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Childhood, Adulthood and Happy Thanksgiving

To quote one of my favorite sayings of a Jesuit priest, “Show me the boy at 7 and I’ll show you the man he will become.” Oh, our wonderful formative years!

What we were like as a child stays within and in a moment we become what we once were.

That seems even more true as we approach the holiday season. Next up, Thanksgiving! One holiday meant to be celebrated by eating all day.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Let’s take a quiz shall we? These personality examples typify profiles of many patients I’ve counseled:

  1. Did you expect your Mom and Dad to complete your homework?
  2. Did your “mean” parents not allow you to watch television until you accomplished your chores?
  3. Did “Some Assembly Required” drive you bonkers, but stubborn and determined you finally got it right?!
  4. Or did you give up and let someone else complete that bookshelf?
  5. Were you the first to finish projects so you could have bragging rights?
  6. Did you procrastinate, waiting until the last-minute to finish anything?
  7. Think back to high school: a. Did you join many clubs? or b. join only to quit when you got bored?

Now how did you do?

#1. Personal responsibility is a foreign concept. At work, someone else can pick up the slack . . . eventually. There’s always someone else to do your work. You’ll start a diet on January 2nd and quit by the third week.

If 2. Now you’re in charge of your life and freedom is intoxicating! You’re rebellious and can do whatever you wish! That includes eating whatever you want. You have a desire to succeed but why give up freedom for more hassle? You infrequently reach goals.

3. You’re analytical, needing proof. How does this plan work? You’ll question, dissect and figure out how it’ll be successful before wasting your time or money. In weight loss it’s the counselor’s job is to educate you on the first visit or else. Once you commit, you’re determined to finish what you started. You’re a “Mom I can do it myself!” personality.

4. If circumstances become too complicated, it’s easier to give up. That includes marriage, employment, gym membership or weight loss. You need to establish “small goals to reach goals” so you won’t feel like a failure when large goals aren’t met. Two steps backward but five steps ahead.

5. Competitive, you make life a game. Always striving for short-term goals to makes life interesting, you’ll join a sports team or gym to be the best there. However since you have perfectionist standards, life sometimes becomes an “all or nothing” encounter. Competitive, you might be the heaviest in the crowd because of you desire to be #1! “I can out eat you! Just watch!”

6. Procrastinators never seem to find an ideal time to begin. There’s always a special party or a wedding coming up. “I’ll start next week” and of course next week never comes. A procrastinator usually fears failure, rejection, sets unrealistic goals or needs stimulation to meet deadlines.

7. a. If you joined and stuck it out, your word is your bond. You value your principles and reach goals. If b. then you’ll quit everything you begin. On a diet plan, you’re always searching for another quick fix. No one holds you accountable. Beware! Learn to hold yourself accountable, developing self-discipline. Quitting does nothing for an ego except defeat it.

You’re probably a combination of the above personalities. But understand, Satan wants us to feel defeated, to say, “Well, that’s the way God made me so I guess I’m stuck.” Pity party!

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Be disciplined and conquer any characteristics that aren’t advantageous. You’re worth it to God.

(Enjoy a controlled and Happy Thanksgiving – I’ll return first week in December.)

Optimum Health: Challenging Our Teeter Totter Mind!

Life itself is one creative teeter totter ride – up/down/up/down. If we remained in one spot however, it would be stagnant, tedious. What fun is that?

Sometimes diets can become pretty stagnant too. Why continue to strive for a healthier, positive mindset when diets are so boring?

I can’t imagine existing on carrots, rice cakes and celery for months to lose weight. Yuk! And yet I can’t imagine a diet of chemically-processed, fast-food or boxed meals all the time either. Eat a variety of nutrients. It’s physiologically essential for optimum health.

