Exercise, Weight Loss, and the Bible

p1020324The Bible as a lot to say about exercise. Unfortunately for our weight loss efforts, the Greek words translated as “exercise” have nothing to do with working out. The Bible talks about exercising kindness and authority, but has little to say on the subjects of weight lifting and lunges. Mostly we get are metaphors to “run the race” set out for us (Hebrews 12:1) and not to run or box aimlessly but to try to win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-36).

P1000582There is one reference to literal working out. The word “gymnasia” in Greek is used in Timothy 4:8 where we’re told that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”. There we have it, folks, the biblical endorsement of physical exercise, a motto for Christian fitness instructors everywhere: physical training is of “some value”. It’s not exactly poster worthy motivation. But lucky for us, the Bible was not written to help us lose weight, but to point us to eternal things that are way more important than our physical bodies.

While I can’t memorize verses about “feeling the burn”, I do get encouragement to exercise from looking at creation, both the creation account in Genesis and my created body. Our bodies were clearly designed to move, i.e. to exercise. Adam and Eve were tasked with gardening and animal husbandry, both of which require physical effort. Our body benefits when we exercise and suffers when we don’t. Exercise helps regulate our hormones and blood sugar, and keeps our circulatory, excretory and respiratory systems in tip top shape.

2013 August 106Exercise doesn’t have to involve hours of sweat or debilitatingly sore muscles, it just has to get your blood pumping and your muscles moving. Every little bit of exercise adds up and adds benefit, even as little as two minutes.

My favorite verse for exercise is Job 39:13 because I, like the ostrich, do not look graceful when I exercise, but I flap joyfully!

 

What motivates you to exercise?

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God’s Gatorade (part 2)

Most fruits and vegetables are 80-90% water, so they help hydrate your body as well as fill it with vitamins and nutrients. Here are three more highly hydrating snacks to quench your cravings.

035Field Irrigation: Watermelon and sunflower seeds. Sweet and salty, this snack satisfies both cravings. Just make sure you pay attention to which seeds you eat and which you spit.

 

036Mediterranean Berries: Greek yogurt and berries. Fill a small plastic container with Greek yogurt and add a few tablespoons of frozen raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries and your snack is ready to travel without refrigeration.

 

037newCooling Waters: Cucumber smoothie. Blend a peeled and de-seeded cucumber with fruit and milk. Refreshing, sweet, and a great way to consume the bounty of a too-prolific cucumber plant in your summer garden.

 

Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.   Romans 14:16,17 (NIV)

God’s Gatorade (part 1)

What hydrates your body better than water? Better than sports drinks? Vegetables!

Most vegetables are 90% water or more and they contain natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts, and vitamins. This combination does for your body what sports drinks advertise, but without chemicals. At 97% water content, cucumbers are God’s Gatorade.

Studies show that the food you eat provides 20% of the water your body needs each day. When you snack on vegetables, you get hydration, restocking of the minerals, acids, and vitamins your body needs, and fiber to move along what your body doesn’t need. Add a little protein to that snack and it’ll keep the energy flowing for hours.

Here are some super-hydrating protein-packed super-snacks. Any fruit or vegetable is going to have at least 75% water content, but the ones listed in these snacks are at least 90% water:

 

032The Aqueduct: celery with nut butter. This crunchy nutty combination is not just for kids. Let the water and protein flow.

 

033Muddle the Puddle: hummus and cucumber slices. Hummus comes in a variety of flavors to keep things interesting as well as hydrated.

 

034Bell Pepper Boats: half a bell pepper boat filled with tuna salad. This can be a snack, or two boats can be lunch. Easy to take on the go and they store well.

 

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Beverage Math

037newYou’ve probably seen Beverage Math on just about every weight loss episode of any talk show for the past ten years. An overweight guest stares hopefully at the host as s/he pulls up a power point slide showing that if the overweight guest stops drinking soda (or “pop” or “Coke” if you’re not a nor’easter), s/he will lose ten pounds in a year. I’ve always been envious of those guests and their Soda Math. Stop drinking soda and lose ten pounds?! That would be so easy! Easy for me because I only drink soda a few times a year.

