Tag Archive | diets

Get Off the Weight Loss Merry-Go-Round

No one will tell you that losing weight is easy.

In today’s world, everyone is searching for a quick fix: quick cash, comfort, fulfilled dreams . . . Well, very few people win the lottery, no one lives without stress, and even fewer find their dream job.

A healthier lifestyle isn’t easy either. However, many ride that elusive merry-go-round over and over again, attempting to grasp that golden ring of easy weight loss. This is the ultimate definition of insanity.

This mindset couldn’t be more evident than watching those riding the weight loss merry-go-round of Cabbage Soup, Cottage Cheese, fruit or Rice Diet, liquids, magic pills, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Medifast, protein powder diets, the Cookie diet, the Grapefruit diet, Macrobiotics, Juices, Charcoal. Round and round they go with very few reaching that golden ring. The only good diet is a life-long one filled with nutrients!

Even stomach stapling requires discipline to maintain a new healthier lifestyle. One patient I counseled came in to see me after her procedure. She soon discovered she was only allowed to consume 2 ounces of food at a time. Imagine how she felt as she dined at a restaurant where her friends ate steaks, potatoes, and salads, but she couldn’t.

For someone who never realized her reason for gaining weight was due to worshipping food, she became an angry and frustrated woman.

Until she understood the root challenge to her weight gain, which was a mental, not physical reason, she’d remain unhappy with her decision. It’s a universal truth. One must realize the subconscious issues regarding why one eats to change fundamental habits.

There are many underlying reasons to why somone consumes too much food. Many eat due to stress or depression. The chemicals in food create serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Some are continuously curious, Oh, that looks so good – wonder what it tastes like? Some are physically exhausted. Nutrients create energy. Others are bored, lonely, or self-conscious eaters. Food’s something to do. These are but a few examples.

Understanding your personal decisions will be the start of a wonderful change in you that only God can fulfill.  He did not design you to fail! He originally created Adam and Eve to live forever. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life caused them to fail. If you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, you can resist being taken down by a potato chip.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”   (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God always provides a way. Find it. Whether it’s relying on a supportive partner, or a personal goal you desire more than food, God has a plan for your life – and it’s a healthy one! I doubt if it’s sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of chips.

Weight loss is never easy. But that’s what makes it great. No one else can lose weight for you. If you’ve begun eating well and exercising, that’s great! You’ve mastered a difficult task already. That should give you a sense of accomplishment and discipline. You’re beginning to feel vibrant and alive! Why go back to an unhealthy lifestyle? Why buy a ticket on that merry-go-round again?

“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Adding Joy in the Midst of Weight Loss

Tell me, when did life cease to become a game to you?  When was the last time you played simply for the pure joy in it?

Everyone became so serious! “Well, have you seen what’s going on in the world today? Financial ruin, natural disasters, tragedies everywhere . . .”   Sure, I have. I’ve also read the last page of the Bible and I understand that no matter what man does to me, I am under God’s Will and face eternity with Him. I anchor my life to Christ and it makes this Christian smile.

Philippians 4:11 professes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

God will not withhold any good thing from us (Psalm 84:11) and absolutely desires that we lead a joyful life.

What does that have to do with weight loss???  Stress adds weight, so find a way to de-stress. Find JOY!  PLAY! SMILE!  LAUGH! Joy brings contentment in all situations.

When we were kids, we played for the sheer pleasure of it. We ran, climbed trees, rode bikes, played ball . . .  I worry about this generation who sit in front of computer screens playing games and aren’t outside. Fresh air releases endorphins that uplift the spirit. Also breathing through your nose produces a short-lived gas named nitric oxide which reduces stress, creates younger-looking skin, greater memory, and even better hair. Amazing, just by breathing deeply through your nose.

How does one take strides to find joy?  First thank God for your many blessings. There’s always something to praise Him for! Then find ways to play! Make life a game even in your weight loss endeavors.