But lifetime diets can be like riding a teeter totter too. Some days I eat an extremely healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and yet some days I look forward to BBQ ribs, fries and coleslaw . . . in moderation. Then the next day, I am right back selecting healthier choices and not worrying about it

But don’t blame God for what we couldn’t control. I don’t remember who wrote this but it is worth repeating for its Truth: “We can’t blame God for not being in circumstances we stepped outside of him to make happen. Sometimes consequences make great teachers.”

It takes an enormous amount of effort to remain on that health plan when ice cream or cheese fries whisper our name. That is why we need a battle plan, a strategy to resist, knowing that temptations don’t come from God, but from the devil.

When one attempts to establish a healthier lifestyle, it seems culinary temptations cross our paths daily. It’s frustrating because Satan knows our weaknesses. We certainly battle a formidable opponent:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

Stay Balanced!

First thing I do is memorize Scripture. Satan knows Scripture. That is how he tried to tempt our Lord after Jesus fasted in the desert. Scripture allows us to stand fast, remaining confident and vigilant. Quote some heavy-duty Scripture such as 1 John 4:4 and eventually the devil will tire of his game.

Next, envision that beast triumphantly announcing to all, that we follow him now instead of our Lord. His crafty temptations ensnared us. Impossible you say?  Well, creating a god out of cheese is no different than creating a golden calf, isn’t it? It’s an idol. We are worshiping a food item more than God. How silly to reduce our testimony to a block of cheese, when our Lord has done so much for us!

Every day produces highs and lows, so go with it. Let’s vary our diet, make wiser choices over the course of our life and glory in our godly accomplishments. Ups and downs . . . remember life is one endless teeter totter ride. So don’t fall off or stay down for long. There’s a magnificent view on top!

“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.” (Philippians 3: 13b-14)

Braving Our Personal Storms in Life

As we sit here, enjoying a beautiful sunset over western Florida, escaping the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, I can’t help but wonder how many have cried out, “Why, God?” when destruction hits.

Why does God allow storms to enter our lives? How are we to deal with them?

Reflecting, I saw a comparison of personal godly storms and how we can get through them by trusting God.

God is Loving in spite of our rebellion

Twice in our married life we have turned from God, who brought us back through loving discipline. True, we suffered and are still reaping consequences but never have we complained it’s God’s Fault!!! In fact God graciously forgave our immaturity and we’ve learned from that experience. It’s helped us to counsel others because we’ve “been there.” We accepted the fact that we were far away from God’s Will and absolutely recognized we deserved more punishment than our loving LORD dished out.

Have you ever strayed from healthier eating? Of course, everyone has. When you did, what were the consequences? Stomach ache? Fatigue? Diabetes? Something worse? Well, did God force you to eat those double cheeseburgers – make you ill? No, we did it to ourselves and must accept the consequences. God however, graciously prepared a way of escape with wisdom, medications, exercise, healthier foods . . . and you know what? I bet you like yourself better when you eat better!

“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) LSV

As a father lovingly disciplines a child, God warns us, might even punish us for what we have done. Just look at King David and what resulted after his sin with Bathsheba. God doesn’t play favorites.

God sometimes creates storms to navigate us to safer ports.

Last year we were working in a toxic environment but prayed we could still make a difference. God loved us enough to prod us out of that unhealthy environment and to move us into a blessed Christian opportunity and lifestyle experience.

Sometimes we remain in an environment we shouldn’t. We settle for mediocrity. Nutritionally, have you ever thought, “Okay, one piece won’t harm me.” However one leads to another and suddenly it’s ten extra pounds gained. Don’t settle in a bad habit! God desires so much more for you.

Knowing God’s Word Prevent Storms

False prophets twist and turn God’s Word around making it sound better to anyone wanting to believe it. I saw this with politicians while working in public relations. They proclaimed promises the crowd wanted to hear. People who fall for these haven’t researched what Truth is! There’s little distinction between false prophets or false diet gurus. Know what you should believe and why. Do. Your. Research. Understanding physiology is important!

