Monday, 1 August 2016

My Baby Steps To Health

In my last post, HERE I shared all about how I wasn't prepared to live a body healthy life and how I got to the point of not only hating my body but ignoring it almost completely. That was not an easy post to write. Admitting some of things caused shame and other hidden feelings to rise to the surface but ohhhh my, was it ever good to work through them with God.
Once I had laid down all of my disappointments, shared my true feelings with God and asked Him to lead me to a long term health plan I felt him give me what would be my first step to living a body healthy lifestyle.

I will share the steps but friends, please know that this is more about the importance of inviting God into every aspect of our life. The steps He gave me are working and so far quite easily sticking. However, I'm not recommending that you do what I did. If you struggle to make body healthy decisions, the first thing I would say to encourage you is that God cares so tell Him. Invite him in. Not telling God about a struggle in our life is as good as hiding it. I know that probably isn't your intention, I know it wasn't mine but it brought the same results. 
Ooooooooook! Let's talk baby steps!


1. Stretch each day.

I did 5-7 minutes of stretching each morning before spending time with God. It was 5 days before I felt the urge to add another step.

2. Think about your portion sizes and when you can (without binge eating later) , have less. 

So, with this step, notice that there was no change in the food I ate. It was just a change in portion size. It was about 7 days again before adding step 3. The thing that made me feel ready to add another step was that I was easily remembering to take less on my plate and not have seconds unless it was really healthy or if I was still really hungry. It made me realize how often I would take seconds just because it tasted good and not because I was hungry.

3. Add 25 crunches to your stretches routine.

I can't remember exactly but it was a week or two before I felt ready to add another step.

4. Surround yourself with healthy choices. On social media, don’t look at junk. Intentionally follow inspiring health feeds - body, soul and spirit :)

annnnnd STOP. 
Let's stay here for a while because for real, this was HUGE and really changed the way my mind was thinking and we all know how important that is! I went through my pinterest, instagram, Facebook and email to unfollow and unsubscribe to all things that were delicious but not healthy. While finding and unfollowing those accounts I was also looking for healthy lifestyle accounts that I found inspiring. At some point I will share some of those accounts but the accounts that inspire me may not inspire you so if you decide to do this, be patient in finding your people. ;) 
It took me about three weeks before I felt the urge to add another step.

5. Eat more vegetables and start your meal with them. (this is still while eating whatever else I wanted with the veggies)

God, I love you for so many reasons  but this step was really cool! 
So, picture this.
It's friday evening  and I've ordered pizza for my family. While waiting the 20 minutes to pick it up I am chopping and preparing some cucumber, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, avocado and maybe some fresh mushrooms. While on my way to pick up the pizza I start munching on the veggies and do so until get home, serve my family and watch them all eat their first piece of pizza. This is not difficult because I know I'll have some, I just have to eat my veggies first. By the time I'm done eating my veggies and start having pizza, my tummy is simply not as hungry and therefore I don't eat as much pizza. 

When I wanted a sweet treat I would choose to eat a piece of fruit first then have whatever sweet I was really wanting. haha Often times the craving would pass and I didn't have it at all. Sometimes I did though....and that's ok. As long as I had the fruit first.

I LOVE this step! Abundance and good choices over restrictions! YES!

It was a week before I felt to add step 6.

6. Add 12 leg lifts for each leg to your exercise routine (5 days/week)

More body moving! and I was ready for it :)

7. Word of knowledge about “dark days” and giving up chocolate and instagram before bed.

At church there was a word of knowledge (if you're not sure what that is please feel free to email me) about someone who was having "dark days" and I knew I had to put my hand up because I was at least 4-5 day's of the week I was feeling very negative, angry or sad. Not necessarily related to food....just a general feeling. Some people around me prayed then the pastor went on to say that she felt that at least one of the people having dark day's needed to make a change in their diet and bedtime routine and there would be further breakthrough. 
I knew right away that was me. God told me that he saw why I ate chocolate and that it was a comfort to me (even through it was the extra dark kind by this point). He told me that he wanted to be my comfort and that I should stop having any form of chocolate. I said a big YES to giving it up! I was kinda hoping for a time period but He didn't give one. lol It's been about 7 months and for the first time the other day I had some FREE chocolate (free of dairy, nuts, sugar). I'm not going to continue to have it....for now.

As for a change in bedtime routine, I also felt that was me. Most nights before I would go to sleep I liked to check out what was going on in the Instagram world for 10 minutes or so. I actually thought I was doing pretty good with limiting how long I was on it. I felt that God was asking me to give that up and he asked me instead to replace it with a few minutes with Him before drifting off to sleep. I loved that He wanted to be the last thing on my mind before sleeping and as soon as I started the routine I noticed that He was also the first thing on my mind when I woke. 

I also haven't had a "dark day" since. Praise God! 
It was 7-10 days before I added another step.

8. Think simply about food, don’t try to go all out with extravagant healthy meals. 
Often times in the past when I wanted to eat healthy I would do my best to make sure that each healthy meal would taste unbelievably good so that I wouldn't miss the unhealthy options. Not this time. This time I felt that I should just keep it simple with the basics. Fruits and veggies were eaten in abundance. 
It was 3 weeks before I felt to add another step.

9. Jog up and down the stairs to get your heart rate up 3 times/week before your stretching & workout routine. 

Simple enough :)
It was a week before adding step 10.

10. Drink a glass of lemon/lime water 20 minutes before a meal.

Sounds easy....right? 
Thing is, when something isn't routine, it isn't necessarily that it is a challenge to do it but a challenge to remember to do it! It took about 2 weeks before I felt to add step 11.

11. Fuel up on fruits and veggies.

At this point I was already eating fruits and veggies before each meal or treat. This step was a huge change in my thinking. My focus was to get my energy/essential vitamins and the fuel my body needed to make it though the day with the good stuff! I started making meals that consisted of mostly vegetables and snacks that were fruit. Yes, I was still eating carbs and treats. Somehow saying  YES to fruit, vegetables and seeds and not saying NO to sugar and carbs was awesome for my mind. I had already been working on filling my mind with images of yummy healthy food and was doing my best to focus on fuelling my body with the good stuff. These things combined helped me to not even think about what I wasn't having.....most of the time ;)

12. 5 minutes on the Elliptical 3 days/week 

I know, I know, only 5 minutes?!?! How can that make a difference?! 
All I can tell you is that it just did. At this point I was stretching, doing crunches, leg lifts and now the elliptical. Sometimes this routine didn't feel like enough. As in my body was ready for more so on those days I would add in some other at home exercises. More often than not I was adding more to the routine and really enjoying it. 
Since I hated this type of exercise, the fact that I was enjoying it was AMAZING! 

13. Listen to your body to see what you think it needs. 

Cravings and listening to your body are two very different things. I had grown accustom to giving in to cravings so learning to tell the difference between the two was first step. It was pretty simple cause cravings were usually unhealthy. 
How do I listen to my body? 
When I start to get hungry I think about what my options are and what I want. 
For for lunch I really wanted a bowl of stir fried veggies with rice and tahini dip but I kept thinking about a green smoothie. I ended up making the green smoothie with LOTS of spinach and after drinking it I'm feeling satisfied. I'm not a health expert and can't explain exactly why I think my body wanted the green smoothie but I feel great after having it and that's enough for me. 
I also hydrate with water more often now because I take the time to think about what my body needs. That brings me to the last step (for now anyways).

14. Drink a tall glass of lemon water when you first wake up.

I started with 8oz of lemon water when I first woke up and now I drink 32oz of lemon or lime water when I first wake up. Usually I drink that then make breakfast. By the time I start eating breakfast it's about 20 minutes later.

As a consequence of making the above choices I unintentionally quit drinking coffee. I quit having all refined sugar except on rare occasions. I no longer eat wheat but have whole grains instead. I don't eat meat and pretty much never have meat products. I have seeds in my smoothies and eat legumes to keep up the protein. I used to eat meat with pretty much every meal and now I just don't eat it at all. I am now Plant Based :) My body feels great and my energy has been constantly surprising me!  

