A Collection of Lies: Truth on Nutrition

My daughter started kindergarten last year being able to identify a few site words, able to print her letters and spell her name.  The few times I offered to work with her on reading she claimed utter disinterest.  She enjoyed being read to, but became hostile and frustrated when she tried to sound out a word that she did not know.   Mrs. Downen on the other hand, did a beautiful job explaining the “rules” of reading to my daughter.  By the end of the year Kylee’s reading world was unlocked and she began a new journey of reading with an insatiable appetite for more.  Kylee is a reading machine, she is obsessed with a fairy series right now and is reading a chapter book a night…it really is practically a miracle!  The pace she and I were on together would have brought about an illiterate 15 year old!   I realized as I embarked on this journey with women discussing the lies that they believed, it was incredibly relevant to my little Kylee.  On more than one occasion, she shouted in my face before running out of the room, “I just can’t do this.”  She absolutely could do it—it was just going to take time and effort, patience and perseverance.  It was going to take learning, “I” before “E” except after “C” and other charming nuances of the English language.  I wonder at what point Kylee realized that she actually COULD in fact read?  It was clearly a life-changing moment for her.  I am SO thankful that Kylee found truth.  I am so thankful that a whole new world has been opened to her.  I am so glad that she is not stuck in ignorance, but her eyes have been opened.  The world is her oyster.  
When I began “collecting lies” from the women in my studio a little over a month ago I had no idea it was going to result in a series of blogs.  Blogs varying in topics from exercise and nutrition to balance and self worth.   I am taking on the topic of lies to help women become healthier; my hope is that they will replace their lies with truth.
Nutrition has become a passion of mine.  When I began my exercise journey several years ago I really did so with the intention that I would workout so that I could eat whatever I wanted.  My “lies” ran the nutritional gamut but sounded mostly like this:
“I could never give up fatty, salty, or sugary foods…they bring me too much comfort and happiness!”
“I will always need Papa John’s pizza the week of my period!”
“People who say healthy food actually tastes good, are lying to themselves and to others.”
“I workout so that I can eat however I want…because I don’t want to give up how food makes me feel.” 
I can honestly say that through much education, mental shifts, and a commitment to this part of my health and wellness, these lies have been dispelled in my life.  I truly was an emotional eater in every sense of the word.  It took asking myself WHY I was eating or thinking I NEEDED to eat to tackle some of the deeper more ingrained habits that I had.  It was bigger than purely changing some components of my diet.  It was a mental shift.  It was a HUGE time commitment that spent hours investigating more about what I eat, why I eat, and how to prepare food in a healthy way.  It took an investment of time and money to figure out where to shop, what to shop for, and to find out what new foods I liked.    
I made the shift initially because I was given a “challenge” to eat clean for 9 weeks.   I did so kicking and screaming.  You can ask those closest to me about my whining and angst.   When I surrendered to the process and actually started to research what was good for me and what wasn’t I became more motivated.  When I found out what I was putting in my body was not only making me fat, sick, and lethargic…but also the way that I was eating was slowing my metabolism down, it made me realize that I was having to work even harder in the gym to make up for my nutritional mishaps.  I also became convinced that the things that I was feeding my family were not only “unhealthy” but some things were not even “food”.  They held no nutritional value.   My plight to better nutrition started with a challenge but ended with a stronger, leaner body, a healthier family and a new perspective on food and nutrition. 
This subject area is super personal.  Each lie listed is followed by truth that has either been shared by myself or someone else in her pod.  I think sharing truth affirms what we know—and deepens our convictions.   It is part of the exercise.  See if any of these ring true for you…
“My nutrition will never be as consistent as my workouts.”
Just like the hours and hours of hard work that you put in the gym…you will have to invest the time and energy in to making nutrition a focus and priority.  You will have to train your mind and your taste buds to a new way of living.   Just as your were sore and fatigued to the point of pure exhaustion when you first started pod—you will be exhausted mentally to have to continue to choose options that are not convenient or as “appealing” as the typical American appetite. Over time just as your workouts have become habit—so will your food preferences!  PROMISE!

