When You Attack A Problem From All Angles, Including The Most Important One

Last year I shared food had taken a seat as an “idol” in my life. It’s what I turned to for comfort in times of sorrow, for relief in times of stress, and for celebration in times of joy. Food had held an unhealthy position in my life for a long time, and last year began a journey to start tearing down some of the walls and defeats in my battle with food.

This year continues the battle, and I’m realizing that in this struggle with dethroning food as an idol and unhealthy consumption in my life, there has to be in place a plan of attack that will address all the different angles. I feel like my goals for the month of January are addressing those angles, and I am beginning to see small victories.

Today marks Day 22 of our second round of the Whole30.

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For me, the Whole30 helps me address my “food cravings”. While it seems like it would be difficult to eliminate so many different types of foods (and at times, it is) I can honestly say it works. I remember in December I had days where I was completely fixated on the bag of candy I knew was in the pantry. Not to mention all the fantastic excuses of “it’s a special occasion” to indulge in one more cookie or a little more sour cream. Yesterday, my biggest craving was wanting a frozen banana. Sadly, we were out of bananas, however, I couldn’t help but think to myself “How awesome is that, I am actually wanting fruit over candy for a change!

This week I had two major obstacles, both were potluck situations. I’m glad to say, with prayer beforehand, I was able to navigate both situations without compromising my journey. Praise the Lord for that! I also am thankful for supportive friends who invited us over for dinner, and went out of their way to set aside some soup for me before putting the “non-Zella” ingredients in. It was very touching and I was so appreciative for their thoughtfulness!

I also know this Whole30 round has helped me tremendously with good, quality, deep sleep. I miss my afternoon coffee simply because I LOVE the taste of coffee. However, I love the SLEEP I’m getting so much, I’m not willing to risk indulging in ANY caffeine after noon.

Whole 30 attacks the “mow junk” part of my journey. The restrictiveness of it helps me to really hone in on where I’ve had the most trouble, and walk away from it food wise.

Which brings me to my next goal, exercise.
Today will mark my 17th day of my Power90 program. I’m sure the exercise mixed in with the decreased coffee consumption pair hand in hand with the better quality of sleep. It is also attacking my stress. I’m more relaxed, and after a good work out, I feel energized and ready to jump back into life.

I have found that I still struggle with actually doing my exercise, even though EVERY SINGLE TIME I feel so much better once I’ve completed it. I find myself avoiding it until I simply can’t anymore, and some days it really takes out the joy of the workout, because I’m just rushing to get it done.

Which leads right into my next goal, the Made To Crave online bible study.

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This morning as I read the next Chapter, something really struck me in this reading.

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Now I have been praying about my food cravings. I have been praying about potlucks and keeping my integrity with this 30 day commitment I made to myself (and anyone who reads this little spot on the internet) that I was going to fully complete a round of Whole30 this month.

So if exercise is part of my plan for better health – why don’t I pray when I’m putting it off?

Why do I think God doesn’t want to hear about my prayers on this journey? Why do I think that my struggles in this area are not “important enough” to take to the Lord in prayer? Why do I think I will accomplish this in my own strength, knowing full well, that my strength will only take me so far and never far enough?

Is it because I don’t give God my most personal struggles, the ones that wage wars in my heart, that I find it sometimes difficult to completely trust Him with the “biggies”? If I try to do the “little things” on my own, that are in my “control” – won’t I try to control the big things that are really out of my control?

Praise goes to the Lord that I’m sleeping better. Praise goes to the Lord that I’m sticking with this Whole30 and physically feeling better. Praise goes to the Lord that I can do 10 push-ups again without having to drop to my knees, and side-kicks no longer slow me down. Praise goes to the Lord that I am carving out time to be in His Word, and dive into the studies He has brought into my lap to keep my mind focused on His truths and my heart focused on His words.

And it’s time I take it even deeper. To really pray to Him about it ALL. Including my procrastination – not just with exercise, with laundry, washing dishes, and prepping meals. That’s the issue I think ultimately my “putting off” exercise is really revealing. My desire to be lazy and procrastinate. So this week, my focus is to also give this to the Lord. Remembering that in this journey, I must also attack it from a spiritual perspective. The most important attack of them all.

We shall see how He works it out in me this week.

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How are you doing on your journey of health and wellness?
Weigh-in and let’s keep running towards the finish line, following the path the Lord has laid for us.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

 

When the Good News Keeps You Motivated

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Wednesday – the time I join Kim and my other WIW FB girls to “weigh in” on life.

Last week I shared some of my goals for the month of January. I’m thankful to say that so far, I’m still on track. Today marks the half way point in this round of Whole 30 for the hubs and I.

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Sometimes when you tell people you are going to eliminate a whole bunch of foods, they give you the one raised eyebrow. They offer you a small cookie, creamer for your coffee, and it’s not to sabotage you, they figure if you are eliminating it MOST of the time, you’re fine with a little bit here and there. Which would be true if you were indeed making healthy choices MOST of the time. That is the ultimate goal.

