Thursday, June 1, 2017

JESUS, ADAPTATION, & HOT WATER WEIGHT LOSS


I ended my last post, Miracle Cats, Soul Mates, and Chocolate Brownies with the needing of a break from all the miracles and messages I was receiving. The Lord, on the other hand, indicated something more along the lines of, let’s finish this thing right now. You can do it! The subsequent miracles occurred so rapidly that I had neither time nor desire to blog about them.

It was easier for me to post descriptions of them on Facebook. Then THE MIRACLE, the one in which I finally recognized my Sweet Jesus, who had been standing right there next to me all along, happened on May 10. On May 24, I posted about miraculous doings related to Fatima, and on May 26, I managed to translate my feelings about having my soul forever entwined with Jesus’s into words.

Now here’s the part that some of you may not like. Sorry, not sorry. I’m not going to cut and paste all those posts together right here just for you. Nothing against any of you, please understand. It’s just that I simply need to be lazy about this one. I need to leave the posts on Facebook where they belong because that’s where the miracle happened. Also, because, apparently, there is such a thing as being overwhelmed by joy and some of this is simply too much for me.

What I'm happy to offer you instead is an invitation to friend me on Facebook at Maria Virginia Ross.

I know that a lot of people have disengaged with Facebook due to politics, but let me just say, you are the boss of your own Newsfeed. Learn how to use the “Unfollow” and the “See First,” buttons, and you’ll be amazed at how positive a social media experience you can create for yourself.

I’m also making you work for this information a little bit. In the past, I’ve made it too easy for y’all, my dearworthy readers, whom I love. Yes, Jesus is standing right there next to you, but if you can’t see Him, that means you have to take baby steps toward Him your own self. I offer friending me on Facebook and scanning for the above dates in May as your assignment for today. P.S. Friend me, read the posts, and unfriend me, if you want. I won’t take offense. Because really, it’s also all about allowing myself to be lazy.

Now, if the whole Facebook thing still doesn’t appeal, I offer this alternative as an enjoyable metaphor of what I experienced here. 

Okay, now I’m going to continue from the May 26 Facebook post:

If anyone would have ever told me at any time before Lent this year, that I would meet my Lord through Jerry Garcia, I would not have believed them. (I mean, maybe I would have, depending on their delivery and back up info. But, you get the idea.)

It was completely, totally, 100%, unexpected. And yet, completely, totally, 100% perfectly senseworthy. Mmmmmmm. I’m so stinking happy, I can’t stand it. Allow me to rephrase, I still need a lot more time to adapt.

So, this is a somewhat incoherent (I can’t help it, but yes, I’m well aware) transitional post or place holder. I need to take the summer off. I need to adjust to the recalibrations in my viewfinder and fine-tune the focus of my new lens. I have to practice reading books again without taking notes for a post or a book review. I need to remember how to read books for the sheer pleasure of it, just for me.

I will also travel with my family to visit family, and then a trip to the mountains. Travel helps you see your life clearer from the outside looking in, sort to speak. I need this. I need to shake up my snow globe and start over, metaphysically speaking.

My life is already different in so many ways. Here’s one delicious way I can share with you now -- Somehow, I ended up creating a career for myself in which I spend a lot of time alone. I prefer this. But, there are times when I long for a hug -- when my husband is off working or being a running fool; my kids are off living their grown-up lives; I have no plans with friends that day; and the nearest cat is roosting on the FA-ricking top of the refrigerator. Again. Really?!

This used to be a sad time for me. But now, when this happens, or when I’m having trouble balancing my inner joy with the world’s woes, I hear a voice inside my head telling me to listen -- the very same voice I always believe.

I turn on the Grateful Dead or the Jerry Garcia Band, and I hear it – a warm embrace.

Wait, how can you hear an embrace?

I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

Wait. Whose voice is it -- Jesus’s, Jerry’s, or your own?

Yes.

Because we are all magically, mysteriously, and miraculously connected to and through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

(I know. I would be annoying myself if I wasn’t so happy.)


Wait. Isn’t a thirteen-day novena a thirteen-day nine-day prayer? And isn’t that, by its very definition, impossible?

Okay. Maybe if you stopped asking questions and just believed, you’d have more fun here.

Seriously, I highly recommend your checking out at least the first video to see if it appeals to you. I love Friar Mario Conte -- he’s theologically knowledgeable, deeply spiritual, and did I mention his Italian accent? Mmmmmmm.

