nothing to do with you

Hey friend,

So you’re going through that thing. That thing has you questioning every fiber in your being of how it could’ve turned out this way. It was unexpected, I know. It hurts, I know. You’ve become quite consumed with it all. You’ve internalized every emotion. People ask, but no matter how many times they tell you that you’re not the culprit in this case, you can’t seem to rationalize any truth around the statement.

Of course it has something to do with you. If you had just, if you had been, if you had not, if you made, if you (fill in the blank with your own personal rationalization), you could’ve avoided the entire situation and you wouldn’t be in the position you are in right now. It only makes sense if you can determine there was fault in you. Side B to this tape has you feeling the way you do because your actions, or lack thereof, are the factors that the situation hinged on, you are the one to blame for the outcome of your situation.

If you’re nodding your head and thinking, “YES SISTER!”, take a deep breath, sit down, and get ready for this new revelation:

It’s easy to make it about you. You are the one being in this world that you know you can change and fix. If you make the poor outcome of the situation about you, then you have no doubt that you can remedy the situation. You take the blame, because if it’s simply a fault within you, you. got. this. You have the perfect solution. You will ace the test of ironing everything out because YOU, you can control!

But it’s not about you. Sure, we all have our faults, but faults or perfection have nothing to do with the situation at hand. You know deep down in your heart that nothing you could’ve done would’ve made someone else do differently, choose differently, or say differently.

Its a hard pill to swallow that this time, you can’t change you and get a better result.

But I can assure you in this: YOU have growing to do in life, but you (at your core), are enough. This isn’t coming from your mom, this isn’t coming from someone who is “supposed” to tell you these things. This is coming from me. You have your faults and ways about you that won’t sit well with everyone, but the people in your life who are, what I like to call “lifers”, they know you. At the end of the day, they will choose you, they will consider you, they will love you through it all.

Don’t mistake a guest on Episode 25 of your life for a main character. You talk to the Executive Director of all life, you develop a relationship with Him, and He will let you know who exits stage left.

My biggest prayer for you: Go with grace. If you allow bitterness and anger to swell in your heart over a temporary situation, you’re not hurting anyone but yourself. I pray that you understand that all exits aren’t malicious. I pray that you broaden your scope, you see more than just your life in this situation and realize that it really and truly has nothing to do with you.

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Year of Greater

We’re a week into 2019 and I’ve finally gotten around to writing my 2018 review, if you will.

At the end of 2017, God revealed my “word” for the year, “greater”. I would like to say that I entered the year eager and encouraged, but it was just the opposite. I entered the year on a very low note, I had regressed in a lot of areas of my emotions.

Things I thought I had conquered, I though I had overcome, welled up inside me – all. at. once. I was angry and bitter, insecure and doubtful, and I thought to myself “Day 1 of my year of ‘greater’ and THIS is what it has for me?!”.

Needless to say I was frustrated, but I will never regret stopping in that moment and turning to face God. There may have been tears and whining, but He deposited so much into my spirit that day through my sobbing worship. I had tried to carry myself through the last several months of 2017 and allowed my circumstances to shake my knowing of His promises.

On that day, January 1, 2018, I audibly said to God, “I believe what you’ve told me and no matter what happens this year, I will continue to believe it.”

2018 was full of SO many fun and amazing things, accomplishments and celebrations, that I dare not let the uncomfortable parts of the growth process overshadow the victories won.

I finished grad school, I got my mindfulness nutrition mentor certification, I traveled, I made new friends, I hit big business goals, I tried new things, I had one of the healthiest years of my life, and so many other things to name.

My year of greater wasn’t about the external, however. In the process of pruning, the gardener has to remove the things that will harm the plant. Pruning, when it comes to our relationship with God, isn’t comfortable, but very necessary. He wants our lives to be full and abundant in Him. God’s abundance isn’t the same as the world’s definition of abundance. We may have access to everything, but that doesn’t mean everything is for us.

Say what?! Yep. There were things inside of me that I didn’t need, things I had attached myself to that I didn’t need, things that were bringing death to me (in various ways). We have an enemy, and he doesn’t always come as a clearly bad idea or decision. It can be disguised as good or favorable, which is why we have to be aware of God’s plan for us, what our goal should be.

