Month 6, My Focus: The Endocrine System. I Think My Skin Is Healing!

Ok, so it has been over five 5 months since I started my journey to heal my Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis, and I have finally begun to seen some results!!

The melanocytes in my legs have slowly failed to produce melanin more and more over the past 9+ years. I began to see what I thought were big results on my thighs some weeks back in that I noticed I was seeing more of my brown spots, caused from an overproduction of melanin, than my white spots, no melanin production. I felt I was looking for the white spots but I was able to still see them. I was ready to share my news. But, the other night as I looked at my legs, it looked like there were more white spots. It occurred to me that maybe it was because I got some sun on my legs the day before. After I came back from running, and I got ready for my shower, I noticed I had a “runners” tan from my early morning run. This is Florida, afterall:)

So, when looking at my legs and seeming to see more white spots, I figured it was maybe because of the sun. I thought it was because I was eating sugar too. One of the things I was told was that, among this condition not being “curable,” it is also made worse by the sun and to steer clear. However, this article indicates research does NOT support photodamage as a prerequisite for the development of IGH making me think maybe it is still a fungus, but you think the “experts” would know. My thoughts about eating sugar again and seeing more spots is because I have thought it may be a fungus – it presents like one in so many ways – the shape, the slow spread and the persistence. Another place in the article does seem to contradict itself indicating the absence of the macules is due to solar radiation.

So, either I actually do have more spots in January, as it does seem to be the case as evidenced by the photos – I look tanner in January, too, which could just be elucidating the spots more – or I don’t. I am not sure! I have thought I could visibly tell they are reducing, so I am going to go with that, and they do look to be fewer in this recent photo, too. Summer is on the way, so I will be getting tanner just by way of being outside, so time will surely tell. However, to also address the potential fungus issue, I am going to keep my white flour & sugar to a low (fungus, like all organisms, love and thrive on sugar), keep eating well, taking my probiotics (which can also by way of increasing their populations, keep off the “fungal” populations), and just keep progressing in the direction of well-being. I am not sure I will continue to research further body systems beyond this month because I do not see a correlation between them, but I’ll see. I never knew the the endocrine system produced a hormone to stimulate melanin production! So…

I have persisted in the other areas, off and on, in which I’ve engaged in since working on different body systems since January. I am inadvertently taking a systemic approach at this point. I’m still supplementing with a lot of different supplements, drinking lots of smoothies, exercising, rarely overeating, eating less white flour/sugar, using Selson blue to scrub my legs with in the shower with a scubber likely used by masochists, I am taking probiotics, and I continue to research ways I can address how my body may make more melanin.

Onto the hormonal relationship.

Having recently found out there is actually a hormone responsible for making melanin, it’s called, aptly, Melanin Stimulating Hormone and is “stimulated” by the anterior pituitary gland in my brain, or so it should be, I was encouraged that maybe this is somehow the root of my problem. I am still not sure why it is failing to produce in my legs! So I am pursing the endocrine study this month to see what’s up with that and if there is something I can do to help my legs, here!

I read this study, Hypopigmented Macules of Photodamaged Skin and Their Treatment with Topical Tretinoin, which I found really interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I found out that this Retin- A cream, Tretinoin, that I bought in Mexico in February for my face has actually been studied and used successfully for this problem. I have begun to use this on my legs, but the tube is now flattened, and ready for repurchase.

The issue with this cream is 2-fold – yes, it works, see the picts in the study, but not only are the “macules” lighter, the whole of the skin is lighter – issue 1. The 2nd issue is that after discontinuation of use, they returned over time. I am not looking for a temporary fix, but a long-term, permanent solution to my skin issue. Oh yea, you also should stay out of the sun when using this. Ugh. That’s a no for sure! I am outside pretty much every day, but I do and will use sunscreen more regularly and thoroughly.

I found something in this article fascinating. Researchers suggested “the
presence of a systemic factor in the development of IGH, because IGH epidermis transplanted into mice re-pigmented after 3 weeks. Restoration of pigmentation indicates that melanocytes, though inactive, are present in
hypopigmented macules.

So, my melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) are in tact, according to this, likely, and fun fact: we have 1000 – 2000 melanocytes per square mm – Wow, my task now is to figure out why, still my task, they are not producing melanin! As this studying, indicates, however, this is systemic. For me to have been on the path of, pin-pointing, oh, I need copper or I need more vitamin A or I need to boost my immunity – this is larger, maybe than I am making it. But, maybe not. Idiopathic indicates the origin of the pathogenesis is not known. So, it’s rough, especially since I am not being systematic about it in the sense of controlled studies.

Well, this makes me think that yes, maybe this will be my last focus this month because of the systemic nature of this. In a way, I am, and have been, overtime, as I mentioned, inadvertently developing a systemic approach to healing this, as I have learned new bits each month, I am continuing to employ each of them, but less so. Still, maybe over time, it will alleviate myself of this condition as I persist!

In the meantime, I will be looking at, for the rest of this month and more, my hormones, hormonal homeostasis (balance), melanocyte receptors and the effect cholesterol may be having on my skin.

I gave blood last month and found out my cholesterol has gone up 30 points in the past 8 years. It’s over 180 and in the red one! I have purchased a cholesterol meter so I will monitor this too over this month to get it down. I have already bought and been eating wheat germ which is supposed to be great to reduce cholesterol, but we make cholesterol naturally. Cholesterol makes our sex hormones, and is part of all our cell membranes. So, maybe this high level of cholesterol has something to do with my problem, or maybe i just had umpteen cups of coffee with excess cream that morning, and my cholesterol levels were only high because of that. Going to get to the bottom of it!

Here’s to My Health & Yours:)

Holly

Overview of My Progress on My Face and Legs

5 Months: My Healing Process – I Need Specific Goals in Order to Progress.

I have realized this about myself this month – if I don’t have a specific goal, I don’t really progress. In my “absence” of progress, however, I have found how to better progress in my life, and that I am better with goals – whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, professional, or personal – what ever they are – I am more efficient with them, and happier to a degree – they make me feel like I am striving toward something and personally achieving something too which I always like. So, though my blood might not yet be cleaner, and I have murkied up my waters a bit in my aimlessness, I have made progress again, still, mentally which is impacting me on a spiritual and physical level, too, and clearing my path for success.

It’s time to get S.M.A.R.T! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. I am reminded that these goals are what I need in order to make better progress in my life with my life for whatever it is I a trying to achieve. I need goals for me to progress with more passion and gusto and to see more results in both my health and other aspects of my life for me to succeed. Furthermore, I need to commit to them and carry them out, the kicker. Otherwise, entropy takes over and I am lost in space, accomplishing nothing. SMART goals coupled with commitment, is my path forward 🙂

One thing I have realized about myself is if I am not able to see change in something, I am not likely to do it. I like being able to quantify things. I like making and seeing progress. I have been trying to figure out why I was not actively pursuing cleansing my blood, as my main pursuit of “healing” my cardiovascular system in an effort to help clear up my skin condition, as I had my other body systems. I’m in my 5th month of working on clearing up my skin, diagnosed with idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. My thinking: if my body is in perfect homeostasis, and has all the proper nutrition it needs, it will heal itself. I have made a dermatologist’s appointment for next month, as there is little change, but I do think there is some :), in my skin after 5 months. I have, however, heard it can take up to a year to heal this, and it’s taken about 9 years to develop – so, I’m right within my yearly healing plan, maybe.

