How do you get rid of CARB CRAVINGS?

25If  I have to sum up my food weakness in one word it will have to be: CARBS! Add some butter and sugar to white flour and I’m in carb-heaven and inevitably in big trouble. Like many other people who struggle with food; carb addiction is a very big reality for me!

I crave carbs, and then I eat carbs and then I crave carbs some more… you get the picture.

Now I’m sure you are all well aware of the big debate that has been going on for years around low carb diets. So let me come clean: I am in no way an advocate for low carb diets, and I am well aware that not everybody benefits from it. However, I am not in denial about the negative effects of too much carbs on my life either. Weight gain for me is directly linked to the consumption of too much carbs. On the flip side, weight loss in my life can be tracked down to every time I removed the carbs from the throne it held in my heart and traded it in for some lean steaks and vegetables (and time with God of course)

In all seriousness, I’ve tried to hang on to my carbs for as long as I could, but without much success. It was undoubtedly the pastries, the fresh white breads, the cakes and the crackers that called to me time and time again, until I started slipping and sliding all the way down into another pit of food addiction.

So let’s have some straight talk: Can we really go without it? And if so, how long will it last before we give in to the “calling of the carbs” again?

The answer: Yes and No.

Yes, we have to try our best to stay away from it, as often as possible, for the simple reason that it is addictive and the more we eat it the more we want it and the worse we feel. There is nothing that packs on the pounds around the middle riff like some good old white flour mixed with fat and sugar. And those dreaded rolls around the middle makes our chances for a heart attack so much bigger! Please note that I’m including myself in this group 100%. The “muffin-top battle”, you know the one where your upper body spills over your jeans like the dough of a muffin to create a “muffin-top”,  has been mine for many years!

No, keeping it up FOREVER is almost impossible. I say almost because I can not speak for the whole world, but only for myself and the ladies I know who have tried to go “cold turkey” about a million times (slight exaggeration, sorry)

So what is a poor girl to do in a society where the doughnut rules breakfast and hamburger and fries are basic lunch staples?

Here’s a thought: The 90% rule

Remember how we talked about making a commitment to go to the gym 5 to 6 days a week never mind how pathetic the effort. We also spoke about just showing up every day, waiting in God’s presence with your Bible study open on your lap, even if you ” feel” nothing at times.

Now, for this week (and the next 365 days) let me encourage you to eat those carbs, but only for one meal a day. Come on, try it. It has helped me so much! If you feel like you simply have to have some chocolate chip ice cream, save it for your most vulnerable time of the day. If you often find yourself eating carbs in the evening like a carb crazy woman, then decide to have it then. The rest of the day, make it low or no carb meals with tons of veggies.
Then, come dinner time, think carbs, just make sure you mix it up with healthy and filling food as well. So have your ice cream, but add some unsalted nuts, healthy granola (made with honey and oats), and blueberries in with it. Or eat your bread, but make it fresh baked whole wheat bread with lean meat and veggies on. Stack 365 of these days on top of each other and you will have much more energy, no more cravings, no more binging, and a smaller waist line.

A word of warning from one food addict to another: Still avoid the carbs that makes you spiral out of control. For instance, if I’m just dying for some potatoes, I will choose a baked potato as part of my “carb meal”  instead of chips or mashed potatoes that can easily set me up for a “carb binge”

Research has shown that eating carbs only ONCE a day (no snacking inbetween on carbs, only snack on meat and veggies) can cut down those cravings.  I’m telling you it works! Now, of course there’s a way to have NO MORE cravings. If you go on a strickt low carb diet, you can seriously have NO MORE SUGAR OR WHITE FLOUR CRAVINGS after 21 days! I’ve tried it a few times, and it works. The problem: It’s too extreme thus not natural and not healthy. Also, the chance of you just giving up and binging on carbs are HUGE! So why take the risk, and spiral down again? It is so discouraging and can set you back again for years!

