Keeping the faith (or… it’s really all the same)

This could so be titled “Sometimes…”
Or “get over yourself and just do it”
Or, “the one where I finally got it”
Or, “Pay no attention to the 6-pack abs behind the corner.”
Or, “Stoopid, fracking day 4* brain!”
Yeah, had a hard time pinning down a good title, but heck, who am I to let something like a silly title get in the way of my ramblings?! Ok, I’ll admit, I spend way more thought on that than the rest of this…
As a bit of ‘warning’, this post is going to take on a different flavor than most of my others… no PTB references, this is all God Breeze material.
And you know me… I can never say anything in a short stoy… you’ve been warned. 😉
What I have had niggling around my brain is about the Awesome Hubby (AH) and my new adventure… We decided to embark on a Whole30 experience – no grain, processed sugar, dairy, yeast, industrial oils, etc., for 30 days.  This came about after several discussions about how best to get our collective health and well being on the right track, and to really push the AH’s healing along – he’s ‘lucky’ enough to finally start his recovery from Adrenal/Chronic Fatigue, which comes with it wonky thyroid function, fibromyalgia-like symptoms, and most likely a yeast/candida overgrowth/leaky gut.  All of these things tend to go hand in hand and the best way to get better is to remove factors that contribute to the degeneration of heath, including food… especially food.
I mean, it starts and ends with food (heck, there’s even a book out there with that title.)  Your mood, energy level, body composition, quality of sleep, stress – it’s effected most by what you eat.  Exercise/movement only serves to amplify the bad stuff going on, or refine the good stuff.
But I digress.
What I /really/ wanted to write what everyone else does – Hey! We’re on day X of the Whole30 and this is what I ate, this is how I feel, yadda yadda yadda…
But being firmly entrenched in Day 4 Brain, is that really the ‘face’ I want to put on this?! I mean, I whole heartedly believe this way of eating will help get the majority of the world on the road to optimal health, do I really want to be ranting and raving about what I’m missing, the cravings, the OMGC-R-A-N-K-I-E-S?!?!
Umm… who would that convince that this is a good thing and that maybe they should give this a try?  Not so many people, I’m thinking.
And how would writing about the horrible stuff my AH is going through (more on that in a bit) be a feather in the ‘paleo’** cap?  Really, not so much…
But as He does, God provides… in this case He gave me not so subtle direction and answers by reminding me of this passage:
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV)
Ok, we’re not doing any sort of fasting per se (aside from the typical no eating after dinner till breakfast type fast).  Neither of us are in any sort of shape adrenally to do that. But the point is – Am I doing all this as a “lookit me being all awesome and betterthanyou doing ___fillintheblank___ and you’re not! Neener neener neeeener!” perspective?  Or is my purpose to /really/ get my AH and I deep down healthy so we can live a long, active, happy life?
Am I a Pharisee, being all loud and noisy to draw attention to myself and show how well I’m following The Law?  Or am I quietly going about my business, doing _consistently_ what I need to, to get where I’m going to?
Oh… umm… well… when You put it that way.  *sigh*
So instead of jumping all up and down, and starting a Grain is Evil campaign, I figure I’ll do what I do best: Lead by example/serve as a warning to others and share a few lessons that I’ve learned to this point and hope it helps.
1) 100% doesn’t mean 180.
THIS is a HUGE lesson that I’ve had to learn the hard way from many, many times of going full steam ahead, making massive changes, only to crash and burn.
Yes, it’s good to change, to grow, to move from where you are now towards the person God meant you to be… but you don’t have to do it all at once. 
Let me repeat that: You don’t have to do it all at once!!!
Slow, steady and sustainable!!! 
You CAN be 100% committed to the process and only make 1 change at a time! It doesn’t mean “you don’t want it bad enough.” On the contrary, it means you want it bad enough that you’re willing to take the time to really do it right, so you can reap the rewards for a long, long time…not just once.
2) Sometimes you have to learn to be content where you are and with what you have before you can move forward.
Ooof, this lesson has been hard learned as well.  I wrote months ago about my Crockpottimeand let me tell you that my time in the Crockpot has come with extra baggage – 27 pounds to be exact. 
I’m here to say, in my over sharing/transparent way, that I weigh 167 as of this morning.  I got down to about 140 during my burnout training for the Warrior Dash last April.  I’m also going to say that it doesn’t make me happy at all.  I’ve been tired of seeing the squishy muffin top, the lumpy thighs, and it annoyed me greatly when I finally broke down and got a new pair of jeans.  I KNOW the slow/sustainable works and is better and all that stuff, but OMG it tore my heart out to see the pictures of the super buff CrossFittin’ Paleo Babes.  It sent me into OCD-ness to read how all or nothing the Paleo Zealots are, and to see their perfect blogs with their perfect meals.
Made me want to say f*** all y’all and take up residence at Nadine’s just to be spiteful. 
Then, I feel like God handed me an ultimatum in the form of a question that, in my Crazy Town brain, went something like this:
HIM  “If your body never changed from what it looks like now, but  you had consistent high energy, awesome mood, and stable hormones… could you be happy with the way you looked?”
ME: “BUT!!! The abs!! LOOKIT the abs!!!”
HIM: “Could. You. Be. Happy?”
Me: *stomp*
HIM: *The Look*
Me: *pokes toe at ground* Fine.  I could be happy.  Besides, the new jeans make my butt look cute. 🙂
Shortly after that, a lovely lady who is basically me about 10 years older and going through a lot of the same stuff, but is now leaps and bounds ahead of me in healing, sent an email that sparked conversations with the AH, that lead us to jump into the Whole 30.  Hmmm… think that was planned? 😉
3) Sometimes moderation ISN’T the key…
Ok, wait… didn’t I just say I don’t have to do 100% change? Ease into it… make slow sustainable changes… that stuff.
Another thing that really got laid on my heart recently:  Accepting that clearly something in my life isn’t working and it needs to change, and accepting what I need to change means walking the narrow path.  I have had a serious breakdown in my body and that requires repair, and a major overhaul of how I fuel and move it.  That means being focused and staying the course

