Archive | November 2012

The Power of Confidence

I admit it, I’m not a shoe person. I don’t go gaga over shoes. Perhaps it’s because I preferred going barefoot on my childhood farm. I do however, enjoy comfort.  If shoes happen to be pretty, great, but I won’t force my size 7 feet into an uncomfortable pointy pair simply because it’s a designer’s name!  I once had an employer who purchased an $864 pair of heels and while every other gal there “oooh’d and aahed” the Scottish side of me was thinking, how wasteful.

However, last weekend, I found the cutest pair of boots. I tried them on but couldn’t walk far because they were chained together. So by faith I purchased them.  When I got home and finally strolled around in them, I knew I had made the right decision. I haven’t a clue why, but they made me stride taller and feel confident.

One frivolous purchase altered my thought pattern. If changing something on the outside can make one feel self-assured, can you imagine what it’d be like to transform your personal perceptions on the inside and feel totally confident in the Lord?  What liberation!

Self assurance is a wonderful God-given gift.  Not conceitRomans 12:3 rebukes us, ” Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Confidence, as in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace . . .”  confidence. “You’re a child of the King” confidence! Philippians 4:13 confidence!

With God by our side, we can conquer mountains! Caleb did! Conquering our insecurities is in our hands. Believing in our personal positive attributes must be grasped individually; no one else can do it for us.  God will be with us every step of the way for He wants us confident enough to rebuke temptation!

It’s usually those who have been taught not express oneself, to be “good little boys or girls” who need confidence builders. If one spoke his mind, Mom said “now say two nice things.” That teaches us subconsciously that our opinion/feelings are faulty or don’t matter. Don’t tell me how you feel, that’s unimportant, just do as I say. No wonder some bury everything inside, turning to food for comfort. To discover that chocolate doesn’t talk back to you and is like a warm hug against your inner child.

Your opinions and needs matter! We are commanded to speak the truth in love but after so many years of holding the pain within, sometimes we unlock the floodgates and frustration recklessly spews out all at once. Have you ever yelled at your spouse or child and it had nothing to do with them? Usually the cause turns out to be a subconscious painful memory.

Choose Rather to Build Confidence, Breaking that Chain:

  • Stay in the Word. Memorize Scripture. It’s remarkable how a Bible verse will come to mind when needed most.
  • Affirm that you are special to God simply because you exist! Write down your good characteristics. Take steps to change detrimental ones.
  • You are important to your family. Reveal who you are.
  • If truly wronged, don’t attack; speak softly, divulge how a statement made you feel.  If you can disclose those personal moments, such as my father made fun of me in public too, they’ll probably understand.
  • When under stress, don’t eat – exercise, go for a walk because fresh air releases feel-good endorphins.
  • Put yourself in another’s shoes. After your snarky retort, they’re wondering, “what the heck did I do???” Humans aren’t mind readers and if you don’t express yourself, how would they know? Burying your feelings will only kick the can down the road.

Isaiah 41: 9,10 “I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Remember you are not junk, you’re a child of the King. Live confidently!

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Water with Lemon to Lose Weight??? God’s Incredible pH Scale!

On his television program the other night, host Bill O’Reilly, repeated his weight loss tip regarding drinking water with lemon before one eats to curb their appetite. Very true. It works. But how many of you wondered why? Was it just to make one full? Partly . . . but here’s why it really works.

When your body’s PH is alkaline, it’s not as hungry! Lemon happens to be an alkaline food.

So what’s important about that? Because it substantiates what an awesome bodily machine God created, which some view it as simply coincidence.

Psalm 8:3,4 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

Let’s discuss the body’s PH scale. Okay, okay, I can hear you grumbling now . . .  gosh I’m back in school. I promise I’ll make it interesting.  

Visualize a vertical line numbered from 1-14 with water right smack in the middle, neutral at 7.0. Anything above 7.0 is an alkaline item and anything below is acidic. The stomach is 3.0. It must be that acidic in order to aid digestion processes.

Most people who suffer from an illness are acidic. Stress creates an acidic environment. When you’re ill or under stress, your body is forced to borrow minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium from your bones or vital organs to neutralize the acid and remove it safely from your system. These same minerals regulate your heart function! Prolonged stress can cause acute diseases, so take steps to relax. Although the verdict’s still out on whether an alkaline diet prevents cancer, it does make biological sense, doesn’t it? By eating fruits and vegetables, the body maintains a healthy PH and therefore in most cases avoids disease and cancers.

