Six Things I Regret Saying to My Son About Food

food regret son

It has been four years since I started my journey to better health through good nutrition and exercise.  In those four years I have learned a lot and I have changed a lot.  My family has been with me and supported me the whole way and through all kinds of crazy.  I have finally found a place of peace and contentment with my relationship with food. But, I know I have said and done things in the past that I am not proud of.  I have been thinking lately about things I have said to my son in regards to food that I regret.  I thank the good Lord that he has turned out okay and from what I can tell he doesn’t have a poor relationship with food.  But, I still look back and I think, “What was I thinking???”

Here are six things I regret saying to my son about food.

 “Oh Buddy. It is okay. Stop crying. Have some Goldfish/cookies/pudding/etc.”

This one hit me like a ton of bricks. I heard someone else doing it and all of a sudden it clicked in my head why so many of us go to food for comfort. How many times when we were children were we offered food when we were upset? Probably a lot. And then I do it with my own child. I am just as guilty as the next person. Why do we do it? Because it works. Eating something delicious helps us be distracted from what really hurts. For kids it really is just distraction and moving their attention from the bad thing to the delicious thing. For adults, it goes deeper because it means we are not dealing with our problems. We are pushing everything further and further down with each swallow.

What if instead of going straight to food for comfort we took a moment to feel the emotions and we take the time to figure out what’s wrong and then do the best we can to fix it? That way the problem is resolved instead of being pushed further and further down while just causing more issues by over-eating.

“You can’t watch any TV if you don’t eat the rest of your vegetables.”

This very quickly equates eating with something bad. Food ceases to be a pleasure. And to my child he sure as heck won’t want to eat any vegetables if it means something bad like losing TV.

“Eat your food. There are starving children in Africa.”

This one really makes me cringe. I haven’t used this one as much as the others because it has always made be cringe. But, I have said it out of desperation. That does not make it any better. We are blessed to live in a place where chances are good that you will never miss a meal . That is a good thing. But, we should not feel guilty for the situation we were born into. Guilt does not achieve anything. I do think my son should be made aware of the world and that many people do not live as we do. I pray his heart is moved to action and that goes on to serve those who are less fortunate than he is. As he matures we will teach him and show him the truth of this world but that does not mean he should carry a guilt that is not his to carry. Food is a joy and a blessing. It is not something to be consumed because you feel bad.

“If you are super duper good while we are out I will buy you a cookie.”

Overtime, in the mind of child this becomes, “Whenever I do something good I should be rewarded with something delicious.” Oh, what’s so wrong about that?? Children who seek food as a reward become adults who seek food as a reward. I am an adult who does just that. I am slowing working my way out of it.

Did you do super well on your diet this week? GREAT!! Cheat meal!! You deserve it!

Did you work hard on your workout today? Yes? Have a special treat. You deserve it!!

I confess I still find myself offering food as a reward to my child. It slips out and I am trying hard to fix that. Instead of offering food I just let him know the consequences of misbehavior and completely leave food out of it.

“You can’t get up until you are done with your dinner.”

The only thing this does is it teaches your child to ignore his or her hunger/satiety cues and then force food down just so he can move on to the next thing. It also causes undo stress as you battle it out. As I have learned more about my own hunger cues and when I am full I am respecting my son’s more as well. Now, he will say,, “Mom, I am satisfied. May I be excused?” I will respond by saying, “Yes you may, but be aware that I am not cooking anything else today. So this is your last chance to eat. Are you really satisfied or do you just want to get up?” At first he would be just trying to get up and would want food later. Now, more times than not he really is satisfied and does not want food later. Helping him learn what being satisfied truly feels like will set him up for a healthy lifestyle as an adult.

 “Dad and I are eating veggie soup. Do you want a sandwich?”

