LONG version [ The Big Reveal}

Here's the really LONG version of my up and coming

So if you have nothing better to do tonight, 
then read on my friend, 
read on. 

  Sometimes you just know it's time. 
You know when that monster is so big 
and so daunting 
and has its hold.
A death grip, really.

One year ago it was time 'in theory' 
but my heart wasn't in it. 
My head wasn't in it. 
I didn't think I could tackle it. 
So I didn't. 
Same thing goes for nine months ago. 
And six months ago. 

 And then race day came. 
You know that day. 
October 20th. 
First Half Marathon 

[in case you were on planet Mars and missed it, 
you can read about the journey here and  here and here and here and here]. 

somewhere in around mile five I got to thinking 
"So what's next, Alysa? 
You're not drinking Diet Coke any more. 
You're a running machine. 
What's next?" 
 And without tripping over the sidewalk,
the first thing that came to mind was this: 
"It's time to tackle the eating thing, Alysa. It's time." 
And you know what. 
I knew it was time.
I felt ready. 
I felt Hope. 

 Back story to the HOPE that I feel as I jump into my next adventure: 

 June 11th, 2012. 
That date is significant to me, because it's the last time I've had a Diet Coke. 
Not even a drop in over a year-and-a-half. 
NOW. If you know me AT ALL, 
you know that I was head-over-heels-CRAZY-in-love-with-Diet-Coke. 
As in, couldn't go a day without one or five. 
Preferably fountain Diet Coke, from McDonald's. 
Size medium or large, 
depending on how insane the kids were driving me in any given moment. 

Believe me, this was a bad habit I had tried to kick countless times in prior years, 
but could never do it. 
Didn't have the will power. 
Or the want to. 

But then, a dear friend got cancer and 
I felt God's tug on my heart to give up Diet Coke for 20 weeks, 
while she did chemo. 
I felt like God said to me, 
"Alysa, if she can do chemo for 20 weeks, 
would you be willing to give up Diet Coke for 20 weeks, for Me?" 
I can tell you where I was in the car when I felt this nudge. 
Call it what you will,
I knew I needed to follow through. 
And believe me, I was NOT happy about it. 
Didn't wanna give up my favorite vice. 
Didn't think I could. 
Zero hope in the prospect of actually being able to stick to it.
It had a brutal hold on me. 
Addicted is what I was. 
Let's call a spade a spade, people. 

 The way I decided to do it was this: 
Every time I had the urge to drink a Diet Coke, I would stop and pray for my friend. 
And you know what, she got A LOT of prayer. 
Then the 20 weeks came and went and I knew that if I started drinking again, 
I'd slip right back into that nasty addiction so I thought, 
"Well, she has to do radiation now, so I'll keep on this thing until she's done radiation." 
And that came and went and here we are, 
this many years later and not a drop to drink. 
And really, honestly, TRULY, I have no desire to drink DC again. 
Other than when I eat pizza. 
That's the only time I ever want Diet Coke. 
It really is a God thing in my life. 
I can't take credit for it other than to say that 
I made the conscious choice that it was time to work on it. 
Give it up. 
Surrender it. 
And then I let Him help me along the journey and in the battle. 

April 15, 2013. 
THEN there's this running thing.
THAT is a miracle, too. 
If you've known me for long, you've ALSO known my pure hatred for running. 
Quick sports, yes. 
Running. OF.THE.DEVIL.
And somehow God got a hold of that part of my life and 
did some work and in 18 weeks I trained for and ran a half marathon. 
With Him at my side. 
Every step.
Every run. 
Every minute. 
Just Jesus and Me. 

Yet again, another clear moment where I felt God step in and do HIS thing
because I was too weak and unable to do it on my own.

So when I was running my 'half' and felt like God was saying, 
"It's time to tackle the eating stuff, Alysa" 
I don't think I panicked. 
[Oh believe-you-me I've panicked SINCE then, 
but in the moment, I had Peace and just knew it was time.]
And I think part of the reason I didn't panic was because 
He had carried me this far. 
Through the impossible giving up of Diet Coke. 
And through the impossible journey of training for a long run. 
So this food thing -- there was a glimmer of Hope that maybe, 
just maybe, if I could do those other things, 
He could help me do this, too. 

You ask 
"But Alysa, it's almost January and you had that idea back in October. 
Why so long to kick it into gear?" 
That, my friend, is a great question. 
You're good like that.

 Kind of like the Diet Coke thing, and the running thing,
I had to come up with my plan. 
I know myself too well,
realizing that if there was no plan, 
it would simply fall into my big black hole of grand, exciting ideas that
never came to fruition because I dreamed them 
but never planned for them.
[ It's safe to say I'm a dreamer and idea gal -- a double-whammy of sorts.]

I knew this gigantic scheme would take significant planning
or it would fail miserably.

Let me step back for a moment and do a wee little bit of self-reflecting.
Here are some significant patterns in my life over the past several years:
I'm short and significantly overweight, and have been able to lose 20-30 pounds 
but then gain it all back. And then I'd lose 20-30 pounds, plateauing again.
And re-gaining it. 
Ad nauseum.

I'm generally fatigued. All the time. Always. Have been for years.
I push through it and most would never know, but honestly,
I'm always tired. Always. 
Like, could nap at any moment tired.
And if we're being completely real, I've actually noticed a
significant rise in my irritability and moodiness over the past year or so.
I think I've tended to just blame it on the fact that my kids don't ever get along
and that drives me BATTY, but the more I've analyzed it, I really do think 
I've got some moodiness/irritability issues going on, that simply have escalated. 

I've never been one to have PMS issues through the years if you catch my drift.
Forgetfulness. Yep. Incredibly forgetful and a tad bit foggy if you want the truth.
My sleeping has gone downhill the past several months. More restless, etc.
So I've known that something hasn't been quite right.
My metabolism is wacko and I think has been for decades.
[My mother would attest to this.]
Had my thyroid/adrenal glands extensively checked a few weeks ago-- perfectly fine.
I've wondered if maybe I have some gluten/wheat issues going on.
Maybe dairy issues. 

Jump back to modern day:
 I've been gathering data the past several weeks. 
You know, from Facebook friends, asking
if they've done gluten-free or dairy-free or sugar-free things.

At Thanksgiving I was visiting with Cleary and she showed me
this book called "Clean" and let me borrow it and the more 
I read, the more I realize this is the plan I need to follow.
The bottom line? 
You basically do a 1, 2 or 3 week 'nutritional cleanse' to get all the toxins out of 
your body that build up by the food we eat (or don't eat).
And by cleanse, I mean, serious veggies and greens and some fruits and 
NO wheat, NO dairy, NO sugar, 
NO LOVE ... 

I'm on board.
100 %.
And actually excited.
And ready to do it.
I can do it.
Let me re-phase.
God and I can do it. 
I'm clumping this into that category of things in my life that is so NOT me 
and WAY beyond my personal capabilities. 
If I could do this on my own, 
I would have
been Skinny Marie 25 years ago. 
So TOGETHER, we tackle this.

It's gonna kick-my-booty but I'm ready.
If I can give up Diet Coke I can do ANYTHING for 3 weeks.
If I can run 13.1 miles I can do ANYTHING for 3 weeks.

I might, however, be VERY grumpy {so I apologize now for that}.
I may be going to bed by 8pm just to stave off massive hunger pangs.

Already decided we're not having our usual load of company 
over for various dinners and such, 
SO if you do stop by during meal-time, 
bring your own food and sit in the laundry room
so that I'm not tempted to 
hit you over the head and steal your food.

You might want to know the end goal. 
Like after the three-week-cleanse.
Well, it seems that my heart-of-hearts knows that I need to 
make a massive shift in how I eat. 
That's the bottom line.
All the other stuff (weight loss, figuring out if I have intolerances to foods, etc.)
is peripheral.
 I want to be a cleaner eater.
[Say that fast a dozen times.]
I want to enjoy fruits and veggies more than I do. 
I want to set a better example for my kids.
I want to enjoy food but not be consumed by it.

Don't get me wrong. 
It's not like we're going out to eat all the time. 
We're not.
It's not like we're always eating garbage. 
We're not.
I just happen to be a meat and potato and corn and peas gal.
Oh, and carbs.
Can't say no to a good carb.
 Here's a funny thing about me.
As creative as I am, 
I'm a creature of habit in the brekkie and lunch department,
so every day for breakfast
I have my cereal and milk and a little bit of orange juice.
And at lunch I eat my sammich (on whole grain bread mind you) and my chips. 
Wheat overload.
All of which are fine in moderation.

But Mr. Clean doesn't think I should be eating them at all these three weeks.
[Insert cuss word here if you'd like. I did.]

After the three weeks, I'll slowly re-introduce things like 
dairy and wheat back into my system 
to see if you have any reactions to them. 
I think this is a great way to do it!
If nothing else, I think it will be a great way to live by the word

I'm just more and more convinced that we do end up with a lot of garbage
and sugars and wheat and dairy and those might be contributing to my
lethargy and constant weariness and I just want to get to the bottom of it all.

there's a whole 'nother side to this eating thing.
The side of things that gets to the root of my eating issues.
This is the other bottom line for me.
It's time to do the hard work to figure out why I run to food.
Here's what I know about myself. 
[Here I go, self-reflecting again.]

I eat when I'm bored.
I eat when I'm mad.
I eat when I'm sad.
I eat to celebrate big events.
I eat when I feel sorry for myself.
I eat when I'm excited that I get to be with a friend - eating together is twice as fun.
The only time I don't eat is when I'm super, super busy. I sort of forget to eat. 
And all THAT nonsense above, my friends, dumps me into the
"emotional eater" category.
That's my label.

And THAT'S precisely the label 
that I want to rid myself of. 

For me, this is more than just a physical battle. 
Yes it is that, to be sure.
But it's also a mental and spiritual battle.
I think if I tackle the physical part but don't tackle the mental and spiritual,
I'll be back to square one given time.

I've stumbled upon a couple of great books that
address the spiritual and mental and physical combo.
Just EXACTLY what I need.

Over Thanksgiving I started and finished
"Idol Lies," by Dee Brestin.
(unfortunate last name me thinks)
If you struggle at all with over-eating/food
(or honestly, any other addiction -- 
alcohol, porn, running yourself ragged with busy-ness, etc.) 
this is a book worth reading.
Lots of things stuck out to me as I read it
(I underlined and starred and wrote notes all over this book)
but here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"Any time our deepest desire is for something other than God because we think
that will satisfy or rescue us, a dangerous 'soul idol' is forming. We may idolize the approval of people, or our own comfort, or maintaining control. All of these things can become 'idol lies', things we value more than God." (p. 4)
[That quote sums up where she goes in the book.]

"Continually I must choose between allowing God to comfort me

or creating my own comfort in ways that hurt me and my relationship with God." (p.47)

"As His love rises in our hearts, it expels what we could
not expel by our own willpower. We don't want to do anything to grieve Him

or cause us to lose the sense of His sweet presence." (p. 121)

 I'm currently reading a book called
"Made To Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst.

Started reading it last year, got half-way through and 
for whatever reason never finished it. 
Actually, I know why I didn't finish it or didn't apply what I had learned.
I don't think I had hit rock bottom yet and wasn't ready to do the hard work. 
I didn't want to change as much as I wanted to run to food for comfort.
So I'm back at the beginning, re-under-lining,
finding it SO powerful.

Honestly, I could have written every word.
If you want to get inside my head and 
learn what it truly is to struggle with food,
read this book and you'll know me.
 { I also think this a GREAT book even if food isn't your issue.
The principals apply across the board.} 

"I had to ask God to give me the desire to be healthy. 
I knew a vanity-seeking "want-to" would never last. 
Shallow desires produce only shallow efforts. 
I had to seek a spiritual "want to" empowered by God Himself." (p. 16)

"My weight is a direct reflection of my choices and the state of my health.
My weight issues were directly linked to my food choices. 
I had to admit it and do something about it." (p. 17). 
Ouch. That one hurt.

"I had to decide I was tired of settling, tired of compromising. What happens when you delete 'com' from the word compromise? You're left with a 'promise.' We were made for more than compromise. We were made for God's promises in every area of our lives.
I am made to rise up, do battle with my issues, and using the Lord's strength in me,
defeat them -- spiritually, physically, and mentally -- to the glory of God." (p. 18)

Again, can't even tell you how much I've already underlined in this book.
Wanna read it along with me?
So that's kind of where I'm at in all this.

I'm ready to jump in!

I'm going to do the cleanse to get rid of all the toxins and start from scratch.

I'm going to be a cleaner eater.

I'm going to figure out of I've got any allergies going on.

I'm going to read and re-read Idol Lies and Made To Crave 
and DEAL with the issues as to why I overeat 
because I don't want to land right back where I am now in a few months. 

I'm going to do a lot of praying, asking God to give me the desire
to want HIM more than I want food. Asking HIM to show me the
underlying issues as to why I so often run to food when I'm really not hungry.

And in the meantime, 
I'm going to treat this food journey like I did the training for my half marathon.
As an adventure that was out of my league! 
But totally IN GOD'S LEAGUE.
I'm gonna train. 
I'm gonna do the hard work. 
I'm gonna follow the doctor's orders.
I'm gonna eat green 
(and try not to dry-heave my way through the ENTIRE month of January.)

And most definitely,
 I'm gonna learn to make a mean
and dog-gone-it, I"m gonna LOVE it!

I'm in.


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