Tag Archive | Christian living

“How to Lose Weight in Five Easy Steps!”

Research shows that people gravitate to articles with this type of headline. I do too.

But how many nutritionists have heard the pleading words from a patient, “Just tell me what to do!” Like there’s a magic formula for rapid weight loss! The question is, will the same plan which works for Suzie, work for you?

Possibly, if it’s practical and nutritionally balanced like the Mediterranean Diet – but even then, we should realize we are all uniquely made.

We don’t see too many commercials any more with some beautiful person claiming “I’ve lost 58 pounds in a month . . . and you can too if you simply purchase “X.”

It’s the equivalent of: I’ve told you what to do, just do it and you too will look like me! Of course within a few months the weight comes back on and the dieter feels it’s his/her fault – I didn’t follow the formula correctly. Stupid me. Failure doesn’t do much for self esteem issues; (a reason we overeat.)

Weight loss success means knowing the “why” of it all. What are the personal habits and food idols which prevent you from succeeding? How’s your self-discipline? Is your lifestyle frantic? Are you currently battling a certain emotional trauma? Are you big-boned? Consider the fact that we all have a different physiological makeup, emotional background and discipline.

Health is a slow and steady individual process while learning to create new habits, eat balanced and overcome temptations in order to become a healthier version of oneself. It shouldn’t be about becoming a size two. Please don’t trust in an unreachable fantasy.

Salvation and nutrition are so similar in nature. You are the only one who can lose weight and become healthier. No one else can choose a different pathway except you. Sadly, lifestyle changes are not perfect pathways. It usually takes slow and steady progress to create new habits, avoid temptations and become a healthier version of you.

Jesus also knows each of us as individuals. He knew the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18–23) would never give up his wealth to follow him – it was his god. The Pharisees would never give up their power and recognize Jesus as Lord. Position and pride were their gods.

I ask you then, “What is your god?” Is it sleeping in instead of exercising? Consuming French fries each day instead of vegetables? Convenient Fast food instead of eating at home? None of these are wrong unless you love it more than your LORD.

Understand what’s keeping you from sucess. Take small steps to accomplish a goal. Reward yourself for each goal reached. Instant gratification never accomplishes much because nothing was done to achieve it and many people who win the lottery are broke within a few years without personal discipline.

Changing and becoming healthier improves character and when you sometimes fail, (which we all do) learn from it! It builds resolve!

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;” (1 Peter 1:5,6) 

How do you begin to change the inner self? First place the LORD over self. You’ll like that person you’ve become. What one cherishes, they take care of. Have you ever noticed that happy people are content with who they are? They aren’t necessarily the beautiful or thin people either! Contentment emanates from God’s Love. Appreciate Him enough to be your healthiest!

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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.

The Uniqueness of You

When I asked my mother what she wanted for her birthday, she would always smile and answer softly, “Oh, peace and contentment.” Isn’t that what we all should strive for?

Becoming a New Creation means embracing the true you, even imperfections. How many are content and at peace with who they truly are? Those I counseled usually wanted to look like someone else, a celebrity or a prettier version of themselves. Few told me they wanted to be a healthier version of themselves.

I would patiently customize a sensible meal plan that would fit with a patient’s tastes, budget and particular lifestyle. Stressing, Eat for nutrients; eat anything in moderation . . .

Week after week, some would lose weight while others presented excuses; (unexpected company, special events, holidays, etc.) to justify their lousy week. I had provided practical applications to avoid those temptations, yet they failed to comply. I’ve heard every excuse. They weren’t fooling me; they were fooling themselves.

For if one has the will, they’ll find the way – if it’s something they truly want.

Even if I had a magic wand and could instantly turn them into a size two, I know they wouldn’t remain a size two for long, because there was something masking the true reason they weren’t getting healthy.

If this is you, figure out why you’ve self-destructed:

1. Whether it is one’s upbringing, “You better eat everything on your plate or NO DESERT for you!” – insecurity, shame, illness, circumstances – many eat for “masked” reasons. It might not even be a seemingly bad reason – some are simply happy or curious eaters and lose control. Someone, perhaps being poor growing up, subconsciously fears food won’t be there tomorrow.

2.  Occasionally it’s a medical reason. Illnesses and medications can slow metabolism, influence electrolyte and water balances. It’s extremely tough, but have patience. Consuming healthier foods; all while learning new habits is what I’d recommend until off medication and weight loss can begin.

