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Taking Baby Steps Toward Success

When we are born, we don’t learn to walk overnight do we? As we grew, first we learned how to sit up, crawl, stand, then take baby steps. We fell a lot too. But one thing I do know, we never gave up. But does a baby whine, ‘Well for heaven’s sakes, I failed again; so I’m gonna sit around on my butt forever!”

Of course not. As Thomas Edison said so eloquently, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”As we’ve seen, babies pick themselves up time after time, eventually running around with boundless energy.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that much energy again? So why do we sit around believing we’re a failure? Because we’re human!Keep striving for success anyway.

As Christians, we don’t become our best self overnight either. Life experiences teach us what works and what behaviors don’t. As children, through life’s experiences, we learn not to touch hot stoves or disturb a dog while he’s eating. By trial and error we grow, recognizing good from bad.

Instilling a positive attitude becomes second nature, building confidence.

As a counselor, amazingly I noticed some patients preferred living with self-pity. It brought attention but it was so wasteful. Some dieters gripe, make excuses and settle for second best when God wants them to enjoy an abundant life!  But then again, many times after a patient finally reached their health goal, I heard the phrase, “Why didn’t I do this sooner? Why did I settle for mediocrity when I could have felt like this?”  It feels wonderful to conquer challenges so strive to become your best self starting today!

“Well that sounds Hunkie-dory Ellie, but how am I supposed to do that?”

With a different mind-set.

  1. Create a chart and reward yourself for each 5 pounds lost with something you want more than food: moisturizers, DVD’s, music, manicures, books, cologne . . . you’ll continually feel successful!
  2. Post a photo on the fridge to motivate you. Keep your goal visual.
  3. Remember you are worth everything in God’s Eyes. He doesn’t create junk!
  4. Give yourself the “pep-talk” and strategize action plans for future situations.
  5. Whatever  actions you do, own them. It’s your body, your decision.
  6. Accept that it’s not easy – you’ll crawl before you walk – but conquering habits feels victorious!

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. “(1 Corinthians 10:13)

Eat well! God didn’t tell you to eat sticks and twigs either. Man created that foolish rule which tells us we’ll have to suffer, eating “sticks and twigs” for losing control. What a fallacy! God provided an abundance of colorful, flavorful food for our pleasure and greater health. The nutrients in those foods will energize our human machine as beautifully as a Maserati. Man-made chemicals will wear us out, making us hack and sputter like an old clunker.

As we strive to become healthier we might find ourselves giving in to cravings, overindulging or feeling lethargic about exercise. We might hit a weight plateau and get so discouraged we’ll feel like giving up. Be kind, forgive yourself. Don’t expect instant gratification, healthy driven people don’t! But don’t sit there on your butt, having a pity-party, whining either. Conquer that inner voice which tells you, I knew you couldn’t do it, you always been a quitter so why stop now? Continue striving for excellence.

The toughest struggle we fight is in our own mind. We’re not a failure, we have worth – God thinks so, why don’t we? Become a Strong New Creation by continuing to grow smartly!

Playing Russian Roulette with Diet Plans

“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. ”  (Proverbs 15:14)

Sometimes gaining experience can be humbling. When I first started out as a nutritionist nearly thirty years ago, I trusted what the experts told me. I encouraged my patients to follow some crazy recommendations of the times, like skipping eggs, potatoes and butter. When I began researching God’s Plan I learned better.

Most dieters don’t get diets right the first time either. So they’ll attempt different plans, jumping from one diet to the next, hoping for the best. They follow blindly without understanding physiology or why they crave food.  By doing so, they are playing Russian roulette with their body.

How many of us have made fools of ourselves by following one crazy diet plan after another? Some blogging sites exhort: cut out a food group, give up bananas, sweet potatoes or legumes. Eat more fat, give up fat, eat tons of protein, cut out all carbs . . . so how are we to know what’s truth and what’s not? By understanding Truth and the process of metabolism makes it less frightening.

Think of it this way: God could have designed us to be energized by solar power, oil or hydro energy. But He chose food as the source of our bodily power. How much more fun is it to consume food rather than oil?  God gave us a gift! When we receive a cherished gift we honor it, right? Then why do we trash God’s Heavenly gift?

