Weight Watchers: First Impressions

I might have to change my ways a little…

I had my first visit to Weight Watchers, and I wanted to report what I learned. The “pep talk” if you will was on keeping track of every bite you eat and figuring out how just how much you’re eating in a day. According to their research, people underestimate what they eat by up to 1,000 calories a day. They had a couple of catchy phrases: “No free BLT’s” (that’s “bites, licks, or tastes”), and “If you bite it, write it!” You have to calculate how many “points” you can have each day according to weight, height, sex, age, and activity level. Keeping track of what you eat and keeping accountable is the start of learning how to eat right. If you can’t afford Weight Watcher’s, there’s a website called Sparkpeople.com that helps you with diet planning and calorie counting for free.

I can have “18” points per day. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it is the lowest level anyone ever gets to, which means that Weight Watcher’s won’t be a passing fancy for me. If I want to lose the extra pounds and keep them off, this is going to be a forever diet. Rather sobering, but since they add into their equation 35 points per week for fun and make it possible to eat a small amount of almost anything you think you can’t live without, then I think it’s doable. In the past, I’ve always found the easiest way to lose weight was to stop eating desserts, which was effective, but since I LOVE desserts, as soon as I reached my goal and quite dieting, I started gaining. Weight Watchers basically tries to teach people a new lifestyle and a new skill: how to eat in a controlled, healthy, sustainable way. “Not perfection but progress” and eventually a lifelong good habit of eating right.  I’m on board!

Once begun, I wonder: why did it take me so long to sign on? Pride? “I can lose weight on my own; I have my own system.” “I’m not doing so bad compared to everybody else.” “I don’t need help.” “There’s such a stigma attached to admitting being in Weight Watchers…it’s like you have a disease or something…like you’re a weak person…like you can’t take care of yourself.” Money? “It costs $9.22 per week. Couldn’t that be better spent somewhere else?” Time? “I’m so busy right now, where will I ever find another 1-2 hours per week to invest in something else?” Lack of motivation? “Well, most of my friends are a little overweight…isn’t that just what happens as we get older?”

Makes me think of becoming a disciple of Christ. Aren’t the roadblocks often similar? If you’re not a believer, what’s keeping you from trusting Christ and becoming a new creation in Him? For those of us who are already Christians, what’s hindering us from turning our lives completely over to God and becoming even more earnest in living out the new lifestyle that we’ve been called to?

Well, here’s to healthy eating and healthy living! I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a week. 🙂

Accidents and Other Mysteries

On Monday I had great plans for my house organizing project, but while I was getting dressed, I did something I’ve never done in my life—I dropped my jewelry box on the floor, scattering tiny little ear rings everywhere and tangling necklace chains with bracelets, ETC. big time. It was before 6:00 am, and Alan was almost ready for us to begin our devotional time, so I scooped everything up in a heap and left it on the bed, and then ran out to make our tea. Later I spent a rather frustrating two hours—my entire allotment for “organizing life” that day—in untangling minute gold chains and trying to make sure all the pairs of earrings were accounted for. Sigh.

Yesterday while I was happily working on Bless Your Baby, it occurred to me that I’d save time if I used the “find and replace all” function to turn Isa into Isaiah rather than having to search through the entire text to make that single correction. To my chagrin, I discovered several minutes later that Isa is also found in numerous other words in the text—to name a few: advisability, disapprove, visa-versa, disagree, disarm, disappoint, disappear, disaster, Isaac, etc. Apparently, this function is not case sensitive, at least on my computer. At any rate…you get the point. I had to go back and individually check every incidence of isa in the entire text, another very tedious and frustrating job. “What am I doing wrong, Lord?” I asked myself. Here I’m trying to be more conscious of the presence of God, and I’m stumbling more than ever. Are you patiently reminding me that I’m NOT asking before doing, or are these just “accidents” that are part of the chance and circumstance that happens to all of us as limited humans?

