The temptation for all of us is to put on a veneer, to present ourselves like everything is always perfect and we are shiny and flawless. However, this blog isn’t just about physical health. To get to the gritty issues that are involved in the health of the human heart, honesty is required. While I hope you will find my blog very encouraging to your personal fitness, it will also tell of my journey to be healthy before God in all areas. It’s a lifelong journey, isn’t it? “Sanctified” could really be defined as “made fully healthy by God.” On that note, 2014 was a hard year. Very. Did I add the word “very” yet? During one run this week, I heard God say, “You have been running away from pain. Now it’s time to run towards me.” It’s not that God wasn’t in my line of sight but that my focus has been heavily on the pain, which I believe is ok for a season but not a great place to camp out for a long time. No matter what the provenance of the personal pain, grief is normal but pitching a tent there, getting out the Smores supplies and staying there longer than a season, isn’t what is healthiest for us. God is asking me to release the past and make my focus him- his ways of handling things, his scripture which is full of life, his good plans for me, his qualities…. him. It was a pointed word but God is nothing but honest and I was grateful. My prayers as I run are still sometimes in the same vein- “help!” :)- but I am intentionally making the Lord my focus, laying the rest down. As King Hezekiah did with his letter (2nd Kings 19:14), I am spreading the hard stuff at God’s feet. Life always has its trouble; however, the biggest thing happening to us isn’t circumstances, but what is being built in our hearts. I choose a healthy heart. Moving my camp to green pastures.
“One thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Vibrant Life Diet:
Quick overview- Eat regularly (5 times a day) smaller amounts, as close to nature as possible, lots of greens, water and lean protein. Pursue an active, outdoorsy mindset.
So, have you been running? How has it gone? I would love to know! Guess what? Many friends and family told me they started this week; some ran despite years of vehement proclamations about the evils of the sport. That’s awesome!
There are two angles to how I ate to lose 50 pounds: quality and quantity. Quantity is actually a big enough subject on its own, pardon the pun, that I will broach that one next time! If you change the quality of what you eat alone, you will see a pretty immediate change in how you feel and weigh after a few weeks. Keep running and now also add in changing the quality of the food you’re eating. As far as quality of food, let me just write a broad list of rules to start with and give you a couple days worth of eating examples below. Keep in mind, as you read the “Don’t Eat” list, that I allowed myself one treat a week from this list (When I was trying to get past a weight loss plateau, I ate one treat every two weeks). Eating this way is more repetitive at first but, as you get comfortable with knowing what you’re eating, you will get more creative.
Don’t Eat List:
- No sugar
- No breads, grains, including noodles, etc.
- No cheese (Once a week-ish I will allow myself 1-2 teaspoons for a Mexican meal)
- Low Potatoes, carrots, corn (sugary naturals)- very tiny portions or leave out. I would leave out unless I had that as my fruit for the day.
- No red meat, except elk, very lean reds
- No canned or preserved goods (canned beans, chips, crackers, etc)
- No added salt (Salt can cause you not to lose as you would want to)
- No egg yolks
Do Eat List (mostly shop the fresh sections of the grocery store)
- All fresh fruit and vegetables (some with limitations, you can go pretty crazy on green veggies and salad. I ate a lot of apples this year)
- Chicken breasts are your best friends 🙂
- Elk, lean reds
- Fish (I buy the frozen Cod from Costco or Sams, defrosts in cool water in minutes)
- Protein smoothies (Will give a couple basic recipes under recipe link at the top of the blog soon)
- Water, water, water, water… Have I said it enough? This is one of the number one things you can do to improve your health and increase your weight loss. I recommend 14 cups a day. This means, set a timer, if necessary, to drink a cup every hour you are awake! Water not only fills your stomach, moves out toxins, and helps you with weight loss but it also improves your hair, skin, nails, etc. Drink water to look and feel better!
- Peanut or almond butter (in limited amounts, 1 teaspoon with celery for a snack)
- Almonds (on alternate days to peanut butter, 15 almonds for a snack, while healthy these are high in fat)
- Fat free plain greek yoghurt (watch your salt on this one. You want your potassium to always be a decent amount higher than your salt. I have half a cup with chia seeds and stevia)
- Egg whites
- Morningstar breakfast sausage (Use one with 5 egg whites and veggies to make an omelet, Morningstar is sold at Costco and King Soopers). I have three sacrifices I made during the weight loss portion of this diet, that I don’t condone as long term “healthy eating.” This is one of them. But, my goal, in the beginning, was sticking with it to lose weight. This provides a speedy breakfast protein. You have to weigh the quality of your food and decide for yourself. I will explain in later posts what I eat longer term for vibrant health.
- Oatmeal (1/2- 2/3 Cup)
- Protein bars. This is the second of those sacrifices to lose weight but not to be used long term or part of my ideal diet. Only eat protein bars that are low sodium, sugar and fat (I used Pure Protein sold at Costco, Sams and King Soopers. Chocolate chip ones are decent). No more than one a day. I use in a pinch when I have to be out and about. This is not a great, healthy choice but is one thing I had to do for busy days when out. Now that I’ve lost most of my weight, I have almost entirely cut this out. If you plan really, really well, you can skip this source of speedy protein.
- Sweet potato, brown rice or potatoes. I tend to eat the first one. If I have any of these, I have half a potato or 1/2 cup of rice with dinner. BUT, if I do this, I don’t have oatmeal for breakfast. The idea is to keep these carbs per day low. I essentially allow myself one fruit and oatmeal or one fruit and one of these at dinner.
- Alcohol- Ok, all the experts will say, “no alcohol,” because it does turn to sugar in your body. I allowed myself a limited amount of dry red wine or a beer once a week. Don’t overdo alcohol but don’t overly stress it either. Also, you won’t lose weight drinking sugary drinks, like sweet wines and Margaritas.
Well, those are the basic guidelines. What do you think? It is pretty extreme but I found that this combined with running will yield extreme results! The big idea is to eat 5 total smaller “meals” through the day (I try not to eat past 7 at night), low fat, low sodium, low sugar, low carbs in your choices, the things God clearly made are the best choices, lots of lean meats (you want regular protein to spur on your metabolism), lots and lots of greens (I eat tons of spinach and Kale), avoid salt (get used to meals without it), no sweets (except the God-made kinds- fresh pineapple, etc), and go crazy on water.
The number one thing I had to get used to at first… When you are eating more fresh foods, you will, at first, not feel as full. But, once you get used to not having that overstuffed feeling that breads and grains give you, you will not feel hungry. It doesn’t take long to get used to. If you find you aren’t full enough, stick with chicken for both lunch and dinner for awhile. Chicken fills you more than fish. You could, even, have small amounts of chicken for snacks if that helps. I don’t find I want to eat chicken that often but I had a day or two when I did it to feel full enough.
Example of 2 days of eating well:
5 Egg whites
1 Morningstar sausage
Small handful of grape tomatoes
Handful of spinach
Spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc.
1, 3-4 oz. piece of chicken breast (size of a computer mouse)
Balsalmic vinegar or lemon squeezed on top
One apple (could put 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on the slices)
Cod fried in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil, lemon squeezed on top (there is a delicious herb blend sold at Costco that doesn’t have any salt or sugar in it. I will get the name of it for the next blog).
1/2 large sweet potato plain
2/3 Cup of oatmeal
Small handful of blueberries added to it
Sometimes, I will add a couple teaspoons of whey protein and mix it in the oatmeal, Can use Stevia to sweeten -it’s a plant extract & low glycemic
Celery sticks with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
Cod with lemon squeezed on top
Spinach salad with creative veggie toppings- lemon or Balsamic on top
Grilled chicken breast
green vegetables of your choice
Remember, lean protein, green veggies and water are your best friends! I will give more interesting recipes later. This is just to get you going with healthy eating. Eating is so social, isn’t it? Plan ahead so that you can have treats when others are eating cake. For example, I will have blueberries and Stevia mixed in to a 1/2 cup of plain fat free greek yoghurt, sprinkled with chia seeds. Also, eating out is not great, although really fun, dangit! 🙂 BJs has low calorie, heathier meals on a segment of their menu. Or, consider just going out for a drink. But, any eating out involves lots of sodium and quite a bit of fat. If you have to eat out, go for salads with protein on top and request that the chicken be cooked without any seasonings/salt or for a fish meal without seasonings/ salt/crusts at all and veggies without anything added.
I cannot wait to hear how you are all doing working on your health in 2015! Keep going! Press on to the goal… The upward call of God in Christ.
So proud of you, Laurie! This is all great info, but even more inspirational is seeing you live it out. Love you inside and out. 🙂
Awwww, thank you, Tamela. Very kind. Love you too. And, MISS you!
I found a protein bar, Quest bars, that I consider to be clean enough as well as tasty enough to feel like they are a treat. They come in a variety of flavors (ironically they just came out with s’mores :)). You can get them at GNC if you have that store in Colorado (I can’t remember if they are out there or not). If not, I think I know some people order them off Amazon by the box. The protein and fiber numbers are off the charts but best part, no added sugars and no artificial sweeteners. I still limit them because I love real food too much 🙂 But I keep them handy so I never have to break my rules if I’m on the go. Love reading your writing, Laurie! Makes me feel like I’m getting to sit at Starbucks with you and have a coffee!
Thanks, Carrie! I will check them out! Really glad that it feels like we are talking over coffee; that’s exactly what I hoped. So good to hear from you.
I just want to eat pizza forever and ever!! Can I have any? And how long does it take to feel like a runner, or feel like I don’t actually hate it? Also. Beer, wine, love it. Cant imagine a life without it… Once a week you say? Aaaaahhhhhhh! I’m trying!
Mandy, Eat pizza as your treat once a week. 🙂 And, I get it- Pizza is delicious! Runner- hmm, it took me awhile. Probably at least 2-3 months of running consistently before I didn’t hate it as much and I wanted to do it. Beer and wine- I wasn’t actually that careful. Sometimes had a couple glasses a couple times a week. One of the biggest problems with having it is it makes me munchy, even if I have already eaten. I think alcohol in moderation isn’t a big deal if you are being strict on the rest.
Great job, Laurie!!! 🙂
I tagged your blog forever ago, and just got a chance to really sit down and read! I NEED to recommit to healthier eating. I have noticed that when I feel discouraged about my health, I just eat more, and that causes a spiral effect. Not gonna lie: I balked a little at the “Don’ts”. I have switched to all whole/brown grains about a year ago, but no bread at all makes me sad. This, I may need to work up the courage for! (Because I KNOW it’s worth it. Funny how closely tied our food and our comfort are!)
No bread is a tough one for sure, Rechelle. If bread is what you would miss the most, you could have a bread fest for a once a week treat during one meal. 🙂