What Happened When I Prayed, Praised & Planked?

What Happened When I Prayed, Praised & Planked?

So, the Praying, Praising & Planking Challenge began on December 12th and ended on January 1st! Truly, I did NOT think I would EVER make it through! I mean, come on people…it was the “Holiday Season!” It could NOT have been a worse time to start ANY kind of challenge, much less a challenge that involved exercise, right? And, those one-minute-planks? I had tears streaming down my cheeks for five days, as I grunted my way through them. But, guess what? I truly got through them!! Couldn’t even believe it! Oh, make no mistake, IT HURT…it hurt a lot! But, it didn’t injure me!

Here’s what I learned when I Prayed, Praised, and Planked:
I learned that my body can do things I did NOT know it could.
I learned that I need to pray and praise every single day—it makes such a huge difference in my outlook on life!
I learned that I can form a habit when I am consistent and stick to something…I mean REALLY stick to something. (Even when my 14-year-old grandson is watching me.:) He even participated with me while he visited during the holidays. You know that show….”Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” Well, let’s just say that I’m actually a little stronger than a 14-year-old!! Now, that WAS amazing!!
I learned that it’s fun to do something different with the hubs. (He participated with me, too:)
I learned that I CAN get stronger, both mentally and physically, in a very short amount of time!

Here’s how my body reacted:
I lost 1.5 inches in my abdomen.
I lost .5 inches in my waist.
I lost 1 inch in my hips.
I lost 5 pounds. (This IS miraculous, since my eating habits were less than stellar during the holidays!)

I only skipped two days during the challenge, due to a busy schedule or company. HOWEVER, I actually made up the day by doing TEN PLANKS the following day. I even did TEN, 60-SECOND planks in one session when I missed a day! (That’s when the tears were rolling:)

This challenge has been very popular, so Fit for GOD will be hosting it again in just a few weeks, with a little tweaking here and there. So, keep checking back here and watching your inbox and our Instagram or Pinterest accounts for sign-up information.

Until then, keep on planking!!! Go HERE to read about all the benefits, etc.!

 

FUELED & FIT SNACKS

FUELED & FIT SNACKS

When beginning your Fueled & Fit Challenge, this is a great page to print off and take with you to the store. I will be adding to the page on a regular basis. It will be loaded with great snacks that can all be found at HEB, WalMart, or on Amazon.  You will need to read ingredient lists to see which Diet Level they work around, so be on the alert for organic maple sugar as a sweetener, etc.  However, they ARE all clean eating snacks with good-for-you ingredients.

This is a grouping of Made In Nature Snacks. They can be found at WalMart. You can also go to the Made In Nature Website and order if you want more of a variety than WalMart carries.  However, WalMart has quite a few from which to choose. Most of the Made In Nature Snacks are sweetened with organic maple syrup. Other then that, there is no “sugar,” except for the natural-occurring sugars from the dried fruits, etc.

Made In Nature Fueled & Fit Snack Choices


FUELED & FIT FROZEN FOODS

FUELED & FIT FROZEN FOODS

If you are in a hurry and need some great frozen foods to add to your Fueled & Fit Meal Planning, you are going to want to peruse the foods below! I am so excited about ALL the offerings from Green Giant!! AND, look what’s coming in January! Green Giant Frozen Spirals!  YEP, they are going to have all our favorite spiralized veggies in the frozen section of our favorite grocer come January 2018!!! Go here to grab coupons: https://www.greengiant.com/coming-soon/

Just take a look below at what you can get now in the frozen section of your grocer!!  There are even coconut lime “Good Pops” and a “Trust the Crust” cauliflower pizza crust!!!

There’s absolutely no excuse to put off eating right!! (Just be sure to read ALL the labels regarding gluten content if you are sensitive.) 

SIMPLY HOVER OVER THE IMAGE TO SEE THE NAME MORE CLEARLY.  ALL ITEMS CAN BE FOUND AT HEB IN BOERNE!

