Living in a Material World (When You’re Not a Material Girl): Part 2

So, the world is obsessed with our weight. (It’s also obsessed with our age, our youthful appearance or the lack thereof, our incomes, and our political affiliations.) It has its own opinion of us, but we have to embrace that, while other people may hold their opinions of us, those opinions are not facts.

I wish the world was more concerned with the condition of our hearts, but that’s not the job of the world. That’s God’s job. In part one of this post, I shared what the world says about us in regard to our weight. Now, I want to share some descriptions that God, who made us, has used about us. These are not just my imaginings…they’re from His holy scripture. If you click on the words (underlined and highlighted in blue), you can read the scripture that addresses each of these descriptions. These are God’s opinions of us, and His opinion is the only opinion that is a FACT.

God does not make worthless thing

If Jesus is our Savior, each of us is God’s child. We are friends and confidantes of Jesus. We have been justified and redeemed by grace so that we are blameless. Because we are set free from the laws of sin and death, we are fellow heirs to God’s throne. God has called us saints (God’s holy people) who have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  God loves us so much that He has sent His Spirit to live in us. We can live in victory and triumph over all things because we belong to Him — there is no such thing as defeat when you are a child of God! We are part of God’s plan and He has made us promise keepers! We are chosen, holy, and loved.

If you grew up in Sunday School, I’ll guess that you were taught the story of creation many times in your life. There are reasons we read, re-read, and re-study God’s word — there are lessons to be learned every time. There are nuances that we may miss or that God chooses to reveal to us at different times in our spiritual lives. I want to share something that I believe God revealed to me in a study of Genesis while I was teaching a class for three-year-olds about two years ago. This was not an accident. This was an on-purpose, God-delivered, simple revelation that He sent to me right before my own health crisis was revealed during a medical appointment in June 2015. It changed my whole perspective about how God sees us, His creation…His handiwork.

I love that, after God made each part of His creation, He surveyed His work and declared it good. Of course it was good! God made it.

On that sixth day of creation, God made humans. He wasn’t arbitrary about our composition. He didn’t wing it and hope He came up with something that was pleasing. He made us in His own image! And when He had made us and surveyed his work, He didn’t just declare that we were good, He said that we were very good.

Why is that important?

It’s important because who we look like in our physical selves is a defining factor about who we are individually. If you observe parents with their children, especially after a baby is born, someone is always trying to see who the baby looks like. Sharing physical looks with parents or other family members helps us know who we are and to whom we belong.

Despite all the physical factors that come together to give us our facial features, body type, and body components, we ultimately ALL look like God because we were created in His image. To be fully and completely His, is to accept how God’s made us physically and become like Him spiritually by becoming more like Christ.

Thomas-Merton-Quote-To-say-that-I-am-made-in-the-image-of-God-is

The world will never get that. It’s why we cannot be agents of this world, conformed to its ways and slaves to its obsessions. It’s why I will never be a material girl, even though I live in this material world. I am God’s masterpiece, His very good handiwork. So are you, friends.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, else matters.

shr

 

 

 

 

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Living in a Material World (When You’re Not a Material Girl): Part 1

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

I started a social experiment about image on July 24, 2017. Armed with a legal pad and pen, I decided that for a week, I would keep a list of all the references about being overweight I heard on television and radio, or read in print and social media. My intent was to continue this experiment for the entire week of vacation, but here I sit after only THREE DAYS and I’ve already heard and seen so much that to complete the week would be an exercise in redundancy.

There were very few programs I watched on television that didn’t make some reference to being overweight. There were NO publications I read during the last three days that didn’t have at least one article about how to lose weight, and every article promised that this was a sure-fire way to shed the extra pounds.

Let me share with you part of my list. Keep a tally of how many you’ve heard, whether it was on a media outlet or spoken directly to you or about you.

Every time I heard or read these particular words, it was in the context of weight: fatty, chubby, fat pig/fat hog, lard ass/fat ass, fatso, tubby, chubby chaser, tub of lard, chunky girl, broad as a barn door, fat slob, blubber butt, jelly belly, fat squab (courtesy of Gordon Ramsey on “Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares”), over-grown slob, porky, south end of a northbound truck, chank (short version of chubby skank), pudgy, stout, cow/fat cow, buffalo butt, buffarilla, doughboy, whale/beach whale, heifer, fat boy/fat girl, hoss, fatty fatty 2-by-4, “not normal,” fat fanny, healthy girl/boy, wide load, 2-ton Annie, rotund, wide as he is tall, pot belly, beer belly, portly, whopper, lardo, sow, and Omega Mu (said by a frat boy in a movie about a girl, a reference to an imaginary sororiety whose members are all overweight).

strength to forgive

To put these words into a more personal perspective, I asked close friends and Facebook acquaintances to share with me some of the comments that have been made to them about their weight. I shed tears of frustration and anger as I read them, knowing how some of these vicious, uncalled for words cut my friends to the core. Please remember that these are OPINIONS and that they were not spoken out of  true concern for anyone’s well-being.

