There’s this amazing young woman who I think the world of. She is smart, generous, ridiculously talented, and has a beautiful heart for people. I could go on and on about how amazing I think she is, and I often do when I talk with her, but for some reason, she doesn’t see the same things in herself that I see when I look at her. She regularly questions her ability, doubts whether she’s good enough, and is convinced that she’s not going to get the good things she really wants in her life. She puts up with bad relationships, tolerates unhealthy friendships and shies away from opportunities to step up and do things she’s always wanted to do. I’ve never heard her actually say the words out loud, but her actions, excuses and insecurities scream, “I’m not worth it.”
But here’s the thing. She is. Not because she’s smart or talented or does the right things, but because she was created by a God who spent time actually knitting her together and designing every part of who she is. I believe He’s proud of the individual He created and desperately wants to see her live a purposeful, fulfilled life.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:13-15
You are worth it. Not because you’re smart or talented. Not because you did something right or deserve to be praised. You are worth it because you were created for purpose. Someone spent time on you. You are worth it, and no words, actions, or individual can take that away.
People who don’t think they’re worth it live for less than they deserve. They don’t chase after their dreams, they don’t spend time investing in their self, and they let other people dictate how they feel. You deserve a good life; a life you’re proud of. You are worth loving, even if someone convinces you that you’re not. You are worth investing in, so that you are strong, healthy and capable of doing the things you really want to do. You are worth it. So, so worth it.
You can go ahead and brush it off as a cliche statement that somehow applies to everyone else except you, but the truth is, you are so worth it, whether you believe it yet or not.
If you want to begin to change your mindset, you need to start filling your mind with truth. Start by putting this little reminder on your tech to remind yourself every day that you are worth it. Worth loving. Worth fighting for. Worth living for. You are so, so worth it.
You can download this free YOU ARE SO WORTH IT graphic right here:
Yesterday I shared that I’m going to be taking the next 12 weeks to intentionally invest in my health, and a huge part of that is meal prep and planning. Every Sunday I plan out our weekly meal plan, get groceries and prep as much as I can beforehand! We eat a plant-based, whole foods diet, which basically means vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains, seeds, and nuts. We also avoid processed and refined foods as much as possible. As a result, my meal plan reflects that! I’m also trying to drink at least one raw juice each day! Wish me luck!
Here’s what we’re eating this week. Maybe some of it will inspire you!
Monday Breakfast (B): Vega Smoothie – I start every weekday with a VegaOne Smoothie. They are packed with nutrients including: 20g of protein, 6 servings of greens, 50% of daily vitamins and minerals, 26% of fibre, omega-3’s, antioxidants and probiotics. My naturopath recommended it when I was first diagnosed and I can see huge impacts on how I feel when I take it (I’m not getting paid to say that). My favourite flavours are french vanilla or the natural flavour, especially if want to add fruit to your smoothie, but don’t want it too sweet, but you can also get flavours like vanilla chai, chocolate, mocha and coconut almond. It has a slightly powdery texture when it’s blended up, but I honestly don’t mind it at all! I usually blend mine with a cup of ice, half a banana, 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk and enough water to fill up my individual blending cups. If you don’t want to spend the money on a nutritional shake like VegaOne, a green smoothie is a great morning option!
Lunch (L): Salad with cooked buckwheat groats – If you follow me on instagram, you know buckwheat is my new found love! I’m obsessed! My salads usually consist of mixed greens, cucumber, celery, and whatever other veggies I feel inspires to throw in. I almost always add berries of some kind and/or apple or orange. I add 1/2 a cup of buckwheat and usually top it off with a mix of nuts and seeds. My go-to dressing is Maple Tahini! I’ll usually make a couple days worth at a time.
Dinner (D): Coconut Curry “Noodle Bowl” – This recipe was inspired by this recipe, but we’ve made a few changes and use spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles. It’s AMAZING and packed with tons of veggies!
Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl by Pinch of Yum
Juice (J): Juice #3 – named after my favourite green juice fromGlory Juice Co. in Vancouver. It’s got apple, lemon, kale, cucumber, celery and ginger. So good!
Tuesday B: Vega Smoothie
L: Salad with cooked Quinoa – basically the same idea as Monday’s salad with buckwheat, but sub in quinoa.
D: Broccoli Quinoa Burritos – It might sound a little odd at first, but these warm “cheesy” burritos will satisfy! You can find them on page 159 ofOh She Glows Cookbook.
J: Juice #14 – named after Clark’s favourite green juice from Glory Juice Co! It’s a lighter flavour with pear, cucumber, fennel, lettuce, spinach, lime and mint. Also, so good!