MASHED CAULIFLOWERMASHED CAULIFLOWER
VEGGIE SPIRALS CARROTVEGGIE SPIRALS CARROT
GOOD POP COCONUT LIMEGOOD POP COCONUT LIME
VEGGIE TOTSVEGGIE TOTS
VEGGIE SPIRALS BUTTERNUT SQUASHVEGGIE SPIRALS BUTTERNUT SQUASH
APPLEGATE TURKEY BURGERSAPPLEGATE TURKEY BURGERS
ROASTED VEGGIESROASTED VEGGIES
VEGGIE SPIRALS ZUCCHINIVEGGIE SPIRALS ZUCCHINI
TRUST THE CRUST PIZZA CRUSTTRUST THE CRUST PIZZA CRUST

 

The “Earthbound Farm Organic” Brand below can be found at HEB, as can the “Dr. Praeger’s brand. It’s always a great idea to have some frozen salmon fillets around, if you like salmon:), and the brand below can be found at HEB as well. Of course, you could also substitute talapia or another fish that you prefer.

EB FARM KALEEB FARM KALE
EB FARM BUTTERNUT SQUASHEB FARM BUTTERNUT SQUASH
DR PRAEGER'S BROCCOLI CAKESDR PRAEGER'S BROCCOLI CAKES
EB FARM POWER BLENDEB FARM POWER BLEND
DR PRAEGER'S KALE PUFFSDR PRAEGER'S KALE PUFFS
DR PRAEGER'S BLACK BEAN QUINOA BURGERDR PRAEGER'S BLACK BEAN QUINOA BURGER
EB FARM RUBY RED BEETSEB FARM RUBY RED BEETS
DR PRAEGER'S 4 POTATO HASH BROWNSDR PRAEGER'S 4 POTATO HASH BROWNS
ALASKA SALMONALASKA SALMON

So, be sure to add these frozen foods to your shopping list! You can be sure to get lunch and/or dinner on the table quickly AND offer healthy choices, too!!!

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Recipes

–Just click on the image below to go straight to the Pumpkin Recipe–
There’s something for every Diet Level.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Apple ButterSlow Cooker Pumpkin Apple Butter
No Bake Protein Pumpkin BitesNo Bake Protein Pumpkin Bites
Pumpkin VinaigrettePumpkin Vinaigrette
Pumpkin Oatmeal CookiesPumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Pumpkin SyrupPumpkin Syrup
Pumpkin Muffins with HoneyPumpkin Muffins with Honey
Pumpkin Protein Soft Baked CookiesPumpkin Protein Soft Baked Cookies
Pumpkin GranolaPumpkin Granola
Pumpkin SoupPumpkin Soup
Apple Breakfast BakeApple Breakfast Bake
Pumpkin No Bake Energy BitesPumpkin No Bake Energy Bites
Snickerdoodle CookiesSnickerdoodle Cookies
Mug CakeMug Cake
Benefits of Lemon Water

Benefits of Lemon Water

The Buzz
“Lemon Water Detox”–Google that subject and you’ll get over twelve million hits in 0.61 seconds! It’s all the rage to “detox” with fasts, pills, and all kinds of cleanses. But the real “buzz” is all about detoxing with lemon water! Truth is, detoxing doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Lemon water is insanely inexpensive to make, keeps skin glowing, aids in digestion, can help you lose weight, and is packed with vitamin C!  So, you can see why it’s all the rage!!

One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C, while offering up a healthy serving of potassium, magnesium and copper.

Check out the other benefits one cup of fresh lemon juice adds to a plain glass of water. Here are some lemon water nutrition facts:

  • 61 calories
  • 3 grams protein
  • 6 grams sugar
  • 0 grams fat
  • 112 milligrams vitamin C (187 percent DV)
  • 303 milligrams potassium (9 percent DV)
  • 31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams thiamin (5 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams copper (4 percent DV)
  • 1 gram fiber (4 percent DV)
  • 14.6 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligrams vitamin E (2 percent DV)

5 Benefits of Lemon Water
For such a simple drink, the list of lemon water benefits is impressive. Even if you’re not a big H2O drinker, you might find yourself reaching for a glass when you check out how awesome it is for your body and mind!

1. Aids in digestion and detoxification
Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly. Lemon water also helps relieve indigestion or ease an upset stomach.

