It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle

So here’s a not so little secret about me if you know literally anything about me, I love to take pictures of my food. Almost as much as I love to eat it. Though over the last five or six years my family and I have learned so much more about nutrition! I’m no expert by any means, and I can still shamelessly eat an entire bag of chips (I think it runs in the family). I’m not a huge fan of people who don’t like the dessert menu at restaurants, and I totally believe no matter how full you feel, there’s a separate place for desserts in the stomach!  However, I’m also not a fan of people who really don’t have a reality about nutrition, or who make excuses as to why they eat poorly. SO…Without further ado here’s some actual truth to regard before you talk about how healthy something is, or try to give me excuses as to why eating healthy is hard! (Because like most things in life it isn’t easy!).

Just because something is gluten-free or organic doesn’t make it automatically healthy! Shocker, I know, but y’all they have organic Doritos! Like what? No one would say that chips are really a healthy choice, unless they are buying the fancy super expensive organic chips. And in some ways I think it just makes us feel better. What we should realize is our diet should be otherwise good enough that when you want to splurge and eat chips (or fill in the blank with your go-to-snack) that you’re not worried about healthy junk food  there’s not such thing. If you’re going to eat it, go for it and don’t tell me how healthy your organic, non GMO, gluten-free chips are, please!

Calories DO NOT matter! If you are truly eating the whole foods that are good for your body, the actual number of calories you intake is not nearly as important! This is because when you’re eating fruits, veggies, meats, and nuts there are not nearly as many things outrageously high in calories. So again, those 100 calories packs of paper thin cookies that you feel like eating ten thousand of because you’re starving, pass and grab something that will have lasting energy!

Healthy food CAN and DOES taste good. PERIOD. I’m so sick and tired of the “I’m on a diet so I am eating celery and drinking a gallon of water for the entire day” nonsense! Ever heard of seasonings? Or I don’t know veggies that you actually like? If you don’t like at least one vegetable, you’re doing it wrong. Healthy food does NOT have to be boring or bland in flavor!! (Saying it loud for the people in the back)!

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Almost a weeks worth of lunches full of flavor and good stuff! All of this was made of one pan in the oven. With prep and cook time, took maybe an hour and a half!

Healthy food really isn’t more expensive. Make your food count! Do so by eating more whole foods (and no, whole pizzas don’t count…most days). It really isn’t any more expensive if you are buying it IN PLACE OF the other junk! You aren’t supposed to buy double to the food, you are supposed to CHANGE what you are buying! Shocking. I KNOW.

“I don’t have time to eat healthy or make meals” MALARKEY. Instead of buying a bunch of highly processed pre-made dinners, try cooking something in advance, or plan time to make good choices. If time is the issue, then set aside time. Y’all… what you put into your body is important. The last couple weeks I’ve needed to take my own advice on this subject! If you want healthy results it takes discipline and time. I know you don’t like to tell yourself no…but someone has to?

Realize the this is not a “Diet” it is embracing a new Lifestyle. Dieting is associated with quick fix, lose weight fast, quick fixer food. It usually has a lot of weird rules of things you can or can’t eat. Cinderella story anyone? “The Norwegian Salmon diet?” Yeah, because that’s healthy? But how many people do we know who do these weird things!? One guy came through my line buying two huge bags of juicing apples, and so I asked him if he was going to juice them? He responded with no, I’m on an apple only diet and I’ve already lost 20 pounds in four days! Um…duh, you aren’t getting any nutrition!!! Eating healthier is an active on going, choice, find the things that are worth splurging on, and the things that aren’t. Chances are, like our family, once you get good things going in your life food wise, all the junk won’t sound as good. Highly processed things will taste that way! You’ll prefer the better choices!

Most of all this was just as much of a reminder for me as hopefully it can help someone else. The last few weeks have been busy and it is easy to get off track, but we still manage to have healthy meals majority of the time. Even when I am on my own away at school cooking healthy meals was a big part of living better, being happier, and feeling proud of my semi-adult self. Your body will thank you, your hormones will thank you, and YOU will thank you! When you put good into your body, it will give you benefits threefold! Even when it is hard, push on! Do everything you do for the glory of the one who made you! Who gave you this wonderful body!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-

XOXO,

Alie

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Monday Yellows

Ah, Monday, something our society has so quickly made the enemy of the week! The beginning of the end of the weekend which is oh so fabulous! Well let me tell you what, it’s Monday, it is currently around 5:30 am. And I’ve been up since 4:30. Don’t get me wrong waking up isn’t the easiest at this early (regardless of being a morning person). But every day is a gift, every day you have the choice to choose your attitude for another day, and every day you’re given is so so good. So instead of your typical “Monday Blues” or instead of sharing that oh so cute “Monday’s stink” meme, why don’t we stop and appreciate the day we are so blessed to have. Not everyone woke up this morning, be thankful you did!

