The Social Media Lies

There is a world outside of the internet. Beyond the stream of uncensored information. An endless stream I’ve become addicted to checking in on.

Before I’m out of bed I’m checking my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’ve allowed it to dictate my emotions, causing me to believe in the lie I’m not cared for.

I’ve allowed twitter feeds to play on my emotions, causing me to be blinded with anger at the state of the world.

Most of all it has distracted me from the truth of Jesus.

It’s not that these things are bad. It’s good to be informed and aware of the world around me. But what isn’t good is my getting caught up in other people’s reactions. Yep, I’m a comment section ghost. Reading what other ppl write in order to judge them. It sounds like a harsh assessment but it’s the truth.

I forget I am just as fallible and am too judged

These platforms are great for engaging with people. But we must not allow for it to become a substitute for creating and caring for relationships. I know I’ve allowed it , my perception through the social media lens to affect my relationships. I have even compared the number of likes a friend’s post had against my own. Seeing that as some kind of yard stick of how cared for I am.

I forgot in those times that I am loved by God.

Developing this awareness is a first step. I’ve made sure to fill my time with other pursuits. Reading more books, calling or texting people. There are still days where I’ll realize most of my day had been spent scrolling through my various social media feeds.

I have been sold the idea that for me to matter I must have a voice on the internet. But that’s a lie. Because I am more than my social media imprint. It’s good to have a voice, good to engage with the world.

And it’s also good to understand the reality of social media. I am a commodity on those platforms.

But greater than that I am loved and cared for by God.

Six Healthy Life Lessons

Six years ago I off the proverbial couch and began my health journey. I’ve learned and am actually still learning so much! In honor of being a healthier person I’m writing of my top six lessons.

1- Don’t expect that losing weight will fix everything in your life.

This was a hard one for me to understand. I believed that lie of “if only”. You know the one, where we say if only_______ will solve our issues. I believed losing weight would mean an end to my singleness & lead to a more exciting life. What I didn’t understand is that getting healthy was more about taking care of my body & not a reward for doing so.

2- Everyone Has An Opinion

Seriously, everyone has one and won’t hesitate to tell you. When I began my journey, people were quick to tell me what I was doing wrong or they could never do it etc. Some of this is good advice, some of it blarney. Take all of it with a grain of salt. What worked for their third cousin won’t necessarily work for you.

3- Have Grace For Yourself

When starting something new there is excitement and we go all gung ho! My whole world became exercising twice a day six to seven days a week. For over a year I went hard with my workout routine. I believed another lie that this was the ONLY way to be. Guess what? It wasn’t sustainable and after a while I fell into a slump of not exercising. Which lead to beating myself up. I’ve learned to accept the ebbs and flows of life. I had to learn that work outs did not need to be my whole life.

4- Don’t Allow Permissiveness

On the other side of spectrum, allowing new habits to fall by the wayside can happen if allowed. I’ve been there, going from working out and then dropping off from doing anything. Something I didn’t believe would ever happen. But it did. Getting back into a workout routine was hard. I try not to allow myself to fall out of the habit by being more flexible. I work at planning the week ahead and looking at my commitments. Some weeks are more successful than others.

5- It’s Not The Food, It’s The Attitude

Often food can be demonized. One of the biggest lies out there is that there is bad food. When in reality, it’s the attitude and consumption of it. I can tend to seek out food for comfort. In fact I’m a recovering binge eater. My attitude towards keeps evolving in a good direction. I’ve come to a point with food where I’m much happier. At times I say no to the office cake and at others times no. Having a healthy attitude towards food means enjoying food but not allowing it to control me.

6- Love Your Body

Today I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom as I headed out to the pool. And I smiled at myself because not only did I feel good but I liked the image reflected back at me. It’s taken me a long time to get to this place. I love my body not because it’s at the “perfect ” weight, or shape. I love my body because I better understand who I am. Mind, body and spirit have learned to embrace imperfections. To love my body for what it is and for what it can do. Getting to this place has been hard. It has meant that I’ve had to let go of lifelong lessons imposed upon me throughout my life. I’ve learned to cease comparing myself to other women. By doing so this has allowed for such freedom. My body has carried me through 38 years and Lord Willing will continue for many more. Learning to love my body is one of healthiest lessons I’ve learned.

Behind The Why of Fitness

This time of year is a boon for the fitness industry. People decide to take care of their health and in droves join gyms, subscribe to a new eating plan and at some point in the month all enthusiasm is lost.

