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What Difference Does It Make?

426194_3151747244343_1069643287_nI have a lot of friends and family  that lovingly poke fun at the way that I eat.  My co-workers refer to my lunches as “kibbles and bits” or exaggerate by saying, “Are you eating keeeeeenwaaaaaaahhhhh today?”  . . . as they head out the door to go grab a pizza or burger and fries.  They find it odd that I bring my own healthy breakfast to meetings when we know ahead of time that someone will be bringing a big bag of fast food biscuits to share.   Assorted family members think it’s hilarious to ask me if I brought any glutens to our holiday meals, and my daughter warns me not to put anything “healthy” in her birthday cake every year.

A few have even commented, “What difference does it make?  You’ve gotta’ die of something, so you might as well enjoy yourself while you are here!”

So to set the record straight:

1) I DO enjoy myself! I love the taste of fresh, whole, unprocessed foods; and I love the way I feel after I’ve eaten them.  I do occasionally splurge and eat other things, but they usually leave me feeling bloated and sluggish.

2) It makes a huge difference!  Almost all disease is a direct result of our diets, and even though we do all have to die of something, I prefer to die of old age and not some debilitating disease.

Nine years ago today, my beautiful mother passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Although we don’t know everything there is to know about it, we do know some things.  We know that it is caused by inflammation in the brain.  We know that it is very similar to Diabetes and is often referred to as Diabetes 3.  We know the foods that our brains require to function properly, and we know the foods that are harmful and contribute to inflammation.  You may have to die of something, but let me assure you…you do NOT want that something to be Alzheimer’s!

My mother was a textbook case.  She hated eggs and never consumed healthy fats (brain food), and she craved sugar and simple carbohydrates (inflammation triggers).  She had also eliminated all meats from her diet for the 10 years preceding her death.  My mother unknowingly starved her brain to death.  A sedentary lifestyle, coupled with inadequate sleep habits only added to the problem.

After her death is when I really got serious about my own health.  I was not only committed to learning all that I could about what makes our bodies function, I was determined to put that knowledge into practice in my life.  All the knowledge in the world won’t do you any good if you never act on it.

There are many Scriptures that promise us a long and healthy life, but it doesn’t just happen.  We must cooperate with God by not only doing what He says, but we must also take care of the body that He gave us. ..and watch out for them glutens!

Pressing toward the mark,

Leslie

 

Tools For Success

A sample of my journal page.  You can create something similar to help reach your goals!
A sample of my journal page. You can create something similar to help reach your goals!

Research shows that it takes 21 days to change a habit, whether you are trying to eliminate something, or you are incorporating something new.  Experience shows me that a lot of things get in the way when trying to make those changes!

This morning I completed my first ever 21 Day Brain Detox that Dr. Caroline Leaf teaches in her book, Switch On Your Brain.  There was a huge sense of accomplishment as I checked off the final day.  (In the back of my mind I know that I start over again tomorrow with day 1!)  Even though the program only takes about 15 minutes a day, there were days that I struggled to find the time, or procrastinated, or just really didn’t feel like doing it.

I am also in the first week of the Beachbody workout, 21 Day Fix.  For 21 days I have to take the time to portion out my food, drink the required amount of water, and do the intense 30 minute workout.  And let’s face it – there are days that I DON’T WANT TO!!!

When I add to that – work, online classes, blogging, time with my family, chores, etc., etc., it can sometimes feel overwhelming even though it is all very do-able!

So what do I do to keep myself motivated and pushing through?  Well, several things…

1. When I first started the 21 Day Brain Detox, I tried doing it on my own with just the book as my guide…epic fail…so I decided to purchase Dr. Leaf’s online interactive guide.  For a very small fee, I have access for a whole year, and she walks me through the steps every day.  I get an email congratulating me on my success as soon as I complete that day’s exercise.   The monetary investment, plus the ‘atta boys, help give me that extra little push that I need to get it done every day.

2. To help with my workouts I take advantage of the coaching program that Beachbody offers (Mine also happens to be my niece).  I have joined her facebook group so that every morning when I check for any status updates, there she is along with others in the group….smiling, commenting that they just completed the workout, posting pictures of their awesome results….since I want to be able to add my success to the page without lying, I change into my workout clothes and get with it!