Back to it – I came to the reason for barely pursuing cleaning my blood to being that I have not thought I would see progress, in addition to the fact that I was going to focus on juicing. I think the latter is what has deterred me the most honestly. I tried juicing only once this month so far, and am easily deterred by it, remembering more why I don’t do it. I’m not a fan of juicing.

Juicing is messy, and I have since found myself bothered at how wasteful it is, as well. I will say, however, the first and only day I have juiced, so far, I made beet juice with apple, spinach and carrots I think it may have been the best drink I’ve ever made and had in my life. It was so delicious! Another issue, however, is that you hardly get anything for what you put in:

Beet, Carrot, Apple and Spinach deliciousness. Not much B for B, but it’s tasty, and super healthy! And, it’s so pretty in color! 🙂

I must have needed it also for it to be so good, too, I surmise. I had this happen to me the first time I ever juiced carrots over 20 years ago, which I never liked cooked, but when juiced, I found were delicious! Maybe my body needed them, that is what I guessed at the time. I couldn’t figure out why else something I’d always hated would be so incredibly delicious to me! In addition to the mess and waste, I had very little juice actually produced, unlike my fruit and veg smoothies which produce a ton and keep me filled up for a long time. I am willing to pursue this more too, now that I will have more time, come Saturday, as my first official day of summer break, so I will pursue it more, then, with cleansing recipes. Yah! So happy for summer break and to be healthily and readily heading into it.

I am going to give this a go for at least three full days focusing on at least everything I should be to cleanse and alkalinize my blood – a 3 day cleanse. That work perfectly, time wise. It will take me out of this month and into the next where I will likely focus on the lymphatic system, continue to cleanse my blood, and get rid of my high cholesterol, hopefully. Tonight I bought my juice components – more beats, cucumber, ginger, lemon, cilantro, parsley and kale. I already have apples and carrots. For the next 3 days, I’m gonna hit it. It’s SMART:

  1. Specific: I will juice for at least 1 meal per day, and eat some food that is good for cleansing my blood at each meal over the next three days, to start. I will also carry out some form of cardiovascular exercise for my heart.
  2. Measurable: I will have 1 juice drink per day and at each meal food that will be cleansing I will walk, run, bike for at least 30 minutes/day.
  3. Attainable: I can do this for three days, ,and have everything I need to do to achieve this goal and monitor my progress.
  4. Realistic: This is achievable. I’ve already bought the food, have a juicer and have free time over the next 3 days. All goals set are realistic.
  5. Timely: 3 days – piece of cake. I can do it.

One thing I have gotten too is a smart watch – my phone however seems smarter, but it does not monitor my heart – one of the main reasons I got this baby. I have a resting heart rate of 62 according to my reading today – I just got this. But, as I just looked at my heart rate, and it’s at 50. A good, normal resting heart rate for adults is 60 – 100 beats per minute (BPM), and the fewer beats, the more efficient. A well-trained athlete is at about 40 bpm – a goal I can shoot for:)

I have realized this about myself this month – if I don’t have a specific goal, I don’t really progress. In my “absence” of progress, however, I have found how to better progress in my life, and that I am better with goals – whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, professional, or personal – what ever they are – I am more efficient with them, and happier to a degree – they make me feel like I am striving toward something and personally achieving something too which I always like. So, though my blood might not yet be cleaner, and I have murkied up my waters a bit in my aimlessness, I have made progress again, still, mentally which is impacting me on a spiritual and physical level, too, and clearing my path for success.

I need to get back on the horse. I have finally gotten back “on” sugar as of last week. Not a good result, either. I’d quit for Lent and didn’t go back until the middle of last week. I have had, since then, a pan of brownies, and a gallon (2 bogo 1/2 gallons) plus a quart of ice cream. Ice cream is my “island food.” It doesn’t seem like much when you are eating it, but it all adds up. I was shocked when I added this up. I have also seen, I think, the results on my thighs. Oddly, I have also gained weight I’ve noticed, but this was before I went back on sugar – odd. I’m guessing all the sitting in quarantine has caught up with me despite my good diet and exercise regime I’ve been on.

I was walking the other day and literally felt, and still do, my waist/torso on my arms as I walk, something that never had happen to me before, but now, I notice, and I’m not much of a fan, but I do have other perks – my “wrinkles” on my face have smoothed out a bit and I look younger – yah! Bigger breasts too, but barely:) I prayed for the former, and got heavier. It works:) Prayer, answered. Thanks, Lord!

At any rate, I will be “cleansing” my blood for three days straight come Saturaday and move on to body system 6 from there, but may pursue more of this blood cleansing and will be back to clean eating, as well. I have begun eating bread too, and a couple nights ago I felt sick to my stomach – I’d had a couple of egg sandwiches through out the day, and pizza at night and some ice cream. I lay in bed, even know it had been hours since I’d eaten, and I felt nauseous. I knew I had to get back to a better diet and I was glad I felt sick b/c I could see how my body responds to poor eating. I do believe I felt sick too as a result of all this poor eating for the past week. I like that my body needs good food, and I like eating that way too. I was glad to realize all this over the past day. Bread’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but it definitely has it’s place.

I was reminded last night that we are often given choices in life and need to make our choice between the extremes. For me anyway. I am all or nothing more often than not, and my all for now will be choosing health. It’s exciting to me too b/c I have 9 weeks of summer ahead of me to focus seriously on where I am physically – wholly – taking more seriously and to the next level my health and my life. And, I am starting for now, on the next three days.

I’m glad to be back on the healthy horse, progressing forward in the direction of improved health, making smart goals and planning for my many successes in my physical well-being which I know spills over into all of the other areas of my life. I’m glad too I get sick when I eat poorly, and that I need healthy food. I’m getting back on it! Yah! Juice cleanse, here I come.

To my health and yours!

Holly

Part 2, Month 4 – Digestion – Persisting Beyond My Goal: My best lesson, yet!

One of my valuable lessons I’ve learned and am now employing: when you have given yourself a difference, a difference in lifestyle, a difference in behaviors, whatever it is, and the time to make that difference, keep it going. Keep making the difference.

Commitment to Running

This past month brought blessings to me in the form of commitment. I found myself successful in two areas – my gut health and my behavioral/emotional health. At the onset of the month, I found myself finishing a run and the number 28 popped in my mind – I will run for 28 days, I thought.

Later on, it occurred to me that 28 days, ending May 1, is ample time to create a new habit. Now that was not my intention at all, but I knew good things would maybe happen in those 28 days if I ran consistently.

I forgot about the aspect of the agreement I made with myself to actually run for 28 consecutive days, but I did exercise the whole time minus 2 or 3 needed breaks for my knees. I’ve found myself doing a day on, a day off, if that is what my knees dictate. I’m glad to be running at all! Gotta take it easy on my sweet knees, though, and I must listen to them.

Positively delighted, I am in such good shape now. My knees and legs feel stronger than they have been in ages. I’m feeling younger with these stronger knees and it feels so good sometimes to run almost like I’m getting a deep tissue massage in them. I am still careful though because my knees feel fragile still at times.

Why am I focusing on running when month 4’s focus was digestion? I have found that…running is excellent for digestive health.

