Archive | July 2013

What Is Happines?

WealthHow many times have we heard someone say, “If only I’d win that lottery, my troubles would be over!” or “If only I were thin, I’d be happy!” thCAW293XE

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”  Proverbs 16:2

 

 

Will having a perfect body make you happy?  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.”  A pure and grateful heart is more pleasing to the Lord than a small waistline or celebrity status.

Perhaps relationships will make us happy? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob thought that, but quickly discovered that spouses, siblings, friends and children can break a heart. Humans have character flaws and will eventually let you down. Let our plumb line be centered not on others, but on Christ who is truly perfect.

Money? It’s futile to believe that if we won the lottery, our worries would be over.  Does great wealth provide security? No, not even for King Solomon. Solomon possessed greater wealth than anyone and yet declared, “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”  Ecclesiastes 1:1b.  He had it all: wine, women and song but it didn’t buy happiness. Power and other materialistic provisions require a heavier responsibility.

All Solomon’s wealth, power and thousands of idol-worshiping wives drew him further away from his Center of Influence, his LORD God.  If you are not happy within yourself, no amount of materialism, or lack there-of, will change that.  The more wealth Solomon accrued, the more meaningless his life became.

But trials allow us to rely on the Lord  Let God make a difference in your life. Find real joy that comes from within: Salvation. It is a gift from the Lord! The apostle Paul began his life with great wealth but gratefully relinquished it for God’s greater glory.  He knew what was important in life: contentment within.  Let Christ be the center of your influence and experience real Joy!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippians 4:12

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Eat Like a Baby!

Psalm 127: 3-5 

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

baby eatingWe could learn a lot from babies. For example, have you ever noticed how a baby eats?  It’s almost impossible to get an infant to eat if it’s not hungry!  Instinctively they’ll eat only until they are satisfied. Then they stop.

That’s what we should do – eat till we’re satisfied, not until we’re full. Somewhere during the course of life, our dietary instincts become altered.  For example, most babies when they get their first taste of salt, make a face, detesting the flavor.  But eventually children develop a taste for it, even crave it.

Our desires can similarly change. We start craving the ‘saltier’ things in life: excitement, sweets, larger portions. Nutritionally, a hormone called ghrelin changes our body chemistry until we begin to crave fattier foods like a Whopper or Big Mac.  The solution?  Eat every 3-4 hours before your blood sugar level drops and cravings begin. Bring a snack to work or carry one when shopping. But if hunger kicks in, develop strategies to confront the temptations it brings.

There are several biblical applications you can put into place to withstand temptations:

  1. Be prepared.  ( paraphrasing Psalm 127: 5b” We should not be put to shame when we meet our opponents in battle”)  Our opponent is temptation. If we know how our body works, we can fight against this. Have healthier snacks such as grapes with cheese and crackers, yogurt with berries or peanut butter on a whole grain muffin. Consume a small combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat every 3-4 hours. This makes our bodies run like a well-oiled machine to flee temptation.
  2. Be cautious of developing an insatiable desire for something that can hurt us! Let’s not make an idol out of something that could control us – that includes food. Today we live under grace and as it distinctly states in 1 Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is permissible . . . . but not everything is beneficial. . . “    A temporary joy can bio-chemically anesthetize us to its dangers. But eventually the consequences could catch up, including diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, cholesterol and heart disease. Destroy our temple of the Holy Spirit and the devil wins.
  3. Be aware that peer pressure comes at any age.  Just because someone made your favorite brownies doesn’t mean you must eat them or you’ll hurt their feelings.  Proverbs 1:10, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” And “But I made them just for you.” isn’t an excuse!  If someone said, “Hey I bought this heroin just for you!” would you give in?  I would hope not. If you’re suffering from chronic heart disease, brownies can be as dangerous as heroin to your system. Would you give in then? Thank the giver, freeze and dispense tidbits later.
  4. It takes a lot of self-discipline to remain steadfast. 1 Corinthians 16:13. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”  Don’t be taken down by a cookie! Find a reward you desire more than food: a new cologne, scarf, shoes, book, nail polish, movie tickets.  I think it was the Jenny Craig organization who stated ‘Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”  So true!

Lifetime success begins with baby steps. Let’s start walking toward the Lord!

