Intentional

It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. I believe that saying is true. The problem with me is that I often choose to not put my mind to it. My diet, my exercise, my faith; I know what I need to be doing to be strong in those aspects of my life, yet I simply choose not to do those things (for the most part).

The same is true with all the small stuff in my life. Cleaning, laundry, DIY projects, time management, etc. I am smart enough and capable enough to do what needs to be done, but the monster called laziness cane be quite overbearing.

Over the past fifteen months, I’ve had success in eating well and dieting. I’ve also had success with getting into a routing at the gym. I’ve even taken on reading the entire Bible in one year. But through it all, for various reasons, I’ve let it all revert to how it used to be.

Go on vacation? Stop eating well. Busy at work? No time for the gym. Make time for God today? Try to find some time later. It seems no matter how well intentioned I may think I am, I make it so easy for myself to find a reason to not follow through. I am literally my own worse enemy.

That stops today.

Today I have kicked off me personal month of discipline. In summary, I am going to be intentional with what I eat and drink. Gone are the random snacking and grazing. I will only eat clean, healthful meals for the entirety of this month. If that means saying no to dinner invites or get togethers, then that is what it takes. Or better yet, I will come prepared with my M-O-D compliant food and ensure I am eating correctly.

Gone also is any liquid not water or juice. That’s right ….. no beer, wine, rum, coffee, beer, vodka, beer, tequila, beer, or soda. Did I mention no beer? If you know me, you know this is huge for me. However, it would not be the first time I’ve gone alcohol free for a month or longer, and I know that 70% of my flabendency (tendency to be flabby) is a result of my love of beer.

My personal month of discipline also means I will be back in the gym every morning. I loved the feeling of walking out of the gym at 6:30 AM having worked out and having the rest of the day in front of me. My alertness and energy levels were higher, and it just made for being in a better mood all around. I miss that, and I need that in order to compliment what I am doing with regards to my diet.

I also plan to publish to my blog every day this month. Be it a 600 word post, an inspirational image, or a silly video from YouTube, I know I have something to share every day, and the only reason I don’t is because I don’t make the time to do so.

Most importantly in this month of discipline, however, is my relationship with God. I will begin and end every day with quiet time with Him. I want to be more in tune to what God is telling me, and I want to ensure I am responsive and obedient to His will. I’ve found it’s easy to hear God’s message. The tricky part is following through on what He’s calling us to do, and I want to be intentional in my obedience as well.

It’s all interconnected ….. mind, body, and soul. We need to be able to work on them together, and be enriched in all aspects of our lives.

Intentional

 

So I hope you keep me in your prayers and cheer me on from afar. I know this will not be easy, but I also know it will be so very worth it.

P.S. My son’s birthday is May 1 and we’ll be celebrating at every Starbucks in the Tampa Bay area that day. (I’m so going to miss the coffee).

 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

UpLIFTed: Pt. 2

Very few people really enjoy starting anew. Personally, I very much try to avoid getting out of my routine and taking on something new. That is the primary reason I found myself flabby and lethargic at the end of 2013, and feeling simply disgusted with myself.

This year, Lee and I decided to do something about it, and we not only changed what we ate but how we ate. Going through that lifestyle change was difficult, but it was worth it. Looking back on the past year, nine months removed from that first day of ‘diet’, I can’t fathom the idea of eating some of the stuff we had been eating on a regular basis. What is maltodextrin anyway?

We’re also six weeks into a regular fitness routine. Our new normal is waking up early to be at the gym at 5:00 AM. It was grueling at first, but we both enjoy the extra energy we now have as a result of getting our heart going so early in the day. We’re also starting to see the subtle muscle definition that comes with working out (almost) daily.

What does this have to do with Sister Hazel you ask?

Back in late 2004, when my life hit rock bottom, there was one song that almost literally defined my existence. It’s a song I would turn to when I had nothing and no one else. And it’s a song I consider to be an example of lyrical genius.

