Tag Archives: God

Dessert Snobs

P1010682The one thing that has made the biggest difference in both my body and my lifestyle is savoring my food.  Paying attention while I eat leaves me satisfied after every meal, even with smaller portions on my plate.

Imagine a moist dark-as-night piece of chocolate cake is placed in front of you.  Most people take one bite, emit some sort of grunt of delight, and then shovel the rest of the cake down their gullet in less time than it takes for a toddler to discover how to unroll toilet paper.  When they finish the last two bites, slowing down at last because they see the end is nigh, they sigh and wish for more because “that was so good!” This is how I used to eat cake.  And lasagna, and fries, and ice cream, and cereal, and steak and everything.

Next time you have cake, try this instead: savor every bite.  That’s right, EVERY bite.  Take a bite, emit grunt, take a bite, make mm-mm-mmm! sound, take a bite, paint the inside of your mouth chocolate with your tongue, and so on.  Pay attention to the texture, the flavor, the contrast of cake and icing.  I guarantee that by the time you’ve finished your piece of cake, you will not want a second piece.  Why?  You’re bored!  Seriously.  Five or ten minutes of thinking only about cake is way more time than you need to cover all the bases.

The definition of savor is to “taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely.” Food as entertainment; what an interesting thought!

2014 March 005When I savor my food, I find myself feeling grateful for my abundance and for my taste buds.  If you look at the anatomy of the human mouth, we were created to enjoy eating.  Carnivore teeth can bite and swallow, but not chew.  Herbivore teeth can chew, but really, how many taste buds would you want if you were chewing lunch for the fourth time?  Don’t get me started on jellyfish; their mouth is also their anus, so you know they thank God that they don’t have taste buds.  (And I thank God that I’m not a jellyfish!)  The point is, God created food to have flavor and our mouths to detect those flavors.  Just as I realize how blessed I am with my family when I pause and think about it, I am more thankful for my food when I pause and think about it.  (If I’m inaccurate with the biology lesson, forgive me; I’m still convinced that humans have the best deal meal-wise.)

Paying attention while you eat is harder than it sounds.  I never used to sit down to eat without something to do: talk with someone, read something, watch TV.  It still feels weird to sit at an empty table and focus on my food, but I enjoy what I eat so much more now.

P1010687About a year ago my mom said something that sounded crazy to me at first.  She said, “I’m not going to eat Hershey’s chocolate anymore.”  But Mom, that reduces your chocolate options by, like, 90%!  What kind of insanity is this?!

She loves Harry and David’s dark chocolate truffles and she has good reason to: they’re awesome.  They’re so awesome, in fact, that Mom decided not to waste her time, money, or calories on sub-par chocolate.  She became a chocolate snob.  And she should be applauded!

We need to learn not only to enjoy our food while we eat it so that we don’t wish for more when it’s gone, but we also need to learn to stop eating foods that are not worthy of our time, money, and calories.  At church potlucks and family dinners, I used to finish anything I put on my plate, whether it was fabulous, fairly good, or future compost.  Now I try many things, but only finish what tastes fabulous, especially when it comes to desserts.  If I’m only supposed to consume X number of calories per day, I’m not going to waste them on mediocre food.  Does that make me a snob?  Yes it does.  But I’d rather be a food snob than eat like a garbage disposal as I used to.

037newThere’s one exception to savoring your food, of course: vegetables!  Feel free to shovel your veggies in like you’re stoking the engine of an express train.  Don’t get me wrong, vegetables can be fabulous (if yours aren’t, try adding garlic) and they should be savored.  But if you don’t particularly like veggies and you’re only eating them because they’re good for you, then don’t savor them.

You know how sometimes you just want to plant yourself in front of the TV and stuff your face?  You’re not hungry, particularly, but you want that repetitive plate-to-face action happening?  Choose a veggie.  It’s mindless eating, so do it with a food that won’t hamper your goal when consumed in large quantities.

 P1010356So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15

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

Yoda’s Yoga

images (5)“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Oh, if only I had a little green linguistically challenged trainer who could hang on my back, spouting guru encouragement and inspiring me by lifting spaceships out of ponds. Instead, I have four little beige people I must dress and cobble and herd out the door like protesting cats. I feel like Luke when he sizes up that spaceship: I don’t think I’m strong enough. herdingcatsAnd why am I herding booger spurting beige cats wearing Spiderman masks into the spaceship stuck in a pond? To exercise. Be it rounding the block or driving to the YMCA, I am determined to burn a few hundred calories.

