Archive | June 2013

Stop Dragging Around Excess Emotional Baggage!

A wise man once said, “He has not escaped, who drags his chains behind him”.

man dragging suitcasesIf we carry excess baggage, mental as well as physical, we will never break loose from the constraints that chain us to the past. Until we recognize why we eat as we do, we’ll never break free enough to control our eating habits! Face it, living through an awkward puberty or in a broken home isn’t easy. Sometimes our favorite memories, perhaps Mom baking cookies or eating at McDonald’s, comfort us and provide the emotional security that’s missing in our grownup lives.

Philippians 3:13, 14,  “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Forgiveness is challenging and forgiving yourself is sometimes hardest! Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to go back and erase something they’ve done or said, causing pain to others?  Knowing humans have faults, let’s learn from the past and strive for a better future, . We aren’t perfect and God doesn’t expect perfection from us.

One of the toughest challenges we are faced with is to forgive others who have betrayed or deeply harmed us. Sometimes our minds just can’t forget the inner pain we suffered due to something someone said or did. But being “good little children” we didn’t talk back, so those feelings were stuffed inside.  Innately we found ways to numb that pain through reckless behavior, drink, drugs or food.

But holding on to the sorrow we experienced is another way to gather attention as well.  Don’t you know someone in your life who loves to be the center of attention? When someone can control and manipulate others by gathering sympathy, is also a way to control the situation and that feeling’s hard to give up.

Christian author, Lewis B Smedes, once said: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Change, like salvation, must come from within! Set yourself free! Dedicate yourself to becoming a New Creation. It’s not an easy process, but certainly worth the journey. Look at others through God’s eyes. Recognize that with God as a team-mate, you can forgive.  If God can send his beloved Son to die for our wicked, disgusting sins, thus forgiving US, then for heaven’s sake, (literally) we should forgive one another . . .  including ourselves!

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

With God’s help, He will restore your attitude; you simply have to be a willing participant.

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Flee Those Tasty Temptations!

 James 1:13, “When tempted, no one is to say, “God is tempting me” For God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

Let’s face it, Satan does NOT want you to succeed. He will do anything in his power to steer Christians  to away from reaching positive goals. He doesn’t want us to honor our temples of the Holy Spirit!  And don’t be fooled, Satan isn’t the ugly red monster with horns and a pitchfork we see in cartoons. Satan is a beautiful, enticing creature – the George Clooney of the angels. He is attractive and very tempting, literally.

Satan discerns our weaknesses, so whether it is  fried chicken, chocolate cake, being a people pleaser or laziness, those temptations will “suddenly” appear when we are at our most vulnerable. If we fall to temptation, we feel discouraged, worthless and a failure.

How do we learn not give in to temptation? First study Scripture!  Believe that as a Christian you inherit your own power to overcome temptation! God wants you to succeed!

Isaiah 40:29,  “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

Don’t stand around debating or justifying your behavior.  “Gee – should I or not?” “Well, I’ve been so good, maybe God wants me to have this Butterfinger and Ellie did say anything was fine in moderation.”  Sure, but not if it’s trashing your temple of the Holy Spirit; your health depends on it and there are some perfectly good grapes in the fridge! God does not want you to have a heart attack!

You know what to do! Flee youthful lusts! Memorize 2 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Cor. 10:13.  Talk yourself into success but heaven forbid, if you give in, forgive yourself and go on. It’s not the end of the world, it’s a learning experience.  Visualize Satan laughing and keeping score if you fail. But he hasn’t won yet!  It’s not how many times you fail, but how you react to failures that builds character and success.

Just imagine you and your family were driving to the Grand Canyon for a vacation. You mistakenly take a wrong exit. Now what?  Do you turn to the back seat and state, “Sorry kids, Dad made a mistake, guess we have to give up, vacation’s over.” Of course not! You’d turn around, get back on the right road and continue toward your destination. You’re not a failure if you make a mistake. You’ve only discovered the correct road to get to your goal, which is the awesome hole in the ground called the Grand Canyon!

Suppose you did give up? Can you imagine the howls of protest you’d hear? How could you consider giving up and disappointing your family?  In the same way, your health dedication  should inspire your entire family.

  1. You’re providing life lessons on self-denial, personal strength, fortitude and character.
  2. You’re demonstrating examples of overcoming challenges to reach a goal.
  3. You are a living example, showing them how to never give up on their dreams.

Corinthians 6:19  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

Honor your personal temple of the Holy Spirit and continue to strive for excellence!

Are You Worth It?

