Studying Nutrition

I finally saw Fed Up a few weeks ago, and I have to say it is one of the best documentaries I've seen. This is coming from a reformed (in the process) sugarholic. I love sugar! More specifically chocolate is my thing.  I literally ate it by the spoonfuls in the form of Nutella. Chocolate has always been the hard thing to cut out when I make lifestyle changes. I think mostly because I never really believed how bad it is for you. Bring in Fed Up. That movie was super informative, and you know I'm a sucker for conspiracies. I just thought it made a very compelling argument and they made me a believer. After doing some research myself and finding out that, yea, sugar is pretty bad for you. It was just eye opening to how much we don't know about the foods we eat, and how in the dark companies try to keep us.

It also encouraged me to keep studying nutrition. The main reason being that its something I have always struggled with, but mostly because I don't understand it. Ive heard terms like eat less, calories in vs calories out, smaller portions, but what does it all mean? I think when you understand something, you do it a lot better. Its so much more complex than saying, eat smaller portions. It matters what you put in your body, not all calories are created equal, and its not the same for everyone. Nutrition like anything else in life, is not a one size fits all. And one of the bigger reasons I want to keep studying is to hopefully help other people. In the film they follow a few kids who are obese and they go through what they eat in a day. And as easy as it would be for me to sit there and judge how those parents are letting there kids eat junk, I think a lot of them don't know. I'm reminded of how I grew up with my aunts making super fatty things, and eating sweet bread, and my mom making me eat everything on my plate. Thanks fast metabolism and my mom also forcing us to drink green smoothies (ugh). They just didn't know! Growing up Mexican, comes with a manual and fatty foods are on the top of that list. My husband likes to say that Mexicans just cook whatever taste good, they don't care about how healthy it is ( bless them, because It's good).

So how do we balance good food and food that taste good? I'm still learning that. I cant say that I have completely cut sugar out of my life. But I can say that I have cut back and I am a lot more mindful of what I eat. Its still a work in progress and I'm still learning. I have lost 7lb and there is still a lot more to go. I hope to change not only the way I eat, but the way I see food. I am my own first customer if you will. I hope to learn and change myself and in the process teach people about what they're eating. I'm really enjoying it so far,  I hope to always continue to learn about it, and teach some  people in the process.

Is comparison the thief of joy?

Is it in our nature to compare our lives? When we were children we compared things like toys. Who had the coolest, newest, loudest toy. As we got older it was popularity, in our twenties maybe it was education, or a career. It could be looks, cars, status, spirituality, success, ministry, house,                                               our children. We are constantly comparing our lives to the people around us. It seems almost impossible not to do with social media. I wonder why we post on social media at all. is it simply to share our lives with others, or is there more to it? If we were honest would our captions read more like, "I look cute here, so I wanted you to see". Or, "I'm a really good mom, look at what my kid is doing".  We post the occasional "real" picture like its suppose to be good enough to make up for hundreds of other envy inducing ones. But why is comparison so bad? I think comparison isn't necessarily bad, but often times it can lead to discontentment, and that I think, is the real thief.

I saw a picture on my IG of this incredible house! The caption read something like, "when I feel sad that our house is not that big, I look at all the progress we made". I wondered how anyone could be sad about having a house that beautiful. Then I was reminded of two things... I cant possibly know someones life based on an Instagram picture, and people who are unsatisfied, will always be unsatisfied. Thats not to say that she was. I think there are things we should be discontent with (suffering, discrimination, act of violence, ect.). But often our dissatisfaction with life is our lack of fulfillment in God. We are not finding our treasure in God, so we cant seem to find any satisfaction in our life. That is really the problem with discontentment.

Our reaction to circumstances is always a great measure of our spiritual well being. We are awesome Christians until something is required of us. How would we react if a tree fell on our house today and ruined all of our things? Would we be heartbroken? Would we be upset and angry that something like this happened? Or could we recognize that even though its a pain, its just stuff. Easier said then done, right?

How content can we truly be in our circumstances? With our life? Our children? What motivates is a good way to judge our contentment. Am I doing everything in the light of wanting to have a better house, or am I doing it for the glory of God. Am I doing things so that I can say my kids are the smartest? Or am I faithfully serving God and ministering to my children? We should be constantly questioning our motives and our hearts desires, because there are a lot of things we can fake, but contentment isn't one of them.