But I must be my own Yoda. “Use the Force, Katie.”

It’s great advice, actually: Do or do not, there is no try. Don’t think about it, just do it. When I think about going to the Y, I often talk myself out of it. I’ll go later. I’ll do some crunches while I watch TV tonight, I promise. It might rain. It’s raining. It did rain. Ooo, my weekly StumbleUpon email just arrived. I should probably clean instead. Pitiful.

There was one day just before Christmas when I finally tired of the filth that was my house (why clean in December when you can shop for presents?) and I cleaned for 3½ hours straight. That was a good workout. “The Force is strong in this one.” Unfortunately, that kind of cleaning bug only hits me on a solstice.

bigyoda2So I try not to think about it. Just do it. (Yes, Nike, I will accept sneakers as payment.) There is always something else I could do with that time, but nothing else I should do. And all of the stuff that needs to get done still gets done because exercise increases my energy. It’s kind of magical. Like Yoda.

“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

He is the REAL Force.

 

Images are from:

http://www.starwarsreport.com/tag/yoda/

http://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2012/10/classic-image-wisdom-never-dies.html

http://imsdemons.pvp101.net/2013/12/guide-herding-cats-or-brief-guide-to.html

Put Your Back Into It: Posture and Weight Loss

good_posture_bad_posture2God created the female form to be best displayed with good posture. Want to see what I mean?

Stand up and either go to a mirror or imagine yourself in front of a mirror. Slouch a little. Your boobs look smaller and your belly looks bigger. Now stand up straight and square your shoulders. Whoa, careful now, don’t over extend! If you push your shoulders back too far, your love handles (IF you have them) get handier. Okay, so we’re straight and square and relaxed.

Your silhouette looks great: breasts are front and center, belly looks slimmer, buttocks looks tighter. But more than that, how do you feel?

A little more confident? A little more in control? A bit more determined?

When I slouch, I develop a bit of the “poor me-s” and the “why bother-s”. Poor me, I blew it diet-wise and it’s only 10am. Poor me, I’m tired, I’m grumpy, and I haven’t accomplished what I thought I would today. Why bother exercising? Why bother putting ice cream in a little bowl instead of snarfing it straight from the carton? Why bother going to bed on time?

Sitting-posture-chair-improve-exercises-correctBut if I stop and make myself sit up straight, stand up straight, it’s like my brain snaps to attention. My eyes are lifted up, my head is held high, and I feel more powerful. I blew it, but the battle is not lost. I have a fresh batch of choices facing me and I have a goal to reach. I’m sure my chiropractor would say that good posture allows my nervous system to operate uninhibited and what I feel is neurons communicating efficiently up and down my spine. Whatever, Dr. Leary. I’m going to call it “Queen Syndrome” because I feel like one.

How do you stand up straight without looking Victorian? Hang your arms at your side. Make a thumbs up sign with both thumbs, then turn your thumbs out away from your sides. You should feel your shoulders moving back, your vertebrae, collar bone, and the stars falling into alignment. You are a queen with a goal. Get to it.

 

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

 

Images courtesy of tuningpp.com (standing woman), achesawaytoronto.ca (sitting woman)

Sex and Sleep: Start With S

2013 Summer 603With the busyness of the school year upon me, I find myself needing to get back to the basics, and I’m starting with the S in Sex: sleep.

Research shows that people who consistently get a full night’s sleep lose more body fat on a diet than those who don’t. (Fat is what I want to lose! Not my hard-earned muscle.) Science has also confirmed that when we’re tired, we not only eat more, but we crave high calorie foods. We all know the equation Tired = Want Sugar² to be true, but it’s nice when scientists agree with us. The emotional food craving part of our brain actually takes charge and the logical decision making part of our brain takes a back seat.

If you don’t trust the experts, do your own research.  Ready?  Get eight hours of sleep two nights in a row.  Does a salad sound appetizing?  Do you have the energy to make one?  Good.  Okay, now get six hours of sleep two nights in a row.  What are the chances you’ll exercise today?  Are fat and sugar your new best friends?  Bingo.

2013 Summer 600So how do we get more sleep? For many of us, we simply haven’t made sleep a priority. Have you ever noticed how early you go to bed when the power is out or you’re camping? (i.e. When it’s dark, you’re bored.) Screens, be they television, ivision, or webvision, have a way of making us feel more awake than we are or should be. If you turn them off, you will increase your chances of going to bed on time by 200%. That was a scientific study done by yours truly. I aced 9th grade Biology, so you know my results are accurate.

The more I research the affects of sleep on the body, the more convinced I’m becoming that few things are more important for your health. Now, some of you reading this work the night shift, or have newborns, or other situations in life that interrupt your sleep and are beyond your control. I know you’re sleeping the best you can and you have my sympathy and a pillow if you ever stop by to visit. I’m talking to myself and all of the other idiots out there who don’t know how lucky we are that if we choose to, we can be well rested.

2013 Summer 598Ladies, maybe you don’t have the will power to turn off the TV and get yourself into bed at a decent hour. But you have at your disposal one of the most powerful forces in nature: your husband’s desire for intimacy.  Here’s how you tap into that power.  Pick a night (or several nights) of the week and say this: “Husband, I want you to seduce me at nine o’clock tonight.  I will say yes.  I need to be asleep by ten.”  Your husband will remember.  He might be incredulous (after all, it sounds too good to be true) but he will remember.  Nine o’clock rolls around and badda-bing, badda-boom – a good night’s sleep! (And exercise to boot! What a deal!)

Psalm 127:2 says that God “grants sleep to those he loves”.  Sleep is a blessing!  A gift!  Not a necessary evil.

 

Science stuff pulled from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/how-sleep-loss-adds-to-weight-gain/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Why I Love Swimming At The YMCA

P1000582There are many excellent forms of exercise to choose from, but swimming laps is my favorite by far. Let me tell you why swimming at my local YMCA is so great.

1. No sweat! I like to hike, walk, bike, and so forth, but I don’t like to sweat. Ever. I avoid it whenever I can. When I swim, I feel cool and fresh the whole time. I’m going to invent a bike bubble that allows you to pedal down the street surrounded by cold water up to your waist.

2. Feel young and slender! I go to the Y mid-morning when the building is frequented by young moms and retirees. 95% of the young moms are on the elliptical machines or in the aerobics classes, which means that most days I can boast of having the sexiest body in the swimming pool!

P10005833. Hope for the future! There are some days when the best body in the pool award goes to a swimmer in his or her seventies or eighties. While this is humbling, it proves to me that swimming is something I can keep doing for the rest of my life.

4. Full body workout! I love that I swim and then I’m done. Swimming laps works my arms, legs, heart, and lungs.

P10006925. Safer snorkeling! On a planet that’s 70% water, swimming is a life saving skill and it doesn’t hurt to be good at it. After I’d been swimming for six months, my husband and I had the opportunity to snorkel in the ocean off the coast of Mexico. We were fighting waves and currents as we swam and I was so proud of being able to handle myself well in that water.

I realize that not everyone likes to swim. A good friend of mine came swimming with me once, but she didn’t like it. She likes to sweat. She likes to work each part of her body separately and feel the burn. She’s crazy.

If you don’t like your current exercise, try something new and find something you enjoy. Roller skating, biking, hiking, cross country skiing, zumba, kick boxing, square dancing…find a way to move your body and love it!

 

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (excerpts from Psalm 8)

Mouth Shoveling

2014 blog 005I’ve been shoveling a lot lately. No, no, this is not another gardening post. I’ve been shoveling food into my mouth.

The change from savoring each bite to racing through my plate has been gradual, but at this point I feel like one of those guys in the bowels of a ship shoveling coal into the furnace as fast as I can go, but without the well earned bulging biceps.

Now that I’m aware of it, I’m returning to square one: slow down and savor my food. No more Eating AND: Eating AND watching TV, Eating AND cooking, Eating AND reading the Bible over breakfast. If I’m eating, that’s all I’m doing; it’s a form of entertainment. I love food that tastes good, so I need to pay attention and truly taste it…or eat plain lettuce, a shovel-approved food if there ever was one.

2014 blog 004Why is it so important for me to slow down and savor? Because I eat less when I eat slow and I enjoy my food more.

If you’ve gotten off track over the winter like I have, don’t despair. Get your wheels back on track and let your bicep boys – not your fork – shovel you to victory! Who are your bicep boys in this analogy? Um…I don’t know. How about we end this post before I lose you completely?

Today I wish you booooon aaaappeeetiiiiite! Slow motion. Get it? That was so corny, you can taste it.

May your every bite be satisfying and a blessing to your body!

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;

    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalm34:8