Why the “Last Arrow” book is about me!

Several days ago I posted a review from “The Last Arrow” book and I listed some of my favorite quotes from the book.  I didn’t write about why they were my favorites and their correlation to my blog so here it is.

Quote #1

“There is a shift that happens when you refuse to remain or be defined by the average, and it comes when you cross a line others would consider madness.  While everyone around you is telling you it can wait, you know you can’t”.

In my experience, when your life has something in it that you do not want, in order to truly change it, you have to experience this shift.  In my situation, it was my inability to control my food.  I knew that everyone under the sun was treating their problem with weight and food with one or more of the million things the diet industry was selling.  None of these average options were for me because nothing I tried worked.

I wanted a solution to my “problem”!  I did not want another temporary fix.  I knew that I had to go beyond what most others had tried to do.  Giving up flour and sugar…for life, seemed like madness to most people who knew me.  They thought I was setting myself up for a sure to fail plan.  Others thought I had picked a route that was too drastic!

I have said it before, you can not make a permanent change in your life if you don’t have a total shift in the way you presently think.  When we are younger and struggle with food and weight, we think we have so much time to find a solution or that a solution will show up in our lives.  The urgency isn’t there when we are younger.  When you get as old as me, your urgency changes because your realize that you are running out of time.

This shift also happens when you decide that you will not live in your current situation for one moment longer!  Once I realized this, I was willing to do whatever it took.  If recovery of this lifelong burden was giving up flour and sugar, then so be it!  And I then wasted NO time and went for it immediately. If someone I knew told me that they were going to do what I did, I would have thought them MAD as well!

Where I am at now…I am so thankful that I experienced that shift!

How does this quote speak to you?


The Total Solar Eclipse!

I know that by this time many people are totally sick of hearing about the Solar Eclipse that happened today!  Sorry, but I live in Missouri and was right in the line of this huge event!  To not write about it would just not be right!

Our city of St. Louis was right in the path of the eclipse and for a solid week now everyone has been talking about it, reading about it and renting their houses out for it.  We have had people from all over the world come to our area just to witness it so it is a very big deal!

I never once thought about purchasing a pair of “eclipse glasses” because I had no intention of looking at it.  My kids asked me why not and my response was “No big deal!”  However, this morning when I woke up and turned on the news, there was nothing else being talked about except the eclipse.  So I decided that I just wanted to experience what it felt like.  I didn’t want to see it, just feel it.

At about 20 minutes before the time of totality, I got a chair and went out on my driveway, sat down and began to take it all in!  The eclipse had already started and it was very eery out.  It was sunny but not fully sun.  About an hour before, it was so hot that the sweat was rolling down everywhere.  Everything looked strange as if I were seeing things for the first time.  Shadows were different and there was a cool breeze.  Not a strong breeze but it felt 20 degrees cooler than and hour before.

Then totality came and washed over the landscape.  The sky took on colors that I had never witnessed before.  I was facing West which is where the sun sets so when I normally look out that way at dusk, the brightness of the sun covers the skyline.  Since this was happening at 1:15 in the afternoon, the sun was directly overhead and looking our west the view of the sky was incredible!  All the insects and birds that you hear at night started making their noises.

The darkness folded over the entire area.  Streetlights came on and all cars had to have their headlights on.  It all felt so odd but yet so peaceful!  And then, as fast as it went dark, about 2 minutes later the light came back.  Not like full light, but it was back.  During totality, I did look up at the sun and saw this incredible scene of the sun with a big black dot covering it with a tiny rim of light.  I will never forget what it looked like!

We are so fascinated with nature and what beauty nature gives to us that people traveled all this way just to experience it!  There were parties all over the place and ice cream trucks everywhere!  Isn’t it amazing, though, that our hunger for nature needs to be celebrated with non natural substances?  Why does food (if that is what you want to call it) have to be involved with everything we do even during an event that shows us the beauty of REEL NATURE?

Anyway, this was an amazing experience for me to feel and be a part of.  I know my words can not do this event justice in describing it to you but, as is with GOD, it was AWESOME!

