Monday, August 30, 2010

thar she blows, the soup of penitence, and the moody blues

...And of course...temptation follows success. 

And upon meeting temptation, I fail.  Bleh.

Of course I was feeling pretty good about that unbelievable 14-pounds-lost revelation of yesterday, and about not even using up my grace day on Sunday as well.

Enter:  Monday.

We had a very long meeting at work today; part of that was the whole team enjoying lunch at the Bistro, outside even, in the sunshine!  I wasn't worried about it this morning; it is very easy to order good choices at the Bistro.  I was slightly chagrined when I noted I had forgotten my hard boiled egg snack - knew that meant I'd be arriving at 12:30 lunch very hungry.

Here's the thing:  we have this awesome chef there.  He is a true artist, passionate about his work.  Listening to him describe the food he's making can melt me into a puddle.  He is the bomb.  He tends to get excited about special meetings with meals in them.  He gets creative.  He goes over the top.  It is BEYOND delicious - this I know from a multitude of experiences. 

Today he got excited about making the team a special lunch.  Chicken Monterey, which is chicken mixed up with some vegetables, cheese, and stuffing inside a puff pastry shell. Grilled seasoned shrimp, absolutely to die for.  Steamed broccoli.  Au Gratin potatoes.  I did a good thing in giving away the bread that came with my dinner salad, but then that puff pastry pushed me right over the edge.  I had enjoyed a cookie before lunch (they are in baskets on all the tables and they are never not delicious), telling myself I was using one of my "sweets" but it would be okay.  

Yeah.  After savoring every heavenly bite of that Chicken Monterey AND the Au Gratin potatoes...DUDE...I was shot.  The waitresses brought dessert around on the trays and I enjoyed a piece of chocolate pie and split a lemon bar with a co-worker, per her request (I'm just naturally giving like that, apparently.)  

So I guess it turned out well that I had forgotten to pack my afternoon snack.  Sheesh.

Tonight I've been penitent.  Came home and just had some nut crackers and a bowl of amazing-but-good-for-me soup with some skim milk.  The soup is a wonder - it was part of my effort to get busy cleaning out the accumulated stuff in my freezer before I move away.  I found frozen tomatoes, cabbage, and chicken breasts.  Tossed them in a pot over the weekend with some onion and a healthy dose of Jamaican Jerk Rub.  Cooked for many hours and eventually pulled the chicken bones out when the meat just basically fell off of them.  Ummm golly SO MUCH FLAVOR in that soup, and a big bowl is a ton of veggies and maybe half a serving of chicken.  So that works.  

Currently having an argument with myself about how to interpret the day.  I mean, YES it clearly has to count as my grace day.  But:  I'm suspecting I need to surrender to the idea that I have also used up ALL 3  of my "sweets" options for the week.  I HATE that idea and am fighting against it for all I'm worth.  Lord, convict me please.

Furthermore, I am down in the dumps.  I didn't really realize it until now.  I came home and texted my friend, with whom I had planned a bike ride, and begged off on account of cloudy skies and my overpowering desire to be in bed by 8 PM.  I was thinking I was just tired and withdrawn.  Realizing now that I think I'm in a funk about the big lunch blowout.  

And right now, all I feel like doing about that is going to bed.


Sunday, August 29, 2010


Reasons to celebrate:

1.  This is the first Sunday since I started this eating plan that I haven't needed to use my "grace day" right up immediately on day 1 of the week.   My Sunday School class and I visited another church in the last of our church visits related to our ten-month "Survey of the Faith" series.  Getting the kids was a 45-minute trip; getting to the church was another 45 minutes.  I went heavy on the proteins this morning for breakfast and that sustained me through awesome church that lasted until 1 PM.  We did lunch out at Subway - easy to get a perfectly wonderful salad there with some sun chips and a no-sugar lemonade.  Snacked on a hard-boiled egg and then had lots of veggies with a wee bit of soy pasta and 6 shrimp for supper.  I'm not even using up one of my sweets for the week.  YAY for a well-disciplined Sunday!

