Whenever we are in a quest to become healthier and make lasting changes, it can feel like we are fighting against weak and flawed flesh. But how can we expect to win when we are divided against yourself? In today’s podcast I want you to harness some powerful gratitude and pride in the body God gave you in order to highly motivate your habit change and health choices.
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For way too long, I looked at the woman in the mirror as if I were critiquing an English paper. The margins were all wrong, flesh hanging just a little over my waistline. There were countless errors such as cellulite around my thighs and stretch marks from pregnancies. My face was too full and my goodness, I definitely don’t have cute and defined ankles to go with my thick legs. I could go on, but you get the idea. However, unlike a stack of essays, there was no whipping out a red pen to mark things up so that it could all get edited proficiently in a matter of minutes. And yet, I liked to think that if I worked hard enough I could whip things into shape in no time at all.
And, that is how I saw my body. A flawed object that I was responsible for perfecting.
So so sad. And in no way did that ever make me feel confident or proficient. Instead I felt even more ashamed of binge eating and my imperfect body. Somehow, at some point, our culture fed us the idea that we were in charge of exactly how our body looked and anything short of magazine perfection meant we weren’t cutting it, we weren’t trying hard enough. Everything we do out of that attitude and space becomes almost punishing. Trying to force our bodies into a mold. And we often do things that are really hard and feel so terrible that we give up or go back to our old ways.
When you are wanting to lose weight for the last time, your perspective and attitude toward your body is worth spending a little time thinking about, because when you value and respect your body, you will find extra love, extra motivation, and extra perseverance to do what brings you closer to a healthy life.
There are three steps to this process. This is definitely a podcast where you’ll want to sit down somewhere and grab a pen and paper.
Wanting to honor and care for our body will have you making the best choices naturally. You might turn down that extra serving of desert because you want to be kind to yourself. That is actually the same choice you might make while trying to restrict out of frustration or shame. However, those choices fueled by love are so much easier to carry out and keep on making.
Know that I love you and I am praying for your journey. I am praying that you begin to love the masterpiece God made in you.
Talk to you next week. Good bye for now.
This is a special requested topic from a very sweet listener. She asked me what I thought about the shame and fear that comes with being overweight and either having or being at risk for more health issues. As you know, fear, shame, and worry can be killers for permanent weight loss. So on today’s podcast we are going to discuss what we can do if those feelings come up, especially if they derail us into unhealthy choices.
If you look it up online, you will find that the list of medical conditions that are linked to being overweight or obese is staggeringly high. Then there is an entire other list of medical conditions that are exasperated by being over the suggested health BMI range. Doctors, studies, and statistics aside, our own common sense knows that being overweight doesn’t feel good. We become slower, have less energy, and more aches and pains.
So, yes, fighting for healthy changes is worth it, but I want to ask you what fuels your fight? Love? Or fear? In order to wrap your brain around this, we are going to step into a completely different scenario.
I’m a school teacher. Right now I am teaching high school English and elementary art and music. I love my job. It’s busy, fun, and the kids are amazing. Every once in a while you’ll run into a student who is super high achieving. It might be that they are naturally good at their academics and enjoy challenges, or they might have high aspirations and want the grades and skills needed for a desired career or future. Then there is a third group of children that perform because of pressures at home. They get great grades and are possibly involved in other activities because they fear the disapproval or anger of their loved ones. What you see is that the kids who enjoy the academics or are driven to reach their dreams will keep going even when it is hard. But often the kids who are driven by fear will reach their cracking point, or, the moment they move away from home, they might go off the rails.
That makes sense, right? So, what happens when you are the person who is fighting for better health out of fear and shame? The problem is, that you are also responsible for keeping the heat up so that you keep pushing yourself forward. For those high-achieving kids whose parents are the ones who push them forward with high expectations, they have a powerful and constant force and those kids either keep going or they break. But if you expect yourself to lose weight out of that fear YOU are going to have to keep pushing. And, to be honest, it isn’t very realistic to keep going out of fear. Too quickly will come the day where your need for comfort outweighs your fear.
Now, the knowledge of your health conditions and risks can still fuel your loving need to take care of yourself. In this scenario, you become the kid that is pushing themselves forward because they want to reach their hopes and dreams. They can visualize the life they are fighting for and they can probably equally visualize the life in which they gave up before reaching their goals. They want better things for themselves. It is exciting and full of hope. They are looking for the next step forward. Yes, there are days that it is really hard and they will have a lapse or fall-downs but they get up again. They are their own cheerleaders.
We want to be the one fighting for our future and our best life. That is what God wants for us. God has never wanted for us a life where our temptations destroy our health. But, I also want to comfort you with the knowledge that He has great plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11).
So, if you are struggling with shame and fear, I have some very practical next steps for you.
#1, Get very clear on why you want to get healthy. List all the benefits and all your hopes.