I challenge you today and every Monday to wake up and experience what we can call the “Monday Yellows,” (or at least the concept of it) the Monday that says Good Morning world I’m coming for ya! The Monday that is life giving, and that makes your day a good day no matter what the day of week may be called.

See, we can find the bad reasons so easily, why we shouldn’t be awake yet, how it’s still dark, etc etc. How about we be the one who searches for the good reasons! I don’t have ac in my car, so early mornings mean cooler air! I get coffee, one of my favorite parts of morning. I have a job that is rewarding, and at times fun (I know shocking, but it’s attitude not circumstance). I have another day to bring joy to my little corner of the world, or at least try! Regardless, of how hard some days feel to find the good things… find one. I mean anything. Dig to the bottom of that one small positive thing, and speak life to it. Be thankful for it, and slowly it’ll be easier to find them. It’s the little things y’all! Make those Monday Yellows bright and sunny! Be joyful and happy! Choose Joy!

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-“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10b-

XOXO,

Alie

 

NOLA

Two of my favorite things coffee, and food. NOLA already was capturing my foodie heart. Authentic Red Beans and Rice the night before. Chicory Coffee, and a plate full of beignets in the morning. The air smells of, well, NOLA. Which is mostly a smell of the after mass of the nights before, mixed with Pinesol to mask the odor. If you aren’t sure, you’ll know what I mean if you walk down Bourbon street in the morning time!

Today, I was reminiscing the road trip we had last summer, and all the fun that came with two weeks trapped in a car with some of the people you love. Everyone said we were crazy, or that we’d kill each other before the two weeks was up! BUT, we had SO MUCH FUN! I still find myself dreaming of another road trip, to more new places. More crazy food, more coffee, more laughs, more fun.

For those who don’t know much about me or my family, we love food! Trying new food, finding the best food, but mostly, the family time that is associated with dinner time, and family meals around a table. I looked forward to those times as a kid, as a teenager after school, a college kid home for the weekend, and still now as a soon to be grad student. Family time is my favorite time. Immediate family, distant family, extended family, non-biological friends made into family. I don’t care. Sharing food with the people you love is the best. Some of my favorite memories are made at the table. Wherever that table may be! So here’s to more food and travels, more memories, laughs, and dinners together. Let your heart dream of the things that make you feel happy! What is the thing that you hold so dearly? What are your favorite memories made of? Let this summer be full of them!

-“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19-

XOXO,

Alie

Hockey Time = Best Time

So, the Stanley Cup Finals are on, and personally I would love to see the Preds kill it. They are now losing 3-2 to the Penguins. The game last night UGH. Not good. But I was thinking a lot about hockey season and the joy it has brought to my life. We are actually Tampa Bay Lightning fans (GO BOLTS) shameless plug sorry not sorry. However, it got me thinking about defeat winning some and losing some. How you can be down 3-0 in the play offs, and then win the next four and take that bracket.

Sometimes, I feel like life is much that way. Some days, it’s not looking good. We’re down 3-0 and we are losing hope. But, that next game WE WIN. A little hope returns. WE WIN AGAIN. MORE HOPE. Then finally we win the third and fourth games, and get to that next round. When you’re on top of that win, and the hope is high. It is so easy to praise God. To thank him for this great time. But how often when we are losing we act as though we have no hope? God what are you doing? Where are you? Why is life so hard right now? How hard is it to praise God when we are 3-0, and you are the zero….?

The thing is, is that even through the losses, and the bad games, God is your true number one fan. He is at EVERY game. He stays till the end, EVEN when you are losing. He cheers when it isn’t looking good for you or your team (the people you do life with). And he’s always reppin’ YOU even if you never win a game all season! Can you challenge yourself to be his biggest fan too? Wear his grace when you know you don’t deserve it. Share your joy, His joy, even when you aren’t winning the game! Be the ultimate God fan. Let that encourage you today, He’s always wearing your jersey, and there to give you hope! God bless hockey season. And God bless the Lightning!

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“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

-Hebrews 12:1b- 

Who are YOU?