2.  Tonight was my COWS meeting.  It was time for all of us to weigh.  I did this in a very non-dieter fashion...weighed at 5 PM, with my shoes on, having consumed a quart of water directly before arriving at the meeting.  Hey...guess what?  I find it nearly impossible to comprehend this, but:  I lost 14 pounds in the last 2 weeks.  NO KIDDING!

No big spiritual insights tonight.  I'm still in the Zone of Awesomeness, and my eating plan feels like the lap of luxury...just like the whole rest of my life, which seems to be a fantastic series of superlatives.

Ridin' that pink cloud as far as it will take me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

less is more

I am finding, as I stick to portion control, that I'm really learning to enjoy each bite.  A bad thing thing that comes from a decades-long habit of extreme overeating is that one develops such a focus on the next bite, the next course, is there enough for seconds, what's for dessert, will this be good as a leftover...on and on....that it's easy to not notice THIS bite.  

Now when I know at the start that "this is it" and I'm not going to load up a second plate or find dessert or whatever...well, it makes THIS bite the focus of my attention.  

Food, after all, is not evil.  Like money, it's the excessive desire for it that is the trap.  

So at lunch today I really noticed what has been happening for a little while now:  I was stopping to really savor each bite, taking my time, in no hurry to get to the end.  

Which soaked me in gratitude.  

And that's where it's at!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Okay, so...switching to a more spiritual-based focus for the blog...why is that hard?!  Journaling my intake is easy.  It also ain't exactly scintillating reading (though of course entertainment is not the primary goal here...just a hoped-for side benefit). Most importantly, while an eating journal is an important tool, I just think making that the point of the blog...discounts the spiritual aspect we are going for with our COWS approach.

My eating has been on track.  And it has mostly not been hard at all.  This might be in part because of the allowances I made myself (a grace day, 3 sweets a week) but I suspect the ease actually is spiritually based as well.

Here's the thing:  I'm kind of in a Zone of Awesomeness in life right now.  A decade-long dream is coming true in my life - one that I surrendered as dead and gone just 8 months ago.  So the usual craving/hunger in me to be filled...well, just now it ain't there.  I'm like...filled to overflowing with Jesus stuff, you know?  I'm kind of in first love/head over heels/starry-eyed mode for the moment.  There's no room just now for the empty yawning space that screams "fill me with carbs and hurry up about it!"  

It feels kind of like a cheat, you know?  Because I'm not tormented by fantasies of foods that aren't on my eating plan.  If it's not hard, it can't be good...that's not necessarily true, but it's what the part of me that whispers, "Karen, you surely must be cheating" believes.

I think I'll enjoy it while it lasts, this business of being overstuffed with Jesus mode.  What I know about life and about me is that it tends to be cyclical...and sooner or later life will most likely find a way to derail my feeling of fullness that currently so skillfully holds the hungry beast within me at bay.  I think I need to practice good habits HARD now and hope filling with Him gets to be enough of a go-to that I don't fall off into oblivion whenever it the stuff next hits the fan. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

grace day, and a wish to shift the focus

Today my plans were to visit some great friends after church.  When I reminded my friend I was coming to her house, she gladly let menu:  fried pizzas, homemade peach cobbler, homemade ice cream.  

Wooooo DOGgies!

See, this is why I built in the grace day.  If I married myself to absolutely no variation ever, then my choices would be:
                *back out of coming, so I could go home and eat veggies
                *rush to the grocery store and bring my own food to her house (not awkward at all, eh?!)
                *choose to "fast" during the visit (everyone loves a faster amidst the feast...)
I guess I like my choice of going, eating reasonable portions, and enjoying the day.  Hallelujah for a grace day!

On another note, it begins to distress me that I'm letting this blog slide into only food journaling.  COWS is certainly not supposed to be just another diet plan.  This is a SPIRITUAL approach; I find that my blog is not really going that direction.  

Noting it, praying about it, and hoping to shift the focus starting tomorrow.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

nice remainder of the day

Visited my parents and my sister's family at the campground where they like to weekend.  Lovely time of sitting in the afternoon breeze, chatting and in on hurry to go anywhere.

Dinner from the grill - fish and chicken, along with fresh tomato slices and a careful 1-serving of beans & rice.  

Snack when I got home - bowl of granola cereal with some milk.  

Totals look decent to me for the day!

