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The Temptation to Become a Diet Chameleon

Have you seen them too?

I’m speaking of those who attend church looking properly pious during each service. However, as soon as church is over, they blend into a worldly crowd: they laugh at a co-worker’s dirty joke, fudge a report or degrade other Christians. The home-front is a battlefield but on Friday night they’re the ‘life of the party’  couple.

Back on Sunday morning though, they reverently sing hymns and pray righteously for all the world to hear. They blend in with the crowd wherever they go, the church or the world.

I call these people, “Spiritual Chameleons”. Sadly, it’s one of the reasons people avoid church. They’ve done more to turn others away from God’s Word than any other obstacle!

I asked a patient once why she didn’t attend church. “The church doesn’t work for me!” she replied. “Too many hypocrites!”

How sad. She failed to comprehend that we shouldn’t attend church to be seen, but to discover God’s Word and worship Christ!

Similarly, if you desire a healthy lifestyle, look to Absolute Truth in physiology. Don’t become a “weight-loss chameleon”. It won’t work, no matter how hard you try!

Unfortunately I see health chameleons all around us. Several famous talk show hosts flit from one diet plan to another, drawing others into their dangerous web. If they truly knew how they dangerously influence others they probably wouldn’t!

Does anyone remember in the mid ’90s, when Oprah wanted to know how desperate people were to lose weight? She set up a totally fictitious diet center in a mall. That ‘diet’ consisted of consuming only hot dogs and ice cream! How silly, you think, who’d sign up for that??? Well . . . 41 people did in three days.

Suppose someone suggests, “Hey I’m on the Atkins diet. You should try it. I lost 39 pounds this month!!!” So you try it and all you feel is sluggish with risky cholesterol. Didn’t work for you, although it worked for her.

Next you’ll see a celebrity on television stating they lost 60 pounds on this boxed food program. So you’ll try that. You might lose 2 pounds a week and spend a bunch of money on packaged food that isn’t appetizing after you’ve consumed it twelve times. You cheated and regained even more. Your wallet’s lighter though.

Okay, so now you’re getting desperate and searching for quicker results. That new popular pill that health clinic is advertising seems like the perfect solution! After a month of heart-racing, nervous reactions, a cranky attitude and a husband who doesn’t enjoy coming home to a nasty, unkind, hungry wife, it’s too high price to pay for thinness. (Notice I didn’t say health)

After trying hard to become thinner by attempting everything the world has, you might throw up your hands: “I give up! They’re all shams! Never again!”

Becoming a weight-loss chameleon never works! Embrace your uniqueness! You aren’t meant to blend in with everyone else!

Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, for we are all accountable for our own actions. Consider it a Spiritual Westminster Dog Show! Compare yourself only to the standard Christ set down for us, His Holy Word. Ask: what does God think?  Am I honoring Him?

Happily. God established a true diet plan for our physical health in the Garden: moderation!  Fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains and after the flood, lean meat. Try Truth . . . it works.

“If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!”

(Job 31:5,6)

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Counting the Cost Before “Dieting”

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-30 28)

Many people jump into the dieting realm without counting the cost too

A sensible diet begins by contemplating ALL options of a health plan: how solid is the “soil” I’m building upon, how much time do I invest, what is the environment surrounding the “project” like? Which architect designed the plans and is he/she credible?

1. Do you decide which diet you’ll try because it’s currently popular? “Well that celebrity lost weight!” (Bear in mind that celeb has a personal trainer, chef, massage therapist, psychologist and a contract!!!)

Successful plans begin with solid foundations. Does it include wholesome complex carbohydrates, (fiber) lean protein, good fats? Steer away from fake diet gurus who advocate eliminating entire nutritionally-dense food groups because the brain’s hypothalamus will nag for specific nutrients until you give in. (But you’ll believe you have no willpower.)

2. Seek one that fits your lifestyle

Let’s say in the corporate world your job includes escorting clients to restaurants. Getting healthy will then only work if you know what constitutes sound selections like grilled meats or fish, veggies and a salad with a smidge of dressing. (Mediterranean, DASH, Volumetrics diet) Guard against peer pressure and concentrate on nutrients. Pre-plan accordingly.

3. Are you focused on an event rather than a lifestyle change? Do you contemplate the time of year or events coming up; vacations, holidays . . . parties?

Some people go on a “diet” to look good for a wedding, class reunion or other social occasion. When the event is over, so is their motivation. Ask yourself: how happy was I walking into that room feeling like a million bucks?  Don’t you want to feel like that every day??? You’ve worked hard to get in shape; now use visualization/mental discipline to maintain your hard work.

The only true diet is the one you stay on forever: moderation.