Is it any wonder why we feel so discouraged mentally and physically after following unhealthy diets with artificial preservatives, dyes and even chemicals? This creates changes in brain chemistry. We weren’t meant to run on junk food because it interferes with healthy physiology. These harm our bodily functions while  the devil dances gleefully as we give in to foods that produce diabetes, heart disease and even cancers.

I read and follow dietitians, doctors and other nutritionists who practice what they preach while avoiding those who profess myths like “lose 10 pounds in a week!!!” All diet plans will cause weight loss but not all diets are healthy and some are downright unsafe!

Therefore I recommend analyzing yourself first.

Know yourself.  Are you a creature of habit? Does watching a movie mean sitting down with a big bowl of popcorn every time? Habits are difficult to break but it can be done. Create strategies before you go to a food function, like: have a glass of water with lemon to keep your hands busy, sit with your back to the food, memorize motivating Scripture verses or visualize gooey cheese coursing through your veins. By conquering your temptations, you’ll feel victorious!

Why do you eat? Do you eat for enjoyment, guilt, comfort, curiosity, peer pressure, boredom?  Think before eating. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or simply provoked by a feeling? If it’s a feeling, do something else: Read, take a walk, play with the kids, bike, dance, drink water – anything other than eat unless you are truly hungry; then eat a small nutritionally healthy snack. Create an alternative list and post it on the fridge.

Are you motivated enough? To stay motivated, one needs positive reinforcement. Read God’s Word for strength. Our Lord overcame everything, even hunger and peer pressure and he remained strong in his goal. Read positive devotional or autobiographies of inspirational champions who have overcome obstacles. If they did it, why not you?

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

 

So Many Diets – So Little Truth!

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” (Romans 8:9a)

LTSTEBC high resolution cover for TwitterWould you trust a pastor who only consulted outside sources for Biblical Truth?  What if his sermons professed “truth” using his horoscope, a crystal ball, Nostradamus or the New York Times? What if he counseled you in his office using People magazine? Would you trust and follow what he preached? Basically he’s feeding you cornflakes; food with little fiber or substance.

Traveling extensively, my husband and I have sat in many a church pew and heard powerful sermons. However, we have also seen ministers never open the Bible or reference Scripture.  One sermon consisted of the man’s entire vacation, yippie, how motivating. Our young people are floundering, thirsting for clear Biblical direction and they don’t hear Truth from the pulpit! Where can they go for Spiritual Truth? Usually they give up, discouraged; believing the Bible is simply not relevant to their lifestyle.

Therefore I trust you’ll understand my frustration when I hear Christians announce triumphantly at the beginning of each year that they are trying the Atkins, Paleo, carb-free, fat-free, grapefruit or some other gimmicky diet before they ask me for direction, a certified nutritional counselor who worked alongside primary care physicians.

I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve heard, “I don’t understand why I can’t stay on a diet?!”  as they flit from one flawed diet plan to another. There’s a specific reason and it’s either a mental, spiritual or Spiritual one. “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .”  gets to that source.

Desperate people spend hundreds of dollars on special boxed-foods, caloric formulas, videos and even bariatric surgery before they ask me for advice. (My average patient attempted six different plans before they came into my office.)  I’ve counseled all types in my twenty-plus years as a healthcare practitioner.  One truth I’ve always stressed is: Health begins from the inside out! Get to the heart of the “why” and improvement begins.

New Creations Ministries is just that; my ministry. I’m happy to help anyone who has questions for free, but sadly, I am not omnipresent. So using clearly defined illustrations and applications, I created a practical, motivational guide urging all who desire true health to become their most vibrant self . . . and it’s less expensive than a doctor’s visit!

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) is printed in different languages. It contains a study guide and is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, (or Google it.) An e-book only $7 and the 234 page print version is only $14.95.

LTSTEBC addresses nutritional and life situations we all encounter. Using Biblical principles you’ll finally understand the true Joy of living a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. Health is significantly more important than  the number on the scale.

