Archive | October 2013

A Lesson on Faith, Teamwork and the Red Sox

Disclaimer: Even though I live in Arizona, my husband and I spent our first date and many afterwards at Fenway Park, and I can tell you emphatically that once a Red Sox fan, always a Red Sox fan!

Boston’s first triumphant victory in their home stadium since 1918 was a Red Sox winglorious win for this courageous city!  Especially since overcoming an uphill battle that seemed insurmountable at the beginning of the year. Considered to be the worst team in baseball, April’s Boston marathon tragedy made that fact appear trivial. Putting everything in perspective, who cared???  Baseball’s only a game.

This World Series win then became a glorious metaphor of life, for there are at least five major points that we can derive from this victory:

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

  • Baseball is not a singular sport, neither is life.  A strong team cares, encourages and supports each other. Everyone needs a support system to succeed in life! The Red Sox were surrounded by enthusiastic fans as well as each other . . .  but who supports you? If your goal is to get healthier, quit smoking or some other addiction . . . build a support system of people who care and are encouraging. God actually created that concept when He stated that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  (Genesis 1:18)  And Jesus built his own support system of disciples around him. If it’s good enough for Christ, it’s good enough for us!
  • Never Give Up! This World Series win taught us how to react when defeatist attitudes could easily drag us down. No matter what negative publicity was expressed, each team member listened to that small voice inside them them that told them, “You’re better than this!Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”  When addressing challenges of our own, don’t listen to anything but the Holy Spirit’s voice inside us, telling us: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13
  • Establish Clearly Directed Goals. Going from”worst-to-first” was Boston’s goal. They never gave up but kept their eyes on the prize.  Establish your own personal goals! Without one, you will surely flounder without direction. The Red Sox created small goals; win each game, the play-offs, then the Series,  So create personal goals to accomplish great things; eat smaller portions, walk more, drink extra water. You won’t lose 80 lbs overnight and that’s a good thing! The process of learning how to lose will instill the values and discipline you’ll need to keep it off for a lifetime!
  • Each individual team member had a unique purpose but sometimes their position’s overlap. Just as a shortstop will cover second base when needed, sometimes I’ll need more support from my husband, sometimes he’ll need more from me.  Don’t be afraid to ask for additional assistance or training from someone in a better position to provide it.
  • Everyone needs to listen to a good coach!   John Ferrell, congratulations, you’re amazing!  I fervently pray that you know the True Coach so spectators can watch baseball in heaven!  (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Now I have a suggestion to the Red Sox: Shave off those Sampson beards as a team for Charity!  (They’ll grow back)  I’m sure Fenway Park would be a great team venue for that.  Whether it’s for the Boston Strong marathon  survivors  or some other worthy cause, it would speak volumes for those who no longer a voice in which to do so.

Top Foods to Help Beat the Cold/Flu Season

Samantha has hit another intelligent, timely post “out of the ball park”, to use a World Series analogy. (I spent most of my dates attending Red Sox baseball games in Fenway Park so please forgive me if I wax nostalgic this week)

You’ll always find something of interest on her webpage so check it out!

STAY HEALTHY with SAMANTHA

The time has come my friends.  Cold weather, runny noses, the flu epidemic. With busy schedules and the holidays, this is by far the worst time to get sick.  Lucky for you, there are a wide array of foods you can eat to help keep you healthy and happy during this time of year. Studies show that infection-fighting vitamins and nutrients work best before symptoms start, so load up on these immune-boosting foods now to help keep you and your family strong during this cold/flu season.

immune

  • GARLIC.  Garlic has been known as a powerful infection fighter since the beginning of time.  Garlic contains a compound, allicin, which has been proven to stave off drug-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses.   You can add fresh garlic to almost anything! I love throwing some garlic in with sautéed veggies, soups, sandwiches, etc.  Add some garlic to your favorite recipes and you will keep those nasty infections away…as…

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How to Stay Motivated When No One Notices Anymore

Here’s the scenario:  You start out enthusiastically on a new healthier eating plan and begin seeing the pounds drop off. Your family, co-workers and church friends start to notice too and encouragement abounds!  people complimenting

Fast forward another month: you receive more compliments on how nice you look in some stunning new outfits. Lots of “that-a-boys” come your way. You beam a wide smile and thank them, determined to continue.