The novena ends on June 13, the Feast Day of St. Anthony which is also the 100th anniversary of the second Our Lady of Fatima sighting. I predict miracles galore!
………………………………

And now for something completely different and mostly rational:

A friend recently noticed that I had dropped some weight, and along with her compliment, she asked me how I did it. I explained to her how I had recently lost the last two pounds. And later I realized that I should have told her how I lost the first of the pounds and worked my way forward and down through the years. Here’s my answer in chronological order:

Maria’s Recipe for Weight Loss

 1. Mandatory disclaimer – Get your regular physical exams. Check for diabetes and thyroid issues, and, you know, don’t start any weight loss program that might be dangerous or even makes you feel sick. You shouldn’t feel sick in this process, ever.

 2. Weight loss works better with exercise. And exercise works best if you enjoy it. Walking counts! Vacuuming counts (sorry). Hula hooping during your favorite movie counts! You get the idea.

 3. Stop drinking sugar. Cut out soda, sweet teas, lemonades, juices, etc. Replace these drinks with unsweetened tea with 1 packet of sugar or Stevia, if you must, or a glass of water with a splash of cranberry juice. Do not replace with diet versions, because most sugar substitutes make you crave sugar which totally defeats the purpose. (Stevia is safe.)

Don’t try to do too many other dietary changes during this process. It’s hard to break these habits. It took me three years to lose my taste for Diet Coke. So, cut yourself a break here. It’s hard, but you can do it. And you’ll get the weight loss payoff.

Nowadays, I drink mostly water, either hot in a mug or cold with a splash of cranberry juice, unsweetened tea with no added sugar at restaurants, or unsweetened green or herbal teas if I have enough patience to wait for it to brew. I also drink coffee with ½ teaspoon of real sugar and a splash of whole milk which has its own sweetness. I add these extras because there’s really no point in drinking coffee without them.

 4. Oh, right. We have to have the alcohol discussion. Take the on-line test to see if you are addicted and take appropriate AA action or seek recovery counseling. If addiction is not a factor, understand that alcohol in small amounts is, in fact, heart healthy. Check on line to see how much is the healthiest amount for your weight and gender. Women get less. Of course.

 5. When you have numbers 1-4 sorted and handled, it’s time for learning about the nutritional value of foods. I joined Weight Watchers after weaning both of my babies. It’s a good program, either on-line or in person group meetings. From my experience, it’s one of the easiest to transition between dedicated program following and later applying what you learned to your food choices. In other words, the program ingrains good habits that you’ll take with you when you “finish” the program.

 6. About a decade after I did Weight Watchers, I got real with the carbohydrates in my diet, and realized I was eating way too much sugar and white flour for someone with borderline hypoglycemia. I had also learned that the female body stores extra carbohydrates as fat in the midsection. Empty carbohydrates also cause bloating.

Next, I had a food allergy/sensitivity test done, which I highly recommend at any point along your weight loss quest because food allergies and sensitivities can unknowingly sabotage your most diligent efforts, and I discovered that I have a sensitivity to yeast. It doesn’t just mess with my body, it messes with my brain functions, big time. So, I must limit the amount of baked goods I can consume. Which means I can’t eat too many of the sweet recipes sprinkled throughout this blog.

I even have to avoid the whole-wheat Communion bread I bake for my church twice a month. I can receive a pinch of it for Communion, but I can’t regularly eat slices of it for morning toast, or lunch-time sandwiches, or all buttery with dinner.

Oh, the cruel irony of it all!   

But, you know, not really. We learn to adapt to what life allows us and take greater pleasure in small portions and rare treats.

 7. At my annual physical last year, I had borderline high cholesterol numbers. And in a serious effort to OH, HELL NO the possibility of having to take prescription medication, I switched to a Heart Healthy diet. You’ll find ‘em online. The trick about heart healthy, is not so much what you can’t eat (although it’s important), but what heart healthy foods you should eat. For example, those Omega 3 supplements don’t do you any good sitting in the bottle in the refrigerator. Every day, you have to open the door, twist the bottle cap, pour a capsule in your hand, put it in your mouth, and swallow it. And if a cat lands on your head in the process, so be it.

 8. The other thing I do somewhat regularly is catch up on reading issues of Nutrition Action Healthletter by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. I learn a lot about nutrition and what we can do to avoid certain diseases. For example, I read an article a few months ago which discussed the scientific findings that foods that combine meat with nitrates such as cold cuts, hot dogs, and sausages, are carcinogenic. The more of this crap you eat, the higher your chances of getting cancer are, and the sooner you will die. Fact. They’ve worked out how many years you take off your life by eating different amounts of this stuff. Please do me a special favor and stop eating it.

