DIY Weight Loss Plan: A Dietitian’s Guide on How to Create Your Own Weight Loss Plan

 

All You Need to Develop Your Own DIY Weight Loss Assessment and Plan.

This is one of my favorite of my nutrition posts. This is what I would call my anchor post. Below I have included an adaptation of the assessment I developed for my weight loss clients. I used this assessment to customize their specific plan.  I am sharing this assessment and my whole blog because I professionally and personally understand the weight loss struggle. I know the peace I get from mindful eating and more importantly the peace I feel from mindfully being aware of God’s presence. This is the go-to post if you want to learn from a dietitian how to develop your own plan.  This is how I develop weight loss plans for my clients!!! Now I have it here for anyone who needs help creating an effective weight loss plan. Save/pin/bookmark this for when you have time to sit down, carefully read the whole post, take notes, and develop your own weight loss plan. The assessment will determine which diet plans, tricks, and tips will work best for you. I have pulled together almost every trick, diet, and tip that I have collected throughout my years of being a dietetic student in undergraduate and graduate school, a dietetic intern, a dietitian, and a nutrition instructor. The assessment will link you to the specific lists of tips and diet plans that will work for you. Now you can create your own DIY Weight Loss Plan!

Disclosure: This site may provide affiliate links (See full disclosure)

 

How to Use This DIY Weight Loss Assessment and Develop Your Own Plan

Step 1

First, answer the questions! You will notice that the questionnaire wants you to think of the reasons you cannot lose weight. Remember, when you go through this first step, you are not just making excuses. You need to understand your barriers to be able to make the change. After determining ALL the barriers that are hindering your weight loss, write them down. You will narrow your barriers down in the next step.

checklist photo

Step 2

After determining your barriers, pick a few barriers that are Your biggest issues or pick a few you would like to focus on. If you have printed off the assessment, circle the questions that revealed your BIGGEST barriers.

Step 3

For the next few steps, you will continue narrowing down your goals until you have determined the few that will work best for you. Now that you have determined your barriers,  you need to find solutions to each barrier. You will find links in the parentheses below each question that will help you pick tips, tricks and diets. Click on the links and pick the articles that you feel will best help you find solutions to your particular barriers. Circle the article links found in the assessment that you feel will benefit you the most based on your barriers OR print, pin, save the articles that you would like to focus on. notepad photo

Step 4

You are getting close to determining your specific diet plan. Now you will look at the articles you selected and determine which tip, trick, or diets within the articles that you will actually use. Pick 3-5 tips or tricks that will be part of your plan and write them down. You may want to keep your plan somewhere visible. Keep practicing your changes until they become second nature to you.

