Life On Purpose

I’m a Runner November 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 10:13 pm

“Oh, so you’re a runner?” she asked.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that. I run several miles a week so, yeah, I um, guess I am.” I’d never thought of myself that way.

This was the little conversation with the dental hygienist that opened my eyes. To see God at work. You see, I like exercise. But I have NEVER liked running. Until the last six months.

It all started with a text message. Would I run with her a couple of mornings a week? Train with her for a race even? Sure. It sounds fun, I thought. I’ll get to know her better and get a little “me” time away from the house (where I herd cats/AKA raise babies).

I have been lonely for a really long time. Wow I said it. There. Yes, lonely. Surrounded by a loving family and an amazing church family-and yet, lonely. I prayed for literally years-since 2007, to be exact, for a friend. Someone with whom I could be authentic and real and someone who shared my love for Jesus and family. The little text message came at an unexpected moment, and I didn’t have any idea how it would change me.

Rewind a few years: I suffered the loss of a deep friendship shortly before my marriage. The wounds were big and filled with distrust and bitterness. I grieved for years, and I struggled mightily with trusting women again. The devil had a stronghold on my heart: women are mean, he said: they cannot be trusted.

Lies. The enemy is so good at that.

Morning runs at sunrise have become a healing thing. A God thing.

I have had knee surgery, career-related back issues, bilateral hip bursitis, severe thyroid disease, 3 babies in less than 5 years and I don’t own a treadmill. And I love running. I say all this for one reason:

A lot of people say “congratulations” and admire what I have seemed to accomplished. But it isn’t me: He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. There have been many challenges to overcome, and there will be more I’m sure. But all glory to God, I am here to tell you a story of grace and healing. I can do all things through Jesus Christ, He alone is my strength. Whether you are a beginner or you are advanced, remember that whatever you do, do it to the glory of the One who made you. God is ALWAYS at work.

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Day 25 : Happy Calories July 31, 2013

I believe food was meant to be enjoyed. Real, nourishing, whole foods. Our culture is so accomplishment driven that we could probably count the number of meals we shared at the table with our families in a given week on one hand. When we count calories, I think it robs us of the joy and pleasure of eating. I encourage you to shift the focus from how much you are consuming to how nourishing it is for your body: the scientific term for this is “nutrient-dense.” Think about how many bowls of sugary cereal you have to eat to feel satisfied. What if you ate an egg and 2 slices of bacon? The feel of satisfaction is completely different. Real food fills you and satisfies you. Now think about what time you’d be hungry after these two meals…I’d say you’ll be hungry in 90 minutes after the cereal or in 2.5 hours after the egg and bacon.

Here are some tips for simplifying and enjoying food:

1. Stop counting calories. Pay attention to your natural hunger signals.
2. Make food choices that are whole and nourishing.
3. Sit down to eat…I’m so guilty:(
4. Try to eat with family and/or friends as often as possible.
5. Allow your palate time to adjust. You aren’t going to automatically love whole foods. But give them a chance. Don’t pass judgment until you’ve given them a fair chance (at least 3 months).
6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Your taste buds change. (I speak from experience!)

 

Day 24 : Hunger or Craving? July 30, 2013

Most of us, myself included, eat for more than one reason. Not just because we are hungry, but because we are empty, lonely, sad, tired, bored, or craving something. We don’t do quiet well. It is hard to be alone with your emotions because they are raw and powerful. But here’s the thing: emotions are a gift from God meant to give life passion and excitement. However, negative emotions can be so very strong and controlling when we don’t consciously make them work for our benefit. Practice acknowledging how you feel in a moment when you are next tempted to eat something you will later regret. Acknowledge it, let your soul sit with it a moment. Put it into a sentence in your mind. “I feel lonely.” Okay. So now how will eating cookies help you deal with it? It won’t. It will make you feel like a failure. What you really need are coping skills. Some people journal, others exercise, or even read books. Find a coping skill that relieves your stress and practice it regularly.

I encourage you to find some Scripture that speaks to your weaknesses and emotions that you dislike. Memorize them. When you are tempted, recall your verses and ask God to help you accept the negative emotions and ask Him to lead you to a way of handling them that honors Him. He has all the answers even when you do not.

Not everyone struggles with emotional eating. However, I think everyone knows how it feels to crave something. Sugar, chocolate, cookies, etc. Learn to listen to your body to decipher whether you are truly hungry or just craving something.

