What Happened When I Eliminated Eggs, Sugar, & Caffeine For 28 Days

This post could have easily been titled “I Gained 15 Pounds in 2018” because I did. Towards the end of 2018 between numerous bought of sickness that spread like wildfire throughout our home and the ridiculous amounts of baking I did over the holidays I discovered I had gained 15 pounds after ringing in the New Year.

I was actually fairly surprised because I didn’t really feel heavier. I honestly hadn’t even been paying attention to how I looked in the mirror. When you have 4 kids time management becomes very important. I could probably win a gold medal at this point for how fast I can go to the bathroom, change a diaper, and get myself and all the kids dressed ;).

In February I knew I wanted to overhaul how I was fueling my body and also commit to exercise more consistently each week. So here is what I started doing.

WHAT I ELIMINATED FROM MY DIET

I eliminated 3 main things from my diet that I knew weren’t helping me. Eggs. Added Sugar. Caffeine.

Eggs

I had been so good about staying away from eggs the last few years but slowly in 2018 I attempted to eat them again, mainly by baking cookies and cake. I discovered several years ago through an elimination diet that eggs gave me severe skin rashes and swollen eyes. In fact the day after I took my before picture that I am using in this post I developed the most horrible all over body hives and swollen eyes I have ever had in my entire life. I had to go to the doctor and was prescribed steroids because they were so bad.

Added Sugar

The amount of sugar I was consuming was ridiculous. The American Heart Association recommends the maximum amount of added sugars women should have each day is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. Most days I was consuming well over this amount. For the month of February I used this recommendation and only ate natural sugars. Meaning no candy, juices, cookies, cakes, breads, pancakes, etc…but instead more fruits and I used maple syrup as a sweetener.

Caffeine

Hi. My name is Tamara and I am an iced tea addict. I love iced tea. I don’t drink coffee or soda but I would take a China Mist iced tea anytime of day. I had been having a really hard time falling asleep the last few months even though I was so tired. So I ditched the tea and focused on drinking more water.

WHAT I HAVE BEEN EATING

When I first wake up I drink a glass of room temperature water. Then for breakfast I have a smoothie with spinach, frozen dark cherries, banana, avocado, chia seeds, water, and a scoop of this protein powder. For lunch and dinner I have either chicken, salmon, or tri-tip with lots of vegetables which is usually a salad or a sweet potato with avocado. I just discovered this dressing and love it.

For snacks I have been making a fruit parfait with siggis yogurt, the Fitnessista amazeballs, or more fruit. Each week I have been trying to drink at least 3 green juices. I am also drinking about a gallon of water daily and making way more trips to the bathroom ;).

MY EXERCISE PLAN

I will be sharing more on this in the next two weeks but I wanted to have a plan to follow because I am always more successful when I have one. I decided to sign up for one month of Gina’s Home Workout Warrior Live plan. I am so glad I did! It came with 5 days of workouts each week and a meal plan. I haven’t really been following the meal plan because of eliminating eggs but it was still worth it. I have 1 more week to go before I am finished. I started this plan on Monday February 11.

THE RESULTS

I feel so much better overall. I am so happy with how I am eating now and that I started exercising more consistently again. I don’t normally weigh myself but I decided I should in February and I lost 6 pounds. I went from 150 and now I am 144.

Before & After Eliminating Eggs, Added Sugar, and Caffeine
Before & After Eliminating Eggs, Added Sugar, and Caffeine

I think it is so important whenever you do make a change like this to track also how your body feels, not just how you look. My periods had been off the chart lately with cramping and heavier bleeding and this month it was so much better! My skin also didn’t break out before my period either which was so amazing. I am sleeping better and have so much more energy. My head hits the pillow lately and I am out. I sometimes even fall asleep before my husband shockingly. And he makes sleeping look like an olympic event by how quickly he can fall asleep.