Depressed

The song is called Another Me and it is on the album Lift. It tells the story of a person’s struggle to get through the tough time, to get back to some sense of normal.

And I’m waiting for another me
One that can change the pain of yesterday
Carry me through another day

That was my everyday for the better part of six months. Taking showers until I was shivering from the hot water having run out. Crying myself to sleep. Drinking myself to sleep. Feeling delirious because I hadn’t slept in 32 hours. All the time waiting for ‘another me’ to show up.

I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t realize that season in my life was a process I had to experience in order for that ‘another me’ to arrive. Not unlike starting and sticking to a new diet or workout regiment, getting from bad to good takes time. There is no fast forwarding through the process, no matter how much it sucks or how badly you desire to get there.

I am blessed to have the ability to look back and see the path that lead me to where I am today. I’ve learned many things from those moments, the most important being that it does get better. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true. The key is not to get there overnight; that’s never going to happen. The key is to make tomorrow just a little bit better than today.

What’s really ironic is that in my darkest moment, I lost faith in God. He, however, was faithful to me, and He opened my eyes to the reality of what I needed to face and overcome. By placing my faith back in Him, God delivered ‘another me’.

“Another Me”

Diggin’ in for another day
Carrying on in my own
But you know me
I live and die nearly every day
Insanity, it’s havin’ its way with me

These days in the gallows
I’m kneeling at the block
With my neck outstretched
And I should’ve stayed in the shallows

But you know me, I’m in too deep
And I’m waiting for another me
One that can change the pain of yesterday
Carry me through another day
And I’m waiting for another me
One in between the burn
And the lessons learned
‘Cause being me ain’t no way to be

I’m talking law down at Murphy’s Bar
Unhappy hour on my own last call
Calling me out on my living lie
Looking for luck I can’t even buy
[Chorus]

Give me one chance at recovering
What was lost
And give me one shot at redemption
At any cost
Repair my way before it breaks me
Don’t break me

Hello did you notice me
Can’t you see that I’m crumbling down
Tired of the same old same
I’m coming to
I’m coming back around
[Chorus]
[Chorus]

Clean and Lean

Today officially marks the end of the 28-day, Fast Metabolism Diet program Lee and I began back on January 6. As a matter of convenient clarification, I ended my program sometime yesterday afternoon. Let me explain.

Our goal, as we undertook the commitment to this new diet, was to lose weight. We were both tired of being too flabby around the edges and just sluggish every day. We bought the book, bought the cookbook, planned our meals, and, for the most part, managed to eat on schedule and eat what we prepared. Yes, there were some afternoons we’d forget to snack, and yes, there were sometimes when that, “eat every three to four hours” stretched to four and a half to five. Nevertheless, we completed the 28 days (27.5 for me) with resounding success. My wife dropped 12 pounds and 2 sizes (we’ve already been shopping for new clothes for her). I dropped 21.5 pounds, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this good in terms of having a continuous ‘bounce in my step’.

Still, all the planning in the world could not prevent us from having our program end on Super Bowl Sunday. Yikes! What were we going to do?

My wife didn’t care. She made sure to tell our friends hosting the Super Bowl party to not include us in their meal planning since we were going to bring our own food. Then she spent all of Saturday and part of Sunday preparing FMD compliant snacks, treats, veggie trays, and dinner (vegetable meatballs) for us to consume. For the record, everyone at the party raved about Lee’s non-dairy ranch dip. It was amazing.

With the exception of two mushroom and cherry mini-quiches (they were prepared by our friend Jason who is a chef, and they were spectacularly divine), and my four-pack of gluten free beer (I had to have some brew for the big game and I figured gluten-free would be a happy medium), I stayed on plan during the party. I thought I would just cave and revert back to my pre-FMD ways for the party (especially with the beer), but I did not want to risk feeling like absolute crap in the morning. I also didn’t want to have a huge setback after twenty seven and a half days of culinary discipline.

