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Would you like to improve your energy level and clarity of mind, and lose weight naturally? If yes, the seven steps outlined in this article will guide you. Jesus told us, "The thief's purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" John 10:10 (NLT). Are you living life to its fullness? If not, are you ready to take steps necessary to birth a new you?

The health of Americans is poor, with over half having a chronic disease, and a third suffer from obesity. I believe a contributing factor is the overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. If you would like to get off these addictive substances, follow this seven-step plan.

Step 1. Decide to improve your health through proper nutrition.

The decision to improve your health and well-being is very personal. No one can make this decision for you; it is your choice.

Step 2. Acquire knowledge and a support system to help make a lifestyle change.

Learning which foods are harmful versus beneficial is crucial in sorting out what you should eat. Sweets and refined carbohydrates are addictive and harmful to the human body. The food industries spike our foods with sugar, and this causes us to become addicted. In addition, as the whole food is processed it is stripped of its nutritional value to extend its shelf life, which increases the food industry's profits but depletes our health.

In addition to acquiring knowledge, it is also vital to obtain a support system to assist you along the journey to improve your health. Ask someone to be your prayer/accountability partner.

Step 3: Clean out the pantry and refrigerator by removing unhealthy foods and clean out your emotions as well.

Remove unhealthy foods from your kitchen so you are not tempted to eat them. Some unhealthy foods include: wheat, sugar, corn syrup, white rice, artificial sweeteners, processed meats, processed foods, margarine, milk products and soft drinks.

God gave us food to nourish our bodies. Yet food can be used for the wrong reasons. As we engage in emotional eating, we turn to food, instead of to God, to appease ourselves. Cleaning out your emotions involves determining your relationship with food. Is it a healthy relationship or dysfunctional?

Step 4: Purchase healthy foods.

Plan your menu and grocery list so you can buy healthy foods. I post menus, recipes and corresponding grocery lists at HealthyLivingSeriesBlog.com. God gave us a vast variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains to nourish our bodies. These wholesome foods can replace processed items that the food industry wants us to consume.

Step 5: Plan for the start date to begin changing your eating habits.

If you are addicted to sugar or refined carbohydrates, you need to take spiritual measures to help break this habit. Reciting Bible verses, praying, journaling, praising God and submitting your life to Christ will help break the chain of addiction.

Step 6: Prepare and eat foods differently than you did before.

Whip up some great recipes. As you prepare your weekly menu, keep in mind the healthy eating guidelines listed below:

  • Buy organic fruits, vegetables and meats.
  • About 50 percent of your food should be fresh, organic vegetables.
  • Eat one fresh, raw serving of a low-glycemic fruit per day. Low-glycemic fruits include green apples, berries, cherries, pears, plums and grapefruit.
  • Do not always eat cooked foods. Eat a couple of servings of raw vegetables every day. Eat a salad for lunch with nuts, meat or an avocado. When eating out, order a salad or coleslaw as sides since both are raw.
  • Plan for 25 percent of your food to be an animal or vegetable protein such as beans, nuts and lean meats. Fish is especially nutritious.
  • A variety of different nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, minerals and essential fatty acids.
  • Eat nontraditional grains such as quinoa, amaranth, pearled barley and oats.

Step 7: Improve your health through continuing this new lifestyle, never turning back to your old eating habits.

As you incorporate these seven steps into your life, your energy level and health improve, and you lose weight. God gave us glorious bodies that heal from all sorts of ailments if we provide them with proper nutrients.

The seven steps provided here are designed to incorporate your entire self—mind, body and spirit—in making this lifestyle change so you can experience a new future. After a week of being off sugar, cravings for it and carbohydrates cease. Live the abundant life Jesus wants you to experience by continuing this lifestyle change for the rest of your life. May God bless you on your journey to improve your health.

Susan Neal, RN, MBA, MHS is a certified health and wellness coach with the American Association of Christian Counselors. She has published three books, including the Selah award winner, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates. Susan blogs and provides healthy menus, recipes and corresponding grocery lists at HealthyLivingSeriesBlog.com. You can find her books on Amazon or at her website, ChristianYoga.com.

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