I have always enjoyed writing and admired other people’s writing endeavors. In college I primarily wrote poetry, though I also dabbled in creative nonfiction and short fiction. I have stopped and started a novel at least 5 times. Maybe next year I will participate in NaNoWriMo and actually finish a novel. If you go through the blog archives, you can find some of the poems I posted on here. They’re mediocre at best.

So that’s it! I hope you feel as though you know me a little better. Thanks to all of you who asked questions and thanks to all of you who read my blog. I really appreciate it!

The Hardest Part

I have thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s feedback on these questions, and it’s been really helpful for me. Thank you!

Here’s the third and final question from Jen: “What is the 2 or 3 hardest things about losing weight?”

My answer to this question has been different depending on where I am in my weight loss journey. When I first began, the hardest things were counting calories and exercising. Now those things are fairly routine for me. Then I struggled with comparing my rate of weight loss with that of others and feeling inferior as a result (and I still struggle with this to a degree, though I think I’ve improved). One thing I have struggled with the whole time is my desire for food and the emotional attachment I have with certain foods. I am constantly having to remind myself that food is not a solution to problems but is fuel for my body.

The hardest thing for me right now is fighting feelings of rebellion. Sometimes I just want to say, “Who cares about being healthy? Is it really worth all of this struggle? Why can’t I just eat what I want?” Of course, if what I wanted to eat were healthy, that would be fine, but the truth that I am still trying to absorb is that there is no finish line when it comes to being healthy; healthiness is a lifelong pursuit. I need to get used to it now and ingrain these healthy habits into my heart and mind so I can pass them on to my children someday.

If you have lost weight or are trying to lose weight, what has been the hardest thing for you?

Just Out of Reach

Yesterday I answered Jen’s questions about emotions and weight loss, and I enjoyed your responses to that post. After reading them, I wonder if struggling with body image is primarily a female issue. Are there any males out there willing to weigh in (no pun intended) on the question?

Today here is my response to Jen’s second question: “Are you at your goal weight? What was your goal when you first started versus where you are now?

The answer is no, I am not at my goal weight. When I first started this process on January 21, 2008, I weighed 261 pounds and hoped to lose 100 pounds in a year. For some people that goal is very doable, but it ended up not being realistic for me. I managed to lose 50 pounds in the first year and then felt certain I would reach my goal in 2009. That too did not happen, and I find myself nearing the end of the year having lost under 30 pounds. Unless something approaching the miraculous happens before January 21, 2010, I will reach the two-year anniversary of my weight loss without reaching my goal of losing 100 pounds. I have a hard time with this because I have read so many weight loss stories where people took less time to lose the weight that I have and in fact lost even MORE than I have in less time. This is very disappointing to me, but I know the fault lies with no one but myself.

I have struggled with whether or not I still want to get to 161 pounds, but if I am honest with myself, I think that’s because I am tired of trying to lose weight and deep down don’t even believe I can get to my goal. I have been stuck in the 180s for the latter half of the year, and I am still trying to figure out what exactly isn’t clicking. I am thankful I haven’t gained back all the weight I’ve lost, and I am slowly but surely moving in the right direction, but I feel like that final goal is always just out of reach. I’m open to any advice or wisdom anyone would like to share!

Mirror, Mirror

Jen, whose blog I love and read every day, asked me some great questions about my weight loss. Initially I was going to just answer one, but they are all kind of connected and are important, so I am going to answer all three of them in separate posts (since my attempt to write concise answers to each one failed miserably).

Today’s question:

“How have you dealt with the emotional effects of losing weight? Do you see yourself at the weight you really are?”

Emotions (and my inability to handle them properly) played a huge role in why I became fat, and they continue to play a huge role in how/why I lose weight. I think that part of the reason my weight loss has become stagnant is because I haven’t really gotten to the heart of all the reasons I gained weight in the first place, so they are still there below the surface. I struggle with being afraid of getting to my goal weight because then what happens if I gain it all back? I also don’t know how to handle compliments well, though I have gotten better. It both flatters me and bothers me a bit when people say, “You look beautiful! I didn’t even recognize you” because then I think, “Was I so ugly before?”

I do have a hard time knowing what I “really” look like now; sometimes I will catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and be surprised by what I see. I can’t get an accurate image of myself in my head, if that makes sense. Oddly enough, I had this problem when I was obese. I often told myself I wasn’t that big, and it was only until I would see pictures that I realized how fat I was. I don’t know how I can look in a mirror and not see what’s really there, but I do it all the time. I still imagine myself to be very large, and every now and I then I will realize anew that I am not so large anymore. I’m not skinny by any means, but I have lost a significant amount of weight and am not the same person I was when I started this weight loss journey. I am working on loving my body and appreciating all it allows me to do.

What about you? Do you see yourself in an accurate light?