So you want to lose weight but don’t think you’re worth the effort? First, stop that negative stinkin’-thinkin’! Start turning your thoughts into positive affirmations.  If you don’t, then you’re only setting yourself up for failure right from the start.  You must love yourself as God loves you and start seeing yourself through God’s eyes. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all looked like Cindy Crawford or Tom Cruise? No two people are exactly alike and amazingly, God has known each one of us since we were in our mother’s womb.

Psalm 139: 13-14.

 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

In order to succeed in your health quest, you must discover who you are, how you grew up and why you do what you do. The perfect mind,body, spirit connection! God formed us in His very image and then declared, “it was very good”! So first you must convince yourself that you are, faults and all, worth it.  Remember, just as parents love their children, God loves you and desires what’s best for you.  We aren’t perfect, but we’re not junk either!

So what’s the first step? The first step is a mind-set ready for change.  Embrace the fact that you’re unique!

Galatians 6:4 “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to anyone else.”

  1. Have the right attitude.  Strive to change for the right reasons. As much as I wanted my patients to be healthy (and health is more important than weight loss) they had to want it more! As a counselor it is so frustrating to have truth at your fingertips and yet it’s rejected.  Probably similar to pastors who offer a sermon invitation knowing that Christ has the Salvation answer, but is rejected.
  2. No food is good or bad, it’s simply food“All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial.” I Corinthians 10:23.  Now please don’t throw away all the food in your cupboard that some people consider “bad”. That would be wasteful and against God’s principles.  A small change would be to resolve not to purchase any more processed foods or foods laden with chemicals and preservatives and bring it into your house. Because if it’s in your house, it’s eventually going to be in your mouth.
  3. You must start to understand why you do what you do.  Sometimes a cookie isn’t just a cookie. Sometimes a cookie represents warmth, comfort, memories of home, love, security . . . It’s not wrong to eat a cookie if you are in control but if the desire for a cookie is controlling you, then you need to discover why you need it.
  4. Be truthful. I mean, it’s your choice, so why lie to yourself? If you defiantly or covertly eat that cookie, then own that decision! So you failed .  . failure’s only an opportunity for learning.  Start to recognize your challenges so you can be aware of them and begin taking steps to change those  habits. Develop strategies as you continue along.
  5. Keep a food diary for  two weeks. But be honest! No one is going to see it but you so write everything down. You’ll also want to write the time of day and how you are feeling. Discover patterns/correlations and you’ll  begin to improve.

Strive toward excellence, not perfection!  Remember, God doesn’t make junk! You’re Special!

Stay Hydrated This Summer!

Have you ever worked in an office when someone was on vacation and you had to take over their job? What happened then to your desk?  Your paperwork began to pile up, resulting in not being able to accomplish your responsibilities, right?

imagesCA67U0GQWell there’s a similar relationship between kidneys and liver metabolism.  When you don’t drink enough water, the kidneys are basically “on vacation” and the liver has to take over.  One of the liver’s major jobs is to metabolize fat, which it can’t do because it’s working for the kidneys right now. Therefore you get fatter and the body can’t function as it’s meant to.  Drinking water will allow you to reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally and painlessly.

And you thought drinking water was simply to make you full! Yes, water (especially with lemon) does suppress the appetite, but that’s not the main reason you should hydrate. It’s physiology. God created our bodies as this incredible machine. Women consist approximately of 50-60% water and men, 60-70%! (The more muscular you are, the more water you contain.)

Consider also these important incentives for drinking water:

  • Water assists in muscle tone and allows muscles to contract which prevents dehydration making your muscles cramp up.
  • You’ll feel more naturally energetic when you hydrate because your body isn’t fighting the toxins that tire you out.
  • Drinking more water is the best treatment for edema and other fluid retention problems. (Example; during a women’s cycle) Taking diuretics is only a temporary solution because it forces water out of your system and your body instantly knows that’s not natural. It will eventually rebel. It’s best to get rid of edema naturally by drinking water and ingesting water based foods; fruits, vegetables.
  • We’ll be happier campers because water flushes away toxins, making us less cranky!
  • Water moisturizes the skin, making us look younger than we are!  That alone is a great incentive.
  • The more we eat, the more water we need to dilute our food. Eight glasses daily is a great start, the heavier a person is, increase the intake.  If you can’t stand plain water, add an orange or lemon slice for a start. Try pure seltzer water and add orange, cranberry or pomegranate juice for a soda.
  • When your body is thirsty, your brain sends out hunger signals because all food contains water. Drink a glass of water and after ten minutes, see if the hunger pains depart. (If you’re still hungry, eat something small such as an apple, orange or raisins.)
  • Water gets rid of toxins, relieves constipation, ridding the intestines of waste, thereby allowing it to absorb more nutrients.
  • We think more clearly and helps eliminate headaches.

