Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Do you reach for food when you are upset? More specifically, do you reach for comfort food?Emotional eating is very common. When we are upset about something, it is only natural for us to seek pleasure. We want the pain to stop, so we try to find a way to feel better immediately. This usually has us eating large of amounts of junk food. For a few moments, the sugar or high fat snack gives us pleasure, so we indulge and eat way more than we planned. Because comfort food has nothing to do with being hungry. 

I am guilty of this as well. Potato chips are my comfort food. If I’m having a bad day, I will usually talk myself into a serving or three. Because in my painful state I believe that I deserve to eat potato chips. While it may make me feel better for a short period of time, the long term effects of this behavior will only bring more pain into my life. When I overindulge in too much junk food, my body responds with inflammation. My digestive system gets upset and I have horrible bouts of nausea. This brings more pain into my life, so I go searching for more comfort. It’s a horrible, self-destructing cycle.

A few years ago, when my body had had enough and decided to rebel on me, I was forced to make some changes. My diet was one of the first things the doctor wanted me to look at. He asked me to eliminate processed food, gluten, and then dairy. The first 30 days was so hard! I realized that I had emotional attachments to food. It made me cry to not eat doughnuts and fast food. I remember crying in the grocery store and thinking that I could not do it. But the alternative to not doing it was remaining sick. So I gave myself a pep talk and worked on changing my thoughts about food. 

I soon realized that willpower would help me to avoid gluten and processed foods for a few days or weeks, but it would not work long term. In order to make a lasting change, I knew that I needed to change my mind-set. That’s when I began educating myself on ingredients and taking a hard look at the nutrition of my food. What I discovered both terrified and delighted me. Seeing all the harmful chemicals in my favorite foods helped me to change my thoughts about it. It no longer sounded appealing to me. Before every bite I asked myself one question, “Is this harmful or helpful to me?” This has helped me to reach for more whole foods that actually heal my body instead of hurting it. 

Now if I’m having a bad day, I have a whole list of things that provide me comfort that has nothing to do with food. 

  1. Walk. Walking and talking to my Lord always helps me. 
  2. Bath. Soaking in Epsom salt and essential oils is so relaxing. 
  3. Prayer. When I take my troubles to the Lord, He always helps me. 
  4. Read. Reading the Bible or another book of encouragement helps me. 
  5. Breathe. Deep breathing calms me. 
  6. Write. Getting my feelings out and on paper helps me to see my situation with a different perspective.
  7. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Sitting in nature and appreciating God’s beauty helps me.
  8. Sing. Singing comforting hymns helps me to get my mind back to where it needs to be.
  9. Talk. Sometimes talking to a friend about our problems helps us to see if differently.
  10. Run or exercise. Cardio helps me to release pain killing endorphins. 

The next time you find yourself reaching for some comfort foods, try one of the things on my list and see if it helps you as well. Then work on making your own list. 

When we change our thoughts, we are able to change our life. 

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Are You Growing or Dying?

Recently, I heard an expression that intrigued me. In a book by Tony Robbins, he said that we are either growing in our life, or we are dying. The statement made me pause and think about my life. 
Sometimes we would love to get to a place of comfort and just hang out there. We get in a rut and don’t want to do more. Perhaps we are satisfied with our life and don’t feel a need to do anything else. But, in doing that, we are limiting our life. In all reality, we are either growing or dying. The good news, however, is that we get to choose which one we want for our life. 
God is strict. He doesn’t give us room to sit on both sides of the fence. He wants us to choose whom we will serve. We can’t live for the Lord, while we are holding hands with the devil. I know that seems harsh but it is true. 
Right now, I am in a season of change with my Lord and it’s painful. I am learning the skill of discipline, and developing a plan to write more. It’s not easy. Honestly, I would love to just go back to bed and declare that I just don’t have the time to write. But, in doing that, I would be following the enemy, and allowing him to steal my joy. While I could definitely make the excuse, and even believe it myself, the Lord will not allow me to get by with it. He loves me enough to push me, and demand that I show up every day and do my best. 

So often I find myself in unfamiliar territory, doing things that I have never done before. It would be so easy for me to say that I can’t do them, but my Lord wants me to trust Him and be willing to learn. We don’t know what we are capable of until we try. 

When I first started this journey with my Lord, I had never written a book before. I had no idea what I was doing. So many times I would cry and tell Him that I couldn’t do it, but He would encourage me to try until I was able to accomplish the task. Anytime that we do anything for the Lord, we will have to do it despite the devil. He is always there to put stumbling blocks in our way. God knows I have stumbled lately. But anytime that I take a step toward my Lord, He always gives me the strength and faith to keep going. 

I am so grateful that the Lord will not allow me to stay in the place of comfort for too long. While He wants me to enjoy my life, He also wants me to reach my full potential. In order to find the level of wisdom, knowledge and understanding that I need to serve Him and do His work, I have to be willing to learn something new every day. 

Where are you in your life? Are you growing or dying?

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, September 23, 2016

Why Fit in When You Were Born to Stand Out?