I’m now up to 20 minutes on the Elliptical 3 days/week. On top of the above exercises I do arm curls and bicycle crunches 3 days/week. If I’m feeling inspired I’ll add in more exercises. I also ride my bike and am much more active with the boys.  
I'm fully convinced that body health should start in our mind. Restrictive thinking just creates challenges that become so very hard to overcome. 
As a result of these changes I have lost weight but that isn't a focus anymore. I find that as soon as I begin to get focused on weight loss, what I'm doing doesn't feel like it's enough which is discouraging. When I focus on eating an ABUNDANCE of good healthy food, I feel light as a feather and thats enough for me! 
Thank you SO much for reading! 

Below are a bunch of examples of meals I've eaten over the last 6 months. If you want more food inspiration from moi, head over to my INSTAGRAM  where I'm sharing at least one meal or snack per day.  I share smoothie and pretty much all recipes that I love ;)

Left over stir fried rice with a salad wrap filled with carrot shreds, apple, cabbage shreds a peanut sauce and chopped peanuts.
Watermelon, blueberries, strawberries & longan.
Stir fry
Chicken, zucchini, broccoli, carrot, black beans, cabbage, garlic, onion.
No oil....I just used a bit of water instead.
Non Dairy Coconut yogurt with strawberries, coconut chips, pumpkin seeds, almonds & granola.
Summer Rolls with a little green smoothie.
In them...
lettuce, carrots, avocado, broccoli
and I dipped them in a peanut sauce.
Salad time! 
Pretty straight foreword with the lettuce, tomato, black beans, corn off the cob & avocado. The thing that makes this salad awesome is the Avocado, lime cilantro dressing! No oil, no sugar and delicious! 
Rice & Salad
Fried mushrooms, kale, black beans & onion topped with goats cheese and an egg.
Jamaican Rice & beans, green beans with baked chicken.  At this point I was no longer cooking with oil so it was oil free :)
A tiny piece of baked chicken, baked sweet potato, sautéed snow peas, rainbow swiss chard & zucchini.
Mega Salad! Fully loaded with carrot, red cabbage, grape tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, avocado, nuts, seeds, and lettuce! I used lemon juice and the avocado as dressing. Once it was smashed and mixed in it covered everything and tasted yummy.
Spiralized curry potato fries, grape tomatoes, avocado and broccoli slaw.
Rice, kale, baked chicken and grape tomatoes.
Simple Salad
Smoothie Bowl with Longan 
Check out my INSTAGRAM for the recipe :)
Green Smoothie
In it...
coconut water, pear, kale, frozen banana, ice
Tropical Smoothie
In it...
coconut milk, pineapple, mango, banana
Mish Mosh of left over food! 
Jamaican rice & peas, arugula, black bean dip, guacamole, corn off the cob, spiralized sweet potato fries. the beginning, between many of these healthy choices there was cake, pizza and cookies. It really has been a process full of grace for myself friends :) 


  1. have laid this writing out with style have blown me away with your "REAL"ness have brought me into belief...belief that you have grown so much more aware of "BODY"love...belief in spiritual dependence on Your Source of inspiration in all the genres that this blog post covers...artistry via preparation & presentation in photography of your delicious creations...writing prowess in getting it down line by line so your reading audience "gets it".
    Suz...thank you for this...allowed me to get a different perspective of what I want to take on as one of my issues to move into...body health linked with wholeness of mind and spirit.
    I needed a light, simple and grace filled inspiration and you have delivered. Want to refer back to this one often.

    1. Oh my sweet heavens! Thank you so much for your sweet sweet words! I'm gonna chew on those all day!!! You certainly have a way with words. My heart is leaping and melting all at the same time. So much love to you as you move into a journey of body health ;) One thing I kept telling myself was that I'm not in a rush to be perfect in this area......grace grace grace. XO