Category Archives: Wellness

Motivation to Eat Better

Was eating better one of your New Year’s resolutions? It’s five weeks later. How are you doing? Do you need a little boost or a complete turn around? I’ll give you one.

Stop eating processed food. Go on, now, stop it!

“But how?” you ask?

Not will power. Not self-discipline. But facts. Stories. Emotions. Your religion. Those are the tools you’ll need to finally make the long-term commitment to eat better almost every day. Stop trying to use will power and discipline.

Fact

You are made of elements. And, for the most part, the only way to get the required elements into your body so your heart, lungs, brain, blood vessels, immune system, and kidneys can work right is through that 2 inch by 1 inch opening sitting under your nose and above your chin.

The elements you need, put together in the combinations you need them in, have been stripped out of processed foods. When you look at a box or a box of crackers, a loaf of squishy white bread, or a bag of crunchy chips, I want you to see the package as EMPTY! You’re paying for EMPTY! There’s nothing in there!

Stripped. Gone. Absent. Not there. Missing.

And you eat them. And then, guess what? Your body lacks certain elements.

Then, pick up an orange and see vitamin C, potassium, folate, and thiamine.

Pick up broccoli and see vitamin K1, vitamin C, chromium, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and manganese.

Pick up some sunflower seeds and see selenium, copper, B vitamins, and magnesium.

Guess what is a part of your body: your brain. Anyone noticing an increase in mental illness around us? I am. The brain likes to have enough magnesium, enough potassium, and enough carbons put together just the right way. Eat real, whole food.

So you don’t eat right? Not pulling in those elements? Eating EMPTY? Oh, you’re lucky. It’s okay! The body does have some storage capabilities to pull from to get your organs the elements they need. Like… your bones! The body can pull from elements stored in the bones for its needs, leaving you with weak, crumbly bones.

Real, whole foods are rich in the elements you need, put together in the way you need them. They’re FULL! Choose real, whole foods for almost all of your food intake!

Use facts to keep you motivated to make good choices every bite and shopping selection.

Stories

Since I was a wee kid, I have always made up stories to make boring or unpalatable situations more fun and endurable! Fourth grade sucked, so I made up stories that I was in college going to classes. My medical school general surgery rotation sucked. So when I had to be in the operating room, I pretended I was the best retractor holder that ever existed, and the renowned surgeon wouldn’t do his surgeries without me. (It must have worked. I never got yelled at in surgery! Those general surgeons love to yell!)

Make up stories to make eating healthy and losing weight fun! Bring back your creative side, even for this!

Here could be a story:

Once upon a time, there was an overweight man. He was embarrassed by his weight and his eating. But he couldn’t stop. He was on four medicines for cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. One day, he decided he was going to go on a diet for a year. He loved life. He loved people. He wanted to look good again. He had at least 100 pounds to lose. He joined the YMCA and the people greeted him every day there, making him feel special. He walked on the treadmill. He rode the bike. When he rode the bike, he knew he was Lance Armstrong in disguise. When he rode that bike, he saw the crowds all around, and he heard his phone ringing with financial endorsements rolling in. After about 6 months, he was still losing weight! He was excited when Weight Watchers (WW)  called him to ask him to be a spokesperson, and he saw himself speaking at seminars and on TV, sharing his enthusiasm for life and fresh, whole food. He lost that weight!

But, Terri, isn’t that a lie? Isn’t that lying to yourself? No. That’s fun. That’s imagination. That’s perseverance. That’s letting oneself dream. That’s what we did as kids, when nobody could stop us!

Make up your own story. Don’t latch on to this story as truth. The truth of your life and the story that comes along with your healthy living will unfold on its own. Don’t force a story. I’m just asking you to use your imagination to make this new lifestyle fun!

Emotions

Love is a good emotion here. Who do you love? Who loves you? If you were physically fit all your life, what could you do with the people you love?

Do you know people you love dearly, like maybe your parents, whose health decisions (or lack thereof) are affecting their lives? Are their poor health decisions affecting your life? How does that make you feel when they won’t change their health for you?

I love my kids, and I can’t wait to teach their kids all about volleyball. I can’t wait to hike with them in Europe and South America. (Notice the story!!!) I love my husband, and I want to be able to take care of him when I’m old. I want us to be little old people together. I love these kids and this man! I have to eat, not for now, but for 40 years from now!

