Posted in CleanEats, Devotion, Encouragement, Food, FoodBlog, Foodie, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Healthy, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Paleo, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, Whole30, WorldChanger

Health is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Earlier this year I did my first Whole30. To say it has changed my life for the better would be an understatement! Since then I have done two more. Each one since I have given myself an exercise challenge as well. To better explain this I will back track a little bit. If you have seen my previous post about my health journey thus far you know that I started back in 2015.

My first change, needed to be small but mighty, and attainable (I cannot stress that part enough). Something that wouldn’t make me burnout and give up. I knew that meant I wouldn’t start at the gym, this battle started in my mindset, it started with my relationship with food. (Mind you this is before Whole30 was ever on my radar at all). I did know quite a bit about clean eating, so I started there. I stopped buying things that would cause me to keep binge and stress eating. If it is not in the house, I can’t eat it! I ate so much better and as a result, the last couple years has had ups and downs, but I naturally lost about 30 pounds!

In the Fall of last year 2017, I moved here to St. Augustine to start grad school. I’d been praying about it, knowing that the exercise part of my journey was going to have to come soon. My first term was mostly spent adjusting! I kept eating fairly well, and keeping good choices in the house. But I knew once and for all I wanted to say good bye to my bad food choices, and my addictions to sugar! So earlier this year 2018, I decided to do my first Whole30. To prove to myself, I have come a long way, that I can do anything. You can do anything for 30 days! And I did. It was such a boost of confidence, and a reachable goal that showed me truly how far I’ve come.

My second Whole30 happened about a month after the first. I decided the exercise was coming into play, but again, it needed to be attainable. I didn’t want to hate the gym. I wanted to love my body and do good things for it. Making changes doesn’t come from hating what you see and changing it, that causes burnout, sadness, and self-loathe. Making a positive change comes from loving yourself enough to do it for the betterment of your body, mind, soul, and spirit! So I decided every other day of this challenge I would do something active for at least 15 minutes! Get my heart rate up, and get my moving. I am sitting down a lot because of studying! Some days that was a workout at the beach, or the gym, or at home! I literally ran around my apartment complex one morning. But I gave myself the grace of starting small.

This last Whole30 I am finishing off as I type. We are on day 27. This time, my fitness goal was to workout everyday, with the exception of one rest day per week (I’m not a super human okay?). It was reasonable, challenging enough to where I knew I could do it. It takes planning, it also takes flexibility to my otherwise normal routines. It takes going to the store sweaty after the gym because you need to eat dinner (I am really not a fan of this, so it is expanding my comfort zone). It takes grace to know when you need a rest day, and to welcome it.

You might be saying, great Alie, cool? Why are you telling me all of this?

Well friend, because I never thought I’d be able to do this. Ever. I was weak, a slave to food. I hated the way my body looked. I was all sorts of emotions. I needed change, and didn’t know where to start. My journey started with me, I knew that I was the only one capable of making the changes. No one was going to do it for me, and they can’t. If I wanted to be healthy, I needed to give myself grace. Grace to mess up, Grace to keep going, Grace to be realistic in my goals. However, I can only give myself grace because of the grace Jesus gave us so freely. He gave so now we give. You can’t become a body builder over night. You can’t be “beach ready” in a day or two of fad dieting. I needed something sustainable. Something that would keep me going long after I felt like quitting.

I needed Jesus. It is not coincidental that everything the bible talks about relates to anything and everything you go through. I wrote another post about digging into the word of God over the past couple years and how it has changed everything. It also made me realize that apart from God I am powerless. But that through Him and for Him, I can do All Things (Philippians 4:13). I got a tank top made that says that as a constant reminder. The realization to me that everything is connected is what drives me to be better.

I was given this body to be the hands and feet of Christ. If I don’t take care of it, I might not be able to live the life that God is calling me to live. For me this is a call to be an OT. And that was a reality check my first term at Occupation Therapy school trying to do transfers. I was weak. If I continued to let my body be weak, I could not best serve my future patients. I might hurt myself trying to help them. I work out for them. It was a huge reminder when thinking about the future children I hope to have someday. All the research about unhealthy eating during pregnancy, and how it relates to the diseases, like diabetes, your child could be susceptible to is astonishing. I make healthy choices now, to steward my body for future children, and for their health. Lord willing I will have them someday! When I just feel like I can’t, I think of the reasons I am doing it, and suddenly I know I can do it, and I will. I think of my future husband, where ever he is, who ever he is. I hope that his outlook on food and nutrition will be passionate like mine. I will be a better future wife, if I take care of myself first. I can be a better person in general, if my mental health is taken care of first.

