Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting a Plan with Lysa TerKeurst

I heard so much about Lysa TerKeurst’s new book Made to Crave, I picked up a copy. I plan on reviewing the book in its entirety when I finish; however, I can’t help but interact with the book while I am reading. (She makes this easy by including reflection questions at the end of each chapter.)

In the third chapter, Lysa builds an excellent case for “getting a plan” to lose weight. Although she includes her plan, she is quick to say that her plan does not necessarily need to be your plan. The real point is to have a plan.

Are plans important? Yes. But they should be an extension of living a righteous life. They should blossom from an intimate relationship with the Lord. We should first delve into the root cause of improper eating. If we do not understand what caused our nasty habits, we will revert back to them.

One reason I have avoided writing about specific plans is because of past experiences with “plans.” Diets work. It’s what happens after I’ve met my goal. When I achieve my desired weight, after being hungry for four months or so, I want to eat until I’m full. So I do. There are various endings to this story, which at least tells you that I’ve lived it many times over in the past twenty-seven years; but, none of them end happily. Therefore, I associate plans (dieting) with failing (i.e. gaining the weight back or reverting to an unhealthy eating pattern). I am fearful of another plan.

However, Lysa has a valid point. Without a plan, we don’t have direction or goals.

God’s nature is to be organized and have goals. Jesus had a plan. He knew where He was going and His ultimate objective. Imagine if Jesus had lost his way to Jerusalem, or chosen to stay in Galilee, or allowed Himself to be sidetracked. He could have missed his own crucifixion!

But He didn’t. Jesus met his goals because He, first, knew who He was and Whose He was . . . and, second, had a God-directed plan. Shouldn’t we? Yes, in all areas of life—including, but not limited to, the physical area of life.

My Plan
My most recent plan is “eat healthy.” Before you laugh, it is a bit more complex than it appears. My healthy choices are based on research (see “My Picks” widget for some books I have read). Unfortunately, the farther I get from these truths, the easier it is to slip back into old patterns. For example, I buy organic lettuce for my family . . . until I am at Sam’s Club and see that a huge bag of romaine lettuce is half the cost. Then, I temporarily lose myself in the thought of saving money and snatch it up. (Does anyone hear a rationalization in there?) Maybe some of you are thinking, “Well, at least you eat lettuce!” True enough. However, these are my goals. Yours may be different.

I believe a bigger issue for me right now is portion control. This is an area I’ve let up on in the past couple of years. I stopped counting calories or measuring my food. It seemed too rigid. But maybe I can find harmony somewhere in between. The knowledge is there. So I am committing this area to prayer.

My conclusion? “Eat healthy” is not specific enough. Goals (and the plans to reach them) need to be measureable and attainable.

So, while I do not want to be a slave to rules and checklists and the goals themselves, it is difficult to reach a goal if I never set one and get a plan to reach it. So as I deal with the issues that have contributed to my poor eating habits, I will ask God to give me a plan—one that is measureable and attainable. I think the first step is dealing with the fear issue I mentioned earlier.

What do you think about plans?

Do you have a plan? Is it God-directed?

Side Note: As I mentioned at the beginning, I will be posting a full review of Made to Crave after I finish the book. Additionally, I will be giving the book away in a drawing. Directions for the drawing will be in a later post.

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Andrea said...

Love this post! I have decided to start this 28 challenge with my food. And just as you said, I am not making this a diet, just a plan and I have a goal to hit at the end of the 28 days(and one of the best things about this goal is it has nothing to do with my weight or the numbers on the scale). I am praying about it, and know if I have GOD with me on this journey I will reach it with his help and guidance, but I will say that I am open to the direction HE takes me. He knows what is best for me so if he wants me to change my plan to better what I have already started I am all for it! Thanks for the post. I am loving the book by the way I hope you are to!

Troy and Lori said...

