“I am supposed to be eating 1500 calories per day. It’s just so hard to do.”
“I feel like I need to do more cardio. I don’t burn enough calories when I weight train, so I need to get that number up.”
“I am just so busy, and it’s so hard to eat clean or healthy. I don’t know what to pack.”
“If only my weight was at X-Y-Z, then I’d be happy.”
“I am tired of food and weight being such a struggle.”
Words I’ve heard over the past three days alone from various women sharing their struggles with me, regarding food, fitness, their bodies and overall lifestyles.
The war is unrelenting.
Faced daily with mirrors, meals, exercise to-dos…it pains me that for so many, things that are meant to give us life (ie. Food for energy, exercise and movement for enlivening our health and wellness), have actually become laborious check lists and benchmarks.
That being said, however, I’ve “been there, done that”—and can only completely relate to the continual nagging self-war to gain more control over the things that may control you (or your mind).
I am often asked by many, who know my 14-year long battle with that crazy ol’ ED (eating disorder), what happened? How did I make the thoughts go away? How did I make more peace with food, fitness, and my body?
To which I answer: Freedom.
A LOT of prayer, combined with my belief that there was freedom from such things—that the things that constantly ‘clipped at my heels’ (the scale, calorie counting, comparing myself to others, sizing myself up and down in the mirror, self-loathing about how I looked and felt in my own skin, the 3+ hours I needed to log in on the StairMaster, etc.—I can go on…) did NOT have to be that way any longer.
And, quite honestly, I had to ‘fake it until I made it’—to believe that there was freedom and life outside the battles I fought to conquer daily.
I really don’t recall any person in particular who was ‘living proof’ at the time of freedom from such things except Jesus’ words alone that said, “I came so that you may have LIFE and have it ABUNDANTLY” (John 10:10).
As I chose to dive in, believe this verse to be truth, the more I began to embody the person free from my battles.
A question I constantly asked myself whenever I faced daily decisions (what to eat or not eat at a meal, exercise routines, the choice of stepping on a scale I passed in a locker room or not , etc.) was:
What would HEALTHY Lauryn do?
I began to envision the Lauryn I wanted to be—and in turn, the thoughts, the white noise, the constant ‘not good enough’ self-critic began to go away…
You don’t have to have a diagnosed eating disorder to know what I am talking about.
You were meant to THRIVE—and your exercise, fuel and lifestyle are the vehicles to ‘getting there.’
When you find yourself whipping out the ruler, slapping yourself on the wrist with the ‘must dos’ or ‘should dos’ of fitness, food and your ideal image…try asking yourself, what the genuinely healthy (mentally and physically) person you aspire to be would do…
Be that person.
Super Bowl Recipes
While we’re at it, Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend. I’ll be quite honest—I am not a huge Super Bowl fan (neither here nor there).
However, I am a big fan of trying new recipes and here are a few snack recipes that struck my fancy!
If you’re going to a Super Bowl Shin-dig this weekend, maybe you can even turn a few heads to the idea of fueling themselves with both delicious (and nutritious)
Sweet Potato Fries (Varied)
Duh! I had to include these. However…this one’s a bit different than the ‘usual.’ I used my favorite ‘new’ sweet potato—Japanese sweet potatoes,–to create these one-of-a-kind fries.
3-4 Japanese sweet potatoes (Whole Foods, Central Market, Asian grocery stores)
2 tbsp. coconut oil (melted) or extra virgin olive oil
cinnamon, to taste (I used lots)
Preheat the oven to 425F. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes to remove dirt. Slice each potato a few times with a knife, then loosely wrap each still-wet-from-the-washing potato in a paper towel and place in the microwave. Nuke for 7-9 minutes, until tender enough to cut into. Cut the potatoes into 1/8 to ¼ inch-wide strips. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place in oven and bake 25-30 minutes.
Pepperoni Chips with Guacamole
Applegate Farms nitrate-free pepperoni rounds
Avocado (2-3 medium ones)
2 TBSP Lemon juice
Sea salt, pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Place pepperonis on a sprayed aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip to the other side for another 5-6 minutes, until crispy.
For guacamole: open the avocados and scoop out the flesh.
Mash the flesh with a fork to soften it..
Stir the other ingredients.
Chicken Dippers with “Honey Mustard”
1 lb boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup almond flour
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Honey Mustard Sauce
5 tbs raw honey
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
Get a couple of sheets of parchment paper out
On one piece of parchment paper, lay out the chicken strips and season both sides
Line a cookie sheet with the other sheet of parchment paper, and set aside
In a small bowl, whisk the egg
In another bowl, combine the almond flour and the shredded coconut
Take each piece of seasoned chicken, dip it in the egg, and then flour with the coconut mixture
Make sure all the pieces are well coated
Heat up 1 tbsp. coconut oil in a pan on stove.
Cook chicken on both sides, until no longer pink in middle.
While the chicken is cooking, make the honey mustard sauce
In a small bowl whisk together the honey, mustard and apple cider vinegar – voila!
Curried Chicken Salad
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 c avocado “mayo” (mash 1 avocado with a splash of lemon juice)
2 t yellow curry powder
1 t garam masala**(seasoning)
1 1/2 c raisins
1 1/c c slivered almonds, toasted
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Sea salt/pepper to taste
Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes on 350ºF.
While the chicken is baking, take out a large bowl and mix together the rest of the ingredients. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop it into bite sized pieces and place into the large bowl. Mix to incorporate.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
1 pack uncooked bacon (12 slices)
24 whole, pitted dates
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Lay a single-layer of bacon strips on a plate and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes (repeat with remaining bacon)
Cut strips of bacon in half width-wise
Wrap individual dates in half-strips of bacon, secure with toothpick at overlap
Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, checking at 8 minutes
Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This one is nut-free for those of you who are allergic to nuts!
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
Directions:Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, stir together the coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and eggs until a uniform batter is created. The batter will start off a bit runny, but will thicken as the coconut flour starts to absorb the moisture. Add in the chocolate chips, and stir evenly.