4. Recognize what type of personality you have and whether it will compliment the diet plan you attempt.

For example, if you absolutely love food, going on a liquid diet will drive you crazy. Besides that, the body has an innate desire to chew (because it releases enzymes to metabolize food) and you’ll be grabbing some pretzels by 2pm.

If you’re a curious person, stay away from buffets.

5. Most importantly, you must ask: are you truly, mentally ready to impart on a lifestyle change? Have you emotionally hit rock bottom, been ridiculed or lost total control in public; been diagnosed with a debilitating health issue?

All of these questions and others must be addressed before one jumps into a health plan. Otherwise you’re set for failure and all that does is discourage, shame and have you believing the lies of the devil who whispers in your ear, “See I told you, you couldn’t do it. You’ve failed yet again!”

Crazy diets never work and yet even healthy diets won’t if you aren’t ready to change your lifestyle!

When I find myself losing control at buffets or a party, I ask myself, “Which do I love more, this food or my Lord who sacrificed himself for my gluttony and idol worship of food?”

No contest – my Lord Jesus wins every time!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  (Psalm 34:8)

 

 

Staying Motivated in Our Tempting World

Everyone starts out enthusiastically when the pounds drop off on a new healthier living plan. Your family, co-workers and church friends start to notice and encouragement abounds!

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 summer BBQ’s with all its scrumptious ribs, burgers, potato salads and desserts.

What’s a person to do?? No one notices anyway, you shrug, so what difference would it make if I overindulged?

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

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 “self” and showing off, is the only reason, it won’t last.  Sometimes we’re too self-centered within our own little world. Sad but true.

Fact: We must get healthy because we want to honor God more than we want food! We should get healthy because we respect our earthly temple and our Christian testimony!

You might nag others to be more Christian, yet you practice idol worship! Why 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 lack self-control, practicing gluttony.

Of course God wants us to enjoy life. That includes wholesome food. Christians are supposed to exhibit Joy, peace, confidence and self-control, not mournfully throw ashes on our face while suffering healthy-living.

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

So here’s my advice to strengthen resolve:

  1. Chart your weight loss on graph paper. It’s a tangible, trackable action. Be competitive within yourself. Tell yourself when you reach another three-pound loss, you’ll finally purchase an item you’ve wanted. (Anything but food.)When you’ve reached ten pounds, purchase that new cologne or scarf you’ve waited for. For every few pounds, reward yourself as we did when we were young.
  2. Memorize motivating Scripture verses, placing them throughout your home. Place affirmations around the home: on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, computer, auto dashboard. Remind yourself of 1 John 4:4 and Philippians 4:1
  3. Use visualization skills and visualize ugly fat coursing through your veins or smeared over your face. Yuk!
  4. Find new support partners by creating a healthy recipe club.
  5. Create a scrapbook of clothing styles you’ll try when you reach a certain goal. Place a few pictures on the fridge to encourage you.
  6. Exercise increases positive endorphins. Keep walking, swimming, biking or join a sports club in your community.
  7. Get your children involved! Exercise with them while watching television. When you win by losing, your entire family wins! This creates bonding memories.
  8. I’ve always urged my patients to find personal, positive actions for health but if you weaken, 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 and lack of control. Ask yourself, do I love Christ more than this food? Only you can answer that question.

Get healthy in gratitude to God for giving us an abundant life while in our earthly jars of clay!  (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Peace or Power? Which Do You Pursue?

Some who seek “peace” are actually Counterfeit Christians, striving for dominance over others. Some feel if we will simply fall in line behind them, the kingdom will have peace. This is a falsehood. True Peace, Joy, Love is only found in doing what God desires of us.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

In this life we can build up or tear down another’s hopes, dreams or self-esteem. One can profess half-truths to obtain attention or destroy another through biting words. We can be a help or we can hinder another’s godly works. We can talk ourselves into success or forge on alone, foregoing Godly Counsel.

The question is: which type of person are you? To answer that, we must go back to our roots.

If your childhood was one with a dictatorial parent, a spiteful sibling, later a dominating spouse, suffered painful abuse or loss, it’s usually masked by either a false bravado or intimidating control or it made you stronger, more compassionate and more discerning. You have a heart for others because you identify with another’s pain.

As a result, the first will either bully, tear down others through words, acting as a mean girl to overcome that sense of inferiority and insecurity of never being good enough.

The second will overcome tribulations, building godly self-esteem and through strength reach out, coming alongside others to encourage them.

In essence the first attitude is projecting “I am the master of my OWN fate! No one will ever control me again!”

The falsehood here is, we will always have someone else controlling our thoughts and actions – either God or Satan, good or evil – no other! By allowing the devil to enter our mindset and puppet us, it not only hurts us, it hurts everyone around us.

By letting go and allowing God to control our life, we become stronger, content in all things, at peace with God’s Laws, provisions, pathways.

Inferiority is like having the devil whisper, you aren’t good enough!

