Tag Archives: diet

Spring/Summer Happiness

 

March is gone and April is here. There really is no big difference between the two months except for the change in daylight hours. It feels great to have longer hours of sunlight.

For me, slightly warmer days and more hours of sunlight often means dreaming and planning a new fitness regime. I suddenly go from planning nights of Netflixing to arranging evenings filled with physical activity.

Spring To-do List:

Train for a marathon, check.

Start P90X again, check.

Loose 110 pounds by the end of summer, check.

Go Paleo, check.

My Pinterest board becomes active again with me posting any and every article that promises to help me become the fittest, trimmest, and fastest version of myself.

My fridge is suddenly filled with superfoods: spinach, collard greens, avocados, bell peppers, and anything that can be thrown into a smoothie.

The truth is this excitement rarely lasts into the second week of April. It only takes a few days of missed workout sessions, vegetables that were left to rot due to a preference for microwavable foods, and a reminder that I have a deep-seated hatred for long distance running.

Are you a Spring and Summer time fitness dreamer? Do you make grand plans to lose weight, get fit, eat better, and then accomplish none of those dreams? I don’t have a magic solution, but I will say this. If you know you’re a Spring/Summer dreamer, be realistic. Set your goals so they are about enjoying the things you do to stay active.

Why plan for a foot race when you know you are not likely to commit to the training; instead, make a goal of getting outdoors more often. Make a goal of watching less television in the evenings and you’ll suddenly find yourself with more time to be outdoors. What you choose to do outdoors is up to you. Go for a walk, toss a frisbee or football around, or play a sport. The goal is to pick something you will enjoy doing.

A strict meal plan might not be something you care to do, especially knowing you aren’t going to stick with it. Instead, aim to eat more fruits and vegetables. When BBQ season arrives, try grilling fruit and vegetables. Chop up some fruit and keep them in the fridge instead of eating foods from the cupboard.

I wish I was the only one who makes a habit of setting unrealistic goals, but I’m not. During the summer I stay active and eat healthy meals. Not because of a strict meal plan or rigorous exercise, but because I stay true to myself.  I choose to do things that I enjoy.

My wish for you this Spring and Summer is that you will also stay true to yourself. Do you enjoy long distance running, power yoga, or jogging up and down hundreds of stairs, great. Keep doing it. If not, find another way to keep yourself fit during the most visually beautiful and warm months of the year.

Are you happy with your diet related meals and strict eating plans, good, then stick with it; if not, then make the changes that will lead you to consuming healthy foods you actually enjoy.

Moving and feeding your body should not be something that brings unhappiness to your life. You can be healthy and happy. Taking care of your body isn’t about punishment or strict regiments.

 

Reflection and Questions:

-Do you associate healthiness with unhappiness?

-What is your personal definition of ‘happy and healthy’?

-Do you believe that a person can be happy while trying to achieve a fitness or health goal?

 

 

 

 

1300 Calorie a Day: A Lesson On Gratitude

meal prayer god is good
This is one of the prayers we said regularly at school before lunch time.

I recently downloaded a well-known weight loss app and after filling in all the information I was given a maximum of 1300 calories per day. This was somewhat frightening to me because I’m used to consuming 1300 calories per meal. It’s not that I was stuffing my face all day with junk food; I was eating healthy foods the majority of the time, but I would mess up by way of portion distortion.

 

1300 calories per day might not sound like a lot of food, but it is enough food for a female who isn’t engaged in physically demanding activities such as cycling, long distance running, or other intense sports.

 

With the exception of a few hunger filled days, I have failed to stay within 1300 calories a day. I’ve been averaging around 1700 and this is probably because I can’t stand being hungry. Waking up at night to the sound of my stomach grumbling is not worth the sleep disturbance and so I haven’t been too hard on myself for not staying within the calorie limit.

 

I was at a BBQ this past weekend where a woman from a different country reminded those at the table that there were many people in the world who remained healthy while living on 1300 calories a day. She reminded us that as North Americans we often over eat and habitually consume meals that are not nutrient dense.

meals prayer bounty

After thinking about what she had to say, I realized that my struggle with beginning a low calorie program was more about my false sense of deprivation.  I kept focusing on how much I couldn’t eat instead of being happy with what I could eat.

 

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do a 1300 calorie a day program unless they needed to. What I’m doing is only for a short period of time and the calories will slowly be increased as my fitness level and weight changes. What I do recommend is taking time to engage in self-reflection about how you view food. What is it about eating the foods that God has naturally provided for us that make people feel like we’re being denied something better? Is it really a loss if we can’t or don’t eat a donut instead of a sweet carrot? If we have meat available from grass-fed cows that have consumed natural forage materials, why do people still opt for highly processed hamburger patties from fast food establishments? In a world where water is scarce for millions of people, why do we scoff at drinking water, especially from a tap?

Learning to be satisfied with eating only what your body needs is difficult for us as North Americans, but it can be done. It doesn’t necessarily mean having to enforce a caloric limit for yourself, it simply means being more realistic and thankful for the abundance of food you have. It also means remembering to be thankful to God for what He has provided for us, straight from the earth for food consumption.

meals prayer

 

Christians Don’t Have “Cheat Days”.

