Archive | Nutrition RSS feed for this section

Do You Want To Want To?

4 Aug

I find that the problem most people, myself included, have with persistence and discipline – in any scenario – is that they lose their drive.  Their motivation is not weighty enough, or their reason for doing or abstaining doesn’t have enough draw.  Call it willpower or resolve or whatever, we’re destined for failure after failure until we find a deeper reason; a Want To.

Often we  know how to make changes, but the ‘how’ isn’t enough, it’s not going to pull you through when you’re faced with confrontation or the temptation to give in and/or give up.  This is why quick fixes and crash diets don’t work.  We would rather take a pill or push a button and wham-bam arrive at our destination without the struggle of the journey.  But what one attains from the journey creates within us the solid, foundational truths that we can build on.  Each battle you fight against your unhealthy desires has a lesson and a truth within it, the question then becomes, are you paying attention or pouting through it?

In her book, Made To Crave, Lysa TerKeurst describes the Want To as “really wanting to make changes and deciding that the results of those changes are worth the sacrifice.”  Again, most of us can search the internet and find a list of things that tell us what we need to do, only to jump into the deep end without swim lessons because we’re so excited by the picture in our minds of our better self.  As a Christian, it has become increasingly more apparent that this issue is not just a physical and mental struggle, but a spiritual one too.  We desire something (like smaller pants) and try to anchor our plan into that, and it fails to hold our ship, so we drift away and feel defeated, hopeless, frustrated, lost at sea.   So here are a few thoughts to aid in building a solid Want To:

  • It is FIRST a spiritual journey. Yes, we want to wear smaller pants.  Yes, we want to live healthy and active til we’re 80.  But you’ve already used those motivators.  Shallow desires produce shallow efforts.  Go deeper.  We were designed to crave, but that craving was to be fulfilled by our Maker.  Our world was created perfect as a reflection of our beautiful Creator and when sin entered (through food, might I point out), our cravings went awry.  Now we have to tune in to our cravings and question whether what we are craving is a misdirected craving for spiritual food.  God cares deeply about this struggle because we are His children!  By leaning on and seeking Him for strength and heart change, we will get SO much more from this battle, even when we stumble.  We can change behaviors (shallow), but only the one who designed us can change our heart’s desires (deep).  That is where the Want To begins to change.
  • It is a physical journey.  What you put into your body matters.  It does.  There is no way around that.  The simple truth is that your body is a machine and if you put crap into it, it’s going to run like crap.  So fuel well and move more!  Research the effects of sugar and processed foods on the body and let it freak you out.  You are not an exception!  And it doesn’t matter that 5 or 10 years ago, you could eat all of that stuff and not see effects.  Are you seeing them now?  Are you frustrated?  Pay attention.  Literally pay attention to your body.  You only get one and it’s gonna have to last you as long as God allows, so you should probably put some effort into taking care of it.
  • It is a mental journey.  You’re going to have to change the way you think about foods (or whatever temptation you’re struggling with).  You can change your mind.  And I don’t mean start thinking chocolate cake is disgusting, but try to think past the immediate pleasure and think about how you’ll feel physically, mentally.  We are faced with TONS of choices daily!  So in the event that you do mess up and give in, because c’mon, we’re all human, know that you will have another chance shortly to make a better choice. Lysa also notes that “one wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline.”  Don’t throw in the towel, keep going forward – even 2 steps forward and 1 step back, is moving forward.  And as I mentioned before, pay attention!  How do feel when you succeed?  When you fail?  What is your self-talk like?  Is it truth or a lie?  Is helpful in keeping you moving through this journey?  How can you change it to something helpful? For me, having scriptural truth to refute negative thoughts is crucial.

Our bodies adapt to consistency.  We generally crave what we eat.  Think about it do you eat something completely different at every meal, every day?  Probably not.  Put some thought into your meals and make them a balance of protein, complex carbs, veggies and fats.  I find that planning out my dinners, at least, and cooking ahead of time helps a lot.  Consider not having dessert, or having it every other evening.  Limit sugars throughout the day.  Get adequate sleep.  Exercise 4-5 days/week for 30 doing something you ENJOY!  Taking that a step further, the next time you feel that craving tug, consider if your body is actually hungry or if maybe your soul is feeling malnourished. (Psalm 42:1-2)  Maybe this is a misdirected craving and your spirit is crying out for a feeding that junk food or even healthy food or tv or shopping or alcohol won’t reach.  My challenge to you amid the above advice is to feed your spirit as much as you feed your body, because that will help your Want To more than anything else you can do physically or mentally.