  1. Remember when you were a kid and your parents placed your artwork on the refrigerator? It was your proudest accomplishment!  When did we stop rewarding ourselves for a job well done?  Get colorful stars and for every small victory, you overcome, (walking the golf course instead of riding) place a star on your graph. (College coaches place stars on their player’s helmets.)
  2. Speaking of graphs, create a weight loss one. Line off graph paper with weekly dates across the top and pounds lost down the side. For every five pounds lost, reward yourself with a non-food item. Color it in solid and you’ll observe your achievements as you see it filling in.
  3. Make exercise fun again. Dance, swim, play tennis, hike, or Zumba. Create active games with your children, like making snow forts and snowmen, piling leaves, and playing catch.
  4. Talk yourself into success by creating mind-games.  For example, I really wasn’t excited about exercising the other morning. Okay, I told myself, I’ll simply have a shorter exercise period this morning. I worked out for five minutes and thought, Okay, I can continue a few minutes longer – by the time we finished I had exercised through my normal routine. It felt so good to conquer my reluctance.
  5. Take a photo of yourself as you are right now, today. Put it aside and don’t look at it again until a month from now.  Chances are when you see it again, you’ll notice your face is thinner and you’re achieving a more defined waistline. Put it away for another month and reward yourself with a non-food item: DVD, nail polish, cologne, pocketbook . . . reward success!
  6. Find something tangible like a belt and mark off the inside as you see it decrease in size. You’ve won again – you get another non-food prize.

Life on earth is a series of actions/reactions until we reach our final destination. You only have one earthly life; is it your healhiest life? Make It Victorious!

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

Practical Tips for Healthier Living

God created our bodies as incredible machines. It’s absolutely amazing how intricate and energy efficient we could be if we only took care of ourselves and ate better. But do you run like a lawn mower, garbage disposal, or a sports car?

God has intricately designed our systems to protect us even when we do something crazy.

Case in point: when we attempt a starvation diet, pills, shots or liquid protein diet; our body will go into protection mode. Sure, any diet will allow us to lose weight . . .  initially, but starvation is not natural. Our  brain will discern that something is wrong, (perhaps we’re ill?) and will slow our metabolism to save energy.  Afterwards it takes longer to adjust our metabolism back to normal. We begin to store fat for later use. Because after all, “the crops might fail again” and we’ll need that stored energy to survive!!!

There is no miraculous way to instantly lose weight. It always goes back to God’s beautifully designed physiology: sensible nutritious eating, consuming water while exercising to burn calories and tone muscle which burns fat. Circular, boring and time-consuming. So to speed things up we’ll desperately try anything, gimmicks, caffeine, drugs . . . again gimmicks!

Always go back to basics: continually eat for nutrients, consume smaller portions, exercise, drink water, slow down and chew to release those vital enzymes.

Another suggestion is to make life’s challenges a game! To increase fluid  intake:

  1. Fill a water container with a various combinations of lemon, cucumber slices, watermelon, berries . . .  you get the idea.
  2. Create a chart and for every glass you drink, check off a block. Make it a game.
  3. Every box is worth a nickel, dime, whatever. Reward with non-food items.
  4. Display the jar and tangibly you’ll see accomplishments right in front of you.

These habits restore a feeling of self-discipline. Self esteem issues were probably one reason you gained in the first place, right? (Congratulations – you’re now a winner!) Use the reward money for a family fun night, DVD or shopping trip.

Exercise! When did exercise cease to be fun? When we were children we ran for the pure joy of it! Find a sport the family can perform together. Whether it’s throwing the Frisbee, biking, swimming, hiking; these can all be fun activities and bond the family together. As your health improves, so does your children’s.

Cooking. This can be a fun family achievement as well. Have each family member list their favorite dinners and place all in a hat, then plan your weekly menu.

Forget the sticks and twigs of diet plans. These are gimmicks. Feed your family nutrients! Even hamburgers, meatloaf and pizza can be created with less fat. Use 93% ground round or homemade pizza with less cheese and more veggies.

Grill chicken, sirloin kabobs or roasted pork loin with grilled potatoes, veggies and salad. These aren’t fattening. Use the leftover pork loin for BBQ sandwiches and extra chicken over garden salad. Search through cookbooks as a family to see what recipes to try. Did you know that 80% of the time, families consume the same 12 meals? Boring! Your body needs nutritional variety to work effectively.