I definitely have peaks and valleys in my nutrition but I think it’s all in the way I frame my beliefs and priorities.  I would never say I could not keep up daily showers or brushing my teeth.  Healthy eating is just as important if not more so, as it sustains impacts every other part of me.  When it’s that level of priority to me of course I can be consistent.  Find healthy dishes and recipes you enjoy–it will be much easier to be consistent.  
“If I don’t get a $1  32oz sweet tea from McDonalds everyday, I’ll never get in the goal of 64 oz of fluid.”
That “fluid” really is best found in H2O.   Sweet tea not only has 280 calories…which is like a “mini meal” or “snack”.  It also has 69 grams of sugar.  We really should be taking in very limited amounts of sugar—primarily that are found in our food in the form of carbohydrates.  The “additional” sugars should be limited to about 40g per day…and that one tea is pushing you over the edge before you have started your work day.   (This does not even speak to the caffeine ingested—but there is only so much room to write this!)  You absolutely need those 64oz of H2O per day.  75% of your body is made up of water and 90% of your brain!  That alone should be motivation to keep hydrated.  That wonderful liquid helps to sustain your life, keep your system flushed and your organs functioning properly.   Go buy a couple of cute water bottles or cups with a  straw and get to work.  Make it your JOB.   Drive on past the drive thru and get excited about the $30.00 you will spend at the end of each month on a new cute little skirt or shirt! 
I don’t want to lecture, but I’m guessing you know that sweet tea doesn’t count toward your goal.  The caffeine in tea acts as a diuretic and will actually dehydrate you.  And don’t even mention the sugar!!  It is hard to get the water in.  Here’s a tip – try getting 2 glasses in the morning while you’re getting dressed and having breakfast.   It gives you a jump-start on the day! 
“Eating when I’m not hungry—even if it is in preparation for a workout or to avoid hunger later–will slow down my weight loss process.”   
Truth…it might, if you are eating double stuff oreos!   
One of the best ways to raise your metabolic effect is to fuel your body continuously throughout the day.   Unfortunately many of us have confused our “natural hunger signals” or quieted them to the point of non-existence.  We often have to begin again re-training our body and placing it on a new eating schedule with 5-6 small mini meals throughout the day so that is keeps our resting metabolic rate up.   A small amount of a protein and a complex carb prior to a workout is a great option.  You would not start a long car ride with little to no gas in the tank.  The snack can be as few as 100-200 calories.  (Slightly higher on the carb side.)  This just ensures that you are fully functioning at peak performance every time you step foot in the gym.  Suggestions might be piece of whole wheat toast and almond or peanut butter, a small apple and half a string cheese, single serving Greek yogurt with fruit, an apple and nut butter, half whole wheat bagel and spreadable fruit, cereal with reduced fat milk or almond milk, a banana, Kashi or lara bar.  Your body will respond to this new scheduling and your signals will become better indicators in the future.  In the meantime trust your brain over your body.  
Not true!!! Definitely a lie!  You need to eat to fuel your body for the job ahead.  Does your car get better mileage with no gas?  I don’t think so!   It’s a known fact that skipping meals makes you gain weight.  Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism and gets the hunger hormones going which makes you eat more later in the day.  Skipping any meal will also result in overeating at the next meal.   Eat to fuel, eat what God put on this earth, stay away from processed foods and you should see results.
“If I eat more than 1200 calories I will gain weight.”