#2, Get very clear on what your goal is. Do you want to put some healthy habits in place? Is there a number on the scale you want to reach? Is there a fitness level you want to get to, such as being able to run a race or complete an exercise circuit at the gym?
#3, Share your goal and your reasons for getting healthy with your friends, loved ones, spouses—whoever will be there to give you love, support, and accountability.
#4, Identify resources you can utilize in your journey.
#5, Make a plan to revisit your reasons and your goal often. Write it down and post it on the bathroom mirror, on the inside of your planner, or on the refrigerator door.
I want to give a special thanks to the sweet listener who was vulnerable, honest, and courageous enough to show me what was going on in her head and heart. Her struggle is a common one and I am honored to share it with you here on the podcast.
If you want some health or advice about where to get started as you make some health changes, go ahead and take the quiz. With your results you’ll be given some powerful next-steps and some popular episodes from my podcast that encourage you in your journey.
All my love to you, sweet sister. I’ll talk to you later.
Do you ever get stuck in a loop in your head? Do you ever get in a cycle of not following through on your good intentions? Do you ever feel your efforts thwarted by negative beliefs and pessimistic outlooks? Today we are going to discuss a strategy to push out of cyclical failure. This is a good one.
In the last episode we dove into becoming resourceful in our weight loss and health goals so we can really start making progress. When I was recording that podcast I realized that it has been a while since we had a conversation about how important it is not to get stuck inside our own head and what we can do to avoid that.
Dr. Caroline Leaf did some studies on individuals where she hooked them up to brain scanning devices and told them to THINK about something that was worrying them. Then they returned the next day after getting specific instructions not to inform or discuss their worries with another individual. It was fascinating. The scans ended up being nearly identical. No change happened even though it was a worry they were trying to figure out or get ahead of. THen she had them verbally discuss the issue, then take another scan while thinking about it. The scans finally changed and never went back to their original patterns.
She found scientific evidence for something that as humans we feel all the time: Getting stuck on a problem in our heads. Continued study showed that verbal or written conversations, journaling, and prayer all hold the power to break negative cycles in the brain. Wow, right?
For a lot of women I work with, turning to food or beverages to comfort and calm themselves while they are in these cycles is a very ingrained habit. While we’ll work on using other solutions that are healthier for coping, the real solution is to learn to get out of that loop in your brain.
What are you really stressed or worried about right now? Okay, I’m going to walk you through a little exercise. It only takes a few minutes if you stay focused. You can do it on paper, out loud, talk it out with a friend, or pray about it either verbally or in a journal. Alright? The goal is to stop cycles of emotional eating by getting out of the worry cycle instead of just trying to stop ourselves from comforting ourselves from food. Instead we comfort ourselves by getting out of the negative loop altogether.
You’re going to ask and answer a series of questions with the goal of getting a new perspective on the situation, finding a solution, or possibly realizing that there isn’t as big of a problem as you suspected. I’m going to list the questions and then work through one of my own worries with you.
The questions are:
What is the problem?
Why is this a problem?
Is there any way to see this problem as a blessing?
What would have to change for this not to be a problem any more?
What do you have control of?
What are you taking responsibility for that you have no control over?
What can you take today on today, tomorrow, or in the near future?
What do you need to let go and let God take control of?
What would you like to ask others to pray about for you?
I do have a worry. So I’ve never taught highschool English before. In fact, beyond some work in church, I’ve never taught beyond the 9th grade. I’m nervous and afraid that it will be a train wreck…that I’ll be a train wreck.
Before I go through the questions with you, I want to pray, inviting the Holy Spirit into the process.
Dear God, I know you love me, you love my students. Please fill me with your insight, wisdom and peace as I sort through my thoughts, amen.
What is the problem? The problem is that I have never taught highschool English before and I am still learning the standards and the age group.
Why is this a problem? I might not be very good at my job. I might even fail and the students will learn nothing and I’ll be miserable.
Is there any way to see this problem as a blessing? It is a challenge. It will stretch me and grow me. Plus, I’ll get to know what high school students are like a little better.
What would have to change for this not to be a problem any more? I would have to learn the standards, figure out how to teach them, and develop classroom management strategies that work for me and this age group of students. Most of all, I need practice.
What do you have control of? My attitude, my learning, the curriculum,what the physical classroom environment looks like, my self-evaluation process, asking for mentor teacher’s advice and input.
What are you taking responsibility for that you have no control over? The thoughts, reactions and feelings of other students, administration, teachers, and parents. Most of all, I am trying to take responsibility for a future that hasn’t happened yet.
What can you take action on today, tomorrow, or in the near future? I can start to work on the curriculum, begin a process of self-evaluation and journaling, find a mentor, and keep admin involved in my development.
What do you need to let go and let God take control of? My students’ hearts and all my tomorrows.
