Week 5: Faithful Finish Lines promote Eating for Energy
Week 5: Eating for Energy Goal and Prayer
Click here to download this prayer as a printable: FFL Prayer Week 5
Click here to download as a printable: Eating for Energy Week 5
Notes about this week’s Eating for Energy Goal: Low-Sugar Foods
This week’s Eating for Energy goal is a challenge, and I firmly believe you are up for the challenge!
Everyone will approach this week’s goal somewhat differently, and that is okay. Explore this goal and discover mini-goals within this focus that feel right for you individually. Aim for eating as much of your food as possible without added sugar for one week, including products made with white flour.
This is a challenge because it’s hard to give up sugar – we love the stuff! – but more so for another reason.
I believe the real challenge comes in finding a balance between meeting the challenge yet not becoming militant and obsessive.
The primary goal of this week’s challenge is to learn what works for you and your body, not to simply do it to force yourself into doing it. Pray about this. How can you meet this goal yet do it in a way that brings focus to God, not to yourself or to the program?
God will bring you direction and guidance. Ultimately, don’t let food be the focus.
Keep in mind: a good way to start is to eliminate obvious foods such as desserts, white bread, white rice, and white pasta.
If this is okay for you, a next step would be to also remove sugary cereals, cookies, crackers, condiments and foods with added sugars. Look for foods with no added High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
What about natural sugars such as agave, honey, and raw sugar? Pray about what is right. If you feel comfortable doing so, you could try eliminating these foods also for this week only as an experiment.
Should you have a “cheat day” or “cheat meal”? Many people feel they do better when they have one time to look forward to when they can indulge in a treat, especially while eating out, or attending a party or event. You know yourself. Will a cheat meal lead to a cheat day lead to a cheat weekend lead to a cheat week? Or will one cheat meal be the boost you need to keep you on track throughout the week? Only you can answer that question.
Again, I am not recommending giving up sugar for life.
This is a one week experiment in discovering what works for your body.
Also keep in mind you change over time. Even if you’ve done this before, doing it again is beneficial. I learn something new each time I go through this process. God is working on me in new ways.
Day 1: Eat Like an Athlete (Sunday)
This week, your focus is healthy eating.
Move away from eating for entertainment into eating for energy.
Those who know my story know why this week’s topic is near and dear to my heart. Over the next few days I’ll share my heart’s cry — the pain of a life of struggling with food issues and the freedom that comes from the victory God brings!
Our society is built around food as entertainment. Have you noticed that we gather around food? An event just isn’t the same without food. Holidays, parties, social functions, sports we spectate and so many more, all involve their specific types of food. This isn’t all bad. For centuries people have gathered around food as a way to share and connect.
In recent decades, our food has been engineered to taste good and modified to entice you to want to consume more and more of it. This concerns me. The colors are brighter. The flavors are stronger. You beat yourself up for liking junk food, yet of course it tastes good. This stuff has been created to taste and look so darn good. (Cut yourself a bit of slack. We are all drinking the — genetically modified — kool-aid here.) Simply being aware of this helps.
Focus on the positive. Focus on eating for energy. Focus on what you can eat and what you want to eat each day, not on what you don’t want to eat.
You will move toward your focus. You know the foods that make you feel great, energetic and on fire for the day. Whole, fresh foods, protein to build muscle, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables are what give me the best strength and vitality.
Eat like an athlete! You may struggle to use the word “athlete” and think of yourself in the same sentence. “I’m not an athlete!” you want to protest. Retrain your thoughts.
You are an athlete now. Train as one. Be one.
Athletes need to eat for energy. You cannot go into a workout with only a cup of coffee (or worse, nothing) to fuel you. A doughnut for breakfast is not the breakfast of champions. Give your body the nutrition it deserves.
This also isn’t to say you get to power down a 5 course breakfast like Michael Phelps if your workout is a 20 minute power walk (drat it all!). Eating like an athlete means matching the nutrition your body need in order to create energy balance. Do not allow culture’s warped body obsessions or dieting myths to trap you in wrongful thinking.
A special note: For those who are or may be struggling with an eating disorder, there is help available for people who are trapped in these cycles. I know it may seem hopeless, but I am here to tell you there is HOPE. No matter how long it has been going on, no matter how far down the road, there is hope. Reach out for help. Compulsive overeating, binge eating, binging and then throwing up, diet and body obsession, and starvation are all signs of an eating disorder. Please email me for resources if needed, and Corinne and I encourage you to check with your doctor or call 911 or go to an emergency room if you need immediate attention.
Day 2: You are Not Being Tortured (Monday)
Before the final time I lost weight, I had been on a diet many times.
I was on or I was off. I was being good or I was being bad.
It was almost as if some outside force was making me do something, and then another part of me was secretly rebelling and hiding behind the pantry door eating Oreos when the Weight Watchers police weren’t looking.
This created an endless cycle of binging and dieting. I would restrict myself heavily, then when I couldn’t take it anymore, I would go all out, starting a weekend joyride of non-dieting pleasure, only to start all over again with strictness on Monday.
On and on this cycle continued for many years. I was exhausted.
There is a non-diet movement that embraces the idea that no food is bad and all foods should be treated the same. I understand the mentality although I was never able to fully embrace it.
