Help! The Devil is holding onto my weight!

You know the feeling: You sweat, you hunger, you resist, you sweat some more and then you step on the scale… and time seems to stop… blood drain from your face… you heart falls into your big toe… you’ve lost nothing! It’s not a pretty thing, in fact it can make the most dedicated woman of God yell at the Devil and reach for the triple chocolate ice cream (wrapped in a towel in the back of the freezer).

Trying to lose weight if you’re not a spring chicken is difficult enough without the dreaded “Weight Loss Plateau”. As a more “mature” woman you already have the odds stacked against you: Slower metabolism, juggling career and family life, truckloads of stress and haywire hormones! One more bump in the road can push you over the edge, and a weight loss plateau can supply exactly that bump.

So in all seriousness, it’s not funny! It can be discouraging at best and turn into full blown depression if it lingers. We all want to avoid that famous weight loss plateau, but the reality is that you will probably bump into it at one time or another, that is if you’re not a thriving nineteen year old (no offense to my younger readers)

A weight loss plateau is not picky either, it will pounce on the low-carb believers, the calorie counters, the all inclusive eaters, and even the hunger and fullness detectives. Hitting a weight loss plateau is a matter of “when” not so much “if”.

I did some research for us on this dreaded weight loss plateau. I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I hit a few myself. According to nutritionist and doctors alike, this is quite a natural and very normal process of “healthy” weight loss. We tend to be very diligent with our diets at first and in the beginning we also tend to lose a lot of water, making the initial weight loss seem huge. However, the great results might slow down as you continue on your plan. Even people who are on very effective programs or have gone through something as radical as weight loss surgery hits plateaus in their weight loss.

So by now you know that I do not recommend any kind of super restrictive diet, but if you’re following a healthy eating plan or meal replacement program (not any kind of fad diet) and your weight loss slows down, then it’s technically not a plateau but only a healthy way of losing. I know what you want to say “But it’s soooo discouraging!” I’m so sorry, but yes, you’re patience will be stretched, believe me I know, God has had my patience in a taffy puller many times before.

That said, if you’re honestly eating healthy, getting some exercise and still find yourself stuck at the same weight for months on end, you will be pleased to know that something can be done.  I put together a checklist of possible reasons for your weight loss plateau. Please go have a look at this article if you are in this difficult spot right now. This list sure shook me out of my denial: I thought I ate good, one glass of water will do it, and walking the treadmill every day at a mild pace will keep my weight loss going. Sometimes it’s not even so much denial as just a plain case of “not knowing”.

Some plateaus have medical reasons behind them, but for most of us plateaus will come and go but only the consistent girls among us will make it. Don’t take my word for it, I’m just the messenger. Have a look at Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Please don’t give up dear girl friend, hang in there, I’m hanging with you!
Heleen

Click here for the complete article on my website, with a plateau check list for you: Weight-loss Plateau

 

 

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About Pasta Plates and Broken hearts

I just have to brag with our God a little: There is no one like Him, and there is no one that can see deep in the secret places of our hearts and bring about the most amazing healing!

I had a funny day yesterday. I felt nostalgic and was walking down memory lane a bit. I met up with an old school friend on Face Book. We haven’t spoken in twenty years and my mind was back in 1988. The more I thought about my high school years and everybody I knew back then the more my anxiety level climbed. It’s not that it was all that bad for me. I wasn’t bullied, I had some friends and I did pretty good academically, but I wasn’t popular or even close to it. I was at best a happy-clappy-Jesus-freak-nerd. Now today I will carry that title with pride, but back then, not so much.

After thinking about this for most of the morning, I brushed it off with a “Come on, those days are long gone, you have done well for yourself.” I carried on to recite in my mind the things I have accomplished, not that they were all that much or even that great, but it made me feel better. To tell you the truth, when I look back on my life I know for sure that God’s grace was the driving force behind every good thing, nothing else.

I thought I was done with all this doom and gloom. For goodness sakes, I should take these thoughts captive, right? Well, it turned out to be quite the challenge on this particular morning. While cleaning the kitchen my thoughts went a different route. I was packing away my pink pasta plates. I’m afraid I bought these plates without really knowing what I was buying. (This use to happen to me a lot, being an alien in a foreign country). I never knew there existed a thing called a “pasta plate”. I just thought they were pretty pink plates with a little bit of a hollow center at a great price! (Ross of course).