Some accidents are much more devastating. A friend of ours who lives in Montreal was out ice skating and fell a couple of days ago, dislocating his shoulder and breaking his arm in two places. Surgery was not as successful as hoped because Glenn (almost 60 like Alan and me) has the beginnings of osteoporosis and not enough strong bone to support the plates they wanted to insert. The surgeon warned him that even with therapy, his arm would never be the same. Sandy lamented:  “So, in a second of fun skating, life has changed for us…”

Last night the report came back from my dear friend Cheryl that the results of the broncoscopy and biopsy are probably positive, although she doesn’t have her official consultation with the doctors until next week. We were just starting to relax and think her breast cancer was gone for good. GROAN. This is a really hard one for me personally, since Cheryl is one of my closest friends. She’s going to the Mall of America this weekend with some of her shopping buddies and meeting other friends there too. “Retail therapy, doubtless prescribed by your doctor?” one of our mutual friends teased. We do not normally think of cancer as an accident, but it is certain a mystery that causes us to ask, “Why, Lord?” Cheryl’s husband wrote for our chapel prayer chain: “Part of me wants to pray that this is all a big mistake, but above all else, we want God to be glorified.  So, in our lives Lord, be glorified today!”

Guess that’s the bottom line. Whether trouble comes to us or we go to it, as Job observed many millenniums ago, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). All we can do is walk patiently by faith, praying that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20). May God help us as we try to walk by faith.

Hair Clinic

Brianna and Daniel invested in a pair of hair clippers this Christmas. I’ve been cutting Alan and my kids’ hair since pretty close to forever, and we figure it’s saved us thousands of dollars over the years. It all started with my father, who used to cut our hair when I was little, and then my girl friend, Marcy, who talked me into cutting her hair in college. I told Marcy I had no talent and absolutely couldn’t, but she said she’d tell me exactly what to do and take all the blame if it didn’t turn out. Actually, she did know what I should do, and it turned out at least passable, which gave me the courage to try to learn later how to cut Alan’s hair when money became an issue during graduate/medical school.

Now, the torch is being passed to the next generation! We had a bit of a hair clinic, and both Brianna and Gerlinde did totally great jobs on cutting their husband’s hair. In this picture (which Brianna took), I’m cutting Joel’s hair and Gerlinde is trimming Curly Locks (Jon).

It’s really fun to see the “torch” being passed from generation to generation. There are some weaknesses of my character and body that I wish I could extinguish rather than pass on. Guess just like hair growing, we have to keep trimming back the excesses in our lives. A well trimmed spirit and body…that’s what I’d like!! 🙂

P.S.—If you don’t see your picture on our fridge, it’s because you forgot to send us one in your Christmas letter! I’d still love to have your picture up too  if you’ll send me one!

Holiday Memories

Well, all the non-GR residents have returned to their respective homes, and I’m left just enjoying the happy memories:

Lots of great food…

At home and abroad

Lots of great fellowship with relatives and friends…



“Go” on Stephen’s new Go board


Making party hats

And bringing in the New Year with a toast (of non-alcoholic, sparkling grape juice) to the best-ever decade for all we love:

May this coming decade be full of love, joy, and peace for you!

New Year’s Resolutions

A New Day and a New Year: Sunrise from my room

Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions for 2010? We sat around the breakfast table sharing our ideas and hopes. I was delighted with what I heard and feel blessed indeed to be a part of a household where the resolves revolved around such positive, good things! I’m going to share my resolutions with you, and then this year from time to time I’ll let you know my struggles, failures, and progress!

1. “Practice the presence of God” in more conscious communion with Him day by day.

2.  Join Weight Watchers and lose down to my “ideal” weight (or at least what’s considered normal by WW standards).

3.  Restore my previous morning exercise routine (4-5 mornings) and add evening exercise at least 3 times weekly.

4. Finish my book called Bless Your Baby.

5.  Organize our home (if not perfectly, at least a good, rousing once over of EVERYTHING, including back corners and basement storage areas).

There are many other things I want to do, such as support Jon and Gerlinde’s new Aqueduct Ministry and see my new grand baby, but if I keep my goals simple and concrete, then maybe I’ll have a better chance at achieving them. As they always say, improvement comes “here a little, there a little.”

What are your goals? I’d love to have you share them, and we can encourage each other. But, what if we don’t succeed? To me, a goal is a target. Without a target, we might become aimless, and that would be no good a’tall! So, better target practice every day and some success without perfection  rather than no vision and no gain, right? But, in all things, may my life be lived to serve and love God and man, and if the needs of my fellow pilgrims get in the way of my realizing personal ambitions, then may I have the good grace to accept all interruptions as “divine appointments” and be thankful for the opportunities to love others along the way.