My Top Tips for Healthy Eating, Part Three

Eat what you love. Start with small changes that, over time, make a big difference. What do these two tips have in common? What my third tip really encompasses:

A choice. It all begins in your mind.

We often read up on things, study, analyze diets, ask friends, and scrutinize workout plans. But to see change we have to decide to begin. And this leads me to part two of this tip: Accountability.

My accountability began with a prayer for help. As I said before. I firmly believe whole body health cannot be achieved without our total person being involved. In fact, my next series of posts will deal with four aspects of our life to consider when living our vibrant best.

After asking God for help, I told my mom and husband. I shared with some friends. Knowing they would be cheering me on and asking how I was doing made a huge difference.

Change is active. We decide and act. If something doesn’t work, we tweak it. We learn, grow, and move on. And we get healthier in our minds as we gain confidence, which is then reflected in our bodies.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Choose a healthy habit to cultivate

Drink more water? One less soda? Sweets only on the week? The possibilities are endless.

2. Pick an Accountability Partner

This needs to be someone you let ask you the hard questions and you can be honest with without fear of ridicule.

3. Start Now

We often say we will wait until…and until never comes. Start first thing tomorrow.

4. Pray for Guidance

5. Allow Yourself to Learn

Make mistakes, change what doesn’t work, know it’s a process.

6. Know Why you are Doing This

Improved endurance and energy? Longer, better life? Better health markers? It needs to be personal, measurable, and go beyond only how you want to look.

7. Keep a Statement of Your Why Where you See it

Make it succinct. Say it out loud. Remember why when things are hard or results don’t come as quickly as you want,

So there you have it! My top three tips to become healthier physically. Our bodies are a marvelous creation. When we take care of them(without seeking perfection), we will be our best , most sustainable weight. Feel more energized. Be able to do all the things in life we want to do and are called by God to do. Because, in the end, isn’t that your goal? To live well? Go do it!

My Top Tips for Healthy Eating, Part 2

Perfectionism kept me from so many things. Enjoying life, trying new things and, ultimately, from eating in a way I enjoyed and kept me feeling my best. After I gained twenty pounds in my late 40s, I realized my all-or-nothing mentality had to go. That’s when I made the very first change that led to weight loss and better health and it is my tip number two:

Small Changes over Time lead to Big Results

Have you ever seen the movie City Slickers? There is a scene where Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, asks the tough cowboy Curly(played by Jack Palance) what the meaning of life is. Curly replies with one finger lifted. He goes on to reveal that Mitch needed to find his one thing in life.

Well, for my road to a healthier lifestyle it was similar. The trick is to make one Healthy change at a time. Over time, this adds up to a lot of change.

So the first thing I did was cut out eating after dinner. In a few weeks I felt better and had shed several pounds. Then I decided to eat a veggie at every meal. A few weeks later, and more positive results, I cut out my afternoon snack habit unless I was really hungry. I had been snacking because I thought I had to and most days I discovered I personally didn’t need it.

I now eat mostly whole foods and very little processed sugar. I don’t drink soda(and I guzzled diet soda). I eat meals at lunch rather than eating a PBJ only that led to me starving mid afternoon. But all that change happened over years. As I felt better I decided to experiment with different changes and found out what works for me(low carb, for instance doesn’t).

How do you make changes in your life? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

New Beginnings

So I disappeared because I worked full-time in December. In retail. On my feet. It was crazy and I had to let some things go and blogging was one of those.

Now a new year has come and I have been introspective. That’s just me. We have had a “bit” of snow, unusually cold weather, and more time indoors, Thank heavens for Pilates and my dog, Tucker, who make sure I get exercise.

I have decided to change things up here a bit. Be more authentic, which means bringing my faith into things a bit more. I don’t think you can be “fit” physically without being fit spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally…or pursuing that. So my posts will begin reflecting that.

In the meantime, I would love to hear what you are doing for your new beginnings of the new year. My big decision is just yo do things that scare me(I am a worrier so this definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone). How about you?

Açaí Bowls, Social Media, and Being Real

Don’t you love my beautiful chocolate smoothie bowl? Only it’s not. It’s an Açaí Bowl.

But aren’t those a beautiful, vibrant purple? Well, yes…unless it has açaí, blueberries. strawberries, and spinach. Then it’s a muddy brown like this.

Enter VSCO and other picture enhancing apps. Well, and, taking the picture before you add spinach. 😉 You play with the saturation, shadows, tint, and filters. And you end up with this something more pleasing to the eye.

As an aside, check out this beautiful açaí bowl from Honest Cooking -just gorgeous.

My point in this(besides sharing my go-to açaí bowl recipe below] is to remind you: what you see isn’t always real. We put our best face on, filter the heck out of it and clean it up, and present it to the world. Yet our food isn’t always beautiful, we have wrinkles as we age, our homes are messy and so are our lives, at times.

I want to embrace real. Honest. And eat delicious açaí smoothie bowls, even when they’re not pretty.