All this does is teach my son that he never has to venture out of his comfort zone when eating. I don’t want him to grow up to be an adult that has a very limited appetite because he never learned to try new things. Dinners are eaten in community as a family. Some meals are made for the adults (a.k.a veggie soup) and some meals are more to my son’s liking. When he doesn’t like the dinner he has a choice to eat it or not. But, I am not making a special meal for him. If he chooses to not eat then he chooses to be hungry. That is still his choice. Slowly, over time, he has started eating the food, albeit a little bit. But, he is slowly becoming more adventurous. We tell him, “It is not bad to not like a particular food. We all have foods we don’t like. But, you need to at least try it a few times before you decide if you like it or not. And you must be gracious to those who are serving you the food no matter what.”

As I learn more about how I relate to food, the more I want to make sure my son does not have the same problems I have had to fix.  The best way I can do that is by being mindful of how I talk about food to him and even around him.   The best thing I can do for my son is love my food and not fear it.

What are your thoughts?

What are some “Food Positive” things we can say to our children to help create a healthy relationship with food?


Six Things I Regret Saying to My Son About Food

The Advocare 24 Day Challenge: A Story Told in Video


I have decided to participate in the Advocare 24 Day Challenge along with a small group of friends. I have been a big fan of Advocare for quite awhile but I have never done the 24 Day Challenge for myself before now. After some time of stalled progress in my performance goals I figured it was time to dive in head first and see where this takes me.

My goals for this Advocare 24 Day Challenge is to basically give my body a reboot and build it back up so that it is ready to progress in performance. Body Recomposition will possibly be an added bonus. 🙂

I will be keeping a daily video diary of my experience throughout this process. These videos will be shot with my phone and then uploaded directly to YouTube. They will be uncut, unedited, and very real. You’ll be coming along the ride right there with me.

Here are the first two videos I posted yesterday.

Day One of the Advocare 24 Day Challenge

Advocare 24 Day Challenge Overview

From this point forward I’ll be posting on a separate page. You can look up the videos up top under the tab Advocare 24 Day Challenge Video Diary.” I might do weekly roundups as a weekly blog post too to get you caught up.

I’m excited about doing this and I look forward to taking you on the journey!!

To YOUR Journey,

The Advocare 24 Day Challenge: A Story Told in Video

For The LOVE of Your Body…EAT MORE FOOD!

Cutting Board 1

I have my own journey in food and eating. It has been a long and often difficult journey from restriction to freedom. I know MANY people could tell the same story and are probably still living the story.

The standard restrictive method of dieting is prevalent in our society.

The “1200 Calorie Diet”


I really don’t know who came up with the idea that 1200 calories was the standard number of calories for losing weight.  But, someone did and now you will read about it in magazines, see it on the TV, and hear people talking about it.

I was just as guilty of this early on in my weight loss/health journey.  I made a point to eat only 1200 calories a day for months on end.  It WORKED!  I did indeed lose weight but eventually it stalled.

I have learned a lot about the human body since then.

I had an “AH HA!” moment awhile back.

Check this out:

Let’s say I go into a coma and I’m in the hospital depending on the staff to care for my every need. The staff would need to feed me through a tube and they would use a formula based on my sex, age, height, and weight to figure out how many calories I would need to sustain life. This is called your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This is how many calories per day your body needs to continue breathing, heart beating, kidneys filtering, stomach digesting, brain functioning, etc.  You get the idea. I would not be moving at all outside of assisted turning and such.

Well, I did some calculations and found that my BMR is right around 1450 calories.

1450 calories MINIMUM to sustain a healthy life!!!

(Note: You can calculate your BMR using the calculator HERE.  Enter in your information and calculate.  The first number is your BMR or what you would need if in a coma.  The second number is your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).  That takes into your estimated activity levels each day and how many calories you need to sustain that level.)

But, I’m not in a coma.  I am moving around.  I am a MOM. I am on my feet all day.  I bend. I lift. I chase. I talk. I think.  I eat. I exercise.  All these things require calories to function.  That goes on TOP of my BMR (1450 calories per day).

Are you following me?

So, WHY the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks, would I ever eat 1200 calories?

Once I had this realization and started to EAT MORE FOOD many great things began to happen.

  • I was more satisfied throughout the day.
  • I’m not always gunning for the next meal.  I’m steady.
  • I have far less cravings.
  • I do not binge.
  • I am more in tune with my body and what it needs or does not want.
  • I eat less junk.
  • I have more energy.
  • I sleep better at night.
  • My body is CHANGING! It is a wonder (okay, not really) that I am actually achieving the body I’ve always wanted by giving it the fuel it NEEDS!