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want his children to suffer any more than we want ours to. Why survive on rice cakes with no nutritional purpose? Eat for nutrients, not for grams and caloric formulas. And learn what that means to you in relative terms!

Please don’t settle for second best and present that self to God. You’re better than that! God wants us to enjoy His Bounty but not make food our god. “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”  (Philippians 3:19) 

Eat nutritionally sound. We wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem so why do we trash our bodily temple?

 

Looking for Magical Weight Loss?

Do you remember when Michael Corleone in The Godfather 3 declared,”Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” He had tried to become a legitimate business man but had been pulled back into the “family” business of deceit, death and destruction.

Don’t we feel the same sometimes while attempting to lose weight? Every time I’m following a healthier diet, I get sucked back into eating junk  food again! We try with all our might to resist the pull of those seductive, sugary, simple carbohydrates by consuming whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean protein. For a few weeks we’ll stand fast, smugly thinking, I’ve got this! But then an invitation to a special event arrives and find ourselves munching on dark chocolate cupcakes.

Why did we self-destruct when our determination seemed so strong?

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) ESV

Sometimes it’s our old nature which seduces us with the thought, oh well, just this once, what could it hurt? Then afterwards we think regretfully, now I’ve blown it so I’ll just start again Monday. But Monday never comes and slowly the weight lost seems trivial and desserts and pleasure take priority. Stand strong, forgive yourself and get back on track immediately.

As a nutritional counselor, some of my patients have weighed well over 500 pounds. But even they were only five pounds overweight once. What went wrong? Had they made food their god? How could anyone be happy living in an unhealthy environment? Now they lived with joint problems, diabetes and other diseases of their own making.

What causes us to self-destruct? It’s important to know why.

Do we not think we aren’t worth the effort? Are we basically lazy or bored eating the same foods over and over again? Why, when there are so many different international recipes using chicken, fish, lean pork and beef. Please don’t suffer with rice cakes and celery which contain little nutritional value. If we eat for nutrients, our metabolism will nationally work efficiency.

Some find comfort in certain foods. However a cookie isn’t always a “cookie.” Sometimes a cookie represents security, comfort or memories of a close relationship with our family. We must ask, why am I eating this? Am I really hungry or simply provoked by a feeling? If it’s the latter, find something else to do which would create positive feelings: exercise, reading, walking,  . . .

Are we searching for the easiest way to health? Packaged foods, liquid diet drinks, pills – none of these will work long term. The only good diet plan is one which teaches us to eat sensibly through a variety of nutrient-dense choices for a lifetime.

At a Home and Garden Show last weekend one lady at a booth was pushing a “miracle” diet product which I found baffling. “Look at my old photo.” She said. “I was 25 pounds heavier a month ago. Now I’m on this special diet. It’s easy!!! For two days I eat all this junk food.” She showed off a display tray featuring  chocolate cake, donuts, cookies, candy, pie, but nothing of nutritional value. She proudly stated, “Then for two days I simply take three pills daily and the fat magically dissolves away!”

Her thirteen year old daughter who tagged along, was also on this plan. Realize that the only good diet is one we’ll stay on for a lifetime. She was setting herself and her daughter up for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.

Research physiological truth, understand and responsibly dedicate your actions to God’s Health Plan. It works.

Following an Anti-inflammatory Diet

If your physician has prescribed an ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ would you know what to eat?  Probably not. It’s one of those  “dog year” questions (relatable in practical terms.) It has to do with the pH scale’s acidic/alkaline relationship.  The more acidic one is, the more prone to illness one becomes.ph-scale

Imagine the pH scale being in a straight line from 1-14.  7 is neutral, (like pure water.) 1 is acidic, (like battery acid) and anything above is considered alkaline.  Balance is what it’s all about. Try to maintain a pH around  7.3 – 7.4.

Coffee, alcohol and soft drinks are incredibly acidic so cut down. Increase your water intake with lemon. Although you’ll notice lemon and vinegar is acidic on the pH scale, each actually metabolizes into an alkaline food. (God knew it all the time!)

