January 8, 2015

The Change

I think it's the coolest thing ever when God reveals a little bit more of the bigger picture to one of his children. The bigger picture that only he can see. It fills my heart with joy, hope and encouragement to press on because I'm reminded and shown that He really is working all things together for good. It's also such an expression of his intimate love for me.

January has been representative of big changes for me over the past 5 years. I love a new, clean, blank slate. This January came more like a breath of fresh air than a clean slate. I was beginning to feel suffocated by the final days of 2014. A myriad of health issues for everyone in the family had been wreaking havoc for several weeks. Tummy bugs, upper respiratory infection that wouldn't quit, an autoimmune flare up for my son, flu for my husband, what I think was flu for myself, several-day constipation episode with my daughter...It was a lot for this gal whose anxiety is triggered by health issues.

On New Years Eve I began thinking about what we could do as a family to improve our health. For several years I have basically been preparing a healthy meal for myself and then whatever the others want to appease them. I have tried a couple of times to feed everyone the same way but with even a small bit of resistance I have given up. With a stronger motivation this time around--wanting to heal some of the health issues--I decided to enlist the troops first. I presented the plan, along with the science behind it, to all adults in the house and after some everyone agreed to give it a go. I shared the meal plan with grandparents so they would understand what is going on as well. Everyone was supportive and willing to help out.

Establishing this support system and understanding is key. Everyone has to be on the same page. I was and am so grateful that this happened. Then the research, planning, prepping and shopping began. We are basically transitioning to a real food diet. My initial goals are to remove all gluten, sugar, and toxicity from the foods we eat. I am trying to keep a balance of introducing new foods, namely vegetables, but offering some old, comforting favorites but swapping to healthier ingredients. We may not be healthIEST yet but we are healthIER.

The food preparations and meal planning is not as difficult as it might seem. I have been learning to eat like this for the past year. That's part of God revealing his plan to me! Last February, I believe it was, I decided to do a 21 Day Sugar Detox just to see what the buzz was all about and to get a better grip on the Paleo way of eating. I didn't fully understand why I was doing it but I definitely felt a prompting and God gave me the strength to breeze through that 21 days. It was truly life changing for me. I now see that this is the direction that is in the best interest of my little family, and in-part at least, I see what God was up to in that. I also now see the extremely anxious weeks of December with all the sickness being the springboard I needed to be able to jump head-first into this change with no reservations and full confidence.

Making the changes been difficult on the kids and me emotionally. I won't lie. I'm working through feelings of guilt and shame for the way I have allowed their palates to develop from an early age--full of sugar, unhealthy grains and processed foods and most of all letting them--the CHILDREN--dictate what they would be eating most of the time. On the other hand I have to be gentle with myself and remember that I just began learning about real food and nutrition a few years ago.  I also feel that I have been in survival mode over the past 5 years trying to get my life back and under control. It's like the "put your own oxygen mask on before you put it on someone else" scenario. I now have the tools I need, the determination, the support and the motivation. Now is the time for change for my kids. God's timing is perfect.

Some of the fun of this so far has been trying to disguise vegetables into foods that my kids love. Macaroni and Cheese! Yesterday I cooked cauliflower and carrots in water, drained them. Thought that, small amount of cream cheese, butter and raw cheddar in the food processor. Cheese sauce that is loaded with nutrients my kids have never had before. Yes, there is the processed cheese and rice noodles but every step in the right direction is a BIG step. An important step and ones that I am choosing to celebrate big time! My kids, I'm sorry to say, have been raised on Easy Mac and they gobbled this up. That's some legit mac 'n cheese, right there.

I also added a sweet potato and spinach puree to some organic pasta sauce and no one knew. It tasted really good, the sweet potatoes gave it a nice sweetness and the spinach particles passed for Italian spices. Ha!

I think one of the greatest challenges is separating emotions from this process. I know that is has been for me in my personal journey with food and now I am trying to help my children to separate emotions from eating which means using my own knowledge and intuition to decided when they are truly hungry, when they are bored, when they are tired, when they are anxious, etc. It takes every ounce of motherhood that I have in me to do this...and it feels great. It feels like I am doing what a mother should be doing. I have to be so in tune with what is going on in their heads and hearts that I can help them make the right choices and when they can't, then I have to make it for them. This is what it is to be a parent. This is what it is to love. But so hard! I have to control myself at the same time.  To listen to a kid complain about the food I just made and not ignore him for the rest of the night because it hurt my feelings? Tough. But I have to separate my emotions from this too. I have to be strong enough to see past the tears that are begging for something that is horrible for a tiny body and realize that many times love is saying no. Tears never hurt anyone.

So, more of seeing that bigger picture. Learning to combat emotional eating and people pleasing over the past 5 years now has an even greater purpose that I could have imagined. So amazing.

And I must say something about this guy. My love.

He has supported me on this journey relentlessly and there is no one on earth I would rather have by my side than him. He is eating the hidden veggie meals like a trooper and giving me high fives and butt slaps for every victory in the kitchen. Lol! We are truly a team and that makes all the difference in the world.

I'm so thankful to God for these victories and "the change" that we have already seen in just one week. I'm thankful for the path that he has chosen for me and the people that he has chosen for me. May he be glorified in our lives and in our health! Soli Deo Gloria!

Blog post completed. Now, on to do some more hard things on this frigid January morning!