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Moderation in some cases is the wide, worldly path.  It’s for folks who want to keep one foot in the world and one in heaven… and yeah, that’s me for the most part.  But I realized that the gap keeps getting wider and at some point I have to lift one of those feet or risk falling in the pit. (So many metaphors, so little time… I’ll let you expound on that in your own brains, kay? Kay.)
Basically, for me, this time of focus, and restriction isn’t about what I’m giving up, it’s about what I’m gaining – achieving a whole healthy life that’s balanced and (hopefully) inspiring and encouraging to others.  It’s not about creating an island that only I can sustain, but builds a foundation for me so I can stand strong when the reins are loosened and I find myself out of my controlled bubble and in the world.
I realize there’s always the risky slippery slope of losing sight of that focus and stepping into BetterThanYou Land (this article really helped me be aware of that danger) This is something that I’ll always struggle with because I’m human and I can get myself into a tizzy of seeing any interruption as a threat rather than an opportunity. Not so good, and something that I’ll be continually working on.
And there’s some lessons I’ve learned over the long haul that bear repeating:
1) Sometimes it’ll get worse before it gets better.
The AH is learning this one in a big way.  He entered this 30 day adventure with a load of health issues, and they are rearing their collective ugly heads.  The sugar withdrawl has not been fun, and the yeasties that have overpopulated his gut are making their displeasure known with super low energy, achies, flu-like symptoms.  I’m going through similar symptoms, but not as bad and for not as long. Really not fun, but not wholly unexpected, either.
There are times at the beginning that things seem like you’ve gone from the frying pan into the fire, and you’re taking leaps backwards instead of every day being a glorious, beautiful “After” picture.  Well, sometimes things are so out of whack, and have been neglected/denied for so long, you need to learn the extent of damage that’s been done before you can really move forward. 
It DOES get better… and…
2) Sometimes you have to look at how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.
Here’s the thing with X-day challenges, there’s a tendency to do a count _down_ to how many days you until you can go back to that thing you are woefully, but stoically sacrificing for the sake of this challenge.
To that I say: Get. Over. Yourself. (and this is me, saying that to myself in the mirror)
If I’m always looking at how far I have to go, I’m not making the changes for the right reasons.  Celebrating the small successes – even if it’s only 2 days of being consistent despite temptations, challenges, distractions, and tired/crankiness – that’s to be celebrated.
That also means….
3) Sometimes you have to just keep doing the right thing, even if you don’t see ‘results’ on the outside.
Not gonna lie – not every day will be a resounding success, and not every day will be a picture perfect, dramatic ‘after’ shot. 
A friend of mine just commented to me how inspiring it’s been to watch my transformation.  I’m thinking it must have gotten pretty boring because it took about 6 years of laying an inner foundation before the outward signs started to show.  But I kept at it.  Even the ‘time off’ was me doing the right thing for me when the rest of the world would see it as being lazy. 
I have to have faith and trust that, even though I wasn’t seeing anything “happening”, that eventually I would.
I’ve been the gloomy, disfigured faster from the passage above, and I got my reward – gloom and misery (and a band-aid on my forehead for attention! LOL!)  But I’ve mostly been the quiet one, consistently going about my business and doing the right thing more times than not… and got my reward for that as well. 
Ok… think that’s enough for now.  I know my brain hurts so I can’t imagine what yours is feeling! LOL!
Remember, this is a journey we’re on, there really isn’t a destination.  It’s something you’ll be doing on and on for the rest of your life.  Make it a joyful experience worth repeating daily!!!
*I came across this wonderful ‘timeline’ of what to expect when embarking on this eating change”.  While the AH are progressing on our journey, day by day, our brains/moods seem to stay stuck in Day 4… please pray for us to be past that with little to no smiting. 🙂  Till then, you’ve been warned. 😉
** I really, really, really dislike labels, and even more so, coming to have great distain for the term ‘paleo’.  I mean seriously, most of the food we consider ‘paleo’ wasn’t even consumed by most ‘paleo’ people… but it’s recognizable and people have a sense of what it entails, so I’m using it for that purpose alone.  Meh.

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