Have you ever received an invitation in the mail or looked at your calendar and realized that you only have a couple weeks (or less) to physically prepare for a special event? Maybe it is an anniversary party, or a school event, an office party, a birthday party, or a wedding. You want to look and feel as good as you possibly can, but of course you’re not going to be at your goal weight by then. So what do you do?
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I’ve already started to get the “save the dates” in the mail. That, on top of the fact that February is the month my husband and I celebrate our anniversary. We like planning something special to enjoy some time with each other. I remember that my strategy for events like this used to be terrible. In fact, it closely related what a character from the comedy TV show “Scrubs” used to do. Ellie was the cute, sweet blond that chose to not eat at all for like 48 hours when the group decided to spontaneously join some coworkers in celebrating the nuptials in an exotic locale. In fact, she fasted so much and so hard that the first thing she did after landing and changing into a swimsuit was demand that someone take a picture so that she could start eating and drinking. So funny. And, also, something I would have to admit to doing as well when I felt like I wasn’t physically fit enough to be presentable at a special event.
Does that situation sound familiar to you? Well, let me say, that I don’t think I ever enjoyed an event when I was starving and more about eating something and how I looked, than enjoying the activity and company I was with. Plus, studies show that if you lose weight quickly your body is more ready to put on weight and the proportion of fat to muscle is significantly higher than for those gaining weight after a slow weight loss program. So, instead of trying to lose as much weight as possible, I would like to suggest working on inflammation and energy levels instead. Most people gain significant amount of weight as their body retains water in the reaction process to food that their body doesn’t agree with in high amounts. For me personally, and for many of the women I work with, these foods are processed sugars and white flour, alcohol, and dairy products. In fact, when I take a break from these food items, especially if I have have been consuming them with regularity, I will lose 3-8 pounds of inflammation weight, my face will clear up, and my energy levels will rise. Other ways I reduce inflammation and cultivate energy is by stretching, moving, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.
I love Psalm 107, it is full of testimony of how God lovingly saves us from ourselves. We often do things in a stubborn decision to have life our own way and on our own terms. I’ve always found that this attitude gets me into trouble, without fail. And, I can say, that hurting our bodies out of vanity doesn’t sound like anything our loving Heavenly Father would endorse. Take a moment, and read through this beautiful psalm when you get a chance. But one verse that especially strikes me is the 9th in which the Psalmist writes, “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” God wants to see His children nourished. Can we trust Him?
Practical Application & Journal Prompt
I know it is hard not to try to reach your goal weight in two weeks. But, I want to challenge you to concentrate on doing what you can to heighten your health before you enjoy special time with friends and family. I suggest you take a moment and make a plan for the remaining days until your special even, answering the following questions:
I am so proud of you for trusting God and doing loving, life-giving things for your body, not being harsh or punitive as you move toward better health. Remember to take a moment and share this episode. I’m guessing you have a friend or loved one who is also looking at a special event in their near future and would like to look and feel their best. You can do this, sweet sister! All my love to you! Talk to you next week.
Isn’t it easier, sometimes, just to forget what you’ve been doing when it comes to your diet and habits and instead just say that “Starting Monday” we’re going to magically be amazingly healthy? How is that working out for you? When we do that we end up side-lining our efforts quickly. Instead, let’s get real with ourselves and figure out what is going on.
It was so hard to keep a food log, at first. It felt like some sort of deep dark shame, as if I was revealing to the world what I was shoveling into my mouth. But, that is ridiculous, because I was literally the only soul looking at my food log. Now, starting a food log is the first thing I encourage women to do besides drinking water, getting quality sleep, and weighing themselves daily. And, just like me, they have a very difficult time getting started. There is a lot of push back such as not having the time or not being able to remember. But, when I dig deep and ask questions I find that they really don’t want to do is have a record of making choices they wished they hadn’t.
I get it. That was me. However, I have to say, that when I wrote it down it only took a couple weeks to see that I was very wrong about what needed to change. It turned out that my meals were pretty healthy and my portion sizes were fine. What really undermined my health was this late afternoon habit of stress eating junk. Then, sometimes, I continued the practice after dinner. After looking at my honest food log, I realized that targeting those two times of the day would be the biggest game changer. If I could figure out how to handle stress during the late afternoon and evening without turning to food, then weight loss would be easier and permanent.
In John 8:32 Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A food log is supposed to set you free. It will set you free from the lies you hear in your head telling you that you’re lazy, should be ashamed, and can never reach your goal. Instead it takes what is happening in your diet and brings it into the light where you can face it and do something about it.
