Yes, we’re a couple months or so from the time when new-year’s resolutions are going to be posted all over the internet, but as we enter into the holidays, this is the perfect time to set some goals for how we would like to handle the next couple months of celebrating. So, with this in mind, I’m going to talk to you today about how specific goals are powerful and how you can create them.
In case you had any question about my humanity, I am excited to reassure you that my world is less than perfect. Between the responsibilities of the home and farm and the busy life of school as a teacher I find the holidays are a perfect opportunity for me to go back to the old habit of stress eating. To top it off, the holidays are heavily laden with opportunities to eat in ways that really don’t serve my brain or body at all.
Once upon a time, I would begin this time of year with a vague concept of not gaining any weight. I would just “be good” this year and January 1st would find my waist the same circumference that it was on October 31st. No biggie. After all, I’m a grown up and I can handle the holidays.
You can guess that I started the new year with extra pounds and regret each and every year.
Learning how to care for myself in better and different ways made it to where a few years ago I finally made it through the holidays with no damage control needed once they were over. But, I can’t lean on old success to get me through that situation again. Every year is different. Our daughters are at different developmental stages and my work at school is different too. Plus, the needs of the home and farm are constantly in flux.
I have found it extremely helpful to set specific goals this time of the year and I’m going to walk you through this process.
I am determined to stay healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally over the holidays so this is what that looks like for me:
As I worked that out with you I got excited. It doesn’t seem hard and it feels so good to have a plan. For years I would just try really hard and fail because I never went through this process. Also, this plan gives my brain a task and something to look for. Instead of making my brain think we need to be fearful of all the spontaneous eating and food gifts, I can instead approach it with confidence. Our brains love doing what it believes is important so telling my brain that meal planning, drinking water, eating vegetables and taking time to refresh is what is important will help my brain look for opportunities to follow through.
And, if you are one of my members, I am posting a PDF of this process for you as part of our monthly challenge. Remember, the membership is only $5 per month and comes with the entire 12-month course as well as access to an online community and the monthly challenge with resources.
Stay tuned to this podcast, I am really going to be concentrating on giving you support, encouragement, and tips over this Holiday Season. Our next episode is all about my favorite hacks for accepting food gifts and enjoying them without paying the price on my waistline.
I love you, sweet sister! Talk to you next week.
For just a couple dollars and a few minutes you can harness some serious health and habit changing power, without even breaking a sweat. Interested. I hope so. Today I’m going to break down why journaling is truly an impressive health and habit change tool, how it works, and what you can do to get started without feeling like you’re back in your high school English class. I’m passionate about this one because I’ve seen it work both for myself and so many women I’ve coached.
I was such a nerdy little girl and still am a pretty nerdy woman. I don’t mind because as I learned the skills of being a life coach, I've come to appreciate some of the things that I already do that serve me so well, and the first on the list is journaling.
Did any of you keep a journal as a young girl? I have one that started when I was 8 years old. I remember how good it felt, even then, to write down the secret thoughts in my mind and feelings from my heart. Once on paper I would then read it all again as if viewing a different world, my own world taken out of an angsty soul and onto a piece of paper where it felt less overwhelming.
Journaling can take places of deep pain from the shadows and into the light where you are capable of doing things about it. Journaling can clear up confusion, helping you piece reality back from the pieces of shattered heart. And, journaling is accessible, available with the need of only a cheap notebook and writing utensil, or the notes program in your phone.
However, even with all that lovingly said, I know many of my sweet sisters are far from convinced. You don’t want to look at your words on screen or paper and see another side of your imperfect person out in the open. However, I’m going to walk you through three key reasons that journaling is one of your most powerful assets then walk you through some tips to get started journaling in an easy way.
Writing brings things out in the open. When things are hidden they are often not brought into healing light. Let me give you an example of this. I am really good at harboring resentment. Things will build up in me until I don’t want to talk to anyone, I’m in a terrible mood, I feel unappreciated, and I’m completely unsatisfied with life. But, if asked, I really would have no idea why. When I pour it out on paper, suddenly I feel like less of a monster and more of a flawed human who needs a nap and hasn’t had a break in a few days. Just writing it down helps the weight lift from my heart and it is so much easier to invite God into my world because I’m no longer hiding from or shoving away my pain.
Writing uses the higher brain. I’ve discussed this often but let me recap the higher and lower brain. God beautifully designed your mind, but of course the Devil knows how to take advantage of our humanity, too. So, your higher brain is less emotional and way more logical. It can make great decisions and sift through information to serve you best. But, the lower brain is loud, emotional, and often takes over whenever it senses discomfort in any way. I truly think God designed us this way to keep us safe and keep us balanced. But, when the lower brain is running the show, it is hard to make great choices. When we write things down, our thoughts and circumstances become more black & white and less full of emotional baggage. We can sort things out then and begin to see how our thoughts and feelings can be acknowledged, healed, and changed. Without this process of writing things down, though, our lower brain continues to run the show because we can’t separate fact from emotional thoughts and reactions. This especially helps when we are trying to make changes but feel like we keep sabotaging ourselves. Afterall, when we realize that we don’t need to go to the candy bin out of anger and frustration because those feelings are being fed by a lie, then we can turn away from food for comfort and seek out the real healing for our pain instead.
