Sunday, May 19, 2013

2 Years Post Surgery

This weekend marked my 2 year surgiversary.  I awoke on Saturday morning and realized that two years ago I was prepping for surgery.  A surgery that would forever change my life.  It is the way that my life has changed that took me by complete surprise. 
Here is a look back on this never ending journey.
I remember how I felt taking these pictures.  Ashamed, defeated, and hopeless.  I wanted to get healthy but I had run out of options.  These pictures when I was auditioning for The Biggest Loser.  I still didn't realize that God was preparing me for weight loss surgery. 
It all happened very fast.  From the time of our first consultation with the surgeon until the day of my surgery it was only about 6 weeks.  God provided the place, the exact procedure that would work for me, and the financial answer on how to accomplish it.  When the ball started rolling, it picked up steam very quickly.
I was skeptical to tell anyone, even family, that I was going to go through with this.  At first, I had to face my own demons and make the decision that I could forever change my relationship with food.  As I read back over some of the blogs I wrote in that first year, I am amazed at not only how strong my food addiction was but how faithful God was to bring me through each and every day. 
I never imagined that on my one year surgiversary that I would be over a hundred pounds lighter and PREGNANT! 
As of today, I am 110 pounds lighter and a whole new person.  I knew that the surgery would change my outside, but I never realize how it would completely change me inside.  God took my addiction to food and used it to draw me to Him.  No longer could I float through life as a casual Christian.  In order to draw on His strength, I had to replace food as my top priority and replace it with God.  Every day since, I have had to make the choice of what would be first.  It hasn't been easy and a lot of times is hasn't been pretty.  I stumbled, messed up, and sometimes crawled my way through.  But God has been consistent the entire time.  Here are my 2 year pictures. 

I have 20 pounds to go and these might be the hardest of the whole process.  I pray that God will give me the ability to finish this for His glory.  I know that I can never take credit for it.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Prayers from the Past

I was looking for something the other day in my bedside dresser and ran across a picture frame.  There is nothing special about how the frame looks.  Inside is a simple poem about waiting on God to bring you to the man you were meant to marry.  A poem about trusting God while you are single and not wasting away that time.  Most people would pass over that frame without a second glance, but I knew what was behind that poem.  It was a list.  A list that I made when I was a freshman in college.  It was a list of the characteristics that I wanted my husband to possess. 
This simple frame sat beside my bed from 1996-2003.  For 7 years, I prayed over this list daily.  There were times when I thought I should just give up.  I felt as if God would never bring me the man that was to be my life mate. 
There were also times that I would enter into a dating relationship or find someone that I thought was "the one".  I would pull out this list and inevitably, there would be at least one characteristic that he would be missing.  I would compromise with myself and think there was nothing wrong with a man that met 90% of my wants.  Inevitably, God would always move them on.  Then I would begin the prayer process over again.
Then one summer night in 2003 I attended a singles bible study at a friend's apartment.  It was packed with over 30 people in one tiny space.  It was so packed, that there were people sitting in every nook and cranny.  A question was asked(I for the life of me can't remember what it was) and a male answered.  It was like a lightening bolt hit me.  I couldn't see who the response came from but I knew that he would be my husband.  I was later introduced to Bryan and discovered he was the man that answered the question.  A friendship formed in a group setting.  I kept my little secret to myself and began observing him.  It wasn't until my grandmother died and Bryan and another friend, Leanne, traveled close to 3 hours to come to the visitation and only stayed for 15 minutes that I realized that there may be more than friendship forming. 
We began dating shortly after and as we dated, I realized that Bryan met every characteristic on my list.  A short 16 months later, we were married.  God did grant my every desire.  Here is my list:

Christian (Romans 10:9)
Spiritual Leader(Ephesians 5:23)
Humble and Gentle(Philippians 2:3)
Hard Worker(1 Corinthians 15:58)
Generous(Tither) (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Ambassador for Christ(2 Corinthians 5:20)
Courageous(1 Corinthians 16:13)
Supportive (Galatians 6:2)
Prayer Warrior(Colossians 4:2)
Understanding(Proverbs 24:3)
Respectable(Proverbs 22:1)
Fears God(Ecclesiastes 12:13
Servant's Heart(Mark 10:43-45)
Seeks God First(Jeremiah 29:13)
Loving( Romans 12:9-13, 1 Corinthians 13)