Eating carbs sensibly (not 12 dougnuts of course!) once a day over a period of time will produce weight loss, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, you can keep doing it through birthdays and Christmas and all the other special days. I’m still quite new to this, but the past few months have been so much easier than the “I will not eat carbs, I will not eat carbs…” that I’ve been doing before. So try it out with me and see if you’re also getting good results:) You might feel tired the first few days as your body withdraws from all the carbs, you might even feel slightly down and have a headache, but IT WILL PASS. Doing the first day is the hardest, but after you’re through the first week things will get much easier. You will feel joy returning to your life as you stop grazing on carbs all day long, and that full, bloated feeling around your upper body will be something of the past.
However, if you just can’t get a grip on your food addiction, you might want to have a look at my 12 Week Online Program or Week 3 on Food Addiction. Sometimes we just can’t put the “crutch” or “idol” down because of underlying pain and issues we didn’t deal with.

Now before you think that I’m super smart, let me tell you that I have some food addict experts to thank for my new enlightenment:) If this seems like something you are interested in giving a shot, go have a look at one of the books I recommend at the bottom of this post. If low carb doesn’t work for you, or you get scared just thinking about it, I recommend Jillian Michaels’ (biggest loser coach) book about different ways of eating that applies to different people, in other words, low carb does not fit all.
For me, low and healthy carbs actually equals a healthy lifestyle.

VERY IMPORTANT: Let me remind you to not get obsessed over ANY of this. God brings some good ideas along our paths, but in the end we have to keep building that relationship with Him and ask Him to help us accomplish it.

You know by now, my dear friend, you can have all the knowledge and great ideas in the world at your disposal, but if God doesn’t help you  implement it permanently into your life, it’s the same old story over and over again.

So bend those knees early every morning, admit that you can’t do it, and ask God for some great interventions and great revelations for that specific day.

Wish I could look you in the eye and tell you…don’t give up…please…quitting is the only wrong move that you can make.

Lots of love

Heleen

Books to read:
The Carbohydrate Addict’s healthy heart program by Dr. Richard F. Heller, Dr. Rachel. F. Heller, Dr. Fredric J. Vagnini
Winning by Losing by Jillian Michaels

EMERGENCY: I have to lose weight fast!

8How do you feel when you get an invitation to a friend’s wedding, or to go on vacation with family, or to come out East (or West) for Thanksgiving? Does your stomach turn and your blood pressure rise at the very thought of it? Special occasions can be absolute torture for someone with a food struggle. The worst part;  it happens all the time!

I receive emails of sheer desperation from ladies about this topic more than anything else: “How can I lose weight fast without jeopardizing everything “

The truth: This kind of anxiety is very dangerous. It will most likely make you look for a quick fix and a quick fix is just an accident waiting to happen.

The good news: You can use this “occasion” to start your journey, right now, seriously, by grabbing on to God and asking for help (counseling or prayer) to lay down the food (junk food and addictive foods) that always drag you down.

The bad news: You have to be honest with yourself, because it will be ONLY THAT, the start of a journey! Serious weight loss, without any regard for the consequences to your health and body, can not be your main focus. There are safe meal replacement programs on the market that I have used and that helped me lose weight pretty fast. However, if you only do this for a short time, without a coach or a support group, you are very likely to put the weight that you’ve lost right back on (and some).

I’ m sorry that I have to be so blunt, but I can’t lie to women who have already suffered so much. If you didn’t deal with some of the pain from your past or present relationships, you will most likely reach for the quick fix again. This dangerous method might cause you to lose  a few pounds (possibly) but it will not be worth the denial, pain and turmoil you’ll feel inside. It is this emotional turmoil, caused by fad diets or dangerous methods (purging, diet pills, etc), that makes people pick up lies, denial, unbelief and pride again. So in the end all it does is postpone your healing for a few more years!

So if you are still surfing the web, flipping through magazines and TV channels to find a quick solution to this long term problem, then you probably still carry a lot of “unfinished business”.

I know, because I have so been there. We once went back to South Africa for a vacation and because of some issues I still refused to deal with,  I was right back there, on the internet, looking to lose 60 pounds in one month! This was after I have been totally set free from bulimia! I am happy to report that it was 7 years ago, and it didn’t last long, but ONLY because I came back and dealt with my issues and for the first time 100% meant it when I told God “I now truly believe that ONLY YOU can heal me and that NOTHING and NOBODY else can. I am ready to lay down ALL the lies and start trusting you, one day at a time”

Let me try and help you if you find yourself in this very difficult place of needing to lose weight FAST for some occasion:

FIRST: LET’S LOOK AT THE FACTS

  • You will probably not be able to lose much weight before the special occasion, even if you try your best. All the stress doesn’t help. However, if you’re still a few months away from the occasion you do have time to shed a decent amount of weight on either a meal replacement program WITH A COACH in place or a safe program such as Weight Watchers IF YOU ALSO ATTEND A GROUP for support and accountability. Support will help you move forward after the occasion and make it a long term solution instead of a fad diet.
  • Also, when you get closer to the date,  find something you can wear that is slimming and “good enough’ (lower your expectations of perfection). This will take away some of the stress.
  • If you eat the right portions that are high in nutritional value and you exercise, you will get your metabolism to work for you (against the stress hormones) much more than any fad diet, diet pill, or extreme measure would.
  • A great plus point in starting to follow a program high in nutrition: You will have good hair and skin on top of losing a few pounds, and best of all, PEACE when you need to face the music (or the people)
  • However, if you follow a drastic measure  you will have exactly the opposite outcome: No significant weight loss and breakouts that usually goes along with irregular eating and stress. Also, depriving yourself like that can lead to binging, which can cause you to gain weight!


There are not short cuts, it takes a journey. However, this occasion can be the beginning of a journey to freedom for you…

Here’s a  prescription for you before the special event:

SIMPLICITY: If you feel like you have too many things to pull off every day it will just add to your anxiety. So make a commitment to yourself and God to just do 3 THINGS:

1. TIME IN THE WORD EVERY DAY, NO MATTER WHAT! Change that time every morning when you usually make plans for the day, and promise yourself that you will not eat sugar and carbs into a time when you are just honest with yourself and God. Tell Him that you can not do it at all, and ask Him to take over. I recommend you get a Bible study that can keep your attention, because you will probably find it extremely hard to focus on anything right now, due to the underlying stress. See my list of Recommended Books and Bible Studies

2. EXERCISE 3-5 DAYS A WEEK, NO MATTER WHAT! Please read last week’s post about Just Showing Up This is so important  because it will help you stay on track with your eating and emotional well being. Also read my other posts on exercise and have a look at the books I recommend to get you motivated. Even very moderate exercise such as slow walking will make the world of a difference in your emotional well being and your ability to resist temptation. Commit to doing this in order for you to stay sane; come rain or sunshine, whether you’ve binged the night before or not, whether you feel good or bad, whether you are depressed and have a lot to do. If you can do it first thing every morning, it will be great (also for burning more calories and having a better day food wise), but even if you have to go to the gym 9pm at night, just stick to your commitment.

3. As far as food: Sign up for a program that has GREAT SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY. All the programs that I’ve followed in the past (never mind how healthy and balanced) did not work for long when I was doing it all by myself. The ones that really stuck were the ones high in nutrients and variety, and where I had either the support of a GROUP or a COACH. Please have a look at Week 4 of my program if you need more information on this.

 

Now, after saying all of this, I have to remind you: There is no condemnation for you in Christ Jesus! God is so thrilled that you set your feet on this journey back to Him where your healing lays. If you fall, He will run to your aid, and if you can not overcome this specific situation due to all the stress and pain you still feel, He will be waiting for you… until you’re ready.

And seriously, there is no condemnation coming from this girl either. I know about the pain and how we each have our own time frame of when we’re ready to surrender. I also know that if everybody else gives up on us, GOD DOES NOT!

If you feel that you can not do anything I’ve said, then please have a look at my program or go for counseling. Talking to a counselor or a pastor who has some knowledge about food struggles can help you find the reason why you so desperately need to lose weight, while you still desperately need the food to “cope”. You might find yourself between a rock and a hard place my friend, and then you really need help.

I pray even now that this upcoming event will be the last straw for every lady who reads this post. I pray that it will be the thing that opens your eyes to the truth, makes you hit rock-bottom, and help you to surrender your food struggle to God, forever…

You are so loved dear sister… the Bible says His eyes are on you!

In His Love
Heleen

More Resources for you – Please Click on the Links to learn more:
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Just Show up!

Last week things were pretty crazy at the Woest home to say the least! Not only did we launch my ebook (finally) but Tony and I also transferred the Membership Area to a better program with much more bells and whistles (all for you ladies:)

We switched everything at about 10 pm on Thursday night, and what was suppose to be a “wow!” moment turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Nothing worked! The ladies here in the US were sound asleep and unaware of the fact that they could not access ANYTHING, but around the world some of you ladies were waking up, and I was freaking out! It felt like being back in math class: I had to go through a long equation to figure out where I’ve made a mistake that brought me to the wrong answer!

