I think it is completely appropriate that as we dive into our 100th episode, we talk about persistence. Persistence is a skill that comes in real handy when you are trying to make permanent changes because change takes some time. In today’s episode I’m going to give you some tips for staying persistent while giving you a sneak peak into my life and what persistence looks like for me.
***Weight Loss from the Soul***
If you are a busy lady who really wants to make progress in her health and weight loss goals, I open up my program three times a year. We dive into an incredible 12-week journey that helps you learn and implement physical, mental, and emotional habit changes so that you can gain momentum and stay in charge. All my program graduates then have life-time access to the course. Get weekly coaching, daily encouragement and accountability while learning how to lose weight for the very last time.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Persistence is a firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition
In other words, persistence means you keep going, even when it is hard.
This summer I started a new journey in my prayer life. Last semester things got crazy at school, and that is an understatement. Like so many of us do, I started to let some of my self-care practices fall to the side, feeling short of time and short on energy. At the top of this list was my exercise and daily journaling. As the school year came to a close I felt more frazzled than ever.
I hated feeling this way. I was exhausted and had a shorter fuse than normal with my family. I was desperate to feel peace and guidance from the Lord that I knew would fuel my life. So, I love studying my Bible, but I’m a terrible prayer warrior. I like to use my brain more than my heart, and I often just skipped prayer more than a simple greeting of God in the morning. God totally put it on my heart that so much of my frustration and anxiety would ease if I learned to lean on Him and invest in prayer.
So I did. And, spoiler alert, it has flowed into every other area of my life. I have more peace and energy as I trust in God instead of trying to do everything in my own strength. I even started investing more time into my physical and emotional health, realizing that I am loved and God holds my life in His hands.
If you haven’t thought about adding a strong prayer life to your weight loss journey, I highly encourage you to consider it.
However, as you can imagine, it has been a little difficult to stay persistent in prayer. When I start my days, my mind immediately offers me a dozen other things that it feels are way more important. And, sometimes my responsibilities as a mom and wife clash with my desire to spend quality time with God. I have learned to be persistent by following these three steps. As I go through them, I want you to consider how you can apply this to just one habit in your weight loss journey. As an example, this might be planning your food everyday, drinking enough water, daily movement, or logging your food.
#1: Know Your Why: Something will always come up to get in the way of your good intentions. It might be an emergency, a temptation, or a relationship that makes your follow through difficult. That is why you have to be very clear about WHY this habit is so important to you. If not, those other things will naturally be prioritized or you’ll be guilted into doing whatever you think everyone else needs or wants you to do. For example, if you have committed not to eating unless you are physically hungry so that you can honor your body, then you might cave if feel tempted by a treat that is brought into the office. However, if you know why honoring your body is important for your health and weight loss progress and remind yourself of that truth, you will have strength to persevere even if those cupcakes look amazing.
#2: Evaluate the Process: Sometimes things don’t work. You can set yourself up for failure thinking you have to do your new habit in a certain way or at a certain time, without attempting to figure out what really works best for your life and family. For example, you might decide that working out first thing in the morning is the best time to get in some exercise. But, in a single week, your baby needs to eat or be changed at that time and you have no way to get in some movement before the rest of the family is up and you’re on duty. Instead of giving up, you evaluate your process and realize that naptime or the evening is a better time for exercise and try that instead.
#3: Celebrate Progress: I can’t say this enough, you have to be celebrating your progress. So many of the things we do for our health aren’t seen by another human being. We have to learn to celebrate ourselves along the way. In weight maintenance, progress looks like consistency in habits instead of a downward trend on the scale, so I literally set habit streak goals, buy, and wrap my own little gifts to reward myself when I reach that streak. It is fun and it helps me stay motivated even when nobody knows what I’m doing except me.
Okay, sweet sister, I pray for many blessings over your weight loss journey and I am so honored to serve you through this podcast.
I really want you to consider joining me on for my next weight loss course. It’s an amazing experience. You get twelve weeks of groups coaching and a powerful step-by-step guide to how to lose weight for the last time. You will have daily encouragement and accountability and everything is yours to keep and access even after the course ends. If your interested head over to loraarmendariz.com/weightloss for more information or to enroll.
