Category Archives: A Healthier Me

Party Season is Here!

Winter still has its clutches on Minnesota…but spring is hanging on and crawling ever closer (if the temps this weekend were any indication). That being said, it’s that time of year…

I’m hosting a spring Tastefully Simple tasting party later this month…both virtual and in person. Check out the link below and shop around. Best of all, these food options (seasonings, desserts, etc.) are MSG free and they have a gluten-free line available (with more options than last season!)

Enjoy!

http://tinyurl.com/ltce268

— this link will also be posted on the side bar for the next 28 days.

Advertisements

why I stopped eating sugar

From my health blog: Journey to a Healthier Me:

Sugar.

I love it. My friends love it. My family loves it.

And I’m pretty sure my dog loves it.

We sprinkle it in our coffee. You can find it in pretty much anything you consume. Valentine’s Day was last week and chocolate sales went through the roof, so to speak.

And when I was ten years old, sugar became my best friend.

Growing up, I didn’t really fit in. Having been blessed with red hair felt like a disease and viewing the God of the Bible differently than what they taught at the church I grew up in set me apart. On one particularly bad day, I  felt the need to seek out comfort from a parent only to be turned away.

That same year, Little Debbies treats, donut holes  and chips filled the pantry and sugar sang me to sleep on the nights I felt the most lost. I didn’t feel safe reaching out to anyone, so I saught comfort in the next best thing. That led to a battle with my weight, self-image and, well, gluttony (as the Bible puts it). I would over-indulge just so I could feel full, even though it wasn’t my stomach that was empty. It was my heart.

That battle with my weight and health still wages today, but I made a choice in four years ago to do something about it.

In 2010, soda, especially Mt. Dew, began affecting my stomach in weird ways and made me feel sick, all the time. So…I gave it up. Although it was hard at first, but the benefits of not putting that into my system have definitely outweighed the short-lived satisfaction I once got. I feel better. I’ve had less cavities, so my teeth are definitely thanking me. I also have more energy to get through my day rather than facing that 2:00 PM  sleepy lull that hit every afternoon, during which I used to grab a 20 oz. Coke from the break room.

I also went out and purchased a gym membership that I could afford. (Go me!…lol). I got tips from a trainer and started working out on a regular basis.

In 2011, I moved to Minneapolis and my health journey continued. New gym. I also now lived in a city where most people walked or rode their bikes. There were trails right in my yard (well, almost)! My friends also were making healthier choices when it came to food and because of that accountability, paired with my gym regimen, the weight started falling off and stayed off.

It hasn’t always been easy. For instance, this last year I was saddened by the end of a relationship that had come to mean more to me than it probably ever should have and because of that sadness/depression, I didn’t have the energy to workout or the desire to make healthy choices. There were many days where I ate what I felt like eating. And then came Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and I believe the food minions were out to get me last year. It was a series of stinkin’, rotten, horrible, no good days (I’m referencing a little Lysa Terkhuerst here) and there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of that tunnel.

2014 is here…has been for the last fifty days and the light is there. I can see it and it’s all due to God in his unending love and goodness (not to mention his grace). He has reached my aching heart through this online Bible study I’ve been doing with Proverbs 31 Ministries and the words of Lysa in her book Made to Crave.

I’ve gotten up again. I’m working out again…at 4:30 AM of all times. I’m making healthy choice again. But…

None of this has been by my own power; it has been by God’s.

This time will be different.

This time will last the rest of my life whether I experience another series of stinkin’, rotten, horrible, no good days or not.

This time, I will succeed; for his glory, not mine.

This time, I’ve got accountability on my side. I’ve got a couple of friends who text me or reach out to me via Facebook every day to see how I’m doing. If I’m not being truthful, they know it and call me on it. Besides, why on earth would I want to lie to my friends? Another perk to this: I have a couple of workout buddies…especially when the weather turns nice. Anyone up for a walk around the river or the Chain of Lakes?