Walking is also good for it. Movement in general, really, and I have found in the process, there is a greater impact on your digestion when you take deep belly breathes while you exercise which assists in getting things moving in the nether regions.  Constipation is an issue for many people simply because they lack the movement they need to help their bowels move.

Take Away #1 -Persisting Beyond the Goal – Take it to the Next Level

My main take-away this month: persist after the goal is accomplished. I’ve stuck to this diet and exercise so well and it’s really paying off. I’m not looking to ban it now because I “no longer have to” run or eat well – eating for my digestion I have found to be the healthiest I’ve eaten, maybe forever, given the length of time I’ve stuck to this. So, I intend to persist beyond the goal. Why?

Decades ago, I had an opportunity to quit a behavior for 30 days, which I did, and, at the end of that 30 days I had another opportunity to go back to it. I did, despite my true desire not to because of a familiar prompting. I wish I hadn’t. I fell from a lifestyle I was just starting to pursue and would have done well at it had I stuck with it and not let that behavior distract me. My choices since then, when I have given myself a goal and reached it, mostly (not always) I have gone back to how I behaved previously, delighted I could do it again, like with sugar, couldn’t wait to binge on it, but this time, I have no interest in going back. I’m almost a little bit skittish, like I want to keep pursuing the healthy life. So, that is my take away – persist in the after-glow of your achievement. Let it take root and become you.

Yesterday my 28 days of exercise ended, and I am pleased to say that, coupled with the diet, mostly consisting of fruit/veg smoothies and brown rice and veggies, I have done it honestly, and found I enjoy this new, healthy lifestyle. So, I will persist!!

                My total exercise units this past month:

                Bike: 50 minutes     Walk: 3.5 hours Run: 35 miles                    

This morning I hit the bridge and ran just over 2 miles. I’m still reluctant to eat sugar, but I do know I will likely get more bread and crackers to eat with my eggs and salads. However, if I maintain my refined sugar abstinence, I will be fine. That is my downfall.

In the absence of crackers or bread…guac, chickpeas and tuna…together! Mmm.

I have learned that there there is no short-cutting health. It’s a simple recipe, but discipline is required, and as I engage, I really enjoy my process. That is what I like most, and what I was hoping for I guess too from my 28 days, was it would impact positively other areas of my life. Not much more has changed, although I have been finding I am “digesting” my behaviors and emotions much for effectively, too, keeping what’s healthy and letting the other pass. Just like digestion!!

I have also learned from this past month that real change takes time. Overnight cures for life-long habits will not be long-lasting.

One of my valuable lessons I’ve learned and am now employing: when you have given yourself a difference, a difference in lifestyle, a difference in behaviors, whatever it is, and the time to make that difference, keep it going. Keep making the difference – keep making the positive changes that are leading you to what your desire, to the woman you desire to be – being her is only a matter of time:)

Persist with the change. It will become you at some point. You will become that vision of yourself you desire most when you persist and allow the change to take root.

We become what we give ourselves to.

Take-away #2: Breaking the Food Spell

Last night, I will say, I had an urge to go to the store and get some “goodie-baddies” but I don’t really care to open that door. So I didn’t. I find another result of this month beneficial – it is the first time I have gone without dinner on several occasions in maybe the past ten years or more. I am a feeder! :O)

It is a rare day in the meat-packing plant when I ever don’t feed myself dinner.  I feel this month, I have broken the food-spell over myself. Jesus said of certain spirits that they only come out by prayer and fasting. I have fasted and believe the spirits that have come out: the spirits of gluttony and lust (over food). I have employed the spirit of self-control over and over, and am really letting my body decide when/if I will eat because I need to, more so than because I want to. So that is another beneficial take-away from this month.

Phase 2 – Probiotics

Mid-month, after I found the food and exercise regime were paying off and found that “this house is clean,” I began taking pro-biotics. I felt my digestive situation had become barren enough to where I could start taking supplements that would have a chance to populate my gut because they would be able to find their way to it and not be lost in the mire of intestinal gunk. I am not sure how they are working. Funny thing about that, I was reading the back of the box when I got home and found these benefits on there for the vagina and found out the whole pill box said “vaginal probiotics.” I got a kick out of that because I wasn’t paying attention when I bought them; I was on the phone and noticed how many billion they had and figured those were the one’s for me! Vaginal health, I’m all for it! I had no idea they made pro-biotics for that!

At any rate, there are so many different strains in this. I have only looked up a few studies on them which are included on the links at the bottom, but I put the highlights of two different species of the same genus, below, in case you know nothing of different probiotic benefits. Here, you can get a glimpse – at least what these two studies found.

Month’s past I focused a lot on supplementation, but only this month have I found myself really using food heavily and taking only probiotics (1/2 the month) and some liver detox tea to help my digestive health.

I am going to end there. I hope you got something out of this. I know I did. I’m glad to be persisting beyond the goal and encourage you, A. To get a goal, and B. Make it a lifestyle change – meaning, you’ve used the goal to set you up for a change in lifestyle and you will keep taking it to the next level!

To My Health & Yours!

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Best Sunday Studying. April 26. Happy and Healthy Persisting in My Interests.

Probiotic Studies and Information, as mentioned above.

L. reuteri is able to inhibit the colonization of pathogenic microbes and remodel the commensal microbiota composition in the host.

Second, L. reuteri can benefit the host immune system. For instance, some L. reuteri strains can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines while promoting regulatory T cell development and function. Third, bearing the ability to strengthen the intestinal barrier, the colonization of L. reuteri may decrease the microbial translocation from the gut lumen to the tissues. 

L. rhamnosus is one of the most widely used probiotic strains. Various health effects are well documented including the prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal infections and diarrhea, and stimulation of immune responses that promote vaccination or even prevent certain allergic symptoms. However, not all intervention studies could show a clinical benefit and even for the same conditions, the results are not univocal. Clearly, the host phenotype governed by age, genetics and environmental factors such as the endogenous microbiota, plays a role in whether individuals are responders or non-responders. However, we believe that a detailed knowledge of the bacterial physiology and the LGG molecules that play a key role in its host-interaction capacity is crucial for a better understanding of its potential health benefits.

Loved Within — Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” -Pema Chödrön ◊ You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worth it. Wishing everyone a blessed […]

Loved Within — Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

Progress: Month 4 – Digestion

Exercise is excellent for digestive health!

I have been working on a different body system for healing my skin from the beginning of this year until now.

So far, I have noticed little difference in my skin – my legs have what have been diagnosed with what is called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) – I have white spots because my body has stopped producing melanin, doctors don’t know why, they are “incurable, and the sun makes them worse.” The latter part I believe as true, but the former, I am a firm believer that if our body has the nutrients it needs to heal, it will.

So, each month I have been focusing on “healing” or treating well each different body system using exercise, supplementation and/or diet. I have focused on the integument, the skeletal/muscular and the immune system. And, this month, the digestive system.

I believe this month has been my most successful month, yet. I have not noticed as much of a difference in my other systems, I think because I only had a month working on them, and I don’t think you can tell much of a change in those systems in that short period of time, but I will say I did notice a slight difference in my muscular/skeletal system with the yoga I’d been doing and the fish oils I was taking. That made a difference in alleviating some of my pain.

