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
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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.

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.