Changes That Last

Changes That Last

I am "Mom" to Chloe, Allie, & Emilia. I am wife to Misael Escobar. I am a child of God. I love to learn about other cultures and learn about others life experiences.I am always a "work in progress". Through many struggles I have become "me" and I am finally happy with the person God has led me to be.I am excited to see where God will lead me in this life.
Jennifer E
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Willpower Myth

Usually, when I want to change something in my life it is either a behavior I want to start or a behavior I want to stop. For years, I struggled with feeling weak and that I just didn’t have any “willpower.” However, I have discovered that willpower is a myth. I once heard willpower described as “God’s will and power in my life.” 

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Isn’t that a great description?

I got it all wrong when it came to stopping behaviors in my life because I did not change my focus. I did not replace the behavior with something else. Whatever I focus on I will want and will probably give in to. For example, if I am trying to stop eating chocolate cake and just tell myself over and over, “Don’t eat chocolate cake. Don’t eat chocolate cake. Don’t eat chocolate cake,” I will probably eat chocolate cake. It is not enough to simply resist the chocolate cake; I need to replace the thoughts and behavior with a different one. Otherwise, we often will replace one unhealthy behavior for another one. Jesus speaks about this concept in Matthew 12:43-45:

“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”

Changes that Last

Replacing old behaviors with new ones can be hard. When I had my third child, I was thirty-six years old. Just like with all my pregnancies, I gained more than I was supposed to. I finally decided that I wanted to make a real change so I did two things that have worked for me in the past.

change-948024_12801. I asked for accountability.
2. I created small, obtainable goals.

I texted a good friend of mine and asked if she would be my accountability partner. Then I set a list of goals for that week. My first goals were to walk 5,000 steps daily, journal all my food intake, and do some kind of intentional exercise for fifteen minutes three times a week. Every other Friday I would send a picture of the number on the scale.

Gradually, I worked up to 10,000 daily steps and continued journaling my food. I also added goals of drinking 64 ounces of water each day and thirty minutes of exercise five days a week. And, I continued to send a picture of my number on the scale to my friend every other week. Having to be honest with another person by texting her each day whether or not I reached my goals really made me think about my choices and kept me motivated to reach my goals each day. I lost twenty-five pounds before I found that I was pregnant again!

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This idea of strength in numbers is also rooted in scripture. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says:

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

 

Proverbs 27 also contains words of wisdom about a friend’s counsel in verses 9 and 17:

9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense…
17 As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.

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How do you bring about changes that last in your life?

Forget the willpower myth and find what really works!
Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W
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Crowding Out

In Health Coaching School, I learned an interesting concept called crowding out. In terms of nutrition, it means to stop focusing on the laundry list of foods that you can’t or shouldn’t eat. Instead, one should focus on the single goal of just adding more good things in. It’s not necessarily beginning by removing the bad things, but simply trying to fit in all the healthy foods you need every day.

Here is where it gets interesting. After a few months of applying this technique there seems to be a unanimous “Aha!” moment when people say:

You know what? I was so busy trying to get all the good stuff in. I just didn’t have the time, or frankly, the room in my tummy for the bad stuff.

There you have it!  This secret applies not only to weight management but almost every aspect of our lives.

A Biblical Concept as well as a Practical One

This concept is a very biblical one. Its principles are not so new where the word of God is concerned. In Luke 11 Jesus is driving out many demons and having some rather harsh discussions. (This parable often confused me until I learned the principles of crowding out.) In verse twenty-four, an impure spirit is cast out of a person. The spirit goes on a journey seeking a new residence, but it cannot find a place to rest. The spirit then decides it will return to its former home. When it arrives, it finds the place swept clean and put in order. The spirit then finds seven other demons more evil than itself to move in also. And the person is in much worse shape than before.

Just before telling this particular parable, Jesus says:

Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

Jesus is talking in verbs here–action words–and this passage of scripture is a call to action!

Jesus calls us to a positive response, and this requires movement on our part. It is not enough for us to rid ourselves of the dust, clutter, and garbage. We must replace and fill in those gaping holes with the good. This principle applies whether it be food, vices, negative selftalk, anger, etc.

Christ is calling us to the principle of crowding out.