1 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.


Summer Slam

17 Jun

In the Pacific Northwest, I have learned, summer doesn’t really start until July, sometimes late July.  So while most of the country is already running around in shorts and bathing suits, we’re sittin pretty up here.  Some may think we have an advantage because we have an extra month or so to get ourselves ready to bare that extra skin.  But something about that just doesn’t sit well with me.

As a fitness professional, I see SUCH a push for summer slim-downs from both clients and trainers.  While having that extra motivation is helpful, I get that, it mostly sounds like yet another yo-yo, quick-fix attempt that is not long-lasting.  Stop and look around, it’s on every magazine cover and diet website.  It frustrates me, because often the squeakiest wheel gets the grease, and those campaigns are LOUD.  But what if you didn’t have to slim down every summer?  Seriously, consider that.  What if you made small changes, and then built upon those with other small changes so that by the time next summer rolls in (whenever that may be), you’re happy and healthy and confident in your skin?

The first thing I will say is that there isn’t a nutrition and exercise blueprint because we’re all wonderfully different.  BUT there are a few basic pieces that can be tailored to most people.  Consider these your foundational “small changes”.

  • Portions.  This one can be tricky because often how much we eat isn’t based on how hungry we are, but what we are feeling or doing while we’re eating.  When we aren’t paying attention to how much food we’re consuming, we end up consuming 2-3x as much as we would if we were sitting down having a meal!  There are a few different avenues to go about portioning, but some of my favorites are:
    • Eat less, more – smaller meals spaced throughout your day keeps your body running well and not weighed down with too much food which often results in what we call a “food coma”
    • measure your servings and eat only that amount – on a plate, not from the bag/bowl/etc.
    • write out what you are going to eat for your meal – you can use an app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It to see how many calories you’ll be consuming and then tailor it BEFORE you eat it.  (this is one of my favorites) – In fact, you can do this for the whole day or week if you like
    • Don’t eat if you’re swimming in feelings.  Stop.  Sit down and journal or call a good friend.  SO many of us turn to food for comfort and we end up feeding our body food that it doesn’t need to burn, so it stores it.  And you know what it stores it as?  Yup, that awful 3-letter word: fat.  It’s hard to reach out and be vulnerable, but food isn’t going to actually address what is going on inside you.  Consider who can help you, who can you call on?
  • Composition.  All calories are not created equal – maybe you know this.  So in an effort to not emulate a broken record, I will say aim for a few simple things within each meal:
    • Eat lots of vegetables – you can’t overeat on these and they contain SO many nutrients your body needs. Just try to vary them
    • Eat fruit, but don’t go crazy.  DO try to replace sugary/dessert type foods with fruit.
    • Protein is important, if your body doesn’t get enough from what you eat, it will use what you have stored – your muscles.
    • Make your grain choices whole – aim for brown or wild rice, quinoa, oats, etc. instead of bread and pasta
  • Heavy Breathing.  You gotta move!  This is where people differ most, I think.  But unless you are in a very active job (construction, professional athlete, etc) you need to make some effort to get moving.
    • Hire a Personal Trainer – if you can afford it, this type of one-on-one training will address nutrition and lifestyle as well as walk you through personalized, effective workouts.
    • Take a class – if you need someone to instruct and push you or want to bring a friend, classes are great.  These are nice too if you’re not sure what you like – you can often just try a bunch of different things over a month and decide what your favorites were – that’s actually really fun 🙂
    • Ditch your car – any time you can walk or bike instead of driving, do it!
  • Who’s Got Your Back?  Do you have people, or a person, who will motivate and encourage you?  Seek out a partner or a few friends and confide in them that you desire to make a change.  Tell them how they can encourage you and keep you accountable, maybe they’ll join in with you!  It is a FACT that you are far less likely to quit something if you have others doing it with you (this is why programs with community, like Weight Watchers, are so effective).  I think we’re inherant people-pleasers, but whatever the case, you’re not going to ditch the workout if you know you’ll be called out on it or worse, if you’d be standing up a trainer or friend!  Another side of this is that you can invite this person to be the one you work through emotional struggles with – like those mentioned in the Portions section.  We’re relational beings.  If you embrace that as part of your “small changes” you will see that it actually makes the other ones considerably easier.