September 1, 2014

Defining the It

There are countless motivational snippets using the word "it" as the subject. Some examples:

Just do it.
Whatever it takes.
It always seems impossible until it's done.
How bad do you want it?
You got to work for it.
It's not easy but it's worth it.
No one's going to do it for you.
Make it happen!

So, I've been thinking. What is this allusive "it"? 
Is it whatever I want it to be that day? That month? That year? Do I even know what it is that I want? And more importantly, whatever it is, is it worth wanting? Experience tells me that there is really only one it that is worth wanting. Worth working for. 

"The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness." Oswald Chambers

Holiness. This is the it that I want dangling in front of me. A bikini? No. Ability to run miles unwinded? No. Ab muscles that are visible? No. A certain number on the scale? No. To feel comfortable in my own skin? No. To be healthy? No. Not even that.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want these things. But these things can't be the it. They can't! They aren't required of me. They aren't promised to me. They aren't things that can fullfill me. They aren't its that will last. Perhaps for a time, but not forever. 

...train yourself for godliness. For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timithy 4:7-8

Maybe there are lots of different its in my life. But there is one It that transcends them all--drives all that I do--in any and every situation. All the other its must fall in line with that one, ultimate IT. Godliness. Holiness. To be like Christ.

Everyday I gotta wake up and remind myself what it is that I'm living for. And the Bible says that I have to train for it. It won't just happen. I need a plan to train for godliness. Time set aside to be in God's word. A regimen for daily talks with God. Goals for hiding His word in my heart. Accountability to then live it out! In other words...

Just do it.
Whatever it takes.
It always seems impossible until it's done.
How bad do you want it?
You got to work for it.
It's not easy but it's worth it.
No ones going to do it for you.

Defining the it makes all the difference! We must do our part to train for godliness and then pray for God to "Make it happen!"

July 23, 2014

Progress Pics & More

So the sugar diaries kinda went by the wayside. I don't know why I always try to do things like that. You know, things that require consistency.

I decided several days into no sugar/no wheat that I just wanted to eat whatever but track it. So I did. And I felt miserable. So now I'm back to no sugar/no wheat but I'm not going to diary about it everyday on this blog. Most likely.

Cleaning out pics on my phone today, I ran across these January come-to-Jesus photos. Thank goodness I stopped and turned from the path I was on. I could easily be back up to my highest weight by now if I'd kept going. Instead I've made slow and steady progress. Currently hovering slightly over 180. In Jan I believe I was up to 200+.

Life is good. God is teaching me so much about myself, stuff I probably couldn't have even handled knowing before right now. I'm learning to appreciate and live in every moment. Not like I'm crossing off bucket list items left and right. I'm just taking each day, each moment in stride and trying to confide in God first when I come to a bump in the road. God first, people second. I feel lighter in a way that has nothing to do with my weight.

Below is a shot I took while on lake vacation with the family last week. I can't even express how perfect it was. For me, it was ideal. Breezy, cloudy, 70 degree weather everyday. I think some sun would have been appreciated by the more lively of the bunch who were there for the water! But for me, perfect. The slow-paced time with family was lovely.

I've slipped back into a good eating and cooking routine. I go through phases where even thinking about healthy food (read: vegetables) just makes me want to barf. I'm kind of learning to go with the flow of those phases and eat what I want in moderation and just capitalize on the phases where I get in a healthy groove like I am right now. Maybe this feast/fast mentality will work for me. Praying God will lead the way.

Currently I'm eating 3 meals and two snacks focusing on healthy fats, lots of veggies, some fruit and a bit of dairy each day. Some weeks I may plan ahead and others I may need to track each day on My Fitness Pal. 

I'm figuring out what is black and white and what is more grey. 
Black and White: I have to have a plan.
Grey: There are different plans that can work for me at different times.

These are some recent posts on my REALFATPICS Instagram account. This morning was my week 2 da y2 for Couch to 5K. I went early while there was a breeze and it was nice. I'm really determined to complete this because I want to be easily running 3-4 miles by fall.

One thing I love about walking/jogging is how God speaks to me. I think because I want to talk to God but I can't really because I'm out of breath and focused on not DYING so instead I have to listen. He always speaks. Yesterday was an interesting one. We were talking about how it is just me and Him now. My focus needs only to be on Him. All of a sudden a scene from the movie Dirty Dancing came to my mind. I haven't seen that movie in years and I couldn't even really remember what the scene was other than Patrick Swayze was pointing at Jennifer Grey to look into his eyes. I kind of laughed it off, God couldn't possibly want to speak to me through an old movie that has the word "dirty" in the title could he?


I found the clip later on yesterday and when I watched I just smiled and felt so loved. We've been dancing for a long time, me and God.

July 8, 2014

The Sugar Diaries: Day 4 & 5

Does chocolate chip cookie dough have sugar in it? 
Yeah. That's what I thought.

July 5, 2014

The Sugar Diaries: Day 3

One of the reasons I love doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox ( http://21daysugardetox.com/ ) are the bowel benefits. By Day 2 I am moving from Type 4 into Type 5, which is ideal.

Yesterday I did have a moment of serious sugar craving. There was nothing that sounded good but something sweet. I crunched on salty almonds until the moment passed. 

I'm not monitoring quantity this week. I just want to avoid sugar temptation and next week I will track and look at calories.