Okay, raise your hand high if you have a couple dishes or desserts that you are eagerly looking forward to this week. I totally get it! I definitely feel my own mouth water when I think of a few dishes that I will be serving up this weekend to my family. Now, if you are one of my international listeners that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, just apply this information to any tasty treat you connect with a specific celebration or time of year.
Alright, to start us off, let me ask you some questions:
When you sit down in front of those dishes, do you feel both excited and anxious? Do you feel this need to make sure you get your full and fair share? Do you eat more than you need to, even to the point of discomfort, because you feel like this is your one and only opportunity for that experience?
I’m going to level with you and you are totally allowed to laugh at this, but for me it was mainly two things at the Thanksgiving Table: Sausage Stuffing and Pecan Pie. I would over eat it, to my discomfort, not just at Thanksgiving but I would make sure enough left-overs were in my fridge that I could continue to indulge for several days afterward. I would even be jealous of anyone getting into them or eating what I felt was more than their portion.
What I just described, both the questions and I asked along with my personal story, are examples of what psychologists call a “Scarcity Mentality”. When it comes to every resource on the planet, human beings operate out of a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality. Let me describe this with money. Do you have a friend that always picks up the check? Gives presents all the time? Donates to every organization they come across but don’t make any more money than you do? This person has an abundance mentality. They have no anxiety about money because they believe in their soul that they will always have enough. God will always take care of them. They can afford to be generous. However, you probably also know someone who never picks up the check. They pinch pennies and never want to be part of gift exchanges. They remember every dollar they’ve ever loaned someone and even resent it when someone doesn’t return the favor of buying a cup of coffee. That person probably has a scarcity mentality around money. They believe that they don’t have enough and that the resource will disappear unless managed just right.
When we have a scarcity mentality around food, we see it as being scarce. We will be greedy for it and anxious to get as much of it as possible. We see special or tasty food as being rare and fear that if the opportunity passes us by, we will lose. We have to switch this thinking to an abundance mentality around food.
When you have an abundance mentality around food you can:
Turn down seconds because you can always have that food another time.
Eat only what your body needs because you aren’t worried about “storing” sensations for the time you go without tasting that food.
Eat slowly and savor the moment, because you don’t need to hurry and get more and more before it is gone.
I sat down before the Thanksgiving of 2020 and made a list of all the reasons stuffing and pecan pie weren’t scarce and it completely changed my mentality around Thanksgiving Dinner. On my list were some eye-opening and honest facts.
Guess what? I took those new words to heart. I even started cooking stuffing in the middle of the year just for fun because I could if I wanted. And, then, what was truly special finally came into focus for me: memories, laughter, games.
It was so much fun to clear the table and serve coffee and desserts with a light and energetic body instead of a clawing desire to throw myself face-first into the pillows on my bed.
This Thanksgiving, I want you to look at the four items I listed above and consider your own “special” Holiday treats. Ask yourself, “How do this food make my body feel?” “Is your weight gain worth it for the extra plate and 10 minutes or so of eating?” “How could I use this as an opportunity to enjoy my food and stop at enough instead of too much?” “Could I cook this food or order it from a restaurant at a different time of year if I wanted?”
The Holidays really are a fabulous opportunity to learn how to handle treats and special occasions. You are going to be a PRO. Seriously. If you ask yourself those four questions before each special occasion it will become second nature, switching you from a scarcity mentality around food to a mindset of abundance that will leave you living more freely around food in the weeks and years to come.
Today I want to help you get over the paranoia you might have around having a plan for eating out or eating at special occasions this season. I put together my top favorite coaching tips for eating out or special occasion eating.
I am so excited for you. If you are losing weight with the mentality of keeping it off or are in weight maintenance, the Holidays are a perfect time to really figure out what works well for you in these situations. Today I’m giving six things you can try out that will really give you traction and help you start to figure out what works well for you.
1. Don’t skip meals
This is the first mistake I see people make. Logically it makes sense. You think, “I’ll just skip a meal or two and then I’ll have a lot of wiggle room at the party later.” The problem is that you will most likely get too hungry and your lower brain will freak out and demand even more food than what you planned to eat. Plus, when you get too hungry, you will be even more drawn to sugary and fatty foods for quick energy and dense calories. So, if you want to have your brain and body on your side for this, eating as normally as possible before you go will give you an edge.
2. Drink your water.
When you are dehydrated, your brain and body will give off foe hunger signals, desperate for any way to get you to consume what your body needs. Also, drinking water before a meal will help your brain produce satiation hormones a little sooner and it will help your tummy fill up some space.
3. Fruits and veggies first.
Prioritize getting all your servings of fruits and veggies in this holiday season. Make it a game. The fiber will stay with you longer and fill up your stomach plus the nutrient dense foods will support your health in many ways. Also, if you tell your brain that you need all nine servings of fruits and veggies, your brain will start looking for and noticing opportunities to eat those foods instead of the “treats” you are normally focused on.
