May 11, 2017

Sensing His Peace and Comfort Today

It is a wonderful day today. I woke up without a headache (praise the Lord), and I am feeling so well overall. I slept well, and I finally feel like I am "able" to rest now that my summer vacation has arrived. It is Thursday, May 11, and by all accounts, the month seems to be progressing without any hiccups. I just received my Regent student evaluations, and as typical, they were good (4-5 range). I am pleased to think that despite all the work this past semester, I was able to maintain a solid "above average" performance in class. Thank you, Jesus!

My prayer today is that I hear some news about my fall schedule. I am set, as I mentioned yesterday, with contracts in place for GCU. However, I am counting on ASU and Regent to help me live comfortably through the coming year. I really want a permanent position so that I can feel at ease and no longer worry about the nature of the temporary work. Yet, my faith is in His abilities to bring this to pass, so I am choosing not to worry about this need today. He has me covered, so well covered. I am thankful for His blessing. I am thankful for His provision, and I am thankful that He is with me every single day. He alone is worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy to be adored!


Good Morning Musings

I woke up today feeling well, like really, really well. I cannot explain what has happened, but praise to God, I think I've lost a little weight. Yes, I am hesitant to say it, but I have been keeping measurements and it "appears" that my middle section has shrunk some over the past month. I am jumping for joy because I have been trying to lose weight for over a year now. It seemed that nothing I did -- Weight Watchers or Atkins -- shifted the weight. However, since I finished my dissertation in March, I have noticed that I am less stressed. The reduction in stress hormone seems to have enabled my metabolism to reset. Anyhoo, I am enjoying the fact that I seem to be a little smaller than I was mid-semester.

My hope is that this trend continues. I am currently 20 pounds up from where I feel most comfortable. I have tried to maintain a lower weight, but I have been stuck on this roller coaster ride of up/down and all over the scale. It doesn't help that my digital scale can be shifted up or down by 10 pounds simply by how you stand on it. Sigh! I never get a true read, and when it is up, I feel miserable. When it is down, I am overjoyed. This is why I decided to stop weighing myself and focus on how my clothes fit me. I've read that this is the way to keep your weight in line for years, but I am fixated on the number. It was hard to let that go, but now that I have, I feel more empowered to actually do something about my shape.

For example, I am thinking of joining the local health club down the road from me. It would be good to have a place to go to workout each day. Furthermore, I have already changed my diet some. I decided to give up all soda -- diet and regular -- and drink water only. I have been on an all-water diet before, and truthfully, I feel better when I drink water. I still have my coffee in the am and after dinner, but I am drinking only water in between. I have also given up desserts. I am eating more salads, no snacks between meals, and no desserts after meals. Of course, on special occasions, I will still have a small bite, but the key here is not to restrict anything; rather, it is to choose good healthy foods with an occasional splurge. I simply cannot go all "whole hog" one way or another. I tried Paleo. I tried Atkins (low-carb), and I tried lo-calorie. What seems to be working now is a reduction of calories -- simply math. I am trying to eat 500 calories less per day -- consistently. This should cause a 1 pound drop in weight each week. That means in 20 weeks -- by my birthday in October -- I should be down 20 pounds, give or take a pound.

I would like to workout, however. I think the benefits of working out along with a reduced diet will help me feel even better. I would like to build cardio and muscle so that my clothes look better on me, but also so that I can walk, hike, climb or do any number of regular activities without fear of injury. The local fitness center is only $10 per month. They have elliptical machines along with treadmills. I could also use the weight machines. Honestly, it is a good deal. I need my car back -- please, Lord? Once I have my own transportation again, I can go when I want and not have to check with my son on his schedule. It will be a good thing, praise God!

For now, though, I am concentrating on what I can do here at home. I have oodles of DVDs, and with my diet change, I feel good that I should be able to lose a few pounds between now and when I take my parents to Indiana for vacation in June. My prayer is to be able to fit into my summer clothes, mostly size 8-10, and not have that "I am going to explode" feeling around my waist. Most of my things fit me around the hips. It is the "waist area" that has been the issue. Since I went into full menopause (yes, it has been 8 months without my period), my normally slender waist added two inches. This is normal, so the experts say, in menopause. Women often report that they gain weight around the midsection. My hope is that my waist will slim back down now that my cortisol levels are dropping. Oh, may it be, Lord! May it be!

I've given up the idea of getting back into my size 6 jeans. I was a size 6 for most of my teen and adult life. Since 40, though, I have been an 8-10 and even 12, depending on my stress level and my emotional and physical life. Now that I am about to be 55 (this year), my prayer is that I can settle back to a solid 8, and then maintain that size throughout my golden years. I don't need to be super skinny anymore. I just want to look fit and not flabby. I want my clothes to fit nicely, and I want to (here it comes) be able to wear a swimsuit again. Yes, a swimsuit. I haven't been swimming in years, and because of my flabby legs, I simply abhor what I look like half-naked. I don't want to parade around looking all goose-bumpy and out of shape. So, the plan is to lose the 20 pounds, and then build good leg muscle tone as well as arm muscle tone so that I can feel half-way decent walking around in a swimsuit. Plus, should I travel where there would be a pool, I would like to feel comfortable in a nice conservative swimsuit. I don't have visions of looking like Christy Brinkley, but I would like to feel comfortable in shorts, swimwear, and summery dresses and tops. Decent. Modest. No flab.

