Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another tool in the box...my daughter!

Found another way to make sure I stay on track. Yesterday Alyssa was offered some cookies and told that she could share them with Mommy if she wanted to. She gave me a funny look that was interpreted as "I don't know if I want to share". But, I could imagine what was going on in her sweet little brain. She knew Mommy isn't eating sugar right now and couldn't have a cookie. So, she wasn't sure what to say when it was suggested that she shared with me. Eventually she said, "Maybe I can have one and Daddy can have one!" At that point I had to step in and explain what was happening so the person who had offered the cookies wouldn't think my five-year-old doesn't want to share with her mother.

Later at home Alyssa requested some Annie's shells and cheese and for some reason as I was making it the smells were extra inviting...and tempting. "Alyssa your lunch smells SO good," I said. "Mommy might just have to have some!" I was kidding, mostly, but Alyssa thought I was serious. "You can't have that," she shouted. I told her I wasn't really going to have some but that the smell was really tempting me. Well, she must have been thinking about it some throughout lunch because as she was nearing the end of her bowl she said, "Mommy you really want some of this. Here, take a bite." I told her thank you, but no, Mommy was going to pass. At this point she decided she needed to talk me into it. "But, you really want it! Here, have some," she said as she waved a spoonful close to my face.

At this point I had a decision to make. I could give in, "OK, just one bite." Or, I could us this as an opportunity to teach Alyssa about leaning on God for strength. Thankfully, I chose the latter. "You know what Alyssa. Annie's is really good for you. It's made from whole grains and organic cheeses and milk. But, right now, it's just not a good choice for Mommy. I have promised to stay away from a lot of foods in order to get healthy. And, you know what? God is going to help me do that, even when I REALLY want to have just a few bites of your macaroni. I can pray and ask Him to help me have the strength to make the right choices for MY body!" 

I was so proud of myself at that moment. Not only did I resist the temptation to dig in and have a few heaping spoonfuls of shells and cheese, but I had used the opportunity as a spiritual lesson for my daughter!

So, how did Alyssa respond to this profound dispensing of truth from her mother? "I'm gonna go color!"

Ha ha! I guess I've also been reminded to not take myself too seriously, huh?

I hope you're having a FABULOUS day. And, hey, I'd love to know what little victories you're experiencing on this journey!


  1. Om my gosh, Jill - I've gotta share...I have this great tourquoise jacket that I absolutely love. I haven't worn it since I started the diet but decided to wear it tonight. Woo hoo - it's fits better than it has in a long time!!!!! I can actually button it comfortably and it doesn't pull along the back.

    Keep going Jill. We can do this.

  2. G'day Jill,

    I tried posting this as one comment and the internet yelled at me saying I could only post 4,096 characters at a time so .. this comes in chunks :) sorry for the inconvenience and enjoy the read.


  3. part 1:

    G'day Jill,

    I would like to commend your perseverance and strength (special thanks going out to God) to not give in and eat the cookies or nice comfort food of macaroni and cheese. In today’s world where media is telling today’s ladies to be thin like the models and “5 simple steps to drop 10 lbs in two weeks…” etc, it is no wonder that so many folks diet and exercise. Unfortunately, it’s never as easy as the magazines and commercials make it out to be (where’s the ‘that was easy’ button on this?). What’s more discouraging is guys typically lose weight faster than girls (doesn’t that just bug you? :)

    It’s not easy trying to ‘make time’ for such activities as going to the gym and running several miles in the morning when the day is already packed with work, family, kids, other commitments (sadly, not everyone can be Wonder Woman) and of course that little voice in the back of the head saying, “you’d rather be watching TV than going to the gym…” Hush little voice, hush.

    As a girl who has played basketball her whole life and played in college, I am no stranger to the gym. After hearing your episode on the air about the macaroni and hearing several other of my friends talk about their weight and dieting and then seeing what they put into their bodies in terms of … something that resembles food (not sure on all accounts), I’d like to take a few minutes to shed some light on this delicate topic. I am by no means saying what you are doing is wrong or critiquing your efforts on the contrary to tell someone who is holding tempting food out for you, “no,” takes a lot and my hat’s off to you for your strength. I simply want to share a little diet and exercise information that has been studied and proven that most aren’t aware of.