The concept is that we have an internal regulation that will eventually lead us down the path of moderate, healthy eating.
I love this concept – in theory. For some people I do believe it works. Maybe ideally it would work for all of us if we really stayed tuned in. But some of us need a little more external regulation and guidance, and that is okay. The key is to learn to be moderate, compassionate, and forgiving with ourselves, too.
Let go of the idea that some force outside of you is making you do this. YOU are choosing to participate in Faithful Finish Lines, to exercise, and to eat healthy foods because YOU want to do this.
You want healthy foods. No one is forcing this upon you. No one is denying you anything or taking something away from you. Healthy, fit people plan meals, take time to prepare healthy food, and skip dessert sometimes.
My fit triathlon friends do these things all the time! This was a tremendous realization to me when I recognized their healthy eating behaviors.
You don’t need to go into a poor-me way of thinking. Instead, consider yourself part of the elite few who have taken charge of your life and health.
Remember: “If Hunger is not the Problem, then Food is Not the Solution.”
Day 3: Week 5 Memory Verse (Wednesday)
Click on the picture below for a printable PDF version.
Day 4: Choose Today What You Will Choose for a Lifetime (Thursday)
Don’t do anything today to lose weight that you won’t do for a lifetime.
Make a decision right now.
No weird crash diets, no drinking water with lemon juice for a week, no colon blow outs. There are no quick fixes to weight loss. If there were, there would be no overweight people.
Make choices you can realistically stick with for the long haul.
Get a life. Find something to do besides sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself or thinking about your weight and food. Stop waiting until we lose weight to do what you’ve always wanted to do.
Do you spend endless amounts of time fantasizing about when you used to be thinner and fitter? Or, do you obsess about how long it will take you to lose 20 pounds, or 50 pounds, counting out the days? Do you think about what activities you will do when you finally lose the weight? (I did all those things.)
Now is the time to take a class, go back to school, be a ballet dancer, become a teacher, or whatever your dreams may be.
Stop using your weight as an excuse.
I used my weight as a smokescreen. It was easier to blame my weight than admit I might be afraid to do something or face rejection.
Everyone is scared to do things – including thin people. Everyone fears rejection – including thin people. Do stuff anyway. Meet people anyway. Get over yourself.
I was terrified I would be the heaviest person in the room or at the party. Okay, so what if you are? (Sometimes I was.) Go to the party anyway. You are the only one focused on it, so if you don’t worry about it, no one else will.
This is your time to go out and be the amazing person God created you to be.
Day 5: How to Banish Bad Body Thoughts (Friday)
For further reading on this topic, I recommend the book,When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munter.
Use your imagination for a moment. Imagine by some strange explosion, a toxic chemical is released into the world, and because of it, no person will lose or gain one more ounce of weight for the rest of their lives. You will weigh exactly the same amount you do now – forever. Food you eat will not affect your weight or the way your body looks, and exercise will not change your body either.
Think about this scenario for a few minutes. Then, consider the following questions:
- What would you eat? Would the foods you choose be different or the same? Food would still affect the way you feel, but it would not change your body weight. Would you choose to eat in a more healthy way, focusing on what makes you feel good, or would you eat extra junk food?
- What would you wear? Would you buy some new clothes, finally knowing you could invest in high quality clothing all in the same size, or would your wardrobe stay the same?
- Would you exercise more, knowing it makes you feel good and gives you energy, or would you give it up forever, knowing it wouldn’t change the way you look?
You probably have many deep-rooted thoughts and beliefs about food, exercise, and your body. (We all do.) We live in a culture that celebrates overeating and junk food, yet idolizes thinness to the point of borderline starvation.
You go to a restaurant where you are served portions of food that are 3-4 times the normal size of what a person needs, and the food is modified to taste richer and more delicious than food used to taste. Driving to and from the restaurant, you see billboards that advertise barely-clothed women who are much thinner than is realistic or healthy. You might see similar pictures on the walls of the restaurant or right on the front of the menu. Think about it for a minute – this makes no sense!
To live in our current society and have a healthy body image is very difficult. It requires an ongoing conscious, dedicated effort. This is a challenge, but it can be done with God’s help. Here are some steps to get started.
Steps to Overcome Bad Body Thoughts (BBT)
- Recognize BBT when they arise. Don’t fight these thoughts or feel guilty about them, but see them for what they are. Try to notice and be aware of these thoughts throughout this next week. These might be saying things to yourself like, “I have really fat arms.” or “If only these jeans made me look thinner.” or “Once I lose 5 more pounds…”
- Spend time daily giving thanks for what your body CAN do for you. Notice the way your body serves you, the strength and the abilities. You can then praise God for what He has given you!
Consider that BBT often are not about your body at all. BBT come up when you are feeling too much, too big, your thoughts too loud or your dreams too big, or TOO…anything. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on your fat thighs, wobbly arms, or back fat, than own up to your bigger fears. When the BBF rage in your mind, it’s time to see if you can discover what is underneath them.
Copyright © 2016 Sara Borgstede, Motivational Speaker and Author, All rights reserved.
Content as part of your exclusive Faithful Finish Lines membership.