Tag Archive | overcoming temptation

Surviving the “Eating” Season

This time of year, one might receive more dinner party invitations than time allows. So how can one stick with an eating plan without adding inches to the waistline? First, don’t stress out.


Policies to Strive For: 

  • Start out with a (if possible) smaller  plate. Strive for 5x’s more vegetables covering it than meat. Simple. No weighing or measuring.
  • Cover your plate with nutrient dense vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, peas, red/green peppers, onions, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts.  (Physiologically, these foods create an alkaline environment in which cancer cells cannot thrive.)
  • Consume 4-5 cups of vegetables daily. Vegetables are primarily water so you’ll hydrate yourself while consuming nutrients and fiber!
  • Lean meats:  3-4 ounces of lean meat is all you need at one time, (approximate the size of a deck of cards).
  • Your body needs variety. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, phytonutrients have different responsibilities. Everything’s meant to work together for good. Disregarding a vital nutrient will change your body’s chemistry.

Don’t allow guilt or faulty thinking to blind you to facts:

Many dieters avoid beef.  There’s no need to do so. London Broil, Filet Mignon, Sirloin Steak, Tenderloin, eye of round or top round have approximately 6 grams of fat per 3.5 oz serving.  Dark meat chicken, (legs/thighs) actually has a higher fat content at 11 grams per serving.

Beef also contains high amounts of B12 which is an energy vitamin!  That doesn’t mean you should eat beef every night. Consume  chicken, turkey or pork for variety. But a steak sandwich?  No problem.  Grill Sirloin, slice 3 oz, place on a whole grain roll, smother it in grilled mushrooms, peppers and onions, even add a thin slice of mozzarella. Include a green salad with 1 tbsp dressing. Are you suffering? No. Food should have flavor and be enjoyable to eat!

Lean pork, (loin) contains Thiamine, the “feel-good” vitamin.  Add herbs, garlic, fruit, seasonings and consume nutrients!

Any broiled, grilled or baked fish; Tilapia, salmon, Swai, halibut, codfish, shrimp are wonderful additions to your eating plan.  Add seasoning such as lemon, herbs, wine or salsa over fish for variety.

Add a whole grain; potatoes, corn, brown rice, barley, pasta. You mean I can eat potatoes too?  Aren’t potatoes bad for me?  A potato contains vitamins A, E, D, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Does that sound like something God wants you to avoid?  Resist covering with tons of butter, sour cream or drowning it in oil and it’ll stay healthy. Sweet potatoes are even more nutritious!

Pasta? Again, buy fibrous whole grain. Create tomato sauces with lots of vegetables! I’ve replaced heavy cream with a smaller amount of Neuchâtel/light cream cheese and parmesan, creating a fabulous 20% fat alfredo sauce!

Your typical dinner should look like this:  60% fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 15% comprise grilled, broiled or baked lean protein. The rest, 25%, can be filled with good fats: olive, canola oil, avocados, salad dressing, coconut, nuts or an occasional desert. We are adults, we live under grace and we can choose what we want.

Begin your New Year determined to be a New Creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)



So A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Florida . . .

So Goodbye Arizona:

At our age, it seemed no one wanted an enthusiastic but older couple who simply wanted to follow God’s leading into ministry. With 27 years of schooling, a Seminary Master’s degree and two photo of Dave and Ellie 2Doctorate’s, who wouldn’t want my husband as a teaching pastor?  However, sending out resumes and receiving countless rejection letters became discouraging. News Flash: If you’re on a search committee, please don’t send a rejection letter stating you’ve decided to go in a “different direction.”  As Christians, Dave and I are going in the right direction, where is your church going???

So we then contemplated moving to The Villages in Florida, complacent to teaching adult Sunday School.  You know . . .  somewhere, hot , sunny and warm. Nearer our children.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression,  “Man plans . . .  God laughs?”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Out of the blue,” we received a call. A small town church in Ohio was looking for a compassionate pastor who would take the helm and grow their church.  After much prayer, many conference calls and a personal visit, we fell in love with the warmth of the congregation, (which more than substituted for the warmth of Florida.)