I have news for you: no one will EVER be good enough. In this large world someone will always be and do something better, be tougher, kinder, prettier, wealthier . . .  even cook or sing better.

That’s the purpose of explaining to my patients why mental, physiological and Spiritual health is like the Westminster Dog Show. How can one judge a Golden Retriever against a Cocker Spaniel, a Pug against a Poodle, a German Shepherd against any Terrier? You can’t. Therefore each has a different standard of individuality set down by the American Kennel Club Rule Book and are judged accordingly.

Similarly, we are all uniquely designed by God and must be judged individually accordingly to His Book: The Bible.  Are we our best according to God’s Standards? I know I’m not and yet I continually strive to be excellent in all I can to please and glorify my Lord who rules over me, whispering “You are my child. I love you. You are enough.”

As a work in progress, I recognized early in my Christian life that it’s no fun being outside of God’s Favor. In fact, it’s scary!

Personalities who don’t truly believe in themselves and feel inferior, seek to find validation by tearing others down in order to build themselves up. I suspect you know people like this. One can never build themselves up by tearing others down.

Do you search for strength, peace, wisdom, but it evades you? Stand firm for Truth! Ditch Satan’s strings – seek Godly values and discover Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Running Away Like Jonah?

There are so many life lessons we can learn from the Biblical Jonah. As you recall, Jonah was commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh but he ran away rather than face his responsibilities.

Have you ever thought, well how foolish! I wouldn’t ever run away from God when He commands me to do something!  He’s everywhere!

But we do actually act like Jonah at times! We are commanded by God to go on a journey. It is a life journey.

And as a Father, when His children rebel, God will get our attention in any way He can. Even by allowing storms (illness) to invade our body naturally when we consume too many unhealthy, chemically-laden foods.  Remember that was our choice, not His.

We live under Grace but are responsible for everything we do. Moderation is fine, but who forced us daily consume an entire bag of chips, overeat at the buffet or super-size that fast-food meal?

Like Jonah, God asks us to follow specific orders.  One of those is to keep our bodies holy and take care of this earthly temple He gave us.

1 Peter 1:16 states,  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

But we run away from this responsiblity, don’t we?  Sometimes it seems like a monumental task trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Momentary pleasure overrides common sense.

Think of it this way: If we entered the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, we wouldn’t throw trash on that sacred floor, would we? No, but it’s exactly what we’re doing when we continually throw unhealthy food into our bodily temple.

God does not ignore disobedience, as Jonah discovered, no matter how much we feel we “got away with it.”

Look at Jonah again. When God asked him to go to Nineveh, he foolishly ran from God, trying to sail away from his obligations. But the Lord sent a storm which affected not only Jonah, but the entire crew of the ship.  That got his attention.

Truth #2: there are no victimless crimes! What we do affects others.  You might think, leave me alone! It’s my body! I’ll do what I please!

Okay, Grace again.  But when we eat unhealthily, we will eventually become ill. Heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems, strokes, cancer all trace back to what we eat.

When  we suffer, those around us suffer too! Just ask those who sit by our bedside while we’re in pain!

As parents, God asks us to exemplify higher standards to our families and yet we continue to provide an abundance of fast food, causing our family members to become ill too. Don’t you think God notices?

To correct our resistant, foolish direction, He might allow the consequences of that behavior to catch up with us. (As Jonah found out.) In our case, we might develop a simple belly ache or something worse like diabetes.

Now the question is, since He now has our attention, do we turn from our naiveté and start living and eating right, or do we shake our fist at God, defiantly demanding, Why did You allow this to happen; growing even more defiant, turning away and running away from God?

When faced with seemingly insurmountable goals, we get scared! It’s not easy but stop running! Immediately take baby steps to begin rectifying the situation. Start by consuming whole, nutritious foods. Stop trashing our earthly temple!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)    

 

 

 

 

Updating to a Better You!

As I was revamping, improving and updating my e-book novel from 7 years ago, I thought as I went along, “yuk, that doesn’t express what I wanted to say! How could I have ever written this crazy paragraph?  Umm, there’s got to be a better way to convey that!”

I’m sure most writers have similar feelings.  As the author of 2 novels, another on the way, a short story and a nutritional counseling work based on Biblical principles, I’m always critiquing my work. GOSH, that’s not good enough! translated that means, Gosh, I’m not a good enough writer, am I? 

As humans, we should strive for excellence not perfection – because there was only one perfect person and we’re not Him!

As flawed beings we are also searching for perfection. I sometimes want a re-do. Do you look back on your life and also ask yourself, why in the world did I do that – or say or wear that?

Sure everyone wants a do-over for something and we all probably have regrets. That’s the challenge. – we can never re-do that day, EVER.  Once words are  said, an action completed, it’s over. Therefore we can live in the past with regrets and bitterness or learn to forgive, attempt to make restitution and carry on becoming a better version of ourselves for God’s Glory.