Things to Remember

  • Often times if you try to change too much at once, you will get overwhelmed. Plus, you might be surprised at how many calories you can decrease by changing just a few small areas of your diet. For example, I had a client once tell me that she loved to sip on sweet tea. She sipped on it all day. She had a glass when she was cooking, when she was on the computer, and when she was watching TV. She had a glass all the time. We figured out that if she just switched to unsweetened tea or water, she would decrease her calorie intake by around 700 calories a day. She lost 20 pounds by making this one change. Every bit counts and adds up. You only need to take 300-1000 calories out of your day to lose 1/2-2 pounds per week. If you take out more calories than this you risk slowing your metabolism, increasing your chances of giving up, AND losing more muscle instead of just fat.
  • You will want to combine several different techniques to personalize your own plan. For example, you may want to do the calorie counting diet (see the“Calorie Counting post”), but you want to make calorie counting easier by doing the prepackaged meals your breakfast and lunch. You decide that eating a breakfast biscuit like Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Blueberry, 1.76 Ounce, 12 Count for bre and replacing your lunch with a frozen meal like the Lean Cuisine Marketplace, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken, 9.875 Oz. (12 Count) will make calorie counting easier since all you need to do is look at the back of the box. Planning to eat prepackaged meals everyday has advantages and disadvantages. Please read the “Prepackaged Meals” post to see if this plan is right for you. For dinner you decide to keep track of your calories by using the Myfitness pal or your Fitbit app (You can get a Fit bit by clicking here: Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)). Now you have combined three different types of diets (Calorie Counting, Pre-Packaged Meals, and the use of apps to customize a diet for you.)
  • With all diets, I strongly recommend incorporating Mindful Eating. Mindful Eating can help with almost any barrier from work nibbling, portion control, snacking, and dining out.
  • Make sure you DO choose tricks that address one of your problems. For example, if snacking is not a problem, then don’t choose a snacking tip. Choose the ones that will make the biggest impact. And remember; don’t try to do everything or every trick.
  • Understand that “mess ups” are part of the process. We are not perfect. We will mess up. That is part of the process in every diet. The key is to not give up when you do mess up. If you feel like you failed on Wednesday, don’t say “forget it,” and eat poorly on Thursday too. Again, you would have saved many calories if you had just gotten back on track on Thursday. Some weeks you will get frustrated. Some weeks you lose more than others; some weeks you will reach plateaus, and I know from experience plateaus are frustrating. Unfortunately, the closer you get to your goal weight the more your body holds onto those last few pounds. So for anyone going through a plateau, I know how you feel, but I want to encourage you that it will pass.
  • Take a multivitamin. I wish we were all getting the nutrients we need, but most people, unfortunately, are not getting all the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets.
  • Give your plan a few weeks. If you are having trouble with one component of your plan, go back to the solutions and try something else. Or after implementing your plan for a while you may notice a barrier you had not thought of before. Go back to the solutions or tips to decide how you can combat that barrier. Sometimes perfecting you plan takes time and practice. If you do mess up or find something difficult, don’t give up. Instead re-analyze why you messed up. Come back to your assessment to figure our ways to prevent it from happening again.

Sample Diet Assessment

 Still need a little help seeing how this will work? Let’s look at a couple of examples of barriers  and solutions:

Barrier 1: You see from your assessment that you have problems with portion control so you click on the suggested solution articles. You first look at the Portion Control Tricks blog to see if there is a trick that can help you. You like the trick about pre-portioning and freezing your foods. Now you have a way to stop your portion control problem. Or maybe you decide the “Prepackaged Meals or Meal Replacements” Blog would help you with your portion control problem. You decide you are going to do the Healthy Choice Chicken Soup Variety-15 oz, 10 ct meals for lunch. You like that with this solution the food is already pre-portioned for you. You think you can’t mess up on portions because these are already portioned for you.

Barrier 2: After finishing the assessment, you discover afternoon snacks are your main problem. You select the suggested post “Healthy Snack Choices”. You decide that instead of eating in the afternoon, you will do an activity in the afternoon.weights photo

Below is a Sample Plan Developed After Completing the assessments  

 My Plan:

I will eat Kellogg’s cereal Kellogg’s Cereal Cup Assortment Pack – Wellness (6 Flavors),Pack of 60 for breakfast with skim milk. I will use a measuring cup to portion my cereal.

I will take a frozen dinner like a Lean Cuisine Marketplace, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken, 9.875 Oz. (12 Count) to work for lunch.

I will bring a bag of raw carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower to work to snack on throughout the day. I will not eat the donuts that are always at work. Instead, I will have my snacks always available.

For dinner, I will cook a meal using the low calorie cookbook, Betty Crocker The 300 Calorie Cookbook: 300 tasty meals for eating healthy everyday (Betty Crocker Cooking), and I will eat from a small breakfast plate. I will fill most of my plate with food, but avoid getting seconds. Half of my plate will be filled with vegetables.

For exercise, I will park far away in a parking lot. I will walk up and down my stairs 5 times every time I enter my house. For one 30-minute television show a week, I will run in place during the commercials.

Alright, now you are ready to do your own diet assessment and develop your personalized plan based on proven weight loss techniques.

DIY Diet Assessment Form

Date                           .

Height:                  Age                   Weight                Usual Weight                           

How much would you like to lose?

Have you recently gained or lost weight?                  If so, how much                       

Medical History : Please discuss any medical conditions with a doctor and/or dietitian. A dietitian can help you personalize a diet for these specific conditions. For example, if you have diabetes, a dietitian can teach you how to do what is called “Carb Counting” or how to use the “Diabetic Exchange.”

Your Daily Routine Questions

How many meals do you eat per day?             Snacks per day?         

Do you eat breakfast?        

