Monday, July 4, 2016

Understanding nutrition - Where do I even start?


As many of you know I have battled with my weight my whole life. I have yo-yoed since I've been big enough to play with a yo-yo!!! It's exhausting. I know I can't be the only person that feels that way just like I know I can't be the only person that has been overwhelmed by the concept of nutrition or eating clean. It can be so confusing!!!

When it comes to dieting you've got one person saying to cut fat, another saying to cut carbs, one saying to cut meat, another saying eat only vegetation...it's maddening. You've got Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo, Ketogenic, South Beach...my goodness I could keep on and on and while every one of these programs work, there's one thing I have found that they all have in common - people rarely keep the weight off. 

Changing my eating habits is the hardest thing I have ever done. EVER. Harder even than quitting smoking. I honestly think that a food addiction is the worst because you need food to live. You can't ever stop using your DOC. But I have found that if I have grace and patience with myself, my thought patterns and habits about food have begun to change over time and even though I'm losing weight slowly now, I'm keeping it off.

I had a bit of a breakdown in Aldi one night while on the phone with one of my dearest friends (you know who you are) and I determined that night that I was sick and tired of being controlled food. I was sick and tired of submitting to my fleshly desires. For some people, their addiction may be narcotics, for some alcohol, for some methamphetamines, but for me it's food. 

Romans 13:14 says "But put on the Lord Jesus, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify it's desires." I knew I had a food addiction. I know compulsive eating is a sin. I also know that Jesus nailed gluttony to the Cross just like he did every other sin but I also know that once we are made aware that we are committing a sin, we are to seek forgiveness and turn from it. Except like any other addict, I struggled (and still do some days...most days) but I also remember Paul having a thorn in his flesh and God telling him that his grace is sufficient. God's grace has proved more than sufficient for me while I'm on this weight loss journey and it's because of that grace that I haven't given up. 

As I said earlier, I had a bit of a breakdown in Aldi and determined that night that I was done with "diets". I have liberty in Christ to ENJOY food. Once that finally sunk in, I have felt freedom to make changes in the way I eat. Here are some examples:

1. I have opted for a 1200 calorie a day diet -  The reason for this amount is because I have a sedentary job. Yes, I work out and clean house and such but for the most part of the day I am sitting behind a computer so I don't need the calories that an active person would.

2. The My Fitness Pal app - Y'all this app has been extremely valuable to me. I strongly encourage you to download this app and use it daily. Be honest when you are entering your food totals every day. Don't enter 1 serving of salad dressing if you really had 3 lol. This app is an amazing tool for allowing us to see where we can make adjustments in the way we eat in order to put better fuel in our bodies. For example, it lets me know that Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and that lettuce and tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C.

3. Eat Clean - Eat 4 to 6 small meals a day to keep your metabolic fire burning. Think of your metabolism like a fire. Fires need fuel, like a log for example. If we want a fire to keep burning and not die out, we have to keep putting logs on the fire. Our bodies are the same way so don't let your fire burn out - keep a log on it.

4. Make lifestyle changes. I know you've heard this before but it's true. That is why "diets" don't work. Make little changes that you can stick with. Just a few at a time. Don't go all out in one day. You will get discouraged when you don't see immediate results, you will get frustrated, and you will say "to Hades with this" and grab a bag of Cheetos, a Mountain Dew and a king-sized Snickers bar. Ask me how I know this lol. Make little changes that you can be consistent with. Consistency is key. It's the little changes that you make over time that allows you to adopt and MAINTAIN a fit lifestyle.

5. Eat flavor, not calories. Herbs are a great way to do this and many, many herbs have additional health benefits. Cayenne pepper is a great example because it contains capsaicin. Capsaicin helps kill prostate cancer cells, it helps relieve chronic pain and suppresses appetite. I like Louisiana hot sauce on tons of things and I put crushed red pepper in frittatas, salads and just about anything else that has meat and vegetables. I know some people may not be as crazy about the heat as I am (however, I am not a five alarm person), there are tons of other herbs and spices that pack huge flavor punches. My favorite ways to add flavor without calories are the hot sauce and crushed red peppers I mentioned but also cilantro, vinegar, lemon pepper, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon and lime juice, and just plain old salt.

6. Take care not to overwhelm yourself. I can't stress this enough. Make a point to learn something new and implement it. Just 1 or 2 new things at a time. Do this every time you go to the grocery store or as you run out of something. For example, I love, love, love Aldi's Greek Olive salad dressing but it packs a huge calorie punch. 2 tbsp. = 140 calories. I was using up 20% or more of my daily calorie allowance on salad dressing and I knew that had to change. I now enjoy Aldi's raspberry vinaigrette which is only 60 calories. Take your time making these changes. Seriously, do a little at a time. Little changes add up to big results.

7.  Invest in a good supplement. Now matter how good we eat, we can't eat enough to provide our bodies with all the nutrients we need. Even good calories will pack on pounds if they're not burned off. Advocare offers top of the line supplements that are tested for quality and purity by a third party lab called Informed Choice. You can learn more about Informed Choice here. Feel free to email me for more no-pressure information at championonajourney@gmail.com and I will answer any questions you may have regarding Advocare products or business. I really mean no pressure too. I hate to feel backed into a corner so I don't do that to others. If you want to go ahead and place an order, you can do that here.

8. Meal prep is a must!!!! This is the most important part of nutrition. When you create a menu for the week, shop accordingly and prepare your food ahead of time, you are planning for success. Think about this for a minute. If you have lettuce, carrots, cabbage and cucumbers already chopped and sliced and chicken breast either grilled or baked you are less likely to stop at Hardees and grab a Midnight Moonshine burger...once again, ask me how I know this. Keep a carton of boiled eggs on hand for a high protein, ready to eat snack. Make nutrition easy on yourself. Keep it as simple as possible.

9. Watch your ingredients. Fancy food is fun but keep your ingredients in check. Everything you add to your meal adds calories. A healthy chicken salad at lunch can quickly become unhealthy with the addition of cheese, bacon and nuts. I hated it when I found out that my seemingly healthy lunch salad was 800 calories or more.

10. Commit to learning. Knowledge can't be absorbed by osmosis and it doesn't come from good ideas and wishful thinking. You have to put in the work. Do your homework. Think about it, we learn a craft to earn a living so why not learn nutrition to earn our health? Knowledge is power folks. A good place to start is Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet. You can find it here. That book is a fantastic resource for anyone that is interested in eating clean or even someone who has been eating clean for years. That book is like the clean eating bible.

Guys, it is my hope that if you have been contemplating changing your lifestyle but feel overwhelmed, this post will ease some of that. Once again, I am going to tell you to take it a little at a time and make lasting changes. If you do this, you will realize one day that you ARE living a healthy lifestyle!! Regardless of your lifestyle though, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God and you're Be-yooo-te-ful!!!

Love always,
Heather



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