    Ok, so this first part is pretty much a no-brainer but nonetheless very important. First of all, grab a partner who will hold you accountable as well as make your workouts fun. I’ve always gone to the gym but not until I started working out with my brother did I really LOVE working out. I mean, we are laughing CONSTANTLY (not always a good thing when you have a barbell directly over your head and instead of pushing that bar UP I was laughing so hard it started coming DOWN – all I can say, always have a spotter!) He’s turned working out into hanging out. Your partner needs to be someone who will encourage you during your workout, who’s about your same level and who will hold you accountable. If you laugh as much as Kyle and I do… you’ll want to go to the gym just to see what crazy stories you come back with!

    Next, don’t get stuck in a rut. If you are weight lifting (muscle burns more calories so I would encourage adding this to your workout regimen if you’re physically able) but if you’re doing some weight lifting, even just light aerobics with dumbbells but make sure you change it up every 2-3 months. The body gets used to the exercises and results begin tapering off. There’s a lot of different exercises that work the same muscle groups – grab one of the trainers at the gym if you need help coming up with a new, fresh workout. Changing the workout also helps you not to get bored of it.

  4. part 2:

    For your running, the “don’t get in a rut” also applies to this as well. Doing 5Ks? Awesome! I would encourage going on the website for Runners World magazine (Runnersworld.com) which has some great articles for training for 5Ks for beginners through ‘experts.’ Do some speed workouts along with weekly mileage. If you and your partner train on the treadmill, consider getting outside and running. The change of scenery, in my opinion, makes the jog go so much faster. The fresh air clears my head and you get to enjoy God’s beauty in the process… provided it isn’t storming out…. then you get to enjoy God’s massive, if not slightly uncomfortable power :) Either way, it’s time with God right? If you don’t run outside due to the common excuse of “concrete hurts my knees,” no worries, run in the grass next to the sidewalk. Sure, you might be cutting through peoples’ yards but most are so friendly they don’t care. Wave to them, compliment their dog or garden and they are golden. I’ve been doing it for years and have met some really great people along the way. With one such encounter with an elderly gentleman in my neighborhood, the gentleman and I struck up a great conversation and I enjoyed it so much I started running the same route in hopes I’d catch him outside. Whenever I did, we’d start chatting and his wife would come out and join us. It was a nice break from the jog. (great way to save face when your legs are burning and you need a break) The gentleman enjoyed me coming by so much that when I moved to a different neighborhood, he and his wife took a walk down where I had lived (at my parents) and caught my mom while she was outside and asked my mom about me. You just never know what kind of friendships you’ll strike up if you go jogging outside and aren’t afraid to smile and chat with those you pass. I sometimes have competitions with myself to see just how many people I can get to wave and say hi to me :)


  5. part 3:

    Ok, now for the meat of this, the weight loss portion.. weight loss, in its simplest form, is simply calories out is greater than calories in. Most people approach this as, “I’m gaining weight. Therefore, I need to eat fewer calories.” However, they don’t really dive into the details and mathematics any further than that. Instead, they grab a diet book and stay away from carbs or protein or whatnot according to the diet. There are so many tons of dieting instructions out there that thinking about them all make my head hurt. What few people don’t know is the specifics to the equation of calories out must be greater than calories in. One must know how many calories one burns throughout the day before one can determine how many calories one needs to be eating in order to lose weight. It’s like filling up a bathtub while the drain is open… Imagine your little girl has the water going in the tub and the drain open. Provided the drain isn’t clogged and releasing water quickly enough and the faucet isn’t just gushing she may not overflow the bathtub. However, if the faucet is cranked WIDE open, splashing everywhere and poor little drain is slightly clogged – it isn’t going to take much time at all for that tub to overflow and the bathroom to become a slip n’ slide. She may turn the water down some and guess at about what speed she can let it run without overflowing the tub or her trusty parents can do the math equations, determine the rate at which the water is draining out, determine the rate at which the water is pouring in and figure out exactly how fast the faucet can run without the water level rising or decreasing in the tub (think how amazed she would be at your mad skills!) You can easily use this in terms of weight loss. The drain – calories burned, the faucet – caloric intake, the tub – your predetermined acceptable weight. One needs to determine how fast the calories are going down the ‘drain’ before one can fully understand how many calories to intake and what types of food can be taken in. For this, I would like to turn your attention to a book, Scrawny to Brawny by Mr. Michael Mejia and Dr. John Berardi (published in 2005 and can be found at www.precisionnutrition.com) Pages 174 – 179 specifically address the mathematics behind determining one’s daily numerical calorie burn. No worries, this is not rocket science heavy duty math. It is also (thankfully) much simpler than determining the above bathtub scenario’s equations) This is math my mom can handle and I always say, “if it’s easy enough for Mom to understand, then anyone can understand it.” (love you, Mom)