The acids found in lemon juice also encourage your body to process the good stuff in foods more slowly. This drawn-out absorption means insulin levels remain steady and you get more nutrients out of the foods you consume. Better nutrient absorption means less bloating. Lemon water benefits the enzyme functions in your body, stimulating the liver and flushing out toxins. Because it’s a mild diuretic, you might find yourself using the bathroom more often, helping the urinary tract get rid of any unwanted elements. All of this helps detox body & skin.

2. Bumps up the vitamin C quotient
Since your body doesn’t make vitamin C on its own, it’s important to get enough of it from the foods and drinks you ingest. Luckily, lemons are chock-full of the vitamin.

What are the benefits of getting enough vitamin C? It stimulates white blood cell production, vital for your immune system to function properly. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also protects cells from oxidative damage. Plus, getting enough vitamin C helps the immune system keep colds and flu at bay. Drinking lemon water daily ensures your body gets a sizable amount of vitamin C.

3. Rejuvenates skin and heals the body
The antioxidants found in vitamin C do double duty in lemon water. They fight damage caused by free radicals, keeping your skin looking fresh. Getting enough vitamin C from your lemon water also keeps the body producing collagen, essential in smoothing out lines in the face. And, in one recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regularly consuming vitamin C led to younger-looking skin and less wrinkles.

4. Helps shed pounds
Regularly sipping on lemon water can help you lose those last pounds. That’s because lemons contain pectin, a type of fiber commonly found in fruits. Pectin helps you feel full longer; that satiated feeling means you’ll chow down less throughout the day. Plus, did you know that when you’re even mildly dehydrated, you’re more prone to things like headaches, fatigue and an overall bad mood? Chugging down lemon water helps your body stay hydrated and feeling happy.

5. Boosts energy and mood
Skip the morning cup of coffee–have a glass or warm cup of lemon water before your first cup of morning joe. It will can boost energy levels without the caffeine crash. Here’s how it works: Our bodies get energy from the atoms and molecules in foods. When negative-charged ions, like those found in lemons, enter your digestive tract, the result is an increase in energy levels au naturel. Additionally, just the scent of a lemon has been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods.

How to buy your lemons, store them, and prepare your lemon water:

  • There are three main types of lemons available in the U.S. Eureka and Lisbon lemons are both sour and tart. Eureka lemons have textured skins and few seeds. Lisbon lemons tend to have a smoother skin and no seeds. Meyer lemons, a sweeter variety, are becoming more common. These lemons have Mandarin oranges in their family tree, giving these fruits a deeper color than traditional lemons.
  • When buying lemons, opt for ones that are fully yellow and, if possible, organic. If the fruit is still green, it isn’t fully ripe. Thinner-skinned lemons are juicier. Keep away from lemons that look dull, wrinkled or excessively hard.
  • Storing lemons in a sealed plastic bag keeps lemons fresh much longer than leaving them at room temperature.
  • To make preparing lemon water even easier, juice several lemons into an ice cube tray and freeze. Pop a few cubes in a glass of water to have fresh lemon juice at the ready anytime.
  • When preparing lemon water, it’s best to add the lemon juice to room temperature or warm water and start with half a lemon’s worth of juice. Drinking cold lemon water can be a shock to your system.
  • You get the benefits of lemon water whenever you drink it, but sipping on it in the morning will kick-start your day. Try a glass about a half hour before breakfast; the lemon juice in your belly will help your body absorb your breakfast nutrients better.

NOTE: While lemon water is one of the safest drinks you can ingest, the acids in lemons can eat away at your tooth enamel. To prevent this, drink lemon water before brushing your teeth, as the overnight bacteria will protect your teeth a bit. Drink from a straw and rinse with baking soda to neutralize any acid that might be left on your teeth.

Golden Milk, Anyone?

Golden Milk, Anyone?

