I remember my first ever family trip. We went to San Diego when I was very young, around six years old. My younger brother and I were just discussing this, and the pack of gum we were each allowed to pick out. Each of us was allowed to pick out a pack of gum before our trip began. I’m pretty sure mine was juicy fruit gum because I recall the yellow packaging and the fact that I seemed to need a new stick to refresh the flavor not long after unwrapping each piece. My pack of gum didn’t get me to California, but for the few hours it did sustain me, I was highly entertained and gleeful.
I am not the only one who has long trips in a car firmly fixed to snacks and eating. In fact, the idea of getting in our SUV for our trip to Texas without snacks seems laughable. What would we do with all that time? Thankfully, we recently visited family in Dallas and I did find out that snacking while traveling does not have to coincide at all! Mercies upon mercies.
This spring we traveled to Dallas, a trip that takes our little family over eight hours, and I did not snack in the vehicle at all except to enjoy one candybar on the last day of traveling. I hacked the system! And it wasn’t all that difficult.
The first thing I did was simply consider: Why do we want to snack? The answer is, we are not used to sitting for long periods of time without entertainment. Snacking provides oral pleasure and something to do with our hands. It also can keep us awake if we are the ones driving. So, before we began the trip I listed all the reasons why I would want to snack. Here is my list:
Then, I went back and figured out all the OTHER things I could do to solve those same problems.
I want to give you a little homework assignment. If you are going to go on a road trip, I want you to make a list of all the reasons you might want to eat on your trip. Then, write down some options that give you solutions without turning to snacking or grazing. IF you have any physical objects that might help, make a little travel bin with all the supplies you need. What might even be extra fun is to go to the dollar tree with a list of supplies and pick up coloring supplies and crossword puzzles. Download audio books and podcasts you have been interested in trying out. Make a list of road games you can play with your kids and conversation topics you can have with your travel companions. Just think of the incredible bonding time this can be for you and your family.
My last piece of advice is to dive into this with the plan to continue on your weight loss or weight maintenance journey. Don’t begin this adventure with a less than hopeful attitude, but instead, begin with the belief that you are going to do this. Approach the issue with God in prayer. Make your desire to snack your reminder to connect with others and your Father in Heaven like a built-in notification to your soul that you need something else.
Now, you might be saying right now, that’s all fine, Lora, but what do I do when we actually get to our destination? How do I handle dinners out and ice cream shops? What do I do when we go to a family gathering or meet up at an artisan bakery. Oh, my dear friend, I’ve got some great tips for you. For sure. So, don’t miss the next episode.
If you could do me a big favor and share this episode with a friend, that would be wonderful. I am on a mission to help more women find Christ-centered weight loss. I want them to find freedom from both their food addictions and the dieting mentality.
It was lovely having this conversation with you. I’ll be back next week with another great episode. Until then, safe travels.
For Mother’s Day, our church sang an old song called “One Day at a Time” and I fell in love with it. I sang it all last week as we finished up school and I packed up my classroom. I’m moving again, from an elementary position to a high school English position. I have two teaching license so when our little school has a hole in staffing I am an easy person to shift around. That being said, I’ve decided to be absolutely thrilled with the prospect of reading and developing curriculum around ten different novels this summer. Sounds fun, right?
Last summer, I began the vacation months with no thought as to how it might affect my eating habits. I just figured it would be fine since I’m good about eating to my hunger levels and have done so much work around my emotional eating habits. But, I paid for not having a plan. You see, when you don’t have a plan, your mind and body automatically default to whatever seems and feels the easiest. So I defaulted to my weekend plan. My weekend plan I eat breakfast each day, enjoy one exception treat, and one exception meal that goes off my typical meal templates. It didn’t take long before I was knocking at the top end of my maintenance weight. I needed an actual plan. After all, summer vacation isn’t a 10 to 12 week long weekend.
I want to share with you three key mind shifts that will help anyone whenever they are in a transition period (like me) or experiencing any significant changes.
I thought it would be so much fun on my stories for Instagram and Facebook the next few weeks to share what healthy choices I’m making as I slide into summer. So, if you aren’t following me yet, make sure to head over to Facebook or Instagram and find me with the handle armendariz.lora. And send me a message if you have any ideas that would help me or my listeners. I would love to share them here on the podcast.
Well, my dear friends, I will be back next week to let you know how it is going. You are each so precious. God cares about your health. He cares about you. You are loved. Talk to you next week! Good bye for now.
For myself, and a lot of women I work with, we have got into the awful habit of trying to fix ourselves with food. What I mean by that is that we use food to take the edge off our situation or provide just enough comfort that we can keep going. Now, I want to take a moment and say that this is especially true for women with small children and also those who are caregivers. Some reasons I see for this is that there are many urgent demands for our attention and our time. Reaching our hands into a bag and filling our mouths with something that is crunchy, salty, sweet, or fulfilling only takes a few seconds. The problem is that the relief is so temporary that we keep going back for more and more.
