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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It Goes Both Ways

The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave. The more TV you watch, the more TV you crave. The more you sleep, the more sleep you crave. The more soda you drink, the more soda you crave. I will stop there. You get it.

It is so easy to give into cravings when they are the things we shouldn't give into. There is something about restrictions, or the thought of being deprived, that we naturally rebel against. The problem is, the more we partake, the more we crave. Here's the funny thing about cravings........you can crave what's NOT bad for you, just as you can crave what IS bad for you. You can train yourself to crave the good things!

It all starts with a choice. You make a choice to trade your normal drive through breakfast for a bowl of oatmeal and an apple. You make a choice to drink water instead of soda. You make a choice to give up desert tonight. You make a choice to get in a run after work, instead of coming straight home and planting your booty on the couch for hours.  And I will stop there. You get it.

Cravings are a result of the choices we make. We are faced with choices all day long. We struggle with making good choices because of subliminal messages and busy lives. It starts with a bad nights sleep, a long day at work, the craziness of playing taxi for the kids, the missed trip to the grocery store, a pizza commercial on the car radio, and so on. The next thing you know, the day is nearly over and the whole family is famished. You grab a pizza and binge on it because you haven't eaten for hours and the healthy, low calorie lunch you had is nothing but a distant memory. One bad day, and the cravings begin.

How do we overcome.....? You have your bad day. You eat your pizza then pass out minutes later. You wake up and CHOOSE to have a determined attitude that one crazy day isn't going to define your future choices. You face the cravings that last nights chaos left behind with that determined attitude, and you get through it. If you don't......the cravings have only just begun. The battle only gets harder to fight.

It doesn't matter if you are cleaning house, mowing the lawn, running a marathon, cooking dinner, reading a book, telling a story, making a grocery list, sleeping, shopping, walking to get the mail, or whatever else you do in your 24 hour day. If you lose momentum, you have to focus to get it back. It's nothing more than a speed bump. It happens in everything we do, even in our sleep. It is impossible to go through life and never lose momentum. Some speed bumps are harder to recover from than others, but we make the choice to focus or to not. Eventually, you fly past the speed bumps without skipping a beat. Eventually, an interruption to your day of healthy choices is no big deal because your good outweighs your bad so you no longer crave the bad things. You would rather nibble on carrots and broccoli than eat a fried meal. Your workouts have a scheduled time, and you have a mini panic attack when you think you may run out of daylight before you get the time to get out and run. You have changed because "it goes both ways".

Can it really be that simple? Yes! All I have to do is train my cravings? yep! And by making the right choices about food and exercise throughout each day, my cravings will change on their own? You got it!

I hope you start altering your choices today. I hope you chose to train your craving and gain control of them. And I hope you inspire others to do the same. Healthy living is inspiring. People see you doing what they think they can't, and they want it too. Be a testimony and an example to someone today. Show them that they can do what you are doing. Don't let your efforts be selfish. Share your story and help others. We all need inspiration.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Water

I can not say this enough..... DRINK WATER!

Our bodies are made up of 70-80% water. We lose water through tears, sweat, urine, waste, etc. When that water isn't replenished properly, dehydration begins. You have a better chance of flirting with dehydration than you realize. Dehydration can cause the body to panic, signaling to you that it is depleted in random ways that sometimes don't even make sense. One of the first signs of dehydration is thirst. How many times do you reach for a sugary or caffeinated beverage to "quench" your thirst? Soda should never replace water. It is one thing to treat yourself to something other than water, in moderation. But, we should never reach for it to fend off dehydration. Hunger pangs are another sign of dehydration. I recommend drinking water when hunger pangs or cravings arise, before reaching for a snack. Foods do contain water and they do help replenish what is lost throughout the day, but food alone is not enough to keep you properly hydrated. Other symptoms can include elevated heart rate, headaches, sleeplessness, fatigue, increased body temperature, constipation, and the list goes on and on.