Weight Loss Goals

Happy Monday, everyone! I thought I would share my weight loss goals with you as well as some things I have learned that  have helped me to stay on track this time around. Like a lot of moms, it has been tough to control my weight after having kids, although I attribute the weight gain to the lack of full length mirrors in the house! No joke! We haven't had full length mirrors in our house since we've been married. Why do people own them? I guess to see how fat they look, because my clothes look exactly the same on as they do on the hanger.  So it honestly didn't hit me how much weight I had gained until I kept seeing myself in pictures and thinking, is that how big I am?

I hope to lose 50lb total by the time RJ comes back (ah thats hard for me to type). I know it seems ambitious but its completely doable. I wanted to share the biggest thing that has kept me on track so far and hope that it helps someone else who's also trying to get healthy. But, I also just want to be accountable and I know a few of you have already shared your weight loss goals. For people who are really in shape or really knowledgable this  isn't going to help or be anything new, but for those who maybe new to this, hope it helps...

Count calories! I know, so innovative. I cant stress how important this has been for me. There are so many good reasons to keep track of your calories. I always knew that the most basic thing in weight loss was burn more calories than you eat. Simple. However, even though I knew it,  I didn't understand it. Yes, the only way to lose weight is to simply burn or use more calories than you eat. So anyone can lose weight, even if you don't have a lot of time to work out. There are obviously bad and good ways to do this. Drastically cutting your calories and starving yourself would be an example of a very bad way to do this. I have been on a 1200 calorie "diet", I guess you can call it. It goes up slightly on days where I do intense workouts, but I try and maintain it in that range. So that might not seem crazy to most people, but guys, its so hard! For those who have done it, you know what I'm talking about. Here are some tips that have been keeping me on track.

Have a food journal. I do it in the form of an app called fitness pal. It sets my goals for me, adjust my calories for the days I workout, and keeps track of my nutrition intake. You would not believe how quickly 1200 calories add up, which means that I was regularly eating WELL over that. Just to give you an example....

Is that shocking to you?! There are more calories in 1 chipotle burrito than there are in a whole day worth of meals. I was shocked when I realized how quickly calories add up! I actually went to the chipotle website and typed in my meal. This doesn't include if you eat chips or if you get a drink, or if you eat ANYTHING ELSE that day! Crazy, right?! So it just goes to show how we don't understand portion control. Chipotle itself is not seemingly a bad meal, Its just a lot of food. So its important to keep track of what we eat, and I hope to eventually not need the app because it will become second nature to know how many calories are in things.

Be prepared to be hungry all the time. I am hungry ALL THE TIME. It suuuucks!! But its totally normal. You are going to be hungry. You are cutting your calories and your body is not accustom to it, it wants to eat. Drinking water helps big time, I have never had so much water in my life! It helps me to not binge eat. Just know that its ok to be hungry (not starving) and you don't have to give into it.

Withdrawals. They're real! I feel like an addict! I chew gum all the time (and i keep track of those calories too, because 20 calories in double bubble. What?! Childhood obesity, anyone?) it helps with my sugar cravings.

Don't be bored. If I manage to keep busy, I am less likely to think about food or the fact that I'm hungry. I have been doing projects like no ones business, so if i have a free moment, I'm doing something. A lot of time we associate hunger with boredom and eat just because. Making sure you have something to do will help eliminate that.

It suuuucks... Plain and simple! It sucks to cut your calories and it sucks to eat healthy. A big reason why I  failed in the past was because I wasn't mentally prepared for it to be miserable. People make weight loss seem like this awesome, healthy, cool club, and its not. Not even close. Who would choose a carrot over a donut? Who? If you said me, you're a liar. Theres a reason so many people are overweight. Its more enjoyable to eat stuff that taste good. So yes you'll see me eating a salad with no dressing, but hating every minute of it.

long term goals, not short term satisfaction. This is another tough reminder for me. I like instant results, if I weigh myself the next day and haven't immediately lost 5lb, I'm disappointed. I literally have to tell myself everyday, if you eat that today, you'll pay for it in a month. I have to deny myself today, to see results in a month. It is a process, but it will pay off. Its like they say, its a marathon, not a sprint.

It has been really awesome to just learn more about nutrition and what your body needs. I'm even taking a course on sports neutron and optimum health and hope to get certified. I don't think that being thin is the goal, but  being healthy. I'm tired of not being able to do active things because my body is so out of shape. But honestly the biggest reason for the change was my lack of self control. That has been such an annoying attribute that manifest itself in different ways in my life, the biggest being food! I have finally just had enough of being ruled by food. I don't think anyone is ready to lose weight until they seriously want to change, and sometimes it takes people a few tries, and thats ok. i think we learn something new each time.