If you are at the point where you feel like you need to do things to impress people to be their idea of “normal” let me just tell you, don’t. Be you, and everything that makes you, you. You are special designed by the maker, who knew you before you were even conceived. You were made to have those qualities. I was made to be a planner, who loves people way more than she should. A social butterfly who can talk to anyone, and somehow still manage to feel alone. A passionate, loud person who will be honest with you, even when it is the unpopular opinion. I was created to fill my calling. I challenge you to do the same. I challenge you to find people who will allow you to be that person, and to encourage it. Be yourself, you are beautiful, because there is only one of you.

Do you ever think about certain qualities you have and wish you didn’t have? I’m not talking like a I hate my thighs, kind of thing. Or bad habits that you should really probably break. I mean personality traits, something that we wish we could change because you aren’t the “ideal socialite.” Like, hating your tendency for being shy, or that you feel awkward talking to new people, or that you’re not built for all sports? WELL, I am a planner. SUCH A PLANNER. In college, I became so organized that if something wasn’t in my planner in advance I wouldn’t do. Going out tonight, you coming? HA. No. That was NOT in the agenda! Sound crazy? Sure! But, take it back to my first semester. Falling behind, thinking I could remember all my homework, shoot, I did in high school, so it couldn’t be that bad? Wrong. So wrong. Deadlines came fast, sleep wasn’t ever enough, I ended up in a job I hated, and my classes were junior level, and hard!

So the second semester it was time for a change, I got a new job (still the one I have now three years later, I still love it), I got a planner, I wrote down deadlines, I went to bed on time. My grades got better, I joined a sorority, was involved in another club, and still worked. Over time, I let my planning over shadow being spontaneous. I allowed being a homebody to control my plans. It literally caused me stress to go out, even for dinner, without it being in the plan. My last semester, I broke that. I went out just because, had lunch last minute with a friend. I had random nights spent with friends, because I started realizing this was it. My last semester. I was leaving my friends, sisters, and my boyfriend. I was moving home.

I am waiting, ready for that next step in the plan.  So I guess my point is it has taught me that I need both. I realized that I needed to embrace my planning, and my spontaneity and make them into the best me! I need that ultimate planner that is in me. Just like I need the spontaneous me, that says let’s go do something, right now, and just go! I have learned life isn’t as fun as it can be, if you’re over planning every detail! Some things, need to just happen. I know that where I am, is a period of waiting. I know that I don’t know the whole life plan, or where I’m going to be in five years, but I know, that I know, that I know, this is ME. This is who I am.

Seasons of life are funny, looking back they always have a funny way of showing us what life is teaching us, even when during we don’t see it. My challenge to myself, and you today is to embrace the things that make you, you. Don’t find yourself apologizing for being who you were called to be. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that the maker of the universe looked down, and thought the world needed one of YOU too. Revel in that, that He knows you, and made you to be great! Don’t let the world dull your sparkle.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

-Jeremiah 1:5a-

XOXO,

Alie

Love and Be Loved

One of my favorite things to do is learn about, and love on people. How often do we get caught up in ourselves? Way too much. (Just me? Okay well click away now.) We are so worried with the test we have tomorrow, the big move coming up, that boy that we just started talking to, how you’re dressed for the day, what we are eating for dinner? That sometimes we forget to just stop, and listen to other people. To smile when they speak, and actually listen. Don’t listen ready to answer, but just listen to take it in. Learn about their hopes, dreams, things that scare them, and that funny story that they are telling. I love to listen, and talk, and make (hopefully) a positive impact on their life, even if just a few seconds. 


The best way I have found myself learning how to do this better, is to be the biggest encourager of dreams. I don’t want to be the neigh-sayer, I want to be the cheerleader! I want to speak life into circumstances that might make other people nervous. I’m not saying I am always this person, or that it isn’t hard. Especially, when someone’s dream might seem a little far fetched. BUT, we can do all things through Christ, IF that is part of HIS plan….RIGHT? That is what I preach to myself, so why not live like that too? 


A few years ago, I ran into a guy I went to high school with, we’d both gone off to school. I asked him how he’d been, and what’d been up to. He sighed and just said that he’d been playing soccer for “just the local school.” I looked at him and said, “Hey, don’t belittle that! You got signed to play soccer because you’re talented, at a STATE school? It might be ‘just Melbourne’ to us, but to anyone else looking in, you got signed at a state school to play sports! That is a big deal, you should be proud!” 


