Portion Control

Part of my weight loss journey has been learning how much to consume throughout seasons of my life.  Your caloric needs change as your weight changes.  I’ve also learned about eating clean and how to portion my foods/meals throughout the day.  I’m about to open up a big “can” because there are so many options.  I can only share what worked/has worked/is working for me.  Feel free to share your opinions, thoughts and recommendations here as a comment or on my FB page.

When I started with a trainer back in 2010 she helped me to figure out my basal metabolic rate by using a formula.  I tracked my foods and allowed her accountability by checking my food diary.  I found out that it wasn’t as simple as “overeating”.  Yes I had been eating too many calories at times in my life.  Also I had been eating too few calories.  You can send your body into starvation mode. By eating too few calories consistently, skipping meals and then binge eating at others I had done a number on my metabolism.  So at first it felt like I was eating a LOT of food (and I was) being at least 140 pounds overweight and being morbidly obese meant that my body needed a lot of calories just to function. Current BMI charts say that a woman my size should be 109-137 pounds.  This is NOT going to be possible for me without skin removal surgery.  There simply isn’t a way after carrying five children and being morbidly obese for 25 years that my body will ever get to that size.

Even though I’ve been on this journey for almost 5 years I still feel quite confused.  I keep getting numbers thrown at me that range from 1200-1860 for the calories I should eat daily and still be able to lose weight.  Right now I’m not tracking what I’m eating in terms of caloric intake.  I’m simply eating healthy, clean and when I’m hungry.  I stop when I’m full and I follow the principles laid out in the Whole Life Challenge.  I lost 20 from January to March, but I’m back at the plateau point that I’ve been at since 2013.  It feels hopeless to ever break through the 170s.  (I’ve actually put some weight back on since the end of the WLC -March 13th.  I’m not proud of it and I’m hoping to lose it as I start a new challenge in May.)

Something though that is even more troubling to me is that I’ve lost site of what my needs are to feed my spirit.  It’s time to practice some spiritual portion control.  Psalm 73:26 says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” There is also Lamentations 3:21-26 ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”  

I’ve gotten distracted by the busyness of life, both the immediate and pressing trauma our family has experienced and the pressing chronic grief I’ve been processing for years, as well as my own fears, agendas and need to be needed.  My relationship with God has been something to do, a part of who I am and not the source of my strength, my identity and my hope.  There is a verse in the song Amazing Grace that usually gets skipped.  It says “The Lord has promised good to me.  His word my hope secures.  He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.”  That’s what I pray my heart can sing with confidence.  He WILL my shield and portion be….that I can find rest, true peace in trusting that God is my shield and portion.  He IS enough.  He is MORE than enough.  It isn’t Jesus + my goodness, or Jesus + my ambition.  It’s JESUS!  He is the answer to every question. Seeking His face should be my only goal, my only priority and Heaven should be my destination.  Everything else is an added gift.

Oh God I submit my physical and spiritual appetites to you.  Please work within me to know when I need more nourishment and when I’ve had enough to be grateful for the sustenance provided.  Psalm 24:8 says “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  Lord I want to taste you in times of trouble instead of another cupcake, spoonful of peanut butter or pint of Talenti.  Lord, I want to know deep, deep, deep down that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I desire Holy Spirit to trust you in a way that I NEVER have before and to submit to you the areas of my life that I’ve been stuck on the sit and spin and trying to get off in my power.  I’m praying for answers to know how much to eat, what kinds of food to eat and when to eat.  I’m also praying for strength and power to seek God’s face, a desire to know Him intimately and the balance to live a full life without functioning out of fear in the spiritual or physical.

Thanks as always for reading.  Feel free to share a comment, tip, scripture or story.  Blessings…~Janelle



The Whole Life Challenge (Review)

I’ve been meaning to do this for almost a month.  Time keeps getting wasted, spent on other things or just slips away.  So today I’m making it a priority to put down my thoughts about this tool, this challenge, this inspiration called the Whole Life Challenge.

I am forever grateful that Drew recommended the game to me.  I will be participating again starting in May and we would LOVE to add you to our team if you would like to be a part of a group of encouraging, hard-working, yet honest and flawed people who are striving for wholeness and health. For more information on the challenge visit this site.  If you need help you could also send me a message.  Our team name is Better Than Yesterday.  Drew Jorgensen is our team leader.

The first few days were pretty difficult.  I must admit that the hardest thing to give up was bread.  I can do without milk, cheese and even sugar wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but bread.  I missed bread.  I missed sandwiches and rolls with butter at dinner.  I think the reason that I didn’t miss sugar was much as I thought I would was because I had already given up junk food and almost all processed food.  The other reason is because I had worked so diligently to prepare meals for dinner that were WLC approved and they were so tasty.  I didn’t feel deprived.  Portion control wasn’t a big issue for me because it’s something I’ve worked on for years.  21-Day Fix (from Beachbody) was very helpful in reminding me of the importance of portion size.  I will probably be trying to combine the two programs for the next WLC.