I’ll catch you next week! All my love to you.
This one is both for you “foodies” out there and for those who suffer with the “see food, eat food” condition. Did you know that you can severely undercut cravings and anxiety around eating opportunities by becoming a little bit of a snob? This is a fun episode where I’m going to break down the two main benefits to becoming a food snob then show you how to implement this into your daily life.
The other day I added doughnuts to my grocery order. I wanted to surprise my daughter since we don’t have doughnuts very often and she had mentioned them a few times. However, my order of glazed doughnuts was substituted with a box of filled doughnuts. Immediately I was disappointed, but later when we opened the box I decided to go ahead to have one. It was awful. The pudding in the center made for a very unappealing texture and it didn’t seem like there was enough glaze to go with the bread-y-ness of the doughnut. I ate half and gave the rest to the chickens. (Yes, I have chickens)
However, not long ago I would have finished the doughnut and had one or two more, holding on the supporting fact that it didn’t matter what they tasted like since we didn’t have doughnuts often. I have to admit, I’m becoming a bit of a food snob, and I like it.
So, what is a food snob? A food snob is simply someone who is just a bit discerning about the taste and texture of a food while staying aware of how it affects your body. I’m not saying you need gourmet meals or high-priced cooking ingredients, I’m just saying you can become a little picky about what you eat and then make some great choices about what you put in your mouth.
There are two main benefits to this: #1 You don’t eat everything & #2 you pay attention to what you eat.
In our culture, almost no one needs to be eating everything they are offered and what is on their plate. The typical American is constantly over-served and has way too many eating opportunities. In order to stay healthy we need to be able to say no. When you have things you will or will not eat, you can commit to staying healthy.
Americans also eat too fast. When you become a food snob, the eating experience becomes more intense. You think about the sensations of what you're eating and then process how much you enjoy or don’t enjoy what you are eating. Then, your brain has a way better chance of both remembering the experience and noticing when you’ve eaten enough.
Okay, how does that sound? Are you ready to back-track and become a picky eater? I have a few tips that will help you.
Alright, my dears, I’m so proud of your journey. I hope this episode was some good food for thought, (sorry for the pun). I’ll be back next week for another episode. Goodbye for now.
What is your first bite of food for the day? Are you an intermittent faster or a three squares a day kind of gal? What do you start breakfast with, lunch or dinner? You might have never considered this, but that first bite holds incredible power. In this episode I’ll give you some interesting information and teach you how to implement this concept into your weight loss journey.
I love this time of the year. It is a perfect time to jump start your weight loss journey. With kids going back to school and less summer social gathering, you can really target your health goals. Join me August 24, 25, and 31 for a special weight loss masterclass called Powerful Christ-Centered Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss. In this masterclass I’ll teach you practical and potent weight loss strategies to get you started losing your weight for the last time. Can’t make it in person? No problem. After the webinar you’ll have access to the replay, but those that attend live will get a very special bonus. You deserve a healthier body and a strategy that makes sense for your life. Sign up today at loraarmendariz.com/masterclass. And the best part, it is completely free.
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for a few years now. My body loves it, but just recently I fell upon some research shared in a really cute podcast called Donna’s Intermittent Fasting Journal. Apparently, I had been missing out on a simple hack that could make all the difference in cravings and urges around food.
It’s called “the first bite”. If your first bite is something that serves your body such as vegetables, nuts, or fresh fruit, you will actually learn to crave this food instead of more unhealthy options over time. Let me explain how this works.
First, you experience the first bite with more pleasure. Have you ever noticed that the first bite of food, either for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack seems to capture your attention? You notice the flavors, textures, smells. But, with that next bite, the intensity of your experience begins to dim. So, if your first bite, say of fresh broccoli, comes with a heightened state of pleasure, you will be more excited to eat it the next time it is on your plate.