Immediately, his face changed, I could see that it meant something to him to know he was doing big things, but that was because the Holy Spirit moved my heart to tell him that he could! 


Y’all… that moment might have made him have a different outlook, but it CHANGED my heart. It made me realize the power of my words on others, but not just in the negative way we always think. How often have we heard to not say hurtful things because they could scar someone? SO MANY TIMES. But how many times have we heard to say positive, life giving things to people? Those encouraging words, that could also be so life changing? Like I said, that statement may not have made a huge impact on him, but it changed me. It made me remember to be a positive light when I can. To never tell someone they can’t. To support, encourage, and listen to the people around me. To love on them with my words, and to be the light I can be. 


I have lots of people at work tell me that I am super happy go lucky, or that I never get the memo when everyone else seems to be in a bad mood. It’s not that I never am upset, but I choose daily my mood and outlook. My joy is not in the circumstance, it is in the Lord. I am choosing to rejoice, because I am so blessed. Bad times will come, it is inevitable, but I choose JOY, and I choose to show that to others too. 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33-

XOXO,

Alie

Broken Things

Okay, so today I was listening to worship music and writing down prayers in my journal. This song came onto my Pandora, and I fell in love with how it moved my heart. Before you read the rest, stop and listen to this, let the words fill you up and consume your soul! How great is our God…


Broken Things -Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdUu6ZsdVfM


The one line that just made my soul well up with pure JOY…


“But if it’s true, you use broken things, then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours…” 


WOW. 


There’s been so many days where I feel less than inadequate. I’ve had my fair share of doubts in myself and my abilities. I’ve questioned where my life is going, or where God is taking me. The kind of days where you feel bad, like you just stink. Like well, as if you are straight up, the worst of the worst. We’ve all been there. Being a Christian doesn’t always mean we have perfect days, or that nothing ever goes wrong. BUT, what it does mean is that even on the bad days, where we ARE the worst of the worst… God still is working all things for the better, for our good! 


What an awesome God we have, that he uses the broken, the people who sin daily, grumble a lot, and think we know it all. He uses US to do WONDERFUL THINGS! How awesome is that?! He has a purpose for you and your life. YOU, yes you, are on purpose! God planned this earth, and he planned you! Let that replenish your soul this morning, and everyday. Let that be the cry of your heart on a day that you feel less than, weak, tired, lonely, or imperfect. Let it be known that our God makes ALL things work together for our good. And He uses the broken things to do it! Let it remind you that He is the good good father, and in Him we can do all things. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

-Romans 8:28-

XOXO,

Alie

Gentle Spirit

I was doing my morning quiet time, currently I am reading through the old testament for the first time. Some of the content can be a lot to take in, so sometimes I’ll flip to read some of my favorite passages to encourage me even more. Ya’ll it is not always easy to wake up and read your bible first thing, but it is so well worth it to form the good habit in your life! Anyways today I wasn’t going to read anything else but then I saw a recommended for you post on Pinterest pop up. It was this passage. (Side note, I always double check the ones I like with actual scriptures in my bible, they can often be taken out of context). 

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I went back to my bible, and read through Philippians 4. I already, as many people do, love Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But then I glanced to the side of the passage to the devotional built into my woman’s bible. It spoke of gentleness, and how it can be explained in everyday life. Let me just tell you, this spoke to me in so many ways about how I try to live my own life. I just do not always have the eloquence this did.


“If you walked down the street and asked five people what they thought the word gentleness meant, how many would say that a gentle person is docile, easily intimidated, or passive? Or that gentleness would be a good quality for a pet or a horse? In our culture, assertiveness and forthrightness are more highly valued personality traits for human beings than gentleness.


But the Scriptures value gentleness. Here Paul explains what it means to be virtuous, especially in view of the disputes that had arisen among the Philippians. How were they to build unity? First, they were to rejoice. If they concentrated on rejoicing in the risen Christ, they would focus on their common joy rather than on the differences that could divide them. Next, they were to ‘let [their] gentleness be evident to all.’ Gentleness carries the idea of being reasonable. It does not mean that the truth is compromised; rather, it means that the truth is defended with thoughtful consideration for the other’s point of view. In other words, the people involved come to a meeting of the minds. There is a winsome quality in gentleness that diffuses anger and hostility.”


I hope this encourages you as much as it did me. Be a gentle spirit, listen, respect, but get things done, be thankful and kind. It will make you a better leader, and a better learner. If you approach a situation with an open heart, you can listen to those around you, take feedback, and make it the best possible. Because with God, ALL things are possible. Learn to be gentle and content, in all situations good or bad, and it will be life changing.