Honestly, I thought this trend would die down, but NOPE–it’s still in the forefront of the blog-o-sphere!! Golden Milk–translation: turmeric milk. Its properties warrant all the hype. It’s simple to make, the basic recipe has much more going for it than just great color and creamy richness. It’s made with ingredients that help with inflammation, bloating, and weight loss. If you’re still not convinced to give it a try, check out these reasons to whip some up:

  • Better digestion: Think of golden milk as nature’s Pepto-Bismol, except with a much prettier color! Multiple studies have shown turmeric to help fight gas, bloat, and indigestion. Ginger, a common ingredient in golden milk, is great at fighting nausea and soothing stomach aches.
  • Happier muscles: Try having an iced glass of turmeric milk as a post-workout smoothie. As a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric can relieve joint and muscle pain and even help with headaches. In some studies, turmeric offered similar relief to ibuprofen. It also may be the perfect drink to have after an intense workout, as it has been known to combat delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), in some studies. Ginger has also shown to be effective in preventing muscle soreness.
  • Protection against colds and flu: Besides helping soothe a sore throat, ginger has long been used as a cold remedy in naturopathy. The spicy root has antimicrobial properties that help protect the body from respiratory infections.
  • Weight-loss support: Turmeric does show some promise when it comes to encouraging weight loss. In two separate studies, the spice was shown to reduce the growth of fat cells in mice and also increase metabolism.
  • Boost in good cholesterol: The raw coconut oil often used in golden milk has been shown to help raise good cholesterol in the body.

So, that seems like plenty of reasons to give Golden Milk a try. For me, just the fact that it helps with muscle soreness after a tough workout is enough to add it to my menu.

Speaking of workouts, if you are in the area, give our Fit for GOD program a try!

Medjool Dates-Healthy Sugar Alternative

Medjool Dates-Healthy Sugar Alternative

It’s widely known that fruits provide many health benefits, so when something is referred to as “nature’s power fruit” it SHOULD get our attention, right?  Well, Medjool dates are referred to as just that–NATURE’S POWER FRUIT!

Packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, the health benefits are remarkable. These edible sweet fruits of the date palm tree make great natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives, but they’re not just delicious. They’ve also been proven to decrease cholesterol and boost bone health and who doesn’t want that?

What exactly are Medjool dates, and what makes them so beneficial?  Read on to find out.

What Are Medjool Dates?

There are many varieties of dates available worldwide, but the Medjool date is one of two of the most commercially produced varieties within the U.S. The other most commonly produced is the Deglet Noor (or Nour) date, but Medjools are larger, softer and sweeter. Medjool dates can be consumed fresh or dried, and it’s common for them to be dried, which lengthens their life span and prevents early spoilage.

Medjool dates have a deep brown skin color with a flavor that can be described as caramel-like. When holding a dried Medjool date in your hand, you first feel its firm yet wrinkled texture, but don’t make any quick judgments because, upon biting into a Medjool date, you will see that the inside is actually moist and meaty.

Medjool dates vary greatly in size, and at present there are no industry standards for size. You will sometimes see Medjool dates described as “large,” “jumbo” or “super,” which is a general reference to their length as well as their circumference.

Once you get a hang of how to incorporate Medjool dates into your daily diet and recipes (see below for some great recipes on this site!), they will quickly become one of your favorite raw food kitchen staples!

6 Health Benefits of Medjool Dates

1. Decrease Cholesterol
Medjool dates are a wise choice when it comes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. When you eat them, you increase your insoluble and soluble fiber intake, which in turn can significantly lower cholesterol naturally, particularly LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. As we know, LDL cholesterol is a major contributing factor to heart attacks, heart disease and stroke, making these tasty dates a great heart-healthy option.

2. Prevent & Relieve Constipation
If you’re reading a list of top foods for constipation relief, don’t be surprised if you see dates on the list. The high fiber content of Medjool dates make them a smart choice when it comes to keeping yourself regular.  Dates have high levels of soluble fiber, which keep bowel movements regular by adding bulk to stool and helping it move faster through the intestines. Next time you’re looking for a natural constipation relief remedy, try having a few Medjool dates.  

3. Boost Energy
Need a new go-to for your pre-workout snack or a healthy post-workout option? Try Medjool dates!  Once you try a Medjool date, you won’t be surprised to learn that dates are higher in sugar than many other fruits. However, dates are high in natural sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose. These sugars are easily processed and utilized by the body for energy.

