Progress despite setbacks…

This has been a tough week.  I’ve struggled more this week with cravings than I have this entire year.  I’ve been keeping a caloire count (not real rigid, just a running total in my head) and trying to stay between 1200 – 1500 calories per day.  The Dr. Shapiro book I blogged about last week has been an absolute treasure.  It’s really helped open my eyes to what really is healthy and what is perceived as healthy.  Like I said last week, 1 biscuit = 14 pieces of toast WITH JELLY…. Never would’ve guessed it.  This week’s official weigh-in is 191.0.  I lost .8 this week.  I’m not upset – I’ve had to fight some pretty strong cravings this week and I’ve found out that getting out of the house, even for a moment, helps curb those cravings.  I walk to the mailbox at the end of the drive or I go to the basement & do a load of laundry – anything that gets me away from the kitchen for a few minutes. 

We had some friends come over one evening and instead of sitting down to a huge meal and then playing board games all night (which is what I would have normally done), we had a bowl of chili, went to our church’s gym, walked laps, played tag w/ the kids and had fun for about an hour before coming home and playing board games.  I am beginning to have a desire to be active – I’m not dreading workouts, I’m looking forward to them (most days – some days I still struggle).  I have a desire to go hiking, camping, roller skating… anything to move my body & break into a sweat!

I’ve made some self discoveries this week about why I eat.  My sponsor Terri sent me some interesting thoughts:

“We live in a society that focuses so much on food it’s scary. Think about it. EVERY event in your life, from weddings, to showers, to reunions, to family get togethers, almost REVOLVES around food.  This has been the case FOREVER (think of Jesus’ first miracle: he was at a wedding and there was food and wine, and *gasp* they RAN OUT!!!  HUGE faux pas! Mary knew this would embarrass the family, right?  So she asked Jesus to step in).  It’s ‘rude’ not to provide guests with the best food you can in as great of an abundance as you can – this also shows status/wealth.  Think Martha – Mary & Lazarus’ sister, I know the lesson is that she missed speaking with Jesus, but Martha was doing what she’d been raised/taught to do – be the ‘good’ hostess, and as women, it is ingrained in us that showing your love/respect means providing the best and most food you’re able to do.”

“Also, another thing I’ve tried to re-train myself to do: STOP treating food as a reward/punishment. When you do that you’re attaching emotions to it.  THAT is the part of your brain that you’re fighting with at the moment.  Food is neither.  Food is sustenance.  For instance, before WW when Z was a toddler he had shots and was so upset, I took him for ice cream after.  Since I joined WW, I saw the error of my ways.  I was ignoring his feelings by smothering them with food.  I was pushing *my* issues onto him.  So, now, we talk and he tells me things that bother him (or I hope he does).  You need to do the same thing with yourself.  If you make a goal, don’t ‘treat’ yourself with food.  Treat yourself with a treat: a pedicure or a new book or something you’ve been putting off.  Buy something for the house that you’ve told yourself you don’t need, even though you want it.  THOSE are ‘treats’. Don’t punish yourself with food either.  Don’t let a gain on the scale make you reach for the cookies!  You are going to have ups and downs.  Try not to attach the emotions of frustrations to them.  All easier said than done.”

See why it’s so important to have an awesome sponsor?  This really hit home for me.  When my kids get shots, my motto is “Get a shot, get ice cream.”  I still give “treats” to the kids when they clean their rooms or do some extra work for me – it’s always in the form of food.  I’ve started this week recognizing how much emphasis I put on food and how much of my life revolves around it.  Terri really opened my eyes to that and I am so thankful I have her by my side in this recovery.

My life coach has also been an amazing cheerleader and direction setter for me.  He is constantly challenging me to push myself to the next level and holding me accountable.  Two amazing tools in this fight to stay sober.  I’ve been “sober” since January 23rd.  Since January 18, I have lost 13.4 pounds.  This week, I’m working with Brian Osher (my life coach) to set some specific number goals.  I’m excited.  Where are you on your journey?  Click “Sign me up” to follow this blog – leave a comment to share where you are on your journey.  God bless you.

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Tough Week

What a week!  I had a run in with a nasty tummy virus last week and felt just awful.  I STILL worked out!!  That’s usually the first thing to go when I lose my drive & intensity.  I stop working out regularly, I stop thinking about what I’m eating and eventually, I’m back to my old ways.  So I was really concerned this week about falling back into my old patterns.  I’ve been listening to a set of audios called “Self Talk for Weight Loss” by Shad Helmstetter.  What a motivational boost!  I listen to the first 2 tapes (they have it on CD, too) every morning.  The first is called “Believing in Incredible You.”  Helps get me ready to face the day and motivates me to be my best. 