One of my least favorite "rewards" for not getting enough water, is water retention. Just as your body defends itself by storing fat on extreme calorie restricted diets, it will store water when it realizes it is being deprived. As a woman, we all know water retention sucks. Logic tells us to think "if I drink more water, I will retain more water". Not even a little bit true! The only healthiest way to lose the water weight is to DRINK WATER!

There are quite a few issues you could be dealing with daily, that could very possibly be the result of water depletion. I encourage you to evaluate your daily consumption. A good goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces. Especially if you exercise, or spend much time outside in the heat.

Obviously I am not a Dr, but I do understand the effects lack of water has on the body. I have experienced my fair share of issues, and learned the hard way what my body is telling me. I encourage you to take time to research this, and learn for yourself. If you aren't paying attention to this, DO. It would not surprise me at all if some of your unexplained ailments disappear with proper water intake. Keep a journal. Pay attention. And DRINK WATER!!!

Have a great week everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's not your job...

I know I've posted about body image before, and about how the media sends us unrealistic standards to live up to. I talk about this often, because it's something that I struggle with, and I know I'm not alone. Anytime I have a conversation with another woman about this topic, they open up to me about their own insecurities and struggles with this. 

I was having a well-care visit today and my nurse wanted to know how my personal training was going. We talked about how people don't often believe in themselves until someone shows them what they're capable of. She told me this was very true for her as well, and that the media makes her feel as if she has to look a certain way. She shared with me that she becomes so intimidated that she just does nothing about her size and shape at all, because she knows she could never become what the media portrays a woman should look like. I know she is not alone in this line of thinking. I completely see how she feels defeated before she even starts. 

Here's the thing we have to remember. This is something, as women especially, that we need to constantly keep in mind. These women get paid to look like they do. They go to extreme, unhealthy measures to look like they do. That's their job. 

When you make your eating/exercise habits about trying to live up to those standards, it's not going to last. You may even arrive at what you feel is your ideal size, but later find its impossible to maintain it. I can't tell you how freeing it is to finally live your life to obtain and maintain good health. To throw the diets, drinks, pills, books, videos, shots, and all other unhealthy and unrealistic approaches out the window, and truly focus on your health. 

It's not your job to look like you just walked out of a sports illustrated swim suit edition. If its not your job to be a surgeon, you're not going to feel bad about yourself for not being qualified to preform a surgery. If it's not your job to be a school teacher, your not going to feel bad about yourself for not being qualified to teach. So stop trying to become a professional model if you're not going to get paid for it.  

The other thing I hit on at the top of this post was the fact that a lot of people don't think they're capable of this type of lifestyle. Oh...but you ARE!!! It is so important to seek out a form of exercise that you enjoy. If you're constantly attempting the couch to 5k and never finish the program, maybe running just isn't your thing. Don't feel bad. Stick with it long enough to be sure you truly don't like it, then move on. If its a goal to run a 5k and you have no health issues keeping you from it, you can run a 5k. Make sure that you're not chasing after your workout buddy's dream. Set your own goals and go after your own dreams. 

One thing I do know is that a little dedication goes a long way. What starts off small, grows into something big. All it takes is faith in yourself and not letting those negative voices inside your head, along with the craziness of life to stop you. If you can learn how to plow through all of those obstacles, you'll never go back to that lazy, unhealthy, full of excuses, poor body image, intimidated state of mind again. 

I love to see people crushing their goals. I hope that you would share your story and/or journey with the rest of us. We all could use a little inspiration. If you would like to share with us, shoot me an email and I will post it on my blog. If you wish to remain unnamed, that is not a problem. And if you need any advice, ever, I'm here for you always!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 8

We are 8 days into the August challenge. By now you have a pretty good idea of how you're going to do. I am certain that some days are easier than others, for you. I can say the same. I can officially admit that I didn't stick to it 100%, but I am doing really good and full of determination. I have excuses, just like you (assuming you have cheated as well). One thing I want us all to get from this challenge is that we can eat healthy the majority of the time, only indulge on occasion, and still get results.