Another few weeks pass and the praise has declined. Even family members seem to take your weight loss for granted. You sigh, anticipating the upcoming holidays with all its scrumptious party appetizers and desserts.

What’s a person to do?? No one cares anyway, you shrug, so what difference would it make if I begin again in January?

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

No one notices???  GOD notices!

Of course it’s nice to get compliments . . .  we all love compliments! Don’t beat yourself up over it.  But if that’s the only reason we strive to get slender, it won’t work.  Humans tend to disappoint each other. We aren’t perfect and sometimes we’re too involved in our own little world to notice others. Sad but true. Fact: We must get healthy because we want health more than we want cake!

We should get healthy because it’s what’s best for us and our Christian testimony! Ask yourself, would anyone want to be you?  Strive to be your most excellent self!  God doesn’t expect perfection from Believers, but He does expect  obedience. What has He asked us to be? HOLY! 1 Peter 1:16 states, “for it is written: Be holy, for I am holy.” It’s hard to be holy when we make an idol out of food.

weight loss before and afterNow God also expects us to enjoy life. Christians are supposed to exhibit a cheerful attitude, confidence in their faith and be disciplined in all aspects of their lives.

Proverbs 8:33 “Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life.”

So here’s my advice: make weight loss a game!

  1. Keep a chart of your weight loss on graph paper. Be competitive. Tell yourself when you reach another three-pound loss, you’ll finally purchase that DVD you’ve wanted. When you’ve reached ten pounds, purchase that new cologne or scarf you’ve waited for. (Anything but food.) For every few pounds, reward yourself as we did when we were young.
  2. Use your visualization skills and visualize ugly fat coursing through your veins or smeared over your face. Yuk!
  3. Find new support partners by creating a healthy cooking club. This can be done online too if you start to follow the wonderful healthy food bloggers at WordPress.
  4. Create a scrapbook of new clothing styles you’ll try when you reach a certain goal. Place a few pictures on the fridge to encourage you.
  5. Join a walking, swimming, bicycle or sports club in your community.
  6. Get your children involved! Get them exercising with you while watching your favorite exercise or Zumba instructor on television. When you win by losing, they all win!
  7. Place affirmations around the home: on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, computer, auto dashboard. Remind yourself of 1 John 4:4 and Philippians 4:1

I urge you to find positive actions for health but if that fails, find a picture of our Lord crucified and place THAT on the fridge or cupboard.  Jesus died for all sins, even the sin of gluttony.

Get healthy in gratitude to God for giving us such an abundant life in this jar of clay you placed us in!

Ridding Yourself of Headaches

. . . and no, I’m not talking about that crabby co-worker.  I’m speaking of that piercing, recurring headache which finds you seeking a dark room and laying down for a while.  What can we do about those? Before you reach for that dog with headacheaspirin or Tylenol, try some natural ways:

First, drink plenty of water. Dehydration can leave our arteries thin and pulsating. Water enlarges our veins so blood can flow more easily. It washes toxins out of our system, restoring hormonal balance and prevents toxin-producing constipation  Aren’t headaches exhausting?!  It’s tiring fighting against toxins!

If you are an habitual cola or coffee drinker, relying on caffeine to get you through the day, it’s NOT advisable to go cold turkey to get off the stuff. Gradually tone it down – and I mean over days or weeks. I once counseled a patient who drank over 30 cups a day (!) and it took two months to wean her off of it.

Another side affect of excessive caffeine is that it artificially revs up our metabolism.  Therefore there’s a possibility we’ll gain weight when we cut down our intake. Caffeine, nicotine are drugs and are NOT the way to lose weight because our body will recognize an unnatural threat and shut down our metabolism to protect us. If you’re a smoker, you’ll most likely incur headaches upon cessation of that habit too.

Caffeine is fine in moderation but also dehydrates and is a drug, so there could be withdrawal symptoms. Be advised that certain common medications taken for a headache also contain caffeine;  Anacin, Excedrin, Dristan, Midol . . .  If you take daily medication, drink plenty of water to maintain balance.

