IF I am being honest – Becoming

After writing my 7th post in my series, IF I am being honest – 7 Lessons, my husband, Vinny Sal asked me how I felt about blogging this “thing.” What do you mean this “thing?” I asked. He asked, “How do you feel about putting all that out there (my journey to wellness)?”

I instantly replied, “It is who I am.”

Oprah Winfrey asked the former First Lady, Michelle Obama why she chose the title, “Becoming” for her memoir. The First Lady summed up by saying, “My journey is the journey of always continually evolving.”

I believe that is true for anyone, including myself who chooses in earnest to become the best I can be.

IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness

I reread my first 7 posts to reflect on where I stand in my 8th post on my journey to wellness.

My first post on why I was converting to an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle. I was obese and I am still obese 8 months later. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/02/02/if-i-am-being-honest-obesity/

My second post was a reality check on food love rather than self-love. If I am being honest, I always thought I loved myself, but I did not. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/03/02/if-i-am-being-honest-food-love/

My third post reflected on the invisible weight, my spirituality. As I share in my 7th post, I have learned that one’s spirit leads the way in mind and body. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/03/31/if-i-am-being-honest-invisible-weight/

In my fourth post I discussed the reality of autoimmune diseases, and I shared how the Hashimoto’s disease has been my nemeses. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/05/04/if-i-am-being-honest-autoimmune-disease/

I outlined the killers (shamers) in my fifth post who want to add the weight of judgment to a person’s journey to wellness. These are often people who profess to be there to help a person in their journey to be the best they can be but make their hidden biases known just the same. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/06/01/if-i-am-being-honest-the-killers/

Six months in, I reviewed my relationships with food, exercise and personal relationships. I take responsibility. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/07/04/if-i-am-being-honest-my-1st-6-months/

7 Lessons written in my seventh post outlined what I have learned since converting to a lifestyle of Intermittent Fasting. My journey to wellness in mind, body and spirit reviews the pain and progress with kicking addiction and relapse. https://thebloggingowl.com/2019/08/11/if-i-am-being-honest-7-lessons/

8 Months, an Evolution of Self Awareness in Mind, Body, Spirit

My journey to wellness began well before my conversion to the intermittent fasting lifestyle. The evolution of that journey had finally taken me to a place requiring me to admit my obesity and how it was affecting my mind, body and spirit. Ultimately, it was not only taking a toll on me, but how I reacted to the world beyond me.

I take responsibility for my body.

In the beginning I told myself that while I was obese I would allow my body to lose the weight on its timetable in part due to my Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease, but also because I did not want to set myself up for failure no matter how I perfect I was in following the IF lifestyle. While I have lost 27 pounds to date and inches off my waist and hips since January 2, 2019, I still have mind walls to conquer with fasting, food and exercise.

I know I am healthier because I no longer have joint inflammation. I can now walk up and down stairs, perhaps not as quickly as others, but I can!

I still have periodic phases of insomnia, which I believe is due to eating the incorrect number of cards specifically sugar.

Rather than being passive about weight loss with intermittent fasting, I am setting a goal for my one-year anniversary, January 2, 2019. My goal is 50 pounds lost for my first year with converting to intermittent fasting.

I take responsibility for my relationships.

Overall, I believe I am in a better place in my mind with feeding not only my body with healthy food, but I have more clarity in feeding on what I take in personally, professionally and socially. I, like everyone, have hidden biases and so I have become much more aware of my biases, and I am working on changing my perspective.

For example, I read and react too much with social media. I love my country, the United States, but I hate what is going on and to our country. Have I been adding to the divisiveness? Do others really care about my opinion? I will always be an advocate for the vulnerable and an activist for the environment, democracy and fairness. That will never change, but I can do it more thoughtfully and in a forum that is reasonable, responsive and respectful. I will keep my Facebook feed clear of anything that would affect my relationships with others or add to the divisive noise in the world.

I take responsibility for my faith.

God knows my heart. He knows everyone’s heart that is why I do my best not to judge the place where others are at in their journey. Some have called me out on my thoughts on the lack of courtesy of smokers or my use of “colorful” language… okay, I won’t dance around my use of the “F” word. The light of my spirit should be shown and not the slip of my tongue so to speak, they say.

As I have said throughout this series, the spirit leads the mind and body. I take responsibility of my lack of self-awareness in how my Christian faith is perceived in my words and actions. My faith is a critical in who I am. Follow my blog, The Prayer Journals for further insight on faith.