4. Know your guidelines
Decide in advance what your eating guidelines are. Will you have a drink? Desert? How many servings of carbs or proteins do you want to eat? Those guidelines are like bumper rails in a bowling alley, giving you support to do what you want to do. Without them, your eating could go anywhere.
5. Eat with pleasure and purpose
There is going to be some really good food the next few weeks--family favorites, dangerous delicacies, and tempting treats. So, when you decide to dig in, be very purposeful and make sure you thoroughly enjoy it. I like to think that I would like to eat one portion and be able to describe it in detail if I was ever abandoned on a desert island. When you eat like that, you are less likely to need to go back for more and more because the experience was fulfilling rather than fleeting.
6. Have a stop phrase ready.
Have a phrase ready to tell yourself the moment your brain suggests going outside of your plan. Mine is, “We’re done here.” I say it in a firm and commanding way, with complete confidence, enjoying that I’m the one in charge. You can also say something like, “That’s enough.” “Stop it.” “Stop staring at it.” “I’m good.” “We’re okay.” etc. Find something that feels right, powerful, and meaningful to you.
7. Evaluate later with a friend or in a journal.
That evening or the next morning, take a couple minutes to evaluate the experience. You can do this in a journal or with an accountability buddy. Go over what worked, what didn’t work, and what would you like to try next time.
Okay, if you aren’t excited, I’m excited for you. Just think, in the weeks ahead you are going to become a pro at this, then during the rest of year if it is a birthday celebration, an office party, or dinner with friends, you aren’t going to sweat it and are still going to show up for yourself with love.
You’ve got this! Let me know how it goes and don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast so that you don’t miss more encouragement this season. My love to you!
A lot of ladies that come to me for coaching have some habit that they would like to stop, but it is also their way of coping--even if it is toxic. The problem usually is, that they just don't know what to do if they made it through a hard day or have something to celebrate without turning to tub of icecream or the TV remote. And, those rewards end up being less than rewarding. When the last bite is eaten or the screen is turned off, they feel like something is still missing.
A personalized reward list is one of the more fun coaching tips that I like to give out. First, I’m going to give you some basic reasons why it is important to have one, then I’ll lead you through some simple steps to creating one of your very own.
A personal reward list is full of things that give you pleasure and leave you feeling fulfilled. I think everyone should have one. It gives you resources to turn to when you need some self care or have something to celebrate, without falling back into coping mechanisms that don’t support whatever goals are important to you.
For example, if you have health goals then your rewards list would only include items that keep you on track with your diet expectations and allow you to get in bed at an hour that is right for you.
Another example is, if you have the goal of being debt free, then your rewards are going to be things that you thoroughly enjoy, but that don’t involve making spontaneous purchases each time you have a rough day.
Okay, Lora, you might say. Sounds great, but those self-care lists never really work for me.
Yeah, me, too. I spent years looking at Pinterest infographics on self-care with my nose wrinkled wondering how a face mask was going to fix things. But, then I discovered some really important things about personal rewards. So, let me share some things that will creating a personal rewards list that makes you smile:
I’m a type 1 on the enneagram and my love languages are acts of service and physical affection.
Okay, let me share ten of my favorites on my own rewards list:
Our world and culture loves to throw at us self-care that isn’t self-caring at all. From eating junk to spending our money recklessly to binging on mindless drama, we have to fight back by finding better ways to reclaim our health and freedom.
So, each of you has some really fun homework this week. I want you to create a personal rewards list, and if you have one, I want you to give it a loving make-over. Don’t forget to consider looking into personality quizzes and self-care research as you do this. And, I would love it if any of you got on Facebook or Instagram and let me know what your top rewards are.
For some people, the holidays are obviously stressful. But, for some who absolutely love this time of year, the stress can be a little sneaky. I like to break it down into two groups:
You love spending special time with your special people, but, with a lot more occasions on the calendar, you can get overwhelmed and easily over-extend your energy.
You are ecstatic to do so many fun things, but not only are you anxious to make sure it is as fun as it should be, you also feel the pressure to make each event highly memorable.
So, that is just a simple breakdown. You might feel yourself relating to both camps of introverted and extroverted, and my four stages of advice work for both. Today I am going to break down four steps that really help me understand how to show up more stress-free during the Holidays so I am less likely to dive into unhealthy coping mechanisms during this precious time of year.
This might be a great episode for you to grab a pen and paper (if you aren’t driving or on a speed bike) and work through some of these ideas.
Step 1: Go back to last year and remember.
The past is always a great place to look at when we are thinking about the future. Ask yourself a few questions:
Step 2: Commit to taking things one day at a time.