Train your children well to create healthy habits. Strive for excellence as a family, instilling discipline and common sense. What values are you teaching your children? They watch and learn.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;” (Ephesians 4:22)

The Benefits of a Biblical Diet

Would the God who loves us, do anything to harm us? Discipline yes, but He is a loving father who only wants what’s best for us. Therefore, when He tells us that any food is fine in moderation, (1 Corinthians 10:23) it basically means eat anything as long as we don’t idolize it. (Of course, one wouldn’t purposely consume poisonous mushrooms for example, so let’s not pose foolish observations.)

Naturally, in Biblical times the world didn’t have fast food and I avoid it as much as possible. We arrived home after six years in Europe in 1983. We were shocked by the overweight American population. Why? Fast food abundance! Sure, I’ll purchase fast-food once in a while. But mostly, I’ll follow the plan God set down from Genesis 1:29 & 9:3.

We can certainly learn a lot from the Bible about what is beneficial.

When we think of the biblical diet of Jesus, we think of loaves and fishes. The bread during biblical times contained healthy nutrients like barley, wheat, and flax. Today’s white bread makes a better eraser than food. (Hardly any fiber and useless carbs.) Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into our system, keeping our blood sugar stable.

A few decades ago, creating one’s own Ezekiel bread was the rage. Ezekiel bread contained all of the original bran, germ, and endosperm of the grain. Today it’s hard to find nutritious bread but wholesome fibrous bread with 3+ grams of fiber is acceptable. The fact is that 80%+ of everything we consume should be nutrient-dense. That keeps our bodily machine running efficiently.

In Daniel 1, Daniel followed a vegetarian diet and remained healthier than the others in Nebuchadnezzar’s court.

Most vegetables create an alkaline environment which prohibits cancer cells and other diseases from festering. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale all contain these powerful chemicals. Dark leafy vegetables contain chlorophyll which detoxifies and protects the body from aging.

With a vegetarian diet, few vegetables contain Vitamin B12, needed for brain function. Try mushrooms, potatoes, and butternut squash. Otherwise, take a vitamin or add eggs, fish, or cheeses to your diet.

Occasionally I hear, “I don’t eat any fat.” You should. One needs good fat to energize the fat vitamins, A, D, E, and K. In biblical times, people consumed primarily olive oil. It’s anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. (Great for arthritic conditions, as well as the heart, bones, digestive system, and brain.

We also need omega-3s. Remember fish was touted as brain food. It improves short-term memory and staves off dementia! Any fish is great but especially eat salmon, shrimp, oysters, mussels, and tuna.

God also instructed Adam to consume nuts and seeds. Add milled flaxseed and walnuts to Greek or any other good-quality yogurt. (“But Ellie, nuts are fattening!!!”) Sure, too many might be, but remember everything’s fine in moderation.

All nuts contain good healthy fats and other nutrients that benefit the heart, eyes, brain, and skin, and prevent chronic disease. Nuts also contain protecting chemicals that prevent bad cholesterol from absorbing into the bloodstream.

I urge you to use lots of herbs and seasonings: garlic, turmeric, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, rosemary, lemon, and thyme, instead of salt. These are all beneficial. I use lots of cinnamon which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial properties as well. It’s great on cereals, and yogurt, and even makes coffee enriched.

Eat for enjoyment but always remember God’s encouragement: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Reving Up a NASCAR Metabolism

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”  (2 Timothy 2:5)

Ever watched a NASCAR race?  When the race car pulls into its pit, you’ll see the crew spring into action.  They’re aware of the strict rules they must follow for their driver not to be injured or disqualified.  Each crew member works as part of that team to ensure maximum efficiency.

There’s a definite correlation between a NASCAR race and healthier living.  Your brain, heart, liver, lungs, thyroid . . .  every body part, functions as a team to become a winner!

Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day.

For example, one decision that must be made as the driver speeds around the track is how much fuel to place in the tank. The object is to get just enough fuel to make it over the finish line but not too much to reduce speed with unnecessary weight. The wrong decision could mean the end of viable competition. Do the same.

The Right Fuel Makes All the Difference!

