With some hesitation, I started the latest Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study this week, reading Limitless Life by Derwin Gray. I considered skipping this study because life is so busy right now and I couldn’t keep up with the last study. But my P31 group leader emailed last week and asked me if I was planning to participate. As I started to type ‘no’, my response to her somehow ended up as a yes. (Pretty sure it was a nudge from God.)

Limitless Life is all about labels – characteristics embedded and internalized on our soul over time. Fear. Failure. Addict. Orphan. Those are just a few from the book. Perhaps the labels are self-imposed or labels others have given us. These labels may be stopping you or me from doing God’s will, fulfilling His plan for our lives and living life to the fullest. Pastor Gray shares his own amazing testimony and then addresses the label, AFRAID, in this first chapter. Our group leader asked a question, “What is one thing you would like to accomplish before the end of this year?” What is your response to that question? I honestly don’t know the answer for me.

il_570xN.387207070_5cetRight now, I am pretty bogged down with homeschooling, potty-training, cleaning house and striving to be a good wife and mom. It feels pretty overwhelming. It’s hard for me to dream big when I’m washing and folding clothes and just trying to stay ahead of the clutter.

I love teaching TRX classes at the gym and would love to focus more on encouraging women in their health and fitness goals. I do believe God can use my health/weight loss struggles to encourage others in their own health and fitness journeys. Does that mean getting certified as a group exercise instructor, nutritionist, personal trainer, etc? All of the certifications cost several hundred dollars. My primary responsibility is still to my family, in particular homeschooling. And then I have to ask myself if my desire to get these certifications is just my way of giving my life some “definition” outside of my role as a wife and mom?

I did start looking at the group exercise certification. There is a “practical exam” as part of the certification that requires you to do a demonstration of a warm-up/program/cooldown for an examiner. I find that a little intimidating. Is fear holding me back? Maybe, and probably the cost, too. If I get the certification, how can I commit more of my time to teaching classes while homeschooling, too? I could spread myself very thin doing all the things I want to do.

As I look ahead, I pray for courage for my family and me – that we would be open to whatever God calls us to do; for my husband as he finishes up his Masters degree and figures out how God wants him to serve; for my children, to respond to God’s calling on their lives and grow up as followers of Christ; and for me, to be able to discern how God wants to use me.

15. May 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: eating, fitness, health · Tags:

IQuitSugarI’m just about halfway through the ‘I Quit Sugar’ detox program. Have I followed it exactly, without any lapses? No, but when I have gotten off track, I’ve just moved on and kept going with the program. Is the program working? I definitely think so! I did a sugar detox last fall, and I had already cut out quite a bit of added sugar before beginning this program. This program is a little more intensive than my previous week-long detox and I’m definitely seeing some positive effects from this program. I’ve been able to eliminate the sugar from my coffee, and that’s huge!

I’m currently finishing up Week Four. It became much more intense in Week Three when all sugar had to be eliminated. Up until that point, it was a gradual process – cutting back on my sugar in my coffee and reading labels. Week Three: Cold Turkey. No sugar (fructose), including fruit. (And some of you reading this may be saying to yourself – ‘no fruit. . .well, fruit is good for you – why would you eliminate fruit?’ No worries. It’s only for a few weeks. I can reintroduce blueberries in a few weeks if I want.)

The idea behind this detox is to recalibrate my taste buds and my cravings, to reset my body and break the addiction to sugar. Is sugar addictive? I definitely think so. Towards the end of Week Two, someone gave me a platter of chocolate chip cookies. I figured I would just have one. I justified it by saying to myself I am not to the point where I have to eliminate sugar completely and what’s the harm in one cookie? Well, let me just tell you – something kicked in with that one cookie and about four cookies later, I felt blah and worse than I have felt in weeks. Once I had that taste of sugar, I just wanted more and more of it. But it didn’t leave me feeling all that great in the end.

For Mother’s Day, my family took me out to my favorite dessert cafe. That was at the end of Week Three. I split a dessert with my husband. I have to say the dessert didn’t taste as good as it usually does (I still enjoyed it but it just didn’t taste the same to me). Last night, I had some ketchup. I forgot ketchup not only has the natural sugars from tomatoes but added sugar as well. When I tasted it, it was sickening sweet, almost too sweet. And I love ketchup. That’s when I realized this sugar detox is really working. My taste buds are definitely changing, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I am at in a few weeks. (There is a recipe in the ‘I Quit Sugar’ cookbook for ketchup I’m going to have to make.)

I’m planning to make a Zucchini Cheesecake today. It’s one of the recipes from the ‘I Quit Sugar’ cookbook. I’ll share a review of the recipe here after I make it.

Have you done this sugar detox program or attempted to reduce the amount of added sugar you eat? What has worked for you? I would love to hear your thoughts.

A few people have told me recently, “just look in the mirror” to see results. They tell me not to worry about the scale or body fat measurements, particularly since I have been focusing more on building muscle in the last few months. I will tell you, though, it is very difficult for me to look in the mirror and not just focus on flaws or areas I want to improve. Progress pictures have helped me, because I can look at them and see where I have changed. But I still get on the scale and track my body fat with calipers. And it really messes with my mind!

I came across an article by Nia Shanks, a Strength and Conditioning Coach, that challenged me to get a “new scale”. It’s a great article — if you also struggle with this, I would encourage you to click over and read all of it. Here is an excerpt:

“When I was in college several years ago, I took a lab class that included measuring body fat via hydrostatic weighing. My lab partner was an athlete on the University of Louisville swim team. She was lean, strong, and confident in her appearance. She had no problem putting on a swimsuit and walking around a class of about 25 individuals as she approached the tank.

A few minutes later we had the results from the test and her calculated body fat percentage was right around 20 percent. She looked horrified when she heard “20 percent body fat.” Her demeanor quickly changed, and she didn’t smile a single time for the rest of the class period.

This young athlete was all smiles before the test because she knew she looked great, and she felt strong and confident. However, the body fat percentage that was revealed quickly and drastically changed her perception. Why, all of a sudden, did she feel insecure from a number? What did it matter that she was 20 percent body fat when she felt, and looked, absolutely fantastic and performed well in her sport?” – Nia Shanks, Stop Weighing on the Scale – Why, How to Get Better Results, and a Challenge

I love the challenge she gives in the article to get a “new scale”. . .forget about the scale and body fat measurements. Instead, she encourages us to look at these areas as your guide (my comments are italicized next to Nia Shanks’ list from her blog):

  • How you look in the mirror: My advice – take progress pics so you can compare; you don’t have to share them with anyone.
  • How your clothes fit:I’ve been feeling “fat” lately because the number on the scale has gone up a few pounds, but all my clothes still fit fine and I tried on a dozen outfits today that all fit perfectly. Maybe those extra pounds are due to strength-training. . .I hope so!
  • Are you following simple, stress free nutrition guidelines? Updated September 2015: I currently follow the 21-Day Fix eating plan.
  • How you feel. Do you feel strong and healthy? Do you feel better than ever? Do you have more energy? Are you performing well in the gym, or other activities? Do you find daily tasks easier?
  • Focus on your actions. Are you eating well? Are you training consistently? Are your actions in line with your goals?
  • These aren’t necessary, but some people like to track some number. In that case, keep track of a few measurements like waist, hips, thighs, and arms.

So, are you up to the challenge? I’m going to give it a go and see what happens.

I did this workout in Boot Camp this week. It’s a challenging endurance workout. Give it a try. Just be sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks as you need. Let me know how long it takes you to complete it.

Ready, Set, Go!