Fortunately we got it all figured out (as you’ve probably noticed) but not until 3am Friday morning!

After a week of late nights I was beyond the point of exhaustion when my little girl woke me the next morning at 6am with a “Mommy, I need breakfast!”

Now if this is not the perfect excuse to not show up for exercise, and not spend time with God I don’t know what is! My dilemma though: I’ve made a commitment to show up, no matter what!

So of course I did the right thing…NOT!!

Sorry to disappoint you, but this girl is very much flesh and blood and I caved! I stayed home, watched Dora the Explorer with Christie and ate toast and jam. I didn’t feel to bad though. It was just one day, I deserved it, I worked so hard…

One tiny problem: Saturday morning came and I felt the same way… I now had other excuses…

I was still tired plus I had a headache. This time however, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me off the hook: I was reminded that I promised to show up! So I “showed-up”  but with the attitude of a rebellious teenager and the face of a stubborn two year old. I was mad and felt very, very sorry for myself.

I know you’re waiting for this story to turn the corner, but not quite.

I was half walking, half hanging onto the treadmill, trying my best not to fall off. My time with God afterward didn’t go any better. I was laying on the couch, half asleep. I couldn’t focus on anything! I was thinking to myself “Well this is just a bunch of baloney, who am I kidding, I’m wasting my time!”

The rest of the weekend had the same rhythm to it: Me showing up; no fireworks, no revelations, no calories burned, nothing…

Only this morning did energy and hope return to my life and while I was lacing up my running shoes I remembered… there was a reason why I just had to show up! It was not because I didn’t deserve the rest, or because the exercise would magically revive me, or because I was about to get some great revelation. No, it was all about showing up  to keep the momentum going (never mind how pathetic the effort)

Of course this happened before. I would go to the gym, just because I promised God and myself that I would, even though I barely did anything. Other times I would lay on my face before God, or stare at my Bible, feeling nothings, hearing nothing and wondering what exactly I was waiting for. But there is a lesson and a test in all of this. The Bible says that we will only reap a harvest if we do not give up! (Gal 6:9)

I can promise you that if you keep showing up at that gym or tennis court or wherever it is that you go, come rain or sunshine, sickness or health, PMS or not, you will eventually want to do more. One day you might just decide “I can lift that weight” or you might look at the older and rounder bodies around you who are jogging their hearts out and decide “I can do that”

If you keep showing up in God’s presence the same will happen. The Bible that’s now just lying open in your lap might one day come alive before your very eyes, reaching into your heart and bring healing to those very broken places. If you keep laying on that carpet morning after morning, surrendering your life to Him, you might just see Him take the wheel of your life in the most amazing way. Even better yet, you might just see His face, and never be the same again!

Just show up, dear sister. Always expect a miracle, but please don’t give up if it doesn’t happen on your time table. We don’t see the whole picture, but if we just keep showing up, God will show us His glory and change us (2 Cor 3:18)

Don’t believe the enemy when he tells you that your efforts to get active are pathetic, or you can’t feel God anyway, or the Bible is boring. Refuse to listen to him!

Let my words ring in your ears “Just show up… just show up…just show up” (Think Dori in Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…)

If you have been showing up for a while, it might be time to step up though. Listen to what God wants to do. It might be time for a new Bible study, or you might be ready to read a book on exercise that can get you moving or help you spice up your workout (See my Suggested Reading List)

Never mind where you’re at though, the moment you stop showing up, trouble is knocking at your door. The good news: You can start showing up again today!

I’m sure you have funny stories to tell about “just showing up” yourselves. Let’s hear some of them!

Oh and thanks so much for all your prayers last week, God is doing a good thing!

Lots of love,
Heleen

Count Down to Ebook Release!

BookCover12It’s finally ready, the ebook I’ve promised you guys for so long! The best part: IT’S FREE! You can get it Friday, August 14th, on my Website. Go check out the count down!

I’ve wrote this book “God will I ever be free?” over a course of two years. Yes, of course I procrastinated, rewrote and wondered if I should write it at all, but all along God was nudging me to surrender more of my life and write it all down.