Wednesday B: Vega Smoothie
L: Salad with buckwheat groats
D: Flex – Because Clark and I work on Wednesday evenings we usually aren’t home long enough to make dinner, also Clark doesn’t like to eat before he preaches, so on those weeks I would be eating solo anyway. On Wednesdays we usually have leftovers or something easy like a veggie sandwich or salad.
J: Green #3, because it’s my fav.
Thursday B: Vega Smoothie
L: Salad with quinoa
D: Chickpeas & Lentil Slowcooker Chili – we love slowcooker meals, especially near the end of the week because by the time we get home from work, we’re often tired and feel less like cooking! This chili is delicious and packed with great nutrients from sweet potato, lentils, chickpeas, bell peppers, tomato, mushrooms, and onions! You won’t miss the meat! We’ve modified this recipe a little bit (add mushrooms and peppers and leave out garlic and raisins) and it makes a huge serving!
J: Beet – We’ve been making this juice for a while: beets, carrots, oranges, apple, ginger.
Friday B: Vega Smoothie
L: Salad with buckwheat
D: Leftovers – We always have leftovers, so whatever is is left, we’ll eat! This is also the beginning of More 16, a leadership conference we help lead at the college we work out, so we likely be on the go and will eat quickly or pack our dinner to heat up and eat at work!
J: Green #3
We leave the weekends pretty flexible as we sometimes go out to eat with friends and there is often food left in the fridge that we want to finish up before the next week begins. We often get creative on weekends, experiment, or eat salads and sandwiches!
Cost: I know many people think healthy eating is way more expensive, but honestly, if you do the prep and make things yourself, it’s really quite affordable! Clark and I eat at home almost every single meal (with the exception of lunch for Clark) and our grocery bill for the two of us is rarely more than $100/week. This week it was $79.16 for everything but berries and bread, will definitely come in under $100. Now I will say, we do keep a stocked pantry with things like quinoa, buckwheat, nuts and seeds, and other normal pantry items (which we buy in bulk and replenish as we need them), but this cost is most of the groceries we need each week! Let’s say we spend $100/month (which we don’t) on pantry items; that’s still less than $125/week.
It’s been 16 days since I finished my final round of Lemtrada infusions to treat my Multiple Sclerosis (you can read more about my MS journey here) and I think my body is finally ready to start really getting healthy again. I can definitely see the toll this treatment has taken on my body. It’s affected my energy, my strength, my skin, my digestive system and who knows what else is going on with my internal organs! I know that if I don’t make being healthy a priority I will never see the full benefits of this treatment in my life.
So, I am dedicating the next 12 weeks to my own personal physical health and I wouldn’t mind some company along this ride! Anyone want to do this with me? Starting this Monday I’m choosing to be really intentional about regaining my physical health by focusing on three areas: Rest, Nutrition & Fitness. I’m convinced that if I can be really intentional in these three areas, I can be the strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been!
My goal (have grace with me if I miss a week or two!) is to share my plant-based meal plan each week (Sundays), as well as weekly training updates (Mondays – I’m calling this Marathon Monday!). My hope is that it will not only provide me with the accountability I need, but maybe it will help someone else on their journey too!
I have a feeling I’m not going to be perfect. There may be weeks I struggle more than others, but I know that if I want to move forward and really regain my health, I need to have a plan! So here’s what I’m thinking, I’m putting my own plan in place, but I would love to have a few people to do this alongside! We can share our challenges and triumphs together and really have success in this!
My personal commitment is to try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I find that my MS symptoms are significantly better when my body is well rested, so I know this needs to be a priority for me! That means my goal is lights out at 10:00pm and rising in the morning by 6:00am. I know a 6am-10pm sleep may not be realistic for everyone, so you need to figure out what’s the best time to rest for you!
I tend to try to fill every day as full as I can so my goal is also to take time every week to read and do at least one thing that focuses on resting, like taking a bath.
I am going to be very intentional about eating a plant-based diet, complete with protein, carbs and healthy fats. The majority of my daily food intake will come from fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. I am going to be intentionally try to avoid processed foods including refined sugars and flours. My diet already mostly aligns with this, but there are definitely days when I get lazy and eat cereal for dinner instead of vegetables! Since I’m also a sucker for vegan pastries and ice cream, for the next 12 weeks I’m going to try to add those things in as a bonus to my healthy diet, not as a staple. I’m also going to try to juice every day, even though I loathe cleaning the machine.
Now, I know my diet may seem extreme to some, but it works for me and for my own health goals and needs. You need to do what works for you! I do promise though, if you meal plan you will eat healthier and waste less! Check out this post if you’re not sure where to start!