Important: Soft drinks, especially those with artificial sweeteners, make the body acidic! Is it worth the risk??  (And now you’re hungrier so it kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?)

Keeping your PH between 7.3 – 7.45 is considered ideal. Remember your body is 55-70% water. Balance is the key! Alkaline foods consist primarily of fruits and vegetables.

Now I know what you’re thinking . . . “but Ellie, lemon is so sour, how can it not be acidic?” That’s true – lemons, limes, grapefruit begin as an acidic element but transform into an alkaline product as it metabolizes.  Isn’t God amazing?!  And some think this just “happened by chance.”

Therefore if anything below 7.0  is acidic, meats, dairy, sugars, caffeine, alcohol and anything processed are all acidic products. Now you’re saying, “But Ellie that’s how my family eats!”  Bingo, that’s the stereotypical American diet and that’s why we’re such a sick society today!!!  Asian countries don’t eat this way.  Their daily diet consists of vegetables, rice, very little meat. Asian countries also have less cancers.

Eating needn’t be complicated. An alkaline diet is mostly vegetarian. Remember what I told you before? Eat 5x’s more fruits, vegetables and whole grains as meat (3-4 oz) on your plate. Now it’s visual.

Here’s a partial list of beneficial alkaline foods, but remember that anything’s fine in moderation:

  • Fats: Almond nuts, olive, canola, flaxseed oil
  • Grains: Quinoa, wild rice, amaranth, millet, oats
  • Sugars: maple syrup, Stevia
  • Vegetables: tomatoes, mushrooms, potato skins, olives, carrots, corn on the cob, lettuce, beets, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, cabbage, peas, raw spinach, asparagus, onions, raw spinach, broccoli, garlic
  • Fruits: apples, melons, mangoes, papaya, blueberries, oranges, pears, raisins, bananas, peaches, pineapple, grapes, avocado
  • milk: soy products, feta goat cheese

Bottom line: Eat Balanced.  A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, soy products and plenty of water will build your immune system.  Processed foods, too much caffeine, dairy, white sugar, meats and white flour products will destroy your godly temple. Change your thinking, your family’s diet and leave a legacy of health to your future generations.

Thank you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Thank you Liam for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have been a fan of yours since I began my blog just a few weeks after you did, so I appreciate your encouragement!

For those who haven’t found it yet, Liam’s “The Life of a Thinker” Blog, http://thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com  is a lot of fun to read, so please do yourself a favor and check it out. He’s also been plugging away faithfully on his NoNaWriMo all month so I’m not sure he’s even come up for air yet. I can’t wait to find out what his novel is about!  Since he’s British, we’ll just give him a “Hip, Hip Horray, Cheerio Chap, Onward-Toward-Success Bloke,” cheer.

I thought Thanksgiving week would be a perfect time to post this and to thank all the wonderful people who have taken the time to comment on my topics and have told me I have helped them in some small way. So thank you, I value your input and I want to hear from you even more.

As per the rules for this award, I am required to admit 7 things about myself that might not be known through my blogging. So here goes:

1. I grew up on a New Jersey dairy farm that was later sold to a home builder who developed the beautiful Great Gorge Country Club on the site. The quarry, the silo and railroad tracks are all places I played as a kid. Have any of you played golf there?

2.  I had a pet skunk as a child. Or at least until he became a little too old for comfort.

3. I attended a three room schoolhouse during my first two years of school and when we were moved into a larger consolidated school, my family received a truck load of leftover school books which inspired my love of reading and adventure.

4. I attended college classes with Andy Kaufman of television’s Taxi fame and was one of the first to witness his famous Elvis impression.

5.  Being a tour guide in Europe for a couple of years, I actually got paid for escorting guests to Switzerland, France, Italy, along the Rhine River, to castles and monasteries! My favorite country is Austria where we were avid cross country skiers.

6.  We almost moved to Australia but 48 hours before the plane departed my husband got his “Uncle Sam wants you” personal invitation. We’d still love to live there.

7. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. Fearless then, tomboyish and mouthy, I was totally Scout.

Our next assignment for the award is to nominate 15 other bloggers. I find this extremely difficult due to the fact that every blog I follow is special, thought provoking and inspirational. So my apologies to those I couldn’t include but if nominated for anything else, I’ll have an excuse to mention you in the future.