Arizona is a snow bird location but sadly the economy here hasn’t risen as other areas have. Everyone told us the prospect of selling our home quickly was remote, usually taking an average of eight months to sell. However we had a secret weapon: the Will of God! Faith believes that if God wants a mountain to move, it will move.

“There is no coincidence with God.” 

I’m hardly ever out in my front yard (everyone lives in their gravel-based backyards in Arizona)  but 7:30 that morning I was out sweeping off my walkway, preparing for a large realtor tour in a couple of hours. A man coincidentally drives up to our sign out front and picks up a flyer. He glances over at me and asks enthusiastically if I am the owner? When I confirmed I was, he wondered why his realtor hadn’t shown him this beauty before? Of course I joked it was even prettier inside.

His name was Bob from New Jersey. He was on a mission, here for only three days, searching for a home for his wife and him in a warmer climate. Would it be possible on short notice to view our home? He came by with his realtor immediately after the tour and within three hours we accepted his cash offer. He generously offered to purchase some of our furniture which he didn’t know, I had been praying to sell anyway.

Another coincidence was, that very morning at 6am, (9am Ohio time) we had been notified that our offer on the home we desired in Ohio had been accepted!  And the street name of the new home?  It happened to be my sister’s name who lived 75 miles away.  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

So goodbye my beloved Arizona, goodbye cowboy hat and hello new adventure as we follow God’s chosen pathway for us. I want to  especially thank Pastor Sebastian Weaver,  Pastor Joe Quatrone and Storyad for their continuing, encouraging prayers for God’s Will to be done in our lives and the acceptance of whatever that might be!

 “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”  (Ruth 1:16)




Power Through the Tough Times!

Last week my little dog and I were walking, as we do every morning, when we noticed a man laboring on his morning run across the street. He was quite overweight and our walk kept pace with his run but God bless him literally, that man didn’t give up! I silently cheered him on as he rounded the curve and headed off in another direction.  I prayed that fat-marathon-runner1[1]other direction lead to a health improvement.

This morning we saw him again, trudging away. Perhaps eventually, I can get him to wave but he seemed focused on his breathing and didn’t glance over at us at all. Perhaps he was embarrassed, who knows? It’s tough to start anything new and not feel self-conscious.

Yes sometimes embarrassment stops us from accomplishing something before we even get started! Have you ever tried to witness to someone? Scary! At first you might be self-conscious, but as Jesus infuses your life, it will become second nature to discuss Biblical issues.  No one starts off being an evangelist like Billy Graham. Truth be told, even Billy Graham didn’t start off being Billy Graham. He was petrified during his first sermon! It becomes easier as the Holy Spirit becomes your power!

No one really starts off in life obese either. But along life’s road we might gain a few pounds. Then it’s ten and eventually much more. If we immediately learn to nip the first five pounds in the bud, it sure is easier to manage that weight gain. So let the Holy Spirit work within and be inspired by the Apostle Paul’s words:

“Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” ( 1 Corinthians 9:27)

A patient once protested, “How would you know how I feel? You’ve never had a weight problem in your life!” Mmm, assumptions. Little did they know I had and gain weight very easily. But so what? My job wasn’t a “can you top this” position. It wouldn’t make any difference – she couldn’t compare herself to anyone else, including me. Besides, would anyone feel any better knowing I was dying of cancer if they were dying of heart disease? No! Pursuing health is based on individual physiology.

For me, I’ve learned to keep my weight within a range. I seldom weigh myself, rather I know how my clothes fit. If they are tighter, I instantly take action to drink water, eat less and exercise more. Voila’! In no time I am back at my normal healthy weight, because I discipline my body into submission.

