Category Archives: Putting It All Together

Weight Loss and Faith

Weight loss can be frustrating. There are times I exercise more and eat less for weeks and the scale still won’t budge.

It’s tempting to give up, but  I’ve got to believe all of that effort is having a positive effect somewhere in my body. Somewhere, deep down, I have cells that look like they just won Biggest Loser. But I have to keep trying until those effects grow beyond the microscopic and become visible to my naked eye.

Weight loss takes faith. When I started losing weight, I knew it would take work, and I knew it would take resilience, but I never expected to need faith.

I have to have faith that the vegetables I eat, the sleep I snooze, and the exercise I do is making a difference until time has passed and I see evidence of that difference: I feel stronger, my cholesterol drops, I look trimmer, and so forth. I would love faithless weight loss. Eat a carrot and BOOM: one pound lighter. Lift a weight and BOOM: a bicep appears out of nowhere. SIGH.

P1010166But God designed our bodies to adapt to our behavior over time. (And thank God that He did! If a goldfish overate like I did, it wouldn’t store fat, it’d just die.) As it is, our bodies expand to accommodate extra food and shrink back when food is decreased. When we eat sugar and sit on our rears, our bodies crave sugar and tire easily, but when we eat plants and move our limbs, our bodies miss those things if we stop. We adapt and actually begin to crave what’s good for us.

Just like people who read the Bible every day don’t expect an angel-choir mountain-top super-spiritual experience every time they read a verse, but notice changes over time in their relationship with God and others because of their Scripture reading, so too physical changes take time and perseverance to happen. Instead of faith in God, it’s faith in how God created our bodies to function.

2013 August 106Study after study has shown that the benefits of exercise and eating well start at the cellular level. There are many trillions of cells in the human body, so it takes a while for us to notice when a few million of them change.

Don’t give up. (Preaching to myself here.) Have faith that what you do for your health today will benefit you today and next week and next month, even if you don’t see results now.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  – James 1:4 (NIV)

 

Be A Better Loser

I’m a pretty good loser, but with help, I’m a great loser.  Help can be an app, a website, a book, an accountability partner, a support group, or a lock on the fridge.  For me, it was Loseit.com.

2013 Summer 605When I first started losing weight, I didn’t want help.  Don’t give me a list of rules.  Don’t tell me any foods are off limits.  Call it stubbornness, call it arrogance, call it refusal to let go of a baking addiction…the point is, I wanted to do it on my own terms.  Also, on my bad days, I did NOT want to have to tell someone how bad I was.  My shame is my own, thank you very much!  But after four months of losing weight and two months of plateau-ing, (P.L.A.T.E.A.U. stands for Please Let my Attempts Take Effect…ARGH!! U’ve got to be kidding me!  Really body?  All this effort and the scale doesn’t budge?) I was ready for help.

P1010980Loseit.com is a free, easy, online calorie diary of sorts.  You know it’s quick and easy if a stay at home mom with four computer-crazy little kids can use it.  When I sit down at the computer, I have about 70 seconds before the boys swarm all over me, asking for a turn.  One of them will actually climb up the back of my chair and onto my shoulders.

Anyways, you create an account, telling them how much you weigh now, your weight goal, and if you want to lose 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds a week.  I love the realism here; notice that you may not choose to lose 20 pounds per week.  They calculate how many calories you should eat each day to reach your goal.  You type in a food and it tells you how many calories that food has and adds it all up for you.  So easy!  No math skills needed!

P1010979You can also create custom foods (such as a favorite homemade soup recipe or how you take your coffee) and name them.  Whole meals can be repeated with one click; useful if you eat the same thing for breakfast five days a week (like coffee, juice, and oatmeal), and previous meals are automatically saved and available to add; useful if you have leftovers for lunch the next day or you cook similar dinners every week.

You can also enter any exercise you do which ADDS calories to your daily allotment.  They even include housework and gardening.  If there’s chocolate in the house, my home gets a good cleaning!

Loseit even has a community feature where your friends and family can join as friends and see one another’s progress and leave comments.  It’s a great way to stay encouraged and be held accountable….as much as you want to be!

P1010981By the way, I am not being paid to talk about Loseit.  I wish I were.  If anyone would like to pay me, I would enjoy that.

So, how does this help?