So, I’m going to walk you through an exercise today that will truly help you make some headway in this area.
Now, in the scenario that I gave you at the beginning I was eating trail mix as a way to relieve stress. When you are trying to overcome cravings for things that don't serve you, there are three basic levels to approach this. Level one is to simply white-knuckle your way through the craving, distract yourself, or avoid the sight and smell of whatever is enticing you. Level two is to do things that relieve stress such as go for a walk or listen to some music. But the expert level, and the best level is to dig into your head and figure out what thoughts and beliefs are creating your stressful reality.
Lies are just like having an unsealed and unprotected part of your heart. Before you know it, your life is infested with words, emotions, and actions that keep leaking from a lie that we have not taken care of.
I truly believe that for every situation that you feel like food is the answer, there is a lie that the enemy is egging on us to believe. We have to find that lie. It so often lies hidden in the busyness that is life around us.
To find the lie you need to:
Those three simple steps not only ease my cravings, but they strengthen me and give me peace. This is so simple. Let me walk you through this super simple process by being very honest with you about a situation that comes up often for me.
There is this moment, late Sunday evenings, that I start to crave all kinds of things. Anything really. This has gone on for a really long time and I just recently began to do some work on it.
Let me describe the scenario to you. It’s Sunday evening and my weekly day of rest is coming to a close, yet I’m exhausted. My soul is refilled by church and fellowship, but my mind has begun to circle over what Monday will bring and my body is tired from all the things that come with taking care of our little girl and the chores of keeping up a home and helping with the farm.
So, I want something to make it better. Maybe some candy from the cabinet or a bowl of popcorn. If I ask why, the answer is: I want something that will help me suck the last ounces of a quiet Sabbath so that I actually feel like I had I weekend. I want something to make life fun. To make life joyful because I don’t have enough joy or fun in my life.
What situation created this? Life is busy and I have a lot of responsibilities. If I’m really honest, I have to confess that I try to cram too much into one day and I’m almost always drowning even on a Sunday. So, here is the lie: I need something fun to eat to make my life better so that I can get through it. Let me repeat this lie because I know a few of you have heard it bump around in your head too: I need something fun to eat to make my life better so that I can get through it.
The last step is, could God fill this need. Could God make my life better, more peaceful? Joyful? Restful? Oh. Goodness. YES. He already has. He is the God of hope offering to fill me with joy and peace (Romans 15:13) He is my strength and my song and my salvation every single day (Psalm 118:13) and I can definitely let go of my fear that I might not do something or do something right and rest in His easy yoke (Matthew 11:28-31). If I really look at all those truths then to go ahead and pack my mouth full of M & Ms it is a defiant unwillingness to trust or rely on God. I can see then that I can hold on to the lie that life is too much and unfair and continue to hurt my body with food, or I can put that down and crawl into God’s lap, letting Him be the one to guide my life and fill me with love.
I recently went through a Bible Study created by Lisa Terkurst where she encourages you to write the lie that lead you to food on one side of a 3 x 5 index card. On the other side you are to write what God says that negates that lie. I love this. You can then put that card in your purse or clip it to your refrigerator.
My dear, at the end of the day, my prayer for you is that you stop trying to white-knuckle your way through every diet or eating plan. It is not okay that each time you fall on your face that you blame and shame yourself, expecting to somehow be stronger or better. Target that lie, the lie that keeps telling you that you need food to fix your life or fix your moment long after your physical need for nutrients has been met.
Let me go over the steps again to identify and target the lie:
Don’t forget to download that freebie from my website at loraarmendariz.com/freeresources. The 4-Step Guide to conquering cravings is easy, free, and comes with some phone backgrounds to remind you what to do whenever you feel yourself under attack.
I hope the month of May is treating you well! By this time next week I should be on my summer schedule and making all those changes to how I approach life during my non-teaching time. This is always a bit of a transition for me, going from spending most of our time at school to spending almost all of our time at home. I’ll let you know how it is going! Until then, all my love to you!
Over the years, especially during the times that our little family was experiencing the most difficulty and trauma, the people in our lives have often chosen to show us the most love and support by offering food. Meals, coffee, desserts, sweets… I’ve always received it the same way--deep thankfulness. One less thing to cook and the reminder that people around me deeply love my family and care about what we are going through.
But, as I’ve started on this journey of finding freedom around food and leaning on God to be my source of comfort and strength, I have dealt with many situations in which food wasn’t the offering that best supported my life even each and every time it has been a sweet reminder that I’m loved, seen, and not alone.
I want to share with you three ideas that can help you in situations when others offer you love via food.