3. Perhaps it’s psychosomatic; stress, emotional issues or perceived guilt denies success, especially when the mind believes it must protect itself. Reading positive books, exercising, fresh air, meditating, listening to soothing (or even rock) music can calm or invigorate.

4. Sometimes it’s physical challenges. If someone is big-boned, they’ll never become a comfortable size two, no matter how much they desire to. “To accept the things we cannot change,” is part of the serenity prayer. We are all unique and becoming the best creation you can be should be the goal, not lusting after a celebrity’s body shape or lifestyle. Focusing on unrealistic possibilities makes us miss out on so much in life!

I especially enjoy counseling when that aha moment appears. When a patient finally recognize why they act as they do. I know then, they’ll truly begin taking control of their health. Find yours!

Bottom line? Since we’re all unique there’s no “one-size-fits-all” reason for success or failure. We are all individuals with different needs and desires. Know yourself as God knows you. For Psalm 139: 13-16 professes:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.  (ESV)

God knows you are unique and loved. He created you. Love back – honor your earthly temple.

Personal River of Change

Thank you to all of my followers who didn’t quit on me during my long sabbatical. It’s hard to return after being away from blogging. One reason is because it’s difficult to come up with a first post! It’s not as easy as: “Hi, I’m Back!!! Gotta love me!”

Recently I saw a poster entitled “Life is like a River.” How often have you heard that saying? Poems are written about it, Facebook posts share it and Garth Brooks beautifully sang about it. Wouldn’t a river analogy be the perfect segue after a life-changing sabbatical?

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

 

Rivers are molded by their environment.

Rivers are amazing and beautiful. They can gently bring life back to a community or can flood it with a vengeance, if influenced by outside sources. Rivers can gently round off rocks, creating their beautiful smoothness or mold them into craggy, sharp, dangerous edges.

During my teenage years, our farm bordered part of the Susquehanna River. Since we weren’t far from its source in Cooperstown, NY, it wasn’t very wide. A stone could have easily been thrown across it. That is until the rains came and the river overflowed onto our fields. This could have been a good or bad event. It could destroy crops or enrich the soil.

Events happen in our lives that we have no control over. When downpours come into our lives, do we rant and rave? Sure, but even if justified, do we allow it to destroy our happiness? Do we accept life’s challenges, make the best of it and move on or have a pity party, mope and complain? How we react to a crisis is a personal choice. Choose Joy!

River intensity changes frequently

Our personal “life river” became a white water rafting trip last year when we traveled over some rocky shoals of life. Sadly, we were betrayed by beloved trusted friends, accosted and blindsided by an angry mob of “Pharisees.” Other innocent friends were hurt simply for being our acquaintances. Yet still their and our Faith never wavered.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Yes, God is Faithful. He almost miraculously moved us out of a toxic environment and provided a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Over the past five months, life has become incredibly rewarding and joyful once again, living in paradise. We are coasting on smooth waters and our faith not only endured but flourished.

Rivers are always moving forward, therefore no two days are ever the same: 

Several years ago, after my husband accepted his previous position, he was asked to join the staff of a wonderful Christian college. Having integrity, he declined, faithfully serving his congregation. It was evident that God’s River moves at its own pace, patiently instilling life experience. God eventually provided abundant blessings; moving us to that new teaching position and true Christian friendships.

Rivers are so diverse, no two are alike. Just like people 

I’m here to implore you to not focus on fragile, fallible Christians. God alone is perfect. Our past is a training field, learn from it. If you don’t like your circumstances, change them. If you trust in God, rely on His Will, He will never forsake you!

It’s good to be back, my friends.

 

Are You a Godly Role Model for Your Children?

Over the years, hundreds of books were written meant to uncover why adults acted as they did.

Each touched on:

  • what motivates us;, how to be successful.
  • how we should view ourselves,
  • what’s our “sign”
  • discovering what type of personality we have: Type A, B, and so on.

Notice the common denominator? It was all about “self.” These books were written with the distinct purpose of reflecting how people should view themselves. Everyone got placed in a box, tied up with a brightly colored ribbon. Formula!

What self-centered thinking! Quite the opposite of “God First, Others Second and I Am Third.”