A Book Review of “The Last Arrow”

I recently had the privilege to read a new book called “The Last Arrow.  Save nothing for the next life!” written by Erwin Raphael McManus.  He is the best selling Author of “The Barbarian Way”.  Warning!!! This book will positively change the way you look at your life!

This book is very easy to read, in fact, I was able to fit it in between my life and had it read in 2 days!  The content is deep but you don’t get lost in the depth!  It will really tug at you and make you think but all in a really good way!

Because I write my blog about inspiring the desire to put food in its rightful place in your life, I found so much meaning about this subject in the book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

“There is a shift that happens when you refuse to remain or be defined by the average and that shift comes when you cross a line others would consider madness!  While everyone around you says it can wait, you know it can’t.”

“Passion is about what fuels us; urgency is about how much it matters right now.”

“As long as we have a contingency plan to go backward, then backward is where we will find ourselves going in the end.  For too many of us, our plan B is to go back to the life we never wanted in the first place.”

“Sometimes the only way to set people free from the past is to create a different future that gives those all around you the inspiration and hope to set their own past on fire.”

“Set yourself free from all the things that you keep holding on to that keep holding on to you.”

“When God tells you to strike an arrow you just keep striking and striking and striking and striking and you do not stop until you hear heaven shout, IT IS FINISHED!”

“Sometimes we blame God for his lack of concern, while all the time what’s missing is our urgency.  We expect God to act but never take responsibility to act ourselves.  We decide that playing it safe is the reasonable choice.  What, in fact, may be in play is that we are not postured to receive what God wants to give us.  We are best postured to receive God’s abundances when we move outside ourselves to the needs of others.”

Love, love, love this book!  In my next post I will explain how these quotes resonate with my transformation both spiritually and physically!

I was “handicapped” with extra weight!

Please know that I mean no disrespect for anyone who has life long physical handicaps!  Many people live with physical handicaps everyday that can not do anything to reverse their situation and I have a tremendous respect for all who suffer!

I was very close to being actually considered “handicapped” due to my size.  There were so many things that I could not physically do.  I was unable to do things that most people could do and it really made me feel substandard in so many ways!  My son had even said to me one time that soon I would need a cart to drive in to do the grocery shopping.  I was right on the cusp!

Let me introduce you to a woman I know who I will call “Glenda”. This, of course, is not her real name. I have known Glenda for a little over 3 years.  She is one of the kindest people I know and has such a great sense of humor that she makes me laugh all the time.  When I first met her, she was very large…larger than me!  She has had weight loss surgery and is now about 130 pounds less but is still about 150 pounds overweight.

When I met her, she was in a wheelchair and on oxygen.  She could get out of the wheelchair on her own but was unable to stand on her own.  Her knees were bad and she needed knee replacement surgery which they would not perform until she lost weight.  Over the past three years there have been so many events that she would have liked to attend but she was unable because it would have been too hard for her physically!

At some point over the last year, she stopped losing weight but still needs to lose 150 pounds to be in a normal size body!  So why am I telling you about Glenda?  You might be in the same situation or probably know someone similar.  I am telling you about her because as she was trying to desperately lose weight, I was losing weight in my recovery program with a disciplined way of eating.

Of course, she noticed my weight loss and always complimented me every week when she saw me.  At some point, she asked me what I was doing.  I was anxious to tell her more details because I knew she would benefit from the same program.  When I told her that I gave up flour and sugar, she immediately said to me that she would never be able to do that.

Over this past year, her health has been on the decline.  She has so many health problems that I can not keep up with them all.  She did reveal to me this past week that ALL of her health problems would go away if she wasn’t carrying all this extra weight.  Unfortunately, Glenda has decided to give up trying to lose weight!

This tears at my heart!  She is 5 years older than me and is just plain tired of living this overweight, handicapped life (her words, not mine).  She shuffles around and does the best she can but is so limited in what she can do.  I just want to try to help her with what I have learned but I have no idea how to reach her to get her to a point of believing she can heal from this!   I don’t want to see her give up and give in to her life…but it isn’t about what I want!  I have the key but she needs to turn the key in the door!