So here goes:  My story of struggle, surrender and victory. Much of the journey, I’m afraid, was done in my own strength, hence the struggle. By grace alone I got a clue along the way, and after some serious surrender, what do you know, victory!

After all is said and done, after programs and diets and counseling, we still need to surrender. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that captives are set free,  broken hearts are mend and food addicts stop eating!

Isaiah 61 :1-3 (NIV)

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Did you read that: An Oak of Righteousness girl, that can be you!

Please pray for me this week dear friends, I will be needing it.

Sorry for not having a decent post for you, but please keep an eye on your Inbox if you are a member: You girls will be getting the first download links to my ebook on Thursday night:)

If you’re not a member, don’t be sad, you can get it too on Friday morning, bright and early:)

Lots of Love from a tired sister

Heleen

Sluggish Metabolism? Pump some Iron Baby!

Weight training
Do you tend to ignore the whole weight-lifting-for-women-thing? Why? Are you afraid that you might bulk-up? Maybe you’re just using it as an excuse as I did. I’m ashamed to say that I was terrified of the pain involved! So there you have it, I’m a bit of a sissy.

However, I knew in the back of my mind that I should probably try and lift more than the 5 pound weight I have been lifting, oh so diligently (once a week), for the past ten years…hmmm…

I was inspired to do more through a friend’s blog. I’ve told you girls about her before, her name is Sandy Cooper and she wrote an excellent post on Friday about this very topic (must confess, I feel a little like a copycat:) You will find the post, 14 Reasons to Lift Weights on her blog, God Speaks Today, and it is just jam-packed with information about the benefits of training with weights. Please go check it out!

So, to get back to my point: About six months ago I was doing cardio consistently, but not so much anything beyond that. Then under the inspiration of Sandy I set out to read Body for Life by Bill Phillips. It’s a great book and gave me the push I needed to start pumping some iron myself.

I wrote an article Weight Training is for Women too back then when I just started and this  is a quote from that article: “My posse of treadmill walkers looked at me funny. The men with the big arms looked at me with suspicion, but the few strong ladies around gave me “the nod”. You know which nod I’m talking about, the one that says: “You go girl!”

So where am I now with all of this?
Well, cardio, healthy eating and taking care of my spiritual and emotional well being helped me to loose weight in the past, but I have to say that my metabolism only picked up it’s pace the day I strapped on those funny gloves, loaded up those weights beyond a familiar number and surprised myself.

Did it hurt? You betcha!

Was it worth it? Seriously, it was worth all the sweat, pain and tears!

How do I know my metabolism is faster though?
Well, I can tell that things are working as they should again by the fact that I don’t immediately gain 5 pounds from eating 5 cookies. In fact even if I have a lousy day food wise, I don’t gain any weight (if I just get on track the next day of course). This was not true for me in the past. After years of  starving, binging, purging and following all kinds of diets, my metabolism was sluggish, to say the least. It would take me months to shed only a few pounds, and then I could pick those few pounds up in a matter of days! It was so frustrating and discouraging.

Weight training also brought some other benefits to my life:
I have more energy and I discovered that my arms actually don’t have to wiggle and jiggle like they used to. Those jiggly arms used to be a  great source of amusements and entertainment to the men in my life! However, this summer I’ve  showed them:) I even ventured out and bought some T-shirts!

Seriously, the weight training also improved my endurance during cardio, playing with the kids and… well… lets just say it has benefit my marriage in unexpected ways:)

Something else I got from reading Body for Life: I was inspired to do cardio for 3 days a week and weight training for  the other 3 days. This was huge for me! I was a sound believer in cardio 5 times a week (at least). However, it was really hard to stay consistent. It was just such a huge undertaking, hitting the treadmill 5 times a week!

So, taking a break and doing it every other day has been a big mental motivator. I do weights on my “tired” days, such as Mondays, and schedule cardio for the days that I’m bound to not be so exhausted. It has worked for six months now and it has made exercise so much easier and more enjoyable.

So I’m extending the challenge to you: How about giving it a try? Go get that book at the library, and go read Sandy’s blog. It will inspire you for sure and you might just be joining me in testifying about: “The wonder of having a metabolism that actually works again!”

If I could do it, I promise that you can do it too girl.

This was something way”unnatural” for me, but it gave me a huge shove towards victory.

Go pump some iron, baby!

Love
Heleen