 

 

Don't (1)Don’t sweep the house clean and leave it vacant. Too much empty space leaves us wide open for an attack from the enemy. Fill the house with every good and perfect thing you can get your hands on, whether that’s Christian music in your car, a scripture on your bathroom mirror, your daily devotional time, walks outside in prayer, etc.  Don’t get so bogged down in trying to change the so-called “bad” behavior/habits, which revolves around negativity.  Once we have let go of that particular struggle or sin we are left with an emotional sinkhole.

Let’s fill our minds, bodies, hearts, marriages, relationships, and work spaces with such overflowing good that after a while we all have a unanimous “Aha!” moment and say:

You know, I focused so much on filling up on God’s word, God’s love, and sharing that with the other people in my life. Before I knew what happened, I no longer had space for all the negative, destructive thoughts or behaviors. The good stuff filled me to the brim. Not only is my house swept clean, but it is bursting with life and vitality only the Lord can provide. 

What area(s) of life is Christ calling you to crowd out, sweep clean, and fill up with God?

 

We at Creating a Great Day want to hear what you have to say. In order to maintain a safe and encouraging environment, we ask that all comments be respectful.  

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Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Praying James Teaching Kids Delayed Gratification Message Received Hearing God's Calling  Apathy It's time to go

The Bully in my Brain

The Bully in my Brain

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W
Latest posts by Julie W (see all)

The Voice in Our Heads

We go out of our way to be kind to total strangers. We watch our tone with our children. When the conversation is important, we measure our words carefully. And yet for a lot of us, none of these rules apply to the voice that speaks the loudest in our own minds. I wonder why?

We not only say hurtful and belittling things to ourselves, but that voice also has a tone. It is not sweet or kind; it sounds critical, judgmental, and harsh.  In my health counseling practice I have spoken with so many women who repeat the same demeaning mantra over and over as if on a recording device.  Things like:

  • “You’re so stupid.”
  • “You are so lazy. Why can’t you get your act together?”
  • “You will always be fat so stop trying to be something you’re not.”
  • “You’re weak…you don’t matter…you aren’t capable…”

And the list goes on and on.

We would NEVER speak to another person with those words or that accusing tone but we have no qualms about being our own worst nightmare.  We would never put up with another person treating us in such a way. But if it’s coming from our own voice, in our own head, not only is it fine but we believe it to be true.

The Need for Self-Compassion

Two words have been cropping up over the past several years in counseling offices, in therapy books, and TED talks alike.  Those two words are SELF COMPASSION.  Most of us know how to be compassionate to others but are at a loss how to offer that same love to ourselves.  In the words of one of my favorite Natalie Grant songs, she says, “You can’t be free if you don’t reach for help and you can’t love, if you don’t love yourself,” and it is so very true.

Frequently, I am asked questions about:

  • Techniques for weight loss
  • How to stop overeating
  • Ways to have more energy
  • How to feel more confident in my own skin.

As a fitness trainer, I know the scientific solutions to these questions but without self-compassion, self-love and self-care, none of it works.Remember the 2 greatest commandments-

Remember that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love others.  Matthew 22 goes on to say that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Self-love and compassion is a commandment of God’s word. I think a lot of us have missed the mark on this one.

The body is the single most proficient machine ever created.  It is beyond the measure of intelligence and efficiency and comes with all the signs, signals, and tools we need to be fully alive and functional.  The problem is we have stopped listening.  So many louder voices speak over us that we are no longer in tune with our bodies’ demands, wants, and needs.

Getting Rid of the Brain Bully

What if we made a pact with ourselves to remove that harsh, critical voice in our heads, and to honor our bodies by listening to its messages?

The answers to all of those health and weight loss questions lie in this formula.

When my body says:

  • Rest–I will rest.
  • Eat–I will honor it with healthy, life-giving nutrition and I will stop eating when I am satisfied.
  • I am hurt–I will deal with the issue immediately whether physical or emotional.
  • I feel like crying–Cry.
  • I need a friend–Call one.

How opposite is this compared to the way most of us operate?  We tell ourselves we don’t have time to:

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Rest.
  • Deal with that hurt right now.
  • Connect with others.

We push and push and push and completely ignore the things our bodies are literally begging us for.