I’ve been trying to eat healthy and watch my portions but the nausea was awful during that virus so I haven’t eaten very balanced all week.  I’m getting back on track after my call with my life coach, Brian Osher.  Let me stress the importance of a life coach – they’re amazing to work with.  If I didn’t have the accountability and motivation that my life coach provides, I would’ve been done with this “journey” before the end of January.  He helps me clearly establish the vision, find the direction and pave the path to get there.  He also has threatened to kick my rear end anytime I may need it so that fear is always there, too!!  😉  Thank goodness he lives in California!  hehe! 

My sponsor, Terri has been amazing.  She’s very uplifting and is constantly sending me new healthy recipes.  If you’re thinking about doing this, working with a life coach is a very important tool in your toolbox.  I think having a sponsor is also extremely vital.  Be sure to choose someone who has already fought this fight and has come out on top of it.  Terri is a great friend who has fought this battle for 5 years.  She checks in with me and is there day or night when I’m having cravings or emotional issues that drive me to want to eat the entire kitchen…. literally.  Just like the old saying:  “Don’t take financial advice from poor people.”  I say “Don’t take weight loss advice from overweight people.”

I’ve made a few changes this week – I’ve increased the workouts to 20 minutes each day but I have decided not to work out on Sunday.  Sunday is my “free day” to not work out or watch too closely what I’m eating.  I’ve been working out every day but recently, on Sundays, I’m finding myself working out at 11:30 p.m. just to get it in.  So I removed that stress from my life and gave myself a “relax” day in there.  I’ve also decided to only weigh in every 2 weeks (yes, in part because I can tell I have probably gained and didn’t want to face the scale this week… just being honest) and I had a friend tell me that he only had a “breakthrough” on the scale about once every 10 – 14 days.  Weighing in every 2 weeks gives me more time and will help me not get as discouraged if I’m not seeing much change week to week.  I took my measurements so I can see the physical changes even if there may not be much change with the numbers on the scale.    I’ve also made another change… I have been hearing about the positive health benefits of fasting one day a week.  This week, it seemed that statistics and stories about it showed up on the radio, in the book I’m reading and in my devotional time, so what’s God trying to tell me?  🙂  So I did it.  I fasted one day this week (not the entire day, just from midnight to about 6:00 p.m.).  Wow – I’m amazed at how focused I was and how it helped me renew my committment to this journey.  I’m committing to making this a once a week practice.  It was very hard but I think it was very beneficial to my physical self as well as my spiritual self.  I challenge you to look into it and try it.  If you keep doing the things you’ve always done, you’re going to get the results you’ve always gotten.  So why not try a change?  There are ways to fast even if you have special dietary needs, etc…  Look for a way you CAN do it instead of making excuses as to why you can’t.  Maybe just fast from certain foods… but do something different.  It moved me completely out of my comfort zone. 

I’ve been “sober” now for 26 days – the thought of overeating is gross… 🙂  If you’re doing this with me or you want to make that committment, click the “Yep, sign me up” button on the right hand side at the top of this page.  Send me a message sharing your story (totally confidential) and we’ll go through this together.  It’s amazing what a community of support and encouragement does for someone in a fight like this one. 

I leave you with these words of encouargement from this morning’s devotion:  God had plans for the Israelites beyond their comprehension when all they had on their minds was survival.  The promise was clear and strong, but the path to deliverance would not be easy.  God’s great promises often involve great challlenges to test our faith in and our loyalty to Him.  I must reflect on His greatness and remember how He worked in the lives of men and women who trusted Him with their lives, their hopes, and their futures.  Proverbs 4:25 says “Keep your eyes straight ahead, avoid sideshow distractions.”  Write that verse down on an index card & put it in your pocket, on your fridge, on the bathroom mirror… God will bring that verse to mind when you are tempted.   Thanks for listening to my babbling for one more week… 🙂  You guys are blessings in my life.

Frustration

Weighed in this morning… very frustrated.  I only lost .4 this week.  I guess I should be happy I didn’t gain but I really worked hard this week and was wanting to reach the 10 pounds lost mark (194).  My session with my life coach Brian Osher last week may have actually prepared me for the number this week.  He was really encouraging and kept telling me “Slow & steady wins the race.”  In fact, my husband Tommy Lanham preached a message on Sunday morning entited… “Moving Forward in Faith – slow and steady wins the race.”  What??  Are you guys ganging up on me now???  Geesh!