XOXO,

Alie

Speaking Life vs. Liking a Status

My mind has been captivated by the idea of social media recently. The idea of how amazing it is to be able to keep in touch with people you do not always have the capability of seeing, across the country, or in other ones! It keeps us connected, and it is fabulous. However, it’s been burning a huge hole. In my time, in my relationships, in my thoughts, in my daily life. What do I mean? I’m not someone who considers myself a social media queen. I love pictures, and I love knowing how my friends and family in other places are, but I did find myself checking my phone day in and day out. 

Ever since graduating college in December I moved home to save myself some money before returning to a new school in the fall for my Master’s. I have had so much free time. Time to work, A LOT. Time to spend with my family, get away for a weekend to visit with my friends still back at school, time to volunteer in the nursery at church, attend a women’s bible study, and time to just do nothing. It’s those times of doing nothing however that made me realize how much social media just bugs me. I spend way too much time worrying about likes, checking my phone, and looking at nothing but time sucking videos, and people complaining online. Then there is all the cutesy pictures that make you wish you were that cute too. Whether it is clothes, captions, relationships, or #____goals of any kind. #couplegoal #friendgoals #foodgoals (YOU GET IT RIGHT?)

In the past, I’ve scolded my boyfriend for not liking things, or commenting on them, or never posting about me. I mean doesn’t he love me like those guys love their girlfriends?? HA. What I didn’t stop to realize though, is he comments on me in real life. He likes me in real time. And he loves me EVERYDAY off the screen, and it is okay! Actually it is more than okay because my confidence in our relationship has now changed from being concerned about how everyone else sees it, to how I see it in everyday life. The other part I noticed is that, I tell him things I am feeling good, bad, happy, mad, sad, in real life, to his face. We talk, argue, work it out, real people things. We have real conversations, we don’t just have the relationship we have because we “like” the things each of us post online. So why should this be any different with everyone else in my life too??? The people in my life that have birthdays, or are going through things, I should be reminding them how much I care, and support them IN REAL LIFE TOO! 

This wasn’t really as obvious to me as I wish it had been. If someone is having a birthday and Facebook has to remind me about it, I probably really either don’t care enough, or I really haven’t been taking the time to pay attention. I have pulled the excuses about not being good at remembering, or that I just am busy and forgot, but I wasn’t to busy to use Facebook once it reminded me? Or to tweet about them, Snapchat about them, and Insta post a huge picstitch about them (which takes a solid 5-10 minutes to make let’s be real). My point is, what if we used those 5-10 minutes to talk to them, see how they are, call them! That if for someone who means enough to you to make a post, what if you spent the time speaking that post to them. What if you told your mom all the lovely things you wrote out on Mother’s Day. What if you spoke life into that relationship and didn’t just type it. If y’all already are masters at this and relationships are perfect, then just click away now, this is not for y’all! But for those people that have moved away from what it means to “like” your friends in real life, it is not too late!! 

My challenge to myself is to say the things you would put in a post, to the people you love. To say those things to them, to get off Facebook, and to spend quality REAL LIFE TIMMMEEEEE with them. Sweet, sweet time! Start realizing if your life is not the same as it would look on social media, that maybe you should take time off the screen to make that not true. To make those gushing lovely things we post, actual reminders to the people we love in our everyday lives. The words we speak over our friends, family, and significant people in our lives, are far more important than anything we could ever post on social media. 

Now y’all, I’m not saying all of this to say that Facebook is bad, or wrong, or that we shouldn’t use Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter. I am just saying that we should be talking and interacting with people we care about instead of writing a sappy post about them a couple times a year. It has changed my relationship with my boyfriend big time coming to that realization, and it has changed the way I talk to my friends, and family. (Note: Something I am still very much working on). 

I still love pictures and good ones at that, and I love to share things that are happening in my life (take note the adorable picture of me and my man attached). But, I also like for my private life to stay that way, or my mushy feelings to be said to people’s faces. It isn’t that I am perfect in doing so, it is something I am working on today, and everyday. I hope these realizations might mean something to someone else struggling too. That speaking life to those around you, could better your relationships with the people you love. 

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“So Speak life, speak life

To the deadest darkest night

Speak life, speak life

When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why

Look into the eyes or the broken hearted

Watch them come alive as you speak hope

You speak love, you speak life”

 -Speak Life by Toby Mac-

XOXO,

Alie

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