“He who has a why can endure any how.”
Yes, You Can!
You know the feeling of defeat before you even begin? It’s that perfectionist in us, the one who says, “I can’t so why even try.” I often tell my boys, “Can’t is a curse word.” At ages 9 and 11, they walk the narrow line between invincibility and defeat. There is a certain level of competition expected between brothers so close in age as they sharpen each others strengths while growing together toward manhood. It is a beautiful thing to watch. As parents we aim for the difficult task of cultivating a can-do-attitude coupled with grace and humility. I believe this heart attitude starts with our children knowing where their identity lies. When identity is blurred, comparison sets in and can lead to an attitude of defeat. Defeat’s mantra is the curse word can’t.
I long for my children’s identity to be rooted in God’s love. A love that will never leave nor forsake. A love that covers a multitude of sins. A love that speaks into the very marrow of their soul and drowns out fear. A love that reminds them of their worth and their purpose. I watch my boys trying to prove themselves as strong, independent leaders and it is good, but if they don’t know their eternal worth and value then they will continue into manhood never satisfied of their approval and acceptance. I see my job as their mother to speak worth into their lives, to prepare them for a future where struggle and conflict reside. I pray for their future identity to be wrapped in God’s eternal love not in defeat. They may not be the next Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving, but Lord help them not waste their lives by buying into the lie that their own unique, created self is not good enough.
As adults, especially in this crazed world of social media, we are met with comparison on a daily basis. We feel defeated as we speak can’t into our lives and continually remind ourselves how we don’t measure up. In the last six years finances have been a stressor to our family. We have suffered job loss in a slow economy while living in one of the most expensive counties of the world. I have compared myself to others in the areas of finances, success, health, fitness, cooking, fashion, business; you name it. Where did this lead me? Shame and guilt.
In the beginning of 2016, my husband and I prayed for a different perspective. Why? We wanted to live out of freedom and purpose, not fear. We started off the year with the motivating program, 30 Days of Hustle, in order to step toward my dream of being able to start my online business to inspire, educate, and empower people toward better health. Now I sit here 8 months later and realize perspective is everything. I knew my value and worth in Christ then, yet by letting my eyes stay focused on others, not God, made an idol of my weaknesses. God has brought me from a place of quietly and fearfully telling myself I can’t live out my purpose to being able to confidently use my purpose to effect life and health change in others. My why influenced my how.
I have listened to many women, overwhelmed trying to figure out how to begin their health journey. There are so many choices and so many perceptions of the right and wrong diet that it leaves one paralyzed by fear. You can search the internet and find multiple people explaining multiple ways to do the exact same thing. The questions and statements I hear about healthy eating are, “Where do I start?”, “I can’t afford it”, “What foods are the best choices?”, “What’s the use, I will just fail.”, “I can’t do this alone.” and “How long do I have to eat this way?”
My question back is “What is your why?” Your why propels your how. If all you focus on is the how, it is much harder to take the first step toward change. I have heard all the excuses as to why people cannot eat a healthier diet. The how is much more overwhelming if you aren’t deeply connected with your why. Eating to improve your health should be taken way more seriously than something to cross off a to-do-list like a New Year’s resolution. Do some soul searching, claim your worth, state your why, write it down, and begin to prioritize.
Prioritize Your Health
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin
When is the last time you felt really well? What changed? This may be a good motivator for why you want to feel well again. Whatever you do at work or home, would you like to have more energy or a clearer mind? Would you like to be able to work without back pain, or abdominal bloating? Would you like to be able to sleep better at night? Would you like to be less anxious about work? What physical obstacles are keeping you from doing your very best work right now?
When you begin to address the root cause of these obstacles, you can be in a healthier place to allow you to work, play, live, and serve to the best of your ability. To really live well.
“Most of us walk around tolerating chronic symptoms (not just weight issues) that are connected to what we eat, including digestive issues, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, depression, autoimmune diseases, and more. Most of us just don’t connect the dots.”
Dr Mark Hyman
There is no excuse good enough to keep you unwell. Remember can’t is a curse word and if you continue not giving your health the priority is deserves then you may be walking around neglecting the very thing that is keeping you from fully living well.
Prioritize Your Money
A budget is often viewed as a curse word too. There is discipline in freedom; I have learned the hard way. This is true in finances, health, and your spiritual life. My husband and I found much more freedom in learning to tell our money where to go once we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program. I highly recommend it. There is also an online budgeting program called, EveryDollar which my husband loves to help hold him accountable for income and expenses.
When money is not accounted for, it disappears with the wind. Prioritize your money. How much do you spend eating out? How much do you spend on groceries? What food or drink items do you buy daily/weekly? These are areas to take into consideration when asking yourself how to prioritize your money and make room for healthy eating.
When improving your dietary habits toward a healthier lifestyle, meal planning must be a priority. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Without a plan for how you will eat during the day/week/month, you set yourself up for temptation and failure. Adding in some healthier foods here and there into a standard american diet may help, but the progress will be very slow. If you need to eat to improve your health or inflammatory conditions then you need to stick a plan. The best plan to overhaul a sugar filled, processed food diet is by trading it for a whole food anti-inflammatory diet. It doesn’t have to be as expensive as one may think. There are several free online meal plans you can choose from and I have offered a free one here. Planning ahead saves on cost, time, and temptation.
Once you have your meal plan, preparation will be the next step. Don’t buy into the myth that you can’t take care of yourself in the midst of life’s busyness. Preparing allows you to stick to the plan.
- Stock your pantry slowly with healthier alternative choices instead of buying them all at once.
- Buy specialty products from online discount stores like Thrive.
- Purchase during the weekend all the food items you will need to fix your weekly meals.
- Chop and pre-bag items for your salad like you would for your kids lunches.
- Pre-bag frozen berries and fruits (they are cheaper than fresh) to enable a quicker breakfast smoothie.
- Make ahead dinner dishes that won’t spoil to save time spent standing in the kitchen.
- Eat leftover dinner foods for breakfast or lunch. (Leftovers are your friend)
- Take healthy snacks with you in the car so you don’t feel tempted to pull in to the fast food drive-thru.
- Make simple meals: when we first started, we grilled meat and fixed one vegetable side dish. Don’t stress about fixing elaborate meals, it’s not necessary.
Prioritize Your Food
Strive for health, not perfection. Organization -not motivation, time, or money- is what deters people from healthy eating and exercising. The one prevailing myth we need to get past in this country is thinking calorie counting is necessary for weight loss. It’s NOT about eating less, it’s about eating right! I had a client recently tell me, that in all the years of struggling with his weight (and Type II Diabetes), he has finally realized, “It’s not that I was eating too much food, but I was eating the wrong food.”
Keep it simple. Primarily your meals should consist of a small portion of protein (size of your palm), some healthy fats, and then fill the remaining 1/2 – 3/4 of your plate with vegetables. Prioritize nutrient dense foods as the most important and work from there.
Shop the perimeter of the store
The center aisles are laden with sugary processed foods. Stay far away. Do not even buy low fat processed foods as they are also high in sugar. Too much sugar consumption in any form is disruptive to hormone balance, gut balance, and metabolic balance. Choose to make fresh fruits and vegetables the bulk of your groceries and say NO to junk food. Bill Clinton said, “I think that America is still insufficiently alert to the damage we are doing long-term to our collective health by too much sugar intake.”
Among the 600,000 food items in the grocery store, 80% of them have added sugar (1). The quality and health benefits of organic foods is better, but if you can’t afford it, don’t stress and don’t quit. It is more important to buy non-organic vegetables and fruits, than any processed boxed foods (even gluten free). The EWG has a free printable guide of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen foods for you to be aware of which foods are best purchased as organic.
Cook at home
“If I lose that tradition of cooking, I’ve actually lost knowledge. How much more unfortunate can a society get when it loses its most basic knowledge, knowledge to be able to cook for itself?” (taken from the documentary, Cooked) Don’t be afraid to cook at home. It is much better for your budget and it is much better for your health.
When you do eat out, download this free Restaurant Rescue Guide to empower healthier eating choices.
Carbohydrates: Yes, vegetable and fruit are carbohydrates. Chop your own veggies rather than buying the bagged or pre-cut stuff. It takes time, but this time can be therapeutic and also save you money. (Ok, I say therapeutic, but maybe not when you have toddlers screaming at your heels-been there!) Don’t worry about the natural sugars found in fruits because their fiber helps to control your rise in blood sugar when you eat these delicious fresh foods.
Protein: If you know your local butcher, you can often get higher grades of meat at a cheaper price. Organic meats have the best nutrient value. When I buy organic meat, I choose bone in and skin on as it keeps the meat juicer and has a better price point. Organic dark meat is also cheaper than white. You can get a tastier and cheaper dinner by buying organic whole chicken at $2.99 per pound versus $7.99 for organic chicken breasts. Here is a delicious recipe for Organic Whole Roasted Chicken
Fat: Healthy fat should be a staple item at each meal as it is a powerful hormone, blood sugar, and metabolic stabilizer. I have talked about healthy fat over here.
How To Save More
Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link, of which I participate. Read my full disclosure in terms and conditions if you need more info.
- Grow your own veggies and herbs- The mint I planted 3 months ago is still going strong. I used to buy fresh mint bi-monthly from the grocery store at a price around $2 so in my estimation planting it has saved me $12 thus far.
- Here is a seed packet of 13 herbs that you can use to start your own herb garden.
- Shop at your local Farmers Market- eggs and veggies are fresher and cheaper than buying them from the grocery store.
- Crop Share- The easy way. If your neighbor has chickens and you have a small garden work out a plan to share the crops so everyone wins and saves. (and you make a friend)
- Community Urban Garden- If you live in the city and don’t have the space you can use a Tower Garden or start a Community Garden with like minded people.
- CSA: Buy direct from your local farmer. Check this website to locate a CSA near you.
Less expensive healthy recipes
Yes, you can afford to eat healthy. Remember strive for health not perfection. One step at a time with a can-do-attitude allowing for the necessary grace to mess up once in a while. Here are some recipes to get you started.
- Remedy’s Whole Roasted Chicken (click link for printer friendly version)
- Remedy’s Anti-inflammatory Salad with homemade dressing
- Turkey Kale and Cauliflower Soup from Paleo Leap
- Breakfast for Dinner (think eggs, sautéed veggies, and roasted potatoes-YUM)
- End of Summer Salad from Paleo on a Budget
Comment below. I want to hear your successes and failures. If you need more accountability then contact me here and subscribe to my free newsletter for more tips and healthy advice. As your health coach, I will be cheering you on.