Tag Archives: Weight loss

Weight Loss and Faith

Weight loss can be frustrating. For example, six weeks ago my boys joined the swim team and I started exercising during their practices, five days a week. That was in addition to my normal exercising. I was also watching what I ate. Despite the extra effort for six weeks, the scale hasn’t budged and my clothes fit the same. I want to throw up my hands, yell “I quit!”, and play on my tablet during practice like the other moms instead of swimming laps or walking on the treadmill.

6But I can’t do that. First of all, my boys will be embarrassed if I yell like a crazy woman in front of their friends, and second, I’ve got to believe all of this work 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 three years ago, 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)

P.S. I wrote the rough draft of this post last week and this week I stepped onto the scale and there was visible progress! Not a whole heapin’ lot after 6 weeks, but I’ll take it! Hooray! “Never give up; never surrender!” (Galaxy Quest quote – great movie.)


Eat Your Goal

Losing weight can be a mathematical headache. How many calories do I cut to equal one pound of weight loss? How many pounds per week before swimsuit season? If a train leaves the station at 10am and you race it…. The Weight Loss Bible walks you through pages of caloric math and then offers a simple alternative: eat your goal.

eat your goalThe concept is simple: if your goal weight is 140 pounds, then eat what a 140 pound woman eats. I love this idea! After all, the goal here is not only to lose the pounds, but to change your lifestyle; not only to reach your goal weight, but to maintain that weight for decades. So don’t play diet games. Eat like a thinner, healthier person and you will become one.

Look around you and take notice of the healthy people in your social sphere. Do the healthy people exercise? Then so should you. Do they eat vegetables? So should you. Do they drink water? Limit junk food? Sleep 7-8 hours per night? It’s so simple! Just move and eat and drink and sleep the way a person at your goal weight moves and eats and drinks and sleeps!

(A quick word of caution here: slim does not always mean healthy. Before you emulate a person’s lifestyle, observe them closely and critically. She may be thin, but does she eat? I’m talking healthy meals, not diet shakes. Is she overly obsessed with food or exercise? It’s possible for a perfect body to become the central priority of one’s life, but that’s not actually healthy.)

Eating your goal is simple, but I never said easy.

Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior and nutritional science says that we make an average of 200 food related choices each day, many of them subconsciously. Even if we’ve got it half right when we start our health improvement journey, that’s 100 choices to be made differently each day, and that’s potentially overwhelming.

So keep it simple in your mind. Picture yourself at your goal weight or your goal level of health. Act like that version of yourself starting today. Eat your goal. Drink your goal. Move your goal. If you focus on your goal, your subconscious will adapt and those 200 daily decisions will be made for your benefit.

If you need a cheerleader, wave your arms around a bit and chant along with me:

I choose to be

A healthy me!

I’m eating wise,

I exercise.

It’s my new role:

To eat my goal!


“So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” 2 Corinthians 5:9

Recipe: Spiced Coconut Kale with Avocado

kale-avocado-salad4When I saw this recipe yesterday, I was hungry and craving greens. “Looks good,” I thought. “Probably has a few ingredients I’ve never heard of.” But, as I read the list of ingredients, the clouds parted, a beam of sunlight shone down upon my computer, and an angel chorus sang a melody from my pantry. I had everything I needed.

It was easy to make, delicious, and, 24 hours later, it’s almost gone. Also, I thought it was cool that the lemon juice “cooks” the kale.

Here’s the recipe with my notes in italics. If you’d like to see Julie Montagu’s original post, including the health benefits of this salad, click on her blog here: The Flexi Foodie. (The photo is from her blog.)

For the salad:

 A bunch of kale, torn into pieces and chunky stems removed (I used about a half pound of bagged kale)
40g of coconut flakes (1/4 cup)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
A large handful of almonds, toasted (Threw my nuts in the toaster oven; 4 minutes should do it – mine burned a bit at 6)
For the dressing:
1 shallot, finely chopped (I only had red onion: I chopped about 3 Tb, then rinsed it in cold water)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of dried chilli flakes (I only had red pepper flakes; they’re the same, right?)
1 tsp. of maple syrup
This is a really quick and easy one to make! First you have to do whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Once it is combined, put the kale in a large serving bowl and pour half the dressing over the top.  You can then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes in order to soften it. (I massaged my leaves for one minute and they softened, but remained fluffy. If you want your kale to match Julie’s picture, massage longer. And no, I never thought I’d type the words “massaged my leaves”.) Next, add the coconut flakes, avocado and toasted almonds and mix together well. Finally, pour in the rest of the dressing and serve.  YUM!

Gimme My Gummies

childrens-vitamins-gummyI have a sweet tooth with roots so deep they touch my tongue. After every meal, I crave something sweet. Eating fruit is a great idea, but if I’m not hungry, just craving, I don’t want more than a bite or two, and unless I have five other people to share an apple with me, it becomes work to not be wasteful. Chewing gum is great too until my kids eat it all and I forget to buy more and turn to option three: one bite of chocolate or ice cream.

Ha ha! One bite? For me, that’s an “I need a drop of water; go ahead and open the floodgates” type of bad idea. My dilemma is this: how do I satisfy my craving for a taste of sweetness without adding 100 calories or more to my meal?

What’s that you say? Why don’t I ignore my craving? That’s the best idea yet! And it works for me when I’m out and about, but I’m a stay at home mom which means that 98% of my waking hours are spent within twenty feet of my kitchen. I try to ignore my sweet tooth, but I often lose. I lack the will power of the Green Lantern.

2014 Aug transformers 045The solution that’s working for me is gummy vitamins. I’m talking about gummy vitamins for grownups, my kids’ Spiderman and gummy bears shaped vitamins, or Juice Plus which is a gummy version of fruit and vegetable juice.

I started taking gummy vitamins a few years ago during the first trimester of one of my pregnancies. Because of first trimester nausea, the prescribed vitamin horse-pills my doctor recommended were not going down without causing something to come back up. I started eating my sons’ gummy vitamins; better than nothing, right? And I never looked back.

Now when I crave sweets after a meal, I take my vitamins. They satisfy my craving without opening the floodgates of Sugar Dam, and each gummy is only about 7 calories. It’s a strange concept, gummy vitamins as dessert, but like I said, it works for me. Besides, I’ve never been so consistent about taking my vitamins in my life.


“A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” Proverbs 13:19a


Images courtesy of blog.scratchmenot.com (gummy bears), and me.

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)

Falling Off the Wagon: What to Do After a Diet Fail

I don’t remember which weight loss blog I read this on, but I’ll never forget the quote: “When you get a flat tire, you change it and keep driving; you don’t pop the other three tires”. Fabulous, right?

We all have times when we fall off the health wagon. Why did I eat that? Why did I eat ALL of that? Why did I stay up so late? Lifting sofa cushions to find the remote counts as exercise, right?

UntitledThere are weeks when my butt is firmly seated in the health wagon and I’m buckled up and facing front. There are also weeks when I’m more like a little kid who’s hanging over the side trying to hit the wheel with a stick. I’m still in the wagon, but I’m being stupid. I reach a little too far and suddenly I’m eating dirt. (Low in calories, but not recommended. It tastes awful, even covered in chocolate… I mean broccoli.)

What do you do when you fall off the health wagon? You get back on. Make better choices starting now, but don’t beat yourself up about the ones you already made. If beating yourself up counted as exercise, I’d say “Knock yourself out!” But it’s not, and that was a great pun, wouldn’t you agree?

picking-yourself-upIn ten years it won’t matter that you fell, it’ll matter that you didn’t stay down in the dirt. Is falling off the wagon frustrating? You bet. Painful? Sometimes. Embarrassing? Sure. But you still have three good tires. Each day is a new day and each morning you wake up on the wagon. And next time that little kid won’t lean out quite so far to hit the wheel with a stick. Perfection is not realistic, so we’re not aiming for perfect here, we’re aiming for not-stupid.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

How have you handled a fall from the health wagon? What helps you get back on or stay on?


Inside Out Victory

2014 June 170High cholesterol runs in my family. It also runs high in me.  I first got my levels checked eight years ago; the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL) cholesterol were both way high.  I wish doctors would let the good and bad cholesterol cancel each other out, but they’re sticklers for things like scientific research, so every year we’ve had the “It’s too high, we should consider drugs” conversation.

I avoided drugs for the first five years by having children, because you can’t take cholesterol lowering medication while pregnant or breastfeeding. While I did NOT have children for the sole purpose of keeping my cholesterol high, I had four babies in less than six years, so I think I maxed out on that excuse. When my youngest was weaned, I had to make a decision.

I didn’t like the idea of drugs; I wanted to have a go at lowering my cholesterol with diet and exercise.  Two years ago I started losing weight and my bad cholesterol went down about 20 points that first year.  Still way too high. “But doctor,” I said, “It went down! Give me another year.” I just got my levels checked a few weeks ago and it went down 20 points again.  I am now within ten points of “normal”!  One more year of this healthy lifestyle stuff and I will be able to sit in my doctor’s office with an smug little smile that says, “I dare you to find anything wrong with me!”

2014 June 070But here’s the coolest part. (Sort of.)

My weight hasn’t changed at all this year.  I weigh now what I weighed a year ago.  (GASP! I know, I know, I’m not exactly happy about it either, but don’t give up on me until you finish the paragraph.) While this weight plateau is a bummer, the encouraging part is that I’ve been changing for the better on the inside this past year: I have visible muscles in my arms and legs, my clothes fit better than they did last year, and my blood vessels have less lipoproteins in them. The point is that I’m making progress. If your scale numbers haven’t changed, be encouraged that every healthy thing you do for your body (sleep, exercise, good food, and lots of water) ARE making a difference, whether you see the results yet or not.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s physical: victory is mine!

“It was not by their sword that they won the land,
    nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face, for you loved them.” Psalm 44:3

Happy Junesgiving!

Turkey KitchenHappy Junesgiving, everyone!

The sun is shining, the kids are sweating…must be time to bake a turkey! Last week I baked the turkey I bought on sale last fall and experimented with Zucchini Mushroom Stuffing.  The result? Delicious! Celery and onion sauteed in butter makes ANYTHING you add to it taste good.

2014 June 051I used a classic Betty Crocker cookbook recipe for stuffing; I simply replaced the cubed white bread with quartered mushrooms and zucchini. I also used fresh thyme and sage instead of dried. You get a good amount of liquid from this stuffing, but the turkey seemed more moist than usual, so maybe there’s a connection there.

I encourage you to keep experimenting with your vegetables! Eggplant slices instead of noodles in lasagna, wraps wrapped in big green chard or lettuce leaves instead of a tortilla. Even little changes can make a big difference in the long run.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden” Genesis 2:16b