We are a combination of many personalities, because God created each of us uniquely. Our uniqueness makes us special. For example, my husband and I respond differently to different stimuli. I’m more impulsive, my husband’s more methodical. I need to talk it out, he needs time to think it through . . .

Therefore, it’s extremely important for each parent to discover their child’s “Love Language” also. Authors studied and targeted older generations and forgot about children.

Have you ever thought, the way we treat our children shouldn’t be the same as we treat an adult? Our children are as individual as we are. Each child has a distinctive personality and a separate need for recognition, discipline, space, acceptance and approval.

An emotional or affectionate child responds better to physical rewards such as a hug rather than a toy as a reward. He wants to know he is worth more than “things.” No amount of materialism can purchase this child’s love. He needs to be assured that he is more than simply another possession you own or he’ll turn to food or drugs for unfulfilled, comforting emotions.

One child is more analytical, another is a studious bookworm. These children desire stimulating conversation even more than hugs. Praise and respect them for their curiosity and dedication to studies (and of course hug them anyway!)

Sometimes a child only wants time with their parents, but rarely finds it. Sometimes the parents are so busy keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, working sixty-hour weeks in order to reward their child with “things” rather than what their child’s soul longs for; attention.

This creates a chasm between a child-parent relationships, perhaps one which will never fully heal. This child could even grow up to be introverted, placing a protective shell around his heart to avoid perceived abandonment issues.

Or perhaps he becomes another workaholic for his parent’s sought-after blessing. As he matures, he might want to sit and enjoy a movie, snuggling with his child, but years of training taught him that’s considered “unproductive” time. So he continues to strive for approval through hard work.

We are God’s child but do we spend time with the Lord? Think he doesn’t love us; accepts us as we are, faults and all?  Our Lord understands our Love Language! If we simply want to spend time with Him, wrapped in prayer, He’s always available to listen. If we encounter trials, we can rest in our Father’s Arms, finding comfort rather than criticism.

If we are analytical, He’ll provide knowledge and wisdom through His Word so we can understand. God’s always attuned to our needs even before we know them ourselves.

We can learn so much from our Heavenly Father. Remember that most children first identify our Heavenly Father with their earthly father. Appreciate each child as the blessing from God they truly are!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

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

Attempting Perfection? Ain’t Gonna Happen!

As one begins a quest for health, either through fitness or weight loss, many strive for perfection. Did you as well? How did that go? When you failed to achieve it, did you became discouraged, falter and give up?

Unfortunately, perfection is unattainable at any age. Therefore, strive for excellence, not perfection.

But why did we expect perfection from ourselves in the first place? Did we think perfection would make others like and appreciate us more? It won’t. In fact, Romans 3:10 informs us that there was only one perfect person ever born, our Lord. If you recall, most people didn’t like him much while He lived on earth and even today Jesus continues to have countless enemies.

Humans cannot be perfect no matter how hard they try. No one else is Christ. If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience, how could we possibly think we could ever become godly enough to achieve perfection?

May I remind you that God used normal, everyday imperfect human beings for his work? We tend to believe that the personalities of the Bible were superheroes, larger than life, but look again:

Abraham was old and Jeremiah was a child, Moses was timid and not a great speaker while Peter was proud and had a temper. Elijah got discouraged and Jeremiah was frequently depressed. Paul was egotistical and boastful while Jonah was a coward, David was an adulterer as well as a murderer and Solomon seemed to love women more than his LORD.

And don’t think women were any better: Sarah was a doubter, Rebekah was a schemer, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was controlling and Rahab was a prostitute!

Just as parents love their children no matter what, God loves us and desires what’s best for us. We are not perfect, but that shouldn’t give us license to be disobedient either.

Isn’t it a relief that God does not expect perfection from us to be useful to Him?! Knowing that, what does our testimony say about us? I’m quite certain you have never killed anyone but have you ever gossiped or let gluttony overcome you at a church social? Remember sin is sin in God’s eyes and His Son died for all sins; even gluttony, laziness and gossip.

Striving for excellence pleases God. How we live represents our Christian testimony. Concentrate on that aspect rather than expecting personal perfection which only frustrates and discourages. We must begin to create a strong godly example here on earth so we will hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

People are watching us as an example of Christianity. Do we represent someone a non-Christian would strive to be? What strengths will we eventually bring to place at His Holy Pierced Feet?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)