God is Good. He instilled in us common sense. Provided great nutritious foods to enjoy. Therefore eat what you desire in moderation. Avoid man-made, chemically-based foods most of the time, consume good fats and colorful food. If you crave a particular food, ask why. Are you physically hungry, sad, bored, lonely, stressed? Decide for yourself whether you are really hungry or simply emotional. Know yourself.

It’s not easy traveling a Christian path. Nor is it easy reaching a healthier goal. In nutrition no one wants to suffer, yet everyone wants a quick fix. There is no need to continuously sacrifice. Enjoy His Bounty and Stay Healthy in Body and Spirit.

A Christmas Gift That Will Last a Lifetime

Years ago, the holiday season was merely a month-long event: Thanksgiving to Christmas. Well, not anymore!

It begins when your best friend has a masquerade/Halloween party. Then it’s Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Soon it’s the office and personal Christmas parties, Christmas Eve and Day with family and friends; then New Year’s Eve parties and a New Year’s Day feast.

Disgusted with the lack of control you promised yourself, you vow to take the extra weight off beginning January 2nd! But in January, the NFL playoffs come around and that means more parties and of course the Super Bowl. After that comes Valentine’s Day and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Is it any wonder we sometimes gain 6-10 extra pounds over the “holidays?”

Okay . . . so now that you’ve pigged out over this past Thanksgiving weekend (even thought you convinced yourself, you wouldn’t this time) now what?

Becoming your healthiest self isn’t about willpower, complicated diet plans or even some magic formula. It’s about physiology, unique educational understanding and mentally deciphering why you act as you do around food.

I’ve professed many times that sometimes when you crave a cookie . . . it isn’t “just a cookie!” It represents so much more; discover what that is!

Until one becomes aware of that “why” reason, one’s simply spinning their wheels or even worse; wasting time, muscle, brain cells and money. The only thing lighter is your wallet.

Health is even more important than weight loss and losing weight is especially important if you have diabetes or other illness and isn’t being healthy every day vital?

Becoming your best self has always been a combination of our individual mental, physiological and spiritual relationships to food. You aren’t like anyone else so stop wasting money! There simply is no “one size fits all” diet plan.
So now what?

Those answers are all laid out in my 242 page paperback, in my practical, nutritional self-help book: “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . . “ (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) which addresses our mental, physical and spiritual relationship to food.

Have you ever wondered why you didn’t (or couldn’t) stay as disciplined as you wanted around tempting cuisine? Why you could control an entire boardroom of employees but lacked willpower around potato chips . . . or suddenly gave in to peer pressure and are plain disgusted with yourself for your lack of “discipline?”

Written in easy-to-read informative vignettes, like my blog, sample chapters include:

• So You Think You Want Instant Weight Loss?
• “But I Have No Willpower!”
• Why Dieting is like the Westminster Dog Show
• “Why, When I Eat Breakfast, Am I Hungrier Afterward?”
• Daily Serving Sizes Deciphered
• Addressing Food Fallacies
• “Help!!! I’m Trapped in This Body!”
• Ya Gotta Be More Stubborn than a Lhasa Apso!
• Break Free From Food Bondage
• Don’t Become a Lab Rat. (How Advertisers Manipulate Your Mind)
• Stressed? Who’s STReSSed?? Just Give Me Chocolate!!!
• Strive For Excellence, Not Perfection

I repeat: “Health is always more important than weight loss!”

“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) Please don’t set your mind on earthly goals but godly ones.

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . . ” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) is the perfect Christmas gift. What a way to start the New Year; healthier and happier!

Now available in Ebook format for $4.99 on https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SKQ3HYV

(I noticed my paperback book is currently available from amazon.com from $10.55 when it’s usually $14.95!!!)    Go here    So please act quickly to order because healthy living spread out over a life time, is PRICELESS!

 

Discipline: “It’s Such a Lonely Word”

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Discipline. It’s hard to maintain, isn’t it? But allowing yourself to put off a task or an obligation is like sin. Sin creeps in only when we allow it. We all know the “big” sins like murder and adultery, but in God’s eyes, SIN IS SIN. Gossip and gluttony are as abominable to the Lord as killing someone.

