Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Long 7 Days

Hi! Well, how did you do?
A number of you embarked on the 7 Days for Spring Fitness Challenge with me & my college friends. Wasn't the week interesting?

I wonder:
-Did you eat "purely" for 7 days with only 2 "cheats"? (Mostly. I will answer this more in a minute.)
-Did you exercise for 5 days for 30 minutes each? (I only made 4.)
-Did you lose a lb. or two? (I lost 1, maybe 2 lbs. Not drastic but nice.)
-Did you tighten up? (Yes, a little.)

A few conclusions:
-Some of you have expressed how much better you feel after eating cleanly and allowing your body to breathe from the junk food it has been used to.

-This made us realize how much foreign and fake food we ingest on a daily basis, and how oftentimes we aren't eating "healthily" when we think we are.

-MANY of you have commented on how HARD THIS WAS! I agree! Around Day 5, I eased up on myself and had an extra "cheat" or two. I admit it!

This leads me to wonder why this was so difficult. I've been giving this a lot of thought! Because when I am in my normal routine, I actually LIKE to eat this way! For instance....

By Sunday night I, admittedly, was "OVER" the 7-Day Fitness Challenge. I put the challenge aside and decided to cook a meal from the heart for my husband after a long & busy weekend. I prepared a spring dinner based solely on Saturday's 30-Minute Meal with Rachael Ray episode: Delicious Spring Pea-sto with Whole Wheat Penne and Prosciutto-Wrapped Cod.

As we enjoyed our meal and kept commenting on how good it was (thanks, Rachael!), I took a good look at my plate, and it hit me. I realized that this meal was 100% "pure" according to our rules. This meal was the epitome of healthy and natural and it was delicious. Had I been trying, this meal would have been perfectly within bounds.

The irony is that when there is a RULE --no matter how good or helpful, as humans, we fixate on it. And grow to despise it. And then we begin to devise ways around it.

Just look at that card with the cat that mom sent me above. That cat is eating that salad because it is supposed to, not because it wants to (note the creepy eyes)! Somebody told that cat to go on a diet, to lower her cholesterol, to get ready for the beach, to fit back into those skinny jeans, and now the cat is belly-up to the salad bar.

BUT, all Miss Kitty can think about is, you guessed it, chocolate.

(It looks like all you can think about is chocolate, too! Caught ya.)
But what if Miss Kitty Kat didn't have eating rules to follow, a diet to keep, scales to step on, points to count? What if Miss Kitty devoted herself to her health? What if Miss Kitty actually desired the greens over the green Girl Scouts box? What is something switched inside of Miss K that caused her to turn an about-face from sugar-loving to Temple-loving?

Look, there I went.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." -I Corinthians 6:19-20

If God lives in us, and we have the privilege of offering hospitality to the Holy Spirit, why would we knowingly delight in the junk that desecrates our bodies?

I think it is as simple as the Rule Theorem (I made this one up.):
We want what we can't have. Tell someone they can't have it, and they will want it.

This is also known as the Power of Sin (I didn't make this one up.):
"The power of sin is the law." - I Corinthians 15:56

The law speaks of the Old Testament "rules" that were laid out for the nation of Israel to follow, which they of course could not keep perfectly (they flunked the 7-Day Fitness Challenge, if you will). This was all a means to humble man's prideful heart and prepare them for a Savior who came to earth to reach them. If they admitted they fell off the wagon of life (had broken the Law, sinned), they would be saved by Christ's death for them on the cross.

But this verse says that the law actually gave sin power, stirred it up. It provoked mankind, in effect, and man's sinful heart caused him to do exactly what the law said not to. "Don't lie, don't steal, don't covet your neighbor's wife." It is like telling a chocoholic on the 7 Day Fitness Challenge: "Don't eat chocolate!!!!"

So, since the law (a set of rules) can serve to bring out the rebel in us all, perhaps I set out on the Spring Fitness Challenge the wrong way. See, a rule like "Don't eat man-made or manufactured foods for a week.") draws our attention to what we can't have or can't do.
We must learn to live from the inside-out. From higher motivations of:
  • God's glory (So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31)
  • Our health (May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23)
  • Purity of life (This one is amazing!- 2 Cor. 7:1 - Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.)
So next spring--or next week for that matter--let's try a new approach. Choosing to eat well based on Him, our health, & because we want a beneficial way of life. We need motivations other than our blog friend bet we couldn't go a week without white flour and sugar. ;)

*If you struggle with overeating or an eating disorder, you may be interested in this excellent resource: Setting Captives Free. It is an online 60-day program designed to walk with you to freedom in this and many other areas (addictions to pornography, alcohol, nicotine, & more). Click here to visit their website.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Did God Make It?

Day 3 is upon us. How's it going? Have you been exercising? It is supposed to be beautiful here today. I hope to get outside!

I have been getting lots of questions:
Co-worker over the cube wall: "Can I have this Crystal Light in my water?"
Mom: "Well, I know two things God didn't make - salad dressing and butter!! What am I supposed to do?"
Kelley, college friend: "My mom, sister, and I are trying to figure out...did God make yogurt? Call me! (implied: "Soon! WE ARE HUNGRY!")

First, let's talk about yogurt. I am a huge yogurt fan, so I like to think, "yes, God made yogurt!" :) But make sure you get the kind that is not mostly sugar! Make sure you read the label because lots of yogurt contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is a No-No!

Recommendations: Dannon All-Natural (cherry is amazing). It is located with all the other bad yogurts, just begging to be noticed!! (See its halo?)

Or Stonyfield Farm's soy yogurt. You will find this one in the organic section, usually with the milk. We love this one at our house.The other big question seems to be condiments. Yes, we used a little butter on our sweet potatoes and on our veggies so far this week. No, you haven't fallen off the wagon if you did, too. For salad dressing, go for balsamic vinegar or an olive oil/vinegar combo. Another trick I love is to use cottage cheese from the salad bar as my "dressing" - it works beautifully to tie everything together. Just think outside the box!

And flavoring chemicals - I usually use artificial sweetener in my coffee, but this week I have at least tried to reduce the fake stuff by half and use the "raw sugar" (the brown packets) they have at Starbucks and other places. Little changes, people! We aren't perfect!

Have you noticed in just 3 short days how Hard this can be and how many artificial "foods" we fill our bodies with on a daily basis? Wow...

Keep at it! Don't give up if you don't do it perfectly. Keep going. This is proving to be a great experiment and challenge for me. Hopefully for you, too!

P.S. - My husband on the night of Day One. My, how hard he fell! After such a good day, too...what, with his lunch of waffle fries and sweet tea!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Let's Do It!

Here we go, Team! Today is Day One of the 7 Days for Spring Fitness Challenge. Start strong, and let us know how Day One goes!! Remember, eat natural foods - no processed foods with unrecognizable ingredients. And get outside for a walk or hit the gym for 30 minutes today.

Natural and delicious menu ideas to get you started...
Breakfast: oatmeal with honey and raisins, natural orange juice
Snack: Mixed nuts, all-natural yogurt (no high fructose corn syrup)
Lunch: Salad
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Salmon (prepared with olive oil, salt, pepper, & basil), grilled asparagus, sweet potatoes.

Let us know your encouragements, questions, or ideas!

P.S. - Is anyone else tired from the time change this weekend?? (I hope my energy level rises with exercise.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

2 Days to Say Your Good-byes

Say good-bye. Good-bye to the Thin Mints. Good-bye to the dark chocolate Easter M&M's. Good-bye to all that is sugary and chocolately and artificially energizing/hormone-relieving/mood-enhancing/sinfully delicious.

Say hello. Hello to the carrots. To the salmon. To the Greek salad with tuna. To Blueberry smoothies. Lots of thirst-quenching water. Hello to all that is pure and nutritious and naturally energizing, hormone-balancing, mood-enhancing, & perfectly delicious.

In 2 short days, we will be putting aside sugary cereals, soft drinks, white bread, even processed energy bars. We will be picking up a plate and hitting the salad bar. Picking up dumbbells and working our biceps. And picking up a new way of life for the spring.

Lots of you have expressed interest in coming along. You have two days. Clean out your frig, cabinets, and mostly, your mindset. Grocery shop for the freshest of foods, and pull out your running shoes. We will kick off the 7 Days for Spring Fitness Challenge on Monday morning, bright and early.

P.S. - If you have questions, let me know. I am no expert but maybe I can help. Or post your question so someone else may be able to help. One common question: wheat bread is not necessarily good - seek to avoid "enriched wheat flour" on the ingredient list and go for "whole-grain" instead.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

7 Days for Spring Fitness Challenge

They say the month of March comes "in like a lion, out like a lamb". It is a great analogy for the changing weather patterns that accompany the dawning of spring.

But with winter's hearty meals, holiday desserts, and lazing by the fire, many people gather an extra layer of, shall we say, (lion's) fur? Well, now that spring is fastly approaching, it is time to shed that winter coat.

Anybody else need some inspiration?? I know I do!!

To jumpstart spring, next week my college girlfriends and I are going to embark on a 7-day fitness challenge. I believe that if we focus on exercising and eating wisely for just one week, we will see noticeable improvement in our bodies, and this will be inspiration for the weeks that follow.

1 -
Exercise for 30 minutes for 5 days. Walk, jog, bicycle, do Pilates, take a class at the gym. Find something that fits into your lifestyle. Whatever you do, shake off the winter blahs and MOVE.

2 - Eat"purely". This means no processed food and no refined flour or sugar. As a general guideline, if God created it, eat lots of it. If man concocted it in a factory, steer clear.

Caveat: We'll get 2 "cheats" for the week. This means if you go to a Mexican restaurant, you will have a hard time sticking to the plan. Or if it is your best friend's birthday, enjoy the cake. You get two "passes" for the week.

More details will follow in the next few days, but for now, any takers?

Why You Haven't Heard About Our Chicago Trip Yet

Three words.


Our wedding was in November. I know, it is now March!!

We were so blessed by so many generous people. I think I have been too busy playing with all the new gifts.

Question for the married women out there:

How long did it take you to finish writing your thank you notes?

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