I loved having an accountability team.  I loved that I could eat legumes (peanut butter), quinoa and lentils.  I loved that it wasn’t as restrictive as Whole30.  I loved that daily I had to focus on other areas of my life NOT just food as with other diets, programs, My Fitness Pal etc.  Mobilization (stretching), food, water, daily reflecting and a specific area (kind acts, meditation etc,) were all part of this daily challenge.  I was encouraged to see my daily totals and where I stood in terms of my team play and even worldwide accomplishments.  Something else that made all the difference is this challenge was NOT about perfection.  I didn’t have to start over again if I “blew it”.  I could make choices.  I could have bad days.  I could lose points and life continued.  It felt so good.

At the end of 56 days I had lost 20 pounds.  At the end of 56 days I had learned that my body could function and THRIVE on less food and not need foods that I thought I had to have.  56 days later I ran a 5K faster.  56 days later I could squat deeper, stretch longer, move easier.  56 days after the challenge started I could breathe more deeply and realized the importance of silence.

Here’s the hard part of this post.  I must admit to you that after the challenge ended I fell and I fell HARD.  I had my 40th birthday.  My son and daughter turned 11.  I went on a mini-vacation.  I thought I could eat pizza and a lot of it.  I didn’t workout daily and I forgot the importance of accountability.  Seriously almost a month has gone by and I feel fat, gross and slow.  I feel guilt, shame that isn’t necessary and I am fighting discouragement.  I’ve put five pounds back on and am feeling frustrated.  Even into this journey almost five years I still need routine, accountability and mindfulness.  I’m grateful to have been reminded of this through the tool of the Whole Life Challenge.


Overpriced Bacon and Undeserved Blessings

Yesterday I traveled to Whole Foods to buy overpriced bacon.  This was an intentional trip.  I wanted bacon without nitrites, nitrates and cured without sugar.  This choice of pork product is because I’m currently participating in the Whole Life Challenge.  In a future post I’ll blog about the process of this journey and how it’s been a wonderful tool.  Anyway…I think it’s so cool that the package literally has less than five ingredients listed.  I love buying things where I can pronounce everything in the ingredient list.  Perhaps you are giggling at my fanatical, legalistic bacon choice for a silly game that I paid money to participate as a player.  Maybe you think it foolish that I would pay $6 for less than a pound of bacon. Although it isn’t the most frugal grocery purchase I’ve made it isn’t one that I would consider wasteful.

Whole Foods seriously makes me happy.  This store is ALIVE.  It is beautiful, organized and a happy place to shop.  It’s brimming with beautiful colors, a variety of exotic smells, products that I can’t pronounce some I’ve never even heard of and certainly haven’t tasted.  This store intrigues me, challenges me and helps me to realize that living in America is a blessing.  I have the privilege of traveling to a store where I can choose any number of products that I want to eat and drink. Clean drinking water is a gift that I dare to say most Americans take for granted.  We shop in stores that have aisles of water to choose from.  You could spend an entire day in Whole Foods.  From coffee to dinner, from meetings to dates, from shopping to learning…it can all take place there.  Live music, classes, fun events, and lively sales take place at this one store.  I wish I could shop there more regularly but I can’t.  One I can’t afford it, two it’s not easy to shop anywhere with five kids in tow and three I simply don’t have the time to make it to Asheville.

Yesterday was a gift.  It didn’t feel like one because I left the house in a tizzy.  A frustrating morning, full of harsh words and unkind actions.  Words that can’t be “unsaid” or “unheard”.  I tell you I’m a worn out woman with a raw and exposed heart.  I’m feeling so overwhelmed and under prepared for this life that is mine. I’ve been told by a friend that she feels I’m fully equipped for the work that God has called me to and I know God’s word says in Eph. 2:10 (ESV) “For we are his workmanship , created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Most days I feel FAR from capable of this task of being Nathan’s wife, mother to my 5 J-s and working on becoming fit, whole and healthier.  It all seems hopeless at times, too much, too grand for me and like I’ll never get off of the hamster wheel.

So there I was in the middle of the gourmet overpriced bacon section, spending time looking at all of the wonderful non-gmo, free trade dark chocolate (I didn’t buy any) and smelling all of the wonderful smelling food on the lunch menu and feeling blessed.  Blessed that I have a husband that allows me to leave the house for a breather.  Blessed that I have a vehicle to take me to the overpriced food warehouse FULL of selections of healthy food that I can use to fuel my body and those of my family.  Blessed that God has forgiven me and even though I certainly don’t understand the season of my life I can trust in his goodness.  The blessing continued into the evening.  Unfortunately so did the harsh words, the moments of silence, the hurt feelings.  It’s a paradox how love and anger can reside within a person at the same time.  So unusual that someone can scream at you and then cry in regret a few minutes later.  Being human is such an experience.  I’m so glad Jesus came to save us from ourselves.