Why fit in when you were born to stand out? Dr. Seuss had the right idea when he asked this question. Why do we so desperately want to be like everyone else? Why do we so often sacrifice our needs to please someone else? We all desire to feel accepted and loved, and yet we turn to others for this need—when the power is within us. 

The day that I learned to love and accept myself was one of the greatest days of my life. This gift allowed me to become the person that I needed to be. With acceptance and love came peace. And the combination brought pure joy to my life.

Does that make me perfect? Absolutely not. But it helps me to understand that I don’t have to be perfect to be loved or to have joy in my life. My worthiness does not come from things, but from love. God created me in His image. He loved me enough to send His Son to die for my sins. That in itself speaks volumes about His love for me. He loved me when I was lost and He loves me now that I’m saved. He loves me when I’m hateful, when I’m not acting my best, and when I’m hurting and afraid. I don’t have to do anything to earn His love. 

If I fail, God still loves me. If I make the wrong choices, He still loves me. In fact, nothing can separate me from His love. All He wants is for me to be the person that He created me to be. 

My greatest gift to the world is for me to be unapologetically me. When I’m able to loosen the bounds of comparison, jealousy, and fear and step beyond any preconceived limitations and just be me, I’m able to inspire others. This is my journey. My life. And I am the only one who can live it according to God’s plan for me. 

When I try to be like someone else, I suppress my talent. When I take criticism in my heart and nurture it, then I am hurting myself. We have to be bold in our faith and brave enough to be ourselves. This is when joy enters our life.

The world is filled with naysayers, critics, judges, and bullies. They belittle others to make themselves feel more important. Bullies are too afraid to build their own dreams, so they try to tear down the dreams of others. And so often we allow them to take ours as well. 

What we need to do, however, is plant our feet just right. When we totally believe in ourselves, our goals, our passion, our purpose and seek after it wholeheartedly, then the enemy is without power over us. Every day we need to ask ourselves one question: “Who are you living for?”

May God bless you!


Monday, September 19, 2016

The Vision: How to Dream Big

Have you ever had this feeling inside of you that wanted more? In order to have more, we have to be willing to do more. This is usually what halts people in their tracks. If asked, most people would tell you that while they would love to follow their dreams, they just don’t have time. I can’t tell you the number of people who tell me this very thing on a regular basis. “I’d love to write a book, too, I just don’t have the time.” 

The truth is that we all have the exact hours, minutes, and even seconds in a day. Whatever is important to us, will get our attention. Everything else will get an excuse. 

What helped me to get started was more than a dream, it was a vision. In my mind, I thought about the process and how it would feel. I imagined holding my books in my hands, with children gathered around me. As I read my books to the children, I was brave. I was not afraid of public speaking or of someone seeing my scars. In my dream, I was confident, courageous, and I helped others.

Whenever I struggled to write, I would close my eyes and focus on the reasons why I wanted to write. The clearer my vision became the more I was able to do. And I learned to pray for guidance. 

Before we can reach our destination, we have to know where we want to go. Before we go on vacation, we know where we are going and approximately what time we will arrive. We even have directions to help us get there on time and without getting lost. It’s so important for us to develop a plan to help us achieve our goals as well. If not, we end up spending time and energy on things that are not important. 

If I get up every morning and know what I am going to do, and why I am doing it, then I’m able to do more. If I get up, however, without a plan, then I end up wasting my time. Then I get discouraged because I didn’t do anything to move me closer to my dreams. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have wasted my precious time and then wished that I could do it over. 

Since I know this is a problem for me, I take precautions to  prevent me from wasting my time. 

  1. My morning is scheduled. In doing the same routine over and over, I have created a habit. This helps me to continue when my motivation ends.
  2. Remind myself every day of my dreams. I don’t feel motivated every day. But the dream is my why. It’s the reason I do it anyway.
  3. Give myself a deadline. In order to do more, I have to expect more from myself.The time frame is a great way to keep me focused. 

This is just a few of the ways that I work toward my vision. Don’t let your dreams die inside you. Give them life. Let me help. Answer these three questions on you’ll be on your way to accomplishing your dreams. 

  1. What have you always wanted to do?
  2. What brings joy to your life?
  3. How can you help someone else?

P.S. One of my personal goals is that I want to live on the lake one day. Every morning, when I’m sleepy and I just want to go back to bed, I look at this picture from our vacation and it reminds me of my dreams. It’s the encouragement that I need to sit down and write. 

May God bless you and your journey!


Friday, September 16, 2016

How to Overcome the Heartache of Rejection

It happens to us all. We start a new adventure, whether it’s a business opportunity or a relationship, and things don’t go as planned. The feeling of failure overwhelms us and has us thinking unrealistically about our life. Somehow the sting of rejection has us holding hands and having long conversations with our negative voice. This combination is deadly for our confidence and feeling of self-worth. 