Writing helps create habits and adopt life-giving thoughts. After you’ve done the work of sorting through the hurting thoughts and limiting beliefs you have in your head, it is the perfect time to write down life-giving truths about who you are and about your life. Writing them down is very different from just thinking about them. It is a declaration and it takes it out of your head and out where you can see it and believe it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sorted out all the hurt and realized most, if not all of it, was twisted truths or downright lies. Then, when I challenge those thoughts and beliefs I find peace with single phrases or sentences such as “I’m never alone.” “You’re doing good.” “God is within me.”
So, now that you have a better idea of how journaling can help, let's talk about two tips to get started.
Hey, before we part ways today, I want to encourage you not to feel like you need to get started and do this every day from the get go. Just set out at first to build those journaling muscles. You could start by just doing a weekly written response to this podcast, answering the questions I ask, or making connections to your history or current reality that it reminds you of. Set a timer for just a few minutes so your brain doesn’t freak out thinking you’re about to sit down and try to hash out an entire term paper.
Journaling is a gift and I know it will lend itself so much to your journey for change.
I love you so very much. Have a great day and I’ll talk to you next week.
The other day I almost gave up on a lesson. I was guiding my English students through a lesson on grammar and mechanics and things just weren’t going as I’d planned. I knew I’d messed up and the possibility of a perfectly executed lesson was no longer possible. I paused, and all I wanted to do was tell the students to open up their Chrome Books and work quietly on their research projects. Perfectionism was killing me. My old tendency to give up once I knew it had no possibility of it being a perfect experience, filled my being. But, surprisingly, I heard the Holy Spirit gently remind me of my humanity. So I swallowed, let my student know that I hadn’t done things well for them but that we were going to try a different direction. We kept going on the lesson and finally things began to click for the kids. By the time the bell rang we were all relieved and I was happy I hadn’t given up, even if the whole thing had taken twice as long as I’de planned.
Perfectionism will get you to quit on yourself quicker than almost any other habit I’ve encountered both personally and while coaching women on weight loss and habit change. Today, I'd like to walk you through this and what you can do about it.
Perfectionism is so normal and I have to call out the Devil on this one, because he loves to lie to us that we do and should have the capability of doing something perfectly. But we don’t. Perfectionism is a tendency to want things around us to be perfect like a perfectly organized pantry or a perfectly clean living room. Perfectionism is a tendency to want our bodies to be perfect--slim, trim, capable of running a marathon, and devoid of scar or mole. Perfectionism is a belief that we must be perfect, demonstrating the fruit of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control--with no flaw in our words or actions.
Dear sister, there is a thin line between high standards and impossible expectations because we are not, nor will we be, perfect on this side of Heaven. And, as soon as you hear me say that or you say it to yourself, the perfectionist inside you will throw a mini-tantrum, announcing that if perfection is not impossible then what's the point in trying?
See how toxic that is? See how defeating that is?
That is not the space we were meant to live in. It leaves no room for love, grace, compassion, and celebration. Perfectionism will slow you down far more than it will motivate you.
Here are some tips for knocking yourself out of perfectionism and into powerful motivating growth:
Okay, sweet sister, let me walk you through those tips again. 1. Rely on God more than yourself 2. Seek support from others 3. Celebrate every little thing. The journey to leave perfectionism behind will not be finished in a day, but as you learn to do this in your health journey, I pray you start to leave perfectionism behind in other areas of your life as well, inviting love, grace, and joy into those spaces.
All my love to you. I’ll talk to you next week. Good bye for now.
I have so been looking forward to having this conversation with you. Right now, in our monthly challenge within Weight Loss from the Soul, we are taking a break from our trigger foods in order to regain some perspective on how those foods affect our brains and bodies. The next step though can be even harder, especially for my sweet sisters who have been putting themselves in ultra restrictive diet prisons for several years or decades: how to plan and enjoy treats.
Today’s topic is so important. I don’t know about you, but the holidays are filled with a lot of my favorite food. Stuffing, pecan pie, iced Christmas cookies, and Halloween candy. I am going to teach you all about the power of permission when it comes to handling foods or beverages that traditionally might have thrown you over the edge.
Do you remember that verse in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 where Paul says, “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial”? I have always found this statement to be a balm for my soul, reminding me that I am fully loved and saved even if I am far from perfect. I used to have so much shame around my eating habits and that shame never helped me get thinner or helped me find healing around that addiction.
So, today, I am going to walk you through how giving yourself permission to enjoy treats can lend itself to healing in this area of your life.
First of all, let's talk about what our brains think whenever we are typically on some sort of restrictive diet. Our brain decides that certain food items, beverages, or categories are evil and shameful and must be avoided at all cost in order to be successful. Then we decide to have a “cheat meal” or “cheat day” or we simply take a bite of that off-limits item and suddenly we’re face-first in a hundred things we feel we shouldn’t be eating or drinking. Why? Well, we’ve already messed up, soiled the clean eating of the day. We might as well eat and drink it all because we can’t take it back and tomorrow we’ll be “good”.