  1. http://drkarendunn.wordpress.com
  2. http://storyland4.wordpress.com/
  3. http://thecrackedpottn.wordpress.com
  4. http://lexiedache.wordpress.com/
  5. http://trifatherhood.com
  6. http://terridawn.wordpress.com/
  7. http://heartofamothersprayers.wordpress.com
  8. http://babscampbell.wordpress.com/
  9. http://saytheblessing.com/
  10. http://imaloverofbooks.wordpress.com/
  11. http://lauramichellesmith.com/
  12. http://babaamor.wordpress.com/http:/
  13. http://jesusandcowgirls.wordpress.com/
  14. http://beyondborders.me/
  15. http://ritchilpgumpic.wordpress.com/

Whew, that was the hardest part because I wanted to include ALL of my 2649 followers. (Okay, okay, slight exaggeration, but I can hope.) Please check out these amazing bloggers who all inspire me to be a better woman, wife, mom, cook, athlete and child of the King.

Congratulations to all of you and again my thanks to Liam.

Gratitude – a Liberating Force

I selected a 10 lb bag of Russet potatoes on sale at Fry’s for 88 cents and smiled at the man next to me, “Wow, what a great price!” He looked at me with a scowl  and replied, “Yeah, but by the time you peel ’em down there’s nothing left to ’em” and walked away.

As he left, I wondered what had happened in that man’s life to make him so negative? Did he gaze at a glorious magenta sunrise and complain that rain was coming to his drought laden fields?  I offered a short prayer that the man would find peace.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thanking God for all the small gifts in my life. For a little dog who nags me for a walk in the fresh air. For a husband who after 43 years loves me, faults and all, as I do him. For a home with adequate supplies and a beautiful view. His mercies this year amidst trials have abounded and I am so grateful.

This world is so expansive. I find myself absolutely amazed that God cares for each one of His creations no matter how much we grieve Him and push him away. What boundless love! If each one of us could emulate it, what a joyful world we would see.

I realize that it’s hard to show gratitude when one’s hurting and I am not immune to it.  I have been through some of the worst that life can dish out but you know what?  I’m still standing! Tribulations have made me stronger, taught me life lessons while God and His angels have kept me safe.

I have drawn strength from Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Joseph, betrayed by his brothers, enslaved in Egypt, was still able to forgive. I praise God for the trials in my life, because it taught me to understand, endure, encourage and strive to become a new creation in Christ. I have found world-wide friends through my writings.  I am so grateful for all of my readers!

I’m certainly no Pollyanna, it took time and a lot of prayer to forgive those who hurt me. But life’s too short to eat bad cheese! Now I see how everything fit into God’s greater plan. I worked for a non-profit Christian organization but left for a very lucrative non-Christian one. It was a fluff position with no glory for God in it. We are commanded in life to do all for the glory of God. I forgot that.

“And whatever you do, whether by speech or action, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” Colossians 3:17.

This holiday season I’m thankful for all I have, not what I haven’t. I urge you to find contentment in the little things in life; the smile on a child’s face, the shade beneath an oak tree, the gift of friendship, another day of freedom . . . don’t allow anyone to steal your joy. Happiness is fleeting but JOY should be anchored to your soul.

Some of my patients couldn’t find it in their hearts to forgive. It became acid that destroyed the very vessel which held it. Christ sacrificed  himself for us, sinful as we are, and even as he suffered, still found it in his heart to forgive those who crucified him. If He can, how can we not? I urge you to forgive and find a liberating peace within. As you sit around the Thanksgiving table this year, pray that others will discover true peace.

Philippians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

“So Many Parties, So Many Tempting Foods!”

It’s the start of the holiday party season.  From now until Superbowl, it’s party, party , party!!  Being the life of the party, you’ve been invited to more than a few. But you’ve been trying to cut down on unhealthy foods.  How do you resist those fattening party appetizers and not gain weight? I know it’s tough – but it can be done!

Simply avoiding social situations won’t help because temptations in life are everywhere. It’s important to develop strategies while discovering how to overcome various enticements.  But you’re not alone. God is your partner in this!

1 Corinthians 10:13, ” No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

That escape is your brain as well as your resolve.  Use common sense.

  • Don’t arrive hungry.
  • Remember you’re surrounded by friends.
  • Do your socializing away from the appetizer table.
  • Alcohol contains 28 calories per teaspoon.

Bring an appetizer you’d like to eat. Low fat appetizers needn’t taste like cardboard. Homemade salsa in a red, green or yellow pepper, surrounded by baked tortilla chips on a colorful Christmas plate looks attractive and is low-fat!

Here are some additional suggestions to get you through “party season hell”.