The thing is, I’m done with eating poorly. This FMD experience has been a ‘proof in the proverbial pudding’ trial that has lent tons of weight (pun intended) to what so many of my friends have been telling me for years: It’s about eating clean. The feelings of sluggishness and lethargy are gone. The afternoon headaches are gone. The episodes of having my stomach feel upside down are gone. I feel better, stronger, and more agile than I have in the past decade. The weight loss is just a bonus on top of the more healthy feeling and appearance I’m displaying.

The best example I can give is this. My mother-in-law Patsy, who lives with us, has also been participating in the FMD. In addition to the dietary changes, she also gave up her Coca Cola and smoking (all at the same time and all cold turkey). She, too, has lost 12 pounds. More importantly, her well being is noticeably better. We had a bit of a cold front pass through here in Florida, and Patsy mentioned how her arthritis would normally flare up with the cold weather. It didn’t this time around, and there’s no doubt in my mind it’s because of the change in diet and her improved nutrition.

Haylie Pomroy’s Fast Metabolism Diet has been a life changer for us, and we look forward to staying the course with regards to clean eating. Yes, we will introduce some items back into our diet, and we may not necessarily eat phase-specific,  but we are committed to not going back to processed foods, fast food restaurants, and impulse buys at the checkout counter. Those days are behind us, and it’s cleaner and leaner on the road ahead. A road, I like to think, that’s been made a little bit longer as a result of this lifestyle change.

Happy eating, everyone.

Nancy Peterson

Weighing In

2 weeks. 14 days. 336 hours. 70 meals (including snacks). At least 1750 ounces of water (that’s over 13.5 gallons).

The result: 17 pounds (actually 16.5, but I like to round up).

That’s right. I’ve dropped 17 pounds in two weeks simply by eating food. There has been some exercise activity thrown into the mix, but not a whole lot. The result of my weight loss has been primarily me jump-starting my metabolism by changing the way I eat.

It all started around last summer when my wife came home and told me her friend Alyson did the Fast Metabolism Diet and lost about 15 pounds on the 4 week program. I quickly allowed the information to go in one ear and out the other as I was too busy thinking which pizza place I wanted to go to for dinner. Fast forward to December when we visited our friend Renee at her house for dinner. She had prepared for us a delicious meal, but it was quickly apparent she would not be eating with us. When we asked her about it, she reached into the freezer, grabbed a bag, and said, “This is my dinner.” Perplexed, we asked her what was going on, and she proceeded to tell us about how she was doing the Fast Metabolism Diet. She then went on in great detail about how the plan works and what foods she could and could not eat, etc.

Enjoying my second serving of rice, I didn’t give it that much thought. My wife, however, was sold. She was excited about a weight-loss program that involved cooking and eating and not starving or killing yourself with work outs. The next day, Lee bought the book and did research online. She dove into the program, becoming a near expert in a matter of weeks. She sat me down and gave me the high-level overview. All I remember saying was, “What do you mean you can’t eat bananas?” Then, with her birthday approaching (12/30), she took my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said, “THIS is what I want for my birthday. I want to try this ….. and I want you to try it with me.”

I don’t want to paint the picture that I was forced into the Fast Metabolism Diet. I had been wanting to do something for quite some time, but I didn’t know what exactly. I’d had some success before with low-carb diets. I have friends who swear by Paleo (and have lost lots of weight as a result). I didn’t want to join a gym, but I knew I needed to get more active. Sharing in this program with my wife would be a good starting point.

Lose Weight Now

What I didn’t expect was a complete lifestyle change. In reading the book, author Haylie Pomroy explained why all the other diets don’t necessarily work, and if they do, why people tend to gain the weight back so quickly (as has been the case for me). The best part of it all is that she explained it with science. She talks about how stress – yes, stress – is a factor to gaining weight. Haylie explains how the liver, adrenals, thyroid, pituitary and your body’s substances (white fat, brown fat, and muscle) are all players in your weight loss efforts. She uses anecdotes and analogies that are easy to understand and make lots of sense when you stop to think about it. But fundamentally, I think the message of her book can be summarized by saying our bodies are not designed to process chemicals and artificial substances. Feed your body good, clean (i.e. organic) foods and the benefits will be almost immediately noticeable.