Ahhh sweet sleep...come and meet with me now.

i love you, saturday

What a great day.  Slept in.  Blogged big news.  Checked out a health food store with Ashely and brought home all kinds of wonderful things.  Salad feast for lunch with her.  And now I'm headed out to visit my parents at their campground.  Yuppers, life is good.

I found a non-caloric sweetener at Great Grains called "Sweeten Me" all-natural sweetener crystals that looks interesting.  I brought a box home and we'll see how this goes.  

Food thus far:

Breakfast - bowl of granola with milk (measured carefully to stay at 1 serving of each) and a cup of hot green tea sweetened with the pink stuff.

Snack - a cup of cantaloupe

Lunch - chicken breast cooked in olive oil, hard boiled egg, baby carrots, and a salad made of organic lettuce, spinach, tomato, olives, walnuts, feta, purple onion and a wee bit of garlic vinaigrette dressing.  About a cup of cantaloupe.  Also, some crackers I found - Almond Nut-Thins, low sodium with a hint of Sea Salt.  I felt dubious about them but having something crunchy crackerish on hand seems good, and these are wheat/gluten-free.  Low calorie and I'm guessing low carb, though I don't know that for sure, I guess.  The first one was...a surprise, because it was edible (I truly expected horrible.)  They grew on me fast; I'm lovin' em. 

Will take a hard boiled egg and some carrots for a snack on the drive. 

So today's summary thus far including the snack I've not yet had:  2 breads, 4 fruits, 3.5 proteins, 5 veggies, 1 milk.  

Happy Saturday, all!

Friday, August 20, 2010

iffy day

Hmm it was an iffy day, food-wise.

Breakfast:  toast, peanut butter, a treat of peach jam for one of my "sweets" options, skim milk, and green tea.

It was a coworker's birthday; she had brought...DUNKIN DONUTS.  Oh golly.  I've long thought those were the best donuts of all.  I tormented myself a bit and then decided to eat one, thereby using up ALL the rest of my sweets for the week.  Also resolved to have no more bread today, to compensate (I think I should count it as a bread in addition to being 2 sweets).  Truth:  it was fresh and very wonderful.  

Lunch was a working lunch.  I was very distracted and forgot, while ordering, that I was out of red meat options this week.  So, I enjoyed half a steak salad (picked every last crouton off) and a bowl of fresh fruit.

Hard boiled egg for a snack.

Supper was half a dozen boiled shrimp, a chopped tomato, and a lovely plate of green beans with half a potato, a bit of onion, a sprinkle of parmesan and...1 slice of chopped bacon.  Cuz I decided I had already blown the red meat thing.  It wasn't so much bacon, but it was a deliberate, calculated step off the path, just on account that I had already done so today.

That's how I got this way in the first place.  Bad choice.

Summary for the day:

bread 2, protein 4.5, sweets 3, milk 1, veggie 6, fruit 1

So my snack tonight will be yogurt/berries/the wee-est bit of cereal. 

That's enough on food.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

saw the Book of Eli tonight

Dinner in COWS mode was good - both the food and the conversation.  

Tilapia baked with a sun dried tomato marinade, salad with just a little bit of caesar dressing, summer squash and zucchini squash.  

Drank my 30 oz of water perhaps times two today.

Snack when I got home:  1/2 serving vanilla no-sugar yogurt, 1/2 cup berries, 1/4 cup cereal.  I get something sweet without using one of my 3 per week sweet options.  YAY!

Summary for the day:

4 protein, 2.5 bread, 2.5 dairy, 3 fruit, 7 veg

Which, I think, fits the plan!

Having a good day.

Breakfast the usual - toast, peanut butter, skim milk plus the usual add-ons of juice and green tea

Snack a hard boiled egg

Lunch - turkey and pepper jack cheese on a slice of bread with brown mustard.  2 nice size garden tomatoes.  Half a cup of cantaloupe.  What a feast.

Taking baby carrots back to work for my afternoon snack, though they do tend to be a bit awkward to eat at the desk (can you say MOUTHFUL OF CRUNCHINESS?!)

Eating dinner tonight at the home of Stacy, another of the COWS.  Menu sounds fantabulous and well within my paramters.  Watching the Book of Eli, too, about which I am quite excited!