The U. S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a sedentary female 4 to 8 years of age requires about 1,200 calories per day!   You are neither sedentary nor an 8 year old female!  Your body NEEDS FUEL.  If you are only consuming between 800-1800 calories in a day and you are ACTIVE…(and you are if you are in pod)…then you are totally shutting down your metabolism.  Your body is going in to hibernation and starvation mode.  This mode sends messages to “store fat” because it NEVER knows when it will be given food again!  I don’t like to look at caloric intake scales very much because they vary greatly and most experts have a difficult time actually calculating exact amounts consumed.  I personally HATE them because people believe that 1 calorie simply equals 1 calorie.  But the focus should be on the nutrients you consume.  Your body has never “needed” an oreo cookie for it’s functioning…but if you consume 1 double stuff oreo it has the exact same number of calories that ½ an avocado contains.  That avocado is high in fiber, is a good source of protein, “good fat”, and is a complex carb—which my pod girls know is a good thing!  That avocado will give you significantly more energy and is not choked full of preservatives and sugar.  So calories cannot just simply be “counted”.  Shift the focus away from caloric intake and on to the nutritional VALUE of what you are putting in you body.  Small portions (5 to 6 mini meals) of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbs. If you do—your metabolism will fire up again and your body will begin to run properly.  Until then your body will SUSTAIN weight and use other resources…i.e. your own muscle to nourish itself! 
Uh-oh. I recognize this talk… I’ve done it to myself. I’ve been a slave to calorie counts. I’ve eaten below what I knew to be an acceptable amount of calories in an effort to lose weight. I’ve gone over and over in my head what I need to eat that day or do that day just to stave off my fear: weight gain. This is an exhausting way to live. Clearly you care about your physical health or you wouldn’t be in POD… don’t deprive your body. It’s a good sign you recognize this is a LIE. So stop telling yourself this lie! Let go of your fears and live a conscientious life without all of these rules and mantras that lead to unhappiness. 😦 

When I started exercising with pod and also following the Eat Clean method I started eating way more food/calories per day but I lost 7 lbs and dropped inches in several places.  The book says, “Food we eat works to either stimulate or slam the breaks on metabolism.”  To maintain healthy weight you must nourish your body with high quality food at regular intervals.  When you wait too long between meals or skip one entirely, you trigger a starvation response in metabolism, which causes it to slow down.  Eating small meals every day 3-4 hours ensures metabolism will stay hyped all day.  I can’t imagine a day of counting my calories, let alone do it every day–that’s just no way to live.  I think you also know not every calorie is equal.  Calories from ice cream are quite different from eating black bean soup that will keep you full much longer.  I pray you find a way to free yourself of the calorie counting and focus on being healthy and enjoying food and exercise.”  
My nutrition shifted because I was externally motivated by Janine who issued the “challenge”.  I also had a few other women who were willing to walk with me on the journey.  I would encourage you to find a friend to come along side and learn with you.  Here are some WONDERFUL resources that speak TRUTH over this area of our lives:
The End of OvereatingDavid A. Kessler, MD
The New Rules of Lifting for Women (has a great section on nutrition)
The Body Fat Solution Bill Venuto  (has a great chapter on emotional eating)
Food Inc.
Forks Over Knives
The China Study
Recipe Books and Blogs
For many of the women reading this blog you may have found a lie that touched a nerve or a theme in your life.   If something did in fact affect you today, my encouragement would be to start a journal or a diary of sorts.   Maybe start to dig a little deeper…
Questions for self reflection…
What are lies that I believe about food and nutrition? 
Are there things that I do to shape my day surrounding my food decisions?
Were there things mentioned today that have challenged me to change my thoughts on this subject?
What do I hope to actively do to combat this lie in my life?
I am so thankful that Kylee did not stay “stuck”.  That she did not cling so deeply in fear and frustration to the lie that she could not read.  I am so glad that she opened herself up to the experience and tried.  She found a hunger for something more.   The mystery of when her defenses went down and she surrendered to the process is unknown…but I am thankful she did.  I am hopeful for the same in your life.  Can you imagine not being able to read this blog because you simply stayed stuck the lie that you “couldn’t”???  I am thankful you pushed through…and I hope you will continue on your own journey to dispel each lie that surfaces, because alas, the world is your oyster. 

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