Second, the first bite teaches the brain what the solution is. Until just a few months ago, I almost always broke my fasts with the most delicious and palatable food on my plate. However, whatever we are satiating our hunger with, we are teaching our brains to see that food as a solution to our problems and we will crave that food more. What is interesting is that if we teach our brains that hunger is relieved with unsalted nuts or an apple, our brain will actually start suggesting that food whenever we are hungry. I have a theory that this is one of the reasons we love certain restaurants' bread or chips that they leave on the tables before the meal. I’ve went to restaurants where the “famous” bread or chips really weren’t that outstanding, but since we often come to the table hungry, we associate that food item with many feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
Third, The first bite teaches the brain what you prioritize. Our brains are very good at trying to find more of what is important to us and our brain gets its cues from whatever we seem to think is important. So, if we are scanning the menu or our plate for that lean protein or steamed veggies then making that our first bite, our brain will start to learn that veggies and lean meats are important to us and need to be prioritized. You’ll start to realize that you are much more likely to notice what’s being served in the salad bar or how good the chicken looks right off the grill instead of fixating on sugary solutions or simple carb dishes.
Lastly, it allows you to start your meal with balance. Did you know that your taste buds send signals to your brain that then decides how much insulin to release whenever you eat something? If you begin your meal with vegetables, healthy fats, or quality proteins, then your body won’t be immediately saturated in insulin. Plus, the fiber and fats in certain foods can slow down digesting, preventing the onslaught of glucose rises and crashes.
This “first bite” strategy is so powerful. It doesn’t require you to change what you eat, it just offers a way to begin that will have incredible effects on how you approach food and eating in the future.
Remember to sign up for the masterclass. I’m here to serve you, sweet sister. You’ve got this.
I see you, sweet sister. You want the weight gone yesterday. You want to wear those smaller clothes, fit into your skinny jeans, and feel lighter and energetic. I get it. That was me. Today we are going to talk about rapid vs slow weight loss. This is an incredibly important topic, especially for my sweet friends who want this time to be the last time. So, buckle up and get ready to get pumped up and encouraged in your journey.
There is always some amazing program, diet, shake, procedure, or pill that promises a fast weight loss solution. And, I get it, this is something we want so badly. Why can’t we have it now? Studies show that women who lose their weight fast are far more likely to gain it all back. Depending on the research, the percentable that regains is around 90% or higher. For a lot of work and pain, that completely sucks.
But it is hard not to cave and do whatever your best friend is doing to get her hips into a smaller size of pants. So, today I am going to fuel your healthy fight for permanent weight loss with some facts that will help you understand what you are doing and how it affects your future.
Fast weight loss. Depending on the weight you have and need to lose, fast weight loss is anything over 2 lbs per week if you have more than 30lbs to lose and anything over a 1 lb lost weekly if you have less than 30 lbs to lose. I would even argue that if you have less than 15 lbs to lose, fast weight loss is anything over .5 lbs:
What I see in the women I coach is that three things happen when weight loss is too fast.
#1. Burn out: When you ride yourself so hard and have a diet that is so difficult you will find that day when the pressure is just too much and you give up. That burn-out point could slam you straight into binging, letting it go for a weekend or longer, or even have you giving up all together. It will also definitely lead you to stopping whatever healthy choices you were making, the moment you reach your goal.
#2. Brain freak out: God designed part of our brain, the lower part, to go on red alert and get very emotional whenever it feels like you are in danger. When you lose weight fast, typically you are doing things that are very uncomfortable in your body and your brain. So, your lower brain will start to fight you and unless you do some deep thought work, you’ll find that fighting yourself is a losing battle. It takes too much willpower for that moment when your busy life throws other pressures at you, too.
#3 Not much real learning: When you are fighting for permanent weight loss, you have to figure out some things. You need to know what you enjoy eating, what works for your life, and self-care habits benefit you the most. If you throw too much at yourself, anything that you do will start to feel like an overwhelming chore, even if it is a healthy habit that would benefit you long-term. That is one reason I encourage the women I work with to implement changes slowly while evaluating their progress.
Now, let’s talk about slow:
#1. It’s sustainable: When you do things slow, you’ll find that those same practices will be easy to incorporate into your weight maintenance. You are doing things you enjoy and that make you feel good mentally and physically, therefore it is easy to stay committed to them long term.