My envy ended when it occurred to me that while I may not have a Soda Math situation going on, I do have Coffee Math: I take my coffee on par with melted coffee ice cream. Whether I add half and half, milk, creamer, sugar, or a combination of them all, each mug for me averages 100 calories apiece. And I drink it like that twice a day. Ready for the Coffee Math?

2014 Aug transformers 043One pounds = 3,500 calories. So 200 calories of coffee per day x 365 days per year = 20.8 pounds. Twenty pounds in one year simply by switching to black coffee. That would be so easy!

But I love creamy coffee. I don’t want to drink it black.

But twenty pounds? I want to lose twenty pounds.

What if I drank creamatose coffee once a day and black coffee once a day? That’s ten pounds in one year and twenty pounds in two. And I can still start my morning with creamy sweet caffeine.

When we drink our calories, we tend to savor them less than the calories we chew. I’m not saying that we should only ever drink water and water-calorie equivalents (black coffee, unsweetened tea, etc); I’m just saying that we should do our own personal Beverage Math. We all have that one drink we’d rather not give up. So don’t give it up. Cut it in half if you need to, but savor every drop.

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”” John 4:13-14

Happy 40th

Happy 40th birthday to ME!

march 2012 004

Me in 2012

I clearly remember being 33 and wanting to lose weight but not wanting to put in the work that I knew weight loss would take. I remember thinking “Do I still want to look and feel like this when I’m 40?” That was one of the deciding factors for me that motivated me to lose weight NOW. What do I want to be like when I’m 40? If I keep doing what I’m doing today, where will I be in ten years? Am I okay with that?

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Me in 2018

I am so incredibly glad I took the time and made the effort to struggle, to fail, to try again, and to succeed in getting healthier and thinner. I remember what it felt like to be very overweight and I prefer how I feel now. It was worth it. Now I’m 40 and I’m reaping the benefits of 33 year old me’s determination.

Way to go younger me! Happy birthday!

Do you have any milestones approaching? What are your dreams for that milestone?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Bible, Water, and Weight Loss

2015 sibling visit 275The Bible mentions water over 600 times for everything from washing, drinking, and baptism to flooding the Earth and Jesus taking a moonlit sea-top stroll during a storm. The common thread of all those verses is that water is necessary for life. (That’s also the main idea of chapter two of most elementary biology textbooks.)

We’re going to focus on the necessity of water consumption (i.e. drinking it) because that’s where our weight loss connection lies. Water is necessary for life and health, yet we tend to take for granted that it’s available and clean and ready to chug any time. (I’m assuming that if you have enough caloric intake to want to lose weight, you live in a part of the world with easy access to clean water.) We have so many alternative beverages that we pass by the Genesis original.

Our bodies are composed of 60% water and use water for everything from aiding digestion to protecting our brains to maintaining good circulation. It’s also one of the easiest healthy habits to start today. You can probably drink 8 ounces of water before you finish reading one of the links below.

Need some inspiration to chug some fantastic H2O?

Take a Water Quiz.

Try the amazing new product Visible Water ™

Visit the Hydration pharmacy

 

John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have give you living water”.

Rev 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water’. ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’.

Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.

Oh Danny Greens

To the tune of Oh Danny Boy, lift your fork and belt this out with me:

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Oh eat your greens, the greens, the greens are calling

From head to toe they do a body good.

The vitamins and nutrients are flowing.

Tis you, tis you, must eat and I must too.

 

But come ye back for more greens on your plate.

Some mustard greens, spinach, kale, and chard.

Cholesterol goes down, they help my arteries.

Oh leafy greens, Oh leafy greens, I love you so.

 

And if you eat your greens with all that fiber,

They help your colon clean out all the junk.

Greens help your bones because they’re full of calcium,

So kneel and thank our God for making greens.

 

And I shall eat my greens for their B vitamins

That turn to glucose; gives me energy.

Greens boost my vision health. Oh, greens are wonderful.

I’ll simply eat my greens until you come to me.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3