Use anger to motivate you. Use hope to motivate you. But notice your emotions, and latch on to the ones that keep you excited to keep eating whole, real food!

Religion

If you’re not religious. Skip on. For me (who is spiritual), I had to realize that God cared about my physical body and what I fueled it with. I had to realize God is a jealous God, and that means He didn’t like me resting with a headache that came from eating too much junk. He didn’t like my constant fatigue from eating processed foods and not eating mostly real, whole foods. I don’t think He’s happy with our obesity problem. He loves us too much. He’s jealous for our thoughts, and too many of us (me included) put food before our bodies, which were made by and for God, to serve God and those He loves through us.

Closing

If you aren’t really going to eat real, whole foods and change, then get it out of your mind. If you’re not really going to do it, then put it down. Keeping it dangling in front of yourself while you go sit down, knowing you’re not really going to try, is only making you feel disgusting inside. That’s no good. I don’t want that for anyone.

But if you’re ready, then I hope that some of the things I’ve learned to keep me motivated through the years will help you.

If you want it, it’ll take lots of different ways to stay on track. Self-discipline and willpower are simply words for all the different ways that a motivated person figures out how to pull themselves out of (or stay away from) a rut.

Make it fun.

Terri F.

You See What You Look For

2015-10-21 14.28.04What are you trained to look for and sense? You don’t just automatically see things that are there. What we look for can be changed and nurtured. I wasn’t born recognizing goiters and melanoma signs or the way kids squirm or hide when they’ve soiled their diapers.

I never used to see vitamin D and omega-3 when I looked at grilled salmon. Nor did I think cellular phospholipid bilayer villains when I looked at fast food French fries!

What are your eyes seeing in yourself and your life right now? Do they need to be trained to look for something else? Are they seeing the wrong things in yourself? Are they seeing failure? Have you trained your eyes only to see failures–your failures, other’s failures?

What We Look For

Just think about all the fascinating things we train ourselves to see!

Has your kid ever had lice? Did you notice how quickly after they had lice that you became a lice-finding expert? It didn’t take long to learn to find those tiny brown, shiny attachments about 1/4 an inch up the hair shaft.

Do you hunt morel mushrooms? Really hunt them? Then you can come home with hundreds of them, while I come home with none.

Did you sell sweet corn every summer from your big corn patch as a kid? Then when you go to the supermarket as an adult, you don’t have to peel back the husk to determine if that ear of corn is ripe. You simply put your fingers around it and you know. You can tell if it’s overripe or not filled out.

Were your parents abusive as a kid? I have a friend who has an uncanny ability to pick out both toxic and angelic personalities the minute he spots them. He says it’s because he had to watch his parents closely when he was a kid.

Train Your Eyes

We’re trainable! We’re smart! We can train our eyes to look for lice, morels, perfectly ripe sweet corn, and even toxic people.

I don’t know. Just think about it as you go along today. What “eyes” are you using? Do you need a new set of eyes? Do you need to train yourself to see something in a new way?  How can you go about doing that?

If you’ve trained your eyes to see failure, you’ll see it in your food choices, your exercise, your family, and your work. You’ll notice the one day out of 365 that your car doesn’t start. You’ll see it after you had a bad night’s sleep. Failure.

So. What do you want to see? Is it there and you just don’t know how to look? Is everything running together and you can’t see what’s most beneficial for you to see?

Because I love examples, I ‘ll share what I’m training my eyes to see right now. I’ve challenged myself to start looking for two things:

  • The opportunity in things that don’t turn out the way I want
  • The fear behind my self-critical thoughts.

Well, I’ll close this Friday morning. Wishing you well! If all you see is defeat, frustration, and powerlessness, then that’s what you’ll see. Might as well move to the Amazon and step on the snakes you can’t see (but your guide, who has trained eyes, can). No, don’t do that.

It might take a LOT for you to see hope, opportunity, and success in each situation, but if you’d be willing to re-train those eyes and senses to start seeing hope, opportunity, and success, it is 100% do-able!

Crumbly Bone Alert

leonardo_skeleton_1511Crumbly bones. Who wants crumbly bones? Who has crumbly bones? Who even wants to think about the idea that they have crumbly bones? I  mean, bone is the scaffolding for everything you are!