The gut can change pretty quickly. In 2 – more days, a meal will have moved completely through your system. I had a lot of issues my first few days. One of the things I have looked forward to is getting my stomach to be more flat again. I had this hypothesis as I noticed my “gut growing,” that our intestines must also grow. I wasn’t seeming to gain much weight, though I did notice a bit of fat beginning to come around my mid-rib, but more than anything I noticed I was bulging out. My thought, in considering other woman and men that I see that get big around the waist but may not be “fat” is that there intestines are growing larger. Does that make sense? Well, I looked it up and intestines do grow. Those people who are big around the mid-section also may have a serious yeast problem – candida. I learned that years ago from “Chief Two Trees,” an Indian medicine-man my mom and I went to while I Was in high school. I always remembered that.

Yesterday was monumental in this month’s health journey.

I feel like my intestines took a turn – it seems to be that I have eaten well enough for the past two weeks that my intestines are performing as they should. I have not really had digestive issues I wouldn’t really say, but after yesterday, I will say that I think an individual’s bowel movements determine how good their diets are, and maybe I haven’t had as good of a diet as I thought.

There was a demonstration I saw about 10 years ago while at a work-related health function that I always think profound when considering how what we eat will affect us. The demonstration showed what food ends up being like in our intestines after we eat it, and the difficulty food may have moving through the system, depending on what it is. The first demonstration represented what we might eat at a birthday party, cake and chips are all I remember. The woman shoved the cake and chips into this clear PVC tube and tried to push it through. It was challenging, and icky. The second demonstration showed what would happen when eating nuts and apples – they fell right through the tubing.

Food good for digestion – fiber – soluble and insoluble – both helping the digestive process, whether it’s adding bulk to your stool, increasing or decreasing digesting, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, and decreasing the risk of heart disease.

I have eaten nuts on a regular, and recently, brown rice has been a staple.

I haven’t bought bread, but have been eating a little bit of pasta when I crave it. I’ve been making more smoothies, have rarely overeaten. One of the main staples I’ve added that I found before this month is that exercise is excellent for digestion, especially running. A sedentary lifestyle is among the top causes of constipation. Running, and moving, in general, is going to stimulate the bowels.

So, yesterday and last night, I found my bowels took a turn for the better, and the foods I’ve been eating and the regular exercise, and the not overeating at any (almost) meal, has found me feeling fantastic. There’s a lighter feeling I have.

I felt yesterday how I want to keep maintaining this behavioral lifestyle. It’s clean. It’s my temple, and yes, as I am feeling the benefits better than ever before, I want to keep clean. Honoring my temple that carries my soul around, as my mom put it.

Night Running!

For lent, I gave up sugar, and I have yet to go back to it. It is not good for digestive health!! It is awful for our skin!

Phase II: Here’s where I’m at. Since yesterday, I feel like I’ve gained benefits from this eating pattern, so much so that I am going to the next level.

Now that my system is working to the degree, I believe it should be, and I am “clean,” I am going to introduce more grains – barley, an insoluble fiber, and avocados and raspberries. Also, insoluble.  I will also add greater proportions of enzymes in the form of pineapple which I will put more of into my smoothies, and maybe some more. More research on that.

My last, and final addition, that I know of at this time, will be the addition of probiotics. Yes, we’ve heard they are good for gut health, but my interest in addition to that, is the skin-gut connection they offer. I have yet to research that to the degree that I can discuss more in-depth, but I will, and hopefully this will also help my skin, my main purpose for beginning this journey – to cure the IGH. That may help, as well. I will say I think I have discovered I also have developed a basal carcinoma. I’m making a dermatological appointment soon. More to come on both of those.

So, my biggest suggestions to date for your gut health and digestion:

  1. Eat lots of brown rice and vegetables together, fruits, nuts, and other whole grains.
  2. Exercise – run if you can. Breath deeply while doing so, if you can. Be sure you’ve got a bathroom close, if you can.
  3. Drink lots of water
  4. Do not overeat.
  5. Breath deeply. 😊

More to come…

To my health and yours! Be Well.

Holly

The Blessing and Curse of Giftedness

Prosper the Work of My Hands

2 weekends ago, I was returning home from kayaking and had a bit of drive where I found myself crying to God, and praying adamantly to prosper the work of my hands, as I shouted almost meanly to them through my tears, frustrated at the degree to which I work, yet nothing manages to prosper, or so it has seemed.

For what seems to be a decade, now, I have felt overwhelmed. I’m not going to go into the details. I will put it to you this way. “I need a staff just to manage my ideas.” This is what I told my friend, Faye, after last week after all this came to a head.

Meaning: I have so many ideas inside my head and am so inspired that I can’t manage them all, alone. I have been overwhelmed by their enormity. The ideas keep coming, and I keep feeling inadequate to staff them all! I need help. I need a staff to bring them all to life!

Many of them are written down, many of them are in progress: my science t.v. show for kids, my ad campaign for V-8, my book ideas –most of which are written but not illustrated so they’ve halted, but the progress failure maintains its presence in my mind, my God stories – either a book or movie idea for that, maybe both! My class curricula ideas, and my school curricula ideas. The curricula ideas mount on a regular basis which are also exhausting because I cannot keep up with them in my limited time. But I try, and do what I can. Often time, mostly, however, by the time I may get around to them, the next topic is upon us (I’m a teacher). Maybe there’s more, but, oh yea, I need to get my professional horticulture certificate which I’m working towards, but have languished on that.  And, I may want to get a reading endorsement too to propel my book ideas and generate more income for myself, and fun for myself and some children! And there’s my photography – what to do with all of that! I’m trying! Yes, there are more ideas with the photography, too, of which I’ve been working on a little lately, so…! Oh, then, yes, there’s my health blog. Too much to do well, I feel a lot, but I’m learning to do what I can with the time I have and to manage that well Lent is helping being off t.v. . Exercise is helping too. That’s a salvation in a lot of ways.

My friend got quite a kick out of me needing a staff to manage my thoughts and ideas, but I was not kidding! She got it, and we laughed after she mocked me, telling God, “She said she needs a staff!” How funny. What was cool about that day way this. I got relief from it, finally!

I had been at the riverside earlier that morning where I’d been running and then sat by the river for a spell praying a little bit and taking it all in, being grateful for that great morning I had had.

Captivating view from the bridge.
By the river

I got into my car afterwards, and it was Faye calling. I answered. I told her what I was up to when she asked, and she told me she was doing the same thing, but in her mind, literally recounting exactly what I’d done – taking my run over the bridge, enjoying the sunshine, going down to the river to pray, etc. “Oh yea?” I kind of said dubiously while chuckling a bit at her. She mentioned it again somehow, that yes, she was going to call me earlier in the morning to go to the river, but decided to just do it in her mind, instead. I was not sure what was going on. Was she serious?

Now, we’ve never done anything like that together, and she doesn’t even run, nor did she know that is something I’d taken up again recently, but she maintained this is what she’d done, too. I was a little perplexed. “Are you lying?” I inquired. She told me, “I don’t lie” but went on to tell me the one exception when she might, and then explained that I had been heavily on her mind and that she was going to text, but she decided to call instead. I was so glad she had. She had no idea, nor did I, how much I needed her help that morning. She was about to help reveal the “curse,” the burden I had been carrying around for many years and under which I’ve felt kind of buried, but believed it from something else, and far different from what she shared.