We had a super-duper exercise bike in our living room. (Bless my sweet hubby.) I mean, I thought I was in shape. I used to play tennis for hours, run five miles a day, play racquetball, walk the golf course carrying clubs . . .  so I thought. “piece of cake.”  Wrong. My first experience riding that bike,  I was in agony within three minutes! It would have been so easy to quit, but being stubborn, I refused! Soon I was riding six minutes, than ten, then twenty . . . then it was faster or intervals or anything to make it interesting.  Watching television while on it made the time wiz by. Don’t. Ever. Give. Up!

Everyone has to start somewhere! That jogger’s tenacity was an inspiration to me and should be to all. I hope I see him daily for I am cheering alongside him.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”                    (Philippians 3:14)


Craving Chocolate isn’t a Personality Flaw

As  my “New Year, New You” class began one morning, I placed a single Dove Dark Chocolate piece in front of each attendee. I never said anything, just watched.

Dove ChocolateWell, it didn’t take long. Some opened it and ate immediately. Another placed it in her pocketbook. One man gave it to his wife. Most kept it in front of them, awaiting instruction.

Then I asked the question, “Why did you act as you did?”  Almost all of them shrugged subconsciously. Then someone broke the ice. “Well, I thought you were going to take it away from me, so I ate it before you could!” Laughter ensued, opening up the discussion. “Well, I know my wife loves these, so I gave it to her.” I was waiting for you to tell us what to do.” “I’m saving it for after lunch.” “I thought it was a test and I didn’t want to give in.”

“Well,”  I explained, “I suppose in a way it was a test but probably not in the way you expected. It wasn’t a test of willpower, it was a test of reaction. How we act around food tells us a great deal about ourselves. I was curious to observe how you would react to a seemingly ‘bad’ food. Decision-making and how peer pressure influences you. Until someone knows why they eat the way they do, they’ll never change our habits and reactions around food.”

So what would you do?

If you’d eat the candy right away,  you’re likely an independent thinker, sometimes rebellious, a ‘show me why that’s important’ type of personality.  You’re saying, “If it makes sense I’ll follow your direction, but if it doesn’t, forget it, I’m doing my own thing!”  These are the type of patients who need common sense instruction. Like what does this mean to me in dog years? This personality is trained like a great race horse. As they learn, let them take control of the reins.  They accept responsibility for their actions but need to understand diet truths.

  Timothy 1:7 states, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Those who waited for instruction, indicated they were strict ‘rules and regulations’ types. They follow instructions but won’t show initiative unless they know their actions are approved. They don’t want to look foolish or make mistakes. They are people pleasers but expect perfection from themselves. These tend to lean on a counselor as a crutch. If they begin to get too close to their  goal, they’ll gain weight, afraid to break the bond and be on their own.  They need confidence and belief in themselves.      

2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourselves approved by God . . .”

The husband who gave away his candy to his wife, thought his actions were kind. In actuality, he became a saboteur.  His wife, a people pleaser, couldn’t hurt his feelings, so she ate it, sabotaging her efforts. This couple, I would urge to be each other’s support system for good not evil. Giving in or enabling another’s bad habits is never a good thing. Strive to build each other by being a support partner.

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Be aware of how you act around food, pressing on toward the goal of becoming your own New Creation, pleasing God in all things.

Running Away From God

Are there really victim-less crimes?  Some people think so.  Some adamantly proclaim, “If it’s my body, I can do what I want! Lighten up!”  “If it’s not hurting anyone else, what difference does it make?”

A lot. But some have become so anesthetized in their sin that they don’t see the pain they cause others around them.

Jonah on the shipJonah thought his sin of rebellion wouldn’t affect anyone. Wasn’t true. The storms of life affected the innocent ones around him.

Jonah 1: 5 “ All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.”

Jonah was so anesthetized to sin, he slept like a baby! Foolish man,  As we learned in Kindergarten, God is everywhere! No one runs away from God. He sees our addictions and demands that we make no golden idols of worldly things “because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:16. 