This is the area I’m most excited/nervous about! On Saturday, June 4th 2016 Clark & I will be running in the Whistler Half-Marathon in beautiful Whistler, BC! I actually set a goal last year to run a half-marathon, but a decline in my health sadly made it unattainable for me in 2015. I realize it’s going to be a huge undertaking, but I’ve set up a 12 week training schedule to help regain my strength and get back running again!
You obviously don’t have to run a half-marathon (although you might be surprised that you actually could!) but it’s important to set some kind of goal for yourself. Maybe you want to try to run 5 or 10km. Maybe you want to try to work out 3 days a week. Whatever your fitness goals looks like, let’s do them together!
So, here’s what I’ve learned: Health goals are so much easier to achieve when you’re not doing in on your own! Let’s take this journey together. We can motivate one another, keep each other accountable and even provide tips and recipes to keep moving forward. Maybe it’s just me, but I could really use the help!
If you’d like to join me on this 12 week journey take a few minutes to think about some realistic goals and comment below on the 3 areas I mentioned: Rest, Nutrition & Fitness. What are you going to strive for? Maybe you made some resolutions in the new year that need to be kickstarted or maybe you just want to continue your progress.
Every week I’ll post about my progress and you can fill me in on yours! I can’t wait to get started! Let me know what your goals are!
My eyes darted across the room to my reflection in the mirror. My head turned away, frustrated, disgusted by the figure I saw, but I couldn’t help but glance back. I was tormented by the imperfections that overwhelmed me, but I couldn’t stop examining them. I pinched at any skin I could get my hands on and sucked in as I angled sideways. I just wanted a good body. A hot body. Thin thighs and a concave stomach. And I was willing to do anything to get it.
At 14 I was terrified to be fat. Terrified. At less than 100 lbs it should have been the last thing on my mind, but I didn’t stop thinking about it. I skipped breakfast, avoided lunch, and purged my dinner the moment I could find time alone. I wanted a good body, and I was willing to starve myself to get it.
By 16 I realized that avoiding food meant dodging too many questions, so I ate. I ate and I purged in secret. Anything I felt was too much for what my body needed, I got rid of the moment I could find a bathroom. I wanted a good body, a hot body, and I was willing to secretly haul nutrients out to get it.
For years I struggled with my body image. Hating my body, wishing I could change it. Coveting girls with smaller breasts and thin thighs. I swung drastically from an unhealthy preoccupation with food to not caring at all what I put in my body (believing that if I concerned myself with food I would fall back into old habits). All of my understanding of what it meant to have a good body was purely visual. Good bodies = hot bodies.
It took time, but I eventually learned how to love myself and treat my body better. Although, I still had some pretty skewed ideas about body that I didn’t even realize were there. I was happy with who I was and content with how I looked, but deep down, I still craved a good body. Who doesn’t want to be hot?
Before we turned 30, Clark and I were both determined to be in the best shape of our lives. We loved running and working out together and had made a pledge to be at our peak physical fitness by our 30th birthdays. We wanted to be healthy, sure, but there was some visual motivation to look good too!
That year leading up to my 30th birthday brought on challenges I could have never imagined. I was determined to work hard for that killer bod, but something was going wrong. I just couldn’t keep up. My body wasn’t working the way it was supposed to.
2 days before my 30th birthday, instead of celebrating my new rock hard abs, I sat in a neurologists office and learned that I had Multiple Sclerosis. My body was failing. I struggled to climb a set of stairs. Some days I could hardly hold my body weight upright. I had lost muscle mass and my body was failing me. I was thin, but I didn’t care. That didn’t matter anymore. I can remember turning to Clark and uttering the words, “I’d do anything for a good body.”
Not thin thighs. I needed strong legs that could carry me.
Not sculpted abs. I needed a frame that could hold me.
Not limited food. I needed nutrition that would fuel me.
I just wanted a good body. Like, an actual good body.
Today my eyes darted across the room to my reflection in the mirror. The edge of my lips turned up into a smile as I looked confidently at my reflection. I was unbothered by the imperfections reflected back at me. Today I was determined to find strength. Strength to walk. Strength to live. Strength to be. I want a good body. A strong, capable body that won’t fail me. A nourished, healthy body that will carry me through the day. I’ll do anything for a good body, but that’s means something completely different to me today than it once did.
There are so many days now I wish I could go back to that 14 year old girl who abused and destroyed the body she had. I wish I could go back and help her see how awesome she could feel, and even look, if she fuelled her body for the life she really wanted to live. I wish the years I had with a good body were better used. If only I knew then what I know now.
Let’s change what a “good body” means and do whatever it takes to keep our bodies good for as long as we can. You in?