Just the same, as God was changing me to bring LIFE to my situations, relations, and decisions, the enemy disguised the removal as loss instead of gain. God was doing what He said, making me GREATER in Him, but there were days when it looked differently. However, I can boldly say that His promises to me never left my mind. Am I human? Yes. So there were times when I had to remind myself over and over what promise I made – I would continue to believe what God said, no matter what.

God’s intention was never to bring hurt to my life. The things I had to change or get rid of were my doing, He didn’t put them there. But He brought me out. When I lean into Him, I learn Him. The deeper my relationship, the more I trust. I only thought I trusted Him in the year prior, but when trust in Him was all I could hold on to, I really knew.

I’m thankful that he’s remained faithful to me, even when I wasn’t the most likely candidate. I am greater in Him because of Him, therefore, I am a greater me.

The road to greatness doesn’t stop with the end of 2018. It is only getting better.

 

 

More intentional, less microwaved

I will preface this by saying: after years of being on this journey, I have experienced first hand that not everything is for everyone. This post is only meant to report and shed light on what I have learned through my personal experience with my body and mind.

Over the past few years, my body and I have been through a lot of changes. By trial and error, I’ve learned how my body copes with various situations, how it reacts to different foods, and how my brain has formed opinions about the two.

The main thing I have learned is that it is very important for me to understand what is going on, feel the moment, and consciously change those unhealthy subconscious decisions that have been ingrained in my brain.

My goodness would it be SO much easier to do something different or to just ignore it all and stay the same. That would be easy for me.

However, in order for ME, Rachel Beach, to make a LASTING change in my life and in my body, I’ve got to actually change the MENTAL & resorting to (what I like to call) the “microwave choice” will not do that. You know, the choice to just quickly “fix” or suppress whatever is going on in my body and not having to change anything that I’m doing that probably caused the issue in the first place?

The method I use? I’m going to try all means possible to do something naturally and internally before I resort to something externally. Here’s example other than weight loss measures – if I begin to get a headache, I will rule out all possible causes – dehydration, lack of nutrients, etc. before I ever think about grabbing the Advil bottle. If I don’t have to take medicine, I’m not going to. And the same goes for my journey to a healthier life, healthier organs, and a side effect of that is weight loss. I will allow my body to do what it is designed to do, and use resources such as nutrients, water, etc. before I use other resources, and even surgery, to change the its current state.*****

Why? Because, like I said before, this is way more mental for me than it is physical. If you don’t have a mindset issue, then it may not make sense to you. But I have to train my brain to think differently when it comes to adverse situations. For SO long I resorted to using everything but what my body was created to do to change.

Trust me, sister, I’ve prayed about it, because feeeeelings haven’t always been my thing (conceal, don’t feel, can I get an ‘amen’, Elsa?). And every time God told me to do it this way & enjoy the process, live the journey, and not only that – document it.

Okay – that’s scary, because not only do I get to feel all these feelings and work though them, I need to tell other people about it and help them feel the feelings? Yeah, no. I think He got the wrong number…

Of course, I did what He said anyway. All went fantastic at first, people were really receptive and I thought to myself “ok this is super cool!” and it really was. People were inspired and I was so excited to see that others were learning from my errors and confidence was flying around like confetti with the women I got to talk to. I was convinced that I was doing exactly what God was telling me to.

As I stayed consistent and more people followed and reached out, the not-so-enjoyable messages began to arrive. The comments or suggestions of what I should or shouldn’t do. I get it – I get that people have opinions, and I get that I opened myself up to those opinions being shared. I’m not ignorant to that at all.

If you’re going to be a leader at anything, you have to know that standing in the front isn’t always as glamorous as it seems.

You also have to understand that peoples’ own insecurities often times will be thrown at you in the form of hate and doubt, but do not for one second allow that to change your thoughts about yourself or your assignment.

I’ve had questions like why I didn’t see if I was a candidate for surgery or why I didn’t do keto or why I didn’t count points and calories and etc., and when I gave my reasoning, some were upset because they automatically assumed that because chose to go a different route that I was judging them for their choices.

Absolutely not.