Well that was a lot of writing for a few simple things… 🙂  Hopefully you made it through and found a bit of it helpful or motivational.  I just want to encourage you to look a little further into the future and know that while instant gratification and drastic changes feel good right now, lasting change is what will … well, last!

Happy Sunday (and Father’s Day)


Inspirational Afternoons

28 Mar

Its that email full of criticism and harsh words.  Or that snappy remark from a friend in passing.  The attitude from your cashier at the grocery store.  Those little moments that get right under your skin and heat your blood to boiling.  What happens next?  Personally, I seek control and comfort, and my favorite place to find that comfort is in food.  Not chicken breast and steamed broccoli food, like Oreos and tortilla chips food.  Sound familiar?  And then its a downward spiral of guilt and upset tummies, which produces more guilt, and the soft tummy and thighs that make you angry at the chips and Oreos.  Until the next time it happens.  To talk about it in this manner, it sounds ridiculous.  I want to go back in time and shake myself and say “STOP IT!!!”  But I can’t.  Because really, it’s about more than behavior modification.

Why is it that we turn to food for comfort?  And why isn’t “comfort food” healthy?  WHO do you know that when they’re super stressed or bummed out goes and has a nice salad with dressing on the side and some grilled chicken?  Nope, nobody.  I think we know what is right and wrong, we know what will make us gain weight or lose it.  And in those moments when we cannot control our situation or our best friends’ behavior or our barista’s nasty attitude, we tend to pacify ourselves with something forbidden.  Like a treat for surviving.  Except is it really a treat when it happens daily?  More than daily?

What if, instead of trying to swap celery sticks for cheetos and convince your tongue it’s the same, we dug a little deeper and considered in those moments taking a pause.  Heck, take a walk if it gets you away from a bad food choice!  But in your pause, reflect on what is going on.  Acknowledge that, yeah, this sucks!  And there might not be anything you can do about it, but hurting yourself (by way of unhealthy food in excess when you’re not hungry), is not the way to fix anything.  So take some deep breaths, take a walk, call a friend who knows you and how to ‘talk you down’ per say.

Or.  What if you go back to that moment with that person that set you off?  What  do you think was going on in their day/life/etc that made them dump on you?  Is it possible that we’re all just messy people and sometimes that mess spills out on others around us?  So if someone’s mess causes your life to get messier, nobody wins.  If you can settle your pride and turn away from the comfort food, you win.  But if you went back to that person and showed them a loving gesture or asked how they were doing and maybe let them unload some of their mess, you both win.  Now, I know that is WAY easier written than done.  Our pride and sense of self-worth and justice-seeking are FIERCE opponents.  But if we think about it, these happen all the time.  In these little battles we have the opportunities to fight for or against the pain.  For or against unhealthy habits.  For or against isolation.  So even if you try and fail, or fail to try; keep trying, if your heart is in the right place, you’ll make a difference.


24 Day Challenge: Day 2

10 Oct

I’m feeling really good.  Granted I just drank a Spark, and I’m feeling really good w/ the caffeine and amino acids racing through my system giving me all kinds of focus and awesomeness 😉

But seriously, the Fiber Drink takes some getting used to, but it, in combination with the evening Herbal Cleanse Pills make all the  getting rid of toxins much more gentle than I was expecting.

Roxie and I weighed and measured yesterday, but I forgot to take ‘before’ photos, so we’ll have to do that today.  I may have gone a little crazy before the cleanse, so I was up a couple pounds from my last weight, but oh well…

I’m really excited to possibly become an advisor with AdvoCare, which means I have sold a certain volume of the stuff, but I get a higher discount and I can’t regress from that – ever!  So, not trying to be salesy, but if you’re interested or curious, I’d love to chat with you and/or give you a Spark to make you fall in love 😉

Until next time…

AdvoCare and the 24 Day Challenge

27 Sep

Ahhh, it’s been too long.