So to make a very long story short, a few months ago we had one of my husband’s colleagues and his family over for a BBQ (hot dogs and hamburgers) and I served it, of course, in my pretty pink “pasta plates”. All would have been fine, have they not been very eloquently speaking, well read, travelers of the world. In fact, they lived in Italy for a while! This was just another addition to my long list of cultural blunders. Oh well, what are you gonna do? I thought for sure this embarrassing incident was behind me. However, on this barely-Spring morning, while putting away my “pasta plates” (we now use it all the time – you can’t waste a good bargain!) waves of shame washed over me.

I was confused: Didn’t I already deal with all this stuff, what was this all about? Fortunately for me I have a Counselor, a dear friend who sees every crazy step I take, and always tells met the truth even when it hurts. He was right there, peeking over my shoulder, whispering in my ear with His gentle voice: “This is an assault on your heart.” Off course! John Eldridge explains this so wonderfully in his book Waking the Dead. The enemy would go to those wounded places in our hearts (my school days and my pasta plate incident) and he will use it to shame us, condemn us and sow lies in our hearts that we are utterly worthless. I was so excited to have recognized this (again). I ran to my room, shut the door, stretched myself out before God and sobbed: “What is going on God? What is this attack on my heart? My heart is your dwelling place, please help me guard it!”

I never seem to have the right words to explain the transformation that takes place in His presence.
In that place He showed me the lie: The enemy has been telling me “You will never be good enough!”
But better yet, in that moment He dropped His truth into my heart: “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I have counted every hair on your head and I made you to be you for a very specific reason. Just be yourself my child”

Oh how I love Him. Oh how I need Him. Dearest sister in Christ, living without Him is not living at all. I hope you too are guarding your heart today. Don’t fall for the enemy’s lies. God made you so beautiful!

In my program for women recovering from overeating, binge eating and bulimia, we spend a whole week talking about the assaults on our hearts. In the struggle with food, the assaults are constant and crippling. It is almost impossible to live under those. God wants to free your heart and make it His sole dwelling place!

A Special Story about Depression

HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY EVERYONE!

I wanted to direct you to a Blog that I love. This lady’s name is Sandy Cooper and she writes amazing blogs from the heart, that will make you cry and laugh. She is currently sharing her story of struggling with depression and I thought it might be something that one of you precious ladies really needed to hear. Her honesty is simply refreshing!

I know some of you have heard this in my Program but let me say it again: If you are struggling with food addiction or an eating disorder then you HAVE TO SEE A PHYSICIAN. It is very important to find out how the years of struggling with food affected your health and what you can do about it. Lack of necessary nutrition over a period of time can cause depression in itself. Some ladies can not get a hold of their lives (and their food addiction) because depression is present and they haven’t dealt with it.

Unfortunately, as Sandy and other people point out, depression has a stigma especially in Christian circles. So we will do any and everything to not be associated with the “happy pills”. However, if this is what your body needs, nothing else will help. If you talk to your doctor you will get more information on depression and the things that cause it, including hereditary factors. This might be the eye opener you need.

Many ladies with eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia have type A personalities. Perfectionism is a big battle for these ladies and their biggest pain comes from trying to get “control” over their weight at all cost. To not have “control” over their emotions as well is simply unthinkable, so they will try everything they can to beat the sadness themselves.

Believe me, I am not judging, I’ve walked this road myself and it’s not easy to let go of the control, surrender to God, and get the help you need. But it has to be done if you want to LIVE and have life in abundance.

Please go read Sandy’s series “God speaks through the storm, it will bless you!

A “Special” Meal with Extra Gravy!

I know it sounds like we’re having an early Thanksgiving, but not to worry, the Woest family is still going strong as far as healthy eating habits are concerned. However, this weekend we did have a special meal alright!

By the end of the weekend I was in a pretty lousy mood, in fact I felt bruised and beaten by laundry, chores, commitments and tantrums (the “don’t-know-what-I-want-but-I-don’t-want-that” tantrums that gets issued with every precious two year old 🙂

So at dinner time I dished up big plates of steaming hot guilt for every family member. I also added some thick gravy of manipulation and a side dish of harshness. Off course I didn’t starve either, my plate was packed with self-pity, discontentment and a dash of bitterness. Great dinner!