What would you like to ask others to pray about for you? That I figure things out and develop a curriculum that truly benefits the students and the school and that I develop a rapport with my students that facilitates learning.
What are you worried about today? These questions are found on the show notes for today’s podcast at loraarmendariz.com/podcasts. I encourage you to work through them with a mature friend, your journal, or your prayer time. It is a process that will help you feel more calm and content so much quicker than a sleeve of Oreos. I’m serious. Already I have to tell you that I feel more confident about the school year and even excited about figuring this out.
Thank you, God. and thank you, dear friend. All my love to you! Catch you next week.
I hear it all the time, a woman I work with will have a great, fantastic health goal but will be completely stalled out because they just can’t figure out how to get what they need in order to get started and keep going. In today’s episode I’m going to teach you how to break out of this mindset, believe in the blessings God has given you, and move forward with practical and powerful resources.
I have to start out by telling you a funny story. Just to let you in on how human I am, I need to share with you a failing. So, last spring I really wanted to get back in shape. And, if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll remember the episode I had about wanting to get ready for a family vacation to the beach and how my main goal was to work on my fitness level. Well, I decided that running on my treadmill was exactly what I needed most. However, my treadmill is in the bunkhouse and that place had the worst invasion of moths (we also call them millers). I did not want to be there. Moths fly at you and around you and the dust from their wings is fine, triggering lots of sneezes and coughing. So, I decided I needed the treadmill in my bedroom. For TWO WEEKS there was zero exercise. Instead I measured the floors and had endless conversations with my husband about moving our massive, old, clunky treadmill into our bedroom.
It didn’t happen, it just wouldn’t work. But I confess to tunnel vision. I truly believed that without this one resource I wouldn’t be able to get in shape. I needed the treadmill in the bedroom. End of story.
Okay, I know a lot of outside listeners are hearing this story and you can probably see a lot of solutions here like get rid of the moths or do other kinds of workouts.
This is so common. I see it the most when women decide they need to lose weight on a specific diet, especially ones full of foods they don’t enjoy or that require a ton of food prep that they aren’t used to doing. They also get tunnel vision believing their weight loss has to happen this way and not any other way. I’m going to walk you through the process of how to become resourceful so that you reach your goals.
Step #1: Define your goal. This is something that you should be able to measure somehow so that you know when you’ve reached it. My goal was to be able to do 30 minutes of intense cardio workouts in order to have the stamina and energy needed for our family vacation.
Step #2: List all the things that you can do that will help you reach that goal. Please note, I didn’t say for you to list the things that you WILL do but to list the things you CAN do. For me, this looked like running outside, doing fitness videos, and engaging in fast-paced strength training or aerobics.
Step #3: On another page, I want you to list your assets. Really expand your mind. Think about personal skills you already have, relationships that are supportive and can keep you accountable, time in your schedule that can be utilized, and even monetary resources such as space in your budget you could use. For example, one of my strongest skills is being organized and a good planner with great follow through. I also have an accountability group full of strong Christian women. Plus, my family is highly supportive. Listing your assets will help you start to see solutions and give you hope instead of making you feel lost and unconfident.
Step #4: Now, take your list of the things you can do to reach your goal and then, next to each item, figure out what resources you need to accomplish them. For example, if I want to run outside then I’ll need to plan to get out before it heats up outdoors, and I’ll need to arrange for the family to help me with Micaela. If I want to do a fitness video, I need to find videos that I would enjoy and that are intense enough to give me the challenge I need. Then I, once again, need to set aside time to do it.
Step #5: Make a plan for what you will do to reach your goal. Be detailed and have backup plans. For example, my plan was to run outside three days a week and do strength training three days a week. But, I knew that if that didn’t work I could put on a fitness video inside with the airconditioning going. I also had a way more flexible schedule with school out for the summer so I listed three different times that would work to get that workout in.
Being resourceful is very important. It will help you not to get stuck in a rut, able to see your way out of limitations. And, before we sign off there is one more resource I want you to consider: prayer.
I have a lot of listeners that are awesome prayer warriors, but have you ever prayed very specific prayers over your food choices and fitness? For me, this would look like asking God to bless the time I’ve set aside to move my body and to protect my mind from attacks of the enemy that might make me believe I can’t do it. So often we pray for everything except our health goals. God really cares about your health, sweet sister, and the power that is unlocked in prayer should not be underestimated. Ask your accountability partners to pray for that, too, for you. Ask them to pray specifically that you don’t give in to temptation after dinner or that your family honors your time to go for a walk. It is so fun to see God to bless your life in that way.
I’m rooting for you! You are going to take some great steps to becoming resourceful. I know it. In fact, I want to challenge you to send me a message and ask me what I can specifically pray for for you in your weight loss journey.
All my love to you, catch 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.