It takes energy to make energy. Ingesting the wrong type of fuel can clog our arteries and slows down our efficiency. Chemically based processed foods restrict our energy level by making us sluggish. Too few quality nutrients and we’ll drag ourselves through the day.

It’s a Matter of Balance

Getting valuable nutrients throughout our daily ‘rat race’ is something we should aim for. Too much and we gain weight – not enough and we lose muscle and brain cells.

  • Too many calories and our flow of blood circulation is diverted to the stomach and therefore less blood flow is available for the brain and extremities.  (Think Thanksgiving dinner.)
  • On the opposite side of the spectrum, if one doesn’t consume enough food, then the brain becomes light-headed and ‘spacey’. The body will start cannibalizing its muscles to refuel. (Think starvation diets.)

Search for Beneficial Selections

The proper bodily fuel produces proper metabolism speed and brain power, allowing it to power up when necessary. We need good fats, wholesome carbohydrates, and lean protein to run efficiently.

When we’re uncontrollably hungry, what do we instinctively grab for quick energy? Sugar, right? Candy, donuts, cookies, etc. It’s our body’s fastest fuel source so that’s what our brain’s hypothalamus tells us we need. It’ll nag us until we give in to that quick-acting, sugary candy if we aren’t supplied with enough nutritional energy. We absolutely need nutrient-dense, quality fuel! Choose juice or other fruit which metabolizes into energy in 15 minutes. Place only productive whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein into our fuel tank for maximum efficiency.

Know Your Body

The NASCAR driver knows exactly what his race car needs because he’s attuned to its reactions. He knows how it acts when running properly and what he must do to win.

Therefore, he’s focused on success and expects his crew to act accordingly!  The entire crew works together for good! When the driver pits, if the tire pressure isn’t properly inflated, a lugnut isn’t tightened, the windshield’s dirty, or the spotter takes his eye off the track, something disastrous might occur.

Stay as focused as that. Following sensible nutritional guidelines keeps us healthy. We need to think of our body parts as separate entities all working for our productive health. It requires discipline to run our best race for the Lord! Honor God with your disciplined spirit!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Designed to Succeed

God did not design us to fail. But we are human, and we do.

Of course, as a counselor who specializes in nutrition, I’ve probably heard every excuse known to man. And man, do I dislike excuses! Oh, you had to eat that entire 14-inch pizza that Aunt Maude brought over, did you? “Well, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. After all, she made it just for me,” you said.

I understand. As a people pleaser, you didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

But what if Aunt Maude brought over some cocaine? Would you take it? I would certainly hope not! If you’re a diabetic, that fatty pizza would be just as dangerous to you! My recommendation: Chew a slice slowly, wrap up the rest in small servings and freeze for another time.

If you disobey God’s urging, you own it! It was your choice.  “But I tried to resist.” As that famous philosopher, Yoda replied to Luke Skywalker when he whined, he’d try, acknowledged, “No. Either do or do not. There is no try.” Now drink water, walk five miles, lift weights, play tennis or some other exercise. Do the crime, do the time.

Some of my patients protested, “I feel stupid. I failed.”

As Thomas Edison once declared, “I never fail. I just found 2,000 ways something didn’t work.” Failure makes us better educated. Face it, sometimes experience hurts. So, you were weak – learn from it. As I’ve mentioned before, most patients who came to see me had failed on many diets. Nothing worked – at least for any length of time.

Most believed that if success was to be achieved, there must be a gimmick, or they had to suffer to reach success. This is what I call “the penance principle.” It’s a false way of thinking. God designed us with innate, common sense. Use it. How can a hot dog diet (yes, there is one) be nutritionally sound?

Our loving Father desires to give His children only good gifts. That’s why He provided so many nutritionally dense selections to choose from.

“So if you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11) 

If God doesn’t provide for our requests, He has a good reason – so figure it out. Despite what some believe, He is not Lucy who takes away Charlie Brown’s football.

Now, what should we ask for when we pray for our daily bread? Should we ask for 3 lbs. of French Fries covered in cheese sauce? Would that be a good gift? No, we’d get sick or it could harm our heart.

