Sick of being sick? I was too. Here’s what I did about it.

Sick of being stuck in a rut of crap eating and poor health?  I was too.  For too long, I’d believed the lie that sickness, disease, depression, obesity and lackluster living were all just part of the life I’d grow to live.  I thought it was just in our family’s DNA.  What a crock!

Something had to change.  I had to change.

Wielding little more than a sharp knife, a couple of delicious-looking recipes and a handful of scriptures, I dove into my first 11-week intensive health initiative.  Yes, I probably should have had my head examined.  Yes, I prayed my way through those last few 10 weeks and 5 days, wondering if I’d ever make it.  No, I’ve never been the same.  

While I could write a list probably a good 39.25 miles long on all the things I’ve learned on this journey, I shall refrain and simply offer these 5 key concepts that have helped to radically change my health and that can radically improve yours too.

1. Realized it wasn’t my doctor’s job

I know this is where I tend to step on a lot of toes.  (Before it has some of you coming after me, I am not telling you not to see your doctor.  It is your right and responsibility to seek out competent healthcare and team up with well educated health professionals to accomplish your health and wellness goals.)

What I am saying is that anybody who assumes that it’s their doctor’s job to fix them (not taking the initiative to invest in their own health), is going to have a very hard time ever achieving true wellness.

It’s in taking a proactive approach that you’re going to find yourself more empowered and better equipped to live your life to its fullest.  

That’s not someone else’s job.  That’s your job.

As well educated as any physician may be, if you refuse to do what you know you should be doing, i.e., eating right, exercising, and adopting healthy lifestyle choices, there really isn’t much of anything anybody can do for you.

When we take our health as our own, personal responsibility, we are better able to team up with the right health professionals in our effort to achieve real health and wellness without the use of (or with at least minimal use of) any sort of met medication/remedies whatsoever.

2. Changed my mind a time or ten.

I believe there is a GREAT deal to be said for reassessing old ways of thinking and, where needed, giving ourselves a mental overhaul.  When we really think about it, are we willing to pay the price of poor eating?  I think not.

I used to think like a lot of people.  I thought of certain foods as “treats” until I realized that a food that would do my body as much harm as conventional eats do, isn’t really “treating” myself anyway I want to be “treated.”  

Now, I enjoy taking great delight in foods that love me back while tasting absolutely scrumptious.

I could really go on here but you can fill in your own blank.  What are some things you’ve caught yourself thinking and/or saying that you know really doesn’t align with your current health goals or line up with the kind of life you want to live?

3. I got more of the good stuff.  

Like most people, when I decided to step it up in my health, I thought I had myself covered with a simple multivitamin but soon enough learned, they ARE NOT all created equal.

I started flooding my body with the highest quality nutrition I could, emphasizing prevention over medicine.

An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

While I’m ever working to maximize my plate, I know that having something to help my family bridge the gap between the fruits and vegetables we should be eating and the ones we actually are is really helpful (let’s face it – 7-13 servings a day can sometimes get past the best of us).  

For a long time, I invested in high quality supplements boasting a broad range of vitamins and minerals.  As great as these were, I jumped off this wagon and got our family hooked up with JuicePlus+ to give my family an excellent added source of whole food nutrition.  (Mega awesome that we get it for our kids totally free.  Even more awesome that you could be getting it free for your kids too.)

In addition to JuicePlus+, we are ever working to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to every meal.  Organic isn’t always accessible or affordable but we do strive to buy organic and eat as clean as possible.

If in doubt, check the label.  Even better – focus on foods that don’t need a label.

4. Stop taking shortcuts

When was the last time you caught yourself racing to beat that other car to the spot closest to the door?

Come on… we’ve all done it.  Now, knock it off!  

Some days we’re in a REALLY big hurry and some days we’re in no hurry to get moving.  Wherever you’re at, I hope you’ll start making it a point to stop taking the easy route and look for opportunities to add movement into your day.

Yes, scheduling time to workout is great and something we should all be doing.

Still, whether you’re at the gym at 6am or not, you can and should be looking for every opportunity to challenge your body and get that blood flowing.  Don’t underestimate the benefits of taking a few extra stairs or walking a little further.

5. Made it my job to help others do the same.

You may think this one is not for you.  Maybe, maybe not.  But, don’t think that you have to start a blog or jump in to health coaching to be able to help others in achieving their health and wellness goals.  Teaming up with others is a great way to keep ourselves on point.  

You may think you’re in no shape to be helping someone else get healthy.  

I STRONGLY disagree.  

You may not be where you’d like to be but the life you live can be a great testimony to others, inspiring them to eat better and live better.   

Whether you’re just getting started or feel like you’ve been at it for eons, you really can make a huge difference in your own health and in the lives of those around you as you realize you totally can take the steps to a healthier more vibrant you!  

What steps are you taking today toward the you you want to be tomorrow?

 

Forget “Willpower.” Here’s What You Really Need.

The day was shear madness!  I had finally had enough. Stress levels were through the roof and I felt like was on the brink of flipping my e v e r – l o v i n g – l i d. Then came the overwhelm. I just couldn’t take it anymore.   

At the time I was a good way through a big health initiative but in that moment, I could care less. My hand was on the fridge as I was ready to pitch it all by the wayside to cushion the borage of emotional blows with one massive bowl of pasta that’d been stashed, unintentionally, for just such a moment.  Because, you know…nothing really chases away the worries of a stressful day quite like a face full of carbs, right?