Now, I could eat 1200 calories a day and still live. I’ve done it and I’m still alive today.  The body is amazing at its ability to do what it needs to do to sustain life.  It will shut down less critical functions so that its energy can go to maintaining life.

What does that mean?

It means that you live at a less than optimal level.  You aren’t truly healthy and you aren’t happy.  Your body just doesn’t have the resources to maintain those aspects of living.  You are alive but not really.

So, I now eat well above 1200 calories a day.

I eat well above my BMR (1450 calories/ day) every day.

I eat what most people would shudder at the thought of eating.





And my body is doing what I am asking it to do!

So, Please!!

For the LOVE of Your BODY….



I’m always here!


For The LOVE of Your Body…EAT MORE FOOD!

Victim Vs. Victor: Which One Are You?


Reposted from July 22, 2013

A few months ago I was reading through the archives of one of my all-time favorite Facebook pages/website, Lean Bodies Consulting. I read this article and it hit me profoundly. It was a total “AH HA!” moment.

Let me explain.

When you talking to someone who is dieting, how often do you hear her say, “I can’t have this,that, or the other because I’m on a diet.” Or, “UGH! I want that cookie so bad but I can’t!! Whaaaaaa!”

How annoying is that? It is. And I am completely guilty of it too.

But, let’s look at that attitude for what it really is. It is a VICTIM mentality. You are a victim of the food. The food and what kind of food it is is determining what you do and how you feel about it. And the emotions and feelings are more often than not very negative.

What happens over time? The negative feelings towards food, the I can eat that and not that attitude, eventually backfires. You end up eating every last bit of food that was on your ‘bad’ list. Then you feel guilty about it and you hate yourself for giving in. The negativity cycle continues. Eventually you just get tired and your resolve becomes nothing and all progress is lost.

Let’s flip the coin. What if you said, “I can eat anything I dang well please. But, I CHOOSE not to right now because my goals are more important than that food.”


That completely changes things doesn’t it??? That puts everything in your court. YOU are in control. YOU are in charge. YOU make the choices.  Food has nothing on you. Food is just an object that is neither good or bad. There is empowerment here and I love it.

Empowerment Vs. Deprivation

What would you choose?

It is all about mindset. And mindset is a large percentage (90%?) of your success. Get your mind in the right place and you will go far.

Victim Vs. Victor!  Which one are you??



Victim Vs. Victor: Which One Are You?

Why Diets Are Not Rocket Science…

rocket 1

Let’s talk about “Diets” today. 🙂

That is always such a fun topic, isn’t it??

I remember the first time I really learned the word “diet.” I was in the Girl Scouts and my troop was in front of a grocery store trying to sell our cookies to passersby. It took me awhile to break out of my shy shell to actually ask them if they would buy my cookies. A few did buy a box or two but the most common thing I heard was, “No Sweetie. I’m on a diet.” That scene has stuck in my head every since. Funny how our memory works sometimes.

Anyway, Now it seems like everyone and their mother is on a diet.

The Adkins Diet

The South Beach Diet

Weight Watchers

Slim Fast

Sugar Busters

The Virgin Diet

Body by Vi


Plexus Slim



(* This article is written in regards to people making changes in their way of eating in order to lose weight and/or change their body composition. It is not written towards those who have adopted a new lifestyle based on religious and/or ethical reasons. Carry on. )



Juice Fasts

Green Smoothie Diet

Do I need to keep going?? Get the picture. There is a diet for just about everybody. If Diet A didn’t work for you then try Diet B. When Diet B doesn’t work then try Diet C with more gusto. And the pattern keeps going on and on and on.

But, here’s the deal with these diets. They are NOT Rocket Science!!!

I say that because in the end they have the same objective. They reduce calories.


The root of any nutrition plan for the goal of reducing weight/fat is to eat at a deficit so that you are consuming less calories than your body needs so that your body burns fat to retrieve the energy it needs.