Meet Me In the Garden – The Revelation Revealed

We talked for some time. She asked me if I wanted to meet her in the garden next to her house to talk, and being worried about my stomach I declined, originally. But when I got home my car wanted to turn left instead of right, so I went with it, and told her I’d be right over.

House of Hope Community Garden

After we met and got our hellos and hugs out of the way – we hadn’t seen each other since Christmas – I asked her why she was saying the things to me she was. I was concerned. . I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it resonated with what I’d been going through and praying about so strongly and the “prospering the work on my hands,” and that whole bit.

She went on to tell me that she’d asked God how He saw me the week before. Now, keep in mind, she may have had some idea about how I am because of something I shared with here earlier in the year about having so much on my plate that I didn’t want the extra burden of a weekly ministry, but she didn’t know the extent of it. Firstly, I thought it was weird why she was asking God what He thought about me, but I am her relatively new prayer and ministry partner so I guess that makes sense to some degree, and I never got back to her on that, but, anyway, I think it was apparent to her the severity of what I was feeling as I expressed my exasperation through my tears of burden.

I told her I needed her help and any insight she might provide me or help on what she was thinking and praying about because the night before, my prayer found me at the end of my rope with this way of thinking, and how I can’t live under this pressure I put on myself or I just feel because this is how I am, always feeling the need to perform and do my goals, and yet never finishing many of them, and they keep mounting, and I am often feeling the disappointing failure in myself, and how I am so overwhelmed on a regular basis. Gasp. Breath needed.

I have often felt incapacitated by the pressure because I haven’t known in which direction to go. So many things to do, and not knowing which to do, I often would do nothing, and then that added to the pressure of feeling like I am not living up to all my potential! A total crap cycle!

In addition to this, I found it interesting that a friend of mine was praying for me a few months back and told God “she (Holly, me) doesn’t know how to (stop).” I didn’t know she knew that. Maybe I didn’t know that! I know I never stop, but I didn’t know “I didn’t know how.” Yep. I feel that for sure!! I am constantly on the go doing something, achieving something! Trying to. I am always working towards something! Little achievement though. I don’t know. I might have ADD I now think as I write this, but I can focus pretty well when I set my mind to it. What I do know is I was about to gain some understanding about myself. I was about to gain some realistic perspective of myself that would heal this insanity.

I was a bit shocked at what she told me. I mean, I had NO idea what she’d say, but I was desperate for answers and help. And, interestingly, what she told me made perfect sense, it was so simple, and proved resonate, reducing my sense of pressure, and lightening my load! What did she tell me?

“You are gifted.” That was her answer. What!? I liked how it sounded, but my my heart was still flat. I listened to try and understand what she was getting at, earnestly, while perplexed in what I was hearing. With eyes still wet, I let her continue without interruption. “You have been given many talents and abilities and you are smart.” That was it.

I am talented and Gifted! Yes, yes, yes. That’s it!? I am Gifted!! What a relief.

I was so relieved, but I wasn’t really jumping up and down. I was contemplating it’s veracity. Did it fit? It did. It made sense, but after she added the caveat. (I am reminded of telling my former love, Kevin, while in tears, frustrated, “I feel like there is so much inside of me and don’t know how to get it out.”) Now that I’ve accessed my gifts, wow! What to do with them, and how to manage them all!? A staff! HA!

I listened to her intently because it made such sense. She continued, “But with that comes a curse. If you do not live up to your gifts, there is a great burden.” It was something to that effect, completely logical! I loved it because it rang true and let me off the hook on one sense, but also kept me on it on another. But it made sense still and provided some relief to have an answer that I could work with that was really logical! I had all sort of other reasons why I was this way, each only seeming to put me down and make me ineffective, but this one gave me an out.

What it did do was give me some perspective. It got me off the roller coaster. It took off the enormous pressure and relieved me of my own sense of disappointment. Yes! Because you have so many gifts, and are smart, you feel cursed by the incredible inability to do everything right now and crumble under the enormity of it all. I laugh now because it’s so simple – the solution: prioritizing and goal seeting! Yes. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Must READ!! The pressure of not living up to every idea and thought I have that comes my way is no longer necessary. Perspective was necessary. Not every thought is meant to be achieved. Maybe it is. But, put it on the list, in your book of catalogued ideas, and press on. Yes, do that! Make a list of priorities. Do them. That’s it! Curse, be gone!. Let’s do it! Gifts, bring ‘em on! Thank you, Jesus, that my gifts and calling are irrevocable! AMEN!!

It was so simple. All this pressure is because I am gifted. What a simple, marvelous thing and pleasure to know that blissful truth of who I am. Awesome. Gone are the burdens of this gift. Just press-on toward your high calling, my dear one. Press on!

I am made this way – to do, yes, but I need to be methodical about it. It does take off a lot of the pressure though, for sure. She gave me a book to read that morning – it was so accurate, timely and needed. I am doing it to this day.

Answered Prayer

So, the good thing about all this is that although I know God is with me on a regular basis and we have a good relationship I feel, this is a good new “God story” for me to add to my vast collection. Another testimony of Him clearly showing up in my need when I really poured out my heart and asked for help, as I need Him.

I came to my end, and when I asked for help, he got me. The help came through Faye calling me, her vision about us doing our exercise together, bizarre, and then her telling me what she told me. Relief. Interesting! My prayers are being answered too about prospering the work of my hands. With this burden off my load, I can, and have been, focusing more directly on my passion, but also tending to the others, some of the others, as well. I’m focusing on my top 3 right now. What’s most important: the priorities right now: Completing my children’s book is my top priority – I will publish it myself and do the sweet little illustrations, too. My health is my other priority – strengthening and cleansing and healing my knees and body and skin. I am doing that well providing me with more interest in doing everything else too. And, I’m working more intently too on my professional horticulture certificate studies, and have really been getting into that too more it which is cool. I love plants!!

Those are my interests and my main needs to pursue to get them OFF MY PLATE!. Then, I can move on in a lot of directions more readily!! And, I will. Yah. Liberation. As Carl Jung said, “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

So, the hand of God rests on my life, and my rest in in Him. I am very grateful to have You showing up again for me.

Thank you, Father.

Faye also had this for me. So perfect!

From Jesus Calling

Holly

My Immunity, Bolstered! I don’t have Corona virus, but I do still have my white spots!

When I chose March to focus on my immunity, I didn’t realize it would be smack-dab in the middle of a pandemic! What timing I have! Healthy am I, and happy to report it!

I have been enjoying more exercise this month than the other two combined. I have coined, and realized, this month, how much I am enjoying the “backdrop of my life!” I am happy to report I’ve had little to NO pain in my knees minus intense pain that’s awakened me in the early morning hours. That may be caner, but it’s NOT my meniscus/tendons or ligaments. So, that is progress!!!!

First day back on the beach. Gorgeous!

Most of my responses to building my immunity this month have come in the form of supplements, but I have also been eating somewhat purposefully, as well. See below under March for both. I want to say I made a MOST delicious surprise for myself in the form of some kind of smoothie. Because this is becoming a norm for me, healthy drinks, I decided to turn my peanut butter, cottage cheese and honey craving I normally put into a bowl into the form of a smoothie. So, here we go: Almond milk, peanut butter, cottage cheese, a frozen banana & medicinal mushrooms. Halleleuia Chorus, come on!

This in an immune system super food!