Step 3: Stay Grounded
Our memories are lived and enjoyed in the moment so staying grounded in the present will automatically ease stress and make things even more delectable..
Step 4: Never be afraid to lay things down.
It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I finally took things off my plate during the Holiday season that I realized I carried out a simple fear of what others would think. That is no reason to pile your plate higher.
Okay, there you have it, four simple steps for less stress this Holiday season. It is the beginning of November, and you don’t want to wait until mid December to make this plan. Do it now, before the rush hits so that you can keep breathing with peace.
Today I’m going to break down a tool called an “If-Then Contact” that I developed for emotional eating. I could see this helping with some other bad habits as well, but you will have to be the judge of that and how it fits into your life. In order to fully dive into this strategy, I want to review emotional eating and then I’ll give you the steps for to implement the “If-Then Contract” making a deal with yourself for those moments when you feel like you are a hairs breath from giving in.
An “If-Then Contract” is essentially a deal you will make with yourself whenever your brain wants to do some emotionally eating.
Let’s review Emotional Eating:
What an “If-Then” Contract does
How to make and use an “If-Then” Contract.
Below is a link to a PDF of a If-Then Contract that you can print and fill out. Enjoy!
I use both habit change and goal setting in my life. I truly believe that both provide guidance and help me understand the processes that work or don’t work. Today we are going to break down goal setting and habit building and then I’ll leave you with one of my juiciest pieces life coaching advice.
First, let's look at goal setting. For most women this is the only tool in their tool box. They set the goal of reaching their ideal weight or completing a 5k race. Awesome.
So, there you have it and you might see where I’m headed with this juicy piece of advice: Set up a goal with habit change. Essentially, marry the two tactics.
Okay, so, let's say that someone wants to be able to run a 5K race. I would suggest that they write down the date of their race then pick two new habits they would like to instill as they work toward their goal. This might mean that they run/walk daily and drink their weight in ounces daily. They could set up a streak tracker for these two goals and consider what makes them successful to complete it and how it makes them feel physically and mentally. After the race is run, the streak tracking continues, creating the bridge between their goal and their lifestyle. The reward is completely the race with careful attention paid to how the new habits affect their life.
This is the work I do in my weight loss group. We build habits and practices my ladies can use for the rest of their lives while they work toward their weight loss goals. It is the work I had to do to stop the cycle of binge and restrict and get in control around food. With God’s grace I brought down a stronghold I had around emotional eating and developing incredible self-care habits in its place.
Today, I want you to take a good look at the goals you have in your life. What are you trying to change in your marriage, health, faith, parenting, finances, or career? Consider setting a goal today and couple it with two new habits that would support that change. Watch yourself cross a finish line with new practices that continue to support that beautiful life.
Many blessings to you, my dear.
Most of you more or less know how to make a plan. But it is like going for a walk. Something happens between our intention and us actually putting on our shoes and leaving the house.
Meal planning is incredible. It is key to so many health goals and habits. The benefits outweigh the cost of spending some time with our pen or tablet out preparing for our eating choices.
The truth is, meal planning saves us in five key areas of our life: Our finances, our time, our pantry & refrigerator, our health, and our mental space.
Meal Planning SAVES
There you have it, pick your favorite 2-3 reasons to start meal planning today
Meal planning is another way to guard your mind and life against the temptations of the world, doing for your body and your family what you know will serve you best. Romans 12:2 says: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
And sign up for the webinar when I break down the simple steps to getting started and staying committed to meal planning so that you can support your family and your health.
This is such a huge pain point for almost every single lady I work with. You probably feel the same way. You know exactly how to eat to support your body, but there is a huge disconnect between that knowledge and the actual follow-through that would make you successful and have you losing that extra weight.
Today I want to walk you through how to make and successfully follow a 24 hour plan. This simple habit is a life-coach hack that has helped thousands upon thousands of women get results.
A 24 hour plan is a written list of what you will eat and when.
First I’ll tell you how to make it, then we’ll discuss how to stick to it.
Making a 24 hour plan.
Sticking to your plan.
Next week, I’ll be discussing the benefits of making a weekly meal plan which can make this 24 hour plan even easier.
Don’t forget to sign up for that meal planning webinar. It’s free and it might just give you the leg-up on your health goals that you have been needing all along.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to list a hundred and one hacks to help you fall asleep faster tonight. If you want tips and tricks about that, you can google it. No, I just want to talk to all of you out there who aren’t even trying.
Yep. YOU. You go to bed way later than you want to night after night, waking groggy and frustrated every morning. In episode #27 we talked about why sleep was important, but what I want to dive deep into today is a simple concept that keeps you from crawling between the covers and closing your eyes.
That's right. The enemy wants you believing that sleep will prevent you from living a full life. These fears keep us glued to social media, binging Netflix, and watching just one more Tic Tok video.