And I am who I am, today, evolving to become better in mind, body and spirit. I did not realize that when I started Intermittent Fasting that it would be an awakening and a lifestyle change in all three areas.

IF I am being honest, my next post on The Blogging Owl

My next post will be the tale of the two cardiologists. Intermittent Fasting, foe or friend on my journey to wellness. This tale is still evolving! I will have their interesting discussions and findings when I post again next month in this series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness.

Until next time…

I will continue to post monthly in this series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness until January 2020. I will then post occasionally until I reach my weight goal. Blogging my progress helps me to keep it real for me in mind, body and spirit. If you need me to be a part of your tribe for wellness in mind, body and spirit, I hope you will reach out to me. I would love to hear from you. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me by email at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

Peace,

Head shot 2019 - revised

The Blogging Owl

 

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email:   Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

IF – I am being honest, Invisible Weight

In all my blogs not just The Blogging Owl, I consistently speak of the balance of mind, body, and spirit. In the first post of this series, “IF I am being honest” about my conversion to intermittent fasting, I admitted to my readers that I am physically obese in medical terms. Thirty days later I confessed my mental and emotional food love tendencies. And now 90 days later, God has led me to take on the invisible weight of my spirit.

As a Christian, I am a firm believer one’s spirit is the driver of one’s mind and body. Why else would God place the heart between the brain and the stomach? Even if you are not a person of faith, I hope you will continue to read on about what I discovered in the last 30 days.

Invisible Weight

What is weighing on my spirit?

I wanted to tap into my spirit for the clarity of my overall life’s mission, my purpose. God has been driving me to something and my hunch was that I cannot complete whatever He has intended for me to do if I have a flabby, unhealthy mind and body.

For the Lenten season, I had decided to do 40 Days of OMAD (one meal a day) with the sincere desire for clarity of mind, body AND spirit. As I discussed in my last blog post thirty days ago, I started a week early with OMAD on February 27th and I would continue OMAD until Easter Sunday, April 21st.

I ended the 40 Days of OMAD on the 15th day. Was I a failure?

Let me back up to the beginning of my 40 Days of OMAD. In my prayer journal I wrote the following prayer:

Dear Lord, bring clarity to my confusion. Rescue me and bring rhythm to my calling just as you set the sun and the stars in motion in precise rhythm of day into night. Instill within me the patient endurance to enlighten me of my specific mission with the wisdom and maturity through an unwavering faith in Christ. Grant me confidence in Your mercy and hope in Your promises. Help me to watch You in Your passion that I remain awake to the infinite power of Your Love. In Him give me courage and strength. Amen

So, what happened?

Reviewing my journal entries over the last 30 days, I did indeed begin shedding that invisible weight on Saturday, March 9th when I genuinely believe God guided me to this verse:

“The Lord is your guardian. The Lord is shade over your right hand.” Psalm 121:5

The significance of this Bible verse on this day was I was getting my first tattoo. I had originally decided to have Martin Luther’s Rose tatted on the back of my left shoulder. Each color of the image has a special meaning.

After reading Psalm 121:5 that morning, I decided at the last minute to change the location to the back of my right shoulder with Psalm 121:5 written underneath the tattoo.

Image-43My focus began to change.

The following morning, I was led to this verse:

“But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

My prayer for that morning:

Dear Lord, allow me to see the world the way you do and join in your eternal rescue mission. Give me compassion for the those around me and help me to be an instrument of Your Grace. Help me to focus on Christ rather than on my circumstances and lead me to focus on what God is doing through the situation through Your power and goodness. Amen

My journal entry ended with “physical fatigue, emotional fatigue, spiritual fatigue.” As I re-read those words, I thought to myself, “Wow. I don’t remember writing those words.”

Two days prior to ending my 40-Days of OMAD

I transcribed these 5 Bible verses into my prayer journal: Romans 8:28, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:8, Proverbs 8:33 and lastly,

Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.”

I purposely will not share with you what I wrote in my journal after those five verses except for this excerpt: Five different Bible verses and five ways to encourage me to keep going….

Spiritual clarity was taking root.

Breaking 40-Days of OMAD

I was physically, mentally and spiritually sick on the 15th day. I did not think I could get through the day or through the night. I was extremely fatigued. The only way to explain my mental state was that I was delirious with a migraine, and spiritually, I believed I had failed in my mission for clarity of purpose.