How easy it is to allow the mind to rationalize sin. “I’ve been so good I deserve an extra slice of cake,” even though you know that sliver of extra cake will skyrocket our insulin level, our waistline increase and body will begin deteriorating once again. Before long the slices become larger, the portion sizes of ice cream stream over the bowl and we’re hooked!

Now as I’ve spoken about anything is fine in moderation, countless times, but when the food begins controlling us instead of our common sense, we’re in trouble. Renewal begins by disciplining and changing our mindset:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

But don’t we try to justify our actions, “Oh just this once won’t hurt.” “I’ll begin anew tomorrow.” “Well, after-all I didn’t want to hurt the host’s feelings.” 

Yes, it does hurt! If we don’t stay in control of our emotions and conquer our will, then how are we, as Christians, any different than the world? Truth is we’re not. A story is told of D.L. Moody going to visit Charles Spurgeon in England. As he knocked on the door, Spurgeon answered the door smoking a cigar. When Moody criticized Spurgeon’s cigar habit, Spurgeon stared at Moody and rebuked him with, “When you take control of your out of control gluttonous habit, I’ll take care of my smoking habit.”

You are the only one (and the Holy Spirit if Christian) who lives within your body and can make the changes. That’s why it feels so great to overcome temptation! I urge you to restore discipline in your life and not become as the Apostle Paul reprimanded:

“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)

No one is perfect and we all have habits we find hard to control. Changing habits begin slowly. there’s no instant gratification here. Create small goals to overcome big, bad habits. Find something you want more than food! But for goodness sakes, we reward our dogs when they obey us, and look how happy they are! Why do we feel it’s selfish to reward our good changes?

It takes a disciplined will to say, “NO” to self. I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly like myself when I sin. Only by focusing on God can we truly make him the LORD of our lives. I’ve turned mine over to the Lord time and time again and I’m still fighting those but I’ll never stop striving for excellence!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) 

Why Do People Reject the Poor Carb???

I’m sure my fellow nutritionists and dietitians have similar frustrations when they hear someone gleefully announce, “I’m giving up all carbs to lose weight!

Before you swear off all carbohydrates, STOP and THINK. Here are some important facts for your brain to digest:

The brain feeds primarily on glucose. Glucose is a carbohydrate. The most important carbohydrate in the body. I don’t know about you but I intend to retain as many brain cells as I can; especially during this era of ever-increasing dementia.

Glucose circulates in the bloodstream as sugar and is also necessary for cell respiration and energy.

I’ve heard people declare they’ve sworn off peanuts, lentils (Paleo Diet) and that they’d NEVER eat bananas because they’re “fattening.” What false beliefs! All the above carbohydrates contain valuable tryptophan which turns into the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. The body needs serotonin to remain happy. (Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also excellent.)

By lumping all carbohydrates together, it causes confusion. There’s a difference between simple versus complex, good and not-so-great carbs:. Donuts, cakes, cookies, pies, Twinkies, Pop Tarts and candy are much different from cherries, apples, oranges, broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes. One group contains a great deal of nutrients and the other . . .  not-so-much. Yet they are all classified as carbs.

Beneficial complex carbs contain nutrients while candy and other simple carbs contain little or none. Simple should be eaten for pleasure and in moderation. For a special treat, try a piece of fruit dipped in melted dark chocolate (with valuable antioxidants.)

Wholesome, complex carbs contain fiber. Fiber is essential for good health because dangerous toxins, preservatives, dyes and other chemicals attach themselves to fiber and are moved out of the bloodstream as well as through the intestines. Carbohydrates are only found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. (No matter how tough that steak was it contains no fiber!)

Without beneficial fiber, toxins fester in the cells, creating the possibility of cancers or implementing metabolic syndromes. Without fiber, parasites and other disgusting creatures remain in your gut and thrive. Lovely.

