Source: Flickr/Porsche Brosseau
I enjoy music and especially songs with great lyrics. Sometimes I feel like I can express myself better with song lyrics than I could using my own words. The song Greater by MercyMe has been rattling around in my head this week. The lyrics really strike home with me on days when I’m not feeling like I’m good enough.
“Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright
‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world”
Sometimes the voices are from others but most of the time the voices are in my own little head. They whisper loudest when I’m playing the comparison game. When I’m paying attention to the voice that says:
It’s not fair.
I’m not one of the cool kids.
I’ll never be thin/fit/pretty.
I never finish anything.
I’ll never get ahead.
And on, and on…
When those thoughts start I have a choice. I can listen to them. I can let them drag me down into a pit of unworthiness and despair. Or I can choose to listen to a better voice. The voice of the One who loves me. Even though I can’t fully comprehend this love I can let it sink into my soul and pull me up to a better place. A place where I can begin to believe that I have a calling and when I walk in all that He has for me I will never be a loser.
“There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
Take a listen and let it sink into your soul.
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Krista
Next free clean eating challenge starts next week January 26, 2015. We spend 14 days together in a private Facebook group reinforcing good habit and working on ditching bad habits. I will provide a guide, videos, and lots of recipes to help you get through the two weeks. Let’s shake the bad habits from the holidays and get control of our nutritional choices. Sign up now so you can shop and prep before day 1.
My January Plan
I Lost My Workout Mojo!
Near the end of 2014 I found that I had lost my workout mojo. I was still suiting up, getting in the workout room, pushing play and exercising so I still consider that a win. However, I wasn’t pushing myself anymore. I was phoning it in. I wasn’t going to become the person I want to be with what I was doing. One day a couple weeks ago I listened to a podcast episode on the Chalene Show. She was interviewing Tony Horton and he had some great tips that helped to inspire me and fire me up to do more and be more. I will paraphrase them here. These tips can work with any goal you have – even if they are not workout related.
Plan what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it and WRITE IT DOWN. Get out the calendar and write it down. When you complete your workout for the day, cross it off with a big, red X. That way when you look at the calendar you have a visual representation of the work you’ve put in. At the end of the month when you have more days crossed off than missed, you will know you are on track to meeting your goal. A photo of what my calendar looks like is above. I’ve scheduled workouts for all 7 days of the week knowing that I may miss one here and there. I scheduled it to allow the different muscle groups to rest and recover. I also put some flexibility days in there so I can work on stretching and balance and healing.
Your purpose, or your WHY needs to be above and beyond the aesthetic. When we say we want to work out or lose weight so that we can be thin or to be more attractive, we are feeding our ego but only scratching the surface of all that we can be. Yes, I’d love to be thinner and I’d love to have a better body for my husband. But I’d also like to have increased energy and improve the quality of my day. I’d like to have the confidence that comes with being fit and knowing that I’ve pushed myself and disciplined myself. I’d love to live a more adventurous life and that doesn’t come by wimping out in the workout room and stuffing myself with Cheetos on the couch.
Look at the 5 people you hang around with the most. Are they active, adventurous and taking care of themselves? Or are they couch potatoes? I’m not suggesting you ditch your friends. But what I am suggesting is that you start to build some relationships with folks that have similar goals as you. Maybe even people that surpass what you think you can do. You can do this in “real life” or in online groups, but start associating with people who will nudge you to be more. You won’t regret the adventure!
Source: Flickr/Dafne Cholet
As 2015 approaches I’ve been looking back at what I’ve accomplished over the last year. It’s sad to say that it’s taken me so many years to get focused on improving my life. This has been the first year that I have been so purposeful to grow and develop my skills. I have spent half a century being satisfied with being average. Well, no more!
Over the last year I have read more non-fiction books than ever before. I got addicted to reading books that make me a better mom, wife, employee and entrepreneur. First and foremost on my list of books I got serious with my Bible studying. Some of my other favorite reading was The Compound Effect, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World and Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There.
This year I have blogged more than previous years. I have written 65 blog posts. In the month of October I challenged myself to write a post for every day for the #write31days challenge. I faced some difficulties that month but I successfully blogged 27 out of 31 days. That challenge showed me that I can do more that I thought I could. I focused my October posts on nutrition to help make this site a better resource for my readers.