Almost. I almost went for it but then I didn’t. I didn’t because it was in that moment, just as that lovely refrigerator light started to break free from the door, I reminded myself that the food didn’t cause the problem and it wasn’t going to fix the problem. In fact, it was only going to make me feel worse when it was all said and done. The day had been bad enough. The last thing I needed was to end it in more defeat.

How many times I’ve heard women tell me they want to eat better and live more healthfully but they just don’t have the “willpower.”  If this is you, hear me loud and clear here – IT’S NOT ABOUT WILLPOWER.  Or, as I remember hearing some time back ago – “It’s about the food but it’s not about the food.

While there a number of factors that can come into play and things that can make some food cravings more intense than others, I think one of the biggest things we’re lacking isn’t willpower, it’s perspective.

When I hear the term “willpower” the image of arm wrestling comes to mind. Are we going to sit, pushing and pulling back and forth with it or do we gather enough sense to just walk away from the table?

Have you ever wondered why some people let themselves slip into alcoholism or drug addiction?   We rack our brains, perplexed at how anyone would consume or use something they know is going to destroy their bodies and wreak havoc in their families. Come on. I mean, we know that when someone starts using that stuff it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” it’s going to come back to bite them in the rear. The chances are VERY good that it will result in sickness and/or death.

Yet many do it every day with the food and beverages we bring into our homes and think so little of it. We’re killing ourselves slowly with a fork and calling it a delight. 

You may be thinking “whoa…that’s a bit harsh…” When you think about it, is it really?  Many physicians now agree that anywhere from 70-90% of all disease could be prevented or cured through proper diet and lifestyle choices. We know, for a fact, that processed, refined, and chemically treated foods damage the gut, harm the brain, raise blood pressure, and promote diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Yet, we look away thinkin we don’t have time to be bothered with it or we don’t think that we are capable of implementing a better plan because we think it would take too much of that “willpower” stuff we’re sure we don’t have enough of.

The problem has never been the willpower.  What we’ve really needed is some better perspective, better understanding and some personal responsibility in hopping to the helm and turning that ship around.

The most pivotal moments in my health have come on the other side of me changing my mind about the food I was eating and the way I was living. I’m still ever growing here as I learn new things. {I think we should ever strive to learn and grow!} 

I think a big one here, as we gain perspective, is redefining what we call food. 

You and your family are incredible and incredibly important. Your bodies have certain needs that should and must be met through the foods you eat.  

When someone says “I just don’t have enough willpower,” what they’re really getting at is that they’ve either not fully understood the implications of how their food choices impact their lives OR that they’re still not ready to commit to eating for purpose over pleasure.

When I say you should learn to eat for purpose over pleasure, understand that that doesn’t mean you have to relegate yourself to a lifetime of eating foods you hate.  As you place the purpose (you and your family living healthful, vibrant lives) at the forefront of your decision-making process, you’re going to see a lot of changes in how you want to eat. Your body will soon love being nurtured by all the healthful foods you’re eating and your palate will change.

When you learn to eat for purpose over pleasure, you will soon enough find great pleasure in the things that feed the purpose.

In no area of our lives are we called to place pleasure at the forefront of our decisions. That is not to say we should avoid anything we enjoy. That’s just to say that it shouldn’t be the leading factor. Think about it. When pleasure (especially immediate satisfaction) is priority number one, we can make some really dumb decisions that, quite often, we only regret later. Whether we spend too much on that stupid thingy-ma-bob that just looked so cool in the store or binge on cheesecake (or pasta), we have to recognize that placing pleasure front and center in our thinking and behavior is not freedom, its recklessness.

I think this is one area where some may take me as harsh or where I’m not always fully understood in how I think or how I pray for people. It truly breaks my heart to see people, especially Jesus-loving believers, run down with sickness and disease. It hurts to see them wrestle to understand why God would want them to be sick and carry these diseases when I don’t believe that’s the issue at all. For that, I can’t pray the same way I hear so many others pray. I would never seek to diminish or question the heartfelt prayers of my brothers and sisters. As we’re talking about here, I’m merely talking about a matter of perspective.

We have a measure of responsibility in our living. It may seem fanciful to pray “God, take away my cravings for bad foods.” But we have to be willing to step to the plate (or back from it) in an effort to live the ways we know we should.  There are many factors that can come into play; many variables that can add great weight to the struggle.  We absolutely need God’s help to navigate these waters as we set out on such a quest.  I truly believe that where it’s our hearts desire to live healthfully and to live a life that brings Him glory, He is absolutely 100% there to help. Still, we have our choices to make.

Are the choices you’re making today lining up with the things you’ve been seeking God for, or the things your heart has most deeply longed for, or are they working in opposition to them?

Perspective.

Open eyes.

Understanding.

How I pray God gives us them all.

I truly believe that incredible things are before you, but, I also believe that before many of us can take hold of those things, we have to be willing to take a step back and honestly evaluate how we’re living and what/Who we’re living for. 

Make up your mind and move forward.

Don’t ponder. Don’t pace. Can the “What if’s,” the “maybe’s,” and the notion that you somehow have to muster up the power to “wrestle down” those cravings/inclinations. Yes, there may be a struggle for a time but once your mind is made up, it’s just up to you to walk it out. Soon enough, it won’t even be an issue any more and you’ll be right back on track to changing the world.

So, how about it?  What are some things that have come into light lately for you and how are those things helping you to realign your life with how you’d really love to live?