Imagine that you’ve lost fifteen pounds and need a new outfit to go out with your girlfriends.  You have $80 to spend on clothes and your favorite brand of jeans is on sale for $40. At the store you find a fabulous shirt that you love, but it costs $60.  If you buy the shirt, you can’t buy the jeans.  So, you have to choose: marvelous shirt and mediocre jeans OR spectacular jeans and second rate shirt.  No, put those credit cards back in your pocket!  In this metaphor, debt turns into love handles!

That’s what Loseit does for me; it helps me budget.  I want to eat marvelous everything, all day, all the time.  But that’s how I gained my weight in the first place.  So, a budget example: After entering my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and exercise, I have a whopping 150 calories left for snack time.  I want to have a brownie and a cappuccino, but I can’t do that and stay within my calorie budget, so I have to choose: a brownie and tea OR carrots and cappuccino.

Not so bad, is it?1

Loseit has shown me where my calorie bombs were hiding; those foods that seemed innocent, but in reality have a lot higher count than I imagined.  Muffins, for example, and spaghetti.  The first time I entered my breakfast of muffins into Loseit, I cringed: the muffins used up almost half of my allotment that day!  Score one for the learning curve.  And over time I’ve learned which foods I can fill my plate with and still have room for treats.  (Vegetables!  Not surprised?  What, have you been reading my blog or something?)

Loseit is not the only website out there, but it’s the one I know.  The point is, at some point most of us will need some help, be it encouragement, accountability, or a dose of reality.  So, when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to get help!

“Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone…and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me, and lives!” Habakkuk 2:4

The Burpee List (Poem)

Burpee Poem illustrationsBob found a list that was left by his wife

On top of the catalogue Gardening Life.

The list listed planks, and burpees, and crunches,

Box jumps, and twists, and lateral raises.

Bob studied the list. He thought long and hard.

Then he stared out the window at part of the yard.

I’ll make it, thought Bob, I’ll make it today!

She’ll be so surprised, she won’t know what to say.

 

Burpee Poem illustrations_0001Off to the hardware store! There he stood,

Staring at all of the planks of wood.

“She didn’t list a number, but ‘box jumps’ makes it clear.

A box is four sides of lumber. I’ll need four planks from here.”

The list said ‘burpees’—“That one’s easy.

I’ll buy seeds of carrots, peasies.”

Bob grabbed seeds from every bracket,

Filled the cart with Burpee packets.

Next was ‘crunches’, grabbed a bag. “Hey!

Must mean gravel for a walkway.”

 

Burpee Poem illustrations_0002Bob chuckled, he was quite bemused:

“She wrote ‘twists’, but they’re called screws!”

‘Lateral raises’ he took to mean

Lattices for growing beans.

He checked off each item and loaded the van.

“My wife’s going to be so proud of her man!”

 

Burpee Poem illustrations_0003Back to the house to dig in the soil.

Hauling and building, he cheerfully toiled.

His wife came home—“Come look at the yard, Hon!

I found your list and built a box garden!”

His wife took the list. She stared then she smiled

At the new plank box in which dirt was piled.

“I love it, Dear. You’re a wonderful man.

Though the list you found was my workout plan.”

Diet vs. Exercise

From the red corner… weighing in at three meals a day plus snacks and beverages… said to have the potential to change your life… is Diet! From the blue corner… weighing in with sneakers and dumbbells… considered a champion of fitness… is Exercise!

Which of these contenders will win the title of Weight Loss Champion of the World? Which of our contenders—Diet or Exercise—will help you lose weight, keep that weight off, and stay healthy and fit for the rest of your life? Let’s find out!

diet vs exerciseRound One: They’re circling each other, calling out random numbers of calories. Exercise calls out 100 calories burned by walking a mile. Oh! Diet lands a solid hit with not consuming one half cup of spaghetti noodles to save that same 100 calories. The crowd roars! So much easier to eat fewer noodles than walk a mile.  Ding ding!

Round Two: Exercise takes an early lead! She barrels out of the blue corner with determination! Going to the gym for one, two, three, four hours a week! Diet stumbles, but is back on her feet. Exercise has burned off a lot of calories with that gym move. Is Diet down? No, Diet’s up! One of those hours spent in the kitchen instead of in the gym could have saved even more calories by cooking meals with lots of vegetables and prepping healthy snacks.  Ding ding!

Round Three: Exercise jabs at Diet. Diet throws a hook, bringing up studies that show diet helps you lose more weight than exercise in the short term. Ooo, that had to hurt. Exercise shakes it off and runs at Diet. Exercise has Diet trapped in the corner. Exercise is pummeling Diet with studies showing that 90% of people who lose weight and keep it off exercise regularly. Ding ding!