I discovered just now that I think I've been having a wrong double standard on serving sizes.  I have been counting fruit serving sizes as half a cup, but veggies as a whole cup.  Looking further, I think veggies are half a cup too.  Which means I've been eating a spectacular number of servings of veggies. LOL  I discovered this directly AFTER gloriously enjoying 2 tomatoes with salt and pepper.  Ah well, no harm done, methinks, since I don't have a limit on (non-starchy) vegetables.

Life is good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

examining violations as i summarize the day

The end of my day went pretty well, eating-wise, though I had a couple of violations of my plan.  I went out to visit my parents, and stayed for supper.  My mom has lost a tremendous amount of weight and cooks healthy.  The food was all good choices:

grilled lean pork chops (I had half of one, which was my first violation, since I'm out of red meat for the week - gotta pray about whether I need to do something to compensate for that, but feeling pretty good about only eating half of one - it was SO GOOD.)

corn on the cob from the garden (I had one ear with a tiny smidge of spray butter....since I had a sweet potato for lunch, I was out of "starchy veggies" for the day, so this was also a violation.)

sliced tomatoes from the garden WOW  yum

fresh green beans from the garden WOW yum again

So my tallies for the day:  1 bread, 1 fruit, 1 milk, 3.5 protein, and 8, yes EIGHT servings of vegetables!   And yes, I drank my 30 ounces of water - and had no soda today.

I'm thinking the light numbers on the first 3 compensate for the red meat - so I'm not going to do anything else to compensate for the variation/violation that happened today.

Onward and upward!

a prayer, and a midday summary

So, the point of COWS is that eating is a spiritual matter, not just a "rearranging the diet" matter.  Which means our aim is prayer and leaning hard into God, not obsessing.  To that end, a prayer, for those times when I'm not feeling spontaneous prayer:

Lord, I thank You for the gift of Your presence, and that You always welcome me in.

I thank You for the gift of this body, and for the miraculous way it works. 

I thank You for the gift of good food, and for the way You supply it for the nourishment of my body and even pleasure to my senses. 

I know that like sex and sunshine and so many other great gifts You give, food can be harmful to this body when used outside its proper context, or when made more important in my life than You. 

Lord You and I both know how often I live in that “outside the context” zone, where food is concerned.  Please break my heart today regarding the comfort, ease, and cavalier attitude I feel in staying there.  Thank You for loving me enough to leave me no peace there.   

Please teach me deep and true gratitude for this body, that I might treasure the gift enough to stop destroying it daily with my disobedience.

Please grant me the courage to see what I’m really looking for when I crave the binge.  Please grant me the strength to tell another of the COWS what I see.  Please grant me the fortitude to really repent.  Please teach me to cling to You above all other things.  ALL OTHER THINGS.

Most of all, please be glorified in my body, in my mind, and in my life.

In Jesus’ Name. 

Okay so thus far today I have had:

breakfast - toast, peanut butter, cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of wild berry pomegranate juice, cup of hot green tea, sweetened with the pink stuff

no snack, cuz today is an early lunch day

lunch - 4 oz chicken breast cooked in a tiny bit of olive oil, baked sweet potato topped with 1/2 serving of nonfat greek yogurt (my first time trying it...I RECOMMEND as a good substitute for sour cream), killer gigantic half-plate pile of steamed broccoli with 1 tsp butter and sprinkled with parmesan, and half a cup of skim milk to drink

afternoon snack will be a hard-boiled egg and a baggie of baby carrots

Back sometime after dinner! 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

late report

Well it's past my bedtime and I've been busy about much.  Nodding off now and tempted not to track, but I recall how hard it is to dig up yesterday's menu tomorrow.  Here was my intake for the day:

breakfast - toast, peanut butter, skim milk
snack - hard boiled egg, carrots
lunch - sliced turkey on a piece of bread w/brown mustard and a salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, purple onions, tiny little bit of pepperoni, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil
"snack" - diet pepsi
supper - the rest of that lunch salad (HUGE bowl) and a turkey mignon
snack - cup of frozen fruit, container of artificially sweetened yogurt, 1/2 cup french vanilla granola cereal
also drank my 30 oz of water today

Okay so let's summarize:

4 proteins, 3 bread/cereal, 2 dairy, 6 veggie, 2 fruit, bit of olive oil

Well that's a hair short on the fruit, but I'm feeling good about it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

biking and the rundown

I rode my bike (her name is Lulu, and if your bike doesn't have a name, I'm very sorry) three times in 24 hours:  last night after work, this morning as the sun rose, and tonight after work.  This can only happen when it doesn't rain; I'm gambling that tonight is another "no rain" night in hopes of a crack at another sunrise ride -she's out on the car in the dark, waiting for morning.