Consuming a few Medjool dates or including them in a snack is an excellent idea when you’re looking for a healthy surge of energy. Worldwide, dates are used for an afternoon pick-me-up to ward off tiredness. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, try a smoothie recipe that includes some Medjool dates! (See link below for Coconut Banana Date Shake.)

4. Reduce Triglyceride Levels
Medjool dates can give your heart a healthy boost. A  study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found Medjool dates are high in antioxidative properties in vitro. Ten healthy subjects consumed 100 grams daily of either Medjool or Hallawi dates for four weeks. According to the study, the consumption of Medjool dates reduced blood triglyceride levels by 8 percent among the participants.

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. Having a high level of triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease so it’s important to keep your triglycerides at a normal level (less than 150 milligrams per deciliter).

5. Sweeten Naturally
If nature had an actual candy store, Medjool dates would be front and center. When you eat a Medjool date, it can be hard to process that it really is a piece of fruit because it has such candy-like qualities.

Medjool dates are undeniably sweet, but in a completely unprocessed sort of way—so, as long as you don’t overdo it, there is no guilt associated with these caramel-like gems.

Research has shown that there is a direct link between increased sugar consumption in food and increased diabetes rates. We all should aim to keep our sugar intake down and be mindful of our sources of sugar. A delicious fruit, like a Medjool date, provides a truly satisfying alternative to eating those refined sugar treats.

6. Boost Bone Health
The significant amounts of key minerals found in Medjool dates make them superstars when it comes to strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating bone diseases like osteoporosis. Dates are high in calcium and phosphorus, which work closely together to build strong bones and teeth.  Phosphorus is also required to help balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc. Calcium also keeps the heart, nerves, muscles and other body systems working properly.  As people begin to age and their bones start to become weaker, maintaining a diet high in both calcium and phosphorus can ward off unpleasant bone degradation. Eating Medjool dates regularly is one way that you can up your intake of calcium and phosphorus.

Medjool Dates Nutrition Facts

One Medjool date contains 66 calories, 15.95 grams of sugar and 0 trans fats. Since dates are naturally rich in carbohydrates (17.99 milligrams in a single date), they are an excellent source of energy. Medjool dates are also loaded with many vitamins and minerals.

One serving (100 grams) of Medjool dates contains:

  • 6.7 grams fiber (26.8 percent DV)
  • 696 milligrams potassium (19.9 percent DV)
  • 54 milligrams magnesium (13.5 percent DV)
  • 0.25 milligrams vitamin B6 (12.5 percent DV)
  • 1.61 milligrams niacin (8 percent DV)
  • 64 milligrams calcium (6.4 percent DV)
  • 62 milligrams phosphorus (6.2 percent DV)
  • 0.06 milligrams riboflavin (3.5 percent DV)
  • 0.05 milligrams thiamine (3.3 percent DV)
  • 149 IU vitamin A (3 percent DV)
  • 0.44 milligrams zinc (2.9 percent DV)

Where to Find & How to Use Medjool Dates

Medjool dates can be found in your local grocery store in the fresh and/or dried fruit aisle. Dried Medjool dates are also likely to be found at your nearest health store, often in the bulk section, which will give you the greatest amount of dried dates for the lowest price.

Medjool dates come with the pit inside of them because the fruit is too soft to put in a mechanical pitter. While having to deal with pits is not ideal, the pit can be removed very easily. Simply make a small, lengthwise slice into the date with a knife, pull out the pit and that’s it you have a delicious Medjool date ready for consumption! It’s also extremely easy to remove the pit with your fingers.

Last but not least, when Medjool dates are made into a paste, they become an awesome, nutrient-dense sugar substitute. Date paste can be used one-to-one in most recipes, unlike stevia, and it adds bulk for baking.

How to make date paste:
1. Soak Medjool dates in hot water until soft. If the water reaches room temperature and the dates aren’t soft enough, soak in hot water again.
2. Reserve the soaking liquid, as it’s integral to making a good paste!
3. Add the soaked dates to your food processor, along with one tablespoon of the soaking liquid. Blend until smooth. Add more water as needed to create a thick rich paste.

You’re looking for the consistency of peanut butter. Use the paste in your favorite cookie or cake recipe to cut out refined sugar and boost the nutrients.