My husband is still in the working arena of medicine, and his job requires him to fix tendons, ligaments, and bones in people of all ages. He has been doing it for roughly 20 years. Increasingly, he is bothered by the fact that healthy people of all ages (including high school athletes) have poor bone integrity.

To do his job properly, he has to drill and pound nails, screws, and rods into bone, and it has to hold for a patient to have the desired outcomes. In recent years, he has noticed that unexpected surgical patients have what he calls “soft, crumbly” bone. Bone that is not hard and dense. Bones that you’d expect in elderly or chronically ill patients! Bones that break.

Shockingly, he has seen healthy high school athletes with poor bone quality. He has seen young, thirty-something mothers with the bone appearance and quality of a seventy-year old woman with osteoporosis, and he has even seen middle-aged men with bone too weak to hold anchors and nails well.

The integrity of our bones is deteriorating! “Bad to the Bone” for you people who think in song! When the doctors in the trenches are seeing things, it then takes years for it to come to the consciousness of the medical journals and finally reach the public it affects.  I don’t want to wait for you to hear about it! Osteoporosis is no longer an elderly adult problem. It is OUR problem: moms, kids, active people, sedentary gamers.

This “crumbly” bone trouble is going to increase until we address our society’s lifestyle and nutrition oversights. You will most likely see more fractures in young athletes and kids because their lifestyle is rampantly opposed to bone health.

I just wish I could drive home the connection between food, lifestyle, and the function of the body so that it was not cliché to people, but REAL! I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to say it so that I’m heard by the people who need it.

So what are the mistakes that we can reverse to help have strong, healthy bones that will last 90 years?

Move. Move. Move. 

Our kids need to move. They need to get off of iPads and iPhones and cell phones and away from the television. We adults need to move. How many hours are you physically sitting all day long? I challenge you to COUNT the hours. Physical movement of arms and legs promotes dense bones.

Lift. Lift. Lift.

Lift your children. Move your couch. Move ten books at a time. Move the rocks around your flower gardens. Go to the gym and learn how to lift weights or use weight machines. Bones respond positively to physical work.

Outside in the sun. Don’t use sunscreen or coverings except to avoid sun burning.

We don’t want sun burns, but this advice to “stay out of the sun” has gotten to be sickeningly dogmatic and alarming. Taking a human out of the sun is like taking a fish out of water. The sun is the best vitamin D supplement on Earth. And besides vitamin D, it has other effects we are only starting to learn about. Don’t burn, but get in the sun so you can have vitamin D for strong bones!

“NO” grain-based (this includes white flour) processed foods or snacks.

I hate to sound absolute, because rarely am I an absolutist in any area of my life, but limiting processed foods is a very important point; they usually are made from grains. Do NOT eat or feed your kids grain-based processed snacks and foods as routine nutrition. WORK HARD TO LIMIT THEM!

These include: Cliff bars, Nutri Grain bars, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cheerios, Pop Tarts, bagels, granola bars, bread, buns, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and please help me name some more so moms can raise their awareness that these foods are “bad!” (Again, I hate to use the word “bad,” because I am not a black and white thinker, but it’s that important to me that you understand!) These foods can decrease the absorption of calcium and other bone-healthy minerals! They also replace vitamin and mineral-rich vegetables, fruits, meat, nuts, and beans as food sources, because they are so cheap and so easy. Since these grain-based processed foods have become staples in people’s diets, it’s no wonder our bones are soft.

Do not rely on milk for calcium and vitamin D.

Make an effort to eat vegetables rich in calcium, like broccoli, arugula, and kale. Eat fish for vitamin D. Americans eat (drink) lots of dairy (particularly milk) fortified with vitamin D, and it is not decreasing osteoporosis or hip fracture rates. Something is wrong with our dairy picture. I don’t know what it is.

All I know is that despite the theoretical idea that our dairy consumption should be working to decrease hip fractures, the dairy we Americans rely on for bone health is not working. So use most dairy as a treat and to make your food taste better, but make it a point to get your calcium and vitamin D from other sources too! Please.

Doctors need to start talking about vitamin K2 and people need to start getting it.

There’s a vitamin that you will hear more about over the years, and I hope as people start making it a point to eat sources with it, that it does help toward improving bone quality. It’s called vitamin K2, and it helps vitamin D and calcium do their jobs properly, which you know helps bone strength. It’s not the same as vitamin K1 (in green vegetables); it has different effects. You can get it in liver; egg yolks; some hard, aged cheeses; and some fermented foods. Please learn about vitamin K2 and find out how you can incorporate foods with it into your diet.

