And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Monday, November 28, 2011

Avoid Christmas Weight Gain Tip #4: Be Careful with the Christmas Cookies

It was December 22, 1982, and we were driving down I-90, flinging Christmas cookies out the window at 75 miles an hour.

We had just gotten married and were headed back to Montana with a car full of presents and a box full of Christmas cookies.

600 miles from the wedding, my self-control (and my stomach) had reached its limits. There was only one answer:

Get rid of the cookies.

Now, 29 Christmases later, I no longer have to resort to throwing cookies away, but I still have to be careful. Here are a few things I do to keep myself from gaining five pounds worth of Christmas cookies each Christmas.

1. Wait as long as possible to make the Christmas cookies.

The longer we wait to make cookies, the less likely we are to look at Christmas cookies as just another December food group. If you’re a procrastination eater, wait until you’ve finished all those hard Christmas jobs before you make cookies.

If you have kids and they’re clamoring to make cookies, make one or two early batches, but give them away. Bring them to the older people in the neighborhood who don’t do much baking anymore. They’ll appreciate a little visit and some homemade cookies.

2. Make only the "necessary" cookies.

Another thing we’ve done the last few years is to cut down on the variety of cookies we make. We have about three favorites and we try to stick with those.

3. Don’t eat any cookie dough until all the cookies are in the oven.

I could easily pop five or six cookies’ worth of dough into my mouth while making cookies, but I’d feel too piggy to actually plan to eat that much. So instead of eating as I go, I decide how much dough I want and save it until all the cookies are in the oven. Then I sit down and enjoy my snack.

4. Make special Christmas boundaries for the cookies.

I vary these boundaries depending on the year. It all depends on what else is going on my life and how desperate I am for cookies. The more desperate I am, the tighter I make my boundaries. If I’m really desperate, I don’t have any.

5. Truth journal after every cookie that breaks a boundary.

I hate to say this, but I’ve had four brownies today and every single one of those brownies was outside my boundaries. Remember my last post when I had to renew my mind four times before lunch? I never even felt like breaking my boundaries again after I wrote that post.

Today I haven’t renewed my mind once. Instead, I just kept eating brownies. If I don’t want to wake up tomorrow morning and have a brownie for breakfast, I’ll need to renew my mind before I go to bed tonight.

The sooner, the better.

In fact, I think I better go do that right now because I’m feeling like another brownie.

And if that doesn't work . . . I'll head for the highway with the windows open.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Lies of Thanksgiving Dinner

I love Thanksgiving. I love the smells, the tastes, the friends, the family, and the coziness of it all.

What I don’t like is the day after Thanksgiving—that moment when you’re lying in bed, and all of a sudden you remember what you ate the day before, and you think to yourself, “How will I ever make it past Christmas without gaining a ton of weight?”

This year I’m going to try a new tactic—I’m going to start preparing early for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sure, I’ll make the rolls and the pies and the stuffing (with the help of my family), but that’s not all I’m going to do. This year, I’m also going to prepare my mind for Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m going to fill my mind with truth before I start to eat. In fact, I might even start a couple days before, so I’m really ready.

I’ll take a look at the lies I believe that make me want to stuff myself with moist turkey, savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, warm rolls with butter, pumpkin pies made from scratch, fluffy whipped cream - on second thought, I think I better start right now. It may take me awhile to get ready for Thanksgiving this year.

The Seven Lies of Thanksgiving

1. It’s Thanksgiving—I should eat.
Truth: It’s Thanksgiving - I should be extra careful what I eat, because it will be easy to eat too much.

2. I don’t know when I’ll get this again. I better eat as much as I can now.
Truth: Chances are I’ll get the same thing tomorrow for leftovers, but if everything is gone, I can always make it again.

3. This food is so good that I should have seconds.
Truth: This food is so good that I need to concentrate on thoroughly enjoying each and every bite. In all seriousness, I will enjoy myself more if I eat a healthy amount and savor it, than if I eat an unhealthy amount and not fully appreciate it. (It’s hard to truly appreciate large amounts of food.)

4. It’s Thanksgiving. I should celebrate (by eating whatever I want).
Truth: It’s Thanksgiving—I should celebrate God’s goodness to me by praising Him with every fiber of my being. Eating three pieces of pie is not an expression of praise.

5. I shouldn’t have to follow my boundaries on holidays.
Truth: Boundaries protect me. My life will actually be better if I don’t stuff myself on Thanksgiving.

6. It won't be as much fun if I don't eat whatever I want.
Truth: It will actually be more fun, because I'll be able to totally enjoy what I eat without having to feel so uncomfortable afterward.

7. I can’t help myself—it’s there, and I’m going to eat it.
Truth: If I fill my mind with truth before I sit down to dinner, there’s a good chance I won’t even want to stuff myself.

Note: This a re-post of a blog I wrote three years ago, but the lies and truths haven't changed since then.

P.S. If you want to read a funny article on holiday eating tips, check out this link. Just don't follow its advice!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Eating Tip #3: Renew your mind every time you eat outside your boundaries, even if it’s just one bite.

I had ice cream for breakfast this morning.

I wasn’t supposed to—my boundaries say no dessert before supper—but I did it anyway. And I’ve been paying the price ever since.

9 times out of 10 when I have a sweet before breakfast, I break my boundaries later in the day—usually several times.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Avoid Christmas Weight Gain Tip #2: Nip Christmas Procrastination Eating in the Bud. Get Ready for Christmas Early.