Jesus and children

Why People Quit Diet Plans

discouraged dieter (2)Has anyone ever woken up and exclaimed, “Man I’m so happy I’m unhealthy today!  Thank you Lord!”  Of course not! Then why does someone, after deciding they want to get healthier, give up?

For a number of reasons:

1.  Diet plans are too complicated.  Some require a precise formula of carbohydrates, protein or fat grams and then breaking those down into caloric intakes.  Very few people can calculate in their head to figure out fat and sugar gram  percentages.  And every food breaks down into a combination of carbohydrate, protein or fat – so how can one even determine that realistically?

2.  Some require weighing and measuring.  Who wants to weigh and measure every single item they place in their mouth forever? However, I do recommend this for a short period of time to educate ourselves on how large something is.

3.  Some expect the same results as the celebrity spokesmodel.  Those celebrities have had an entourage of help. They live in large homes with the latest exercise equipment and have access to personal chefs and a masseuse. They are offered professional counselors to whom they are accountable. And don’t forget the loss of big bucks if they don’t produce results!  That’s an incentive!

4. A plan doesn’t fit into every day life.  Does your profession require a lot of travel?  If so, it’s unrealistic to consider being on boxed meal plans. How would the meals survive a flight?  And if you drove, it would require a cooler with dry ice and a hotel room with a kitchen. And think of all those wonderfully tempting local restaurants on your drive through town? The first time you ate at a restaurant, it would off-set any weight loss progress, you’d probably get discouraged and give up. Does your job require that you meet with clients, have unscheduled business meetings, or have an unstructured work environment? Once again this type of plan wouldn’t easily work for you.

5.  Some find the plan too restrictive.  (Thou shalt NOT have chocolate!)  Do you want to give up chocolate forever?  I don’t.  Nor do I want to give up a sirloin steak or BBQ ribs occasionally. A good day-to-day diet is a well-rounded one that includes balanced meals of all three nutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats.

6.  If it’s unbalanced nutritionally you’ll always fight cravings but think it’s simply a lack of willpower. Your brain’s hypothalamus controls your appetite and it’s like a miniature mother telling you that you’re low on a specific nutrient. It’ll nag you until you give in and restore balanced body chemistry.

7.  Sometimes life gets in the way and a diet plan doesn’t take into consideration real life routines.  What about a party?  A Wedding? A Class Reunion? A neighbor’s last-minute BBQ? A church potluck? Find a dietitian or nutritional counselor who will incorporate common-sense lifestyle practices into your daily routine.

Conclusion: Dieters get into trouble when they are swayed by unrealistic or false promises, just as Adam and Eve did at the beginning of time.

  1. A ‘diet’ is simply what one eats on a daily basis.
  2. Striving to place only nutrient-dense,wholesome foods into our bodies and building muscle which burns fat, is the key! 
  3. Health requires education, dedication, accountability and self-discipline.
  4. Understand as much as you can regarding  physiology and psychology – recognizing that God created a complicated machine.
  5. Strive for mental, physical, spiritual health, not simply weight loss, and include God as your Balance!

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.‘’  Psalm 139:14

Learning God’s Way

Psalm 32:8  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

father teaching child bike riding

We’ve all seen the father who teaches his child how to ride a bike, even if it’s only in those touching television commercials.  The father balances the child’s bike as he runs alongside, providing a stabilizing influence and assurance of safety.

But eventually the father must let go and allow his children to balance themselves as they continue on down the road without them.  It’s how they learn . . .  even through their mistakes. Trust issues are involved on both sides. A father needs to trust that his child won’t try crazy actions like riding down a steep rocky path, stupid, dangerous tricks or ride in traffic without being extremely aware of his surroundings.

It would be quite degrading and perhaps humorous however to see that father running alongside his child at 19 years of age, still holding on to the back of the bike to steady it.   Of course the young child will probably fall off a few times from inexperience, but he also knows that his father will be close by to offer comfort and encouragement and to never give up trying!  The father must back away eventually – for what child constantly wants a parent hovering over them?  . . . it’s the only way a child learns to make sensible choices.

Our Heavenly Father is like that. Through His Holy Word, He trains us to do the right thing.  He patiently allows us to learn even though He knows we’ll make mistakes sometimes.  He cares deeply but doesn’t hover over us, rather He allows us to make our own choices . . . even if that desire is wrong.