“Ewww…I feel so fat! Kill me now!” (This was said by the sister of a friend. The friend had just started her weight loss journey. Her sister is thin and not overweight in any conceivable way. Her message to her sister was clear: people who are overweight don’t deserve to live.)

“Don’t say you’re fat! You’re beautiful!” (This was a remark to a friend who was being honest about her need to lose weight. Her mother thought she was offering a supportive compliment, but it was taken much differently, as if being overweight was a commentary on beauty, as in fat=ugly.)

“Have you lost weight? Because you look fabulous!” (Lynn DeArgo, who had NOT lost weight at this point, felt the person who said this was well aware of the fact that she had, indeed, not lost weight. Lynn is happy to report that she has lost 22 pounds in the last three months and has joined a gym. She says that she feels fabulous, and that’s even better than looking fabulous.)

“Is that on your diet?” or “Are you sure you should eat that?” (Actually spoken directly to me, I despise it when people take an inventory of my meals! I think after losing 60 pounds, I know what I can and cannot eat.)

“I don’t think you should wear skinny jeans. I mean, they’re for skinny girls. It’s right in the name.” (This is an actual comment made to a Facebook friend, LaNeita, by a sales clerk at American Eagle.)

“Be careful. I don’t want you to have a heart attack today.” (A Facebook pal, Connie Rodriguez, submitted this to me. After losing almost 120 pounds and walking as exercise for a year, this was said to her by the person who checked Connie in at her very first 5K race packet last October. People just ASSUME things!)

“I just don’t see how you could allow yourself to gain this much weight! I mean, didn’t you look in the mirror every day?” (Submitted by Andrew, this was a remark made to him by his sister, whom he had not seen in two years.)

“Once you lose weight, dating will be so much easier! Nobody wants to marry a fat girl.” (Single mother, Tasha, submitted this. This is a direct quote from her mother.)

“You know, they can perform surgery to help you lose weight. Just think how pretty you’d be if you weren’t so heavy!” (Spoken to my friend, DiAnna Ligon by a TOTAL STRANGER at a benefit auction she attended. This upset her so badly that she left the benefit. I am pleased to report that she’s now lost 65 pounds in the last six months and is well on her way to reaching her goal.)

“I suppose she rolls down instead of walks!” (While out and walking for exercise, my friend was huffing it up a hill when a car of rude guys rode by and yelled this out of their truck window. Now she’s lost 40 pounds and in her own words, she’s “winning the battle.”)

“My goodness! What have you been eating?” (Pregnant with her second child, this is how the doctor and his student-intern greeted Theresa. She knew she had gained weight, but felt the remark was degrading and insensitive.)

What God Thinks about me 2

I share all of these vile words and statements with you because I know life is not only unfair, it’s often cruel. People have their own agendas and their cruel messages are more about the condition of THEIR HEARTS than YOUR WEIGHT.

What I want you to embrace is the fact that you are God’s masterpiece. You are a work of outstanding skill and artistry. You are His very best piece of work, His magnum opus. I invite you to return for the second part of this series because I want to share with you what GOD says about you. What God says about you is far more important than anything society says about you.

shr

 

 

 

 

Carry You

Yesterday, I woke to dreary, rainy skies. As I was running errands and driving, I saw a break in the sky and the sunbeams broke through in ethereal streams, almost like arms stretched down to the earth. The presence of God was so strong it was palpable. He flooded my thoughts with images and words of poetry, so much so that I had to pull over, grab some paper from the glove box, and write them down. 
Then, as I prayed last night, He gave me the very last verse. If you listen to God, He will give you wonderful gifts. I want to share yesterday’s gift with you. Please remember that these are not MY words, but GOD’S words through me. Have a blessed day!

shr
CARRY YOU

When the weight of the world is too much to bear,

And the load on your shoulders is filled with care,

Lay it all at the cross, Grace will meet you there,

And Jesus will carry you through.
When hope seems thin and strength is gone,

And you just don’t think you can carry on.

It’s a brand new day at the break of dawn,

And Jesus will carry you through. 
When your mind is filled with restlessness,

And the pain your heart is causing stress, 

There is One who waits to comfort and bless,

For Jesus will carry you through. 
When struggles cut into your soul like a knife,

And you cannot escape the confusion and strife,

Remember the One who has given new life,

Is waiting to carry you through. 
When discomfort overwhelms and takes its toll,

As the storm clouds gather and thunder rolls,

God’s still on His throne and in control,

Sending Jesus to carry you through. 
As worry dies and turmoils decrease,

God will give His unsurpassable peace. 

His Love and Mercy will never cease,

Now that Jesus has carried you through. 