I love looking back on this an realizing that God heard my prayer every night for those 7 long years.  That prayer did not return void.  God was simply working it out.  He had to get both Bryan and I to Madison, AL.  He had to get us both to the same church.  It had to be at the right time.  If we had of met any earlier, we would not have been on the same page in life and it would not have worked. 
I am so thankful that God heard not only my prayers, but the prayers of a godly mother that prayed for my mate every day since I was a little girl. 
So, for that reason, I am already praying for Eleanor's and Henry's mate.  For the parents of my future son and daughter in laws.  I pray that God will be with them and that they will raise their children up in the Lord.  I also anticipate the day that I am able to sit down and show this list to Eleanor and Henry and encourage them to make a list of their own. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Do you remember how fearful I was of gaining weight during my pregnancy?  How I would freak out every single time the number on the scale would go up.  I was so scared and worried that I would fall back into bad habits and that the weight would never come back off.  In the end, I gained 22 pounds with Henry.  Looking back, I am very proud of that number.  Glad that God gave me the power to daily turn my eating over to him and not to "eat for two" and give into every craving and desire.
Well, since Henry's birth, I have been trying to lose those last 7 pounds that didn't immediately come off.  I dropped 6 pounds in two weeks of dieting and I got really excited.  I was not only going to get all the extra weight off, I was going to hit my final goal in no time.  I got prideful.  I started patting myself on the back.  That is when the weight stalled.  It stalled for 6 weeks.  Stalled with one little pound to go.  God took that 6 weeks to humble me and to turn me back to him.  To make me remember that I have never been successful in weight loss without him.  It is nothing that I can ever do.  In fact, when I turn to myself and start trying to do it out of my own power, I always fail.  The weight loss stops and I get disappointed and discouraged. 
Today I want to give a big shout out to my God!  I lost that last pound.  In 3 short months, God has gotten me back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  My fears were for nothing.  He was faithful yet again.  It is all about trusting him.  I have to be reminded again and again that I will only be successful when I put him first.  I will finish this.  I will meet my goal.  Why?  Because my God does not fail.  He will be glorified in this.  Now on to that final 22 pounds. 
Bless the Lord, oh my soul: and all that is within me, bless his Holy name.  Psalm 103:1

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reflections of the 300 lb. Woman

I have had an interesting day.  I have noticed a lot of things about myself.  It started this morning when I pulled out a t-shirt that my mother-in-law bought me.  I held it up and thought that it looked mighty small.  I looked at the tag and it was a Large.  Uh-oh, I knew that I needed a X-Large.  I sighed and tried it on anyway.  Guess what?  IT FIT!  Now, I have purchased Large shirts in the past, but I don't think I will ever get used to not being in a 2XL and having them fit like a glove.  I wonder if I will always see myself as that 300 lb. woman.  The mirror never reflects what I expect it.  I am often shocked when I see pictures of myself.  That is not how I see myself in my mind's eye.
Then, I headed to the kitchen to grab a snack this afternoon.  I immediately went for a turkey burger patty and warmed it up.  I chuckled to myself as I was eating it.  Did I ever think that I would get used to eating this way?  Much less imagine that it would seem NORMAL.  If I were to tell that 300 lb. woman that she would adjust and actually enjoy eating this way, I am sure she would laugh in my face. 
Lastly, I sat waiting on Eleanor's bus this afternoon and it hit me that I am almost to my 2 year anniversary of my surgery.  I started to beat myself up because I still have 25 pounds to lose.  I stopped myself because I would rather have Henry than have met my goal.  How is it even possible that my life is where it is today?  I never, ever would have imagined how greatly God would bless me when I took that first step to trust him and I enter that operating room. 
Oh, I still want to lose that 25 pounds and I will do everything I can, through God's strength, to get there.  Only there is one other change that has occurred within me.  I am no longer obsessed with the scale.  I have watched for the last 6 weeks as the number has remained the same.  I have stepped off the scale each time very calmly thinking to myself that I will not be defeated by that number.  I can reflect on each day of those weeks and know that I have honored God through my eating.  That reflection can be as big of a victory to me now as weight loss. 
God has completely changed me from the inside out.  I am so grateful for all the things he has done.  I am still amazed at this continuing journey.  It may take me another 2 years to reach my weight goal, but I know that God is in control.  I will get there when he wants me to. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Crying Over Spilled Milk