Self-care is so important. If you take one thing away from this blog post it’s this. Change comes from a place of LOVING yourself enough to do it, not hating yourself so much that you feel like you have to. Journeys to health are exactly that, journeys. It is, and will always be, an on going process. But friend, you can do it! If no one has ever told you that you can, I will. YOU CAN. YOU WILL. But remember to give yourself grace, and honest grace. Slip ups are normal, we are human, but you also need to set yourself up for success.

Start small, it is better to start small and succeed, that to shoot for the moon and fail. My first few arm workouts at the gym with machines, I had to use only the weight of the machine itself, why?? Because I have weak shoulders, and that is okay! I would start to feel self-conscious about it and then realize that it doesn’t matter because someday it won’t be this way. And I would rather start small and not hurt myself than feel the need to impress people at the gym who aren’t watching me anyways!

If you are thinking about making a change. Pray it out. Ask God where to start. Maybe you are like me and it will start with a food break up. You can do it. Or maybe you need to get back to a gym routine. You can do it. Have faith, give yourself grace, and pray your way through it. Do it for personal growth. For your future or current husband, kids, friends, clients, family. Do it for you. And most importantly do it for God. The one who gave you this body to be a vessel for His kingdom. Do it for the glory of the Lord. The one who strengthens you from the inside. You are mighty, you are loved, and you are a child of God. Friend that is always enough. Keep going. If you don’t quit you can’t lose!

One last thing, reach out. I would love to answer any questions you have, encourage you, or be a source of help in any way I can. We are all in this together! I am a huge fan of Pep talks, so if you need one holla at me!

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

-1 Timothy 4:8

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Glory, GradSchool, Healthy, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, WorldChanger

Giving Him Everything

Over the last couple years, I’ve really been honing in on what God is asking of me. What He wants my life to look like. Ultimately, just trying to readjust the sails, and focus more on Him. To mold my life to look more like Jesus. Last January, of 2017 our pastor back home preached a series titled, Will You Let God Resurrect the Dead Places? This sermon series started an avalanche of change in my heart, soul, and mind. My God dream was very obvious in many places in my life, like school/career. There was no doubt in my mind that I was moving towards the pursuit of His plan for my life. My dream in that realm is my god dream. It is everything wonderful in the world. I wouldn’t be here without His plans for me.

However, that service, and every service I attend, I like to capture one piece of something as a take away. Or more, but at least one thing to self-reflect on and check into how that applies to me. So the challenge was to ask God to clean out the dead places, seems easy enough? Think again. The last year, since that moment has gutted my heart, mind, and soul, and washed it new in ways I couldn’t imagine. There’s been trials I have walked through, ways my faith has been tested, and sadness that you only experience with a broken spirit. In that though, there is healing. There’s waiting. There’s tears. But there is so much Jesus. He is in the waiting. There is growth. Maturation. Love.

When God works on your dead places, he brings the deepest, tucked down darkest things in your being, to the light. He puts them out on display, because where there is light there can be no darkness. When you bring those places into the light the enemy can no longer take hold of them. He can’t whisper lies in to them any longer. They give him no footholds. Bringing dark places you’ve been out into the light, and washing them clean hurts, it does, but allowing God to wipe them clean, feels so good. There were things in my heart I didn’t even know were still hurting me. There were relationships I missed, ones I needed to distance from, and ones I needed to build. There was shame, and guilt from past mistakes, sin nature, and habits that were hard to kick.

I eventually got to a point, where I told God I trusted him with everything. That I was ready to move deeper into knowing him. That I wanted him to take control of my life. Then he showed me in the most gentle yet obvious manner, the last piece that stood in the way. The last chunk of my heart I still wouldn’t give him. I mean, didn’t I trust him? And if I did, why did it hurt me so bad?

Can I tell you friend, if there is pain in circumstance, that just means you’re facing it head on. It means that it is in the process of healing. It means that instead of growing numb to the world around you, you are embracing it, pain, tears, and all. Can I tell you that if there’s pain, it means that your story isn’t over. If it doesn’t look good, that better is yet to come.

