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.

4 Reasons Why We Fail

It seems as though people are more health conscious nowadays, and maybe that’s not true. Maybe we just have more access into other people’s lives and information about health-based things that create the sensation that its a “thing” now. Nonetheless, we or someone we know eats more salads than cakes.

I don’t know about you, but I tried all the ways I could think of to get skinny. Like everything short of hard core drugs – I was trying it. Nothing was working.

“Fasting” & only eating one meal a day (lol starving). Nope.
2 1/2 hours at the gym. Nope.
Military diet (lol starving, again). Nope.
Appetite suppressants. Yes – then no, no, no, please no.
Salads every meal. Nope (because I’d eat chicken nuggets after – hungry still).
Liquid diet. Nope.
Low carb. Nope.


Now, on the other side of things – a little over a year of seriously finding what works for me and truly knowing how my body works – I’ve found the reasons why it didn’t work.

The methods I used to do things were pretty terrible, but there was more to it than that.

1. We’ve got a lifetime of habits to break.
When you decide to (and it isn’t easy) find out where your unhealthy habits stem from, you may find they appeared after a traumatic event where you’ve developed coping skills centered around food. Traumatic is a relative term and everyone applies it differently. It comes from the loss of a loved one, a divorce, high school heart break, ended friendship, stress of college classes, or when the sense of abandonment started to creep in. Don’t take that as absolute – these habits can very well be formed from the absence of learning how to fuel your body properly starting at a young age.

Whatever it may be – these habits developed over a period of time, not overnight. However, I (and maybe you too) tried to fix everything in a Sunday’s meal prep. Not gonna happen. I tried to end my addiction to food by simply not eating. Some people can quit their addictions cold turkey – but I obviously need food to survive, so when I got hungry enough the starvation caused me to go into a binging rage and I was back to square one.

It took time, figuring out how my body responded to certain foods – not just how they affected my weight, but my mood as well. I started by making small changes – adding more veggies into my meals. Finding what I liked and eating that. I hated having grilled chicken and broccoli every day – so I quit eating it.

I had to stop torturing myself and forcing myself to process out of the comfort I found in food. I had to break habits one by one – focusing my attention on completely eradicating it and then move on.

2. We over complicate the process.
This ties in with the first one a bit – but I think its worth it’s own section. Like I mentioned before, we have so many resources at our fingertips. We also have so many opinions to sift through to decide which ones we will accept as truth and believe for ourselves.

I often got overwhelmed with the fact that I needed to have organic everything. Organic meat. Organic veggies. Organic fruits. Organic shampoo. Organic shoes. (kidding, but not really) It was like everything in my world had to change at the blink of an eye. Yes – this is where the excuse that “its too expensive” comes into play. We think we have to have this full 180 degree about-face.

We completely change everything we do – we eat. If it has a single solitary sugar, we trash it. If it has half a carb, we burn it at the stake. We do too much.

Should we juice it? Should we only shop at the farmers market? O.M.G. pesticides. Actually, how about we make our own noodles from scratch? That’s it – I’m starting a vegetable garden today. Filtered water? Not good enough – we need it triple filtered, make sure its completely clean. <– UMMM – that’s exhausting.

CHILL. OUT. Gosh, I know I hate being told that – but seriously. You’re sending yourself into a tailspin of nonsense. A year+ later and I am still transitioning to more natural products (in general).

Don’t feel guilty shopping at your local grocery store. Don’t feel guilty about your tap water, frozen broccoli, and boxed whole wheat noodles. Are you making progress from last week? Heck, even yesterday? Good. Continue making progress and eventually you will make that 180 – stop making it so complicated.

3. We compare ourselves.
This probably should’ve been #1, but these weren’t written in any order – so just put it at number one in your heart. If you’re watching someone else’s journey and comparing yourself to them, you’ve already failed.

One size doesn’t fit all. One meal plan doesn’t fit all. Our bodies react differently to different foods and different exercises. Our bodies also hold on to weight differently and some people require more diligence and time to change than others. You have to figure out what works for you and that may take some trial and error – but what you can’t do is take it to heart when something doesn’t work for you.

Comparing yourself will only send you into a self doubt fit & may cause you to back track, which is not the point of this life. If you’re so wrapped up in someone else’s successes – its hard to define what success means for you.

For me, someone who has a food addiction, success (on some days) can mean eating exactly what I meal prepped and not accepting little snacks from other people. It doesn’t feel restrictive, it’s actually very empowering. But it’s all about perspective.

But I used to have the mindset that I needed abs, like, yesterday. I thought that if it wasn’t working in a week like it did for someone else, that it wouldn’t work for me. I remember wondering if I was even able to be healthy ever again, because my body wasn’t made like someone else’s.

Comparison kept me down for a long time – and it may be what is keeping you down as well, because you quit when it didn’t go like you thought it should.

4. We aren’t enjoying the process.
It can be frustrating – figuring out how your body works and how it reacts to foods. No one these days really enjoys hearing that it may take a year to get to the goal that they wanted (or needed) to reach in 2 months. I’m not ignorant to the fact that there are quick fixes, and losing 20 lbs in 2 weeks can happen – but its not sustainable. That’s something I’m pretty passionate (good word for makes me cringe) about so I’ll save my rant.

I heard a quote recently – “Positive people, positive weight loss” and I couldn’t have related to it more. When I started treating my body right because its what’s good for me and not because I wanted to prance around in a bikini (which is definitely a goal – but not ultimate) – I lost the weight.

I wasn’t stressing myself out (which causes you to hold on to weight anyway) with absolutely ridiculous standards anymore. I began to enjoy it. I read books that encourage and educate me at my weak points. I’ve grown in all areas – not just my health. But if I would’ve rushed through it all – I wouldn’t have learned a third of the things that I have over the past year.

That’s what its about – finding and understanding you and your body. Its so much fun to look back to see what has happened and look forward to see what can be, all because you decided to enjoy the journey that you’re on. Healthy isn’t a sprint, its a marathon. A life long one. So buckle in and enjoy the ride.