I was tall and skinny all through my childhood, taking on my father’s lean build. When adolescence began, my body started to change, and curves began to appear. I went up a few sizes, but was good with my body. I gained my Freshman 15, but still was an acceptable size and didn’t think much about my weight. But as I moved into my 20s, I began to get more focused on being healthy and trim. Many of the women in my family are well endowed, and I began working out regularly to remain as trim as possible. Yet, each decade has brought an increase in my weight. I was 130 in my 20s and 140 in my 30s, and now can't get under 150. Today I have decided that 155 is my goal weight—allowing room for my curves while staying away from the obese categorization on my doctor’s BMI chart.
I achieved 152 pounds last spring, and was very excited. But it was short-lived victory. I hit that goal weight about two weeks before Annie died. In my grief, I turned away from my green juices and salads and towards yogurt, granola, sandwiches, vegan ice cream, dark chocolate and other sweets. I wanted the emotional high that accompanies eating carbohydrates as way to comfort myself during a very difficult time. I also let up on my workout routines just a bit. Within two months, I had gained 20 pounds.
I tried getting back to my former eating and exercise habits last summer, but the weight would not budge. I even restricted myself to a 1500-calorie diet, but nothing changed. When I visited my doctor a few months later, he commented on my weight gain. The extra weight forces my body to work extra hard. I was making things more difficult on my joints and kidneys, which already had suffered damage from lupus a decade ago. He wanted me to lose that stubborn 20 pounds that was refusing to go, and urged me to change my eating habits drastically. My doctor recommended a book written by a physician to assist me.
I was resistant, as usual, to his out-of-the box recommendation. The diet he described sounded very complicated and restrictive. I couldn’t eat after 9pm and needed to fast every night for 12 hours. I also had to cut out a bunch of things I enjoyed. It was the last thing I wanted to do last winter. I had just submitted my applications, and was awaiting my grad school acceptance letters. I knew life was going to get hectic once spring came. I would be traveling to California to visit the schools where I had been admitted, packing and preparing my house for the move, and saying goodbye to my close friends. I didn’t want to try some restrictive diet—no matter how much good it would do me.
But my conscience wouldn’t let me completely forget about my doctor’s advice. Over Christmas, I decided to give The Daniel Plan a try instead. Created by pastor Rick Warren along with a team of doctors and exercise specialists, Daniel Plan: 40 Days to A Healthier Life was created for Christians to help them live their purpose-driven lives. The Daniel Plan believes healthy and sustainable weight loss occurs when five things are brought together: faith, food, fitness, focus and friends. Along with meal and exercise plans, The Daniel Plan has a 365-day devotional book that provides daily encouragement and reminders about why God wants us to be healthy. I began reading the book and devotionals on January 1, applying their principles as I went along.
The Daniel Plan also encourages its participants to figure out why being health matters and set goals aligned each of its five focus areas. Here is my Daniel Plan Mission Statement:
Faith: I believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. I know He desires to move, live and have His being within my body, His temple. I want Him there as well. I stay connected to God through my daily sadhana—my morning devotional time of prayer, Bible study, reflection and meditation. I trust and rely on God in good times and bad. I trust in God always.
While implementing the Daniel Plan for the first three months of the year, I lost about 4 pounds. The progress I made motivated to give my doctor’s regimen a try. In the last month, I have lost 6 more pounds. Altogether, I am down 10 pounds since Christmas. I have another 10 to go to get back to my target of 155.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.