Anyway, I think I did pretty well this week – I worked out on the eliptical every day (even the 3 days I had a tummy bug) for at least 10 minutes and did 15 on Monday.  I was careful with my portions and added extra fruits and veggies to my diet.  I did however have some drama in my life this week and I HATE drama.  I think satan is trying to tempt me in the area I am most vulnerable – emotional eating.  I thought I had done well and made it through.  I certainly did not overeat any this week – which, by the way makes for 17 days in a row that I’ve been sober!  🙂  I write in a journal every day and it’s mostly verses I read or things I hear that are encouraging to me.  On the hard days, I go back through and read some of the entries.  Here are some for this week.  Maybe they’ll help you, too:

“Good habits take time to develop.  This is a crockpot, not a microwave.  There are no shortcuts to maturity.”

Proverbs 28:9  “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.”

Phil 1:6  “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

Though unseen, God’s strength and power are under me, pushing me up, protecting me and enabling me to fly.

Proverbs 25:16  “When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick.”  (How appropriate is that for me this week???  My #1 weakness is chocolate and unfortunately, I’ve been known to eat it all in one sitting.)

“Replacing habits takes time.  don’t expect it to happen overnight.”

“Results will come the right way.”

All of these things are quite encouraging but when reading them after a week of focus and effort with little reward, they kind of irk me.  I want to lose weight NOW – I’m tired of this, I want the scales to reflect my discipline… my giving up chocolate that day this week when I really could’ve eaten the whole box!  That’s at least worth a pound lost, right???  Then I turn on the TV and see The Biggest Loser where people are losing double digit amounts of weight every week – I can’t even make it to one whole digit!  See my frustration?

I’m not giving up – it’s totally a mental thing because right now my body and spirit say “Forget this… it’s not worth the hard work for such little reward.”  But I know it’s for the good – I have to keep remembering the words of my daughter in that fitting room… “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Yep, I’ll keep going for another day, and then another, and then another.  I will not give up.  Don’t you give up either.  I’ll kick your butt.  😉

The number…

GULP….. so here we go…

As most of you know, I’m on a journey – a journey to become sober.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.   I am Tammy Lanham and I am addicted to food.  I’ve been sober for 10 days. 

I use food as a drug.  I began my journey on Tuesday, 1/18/11 with a call to my life coach Brian Osher.  Brian has coached me in growing Tammy Lanham Images and he was the first one I thought of when I finally admitted I needed help.  What made me realize I needed help?  In a clothing store, as I tried on clothes, my 7 year old daughter sneered her nose & said in disgust “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  She never, ever says stuff like that so I knew it was sincere.  And a shattered Mommy fell into a thousand little pieces on the ground (figuratively).    

Then, on Friday, 1/21/11, I had my first fall off the wagon experience… yep, just 4 days into my journey, I messed up.  What a role model I am, huh?  I took my husband out to eat at CiCi’s (a pizza buffet) restaurant for his birthday.  I felt miserable.  The very next day, I did it again – I ate way too much for dinner and wanted to puke.  I honestly believe I would be bulimic if I didn’t despise throwing up so much.   That feeling after you eat too much is just awful – not just the physical misery but the emotional disappointment you feel in yourself. 

With much thought and prayer, I felt like I needed to get additional help.  If I was going to use AA terms like “sober” and “falling off the wagon” then I needed to find some positive AA –type solutions.  I read online about sponsors in AA:

“A sponsor is someone who has been where we want to go in our twelve step program and knows how we can best get there. Their primary responsibility is to help us work the 12 steps by applying the principles of the program to our lives. They lead us by example as we see how the program works in their lives through sharing their personal experiences and stories of where they were and where they are now. We start to learn how to become sober by listening and doing the footwork that our sponsor shows us on a daily basis. In time we make these new changes a habit which helps us to remain sober one day at a time.”

If alcoholics have sponsors for their addictions, I can have one for mine, right?  So I thought about my amazing cousin Terri Newcomb.  I honestly think we were sisters separated at birth.  We have children about the same age, similar personalities and outlooks on life and even our parenting styles are similar.  She has fought a weight battle for 6 years and is staying thin and healthy.  When I read “they lead by example” on the sponsorship definition, I thought of Terri.  She is an extremely caring woman who will not hesitate to kick my rear end into gear if I need it.  I knew she would be the person to ask.  And I was right.  This past weekend, I almost had a melt down while grocery shopping for a big family meal I was preparing on Sunday.  I wanted to prepare Ding Dong cake for dessert – but I didn’t think I could handle having the Ding Dongs in my house.  I was literally shaking.  Terri walked me right through that temptation and I walked out of the store with Jell-O and peaches instead. 