Conclusion

We are what we eat, and studies show increasing rates of hip fractures and osteoporosis. Alarmingly, my husband comes home from a surgical day and shares with me that he is now operating on healthy young athletes with weak, soft bones. This shouldn’t be. Please, I beseech you! Look at your lifestyle and your food. Let’s work together to reverse this health crisis in our nation. It’s not up to doctors or the government. It’s up to you! And I believe in you! I know you can do it! I know we can do it together! It’s a trickle effect.

“They” told you to eat low fat and skp egg yolks. “They” tell you to not go outside without sunscreen. “They” shorten or eliminate recesses from kids’ schedules. Listen. You know what you need to do. Eat real, whole food, including eggs and diverse, unprocessed cheeses that you like and tolerate. Stay away from anything that you don’t make at home. Move. Get outside. Smile. Laugh. Forgive.

You want to be healthy. You want kids to be healthy. The desire is there, now put the foundation under it! If you don’t, the scaffolding WILL crumble. In fact, it is crumbling, even now in our youth. Let’s get at it!

Terri F

 

 

 

 

A “Whole” New Approach Diet Plan

pearsNo guilt, but if you’re looking for a diet plan, here’s a basic outline for one. You can start it any day of the year. Any hour of each new day. You can take off for your birthday and start the day after. Just eat this way nearly daily, always coming back to it after a day or two or month off, for the rest of your life, and you’ve got a good, successful, healthy diet plan. Tweak it how you want, although keep true to the whole, real food “bones” of the plan.

Health is important. Eating right is important. But most importantly, YOU are important. Eating is a tool to make YOU the BEST YOU! I would be so happy if you started seeing it that way! Please, if you have any questions on what I mean when I write, do ask!

Ready? Let’s go! (Click this link for printable PDF version: Whole New Approach Diet Plan)

The Goal: Take it down to 100% whole, real food that hasn’t been processed.

This is what you’re shooting for here: Pretend you had farms, orchards, and fishing boats all over the world. The food you’re about to buy or cook with should be something you could have grown, picked, gathered, pressed, squeezed or butchered from the abundance of your farm, orchard, or from waterways you travel.

Yes, it’s a real challenge in today’s world to eat this way! You may not need to do this forever to reach your health goals. Or maybe you will need to do this forever to maintain your health goals. But for right now focus on today! Plan for tomorrow.

Loosen up as your waistline and/or health goals allow. Loosen up when it becomes too cumbersome. But keep this as your goal, your vision, your “perfect” plan, so you don’t stray back to eating fast food or too many boxed foods.

Maybe you’ll make exceptions to making your own peanut butter or almond milk. I get it! But I do challenge you to try to eat completely unprocessed foods for a set length of time you determine. It is a real eye-opener!

Yes! You can eat any fresh, unpackaged fruit or vegetable.

Eat them how you want. Raw. Steamed. Poached. Baked. Boiled. They’re on the table. If you have an upset stomach from eating them, pay attention to which ones! Eat less of those. Try them prepared a different way. Or eat another kind.

Some people don’t tolerate certain fruits and vegetables well, but there is PLENTY to choose from! Look up something called “FODMAPS” and see if you can sort out which foods might be causing you abdominal distress. BUT don’t go too crazy with it! It’s your body, and the FODMAP tables are only guidelines.

Yes! You can eat any fresh meat that has not been processed.

Meats that are canned with nothing added can be used occasionally, like canned tuna or salmon. Bacon and cold cut meats are convenient but require caution because they are usually processed with added chemicals or fillers .

Sad face: No refined flours at all.

None. No exceptions. Read labels. Most whole grain products are made with refined flour also.

Another sad face: The goal is no added “sugar” of any kind to the food you buy.

No sugar. No honey. No maple syrup. No dextrose. And definitely no high fructose corn syrup. Buy food items without sweetener, and then, if it tastes “yucky,” sweeten it yourself just to the lowest sweetness you can tolerate. You can control “sugar” (or honey or maple syrup) this way. It’s a difficult rule. You may find yourself making some exceptions, but don’t make many.

No artificial colors added.

I can think of NO reason an artificial color is needed. Many children, especially, are sensitive to food dyes. All food dyes do is muck up the body and brain with no benefit to nutrition. Eliminate them.