It was the wise women from Proverbs that grabbed me by the apron and shook me up good. The Amplified Bible says it exactly like I needed to hear it: “She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.” (Prov 31:27)

Ouch! So I repented and laid my burden down where it belongs. I am happy to say that this morning’s breakfast was on the lighter side. Love, humility and thankfulness was on the menu.

I still have a long way to go before I can be called a Proverbs 31 woman, but maybe, as some of my friends believe, it speaks of all the seasons of our lives. For this season I feel blessed to just drop the “bread of idleness” because it ruins my “holiness diet” anyway.

Love you lots
Heleen

Happy 1st Birthday!

I bet you are wondering which child of mine is turning one that you didn’t even know existed. Well, sorry to disappoint you but this Birthday girl is not so much the flesh and blood kind as she is a pretty mess of code and color.

I am talking about our website “Women struggling with Food“. I don’t think I ever told you the story of her “creation” or the three difficult months of “labor” I endured, so here goes:

I was seriously just minding my own business, taking care of my then one year old baby girl, doing some counseling here and there and filling my days with juggling the activities of the four men in my life. I really missed the support groups I facilitated for about seven years though. I would be a hypocrite if I tell you that those groups were always fun and games. No actually the groups were exhausting and at times excruciating for both me and the ladies involved. We were all dealing with life changing stuff and digging up pain that we would much rather have left exactly where it was. There was a lot of crying, definitely some laughing, but also truck loads of emotions flying around. Yet, in the midst of it all, amazing friendships were forged. I missed it all, the whole nine yards!

I suspect my husband was getting fed-up with my miserable state. This is when he suggested that I put together all of the information and research I gathered to create an online program. He figured I could just make one week and see what happens. I had of course no idea what I was getting into and casually agreed to give it a shot. One thing lead to another, I started writing, then recording, more weeks sprung up and I just couldn’t stop. Looking back, I know for certain that it was a God thing, because it was three of the most difficult months of my life! Everything that could go wrong indeed went wrong. Amazingly though, I didn’t stop. Regardless of sickness, financial pressure, extended family crisis and strain on our marriage, I simply didn’t quit. Now if you know me at all, you will not believe this. I am not exactly the “never-quit” type, especially if the thing I’m doing has a negative influence on my family. So I know for sure that God pushed me through while the enemy tried every trick in the book to stop me.

I am so grateful to God! You have no idea how very aware I am of the fact that He uses any vessel He wants, and that if He could use me to bring this message, He can use you too. I want to encourage you with this post that God wants to use you, even in the midst of your struggles and in spite of your weaknesses.

So by the time I finished recording, writing and editing (still a work in progress actually) I only had a program. It was the same course I have been using to help other women through the years, but now what do I do with it? There was nobody to give it to, just the world-wide-web, pretty scary…

So I needed another push, and again the job was assigned to my poor husband. By now he was actually getting pretty good at pushing me beyond what I think I could do. I simply hated technology and especially resisted anything computer or internet related with every fiber of my being. Can you even imagine the mess? Lots of tears, tons of conflict and hours of praying “God please let me off the hook!” The end result: Victory, knowledge where there was only a big back hole in my brain, and a website where ladies all over the world can sign up and trust God for a miracle of freedom in their lives! I have no words when I talk about this, just tears. It was really impossible. It is really such a miracle!

For me personally the miracle extended beyond the course. It impacted my marriage in a way I could never imagined. My husband is such an internet dude. He is always on the computer and it left a huge void in our marriage. I never knew how to fix it. I demanded, I begged, I tried to change (tried to love the little tin brain lady called a laptop) but it was a lost case. Then God came and answered my prayers, in a rather sneaky way I might add:) These days we are the “computer twins”! I know, unbelievable!

Did my fun stop last February when we launched? I’m sure you know the answer to that. No such luck! My husband initially agreed to devote so much time to my “project” partly in order for me to contribute to our finances. We have a big family and he has been the sole bread winner for a long time. So we argued about the price. In the end we prayed and waited and let God decide, seeing that He was the executive director anyway. After this challenge came months of technical difficulties. Goodness knows, I never knew so many things can go wrong!

Finally, a few months ago things started settling down. I started selling more memberships to ladies all around the world. I still cry every time! Some of the wonderful ladies wrote the most gracious words of encouragement, and I cried some more and thanked God that it was all worth it.
Don’t think for one minute that the enemy would just back off and let me enjoy this though. No, there were a few nasty comments too, and days when the evil one came and whispered in my ear that I had no idea what I was doing and that I should just shut down the website.