If you face a culinary challenge, God has already given you the “tools” to overcome it. A knowledgeable brain, a spirit that knows right from wrong, and legs to walk away from temptation.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”   (1 Corinthians 10:13)

It all breaks down to our mental, physiological, and spiritual relationship to food. Which do we love more? Our belly or Christ? A momentary pleasure or knowing that we have resisted temptation? The food itself is not wrong based on Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. Our reaction to it can be!

Please don’t allow food to become your idol.

Reaping the Consequences of the Hippie Generation

In 1967, the popular rock band, The Grassroots, released a song entitled “Let’s Live for Today.” It epitomized the growing culture of the ’60s hippie generation. Since I look at health through a Biblical lens, I see a correlation here between healthy and destructive choices. Please indulge me.

Young people today believe the older generation doesn’t understand what it was to be young. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The ’60s Hippie Generation enjoyed a “free love philosophy” too. Don’t worry about tomorrow, grab hedonistic pleasure today! Looking back, what seemed like a good idea at the time turned out to be nothing but waking up the next morning with regrets, guilt, or a splitting headache, bowing before a porcelain god.

This ’60s philosophy of allowing others to live the way they want without boundaries became harmful. It morphed into an “I’m okay, you’re okay” attitude. This produced apathy. “Sorry, too busy to care.” Apathy is the opposite of love. We need to inspire a seemingly uncaring generation to cherish kindness and discipline.

There’s a price to pay for optimum health. There is no “free” anything. When presented with a buffet, ever thought, free food?! “I better eat as much as I can now because it won’t be there tomorrow!” Then, wake up the next morning with a food hangover, the digestion system rebelling? Ugh. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Excess food creates acidity which generates various illnesses. Thankfully, God gave humans common sense. When we know better, we make wiser choices. Enjoying nutritious flavorful clean food with a disciplined attitude is ultimately beneficial, so why go backward?

In Genesis 3:6, Eve saw that food was pleasing to the eye, and we have been seduced by food ever since!  God is pleased when we conquer worldly pleasures and honor Him!

We have produced an unhealthy generation. I endorse 1 Corinthians 10:23 to moderate culinary boundaries.  By Free Will, you either accept or reject God’s dietary boundaries. Your choice, you can eat anything, but remember, there are no victimless crimes. If you become ill, everyone you love suffers.

With the emergence of mid-century fast-food establishments, came an attitude of why cook when one can simply make a quick stop and bring home dinner?  So what if it’s made from chemicals, preservatives, and other items we can’t pronounce?  Kids will eat it when they won’t touch carrots! Busy parents justified: “Live and let live!” – at least we’ll eat together. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and childhood obesity increased accordingly as additional processed foods adorned the shelves of many supermarkets.

We morphed into a “do our own thing” society. Few attend church nowadays, many have no clear direction ethically/morally.  Parents have become friends not disciplinarians, allowing their children to live as they chose. Religion? “Whatever you embrace darling, as long as it fulfills your need.” The result? Children are ensnared by false doctrines and cultish beliefs. Crime soars.  If our young aren’t taught basic Biblical Truths and behaviors, we indeed reap what we sow. Their Spirit dies.

There definitely IS an eternal tomorrow. It’s called either Heaven or Hell and we can accept or reject that fact. I choose Heaven. To God, All Lives Matter!  Choose Life!

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  (2 Timothy 4:3)

Living with Fibromyalgia

In 1991 as I began my nutritional counseling career, fibromyalgia (FMS) was just emerging onto the medical scene. When the doctors I worked for couldn’t determine a specific cause, they inevitably sent the patient to me.

As I sat and listened to their symptoms and heard their plea for help, it was truly frustrating for us both. There were no guidelines at that time and many doctors believed it to be a “psychological inducement caused by stress.”  Translation: “It’s in your head.”

The more I listened, the more convinced I was that FMS was not a myth. There seemed to be a connection among most patients: 80% of them worked around chemicals. They were hairstylists, manicurists, lab and pest control technicians, house cleaners, etc. which I found to be curious. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that since the skin can breathe in toxins that remain in the muscles and joints, couldn’t fibromyalgia be a result of toxic build-up in the body?