Sound familiar? Yes, sweet sister. I know. That was me, too. Honestly, learning how to give myself permission to enjoy treats helped me break free from the pattern of binging and restricting. Eating is pleasurable and I still look forward to danishes and a cafe mocha from Starbucks. I want to encourage you to start planning enjoyable eating experiences. And, if that sounds scary, let me walk you through how to do it right so you don’t fall off that make-believe wagon.
I call this the 5-P process. It is very simple. And, if you are part of my membership, there is a page on this month’s PDF that walks you through this..
Choose the meal/situation and a food that you will enjoy. Avoid thoughts like “cheat meal” or “Cheat day”. You are not doing anything wrong. Also, don’t think of it as a “day-off.” This is a planned food item or meal. Not a day to go crazy.
Decide what the number or quantity will be for that food or drink and say out loud, “Okay, I am going to have ----- and enjoy it.” For example, yesterday I said, “Today I’m having three peanut butter cookies with a cup of coffee after school.”
It is important that you plate it at this point. If your treat is a beverage, pour it into a special glass or tell yourself it will only be this bottle, can, or cup. This will help you stick to your portion size and remind your brain that the experience is sanctioned and should be enjoyed. I put those 3 cookies on a plate and took it to the table away from the container of cookies.
Eat or drink in peace. Turn off the TV. Put your phone on silent. Try to have as little distractions as possible.
Slow down. Take small bites or sips. Savor the flavors and textures. Describe it in your brain. Often our need for more and more is driven by our lack of attention to the experience.
It really is that simple: Plan, portion, plate, peace, and pleasure. If you do this you will find so much more enjoyment in the experience and little to no thoughts of shame or fear. Those two things combined can give you the strength and power to stop yourself from falling into a binge or going off the deep end for a day or more.
I really struggle with perfectionism and I know that is the same for a lot of you. And, sometimes, I just have to look myself square in the face and say, “Don’t be a jerk, plan a treat.” I have to say that because it has been so deeply ingrained in us that certain ways of eating are bad. Planning enjoyable eating experiences will help you begin to heal. And, if you are worried about that food or beverage sabotaging your weight loss I want to offer a couple thoughts:
Remember, if you are interested in signing up for the membership, enrollment is open and you can join in on our October challenge. It’s only $5 per month. Just go to loraarmendariz.com/weightloss
Talk to you next week. Good bye for now.
We live in a culture famous for its canceling, quitting, and retreating tendencies. Then we wonder why we can’t get the hard things done. Hey, Sweet Sister, this journey you are on for habit and health changes is worth the fight and the commitment. Today I’m going to walk you through the steps you can take so that you don’t quit on yourself.
Commitment is not a magical condition that only comes when you hit your sweet spot and everything goes right or is right for you. That is completely off-base for what commitment really is. Oxford dictionary defines commitment as: the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
Dedication is a decision. Dedication takes preparation. Dedication requires us to move beyond comfort and convenience. For those reasons, many of us find that we are not committed whenever things get hard. Instead, we casually put our dreams down.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I made a contract with our eldest daughter, Adela. She loves every animal on the planet and we’ve lost count of the different species she has asked to have as a pet in the house or another critter on the farm. Honestly, we usually turn her down. However, she is getting more crafty, presenting reasons and creating plans behind her requests. So, when presented with her most recent desire for a goldfish that doesn’t live in a stock tank, we decided to see what she had in her commitment bank. We asked her to first tell us why she wanted a goldfish and then do some research about their needs and what equipment would be required. She did both eagerly. However, we still weren’t convinced. We needed to know she was committed to the animal. So, we made a contract where she could earn her fish and the equipment by doing extra chores. She is three weeks in and still hasn’t changed her mind. So far, she remains dedicated to her choice.
Now, we aren’t 11 years old and our dreams to make permanent changes to our health and habits isn’t going to take just a few weeks. We need to have the dedication and commitment to keep going as long as it takes to reach those goals. Thankfully, this is something you don’t have to wait for, you can create it.
Adela is still working hard with her extra chores, doing her best to earn her fish tank. I watch her and realize that it is more than just hard work, it is a choice. A choice to do something hard instead of something easy. She could give up and do less work, having more time for Legos and running around in the pastures with her lambs, but she chooses to strive toward her goal. I’m proud of her.
Sweetheart, one last thing about commitment: are you honoring your hard work? Are you recognizing the great choices YOU are making, too? Are you proud of your progress and proud of all the little things you do to get yourself there?
Commitment is a lot about relationships. Adela’s commitment is also related to the trust she has with her parents, knowing we will honor her work. What about you? What kind of relationship do you have with your soul? Do you never stop to recognize what you have done? Do you always simply push forward to the next thing, the next goal? Build that loving and honoring relationship with yourself and you’ll also find that commitment comes easier.
Well, sweet sister, I hope you are loving this fall weather and remember that if you want some extra support and community in the holiday season around your health and habit choices, you can now join my membership and get full access to the 12-week course for just $5.
I’ll be back next week with another great episode. Until then, all my love, and 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.