Of course we’ll make the wrong decisions sometimes, usually in our daily habits. We’re not flawless beings. Something as ‘simple’ as overeating at a sumptuous buffet, compulsive shopping, procrastination could begin to rule our lives. Some could even prove more disastrous: such as alcohol,drug, smoking or eating addictions that produce serious physical illnesses.

We’ve all chosen some wrong options which we wish we could take back, but our Heavenly Father is there to provide comfort when we fail. He knows we aren’t perfect and readily forgives if we sincerely ask for forgiveness.  And just like the child who stumbles sometimes, our Father won’t disown us for our mistakes.

“Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s love. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger or threatened with death? No! Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

The first step in change is awareness. Own up to mistakes, ask forgiveness and take steps to overcome addictions.  We must stop blaming someone else for failure because we are the only one who lives in our body. No one else made those choices but us. To paraphrase Dale Carnegie, no one does anything without wanting to.  Sure, someone could put a gun to your head and demand money, but we give it to them freely because we don’t want to die.  Choose wisely and God will direct your paths.  Trust God and claim victory!

Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

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Impatiently Wandering in a Weight Loss Desert

2 Peter 3:17    

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”

wandering in the dessert

Do you consider yourself a patient person?  Are you willing to calmly wait for phone calls, test results, medical exams?

My husband is so much more patient than I am. I’ve always been the more impulsive, high energy one in our relationship. Sometimes my brain moves faster than my words can form, which is frustrating to him. I’ve had to learn to slow down, take a deep breath and relax a bit! Even as I always desired instant answers, my hubby on the other hand, was more of a slow processor, methodical, more grounded. Which resulted in his being a procrastinator at times, frustrating me. For the most part, he too, has managed to conquer that habit. However each of us in our way, compliment each other, keeping our relationship balanced.

Have you ever noticed that  those who are looking for ‘instant weight loss’ are basically unbalanced, impatient people? They want immediate results and they want them NOW!!!  God doesn’t work that way and neither should we.

Impatience has caused all types of ills in biblical history. . . . Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, the Israelites. In fact the Israelites wandered for 40 years in the desert due to their impatience. While Moses was reverently listening to the directions of God on the mountain, they decided that he took too long and wasn’t coming back. So they simply took matters into their own hands and returned to worshiping idols, not trusting God that Moses would return.  Wrong choice.

When weight loss results don’t come fast enough, many Christians take matters into their own hands as well, trying quick fixes and even dangerous diet plans. This simply wreaks havoc on our personal temple of the Holy Spirit.  Another wrong choice.

Choosing to lose on any fad diet, not based on physiology or psychological factors, turn back years of progress too. Each time we lose weight, we also lose muscle and without exercise in the equation, if we gain, we’ll gain only fat back.  It’ll become harder and harder to maintain optimal health!  It’s like we are walking through a sea of sand . . . discouraging!

Skipping meals, an  unbalanced diet, not understanding bodily metabolic functions or not recognizing emotional eating, all result in wandering without a sensible goal. The longer we spend skipping meals, bingeing or trying some crazy fad diet, the more we will mess with our hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is essentially the body’s thermostat.  It releases and balances our hormone levels and also regulates our ‘set point’ metabolism.  The best way to increase metabolism is to increase exercise, creating more muscle mass which naturally burns caloric intake. It’s a personal choice so choose correctly. Stop procrastinating – be goal oriented. Find an exercise you enjoy and do it! Literally start walking out of your weight-gaining desert.

Important: Finding and trusting a knowledgeable nutritionist or dietitian trained in nutritional truth is essential:  basic physiology doesn’t change!

Neither does God.  Let Him be life’s ‘thermostat’ in all your goals. Be controlled by Biblical Truth . . . patiently balanced on our Lord’s desires, which is a delight in His eyes.

Proverbs 11:1  “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.”

Rev Up a Sluggish Metabolism

hot and spicy foodIt’s summer here in Arizona.  Unless we walk our dogs at 5:30 am or exercise in air conditioning, exercise isn’t going to happen outside. No sensible person even lays by the pool in 115 degree heat, (although I’ve golfed in 107).  The wrinkles wouldn’t compliment tanned skin. So what to do? Increase metabolism naturally!

We burn calories even while sitting and watching sports on TV, but of course not nearly as much as doing it. So work out with stretch bands or hand weights, especially during commercials.  Get out and walk, dance, run, play golf and tennis, get moving!