We may not understand why God allows us to walk through some of the things that we do. And I sure as heck know that the hard times, sin nature, and painful moments come from the enemy, not God. But I do know that perseverance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope will never disappoint (Romans 5:3-5). I can see now that God has just wanted me all along to trust him with everything I have. To know that he is bigger than circumstances. And that no matter how I feel in that moment, that this life is only temporary. The ultimate goal is heaven, and I know that means I need to do whatever God asks of me. No matter if my emotions align with it or not. My God is bigger, he sees my life today, tomorrow, and forever. And he sees yours too. He sees you friend, and he loves you. He created you for a purpose. Have you asked him what that is, and actually wanted to know the answer?

Sometimes it isn’t comfortable, in fact He likes to get us outside of our comfort zone, so that we trust him, and learn to to grow our faith. I think we ask God things, and then when the answer isn’t something we like, we try to ask for it a different way. Giving in to the way, His way, is always better. Trust me. I had to let go of a lot of things to get where I am today. The healing process of that is still very real, very new. Some days are hard. Some days, I get so busy with school and life, that I forget how very real it is. But, my God is bigger, he loves me, me has a plan for me, and he has a future for me. And I will live my whole life believing that is true, and chasing after the one who created me.

Because He is Good Good. I want to live that Good Good Life too.

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, WorldChanger

What is the Good Good Life?

Today, I am reflecting on just how good it is to trust in God’s perfect timing. There are so many things in life that I try to grab on to, and hold white knuckle. So many things I’ve tried to control on my own, to build in my own time. They ALL falter. Only the times in my life, where the original thought was from the one who made me, are the times where plans have not only worked, but they have WORKKKKEDDD. Like a YESSSS girl kind of moment, you feel?

God is so great in that way. He doesn’t ask much of us, only that we love him with all our hearts, and love others. The beauty of that is to know him. The more I get to know him, the more I want to be in his presence, because that is where I find such peace. There I find hope, love, and grace. Forgiveness. There is no condemnation, guilt, or shame, those things all come from the enemy, and he’s not welcome in the presence of god. Can I get an AMEN.

What an amazing love that is. One that doesn’t force us to love, or pressure us into things that make us sad. But, one that is so freely given, all you have to do is show up.

Broken.

Tired.

Shame-filled.

Lonely.

Frustrated.

Confused.

And he is right there, ready to take on whatever you’re dealing with, and he already knows. Why? Because he made you. And he created you with plans to prosper you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)!

I used to hear the term “sit at the feet of Jesus” and think uh okay, how? Oh my how that has changed as I read about his love story to us. (That’s the bible in case you were wondering). How I long for the mornings I spend time with Jesus, talking to him. Asking him questions, telling him about my hopes, asking for clarity, asking for peace. My pastor at home always says “if you don’t know how to pray, talk to god about it.” It really is like talking to a friend, but it comes with practice!

How many mornings did it take to drag my butt out of bed to almost just fall asleep with my face in my bible?? SO MANY. Like probably a year or two to make it consistent…but now, I don’t rise early because I have to, friend, I NEED to. My soul needs to. I can tell if I haven’t had quiet time in the morning, because the whole day feels off.

Coffee drinkers out there (or other forms of caffeine), those mornings when you are somewhere without coffee first thing in the morning, or you wake up late and are in a rush to leave. That feeling you get when you realize it’s already noon, you have a headache, your cranky, and don’t feel quite yourself?

Well one, it’s an addiction to caffeine, oops. (The world runs on tired people y’all, just don’t grow weary)

But two, that’s exactly how my soul feels when I accidentally skipped quiet time because I over slept. Going through day without filling up with God in the morning. I get half way through my day feeling drained, like I am missing something. Something much more important than coffee! I get more grumpy in traffic, I get more judge-y to other people, who might just be having an off day too!! I’m not able to pour out the love that would normally fill my heart. I need my coffee just like I need my Jesus! Strong and first thing in the morning! Jesus and Coffee, Coffee and Jesus. Easily the best time of my whole day.

Side note I believe a lot of great conversations can happen over cups of coffee. Praise god for that!