The sadness is natural. Something ended or never really had the chance to begin, and the process hurts. While we need to acknowledge our feelings, dwelling on the loss is not necessary. The sooner that we can adapt a new mind-set about the problem, the better. Dwelling on it and going into those dark places, where we put ourselves down, is not healthy or helpful to us in any way. We need to learn how to silence our negative voice with understanding and love. 

During these moments, we need to practice self-love and become our own best friend. As the negative thoughts race through our mind, we need to silence them with the truth. In a state of heartache and disappointment, we are vulnerable and our enemy knows this. He will pounce and use anything that he can find to hurt and harm us. It is important that we act immediately. The longer we spend conversing with the enemy, the harder it will be for us to break free of his control over us. Once the lies start creeping in, it’s hard to see the truth.

Whenever this happens to me, I go to the Lord. Spending time in prayer, reading His word, and listening for His voice comforts me. God is my safe haven. I know that when I seek Him with my whole heart, He will always be there for me. 

Next, I go for a walk. Walking helps me to see my situation with a new perspective. Especially if I am quiet and just listen. My mind has a way of finding a new perspective, if I will just listen. 

Finally, I realize that all things work to my benefit. Sometimes I try to open doors that are not in my best interest. When I can see that it’s not really rejection, but God’s protection, then I am able to accept the situation. God has a wonderful way of turning my heartaches into blessings.

God bless you!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sugar: Is it really harmful to us?

Did you know that sugar is highly addictive? It is also responsible for various health problems. I didn’t really believe that it was dangerous to my health, until I stopped eating it for a while and then reintroduced it. 

When we had our homecoming at church, I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. My mom made gluten free chicken and dumplings just for me. I ate those, as well as sweet potato casserole, and hash brown casserole. I topped it all off by eating chocolate cake. Right away, I felt sick from the sugar overload. 

Even though I had just finished eating and was completely full, the craving for more carbs and sugar intensified. And I became so sleepy. So a few hours later, I ate another piece of cake (to make me feel better). At the time, my mouth was really dry and I just felt bad. By the time that I ate the third piece of cake several hours later, I felt sort of high. I was a little dizzy and all I wanted was more sugar. 

The effects the sugar had on me was scary. The next morning, I woke up craving more sugar. It was as if my body was begging for it. Instead of fixing the french toast that my body wanted, I made a chocolate vegan shake from Shakeology and added in peanut butter and banana. By the time that I finished my shake, my sugar cravings were gone and they didn’t reappear. But the whole process concerned me.

From the moment that I took the first bite, I felt as if I was out of control. It was a downhill spiral of being on a sugar high that resulted in me making bad choices. I ate more food in that one day, than I normally eat in several days.

This whole process opened my eyes. The enemy comes at us in many different ways. He wants to make us sick, and will use whatever vices that he can find to derail us. We need to watch and pray that we don’t fall into his traps. Below is several articles that further explain the harmful effects of too much sugar.

If you'd like to work with me on becoming healthier, send me an email to candidasullivan@yahoo.com. I will help you find a workout program, nutrition plan, and encourage you along the way. 

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Why Patience is the Key to Success

How many times have we wanted to give up or have actually given up, when the blessings was right around the corner? It happens to us all. Most of the time we want instant gratification for our efforts. While that may occur occasionally, it usually takes time to see any fruits from our labors. Waiting and working, and believing that it will happen can be so difficult. But patience plays a big role in our success. 

It took me seven years to get published. During that time, I wanted to give up on many occasions. My mind struggled to believe in the process. In my heart, I knew that if I worked hard and did not faint, when times became hard, that God would bless my efforts. Still it wasn’t easy. A few times, it seemed hopeless and my mind encouraged me to give up—move onto something else that would actually be profitable. But my heart always had a tiny flicker of hope. 

It was that tiny spark of hope that helped me to continue going, when I really wanted to quit. Because when we do something of importance and value, we will struggle with the process. Our focus, however, needs to be on what we have to gain—if we don’t give up.

I had two books released on the same day. Even through the years of rejection, I continued to write and believe. And when the time was right, God blessed my efforts. He taught me so much about patience through the process of writing and waiting. The journey created a memory for me. Now when I’m struggling with something difficult, and it seems that it may never happen, I go back to that journey and remember how He took care of that situation for me. The memory gives me hope and renews my strength. 

It took me three years to write my book, Despite Your Circumstances. It took almost a year for me to write it. Then my publisher asked me to rewrite parts of it. And that process took another two years. I was so frustrated with the book that I wanted to rip up my contract and just forget about it. However, I finished it, and it won a Book of the Year Award. 

God wants us to be patient. Things will not always happen when we want them to, but when we persevere despite the obstacles and trials, God will reward our efforts. 

It’s the same way with a healthy lifestyle. We often start with big expectations, but when we don’t immediately get the results that we desire, we quit. If we would continue, however, and realize that it takes time and a daily effort, then we would be able to get the results that we want. 

When we are working toward a goal or waiting for a prayer to be answered, then we need to remember these three things. 

  1. God always does what it best for us, even though we may not understand it at the time. 
  2. Everything has an appointed time.
  3. God is faithful.

Have a wonderful day!

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra