I never thought I would live like I live today. I just expected to go on some sort of ultra restrictive diet, lose my weight, and be done with the unhealthy food that landed me there. Even with high cholesterol I couldn’t muster the will-power to eat in a healthy way longer than a few months at a time.
Today I love the way I eat. It doesn’t feel hard at all. It feels supportive and loving. To get here I had to do things very differently than I had ever done before. I had to learn to listen to my body, stop giving food moral values, and deal with stress and hardship on a deeper level.
Listening to my body was an amazing move forward. Did you know that our bodies give us reliable physical hunger signals? It took me some trial and error, but eventually I was able to identify and trust my body’s requests for food, water, and sleep and differentiate those needs from emotional desires for comfort. My body was no longer an enemy, but a trusted vessel hand-crafted by God.
Next, I stopped giving food moral value. Food is an inanimate object, giving no significance to how loved I am by God. Once shame was taken out of the equation, I began to truly notice instead the way food made me feel and how it tasted. I noticed how different quantities had effects on my energy levels and different ingredients affected my digestion. My mind went from the black-and-white judge to the curious scientist, eager to understand how my life interacted with the things I put into my mouth.
Lastly, I learned to deal with stress and hardship. Before I was either comforting myself with food (or alcohol), or I wasn’t comforting myself at all. I would knuckle down, determined to be “good” then count down the days or hours until I could take the pressure valve off and allow myself to appease the pain. It was awful. Instead, I learned to take emotional cravings for food as a warning that my heart, soul, and body needed deep care. Slowly, I learned to embrace the unique person God made me into, and trust the different ways that I could nurture my soul without food.
That’s it. Those three things, learning to listen to my body, no longer giving food moral values, and dealing with stress and hardship on a deeper level, allowed me to live in freedom and peace around food. I love helping women find this freedom and peace, too. It is life-changing.
I love new year's resolutions. I love pushing forward and changing. I love growing. I believe in the promise that God will continue His good works in us. (Philippians 1:6). “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” I believe that until the day I die, God will be working on me and the sky's the limit. I am 37 years old and I can look back and see countless and amazing changes He has worked on my body, heart, and soul. This is always in His time and way, but also because I have believed that He could heal, teach, and guide me.
So, are big dreams bad? I have heard women caution each other, saying that we shouldn’t dream too big, pushing ahead of what God has planned for us. I actually think there is some truth in this. We might have ambitions that are not God’s calling or become too impatient to wait on God’s timing, but, when partnering with God, big dreams have the potential to shape our soul and usher us even closer into the shelter of His wings. Today, I’m going to be very open with you on aspects of my own journey as I share three ways that Big Dreams have beautiful potential.
Big dreams open our minds to possibilities.
I spent a lot of my life living small. If you knew me when I was young, you would have met a shy quiet girl or young woman consumed with worries. I didn’t like to make mistakes and my solution was to never do anything beyond what I knew was completely possible. If it wasn’t something I had done or knew instinctively would be easy, then I didn’t do it. One of my biggest dreams was to visit other countries, but when the opportunities and information came along to participate in foregin exchange opportunities, I found excuses not to chase my dreams.
Then I met my husband. He is naturally daring with a robust adventurous spirit. The moment I shared the dream to travel with him, he was full of ideas. It was incredible. The moment I opened up to the possibility, my mind saw opportunities and was ready to figure things out. Six months after we got married, while he was deployed to Iraq, he encouraged me to go ahead and study Spanish in Buenos Aires. He encouraged me, saying the dream was big but possible.
I did it, going away for a couple months to a country I’d never been with people I didn’t know. It was a life-changing experience. One that I would never have had if I had refused to dream big.
Big dreams bring us into the power of praying.
Big dreams bring us into the power of prayer. If you only do what you can do alone, you will never learn to turn to God. Our self-reliance keeps our spiritual health frail and brittle. But, dreaming big and sharing our hopes with God, teaches us to turn to Him for provision and guidance.
Micaela had all the cards stacked against her when she was born. Her brain injury was severe, her brain hemorrhaging right after her premature birth. But, I had hope and big dreams that she would learn and develop beyond what was statistically presented by physicians. However, I needed so much from God. I need Him to heal her, to bring good doctors and therapists and teachers into her life. I needed Him to give my husband and I patience and wisdom day after day. That big dream drew me closer to God than simple acceptance of the circumstances.