As the fragrance of sugar cookies wafts in from the kitchen and the sleigh bells tinkle in the distance, I sit by a merry fire sipping hot cocoa. Snuggled in my hand-knit afghan, I ponder the meaning of this precious season.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking at Life from God's Perspective

The longer I walk with God, the more convinced I am that if I really want to grow in some area of my life, I need to make a commitment to renew my mind every time that issue comes up.

I did that with emotional eating five years ago. Bought a journal at the Christian bookstore and truth journaled every time I felt like eating outside my boundaries. I've done it with other things as well, and I'm currently doing it with writing.

Here's what my journal entry looked like today:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Tip #1

The ground is covered with snow, I’m listening to holiday music, and I’m thinking about Christmas. So even though we still have a week to go until Thanksgiving, I thought I’d get started writing some holiday posts.

My subject? Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain. For the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some tips to help us avoid the average 3-5 pound holiday weight gain. Here’s my first tip:

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain Tip #1: Rate your food (but not out loud)

This is something I started doing last summer. It occurred to me that I often eat things like ice cream because in my mind I’m thinking, oh, I love ice cream.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leader's Guide for Freedom From Emotional Eating

The past couple of months I've been working on writing a leader's guide for the Bible study Freedom from Emotional Eating. If you're thinking about leading a group study, please e-mail me, and I can get that leader's guide to you. The guide is free and should be finished in a few weeks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Cure for "I -should-be-able-to-eat-what-I-want-when-I-want" Eating

They’re standing on a mountain, overlooking the kingdoms of the world, and Satan is asking Jesus a question:

"Jesus, do you really want all that (the cross) when you could be having all this (the delights of the world)?"

I can just picture him standing in his Carol Merrill pose, highlighting the delights that could be had if only Jesus were to worship him.

Unfortunately, he asks the same question of us. Right in front of the bakery or the ice cream shop or the kitchen cupboard.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breaking Free from Strongholds: Are you expecting too much too soon?

Imagine this: you’re sitting at your desk sipping a vanilla latte when your boss walks in. He sits down, leans forward, and says, Joni, I have a job for you. I want you to run in a marathon eight weeks from today.

How would you respond?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ever Feel Like Rebelling?

They claim to have our best interest in mind. We just want you to be happy, they say. . . . and then they give us a little advice.

Wouldn’t you be happier if you had a smaller piece of pie?

Wouldn’t you be happier if you went to the gym?

Wouldn’t you be happier if you lost weight?

Of course we’d be happier.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Emotional Hunger vs. Physical Hunger

I thought this article gave a good description of the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. Here's an interesting quote from the article:

"According to an interview with Jakubczak on the University of Maryland web site, 75% of overeating is caused by emotions, so dealing with emotions appropriately is important."

I guess it's a good thing we're working on emotional eating!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Need Help Renewing Your Mind?

I can do easy things through Him who doesn't need to give me strength because I can do them on my own.
Wait a minute . . . did I quote that right?
No. Let me try again.
I can do fun things though Him who doesn’t need to give me strength because I actually like to do them.
No. That’s not it either.
Wait a minute . . . I have it:
I can do . . . all . . . things through Him who gives me strength.
In a follow-your-passion, life-should-be-easy world, I keep forgetting I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Instead, I think that if it’s not easy, I can’t do it.
And if it’s not fun, I shouldn’t do it.
So I tend to avoid things that aren’t in the fun and easy category.
Just like some people avoid things that aren’t productive. And others avoid things that make them uncomfortable.
I have one thing working in my favor, though: Renewing my mind is fun and easy for me. I actually like doing it.
So even though I think writing is hard and boring, I’m willing to sit and renew my mind so God can change my attitude towards writing.
And even though I think eating with control is hard and boring, I’m willing to sit and renew my mind so God can change my attitude about eating.
But what if you’re a person who thinks that renewing your mind is hard and boring?
That’s a problem.
Because if you think renewing your mind is hard and boring—or unproductive and uncomfortable—you won't do it.
The thought will pop into your head, I should really renew my mind, but it will be immediately followed by another thought:
No, that’s too much work.
Or that doesn’t sound very fun.
Or I really should get that project done first. I’ll renew my mind later.
Those thoughts will keep you from renewing your mind, just like my thoughts left to their own devices keep me from writing.
So what’s the solution?
I think the solution is to renew your mind about the renewing of your mind.
Look at it this way. When I see writing from God’s perspective, I actually want to write, even though it’s not fun and easy.
Likewise, if you see the renewing of the mind from God’s perspective, you’ll actually want to renew your mind even if it’s not fun and easy.
If you want help on how to see the renewing of the mind from a biblical perspective, check out this post: How to Make Yourself Truth Journal. The post is on truth journaling but it could also apply to Scripture prayers or quiet times.
I’ve also spent the last year working on another tool that's easier for some people to use than truth journaling. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get that out, but it could be soon if I decide to put it into an e-book or self-publish.
Since I find all parts of the writing/publishing process to be hard and non-fun, I would really appreciate your prayers on figuring out what to do next with this new tool.
I hope you have a good week renewing your mind.
And if you’re tempted to think, Maybe I should clean the house, instead, tell yourself, No, it would be more productive to clean my mind.
(I know, lame ending. Why can’t I resist lame endings?)