Bike riding is a fun way to get exercise.  Definitely beats forcing myself to finish 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.  I intend to take full advantage of this gorgeous weather.

Now, let's see if I can reconstruct this day, diet-wise - I do believe I stuck to program!

Breakfast - 1 slice of 12-grain whole grain toast with 2 tbsp all natural peanut butter and 1 cup milk.
Snack - 1 hard boiled egg and a pile of baby carrots
Lunch - 1 slice of that same bread with 2 oz sliced turkey, a slice of hot pepper cheese, and tomato slice; the rest of the tomato cut up; a cup of frozen fruit
"Snack" in the sleepy part of the afternoon - 1 can diet pepsi
Snack after work/before bike ride - 1 serving (carefully measured...uggg) of cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk; 1/2 cup frozen fruit
Snack after bike ride/before Bible study - 1 hard boiled egg
Supper - 1 cup fresh green beans with onion and a tiny bit of bacon (less than half an ounce); 1 zucchini cooked with 1 tomato, garlic, and sweet basil, sprinkled with parmesan and 5 slices of pepperoni (I guess that with the bit of bacon makes today my "red meat" day); 1/2 cup of cantaloupe
Drank my 30 ounces of water and more today.

So that's 6 veggies, 2 1/2 dairy, 4 fruit, 4 1/2 protein, 3 bread/cereal, tiny bit o' olive oil. 

Was never seriously hungry today, but also never stuffed. 

I guess you could say I'm happy with this day's results.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

eek and a food plan

Okay so I weighed.  Had to go to Wal-Mart (bathroom hardware section) to do it; I don't have a scale and my fitness center is on annual shutdown.  The number that rolled round was, I do believe, the highest number I've ever read there.  That's confounding because I am not the largest I've ever been.  So either I didn't weight at my fattest, or the bike riding and such is building muscle, which all dieters seem to understand is heavier than fat.  I dunno.  At any rate it's a hideous number and I've shared it with the group.  Not in the mood to put in up here just now.  The good news:  it's not pushing me into a binge.

Today was a potluck at church.  The timing of that was fortunate; I put it together with John's mantra that "the food plan will be the law" and decided to build grace into my plan.  Maybe SOMEWHERE on the planet people have potlucks with an abundance of foods that are good choices...but in my little corner, church potlucks don't.  I really wanted to go, as the cause for celebration was the installation of our new pastor.  I really didn't want to be the annoying person sitting there not eating, making everyone else feel like water buffalo.  My solution shows up in the food plan, which is copy/pasted below from what I sent to the other COWS:

I am not choosing someone else's pre-fab plan.  Customized myself one that I feel I can stick to and not run off into a train wreck.  If I find it is unhelpful, I'll tighten it down.  But what I'd like is a plan that is something I can just live for life (not only for the duration of this experiment.) 

Important element of my plan:  I have one "flex" day in it.  On that day, the only rule is moderation.  Reasonable portions, no seconds, and stopping as soon as I'm full are the only  specifics for that day.  This leaves me the flexibility for days like today, when I was going to a potluck and knew eating was going to be impossible without grace.  I can only have one flex day per week.  It re-sets every Sunday and the unused days cannot be carried forward.  The flex day is not something I "have" to have weekly, and I should not look for excuses to use it.  It's just a small grace.

Also important to note:  fasting days or portions of days is permitted (for spiritual reasons, NOT for dieting reasons).  When fasting a portion of a day, I may not make up for lost time on the meal(s) I don't fast.