  1. Create homemade spicy salsa using mango, peach, pineapple, black bean or corn. Salsa recipes are easy. Bake your own seasoned tortilla chips.
  2. Tapenades are very popular this year. Search for low-fat recipes and use crusty bread.
  3. Bring shrimp cocktail and create your own spicy cocktail sauce using lots of horseradish. Spicy foods increase metabolism.
  4. Hummus, a dip made with blended chick peas and lots of garlic makes a fabulous choice. Bring baked pita chips or veggies along for dipping.
  5. Create your own Chex mix with a variety of sodium free pretzels, dried fruit, popcorn, sunflower or pumpkin seeds and nuts.
  6. Bring Bruschetta topped with a spread of tomatoes, garlic, herbed cheeses, pesto or an olive mixture.
  7. There are many low-fat cheese brands; Laughing Cow, Sargento Light, Alpine Lace, Cabot. Use Triscuits as a high fiber cracker.
  8. Try baking pizza squares and top with ham, pineapple, banana or jalapeno peppers, mushrooms,  bell peppers, onions, black olives, etc.
  9. Create black or pinto bean dips. They are low in fat and high in fiber!  Add garlic and it’s a high antioxidant appetizer!
  10. Roasted garlic (bake with drizzled olive oil for 30 minutes) spreads smoothly over wonderful hearty wheat, French or Italian bread.
  11. Want to bake a spinach, artichoke dip? Spinach & artichokes contain no fat and use less fatty, 1-2% dairy products.
  12. Bake “buffalo bites” using chicken breast and place on holiday toothpicks.
  13. Bored with the typical veggie plate? Try seasoned roasted vegetables instead. Add a low-fat roasted garlic dip.
  14. Create your own fruit kabobs with whatever’s in season, pears, apples, bananas, pineapple and place on theme appropriate spears
  15. Set up a chocolate fondue display surrounded by cherries, strawberries, bananas, apples, marshmallows, graham crackers or vanilla wafers.
  16. Make a fruit tray and create the darkest chocolate dip you can. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, copper, potassium and antioxidants.

If you’re having a hard time resisting, use your visualization skills. Visualize that rich Velveeta Cheese coursing through your veins into your heart muscle, clogging your arteries, turning them into a nice golden sludge. (I know, I can really take the fun out of a party, can’t I?) But consider this, if you can get through this one season, by next season the taste of fat won’t be so desirable.  You’ll have beaten back temptation and replaced it with personal, positive accomplishments!

Remember whatever you eat, you’ll wear it. So before you consume it, ask yourself “Is this something I want to wear?” Probably not. Take it one party at a time and after withstanding temptation, you’ll have reached another goal. Congratulations!

“But I Baked This Just For You!”

We are approaching that time of year when we are supposed to be happily socializing with family and friends. Here come the holidays and with it challenges about maintaining your healthy goals. Peer pressures doesn’t only happen during high school. It happens throughout life. You love your family, but . . .

1 Corinthians 13:7  “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Andrea related how she felt. “Ellie, I enjoy being with family but Thanksgiving’s going to be so awkward this year. My relatives always make their favorite fattening foods and push me toward eating all of them. How can I stay on a diet when they’re sabotaging me?”

Good question. The average Thanksgiving meal contains 3,000 calories, so how can we remain in control without hurting feelings? Allow me to provide some practical suggestions to assist you:

  1. During dinner, take small tablespoons of what you’d like to eat and schmush (that’s the technical term) them wider onto your plate. This will make the servings seem larger and fool your brain. If someone notices, state that you’re tasting everything first, saving room for more of your favorites or for dessert.
  2. Try a “princess” movement. Pick up your fork, scoop some food, ask someone a question, enraptured, place your fork down onto your plate while listening.
  3. Slow down! Remember the 20 minute, 30 chews rule. Savor every taste and eat extremely slowly, enjoying every mouth feel of what you eat.
  4. Socialize! That’s what the holiday season should be about! Have a list of questions in your head for Uncle Barney or Grandpa Jerry, so you’ll spend so much time talking, they won’t notice you didn’t have seconds.

Possible sabotage scenario:  Aunt Bertha says during dinner,  “Andrea, save room because I made your favorite cheesecake!”

Okay, so now the guilt feelings start emerging.  How do you get out of this one?  If you are a people pleaser, you’d rather hurt than hurt someone’s feelings so you’ll eat it, right?  Let me ask you, if you were a recovering drug addict and someone came to you and cajoled, “But I bought this cocaine just for you!” would you take it? Hopefully not. Why? Because it would destroy your healthy-living goal and wreck your godly temple, thus grieving the Holy Spirit!