The anti-inflammatory diet isn’t a “diet” as much as a lifestyle choice. One thing is certain however, not addressing your health concerns will only create larger ones down the road! Chronic inflammation is dangerous! It is not a “little” problem if you ignore will simply go away. Chronic inflammation can eventually cause intense health issues including heart disease, IBS, colitis, arthritis, dementia, kidney disease and cancers.

What causes inflammation? Stress is a major contributor and in today’s world who isn’t under stress? Find ways to relieve daily stress through exercise, relaxing bubble baths, soft music, fresh air, massages or anything that calms you besides food.

A healthy anti-inflammatory diet is on the alkaline side of the pH scale. It primarily consists of: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat (kashi).  In truth, if you eat as God instructed Adam in the Garden of Eden, you’ll add a lot more life in your years.

Every meat is acidic, especially the processed meats with dyes and chemicals such as cold cuts, bacon or hot dogs, so consume lean protein like fish, chicken, sirloin and pork loin.

Sugar and artificial chemically treated foods are highly acidic. Unfortunately so are the nightshade plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant. This doesn’t mean you must give them up entirely, but only consume occasionally. Balance is the key here.

Wheat, unfortunately, is on the acidic side of the scale. However whole wheat contains a great deal of fiber, so only avoid enriched breads and balance whole wheat products with more fruits and vegetables. Try to consume fiber-rich vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, squash, alfalfa, beans and lentils. The fiber helps remove toxins from your system and avoids damaging inflammation. Increase water consumption also.

One characteristic of the anti-inflammatory diet is the recommended inclusion of omega-rich fatty acids, especially omega 3’s. These consists of milled flaxseed, walnuts, olive oil (best used cold), avocados, good fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines.

Avoid salt and choose to flavor your foods with healthy herbs. Garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and capsaicin are especially helpful with their anti-inflammatory properties!  And don’t worry about not enjoying any treats either. A good dark chocolate contains a great deal of antioxidants as does a glass of red wine.

Do you see the pattern here? You can enjoy so much more than you thought you could! Simply eat healthier and consume more whole foods to rid yourself of the artificially flavored, chemically processed boxed foods you might pick up at the supermarket for “convenience.” There is nothing convenient about pain and inflammation! Strive for a happier, healthier lifestyle.

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

10 Successful Habits for Abundant Health!

 “For it is written, You must be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

We are commanded to honor God with our bodies and let’s face it, no one desires to fail on a “diet” plan. But every time we get exasperated, wanting to quit, the devil taunts: see I told you couldn’t do it! Don’t believe it! The Lord knows you are more powerful than Satan so tap into God’s power! (1 John 4:4)victory-on-mountaintop

To ensure weight loss success, establish your defenses against Satan’s lies.

1. Winners know who they are.  Accept your need for self acceptance. You are unique, revel in that. Build your worth around your personality, love for God, others and family. Real beauty comes from within. (1 Samuel 16:7) There are some very attractive but mean-spirited people you’d prefer not to be around, agree?

2. Become conscious of how you react to food. Are you really hungry or just provoked by a feeling? Do you eat healthy foods or do you bring tempting junk into your home? Do you eat quickly or dine leisurely with friends and family?  It takes 20 minutes for your brain to know your tummy is full, so relax and enjoy your food.

3.  Build a support system for accountability/encouragement. God declared that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  Your friends and family care if you’re unhealthy. Love yourself enough to change for their feelings as well as your own.

4. Successful people are committed to reaching goals. They don’t allow set-backs to deter them. Sometimes you’ll be ten steps forward and then four steps back, but remember, you’re still going forward! As a Christian, is there anything that would entice you to return to a decadent lifestyle? Hope not! Realize that God doesn’t expect perfection from you, only obedience –  so don’t expect it from yourself.

5Successful people develop strategies. They have created strategies to overcome temptations before they arise. Outside influences don’t control them. They know honoring God is more important than   establishing a fattening treat as their idol.

6. They find pleasure in other actions besides eating! Develop a hobby, write, paint, exercise, read a favorite novel, garden, learn a new skill. You do so much for others, now spend time on yourself. It’s not selfish to find satisfaction in a well-rounded lifestyle! Food then won’t be the highlight of your life.