Here's the deal for the other days:

*Veggies:  minimum of 6 servings per day.  Fresh or frozen, whenever possible.  Avoid sauces.  Starchy vegetables limited to 1 serving per day.   Within these parameters, veggies are basically a free food.

*Fruits:  minimum of 3 servings per day.  Fresh or frozen, whenever possible.  Avoid sweeteners.  The only limit on fruits that meet this standard:  less fruit daily than veggies.  Juice permitted (100% only) but never more than 1 serving per day except for on "juice only" fasting days.

*Meats/Proteins:  this one is more complicated:
     *minimum of 3 servings per day of:  chicken/turkey/fish neither fried nor sauced
                                                          all natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter
                                                          nuts (preferably walnuts or almonds)
                                                          dried beans
                                                          (for this category, never more than 1 serving of any one at a sitting)
     *red meat limited to twice weekly, must be lean, and absolutely no eating more than 1 serving (4 oz) at a sitting.
     *fried meats never more than once weekly, with absolutely no eating more than 1 serving (4 oz) at a sitting.

*Milk/yogurt/cheese:  minimum of 1 serving per day; maximum 3.  Milk will be skim only.  Yogurt to be unsweetened or sugar substitute. 

*Oils and fats:  stick to olive oil where possible.  Real butter acceptable but not in a "drowning" or "dripping" measure.

*Sweets:  no more than 3x weekly.  Portion to be strictly controlled (such as one 3.6 oz container of ice cream, or one of those 150 calorie individual microwave brownies, or 2 tsp jelly to go on toast, or HALF a serving of a standard dessert/donut/ monkeying with definitions of "standard."

*Bread/Cereal/Rice/Pasta:   no minimum here, simply because there is no danger I'll "under consume" this, which is perhaps my favorite category.  Maximum of 5 servings per day.  Breads, cereals, and pasta to be whole grain (or pasta can be soy).  Strict adherence to serving size.

The logic behind my "minimums" -
*having to eat more vegetables than fruits will help me get full before I go too far on the fruits
*minimums for lean meat/protein are because a bit of protein with each meal keeps me from getting excessively hungry to the temptation point
*minimums for milk is about my bones; I'm not worrying about setting it higher because I'm never tempted not to drink milk

*Caffeinated beverages:  absolute limit for any day is 12 oz. 

*Water:  minimum 30 oz. per day

Okay, that's it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

rules of engagement, farmer's market, and one last hurrah

In my many years of wrestling with or surrendering to weight problems, I have tried all manner of solutions, from Weight Watchers to the Weigh Down Workshop to hiring a personal trainer and more.  If you've fought the battle, you know the drill, so you gotta be wondering:  what is the diet plan for COWS?

Okay here's the thing:  there is not one.  We are each responsible for coming up with our own eating plan, which we have to email to each other.  As John says, "Once the eating plan is submitted, it is LAW."  The idea behind having a plan is that it gives us parameters - less dithering at every meal or snack time about what's to eat, hence, less temptation.  I think it's pretty cool that we can each do our own thing.  I've spent quite a bit of time pondering my eating plan this week; that will be the subject of tomorrow's blog.  

Next rule:  total transparency about our actual weight.  We all have to email each other our real numbers no later than tomorrow (so honey, it AIN'T happening 'til tomorrow!)  We will weigh every 2 weeks (and of course share the number), to keep from getting overly obsessed about the scale (and to keep from pretending to ourselves if we're really not getting anywhere.)

And:  we pledge to call each other when tempted, and to talk each other off the ledge.  Also, to pray for each other daily, individually, and for ourselves to be free. 

All of this combined with a weekly meeting that promises to be both fun and horrifying (I feel no doubt that John will continue to use the Scripture Hammer on us weekly) should come together to grow us toward freedom, together.  

So, knowing that I have to start being scrupulously good tomorrow, I grabbed a friend this morning and headed for the farmer's market.  Here is the day's take:  

     The stuff in the baggie is sweet basil - mmmm GOLLY looking forward to the feast!

Later in the day I stopped by Target, where the groceries are awesomeness, and picked up a few other essentials, including but not limited to lots of frozen fruit and some pre-cooked roasted chicken breast in strips and a nice bag of shrimp.  

At this point I am definitely prepared for battle.