When I tell you that I eat lots of veggies, that I’ve become to understand what my body tolerates best and learned to visualize correct portions, that I make sure to get in all of my vitamins, that I drink half of my body weight in oz of water (most days), and that I make an intentional effort to exercise 5-6 days a week – that is not to shame you. That has nothing to do with you, because frankly, I didn’t make this decision because of you. I made it because it works for me.

And what works for me is being more intentional about my choices, and making less microwaved decisions.

*****I found it worth mentioning, that this is only for situations that are not life threatening. I’m not going to try drinking water if I fall down a hill and can visibly see my bones through my skin. I know that’s common sense, but….well there’s a reason I felt that it was worth mentioning. #trolls

How’s your closet?

Several months ago, I attended a business summit at my church that was put on by my pastor. Over the period of a few hours, business knowledge was poured over us and I’m pretty sure my pen was smoking because of all the notes I took. There was one thing he said that echoed in my mind for a long time, and it wasn’t directly related to business, but to me and my life (that would eventually affect my business).

He said that our closet represents our true life – that the condition of that “hidden” or “unseen” parts of our lives shows how we truly live. Oh. man.

I was immediately convicted – because there is a lot of truth in that. My closet was chaos, but if I shut the door, I wouldn’t see it and I could ignore it. My true life, just the same. I was closing the door to my problems, the things I didn’t want to deal with – the chaos, and pretended it wasn’t there. I would only venture in every now and then to get what I needed (which was stressful), then I would exit and close the door to ignore that part of my life just as I did my closet.

I made so many attempts to clean my closet, but it was overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. I’ve accumulated so much over the past 7 years of living on my own – way more than I needed. I didn’t have anywhere to put it, I didn’t know what to do with it. So time and time again of trying to clean my closet, I would get frustrated and walk away after “organizing” one or two things.

I got to the point to where I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed help. I couldn’t clean my closet alone, so I called in for back up. My sweet sister visited me for a week, and we (she did a lot) took that time to basically take everything out, sort through it, keep some, trash some, donate some, and put it back in an organized way. Shirts color coordinated and hung by season, pants nicely placed by style, and shoes by color and type. Boxes were organized and straightened and for the first time in almost a year, my closet was finally in order.

You see, too often in our lives we try to deal with the chaos in our lives alone. Sometimes we even pray and fast – but what we really need is reinforcement. We need to let someone else, someone we trust, come in and help us unpack what is going on. They can see it from a different perspective, in a clearer way. They don’t have the emotional attachment to your sparkly collage notebook from your freshman year of college like you do. They help you get rid of the things you don’t need to carry, help you prioritize the things you have, and love you still.

Maybe you’re having trouble cleaning your closet on your own. Grab someone who loves you and is willing to get knee deep with you, and tackle it together.

Oh, and if it doesn’t fit now, just donate it. You’ll want new clothes with your new body, anyway.

I’m not quick or easy.

If you’ve been alive for more than 15 years, chances are you’ve probably tried some type of diet or weight loss method.

I began my weight loss journey somewhere around my first year of high school. Since then there have been many failures and successes, I’ve tried just about every method there is – paid programs, shots, pills, starving, low/no carb, fasting, wraps, liquid diet, 3 eggs a day diet, eating what I want and spending hours in the gym, etc.

I found a bunch of ways that don’t work. Sure, I lost weight with most of the methods – one in particular brought me down 40 lbs –  but I always had to start something new, because as soon as I stopped one thing I gained all of the weight back and more.

To say I was skeptical of starting again is a vast understatement. I felt like I tried everything there was, nothing worked (long term) and as a result, I was never happy with who I was or how I felt.

Lets get somethings out of the way before you read this:
Losing weight is FUN – seeing that number go down is so. much. fun.
Losing weight is GOOD – if you’re overweight, likewise gaining weight is GOOD if you’re underweight.
Looking good FEELS good – who wouldn’t want to look and feel their very best?!

^ I understand and agree with all of this.

In today’s world we can miss it big time – with the comparison that comes with social media, if we are emotionally led, we will get stuck in a trap that has us not feeling good enough. You can roll your eyes, but it happens to the best of us – even celebrities, even the people YOU compare yourself to have fallen into the trap. No one is completely immune.

