241 Journey Evolution

whole wellnessWhen I began my journey many years ago, this blog was a diary of sorts. It was a permanent copy for me to look back on for motivation and encouragement. The type of end goal that I am pursuing is a long term one. There are many areas of stronghold that have to be conquered before the REAL work is able to begin, and this blog helps to show that there is true work being done.

In the beginning, my focus was solely weight related. What I did not realize was the beginning would go further back than that. It took a while of research and trial and error to learn that the fat that had collected on my body was only a small part to a much bigger problem, so I set out to identify the components of that bigger problem.

As I have learned new things and overcome obstacles, I have made changes here to put into practice what I have learned. I am not merely physical. I have known that my whole life, but it has taken me years to see that my focus was all wrong. I was looking at the a symptom instead of the problem.

Now, my focus will be a multi-prong approach. You will see posts on physical, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual here. For me, spiritual is the core. I had allowed myself to get so wrapped up in the other prongs that I had neglected the spiritual aspect of my life. As I kept following the trail from my symptom back–like following a power cord to its source–I found my God and Savior that I had put on the back burner. When I reconnected with the ultimate power source, my focus changed. Now, I am whole. I am able to see how I got here. It was like being nearly blind and being given the glasses that I had misplaced.

241 Journey is a whole life journey. It is a journey to complete growth and understanding. We are complex creatures. If there is an area of your life that hasn’t been receiving your complete focus, it is time to find balance. It is my pleasure to have you along for that journey. You will find the categories continue to change and be added to in order to organize the information available here. You may even find that the page will change in design from time to time as I find the best fit. Just hang in there with me.

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The Never Before Update

As of September 28, 2015, I have been working my spiritual, emotional, nutritional, and physical self. This holistic approach is what I believe is necessary for my goals to be fully realized.

God has been so good to make this process simple for me. I am a highly analytical person, so I have that personality type (A) that makes you want to overdo everything. I look for ways to make something that should be simple, hard. Yep. That’s me. I don’t need a 12 step program to overcome my bondage–I need God. He has been revealing to me through many different ways that simplicity is all that is necessary. While faith without works is dead, works doesn’t have to be insane and it should free you not bind you.

CharissaSo, I joined my local YMCA, which I TOTALLY love!! I had plans to use the pool primarily and not the gym, and I’m using the gym primarily and not the pool (yet). It’s interesting how God works things out. I have an awesome trainer, Charissa Dixon, who has already helped me so much before even beginning to work with me. This was a God thing, too. A relative of hers from my church had suggested that I work with her. By divine appointment, she’s the one that was in when I came by unannounced to join. While I felt no obligation to work with her as a trainer, after talking with her, I immediately felt a connection. I am expecting great things!

I use ActivTrax (through the YMCA) to develop my workout that I follow on my iPhone, and I get in the gym daily and hit it hard. I don’t hold back. When I walk in, I walk in feeling like I belong there, instead of feeling like I need to hide, shameful of my size. God delivered me of that, too!! There is no shame in Jesus’ name and His unstoppable love! I now realize that my body represents years of energy that hasn’t been used. It had to be stored somewhere! Well now, I am wearing myself out every day. I am burning that energy! And even though it’s just been two weeks, I can see a difference in the photos below–especially around my neck and face–that’s encouraging.

I have gotten messages from people stating that I have encouraged their own personal journey. If you’ve followed my blog very long at all, you know how happy that makes me. Knowing that I encourage others motivates me to continue for them and myself. I know what it feels like to be alone in a pursuit. Even if you don’t workout side by side, sharing posts and encouragement joins your two journeys together. I love being able to share with others how God is working in and through me and introducing them to His Son, Jesus. Without Jesus, none of what I do would be worth it at all. The liberty that comes through my relationship with Jesus is what ultimately frees me from all worldly bondage and allows me to see the truth of the matter. The comfort that I receive from the Holy Spirit helps me to overcome any negativity that may try to rise up in me. Praise God, I’m FREE!! And I can feel that in my body as well as in my spirit.

I pray that those who follow this blog will find that same freedom. If you would talk more about your journey, please message me. I look forward to hearing from you, and pray that God blesses each one of you!

week2

Baby Steps to Eating Healthy

Continuing my series on Transforming in a Fat Prejudiced Society, today’s post is how to make baby steps to eating healthy. In July 2014, I completed my 1st round of Whole30 which is babystepsvery simply eating meat, vegetables and fruit in their most natural state, which means eliminating foods with added ingredients  (see graphic at right–Whole30 Nos).

This experience was awesome, but for me, 30 days wasn’t long enough to keep me on the straight and narrow beyond 4 months. Christmas time, which is difficult for most everyone, totally killed my weight loss for the year, and I realized that sugar was indeed my enemy, along with dairy which is a big time trigger food group for me.

I’m now 90 days into my plan to implement this for the entire year and maybe the rest of my life. Again, I didn’t just wake up for my first baby step and conquer this (although I do believe if you’re really fed up, you may be able to, so don’t restrict yourself. It’s always worth a try! You can do anything for 30 days, right?).

All of that being said, this was a process. I’ve been working on modifying my behavior over the course of years and have been successful doing it. The behavior changes didn’t result in weight loss, but they did result in control over food options. Now, to share how I did that.

It’s really very simple. You are ready for change emotionally. You are ready, right? You’re ready to give the effort? Or are you just wanting change to come without your effort because that only exists in really bad infommercials, and none of that is for sale here. This is for the person who is ready for change. Sick to death of feeling like you do emotionally and physically. Yes, you! You’re ready!! You can do this!!

So the very simple step is to not buy anything in a package. Of course everything comes in packages, so let me clarify. If it went through a “process” to be edible, then don’t buy it. At this phase, if I wanted lasagna, I made it. Macaroni? I made it from scratch. If it is worth having, it is worth you making it yourself. What? You can’t cook?? No excuse. YouTube exists! Blogs exist. You can find step by steps everywhere on the web now. So you have NO excuse for not being able to cook. Don’t want to cook?? Then consider a raw food diet. That is actually a very viable option. Check it out.

This step made shopping very easy. I skipped all of the prepackaged meals and sides. I bought the ingredients necessary to make the items I wanted. My cooking skill improved. There are lots of healthy eating resources out there for free recipes online. People just love sharing what they’ve cooked and how they did it. I personally love the Clean Eating Magazine. The great part about this is almost all of these resources are on FB, too, so you can combine this step along with the previous step of making your environment positive. Add the healthier FB pages and unfollow those that aren’t healthy, so it isn’t in your face how to create a tripe chocolate, oreo cookie, peanut butter, chocolate whopper, dessert because honestly, who needs any one of those items much less all of them in the same dish?!

So, back when I was taking my first step toward healthier eating for me and my family, my shopping buggy was full of items like milk, cheese (although processed–that’s a different process than what I’m referring to) and juice. I skipped all the aisles with crackers and cookies and went straight to the canned fruit and vegetables. I bought fruit in it’s own juice instead of syrup. I bought plain canned vegetables without anything else added other than salt. I then went to the pastas and bought angel hair pasta because it’s quicker to cook. I do prefer the brand that is made with vegetables, so I suggest those. It is a healthier option.

I did eat beans and rice at the time (although I do not now). Choose Basmati or Jasmine rice, they have a lower glycemic impact. Use real butter instead of margarine and eliminate items with added sugar as much as you can begin doing. Of course, the next step is meat. Get it from the meat department. Fresh meat, no added seasonings because they almost always include sugar or brown sugar.

Add your own spices and be careful–many of them have added sugar and flavor boosters that border on addictive. Stick with simple spices that when added together are awesome like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Thai seasoning free of sugar, there are many options out there. Just be sure to get the unsalted options because you’ll add salt also to make your mix, and you don’t want it to be too much salt.

Finish up in produce and bread. While I don’t eat bread now, I did choose breads higher in grains. They are really good. I was eating the 12-14 whole grain option, and it was really good, but baby step up to that if you need to. Look for bread options that say no high fructose corn syrup and low in sugar.

Have a blast in the produce department. You may be walking into this area for the first time in your life. What? You mean that squash doesn’t come already sliced and frozen when it’s born? 😉 Now don’t get me wrong. Frozen is ok, too. I actually forgot this aisle. This does help in prep time and makes cooking faster. Totally ok as long as it doesn’t come in sauces. Just raw veggies or fruit, frozen.

I do encourage you to get some fresh produce and begin adding it to your meal plan. Potatoes, white and sweet. Squash and zucchini. Spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, everything you need for your salad. I’m from the south, so those are my go to veggies, but there may be other options where you live. Eat what is in season because it will have the most flavor. As far as fruit, have fun with it, but be careful with those that have a higher natural sugar content. They can sabotage your weight loss goals. Eat them in moderation–those are grapes, apples, and really ripe bananas. Eat plenty of citrus and berries. They are lower in fructose. Enjoy nuts in moderation. Eat them in their raw state. You’ll be shocked just how awesome they taste! Be careful for peanuts, many people have allergies to peanuts an don’t even realize it. If you have gut troubles, eliminate beans (not string beans) and peanuts.

So that is your first shopping trip of eliminating processed foods. There are no canned meals or boxed meals in your shopping buggy. You’re reading labels and avoiding anything that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. Some items may have sugar as an ingredient lower on the list, and that’s ok for this baby step phase with the plan to eventually buy only items free of sugar.

You can totally do this. You’re going to feel very good about yourself and so good about your improved cooking skills. You’re even going to see that you’re having fun. I would love to share more of what I’ve learned about cooking and preparing healthy food, so if there is a place that you would like for me to start, please comment. Let me know what types of food you like, and I will show you how you can do it at home. Hey, I’m all about simple and fast. I don’t do the long elaborate recipes, so I’m not expecting that of you either. So what would you like to see?

Come back soon. I will be writing on the next big phase that you may want to join me on. It’s called #Fit30. I will be writing on it this weekend. Don’t miss it!

Live in the Positive Zone

My second elaboration post from my article on being successful in a fat prejudiced society encourages you to live in the positive zone. What is the positive zone? It is anywhere there are positive messages and positive people. It is a zone that you create for yourself in your mind and in those you surround yourself with.

1. Positive messages.
voice in your head a liarThe messages around people with a lot of weight to lose are grossly negative. It is very easy to be demotivated and even sabotaged by such negative messages, so be intentionally positive. Find positive messages that inspire you to work past the negative. Pin them on Pinterest for easy access.  Find them on Twitter. Share them on Facebook. Wake in the morning to positive messages, and before you sleep at night, end with positive messages.

2. Positive people
Margie no photoYou know the type of people I am talking about. The ones that just seem to have “found it.” They have found the way to be excited about any type of success in health and nutrition or in mind and spirit. Surround yourself with those people. By the same, rid your life of negative energy that will zap your life of anything positive. They are bad for your health! Make changes where changes need to be. Sometimes, we set ourselves up for failure because of the places we decide to frequent. Think it through. Does it make you excited to be in this phase of your life? If not, change.

3. Social Media
Over the course of a year, I have gone through a major purging of social media. I started with things that would trip me, like Food Porn. What is food porn? You know what it is. Those photos that float around social media that you “Share,” “Pin,” and “Tweet” because they look so incredible you want to look at them over and over again. Those meals that you have no intention of making, but you want to dream about them. They are kryptonite! I’m not saying you have to do completely without good looking food, but I do have suggestions.

Make your social media outlets all healthy food friendly. While you are working on getting your physical person healthy, this may require you “unfollowing” some friends. I have friends who I love to death. They are still my friends on all social media outlets, but I have unfollowed their posts because they haven’t reached the same point I have in eliminating food porn. If they tag me in a post, then I will see they are talking to me, but otherwise, I check out their profile to see what’s going on with them. It keeps me updated without having images pop up in my face at times when I may be vulnerable.

4. Follow Positive Blogs
Just like this blog, follow positive blogs that will encourage you every day. Be careful. Some blogs may appear to encourage you to be a better version of yourself health wise, but may in reality be a negative venting blog for someone who is trying to make their way to being positive. I know what that is like because my blog started out that way, but then I realized that positive-in equals positive-out. I’ve constantly made changes, and will probably continue to make changes. We aren’t growing if we aren’t changing.

I hope you found this post to be very positive and motivating. I ask you to share it with your friends. Maybe you’re already in a healthy place in your life. I am sure you have friends who could really use this advice, so please share it across all social media platforms. You’ll find the sharing links at the bottom of each post. I also encourage you to comment. Let me know how you’re doing on your journey. Until then, may you find much about your day to smile about!

Transforming In A Fat Prejudiced Society

Transforming in a fat prejudiced society is not an emotionally simple task. In the United States (and perhaps even worse elsewhere), people are judged by the condition of their body. Not even the true condition of their body, but the visual condition of their body. If you are small, you’re typically considered more attractive or desirable and healthy than if you’re large (there are some exceptions of course).

So how does someone who has 100, 200, 300 lbs to lose stay encouraged and motivated in a society that judges them on the basis of their body? For years, the demotivating stare of others would speak volumes to me. They may not have even been thinking about me, but the stare would communicate to me negative things that caused me to resort to behaviors that would comfort me. Eating was one of those because when someone has an eating disorder (and obviously you do when you have large numbers to lose), you seek silence while eating. You hide. This is dangerous behavior and one of the first ones that needs to go for your success.

Here are my top ways of transforming in a fat prejudiced society:

1. Join or create a small support group of people who will cheer you on and who you can cheer on.

2. Be proud of your journey. Find motivating messages on t-shirts and on social media.

3. Shop healthy. Cut all the bad stuff. Shopping healthy is one of the most motivating and empowering experiences I’ve ever experienced!

4. Smile at those who are looking at you. Look at them directly in their eyes and smile your beautiful smile. Let them see the beauty inside you.

5. Stop all negative self-talk (even in your head). Don’t assume others are thinking the worst about you.

I will write on each of these topics individually in the future because there’s more that can be said about each of them. If you have a suggestion for how you positively handle transforming in a fat prejudiced society, I would love to hear from you. You’ll find the comments link on the left of the article.

Let your inner beauty shine through.You may even have to do a little work, find it, and dust it off because you haven’t even appreciated your inner beauty in a long time. If you have problems with finding that beauty, you message me. I’ll help you get there.

Making Temporary Changes Lifelong

When I tried the food elimination program Whole30, I had no plans in making temporary changes lifelong. Since that first stint in July 2014, I have completed 2 consecutive Whole30 rounds, and I am on my third round. What started out as “I can do anything for 30 days,” resulted in the beginning of behavior change. I realized after Christmas that I would need longer than 30 days to make this something that will be with me the rest of my life.

My New Year’s Resolution would be to complete 3 consecutive Whole30 stints. I am now starting week 2 of my third round. The behavior change is deeply engrained now. I must admit that my husband joining me in this challenge has definitely helped me throughout this process. His excitement about the results continually reminds me of why we are doing what we’re doing.

I have no desire to change anything, which is good considering our goal to complete this entire year eating Whole30 with only one day a month as a break. The changes have been huge. Our behavior has changed so much that even on our off day, we are making really great choices.

GA STATE ROUTE 330, HERE I COME!!!

I want to bike or walk THIS highway because at my highest, I weighed 330 lbs. This is GA state route 330. State Route 330 is a 6.1-mile-long state highway in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Georgia. It travels through rural areas of Barrow and Jackson counties. 

I want to give something else with the numbers 330 my attention–that would positively impact my life. It’s in north GA, so there would be inclines too. I am WAY out of shape. I may have to walk it first, and it may take me all day to do it, but it’s a goal. I need to just consider my time frame.

How would you go about preparing for such a goal? I’m thinking I need to plan it to be during a cooler time, so that gives me some time to prepare my body. I guess one good thing to do would be to go up there and drive it to see what I need to be expecting.

Yeah, ROAD TRIP!!!