But by the grace of GOD, there go I!  I know that there have been people in my life that wanted to help me but couldn’t reach me.  Many people I disregarded because I truly thought that no one could relate to my actual problem! And I truly thought that no one could know my pain!

I feel this tremendous responsibility to help those who suffer with this problem with food!  For those of us that have allowed food to disable us, we suffer in silence! I just don’t have it in me to ignore it in another sufferer!

What do you think I can do to help my friend?  What would you do in the same situation?

A disciplined way of eating

I am constantly being asked what I did to lose weight.  As I have said before, that is a loaded question with no easy answer!

Do I answer with the story of my lifelong search of what was wrong with me food wise?  Do I tell them everything I tried and spent money on that, in fact, did not work?  I think that what I did that did not work is just as important in answering this question!  Most of the time, I answer this question one way!

I tell them that I train myself with a disciplined way of eating!  You can see the immediate disappointment in their face!  Most people would rather have me tell them that I take a pill that costs $1000.00 per month!  That would be easier than “discipline”!  Please know that I didn’t just need to lose a couple of pounds for a class reunion, I had to change a lifetime of food addiction and obsession!

Disciplines are valuable because they allow us to do what we cannot do by willpower alone.  I must arrange my life around certain disciplines or practices that will enable me to do what willpower can’t!  Most diets with food plans are totally based on willpower.  Nothing else is taken into consideration (such as having an allergy to flour and sugar). That is why most diets fail! If you want to make a permanent change in your life, you have to train yourself for that change.  Training takes disciplines!

Let’s say that you have a problem spending money on clothes and shoes. To put this problem to rest, would you solve it by continuously going to clothing and shoe stores and counting on your willpower? Ouch, that would hurt!  But if you go into those stores with no credit cards and only $25 in cash, you are disciplining what you are doing.  Think about it, it is entirely two different things and your ability to be successful is much higher if you count on your discipline!

We use discipline in so many areas of our life that we are not even overtly aware.  We use discipline in the amount of make-up we apply, the amount of perfume we wear, the speed we drive, the timing of our activities throughout the day, the way we choose to converse with other people, etc.  Yet why is the thought of using a disciplined way of eating so bad?  If we know that being in the right size body is a win-win all the way around, why would we not want to train ourselves that way!

I think, but I could be wrong, that it is because it is so socially acceptable to have NO willpower, or any power at all over our food!  Smoking cigarettes used to be totally acceptable, but look now how many people disciplined themselves to stop! In the past 20 years the change in the amount of people who smoke has been significantly reduced!

Instead of trying to solve the problem of obesity in our country through restriction, maybe the problem would be solved by training a disciplined way of eating!  Something tells me that someone somewhere, doesn’t really want it to be resolved.  It is like there is a financial benefit to someone to have a third or more of the people in our country to be obese.  I do not want to “feed” that pocket!

What do you think the reason is that we balk at disciplining ourselves with food?

The thought that being overweight is substandard to Others

Through the thirty years or more of being overweight, my opinion of my self was one where I felt substandard to those who didn’t appear to have a weight problem.

Even during my teenage years when I was not overweight by any stretch of the imagination, I was envious of the girls who were smaller than me.  I felt like I didn’t make the grade, that I was substandard and not good enough!  I have no idea where these thoughts came from but I know I have had them most of my life!

When I got older I got heavier and found myself even more envious of those women who were smaller.  When you envy someone, that comes from someone having something that you wish you had.  I always wanted a smaller body!

Going through life like that, it surprises no one that I have a feeling of inferiority.  I had developed a sense that everyone who did not have a weight problem were somehow more superior than me.  I know this sounds ridiculous but I am now beginning to see this!

I am always offering to do things that are really hard!  I go way beyond the call of duty on most things and sign up for the hardest roles.  Deep down I don’t really want to do the things I sign up for.  When my sons were in high school I joined the Mothers’ Club.  When they were looking for volunteers to become the President of the organization, I immediately signed up.  I knew it was going to push me to my limit but I became the President anyway.