I praise God for all I’ve gone through in my life. It’s true I’ve endured unspeakable childhood traumas, loneliness, betrayals and other life lessons; but each made me into a stronger, more capable woman. It was His Will, so who am I to shake my fist at God? He molded me, brought me out and set me on solid ground while always being by my side. That’s LOVE.

I once existed in a pit but I was never meant to live there, neither are you! I retain much Joy in my life because the Lord has been there, strengthening, teaching and loving me throughout. That was sometimes difficult to understand. How does God love the unlovable and imperfect being, I was?

I don’t know but He does!

Now as a counselor, I reflect back on life lessons and use that empathy to assist others.

I know some patients who believed they were unlovable, not worth anyone’s attention or time. They tried one weight loss program after another and failed every time. Why? Because they felt they weren’t worth the effort and self-destructed. That’s a fallacy. You have worth because you ARE!  God designed and created you and God doesn’t make JUNK!

We’ve recently gone through a wonderful sermon series on the life of Joseph. He has always been one of my favorite Biblical personalities. He didn’t deserve the treatment he received either but he learned patience, to endure and even become his best self through those trials he faced.

Think of those Jesus walked with: Did our Lord love Peter any less when he denied knowing him? No. How about Mary Magdalene when she was a prostitute? No. David, Abraham, Jacob, Moses or anyone else when they fell? No.

As it states in the wonderful film, I Can Only Imagine, “If God can forgive me, why can’t you?” Choose to forgive yourself or others and lift a heavy burden off your shoulders.

The Apostle Paul professed it beautifully:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13–14)

 

 

Why Does It Take So Long to Obey Our Master’s Voice?

I’ve written about our pup, affectionately called “Mr. No-No” a few times. In all honesty he’s the most affectionate little dog we’ve ever had – but he’s also the most mischievous.

Every morning before breakfast he begs for a toy or chewy bone which we give him because he’s such a (insert baby talk) “good little boy.” But sure enough, a little while after it’s been gifted, he runs over to the couch attempting to frantically bury it under a throw pillow or loose blanket.

Afraid he’s going to tear up our beautiful couch, I get up from the breakfast table, gently “urging” him to “StoP THat!!!” He immediately stares at me, jumps down and runs away.

Great. I go back to the table. Sure enough I suddenly hear him digging under a throw rug in my husband’s office, struggling to hide his treasure beneath it. Once again I warn him to stop, which being the good dog he is, does . . . at least for a few seconds.

Looking at his deceptively cute expression, I can see his brain calculating: mmmm, if she’s here, that means the COUCH is free! He runs over to the sofa once again and proceeds to dig a hole to China to bury that blasted toy. By now I’m regretting giving it to him at all.

“Okay Buster, you’re getting a time out right now! Get. Into. Your. Crate!” Dejectedly, he scurries into his personal condo and looks mournfully at me. (Oh seriously? Please don’t feel sorry for this little mutt – that’s where most of his toys are!)

Don’t worry, he gets paroled within a short time in dog years and currently he’s on top of that same couch, happily watching people and pups walking along the path outside. Occasionally he’ll glance over with sad black eyes, as if questioning why I’m not taking him for a walk too. Like I’d really reward bad behavior?

Aren’t we the same though?  Don’t we expect to get rewarded even if we fail to do the right thing?

God only desires our good. He laid out a healthy diet when He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden.  (Genesis 1:29 & Genesis 9:3) and yet He also urged us not make our stomach our god. (Philippians 3:19) Yet we continue to act irresponsible, lusting after excess (gluttony) and usually unhealthy food. Even knowing it will hurt our health eventually.

I know now how frustrated God gets with us! He doesn’t want to take away good pleasures anymore than I desire to take away Mr. No-No’s toys. But sometimes we also need a reprimand or “time-out” too when we stubbornly demand our own way. We pursue selfish gluttony rather than listen to God’s Voice of Reason and Moderation. (1 Corinthians 10:23) Our own actions are the cause our troubles; yet we tend to blame God for them.

I continue to encourage everyone I know: eat anything in moderation. Yet most believe they’ll be able to continue in rebellious behavior, consuming chemically-based, unhealthy foods and get away with it.  Not true! Actions have consequences.

I’ve counseled many who have suffered strokes, heart attacks, developed diabetes and other illnesses. I’ve encouraged (nagged?) them to consume less fatty foods and choose fibrous fruits, vegetables, lean protein, good fats and whole grains. Will they listen to my voice? Some do. Others seem to have an excuse for eating unhealthily. Well . . . until they receive a health “time-out” courtesy of County General Hospital.

Your body is your earthly temple, honor it for your sake and His Sacrifice.

“For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you;”