Our out of control behavior touches those who care about us. And it’s not just the “big” abuses: drugs, alcohol, smoking . . .  it’s also eating addiction, gluttony. Even food can be an idol. If food controls us, we’ve just made it our god. Do you love the Lord more than food? If not, it’s your idol.

My patient Jenny, didn’t think weight affected anyone else until she overheard her 8 & 10 year old children being taunted by other children regarding her weight. She noticed the sorrow and embarrassment on their faces and felt ashamed. As she sat in my office she told me she thought she was a good mother. She spent time with her children. Well, except the times when she was too tired to play . . . or her knees hurt too much to walk . . . or couldn’t fit into the amusement ride seats at Six Flags. She looked at me and announced, “It was my wake-up call. I’m ready to change.” Overeating affected the innocent.

Good for her!   Until someone desires to change, they won’t.  Change must first come from within and sadly food addiction is one of the hardest to conquer.

Medications, stresses, peer pressure, family lifestyles, emotions, holidays all affect our eating habits.   How many times have you heard someone joke, “Oh I’d die for a piece of chocolate right now!”  They  don’t call it, ‘Death by Chocolate’ for nothing! However it’s the fat content , not the chocolate that’s the culprit. All foods are fine in moderation but when one is controlled by it, it becomes an emotional issue! (stay tuned)

Jenny began to include her children in her healthy living process which educated them as well.  Here are a few actions they incorporated into their routine:family preparing meal

  • Cut designs in vegetables; flowering radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes and cover with a tuna or chicken salad.
  • Create your own salad vinaigrettes.
  • Teach as they watch you create recipes.
  • If safe for them to do so, let them help in the process.
  • Create your own chocolate sauce by melting some semi-sweet chips and dunk fruit for dessert.
  • They exercised together!

Happy Ending: Her children became her accountability partners as well as her cheerleaders. For every pound lost, they placed a dollar in a jar. When she reached finally her goal, the money was used for a visit to grandmother’s house. It was a win all the way around!

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Cereal, ‘smerial, it’s just breakfast, isn’t it?!

a sugary breakfastI Recently viewed a television commercial in which a family happily walks down the grocery aisle as the announcer touts the benefits of eating breakfast each morning.  Smiling, they tossed a few boxes of cereal into their cart and go their merry way.

Although I agree that breakfast is important, the type of cereal they were gleefully placing in their basket was appalling! They might as well have tossed Oreo’s into their cart! Oh wait . . .  didn’t they try that breakfast cereal already?  Didn’t last – went the way of the Mr T cereal.

Anyway, parents please!  Just because a child demands a certain cereal doesn’t mean it’s good for them. If they wanted cocaine, would you give that to them too? Hopefully not! As parents, encourage a child in the way they should go in all their spiritual, mental and physical endeavors.

Proverbs 22:6  ” Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

A child lives what he learns.

Submitting to increased daily sugar/fat intake is one of the worst things you can do to your child. It’ll set them up for a possible  health challenges later on. I saw the results of hyperactivity first hand twenty years ago while working with physicians. I suggested eliminating chemicals, preservatives and dyes if possible. Recently studies confirmed that chemical relationships can be linked to hyperactivity and ADD.  I pity the poor teacher who had children ‘climbing the walls’ from the chemical rush obtained from these breakfast choices.

Unfortunately, most cereals on the shelves are loaded with sugar,chemicals, preservatives, dyes, trans and hydrogenated fat.  Sometimes the proclaimed bonus of ‘fruit’ consists simply of flavored gelatin and dyes. Hmm, think those yogurt cereals contain real yogurt with its good bacterial properties? Not unless you create your own cereal/yogurt parfait from scratch.