    The simple equations found in the book calculate one’s resting metabolic rate (calorie burn if one laid in bed pretending to be a vegetable all day). This however, is only a small part of the big picture. (Like one ingredient in a recipe) One must also take into account the calories burned from eating food. The body temperature rises and burns off a certain number of calories just in the process of breaking down other foods. (this is why they say to eat celery because you burn more calories in breaking down the celery than what the celery contains) The book also takes into account the calories burned during a normal, non-workout day. Someone who is very active at work will burn more calories than someone who sits at a desk all day. It also takes into account calories burned during a workout AND more importantly, tailors this equation depending on the type of workout being done. For example, a lightly jogging workout for two hours won’t burn as many calories as a high intensity bike ride for the same duration. Likewise, a light jog will burn the same amount as a high-impact aerobics class, [Scrawny to Brawny pg 174-179].


  6. part 4:

    What I’m trying to get at is that you don’t need to stay clear of say, macaroni and cheese provided you stay within your daily allotment of caloric intake. What’s more, pay close attention to the saturated fat content of a food item and less on the total fat content. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3) are actually good for you (in moderation) whereas saturated fat is bad for you. Plus, if you are going to be doing an endurance workout you may need to bump up the carbs in order to replenish glycogen stores (your body’s fuel). Yay! Bring on the mac and cheese! In addition, eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day will help you not overeat during meal time. A variety of nuts will actually help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol) while chipping away at that hunger urge [Noxon, Betsy. “The Nut Case.” Runner’s World: May 2008]. See? You can make the doctors happy one tasty little nut at a time! Having a serving of nuts or another snack high in fiber between meals will curb the hunger cravings and studies have shown people eat fewer calories throughout the day when tossing in a light snack between meals. Dieting should be less of a “I can’t” idea and more of a awareness “I can” in moderation idea. Which is great because I love eating! I recently read an article about a chocolate-loving chef and when asked why she runs she responded with, “because I love eating chocolate.”

    Here’s to happy eating, (dare I say) enjoyable running and fun workouts.

    -K.S. (the end, I promise)

  7. Hello, Kim, and thank you so much for your comments! WOW! I can tell you've put a lot of time, effort, and research into your insights and I really appreciate you taking the time to share them with me. You have some great ideas. As God is leading me and as I have also researched and talked with others who are or have done a similar fast to mine, I am convinced this is the correct path for me for this season. It really is more of a fast than a diet. And, I strongly felt a tug from God that this is something I needed to do in order to turn my focus off of food and onto Him. There are so many different "diets" and "plans" out there and this is not what I'm about. I simply want to take food out of God's place in my life. And, for three months, I'm giving up the foods that have proven to be the biggest temptations. Also, this is an elimination diet that will hopefully help me identify foods that cause more struggles with pain and other issues in my life. This is why I said no to the Mac and Cheese. Also, it was a perfect moment to share with my daughter the power of leaning on God in times of temptation. Will I go back to grains and dairy after these three months? Maybe. I'll take stock at that time and move forward with prayer and discernment. Kim, thanks again for sharing what's worked for you in this journey toward good health. It's always so good to gain from the experiences of others! So, please, continue to join us in this discussion as we all travel together toward FABULOUS!

  8. Meredith ~ Woo and Hoo! You go, my friend! That's great news and I'll bet that jacket looks FABULOUS on you! Congratulations!!!

  9. G'day Jill,

    My apologies, I guess I did not fully your personal reasoning and motivation. After reading your explanation I would have to agree with you about this being the right choice for you. And hey, kudo points to you for being able to give up those foods. My words did not go without research but, like everything, one must take it as a grain of salt. Good luck!

  10. No apology necessary. It's always good to hear what has worked for others. After this three month fast I will eventually need to come to a place where more foods are allowed but tracked for caloric intake. So, I really appreciate your pointers! Have a great day. Or a g'day. Are you Australian. :)