So there you have it! This was an honest look into the start of my fitness/wellness journey for this year. I love the accountability this blog has provided for me during other times in my life and knew I wanted to connect back to this space again for this reason. I am off to get to sleep because I will be up soon enough to exercise and spend time in the bible before the kids wake up. Thanks for reading :).

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3 Tips For Reading The Bible In 2019

I received a copy of this book from Crossway to review. All opinions are my own. 

The Bible is an epic story that tells us how God made the world and why we are here. He tells us that his son Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead and for this reason we can live with him in heaven forever. God is always good, all the time and his written Word is truthful and worthy of our complete confidence.

Here are 3 tips that I hope will encourage you to start a Bible reading plan on of your own. I am also sharing this to keep myself accountable in 2019! And remember, it is never too late to start reading :).

Don’t Stress, Just Read

Don’t stress so much about what plan you are reading just make sure you are reading. It can be easy to get hung up on finding the perfect reading plan but really at the end of the day what is most important isn’t what plan you used to read your Bible but that you actually read it. It might be easier to start in the Gospel’s or maybe you want to start in Genesis. Once you have determined where you are starting commit to finishing. This goal is worthy to pursue and the truth that will be spoken into your life and that you will be able to speak into the lives of others by reading the Bible is life giving and life changing.

For reference the following is how I have read the Bible different ways over the last 3 years.

Use The Same Bible All Year

This upcoming year I plan to do something I have never done before. I am going to start with a clean copy of the Bible that I can take with me while on the go, that has wide margins for note taking, and one that isn’t super expensive. I plan to take notes on what I am learning or circle passages I want to investigate more at a later time. In 2019 I am going to be using the ESV Story of Redemption Bible. I appreciate the reader friendly typesetting and wider margin space in this Bible and I am excited to see what the inside of this Bible looks like at the end of the year.

Give Yourself Some Grace

If you miss a day, it is ok. Pick up where you left off and jump back into your reading. Things are going to happen from week to week where you might not be able to read your Bible. It is ok to miss a few days here and there just don’t let it derail you. It might be helpful to have an accountability partner who can check in with you and listen to what you are learning as well as encourage you to continue reading.

Along with this, it is ok if you don’t understand everything you are reading. Try your best to hang with those passages. If something really doesn’t make sense schedule a visit with your pastor, I am sure they would love to help you dissect a passage of scripture that you need help understanding. Don’t skip the genealogies because over time the more read the Bible you might just start to recognize a few of the names in those long lists.

I have learned so much from reading the entire Bible. 2018 was my third consecutive year reading the Bible cover to cover. Here are my brief overviews of the major takeaways I have learned each year if you are interested: 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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What I Learned from Reading the Bible

This year marks my third year reading through the Bible and I picked Reading God’s Story: A Daily Chronological Bible which uses a six day a week reading plan to read through the entire Bible in 365 days.

Two years ago I started in the Matthew and read to Revelation and then made my way to Genesis through Malachi. I didn’t follow a reading plan but read at my own pace. And last year I read from Genesis to Revelation and used The Bible Project Reading Plan.

Without further delay here is a brief synopsis of what I have learned from reading the Bible in 2018!

Read The Bible To Know God

I have discovered that reading the Bible is different each year. To date, this year has been the hardest for me to get into the Bible. I still kept up with my reading plan, and was even able to read ahead, but boy, this year has been tough. There were several times this year when I just wanted to cry because of how challenging it was for me to dig into the Bible.

And I think I felt that way because in the last two years I can remember the eagerness and excitement I felt when it came to spending time connecting with God’s Word. And I wanted to have that excitement back. I wanted it to be the same as it had been in the past. And then I had to check myself because while those feelings are great they aren’t the goal. My goal in reading the Bible is to know God.

So I pressed on in my reading, even though I didn’t feel like doing it, even though I could think of many other things I wanted to be doing with my time. I pressed on because I know the sweetness of reading God’s Word. Reading the Bible speaks God’s truth into my life so I can speak encouragement and Biblical truths back into the lives of others. Life change only happens from the one who gives life and if I am not making reading my Bible a priority I can become easily distracted by what the world is trying to tell me I should be focusing on.

