Saturday, June 23, 2012

Things I'm learning along the way...

Tuesday marks week 6 of my 6 week habit change challenge brought on by Scentsy's Wellness coach, Lee Leslie. How is it that depending on what you're doing, 6 weeks can either seem like eternity or the blink of an eye?
Regardless, what a change 6 weeks has brought to me and my body!
When I started the challenge, I have to say, there was a week of cranky Amanda. I wanted sugar, eating out was torture and I walked around 24/7 with a headache. I didn't like it, but it was only 6 weeks. Surely I could make it!

So this is what I've learned about all things 'habit changing' in the last 6 weeks...

We, as society, want quick fixes. We don't want to have to work too hard for what we want. Pills, potions, starving ourselves etc. have become our 'go to' ways to fix the damage we've done to our bodies. We're cheating ourselves out of lifelong health & wellness because, well, we're lazy. God has already provided a way for us to be fit, why aren't we using it?

We also like to make excuses. Lots of them. Excuses like, "I can't do it", "I can't give up fries", "I can't work out because...", "I'm a picky eater", "I love food too much", "I'm okay with being overweight" Said it before? I have. I've said all of those in fact. Quit making excuses. You're only hurting yourself. You're giving yourself permission to fail before you even begin. When you get on the scale and it doesn't move or goes up, there's no one else to blame. I'm not trying to be harsh by any means, but it's reality. When I was ready to quit making excuses, I was rewarded. Don't let yourself give in to a craving because you know you can start over the next day. Just don't eat it! I promise that you'll be reminded how not worth it that bite was when you get on the scale.

Sugar is the 'debil'. :) Okay, so not really, but wow, has my attitude towards it changed. In Coach's 6 week habit change, we're challenged to give up all white sugar for 6 weeks. Week 1 was tough, week 2 was easier, and here at week 6, I don't even care. Cookies, cakes, ice cream are not appealing. I was the girl who said 'there's no way I can give up dessert!' I loved them, but what I've learned is that it's just, if not more, addictive than caffeine. It's almost like a little drug for our bodies. That's why when you go for a little while without it, it's all you think about.
When you can get it out of your body, everything changes. I can focus better, my tummy doesn't feel heavy, I'm not sluggish or tired all the time like before, and no sugar crashes. Does this mean I'll live completely sugar free my whole life, probably not, but it is NOT my go to desire any longer. What freedom!

Water is a cure for insomnia! No, I'm not a doctor, but I would say that if you have trouble sleeping at night, start getting all your water in. Drink those 8 glasses if it's all you do all day. You'll need to go to the bathroom a lot in the beginning while your body adjusts, but when it's all settled, you will feel 1000 times better! I've always had trouble sleeping, but can drift off easily into very restful sleep which I treasure! On top of that, when I wake up, I'm up. No grogginess! I'm ready to take on the day. Gold my friends, gold!

Eating out is hard when you're taking care of yourself. End of story! But, it's not impossible. It takes planning and thinking ahead. Not listening to your stomach and making the best choices you can. When I find something I can have at a fast food or sit down restaurant, I save it in my phone so it's at my touch next time we have to eat out. I also use my MFP app which is my best friend right now! If you're not found , do it and then add me :) My username is gamjohn .

Working out really can be a stress reliever. Just ask my husband after I hide in my room for 30 min. on my elliptical when my girls are making me pull my hair out. I'm a much nicer/calmer person afterwards. You can also ask the girl in the mirror when she gets that happy sigh of relief when she see's a new number on her measuring tape. It can totally turn your day around.

Finally, eating better is not cheap or easy, but you know what? Neither am I! :)

I don't claim to have all the answers in this whole process, but what I can tell you is just how much better I feel. Inside and out. I'm proud of myself for working so hard to take care of me. You know what? THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME SELFISH! It makes me smart!

I committed myself to 6 weeks of habit changing. Besides more knowledge on how our bodies work, better sleep, a stronger body and mind, more energy, and a happy me, I am 16 lbs lighter and 24" smaller.

Would you commit yourself to 6 weeks of habit changing if those were your results?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

So there's this fish....

-"Not even a sparrow, worth only half a
penny, can fall to the ground without your
Father knowing it. And the very hairs on
your head are all numbered. So don’t be
afraid; you are more valuable to Him than
a whole flock of sparrows."
Matthew 10:29-31

Growing up in church, I've heard this verse too many times to count. Such a sweet reminder of God's care for us and yet I think sometimes, I don't appreciate it as much as I should. Or maybe understand is a better word.
That was until I learned about a fish.