It started out as a simple evening.  I was running to get us some supper.  We had chosen to get some barbeque because that helps with my protein requirements.  Well, the resturant was closed, so Bryan and Eleanor decided they wanted Wendy's.  I knew going through the drive-thru that this was going to be another time that I was left having to say "no".  The only thing on the menu that I could eat was the salad and why in the world $6 for a salad when I had lettuce as home.  So, I ordered Eleanor and Bryan their meals and headed home.
That is when the tears started.  For some people, it may be hard to understand why someone would actually cry over food.  For me, it is a reality that happens more than most people will ever realize.  You see, I made a commitment when I chose to have my weight loss surgery.  A commitment to eat a certain way for the rest of my life.  I knew it would be hard, but I tell you, I thought it would have gotten easier by now.
It is so hard to sit and say "no thank you" over and over when all you really want to say is "yes, please".  Having to say no to the pizza, french fries, doughnut, Easter candy, birthday cake, hamburger, or even the soda time and time again.  Having to sit and watch while those around me eat what I want to be enjoying.  It truly is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  Why?  Because I know that it will never end.  I know that in order to remain true to my commitment to God, my husband and myself that I will never get to enjoy food the way that I did before. 
So, I cry.  I mourn the food that I will not allow myself to consume.  I cry and I quote 1 Corinthians 10:23 over and over again.  It says, "Everything is permissable, but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissable, but not everything is constructive." I know that I could easily eat any food that I want, but I know that it would not be beneficial for me.  It is just so hard to do sometimes.
Very few can understand what it really feels like to have to always refrain from the one thing you love doing so much.  That is where God comes in.  I know he understands and I know that he will give me strength to continue to make the decisions that I need to on a daily basis.  I just have to let it out sometimes.  I need to scream and stomp my foot and complain that no one gets it.  Yet, I know that there is someone that understands sacrifice even more than I do.  How dare I complain about having to sacrifice the food I love for the rest of my life when my God sacrificed his own Son for me?  Kind of brings it all into perspecitve.  Guess I really do need to stop crying over spilled milk and be thankful for all that I have and all that has been given to me.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


For the last few months, I have felt that my world is askew.  That I just don't fit where I am.  Although, I have friends, I don't really have a place.  Although I am a member of a church, I don't really belong.  Even though I am blessed beyond belief in my home life, some thing is off.  I just can't put my finger on it.  I can't figure out what is off.  I have prayed to the Lord to explain to me what is going on or maybe to change me to fit into this world where he has placed me.  Into a world that I once fit so perfectly. 
Last week I picked up the book Kisses for Katie.  A book about a 19 year old girl that took a big leap of faith and traveled across the world to follow the will of God.  It has opened my heart and my mind to the fact that maybe I am not in the center of God's will. 
I feel that there is something that God wants me to do that I am not doing.  I do not think that God wants me to move into a grass hut in the middle of Africa but there is something that he is moving me toward.  A journey that he wants me to take. 
So today, I will begin to pray that God will open my eyes and show me just what it is.  I will pray that God will move me out of my comfort zone and begin to reveal what it is that he wants to accomplish through me. 
I am a little scared at what he may ask of me.  I am even more afraid to stay where I am.  I am tired of not understanding my place in this little world of mine.  So maybe stepping out of this world and into the world that God wants me to live in is the answer.  Maybe, just maybe, that is the answer.  That my focus needs to be on the world around me and what Jesus wants to do through me. 
I can't wait to see what God has in store for me and for the first time in a long time, I am open for anything!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Strength

Life is finally getting into a rhythm here at the Hughes household.  I knew that it was time to get back on track and continue my journey of weight loss.  I have about 30 more pounds to go and I want to see this thing to completion.  I knew that there were two major things that I needed to do.  I needed to get my diet back on track and to refocus myself in my walk with God.  I knew that I couldn't finish this thing with out God and his strength. 
So, I began to pray and ask God to give me the strength to make it through each day and make the wise choices that I needed to make in order to succeed.  To be honest, every time I prayed that prayer, something felt off.  It was as if, I felt in my heart that I wasn't praying for the right thing.
Then, God gave me this verse and opened my eyes so that I saw it in a way that I had never before. (Don't you just love it when God does that!  Takes a verse you have seen a hundred times and teaches you something new.)
I love you, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:1-2
This is what I noticed: the Lord is my strength.  It made me pause and take notice of that one phrase.  All this time, I have been praying that the Lord would GIVE ME strength.  What if instead, I prayed that the Lord would BE my strength.  That strength would go from a futile, human attempt to a perfect God success. 
That little shift in understanding has made all the difference these last few days.  In praying for the Lord to be my strength, I have taken the pressure off what I can do.  I am allowing God to do it for me.  He will sustain me and guide me.  I don't have to try and do it myself.  In the Lord, I have all the strength I need in order to finish this process.  In makes this anxious heart rest easier knowing that I can humbly ask and God will be my strength.  Day by day and minute by minute.  The choices of what to eat and whether to exercise become easier. 
So here we go.  Let's finish what I started so that God can get the glory of taking me all the way to the finish line.