And then I found another role model of sorts – Tom Hailey.  Tom has recently been through the weight loss factory and came out at the end of the line looking and feeling amazing.  He posted photographs of his scale periodically.  I thought “Oh my gosh – that’s crazy.  I could never do that.”  Then my friend Shaina Nailleaux  posted her weight yesterday on her blog…  so I guess the peer pressure got to me!  Hehe….  Or I’m delirious but here I am posting my weight…

I began this year on January 1st at two hundred four pounds.  I began this journey on January 18th at two hundred one point eight pounds.  Today, February 1, 2011, I weighed in at one hundred ninety six point four pounds.  I’ve got a long way to go – I’m not setting any long term goals.  My goal is to get through today.  Once today is over, I will move forward to tomorrow.  I know I am comfortable around one hundred fifty pounds.  Each day, I will make decisions that will affect tomorrow in a positive way and help move me closer to one hundred fifty pounds.  I will succeed.  Anybody want to join me?  I challenge you to join me on this journey.  Sign up to follow this blog.  All you have to do is put your email address in the blocks to the right and you will get an email when I post a new thought.  Friend me on Facebook and let’s do this together.  I have no idea what I’m doing – I’m just trying to do this one step at a time.  Let’s do it together!

Confessions of a Food Addict in Recovery

So I’ve been on this journey for an entire week now… guess that doesn’t quite make me an expert now, does it?  But I have started and I will finish this.  I’ll re-cap for those of you just discovering this food addict’s blog.  I am Tammy Lanham and I am a food addict.  I have been sober for most of the past week.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.  The “excessive” part is where I have problems.  I eat to relieve stress, calm me down and when I’m emotional.  I use it as a drug.  I have been comparing this struggle to an alcoholics struggle with becoming sober.  Thank goodness, I have never had to fight the horrid battle an alcoholic faces but I’m battling my own demon, the demon of overeating.  I do not belittle an alcoholic’s struggle in the least – in fact, since I’ve started viewing my own battle as an addiction, I can better appreciate what an alcoholic goes through, although I am sure I still haven’t a clue. 

You see, I’ve tried losing weight for the better part of my adult life.  It’s my genes, right?  Not my fault so might as well have another doughnut, right?  Maybe it’s my thyroid…  See the problem?  I’ve made excuses all my life.  I’ve made bad food decisions all my life.  I’ve belonged to gyms, gone to weekly weight loss support groups and been on more diets than I can count.  I didn’t even want to set any goals (resolutions) this year because I set the same goal every year:  “to lose weight” and every year, I get frustrated and fall off the wagon.  So I waited until mid-January and with very little gusto, decided to try this thing one more time.  And I might add, this was about the same time (okay, the exact same day) that my 7 year old daughter with her nose sneered in disgust quietly told me in a dressing room at the clothing store that “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Crushed me into a million little pieces.  Still puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  It was a very low moment for me. 

I contacted my life coach Brian Osher and he set my wheels into motion.  You see, I’ve lost weight tons of time (and gained even more back) but I have never done THIS before – I have never tried to beat an addiction, to remedy a disease.  I have to view it this way so my brain doesn’t tell me “You’ve done this a million times before and it never works.”  I have to scream at my brain to “shut up!”  So I’m telling it that I’m overcoming a disease – an addiction that has taken hold of me and is literally trying to kill me.

I hate exercise.  I know that healthy eating AND exercise are the keys to beating this but I HATE exercise.  At the end of my coaching session last Tuesday, Brian asked me to set a goal for the week.  My goal was to climb onto my eliptical machine (the one that’s sitting in the basement collecting dust… yeah, that one) for at least 5 minutes every day.  Okay, Brian, I can commit to that.  And I did it!  In fact, now I’m doing 8 minutes a day.  And this week, I’ve committed to doing that every day and adding in one Christian yoga session.  Baby steps…  a little at the time. 

Here’s a shocker – I eat pretty healthy.  Some of my favorite snacks are dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and dried apples.  I eat whole wheat pastas and breads.  I eat lean red meat and organic veggies and fruits.  The problem is that I don’t know when to stop.  I eat all the time – I think the proper terminology is “grazing.”  I’m not really hungry, I just eat because I happen to be walking through the kitchen as the cabinet doors fly open, grab me and pull me over while shoving yummy snacks down my throat… at least that’s what it feels like.  So this week’s goal is to cut out second helpings and stop grazing.  I can have a snack but I have to put it in a small bowl (make it a portion) and sit down & enjoy it.  No more sitting a bag of chips on the counter and eating out of it until half of it is gone.  To help me remember to stay out of the cabinets, I have a rubberband holding the handles of the cabinets together.  Sometimes, I wish I had a padlock… but the rubberband will do. 