Instead of trying to commit to what can feel like an overwhelming life-long goal, I’ve decided to focus on monthly goals. Friends and family have been very supportive. Last night we had a wonderful family gathering with the kids, my in-laws, and my adorable grandson! We made venison stew and my father-in-law brought over a *most delicious* Whole30 approved salad! He also brought home-made bread for those not doing Whole30, bringing just enough to share without any leftovers to tempt us.. Thankful for that!

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Grandlilman isn’t ready for Whole30 Stew, which is Ok, Grammies loved the bottle snuggle time she got with him.

Now the uh-oh. When we started this round, I was in the “Can I Have” forum with lots of little stuff. When the hubs wanted a few white potatoes in our stew along with all the other veggies, I didn’t check. I said “sure, it’s a vegetable”, and alas…. white potatoes would be a “no” on the Whole30 rules.

How does this effect my goal for completing a Whole30? I asked the gurus in the forum, and as long as I skip the white potatoes from here on out, I have a green light to go ahead and not have to restart back to day one. Whew!

I did face extreme temptation this week at a luncheon provided by our church. The temptation was sour cream (my numbero uno weakness), cheese, chips, and something called brownie cake. Ironically enough, I found it far easier to pass up the brownie cake than I did the sour cream and cheese. The good news, I passed it all up and stuck with a salad until I made it out to the car where I could eat my boiled eggs and cooked spinach I’d pre-packed.

The really good news? The hubs had a doctor’s appointment and his A1C’s are already trending downward and he has lost some weight! His fasting sugars are looking better and better every day. This is the kind of news we expected to see because of the success we had last time. It’s the motivational news we needed to encourage us to make some healthy long-term changes in our eating habits.

We. Are. Motivated. 

And with healthy long term changes, I wanted to share a great new recipe the hubs came up with!

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Ingredients:

Coconut oil
Sweet potatoes
Bell Pepper
Onion

Heat up coconut oil on med to high heat. Cut sweet potato into small cubes, then throw in oil and cook until begins to lightly brown and is soft. Throw in chopped bell pepper and onion. Cook til onions are translucent. Wa-lah. So yummy!

Exercise goals:  Cardio is still my biggest struggle. I put it off until I absolutely can’t put it off anymore, then when I do it, about half way through I feel so energized and happy I think I could do a second round! I’ve gone back to my Power90 DVD’s. Exercise is good for me. I know this. Between the added exercise and the cut off of caffeine at noon, I am sleeping WONDERFULLY. Just the improved sleep alone is WORTH doing this. Motivation.

What I am MOST excited about however, is the upciming MadeToCrave OBS with Proverbs 31. I mentioned it last week, and I must mention it again because I took a sneak peak and read Chapter One.

Wow.

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Let me tell you, in one chapter I found myself digging deep. Deep into things that have driven me to turn to food for comfort and I discovered a wound I thought was healed. The beautiful part is, it lead me to stop writing, close the journal, and cry. Not the big ugly sob, the quiet silent sob. The one that breaths out the pain, and breaths in His comfort. It caught me off guard how deep the book took me right off the bat. I look at this book with it’s pretty blue cover and bright white and red lettering and am excited how the Lord will use it to help me grow. I also had to smile because I feel like in a way, He was saying “you are the one who chose the word Mending for your one word, now, let me mend you and make you whole in Me.”

I’ve decided I am going to also write down my “motivation reminders” in my journal too. My hope is that it will help me see how I am growing spiritually and see how healthy changes benefit me physically. The good news already with my husband’s health is a blessing.

Last week I shared that 1 Timothy 4:8 was my “theme” verse this year for this part of my journey. To train my mind, I am going to pick some scripture the MTC book focuses on and focus on it myself, maybe even try to memorize it. For Chapter One, I chose the following;

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! MY soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. ~Psalm 84:1-2

I chose this because it is a reminder to me the Lord is my dwelling place. He is the living God who can satisfy all my cravings and desires, because He is what I ultimately want to desire more than anything else.

How is your health journey going? Are you trying Whole30 or gearing up for the Made To Crave study? Or simply just trying to stick to your resolutions for the year? Join me on Wednesdays to weigh-in on what’s going on and we can encourage one another on our journeys!

In Love and Faith,
RaZella

January Wellness Goals with Renewed Focus

For the past few years I’ve had an underlying verse, a “theme” verse if you will, for my wellness journey.
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These words spoke truth in my life during times of struggle. In moments when temptation reared it’s ugly head, I found myself whispering these words out loud as strength to walk away, or get up and exercise, or whatever the case may have been.
There were also times when I gave into temptation. Which is why the end of last year resulted in me losing ground on my health goals. I ping ponged between wanting to beat myself up over it and taking a “it doesn’t really matter” attitude. The joy and busyness of the holidays were also a fantastic distraction from facing where I was falling short.

This year, another verse keeps coming to mind. I came across it in early December and since then, it seems to have been at the back of my mind, pricking my memory until it finally came out crying for full attention.
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To me, it’s a verse that reminds me what *really* matters. I have personal goals of wanting to complete my Power90 program and from there move onto the Master Series and then to P90X. Partly because as I’ve seen my muscles grow I want to see what more I can accomplish. Partly because I enjoy the exercise routines and I’m curious if I can do it. I’m not going to lie, partly because I want to look like the woman on the DVD with her ripped and toned self!