No preservatives.

Like eliminating sugar, this is a tough rule. But it’s still important to not allow too many exceptions. Preservatives alter the VITAL gut bacteria that our bodies DEPEND on for health. I cannot stress enough how we must protect our gut bacteria to protect us from all disease states.

No more than 3-5 ingredients that you understand and have access to yourself should be listed in the ingredients for the product.

Do you understand maltodextrin? Or soy protein isolate? Don’t buy that stuff.

Oils and fats should be ones you could make right there on that farm or orchard we talked about at the beginning of the post! Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or butter are oils and fats you could make!

This is a huge, very important topic! Processed oils like Canola oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oil as they are purchased in the supermarket are faulty oils that place a large stress on the body. Liquid oils should have the date they were squeezed from the food they came from (called the pressed date) on them, and they should be simply pressed—not extracted under high heat and processed with deodorizers.

Solid fats should be solid naturally, like butter and coconut oil are. Margarine, Crisco, and hydrogenated fats are liquid fats that have been chemically processed to be solid. Do NOT eat them if you can help it.

Watch for food sensitivities, and be aware that gluten and dairy have lots of pesky proteins which make them top health offenders.

After eliminating processed foods, it’s time to explore if there are sensitivities. Common problematic foods include: eggs, nuts and seeds, grains, dairy, legumes, shellfish. But any food can cause symptoms. Anything you swallow can have side effects, and each person is different.

Closing

Do I eat this way?  It is my gold-standard, but I adapt it differently as life changes and puts me in different stages. This is the eater I’d like to be! But I do not feel guilt when life dictates that I must deviate!

Guilt is just a part of us screaming (or whispering) because it wants us to do the right thing. Guilt doesn’t make us healthy. In about four minutes, my four-year old will wake up and come find me on the computer here, trying to write this post. Guilt will tell me to stop writing now and be a good mother. Guilt will also tell me I’ll never be a writer because I don’t make time for it. My guilt is simply trying to help me do the right thing to find balance in my life. 

I don’t want you to have guilt about your eating. I just want you to do the right thing for your health, your body, and your mind. Usually, the path for that will be clear and you’ll stick to homemade soups and salads and yummy, crunchy nuts day in and day out! But then, there will be moments where eating unhealthy is the healthiest thing to do in that moment for you, like at your birthday or Christmas. Paradoxes like this make life a fun art!

Best wishes for a pattern of LIFELONG real, whole eating! I really want you to succeed in health and vitality in 2019 and onward! I would like for you to feel good and paint, sew, write, sing, or garden. I would like you to travel with your grandkids, bike with your friends, or climb up on the tractor for another season of harvest.

The world needs more real, whole, healthy people–inside and out! Eating is a tool to make you the best you. Are you eating that way?

Terri F

The Basics for 2019

I’m no good at graphic design, and I don’t know anything about symbols. But today, I’d like to share with you an image that has been a picture in my mind for over a couple of decades. Maybe you’ll let it help guide your 2019 health. When I was about 20 years old and far away from home at college, I hit a really hard time in life. I was imprisoned in a deep, disgusting, scary chasm with sides jutting straight up to the sky, and my feet and legs were mired in a bottom of black, sticky muck.

I knew deep in my heart that I would get out of there, that I would pull myself out. I knew I would have a future, a good one. I knew I would make that happen. I had faith in my long-term vision, but on a given day, it was so hard to see past the despairing, dark moment I was living in. Somehow, I observed that when I ate right, slept right, exercised, and prayed, I could deal with the emotional and psychological mess that was my life. But I had to do all those things together.

At that time, sleeping right meant simply that I went to bed at 10 or 11 o’clock at night, and I woke up at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning, depending on class schedule. No more all-nighters. Eating right meant that I kept my meals to three meals a day contained on a plate, and I sat down to eat them, rather than binging through the kitchen. Exercising meant that I went to a gym and got my heart rate up for 20 minutes a day. And praying meant I talked with God (usually whining or crying or yelling): in my car, before meals, and before bed.

I started to pull out of the dark, sick mess, and I could feel moments of good and happy. With time and persistence (and people willing to help), I left the lowest, stickiest, sickliest point behind. I could look down and see where I had been. And I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULD NEVER GO BACK THERE. Ever. And I haven’t. I won’t.