Oh yea, there might have been some honey too. Scrumptious, and long-lasting in the filling department! Beyond that, I did have one more surprise in the delicious arena this month – Golden Milk – Tumeric, ginger, honey, almond milk and cinnamon. That was deliciously surprising given I’m not normally a fan of tumeric. And, for those who love their pumpkin spice drinks in the winter, fall months, this may be a good, healthier fill-in.

My main impetus for working on my immune system, remember, was to work toward the restoration of my skin. It is still looking rough though! Not much progress here, but I will press on as with all other areas on which I’ve begun working. I resorted to brillo-pads, but only after the less soft steel pads seemed to scrape off my skin – they were rough! You can see on my legs – they’re scabbed up from the raking over! And still left is this fungus, or whatever these white spots are! IGH!?

Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis – sure, maybe. I am still doing the sun though a little. I still think it may be something else. Anyway, I am trying still. I am persisting in the face of not much progress on the skin front. Hear the attached video for some funny stories about my skin this month! This was totally impromptu one night while confined. Refraining from sharing my confinement revelations about myself while working from home, you get this less depressing me, but the music spoke for my actual frame of mind at the time, as does my initial sigh :).

I am excited about April because I will be cleansing! Yah.

So, stay tuned with the Digestive System! This will hopefully begin to make some improvements to my skin. I’m feeling as all these efforts on my different systems are building on one another, this one is surely to heal. As I start cleaning out, I will have better absorption of nutrients and better systemic health overall!

Make sure you watch my video. You may get a couple of good laughs.

Progress for My Skin and Bone Health

January – Integumentary System – Focus on Skin

  • Eating with Purpose: New foods for skin
  • Supplementation: A, D, E, copper, amino acid powder

February – Muscular-Skeletal System

  • Exercise: Yoga, walking, stretching, squats
  • Supplementation: Continuing same supplements from January. Plus:
    • Lysine (bones, muscles and collagen production).
    • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
    • Omega-3 fish pills
  • Bonus: Mental health – learning to slow down and enjoy myself

March – Immune System

  • Eating with Purpose: Medicinal mushroom mix, pecans, brussel-sprouts, spinach, lemons, ginger, strawberries
  • Exercise: Running (Yah!!), biking, walking, stretching. Exercise is wonderful for helping a body maintain it’s health. It’s the game changer! Exercise at least 20 minutes a day. So doable!
  • Supplementation: All supplements from Jan and Feb (lysine actually helps viruses too! Herpes that is, but a virus!) plus…
    • Astragalus
    • Spirulina
    • Garlic pills
    • Zinc spray (helps prevent viruses from replicating!)
  • Bonus: More exercise = more productivity toward my goals, and joy because of both 🙂

To My Health & Yours! May you and your family all be happy, healthy and safe today and beyond!

Holly

Persisting in the Absence of Major Progress

My 12 month journey of healing a condition I have on my legs, and an overhaul of my body, began in January with a focus on health and my skin.

I came to a place last week where I realized the focus on my skin may need to persist, which is has, as the primary focus of this year’s journey.

I moved on the the muscular-skeletal system last month with little progress there besides going for walks, doing yoga, getting a couple of massages and by need only, going to the chiropractor. My focus there was because I have had bad knees for 20+ years, but since I tore my meniscus almost 10 years, it seems there’s been one issue following another, but the good thing with that is exercise always helps – except when it causes more problems. I was told last summer to no longer run after my leg locked up on me and I literally could not move forward, I had severe weakness, and I even randomly collapsed on top of one of my students who was seated – awful. I did not accept that prognosis, but have kept it to a super! minimum, and now am at a point where I am trying to strengthen my knees and the muscles around them to rectify the problem.

So, despite my video on the the Spirit of Self-Control, I have gone to the gym less than I should have, and I almost got a personal trainer just to help me have more of a commitment to the healing process, but b/c seeing a trainer 2x/week costs $480/month, and I did not see much use in going to a trainer once a week, I bagged it. Maybe I should have, but I figured save the extra $200/month and get the Spirit of Self-Control operating a little more effectively this month and beyond! That is my plan.

A few weeks back, if that, I came to the realization that “I can’t keep up.” I was taking a walk to have a talk to God when I was trying to figure out what my issue was, the heaviness and bad feeling I was experiencing, and what came to me was clear, “I can’t keep up!” I’m digressing a bit, but my point is, with work alone, I have so much responsibility and other things I have committed to outside of work for myself are overwhelming.

I can't keep up

Now, I am taking care of everything, but not as intently as I may like, like working out and blogging and researching about muscles and bones, and keeping up with my studying to take my professional certification test for horticulture. It may not seem like much, but when everything has a deadline, it’s overwhelming. It was overwhelming until I recognized it. I was so relieved to have realize it, or actually to have God have brought it to my awareness, that I was relieved! It was a simple truth! So lightening!I love it! To let it go to God and to have it off my shoulders.

I do not remember the heat of the emotion of the precipitating event or what I did besides admit it, but I likely asked for grace to get through all of it. Also, I think admission that I can’t do it all was a humbling I needed to have. I am a a believer that I can do it all, but one thing I’ve realized, is that there is a limit on what I can do at any one time.  Yes, maybe I can and I will do it all. In time. But, I need help for all my goals to be accomplished, and I need time.

Funnily, I began to be more organized and productive at work! Grace. That motivated me to be more productive and organized, of course, too. I have a lightening of my load which ended on Friday, and I have one more big push outside of my regular teaching responsibilities that has to get done for graduation, and then it will be the end of the year by about a week. But this busiest two years of my professional career is about to come to a close.

organized

My point is that I have failed to do more with focusing on my health, but I have to say blogging about it and researching about it, at much as I would have liked to do more of the latter, was not a priority – one other important thing I realized. I impose so much of my stress. I did feel maybe I should drop the $480/month, and maybe I will and consider it a life-long investment, like the trip I made to Mexico at the beginning of February for my niece’s wedding – family memories – a life long-investment.

IMG_8503
Impromptu Trip to Mexico – Family Investment

My point is still that, I may have failed to “do more with focusing on my health,” but I succeeded in persisting in doing something still and not dropping it altogether because I don’t have it all together – giving up because I am not keeping up. It’s part of the process, and I am learning a lot from the business of my life – my favorite thing is to slow down and be in the moment – you can experience so much joy and peace in a moment – a walk to the car – laying down and listening to the fan before you fall to sleep – loving your house and your decorations, listening to the traffic in the distance as you eat and listen to music. Whatever it is, it can be so small, and fleeting, but I am learning to do that, be in the moment, and it’s so great. When I perfect that in every moment, wow! That will be a life.

Maybe I didn’t do a great job at what I thought I needed to achieve, but I definitely achieved what I didn’t know I even needed. I hadn’t planned on improving my mental health last month. What a bonus!

Progress wins! I heard a woman on the radio today say how if she keeps going to the gym, she can’t help but to make progress, or see results, something like that. Yes!

The point, yes, we may not being doing it 100% 100% of the time, but, for me, as long as I persist in all the myriad of goals I have, 100% of them will be accomplished, and, the most important ones will be met 100%.