I want to eat healthier because I know I feel so much better when I do. I know it’s better for my family because they end up eating healthier too. I know deep down food was created to keep me nourished, not that I was created to consume food for the sake of consumption.

Yet in my humanness, I suddenly take these good goals, and make them THE goal. Training my body and my mind to exercise and eat healthy can become THE training. For awhile, I do really great. Then temptation starts coming back. It keeps knocking at my door over and over again until I fall into it, sour cream and fried cheese first.

This year’s verse is my reminder that my goals are good. Exercise and eating healthy are good things. Just not THE training I need to cling to. Christ is. Training my mind, my heart, and my soul in Christ, in His godliness, in His righteousness, that is what is going to withstand temptation. That is what is going to matter not only right here and right now, yet eternally. It has eternal importance and goodness. Something that coconut oil and P90X will never have.

In looking to keep my healthy focus on Christ first, I came across an online Bible study that I am very excited about it. It’s the Made to Crave book and the study is being done by Proverbs31MInistries.
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My hope is that the Lord will use it to train my mind to overcome my struggles and crave Him more. It’s free to join! So if you’ve had the book laying around, or have been thinking about picking up a copy and want to read it with a group online, now is the time to join in and see what happens.

My husband and I are also doing another round of Whole30 for the month of January.

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We started January 1st with hundreds of other people and so far, it’s been going GREAT. This would be the second time we’ve really committed to doing it. We are already feeling the positive effects of getting rid of the junk we had snuck back into our daily eating. This time around, I’m not being “as creative” as before. I actually made the effort this week to take pictures of our dinners to share….and then last night…accidentally deleted every. single. picture.
So while I won’t be able to share our pictures with you, I will share some of our meals to show Whole30 can be basic, simple, and easy.
We’re doing lots of repetition which makes it easy and affordable for us. One thing I am doing different in this second round I didn’t do in the first is using almond milk in my coffee. I discovered Silk’s unsweetened almond milk is Whole30 compliant (per the Whole30 “can I have” forum). This 30 days is also strongly focused on NOT trying to drink your nutrition, so I don’t drink the almond milk as part of my meal. I do add 2 tablespoons to my coffee because I like it. Does this make me less Whole30 hardcore? Maybe, however, I’m going to keep doing it.

(Word of caution for those who may be doing Whole30 and want to run out and pick up some almond milk – our local grocery store Hannaford sells their own version of unsweetened almond milk, and while it is cheaper, it is NOT Whole30 approved because it has carrageenan as one of it’s ingredients. Also, I have found cartons of silk unsweetened almond milk that also has carrageenan in it. I have no idea why, but just make sure you check the ingredients first. Or you’ll have that moment of “awww man” when you realize that the dijon mustard you bought has white wine as an ingredient, and therefore, is not Whole30 approved either. Also, Whole30 has a new site JUST for Whole30 information. You can check it out at Whole30.com)

For those who are thinking of doing a Whole30 (which I honestly recommend at least once in life from a learning how to eat healthy perspective) I thought since I can’t show you pictures – I’ll give you a short break down on what meals this week looked like.

Breakfast:
Eggs scrambled in ghee.
Diced roma tomato, green bell pepper, and a few green olives mixed in with the eggs. A handful of spinach tossed in until it wilts slightly.

Lunches:
Typically the leftovers of dinner.
A quick go to favorite is Chicken Salad. I boil boneless, skinless, chicken breast. Once cooled, I shred the meat. Meat portion is added to spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. We use either the homemade Whole30 mayo as a dressing or olive oil and red wine vinegar. Also a fruit serving at lunch of whatever fruit was on sale at the store or frozen fruit from the freezer.

Dinners:
Porkchops slow cooked in the oven, green beans, cucumber, sweet potato, and another serving of fruit.
Did a “hamburger soup” which consisted of hamburger meat, coconut oil, zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, and onion.
One day we had hamburger patties on bed of spinach with tomato slices, Normandy blend vegetables, and sweet potato.

As you can see, pretty simple. The soup I made in the slow cooker so it was ready when we got home from church. January seems to be a great month to try a Whole30 because in our family we have no birthdays or big holidays requiring family gatherings with complicated meal navigation. I do have a few “potluck” situations coming up, however, have discovered someone else going to the potlucks doing Whole30 and feel like with the mutual support we can give each other, we will be able to navigate these gatherings without giving up our progress on our 30 day quest. Which I’m also hoping will teach me some long term goals in the future so I’m consistently making healthier choices.

So, for the month of January, my goals are as follows:
Start the Made to Crave online Bible study.
Complete a Whole30
Get back into my Power90 exercises

I hope you find yourself re-energized and refreshed to keep moving forward with your wellness goals in 2014. I’ll also be linking up with Kim this year again for WIW. She won’t have a link up today due to crazy weather and computer mishaps (hope the weather improves soon and the computer is fixed quickly girl!), however, I still recommend checking out her last WIW post and joining in on the FB group if you are looking for some encouragement and accountability in your wellness journey.

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Hope everyone is staying safe and warm out there!
In Love & Faith,
RaZella