Big dreams teach us endurance.
Big dreams require more than a simple hope; they require endurance. There are no quick fixes to big dreams. We have to work hard, pray hard, and trust in God’s timing. That endurance builds amazing spiritual, emotional, and mental muscles.
When the pandemic hit, my emotional eating took a turn for the worse. Finally, instead of trying to do the next fad diet or ultra restrictive cycle, I decided to dream big that some day food would have no control over me at all. That dream had me searching for new answers and then had me pushing forward day after day, determined to figure things out. It also required me to learn from failures and get back up. More humble than before and yet wiser because I chose to learn and move forward instead of starting over again and again.
Big dreams are incredible. My biggest joy in working with ladies as a life coach is helping them with those big dreams and watching God work in them, creating them into stronger, more creative, and more faith-filled women than ever. It might be their weight loss, parenting, or even routines in their homes. Whatever it is, the dreams are beautiful. Maybe, in this aspect, it really is a good example of “The bigger the Better.”
Don’t forget to sign up for the free trainings I’ll be doing over the next couple weeks. The link is very simple, www.loraarmendariz.com/freetrainings and you can also find it in the show notes.
In the next episode, I will be sharing with you the specifics of my own journey and how I lost my weight for good. Our testimonies are powerful and I hope mine lends you strength to your journey. Until then, Merry Christmas!
Hold out your hand and let me hand you back control over your eating. I know how that feels, you can be working so hard and really gaining ground and then one evening leaves you feeling completely defeated.
So, I’m going to break this down for you in three simple steps and you can arrive at the next get together feeling much more put together.
1. Work on the Mind
One of the most common problems is that our mind has already decided that we can’t eat in a way that will support our bodies. I’m serious. We just shrug our shoulders and think that we can either starve or fall off our healthy wagon. When I work with ladies, I like to teach them the concept of eating with a grade average instead of playing dodgeball. Let me break this down really quickly. When you are in school you can get a 73 on a paper but you know that if you have enough 80s or 90s then you can easily bring that grade average up and feel really good about your semester. However, when you play dodgeball, if you get hit by a ball you are out. Many ladies play dodgeball with their eating choices. Either they are in or they are “out” and when they are “out” they aren’t playing the game anymore, as if what they do doesn’t count until they start a new game the next day. That isn’t the way our health works. Our eating choices and how they affect our bodies are mainly on a grade average system. So, when you go to a gathering and eat off plan, every bit is still counting toward that average. There is no “in” or “out” so you can choose to eat in a way that will help that GPA.
2. Scout out Your Options
This is probably the mistake I’ve made too many times to count. I will get in line and start filling my plate without even knowing what the options are. Then, I’ll realize there was something that would have been both tasty and supportive, but, I have no room to eat it. In fact, I am recording this episode just a few days after a church potluck. I had Micaela and Adela in line and was fixated on getting all our plates filled. I like to eat about half of my plate full of fruits and veggies and when I got to the end of the line I found this big bowl full of one of my favorite salads. It was a leafy green salad with that sweet poppy seed dressing. It would have been perfect, but I had no idea it was there.
If you aren’t scouting out your options, be aware that they could stem from your mindset. If you believe that you can’t eat in a way to support yourself, you won’t be looking for a way to do it, so, be aware that you have to believe in order to help yourself in this way.
Please note, you need to know the foods that support your body and goals. This isn’t the same for everyone. With the ladies I work with, I teach them to become very intentional as they listen to their bodies and figure out what supports their energy and health.
3. Stick to Your Guns
When you make your plate, stick to your guns. Don’t be swayed by the fear that if you don’t eat a ton of everything then you will miss out. For more on this listen to the last episode, #62, on FOMO. You are winning! You are eating food that makes you feel good and keeps you moving forward. You will have energy that night and wake up in the morning without the frustration we feel when we can’t take back the poor choices from the night before. Enjoy your food. All of it. Don’t eat like you’re in a race or it is going to disappear. Food is pleasurable and the more you soak in that pleasure, the less likely you’ll still feel unsatisfied and be going back for more.
