I just finished reading the chapter about Faith in ‘The Daniel Plan’ where Pastor Warren is talking about God using circumstances to change us and it really struck a chord with me personally! Some of you have heard or read my story.
“God’s ideal way to change us is through the Bible so that we can find out how we should live and then through his indwelling Spirit, who enables us to do it. Unfortunately, we can be too often stubborn, and we don’t change that easily or quickly. Bad habits get ingrained. So God brings in a third tool to work on us: Circumstances! This refers to the problems and pressures, heartaches, and hard times, difficulties and stress that we all experience. Problems get our attention, and the more painful they are, the more we pay attention!”
As I shared earlier, back in 1993 after or second son was born when I was 40, is when my real group exercise journey actually began and continued on for the next 15 years until I was seriously injured while walking. That was one painful circumstance but the circumstance I’m speaking about today was during the chronic illness and fat around my belly I struggled with for over 12 years. I knew too that having that fat around my tummy was not good for my heart!
Even though I was exercising 3, 4 sometimes 5 times a week consistently week after week for over 15 years in group classes, my stomach was still always fat! Of course now I realize it was all because of the 'food' I was eating. Lot’s and lots of fast food, bread, pasta, carbs, gluten and wheat. No matter how much I exercised it just wouldn’t go away. Exercise was good for me but I needed to change my 'foodie' habits big time!
Even when the holistic doctor I saw in 2005 did blood testing to reveal that I was highly allergic to gluten/wheat and she recommended I stop eating anything with those ingredients in them, it took me two more years to comply! Mostly because I was addicted to it and some because of my own stubbornness to change. I resisted it as long as possible. And even when I was lying in bed in so much pain I could barely walk, my sons were bringing me fast food that I was asking for. The very poison that was making me sick! When my doctor told Clif, "Sue is going to die if she doesn't stop eating gluten and wheat!" ... that got my attention along with the severe joint and migraine pain!
It took severe pain to make me change! And in 2008 when finally having enough of the pain I decided to make the change to a gluten/wheat free diet. All my life I had only been on one actual ‘diet’ and that’s because I was working at the ‘Diet Center’ in 1989 when we lived in West Virginia and to work there you had to go on their diet. I lost a lot of weight on that diet but it was one of those starvation diets and I hated every minute of it and gained a lot of that weight back eventually. Diets do not work long term! That’s why they call them yo yo’s! And what’s worse is we gain back more than we lost in the first place! Now that’s just not RIGHT!
So I’m not a dieter and do not really consider what I’m doing a diet. It’s a lifestyle, the way I live day to day and one that saved my life and to be honest it's one that can add years to a person's life!
Just look at this photo: Quite a transformation isn't it?!
Almost within a week the migraines started to cease and the pain started to go away. Over some months I started to lose the ‘wheat’ belly as my body started to adjust to the new way of living. It wasn’t easy to change and I do fall off the wagon now and then when it comes to grains like corn as well as sugar and sometimes I’ve gotten glutened by accident in a restaurant or eat something I know isn’t good for me and then pay dearly in another painful circumstance!
Last year in September when we visited our son at Fort Meade near Baltimore he took us out to a nice restaurant called Bridges on Kent Island. The first thing I always ask is “do you have a gluten free menu?” The answer was yes. So I took a look. I had a tenderloin steak with some veggies and potatoes with peppers that Friday night and felt fine. Then on Monday our last night there he took us back to the same restaurant.
Looking through the Gluten Free menu, I noticed they had chicken wings as appetizers. So I asked the waiter to please ask the chef how they prepare them and if they use flour. He came back and said they don’t use flour and told me how he makes them. So I ordered some with a salad not even thinking about those wings being fried in a dedicated fryer!
Our son ordered soft shelled crabs which is fried. Those chicken wings were so good! BUT… that night my stomach was on fire and we had to be up at 5 AM to catch a 7 AM Flt back to Austin! I thought uttoh! What was I thinking!
Being with our son, out of town, having such a good time, it didn’t dawn on me that they probably fried those chicken wings in the SAME fryer as the other wheat fried stuff! Clif had to get me pepto tablets just so I could make it through that 3 hour flight. Ugh! It ended up taking about FIVE months to clear that wheat out of my system and who knows what sort of damage it did! I had severe neck pain from about December to March and that’s most likely from the contamination.
For two years now I’ve been on supplements to heal my gut from Dr. Tom O’Bryan (he works with Dr. Mark Hyman with the Gluten Summit) so I really believe those have helped a lot to heal my gut or it could have been much worse. Dr. O'Bryan always says, "you can't be a little pregnant and you can't have a little gluten/wheat!"
I’ve learned a valuable lesson again because of a painful circumstance so you can bet that the next time we go to see our son this fall we’ll be going over the Kent Island to that restaurant and I’m sticking with the steak and veggies or the Rockfish Clif had from the gluten free menu! I had a taste of that and it was yummy! :)
It took a lot of prayer and constant commune with God to give me the power to change my life and start the journey back to health in 2008 and it's been well worth the effort because now I know I can do the work God has planned for me. Being a part of The Daniel Plan at our Church has also been a real blessing because of the 'Spiritual Mind' aspect of this plan! When we really start to understand in our 'minds' that our body is the temple of the Lord a spark goes off inside our head and we have a desire to take good care of the body He has loaned to us so He can work much better through us! More energy, less chronic illness, better thinking brain, more focus on the right stuff!
Back when I was so sick, in pain and foggy brained, God was all I had at the time here in Austin, along with my family who diligently stood by my side and never gave up on me. I'm truly grateful and blessed that they have been with me through it all and they are thankful to have the real me back!
Gluten Free Lady 2014