So many people live their lives just grabbing quick foods on the go. We have busy lives. And, if I'm being honest, processed foods taste good. Hectic lifestyles are a great excuse for "having" to eat that way. But the truth is, and hopefully you have discovered this, healthy eating can be just as easy. All it takes is a little bit of preparation and planning. Purchasing your fresh fruits and veggies, bringing them straight home, washing, cutting, measuring, and prepackaging them for convenience, really doesn't take much time or energy. Having healthy snacks handy and ready to grab and go is key to eating clean. If we don't prepare in this way, we will cheat. You WILL get busy and skip a meal in an attempt to avoid processed foods. This will lead to excessive hunger and cravings. Add a temptation of any kind to the picture and the next thing you know your're scarfing down an order of cashew chicken like it's the last supper. Do your prep work. Don't set yourself up to fail.

If your diet is typically unhealthy and you have taken this challenge with me, I'm guessing that you are experiencing changes in how you feel by this point. You're still detoxing and may be feeling slightly ill. It can make it hard to keep going, but I assure you it won't last long and will be worth every effort. These are the consequences of filling our bodies with impurities on a regular basis. Your body is ridding itself of toxins and is in a bit of shock. You probably have dropped a few pounds. It may get a little more intense before it gets better, but just hang in there. My guess is that you are already through the worst of it, depending on how diligent you have been.

However you have done, know that I am proud of you for your progress, no matter how big or small. Just the fact that you WANT to change is progress. If it took a lifetime for you to develop bad eating habits, it's going to take some time to undo them. No matter what mistakes you make, it doesn't mean you have failed. It only means you are human. The trick is to find balance. We live in a country that shoves food in our faces everywhere we go. Getting together with friends, watching tv, holidays, shopping, movie theaters, convenience stores, office parties, pinterest, facebook..... You name it, there's food, or the message of food. It isn't easy to make the choice to go home and make a clean dinner when everything around us tells us NOT to. I heard someone say that a good rule of thumb to eating healthy is that if the food you are about to eat has a television commercial, don't eat it! That may be a little off, but I think it makes my point about how we face so many temptations to eat anything or everything that we shouldn't. It just adds to the challenge of training our will power. You go to a restaurant and eat some grilled chicken, side salad, baked sweet potato, then the server comes by with a desert tray to die for and it's all over. You make a healthy meal at home then sit down in front of the tv and see a commercial for Dairy Queen, next thing you know, you have loaded up the fam and are ordering a blizzard in the drive thru. You get up on Sunday morning and enjoy your clean breakfast of egg whites and wheat toast, then you get to church and have to avoid the common area because you know that if you even SMELL one of those donuts, you are going to eat 3. If it sounds like these are examples of personal experience, it's because they are!

What I want to get across in this post today, is that I want you to be proud of your efforts, stay strong, know that a mess up here or there isn't the end of it all, always be prepared, and try to find your balance. Believe in yourself and believe that the good choices you make do matter, no matter how often you make them. Eventually you will make more good choices than bad, and you will find your balance.

Keep it up everyone! Only three weeks to go!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 4...

We are 4 days into the August challenge of clean eats/no cheats. How's everyone doing?

Weekends are the hardest, I know! I hope everyone is exercising that will power muscle hard! So far, so good for me! The best thing about taking on a challenge and seeing it through is, not only the results, but the strength you gain in the end. Don't be afraid to be proud of yourself. Hard work, done well, should make you feel proud. I am proud of you already.

If you have hit some road bumps already, don't sweat it. Or maybe you just didn't get started yet.... No biggie. We are only 4 days in. You can still turn it around, or join in. And to those of you that started and are going strong, way to go! Keep it up! 

I hope all that have read this have committed to a month of clean eating. I will pray for you daily whether you've taken the challenge or not. We can't complain about our lack of progress if we aren't willing to make it happen. Staying in your comfort zone isn't where change happens. The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat. But you have to eat real food. 

Feel free to share clean recipe ideas on here. We can all use some help with creativity in the kitchen! At least I can! Tonight I am making chicken breast in the slow cooker, covered in tomato sauce, topped with real Parmesan cheese. I will serve quinoa pasta and roasted zucchini and squash as sides. Easy comfort type dinner on a lazy rainy Sunday night. 

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!