So, I have an assignment for you today. Identify the fear that is keeping you from going to bed each night. If you are blinking in confusion right now, don’t worry. I’m going to go through some of the most common lies people believe that have them staying awake late into the night. My prayer is that you will identify one that really hits home. Then you can address it directly with God instead of avoiding it with screen time or ice cream.
Lie #1: “I need some fun.”
I hate this one. I’ve definitely found it bouncing around in my brain. What is so treacherous about this one is that it immediately assigns the “not fun” title to the rest of my day. But, that isn’t true. I have yet to live through a single day that God didn't bless me with beautiful moments. And, my dear, I’ve been through some nasty days, believe me. Plus, if I am not waiting until the end of the day to have fun, I will start looking for fun throughout the day instead. That will up-level your daily contentment and joy.
Lie #2: “I am going to miss out if I go to sleep.”
This might be about the TV, the snack, the Instagram posts, anything. It is that worry that the moment you put down your remote, the phone, or the spoon, then the opportunity has passed you by that will never come again…forever. Not true. Pretty much everything can be watched, seen, or eaten at a different time. The only thing that you can’t get back was the solid eight hours of sleep you needed to feel like a human being tomorrow.
Lie #3: “This is the only time I have to connect with others.”
Awe, the sneakiest lie of all. Do you know who connects the best with others? It is the ones who do it in real time and in real life. When I ask ladies about the connecting they are doing, it is usually social media or watching TV with their family. When this happens, I want you to consider, are you really connecting with them? Do they feel seen? Do they feel loved? Would this be better if it didn’t involve some form of entertainment? Would it be best if it was something that involved eye-contact and the sound of each other’s voices? Sometimes I think we stay up late because we crave that connection but we get a watered down version that leaves us wanting more. We stay up later hoping for something else to fill our hungry hearts.
If one of these lies hit home for you, then an invitation awaits you. You are being invited to trust this to God. You are being invited to lay it down and go to bed. Psalm 3:5 says it the absolute best “I lay down to sleep, yet I woke up in safety; for the LORD was watching over me.” He is watching over you. We get this precious and simple opportunity to strengthen our faith as we lay down to sleep each night.
Many blessings, my love.
Earlier in the year, in episode number 22, I talked about having a witching hour. A close friend of mine and I were discussing that episode and she had an honest beef with the terminology I used. At first I laughed a little. I mean, I don’t much like touting phrases that are loaded with witch-crafty ideas either. However, she also mentioned that she would have loved for me to approach it in a more positive light.
Her words stuck with me, aligned with nudging from the Holy Spirit.
She was right. That time of day, when we are the weakest, the most empty of peace, and the most susceptible to bad choices, is also the most blatant invitation from our God to take care of ourselves.
First of all, I have to debunk the argument you are having in your head right now. It is the same one that I am still having. It is the argument that if I do anything but push through and continue to work that I will be less than enough. That I won’t be doing right by my family. Not only is that not true, but when I don’t stop and refresh, I spend the rest of my day spiritually limping and often falling flat on my face full of resentment that bubbles over into my family’s dinner and bedtime prayers.
So, you and me, we are going to reclaim our reset time.
For real, sister, let's do it.
First, I want you to identify the time of day that you are running on empty. It might be a transition time from work to home. It might be nap time for your little ones. It might be the moments right before bedtime that you just feel you absolutely can’t go on. Whatever time it is, identify it and right it down.
Next, what are two to three activities that you can do for five to fifteen minutes that can refresh you? Think of quiet time, a phone call to a mature friend that holds space for you, prayer, reading your devotionals, moving your body. One thing that often helps me figure out what can help reset me, is I think about what I did all day. If I was with people and doing lots of thinking, then a walk alone is what I need. If I was up on my feet cooking and cleaning, then I might need to sit down and journal. You need a break. You need to reset.
Lastly, make a firm boundary about your reset time. I know this is where I am personally having trouble. I get home from work and I see all the things I need to do on the farm, in the house, or for the girls, and I fearfully push through and then am angry and exhausted the remainder of the evening (which is still several hours that could have benefited from a happier Lora). After you have set your boundary, follow through. Let your family know what you are doing. When we do this, we are also showing the people around us that we value rest and caring for each other’s needs. You might even ask someone in your family to keep you accountable to that reset time.
Like I said, this is one I am working on. I have gone through seasons where I did my reset time so well, but since going back to teaching it has been a habit that comes and goes. As I started the new school year, I haven’t been as consistent as I need to be with this reset time. I would love to hear all of your ideas for your reset time. Let me know on Facebook or Instagram or even the podcast notes for this episode on my website.
You are brilliant, my dear. Join me here next week when we talk about a choice you might be making daily that undermines your health. I’ll talk to you then, goodbye for now!
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.