When I decided to start again, I was nowhere near where I am now. My mindset belonged in a trashcan, my eating habits belonged in a landfill, and my workout routine was a joke. I had absolutely no place to help anyone else change their life – I was the person that needed the help. I wasn’t even ready to change. I didn’t want to give up my drinks or my fast food, or late night trips for ice cream. I enjoyed Oreo’s and Reese’s, and my blood was made from cheese and wine – who in their right mind would want to give something like that up?! Not me. (Side note – I still enjoy those things ~50+ lbs lighter, so quit holding your breath!)

Why did I try, then? If I wasn’t ready & I didn’t want to give up any of my fun – why?! Because I was told I didn’t have to. SCORE! Your parents didn’t demand that you walk the day after you decided to crawl – so why do you demand that your body has to change in one day? One of my friends convinced me to do one thing – change my meat source. I could totally do that once I found out that ground turkey and chicken didn’t taste any different than ground beef. Shortly, I was off red meats all together – with the occasional burger (because I didn’t have to stop living real life – this was my real life). The next thing I did was begin to use veggie substitutes, because #pastaaddiction (not all carbs were gone – but some). Veggie noodles, cauliflower rice – okay I can do this! Then, I got some at-home workout DVDs that were 30 min long (I did them when I felt like it).

Fireworks, right?! Nope. I found myself getting SO obsessive with it that I became unhappy if the scale didn’t move. I still wasn’t happy with the way I looked, I still compared myself to everyone with abs. I only ate well and worked out because I hated myself. I confided in friends, those who would ultimately be the ones who still push me to this day to be my best. I asked them how they were doing so well – why they seemed so happy. They told me that they read or listened to something every day that grew and challenged their thinking. BOO – not the answer I was looking for! Reading won’t make me skinny and it won’t make veggies taste better – tell me what you’re really doing!

That’s. It. So, I asked for recommendations and they asked me what my problem areas were. Um….nothing? Everything’s great? (I was not telling them my problems! I was not telling them that I was addicted to food and My 600lb Life  didn’t sound so bad if it meant that I could just give up on life!) I just told them I had self-esteem issues (super safe answer) and that I wanted to be able to stick to a meal plan. The next day I ordered Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. She’s a Christian author, so she has to be nice, right? Turns out, she got all up in my business – in all the right and much needed ways.

Between reading the book and my friends holding me accountable to the things I said I would do – things started changing for the better. I was following a simple meal plan, doing simple workouts, and reading. I wasn’t cutting out food groups, I wasn’t killing myself in the gym for hours, I was finally doing something that FELT right.

I had tried all the quick fixes, but the temporary satisfaction was detrimental to my health overall – mentally, emotionally, and physically. We live in a time where we have quick and easy access to so much, and while it is a good thing – it can also be a bad thing. I was setting myself up for failure by putting my trust in something that offered the quickest results. I didn’t have to deal with the root of the problem – and that was a problem.

If you’re like me and you’ve struggled with emotional eating, binge eating, or just weight in general, it is a lot more than just the number on the scale. There is a long history of other problems entangled in our health/eating habits. We can’t just quick fix them away. I’m not a gardener, but I know that weeds have to be poisoned at the root and taken away before they end their reign of toil in the garden. The same goes for our emotional and mental view of food and the way it comforts us. We’ve altered the way we look at ourselves. Deep down we know what we are, we know who we are, but we are being suffocated by the kudzu of what we’ve seen, heard, and what we’ve been through – all things that alter or silence the truth in our minds.

I had to remove the weeds and allow the truth of who I really am to grow through. I learned WHY the foods I was eating were beneficial to my body (or not). I learned WHY the workouts I was doing were working. I learned what emotions were triggering my want to comfort with food. I learned how to untangle feelings from food. I learned how to love myself and my body the way it is now, even though I’m still working on my physique.

It has been a long process, it didn’t happen overnight. I ditched the quick fixes and got to the root of the problem and the real life change began. Now that I am truly living life healthier overall – a little deviation from the norm with ice cream, a candy bar, or a patty melt doesn’t throw me off course – and it doesn’t make me feel like I have to overwork the next day to make up for it.