3. But the thing that helps me more than anything else is to journal my day’s activities!  I am a list girl – I love getting to cross things off of lists!  Plus, when you write something down, it helps to reinforce it.  Every 21 days I make a new journal.  There is a page for each day that lists the things that I want to get done for that day.  As I accomplish something, I check it off.  I leave some room to make comments at the end of the page…how I felt, what I need to change, anything that I may want to add, etc.   To make it even more effective, I leave it lying on my kitchen table so that I see it every time I walk by.   If I see that it is getting late in the day and there are tasks that I haven’t completed, it encourages me to turn off the tv or close my laptop and get the thing done.

These are the things that help to motivate me.  Figure out what it is that motivates you, and then start doing it.  Maybe you will try some of my ideas or come up with some of your own.  Post encouraging words or scriptures around where you can see them – put a picture of what you are aiming for in plain view.  Whatever you do, keep your eyes on the prize!

Pressing toward the mark,

Leslie

Fat Tuesday

10383503_10204443469099367_1098605168446475886_nHaving friends and family that live on the outskirts of New Orleans has kept my social media feeds filled with reminders that we are deep in the midst of Mardi Gras!   And today especially, as we celebrate the day known as Fat Tuesday.  For some, it is a day to completely abandon all good sense; eating, drinking, and partying themselves into a stupor – the last final frenzy before Lent begins tomorrow.  But for all of the partying, I know very few people who actually observe Lent….

While I don’t observe Lent as a religious requirement, I do like to set aside certain times that I eliminate some of the distractions in my life, so that I am better able to focus on those things that are really important.  My relationship with God being number 1.  It is a discipline known as fasting.  Fasting can be about the foods you eliminate, but it doesn’t have to be.  You can fast anything that is a time and focus thief…television, social networking, spending…

For some great information on fasting, and an example of what that might entail, check out Dr. Josh Axe’s article on the biblical style of fasting known as the Daniel fast.

 

 

 

5 Days In…

I am 5 days into my 3 week fitness jump start, and for the most part I am staying on track.  My husband’s craving for Japanese food last night left me without many choices that didn’t contain a truckload of sodium…but I managed to eat mostly vegetables!  A few things have really helped to keep my energy levels up while I stay with the program.

Get a jump on your fitness!
Get a jump on your fitness!

First on my list, is my favorite piece of workout equipment…my REBOUNDER!  Rebounding is hands-down, the best whole body workout you can get in my opinion!  I use it not only for light jumping to get my lymphatic system moving, but even for more strenuous plyo and yoga moves.  Add in a few weights and you’ve just kicked it into a whole new gear.  Just be sure to never mistake one of those $30 mini-trampolines from your local box store for a real rebounder!  They can do you more harm than good.

I have 2 Urban Rebounders that I  bought in brand new condition from a consignment store; but you can find them online for around $120.   I eventually want to move up to a Cellercisor – but for now I am content with what I have.  If money is no object, then just go for the big guns and get a Bellicon!

I have been fueling my afternoon workouts with one of my favorite snacks, Oatmeal Chia Pudding.  The combination of ingredients gives me the boost I need to power right through.  It needs to sit in the refrigerator for several hours, so you can either make it the night before, or as I do – make it in the morning and put it in the fridge at work.  I eat it about an hour before heading home in the afternoon.  I make mine in a pint mason jar, but you can use anything you like.

Chia oatmealTo your container add 1/4 C Gluten free oats – 1/2t cinnamon – 1T chia seeds – splash of vanilla – either 1t pure maple syrup or stevia to taste – 1/2c almond milk (I sometimes use kefir or half almond milk and half plain yogurt…just depends on what I have on hand). Stir this up and then add 1/2c fresh or frozen fruit.  I like any kind of berries, and this week I have been using up a jar of all natural apple butter with NO SUGAR ADDED!  Stir once more and then refrigerate until ready to eat!

 

Pressing toward the mark,

Leslie

 

Get Out of That Funk!

2885_1086071323736_1197993_nI am by nature, and by choice, a very positive person.  If you ask me how much is in the proverbial glass of water, I will tell you that it is getting ready to be running over!  That does not mean that things are always perfect in my life…it just means that I am not willing to let those things just run over me and determine my outcome.  But there are those times that I feel like I’m just stuck in a funk!  You know…that feeling where you just really don’t care…kind of a ho-hum, what difference does it make attitude?

Well that is sort of where I have been lately, and I think there have been a number of contributing factors.  At least there are some things that I intend to blame it on… Read more

Trim Healthy Mama – Earth Milk

If you have not heard of Trim Healthy Mama yet, then here is your wake-up call!  It is the new Lifestyle/Healthy Eating Plan that is causing ladies (and men) to finally shed those unwanted pounds and get their health under control.  I will spend much more time later on discussing the benefits, but for now I would like to share with you a video done by a dear friend of mine, that shows how to make one of my FAVORITE drinks!  It is called “Earth Milk”.  

This blend of healthy tea, greens, fats, and nutrients has a smooth, earthy taste that is actually quite addictive.  As she shows in the video, even her kids love it.  I use oolong tea to make mine, but most any green tea will work.

Pressing toward the mark,

Leslie

Keep Your Nose Up!

WP_20141016_013My dad frequently uses the phrase, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”  It’s a principle that he learned while working in aviation with the US Navy.  The position of a plane’s nose is termed attitude, and that position determines whether a plane will remain level, ascend, or head toward the ground.   To put it simply – wherever the nose is pointed, the rest of the plane will follow!

The same can be said of us.  If we allow ourselves to have an attitude that is constantly looking down, the rest of our body will follow…we don’t smile, our eyes look dim, our shoulders become rounded…if we don’t get our noses up we will eventually hit the ground!  That is not just a saying, but it is a spiritual truth.

However, when we begin to “look up” it has the opposite effect.  The corners of our mouth turn up into a smile, we hold our heads a little higher and walk a little taller.  We can’t always control what is going on around us, but we CAN control the direction that we choose to travel!

So on this beautiful, sunny Sunday, take a few minutes to read Philippians 4:4-9 and then . . . get your nose up!

Pressing toward the mark,

Leslie

 

 

 

Gotta Try ’em Pancakes.

This recipe makes 3 large, protein packed pancakes!  Get your day started off right!

 

I like them plain with home made fruit topping!

1/3 C Rolled Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free)

1/3 C Cottage Cheese

1/3 C egg whites (2 eggs)

1/3 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (Jay Robb is a great brand!)

1/2 t baking powder

splash of vanilla

1T Almond Milk

1T pure maple syrup (I like B grade best)

Place oats in blender and pulse several times.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined,  Pour onto hot, lightly greased griddle into 3 or 4 pancakes. If you like, you can top with blueberries while cooking. Flip pancakes when tops are set. Cook until bottoms are browned.  10341544_10203073959681630_3129315573992622522_n

To serve, you can top these with a small amount of canned “real”  whipped cream…..but NEVER, EVER, EVER… and I mean never…put cool whip on them.  It is full of junk and will sabotage your diet plans.  Oh – and no additional syrup! 🙂 However, if you would like to make your own berry topping you can just toss a few handfuls of fresh or frozen berries into a saucepan with a little bit of stevia to sweeten.  Stir over medium heat until bubbly. Or if you want the real recipe, click here.

If you like to get a little creative, try adding some canned pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and a few dark chocolate chips to your batter…..

Pressing toward the mark,

Leslie

The Best Workout!

Woo Hoo!  It’s finally here!  It is the first Monday of the new year and we are all stoked about starting our new exercise program!!!!  Right????  Right!  I know a few people that are excited…the one’s that own gyms.  They know that membership numbers are going to soar in January and February.  The real gym rats dread it…to them it means two months of overcrowding and having to wait in line to be able to use the machines,   But then like every other year, as people get bored, burnt out, or for whatever other reason… the masses go back to their real lives and the gym gets back to normal.

How do I know this?  I was one of those gym rats for a long time.  I saw it happen over and over again.   People have great intentions when they sign that one year contract, but usually after a month or so they figure out that they actually hate lifting weights, smelly locker rooms, and the irritating energy of the aerobics instructor!  Working out in a gym is not for everybody.

So just what is the best exercise program?  The short answer…the one that you will do!   It also greatly depends on what you want to achieve, how much time you have, your current condition, the money you are willing to spend, etc.   Read more