This time…

I’m doing more than buying healthier food. I’m skimping out on MSG all together and putting sugar back on the shelf. I recently found out that I have a sensitivity to the former and have been advised by my doctor not to eat that junk; that latter is simply a choice. Neither of these have a purpose in my body. I prayer that God will be honored through my journey to taking godly care of my body (his temple).

I’m giving up sugar (with the exception of dark chocolate). You should too.

Here’s why:

  1. Sugar is addictive. Did you know that in a 2007 study by James Cook University, researchers discovered cocaine-addicted mice actually preferred sugar-water as a reward over cocaine? Put that box of Lucky Charms back on the shelf. I don’t care if the label says they’ve added more protein or if they claim there are now more whole grains in your choice of cereal or that those marshmallows rock your world. Put it back.
  2. Sugar makes you fat. This so true. Remember those food minions from earlier? They came in the form of chocolates, cakes, Christmas goodies, cookies, candy canes, turkey and stuffing. Even the canned cranberry sauce was screaming my name. In that short amount of time, I gained some of the weight I had lost back and added a few inches to my waistline, making me feel incredibly uncomfortable. An over abundance of sugar puts your live into overdrive, working frantically to re-balance your system, and stores sugar as fat so your blood sugar and insulin levels can stabilize. Eating it every day and at every meal, your body will end up with an excess of belly fat over time…and that’s right about where mine is sitting right now. Makes sense not to eat it and thus, one of the reasons I’m giving it up.
  3. Sugar keeps you from making healthy choices. Remember that cocaine statement from #1? Sugar is just as addictive and when your body has felt that high, you’ll keep coming back for more. Not to mention, when you fill up on sugar, you’re less likely to eat the nutrients you body really needs, causing systems to shut down.
  4. Sugar is altering our children’s culture. While I don’t have kids, I remember quite well how it changed my childhood. Having that over-abundance of sugar as a kid could lead to early death or illness for life. My kids, if God chooses to bless me in that department, will only see sugar at special occasions…even that seems less of a probability. Healthy cake anyone?
  5. Sugar keeps you hungry. Sugar doesn’t satiate. Many of us get our sugar from liquids (pop, energy drinks, etc.) and when you consume it in liquid form, you’re getting empty calories that never satisfy and in turn, you’re inviting constant hunger into your life.
  6. Sugar is everywhere. Check the sugar content on the healthy foods you purchase and you’ll be surprised.
  7. Sugar feed cancer. Scientists have long noted sugar molecules are present in high numbers near cancer cells. Just this last year, a study by the University of Copenhagen showed that sugar actually aids the growth of malignant cells. No thanks — bring on the mushrooms!
  8. Sugar accompanies other things you don’t want in your body. Enter in MSG and other additives added to preserve many of the foods people purchase today. Ugh…
  9. Sugar is making us sick. This is true. Eating all the sugary foods I chose to eat during my season of sadness left me feeling like crap. Not just on the days I splurged on it. This happened every day. I was tired all the time. I was in a perpetual state of feeling like I was coming down with something. Sugar can actually suppress your immune system, causing your body to get common sicknesses more often.
  10. Sugar costs money. Getting sick often and feeding your constant hunger can add up over time. Think about it. Your grocery bill and the number of doctor visits…neither come cheap.
  11. Sugar turns into belly fat. See reason #2. When sugar is processed by your liver, the excess that you don’t need gets turned into fat; belly fat. This can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the former of which runs in my family. I can make choices now to keep that at bay, then I’m on board.
  12. Sugar is causing your cravings. See #5. When you eat sugar, you’re always craving more.
  13. Sugar is sneaky. It’s listed under many names and although it may not be listed on the nutrition label of your Nutrigrain bars, it’s there: Agave nectar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweeter, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated can juice, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, sucrose, and syrup.
  14. You’re eating way too much. Recommended amount: 6 teaspoons per day. Not tablespoons.
  15. Sugar hides in your drinks. Choose water (I also heard that they were debating on whether to add sugar to milk…no).
  16. Sugar is ruining your teeth.
  17. Sugar contains no nutritional value…whatsoever. It contains only calories.
  18. Sugar withdrawals are real. Explains why going through pop withdrawal brings on headaches…it’s not the lack of caffeine. It’s the lack of sugar.
  19. Sugar may be making your moods swing. No kidding.
  20. We use sugar as a reward. Turning another year older? Let me buy you a cake with lots of frosting! Aced that exam? Have a cookie. Dropped 50 lbs? Here’s a tray of Oreos. No more.
  21. Sugar isn’t helping your skin. Unless you’re using it in the form of a sugar scrub.
  22. Sugar is affecting our kids…didn’t they say this already?
  23. You don’t actually need any calories from sugar. Fruit and starchy vegetables provide more than enough calories for a healthy adult diet.
  24. Sugar is connected to more health concerns than we once imagined.  Check this out.
  25. Sugar affects your brain. Feeling tired or hungry all the time? High blood sugar has been linked to memory loss and cognitive decline. In other words, sugar consumption can lead to a domino effect in the body which can prematurely age the brain.