Possible Side Effects of Medjool Dates

As with any fruit, it’s important not to overdo it when consuming Medjool dates due to their high natural sugar content. Pay attention to serving sizes, and monitor your blood sugar if you are a diabetic. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a half cup of dried fruit like Medjool dates equals one serving of fruit. A half cup of Medjool dates is a very satisfying serving whether you consume them alone or within a recipe. 

It’s possible to have a food allergy to Medjool dates. If you experience any symptoms of a food allergy such as a runny nose, tongue swelling, itchy eyes or facial redness, then discontinue consumption of Medjool dates and seek medical attention.

RECIPES USING MEDJOOL DATES

PECAN COCONUT BALLS

APPLE CRISP

COCONUT BANANA DATE SHAKE

ALMOND DATE TRUFFLES

COCONUT CREAM FRUIT TARTS

SHAVED PARSNIP SIDE SALAD

COCONUT DATE BITES

 

Building a Better Smoothie

Building a Better Smoothie

Keeping up with your Fueled for God 40-Day Challenge can be a well…challenging…especially if you are one of our members that is dashing off to work, kids in tow, trying to keep up with nursing a baby, and yada, yada, yada! YES! We have several of our members doing some of that OR all of that!!! Lord, bless them, please:)

Creativity in meal prepping is critical, not only to these ladies, but to ALL of our members! It’s paramount to staying engaged and avoiding boredom, and thus possibly quitting your commitment on a potentially life-changing journey. One way to switch up your breakfast AND/OR include healthy snacks, is to dabble in smoothie mastery.

Your FIRST STEP is to follow the graphic in proper “layering” of smoothie contents, so be sure and take a look at that. There are endless combinations of milks, vegetables, nut and seed butters, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds, along with collagen/protein (follow the link for a challenge-worthy brand) powders, that you can combine to make a hearty smoothie that will keep you satisfied for hours.

Your SECOND STEP is to refer to Page 22 in your CONFIDENT HOPE WORKBOOK for those “Tricky Names for Sugar.”  Read those labels AND ingredient lists on your nut milks and coconut milks to check for any additional sugars. That extra sugar sneaks into all kinds of foods you’d never expect! If you would like to include a bit of stevia in your smoothies, Sweat Leaf is an excellent brand because it is pure. You can get it on Amazon on at HEB, locally.

Your THIRD STEP is to check out the smoothie recipes either utilizing the RECIPE INDEX located on the green bar at the top of this website or simply do a recipe search, located in the sidebar to the right. Search under “course” for “smoothie.” Also, it’s best to eat the bulk of your fruit for breakfast and as an afternoon snack. Dinner and after-dinner fruit intake should be kept to a minimum.

TIPS FOR FREEZING

MAKE AHEAD FREEZER SMOOTHIE PACKS
1. Place your liquid ingredients in ice trays and freeze. You can also add your protein powder before freezing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. After the liquid ingredients have frozen, begin making your smoothie packs. Start by placing 1 serving size of each of your ingredients per recipe into a Ziplock freezer (not storage) bag, along with four of the frozen liquid ingredient cubes. Seal each bag and place into your freezer until ready to use. You can either thaw out a pack the night before, then just place in your blender for breakfast the next morning. OR Place in your blender frozen (if you have a high-powered blender) and blend it up straight from the freezer!

Refueling Our Tanks!

As women, we all possess two areas–two tanks–that can run on empty.

First, we have that get-up-and-go area–our oomph, if you will–our energy level.

Second, there’s that more out-of-sight area–you know, the veiled one—the one we try to keep hidden from others–our emotional level.

Of course, both of these areas ebb and flow.
Our energy “tanks” become low through illness, lack of sleep, not eating the proper foods, not exercising, etc.  On the other hand, our emotional “tanks” deplete themselves in sneaky, less noticeable ways. You are excited about moving into a new home, you have a sister who is getting married, a child having a baby, family visiting for the holidays. All happy life-events, right? Yes, and all life-stressing events.  Down goes that emotional tank. We don’t even need to mention the unhappy events that will deplete our emotional tanks, do we? Those are not sneaky at all!!!