Fair warning though, Nutrition Action is a bit boring. The articles about ailments you don’t have are boring. The recipes are boring. The covers usually display a photo of Brussels sprouts. Boring! Although, last month, the Brussels sprouts cover was replaced with a yummy photo of Benedict Cumberbatch, which is a miracle in and of itself.

 9. Okay, we are about to step into the emotional and metaphysical world of weight loss. But before I do, we have to talk about addiction. I honestly don’t know if there is a difference between stress eating and addictive eating. So, you’ll have to do your own research on that before proceeding because my experience is with stress eating.

If you feel you are addicted to sugar or other foods, or if you are addicted to not eating and are struggling with anorexia or bulimia, know that there really are quality specifically trained counselors in place waiting for you to call. Please call. I promise you that this is a baby step necessary to finding your Lord. In other words, I would have seen Jesus standing right there next to me a whole heck of a lot sooner if I didn’t have an addiction blocking my view.

Now because my weirdness is unique, I was unable to find a counselor who knew how to help me. I was too much to handle for three of them before I gave up and focused on helping myself through books. The book that jump started the sprint at the end of my spiritual journey was LOVE WARRIOR by Glennon Doyle Melton. I posted about it here.

My addiction is the people pleasing/approval seeking/shame avoiding that was conditioned into me as child of an alcoholic. Glennon’s addiction is anorexia/bulimia. Yet, addiction is addiction, and that’s why this book helped me so much.

What I’m trying to say is, some of us can get by with books and trusted friends who understand us and create a safe listening space, but some of this addiction shit is too heavy to sort through without professional help. There is no fault or shame in addiction. Instead there are proven methods of recovery and qualified people who are waiting to work stuff out with you, teach you important things about addiction, and hold you up. Please find yours and let them help you.

10. Stress eating. Okay, I’ll say it fast, don’t throw yogurt at me. I’m blessed to be afflicted with loss of appetite during stressful situations. I’ll tell you specifically why this is a blessing in a minute. But, I know I triggered some envy, so let me balance my brag with some of my other “blessings.”

Since I’m borderline hypoglycemic, I have to eat even if I’m not hungry. Otherwise, I can get lightheaded due to drops in my blood sugar levels. And if I habitually allow this to happen, I could end up with diabetes. AHHHHH! Where’s me bag of walnuts?! 

Also, I have this weird condition in which drinking cold water makes my tummy hurt by mimicking extreme hungry. So, I have to add some juice to my cold water. Or I drink water that’s been microwaved for one minute. You’d think I’d brew up some tea instead, but that takes two minutes in the microwave and another five to cool down enough to drink. I just don’t have time for that kind of nonsense.

Here’s why it’s a blessing for me to not eat a lot of food when I’m stressed -- whatever fat we add to our bodies during stressful times metaphysically includes the memory of the negative emotions we were dealing with at the time we consumed the fattening food. I know, it’s completely unfair and somewhat unbelievable. But, it’s true.

This is also why we need to be careful with our weight loss efforts. If you drop weight too fast, memories of past stress or trauma might surface unawares. Be prepared for this to happen and get counseling to help you deal with any unwanted memories that are too difficult to handle by yourself. Meanwhile, drink plenty of water to flush fat cells and their bad memories out and away.

I have two weight loss books I can recommend even though I have not read them because I can recommend the authors:

CONSTANT CRAVING: WHAT YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS MEAN AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM by Doreen Virtue

BODY CLUTTER: LOVE YOUR BODY, LOVE YOURSELF by Marla Cilley and Leanne Ely

Speaking of Marla Cilley, she’s the Fly Lady. Ever hear of her? She has a great website and lots of books and organizational tools. She published a book called SINK REFLECTIONS in 2002, which is when I read it. On the surface, it seemed like a house cleaning book, but it’s really a gateway out of the perfectionism/procrastination that cripples so many people just like me. Recognizing I wasn’t alone in this characteristic was invaluable. (Looking back on it now, I'm vaguely aware that this characteristic had to do with my addiction. Fascinating.) But the guidance and procedures on how to break out of this limitation was a gift beyond description. 

Step one: Shine your kitchen sink. Step two: Take baby steps. If I had to credit the one book that helped me the most with my writing, it would be this one. Because baby stepping my way to a clean house helped me to literally clear space in my life for the writing of words.

Anyhow, in answer to my friend’s question -- I recently lost two pounds while purging a traumatic experience via the writing process in a safe space with a trusted friend. I drank a lot of hot water.

Bonus Material:

Blooms galore in the St. Anthony of Padua and Lisbon Garden -- Spring, 2017

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