If we were having coffee this morning and I could tell you all about the thoughts in my head, it would all boil down to this…

I’m in awe of the goodness of God. He brings me to tears of Joy almost daily! He is so good. And not only is he good, he is Good Good. God has brought me to a place in this life where I realized that I want to make the most of it, I want joy, and friendship, laughter, & love, and I want to help others do the same! I want to live The Good Good Life, because life isn’t meant to just be “good.”

You know like at church, the store, or school, this conversation….

Hey so good to see you! How’ve you been?

Good, and you?

Good!

Awkward casual small talk until you make your exit.

Friend, I’m not suggesting you tell every casual acquaintance your deepest darkest secrets, or all the intimate details of what you’re dealing with! My point is that life wasn’t meant to just be good. It was meant to be Good Good.

I firmly believe that is the mission that God has put on my heart, to learn and live. It doesn’t mean bad times don’t happen, but it sure does make them easier to face with a god who never leaves.

Are you living The Good Good Life?

Do you want to?

He loves you friend, and he wants you to live loved too!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”

-2 Timothy 4:7-

XOXO,

Alie

 

 

 

Posted in CleanEats, Devotion, Encouragement, Food, FoodBlog, Foodie, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Healthy, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Paleo, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, Whole30, WorldChanger

Even the Best Choices Can be Hard

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High School Me: Senior Pics 

I want to talk to y’all a little bit about my clean eating journey thus far, so that involves taking it way back about six (ish) years ago to when I was in high school and still living at home. My parents just decided that in the house we were going full on Paleo. They were doing a 30 day challenge at the gym they attended, so by way of them, we were too. My mom being the rule follower she was threw away EVERYTHING that was not Paleo! At this point in my life I wasn’t too affected because I worked at Domino’s, had a car, made my own money, and could thus buy my own snacks/meals. So naturally we had the “healthy” food at home, and I went on my merry way. Then, I left for college.

 

At this point, I didn’t use much dairy at home, only what I consumed outside the house. (I also knew good choices, and didn’t care) I stopped being involved in dance senior year, so the gym and physical activity was on me! I lived in a dorm on an unlimited meal plan, and ate whatever, whenever. I always knew I had issues with stress eating, and turn to food for a sense of comfort. The first semester in college challenged me in so many ways, it was rough, so I turned to what I know, food. But it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I started not liking who I saw in the mirror. It didn’t look like me. Food wise, I still didn’t drink milk, but I ate pretty much all the other dairy products, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc. I love veggies and fruits, and I had seen my family go through some pretty drastic changes diet wise, so I knew how to prepare and choose good things. I just didn’t. And when I did, all the bad things I was eating far out weighed the good.

It wasn’t until I realized that if something was going to change, it would have to start with me. That as an “adult” the person who had to tell me “NO” was me. Wow. It might seem simple y’all. But that was a conversation I had with myself that changed how the next few years would go. At that point, I was as heavy as I’d ever been. Didn’t work out much. Even if I did though, I was making myself sick with food. Binge/stress eating things. I would make myself disgusted with the amount of food I could consume. There’s even sometimes where if I ate multiples of something I’d tuck the wrappers in random places in the trash so it didn’t look like I had so many that day (3 granola bars? Hide the wrappers strategically).

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Spring 2015

I had a problem of turning to food for comfort, instead of turning to God. He got a hold of my heart and just made me realize. No amount of motivation to go to the gym would change the power that food had over my life. So I made a choice. The weight had added up so gradually over a few years! (How did they come so fast?!) Which means it was going to have to do the same thing in reverse. To truly fix my problem I didn’t need a gym (though the gym is great too). I couldn’t even get the motivation to get to the gym with the lack of energy I felt getting up each day. This is what I like to refer to as the sugar hangover. AKA all the junk you are putting into your body making you feel like junk in return! It makes that morning in bed feel like you never want it to end. I lost motivation, confidence, and self-worth. I did not like pictures, so there are few. But I knew they would be important for progress. So I dug up one for reference. This was about Spring 2015 at my heaviest, and somewhere I never want to be again.

 

IMG_3903So that brings me to last summer 2017, my two year mark. Two years of progress pictures. Some with way more obvious progress than others, and some not so much. Two years of learning about food, and how to make better choices. My hopes that year three of this journey will be the best yet! (The best is yet to come, am I right?) There have been months of weight gain, and readjusting. Weeks of bad eating, and months of iffy choices.

None the less, I have learned some important things thus far, I can control my eating habits, they do not control me. Through God all things are possible. I can maintain my weight without fluctuating up and down like crazy. And, it is not easy, but it is worth it!