Chatting with Ashely afterward, I was seized by the sudden urge:  must have one last hurrah!  I'm not saying that it's good, right, or smart...but I really enjoyed the feast delivered to my door by Godfather's Pizza.  John the Exterior Conscience and I had a conversation about that much later, and he brought me back around to the place of remembering I wouldn't be so cavalier in chugging a bottle of Jack if I was seeking sobriety, and of course he is right.  Which just goes to prove, I NEED TO DO THIS.  John's idea is we should pray that God will break our hearts in this territory as His is broken.  I really hate it when he says something so smart.  

Okay, I'll do it. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Okay when last I naked blogged, it was early February, I lived thirty miles from my current abode, and I was struggling.  

So basically, everything has changed and nothing has changed at all.

Since moving to the Quad Cities, I have taken up bicycling.  I really love it.  Hauling the bike up out of the basement, to the park and back, and down into the basement adds 30 or more minutes to my ride time, so I don't get to ride more than 2 or maybe 3 times a week.  Excellent supplemental workout, but not a good core workout. 

Eating...meh.  I discover that eating less is really easy when eating alone.  But it is by no means a cure-all.  

I WAS working out at the fitness center I joined here, most or less.  Thirty minutes on the elliptical.  It's been one thing and another that has sort of wrecked that for me since late June.  I can feel the pounds coming back on.  Watching the notches change on my belt again, this time for the wrong reason.

Some of my friends from Bible study have decided we should do a weight loss/fitness/accountability group.  John, who is The Natural Leader Among Us, appointed me to come up with the name of the group.

"Don't ask me to do that, John," I tried to warn him.  In my proud position as Insistently the Worst Attitude in the Group, I was sure to come up with a smartass name and no one needed that.  But he was all persistent, like John can be, and so I gave him what he asked for:


...also known as, COWS.

I told him we need some kind of slogan about moooving the plate away.  He told me we should work in the scripture about God owning the cattle on a thousand hills.  We speculated about whether he is "the bull" of the group, as the only guy.  We imagined a graphic:  a heifer in a bikini.

No bikini - is this bovine porn?
Suffice it to say, I laughed until my belly ached.

I thought for sure the rest of the group would put their foot down and say we must come up with something reasonable, something dignified, something...better.  But it seems they are as warped as John and I are.  So!  COWS it is! 

I missed the first meeting.  I swear it was unintentional.  Went bike riding with a friend and it all just took longer by far than I thought it would.  I checked in remotely via cell phone while driving home afterward.  It sounded like they were having fun.

John, the Ever Instructional, shared some gluttony scriptures with the group at that meeting, which Sarah faithfully emailed to all of us:

Proverbs 23:2 "Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony."
Proverbs 23:20 "Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons."
Proverbs 23:21 "for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."
Proverbs 28:7 "The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father."
Darn that John and his scriptures he writes out all by himself independently of God.

John makes some good points when he's not busy clobbering us with ouchy scriptures.  He notes that if an addict came to your house and said he broke his sobriety and used, you would never laugh.  You would never commiserate in a way that said, "hey, it ain't no thang."  (Hopefully) you would be broken for him, desperate for him, cry with him, pray for him, support him in his efforts to regain sobriety.  

But food's the safe sin.  It really is.  An idolatry we can all enjoy openly, giggle about, forgive, forget.

Then John Who Is Always Right points out that we mostly tend to try to lose weight for the wrong reason:  vanity.  We want to look better.  That's not exactly the ultimate humanitarian goal now, is it?  But what if I decided I need to take care of this body so it will remain alive and healthy for ministry?  So that my time and money won't be drained away by doctors, but can be used for the cause of Christ?  What if I were to choose to see it as a stewardship issue:  I was given a body "fearfully and wonderfully made"....maybe I shouldn't run it down into semi-usefulness.  And by the way, who is watching me, following my example, being inspired or dragged down by me?  It is inevitably more people than I think it is.  

So I am resolving to focus on such things and not imagine how much better I'll look in smaller jeans.  It's a better answer to that movie star question, "Where's my motivation?"

Well that's enough for tonight.  Tomorrow's blog:  the rules of engagement.  

Let's do this thing.