Now, most of the diet books you read will tell you that THEIR diet is the ONE because it helps you eliminate this, that, or the other and by doing so you have discovered the SECRET to dropping pounds and inches.

You drop processed foods.

You drop gluten.

You drop grains and legumes.

You drop animal products (meat, eggs, and dairy).

You replace meals with shakes.

In the process of eliminating certain foods or perhaps even meals you replace those foods probably with more fruits and vegetables and other healthier options. If you are coming from a fairly typical SAD diet (Standard American Diet) you are going from a pretty processed diet to a more whole foods diet.

You are reducing calories.

Whole Foods tend to be nutrient dense and not calorie dense. You can eat more but still get less calories.

So, you are eating at that magical calorie deficit.

It isn’t hocus pocus. It isn’t a DIET SECRET that some scientists discovered and the Hollywood star endorsed. It is not rocket science.

Reduce your calories and exercise more. You will lose pounds and inches….just like that**.

This is something you can do on your own by making smart choices and developing good habits one at a time.

Replace the junk with a whole food.

Drink more water.

Drink tea instead of soda.

Drop the sugar.

Get a lean protein at every meal.

Eat more vegetables and fruits.

One step at a time. You can make choices on your own. You can take control of your own health without all the chatter out there from “diet gurus.”


If you really don’t think you can do this on your own then a Nutrition Coach is a splendid idea.  As your Nutrition Coach I will guide in making those healthy habits.  I will hold your hand.  I will encourage you. I will point you in the right direction. I will give you a sensible plan that does not involve a single “diet.” It is balanced and it is sustainable. No Absolutes.


I’m always here,





**Another disclaimer. I acknowledge that there are people out there who are in situations physically that make it harder to lose weight. Hormones. Food Intolerances. Etc. That is why I strongly recommend you hire a Nutrition Coach or even a Nutritionist or Dietician to help you on your path. For the vast majority of the American population, however, it is easier than book publishers and the diet food industry would like us to believe.

Why Diets Are Not Rocket Science…

“No Absolutes” Nutrition Coaching

woman holding apple 2

You might remember my post from Monday. It was rather long and rather hard to write. I had to admit to things I never thought I would admit to.

If you haven’t gotten your chance to read it, go on over to ‘Coming To Peace with Food: My Journey from Restriction to Freedom.’

I admitted to how disordered my relationship with food has been for so many years. That is until now. I have finally found freedom with food through much prayer, soul-searching, and learning.

And I want to share this awesome and liberating freedom with other people.

THAT is why I have become a Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition.

In my previous blog post I wrote about all the different ways I tried to lose weight.  I tried….

Meal Replacement Shakes

Low Fat

Low Calorie


Dairy-Free / Gluten-Free

Extreme Competition-Type Program

I bounced from plan to plan to plan.  It had to be something wrong with the plan!

Not once did I think that there was something wrong how I viewed food.

I had an UNHEALTHY relationship with food.

Now that everything makes sense I can see how my story can help other people.

Courtesy of

Enter my “NO ABSOLUTES” Nutrition Coaching

When I serve as your Nutrition Coach I will guide you on a journey to better eating and healthy living.

I will help you make the right food choices that you can carry for the rest of your life.

I will show you that healthy eating is fulfilling and delicious.

I will give you tools so that you don’t go to food for comfort.

I will help you find your limiting factor (that “thing” that prevents you from being successful) and we will bust through it together.

I will give you a meal plan that includes a healthy calorie allowance for the day and  I can break those calories down into macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) if you desire to be more advanced.

I will stay with you every step of the way.  Bit by bit.  Step by step.  Forward progress no matter how slow.


What does that mean?

I won’t tell you that you can’t eat fruit or certain fruits.

I won’t tell you can’t eat bread, pasta, oatmeal, or rice.

I won’t tell you can’t eat out on the weekends or during lunch.

I won’t tell you can’t eat meat, eggs, or drink milk.

I won’t tell you can’t eat a cookie or a piece of cake.

I won’t tell you NO.

Okaaaaaaaaay? That sounds too good to be true. How does this work?