Since then, the details of what it means for me to “eat right, sleep right, exercise, and pray” have changed, but the fact that I must be diligent to all these areas has not budged one bit. If I hit a stressful point in life now, I think of this image and ask myself if I am doing what I know needs to be done in each area. Usually, I’m being lazy in one of these aspects.

Happy New Year’s Day to you! I wish you the best. You CAN do it! Pull your head out, keep stepping in the right direction, move back in the right direction when you’ve danced off course, and get your life and health where you want them!

Look at your basics. Are you even doing them? If not, DO THEM. Make 2019 the year to be accountable to the basics.

I wish you the best.

Terri F

Encouragement and Self-Inquiry for Those Struggling with Food

I have just always liked food, even to the point of food addiction, I’d say. About six years ago when I changed to a whole, real food diet for gastrointestinal health issues, I saw the huge effects different foods had on me (and my brain). I promised myself that for the rest of my life I would keep eating whole, real food that I tolerated well, and I would stay away from processed foods and foods that inflamed my body.

I have failed at times in this, sometimes by conscious choice and other times by rash decisions. But I have always come back to where I need to be, and I want you to, too.

I don’t know what’s in your head. I don’t know the life experiences or the kind of parents you have had. I can’t help you.

But I do believe you can help yourself from the inside out. You really can. I genuinely hope that you succeed in changing any mindsets that keep you locked in place. Here are some questions to challenge your food and weight concerns, and also some encouragement for you today.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

“It’s too much to lose…”

“I am 50 pounds overweight. I’ve lost 8.1256, but I have 50 more to go. That overwhelms me because the number is so big….”

This is all fairly objective information which is easily verifiable by measurements and a BMI chart, except for the “number is so big” part. Is it “so big?”

If I told you that you had to pick up 50 sticks in the yard, would that be scary? Or that you had to go to the store 50 times this week? Or find 50 things in your house that you HAD to get rid of? It would be hard, but I know you could do it.

“So big” is one pound at a time. When you start thinking about 100 pounds or eating this way for forever, that’s when it becomes SO BIG. Too big! Focus on today. Focus on this meal. Focus on this bite. Focus on the little, and the “so big” becomes reality over time, in small pieces.

“I’m doubtful I can do it because food is too delicious…”

Is the food too delicious? Then, and I’m not kidding, choose blander, whole, real foods. (First and foremost, your diet needs to be mostly whole, real foods anyhow. If it’s not, you need to start there.)

But if you’re still overweight on real, whole foods, then it’s time to make it even more whole and more real. For example, I consider roasted and salted nuts as real food—BUT plain, raw nuts are even “more real.” And boy do I eat a heck of a lot less of them!

I consider homemade mashed potatoes as real food, but I eat a lot more of those than I do plain baked potatoes with just salt and pepper.

You have to eat. But if you overeat, you may need to set boundaries around the flavor of your food.

“I have too much stress in my life…”

Do you have too much stress in your life? Why? Do you need to let go of negative relationships? Do you need to change the dance of a negative relationship to empower yourself? Do you need to back out of commitments you promised you’d do? Do you need to change jobs? Do you need to move?

Most of my stress comes from how I think about things and also taking on too much. Maybe if I can change how I think about things, I can change how I think about and treat food. Maybe if I don’t take on too much, I won’t need to self-medicate my stress with food.

“I think I am too weak…”

Do you think you’re weak? Why? Do you have low self-esteem? Do you have too much self-doubt? Are you too perfectionistic and you can’t live up to your standards so you don’t try? Are you in a relationship which berates you daily?

Can you think of times and areas you are strong in? If so, you’re not weak, you are weak in specific areas and just need some work in those.

I repeat: You are not weak. You have weak areas that, once you identify and choose to deal with, you really can reconstruct with the rebar of change, self-acceptance, and love.

You are strong. Look for your strengths and use them to administer to your weaknesses, and you will see your food life change.

Challenges We Face

“I don’t like to prepare food or cook…”

Would it help to prepare food with a friend? Could you eat more raw food? If you lost weight, would it be easier to cook because your knees would feel better? If you’re eating real, whole foods right for you, would you have more energy? Would one of your children who likes to cook be willing to make things you can eat if you explain to them you need some help losing weight for good?

You can navigate around this! Find a way! Talk it out with a trusted friend or family member!