I’m chosing to cut sugar from my diet. Will it be easy? No. It will probably be one of the hardest things I ever do, but I do know that my future self will thank me.

Most of this fascinating infomration was found here.

Journey to a Healthier Me

Sugar.

I love it. My friends love it. My family loves it.

And I’m pretty sure my dog loves it.

We sprinkle it in our coffee. You can find it in pretty much anything you consume. Valentine’s Day was last week and chocolate sales went through the roof, so to speak.

And when I was ten years old, sugar became my best friend.

Growing up, I didn’t really fit in. Having been blessed with red hair felt like a disease and viewing the God of the Bible differently than what they taught at the church I grew up in set me apart. On one particularly bad day, I  felt the need to seek out comfort from a parent only to be turned away.

That same year, Little Debbies treats, donut holes  and chips filled the pantry and sugar sang me to sleep on the nights I felt the most lost. I didn’t feel safe reaching out to…

View original post 1,673 more words

a healthier me

So…I’ve been keeping a small secret from you all. One that includes the rest of my life…not just the spiritual, important and heavy stuff I typically write. So…mind if I share that with you? Good.

Did you know that I also maintain another blog (granted, it hasn’t been updated since January of this year, but I digress)? I do. On my health journey – and it can be found here. I wanted to start cross-referencing this stuff and share my success with you in an effort to motivate or encourage you, no matter where you’re at. Here goes….

Change is beautiful.

I, for one, have never made a resolution in my entire life. I grew up in a home where they weren’t made and I remember thinking that people who did were strange. Why reach for some out-of-this-world resolution and set yourself up for failure from the get-go?

Example:
Day 1: Starting from nothing, I’m going to work out at least an hour every day and eat only veggies, fruits and lean meats.
Day 4: Oreos, where art thou? (I chose Oreos because they are one of my weakness…that and bacon).
And before you know it, you’ve caved and burned your way through a package of Oreos rather than torching 400 calories on the treadmill. Guilt sets in and you decide to throw in the towel, thinking, “Better luck next year.”

My mom and dad always made a list of goals, both large and small, as to what they wanted to accomplish in the next year and mapped out the progress one could make one step at a time. Success was usually the result. We, as a family, have learned over the years to become fans of taking it one day at a time. After all, I’m not guaranteed tomorrow. And that technique has branched over into my adulthood (I’m still learning).

A friend of mine once wrote on body image and how her thoughts/actions could affect her daughter’s self-esteem and I agree with her. Most women struggle with it in different ways, some more than others, and I’m not a stranger to the whole issue. 

I enjoyed playing as a child (prior to 1st grade), hated recess and gym class all through grade/high school, opted out of the wellness program while I was in college (oh how I wish I would have gone instead!), and started paying little attention to my health afterwards. Sure, my athletic ability was challenged in high school during the volleyball and softball seasons and when we had to run the mile for those presidential wellness tests…I truly loathed that day and yet, I made myself run that blasted mile anyway, whether it took me 12 minutes or 17, I dragged myself over that finish line.

