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 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 Encouragement, Food, Hope, Life, Love

Bourbon and Believers

Yesterday, we went to the San Sebastian Winery, and the St. Augustine Distillery. Both have free tours, free samples, and stories of start up. History isn’t my thing, trust me, most of the time I could care less. However, when you mix food and drink with history. It takes on a whole new meaning for me. Learning about how things work, how they are made, why they need certain temperatures, or resting times that they do.

That, is art.

It is beautiful creating something. One of the other things you quickly notice about people who create art, is they get pleasure in watching other people enjoy their creations. Something they had part in making.

I think God thinks of his creations the same way. We are his pieces of art. Each designed with their own talents, stories, history. And I think He wants us to see each other as the beauty they were created to be. To share our passions, in hopes of making other people happy. To spread our uniqueness, so that others can enjoy it. Likewise, I think we should be enjoying the unique things others bring to the table too.

Just like the history of bourbon making, how much the grain ratios are, the temperature it has to stay at to ferment properly, and the way that the barrels have to be made to allow for the best flavor. I believe, that each person has unique needs. We each have certain things that allow us to grow, change, and develop the best we can. And that typically as we age, we get better. (Hopefully). We were designed to be that way, by the God who made us each as our own special self. The God who created the stars in the sky, and the God who formed the creatures of the land, he specially designed you. He made a place in this world, that could only be filled by you.

Now you might be wondering well…. God what do you have for me? Why am I here? What did you make me for? Or you might have known your whole life who you wanted to be, what career you wanted, and what state you’ve always wanted to live in. Beautiful thing is, is that God has a way of making his distilling process perfect for each of us. He fills each of us with a heart full of likes and dislikes. Passions and dreams. He gives each of us a purpose.

And just like the joyful feeling a distiller gets when they create the perfect bourbon, or when a winery gets the Chardonnay just right. God overjoys when we use our talents, and passions for his plan.

Being you, is a beautiful thing. You are unique. There is no one like you. You have something that only you can bring to the table. Not sure what it is? Ask Him… He is so so faithful. He’ll show you the way. I promise. Show the world the gifts God has given you, and you’ll find the joy in allowing others to see what you’ve created too.

Be the bourbon you were meant to be, no matter how long the distilling process takes you. And hey, maybe you’ll find out you weren’t meant to be a bourbon, but a vodka.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14-

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Encouragement, Food

Food worth Mentioning

So cold weather has finally decided to grace us in Florida with it’s presence. Y’all I’m SO thankful! This mean stews, and soups, and warm hearty dishes! The kind that bring comfort and warm fuzzy feelings! Not that you can’t eat hot food in every other part of the year here…. I’m just saying the ones that you feel cling to your bones! Good ole’ comfort food.

And okay, don’t judge but being that I love spaghetti, and all Italian food, in any capacity, I also know that whenever I find clean eat shortcuts to these food, it is a great day. And for those of you who know that squash is in season right now…. brings me to the next point. Use zucchini chunks in place of pasta, and your favorite meat sauce to make more a of stew feel. Italian flavors, hearty substance textures! AND it’s healthy! It is a win-win-win!

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This is zucchini, and a turkey sausage marinara sauce! YUM.

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This bad boy, is a play on Chicken Parmesan. I don’t use dairy, but to be honest I don’t miss it all that much. (Ice cream is a main exception, but they have so many alternatives now it doesn’t really matter!) Anyways, the chicken is coated in egg, and then “breaded” with flax seed meal, almond flour, and Italian seasoning (I pan toast these together to brown it and crisp it up!) I alternate pasta by using spaghetti squash, and I use whichever sauce I fancy for that day! So simple! And I have leftovers for the next day! Which is even better.

Learning to love your body with the food you put in it is such a reward. And it doesn’t have to be complicated ingredients, or yucky bland food!

“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 Encouragement, Food, Uncategorized

Smoothie Bowls and Sundays

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For the Smoothie: Blend all ingredients together, pour into a bowl.

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1 banana

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

Small handful of baby spinach

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (enough to blend to whatever consistency you prefer)

Toppings:

1 kiwi sliced

A Few chunks of frozen pineapple

Chia seeds

Flax seeds – whole

A sprinkle of frozen raspberries

ENJOY!

It is really that easy!

 

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

-Psalm 37:4-

XOXO,

Alie