If you feel stuck or discouraged right now, take a moment to reassess. Find out your Why behind wanting to do it. Understanding the reason behind wanting to be healthy will help you succeed. Write it down, tell a friend. Doing so will help to stay on track.

It’s something I didn’t think through when I began my health journey six years ago. Though I had lost weight and achieved many goals physically I was still searching for my Why. As the years go on it keeps evolving. At the heart of it I want to avoid the health issues that my family tends to have.

But there are other things playing out. I believed that being thin would equal happiness. But instead it lead to an obsession with the amount of calories consumed or freaking out about getting workouts done.

I wasn’t able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I had believed the lie that being thin would mean acceptance. My Why had been skewed.

What I had missed was that God made it possible for me to be healthy not for my own glory but His. I still miss it. Losing weight was needed, dealing with the compliments and attention was hard to get past. Because then it becomes all about the outside. The pressure I placed on myself then became I need to maintain this weight for acceptance. To not disappoint others.

I had to admit that a lot of my motivation was external. In hopes of being the right kind of person that would be loved. I longed for the compliments about losing weight. When I didn’t hear them as much it meant I had failed somehow.

In this journey I had to confront these motivations. As I did so, the pressure to be perfect began to fall away. My Why today is different from my Why if yesterday. Today I try to workout consistently and eat well not to gain admiration but to care for myself. Plus it’s a habit that keeps me balanced, physically, mentally and spiritually.

The Why is just as important as how one goes about being healthy.

Wholly Reintroduction

In my previous post I wrote about my Whole 30 journey. After thirty days of pulling back from dairy, legumes, sugar and grains it’s time to reintroduce it all. I learned from my friends to not go out and stuff my face with ALL THE FOOD!

My stomach would not respond well to that to say the least.

So I began the process of introducing each of the foods one by one. The better to see how each of them affect me. I began with legumes, the next week were gluten free grains, dairy and finally grains.

I reintroduced dairy and grains in the same week. I had gotten away from as much meal prep and my job got busier. What I noticed most is that I feel heavier when I become full. These foods especially grains tend to sit in my stomach. Making me feel uncomfortable. There was one morning where I bought a breakfast sandwich. It felt like a brick sitting in my stomach.

Doing Whole 30 taught me a lot about food and my eating habits. The reintroduction showed me that how sugar sneaks into my diet. Whole 30 gives me a base to return to again and again.

As the demands of my job and life have increased I have fallen off the wagon so to speak. Once my life settles down a bit I plan on another reset. I now have the tools to better what triggers me ( HELLO STRESS!) and choosing the easy options.

I have struggled with my relationship with food most of my life. Whole 30 isn’t a cure all but it has given me the tools to use in the future.

Yet Another Whole 30 Post

I first heard about Whole 30 from friends who were doing it. And I thought it was nuts! Why in the world would anyone WANT to do this thing? Removing all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar from your daily diet. How much work is that?!

You know what? It is nuts. I admit that. It is alot of work to put into food. Where usually there is minimal thought put into what goes into my mouth. The time I learned about this program I was not in a place to participate.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself joining a group of friends in a FB group. The intention was to encourage each other through the group and meet weekly for a pot luck. Well, we managaged one pot luck at the start of September. Then Hurricane Irma blew through my hometown and my Whole30 Journey.

Promising myself that I would finish what I started, I began again ( somewhat on my own) in late October. I finished my 30 days just before Thanksgiving. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about cooking ( that my skills in this area have come a long way) and I enjoyed eating it. This was crucial to being successfull. Food is meant to be enjoyable.

Thanks to my friends who are veterns at Whole 30 I got some great advice that helped me along the way.

1- Figure out the Why behind doing it. Everyone has a different reason for trying it out. My why was to see if I could do it but also to better understand my relationship with food. This is an area that I have had trouble getting a handle on.

2-Figure a time that works for your life. This is 30 days of a lot of cooking, planning what you will cook, how you will eat. Seriously, if you wake up each day not knowing what Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be then you will fail for sure. Double up on recipes, you can portion it out, freeze some for later etc.

3- Prepare to stock up your pantry ( I suggest start getting things a few weeks out so you don’t end up having to spend a lot all at once). Some of the items can be pricey but worth it, especially the Light Tasting Virgin Oil, Coconut Aminos, Dates. I did not buy all the oils because I could not afford it. For instance for some recipes I substituted apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Ghee I used a few times and hardly used the coconut oil.

4- Prepare your loved ones. They will need to understand there will be some limitations to what you eat ( especially for family gatherings). But also let people you live with know whats up. You will need space in the fridge and pantry for your food. You do not however need to tell everyone. Face it when the work place donut, cake, pizza comes around all I had to do was say No Thank You. Or as my boss persisted in offering me food I found saying I had eaten sufficed.

5- Get a support system. The FB group fell apart after the craziness of the storm but I still had a few friends I checked in with through out my journey. For other questions I googled Whole 30 forums. As always accountability helps to achieve goals. Having to report where I was at made me want to succeed even more.

6- Read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig. This helped prepare myself mentally.

7- Have grace for yourself. You will forget to read all the ingrediants, realize that meal planning was only enough to get to halfway through the week. OR life will happen and you aren’t able to continue.

I am by no means an expert on Whole 30, and I am sure there are those out there who would say I did this or that wrong ( which I am sure I did). But I did my best, I enjoyed cooking and trying new things out. I am now in the reintroduction phase ( more on this later). But I now feel as if I have a foundation to return to when I find myself getting off the rails. That to me is the most important thing.

Grief

My Five Year Check In

Five years ago I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle. In that time I learned that my body is capable of so much more than I had ever believed. I learned how to eat healthier and how to have a new mindset when it came to food. Exercise, once alien to me became near second nature. Dropping the weight was exciting, scary and hard. Hard not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well.

On my walk/run the other day I began to think about my journey. Five years ago, I was in the best physical health of my entire life. Mentally and spiritually however I was a mess. So much of the why I was doing it had to do with my desire for approval from others. Deep in my heart I believed that being loved and accepted meant meeting other peoples idea of who I should be. That by not meeting those ideas, I was a failure.

Losing weight revealed a lot of things that God wanted to shake me free from. It has been more than learning how to care for my body in a better way. It also been letting go of so much that I held onto over the years. Food and being overweight hid so much I hoped to keep hidden. Losing weight, being left without a place to hide left me vulnerable.

I got down to what was supposed to be my optimal weight but I was also miserable. For the most part I did not feel as if my body belonged to me. Today, I’m not at that optimal weight and I am so much happier. I am happy with my eating habits ( some days are better than others) and exercise routine. It has taken me these five years to get here too.

There were and are places I needed to grow, to learn, to be cared for in order to get to this place I’m at now. A much healthier place, physically, spiritually and mentally. I’m still a bit of a mess, but I know in the mess, God is there with me. Losing weight has long term consequences, not only what can be seen but what happens internally. Happiness does not come from the numbers on a scale, or a label size but where one is at on the journey. This is a journey I will be on for the rest of my life.

Girl Running

My Best Frienemy is Running

Running has been my best friend and my frienemy. My longenst on again, off again relationship thus far. Becoming a runner was not anything I had ever envisoned for myself over four years ago. It was by far the most convienent and accessable form of exercise for me. I only needed a good pair of shoes and a nearby park to do it. It also helped to have a buddy at the time also running alongside me, pushing me to run one more lap, then another. Running has taught me that so much, which is why it has become the habit I quite can’t quit. I go through phases of going hard at it, not quite the six days a week habit I had four years ago. Today it looks more like three maybe four days a week, but still I’m getting out there.

Other times it looks like ghosting. I ignore the reasons I need to run and end up doing nothing. There have been times when I have used my work schedule as a reason for not doing it, but the truth is I simply did not want to run. But I need it.

Running keeps me physically and mentally healthy. A good morning run not only starts my body off well but my mind. It helps to wake me up and prepare my mind for the day. Running for me can be medidative. In this I mean nothing else is going through my mind is getting through it.( That and the lyrics from the Hamilton musical and Mix tape).

It is cost effective. As I stated above all you really need is a good pair of sneakers to run. No gym membership fee needed. I can run solo or with a group ( something I haven’t been able to do yet but hope to soon) and those are free too.

I enjoy it. Despite how I sometimes dread going, I don’t want to get out of bed. Or after a long day the last thing I want to is go home to run or work out. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it at all.

I’m also in a different state of mind about being healthy. For a time it became so all encompasing for me that I could think of nothing else. At some point it became too much for me mentally that I had to figure this out again. And again and again as my life has changed over time. I have less time for the intensive six day a week work outs but I can still get in a good run or a short but intense workout.

Tomorrow morning I shall put on my running shoes and clothes, turn on my app, press play on Hamiliton and go!