Tag Archive | weight loss

Compared to Who? A Book Review

QueenmirrorThe evil queen in Disney’s “Snow White” made a soul shattering mistake. She looked in her magic mirror and asked the question: “Who’s the fairest of them all?” When the answer came back that a beautiful girl, Snow White, had usurped her in that role, the queen was consumed by jealousy and thereafter sought to end the life of her chief rival.

Heather Creekmore, in her new book, “Compared to Who?: A Proven Path to Improve Your Body Image,” would agree that comparison is a killer. And self esteem, which is what the queen wanted the mirror to help build in her, is really counter productive. Heather submits, “If we want to see true freedom from our body image struggles, we need to forsake esteeming ourselves and pursue esteeming the king.”

Having struggled with body image from a very young age, Heather, the wife of a pastor and church planter in Dallas, Texas, and mother of four, speaks from a very personal place. Her honesty about her issues throughout the pages of this book speaks to the thousands of women who are bombarded every moment of every day by images of super models and celebrities, Pinterest-, Facebook- and Instagram-perfect women who seem to have everything we could ever need to finally be happy.

Yet fad diets, hours a day of exercise and and an Imelda Marcos-sized wardrobe don’t solve the soul-craving that keeps us disgusted with the way we look even when others might look upon us with envy. So what is the key?

In “Compared to Who?” we are given, as the subtitle suggests, a way out of
our struggles to have the ideal body. It’s the gospel. Pure and simple.

Does that mean it’s an easy task? Just do these 5 things and you’ll never struggle with body image again. No, and thankfully, Heather does not sugar coat (great word picture for a body-image article, isn’t it?) the process.

So what is at the root of our body-image issues? Sin. What do we need to break free? Salvation.

Compared to Who?

And community.

It was just 2 1/2 years ago that I began my weight-loss journey that I talk about in this post. I could not have done it if it wasn’t for the group of women with whom I traveled and continue to travel to this day. A monetary incentive didn’t hurt, but the accountability and encouragement from others was key.

As Heather says in “Compared to Who?”: “My dream is for Christian women to relate to each other differently. Until our friendships move beyond superficial endorsements of our struggles, we battle alone. You may have 1, 849 Facebook friends and as many Twitter and Instagram followers, but until you have one or two women in your life willing to listen to the heart behind your words, offer you grace, and show you how the gospel applies, you walk alone.”

I don’t really struggle badly with body image. I’ve never taken diet pills or tried fad diets, or lived at the gym. I don’t look at fashion magazines or compare myself to celebrities. I needed to lose some weight and ended up almost 30 pounds lighter after our challenge 2 years ago. But I don’t always smile when I look in the mirror. And I have a 14-year-old daughter who needs to see her value in Christ and trust the gospel to tell her the truth about who she is. I’m desperate for her to see Jesus as He really is and therefore see herself through His eyes.

I am thankful for Heather’s words in this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever looked at anyone else—whether their body, their hair, their home, their children—and thought, “I wish I was more like her.”

And the evil queen’s magic mirror? Its mistake was simple. The best answer to the queen’s question about who’s the fairest of them all should have been, “Jesus. He’s the fairest, and He’s all you need.”

 

Heather CreekmoreSee more of what Heather Creekmore has to say at her blog: http://comparedtowho.me/ . Buy your copy of “Compared to Who?” at Amazon  or Christian Book Distributors.

Images from The Disney Wiki and http://www.comparedtowho.me

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4 Things I Learned On My Weight-Loss Journey

Today marks 1 year since I began my journey toward improved health through weight loss and better eating (which often go hand-in-hand). I have lost 28 pounds and several inches in various places. I won’t bore you with the details.

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January, 2015 and January 2016, indicating which number workout I’m on for the week.

Suffice it to say that the change and the encouragement have been significant. How do I do it? I eat less and I exercise more. Fewer carbs, fewer calories, more workouts. That’s it.

It started with a challenge from a friend to a bunch of moms who work together at our kids’ parent-involved school. She and her husband had been in a similar “biggest loser” group and she had lost about 25 pounds. She was so encouraged by what she had accomplished that she wanted to give us a chance to succeed as well. It didn’t hurt that there was a financial incentive.

So on January 17th, 2015, I and 16 of my friends committed to 12 weeks of exercise challenges, weight-loss goals and healthy eating.

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Top are my before and after pictures, and then 5 months after that.

