The lovely lady on the front row in the pink shirt is my sweet friend Deborah. She’s a rock star. This picture was taken almost 2 years ago when she weighed 325 pounds. She now weighs 169. Seriously!! To me, she is the poster child for the concept that “fitness is 90% about diet.” Don’t get me wrong. She exercised even when it was difficult to walk half a mile on the treadmill but the magic bullet was her diet. Our friends Alycia and Jessica were instrumental in helping her realize what food was doing to her body both in her weight as well as in various ailments and diseases that she had. Deborah decided that her health was more important than the food that she loved and she completely changed her eating habits.
I also have a friend that was dangerously anorexic a few years back. She, obviously, wasn’t healthy either but has become so by eating in a way that is very similar to Deborah. They’ve never met but have both realized that what we put in our mouths is as important as how much we put in our mouths. All three of us have discovered that the best piece of advice we have heard in years is simply this…Eat whole foods and drink lots of water.
food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.
I know. People say that eating this way is impossible and costs too much money but that’s not true. Sure, it takes a bit more planning and a change in your thinking but it isn’t that hard and it’s well worth it once you discover the difference it will make in your body and how you feel. Believe it or not, you’re body will stop craving the processed foods if you’ll give it a chance to acclimate to the foods that it needs.
The truth is that most people are addicted to sugar, simple carbs (like bread), salt and preservatives. When a friend challenged me a few years ago to try the Paleo diet, my first response was, “No way! I could never give up bread.” Duh….that should have been my first clue. Not wanting to give something up is one thing, but literally feeling out of control when it comes to a certain type of food is a good indicator that you might need to get some freedom from it. Most things in our kitchens and restaurants are full of sugar, salt and preservatives that both cause us to crave them and effect or glucose levels, or organs and our minds. If it comes in a box or includes ingredients that you can’t pronounce, there are better options.
Try the 2 week challenge. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy, meat and drink water for 2 weeks. (Cut out cow dairy and grains as well if you’d like to try the Paleo way of eating or if you struggle with allergies and/or inflammation.) There are plenty of recipes online that are easy and delicious but one of our favorites is “hash”. Brown a pound of hamburger meat and any veggies in your frig in a skillet, pour a bit of water or broth over and cover until hard veggies like sweet potatoes or brussel sprouts are tender. There ya go. It’s yummy and fast and a great way of cleaning out your refrigerator. Anyway, give yourself two weeks off of sugar and processed foods, then take inventory of how you feel. If you’d rather start slow, try giving up one thing like sodas. You might have to make a grocery list for the week, cut up some fruit and package some snacks like nuts and cheese for the week or spend an extra few minutes in the kitchen each day but that’s a small price to pay for a healthy body. Have friends over for a home cooked meal this weekend or get the kids or spouse involved in helping cook. Put on some great dinner music and dance around the kitchen while you’re at it. Hey….then you get the benefit of that movement we talked about the other day as well. Score!
Most of us have no idea how tired and foggy we are because of all the crap we put in our bodies so try lots of different healthy foods. You might discover, like I did, that you hated spinach and brussel sprouts as a kid but they’re pretty good now. You might want to try being vegan, or vegetarian or paleo for a week just to see what it’s like. You might decide that eating whole foods as much as possible is sufficient. Who knows? But clean it up. Get the crap out of your diet. Drink lots of water and get lots of sleep. The point is to give your body what it needs in order to function and heal the way God designed it to and it will naturally find the size and shape that makes you feel beautiful, healthy and strong.
This is Deborah today. Amazing, isn’t she? She went from watching life from the sidelines to being right in the middle of it. In fact, she joined a mission team to the Dakotas last week and not only had a great time but was used by God to bless the people there. What we eat has a huge influence on our lives, our heath and our ability to effectively accomplish the things God wants us to accomplish. We have a lot to do and a short time in which to do it so let’s clean up our diets, get moving and enjoy every minute of this adventure we have been given.