#2. It is safe: When losing weight is comfortable, you enjoy the changes, and you love the way you feel, you’ll find that your lower brain started fighting with you instead of against you. It learns that going out for a walk boosts your energy or that grabbing your water instead of a soda makes your body feel so much better all day. When your lower brain is on your side, you will get back so much energy, will power, and stamina because you are doing things that truly benefit you every day.
#3. Real learning: When you slow down, you can become very analytical. You can decide if certain practices are worth the effort and how to adjust things to work with your life instead of trying to cram your life into a preset diet or program.
Ready to ask yourself some powerful questions about your weight loss journey right now? Okay, grab a pen and paper if you can or come back to these later. Going through these questions from time to time can help you make the differentiating choice between sustainable weight loss and the road to burn out and freak out.
Questions to ask yourself:
If I had to do this the rest of my life, would I be okay with that? Why or why not?
What practices in my health journey feel really good right now? Why?
Which practices in my health journey are hard for me? Why?
Would I recommend these same practices to my mom, daughter, sister, or close friend? Why?
What feelings fuel these practices?
Before we sign off today I want to tell you a little story from the book of Exodus, chapter 23, verses 30-33. Whenever God promised the land to the Isrealites and set them on their way to conquer the land, He told them he wouldn’t give them the land all at once. Instead, He told them that He would drive out the inhabitants and give them the land little by little so that they would be ready to fully occupy it when they were ready. They didn’t have enough people and resources to retain the land if they were to get it all at one time. It had to be the process.
I hold that truth close to me whenever I’m working on changes in my own life. Permanent change takes time and when I honor that, I find I am so ready to defend who and what I have become.
By the way, before we sign off, I highly encourage you to take the quiz, finding out what your weight loss next steps are. Everyone is so different, finding out what would give you the biggest returns on your investment of time and energy in your weight loss journey is key.
All my love to you, sweet sister. I’ll talk to you next week.
Stress can play a huge role in how our fight for healthy changes plays out. In today's episode I want to break down both the biological and mental components of this and then give you some great tips to curbing that stress even when there might be factors in your life that you don't have 100% control over. Life is busy and the world is chaotic, so understanding stress and then working to curb the effects it has on you is an important topic.
In 2017 Micaela developed epilepsy. If you are the parent or a family member of someone with epilepsy, or have epilepsy yourself, I just want to send you armfuls of love right now. Through all the trauma that my family has been through with a difficult pregnancy, losing loved ones, having babies in the NICU, and learning to have a child with medical complexities and special needs, I have to say, epilepsy is the hardest thing we have ever gone through. That constant vigilance, not knowing when a seizure is going to hit or how hard or long it will be. That was rough. So, from the beginning of 2017 to the about the end of 2019, Micaela had nocturnal seizures that were difficult to stop. We took multiple ambulance rrides and air care flights and stayed in Children’s Hospitals trying to figure out if she would qualify for different therapies or procedures that might help.
Whenever I work with women who are undergoing seasons of stress or simply coping with the normal wear-and-tear stress of life, I always approach them from a standpoint of deep empathy. Today I want to first help you understand why working on stress is important for our body and mind, then I want to give you some practices and tools to use that might help.
First of all, when we are stressed our muscles tighten, our digestive system might slow or even struggle with diarrhea, and our cortisol levels rise putting our system on red-alert. Some women find that they might struggle to lose weight in this state and have much higher levels of cravings for quick-energy foods.
Mentally, when you are stressed, your lower brain becomes more active, looking for ways to avoid pain, find pleasure, and be more efficient. It will start to yell for doughnuts and scream that you absolutely shouldn’t go work out right now. It is doing it’s best to protect you. Your higher brain still knows that healthy food would give you more long-lasting energy and that working out will build muscle and reduce stress, but with the lower brain making so much noise it is harder to make the reasonable choice.
Okay, so, you get it. Stress has a lot of negative side-effects. However, it is also in our everyday lives at some level. So, while I could go on and on about what high or chronic levels of stress can do to you, let's just talk about ways you can reduce stress.
I hope that today’s episode gives you some clarity and tools to use when tackling your stress and some understanding that addressing this issue is very important.
All my love to you! We’ll talk again next week. 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.