(If no, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips”, pay attention to the tip on eating breakfast)

Do you skip meals?         

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“, pay attention to the tip on skipping meals.)

Do you find following a diet difficult due to always feeling hungry?

(If yes, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“, pay attention to the tips in this section that mentions helping you feel full, or preventing hunger,)

Work Questions

Occupation                                           .

Describe how your occupation affects your eating and exercise                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                           

Do your coworkers tempt you at work by always ordering take out, going out for lunch, or getting fast food together?                  

(If yes, see “Pre-packaged, Pre-portioned Meals, or Meal Replacement Weight Loss Tips”,  tip #2 in “16 Weight Loss Tips“, “When my Work Environment Causes Weight Gain,” and “How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight“)

Do you travel frequently for work?                  

(If yes, see “Vacation or Frequent Traveler Weight Loss Tips” and “How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight” to develop your diet plan)

Is snack food always available at work or do you snack at work?              

(If yes, see “Snacking Tips for Weight Loss” and “When Your Work Environment Causes Weight Gain” to develop your own diet plan.)

Personal Side Note: We always had complementary food available on the center of the table in the break room or there were always food available in the break room due to celebrating a coworker’s birthday or having a going away party, or baby shower, etc. I had to avoid the break room and bring my own food to work. Eating food from the break room, even a little bit was not an option for me.

Dining Out Questions

How many times do you eat out per week?              

Do you eat out often or are you always on the go and never eat at home?         

If Yes, see “Eating Out Tips for Weight Loss”.)

Name the restaurants where you most frequently eat?                                                                                            

Do you pass by tempting restaurants on your way to work? Is it hard to pass by that restaurant or coffee place without getting something?                      

(If yes, see “16 Weight Loss Tips“, tip number 6)

Do you tend to overeat or eat high-calorie, lower-nutrient foods when you eat out?

(If dining out seems to be a weight loss barrier for you, see Dining Out Weight Loss Tips)

Meals at Home Questions

Who cooks your meals?                       .

How often do they cook per week?                     .

Are the majority of the meals you eat cooked at home?                .

Are you expected to cook meals or are you the main cook for your family?             

If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Do you often cook high fat meals because it is easier, quicker, or because you can’t think of what else to cook or you don’t know how to make meals lower in calories?

(If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Do you feel you are not good at menu planning?

(If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Who do you eat with?                           .

Do you feel like you can’t cook lower calorie meals because your other family members won’t eat it?                  

(If the answer is yes and you feel that you cannot control what types of foods you eat due to your family, then control how much you eat instead by using Portion Control Tips. You could also try cooking the same meals that your family always enjoys, only using the lower calorie versions, see “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat” and “How to Reduce the Fat in the Foods you Already Eat” for ideas.” Many times families think they won’t like lower calorie foods but they are just as good. Try a few lower calorie recipes to see what your family thinks.)

Does someone else cook the food and therefore you feel you do not have control over what you eat?                   

(If yes, then you will have to control your portions instead of what types of foods you eat so see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips. The “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” post may also work well for you temporarily)

Does living with others make buying and having healthy foods in your house difficult?                

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.”)

Do you have difficulty with wanting larger portions or seconds at meals?                      

(If yes, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.” Or the “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” may also work well for you because portions are pre-determined.)

Do you feel like you always end up putting too much food on your plate?             

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.” Or The “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” may also work well for you because portions are pre-determined. Focus on the tips about plating your food in the Portion Control Tips)

Do you feel like you aren’t eating very much at meals?

(Maybe you just don’t realize how much you are eating. If this could be a possibility see “Calorie Counting Tips,” “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips,” or the “Prepackaged, pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement Tips”)

Are you not sure what a serving size is or not sure how much you are suppose to be eating?                  

(If this is an issue, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.“)

Who does the grocery shopping?                     .

Are there unhealthy foods in your house?                           

 (If yes, see “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss.”)

Do you often snack on unhealthy snacks?              

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss.”)

Are you sometimes too busy to plan meals when you get home, so you just make something easy and quick           

(If yes, see “ Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss,”  “Tips for Reducing Calories in your Meals and Cooking” and “Tips for Reducing Fat in the Meals you Already Eat.”)