Not that I haven’t been a busy little bee, I’ve continued my research endeavors and efforts in lean-ness and have been introduced to AdvoCare by a fellow personal trainer, Angie.  Angie has been using these products for years, and she’s no joke.  Not just a personal trainer, but a fitness/figure competitor who knows how to transform her body.  Soooo, I’m gonna trust her judgment.

AdvoCare has a plethora of products in 4 different lines – Trim, Active, Well and Performance Elite.  I could use products from all of them, but she suggested I start off with a bang and try their 24 Day Challenge.  The challenge is awesome because it starts with an herbal cleanse to rid your body of toxins, strengthen immune and digestive systems and enhances nutrient absorption.  That’s the first 10 days.  The second part is called the Max Pack phase.  This phase helps put your metabolism back on the right track and pushes your body into intense “fat burning” mode.

So I rallied and convinced my roommate, Roxie, to do it with me.  We had planned to start Oct. 1, but I volunteered us to host a Great Pumpkin (Charlie Brown) Party on the 8th, so we pushed it back to start on the 9th 🙂

I failed at keeping you posted on the Eat to Live business (which I am following less strictly these days, but have continued to abstain from bread & dairy products and have seen awesome results in puffiness and bloating), but I WILL update this blog during the challenge.  I plan on taking before/during/after photos and will post them when it’s all said and done.  I’m super stoked!

Cheers for now

Eat to Live

13 Aug

So I recently watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, a documentary about the health benefits of consuming mostly nutrient-dense foods vs. what most of us currently eat.  What I think MOST people got out of this film was to go on a juice fast… not really the point… but alas, we are a nation of instant gratification-seekers.

The doctor featured and consulted in the film is Joel Furhman, who also authored the book Eat to Live.  Since I don’t want to go overboard and take on a 60-day juice fast and watch my muscles melt away, I decided to see what this guy is really all about.  What I found surprised me.

Not once in the book does he mention juicing other than in recipes calling for juice.  His formula H=N/C (Health=Nutrients/Calories) means that, nutritionally you want the most bang for your buck.  By prescribing this type of diet change to his patients, Dr Furhman has seen thousands – seriously, he said thousands – of people’s bodies change for the best.  At first I thought, these must be super obese people who had drastic weight to lose, but after reading the 4 pages of mini-testimonials, I discovered that he had helped people from NCAA athletes to cancer patients, body builders to working moms.  But I was still skeptical.

What about protein, right?  Furhman is advocating a 90% plant-based diet, and while that sounds awesome nutrient-wise, I don’t want to be some thin, flabby (a.k.a. skinny-fat) girl!  Then I saw his table comparing 100 calorie portions of the following: broccoli, steak, romaine lettuce and kale.  And my thinking got a little less narrow.  The broccoli won out with 11 grams of protein, followed by the romaine and kale at 7g, while the steak only had 6g!  And that’s just protein!  Looking down the list at nutritional qualities you get fiber and tons of vitamins and minerals PLUS 100 calories of those veggies is going to equate to WAY more food than 100 calories of steak!  So you’re stuffed and full of fiber and vitamins and phytochemicals (disease-fighters) and – AND – not lacking in protein.  I’m more than curious.

So Dr. J, asks his readers to take on a 6-week challenge.  He claims that when our body is getting everything it needs, it can return to it’s optimal weight, our immune system will be humming and our energy and hormone levels, as well as blood pressure, cholestorol, etc will be outstanding.  He says for the most aggressive transformation these first 6 weeks should be totally vegetarian, no dairy and limited servings of whole grains.  So I thought, “what the hay, I’ve experimented on my body in way less healthy ways before, lets try this.”

So here I am, on day 2.  Feeling good and full.  I actually don’t feel like I’ve eaten a ton of food either, which just doesn’t make sense.  Eating beans helps, and oats for breakfast.  He recommends eating 1lb of cooked and 1lb of raw fruit & veggies a day as well as a cup of beans.  That’s really hard to do, but I’m working on it!  Limiting my whole grain-y type stuff has been the most difficult so far.  But all in all I’m feeling pretty good.

On my way to being a Nutritarian!