Whatever you settle for will flourish. If you settle for quick fixes – that’s what you’ll get. If you settle on obsessing over the number on the scale – that’s what will remain. If you decide to get to the root of your problems, fuel your body properly, move to strengthen your muscles – that will flourish.

Only you can decide.

 

Tip Thursday: Meal Prep

Happy Thursday! I’m back with more tips on how to make your life (the healthy way!) a little bit easier.

One thing to remember when reading through the tips is that you should take a couple that you think will work well for you, implement them, and when those become habit add more!

Trying to overwhelm yourself with a complete 180 about face is borderline cray cray! I didn’t make all of these changes over night – these are just ones I’ve done over the years (yes, years, with an “s”) that have helped me tremendously!

Most people don’t have a huge problem with working out – its not hard to convince people to get a little sweat on. After all, that’s when we feel like the results are happening. How-ev-er, you can’t outwork a bad diet. *insert shoulder shrug*

First things first, when I say “diet” I am referring to this definition –> di·et (ˈdīət/) – noun – the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats

Now that we cleared that up – lets get on with the tips, shall we?

Before you start: Get rid of all foods that are not of your meal plan.

Tip#1: Follow a meal plan
If you don’t know what you’re prepping for, you can prep. Right? Find a meal plan that fits YOUR body and YOUR goals and fuels YOUR needs. Don’t follow the same meal plan as Sally because she lost 35lbs in 3 months and that’s what you want to do. Sally may have a different body type and her daily regimen may not be the same as yours. Sally is a nice lady, but her meal plan may not be for you. Once you find your meal plan, meal prepping will be so much easier.

Tip #2: Keep it simple
I don’t recommend trying to have a new dish for every meal. Over complicating your process makes you despise it even more. The last thing you want is more time taken out of your day that you could be spending doing something else. If you’ve never used a certain food item, don’t try to implement it right away. Stick with foods you understand and are comfortable with. Another way to keep it simple is to purchase produce that is already chopped and prepared for you. It can be a little more costly, but it definitely helps cut down on time during your meal prep.

Tip #3: Keep it tasty
Raise your hand if you’ve been on the grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli train. Yeah, me too. It feels like the right thing to do, because it doesn’t always taste good and we have this preconceived notion that healthy eating is supposed to taste like cardboard. Its okay to accessorize and add in flavor! If you don’t like what you’re eating, you’ll end up back at square one in frustration. Search for healthy swaps of the things you already enjoy eating. For example, spaghetti made with spaghetti squash and a turkey meat sauce is a great trade for the traditional recipe.

Tip #4: Package immediately
Especially in the beginning stages of your new journey, get containers that allow you to put whole meals together that can be refrigerated and warmed up later. This way you don’t have to do any extra preparation on the day that you are eating the meal (which usually helps me talk myself into grabbing something in the drive thru, because its “easier”). You can grab the container, heat, and go! It is even benficial to package snacks that you may be eating, as well, to keep you from mindlessly snacking. More snacking tips here. 
Side note: buying new containers is a fun way to get you motivated to package after you prep!

Tip #5: Frozen foods work, too
One of the biggest mistakes I would make is purchasing produce and letting it go bad because I’d buy too much or wouldn’t use it fast enough. Don’t make that mistake! Just because it isn’t fresh fruits or veggies does not mean that you’re failing at meal prep. If it works and makes sense for YOU, do it! Don’t be afraid to stock up, either. Keeping staples like meat and veggies in the freezer is a good way to save money!

Tip #6: Give it time
Meal prep is one of those things that we have to get used to. We’re not used to taking an hour out of our Sunday’s to perfectly portion out our meals for the rest of the week. As you progress, you will get better at it – you will find things you really like to eat. You will see results – increased energy and mental clarity. When you’re starting to change, its easy to have tunnel vision, but rest assured that it does get easier and if you do it correctly, you won’t ever feel deprived!

Tip #7: HAVE FUN
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not perfect at first, or if you’re never perfect. Enjoy the process – enjoy how your body feels when you fuel it properly. You’re going to have cravings – that’s normal. Every meal is a chance to do better. So, if you totally mess it up at lunch – just pick back up with your next meal! This is a journey, and it will take some time to get in the groove. If you’re making forward process every day – you’re doing it right.