I was scrawny when I was little, ballooned the summer after my fourth grade year, no thanks to a crash course in junk food (i.e. Little Debbie’s, chips, pop and Twinkies…my stomach turns now just thinking of that), survived a disease-riddled “crash diet” when I was 12, rushed through puberty and packed on the Freshman 15 (and then some) when I went off to college and moved away from home.

Two and a half years ago marked a change in my life. A photo taken at a Christmas party sparked outrage at myself for letting myself go. We are each our own worst critic, right? Yep. December of 2010 (I could not wait until January 1st to make aforementioned resolution) marked a change for me and it’s one that I’m proud to say has become a lifestyle change for the better.

I started eating better, choosing fruits, veggies and proteins over bags of chips and soda.  I gave up soda completely prior to that horrid Christmas photo and I’m proud to say that as of this past March, it has been three years since I’ve had soda/pop of any kind and my body thanks me for it (as do my teeth). I haven’t had chips in forever (seems like it at least) and fruits are usually my go-to desserts when I’m dealing with my sweet tooth. I also started going to the gym more, doing what I had learned by watching videos on YouTube or any reading material I could get my hands on.

It wasn’t until my move to Minneapolis in 2011 though that I really started noticing a change. I went from driving to and from work to walking everywhere, putting in anywhere from 10,000 to 17,000 steps a day. I joined an excellent gym downtown (2013 makes this two years and going strong) and my calendar marks more days spent at the gym than any year prior. I started taking yoga classes. I now have a couple of personal trainers who encourage and motivate me week in and week out. I do Pilates. I’ve gone through five pairs of sneakers.

I prefer mornings, but both the location of my gym and my work schedule keep me going in the afternoons, with the exception of the weekends, and I’ve learned to love it. I’ve learned to love my body and who I am at every changing step along the way.

My core is stronger that it’s ever been. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. And now that I’m looking back on where I’ve come from, I personally think that gym class teachers have it wrong. One doesn’t just take any kid and tell them to run a mile without building up their endurance first. My running today is better than it was when I was in grade school and I can easily make it in under 9 minutes now.  

In the last two years, I’ve dropped just over 40 lbs, have gained muscle and am more toned in places I never thought I would be. I’ve also lost nearly 60 inches over my entire body and am learning to love what I see in the mirror with each passing day. God, in His goodness, created me and He sees me as beautiful; He deems me as good (Genesis 1.27-31). How is beyond what my finite mind can fathom. I simply trust that He does. That, my friends, is motivation for this entire movement.

It’s not easy. It takes work, dedication and strength to ignore the voices that tend to drag me back. It takes determination. It takes discernment in knowing who you can share your success with and who you can’t. There are a few who will see it as a negative habit and will feel obligated to tell you so and there are those who don’t; those who will share in your successes and encourage you to continue onward.

I’m not sharing this information to make you feel bad. I’m sharing it to motivate you, to offer support and encouragement, and so you, my friends, can share in my success. It’s motivating and encouraging to hear success stories – it promotes the thought: if he/she can do it, I can too.

The remainder of 2013 stretches before me with goals I’d like to reach in all aspects of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and spiritually. I’m focusing on maintaining my healthy lifestyle and living beyond the number on the scale, building deep relationships and maintaining them, blogging and writing more, finding my security and identity in Christ, spending more time in the Word and prayer, learning to live on a budget and getting out of my comfort zone. So far, all of these have either happened or are happening.

What are your goals for the remainder of this year? What is your motivation; what keeps you going?

I pray that God will carry you through if those goals and plans fall into His will. Be blessed! Be you! Be-YOU-tiful!

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

And remember, no matter how fast you’re going, you’re still lapping everyone who is still lounging on the couch.

Until next time…