1. If you are irritable, shaky, dizzy or lightheaded, you are way past hunger. Your blood sugar is too low and you should have a meal.
2. If your stomach is aching and you have “hunger pangs” it means you need a meal.
3. If you are thinking about a certain food or see a food that looks appealing and then want to consume it, you are experiencing a craving. Train yourself to recognize this and do not allow it to control when you eat.
4. If you just ate a meal and still feel hungry, try waiting 10 minutes. Then, if you still FEEL hungry, you need more food. Sometimes, you don’t really need more, but your satiety is trained to eating too much and tricks you into thinking you want more.

Take control of your emotions and cravings. You are in control of what goes into your mouth!

 

Day 23 : The Voices July 29, 2013

It always seems like when you make positive changes for yourself, there’s always Negative Nellie there to remind you that you are weird, unlikely to succeed and crazy to boot. The way you think greatly influences the way you behave. What you believe about yourself is often how you live out your life. It can be a challenge to drown out the discouraging voices, especially if they are in your family, or even in your home. When meal time comes, there’s usually someone there to remind you that what you have on the table is different. When you put on your running shoes and head out the door there are comments about how your version of fun is different than theirs, you’re too worried about your looks or maybe even that you are selfish for taking that time to yourself.

Not everyone experiences these types of negative remarks, and count yourself blessed if you don’t. But the reality is that most of us do. Here are some suggestions for drowning out the negative voices you encounter:

1. Recognize that the time and effort you put in now will make you a more energetic, content and happy person all around. It will make you better for every work God calls you to.

2. Tell them you’d love to share recipes or even a workout sometime so they can understand why you love living a healthy lifestyle. (That’ll shut ’em up!)

3. Accept that not everyone in your household may be willing to change. But you have control over yourself alone. So channel your energy into becoming the best YOU can be and leave the rest to God.

4. It’s okay that your plate looks different than everyone else’s. But know when to give on your diet: don’t let it interfere with relationships outside home. For example, if you go to a friend’s for dinner, eat whatever they make joyfully and make no comment-relationships are more important than one meal out of your week! If your friend doesn’t easily take offense and doesn’t mind your healthy habits, then stick to them.

5. Go back to your goals. The sum of your choices will either add up to accomplishing goals or not. Remind yourself why you started your journey.

6. Give the Negative Nellie articles, links and research. If they’re really so baffled by you’re choices, a little knowledge is a lot of power. Who knows, maybe they’ll join in!

7. Be sensitive to the insecurities of others. Making a lifestyle change is daunting. Most mean or negative comments are made out of jealousy. Remember when you wanted to change, but didn’t know how? Maybe point them to my blog in a neutral, calm moment.

The mind is powerful, and you have to make a conscious effort to overcome negativity. Next time someone makes a smart comment, invite them to learn more and share your journey with them!

 

Day 22 : Becoming a (Food) Snob July 23, 2013

We have covered a lot of foundational nutrition ground. You should now be able to make informed choices by reading labels at the grocery store. Life often gets so busy that eating out is a necessity at times.

If you must eat fast food, limit it to one meal per week. Make choices that are as nutritious as possible at these joints. Oatmeal is often an option, and though there is usually sugar added-it’s almost always one of your best options. Salads with grilled chicken are also usually readily available. Choose a vinaigrette and try not to eat any junky toppings (ie chip pieces or crispy items). Many places now offer fruit as a side option which is always better than fries or chips. You could also order a grilled chicken sandwich without a bun or take it off the by and have a side salad. Be mindful not to use more than 2 Tbs of dressing. Even better-pour your own dressing into a leakproof container, put into ziploc bag and toss into your bag to take on the road. Always order water instead of soda or tea (or frappes!). If you want coffee, opt for the real thing with cream and sugar instead of the HFCS laden “frappe” versions. As a side note-Starbucks uses higher quality ingredients than mcD’s in their cold coffee drinks as a general rule. Another thing to keep in mind when eating out is that the ketchup at restaurants is most likely the HFCS variety. Stay away from it if you can.

Get in the habit of packing your own snacks when you know you’re going to have a busy day. Here are some ideas for easy to carry snacks:

Nuts
Bananas
Apples
Organic string cheese
Larabars
Homemade nutritious muffins or granola bars
Homemade dried fruit
Homemade fruit or kale chips

It’s cheaper and better for your health to take the time to plan ahead, and make your own pack-ahead meals and snacks. Fast food should be a once-in-a-while occurrence in your life.

Of course the exception to the above is your cheat meal;)! In that case, enjoy the heck out of it!

 

Day 21 : Carbs Kill July 22, 2013

By now we have eliminated the worst nutritional offenders: high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. It’s time to tackle another painful truth: carbs are making you fat and sick. I’m not just talking about bread, I’m talking about all the pasta, juice, and sugary sweets we love as well.