I believed all the lies: That I was unhealthy, had no will power, and that my diet choices were a train wreck. It was so nice to realize that on the whole, I ate very healthy meals with great portions. There was simply a habit of self-soothing with unhelpful snacks that was keeping me back from my goals. It also meant that the real problem couldn’t be solved by just changing my diet.
When you keep a food log, you can also start asking for specific healing. We can approach Jesus, the Healer, and instead of simply asking to “get better” we can ask for strength at 4:30 when the kids get home from school or for direction and peace when you have a disagreement with a close friend, identifying the real problem, bringing it into the light,
Keeping a food journal is incredibly easy. You don’t need any fancy tools and in fact, the simpler the better. Using a calorie counting app or macro nutrient tracking software might distract and add extra worry or shame. I have found that when starting out, the best thing to use is a simple notepad or a notes app on your phone. Then, you write down what you ate and when you ate it. After a couple weeks, you can review the information and notice any trends.
After keeping a journal for a couple weeks, where do you notice yourself over-eating or eating when you are not hungry? What kinds of food do you see you eating too much of or too often. What do these situations and foods tell you about habits you have in place? What would you like to change?
Courage, my sweet sister. You can learn so much from where you have been and where you are now. In the weight loss membership, this is the monthly challenge we are doing together. It is a basic but priceless tactic. Hope it helps. Love you! Talk to you next week.
Do you ever feel like the devil literally throws something in front of you and challenges you to eat it? I mean, it isn’t going to kill you. You deserve it. You’ve had a hard day. And, it isn’t a sin to have that brownie, eat that massive bowl of chicken alfredo, or dive into the doughnuts. Well, my love, let me congratulate you on being human and assure you that the temptations won’t stop coming, but you can get exceptionally good at taking steps that move you away from what you know doesn’t serve your body or your goals.
Breaking unhealthy habits can take a lot of work. I know. Back in 2020 I had to do something about my addiction to simple carbs. It took six weeks to clear my brain and body of cravings. Because of the experience, I created the 42-Day Fallout Challenge. For 42 days you’ll get a daily email and podcast episode to encourage your epic break from whatever habit doesn’t serve you anymore. It’s entirely free and I know it will bless your journey. Go to loraarmendariz.com/freeresources to sign up.
So, this week might be a little harder than normal for our family. I teach and my daughters attend school in a district that only goes for four days a week. I know, it is fabulous. Of course, the school days are pretty long, but the three-day weekend is incredible. However, this week I have professional development on Friday, so, horrors of horrors, I only have a two-day weekend which means Saturday must be full of a lot of work to make sure I get everything done in time so that there can be some rest on Sunday. Of course, this is what the rest of the working world pretty much does, but for me it is just the thing that would push me over the edge making some less-than-healthy foods way more appealing than normal. Thankfully, this isn’t my first ball game and I have a plan.
There are going to be times that you are especially susceptible to temptation more than others. It is just life. And, it is definitely something that the devil will enjoy taking advantage of. I actually believe two things are at play whenever we experience intense cravings for something we know doesn’t help us. First, our brain is looking for a way to comfort us and ease any pain or discomfort physically or emotionally. So many habits develop from us using things in this way and when they are something unhealthy, then we’ll find that these habits feel fully entrenched and even necessary to make it through the day. The second thing at play here is truly the Devil, taking advantage of our exhaustion, discomfort, and pain, to offer us things that might later make us feel shame, discouragement, or corrode our health.
I have found that I can’t just expect myself to magically make the right choice, instead I need to have healthy solutions to shove in the Devil face as I also take steps to handle exhaustion, discomfort, and pain in ways that bring me life and restore me.
Most Christian women have heard about Jesus being tempted in the desert. For forty days He went into the wilderness and did not eat. The devil then tempts Jesus, simply saying that if really was the Son of God then he could turn the stones into bread, which was something Jesus could definitely do. He could cure, bring to life, cast out demons, and turn water into wine. But, in Matthew 4:4, NIV, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
I’ve never been forty-days-hungry. In fact, I have to laugh when I think about my 4pm hunger at school. It is probably because that is the end of my work day and also because it is a few hours after my lunch break, but it is often a point in the day that I feel like I’m going to die from starvation and I am most likely to eat whatever has been lovingly placed in the teacher’s workroom. When I do that, I compromise on my goals and give in to actions that aren’t loving toward my body.
Want to know what helps me? Having a plan. You have to know what you can do for yourself in place of unhealthy food. I am not sure what that might be for you, but I am going to share with you what works for me.
For actual physical hunger I have healthy oatmeal packets I can place in a cup and add water. At home I make fresh fruits and vegetables or steamed vegetables, which is always an acceptable solution. Also, I keep a large jug of water around in case physical hunger is more about dehydration than the need for fuel.