Many blessings this holiday season! 2023 is just a few short weeks away and I pray you are not just loving your time with family friends, but showing up for yourself, honoring the vessel God gave you as you learn and grow forward.
I remember when my oldest child was a two-year-old, FOMO would hit me the hardest whenever I had to bow out early to get her home to nap or to go to bed for the night. She was one of those little ones that truly became a wreck of a tiny human being whenever she was sleep deprived. Trying to stay out with her was certainly not fun for her or for me or for anyone else around us. However, I would look at whatever gathering we were leaving and feel fear. I would worry about all the things we wouldn’t get to participate in and fret over what others might think of my choices. I would nearly be sick to my stomach and wonder if I had made a good choice. It is so funny to look back on that now, because my choice was obviously a good one for me and her and everyone. It wasn’t fun to be out with an exhausted cranky child and there was nothing that we were missing out on that we could really enjoy in that condition. If anyone had looked down on that choice, it was all on them. They weren’t having to wrestle a little body into a car seat and take care of an infant at the same time.
Today we are going to dig into FOMO, the fear of missing out, because it is one of the most toxic influences on our choices. We will talk about how to identify it, how to make a healthy choice, and how to have peace afterwards.
How to Identify It
First of all, FOMO is fear based. You’ll notice that fear will rear its head because you are in conflict: an opportunity has risen but it goes against a boundary that you have set in place. You know that if you give in, you’ll also be giving up something else you were fighting for.
For example, you want to buy a special gift for a friend but it is way beyond the amount you had budgeted. If you give in, you will be putting yourself and/or your family in a financially rough spot. However, the item is on sale and you fear that if you don’t take advantage of the opportunity then your chance will pass you by.
Another example, the dessert tray at a party. Just the other day my church had a potluck and I loaded up my plate with a little bit of everything. Then, after finishing it all, I went to the dessert table, knowing I only had room in my tummy for a couple bites in order to still feel comfortable physically, but I put three desserts on my plate. I didn’t finish them, but I crossed a line and was physically uncomfortable for hours later.
Remember, FOMO is based on an internal debate. You wouldn’t feel that fear if you felt the decision was obvious and your choices would be good for you. Instead, you don’t know which way to go and fear consequences of any direction you go.
How to Make a Healthy Choice
In order to get a handle on your fear, it helps to know why you are making healthy choices in the first place. Ask yourself, what will happen if you cross that line? What will happen if you eat that, buy that, or do that? Why does it go against a healthier path that you are fighting for?
Now, here is the kicker, ask yourself if you would be comfortable if this behavior that you are tempted to give in to became a habit. Because, it will. We all know how many times the giving up on healthy eating started with a single bite of pie. We all know how suffocating credit card debt started with a single spontaneous purchase. We all remember how healthy priorities in our life began to slip because we chose to flirt with the boundary lines a little.
Habits are one of the most important aspects of personal growth. Therefore, whatever you choose, what do you want to become a habit? Honestly, if your boundaries are healthy, then your fear simply comes from our enemy trying to derail us. The devil is very good at making sure just the right thing comes along at the right moment to make sure we lose our foothold and feel our hearts fill with fear.
Lastly, Make Peace with Your Choice
I find that often the most pain comes after the choice is made. I can mull it over, turn it around in my head for days and live out a thousand “What ifs” but, has that ever helped anyone? I have learned to make choices and then offer up the consequences to God. I ask Him for two things: To protect me and my family if I have made a poor choice and to make sure I learn from the experience. This is important because it commits my life into God’s hands and it also allows me to turn to Him for that guidance instead of leaning on my fretful thoughts to help me decide if I was being “good” or not.
At the end of the day, it truly is done. We can learn from it, but we can’t change it. Be determined to look back with curiosity and compassion on your choices, ready to learn but refusing to live in shame or continued fear.
Okay, my dear, are you ready to kick FOMO out of your daily experience? Good. Remember, you need only to take three steps: 1. Identify the fear and where the conflict is. 2. Make a healthy choice. And 3. Make peace with your decision.
There are hundreds of places you will feel the peace creep back in.
Philippians 4:6-7 has been one of my favorite verses for ages. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In this season, I pray that the Prince of Peace guards your heart.
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.