Read The Bible When You Are Suffering To Produce Hope

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

This verse in Romans really struck me this year. I have had it memorized for some time and it was helpful to remember that I have the Holy Spirit advocating for me and interceding on my behalf. God’s glory is always evident even in the midst of challenging circumstances and leads to hope.

God takes us through hard times to refine our faith and give us an everlasting hope. A future that allows us to be in his presence forever and that puts sin to death once and for all. Reading the Bible has reminded of this truth and to cling to it.

The Tiny Stories That Reveal God’s Glory

This year I became enthralled with the tiny stories in scripture that screamed at me from the pages and made me pause in wonder. The two that really jumped out at me this year were in the Old Testament. These are brief mentions of what must have been truly amazing and terrifying events that revealed the fullness of God’s power and glory.

Korah’s Rebellion & The Ground Opens It’s Mouth

You have to read Numbers 16 to get the full impact of this story. It is pretty jaw dropping.

God had given the Levites the special job of caring for the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was the portable earthly dwelling place of God. Some of the Levites resented their job and that they were not given priestly status. They did not like their calling and desired to have more responsibilities and rights. This becomes a common theme among the Israelites. They wanted to do their own thing in their own way instead of submitting to God and being obedient to the leadership of Moses.

Enter Korah. He is able to get 250 leaders to rise up against Aaron and Moses. Moses tries to talk some sense into him but Korah is prideful and is not content with the task God has given him. He wants more power and recognition within the community and it his ultimate downfall and he takes other leaders in the community down with him. Literally.

And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. (Numbers 16:32-35)

If you continue reading on in Numbers the sons of Korah didn’t die so we can determine that they didn’t stand with their father as he rebelled. His decedents became temple singers and wrote numerous Psalms.

The Angel Of The Lord Who Defeated 185,000 Assyrians

Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. (2 Kings 19:35)

I want to know what this looked like. Holy Moly! How crazy!

If you are unfamiliar with this section on scripture it takes place when Hezekiah is King. He was one of the very few Kings of Judah who had a close relationship with God, one who did “what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 31:20). Hezekiah destroyed pagan altars, idols, and temples. He also reinstated the Levitical priesthood and Passover as a national holiday. This might not seem like a big deal but when you read about how awful the majority of the Kings were and what they did you can’t help but root for Hezekiah.

The Assyrians invaded Judah and marched against Jerusalem, so Hezekiah sought out the prophet Isaiah, and the Lord through Isaiah reassures Hezekiah that the army will not invade Jerusalem. God keeps his promise by sending ONE angel to destroy the Assyrians. Seriously so amazing!

The Hyssop Branch & Passover Lamb

I am fascinated learning about the connections between the Old and New Testament and the symbolism that is used to foreshadow Christ. This year one I really enjoyed learning about the Hyssop Branch and the Passover Lamb.

When Jesus hung on the cross he was offered a drink of wine on a sponge that was tied to a hyssop branch. In Exodus Moses tells the Israelites on the night of the first Passover:

Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. (Exodus 12:21-22)

Jesus came to free us from death and hyssop was used to ensure that the children on Israel wouldn’t die even when they were being delivered from slavery. Hyssop was also used in rites of purification in Leviticus 14 and Numbers 19 and was associated with God cleansing his people.

Jesus is the Passover lamb and he sets us free from slavery, and his sacrifice on the cross purified us from sin and death.

Overall I am thankful for the ability to freely read the Bible and to own several copies of this book that many others in the world don’t have access to read. This year reading the Bible chronologically was a great way for me to see how the timeline of all the books fit together.

If you are interested in reading the Bible chronogically the kindle version of Reading God’s Story: A Daily Chronological Bible is available now for $2.99.

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