(c) Sandra Hall Rosser 2017

A Day of Real Life Low Carb Eating

When I changed my way of eating (WOE) in 2015, I admit that I was more motivated by the words of my doctor and the thoughts of losing weight than I was by what God thought of me at 226 pounds. I was focused on not adding medications (which meant an added monthly expense to our budget) to my daily regimen and shopping in the regular women’s sizes for clothes. I wanted to change what I saw in the mirror, not realizing that my physical condition was just as harmful to my spiritual and emotional well being as it was to any body organ or system.

God actually has quite a bit to say about our health. In Genesis 1:29, God instructs Adam to eat the seeds, fruits, and plants He created for food. In Genesis 9:3, God further says that He gives us “every moving thing” and plants for our sustenance. In Daniel 1:8-20, God gives specific instruction to Daniel about what to eat to be strong and healthy. It’s clear that God never envisioned us consuming boxes of macaroni and cheese, Lean Cuisine, or Snickers bars as sources to fulfill our nutritional needs.

With these biblical lessons in mind, I modified what goes in my body and added movement to my once sedentary life. I’ve been on a quest to educate myself about how my body works and the WHY (the science) of eating healthier and exercising. I’m going to share something with you so that you know it can be done and that I’m not just talking about this in theory. Below left is me at my highest weight of 247 pounds. Below right is me at my current weight of 167.4 pounds. My goal weight is 157.

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My public library holds a wealth of information and I frequent it now more often than I ever have. The internet also has information available, but I have learned to read everything with an eagle eye, because, despite popular belief, if it’s on the internet, information is not necessarily accurate. These are some sources you can bank on, and one of those sources is the Diagnosis Diet website, written by Dr. Georgia Ede. She likes to say it’s “where nutrition science meets common sense.” For those of you who may be reading any part of my story for the first time, let me encourage you to take an assessment of your body and its sensitivity to carbohydrates. Click here to take the test for absolutely FREE.

This test asks a series of twenty yes/no questions to determine your level of sensitivity. If you score 13 or more yeses, you are considered in the “red zone” and highly sensitive to carbohydrates that you ingest. I scored 19.

I always share this quiz when anyone asks me why I chose a low carb WOE because this was an eye-opener for me. Armed with the information from this quiz, I started researching ways to cut carbohydrates from my diet. I know this quiz is accurate because when I started eliminating carbs, I lost weight. Not only did I lose weight, I have kept it off. The number one question I get asked is “What are you doing to lose weight?” and the second is “What do you eat?”

So, what does one eat on a low carb WOE? I’m going to share a REAL FOOD JOURNAL ENTRY from a recent week with you. I use My Fitness Pal to log my meals (sign in name is sandyrosser, so feel free to send me a friend request if you use it too) and my food diary is public, so any friend on MFP can see what I eat. I set my calorie limit at 1200 calories per day now, but when I started eating low carb, my calorie limit was 1490…and yes, I lost weight eating nearly 1500 calories a day! (As I lost weight, I adjusted the calorie intake because I naturally ate less because my body needed less.)

Breakfast (352 calories):  2 scrambled eggs (using non-stick cooking spray), 3 slices Oscar Meyer turkey bacon, and 20 oz. coffee with 2 tablespoons of almond-coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of light cream, a little stevia, and a scoop of Perfotek hydrolyzed collagen protein (for joint health, but it also is great for your skin and nails…I’ve been using this since knee surgery in 2014)

Lunch (490 calories): 1 Double Quarter Pounder (no cheese, no sesame seed bun, mustard and pickle only) and a McDonald’s side salad with a DRIZZLE of their Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing (because the entire pouch has 11 grams of carbs…YIKES!)

370

Dinner (339 calories): 4 oz. grilled herb chicken breast (oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper), 1 cup stir-fried zucchini and onions (cooked in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil), 1 oz. of BLOCK cheddar cheese*, and 1/4 cup fresh blackberries.

Total for the day: 1181 calories, 21g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 10 sugar**, 77g fat, and 88g protein.

*Cheese that comes pre-shredded has added carbohydrates in the form of potato or cornstarch. These additives keep the shredded cheese from sticking together and clumping. I buy block cheese and shredded it myself (as needed), eliminating those unnecessary carbs.

**Let me break down those 10g of sugar: 8g are natural sugars that come from the green vegetables and blackberries, while the other 2g are ADDED sugars from the ranch dressing, which is why I only used a little drizzle on my salad and why I make my own dressings at home to eliminate added sugars and preservatives.

I drink between 64-80 oz. of water daily to stay hydrated. I drink even more on days that I work out. I walk every day and I try to have 10,000+ steps at least four out of seven days. I don’t always meet that goal because life happens, but it’s my goal and I like meeting that goal as often as I can.

So, this is a day in my real life low carb WOE. If this is helpful for you, I’ll be glad to post more of my food journal for you in future posts. As always, your feedback is important and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you leave me in the comments.

Have a blessed week!

shr