How about filling UP those tanks?
Those energy tanks can be filled back up fairly easily. We’re ill so we go to the doctor and get better. Lost some sleep? Take a nap and catch up. Been eating poorly?  Start a new diet and begin to watch what we eat.

However, those emotional tanks are a bit trickier to refresh. We can be energetic on the outside, but almost completely sapped and emotionally drained on the inside. We don’t even know we are on the edge until something pops up and throws us a curve—it can be the tiniest of things once you get to the point of emotionally running on empty. Your feelings get hurt over the smallest infraction on someone’s part. You begin to over analyze everything and want to control all of life’s events.

We need to learn how to refuel our emotional tanks BEFORE we reach that empty point! Our emotional tanks don’t empty out all at once, so we don’t notice how empty we’ve become until it’s almost too late to refuel!!

So, how can we do that? We need to be refueling WHILE things are depleting us not AFTER. Using the analogy of our car gas tanks–we don’t wait until they are totally empty before refueling. Same thing here–we can’t run on empty! It takes time to refill your emotional tank, so don’t wait too long to begin the process.

Let’s look at some examples of how we can refuel before running on empty.

  • Spend time with the Lord, reading the Bible, praying (these activities always tend to take a back seat when life gets hectic)
  • Make yourself a priority (everyone suffers when we are not at our best, so don’t feel like you are being selfish when you put yourself first and take care of yourself)
  • Make a date with yourself for some pampering time (pedicure, manicure, “me day”)
  • Exercise (this is also one of those things that takes a back seat when life gets busy)
  • Keep your diet clean (when we don’t eat the foods that “fuel” our bodies, every other area suffers)
  • Spend time being creative (activities you enjoy, such as gardening, crocheting, painting, reading, etc.)
  • Make a gratitude journal (it’s hard to stay down when you are being thankful)

You’ll be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, etc., when you are NOT running on an empty emotional tank and when your energy tank is full!! The people in your life deserve to have you at your best.

When your energy and emotional tanks are full you are refreshed, both in body and spirit. Your outlook is renewed. You are refocused on those things you hold dearest.

I will be filled with joy because of You.
I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:2

Breaking the Sugar Habit

Why is it so difficult to break the sugar habit? Studies have shown that sugar may help curb stress, which keeps us coming back for more…and more…and more. This hormonal effect of sugar is what creates a craving for sugary “comfort” foods when we are stressed out.

In its natural state, sugar is a relatively harmless (even necessary) carbohydrate that our bodies need to function. It is found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy as a compound known as fructose or lactose. The problem comes when sugar is added to foods during processing for added flavor, texture, or color. This is more common than you may realize–you don’t have to be in the candy aisle to be surrounded by added sugar!

Eating too many of these empty calories has many health effects, the most obvious being major weight gain. Added sugar drives your insulin levels up, messes with your metabolism, and causes those calories to turn right into belly fat. YIKES! And while losing weight is well and good, that’s just the beginning of the health benefits of cutting back on the sweet stuff.

Here are just a few other legit reasons to fight the sugar habit:

  • It may lower your blood pressure
  • It may lower your bad cholesterol
  • It may decrease your heart attack risk
  • It may keep your brain sharper
  • You’ll be less likely to have Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • You’ll be less likely to suffer from depression
  • You’ll break your addiction to the sweet stuff
  • Your skin will look younger and more clear
  • You’ll lower your risk of diabetes
  • It may help prevent fatty liver disease
  • It may help reduce your risk of certain cancers

NOW, FOR THE GOOD NEWS! You CAN overcome your addiction to sugar. Below are a few tips to get those cravings under control.

KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IN BALANCE
Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. So, it makes sense that cutting out sugar will help keep your blood sugar stable and your brain functioning at a higher capacity. Keep your blood sugar in balance by:
EATING A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST
Protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters are excellent choices. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
EATING SMALLER MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, and beans).
ELIMINATING SUGARS AND ARTIFICIAL SUGARS
Go cold turkey. This will help your brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners (Stevia acceptable substitute) from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.
TRY TO GET SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT

Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.
AVOID EATING TWO TO THREE HOURS BEFORE GOING TO BED

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