Yes, I need a plan. I am currently using Weight Watchers. I view my plan as a change in lifestyle. God gives us different opportunities and tools to achieve our goals. W.W gives me the support I need, and W.W. has the tools to reach my goals. I also purchased the Made to Crave book along with "Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness" by
Candace Cameron Bure.

Barb Winters said...

Andrea - Thanks for leaving a comment! I love how your plan has nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with God's guidance. I do like the book. Oddly, she repeats lots of what I have written about; and, yet, she is challenging my thinking - along with my relationship with food and God.

Lori - Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you picked up the book. I haven't heard of the second one you mentioned. Let me know what you think. I have heard good things about Weight Watchers. It is on the short list of diets I haven't personally tried. ;-) It is good to view the plan long-term (lifestyle change). That is where my thinking needs to change.

Laura said...

The plan I've been striving to follow the past several years is to change my overall lifestyle, rather than telling myself I'm "on a diet." For me, it's worked pretty well. Overall, my lifestyle change has included portion control (you are right, Barb, this can be a very important tool in maintaining a healthy weight), eating as few processed foods as possible, regular exercise, and following a vegetarian diet (I did not become vegetarian until after I'd reached my goal weight, but I've found it helps me maintain my weight) - and, like you said, the "right" plan is going to be different for each person. We each need to listen to what God is telling us He wants us to do in our individual lives. I agree that plans are a key step ... not only do they help me stay on track, but they also can provide a "re-start" point for those times when I'm tempted to go off-course (for example, these past couple days of being completely snowed-in due to the blizzard, with a kitchen full of food and no chance of getting to the gym!) :)

Barb Winters said...

Providing a "re-start" place is an excellent point! A fast or a cleanse is typically my "re-start" place. It helps rid my body of toxins so it doesn't crave those things I shouldn't eat (white flour, sugar . . .). And we do have times when it is difficult (or impossible) to maintain our typical routine, so it is important to stay focused on the overall goal.

It has always been harder for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle after I've lost the weight than while I am losing.

Thanks for your thoughts, Laura!

Living on Less Money said...

I started at your home page and worked my way through reading your posts and ended here. :-) I can identify with so much of what you have written. I have a question. Why do we feel guilty when we eat sweets but not when we may eat too much watermelon or strawberries? I know we are not to be mastered by anything. But, scripture also does not place one food as being worst for someone than another. If we think eating something is sin then I know we're not supposed to eat it. But, why do we feel guilty about eating too many sweets? I care for a 91 year old lady that eats sugary things throughout the day. She does not feel guilty. My mother is 79 and eats sugar at every meal and does not eat guilty but she's also thin. It's just confusing to me.

Barb Winters said...

Wow! Thanks for spending so much time reading the blog. I am glad God is using it to speak to you.

Excellent questions! I'm not sure I know the answers, but I will give you my thoughts and pray the Lord answers you.

I feel guilty if I eat too much of anything (although, admittedly, I doubt I've ever eaten "too much" watermelon). Typically, I overindulge on carbs or sugary items. But, for me, sugar is a substance I can be addicted to. So I crave it and will lean in that direction. Not everyone has that issue.

I can see where it would be confusing to watch others eat "whatever" and "get away with it." Although, fifty years ago foods had more nutrients, weren't as processed, and had less additives and pesticides. So, I'm guessing these ladies you are referring to are in good health because they ate so much better in their growing up years than we did simply because the food was better. That probably allows for them to eat more sugary items now. But there again, God made each of us different and we respond differently to foods.

As for "feeling guilty" - maybe food isn't an issue for these ladies. Not everyone struggles with it. It amazes me how my son can stop eating as soon as he is full and not want another bite even if there are only three more bites left in his DQ blizzard. It's no biggie for him. I would have to either finish it (wrongly) or make myself stop reminding myself that I am full and don't need it.

I hope this is helpful. Keep reading the other posts as you have time. Maybe something will pop out at you that may answer your questions. And keep commenting. I'd love to interact some more.