After eating a big, healthy Paleo breakfast, I spent time meditating as I usually do in the morning with Bible devotions and my prayer journal. I was led to Acts 4:8-12, and Romans Chapter 12 which speaks to dedicating our lives to God and I transcribed verse 2 in my journal:

”Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”

I truly believe God emptied everything out of me in mind, body and spirit up to this point to fill me with this message:

I cannot focus on my circumstances, not one day, not on the next 30 days or in the past years of life on this earth, but on Him who really has the power to change me in mind, body and spirit. These are the last lines written in my prayer journal on that day:

“I do not feel bad because I learned a powerful lesson. I am stronger in mind, body and spirit when I look at my “blips” as just a blip and not throw in the towel completely. The same will prove true in God’s purpose for me.”

Miraculously, I felt almost instantly better after eating that breakfast and meditation. And two days after breaking my Lenten OMAD promise, I wrote this in my journal:

“If I want to know God’s will, I have to stop being led by my circumstances. If I trust my circumstances, even though they may look good, my circumstances can still lead to disaster. My circumstances can lead me the wrong way. I can misinterpret them, put unwarranted trust in them, and evil (if you will) can manipulate them. Every single day, I need to check my circumstances against where God is leading me in His Word. Psalm 40.”

IF I am being honest – 3 facts

Remember that journal entry I spoke of earlier regarding physical, mental and spiritual fatigue? Well, it all makes sense to me now.

1) I cannot be the best I can be if I do not unburden the invisible weight of my spirit. My spiritual health is the leader for my physical and mental well-being.

2) Turning food love into self-love is a process that takes more than weeks, months and perhaps even years of undoing the negative tapes looping within my mind.

3) I did not suddenly become overweight overnight. It was a slow culmination of self-neglect of mind, body and spirit.

IF I am being honest in my next 30 days…

During the remaining Lenten season, I am doing OMAD Monday through Friday and 18:6 and 20:4 on the weekends. OMAD helps me to stay disciplined during the work week and breaking OMAD on the weekend allows me to enjoy meals with family and friends.

While the last 30 days have been spiritually enlightening, God is still working on bringing clarity of mission and purpose. I am open to the possibility that it may always be evolving. I do feel, however, that the mind and body are beginning to follow in a positive way. I will continue to build upon the 19 pounds I have lost in the first 90 days of intermittent fasting, which is an average of 1.5 pound weight loss per week. Exercise is still not where it should be and as the spring weather continues to improve, I will be outside walking and playing golf. AND I am behind on my book reviews! Exercising the mind, body and spirit will be the topic of discussion for my next post in 30 days.

In closing, I know my readers may not believe spiritually as I believe, and this post is not about converting anyone but to share with my readers how my Christian faith is an essential component in whatever purpose God has for me here. It is also an essential part of me becoming healthy in mind and body. Yet, I strongly believe, if I am being honest, that each one of us has an invisible weight of the spirit.

Blogging about my progress about converting to an intermittent fasting lifestyle helps me to keep it real for myself and perhaps for my readers too. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too. Please feel free to leave a comment and any IF tips! 

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

 

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

IF – I am being honest, Food-Love

Food love

Take a good look

This is a body scan of a 250 lb woman on the left and a 120 lb woman on the right. Take a good look at this photo. Look at the fat surrounding the woman’s organs on the left. Do you also see the fat around her heart and around her brain? Look at the compression around the stomach and internal organs. Do you think that may have any impact on her digestion like gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD? Now look at her joints, particularly her hips and knees. Imagine the inflammation and joint pain carrying that much weight?

How do you think she feels in mind, body, and spirit?

This is my second post, my second 30 days of converting to the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle. I began my conversion on January 2, 2019.

Food-Love

Margueritas, wings and everything loaded

Acceptance.

Wine, pasta and bread sex, I mean sticks

Love.

Sugar, candy and everything nice

Kindness.

These are the reactions to food-love.

When one is overweight, food often replaces people and circumstances to allow the feelings of acceptance. Food romances the obese even if having the lights out is still not enough to hide one’s disgust. And when love isn’t there to comfort, well a little kindness can be found in a cookie or a handful of peanut M&M’s.

If I am being honest, food offers a respite from boredom more than food love. But I can no longer deny that food love has played a role in my obesity. When one is overweight and can no longer do the activities of one’s choosing or feel the beauty within because it is covered in the protective layers of fat, then boredom becomes the snacking activity between meals.

Good Food or Food-Love?

Now there is nothing wrong with loving “good” food. Yet, there is a difference between “good food” and “food-love.” The difference is self-love.