Second, get out in the fresh air. Fresh air releases natural endorphins which make us feel good. Go onto your patio or deck and recline, laying a lavender-infused cloth over your forehead. Play soft music in the background and feel the tension exiting your body. Of course if your spouse wants to massage your shoulders, that’s an added bonus! If you’re fortunate to have a pool, swim several soothing laps and see if that doesn’t make you feel better through water’s buoyancy. If you feel up to it, take a tranquilizing walk along the beach or in the woods. Nothing relaxes better than fresh sea air or pine!

Third, place a small amount of tabasco sauce, horseradish, wasabi or equivalent spicy seasoning on a teaspoon and swallow.  The brain then releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Serotonin acts like a fireman over-powering the flames with feel-good chemicals which regulates the constriction of blood vessels!  (Hot spicy foods is one of my recommendations to those who suffer from depression too.)

Fourth, try regulating blood flow with hot/cold compresses. Place a heated towel on your lower neck for a couple of minutes.  Then place a cold compress over the same area.  This allows the blood flow to pulsate, hopefully relieving the problem quite quickly. Make sure you drink water to again wash those toxins out of your system.

Fifth, place your fingers against the area affected. Press and inhale deeply through your nose slowly until you your entire lung area’s constricted. Hold it. This process increases nitric oxide, which relaxes and dilates the arteries.  Then slowly exhale.

Sixth, increase magnesium, calcium based foods: leafy greens, yogurt, bananas, walnuts, etc. which relax blood vessels.

Don’t lose heart, remember this too shall pass!

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-17

Craving Chocolate isn’t a Personality Flaw

As  my “New Year, New You” class began one morning, I placed a single Dove Dark Chocolate piece in front of each attendee. I never said anything, just watched.

Dove ChocolateWell, it didn’t take long. Some opened it and ate immediately. Another placed it in her pocketbook. One man gave it to his wife. Most kept it in front of them, awaiting instruction.

Then I asked the question, “Why did you act as you did?”  Almost all of them shrugged subconsciously. Then someone broke the ice. “Well, I thought you were going to take it away from me, so I ate it before you could!” Laughter ensued, opening up the discussion. “Well, I know my wife loves these, so I gave it to her.” I was waiting for you to tell us what to do.” “I’m saving it for after lunch.” “I thought it was a test and I didn’t want to give in.”

“Well,”  I explained, “I suppose in a way it was a test but probably not in the way you expected. It wasn’t a test of willpower, it was a test of reaction. How we act around food tells us a great deal about ourselves. I was curious to observe how you would react to a seemingly ‘bad’ food. Decision-making and how peer pressure influences you. Until someone knows why they eat the way they do, they’ll never change our habits and reactions around food.”

So what would you do?

If you’d eat the candy right away,  you’re likely an independent thinker, sometimes rebellious, a ‘show me why that’s important’ type of personality.  You’re saying, “If it makes sense I’ll follow your direction, but if it doesn’t, forget it, I’m doing my own thing!”  These are the type of patients who need common sense instruction. Like what does this mean to me in dog years? This personality is trained like a great race horse. As they learn, let them take control of the reins.  They accept responsibility for their actions but need to understand diet truths.

  Timothy 1:7 states, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Those who waited for instruction, indicated they were strict ‘rules and regulations’ types. They follow instructions but won’t show initiative unless they know their actions are approved. They don’t want to look foolish or make mistakes. They are people pleasers but expect perfection from themselves. These tend to lean on a counselor as a crutch. If they begin to get too close to their  goal, they’ll gain weight, afraid to break the bond and be on their own.  They need confidence and belief in themselves.      

2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourselves approved by God . . .”

The husband who gave away his candy to his wife, thought his actions were kind. In actuality, he became a saboteur.  His wife, a people pleaser, couldn’t hurt his feelings, so she ate it, sabotaging her efforts. This couple, I would urge to be each other’s support system for good not evil. Giving in or enabling another’s bad habits is never a good thing. Strive to build each other by being a support partner.

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Be aware of how you act around food, pressing on toward the goal of becoming your own New Creation, pleasing God in all things.