For emotional hunger, a 15 minute nap, listening to music with my eyes closed or while dancing, journaling, art, or reading the next section in my Bible reading are successful go-to’s.
I would encourage you to think up a few options for emotional hunger and physical hunger that you experience at home and outside your home. Bread alone is not the solution. The moment the piece is swallowed you will need the next one and the next bite to keep all the discomfort at bay.
Here is your challenge for the week. During a quiet moment, I want you to take out your device or some writing materials and list 5 things you could do for physical hunger at home and outside of the home. Then I want you to write 5 things you could do for emotional hunger at home and outside of the home.
You’re doing great things, sweet sister. All my love to you! See you next week
Do you just want to transform your world NOW? Uh, yeah, me, too. If there was a button we could push that made us smarter, kinder, more successful, and more financially sound we would be on that thing in a heartbeat. But, things don’t work that way because we have too much to lose if we miss out on the experience of working for it. Today we’ll be talking about how to stay in your fight for change for the long haul and why that is important.
Does weight loss overwhelm you? Do you feel stuck not knowing what to do or try next? I've coached a lot of women, helping them take big steps toward permanent weight loss. But, the process is different for each incredible lady. To get some personalized suggestions I’ve designed a free quiz to get you started, go to loraarmendariz.com/quiz.
So, as I’ve mentioned, I really want to figure out how to consistently relax and enjoy time with others. Ugh. It sounds bizarre that this is my goal, but I’ve noticed that every time I am tempted to overeat or drink, it is usually because I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, and just need a break. However, I can’t just seem to magically jump from over-achieving time-nazi to relaxed chill wife, mother, and daughter of the Most High God. This is going to take some time. Like, DNA-changing-work. REALLY. But, as we talked about in the last episode, it is important that I take it day by day, recommitting to faith that God loves me and will guide me into healing.
Permanent change is hard. It takes a lot of work. Worst of all, it requires us to wait. When I lost my weight back in 2020, nothing really changed on the scale for the first couple weeks. I was making small changes, working on my thoughts and emotions more than the food. I knew it was what needed to happen since I was such an emotional eater, but it was hard not to give up the process and simply turn to the tried-and-true ultra restrictive diets. I knew I could lose weight FAST if I white-knuckled my way through another difficult hunger-filled couple of months. But, the weight would nearly jump right back on me the moment I pulled the constraints off my eating. For permanent weight loss we have to get really good at something that most of us detest: waiting. I know that sounds awful but if you could wait patiently while you put in the work, then you would find you could simply do the work without the dramatic breakdown of fear and frustration when the slower and permanent weight loss takes more time. Habit change is life-changing but it doesn’t happen overnight.
A few years ago I listened to an amazing sermon where the preacher, Levi Lusko, talked about small changes being incredibly powerful. He mentioned many worldly and Biblical examples of the concept but the one that struck me the most was from the Old Testament. As the Isrealites moved in to claim the promise land God said this in Exodus 23:30, “Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” He went on to explain that the Isrealites were not strong enough to keep possession of the land if He gave it to them all at once. They needed to increase in number and slowly establish themselves. Sweet sister, if you lost your weight all at once or simply woke up one day as healthy as a high school track star, would you know how to keep what you were given? Probably. We have to establish those habits, those routines that will allow us to maintain possession of the blessing of health.
Okay, I’m going to give you a little assignment today. I want you to think of the healthier version of yourself you would love to become, and I want you to list the habits she has. Include habits that affect physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health. Now, this is the hard part, I want you to start on one or two of those habits now--not 25 habits. Two habits are doable. Two habits can be successful. Two habits a month would give you 24 established healthy habits by the end of the year. Think about it. If each habit helped you eat 50-100 less calories a day because you were taking care of yourself in a better way, then by the end of the year you could be eating over a thousand calories less than you do right now. AND, you would be eating less with the feeling of peace and well-being, not fear and restriction. You could keep it up indefinitely because those habits could just become who you are and what you do.
So, get out a journal, a spiral notebook, the notes app on your phone and answer these three questions:
What is the healthy woman you would like to become like?
What habits does she have established?
What are one or two habits you could work to put into place this month?
I hope the New Year is packed full of life and blessings for you, sweet sister. Don’t forget to take that quiz. Your results will include a series of emails to keep you encouraged and a list of episodes that specifically address some topics that are bound to be especially helpful for you. All my love to you! I’ll talk to you next week!