Progress

January – Integumentary System – Focus on Skin

  • Eating with Purpose: New foods for skin
  • Supplemention: A, D, E, copper, amino acid powder

February – Muscular-Skeletal System

  • Working out: Yoga, walking, stretching, squats
  • Supplementation: Lysine (bones, muscles and collagen production). Continuing same supplements from January
  • Bonus: Mental health – learning to slow down and enjoy myself

To My Health & Yours,

Holly

12 Months of Healing – Recounting progress I have tried to make over the past two months, but I am not finding much success. March’s focus – The Immune System

Lent Begins – Let the Dominoes Fall

One interesting tidbit I did realize in the service tonight is how great it is to have this time as a part of our religion – to specifically make time for God – not just 45 minutes here and there or even every morning, but really make a concerted effort to change your ways, devote more of yourself to your Lord and see where it takes you. Again, it can only be good. 

Have you ever found that when you change one thing in your life, it has a ripple effect – that it tends to make an impact on other areas of your life? It can happen in a good or bad way. Luckily, I’m focusing on the good, and the dominoes are about to fall.

Lent has begun – the time in the Catholic religion where we repent (change our ways), fast (quit doing something, or maybe add something else), pray, and give of our time, treasure and talent. It’s a time of relinquishing what keeps us from God – his competition.

What competes for His time with me – watching television. I know, it’s a terribly boring subject, but it’s a time suck, and lends to a boring life, one that is less productive than it can be, is deceptive of actually relaxing you, and is both an energy and a time waster. What’s good about it? Well, there are some things – but those things we could also do  through the internet or our phones. I like t.v., but I also know it competes for God’s time and makes my life less productive than it can be because of the energy and time I give to it. I’m quitting sugar too.

So, t.v. is out, for 40 days, and, there’s so much that can be done in 40 days!

I am not sure what I will do in addition to getting closer to God and praying more – another cause for another ripple domino effect, but only good will come from this, for sure. How many things can you say about that?

I think I have only ever been to two church services on Lent, maybe this is my first? I am not sure. I have still practiced Lent, however, in terms of fasting. 13 years ago, today, I gave up all of my remaining vices, and thanks to the Grace of God, I am off of everything to this day! Amen to that! Lent is a good starter for a life change!

One interesting tidbit I did realize in the service tonight is how great it is to have this time as a part of our religion – to specifically make time for God – not just 45 minutes here and there or even every morning, but really make a concerted effort to change your ways, devote more of yourself to your Lord and see where it takes you. Again, it can only be good.

I am interested in finding out!

I am reading these books, now, too called Draw the Circle, and The Circle Maker, and they’re all about these bold prayers and how they come true.

Now, I have my own wonderful stories about God and answered prayers you can listen to on http://www.hollycobrien.com as podcasts, if you want to hear of some amazing ways God works, and some are on this website, but I haven’t prayed any “crazy” prayers like I was reading about in this book last night, in a long time.

My life has been good and steady and need of “bold” prayers hasn’t presented itself, but I still pray about the time about everything. Although I will say, there is one thing I have prayed about, and when it comes through, there will be every belief it is God’s hand which has allowed it, for sure! I’ll hold that one tight for awhile, but will let you know. Still waiting, still praying. The bible says, “knock, and keep on knocking.” Okay:)

Anyway, I am excited for this Lenten period where I will talk to the Lord more, pray more, listen for the Lord more, and hear more internally. Like when I went to find a picture for this particular blog. I selected one and then heard one simple word, “more.” So, I looked more and found a perfectly matched picture for my title opposed to what I did have!

And, during the external, more secular aspect of Lent I will exercise more regularly, eat less, produce more personally and professionally, consider my future more and play more. I am going to have a good life! I will eagerly wait and wonder what will come as I pursue my life more fully each day considering all of my ways 🙂

One thing about me, I do well with discipline, and I am embracing this.

I will say when I left church tonight, I so craved a Boston creme donut, but as I began to wish, I found myself thinking, “Don’t give the devil a foothold.” So, I left it go, and drove on.

Sword

Weapons of warfare was discussed briefly, too, in the sermon, tonight. I was wondering tonight what my sword might look like. The sword, in the bible, in describing the armor of God, is the word of God. That, I love. That I will learn more of, too. I’ve already begun to put more verses on index cards to remember. “My people perish for lack of knowledge,” Jesus tells us, and our “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” So, we must “gird up our loins,” and fight with the whole armor of God. See Ephesians 6:11 – 18 about the weapons of warfare. We need them, for sure to stand against the “wiles of the devil” Just like my little donut episode. Know how to fight – seems simple, but it’s important not to give the devil a foothold.

I wish you fellow “Lenters” fasting and praying worthy of all good things.

When the woman began to put the ashes on my head, she said, “Repent, and believe the gospel,” I found myself welling up. I don’t know why, but I believe that was the presence of God on me or maybe just my real desire flowing forth.

I find that interesting that everyone is able to participate in Lent, and receive the ashes, but not everyone is able to receive holy communion. 

All’s I know is that when she said those words, “Repent and believe the gospel,” I believed it.

This Lent season is really an answer to an unspoken prayer of desiring more of God, my main goal this year, and to draw closer to Him, so I am grateful for this time where it is part of a practice to make God more of an intentional part of my repentance regime. I will need His grace, too. That is something else mentioned tonight, also biblical, not to take his grace in vain. There is nothing possible without it.

This will be new for me too, to practice Lent, observing it more religiously, instead of using it as a crutch to help me “repent” because I needed a boost. In the past I may have repented, but I don’t know that I made prayer and focus more on God more of a practiced habit in my life, as well.

I will use my sword, say more prayers of both petitions and gratitude, positively engage in each day, and be grateful for the Grace that is Jesus Christ on my life, and exhibited in me.

Peace.

 

Exercising the Spirit of Self Control

I prayed to be forgiven for putting food before God, and the gluttonous individual I’d become still, at times. I’ve knowingly done it, too, because I wanted to and figured, “tomorrow” I will be better. I have come to know, however, that the “tomorrow” mentality permits a low life, poorly allowing one to live for a time that often never comes, and a well-lived life becomes elusive because the lie we tell ourselves to give us what we want for the moment persists, and then tomorrow remains elusive forever.