What type of water is best? There’s no need to go out and buy expensive bottled water, you might not get what you think!

  1. Spring water depends on the spring it comes from.
  2. Drinking water bottles sometimes are plain tap water.
  3. Before we installed a purifying system,  I purchased distilled water in the gallon bottles. “But Ellie,” you protest, “that’s what I put in my iron!Distilled water is steamed and drips down in a purified state. It’s pure water and anytime we add an element to water it takes longer for the body to break it down.

Through all this, remember Jesus has given us the Living Water that refreshes and gives eternal life to the soul, our bodies are only temporary beings.  

John 7:38 states, “He believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

But Eating Breakfast Makes Me Hungrier!

That’s right, sometimes we do get hungrier a few hours after we eat breakfast! Ever wonder why?  It’s physiology and has to do with our digestion timetable.

When a person gets up in the morning his body, most likely, has been on an eight-hour fast. It’s now raring to go, saying “feed me!”!  When a person eats breakfast, that basically starts off their metabolism for the entire day. It’s happy!

When you fail to “break that fast”, your body goes into its protection mode. “Oh my gosh,” it screams,  “the crops have failed, we’re gonna starve!!”  then it slows your metabolism down to protect you, because it thinks something is wrong, you’re sick or it’s going to die. (At least that’s what your brain is telling your body)

Carbohydrates, contrary to the latest fads, are our friends!  Your brain, created by God,  feeds primarily on carbohydrates.  God didn’t place Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and then say, “Na,na, you can’t eat any of it though, because carbs are bad for you!” Nope:

Genesis 1:29, Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Simple carbohydrates begin converting to energy in about 15 minutes.  That’s why orange juice is quickly given and so important to diabetics low on insulin.  But carbohydrates only last about 2-3 hours in your bloodstream before you are hungry again. (One reason why we get hungry so soon after most Chinese food, lots of vegetables!) The body should consume mini-meals throughout the day so our blood sugar won’t drop and we won’t lunge for that chocolate donut when we lose control.

Keep yourself going with a good complex carbohydrate breakfast – that means a good quality high fiber (5+) cereal like raisin bran, shredded wheat, Great Grains, or any other that doesn’t taste like cardboard!  Fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or any other fruit will add flavor as well as fiber.  Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and a little maple syrup is delicious on cold days and provide not only B vitamins but a sense of comfort too. Peanut butter on a whole grain English muffin is fine as well.

Protein lasts approximately 2-4 hours before it’s digested.  If you want to cook yourself an Egg McMuffin with an English muffin, Canadian bacon and a slice of light cheese, it isn’t bad for you. But don’t have one every day because there’s not much fiber in it. Why is fiber important you ask? Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into your bloodstream and helps keep you feeling satisfied longer without the typical hunger surge.

Fats take 5-7 hours to be digested!  Consider this:  At 8 am, a typical American who consumes 2 eggs, bacon, fried hash browns and buttered toast will have that fat in their system until 1-3 pm that afternoon.  At noon, lunch consists of a hamburger, fries or a cold cut sub sandwich and chips with a cola. That fat lasts until 5-7 pm in their system. Meanwhile at 6 pm, he might delve into his fried chicken or steak dinner, baked potato with butter/sour cream, a garden salad with 2 tablespoons of creamy ranch dressing (180 fat calories in that alone) and glass of beer/wine.

Do you see how the fat calories just seem to stagnate as the day wears on?  Unless you run up and down stairs all day or you’re a construction worker, you’ll never burn up all those fat calories in a day!

Eat sensibly – eat for nutrients!  Balance your day with approximately 60% complex carbohydrates, 15-20% protein and 20-25% good fats.  Actually make it easy on yourself. Have primarily fresh fruits and vegetables and high fiber or whole, with approximately 6 oz of meat all day. Enjoy Eating!

Bottom line; eat breakfast to rev up your metabolism each morning. Use common sense, don’t stress out. Ate a fatty breakfast? Consume more vegetables for lunch!  You control your own eating habits. Honor God with that control.

Chew, Chew, Chew Your Food . . .

When we were children we didn’t listen to our parents, did we?  We thought they didn’t know what they were talking about. They even tried scare tactics!  “If you don’t stop pouting, your face is gonna freeze that way!” or “You know there are millions of children starving in China, so you better eat that!” . . . yeah, yeah, send it to them.

