Life On Purpose

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!

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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 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!

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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

 

Day 19 : Overcoming Plateaus July 17, 2013

We all reach plateaus in our journey when we experience boredom, stagnation or stop getting results. I want to give you some ideas for breaking through these challenges.

1. Re-evaluate your fitness routine. Are you exercising too much and not nourishing your body enough to repair itself? Or maybe you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough during your workouts. Could you benefit from a new goal, a personal trainer or a new workout video?

2. Journal your diet. Every bite that goes into your mouth on paper or in an app. Then after a week, re-evaluate your nutrition habits. Are you eating late at night or skipping meals? Are you cheating more than you thought?

3. Drink two unprocessed, homemade protein shakes a day for 4 weeks as meal replacements. Over two or three weeks go back to solids but with a renewed focus on whole foods. This often jump starts weight loss.

4. Get an accountability partner or renew your commitment with the one you already have and establish weekly check ins for exercise and diet.

5. Revisit your understanding of “eating healthy”. You can’t expect to skip meals and gorge yourself with a big healthy dinner every night and see results. You MUST be consistent. Eat regularly, eat real food and have reasonable portions. Every day.

6. Drink 4 liters of water every day. Do NOT drink calories or even “diet” calories. It will sabotage your journey.

7. Stop weighing and measuring for 4 weeks. Maybe it’s in your head.

I hope this will help you when you are struggling! File this post for later or use it now if you need it.

 

Day 18 : Restock July 15, 2013

First of all, congratulations for making it through some of the hardest changes presented so far! If you’re still here with me, you are well on your way to a healthier life. But now your pantry is looking slim-so how do you restock? We’ve talked a lot about what NOT to eat. Now it’s time for establishing a repertoire of whole foods to nourish your body!

Remember what I said before: the bounty of your grocery cart should be from the perimeter of the store.

Produce:
Buy organic as your budget allows and prioritize your dollars with this tool:
Dirty Dozen/Clean 15
-aim for a colorful variety
-most of your groceries should be produce
-try all different types of greens and rotate them

Whole Grain:
-ingredients will specify “whole (insert whatever grain here)”
-this shouldn’t make up more than 25% of what you eat

Grains to eat:
Quinoa (actually a seed)
Brown Rice
Couscous

Meat:
– Any pasture raised and grass fed meat is fine. Shouldn’t be more than 4 ounces or a palm size serving at each meal
-Check out the Farmer’s Market behind Geppetto’s in Morganton Saturdays 8-12 for good meat vendors (produce as well!)
-Fish should be as fresh as possible and wild caught, not farm raised. It will say on the package “wild caught.” Smaller fish have less mercury contamination.
-Ingles on Carbon City rd. has a fairly good selection for a chain grocery store. You can buy organic/antibiotic free chicken, grass fed beef, organic beef and ground bison there. Right now Aldi is carrying grass fed beef and antibiotic free chicken as well.

Dairy:
-Again, I recommend the Organic Valley brand: it is both organic and pastured! See sour cream, cottage cheese, milk, half n half, heavy cream & butter in this brand ALL available at Ingles on Carbon City!
-Whole milk is the least processed, use in moderation/Almond milk is a great alternative but I recommend Silk or Laura Lynn brand because they are carrageenan free.
-Aged, raw cheeses are best-NEVER buy shredded! Always shred your own. Most cheese is naturally white (it’s made from milk!) so avoid orange cheese because its usually highly processed and has something to color it. I suggest only buying at the grocery store because sometimes homemade cheese contains harmful bacteria (meaning if you aren’t sure your source is completely reputable, you probably shouldn’t buy it) and don’t buy raw if you are pregnant.

Baking:
-Buy high quality, organic whole wheat flour. I have cut flour out completely as as a personal nutrition choice and use almond meal or quinoa flour for baking. You can also try coconut flour. Still, these are processed forms of whole foods and shouldn’t be the mainstays of your diet.

***Anything on the interior aisles should be scrutinized carefully for processed and GMO ingredients. Look for the USDA Organic Label pictured below.

-Substitute any oil other than butter with high quality coconut oil. Melt it in a microwave-safe dish for any baking and cooking needs. Here’s my favorite: Coconut Oil
Much cheaper online than in the grocery store!
-Sweeten with pure organic stevia, honey or pure maple syrup when at all possible.
Stevia -much cheaper online as well!
You can also buy powdered stevia.

-If you must use refined sugar in baking, buy organic/GMO-free when your budget allows. Remember, if it has the USDA organic seal it can’t contain GMOs.

Today’s challenge is to restock your fridge and pantry with whole foods!

A couple of little tips:
-Store nuts and flours in the fridge to keep fresh longer
-Meal plan around the produce that needs to be eaten sooner rather than later to avoid waste
-Turn sandwiches into salads. You can put a almost anything on a bed of greens! Store bought bread is usually not going to be nutritious enough to buy unless you fork out $6 per loaf.

As my friend Karen often says, you make your health choices at the grocery store.

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