The diet, however, is not without some drawbacks. Firstly, it’s not exactly cost effective to eat clean. Organic produce, cage-free chicken, nitrate-free beef; they all tend to be higher-priced than their non-clean counterparts. A loaf of sprouted grain bread can be almost double the cost of a loaf of whole wheat bread. And because the program runs for 28 days, there’s a LOT of food purchasing going on. Then there’s the preparation. To this I give all the credit in the world to my wife. She’s spent hours and hours over the weekends and throughout the week preparing meal plans, cooking, and making sure we have all the necessary foods we need for our snacks, etc. I can see where a single mom or a busy traveler would find it nearly impossible to make the required meal schedule (eating within 30 minutes of waking up, and then every 3-4 hours thereafter until bedtime) work for them. For us, it hasn’t been easy, but I can honestly say it has been worth it.

Still, I recommend Haylie’s book to everyone, whether you’re looking to lose weight or not. There is so much valuable and enlightening information in its pages. For me, the whole experience so far has been a crash course in eating clean, and it’s opened my eyes to all the things I was doing wrong for all this time.

As I am now at the half-way point of the program, I am really looking forward to the next two weeks and the end result with regards to my weight. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this good, and I look forward to feeling even better. And if you could lose weight by simply eating better foods, why wouldn’t you give it a try?

The Fast Metabolism Diet

198/365 Last Time For A Long Time?

So …. Lee and I are on what I am calling a minimalist diet. We’re trying to cut out 95% of the meats we’d normally consume and go as vegetarian or vegan (really … vegan-ish) as we can.

Like Freshman on the first day of high school, we are really small fish in a ginormously huge and new pond. It’s not that we don’t know what we’re doing, it’s that we don’t even know what it is we’re supposed to know. Still, thanks to Pinterest and our circle of informed and healthful diet friends, we are managing to ease into this new mindset with some success (and by we I mean Lee b/c she’s been the research hound. I’m just eating what she makes).

The goal: clean up how we eat. The process: eat more whole and plant-based foods.

Don’t get me wrong. I can never go 100% vegan, if for the only reason being that honey (somehow inexplicably to me) is not vegan, and I’ll be damned if I am not going to drown my salads in some zesty honey mustard dressing. That and the fact I can’t imagine a true breakfast without eggs, or a special dinner without steak. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think I am crazy for even trying this (but I digress).

What is really going to be an adventure is trying to minimize our dairy intake. Talk about tough! No cheese. No milk. No ice cream. No *sniffle* frozen yogurt from our favorite froyo shop (Cherry Berry).

The good news is that I am going into the healthful eating plan knowing I cannot/will not get a 4.0 on my final grade. I will fail to be vegan. I will barely pass at being vegetarian. Still, I WILL make a difference in the fuel I put into my body, and I am confident that it will yield both short and long-term positive results on my well being.

So as I polished off the last of our cow milk and dropped the gallon jug in our recycling bin, I can’t help but think, “When will be the next time I go out and buy some more cow milk?”  We’ll just have to wait and see.

PS. Before you judge, those empty cans of Coke are not mine. Part of our new plan is to cut out all sodas. The empty can of Monster and the discarded bottle of beer, however, are totally mine.

184/365 Been Around The Block

So today Lee and I did something we’ve never done together. We put on our sneakers and went for a walk around the block. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s something we’ve talked about doing since … well … forever. And it was great to not only get out and get some exercise, but also to share that quality time with Lee. It was a new experience for us, and I think it was healthful for both bodies and our souls.

We followed that up by watching the documentary Forks Over Knives. It was truly an eye-opening experience, and I think it will lead to some serious changes in diet and eating habits.