Well, I give you a meal plan that is customized to you and your goals. Follow that plan and you will lose weight. I will adjust your plan as needed as your body adjusts to the plan.

I will tell you calories and perhaps, the macro-nutrients you can have each day to reach your goal.

How you fill up those provided numbers each day is up to you. I will give you ideas of how to eat in the most nourishing and filling way but ultimately it is up to you.

Overtime, I believe you will realize that the best way to fill your personal numbers is by using whole, real foods. Those foods make you feel good and feel full all day long. You choose to eat that way everyday because it works.

Then there will be days when you REALLY want that cookie. Oh, I get that. Trust me. I will show you WHEN to eat the cookie so it affects your plan the least amount.

You will also need to log that cookie into your log sheet and recalculate those numbers. You then realize that you just used up a bunch of carbs for the day when you could’ve had fruit and been more satisfied.

See how it works?


I will never tell you NO.

I will tell you HOW.

Does that sound good?

Please let me HELP YOU!

You can contact me through my “Contact Us” form or by emailing me at sarah(at)clothedwithstrength(dot)com (repleace parentheses with actual symbols)

I am always listening!


“No Absolutes” Nutrition Coaching

Coming to Peace With Food: My Journey From Restriction to Freedom

fruits and veggies 1

*Warning*  Long post ahead!  But, it is oh-so-important.

Today, I want to tell you a story. I want to tell you my story and it all has to do with food.  It is a story of how I went from restriction to freedom.

This journey really begins way back in childhood.

I grew up in a very good household.  I have zero complaints or problems with how I was raised. I am the person I am now because I was raised by an incredibly loving and supportive family.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am blessed beyond words to have the family I have.

I was raised in the 80’s and the 90’s and I remember vividly the impact of the ‘Low Fat’ and ‘Low Calorie’ methods of dieting.  My parents were doing their best with the information they had.  You want to lose weight?  Eat low fat and low calorie.  That meant cakes with whipped icing instead of cream cheese icing.  That meant unsweet tea and ‘low fat’ versions of all our favorite snacks.  To my very moldable brain it was the first example of food restriction . I want to be thin or skinny so I must restrict all the foods I enjoy and eat the foods I don’t enjoy.

I started down the road of food restriction and food indulgence.

College became a nightmare in my food journey.  I went off to school and was in complete control of what went in my mouth. My school had dining halls that were “all you can eat” and they had so much food. It was all good tasting food too.  I know that’s hard to believe at a college but it was true.

I ate and I ate and I ate and I ate.  And I gained 50 lbs. in college.

I would take note of my weight gain and I would go into restriction mode.  I would go  to the gym. I would run around campus.  I would walk to classes instead of taking the bus.  I would lose weight.

Then, something would happen to upset me emotionally and all the hard work would be flushed down the toilet.   I would gain that weight back plus some all the way to the 50 lbs.  I went from 130 lbs to 180 lbs in college.

As I look back at college, I can see how formative those years were for me in many ways. I defined who I am as an individual.  I experienced true pain and hurt through a couple major losses.  I also experienced TRUE LOVE by finding my Savior and finding my future husband.

I left college knowing I was at an unhealthy weight.  So, I did what I knew to do. I adopted a low fat/low calorie way of eating.  I ate 1200 calories a day (at 180 lbs. ) and only 20 grams of fat a day.  Guess what?  It worked.  I lost weight pretty consistently each week without much exercise.  When I hit a plateau I started going to the gym and I got my first taste of weight lifting. The weight loss got back into gear and I was down to 140 lbs. by my wedding day. It took me a year and a half to lose that 40 lbs. That was on the rather slow side but I did it and I was happy.

But, let me share something with you that occurred during that time. I would restrict my food very heavily during the week (Monday – Friday).  Yes, I was hungry but I adapted and I learned tricks to help along the way.  I told myself I could have a ‘cheat day’ on the weekends but that often meant a ‘cheat weekend.’

Those cheat weekends became ‘binges.’ It has taken me a long time to admit it but I would definitely BINGE on the weekends.  I would eat everything in sight.  I would eat till I was sick.