Some of us:

  • Make our bodies wait hours for nutrition.
  • Sleep as little as 3-4 hours a night.
  • Give so much to work that we miss out on the very things that make our lives meaningful.

We all struggle with these issues. However, we must find balance in order to avoid the consequences of an overworked, over-stressed, and physically exhausted lifestyle.

The body-spirit-mind connection is so strong.

The three are inseparable, so to honor one is to honor all.  If we take this challenge we will fall in line with God’s design for us both physically as well as emotionally.  We will kick the brain bully to the curb. We will treat ourselves with the same love and kindness we extend to those around us.

We are worth it and some of us have spent far too long believing otherwise!  Since God’s own son died for one and all, HE certainly believed you were worth it!

Are you ready to start kicking the brain bully to the curb?  

What changes will you start making today to live in line with God’s design for us?

Warm Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Salad

Warm Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Salad

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W
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What to do with leftovers?

Do you ever feel a bit like a catfish when it comes to leftovers in your house? Not so much that you’re a bottom dweller, but that the task of consuming leftovers falls mostly on you?

Being a work from home mama, I can feel this way a lot. Especially since I’m incredibly grocery budget conscious and hate to throw leftover food into the trash.

When I plan our weekly dinners, whether or not they will portion out enough for leftovers to make lunch the following day for me or my toddler is a consideration. Especially if it’s a meal that requires me to buy an ingredient solely specific to that meal.

Spaghetti squash is a prime example.

I’m not a big pasta eater, but pasta and meat sauce is easy and fast. It can be made super healthy if you buy the right kind of pasta. And I can even sneak extra vegetables and fiber into my toddler’s diet without so much as one thrown rotini noodle. So, we have it for dinner at least every other week.

But instead of pasta, I serve a generous portion of cooked spaghetti squash onto my plate. The tummy is much happier!

Since I’m the only one who eats spaghetti squash, I’m left with a decent amount left over for the following day, even if the squash was a small one.  If there’s any leftover meat sauce and pasta, my toddler gets that for lunch.

So, what to do with all this spaghetti squash?

On my grocery budget? Without buying some extra ingredient just for one or maybe two lunches?

I feel a little bit like the contestants on Food Network’s show Chopped staring down at my basket of ingredients.

Thankfully, spaghetti squash is pretty versatile. While I’ve thrown together some leftover lunches using spaghetti squash and whatever random things I found in my fridge, what I’m about to share with you is my favorite leftover lunch combination. The basic recipe leaves a lot of room for foodies who have more time to construct a lunch than I do most days to elevate it to something really fancy. (Let’s face it–if I have to cut up more than one thing and use anything other than the microwave or toaster oven to prepare lunch, it’s a NO GO.)

I call it Warm Spaghetti Squash & Spinach Salad.

BASIC* Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

1 can of garbanzo beans

5-6 cherry tomatoes or 1 Roma tomato

1 heaping cup of raw baby spinach (a good handful for you non-measuring people like me)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Red pepper flakes or freshly cracked black peppercorns (to taste)

*See farther down for elevated ingredient ideas.

Directions to Cook the Spaghetti Squash:

Remember, this is a leftover, so for lunch I’m just pulling it out of the fridge already cooked and shredded. But, if you want to cook one just for this recipe, here’s how I cook mine.

Fill your stock pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.

Use your biggest, sharpest knife (a chef’s knife will do the trick) to cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.

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Once your water is boiling, very carefully place each half into the stock pot.

Boil for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big your spaghetti squash is. You should be able to pierce it without resistance with a fork.

Once it’s cooked, I very carefully pour everything out of the stock pot into a colander which I’ve placed in the sink.

Once the halves have cooled down enough for you to handle them, use a fork (or two) to remove one of the halves from the colander and place it on a plate on your counter. Use a fork to scoop the seeds out of the squash.

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After boiling, but with seeds still intact.

You’ll pull some of the squash with it too, and it will feel a lot like cleaning out a pumpkin at Halloween, only hotter. Discard the seeds.

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After scooping the seeds out.

Now you’re ready to shred your spaghetti squash. Just use two forks and scrape the top of the flesh. It will scrape off like little “spaghetti noodles.”

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Transfer your “noodles” to a bowl (preferably glass or ceramic since they’re going to be hot). Repeat with the second half.

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The finished “noodles.”

Directions to prepare the salad:

If you’re building your salad straight from here, ladle out at least a cup’s worth of spaghetti squash into a microwave-safe bowl. Next, drain and rinse your garbanzo beans. Add 1/3 cup to your spaghetti squash.

Next, quarter your cherry tomatoes lengthwise, or dice up a roma tomato and add it to the squash.

Add a heaping cup of baby spinach (or a generous handful) on top of the tomatoes.

Finally, squirt your lemon juice, drizzle your EVOO, and splash your red wine vinegar on top.

Pop your bowl in the microwave for one minute on high. This will soften your spinach and tomatoes and reheat your spaghetti squash if you started with cold leftover squash.)

Carefully remove from the microwave and adorn with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes or freshly cracked black pepper.

Voila! Lunch is served!

Now, this was the basic version using things you probably already have in your pantry or fridge.

Here are some ingredients you could add to elevate this dish. (Do I sound like a Chopped judge or what?!)

Elevated Ingredients:

Toasted pine nuts

Goat cheese or feta cheese (instead of parmesan cheese)

Finely chopped red onion

Greek vinaigrette (instead of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and EVOO)

My favorite thing about this lunch is how easy yet healthy and economical it is. As work from home or stay at home mamas, we don’t have to always eat what our kids eat or adopt a catfish mindset when it comes to our lunches. With a little creativity, you can feel like you’re eating something prepared at a bistro! If you can tune out the Daniel Tiger songs that may be playing in the background, that is.

Do you have a dinner time leftover ingredient that you transform during the following day’s lunch? I’d love to know what it is and how you use it in the comments section!

<3 Lindsay

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Find some delicious recipes in these posts as well!

Favorite Homemade Soups Quick and Easy Recipes Frugal Meal Planning Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

A Temple of the Holy Spirit

A Temple of the Holy Spirit

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
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“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought at a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)  While I always stress that Bible verses should be read and taken in context, I truly believe that these two verses have so many more applications to our lives other than just sexual immorality. Let’s break these verses down.

Our bodies are a TEMPLE!  A temple is a place dedicated to worship.  We should treat our bodies as such.  Binge-eating and binge-dieting are not good for our bodies.

Of the Holy Spirit that is in you, whom you have from God.  When we ask Jesus into our lives, he resides in us.  He is always with us.  He knows what we are doing.

You are not your own.  We belong to God.  Our earthly bodies are on loan to us from God.  He created us; we belong to Him.

For you have been bought for a price.  That PRICE was HUGE.  God sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we may have everlasting life.

Therefore, glorify God in your body.  God should always be visible in us.  There is a saying that you may be the only Bible someone sees.  The way we look and the way we act affects others.

When we consistently overeat, we can gain weight.  This is gluttony; gluttony is a sin.

Gluttony is not the only way to abuse your body when it comes to food.  Not eating enough or properly is also abusive and a sin. (Read my personal story here.) We must be aware of what we put into our bodies. God wants us to be healthy.  We cannot honor God if we do not eat right and are not healthy.

This is the second in a series of posts about healthy eating.  I will be sharing weight loss tips and healthy recipes.Tip #2

Tip #2.  Eat from the rainbow.  Eat foods of all colors.  We eat first with our eyes.  This also gives us complete nutrition.

 

Recipe:

Pasta Primavera  – Pasta Primavera Printable Recipe

1 lb of your favorite pasta (I like bow tie), cooked al dente.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of liquid.

2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 cup zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks

1/2 medium onion, sliced

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 clove garlic, minced

Fresh basil, torn into small pieces or dried basil to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

As you put the pasta in the pot, heat a large skillet over high heat. Put in oil, cook chicken, then add all the vegetables and stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add drained pasta then basil, salt, and pepper.  Add enough reserved liquid to loosen up the pasta.  Mix well and serve.

This is full of flavor, quick and easy, and has lots of color.  You can change the vegetables to anything you like.  I like this combination because of all the colors.   Just make sure to use this quantity of vegetables because you want minimal pasta.

Do you need to lose weight?

Do you need to gain weight?

Do you just need to get healthy?

Hi.  My Name Is Toni, and I’m…

Hi. My Name Is Toni, and I’m…

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

…An Anorexic.

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