Round Four: Diet springs from her corner calling out calories like she did in Round One. Exercise just can’t compete with Diet’s speed cutting calories! Exercise is reeling, trying to keep her feet! She pulls back for a big swing! When cutting calories alone you lose muscle as well as fat, but BAM! With exercise you build muscle and burn more fat than with diet alone, leaving you leaner if not lighter. Diet is catching her breath against the ropes. There’s the bell!

Without a knockout, the judges can’t declare a winner! Diet and Exercise will have to share the Weight Loss Championship belt! Diet is awarded 80% of the belt and Exercise is awarded 20% of the belt. That’s right, folks, Diet gets the leather, and Exercise gets the buckle: Diet is a huge part of weight loss, but Exercise keeps it together.

Be a Champion of Health yourself by keeping both of these champions in your corner!

 

Run in such a way as to get the prize. …we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:24b,25b,26 (NIV)

 

 

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

God and Weight Loss (part 2)

2013 August 121Last week I brought up the question: Does God care how much I weigh? I believe the answer is a paradox: NO and YES. Today we’ll talk about YES, God does care about your weight.

Yes: God cares how much you weigh because your weight affects your life. Some may argue that our physical body doesn’t matter because it’s just going to die in the end. “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). There is a Hershey’s Nugget of truth in there, but if you zoom out to look at the whole chocolate bar, you realize that if you’re not dust yet, it’s because God has good works planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).

God has good works planned for you, but an overweight body can prevent you from serving him to your full potential. Carrying extra weight slows you down physically. It creates emotional baggage and plays with your self confidence. When you maintain your body at a healthy weight, you’re comfortable in your own skin. Instead of feeling your body’s limitations, you feel free to serve.

He loves me cartoon_0001Like money and time, your health is an asset to be stewarded, not squandered. God doesn’t care about a number on the scale, but he does care about your health. Being overweight often leads to health problems that suck your time, energy, and money, leaving less of each for serving God. Unhealthy habits are like an ill-fitting bra: they are a hindrance that offers no support and should be thrown off like Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 so we can “run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.

There are many things about our bodies that we can’t control like disease and genetics and how coordinated we look doing zumba. But if we do our part to maintain our health, then our body becomes as asset to our walk with God and not a distraction. Today is a good day to take action and start getting healthy. Choose one habit to start with (sleep, exercise, eating vegetables, drinking water, portion control) and set a goal for this week. Just remember that God’s love for you doesn’t go up and down with the scale or your dumbbells. His love for you is constant and complete.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3b

God and Weight Loss (part 1)

Weight loss can be frustrating.  When I first started trying to get healthy, I often prayed and asked God to help me lose weight. One day a thought occurred to me: is my weight something I should pray about? With all the lost souls and suffering in the world, does God care how much I weigh? That question is more loaded than a baked potato with a pound of bacon. I believe the answer is a resounding paradoxical both NO and YES at the same time. Today we’re going to look at the NO side of the answer. Next week we’ll look at the YES.

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No: God doesn’t care how much you weigh. He doesn’t worry about how tall or short you are, how pretty or plain you are, or how your butt looks in those jeans. God makes it very clear in the Bible that he’s concerned with who you are inside, not outside.

Jesus was not handsome; he “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him” (Isaiah 53:2). King David’s brothers were handsome enough to make you drool, but God chose David because “people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for worrying about appearances but not being concerned about their wicked hearts (Matthew 23:25-28). Peter encouraged Christian women to worry more about pleasing God with their attitude and actions than about their hair, clothes, or jewelry (1 Peter 3:3-4). God doesn’t care how much I weigh. He wants me to use Jesus Christ, not a scale, to measure my life and my worth.

He loves me cartoon        He loves me cartoon_0001

Besides, when we get to Heaven, God is going to give us new bodies that will live forever. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) The bodies we have now are temporary, so relax! God doesn’t love you more if you’re skinny and less if you’re fat. He loves you as you are right now, no matter weight…I mean what. He won’t love you more if you lose weight and he won’t love you less if you gain. Let that sink in for a minute.

Does God care how much I weigh? NO. Is it okay to pray about my weight? Yes, because God cares about it too. Don’t let that part sink in: paradoxes will mess with your mind.

Are there any verses that have encouraged you with your own weight loss journey? Please share them in the comments below.

 

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.” 1 Corinthians 15:42