If I am being honest in my second 30 days…

Intermittent fasting began putting the spotlight not on food-love, but on self-love. What food will nourish me and get me to my next eating window. I do not deprive myself necessarily in my eating window, I am more mindful of making “good” food choices.

Nothing is worse than getting to that eating window and having a bad meal. If we are out to dinner and there is good bread on the table, I may have a slice slathered with butter. After fasting for 60 days, I know what foods will give me a hangover – pasta, processed food, sugar – these three food-love types I do my best to avoid.

I should be elated and proud of myself, right?

After losing 12-pounds the last 60 days, if ever so slowly and seeing myself shrink inches, I imagined new expectations of me. While no one else may notice what I have accomplished to date so far, if I am being honest, there have been momentary panic attacks with the thoughts and vision of being thin again after so many years. There is pain in mind, body, and spirit with being overweight, but there is also comfort in not having any expectations of myself or from others.

February’s IF Highlights

This past month I researched apps to help me figure out my caloric intake and from what food sources. Since I have used MyFitnessPal in the past, I began using the application again as an experiment to determine if I could get over my abstinence of the tedious task of tracking my meals. I failed at using this app because as I stated in my first IF post, tracking is too tedious. I do use it in planning meals after scanning what is available in the pantry and refrigerator.

I also started using the Zero app, a fasting application that counts down (or up) to when a fasting period is over and when the next meal window opens. I do like this app because it helps me to keep to a minimum fast time of 18 hours for when I break my fast early due to family and friend events. No one wants to be that person, “Oh no thank you, I am fasting.”

Another app I have begun using is the Daylio app, it is a simple and customizable diary. I simply use it to track my mood, my fasts, and how much I weigh each day by using icons and short notes. I can review my progress at a glance.

The fourth tool is the Fitbit or “fitbitter.” I began using it to learn my current daily step-count. Although I have a gym membership, I am going to let my membership expire. I would rather use my Fitbit and use free-weights at home. I didn’t get very far in my exercise this month. I re-injured my back moving a heavy bookcase so that has taken most of the month to heal. I will begin a walking program next week during my lunch hour  at the office and after work when the polar vortex decides to leave for good. It’s not much of an exercise program but it is start at least for now.

Self-Love

After my last post I changed my mind on two things: One, I would weigh myself daily to keep me committed to fasting, and two, to take a photo of myself (for my eyes only) so I could gauge the changes in my body composition. I have maintained the 12-pound weight loss and I can honestly say that I am glad I took photos. I took one after my first 30 days and another after 60 days of beginning intermittent fasting. I also took measurements of the most rotund part of my body. I have lost 2-3/4 inches. Now if I am being honest, when someone is obese not one friend or family member is going to notice a 12-pound weight loss or a 2-3/4-inch difference around the hips and middle.

And you know what? That’s okay. I see it.

I see my love handles becoming love tabs. I see my belly-button becoming a button again after being stretched into a crater, and surgical scars that look like dimples instead of stretch marks. I am losing bra-bulge and my arms hang down a bit more normal. My skin is beginning to glow, and my cheek jowls are all but gone. I feel my pants loosening and my confidence growing.

When I first saw the body scan photo posted on my Facebook IF support group page, I was horrified. I have to make this lifestyle change permanent! I realized this lifestyle change was to make ME notice. This has truly been the beginning of understanding the meaning and practice of “self-love.”

So, remember when I said earlier that I was anxious about expectations? All anyone needs to do is look at the body scan above to know that food-love kills. Self-love is more than just saying, “I love myself.” Self-love thrives in mind, body and spirit.

If I am being honest in my next 30 days…

As most of my readers know, I journal daily. It is a must part of my day. And in the last 30 days of writing my way through the figuring-out of this new lifestyle change and the plans God has for me, I desired to really tap into the clarity of mind, body and spirit. I had planned to do 40-Days of OMAD (one meal a day) for the Lenten Season beginning March 6, 2019. The more I thought about doing OMAD for that long of a period, I grew anxious, so I decided to take control of unknown expectations and to start a week early. I am 3 days in.

God is certainly with me. It has not been a difficult transition. In my next post 30 days from now, I will share with you what I have learned in mind, body and spirit. My goal is to continue OMAD until Easter Sunday, April 21st.

As I will say in closing on each post, blogging about my progress helps me keep it real, and if it helps you too, all the better. You are welcome to post any thoughts or tips too! I appreciate you following The Blogging Owl.

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

 

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved