I hope you all had a wonderful time pampering yourselves and are enjoying fixing up a little more for the men in your lives! I don't have a whole lot to say this time around ; (making up for last time!) we ended up spending much of our meeting laughing,chatting, swapping birthing experiences and just fellowshipping with some bits of wisdom exchanged here and there. To all who attended, I really enjoyed hanging out with you all!
As i mentioned last month, this time we're going to spend some time talking about appearances with regards to weight and physical fitness. This is the area of our looks that takes the most amount of work and discipline, but things that are important generally do. I want to stress the fact that your health, vitality, energy, and longevity are infinitely more important than anything else we've discussed on this topic so far. You can look pretty all you want, but you need to be able to do so while you are active and engaged with your family - not on the sidelines. A healthy body - weight and fitness wise, is essential to this. If this is an area of stress and turmoil for you, let me say this; anyone can lose weight at any time. Always. There is hope! You just have to find your body's key. Here are my top tips for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight:
-Water only. A cup of coffee in the morning (or two...) is one thing, (just take it easy on the cream and sugar!)but cut out all other beverages with the exception of herbal teas. I personally know several people who have lost 10+ lbs. in a couple of weeks just by following this rule.
-Raw Fooding I am a huge proponent of eating "in the raw". I think it is truly closest to what God intended for us .Think about the garden of Eden - no stoves or microwaves there! Adam and Eve ate food only in the form that it came out of the ground or off the tree in. Now for all of you thinking that raw fooding means salads three times a day, let me assure you, i would in no way be a fan if this were the case! The world of raw foods is broad and diverse and incredibly delicious. I ate exclusively raw for a couple of months after my first and second pregnancies to get rid of those last 7 lbs that like to try and hang around. I consistently lost a pound+ per week. Now, i will say that this way of eating is a lifestyle and it certainly has it's challenges. For one, it's more expensive.Two, it can be more labor intensive, and three, it's not as easy to get the rest of the family involved. That said, it's still a a super healthy way of life and one that i highly recommend checking out, if at least to try and add more raw, unprocessed/cooked foods to your regular diet. Every little bit helps! A really simple, no fuss way to try this out on a small scale is....
- Smoothie/Salad Diet. I use the word "diet" lightly, because i don't believe that you have to diet to lose weight, you just need to change your eating habits. I love this method of doing so. Have a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a regular dinner. You can mix it up too, regular breakfast, smoothie lunch and salad dinner, however you want, as long as only one of your meals is processed, cooked food. After my third pregnancy, Michael and i both did this for about three months and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think one of the things that i appreciated most about it was not ever having to think about what i was going to fix for two out of the three meals we would be consuming throughout the day. It's quick, fresh, and the possibilities for changing it up are endless. Here are a few of my favorite smoothie ingredients:
*Hemp seeds - full blend of omega 3,6, + 9 fatty acids, 11 grams of protein in just 3 Tbsps, the list goes on and on. Also a nice addition to throw into yogurt, cereal, or granola/bars.
*Kale - i never make a smoothie without kale.There's just no excuse! The perfect way to get in another serving of those dark leafy greens that most of of hate. Full of vitamins and minerals, and completely undetectable taste wise in a smoothie. I buy mine already veined and chopped and freeze it for easier blending and longer product life. Spinach is also a mild tasting addition.
*Maca Powder - i talked a bit about this in "The Woman of Song of Solomon". An adaptogen, supporting the endocrine system to help your body combat stress, fight fatigue, boost stamina and libido.Putting it in a smoothie is a super easy way to get it down if you can't handle mixing it with plain liquid.
For liquids i may use coconut water, raw yogurt, raw milk or a little bit of juice, depending on the flavor i want. For extra protein i may add almonds, hemp protein powder or a raw egg. NOTE: Please do not do this with eggs from the supermarket! It is dangerous! Less for the bacteria within the egg itself and more because of the chemicals those eggs have been dipped in and may have seeped through the shell. I am only comfortable doing this because i raise my own chickens and collect my own eggs. I know what the hens are eating and how the eggs have been handled.
-Weekends Only Desserts Rule. Ok, so i admit it, this has been more of a theoretical rule at my house lately than a literal one , but in my defense, i have a Dairy Queen, Cookout, Harris Teeter, and Chickfila all within a stone's throw of my house. (no, i mean literally, i can walk to them.ALL of them. AT ANY TIME.) But, it is a great rule. When i eat healthy all week long, i can indulge in some ice cream or homemade cookies over the weekend without feeling guilty. It's like my reward and i feel good when i earn it rightfully. I'm not a prude however, and i do frequently have dark chocolate around the house to help curb those 10pm sweet tooth cravings. Hey, it lowers your risk of heart disease...
-The Master Cleanse. I was very much opposed to this method of cleansing until i really did my research.It's legit my friends! Michael and i did it earlier in the year, him for weight loss and myself for cleansing. If you're unfamiliar with the cleanse, it's a cocktail of water, fresh lemon juice, grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, and it is your sole sustenance for as long as you choose. You drink is all throughout the day, whenever you feel hungry, with only water and maybe a laxative tea in addition. It cleanses, detoxifies, and flushes the whole body and can help shed a few pounds in the process. (some of which is water weight and toxic build up) The lemon and cayenne work on your gut while the syrup provides you with the necessary caloric and nutrient intake. Our plan was to go for the full 10 days, which is the recommended base. We made it through the evening of day 6, at which point my body clearly said, "ok, it's time to stop" and we began to reintegrate some raw foods. Michael lost a total of 9lbs and was visibly healthier and cleaner. It was like a layer of sponge had been removed from under the skin on his face! I lost about 4+ lbs ( i wasn't trying to lose weight at the time) and my relationship to food was completely revolutionized. It was like the way i thought about food - my brain, the knowing how i wanted to eat, knowing what was best for me, and how i felt about food - my heart/stomach, what i actually wanted to eat, what i craved, had finally been aligned. Over all it was a great experience in multiple ways (this is also a great way to fast and still be able to function) and i plan on doing it on a regular basis just to keep that alignment.
As for physical fitness, i personally prefer outdoor activities, and just a generally active lifestyle to going to the gym. I wasn't always that way though. I used to be in on the stairclimber or treadmill and weight machines 4 times a week, or taking high intensity kick boxing classes at the local gym. But as i started to learn more about whole living and got more into natural things, i found that my desire to go and pump iron was greatly diminished. See, my motivation had been based in vanity. I wanted to look a certain way. Now that my emphasis is on being healthy, i find that things like taking the girls for a walk in the stroller, family hikes, gardening,kayaking etc., are much more motivating and fulfilling. ( and as a side, it just so happens that i am happier with my body now than i ever have been!) Find something that fits into your life, not something that disrupts it. And, find something that you enjoy. This is critical if you want to make it a habit. Running is great for you. You build lean muscle, burn calories, increase your cardiovascular strength, your endurance, blah blah blah, but I. HATE. RUNNING. I would just about rather chew glass than strap on a pair of tennis shoes and jog anywhere. I have tried to start running several times, with different partners and at different times in my life, and have never been able to settle into it because i just don't enjoy it. If you have the choice to do something that you know is good for you, verses something you like, pleasure usually wins out over will power. But if the choice is between something that is good for you that you enjoy, and something neutral that you enjoy.......I love to dance and do yoga. I am a member of One Heart Yoga in downtown Varina where i have a work/trade agreement for a free membership. They have a variety of classes and instructors and the owners are a sweet young couple who love Jesus. I used to hate the very idea of yoga and i am not naturally very flexible, but the stress relief , restorative, and relaxation benefits are phenomenal, not to mention it's a great workout! There are a surprising number of free resources available online as well, one that i like is doyogaiwithme.com . I don't love all the instructors and methods, but what i do like is the ability to customize your practice. You can filter the videos by length of practice, intensity, instructor, method, and purpose. So if you only have 15 mins and you want to relieve some back and neck tension, you don't have to surf through hundreds of clips to do that. Plus, it's free and you can do it at home, anytime, and with anybody if you want!
In the end, don't be discouraged.Don't beat yourself up. If a healthier, leaner body is something you're after, Keep at it. Get support. Reward yourself! I decided that after i got back down to my pre baby weight after each pregnancy, i would buy myself one nice piece of pretty lingerie. Just the discipline will help your self esteem, and one good choice will lead to another. And remember that to our husbands, much of the time it's the effort that's important as much as the results. This man echoes that sentiment in regards to weight loss:
" My wife is trying to slim down right now and it makes me feel like a million bucks. I know she's doing it for herself, but the fact that she cares about the way she looks is a total turn on if you want to know the truth..."
So, that's all for now ladies, thanks for reading and i hope to see you at the meeting next month where we'll be discussing how to keep our husbands a priority amongst many small, needy, completely dependent children, fixing three meals a day for said offspring, and a house that for some reason, won't clean itself :). Love and Blessings.....Georgia