Are there certain foods you have trouble resisting?        What are some of those tempting foods for you?              

(If yes, see “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss Tips“.)

Do you have trouble resisting certain foods in the grocery store?           

(If yes, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss.“)

How often do you eat frozen meals per week?            

(If you eat frozen meals or quick meals often and rarely cook, then the “Pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement diet” tips may work well for you.)

Do you only have to prepare meals for yourself?                      

(If yes, the “Prepackaged. Pre-portioned Meals, or Meal Replacement Plans for Weight Loss,” “How to Lose Weight by Calorie Counting,”  “Meal Planning for Weight Loss,” “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “.“)

Where do you eat when you are eating at home?                  

Do you eat at different places other than the table?              

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss Tips“, numbers 104 through 116, and “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“.)

Is the TV on while you eat?                

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss Tips“, numbers 104 through 116, and “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips”.)

Non-Meal Times, i.e. Snacking Questions

What time of day do you snack or nibble on anything other than your meals?               

List the foods you snack on                                                                                              

(If snacking is an issue see “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you nibble on a few things here and there occasionally throughout the day?     

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you graze throughout the day?       

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you taste your meals or nibble while cooking?

(If yes, see  “Snacking for Weight Loss“, pay attention to the tips about snacking while cooking)

Do you sometimes grab a couple of bites while doing something else like working, cooking, watching TV, using the computer, studying, etc?          

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Eating our Emotions Questions

* If you snack due to any of the emotions below, you may find the “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss” post helpful.

Do you snack or splurge when you are bored?          

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are stressed?         

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are sad?              

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are tired?

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Are you getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights?        

(If no, see “16 Weight Loss Tips“, #8, and “Snacking for Weight Loss,” # 1.)

Do you eat because you need a break from work or because you are procrastinating?             

  (If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss”)

Activity Questions

exercise photo
Photo by Fit Approach

How often are you currently working out and what do you do?                             

Do you have trouble finding time to exercise?          

(If yes, see “16 Weight Loss Tips”, # 11, “How to Lose Weight When You are Too Busy to Exercise“, and “Exercises You can Do with Your Children”)

Do you enjoy exercise?          

(If no, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

When is the best time for you to exercise?           .

Do you get bored exercising?           

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you have trouble balancing exercise with time with your children or do your children seem to take up all of your time?            

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you often feel too tired to exercise?                  

If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you feel too embarrassed to exercise in public?                

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children” to find activities you can do alone until you have more confidence, or find activities that you would not be embarrassed to do, or find ways to get physical activity throughout your day.)

Motivation Questions

Do you start out doing great on a diet and then have trouble keeping it up?              

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you give up or get frustrated when you mess up on a diet?            

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you get frustrated and give up if you don’t lose weight right away?           

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you sometimes say to yourself, “Well, I have already messed up today, so I may as well go all out?”             

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you spend a lot of time out with friends or at social gatherings?            

If yes, see “Weight Loss Tips for Parties and Social Gatherings“)

Misc. Questions

Tell me what your day is like from morning to night including everything you do throughout the day and eat including condiments and serving sizes.                                                                                                                                                          

Do you gain weight during vacations?            

(If yes, see “Weight Loss Tips for Vacations and Frequent Travelers“)

List the things you most often drink? Do these drinks have calories?                   

(If yes, see “Top 5 Tips for Reducing Liquid Calories”)

Do you tend to go through more than one container or packet of sauces and dips like ranch, honey mustard, may, BBQ sauce, etc?

(If yes, see the post on Hidden Calories and  How to decrease the Fat and Calories in the Foods You Eat)

Do you find resisting sweet foods difficult?                           

(If yes, see 4 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have a Sweet Tooth)

Do you find that you tend to eat healthy until you get out of your routine, and then your healthy lifestyle falls away? In other words, do you find that you go from one extreme to the other when you diet? 

If this is a problem with you, you may want to focus on mindful eating. Some days you will eat more calories than others, but you will not lose control and over do it. On days when you can’t follow your routine, if you mindfully eat, you can still joyfully eat a healthy portions of food.