Another possibility: FMS cases are increasing yearly. So are the chemical additives placed in foods found on grocery shelves! Is there a connection here? Just in case, I’d urge all to go back to the original “diet” plan God gave Adam. (Genesis 1:29) You’ll understand that God is smarter than we are.

As far as I know, to date, there is no cure for FMS but I pray there is hope, and here is what I humbly offer to fight it:

  1. Keep a food diary for at least a month. Track every food you place in your mouth. (Your health depends on it so don’t whine!) Circle any boxed, canned, or bagged food that contains dyes, chemical additives, or preservatives, and if your symptoms increase, don’t ever purchase these again.
  2. Increase your intake of purified, distilled water and lemon water. (Rid your diet of Splenda and chemically infused diet drinks. These are toxins.)
  3. Try juicing (but don’t forget fiber foods) and consume more alkaline foods. Use my search engine for posts on the pH scale.
  4. Wash all of your fruits and vegetables thoroughly! Even pre-washed packages contain some risk of pesticides. Increase organic foods if possible.
  5. Protect yourself with high antioxidant choices. Antioxidants protect the skin and will hopefully create a force field against outside pollutants.
  6. Increase fiber-rich choices. This will not only detoxify your body quickly by binding and removing toxins through the kidneys and liver but allow more protective nutrients to enter your bloodstream through the small intestine.
  7. Get out and walk! Fresh air releases endorphins and serotonin which improves the mood and reduces stress.

Change your diet. Search for the most powerful antioxidant foods available:

  1. Garlic, onions, and leeks all contain powerful chemicals which boost the immune system. I’ve written about this a lot. See any posts on healing foods.
  2. The friendly bacteria, acidophilus is found in natural, good quality yogurt. Mountain High, Stonyfield, Stony Farms, Yoplait Natural, and Fage, Greek (or any without additives) will fight the harmful bacteria in your system.
  3. Spicy foods release soothing neurotransmitters that calm pain. Try increasing hot spicy foods containing capsaicin, (cayenne pepper) or hot salsas, peppers, horseradish, and wasabi.
  4. Chlorophyll will boost immune-fighting properties. This includes alfalfa, kelp, spinach, kale, broccoli, or wheat grass. All green foods contain chlorophyll. (but NO! Not moldy cheese.)

Lastly, it is not only “in your head.” Sometimes it’s in your heart too, for it takes Herculean effort to remain upbeat when in pain.  I urge you to surround yourself with TRUE friends who will accept you as you are! God will never abandon you.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Butterflies, Botanists, Bees and Diets

Our pastor used an excellent illustration that I believed expressed similarities between nutrition and Christianity. I hope you’ll recognize the correlation as well.

***

A man of God strolled through a beautiful public garden one morning. He happened upon a brilliant butterfly setting on a beautiful blue flower next to the path. It wasn’t long however until the butterfly flew away searching for another pretty flower to land upon.

The Butterfly:

As a nutritionist, I’ve counseled many who flit from one diet plan to another. They believe another magical formula will work. It does until it doesn’t since they were searching for an easy fix, not Truth. I understand that even I won’t last long in their orbit. They’ll be off to find another mythical diet plan.

Weight loss shouldn’t be a quick fix. If you lose weight too quickly. your body assumes you’re starving or sick. Your metabolism slows to protect you. The law of Physiology is Truth. I urge everyone to follow a sensible Mediterranean or equivalent diet. That’s Truth!

Churchgoers sometimes flit around Scripture too. They find and discard verses they don’t believe or have any desire to follow. They only want “feel-good” sermons and to be entertained with stories and music.

“Why do you have to sermonize on sin?” “Why not have only positive verses which make me feel good?” they ask. Well, sometimes realistic, yet tough love is needed. I can positively profess that Scripture declares Salvation is by Grace alone.

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

He wandered along and noticed a man crouching down sketching a colorful flowering bush.

“Are you an artist?” The man asked.

“No, sir, I’m a Botanist,” the writer replied. “I’m researching all the plants in the garden.”

“Fascinating. Can you tell me more?”

But the botanist seemed too busy to discuss his work. The botanist studied the flowers, creating more sketches and notes. After he accumulated all his research, he walked away to find another plant.

