Healthy Living Update #2: 20 Days In

Image courtesy of mojzagrebinfo, Pixabay

Image courtesy of mojzagrebinfo, Pixabay

I remember reading online somewhere that it takes twenty one days to form a new habit. When I logged into MyFitnessPal today and my news feed told me that I had logged in for 20 days in a row, I thought immediately of that 21 day myth. If tomorrow is Day 21 of this new life, then why does every day feel like such a challenge?

Perhaps this is too much honesty for you on a Monday morning. But I promised myself to be transparent here, so  you’ll get the struggles along with the “wins”. Since I blogged my last update, I survived a wedding celebration intact and have maintained my goals of documenting my food intake to assess my nutritional wellbeing. Most days, I don’t walk around feeling physically hungry. I’m fueling my body with greater intentionality than ever, so the food I am eating is both healthy and delicious.

BUT, focusing on what you eat and what’s in it is much harder work than I’d previously understood. Because this is not simply a “diet”, but rather a dramatic lifestyle change, I feel like a toddler learning to eat for the very first time. I’m overcoming a huge obstacle in that my disinterest in cooking has meant that I have a huge learning curve if I’m going to succeed at this. In short, it feels like a lot of my mental bandwidth is going into food stuff these days.

With every bite I eat or any moments I spare planning and preparing, I’m trying to remember what a gift it is to even have something at all to eat. So many in our world suffer with hunger and thirst. Please, if you would, say a little prayer that I can submit physically and emotionally to making good choices not just for the next day or two, but for a lifetime.

On the positive side, I met with a trainer at my gym. This was a big first step, but also led to a bit of confusion. Our first session dealt with healthy eating, but the nutritional information he gave me was a bit different from what I’d been reading online. As a result, I have requested that my doctor refer me to a nutritionist who can help me to come up with a trusted plan. Stay tuned!

Another “win” was my overnight trip to Los Angeles last week to attend a film junket for the movie “Risen”. We dined at the famous Farmers Market in LA and I had a fantastic meal from Moishe’s. At movie junkets, food is usually provided, but often the hospitality room choices are “temptation” types of food. Thankfully at this event, it was easy to make a few good (and delicious!) choices. I’m finding that as I learn more about nutrition, but also as I make intentional decisions, travel is not the burden that I thought it would be.

A last, and somewhat goofy, little bit of sharing. About ten days ago, I bought myself a gift: a Lodge cast iron skillet. I’m on the lookout for good recipes, especially for vegetable ideas, so if you have any recommendations, please leave them in the combox below.

A bible verse for this week: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Prayer for this week: “Father, thank you for the gift of healthy food. Please bless those in this world who suffer from hunger and thirst. Help me to give more generously of my resources to serve them and to share the gifts you have given me. Give me strength to carry out your will for my days and courage to persevere in the knowledge that my life is a beautiful gift from you.”

A question for you: Do you consider your efforts to get healthy to be a temporary goal (for example to lose a certain amount of weight) or a lifetime decision?

Copyright 2015 Lisa M. Hendey


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.


  1. Best and easiest veggie cooking tip I have: roast in the oven or grill them; add olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Even vegetable haters eat them cooked either way, especially roasted.
    And, it’s a total lifetime change/plan.

    • Deanna, I will now show myself to be a complete cooking dummy: HOW do you “roast”? Is that a particular temperature setting? It happens in the oven, right? But how hot and for how long? I need pretty specific instructions.

      • Sorry. Use either a rimmed baking sheet or pan, you want the vegetables to have room. Cut up whatever you are using, drizzle olive oil, add the spices and stir. Put in a 350 oven until the vegetables are tender. Another option is to put them in at 250 and roast them “low and slow”. I don’t always have time for that! Some good combos: broccoli, mushrooms, and tomatoes; yellow squash, zucchini, black olives, eggplant (peel it first). Green beans are great. The other thing I like to do is cook a bunch of vegetables on the weekend and then heat on the stove during the week or add to salads for lunch. We don’t eat any grain products or sugar of any sort and rarely eat carby vegetables. The changes in how we feel are tremendous.

  2. Yes, definitely, a lifestyle change. When I saw how much better I felt all around I knew there was no going back. And what you call “mental bandwidth” I dub “yet another set of rituals to follow.” 🙂 Lots of strategic planning but sometimes it’s kind of fun when I think of ways to keep favorite treats in moderation. The app certainly helps! Frankly though I’ve lot interest in food over the years so it’s proving to be easier than I thought to give up certain foods. Feeling better each day is a terrific motivator!

  3. Hi Lisa! I love this topic, thank you so much for sharing your story! I consider wellness and nutrition goals to be a lifetime/lifestyle decision. I started thinking about these issues a few years ago when my doctor told me that my cholesterol was somewhat high. I decided to try looking at what I was eating and incorporating more (fun!) physical activity into my daily routine to do what I could in this way. I really love the 100 Days of Real Food web site, and I just made their refried beans recipe last night:

    The verdict was: my husband and I loved it. The kids both thought corn tortillas were the worst thing they had ever tasted, but Henry enjoyed the beans much more than he thought he would based upon what they looked like. 😉 My 4 year old on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with a single bean. “No Beans!!!” You can’t win ’em all. 😉 There is a 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook that I have, and use A LOT:

    Maybe you’ll find some recipes you like in there too! They have a lot of meatless options, including “burgers” made from quinoa. Sounds odd, but they’re good. 😉

  4. How about some meatless fajitas? (You can add in any meat you like). Cast-iron skillet is PERFECT for cooking these.

    I actually bought the Dip Diet book we spotlighted last week. It has a lot in it about intentional eating, and that’s what I need to pay attention to doing.

    Also, over the weekend I made a slow cooker of chicken chili blanco, which is very low-fat, low-salt (chicken broth from scratch), but high in protein and fiber. This was for an event, so I had about 4 servings of it left over. That was my lunch today and for a couple of other days this week.

    Since I have a sweet tooth that won’t quit I am making cookies today, but these are high-protein and low-sugar, so that’s as good of a cookie as I could possibly have:
    This time I’m trying them as slice-and-bake cookies so I only will make a few at a time, and they’ll be portioned out. I do that for my diabetic Kid, so I can do it for me.

  5. Definitely lifestyle change due to recent bloodwork. I was extremely anemic and now cast iron is all I use. I’ve ditched all my other pans. They work great in oven too. Rinse off with hot water while pan is still hot, dry thoroughly and wipe with coat of olive or coconut oil. The more you use it the more nonstick it is. Thanks for the Monday encouragement.

  6. Definitely a lifetime decision! It is hard. I long for the day when the transition is over, and I just live this way without thinking … and I don’t crave sugar anymore. I totally get the mental bandwidth it takes … Makes my head hurt sometimes! Glad you are doing this series, Lisa. It makes the situation of health and wellness feel less lonely.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.