“It irritates my husband (or wife) that I eat this way and won’t eat or drink with him (or her) and our friends…”

Are you neglecting yourself and your own needs in your marriage and food is simply another expression of that? Could you find something to share with your spouse, like a steak or a glass of dry, red wine that wouldn’t tip your eating over the cliff? Are you being too condescending towards your husband or wife with regards to his or her eating habits? Could you be a little less rigid and still succeed?

Relationships are the best, but only if you bring your whole self and your best self to the table.

Closing

These are just a few thoughts. Maybe you have more! Maybe you can share some inspiration for others in the comment box! It’s Christmas time, and this is probably the biggest six-week food challenge of the year! Let’s support one another. Even if you don’t like people. 😉

Don’t spend too much. Don’t eat too much. Don’t take on too much. And let your emotional baggage go.

Signing off.

Terri F

For a Mother Who Finds Mothering is Taking a Toll on Her Health

Mothers don’t have time for self. They don’t have time to chew (their food). They don’t have time for exercising. They don’t have time for God. They don’t have time to take a shower. They just don’t have time.

Motherhood is hard. And while I hear those words tossed about so often, I really, really don’t think that as a society we respect and internalize that truth. Maybe because so many women do it. Maybe because moms listen to each other’s stories and think, “Yep. I do that, too. Yep. I have that, too.” Maybe because we forget as our kids grow up into adults just how hard it was.

For too long we’ve belittled the frustration of motherhood and the toll it takes. It IS a big deal. It IS a huge, overwhelming job. I completely empathize with you! I’m there with you! Look yourself in the mirror today and say, “I AM doing a HARD job.” And then smile at yourself and say, “I can DO this HARD job. I LIKE this hard job. It IS a job like no other. And NO other woman can do this job for my household like I can.”

While I know that motherhood is hard, I know there are so many other women out there that have it harder than I do. Maybe harder than you do. And sometimes that is helpful to hear. It pulls me out of self-pity when I have one kid vomiting on the couch, one throwing herself on the ground screaming and sobbing because the neighbors cut the trees down, one walking in the door with a broken nose from gymnastics practice, and one asking what’s for supper. It helps keep me focused and motivated to remember these are passing moments, and others have “real” problems.

But, well, you know what? At other times, this only serves to drive home to me how frivolous and incompetent I am. Then, whammo, guilt monster, judging, and belittling set in. That is not productive, and it is not health-promoting.

We’re not here to see who can raise their kids better. Who can clean better. Who can cook better. Who can yell less. Who can do more and more while still raising kids.

Listen. Some of us do cook better. Some of us do clean better. Some of us are more patient. Some of us enjoy toddlers more than others. Some of us can work and come home and have energy to help with homework. Some of us can help teach Sunday school without dreaming of the game Whack-a-Mole at night. Some of us do love to shop with our kids.

But nobody can be YOU to your children. Nobody. Ever. So encourage yourself more. Let go of the judging and belittling of yourself and other moms. Find humor. Encourage another mom. Humor another mom.

You are amazing! You have a wonderful skill set! Embrace it! Love it! God did NOT make you like anyone else. Clean house or messy house. Food from the farm or food from the box. Introvert or extrovert. Medical doctor or GED. Award-winning kitchen designer or self-proclaimed artist.

Yes, I know that in motherhood you’re always interrupted! Interrupted you. That’s the story of a good mom’s life! For several years, you may be forced to give up WHAT YOU DO while you mother your children. Today’s world argues against that. For me, it was necessary to give up what I DO in order that I didn’t give up on WHO I am. Does that make sense? Doing too much robbed me of WHO I was. I was losing touch with myself.

Well, I’ll close. But today I would like you to consider if there are a couple of things in life that you might want to give up so you can be the mother and person you want to be. Maybe it’s as simple as not answering the phone when it’s that best friend who talks for an hour. Or maybe it’s the frequent trips to visit your sick relative. (I know that sounds very harsh.) Maybe it’s the extra class you’re trying to squeeze in.

I just don’t want you to lose YOU! And I also want you to have a great relationship with your children! As two of my children have entered the teen years, I am just so struck by how they are so amazing. And I’m so glad they like being around me and even confide in me at times.

And I know I am temporarily giving up a lot of WHAT I do. But because I have kept true to WHO I am, I know I can look forward to a future doing what I want to do. And doing it as healthy as ever, inside and out!

Have a super weekend!

Terri F