Then I would restrict even more during the week to ‘correct’ my indiscretions over the weekend. It was a nasty cycle.

Sometimes the cheating of the weekend would flow into the week for various reasons.  Perhaps I was stressed from something or I thought, “Oh, what’s one more bag of chips?  I’ll get back to it tomorrow.”

THIS has been my way of eating for a very long time. I restrict and then I binge.  I feel guilty about the binge and I restrict even more.  The restriction deprives me of so much nutrition that I can’t stand it anymore and then I binge again. Round and round we go.

This mentality has taken many different forms.

I have done meal replacement shakes. If one meal replacement shakes doesn’t help me reach my goals, I will drink two day.

I have done green smoothies. (Note: I think green smoothies are still nutrition powerhouses and I still drink them. It was my attitude toward them previously that was the problem).  Same as the meal replacement shakes.  One doesn’t work?  Drink two tomorrow.

When those didn’t work I started eliminating entire food groups. The problem was always something in my diet.  It had nothing to do with something missing or wrong inside me.

I have gone vegetarian and I have gone vegan not because I thought those were the best option for my overall health but because I thought RESTRICTING something in my diet was the key to success.  It is the animal proteins keeping me fat not the rather frequent binges.

I have done an elimination diet that fed into a more Paleo lifestyle of restricting dairy and grains. The elimination diet, for me, just confirmed what I already knew that I have an intolerance to dairy.  I did see results from eliminating dairy and grains from my diet.  But, guess what?  I would binge!  I would binge until I was sick.

Oh, and how could I forget.  I also adopted a competition diet for a time.  I would follow what girls who compete in figure competitions and I would eat what they ate to diet down for competition.  When done without proper guidance, this is EXTREMELY restrictive. Ten points to the first person who says what would happen quite often during this period of dieting. Yeah. You got it. BINGE! It was horrible and I was miserable but I wanted to be LEAN….by golly!

During this time I was heavy into weight lifting and I was learning a lot about exercise and food.  I realized, oh my goodness, I wasn’t feeding my body enough!  I loosened up a bit on my food.  I allowed myself more calories.  And my weightlifting improved.  All my lifts got heavier.  My body started responding and I was happier and more content.

Slowly, but surely my goals moved from being ‘appearance’ based to ‘performance’ based.  I went from “what should I NOT eat so I look lean” to “What should I EAT so my deadlift or squat get heavier?”

Here’s the exciting part.  My body really responded to the training and the extra calories.  I was leaning out even though the scale rarely budged. I embraced my muscles as beautiful.  I started to actually like my body. *GASP*

It has been a LONG journey. It has been a very emotional journey. It has taken a lot of PRAYER and soul searching.  But, I can honestly say for the first time in my life….


It has no control over me like it used to.

The true root of this discovery is acknowledging that food has been an idol in my life for way too long. I allowed food to control me.  I allowed food to dictate my mood.  I allowed food to be my comfort when it should’ve been Jesus.

I now allow myself to EAT THE FOOD and BE HAPPY!

Does this mean eating everything in sight?  Nope.

It still means making healthy choices.  I eat more fruit and vegetables than chips and soda.

I still have performance goals and junk food does not support those goals. So, I don’t eat junk food. I’m okay with that.  I don’t crave junk food anymore.

Why is it different this time?  Because, I know that I can eat that junk food any time I want to.  I choose not to because my goal is bigger than that temporary junk food.  Also, my GOD is bigger than that junk food and far more FULFILLING than that junk food.

Do I eat apple pie at small group?  Yep.

Do I feel guilty about it?  Nope.

Do I binge anymore?  I am so happy to say now that the answer is NO!

I can eat one slice of apple pie and be content.  I don’t eat two or three thinking I’ll never have apple pie again.  I can have apple pie again if I want it. So, I eat one small piece today and am happy.

This is a good place to be. 🙂  I pray more people can find this place.

This is a BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS reason why I chose to become a NUTRITION COACH! I long to help other people find that peace with food and their own bodies that I am experiencing now. Feel free to message me if you want to talk!

I am ALWAYS listening!!




Coming to Peace With Food: My Journey From Restriction to Freedom