If you made it to the end, bless you heart, that was long! But I would love to hear your weight loss goals or success stories. Share them below or email me! Thanks for the encouragement. Hope you feel it right back. We can do this! Our future self will thank us.

DIY Ring Light for under $40

I made this ring light a few weeks back, and thought I would quickly share the tutorial with you guys. Its super simple and way cheaper than buying an actual ring light which can cost anywhere from $100-$300. This tutorial has the stand included with is awesome if you're not facing a wall and need a stand. Below is the full video tutorial that explains how to make it.

Wire wreath (18 or 20in)
aluminum foil
Paper towel holder
zip ties
crazy glue
LED lights (I used 2 for the 20inch, you can get away with 1 for the 18in) (I used
Power Adapter

I think you need to watch the video to better see how to make it, connecting the lights to each other is tricky. But feel free to comment below with any questions you might have.

Happy DIYing!

The pursuit of failure...

I took a little (long) break from blogging, and I think I'm finally back! I have really missed writing. I forgot how much I love to write, Its just so innate in me. If I'm not blogging, then I am in journaling. I just enjoy putting my thoughts down and I finally feel like I'm ready to blog again. I have been what you might call soul searching. I think I had a midlife, or is it quarter life crisis? Well I wouldn't say crisis as much as a funk. I have been desperately searching for what I thought might satisfy me, and surprise surprise, nothing has. Staying home with my boys has given me the biggest identity crisis, I don't know what to do with my time that I feel is worthwhile (I know, it all sounds so terrible). As terrible as it all might sound and as much as you might be saying, I know the answer, It's just the truth about how I felt. So I had to step back from everything and just let God convict me.

I was searching for meaning, when meaning was hitting me in the face. And to your surprise it wasn't being a stay at home mom or an awesome wife, but following Jesus! You might say I already did that, but my answer was I wasn't doing it well enough. I wasn't consumed with the creator as much as I was with creation. I felt like i needed things to occupy my time, I had to "contribute" to our household, I had to be this awesome "do it all" mom. When God doesn't ask for any of those things. My efforts in the pursuit of things that didn't really matter went unsatisfied and here I was not knowing what to do with myself. And I would love to say, "thats when it hit me"... but it wasn't. I went on to chase meaningless temporal insignificant things, that alone weren't bad, but I just tried to make them the things that gave me purpose.

The process was slow but the transformation was painful. It was like God convicted me of one thing after the other. Have you ever had someone break up with you and tell you why you suck? Me either. But I imagine its something like that. You know that scene in Seinfeld where he tells her she's pretentious? I just realized how many things I was doing with an insincere heart. I would love to say, I'm all better, I have it all figured out, and life is awesome, but this is an ongoing process. It has been a combination of the right people in my life, the books I'm reading, and the amazing sermons by John Piper (that feel like a hand reaches out of my phone and slaps me in the face). I remember talking to my husband and him saying, "there she is". I didn't know what he meant by that. He explained that he sees the "old me" in there.

Y'all, when I was in high school I was on fire for God, I mean weirdly telling people all about Jesus every chance I got. I also went to a bible school because I just wanted to know everything about God. Jesus was literally life (which should not be considered weird Christian behavior). But sometime after I had Jed I felt like that was gone. If you could imagine a fire, then someone pouring water on it. When Benjamin died more water was poured, when we lived with RJs grandma, more water. When RJ went to training, more water. When we moved to NY, more water. So I was running on cinders. It was just the tiniest light that kept me going, I didn't know how to come out of it. And it took more heartache and more disappointments to finally realize that the pursuits of this world are meaningless. Not to say that I wouldn't tell you that before if you asked. I knew it, I just wasn't believing it. So I tried different momentary things to fill up my time, like projects and blogging, ministries, and activities. All of which are not bad things, just not the point. So my life might look pretty similar in most ways, but my heart is different. I'm not doing things to satisfy some empty God shaped hole, I am doing it to bring glory to God. I'm sure a year down the road I will have another epiphany about life, because thats just how sanctification works. We are constantly growing and God is constantly changing us.

The reason for the picture above is because I remember posting this years back (in college) and loving it so much. And a few weeks ago I saw it again, it was an aha moment for me. It speaks so perfectly to my soul! I  have the tendency to want to do things to prove myself. To who? I couldn't tell you. I just don't want to be what people consider a "failure". So when I read this, I am reminded that it is not in my failures that I should have fear, but in my empty pursuits.
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