I got more focused with my coaching business this year. I connected with my own coach, Traci Morrow which has been a huge blessing for me. She is a great example of passion and wisdom and how to run a business on love. I started learning to stop worrying about being “sales-y” and started learning that I have something to offer that changed my life and offering to share it with others is the least I can do. The next year with Traci will push me farther than ever before. She has arranged for leadership expert John Maxwell to coach our team. 2015 is going to be an amazing year of growth for me! I also have to thank my success partner, Becky Caldwell who has been there month after month sharing her own experiences and wisdom with me and nudging me farther than I would have gone on my own. Through her encouragement and my efforts I have been able to help more people than ever before.
My own personal fitness has had it’s ups and downs this year. I have been consistent in getting into the workout room and moving, but my effort has waned over the last couple of months. Some days were better than others but I wasn’t pushing myself like I should have. I recently “found my mojo” again and I will save the details of that for another post. But I am thankful that even through the times where I just didn’t feel like it, I still got in there and put in the work.
My husband and I have made a focused effort this year to eat less processed food and to grow more of our own. Bill grew 3 garden beds full of veggies and has plans to expand even more next year. He also started raising 6 chickens (the maximum number allowed in the city limits). Starting in May we should have fresh eggs from our own back yard. We started dreaming about having a small farm someday and providing even more of our own food.
All in all it’s been a year of growth and stretching. I am now waiting for the clock to strike midnight and a new year to begin. I am looking forward to 2015 and the lessons it will bring for me.
Source: Flickr/US Dept. of Agriculture
My grandma has been gone for many years. I still miss her even after more than 2 decades. There is one dish that never fails to remind me of her and that is her Green Bean Soup recipe. I made it tonight and couldn’t help mentioning to my family once again that it was Grandma’s recipe. My grandma was known for being frugal and saving everything. If there were 3 kernels of corn left at dinner time, they got put in an empty margarine container and saved in the fridge or frozen along with the other leftovers. She could whip up a meal at any time with all the little bits and pieces she had saved. We teased her, but we always ate well. She could have a whole family show up unexpectedly for dinner and she would make it work with what she had on hand. She and her sister were raised by their mother and they struggled through the Depression era. She learned as a teen that you just don’t waste food – it’s too precious. Here is how I make the soup. There is no real recipe – just delicious ingredients thrown together. The magic happens at the end when you add the heavy whipping cream. It’s not diet food…just delicious, real food.
Grandma’s Green Bean Soup
- 1 ham hock
- 2 cups green beans, cut into bite sized lengths
- 2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 small onion
- Hickory smoked salt (or Bacon Salt)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Add ham hock to a pot of water. Bring to a boil. I let this cook for awhile to infuse the flavors from the ham hock into the water. Add potatoes, onion, green beans, and smoked salt. Simmer until tender. I usually start with a teaspoon of smoked salt and then add more to taste. I like to slightly under-season until the cream is added. Then the flavors will really come together and you can add more salt if needed. Add cream at the very end. Enjoy!
The Compound Effect is one of the best personal development books I’ve read. I originally chose the book as a business book but I quickly realized that the concepts in the book can apply to ANY area in my life that I want to improve. The subtitle is Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success. I read the book quickly the first time because I couldn’t put it down. But it’s not the type of book that you should just read and move on to the next book. This book is filled with actionable steps that will change you if you take the steps. Each chapter gives you steps you can implement in your life to begin to make those small actions that add up to big results over time. There are free worksheets to go along with the book that you can download online. If you’re needing a kick start to achieving your goals, get this book!
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate so if you purchase using the link below I make a small amount that helps me run this blog. Feel free to purchase the book through any avenue you choose. Just read it and put the steps into action. You won’t regret it. The compound effect is active in your life already. The question is will you use it to your advantage to achieve your goals and dreams?
Portion control can be a key part of managing your weight. Portion control is especially important for the less nutritious foods that we may choose to eat. I don’t think anyone ever got fat by eating too much spinach. So when it comes to non-starchy vegetables I really don’t think it’s worth fussing about whether or not we are eating too much. For high carbohydrate foods we tend to need to exercise portion control. I know I can mindlessly eat a whole lot of Cheetos or mashed potatoes and not get many nutrients in the process. Here are some tips for managing our portions.