As I think about my future, one thing is for sure. I can choose how to live it, day in and day out. I can choose to feel miserable or I can choose to feel great. I am choosing the latter. I want to be able to wear clothes I like and clothes that look attractive on my shape. For example, before I headed to Regent, I spent some money and purchased new bras. I hate bras. I hate trying them on. I hate wearing them. But, as a large breasted woman, I need good foundational wear. I have to have support, and that means underwires. I have been wearing old bras for the past year. I guess I had hoped that I would lose the weight and then the bras I had would fit again. They were mishappened and stretched out. What is more was the fact that whenever I put them on, I had back flab and spill over. Telltale signs of a poorly fitting bra.

My Mom and I went shopping a couple weeks ago, and JCP was having a bra sale. She purchased some things, and I tried on a variety of different styles. In the end, I went with my all-time favorite brand -- Bali -- and I stuck with the tried and true minimizer. I started wearing a minimizer bra back in the 80s, shortly after they were introduced. I loved the fact that my shirts no longer gapped in the front, and that I had a slightly less projected appearance. I've worn the same style bra for over 25 years now. It fits me. I like it. But, after menopause, I started to notice more flab, more gaps, and I felt that the bra didn't fit me well. While at JCP, I tried on many different styles, and while they were soft, pretty, lacey, etc., they simply didn't fit me well. I found my old standby, and I did the horrible thing -- I went up a whole size. I simply went larger, and voila! No back flab, no spill over, no gaps.

More so, as I was wearing it during my vacation, I noticed how much better I looked. In fact, I looked thinner simply with a better fitting bra. Yes, I looked less dumpy, frumpy, and lumpy with a good fitting bra. I also looked smaller overall, I mean. I looked like I had lost 10 pounds with this good fitting bra on. Granted, I hadn't lost that much weight -- perhaps a pound or two -- only. But the bra made all the difference. So, I am happy to report that with the right undergarments, it is possible to look better and feel better!

My hope today is to enjoy the blessed cool weather. We are not near 100 again, but in the coming week or so, the temperature is set to rise again. I need to be down a couple pounds so I can start to wear my summer clothes. For now, my jeans fit me. I need to be ready to fit into my capris by next week. I think this is doable, so this week and next, I am sticking to my diet. Of course, the free bear claw from Panera didn't help. I ate it today (so it wouldn't go to waste). So much for best-laid plans. Still, I will be on track. I am choosing to eat wisely, and that means to be aware of the food I put into my mouth. No chocolate. No peanuts. No pretzels. No junk food. Good fruits and veggies, and lean proteins. Lots of water. Good filling food, and smaller than normal portion sizes -- half sizes. I am also choosing to embrace the hunger feeling. This is something I did when I lost 35 pounds on weight watchers in 2001. I began to enjoy the less than the full feeling. Instead of being so full that I felt I was about to puke, I simply ate small portions of food. I didn't restrict my diet, I just ate less. I went to bed feeling a little empty. I slept well. I woke up hungry. I ate slowly. I was satisfied.

I know that I have been overeating for a long time now. I did it again last night. My parents went to Panera, and I had a half salad with water. It was a good thing. I left feeling good. Then the manager gave us 3 slices of coffee cake because they messed up our order. I came home and ate the cake, with whipped cream, along with my coffee. I didn't need the cake. I was full, and I stuffed myself. This morning, I didn't need that bear claw. I could have easily had a piece of raisin toast and felt comfortable. Satisfied. Sigh!

So new goals are on the table. I will not overeat. I will stop before I feel full. I will eat half of whatever I take. I will not eat at the computer, but I will eat at the table. I will eat slowly. I will enjoy every bite. I will drink water -- lots of water. I will go to bed slightly hungry. I will never run on empty, but I won't live on overfull. I will eat with moderation all things, and I will enjoy the blessing of God's bounty. He is good to me. He is so very good to me!


In Closing

As I close this blog post today, I am thankful that I am alive, and that I can make decisions on how to live every single day of my life. The Lord has provided a good life to me. As such, I am able to live comfortably, modestly, and that means that I can choose what to do, what to eat, and how to go about my daily living. I am not held captive to wants or desires. I am free. I am free to choose the size I want to be. I am free to choose how to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. I am free to go where I please, and with His provision, I am free to live a good life under His bountiful protection and provision. He is good. He is good to me, so very, very good to me! Selah!

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