I’ve helped women who come to me so defeated. Turning to my coaching and my program feels like a last ditch effort and their belief that it is possible is slim. I understand. They tried so many things, so many ways, for so many years. But, if you were walking down the street a couple thousand years ago, would you have touched Jesus’ cloak and believed you could be healed? Or, maybe you don’t think any healing is necessary and you place the blame on the lack of self control and a weak will. My sister, healing IS possible and believing is jet fuel for the most epic change you might ever experience in your physical and spiritual life.
I love my weight loss program. We aren’t just throwing out fabulous tips and ideas and practical tools for weight loss, we’re inviting God into the process and truly asking for Him to fuel this change so that we will shine with health and faith. This membership, for the entire year of 2024, is only $5 dollars a month billed monthly so that if it doesn’t work for you, you aren’t stuck with something you can’t use. When you enroll you get full access to the 12-week course, a private group, and monthly challenges to keep you learning and losing weight throughout the year. To sign up go to www.loraarmendariz.com/weightloss
I think I spent the first week of my Christmas break sleeping. No kidding. I kept opening my laptop to work on my Teaching license dossier or my coaching work and simply falling asleep. I would really like to say that my life has been more balanced than that, but it hasn’t. I’ve been exhausted, overworked, and living with so much stress and pressure that I could even tell the difference any more. It has felt so good to rest that I know I should probably make some changes in the upcoming semester and make sure that I figure out how to more consistently work down-time into my life. Sounds like a challenge totally worth the work.
Happy New Year, sweet sister. I bet you have hopes and goals and dreams for yourself as well. I hope you do!!! The Holy Spirit inside of us is always encouraging our growth forward in God, and if you are listening to this podcast, I bet your health is something you would like to see some improvement in. Maybe you would like to lose weight, find some consistency in your habits, or simply find balance again.
So, this is where I want to cut to the chase and ask you…do you believe healing and growth and change can happen for you? Or does this feel like your endless attempt to improve or try to turn things around and the possibility of yet another failure feels inevitable?
When someone does not believe something is possible it taints everything that they do, think, and feel and before you know it, it all turns out just the way you thought it would. So, sweet sister, as you dive into your goals and fight for your dreams, let's invest some time into this critical aspect of success.
When Jesus was here on Earth in a human body, He did many miracles and healings. I love reading these stories. They are so precious. I can empathize with having years with a loved one in pain and illness. I empathize with the deep desire to be free from addiction and bad habits that plague my life. I hurt with the ones who are struggling with sin and need to be guided forward.
As Jesus healed and cured and guided He often asked the people one of these questions: What did they want healing for and did they believe?
So, be specific, what do YOU want healing from? Do you believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will guide you, provide for you, and heal you in this health journey?
In Mark 10: 46-52, a blind man calls out to Jesus who surely knew what the man needed but Jesus still asked him what he desired. Jesus is calling out to you and asking you, what do you want?
I am still wanting peace from a deep fear that I might not be wise with my time or get all the right things done. I feel deep guilt when I stop or rest, but I know that this isn’t from God. I know this isn’t from God because the result is me being cranky, tired, and even less productive with little ability to focus and concentrate. However, I’ve been like this as long as I have been an adult--a high achiever with lots of drive. I don’t know how to heal. But, I do know that I am calling out to Jesus and asking Him to fill me with guidance and peace and faith as I begin to build the habit of rest.
Okay, my dear, the practical application of learning to believe is interesting. I’ve heard all the things where you post positive statements around the house and listen to recordings of yourself affirming your hopes and dreams, but, while this can totally be helpful, let me offer a tacit that is even more accessible.
It is a strategy developed by Katrina Ubell, M.D. and described in her book, “How to Lose Weight for the Last Time”. She says that those ideal beliefs can be hard to adopt all at once on a scale that truly feels real for our heart and mind. So, instead you break it down and begin with a smaller, more simple belief.
For example, I want to believe that I can become an easy-going wife and mom who knows how to relax, enjoy my family, and take time to rest with peace and ease. But, I have too many doubts. I hear a voice telling me that I’m too busy or that if I live that way then I will be a failure. I have to start with a smaller belief such as, God will care for me when I honor my body and get a good night of sleep whenever He provides the opportunity. The next step up would be believing that 24 hours of no chores or work is a beautiful Sabbath practice that God created for me and I can do that with peace and faith.
Maybe today you don’t completely believe that you can get down to goal weight or become a consistently active person with healthy habits, but can you take a first step in your belief? Can you believe that today you can eat that healthy breakfast you planned or drink all your water?
When you get a moment today I want you to answer some questions either in a journal or while talking with a mature friend.
What do you need healed? OR How do you need to grow forward?
What is the thought you need to believe?
If that thought doesn’t feel true yet, what would be a thought you could start with?
It has been a treat talking with you today, sweet sister. Happy New Year! I’ll talk to you next week!
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.