After going over this questionnaire, pick 2 to 3 of your barriers that are causing most of your difficulties losing weight. In other words, what are your major weaknesses?   (Examples: ex: afternoon time, stress, boredom, sweets, getting seconds, portion control, alcohol, snacking, grazing, TV watching time, work stress, social occasions, dining out, eating immediately after work, etc)?                                                                                      

                                                                                                         .

                                                                                                         . (Pick your top 2 to 3 biggest barriers and make a plan on how to fix the problem using the tips articles provided. Pick 1 to 3 tips or solutions to your barriers. Write down your plan and keep it where you can see it.                                                                                                                 

 

I want this plan to include everything you need to be successful; so it you find another tip that worked for you, please let me know. If the research backs up any recommended techniques, I will add it to the list.

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

 

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Dietitian Confessions: How to Decrease Your Calories by 500 a Day!

 

How I ate decreased my Calories by 500 a Day and Still Ate the Same Amount of Food!

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The Confession

I have a gigantic confession to make. This is an embarrassing confession considering, you know, I went to 7 years of school to obtain a bachelors of science and masters in human nutrition. My confession is (drum roll please) I was eating close to 500 calories a day in condiments! My favorites are ranch and any restaurant’s signature sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I knew too many condiments could increase your calorie intake. I’m pretty sure I have included the tip, “limit or avoid condiments” on another post. Hold on let me check…

Yep, I included that particular tip right here aaaand here.

Did I realize what a difference my condiment affections were making in my life? Not even close!

Ranch dressing photo
Photo by soupboy

The Ephiphany

My epiphany came one day after eating at Chick-Fil-A. I was trying to be a “mostly” good little dietitian by mindfully selecting the grilled chicken sandwich and small fries. (I love a little taste of Chick-fil-A waffle fries. Everything in moderation, right?) I even took off one half of the bun because an open face sandwich was plenty of bread to satisfy me. For added measure, I only ate half of my small fries.

I’m thinking I did pretty well until I started adding my food into my Fitbit Charge 2 (Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Plum, Large (US Version) . My calorie intake from actual food was fine. Then I started adding in my beloved “Chick-Fil-A sauce.” One packet of “Chick-Fil-A Sauce” is 140 calories, according to their website. If I had eating just one packet, my calorie range for lunch would have STILL been just fine… But I had (whisper voice here) three. That is 420 calories in condiments!!!

You may have heard people say I like ranch with my food. I am one of those people who likes food with my ranch. Notice the difference?

The Impact of Hidden Calories

When I learned this about myself, I was reminded of a client who drank sweet tea all day long. That client lost substantial weight by only switching from sweet tea to unsweet.

My condiment obsession produces similar math to the sweet tea reduction. To lose a pound, a person needs to decrease their calories by 3500 or burn an excess of 3500 calories. In other words, 3500 calories equals one pound. The best strategy is to increase your calorie burn through exercise AND decrease your calorie intake to equal about a 3500 calorie deficit a week. So to lose one pound a week, a person would need a calorie deficit of about 500 calories a day. Ummm… I basically could get that by omitting condiments from my diet! Heck, I could almost hit that deficit by omitting condiments from just one meal a day!

Making the Changes

So what did I learn from this epiphany?

  1. I need to back off of those condiments! But you know we dietitians want you to get more specific with your goals. So I’m going to say, “My goal is to reduce my condiments to one serving per meal.”
  2. Using an easy and accurate calorie tracking method has helped me see my big issues, especially the more hidden calories. I use the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Plum, Large (US Version) to track my calorie intake and calorie burn, but others have found success with apps like Myfitnesspal.

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Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

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God Moments: Did That Just Happen!

God Moments: Did That Just Happen!

Seeing God’s Presence Today

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Mindfulness can help us stop to notice God’s presence in our lives, but sometimes God does something so cool that we notice even when we are not being particularly mindful. This is one of those experiences. Read until the end because the end is the best part!

How It All Started

About a year and a half ago, my then six year-old son took an ambulance ride from urgent care to the hospital. Before that ride, he had been on antibiotics but just kept getting sicker. When we arrived at the ER, the doctors diagnosed him with Pneumonia and admitted him to the hospital for five days. After being released, he just couldn’t get rid of that cough and kept getting fevers about every two to three weeks. An X-ray showed that he had a collapsed lung from all these lung issues. They released my son from the hospital in December. It was now June, and he was still coughing, struggling to breathe when he ran, getting tired easily, and getting frequent fevers. He had taken so many antibiotics that I had lost count. He had been put to sleep twice for minor lung procedures.