1. Receive it Well
First of all, you actually don’t have to put that food in your mouth and consume drinks if you aren’t hungry or you feel the food isn’t going to support your body well. And, honestly, how you receive food offerings can be more about the relationships that come with them. If someone drops by a casserole, express your admiration for them taking the time and let them know it makes you feel seen, loved, and cared for. If someone brings you a coffee. You say thanks, but realize that the liquid in the cup is also an invitation for you to chat so if you need to open up or let someone into your head, here is your chance.
I remember that however I respond to these gifts should be more about our relationship than just the food. These are people who are showing me love and I receive it because it is always needed.
2. Know Yourself Better
Here is the kicker, for years I really didn’t know how to take care of myself in any other way except by having desserts or treats. When I restricted myself from these foods I felt like I was in diet prison. Therefore, in all honest truth, there wasn’t a lot else besides food that made me feel loved and comforted. I had to get to know myself a lot better and figure out other things that make me feel relaxed and loved.
Now, if a friend asks, I can tell them I need to go for a walk, vent to someone, write in my journal, spend some time outside, watch a funny movie, or organize something in my house. I have a whole list that doesn’t involve food. Recently, one of my favorite people in the world gave me materials for my bullet journal: washi tape, stickers, and pens and I felt so uniquely loved and seen. Plus, she was contributing to good self-care habits that I use to take care of myself even within my very chaotic season.
If you don’t know what else besides food will comfort you then you can’t expect the people in your life to know it, too. End of story.
3. Let People In
It's confession time. I struggle with letting other know what I need. For example, right now I’m teaching full time. And one of my students is my eldest daughter. In truth, what I want is time alone, even for a couple hours, without being on duty as a teacher and a mom. But, I also have this ridiculous belief that no one, not even my husband, can care for my younger special needs daughter like me and therefore I need to stay close to her as much as possible. I can see that when others look at my life, even those who are incredibly close to me, they might be confused as to what I might even receive as help or love. As I grow on this journey, I’m learning to let others in more so that a casserole isn’t the only thing they can think of to bring by.
I once heard that we have to train others as to how to treat us, and this is true. In retrospect, I trained others for centuries to offer me love through food. How in the world can I expect them to suddenly understand that I don’t want that any more.
So, here I have a curious question for you: do you know how to love and support others without food? I have to say that this is an area I need to grow in too. As a mom and a life coach, I’ve become even more aware of this in recent years. I am so guilty of pulling out sugar as some sort of bonding agent when it comes to my relationships, however, that really isn’t what usually creates the most meaningful memories or conversations. So, I’m learning to opt for a board game or a walk outside with my girls instead of sitting ourselves in front of the TV with a plate of cookies.
Now, I want to go back to teacher appreciation week and the food that was provided by various people throughout the week. It was amazing and yummy, but most of all it provided opportunities for me to hang out with my coworkers, laugh, hug members of the community and really bask in that feeling of being seen, loved, and appreciated. It really wasn’t about the food at all. I did, however, eat some of the food each day. For these situations, I like to do template eating. I plan my meals around templates. For example, my lunches generally consist of lean protein, healthy fat, and fruit or vegetables. So, instead of throwing in the towel because EVERYTHING was being offered, I enjoyed some of the food as closely as I could to the type and portions on my lunch template. It wasn’t perfect, but I also didn’t eat things that made me feel bad physically or that triggered cravings. This solution might work well for you, too. I use this concept when I eat out, visit people's homes, attend potlucks, etc.
So, there you have it, when you are trying to make some changes to your eating choices consider three things: Be a good receiver and receive the love, get to know yourself better so you can start to show those close to you that you like other things besides food, and let people in to your life so that they know what you need.
Before I sign off, I want to update you on my workout. It is going really well. I have really been enjoying my runs and tend to do more of that than strength training, but either way, the fact that I am working out consistently, feeling stronger, more energetic, and emotionally and mentally healthy…that is feeling like a huge win. My hope is to begin more strength training whenever school ends and summer is here and I’m not teaching.
Next week I want to talk to you about what to do in the moment that food seems like the easy fix for how we are feeling or what we are dealing with. As a parent of a special needs child there are so many times that I feel stuck and food is my only “out” or relief. We’ll dive into that and I hope my loving honesty is helpful. Love and blessings to you! Good bye for now.
If you follow me on social media, you will have seen a few posts I did a couple weeks ago about doing a reset. I’m in weight maintenance and have been for a few years. That being said, it is common for me to notice when I’m on the verge of some old destructive habits, namely trying to handle life by running to food. So, I do the best things I can and take a break from my trigger foods. Trigger foods are ones that cause issues physically such as digestive issues, inflammation, or even throwing my hunger signals out of whack. Trigger food also causes cravings. I love what Lysa TerKurst said in her book, “I’ll Start Again Monday” she said, “We crave what we eat. If I make healthy choices over a period of time, it seems to reprogram my taste buds.” So, noticing that I had been more regularly eating junk that didn’t serve my body, I shrugged my shoulders and settled into a 14-day reset where I stick to fruits, veggies, legumes, lean meats, and whole grains. Easy peasy.