Fortunately, as you know, I can hide under the wing of my Everlasting Father. It’s there where he restores my soul, gives me perspective and reminds me to just be me. Yes, I have nothing to boast about, but I also have nothing to be ashamed of either. I am just his daughter, washed and cleaned by the blood of the Lamb. So I’m sure there will be more days when I think “Wow, girl, you did a pretty darn good thing here” or days when I think “What in the world were you thinking”. However, let me assure you that God will straighten me out, there on my not-so-new living room carpet, every morning before I turn on my computer.

I wrote this post mainly to encourage you dear sister: Yes God wants to set you free from food struggles, but there is so much more to you. He has amazing things in store for you, things that will blow your mind!

Please go read some of the blessed words of encouragement and testimonies that you send me during this past year. I put it on the website, but I used fake names to protect your identity. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much ladies. I honestly don’t deserve the praise but I do love you all dearly!

“No fat chicks allowed”

I know, it’s awful! I cringe to even write this down, but I am outraged! This morning I stopped behind a truck and found myself face to face with this horrible bumper sticker.

Sure, it’s suppose to be a joke, but I seriously had to pray for patience and self-control from on high to not back-up my mini van and ram into this young man’s truck. I know you have to consider the source: The other bumper stickers on this guy’s truck painted an ugly picture of disregard for women in general, but I was still upset.

Actually I was more than upset, I was sad and angry. Sad for me and other ladies who struggle with food, but especially sad for our daughters, yours and mine, who have to face such cruelty. My heart was aching for young women in the death grip of an eating disorder. Seeing bumper stickers like these will make some girls vow to rather die than be overweight. Other girls might shrink back into a corner of depression and despair because they can’t get a grip on the ever increasing weight gain. I so wish I could clobber some sense into the heads of ignorant and insensitive human beings who spread the lies that your worth is all wrapped up in your appearance.

I went online and found websites, bumper stickers and clothing devoted to the “no fat chicks cause” and I shuddered. I thought of so many overweight people I know who go along with it, making fun of themselves, pretending not to care, but they cry in secret…

Let me remind you today: There are no fat or skinny chicks in God’s book. There are hearts, washed by the blood of His Son or not… Don’t give up girl, Jesus came to set the captives free. If you love Him and you know Him, that freedom is yours!

Kids and Worries

Face it, the two go together like fish and chips, or peanut butter and jelly (in America). If you have kids, you have had some worries.

I have heard it being said that we waste half of our lives worrying about things that never happen. This could easily be true for me, especially when it comes to my kids. Today I was pondering on this worry-pattern that I have going. I saw my 9 year old laying on the couch, reading a book. This warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face, because for the last 3 years, since I started teaching him to read, I have been worried: Will he ever be able to read fluently? Will he ever love reading? Will he ever read a whole book on his own?

This is not the first time I went through this. I have four kid, and for crying out loud, you think that I would have learned something by now. I remember distinctly being very worried about my eldest son when we moved to Oregon about five years ago: Would he forever be scarred by this move? Will he ever make close friends again? Is this going to ruin him? Well, of course he’s not ruined. In fact he has more friends than ever, loves God and is a thriving 19 year old.

I remember pushing the kids to get involved in music: What if they could have been famous musicians and I just didn’t push them enough? What if I ruined their future because I couldn’t afford music lessons? Well, lo and behold, my middle son just one day picked up the guitar and started teaching himself to play. He is now on a worship team and loves to play without any help or motivation from Mom.

 

So, I should stop, right. No such luck! I have a two year old and I am already worried that she will never get potty trained, never stay in the church nursery without crying about Mom, and never learn to count to ten without leaving out 4 and 8.

 

Oh well… fortunately God made mothers, so I know he gets us. However, he does remind me quite frequently to cast my cares on Him. And when my anxiety levels climb too high, he calls me into his presence so that I can make all my needs known to him through prayer, petition and thanksgiving. Then, of course, peace follows as I am reminded that they are after all God’s children first, and I can trust him to take good care of them. I am also reminded that prayer is the most powerful tool God has given me as a parent. Worry doesn’t accomplish anything, but bringing my precious kids to the throne of God has always made all the difference in the world…