​​The Lord is My Portion
Last night found myself eating more than I needed to as I considered I would not be eating much of anything I wanted to next month because I will be doing a cleanse.
One of the things I like about my body is that it is resilient. Also, as much as I scrutinize my body every day, I don’t need to. I look great. I found that this morning. I have a pretty body. Sure, I have many flaws – my bottom is not as high and tight as I’d like it to be, I have some spider veins on my legs and a bit of loose skin on there too, and polka dots, and a bit of cellulite there too, but for the most part, I look really good! LOL. Seriously, it doesn’t sound that good, but it is, I can assure you. Well, maybe it’s just not bad:)
I regularly eat what I want for the most part, and with the exception of over a year ago, I keep things pretty much in moderation. But when I do buy goodies, I pretty much go all at them until they are gone. I recall one time, however, within this past year when I had ice cream in my freezer for a long time, and I didn’t consume it just because I had it, I ate it when I wanted it, which I found was not daily. This is in severe contrast to last week where I ate my two pints of BOGO free Ben & Gerry’s from Friday to Sunday, and have done the same with a whole half gallon in the matter of a weekend before. I’m a big fan of ice cream. It would be my dessert island food!
What I am getting at, is that recently I am finding I am sick of the power I am giving to my food. It’s almost like I pride, which I do, myself of being able to eat anything I want without gaining weight – with the exception of over a year ago when I gained a good six pounds because I ate everything that came my way, and more, from October to sometime in January or February. I just went all at it and didn’t care. Maybe because I realized this about my body.
When I was in my early teens, 13, I began my long and sad career as a binge eater and bulimic. It is not that I was overweight or anything of the sort. I saw something on the television where girls were bulimic, and for some reason I got the perverted notion that I could do that. It’s almost like I had some need to have something I could do, and that was it. I was lost in those days – living with my best friend and her parents. Though they were very good to me, and I loved them, I was a misdirected youth with no one helping to guide my future.
I do not remember much from 13 until I was in 11th grade in terms of “being” bulimic, but in 11th grade I know it was bad, and remember it clearly. I won’t go into the gross details of it now, but it was bad enough to where I was hospitalized at 16, and not because I was so skinny they thought I would die, but more so because they were worried I may have a heart attack or suffocate trying to puke up my food. Or, maybe they just knew I was lost and treatment was necessary to help me from that way of poor living. Those days, I do remember, and I remember clearly eating my feelings all the time, how miserable I was, and puking them all up at the same time, but I was always, “fine.” My mom and grandmother clearly knew better.
That was really my life. I would eat and puke for hours after school, or work, later after I had relapsed, and moved away from my support group into a toxic environment and relationship with people in my family. It was a mess. I found it my only real friend too, because I didn’t have friends, really. It was my way to fill my time and curb the loneliness and sadness I felt.
Years later, it ended. My dad, “uncle” and boyfriend, David, did an intervention on me. That was the beginning of the end. I really guess I needed people to love me and support me and because I was getting it, and having more of a life with friends and college and a support network, I was free from it for the most part.
Years later, I would find myself binging and purging in times of very high stress and it was clearly a time reflection – a compass to alarm me as to what was going on with me emotionally. I would figure it out, get back on track and often be fine for years at a time.
It was only when I was in my 30’s that I met a woman who told me she committed to herself that she would never purge again despite how much she ate. I admired that because bulimia is such an irresponsible, cheaters disease. It completely disregards accountability and skirts the rules preventing a life of integrity. I committed then, myself. I have never puked again since then, despite feeling like I would literally explode on a couple of occasions – that my stomach might in fact rupture, but it didn’t.
So, I’ve been free from puking for over 10 years, but one of the things I’ve been coming to recently is the relationship I have with food, and I am not keen on what I find.
Because I can eat what I want and it rarely effect my weight, it always effects my being, my soul.
This is what I have found.
When I moved back to the States in December 2010, I was fortunate enough to get what I considered a dream job working teaching nutrition education to little people I call them – young students in pre-K – 2nd grade. It was awesome, but only for a year until I got bored.
At any rate, what I learned then, was we have a relationship with food and we can always tell where we are emotionally, based on how we eat. At least this is what I found for myself. I find that true, still, to this day.
One of the character traits I have found with myself of which I am not a fan is this pride issue which I’ve already mentioned – this fact that I can eat what I want without it really effecting my weight. The problem with that is that I tend to pork out a lot. Food affects us. It affects our energy, mainly, and for me, also my emotional well-being. I am affected by how I eat. What I eat. If I eat too much or too little. Trying to feel like I don’t always have to be full to stop eating – this one just came to me last year as I realized how much I’d been eating at dinner time on a regular basis.
One of the feelings I have recognized within myself when I do this is a flagrant disregard for honoring my body. It’s the attitude of, “I’m going to do it because I can.” I don’t like that attitude finding is disrespectful and ugly. It’s like, though I don’t purge anymore, there is still somewhat of that not having to be accountable for what I eat because it doesn’t “seem” to affect me, but, it does, still. It represents a powerlessness, still, too, of not having or exhibiting any self-control.
I have thought this past week that maybe I should begin attending some support groups because though I am not overweight or bulimic, I am exhibiting a powerlessness over my food. I am making it all-powerful and I don’t like that. I make the comment regularly how food is my favorite thing in life. That is sad. But, there is some truth to it too. I love to eat. I love good food. I love to enjoy it. I am grateful for it. But, I have given it a place of respect without properly honoring it or my body to the level it should be.
Let me explain – years ago, not sure how long ago but 15 or more years when I started getting interested in nutrition, I’d done a 9 day fast – I had to quit because it wasn’t good for me and my head aches were tremendous, but I remember when I came off of that fast, I was praying over my food before I ate it, and felt awe and reverence – like I had put food in its place by fasting. I was no longer cramming it in my mouth and devouring it. I was respecting it and grateful for it. I almost cried and have done that still a couple of times this past year, and prior to this year, when I am just very grateful and pray before eating, considerately. There’s a reverence and humility which accompanies it that puts me to tears or at least wells me up😊.
At any rate, my realization this morning as I sat in prayer and considered where I am and where did this awesome feeling I had last week go, I figured it might have to do with my food because that is the only thing I can think of that has put me off – that creates this sense of separation I feel from the Lord created by putting something else “more powerful” in the place of Him.
When I prayed, I confessed my feelings toward my food and how much emphasis I’ve put on it, still. I prayed to be forgiven for putting food before God, and the gluttonous individual I’d become still, at times. I’ve knowingly done it, too, because I wanted to and figured, “tomorrow” I will be better. I have come to know, however, that the “tomorrow” mentality permits a low-living life, poorly allowing one to live for a time that often never comes, and a well-lived life becomes elusive because the lie we tell ourselves to give us what we want for the moment persists, and then tomorrow remains elusive forever.
The thing about gluttony, is even know I am not killing anybody or having an affair with a married man, it’s all the same to God. It is a deadly sin. ”A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It not only creates a wedge between me and the Lord, but it hampers my soul. Therefore, I lose the power-cord connection I have from God when walking uprightly before the Lord because I put something else in His place, and I also lose personal power because of the physical impairment bad- and overeating has on a body. Many “food-hangovers” have I had! I know it’s wrong yet keep doing it, secretly acting like it’s okay, maybe not consistently, but I allow for it whenever I want. Forgiveness is ours from the Lord when we repent. I am on a new path with this now, hoping to really honor my body and my Lord with my food more, especially when I don’t want to – those are the most important times when we need to push in and use what tools we have, and, as a fruit of the spirit, self-control is mine to experience!!
The Spirit of self-control is what I will exhibit more of in my life. Discipline! Yes! I do it when I want it, but because there is not any seeming outward effect of this behavior on my life, I’ve let it slide, but it affects me any day I let myself get away with it, and had continued to affect me because it has remained unconfessed until this morning.  I thank you, Father, for bringing this to the forefront and removing it from me. It is time to walk in self-control.
As I prayed this morning over my delicious garlic, honey-butter and cinnamon toast, ½ banana, and coffee, from my mouth came thanks to the Lord for my meal, but also as I considered more what I was giving thanks for, out of my mouth came that, “For You, God, are my portion.” That prayer gave me new insight and purpose! Yes, God is my portion for every day and everything on this Earth. His is my sufficiency and only need. Yes! Yes! Thank you, God.
I believe that was prompted by the Holy Spirit because I have never used that prayer. Looking it up later, I found it to be in Lamentations 3, and am including many of the verses before and after. One of my favorite verses to contemplate is that the Lord’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. I love that thought!
21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

Exercising the Spirit of Self Control