I find that if I get too hungry I tend to overeat. So if I get home from work and it will be some time until dinner, I may eat a little snack if I’m hungry. If I wait and avoid the snacking, I find that I will eat too much at dinner. And it’s not the veggies that I’m overeating! A sliced apple with some natural peanut butter provides some great nutrients and keeps me from overeating at dinner.
I find that if I am going to snack while watching TV it’s best to only bring a small portion in the room and limit myself to just that serving. Otherwise I can mindlessly put away way too many calories.
When I eat out I like to order dishes that come with enough food to bring home for lunch for the next day. The trick is to divide the food right from the start so I don’t eat too much the first night. You can even ask for a to go box at the beginning of the meal and package half of it up right away.
If I have foods in my home that tempt me (usually for my kids) I keep them in a separate cabinet. It’s actually a cabinet in my hallway that I’m sure was intended to be a linen closet. I am perfectly capable of going to this cabinet and getting into the snack foods but for some reason I don’t. It has really been instrumental in keeping me out of foods like chips and crackers and making better choices.
Keeping a food diary can increase your weight loss success.
In a study by the Center for Health Research participants who kept a record of what they ate lost twice the weight of participants who didn’t track their food. The study appeared in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
How can such a simple activity help you lose weight?
Open your eyes to the truth.
Writing down what you eat, how much you ate, when you ate and any associated emotions or activities can provide information that can help you identify areas where you can make improvements. One thing I learned when I started tracking my food was just how often I was taking little bites of food here and there. Mindless eating while cooking dinner, packing kids’ lunches or putting away the snacks my children left out was really adding up.
You may find that there are certain times where you tend to eat more than other times. You may also find that you make unhealthy choices more in certain situations. One thing I learned from my food diary is if I give in to certain treats (like frosting or candy) it sets me up for a day of cravings and frequently I give in. It’s so much easier for me to avoid those treats than to deal with the consequences. Many women find that it’s harder to eat right during “that time of the month.” These are the types of trends you can identify by food tracking. Once you identify negative trends you can set some goals to do something about it.
It’s important when you start a food diary to be honest. You don’t have to show the diary to anyone else so be honest so you have good data to work with. That means writing down EVERY bite for a period of time. It’s best if you track all throughout the day instead of tracking at the end of the day. If you wait until the end of the day you can easily forget all the little extras you ate throughout the day. You don’t have to track forever. Just long enough to get a good sense of where you can improve to make the biggest impact in your health.
How to track.
You can track in many different ways. The easiest way is to just get a little notebook and write down everything you eat. You can also use apps like MyFitnessPal. Lately I’ve been tracking using the system included with the 21 Day Fix as shown in the photo below. It’s an easy way to track my portions of each macronutrient throughout the day. If you would like help with getting started feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enter to Win Free Shakeology!
On my Facebook page I am giving away some Shakeology packets and a shaker cup so you can try the healthiest meal of the day. I’d love to have you hop over there and enter to win. You can enter by following the link: http://contest.io/fb/asczbc59
If you’d like to learn more about Shakeology and what’s in it you can check out my superfoods post here. It’s more than just a protein shake or meal replacement. I believe you won’t find another shake out there with as many amazing superfoods & no artificial ingredients. It comes with a bottom of the bag guarantee which means you can try it risk free for 30 days and return the empty bag if you were not satisfied.
My next challenge group will be the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan and workout. What makes 21 Day Fix different than anything you have ever seen? Simple! You know how most workout programs come with a nutrition guide that takes you days to read and then you spend a ton of money on groceries to try and follow the nutrition guide?
21 Day Fix is a simple system to help you focus on portion control and choosing the right foods. It even comes with special 21 Day Fix Portion Control Containers that you use throughout the program. If it doesn’t fit in the containers, then you can’t eat it. If it does, eat it! Simple! The combination of the workout plus the nutrition system is getting amazing results. Plus you can join others doing the same program in an online support group for additional accountability and encouragement.
Click here to see a video of what you’ll get and you will also be entered for a chance to win the program for free.