Stuck in the Vicious Cycle…Again

Recently, I dealt with some emotional distress and I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle.  You know the one – where you find yourself

Dealing with an emotional/physical problem

Eating comfort food

Sleeping more than normal

Not exercising

Gaining weight

Reinforced laziness

After a week of this, you find yourself 5-7 or maybe even 10 pounds heavier than normal!  Am I right?

I wrote about this vicious cycle in a previous post, but I want to remind you (and myself) of how important it is to GET OUT OF THAT CYCLE AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

One of the biggest reasons we need to exercise is to take away stress and anxiety.  Most of the time, I don’t even realize I am stressed or anxious until I start exercising and feel how tight my muscles are, especially around my jaw and face (where I have been clenching my teeth).  Clenching and grinding are signs of inner turmoil, like anxiety – see this article.  Once your emotional stress has been knocked out with exercise, your physical cravings for sleep and comfort food will diminish, and you will be able to return to your normal diet and sleep schedule.  Your emotional issue may not be completely gone, but at least you will have the mental strength to deal with it in a positive way.

Another sure way of knowing that exercise is just what we needed is the natural high we experience post-workout.  Personally, I am happy and optimistic, I feel emotionally stable again, and I feel like I can handle whatever today throws at me!

As far as dealing with emotional eating, I can only refer you to this article by WebMD and tell you that I was on #4 for the past week.  I was (at one point) 10 pounds over my goal weight this past week.  Once again, my scale was a useful tool in helping me gauge my progress on this journey.  I realized I was WAY off course and needed to get back to what works for me: walking 3 miles 3 times a week, eating a plant-based diet, and getting off the couch!

We are all affected by an emotional or physical issue that hinders us from gaining forward motion in pursuit of our healthy goals.  It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.  It is my sincere hope that when you are faced with an emotional or physical issue, you will remember some of these words of encouragement.  We’ve all been there.  But the sooner you get off the couch and back to your routine, the sooner you will blast out of that vicious cycle that keeps you down and out.

Best wishes to you as you make progress on your mental/physical/health journey.

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5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight

If someone told me losing weight was as easy as eating plants, I would have started a lot sooner than I did.

If someone told me I would feel better if I cut out bread, meats, and dairy from my diet, I would have done so a lot sooner than I did.

If someone had told me I would CONTINUE to lose weight, even when I ate foods that weren’t good for me, just because my diet was plant-based, I would have done so a lot sooner than I did.

Photo by webmd.com

Photo by webmd.com

These five easy steps are what I wish I had known 30 lbs ago:

1.) CUT IT OUT.  Eliminate red meats, sausages, pork, poultry, then chicken, tuna, and seafood.  Go one at a time.  Then cut out white breads/pastas of all kinds, especially the ones with sugar and preservatives.  Then get rid of dairy products, which are full of fat and hard on the digestive system.  Immediately stop consuming foods with artificial flavors or colors (like sodas), anything processed or fried, anything full of fat (I had to stop making pies because my pie crust recipe used Crisco), and anything with unpronounceable ingredients.  If you can’t find it in nature, don’t eat it. Click here to tweet this

2.) ADD PLANTS TO YOUR DIET.  Any kind of plant – green leafies, cooked carrots, beans of all kinds, fresh or frozen berries, nuts, seeds, and LOTS of fruit.   These are your cancer-fighters, your blood pressure lowering soldiers, your blood sugar stabilizers…you get the idea.  Your body will function so much better once you get on a plant-based diet.

3.) Exercise when you can, but aim for 3 times per week.  I was able to walk 3 miles 3 times a week and saw tremendous changes in my muscles and body shape.  Besides just feeling good, you will LOOK good, too!

4.) Don’t count calories.  Forget about how many points something gets or is this on so-and-so plan.  Just eat plants and get rid of all the other junk in our American diet.

5.) Don’t obsess.  This is a journey, not a destination, so there is no race to the finish.  Food is made to serve you, not the other way around.  It’s designed to make our bodies function so we can live LIFE.  You won’t be perfect every day, so accept that.  Give yourself some grace.  Stick to the 80/20 rule if you are going to splurge – 80% of what you should eat (plants) and 20% of what you WANT to eat.  Losing weight and eating whole foods can become a “god;” an idol; an obsession that your life revolves around and distances you from  your loved ones.  God never intended food to be divisive – see THIS ARTICLE from someone who shared her own journey from food idolatry (shared with permission from the author).  There are more important things in life than food.

If someone had told me losing weight was easy, I would have started on this journey a whole lot sooner. Click here to tweet this I hope this has helped you make progress toward your healthy goals.  If you know someone who has struggled with their weight and wants to learn more, please pass this on!  Let’s all help each other make progress toward our health goals.

Top 10 Benefits of Exercise

My Top 10 Favorite Benefits of Exercising:
10.) Loosens stiff muscles
9.) Improves circulation throughout my entire body, eliminating my restless leg problem at night
8.) Increases creativity (I’m writing this while stretching after a workout!)
7.) Improves memory
6.) Releases stress
5.) Instantly makes me smile again (I didn’t know I frowned so much!)
4.) Improves spinal alignment
3.) Reminds me to love my body in a society that teaches girls to hate their bodies
2.) Increases my self-esteem
1.) Burns off the calories from those chocolate chip cookies I ate last night!!