In June, the doctors decided to get a CT scan to see if he had a condition called Bronchiectasis. The CT scan confirmed he had this condition, which is defined as abnormal widening of the bronchi or their branches, causing a risk of infection. I had never heard of it so, of course, I looked it up online. The things I read terrified me. I was not handling the diagnosis well. I was walking around constantly on the verge of crying, but trying to seem cheerful for my children. Many nights I would pray and let out all of my pent up tears. I was scared of what this meant for my son. I can’t even bring myself to type all of the worries I was feeling. If you are a parent you can probably imagine the fears going through my head.

I Wanted to Cancel

The very same week that I learned of the diagnosis, I wanted to shut myself off from everyone, but our church book club was suppose to meet at MY HOUSE! I came inches from canceling. Most of the book club regulars were not able to come, so I started thinking no one is going to show up anyway. But then a new girl sent me an emailed saying that she would like to come and bring two of her friends. I didn’t want to cancel when new people had expressed interest, so I decided to push through. The funny thing is the new girl who had originally expressed interest was unable to attend, but the two friends she had mentioned in her email did come. These two girls, who only attended this one time, probably didn’t know what they were walking into. I was unorganized and monopolized the whole conversation. I ended up pouring all my emotions out to these brand new people. They were such patient listeners, and although I don’t know if they got much out of book club, I felt much better after that night.

Life Went On…

After that night, life went on. The doctors were trying all kinds of treatments. My son was now on continuous antibiotics three times a week and doing 30-minute treatments twice a day.

Below is a picture of the breathing treatments my son was doing twice a day.

My son was now going to doctors in Rock Hill, Charlotte, and Chapel Hill. By now a year had gone by since receiving that initial diagnosis and pouring my heart out to those random new girls at book club.

Can I Ask You A Weird Question?

The doctors decided it was time to talk about having a surgery to remove the damaged lobe of his lung. So I called the first office on the list to set up a consultation with a surgeon in Charlotte, NC. I started talking to the receptionist. She started asking basic questions like, “What is the appointment for?,” and “What is your home address?.” Then she paused and says, “Can I ask you a weird question?” I’m thinking, ‘What in the world is she going to ask me’, but all I said was “Okay.”  She then says, “Do you happen to have a book club with St. John’s?” Shocked and confused, I exclaim, “Yes!” She then exclaimed, “I think I have been to your house!” When I was answering her questions over the phone, she remembered hearing a similar story a year earlier at this book club she attended once. She then realized she recognized the address I had just given her. She figured out that she and her friend, who also works in the same office, (you know, that other new girl) had been to my house the week my son had been diagnosed a year ago!

 

Knowing that people at the surgeon’s office knew our story and had known our story since the diagnosis was such a comfort to me.

God’s Plan to Bring Comfort and Guidance was Put into Action a Year Earlier

You know what else? I thought to myself, ‘wow, when I was walking around terrified and wishing I would feel God’s presence, God was right there’. I felt like God was giving me comfort on that book club night. Little did I know, that same book club social would give me comfort not only that very night but also a year later. Did God somehow help me cross paths with these ladies right when my son was diagnosed? Did God know this journey would lead to a big surgery way back then? Many of us have learned that God knows all, our past and our future, but to truly witness this was humbling. This experience made me feel like God was  giving me a warm hug. I could feel God’s Presence and realized just how present God had been the whole time. As, I processed this, the tears began running down my face and chills began running up my arm.

Today my son is doing well. The surgery so far seems sucessful. We continue to praise God for warm hugs, comfort, and guidance.

Do you have any stories about experiencing God’s presence, comfort, or guidance?

Please share any of your stories in the comments below. I love these stories!

If you are looking for good books about people experiencing God’s presence in their lives, two of my favorites are  The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures) and Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World:


Want More God Moment Stories? Check these Out

God Moments: We Prayed and Then This Happened!

God Moments: God Follows Through

God Moments: We Chose the Same Picture

God Moments: I Was So Afraid

God Moments: We Ran Out of Gas

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