7.  Motivated people use visualization skills.  Try visualizing yourself covered in beef fat. Visualize eating raw chicken skin, mmm . . . or bacon grease coursing throughout your veins.  Not very attractive. Think of your heart as a separate entity, faithfully working day and night to keep you alive. Your heart deserves better!

8Winners are confident people! Aren’t you drawn to confident leaders? Just think how mentally strong you become, because no one else can lose your weight but you!! If you can lose weight you can do anything, so walk like a winner!

9. Winners become educated. They understand why they eat, where the temptations are. They control their daily fat intake and rarely eat junk food which greatly ages the body. They exercise because it’s beneficial. They’ve learned how the body works. What a fascinating machine God gave us!

10. Feeling great is their everyday routine. Healthy people smile more, enjoying life! Being healthy improves one’s looks, energy level, longevity, self-esteem and is a testimony to how God gloriously rules in our lives.

Walk with God’s Strength, it’s something winners strive for.

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

Another “What Does It Mean To Me in Dog Years?” Post

My husband sat with his morning coffee, reading a magazine. After finishing an article, he shook his head and murmured, “Hmmff.” He placed a piece on health in front of me entitled  Know Your Numbers. “I bet you can tell me what’s wrong with this.”

heart-healthy-foodsGlancing through it, I read how it recommended knowing our blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol level numbers. It wasn’t long before I understood what hubby meant. It never once mentioned what those numbers were, the standard to which we should compare ourselves.

In other words, my blood pressure could be 230/150, my glucose 65 and my cholesterol 360 and it wouldn’t mean a thing! I wouldn’t know if my stats were low, balanced or dangerously high.

Even if I “know my numbers” it wouldn’t mean squat unless I knew what it meant to me in dog years? (We know if dogs are 12, they are actually 7x’s that in human years. Now we can relate to why he’s sore after climbing stairs.) How in the world could we possibly “know” our numbers when it never provided the standard in which we should compare ourselves with? 

So in case you happened to read this same article, here’s a quick overview. These are physiological standards which we should aspire to in order to remain the healthiest we can be.

Our blood pressure should consistently be within the 120 systolic and 80 diastolic range under normal circumstances. That means in a non-stressed atmosphere. Like not being chased by a rabid animal or being in a job you don’t enjoy. By constantly being provoked, the heart remains under constant stress, increasing blood pressure. Therefore find ways to distress with soft music, bubble baths, exercise, fresh air . . .

Our blood glucose should remain between 90-120 before meals. Glucose is brain/body fuel. Consuming well-balanced, fibrous mini-meals throughout the day will keep our metabolic engine running efficiently. Skipping meals will make us susceptible to bingeing for quick energy and the fastest energy is sugar! Sugar enters our system within 15 minutes but burns up very quickly, dropping insulin levels. We then become extremely hungry and sugar cravings begin again.

High glucose levels are more dangerous to us than simply weight gain. Consistently high glucose levels can cause kidney, nerve and eye disease or even amputation of limbs. To stabilize blood sugar consume lean protein and a high fiber diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. Try to consume from 25-35 grams of fiber daily. (4 grams equal approximately 1 teaspoon.)

Cholesterol is more complex. There is “helpful” cholesterol (HDL) which protects the heart and transports bad cholesterol out of the body.  HDL should remain above 45 mg/dl. (Milligrams per Deciliter.) LDL, “lousy” cholesterol, creates plaque,clogging arteries. LDL should remain lower than 100 mg/dl. Beneficial fiber (with water) clears our arteries like Roto Rooter.

Stay away from high protein diets which contain a higher cholesterol rate. Also stay away from sugary donuts and processed desserts which raise triglycerides which should remain lower than 150 mg/dl.

If we eat unhealthily because we demand instant gratification, how could that ever please God? As Christians, God provides a Biblical standard which we judge ourselves against. The Bible contains Absolutes, to which we should aspire: “Be holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16.) If we didn’t, we’d have no moral compass and would reap the unhealthy lifestyle which we ourselves sowed. To paraphrase Judges 21:25, “everyone would eat what was right in his own eyes,” regardless of consequences.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)