My Go-to Açaí Smoothie Bowl

1/2 cup Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk

1/2 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Almond Whey Protein

1 Tablespoon Almond Butter or Peanut Butter

1 Packet Frozen Açaí

1/2 Frozen Banana

1 cup frozen berry mix( I love cherries, blueberries, and strawberries)

1 handful of spinach

Have you tried açaí? And how do you stay grounded in an age of illusion and social media? Share your thoughts!

Experiencing Autumn

I love seasonal changes. It is the perfect balance between newness and vitality and stability. The seasons come over and over but each time a new one begins it feels fresh and new.

If any of my readers are Myers-Briggs personality junkies like I am, I will admit that I’m an INFJ. We are the introverts who often function as extroverts, the dreamers with our heads in the clouds, the worriers, the ones reading everyone in the room and ignoring our inner self. Our five senses are often underused.

My husband is an ESTP. They’re the comedians and people persons of the world. Think Jim Carey and take it down a few notches and you have my husband. The great thing about him is he will take a morning walk with his oatmeal, not caring a bit who sees him, to breathe in the fresh air, look at the trees, and chat with anyone who comes by. He often stops mid-sentence in awe of creation.

This year I’m trying to think in those same terms. Fall is my favorite season and I adore the weather and blue skies of October. There is nothing else like it to me. So I’m trying to slow down and experience it. Here are a few things I’ve done:

  • Tried new recipes with fall flavors
  • Slowed down during my meals, really tasting my food
  • Eaten outside
  • Taken walks to new places
  • Watched new-to-me movies with my kids…mostly to experience their laughter and joy
  • Traveled
  • Read books that had fall settings
  • Changed up my fitness routine

Are you a person who experiences life or is so busy in your mind and with your hands that days slip by without notice? Share with me your tips and tricks for really experiencing the here and now.

Meeting your Wellness Goals in a Perfectly Imperfect World

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I was recently asked some readers for feedback on my Facebook page about what keeps them from meeting their health, fitness, or wellness goals. Here were some of their answers:

  • Distraction
  • Depression
  • Illness
  • Work
  • Children
  • Busyness
  • Unexpected Curveballs
  • Lack of focus
  • Long-term health issues

 

I felt overwhelmed with what these wonderful women shared with me. I wanted to help but I had no easy answers. And what I do know is going to sound so trite. Because it all boils down to this: Life gets in the way of our best-laid plans.

 

 

So what do we do? Especially those of us Type As who want to do it all and do it perfectly?

I recently talked with a friend who was reading a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. While the title was off-putting, I looked into the main point of the book. You know what it boils down to? Embracing imperfections in yourself and the world around you. And not seeing every flaw as something to be improved upon.

And that’s just it. What if we give ourselves a break? What if we look at areas we really struggle with (perhaps getting up early for a workout or not eating lots of sugar) and dig deep into the why of it. Why do I struggle with it? Is it really important to me? Maybe I need to embrace seeing exercise, nutrition, and wellness as something I do “good enough,”  rather than perfectly, always striving for some elusive or impossible goal. What if I make my health, fitness and nutritional goals serve me. Now they’re something I do to improve my ability to enjoy my life and live better. Once I do this it becomes much easier to make a fitness plan that fits into this total package that is my imperfectly perfect life.

So let’s agree to embrace wellness and not just fitness. I think we’ll discover that it changes the dialogue in our minds about our health journey. Sometimes giving ourselves a break can lead to our best breakthroughs.

September Musings

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I am a goal maker and a thinker. It’s just hard-wired into me. So at the end of each month, I evaluate things and then choose a new focus or to-do list for the next month. Each new day, week, month and year are filled with possibility and that is exciting.

So here are a couple of lessons I learned in September.

It’s okay to be a beginner  I started a new job in August in retail. It’s part-time, about 20 hours a week. You would think retail would be easy, but it’s not. I’m back to dealing with people, both co-workers and customers, who also have to deal with me. 😉 Plus, learning new lingo, systems, and ways of doing things. So I have let myself be the new guy. Lowered my expectations and asked questions and tried hard not to beat myself up for being less than perfect. And you know what? It’s a nice way to live. I think I’ll let it spill over into other aspects of life as much as possible.

The unexpected can bring some great memories  We were caught up in Hurricane Irma’s path. We had lots of extra visitors from Florida, very little gas(and it was expensive), and days without school, power for some people, etc.  But that time spent off the normal routine, with my family, was precious. I have the best things in life in my family and in friends, and that’s something that no amount of gas or inconvenience can take away. Plus, I met some amazing Floridians at work and heard incredible stories of their lives. Definitely, it’s something I’ll always remember.

Even though I can make pumpkin spice everything, September in the south still feels like summer!  A little tongue in cheek, but man, it’s been hot here this month. And you know what? It makes anticipating the fall weather, changing leaves, and shorter days all that more magical. And yes, I still had my homemade pumpkin spiced coffee.