The worst carb offenders are:
Bread
Corn
Rice
Juice
Sweets
Alcohol
Soda
Pasta
Cereal

Here’s how it goes:
1. You think about carbs>
2. You make insulin>
3. You get hungry>
4. Your blood sugar gets higher>
5. Digested carbs enter your blood stream as glucose (sugar)>
6. You make more insulin>
7. You eat>
8. You make more insulin>
9. The fat in your meal stays in your cells in the form of triglycides>
10. Fat cells get fatter>
11. You get fatter

When insulin levels rise we get fatter. When insulin levels drop, we use excess fat for energy. Carbohydrates drive insulin levels. The quantity and the quality of carbs you eat determines how much fat you store and burn. A study comparing a high fat/high protein diet low in carbs (Atkins) to a calorie restrictive/low fat diet. The participants on Atkins lost an average of twice as much weight, decreased their triglyceride levels by twice as much and decreased their diastolic blood pressure by twice as much.

What I think we should glean from this is NOT that the Atkins diet is the way to go, but rather a more conceptual lesson that carbohydrates are dangerous when consumed too often and in poor quality forms. They make our blood pressure high, our waist big and our cholesterol panels dangerous.

Focus on eating high quality protein and fat for most of your calories. You will find your self satiated for longer periods of time and more full of energy than ever. Insert disclaimer here: if you are used to eating a high carb diet, you will feel like crap for several days when you quit carbs. Tis is normal and will pass. Flush your body with water to aid the process.

The challenge for today: let your plate be high in protein, veggies and fat. Let carbs be your afterthought. Your body will thank you.

Creative carb alternatives coming soon!

20130722-114008.jpg

Credit to the info graphic pictured and its cited sources at the bottom.

 

Day 20 : Fat ‘n’ Happy Happy Happy July 18, 2013

As I’ve said before: Fat isn’t making you fat (well, mostly). Today I want to dig deeper and help you understand what good fat is and why it helps you burn fat.

Saturated Fats:

“Provide building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like substances

Act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K

Are required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for mineral absorption

Act as antiviral agents (caprylic acid) Help lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)

Modulate genetic regulation and help prevent cancer (butyric acid)”

They actually do NOT cause heart disease and will help satiety keeping you more full and reducing your calorie intake.

I know we have discussed this before, but choosing healthy fats and recognizing dangerous fats are one of the biggest steps to preventing disease and losing weight. It is also worth noting that your fat intake directly affects your HDL cholesterol level, which, if too low is linked to depression.

Processed food usually contains the oils and fats that are not good for your health. Eating a whole food (real food) diet will deliver the fats your body needs. Cook with coconut oil and pastured butter (again, Organic Valley brand is widely available). Don’t be afraid of “fatty” meats that were pasture raised. Their fat profiles contain CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which has been linked to better fat burn, steady glucose levels, muscle preservation and increased metabolism. They key to getting the CLAs in your diet is pastured meats and eggs. You will remember from prior posts that this means the animal was raised to roam freely and happily. I jokingly tell my children we have “happy milk” and “happy beef” from “happy cows.” But in all seriousness: it’s true! If you are what you eat, most Americans are fat and depressed….sound familiar? Why? Because the meat they are eating is from animals raised in terrible, cramped conditions too depressing to talk about right now! Also, use avocados as a salad topping, side dish, in guacamole, in sauces…oh I could go on and on about my favorite food! Avocados are truly a superfood and on the clean list too! So organic is not a necessity. Make your dressings with cold pressed EVOO . Season your veggies with pastured butter and sea salt. Your palate and your tummy will thank you!

Today’s challenge: buy EVOO, coconut oil and organic, pastured butter. Also, buy pasture raised, grass fed meats. Throw away the canola and vegetable oil. Stop worrying about your fat intake. Notice your new-found satiety as you consume a higher fat diet.

Healthy Fats:

Olives and Olive oil
Coconuts and coconut oil
Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as, almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks
Avocados
Grass fed meats
Palm oil
Unheated organic nut oils

Unhealthy fats:

Corn-avoid/mostly genetically engineered (more later)

Canola-avoid/mostly genetically engineered

Cottonseed- usually contaminated by pesticides (more later)

Palm kernel-avoid

Soybean-avoid/mostly genetically engineered & contains pesticides

Vegetable-avoid/mostly genetically engineered & contains pesticides

Peanut-okay in moderation/not good for cooking but organic to avoid pesticides & GMO

Margarine-NEVER eat.

Sources:
http://products.mercola.com/cla-supplement/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/01/enjoy-saturated-fats-theyre-good-for-you.aspx

http://www.mercola.com/nutritionplan/beginner_fats.htm