Junk Food Cheat Meal

Cheat: (as an intransitive verb)

1a :  to practice fraud or trickery

1b :  to violate rules dishonestly

2:  to be sexually unfaithful

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

 

 

 

Cheat meal seems to be a commonly used phrase in the world of dieting and weight loss. I go out to eat and I see people saying they are having a “cheat meal” as they proceed to order something unhealthy or highly processed from the menu. For the past several months I’ve been wondering why Christians are comfortable with the term “cheat meal”; since when is it acceptable for Christians to schedule or make time for cheating. I don’t use the term “cheat meal”, instead I say “treat meal”. When you say that you are cheating during a meal or worse, having a day of cheating; who exactly are you tricking or whose rules are you violating dishonestly?

Eph 4 29
Healthy Talk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For myself, I’m not yet at the stage where I can claim something to be a treat meal. If I eat chips, cookies, or drink pop it means that somewhere during the day I had given into food temptation. People who are well disciplined with their healthy eating lifestyle are those who have actual treat meals. The occasional unhealthy meal or snack is not going to harm a person, but when these treats become a regular part of your eating plan, they are no longer treats. If unhealthy foods are a regular part of your eating plan, I would ask why you need to refer to it as a treat.

My main concern isn’t about what people are eating for cheat or treat meals; my focus is on the terms that we use when we know that we’ve given into temptation. Cheat, bad, mistake, fail, slip, etc. Words like these are terms used to describe a feeling of defeat. As believers we need to feed our minds words of strength and encouragement. Our journey of healthy living produces resiliency over time when we learn not to label ourselves with self-defeating words.

The self-hate meal
Pretty much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone who struggles with eating well has at least one food item that is a problem. These are the foods where once you start eating them, you feel as if you can’t stop. Once the food item is gone you end up being more vulnerable to overindulging again. I do my best not to bring pop into the house and second on my list is cookies. For others they will have a different list of foods that they need to abstain from.

 

Dear fellow believers, we are not cheaters; let’s stop using that word.

My hope is that we can find a more positive term to use, one that is not self- defeating. I have become more comfortable with the following two terms: treat meal and break meal (meaning a break from your usual eating choices). Regardless of what you choose to call these times of indulgence, what you feed your body and how much of it still matters.

For further reading, linked below is a great article about cheat meals from Nia Shanks of Lift Like A Girl. http://www.niashanks.com/the-dark-side-of-cheat-days/

Here are other article about cheat meals:

http://www.leangenetics.com/the-cheat-meal/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-ways-cheat-meals-can-improve-your-body.html

 

Are you a fitness pharisee ?

THE PHARISEES OF FITNESS

food judgement  Bread is the devil

Did you know that we have pharisees in the fitness world? Yes, indeed we do! In the literal sense of the word, pharisee means separate or separated from. Who were the Pharisees as portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels? Well, they are written as a group who were obsessed with man-made rules, especially rules about what they considered to be pure and impure. These groups believed that their views and their way was right and everyone else was wrong. They looked down on others who didn’t practice and meet their moral standards. Their leaders were the most vocal in the community and whether or not you agreed with them or cared to follow their ways, they still let you know what they believed and why you should be living life according their methods.

The pharisees of health and fitness are those who I refer to as food purist bullies also known as the food police. Are you a food bully? Not sure, well my handy and unscientific questionnaire will help decide that for you.

paleo unhappy

Do you think you’re a caveman/cavewoman and eat like one? Well, that’s all good and healthy, but the real question is do you insist that your eating lifestyle is the only correct method? Do you stare down friends, co-workers and family as they place a piece of non-caveman approved food in their mouth? Do you proceed to tell them how unhealthy their food is and as a result, emotionally ruin the meal for everyone else?

Do you insist on informing everyone you encounter that eating anything other fruit, vegetables and nuts is detrimental to your health? Do you become uneasy when you enter someone’s kitchen and see them cooking food? Do you suddenly find yourself telling them to turn off the burner as you preach to them the reasons why their boiled peas are now useless?

carbs_are_of_the_devil

Do you go around telling everyone that you don’t eat carbs? That you are somehow miraculously able to stand up straight, let alone lift weights without having consumed any carbs what-so-ever? Do you have a bad habit of telling everyone at the lunch table how many carbs are in everything they are about to eat? Do you have carb envy, you know, that look that you get when you see a well-toned and fit person happily eating carbs while talking about their latest half-marathon stats? You don’t know what look I’m talking about; well, those of us who consume carbs are well aware of that look 🙂

I could give many more examples of fitness pharisees; just because you didn’t make the list of examples in this blog post, you still know who you are! LOL!

health nut

Question:

Are you a fitness pharisee? Let us not take our health pursuits to the extreme level that New Testament Pharisees took with religion. We are not here to create rules about health that make taking care of ourselves become a soulless, spiritually void list of value-based duties. If you’ve found a method which works for you, then great, stick to it, but at the risk of being a stumbling block and discouragement for others; don’t insist that your healthy way is better than someone else’s  healthy lifestyle.

Pharisee

The wholistic goal of health and wellness is to take care of what God has created. We are God’s creation and He expects us to take care of ourselves. Body, Mind and Spirit is what we are made of. God does not want us to be a hindrance to our self or others with rules that He never created.

Application:

If you have a difficult time respecting the health and wellness choices of other healthy people (whether in your thoughts or in your actions), pray and ask God to give you a heart of peace. Pray for protection against a spirit of judgement and superiority.

Each time you feel compelled to correct or ridicule someone else’s healthy plan, please, STOP! Simply put your lifestyle approved food in your mouth and keep eating! Bon Appetit!

smiley-face-pancake