However, I've been struggling lately, and it's been taking up so much of my thoughts. My attempts to eat healthy have been foiled for about a week and a half, and it's been completely due to the choices that I've made. About a month and a half ago, I decided to stop eating typical "sweet" things (i.e. cookies, desserts, etc) because I wasn't noticing a change in my belly even though I have been working out. I have seen other areas of my body change; muscles have appeared where they've never been before, yet my lower belly doesn't want to flatten. This area of my body has always been weak, so I know I have to work harder at it.
After telling my naturopath about my decision to stop eating sweets, she suggested that I try going off gluten for a while, since gluten likes to store itself in the lower abdomen. I weighed the pros and cons of this, and Jake helped me to realize that I wouldn't lose anything by trying it. If it helped, then my belly would get flatter, and if not, then at least I could say I tried something different.
Something snapped in my brain, however, and I completely overcompensated for the gluten by eating GF sweet things, ordering French fries at restaurants (since they are, after all, gluten free), and compromising my healthy eating habits in general.
After months of eating clean and enjoying the benefits of a holistically healthy lifestyle, I dropped the ball.
My brain cleverly concocted some of these excuses:
"It's a girl's night..go ahead and have seconds of ice cream. Celebrate a little. After all, it's gluten free."
"You've been eating so well for so long. You can afford to deviate this once."
Not only have my eating habits suffered, but also my exercise regime. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Jake and I have started exercising together. Traditionally, my best time for exercise has been in the morning. Jake works in the mornings, so the time we usually work out has shifted to the evening. If we leave it to the last minute, sometimes we don't end up working out at all.
Because I was feeling guilty for my eating habits, I began to blame Jake for our lack of exercise. I dared to tell him that if I didn't have to wait for him, I would be the epitome of exercisable discipline. God quickly convicted me of that line of thought, thankfully, and Jake and I decided to do better at encouraging one another to keep in shape.
Disgusted with where my mental attitude had been going lately, I decided to attack my dietary habits and go back to the meal plan that started me on this journey all those months ago. I wasn't going to be stringent about it, but I wanted to be holistic, making sure that I was getting nutrition from every possible place.
I typed up a chart, intending to put it up on my fridge to keep track of what I was eating every day. I also wanted to stop making excuses for the sugary sweets that I've been indulgent with, and start eating clean again.
That was 2 days ago.
Since then, I've eaten a sliver of pumpkin pie (which has gluten in it), made and digested a massive bowl of caramel popcorn (read about that here), and inhaled two peanut butter chocolate squares (which I had transferred to the freezer earlier last week hoping to squelch any attempt to binge).
I can now safely say that I am more determined than ever to turn this around before it controls my life again.
There are a few things I like to do when I need advice on how to manage dietary motivation and struggles.
b. Look up inspiring people/blogs online
c. Make a plan
d. Find more healthy recipes
e. Talk to Jake
I must admit, it's hard for me to start with prayer. I know that God cares about me, but sometimes I forget that He also cares for the trivial things in my life. Jesus also struggled with temptation, so He knows exactly what I'm going through. The worst thing I can do is try to overcome this without His help.
As far as the Internet goes, I don't often find encouragement online. Most of what I find/read about is all happy-happy-joy-joy, think-about-positive-thoughts, have a goal outfit, etc. None of that works for me.
Out of the blue, I found this blog, and was inspired by the last part of her About Me section:
It's an encouraging reminder for me as a Christian: the responsibility I have about caring for my body in a God-honouring way.I fully acknowledge that...the buck stops with God. He holds the trump card and everything turns on the hinge of his will. We can eat clean, plant-based foods with perfection, juice ourselves till we’re tinted orange, and run a marathon on the weekly and still get smote by a truck or some other chronic illness that claims our lives if that’s what God’s written into the score.And yet, God’s sovereignty doesn’t obviate our stewardship. We have a crucial role to play in the care and maintenance of everything we’ve been given: our cars, our houses, our families, our jobs. When something goes awry with one such possession due to negligence, our share of the blame is clear. We never (or at least shouldn't!) shake our fists at God for letting our car break down because we failed to fill the gas tank (this actually happened to me twice in a month… and it was definitely my fault). Our bodies fall under the same category of assigned stewardship, even though it seems like personal health should be God’s deal. We’ve been given a temple, God loves the body (we aren’t dualists, after all!) and He made it to do incredible things! In His thoughtful providence, He filled His creation with powerful foods to promote the health and longevity of those bodies. We just need to bring our responsibility and His resources together and allow Him do the rest!
You may not have resonated with anything I've just shared, but my heart has been uplifted by being able to share this struggle with you. God has given me the capablities and faculties to take care of my body, and I have been convicted to eat clean and exercise. Even when it gets hard.
But I'm not intending on giving up.
For His glory I intend on overcoming this hurdle with a lot of prayer, Bible-reading, and healthier recipes.