It hasn’t been easy, but even now I’m continuing on because it is worth it. All those “Lose weight without giving up the foods you love” gimmicks are just that: gimmicks. What it takes is hard work and dedication. Here are 4 things I learned along the way.

#1. I’m still the same person I was a year ago. I’m just a better, healthier version. I wasn’t unhappy with my life before. I have the same mind, I have the same heart, I have the same gifts and talents. But I do have different clothes, and I feel a lot better about myself. This has needed to happen for a long time.

#2. My husband didn’t love me any less before I lost weight. Now he just loves less of me. He never told me I needed to lose weight. He never pushed me to exercise. He never looked askance when I ordered dessert at a restaurant. And, in fact, he loves to bake and is at this very moment making banana muffins! But when I made the decision to take on this task, I know he was happy. I never felt belittled or unloved. But now he calls me his trophy wife. We’ve been married 25 years.

#3. I can’t do it alone. After our initial 12-week challenge was over, my friends and I decided to keep going in another Facebook group that we called T.H.R.I.V.E. That stands for Total Health, Real Inspiration, Vitality and Encouragement. We keep each other accountable, which is absolutely key. If I don’t feel like working out, I know my friends are watching, so I get out there. And we make sure that we emphasize that the scale isn’t everything. Health is the ultimate goal, not wearing size-6 clothes. We all believe that we are created in God’s image and are valuable and beautiful just as we are. But that doesn’t mean we’re healthy.

#4. If I can do it, anyone can. Truly. I was 53 years old when I started this process. I had tried numerous times before to lose weight and had very little success. The key this time is accountability with a group as committed as I am to eating better and getting healthy. I don’t have nagging health issues, I just really wanted to lose weight. I didn’t like the way I looked. But there are some who are battling sickness. We share recipes and encourage one another to make good choices in foods. We cheer each other on. It’s so much easier to reach a goal when you have cheerleaders.

I’m not done yet. I still have about 10 pounds I would like to lose. That would put me about in the center of a healthy BMI. I also have a friend who is a personal trainer who is going to help me firm up what I have. The temptation to eat more than I need and to gravitate toward processed and sweet foods is strong. But my accountability group helps me make good choices. Except during the holidays. That was too much!

The challenges are many, but the benefits are worth it. If this is something you’ve been struggling with, let me encourage you: you can do it! Find at least one person to start the journey with and do it together. You will not be sorry.

Tempted

I’ve sworn off sugar. For the next three weeks, I’m going to see if not indulging in those little (and sometimes not so little) sweet treats will help me begin to lose this stubborn weight that has creeped up on me these last, oh, 20 years.

I might as well admit it right now: I have no will power, nor do I have any self-discipline. The stuff simply must not come into my house, or I will consume it. I should buy myself a really nice dress that is one size too small. Maybe then the goal of fitting into that dress will motivate me.

ImageI’m not too tempted by anything else; I’m not a spender, so shopping doesn’t tempt me. I’m a cheapskate really, so eating out doesn’t tempt me badly enough that I give into it. But chocolate? Truly that is my downfall. And Easter is right around the corner! But if I see great progress in the next two weeks, the success will motivate me to be very careful.

I was reading a devotional by Joyce Meyer this morning. I’m going to borrow from her five steps we can take to be successful in resisting temptation:

First, be wise. It’s like what we always want to see in our children: the knowledge of natural consequences, cause and effect. Look before you leap.

Second, believe that you can resist temptation. In this case, a positive attitude goes a long way toward helping you actually overcome the temptation. If you think you can’t, you’re not even going to try.

Third, think of temptation as normal life. It will always be there, so be ready to fight.

Fourth, avoid areas of weakness. If you are tempted by sugar, don’t hang out in the candy store. It’s pretty simple.

Fifth, don’t give yourself too much credit. We will always, our entire life, face temptations. If we ever think we have it conquered, we’ve already started to lose.

First Corinthians 10:13 was the very first Bible verse I ever memorized: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man. And God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. And with that temptation, He provides a way of escape also, that you might be able to endure it.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way we are, but was without sin. So, if being tempted were sinful, then Jesus never would have experienced it. It’s the giving in to the temptation that’s the problem.

So will I be able to endure the temptations that will come my way in the next few weeks?

I’ll get back to you on that.

Thankful today for:

129. salad

130. spring break

131. flocks of birds flitting by