There were two very wonderful friends that blessed me and held me up with prayer and some wonderfully encouraging texts full of truth and scripture. Fuzzy pajamas, leftovers, a nice warm bath with goats milk and lemongrass soap and a book helped to make my evening pleasant. My head hit the pillow and there were still unresolved feelings of inadequacy, fear and sadness, but there was a rising Hope within me and a feeling of warmth in my spirit.  I was reminded by my friends last night that suffering is not hopeless.  We suffer with a purpose.  It makes us more like Jesus.  All of the bad stuff that happens seems unfair BUT grace is most assuredly unfair.  I don’t  deserve a second, third or 100th chance. Yet, the work of the cross assured that I am forgiven and will always be forgiven. My life is not unnoticed.  I was also reminded that is a privilege to share our sufferings one with another.   Jesus is not going to let me drown in my grief or the troubles of this life and neither will my support team, my community, my faith family.

The undeserved blessings continue even into this evening as another friend will be blessing me with a facial, some peaceful kid-free time and some health food!!! I’m a blessed woman and tomorrow morning as I eat two slices of my overpriced bacon with my over easy eggs and roasted veggies I’ll think of the high price of scandalous grace and how I’m treasured beyond measure.  Tonight as I’m being pampered I’ll take it all in and pray that I can find ways to extravagantly love those in my world.  I’ll keep praying for eyes to see my children and my husband as Christ sees them.  For God so loved……If He lives within me then I can love.  He can forgive them and I can walk in that forgiveness.

I pray that the scandal of grace will hold me in this season.  It’s 27 days until Spring and I would certainly love to wake up on the first day of Spring and know that the thaw has occurred and that a newness will come to my heart, my life, my family.  Buds of peace will bloom and new attitudes will blossom.  But I’m not going to wish the rest of winter away.  I’m going to rest in the growth that is taking place even though I can’t see it.  I’m trusting in the process of the Sovereign God.  The one that prepared his Son for his journey to Calvary can prepare me for the work of my life.  Change takes time and these growing pains won’t kill me.  Bacon and blessings….two things I’m grateful for during this lenten season.

The Whole Life Challenge

So my friend Drew introduced me to the whole life challenge.  We started last Saturday and for 56 days I will be practicing making mindful, purposeful choices about eating clean.  This means no bread, milk, cheese or sugar for eight weeks.  It also means taking a supplement daily, working out for at least 10 minutes daily, doing the practice of the week (i.e. mindfulness, gratitude) and stretching for 10 minutes daily.

I’m uber excited to take this challenge because somewhere in the course of my stressful yet amazing last year I’ve gained 16 pounds.  So I need to get back on track, get this party started and get to GOAL!

To prepare adequately and have healthy, compliant choices on hand Drew and I had a marathon shopping/cooking day last Saturday.  Seriously including shopping, prepping, cooking and bagging it was a ten-hour event.  However, I have meals to last us until February 7th and I came in under budget.  This process is for another post all together.  It was my first experience with bulk/freezer meal cooking.  Next time it will be EVEN better.

Tuesday I was exhausted and so I chose to lose points because I didn’t do a workout.  I didn’t feel any self-condemnation and didn’t catch flack from my team.  I love that about this challenge.  Really it’s about you becoming a more whole, balanced person not about winning or losing.  Today I had coffee with a friend and she had already poured milk in mine before I could say anything.  It wasn’t worth wasting the cup.  I’m not slave to lists, rules or other’s opinions.  Losing a point was worth enjoying coffee with Bette.

I’m grateful to be in a place in my life and health journey that I am not derailed by such a thing.  Years ago I would have felt like a failure for something so small and would have had trouble picking myself up and trying again.  You see being held captive by food for so many years can take a toll on every decision you make.  Lately I’ve found myself feeling a bit more obsessive when it comes to food choices and so I’m looking forward to this experience because it will help me see food as a gift a source of fuel to be enjoyed, not abused. I can make wise choices, one meal at a time.  Even if I falter, it’s okay.  Next meal is a chance to start over again.

I’m seeing the scales move again in the right direction and I’m going to take my measurements sometimes this week and some “before” pics.  I’ll try to post those.  I haven’t missed milk or cheese, but bread is hard and I think I have a bit of a sugar detox headache.  I do miss half and half in the mornings, but I’m getting used to my black coffee.

Overall I’m quite pleased with my progress this week.  I’ll try to post the recipes that we used for our freezer meals when I can.  I’ll review each one also.  Blessings and thanks for reading.  If you are interested check it out at http://www.wholelifechallenge.com.