This past August I started grad school, and that stress almost made me fall back into old eating habits. I noticed bad habits coming back after Christmas break with not watching was I was eating as closely. Luckily I am learning, caught it quick, and decided once and for all I’m going to stop allowing food to control me.

So that brings me to the last 9 days, and the next 21…

I’m in the beginning steps of a Whole 30 challenge. So far the meal prep it is not as hard as I thought it would be, considering a lot of the cooking habits were developed over time. The mental game is a whole different battle. Surprisingly enough, I am doing okay, and cravings for junk is at a low. When I do think about them, I just tell myself after the challenge is over, I’ll find one thing that really is worth it and treat myself. But, I know my challenge then lies ahead in the in between zone. Not strict whole 30 rules, but still clean eating. I’ve heavily considered making it a permanent life change. However, I think I have some more experimenting with foods that my body doesn’t tolerate first! It is all a trial and error process. So far though, it is Day 9, and I’m going strong. I feel good, I don’t eat near as much. I don’t get hunger pains like I used to, and I find myself not being overly hungry.

In addition, I know the time has come in this journey to health that very soon, I’m going to have to tie the exercise component to my lifestyle, and find one that sticks! I’m looking forward to the rest of 2018, and all that it can teach me about being healthy from the inside out. Being new to blogging, and Instagram stories have been fun for keeping me accountable, and sharing my love of food.

In order to live the Good Good Life, we have to start on the inside. I can’t do it alone, so I do it with God. He’s the best way maker. Follow his lead and he’ll take you along for the best ride. Do you wanna come live the Good Good Life too? I’m an open book.

P.S. Stay tuned for this summers progress. Here’s to hoping it’s the best yet!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”

-1 Corinthians 10:31-

XOXO,

Alie

 

 

Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love

He is in the Waiting…

Sometimes life feels lonely. You have all these people around you, yet you feel like your drowning in work, school, life. Friendship grow apart, and seem harder to keep in touch with. Waking up for an early morning gets greeted by more snooze buttons, and grows even tougher as the week goes on.

Have you had mornings/days/weeks/months like this?

The feeling where you are waiting for God to move, to show you that He is here and working. Meanwhile we are doing nothing but going going going. I have to remind myself of this often, SLOWWWW DOOWWWWNNN. Breathe. Take in this day. You only get one of these. One February 20th of 2018. There will not be another like it. If we are fortunate enough, we will see the sun rise and set tomorrow. But, that is not guaranteed.

Can I just encourage you to slow down today? Stop and smell the roses if you will. Write a list of things you are thankful for. Send a quick message to a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, remind them that you love them!

Slow down today and realize how good we have it, even in the midst of hardships. God is faithful. So good.

That coffee this morning, so good.

Quiet time with Him, so good.

That morning traffic that we face, is more time to sing to the radio, in the car that we are fortunate enough to have, so so good.

An education (that at the moment seems impossible), SO GOOD.

The new day that you get to start fresh, so good.

Friends and Family, so good.

Are you starting to see where I am going with this? It is a matter of perspective. Even on the worst day, there is something to be thankful for. Finding that spirit of Joy and excitement each day can be tough. The best way though, is to speak life over each day. Even if that means saying it out loud 50 times a day, DO IT.

Today will be a good day.

I am so thankful for another day.

God is faithful and will provide.

It is a beautiful day.

Friend, say it until you mean it. Say it until that spirit leaks from every surface of your being. Say it until you not only believe it, you feel it, and you live it.

And no, it is not easy. Sorry. I’ll be the first one to tell you how much I struggle with being happy happy all the time. Or for being annoyed at the person who is (you feel?). But y’all, when you truly get to a place where you do believe there is good in every day… It gets little easier.

It all starts in your mind, and on your lips. Speak it. Fake it till you make it.

So today, slow down, take a look at the world that is surrounding you. Take a break from that hustle and bustle and…. just be. Reflect on all of the wonderful things in life that we so easily take for granted. Don’t let the little things bog you down, let them just be little things.

Today will be a good day! God is faithful. He put you here on purpose. Rest in that. Hold on to it for dear life. He is life. He will show you.

He will help you live that Good Good Life.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is you strength.” 

-Nehemiah 8:10b-

XOXO,

Alie