The cheesecake by itself isn’t wrong to eat. It’s how we react to food that’s the key. Who’s in control? Your brain or your emotions?  Your weight goal or the cheesecake?

First acknowledge your aunt’s kindness because I doubt her intention was to sabotage you. What you don’t want to do is state that you’re trying to get healthy because that might insult her, insinuating that her foods are unhealthy. It could even create a tirade of family protestations, “You look great!”-“You can’t lose any more”- “You look gaunt!”, inhibiting your restraint.

Privately to Aunt Bertha state, “What a thoughtful gesture! Would you mind if . . .” while previously resolving to:

  • During dinner eat less stuffing, gravy, candied yams and eat a small sliver afterward.
  • Take a piece home, break it into smaller bites, freeze and consume over several days. (Call your aunt and let her know how much you enjoyed it even more the following day.) You probably did because you can savor the taste without feeling uncomfortable.
  • Walk ten miles the next day for an entire piece or five miles for a sliver. Remember, it’s your choice – you’re in control. Exercise it off, don’t wear it!
Titus 2: 11,12  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”
Where there’s a will there’s a way.  You can have your cheesecake and eat it too if you strategize beforehand. Be prepared, have a Plan and a Plan B.

Weight Loss Tricks to Get Past The Plateau.

Weeks of rigorous dieting and you discover the scale hasn’t budged one ounce! Discouraging!

Now you’re at the point of quitting. “Why bother? Maybe God meant for me to be at this unhealthy weight and I’ll just go back to eating cake and be content.”  No, God grieves when your Temple of the Holy Spirit is unhealthy!!

When the scale doesn’t move, you’re probably at a plateau. Were you at this particular weight previously for a while in your life? If yes, your body thinks this is where you should stay.  It happens to many dieters. We have what is called a “set point” where your body’s weight and exercise level believes your metabolism should be “set”.  While you’re silently crying out, “get my weight off!” your brain whines, “but I thought this is where you’d want to stay.” It’ll take time but the scale will move eventually.

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions to attempt to shake up your metabolism and start losing:

Vary your food intake.

  • Boredom sabotages many a diet. There’s one statistic stating that we consume the same 12 meals, 80% of the time.  This creates a pattern of “same old calories in – same old calories out!”  We have so many different ethnic foods available: Mexican, Italian, German, Asian and so on. Different herbs and seasonings contain nutrients which have different purposes in metabolism.
  • Consume spicy foods: horseradish, hot sauce, salsa, wasabi, hot peppers and anything hot/spicy have a way of jump-starting your metabolism naturally while providing valuable nutrients.
  • Consume more water based fruits, vegetables and soups. These foods convert into water, quickly passing through but leaving energy producing nutrients behind. The fiber expands, you feel fuller as you eat them and fiber binds with fat, drawing it out of your system.
  • Consider a few days of juicing to shake things up. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients an juicing gives you the widest variety.
  • Try something crazy for just a few days.  One day consume only fruit, the next vegetables, the next juices.  This isn’t how you’ll live continuously, it’s just a “jumpstart” with the difference being you know it’s simply a gimmick.
  • Consume water with lemon or clear broth before eating.
  • Vary your caloric intake over a few days. One day 1200, then 2000,1500, 1300, etc.

Vary your exercise routine.

  • Lift different weight variations or use stretchy bands and complete different exercises, using different muscle groups.
  • Don’t sit still even while watching television!! Move throughout the day!
  • Consider walking outside in the cold air. Your body will need to expend more energy to keep warm.
  • Use fast, inspirational music (Rocky Theme?) to exercise with or add a different dance to Zumba. Variations use different muscles.
  • If you walk/run, vary your speed throughout your routine; jog, sprint, run, walk, sprint again.

Consider your habits:

  • Know what you consume! Have you been unconsciously eating? What about sampling the dinner as you prepare it?  Most cooks taste and suddenly they’ve added 100 extra calories.  If this is a problem, consider eating a peppermint candy or chewing gum while you prepare dinner, brush your teeth or have someone else test food.
  • Have you ever jumped into an icy pool and felt your heart race? Taking a cold shower or drinking ice water also jumpstart your system in a small way. Your body must reve itself up to keep warm.
  • Are you drinking less water? Increasing your water intake aids digestion, allowing your liver to metabolize fat.
  • Don’t believe your own publicity! You’re not “gaunt.” Saboteurs abound. I’ll devote a whole blog to this soon.

Stand fast, realizing Satan gleefully wants you to fail. Are you going to allow him to prevent your success? It’s your choice, but I say NEVER! Let me know when you succeed.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”