What’s your favorite reason to run (or walk or bike or exercise…)?

Good luck as you make progress toward your healthy goals today!

Want To Boost Self-Esteem After Weight Loss? Sell Your Clothes!

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One of the best things about losing weight on the Eat to Live plan is how great I feel. I feel better physically, but I also have a higher level of self-esteem.

One surefire way to boost that self-esteem: SELL YOUR FAT PANTS! Originally, I was going to list them on eBay, on our store’s page, JMS Music (@JMSMusicStore on Twitter), but I actually found a buyer for them before the auctions even began!

I was surprised at how therapeutic it was for me to take pictures of my clothes, write descriptions about them, and determine a value for them as I listed them for sale. I also couldn’t believe that it was not long ago when I remember those buttons being a little snug, or which shirt I had to wear with those pants because they were too tight in the rear end, and etc.

What was REALLY freeing was looking at the tags, listing these size 12 pants, knowing I’ll get to go shopping for SIZE 8 PANTS very soon! FOUR PANTS SIZES. That’s how much girth I’ve lost…and that was BEFORE I got pregnant and had a baby!

Sorry if this sounds like a brag post, but I wanted to share how much my self-esteem has increased through this process. I hope you are or will experience similar things on your journey toward health and wellness.

Exercise Alert: The Vicious Cycle to Avoid

Have you ever noticed how the more you do, the more you want to do, especially when it comes to exercising? The opposite is true, too: the less you do, the less you want to do. It’s a vicious cycle.

I had to break myself out of the cycle this morning. When my 14-month-old was getting ready to take her morning nap, I felt my own bed calling to me. I was lethargic, tired, and grumpy. I hadn’t slept well for the past 3 nights. I had not done my walking in 4 days. And I consumed about six pieces of cake in over the weekend.

So I could either take a nap and hope to feel better, or I could exercise and definitely feel better. I’m SO glad I chose to walk this morning!

I love how Leslie talks about the health benefits of walking. She is so right-as soon as you start your walk, you start feeling happier and better able to deal with stress.

The next time you are faced with the choice of doing something sedentary vs. something active, BREAK THE VICIOUS CYLE and choose the activity. Your whole body will thank you!

5 Ways To Gain 5 Pounds in 7 Days

As you know, I try to make good food choices as part of my own progress toward a healthy body. Sometimes, however, I fail miserably.

Last week, we went on a trip to San Antonio, where my husband and I attend an annual convention. I’ve done this trip 16 times now, and yet I still haven’t figured out how to stay on track with eating and exercising.

So here’s what I did to gain what must be at least 5 pounds in the last week (the battery on my digital scale is broken…I don’t know the actual amount of weight gained…just guessing!):

1.) Eat pizza with lots of cheese and a white flour crust.
2.) Don’t take fitness walks.
3.) Eat fried chicken at least twice.
4.) Neglect drinking enough water to stay hydrated.
5.) Put ranch dressing on every salad you eat.

Obviously, this is all tongue-in-cheek. I hope you will choose the OPPOSITE of these 5 things above to help you LOSE weight on your journey toward health and wellness. Good luck as you make progress toward your healthy goals!

One Good Thing

Just a quick reminder to do one good thing for your body today!

Here are some simple suggestions: Drink one more glass of water.  Eat one less cookie.  Walk one more mile.  Stay outside and play five more minutes.  Drink one less glass of wine.  Eat one more piece of fresh fruit.  Switch out your potato chips for a trail mix of nuts, seeds, and raisins.  Exchange your coke/soda/pop for unsweetened tea or water.

What one good thing will you do for your body today?

Beat The Winter Blues

If you are like me, you may be suffering from mild depression right now.  You may even be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The dead of winter is difficult for me to feel happy, energized, and successful.  I have the tendency to hibernate – not leaving my house for days at a time, curled up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. 

Obviously, hibernating does not help me reach any of my healthy goals: staying active, eating right, and maintaining good mental health.

There are some things I MUST do to feel like myself again this time of year:

1.) Reach out.  Call a friend, volunteer your time, go to church, visit a neighbor.  Doing something for someone else always makes me feel better about life.

2.) Get moving!  It’s time to get out of the recliner and exercise!  Pop in  your favorite Walk at Home DVD (I love this one – Radio Mixes: Walk to the Hits!), lace up those shoes, and get moving!  Instant stress reducer!  See my top 10 benefits of exercise here.

3.) Do something fun for YOU.  Go to a bookstore, go have coffee with a friend, paint a picture, photograph something beautiful, dig in the dirt, play with a child – whatever makes you happy (that’s not harmful to your body!).

I hope these things will help you beat these winter blues.  Let’s keep making progress toward those healthy goals!

Take A Fitness Walk

To quote @LeslieWalks, “every time you take a fitness walk, you are choosing to move toward your healthy goals!”

Leslie’s DVDs help me and thousands of others every single day. There are wonderful resources on her website, http://www.walkathome.com, if you don’t own any of her videos.

Blessings as you make progress toward your healthy goals today!