So here’s to October. And thank you, September, for memories, lessons, and the gift of life.

P.S. Drop me a line and tell me about your September. I love hearing from you.

Your Word for the Day is…Selah

Selah

 

I’m a grammar girl and word nerd. I love learning in general and specifically about words and history. So when I came across the word “Selah” in my Bible study the first time, I had to dig in!

This word is written in Hebrew in the Old Testament. What does it mean? Scholars aren’t really sure! It’s used over 70 times in the Bible…and all but three of them are in the Psalms. (The other three uses are in the book called Habakkuk, for inquiring minds). The most widely agreed upon interpretation is that it’s a call to praise, or stop and ponder what you have just read.

Pause. Think. Ponder. Praise. What if we lived our lives intentionally doing that?

I am angry and about to spout off to my child. Instead…Selah. Pause. Think. And see what the best thing to say is in this situation.

I’m about to spend money on something, or eat something, just because I’m feeling restless, sad, or frustrated. Instead…Selah. Pause. And think, what am I really feeling and what void am I trying to fill?

My day is busy and I don’t have time to breathe or think. How about…Selah. Pause, inwardly, and give thanks that I have the energy to make it through my day. That I am blessed with family, or friends, or good things to eat, the ability to face any challenge that comes my way, and on and on.

I’m exhausted at the end of the day or tempted to start my day by hitting the ground running. But instead…Selah. I pause for a moment or two, breathe deeply, whisper a prayer,  meditate a second, etc.

Let’s make a pact to build some “Selah Seconds” into our day. Pause, breathe, smile, think, and just be. Life is too precious to miss it by being “busy”.

Selah.

The Power of Routine

Full disclosure: I am a person who thrives with a routine and sticking to one comes easily…until it doesn’t. Then I change things up to a new routine for freshness. But even my husband, who likes spontaneity, swears routines are lifesavers. So today I am giving you a glimpse into my morning routine so you can get inspired to create one that works for you. It really will reduce stress for you.

  1. Drink water First thing I hydrate! I instantly feel better and more awake.
  2. Walk my dog This varies by whether I work in the morning or at night. Sometimes it’s five minutes and others fifteen to twenty. Getting out to move also wakes me up and allows me time to reflect.
  3. Pilates I usually exercise thirty minutes. Sometimes ten or fifteen, sometimes forty. That thirty minutes sets my day right and I don’t have to worry about fitting it in if my day gets crazy.

4. Shower or clean up I am low maintenance so this is fifteen minutes or so.

5. Breakfast Almost always a smoothie bowl.

6. Prayer, Bible Study, and Coffee Roughly thirty minutes but again, varies with my work schedule.

I set my wake up time according to when I need to have my routine accomplished. And I spend time menu planning and workout planning each weekend. It goes in my planner so I start the night before by reviewing my upcoming day and setting out food from the freezer, workout clothing, etc.

When I had young children, my routine was different, but I had one. I usually got up and exercised and then ate breakfast with them. I showered later on as I was a stay at home mom. Working moms often tell me their best exercise time is at lunch (walking), or as dinner is cooking. So everyone has a different lifestyle and rhythm.

Do you have a morning routine? Share your best tips with us here or on my Facebook page.

The Scale Does Not Define You

My daughter (a college sophomore) has been to the doctor twice in less than two weeks. She was rarely sick…until college. So she went once to get a refill for face medicine (she may kill me for telling you that, haha) and today because she had a sinus infection. A week and a half ago the doctor’s scale weighed her five pounds less than it did today. She had on heavier clothing and boots today (Hurricane Irma made it colder than usual here), which accounted for some of the difference, and we know she’s still the same size. But she admitted to me that it bugged her anyway. We had a great discussion about how the scale bothers most of us as women and can dictate our mood, etc. Even though we KNOW fluctuations occur due to what we’ve eaten, hormonal cycles, clothing we wear, etc.

So today, I want to remind you of what the scale tells you:  how much gravity is holding you to this earth. Period. Now, it may tell me that I need to lose a bit of “gravity” 😉 (and yes, it has done that before). It may tell me that I’ve been upset and avoiding dealing with things and my eating of cookies and drinking lots of iced coffee has caught up with me. That happened to me last fall when two of my kids moved out and on to work and college within two months of one another.  So, I looked reality in the face and did something about it.

But, in the end, what the scale DOESN’T tell you is so much more. It doesn’t tell you how uniquely made you are. How much of an impact you make in the lives of others. How strong you are. How gifted, talented, beautiful or handsome, and deeply loved by others you are. How you are on this earth to make a difference that only you can make.

So, when the negativity kicks in, step back, take a deep breath, and remember your worth. And if necessary, throw out your scale and find other ways to measure your health and well-being. And remember, what’s really holding you to earth isn’t gravity; it’s the truth that you are here for “such a time as this.” (Holy Bible, Esther 4:14).