While watching National Geographic randomly the other day, I learned about the 'Splashing Tetra'. My guess is you've probably never heard of it. I certainly hadn't.
Something unique to the Splashing Tetra is that when it's time to lay their eggs, an amazing thing happens.
The female swims next to the male, somewhat attaching herself to his side, and together they jump out of the water, in the air, attaching themselves to a leaf. It's there that the female lays her eggs and the mall fertilizes them and then they both fall back into the water. Pretty neat, right? But wait!
Once the eggs are laid, the momma Tetra swims away while daddy stays in the water directly under the leaf. For 2 days, daddy spends his time using his tail to flip water up onto the leaf to make sure babies stay nice and wet. That's all he does. With a whip of his tail, water shoots into the air covering his little ones until they're ready to hatch. After the 2 days are over, daddy flips his tail for a final time and the water droplets help the newly hatched 'fry' gently fall into the waters below to begin their new lives. (Here's a little video just for fun... Splashing Tetra )

I just thought it was too neat! The more I sat and thought about these crafty little fish, the more that verse from Matthew kept creeping in.
We know He watches the sparrows and not one falls from the sky without Him knowing. They are His creation and He loves them, but what really made me understand His infinite love, was this little fish. God loves this little fish so much that He didn't just create it to swim and lay eggs on the bottom of the pond hoping everything works out and babies come. He cared so much for these fish that He created in them a unique way to do this. He also created in this daddy fish a 'knowledge' to stay there so the eggs wouldn't dry out and die. A fish!!!

So if our great, amazing Creator cared so much about the 'Splashing Tetra' that He makes a way to meet their tiny little fishy needs, we have no room to doubt anything less for our own lives and every teenie tiny aspect of it. Nothing is out of the realm of God's love and passion for us!

God is ever present. God is healer. God is provider. God is comfort. God is peace. God is faithful. God is loving. God is counselor. God is teacher. God is mine. God is YOURS! He loves you. He really, truly loves you.

So while I'm thankful for that sweet verse in Matthew and God's reminder of His care for us through the sparrow, I'm even more thankful today for the little fish and what they taught me about God's care of each one of us.

Today, if you're struggling with something, remember that you have a great big God who desires to be there to meet your needs. He's waiting to listen and ready to move on the scene. NOTHING is too small! NOTHING!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Preparing your praise report...

I was lying in bed last night thinking of all sorts of crazy things. The biggest roadblock to many nights of great sleep is my ever wandering mind. It's so hard to just get it to stop.
However, last night all my thoughts were filled with good stuff. Things I was thankful for, people I admired, wishes for my girls' futures, what I hope my spirit shows others in my daily walk and other things. I thought about how blessed I am and how God will bless us in our futures.
We had a guest speaker at church last night who's message is certainly what spurred this thought process. He spoke about claiming healing and blessings in our lives and thanking and praising now for what's to come. It brought me back to an experience I had with God and I'd love to share it with you.
About 6 years ago, my mom, after her own mom experienced breast cancer, found lumps in her breast and was going to be having a procedure to remove them and check for cancer. I was terrified. My grandmother had a double mastectomy, lost all her hair and the thought of my mom going through the same thing was scary. I can't even imagine how she felt.
The night before her procedure, I couldn't sleep. Again, I was eyes wide open because my mind was going a million miles a minute. What happens if it is cancer? What if she has to have chemo? How will my brother and sister feel? How will she feel? What will I be able to do to help? Question after question after question. I sat there crying from fear. Then, I started to pray.
It was then that I experienced what I think was my first real hearing of God's voice. It was clear as day. It was sweet, calming, full of peace. At first, it was for me to just be silent. So I did. I sat and waited. Then, in that same sweet clear voice He said, 'Prepare your praise report!'
Prepare your praise report. Yep. That's what He said and in that moment, I understood exactly what He meant. It was written on my heart and has been ever since. Instead of sitting there worrying in fear about 'what ifs', He simply wanted me to to prepare the praise report that I would be sharing with everyone I knew when everything turned out okay. And that's exactly what I did. I prepared my praise report.
A few days later, the test results were in and the masses were benign and you'd better believe that the next Sunday I popped myself right up and delivered the already prepared report of praise! God was good, is good and my mom would be alright.
Since that time, I've shared this with others who are going through a struggle or are waiting for their blessing to come. We already have victory people! It's already been paid for, it is already ours. We just have to claim it, believe it and prepare that praise report for WHEN it comes, not IF it comes. That is the truest definition of faith in God's will for you.
So, as I laid in bed going through all those thoughts last night, I made a list of 'praise report preparations' that I will thank God for each and every night and then again after the come to fruition. Some are short term desires and some are long term (like my children's own desire to love and follow God and them finding spouses who love Him as they do).
I want to encourage you to do the same. Thank God now and prepare praise for what you don't see. Thank God now and prepare praise for the desires of your heart and their own coming to life. Thank God now for His abounding love and desire to bless YOU!