Until I noticed that I was still over eating. Over eating anything: Beans, whole grain waffles, steamed veggies, raisins. I was even making myself sick some evenings, returning to the fridge and pantry like an automaton that couldn’t stop. And, I was MAD. Not like that furious and ravenous anger, more like a brooding simmering resentment and fear that made me prickly and hot and frustrated and weary and sad.
As a life coach, one of my favorite tools to pull out for emotional eating is a simple question: What am I asking the food to do for me? My answer made me so sad. I was wanting the food to compensate for how unfair life felt.
Now, I could list for you the craziness right now. I could literally invite you into this pity party that I threw each and every afternoon and evening for nearly the last month or more, but some of it’s private, too private to share with the world. What I do want you to know is that the pressures and strains, though, were never supposed to be more than I could handle. The problem was that I was trying to do everything and be everything I thought everyone needed me to be. At the end of the day I ended up resenting the precious souls and circumstances God allowed in my life.
Emotional eating is common. But, what I really want to walk you through to do are those BIG CHRONIC emotions that come up, derail your world, and leave you lost. They are the places where we need healing the most. So, as I walk you through my own healing--which has begun, by the way and isn’t anywhere near finished--I want to encourage you to find your own way.
1. Name that emotion and bring it to God. I’ve seen it so many times: women are professionals at pushing through, serving others, and performing and they aren’t even sure what they are feeling. Then, if they realize what it is they feel, they are ashamed so they try to cover it all up.
I dug deep and named a few feelings: fear, overwhelm, exhaustion, and resentment with a capital R and all the fixings. I fled to God like a child and asked Him to be the one to mend my heart, confessing that I couldn’t do it on my own. “This time,” I told God, “I am not going to try and be my own Savior. You do it so much better than me.”
2. Feel it girlfriend. That big feeling has more than likely been pushed down and pushed away. You have not processed it at all. It’s kind of like having to de-weed the garden. If you have something growing inside yourself that doesn’t serve you, you’re going to have to get a little dirty. You're going to have to find it, grasp it with your hands, and pull. You’re going to get messy and worst of all, there will be a hole when you’re done. That is why you want to do this with God, allowing His love and peace to fill that place.
Processing anger, for me, has happened in both runs on the treadmill and late-night tear-filled journaling. Tears are amazing. One of my favorite childhood movies was called, “Quigley Down Under”. The heroine in the film is trapped in a cave with a baby and there are dingos attacking them. At first she tries to almost smother the baby so that its cries wouldn’t draw the dingos to them, but then she realizes that she is about to actually smother her baby to death if she continues. So instead, she grabs up the gun and says, “You want to cry? You cry all you want to. Let’s both make some noise.” I think the Devil wants us silent and smothered, not honest and open and crying out for healing. So, cry all you want to, honey. My challenge right now is not to cry while also running on the treadmill--not a good combination.
3. Lastly, I challenge you to figure out where in your heart and head these feelings are stemming from. IT is our thoughts and beliefs from which our feeling pour, both life-giving and life-stealing.
I sat down during those journaling sessions and wrote down my thoughts and beliefs. All of it was life-stealing proclaiming that my circumstances were unfair, too much, and defeating. I wrote down the thoughts that I was unseen and never compensated for going above and beyond. It is there that God gave me two incredible truths that I am holding close in my healing.
#1 I don’t have to be everything.
#2 God can take the wheel and drive my life so much better than me.
Those two thoughts have actually allowed me to start taking so much better care of myself. I’ve been working out more, cuddling with Adela on the couch and letting the house chores wait, laughing with Micaela instead of hurrying through her cares, and listening to my husband's voice telling me about his adventures over the phone instead of letting him go early. Life’s crazy isn’t calmer, I’ll be honest, but I am.
There you have it, my dear friends. Remember, big feelings are normal. After all, God equipped you with a big, incredible heart. But, instead of eating your way through a season that is hurting you, I want to encourage you to name that feeling as you talk to God, process it, and identify the thoughts and beliefs that fuel the emotion.
Before I sign off, I wanted to update you that I worked out every day last week except for Thursday. I have been working out in the late afternoon which has been perfect, allowing myself to process emotions at the time of the day I’m starting to feel them the most.
You know, you probably have a girlfriend that could use the friendly reminder that she is loved and seen, today. Share this episode with her. When we are going through these seasons we can feel the most alone. I want you to know you are intensely loved and precious.
I’ll catch you next week with another episode. Until then, all my love. Bye!
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.