Another baby step I’ve taken is to find a sponsor – isn’t that what they call the people who buddy up with the alcoholic to help him/her through a tough time?  I’ve got a sponsor who has lost weight, kept it off and is passionate about health.   She is setting an example to her 2 young children.  She will kick my butt if I don’t follow through on my commitments (and believe me, this woman WILL severly kick my rear end into shape – it doesn’t matter if she’s 10 hours away!)  She loves me and encourages me daily.  She’s on speed dial on my phone. 

Another baby step – I’m keeping a journal and filling it with positive thoughts, scriptures, quotes I see on facebook or hear in my husband’s sermons.  My favorites from this week:  “Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you – not a sign of weakness or worldliness.  Every temptation is an opportunity to win, to overcome evil and to do good… an opportunity for victory.”  – Tommy Lanham   “Sometimes you have to believe in somebodys’ belief IN you before your belief kicks in.” -Les Brown

This week, I lost 3.2 pounds.  That’s 12 sticks of butter according to my good friend Tom Hailey.  🙂  Thanks Tom…

So you see, I’m not setting any long term goals.  I know what weight I am comfortable at and I’d like to get somewhere in that area but for now, I need to make it through THIS day.  I will make good decisions for THIS day – I will be sober today.  I will exercise today.  I will spend time with my Creator today.  I will take care of our children today.  I will respect my husband today.  I will succeed TODAY.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but as for TODAY, I am doing this!

Day 3 – still sober

I’m amazed at how God is faithful.  I know He is and has always been – I tend to be forgetful.  I’ve been making wise food choices and sticking to my commitment to working out every day for an entire 48 hours, now.  I know it sounds silly but I’m very proud of myself.  You’ve got to remember, for me, this is like a drunk trying to stay sober.  I eat when I get emotional or when I’m under stress.  Over the past 48 hours, my kids have run fevers of over 104 and I’ve been cleaning up vomit.  I had the potential to really fall off the wagon.  I’m not setting any longterm goals, I’m making it through THIS day first.  I was frustrated yesterday because I usually try to have a quiet time in the mornings and because my children were sick, I was unable to do so.  My husband came home on his lunch hour so I could run & get some groceries before  the snow storm hit and when I turned on the radio, I heard the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  Try reading through these lyrics with MY eyes – the eyes of someone without the strength (on my own) to lose this weight…

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of truth says “this is for my glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe
‘Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth

So, I’m not listening to myself because myself tells me I’ve done this a thousand times before and it never works.   I choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth that tells me I’m doing this for His glory.  I will not be afriad.  I covet your prayers.

PART 2: 

Snow Storm’s a Comin’

Whenever I hear the words “snow storm” I go into a nesting mode… I feel like I should have my home ready for anything that might happen.  It should be clean, organized, all the laundry done, the dishes done, the fridge full of easy to prepare foods – you never know, right?  What if it snows 3 feet and every neighbor in the area loses their electricity except us?  I HAVE to be able to feed and sleep all of them here, right?  I know it’s a little insane… 🙂  Seriously though, you never know what the weather holds so I’ve been organizing and cleaning.  This morning, I watched this news story and realized how very unorganized I am (and I only have 2 kids).

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/the-bateses-and-their-18-children-23906649

One Day Sober

So, what’s holding you back?  Well, I’ll share w/ you what’s holding me back.  My weight.  I feel pretty successful in taking care of our home, being a helpmate to my husband, being active in our church, homeschooling our children and running Tammy Lanham Images.  But I am a complete walking disaster when it comes to taking care of my health.  So, I have enlisted the services of my life coach Brian Osher.  Here’s what I gleaned from the “Wise One” (aka Brian) in our session tonight:

*If I want to make a big difference in my weight, make small, consistent adjustments in my diet & exercise.

*When you have a strong enough reason, you can do anything.

*There’s plenty of ways to lose the weight but none of them will work without a commitment.

*When you dig your teeth in, you can accomplish anything.

*Action = Motivation = More Action = Results

Sounds like a pretty smart guy, huh?  🙂  I am convinced that for me, deciding to lose weight is the equivalent of someone with a drinking problem going to AA.  I have never dealt with drinking issues but I deal daily with my own demon – an eating problem.  I think about food, I enjoy planning meals, shopping for it, cooking it and discovering new ways to prepare it.  It’s all I think about.  So, I’m going to start handling it like a disease.  I’m going to get through the rest of today making wise food decisions.  Then, I start a new day tomorrow and I will decide THEN what I will do.  I need a chip or something to recognize my one day sober….