My mother, bless her heart, even tried creating a game.  She used the rhyming cadence of “chew, “chew, chew  your food . . .  ”  to “Row your Boat.”  Oh I was a stubborn kid!!!  Hated peas most of all . . .  had to sit at the table until I finished them.  Once after they left the room, I lined the leftover peas on the banister, ran in and shouted, “I’m done!”   That day I learned that peas taste better than soap.  (Today I love peas.)

As I continued my nutritional studies, I discovered my mom was smart.  It IS important to chew!  Who knew? Chewing actually releases enzymes!

What the heck are enzymes and why should I care?  Glad you asked!

Imagine your body is a new home that’s ready to be moved into, with the boxes piled up on the front lawn.  A moving company is waiting to place those boxed items inside the house; plates, small appliances, furniture, boxes of clothes and antiques, etc.  Food, packed with nutrients, are like the boxes sitting on the lawn. Enzymes are the workers who transport those items into the house.

In other words enzymes are like a “chemical moving company” packing proteins, fats and carbohydrates into boxes and placing them into the rooms they belong: kitchen, den, bedrooms . . .  Even the most beautiful crystal glasses won’t be useful if they just sit there on the lawn. Someone has to move them into their proper places or they’re worthless. Remember:  your body is the building and enzymes are the movers.

Digestion can’t happen without enzymes No vitamin, mineral or hormone can work without enzymes. Nor can we breathe, eat or walk without enzymes, so when digestion is poor, even the BEST eating plan won’t work!

Chewing food well, releases the enzymes found in saliva, the stomach, intestines and mitochondria.

  • Amylase enzymes breaks up carbohydrates
  • Protease disperses proteins
  • Lipase distributes fats
  • Cellulose digest soluble fiber
  • Disaccharidase digest sugars

Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva – the more we chew, the more enzymes we release. Digestion then stimulates the hypothalamus gland, the control center in the brain which regulates daily activities  such as appetite, nervous system, moods and the senses. Powerful, complicated stuff!  And some believe all this “complicated stuff” evolved from mud clumps!

Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?” 

Honestly now!! Imagine, a man and a woman evolving at the exact same time over the millions of years some believe our earth existed.  Sorry, it takes more faith to believe that then it does to believe that man was created by a Heavenly Designer.

Psalm 139:13-15  “For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Praise God that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! Now go forth and chew!

Are You Rusting From the Inside Out?

The Queen Mary, when it was launched in 1936, was  one of the largest and most beautiful sailing vessels ever created. After it was retired in 1967, it was decided that this magnificent cruise ship would become a tourist attraction in the Long Beach, California area.  But to restore this ship back to its original grandeur would require a great deal of renovation!  So the intricate process of  restoration began. For starters, the boiler rooms, engine room, turbo generator rooms, ship stabilizers and the water softening plant were removed. The ship’s empty fuel tanks were filled with mud to keep the ship’s center of gravity stable.

There were three massive smokestacks on the ship, which the developers also had every intention of scraping down and repainting.  However, as they were in the process of doing just that, the smokestacks suddenly crumbled onto the dock. You see they discovered the smokestacks had rusted from the inside. Nothing but about 30 coats of paint had been holding them up!  The smokestacks had become worthless and needed to be rebuilt.

Matthew 23:28 “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

As I listened to this story, I thought how similar it is to those dieters who try every quick fix, pill or new fad diet  to look good on the outside. They’ve only put on another ‘coat of paint’. They  fail to become healthy from the inside out!  Yes, they might look good for a few years, but time eventually catches up to them. Their body rusts because it fails to receive the necessary vital nutrients and upkeep to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There are no quick fixes to lose weight or become healthy. It is always necessary to eat a well-rounded diet plan of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and exercise in order to maintain your health.  Do you know that even if you eat only fruit and nothing else each day, it will deprive the body of over 50 necessary nutrients? And we know fruits are so good for you!  But consuming only fruit isn’t balance!  Attempting a fad diet is never the answer. The weight returns because one hasn’t learned the process of eating correctly in the first place. Remember the process is more important than any progress one makes.

This a picture of some spiritual lives as well – no substance – only a pious, exterior appearance.  Some Christians pile on the makeup, spend a small fortune on their hair and the most stylish clothes so they look good at church. But then they don’t maintain a close relationship with our Lord during the week.  Keep your Christian life vibrant by feasting on the Word of God, keeping your inner Holy Spirit healthy!  God doesn’t care about the outside appearance, He looks inside – at the heart!

1 Samuel 16:7   “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”