When someone avoids carbs and then goes back to them once again, they complain they’ve gained weight and thus blame the poor carbohydrate. Of course, it’s a physiological fact that fibrous carbs retain water which expands fiber – so someone on a high protein or high fat diet, will lose water weight rather than fat.

Those on a high protein or high fat diet, are usually crankier because their pH system becomes acidic rather alkaline.

Carbs produce energy in approximately 15 minutes and are burnt up within 2- 3 hours. To maintain your body’s efficiency, keeping it running like a well-oiled machine you desire, attempt to eat nutritious mini-meals throughout the day.

God could have placed Adam and Eve anywhere . . . on a beach, in a desert or on a mountain top. But He didn’t.  He placed them in a Garden. Why? For that is where all the nutrients to sustain life are found! He then gave them dietary instructions found in Genesis 1:29. Later in Genesis 9:3, mankind was told to consume meat.

We live under Grace and we’ve been told we can consume anything in moderation. (1Corinthians 10:23) It’s a matter of balance. To say what God has created is “unclean” or “bad” is like a slap in the Face of God. Strive to honor God always with our all our mind, heart, soul and strength.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) 

Release the Shackles Mentally Binding You

In some families if a child or spouse gave an opinion at the dinner table, there was an immediate rebuke. That subconsciously taught them that their feelings or opinions didn’t matter. Therefore, as time went by, some grew fearful of expressing themselves for fear of humiliation. To give an opinion to them meant; “keep your opinion to yourself, that’s unimportant. Just do as I say.”

These actions can can even meld into the workplace or other relationships. So we shut down, hiding our feelings.

No wonder people learn to fear authority and bury every emotion within. No one wants to be rejected and face humiliation. People turn to food or other addiction like drugs or alcohol to mask inward pain.  I specialize in food addiction. Addicts discover food comforts; de-stresses, never talks back and is like a warm hug against their inner child.

Were you allowed as a child, to voice an opinion without ridicule, or were you expected to withhold your opinion? You might believe you have no value, while God tells you, “I don’t make junk.” Your feelings matter, especially to God! He made you and you aren’t JUNK!

It’s a daunting challenge to overcome that mindset, when over time it’s embedded in our brains.

Connections to our past hover just below the surface. We never really outgrow childhood memories. After so many years of holding onto the pain, sometimes, something minuscule unlocks the floodgates. Submerged  frustration or bitter words can recklessly spew out all at once. Have you ever yelled at your spouse, child or pet and it had absolutely nothing to do with them?

Case in point: a husband playfully teased his wife about her eating habits one evening. His comments struck her the wrong way and she lashed out at him. It seems her father, a malicious, belittling man, consistently taunted and shamed her at the dinner table in front of others. A flash of memory and her husband became the recipient of that hurtful recollection.

Sometimes, even those who lash out have no idea why they act as they do toward another. In psychology that’s called transference.

Choose to break that chain:

  • You are important to those who truly care about you. If you feel comfortable enough, reveal that personal memory regarding why you reacted that way. If not, speak to a pastor, counselor or trusted friend. Leave it at the Lord’s feet and move on!
  • When under stress, don’t eat – find positive actions: exercise, go for a walk, read or search for relaxation outside because fresh air creates feel-good endorphins. Be proactive. Choose healthy ways to release frustrations.
  • Positive affirmations matter. You are special to God simply because you exist! Delve further into the Word to confirm it.
  • Put yourself in another’s shoes. Humans aren’t mind readers and if you don’t express yourself, how would they know? Burying your feelings will only prolong the problem. Release the shackles that bind you to the past.

Speak the Truth in love if someone hurts you. Memorize Scripture and don’t become provoked. Look at the intent of the one who tries your patience. Was it truly intentional or were they simply unaware? Gather the courage to divulge how a statement made you feel.

“Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; don’t be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I’m truly helping you. I’m surely upholding you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) ISV