The Botanist:

We’ve all met them. “Experts” who have all head knowledge but no heart knowledge. Christian scholars who’ve read every book on Doctrine, the Holy Spirit, the Psalms, or whatever. They are so hung up on their expertise that they fail to see human hearts needing guidance, love, and the Savior!

“teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

In my line of work, these are the patients who claim they “know” everything. They’ve read every Prevention magazine and watched every episode of Dr. Oz, (and Oprah.) They’ve tried every fad diet and proclaimed each worked for them. (Then why are you here???) The only true diet plan is one that works for a lifetime. And since we’re all created uniquely (Psalm 139) that’s to be determined.

The Bee:

Continuing, the man heard a buzzing around him. Curious, he glanced around and discovered a bee diligently drinking in the nectar of a yellow flower. Fascinated, the man watched for several minutes as the bee focused on his mission.

The bee is inspirational. The bee represents a Christian who attends church as much as possible to LEARN something! They take notes and soak up scripture verses like sponges. They apply it to their lives. After they’ve held on to as much “wisdom-nectar” as possible, they inspire and motivate others thru their actions.

“You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.” (Psalm 119:73)

How similar are church attendees and diet-conscious humans to those three examples?

Which are you? Are you teachable, pliable, and motivational? If so, you’ll process the “nectar” of wellness, until you’ve reached your mental, physiological and spiritual goal.

Strive to be a BEE!

What is Your Isaac?

What would you do if God asked you to offer a heart-wrenching sacrifice?

God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his most cherished possession, Isaac, on an altar to God. How Abraham must have been in torment those 3 days traveling to Mount Mariah. But he trusted God and knew he loved God even more than his beloved son.

Has God ever asked you to sacrifice?

If suddenly, God asked you to sell all your earthly goods and move to a foreign country and work as a missionary? Would you, do it?

That was us in 2005 when we felt called to the mission field. I had moved many times with my military linguist/golf pro/full-time Christian service husband. That included six wonderful years in Europe, so I loved adventure, meeting new people, and adapting to different cultures.

Giving up worldly goods was no problem. Twice we’ve sold everything we owned to travel the country in our RV. We thought we’d be perfect candidates to relocate overseas and serve the Lord.

There was only one deterrent. We discovered we’d have to give up our dogs. Would I be willing to do that??? After all, our pooches were family! Every time I gazed upon our sweet Cocker and ornery Lhasa, my eyes filled with tears. Oh, my dear God, please don’t ask that of me. Who would love them as much as we would – especially stubborn Jewel?

Each time, while walking our dogs, I prayed – my heart struggling over this sacrifice. During that time, however, we continued with the application.

Finally, I reconciled what I needed to do. Alright, LORD, I love you more than my precious pets. I’ll trust you’ll find a caring home with someone who will love them as much as we do.

Immediately, I felt at peace about my decision and eagerly anticipated the Mission Agency’s acceptance letter.

BOOM, the door closed!

“I’m sorry,” they replied, “but the Board feels you’re too old . . .”  Too OLD? How dare they?! We were in perfect health and only in our mid-50s! I’ll never be too OLD!!! Even at 100!!!

Then it dawned on me, this was my Isaac. God wanted to know where He stood in my life. My pets were my most cherished possessions. I was ready to sacrifice my Isaac to Him.

What is your Isaac? What is your most cherished possession? To some it’s their lifestyle, sports, business, money . . .  how about food? Ridiculous, you say? Not so fast.

Have you attended Sunday services simply for the coffee and donut social hour or after church luncheon? Have you looked at your watch and thought, wish he’d stop preaching before it’s too crowded at the restaurant!? Or: hope my pot roast hasn’t dried out by now.

“Their God was their belly. Their mind was set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

So, think of it this way: are you willing to present your body as a living sacrifice in every aspect of your life – including what you eat?

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

God sacrificed His Son for you. Is it a sacrifice limiting sugary sweets, fattening processed foods, bacon cheeseburgers . . .? Isn’t honoring our earthly temple by sacrificing unhealthy food a small sacrifice compared to what God sacrificed for us?

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)

Do you love God more than your belly? Silly question.