Tip Thursday: Snacking

I am a firm believer that my story and my journey to the healthiest version of myself isn’t just for me. So I plan to do series like this on my blog to help those who are just starting, stuck on their journey, or those who just like the supplemental knowledge and experience (long drawn out way of saying basically everyone).

These will be the result of the frequent questions I am asked, or suggestions from you. Please know that these bits of knowledge are based off of things I’ve read or experiences I’ve had – I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist (obvi).

A big hang up in a lot of people’s journey – especially when they’re looking for weight loss – is snacking. It is one of the easiest ways to eat, especially mindlessly, and can really throw off your results if you’re not careful.

Lets get one thing straight: snacks are not bad. Every meal plan I’ve followed has had a “snack” component. Eating between larger meals helps you stay on track so that you’re not absolutely ravenous come lunch or dinner time.

Tip #1: Follow a meal plan.
Seriously. To ensure that your snacks fit into your healthy routine, follow a meal plan. This allows you to incorporate your between meal eating into what you’re already doing, rather than having it as an addition (which is where we get derailed). Snacking is in your plan – not separate from it. Sub tip: Your meal plan shouldn’t look the exact same as someone who has different goals or a different body type than you. Meal plans are not one size fits all. Therefore, your snacking won’t look the same, either.

Tip #2: Get rid of the junk.
If its not there, you can’t eat it. Yeah, I hear you and see your eye roll “I’ll just go get it if its not in the house/my desk at work” because I had the same thoughts. But chances are slim of that happening. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve actually said “wow I want cookies” while having no cookies in the house and I actually went and bought some. You may be extra, but you’re not that extra.

Tip #3: Be mindful.
Don’t sit on the couch with a bag of pretzels and snack away. Put time into “making” your snack – meaning: portion it out according to your meal plan, put it on a plate, and put the excess away. I’m not ignorant to the fact that the rest is still there in your house, but I do know that when your brain sees an empty plate, it sees the finish line – done – over. BUT – if you’re just trying to gauge when you’re “done” by how full you feel, chances are that the episode of Friends you’re watching will take precedence in your brain and you’ll overeat.

Tip #4: Find what you like.
If you don’t like kale chips, don’t. eat. kale. chips. There are tons of healthy snack ideas and recipes (I’d love to suggest some for you!) that will fit in your meal plan (have I stressed that enough, yet?). If you know you need a veggie & a healthy fat, find a combo that you enjoy. Whatever it may be – don’t be afraid to repeat. If you like it, stick with it and don’t force yourself to shove food down your throat that you don’t enjoy. That will also derail you – because you’ll end up not enjoying what you’re eating and find something you like instead.

Tip #5: Eat real food.
I know that protein bars and other pre-made snack items are easy for grab-and-go and they make life easier. But a lot of these can be filled with sugars and unnecessary things that our bodies don’t really need. When you can, take the extra time to prepare your snacks in your home. Carve out space in your meal prep day and make your snacks for the week. Have them portioned out and packaged so that you can grab them on your way out of the door. 1) Its just as easy & 2) you’re fully aware of whats in them.

Tip #6: Drink more water.
If you find yourself snacking more than you should throughout the day (even if its healthy snacks – you can overeat on healthy items, too!), drink more water. When we’re learning about our bodies, we have to understand what actual hunger feels like. I know that sounds weird, but we become accustomed to eating at certain times of the day and feel like we should continue to do that when we are trying to live healthier. We need to break that routine of feeling like we need to eat when we’re not actually hungry. Also, water keeps you hydrated and your organs working properly – so there’s a bonus!

Tip #7: Be kind to yourself.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you expect to be perfect, that’s not fair and that means there’s no room for improvement. You’re going to have cravings and you might even accidentally satisfy those cravings with junk foods. Don’t beat yourself up. Decide that you’re going to move forward and make better decisions. You didn’t develop these habits overnight and you won’t break them in that time either. Be better than you were yesterday and find accountability partners who are willing to call you out when necessary, but praise you, too.