It was like I felt like I had to do these things so that I would be accepted by others.  Like I lived a substandard life so I had to go overboard just to be at everyone else’s level.

Where did this thinking come from?  Part of me thought “All you people look down on me because I am overweight, but look at me, I not only can do what you all can do, I can do even more!”  There has never been any proof that people actually looked down on me.  These were my thoughts! Crazy, Crazy, Crazy!  And I still do this!

Even after losing all this weight, I still feel substandard!  I thought it had to do with the weight…but obviously it doesn’t!  But I am very aware that I am tired of doing the things that no one else wants to do just because it makes me feel more worthy (for about a second)!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like I am better than anyone because of my weight loss, in fact, I have a huge amount of compassion for those that still suffer.  But I still am running low on the “worthy” category!

Funny how a lifetime has been spent by me thinking it was my lack of control over food that made me feel substandard to others.  As it turns out, it is something else!

Anyone have any ideas on why I feel this way?  Have you felt this way due to your thoughts on your weight?

I didn’t fit anywhere!

Ok, I know that this title could have more than one meaning.  Does it mean that I felt like a misfit and didn’t fit in with any particular group or does it mean that I really didn’t fit because of my size?  Even though I could write for a day about the first meaning, today I am writing about the later.

Obviously, 320 pounds is a very large woman!  Although I wasn’t to the point where I had to ride in the cart at the grocery store (meaning no disrespect to someone who does) I had hundreds of situations that I did not fit.

I just recently helped a friend of mine who had to have surgery.  I stayed overnight with her in the hospital and it brought back nightmares for me!  I remembered several times over the past 25 years in my large sized body, the terrible times in the hospital.  Each time brought a heightened level of pure humiliation!  It started with the delivery of my first baby.

Whenever I was in the hospital over the last 25 years, I felt like I was disabled.  A team of people would have to come in just to roll me over.  I would be so uncomfortable in the hospital bed that I couldn’t move myself because I had lost the strength to do so.  There were 3 visits where I had surgery and trying to recuperate from them while being so large was the most difficult thing.  They would want you to get up and walk and I couldn’t even get out of bed.  It was so frightening to me and it made my anxiety level rise…along with my blood pressure.

One of my surgeries, I did not tell them that I had sleep apnea.  Although it had not been officially diagnosed, I knew I had it.  I was asked at my pre-surgery appointment and I told them that I did not have it.  Immediately after surgery, I was snoring and stopping breathing so bad in recovery that they thought something was medically wrong with me and put me in intensive care!   Why wasn’t this ever enough for me to want to do something about my weight?  Oh, that is right, because I didn’t know what to do about it!

Besides my being in the hospital, my son, who has type 1 diabetes, has been in the hospital 4 times during my huge size.  Since he was a minor child at the time, I had to stay at the hospital overnight with him.  This presented a multitude of problems.  I had to sleep in a chair that reclined.  The chairs have high, solid wood arms and were too narrow for me to fit. I couldn’t fit sideways or laying on my back.  So I suffered not only from embarrassment but from getting no sleep during an extremely stressful time!

Many times I have gone to Doctor’s appointments and there was not a chair in the waiting room that was big enough for me.  I did not fit in many cars and many cars that I did fit, the seat belt wasn’t large enough for me.  Most toilets I could not fit on and had to develop a wiping system that was quite humiliating! Bathroom stalls in most public bathrooms were too small for me and I always had to use the handicap rooms. I have broken many chairs at other people’s houses, not to mention at my own.  A queen size bed was not big enough for both me and my husband to sleep.

In most restaurants I could not walk between tables to get to my table.  I would either knock someone in the front or back of me. Don’t get me started on booths in restaurants!  My boobs would be smashed between the table or would be set on the table as if they were part of the meal! Seats in movie theaters and sports venues were impossible!

What a life this was!  Any each and every time I did not fit somewhere, my humiliation and shame grew!  I chose to live like this because I truly did not know that there was any answer for me!  Had I known that there was a solution for me that actually worked, I would have moved mountains to live better!

I would love to hear from any of you about the subject of not fitting in spaces!  Please let me know how you have felt about it!