Let’s look at several of the worst offenders:

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks:  This product (3/4 cup serving size) contains 15 grams of sugar, (56%!)  What that means to you in “dog years” is this:  There are 4 grams in a teaspoon. Divide 15 by 4 and you are consuming almost 4 teaspoons of sugar. Take a moment and visualize placing 4 teaspoons of sugar in that bowl.  You could give your child 6 Hershey Kisses for less sugar!

Captain Crunch:  Sugar content is 3 teaspoons.  Bad enough but look at the chemical ingredients added to this: Yellow dye 5 & 6, Red dye 40, Blue dye 1 and BHT, a preservative.

Quaker Oats OOPS All Berries: Same as above with its red dye #40, Yellow #5, Blue #2,  Blue #1 and 46% is pure sugar.  Fill a measuring cup and visualize for yourself. Quite an eye opener.

Sometimes children request a cereal simply because of the cartoon character on the box. conveniently located eye-level on the shelves. That’s manipulation of children and corporate greed! Rather than risk a public temper tantrum, the parent gives in.

Hardly any of these child-targeted cereals contain healthy fiber, which allows sugar to be released more slowly into the system. Choose cereals with  less than 5 grams of sugar but at least 5 grams of fiber.a good breakfast

Now parents I know you love your children. You should love the Lord even more.  You are killing your children with kindness by being a pushover!   Search for good wholesome cereals such as Shredded Mini-Wheats, Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat and Bran, Wheat or Bran Chex, Grape Nuts, any Kashi cereal or oatmeal.

If your child wants something sweet on their cereal add real blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, raisins or bananas. All packed with nutrients that will assist with brain productivity and produce a much healthier child.


Learning God’s Way

Psalm 32:8  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

father teaching child bike riding

We’ve all seen the father who teaches his child how to ride a bike, even if it’s only in those touching television commercials.  The father balances the child’s bike as he runs alongside, providing a stabilizing influence and assurance of safety.

But eventually the father must let go and allow his children to balance themselves as they continue on down the road without them.  It’s how they learn . . .  even through their mistakes. Trust issues are involved on both sides. A father needs to trust that his child won’t try crazy actions like riding down a steep rocky path, stupid, dangerous tricks or ride in traffic without being extremely aware of his surroundings.

It would be quite degrading and perhaps humorous however to see that father running alongside his child at 19 years of age, still holding on to the back of the bike to steady it.   Of course the young child will probably fall off a few times from inexperience, but he also knows that his father will be close by to offer comfort and encouragement and to never give up trying!  The father must back away eventually – for what child constantly wants a parent hovering over them?  . . . it’s the only way a child learns to make sensible choices.

Our Heavenly Father is like that. Through His Holy Word, He trains us to do the right thing.  He patiently allows us to learn even though He knows we’ll make mistakes sometimes.  He cares deeply but doesn’t hover over us, rather He allows us to make our own choices . . . even if that desire is wrong.

Of course we’ll make the wrong decisions sometimes, usually in our daily habits. We’re not flawless beings. Something as ‘simple’ as overeating at a sumptuous buffet, compulsive shopping, procrastination could begin to rule our lives. Some could even prove more disastrous: such as alcohol,drug, smoking or eating addictions that produce serious physical illnesses.

We’ve all chosen some wrong options which we wish we could take back, but our Heavenly Father is there to provide comfort when we fail. He knows we aren’t perfect and readily forgives if we sincerely ask for forgiveness.  And just like the child who stumbles sometimes, our Father won’t disown us for our mistakes.

“Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s love. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger or threatened with death? No! Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

The first step in change is awareness. Own up to mistakes, ask forgiveness and take steps to overcome addictions.  We must stop blaming someone else for failure because we are the only one who lives in our body. No one else made those choices but us. To paraphrase Dale Carnegie, no one does anything without wanting to.  Sure, someone could put a gun to your head and demand money, but we give it to them freely because we don’t want to die.  Choose wisely and God will direct your paths.  Trust God and claim victory!

Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”