Are You Content?

September 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts –

We recently returned from an amazing Caribbean vacation. I savored each moment with my husband. I loved the sun and the fun. When we were heading home, I was surprised at how many people said that they get “post-vacation blues.” I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t sad that the vacation was over, but I was so excited to be with my boys and other loved ones that I was happy to come back to my daily routine.

Is it possible to be happy in every circumstance? Paul gives us the answer: “For I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11 KJV).

Obviously, it’s challenging to be content no matter what’s happening, but we really do have a choice. We can give thanks in all things, as the Bible commands (1 Thessalonians 5:18) or we can choose to complain. If we complain, we “put out the Spirit’s fire” at work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Our negative attitudes become wet blankets on the Spirit in us and we squelch any spiritual fruit that might be trying to blossom in us. Love, joy, peace, patience and all the rest wither and we miss out on many of the blessings God has for us when we complain.

I truly believe that our Father in Heaven wants us to be happy. He cares for each one of us and wants us to be content as we learn to respond with love and thanksgiving, like the Savior would.

Being content can also relate to our exercise time. I know that we often can’t wait to finish a workout, but what if we focused on enjoying each exercise? It would be a lot more fun and would also be more effective.

I have to constantly remind myself throughout my day to have a good attitude and enjoy the circumstance I’m in—even if I’m just washing clothes or changing the baby’s diaper. I am teaching myself to have an attitude of gratitude by listing things I am thankful for instead of allowing complaints to swallow up my time.

Through lots of prayer and practice, the Lord is helping me to become more like Paul—and I’m learning to be content. Are you?

Knowing Where to Turn

By Cami Checketts

I love the show The Biggest Loser. We record it every Tuesday night and watch it as a family sometime during the weekend. With a new season underway, it is heartbreaking to see these people who are so obese that they can barely move. Many of the contestants say that they wouldn’t be able to lose the weight on their own so they had to come on the show or be forever miserable. I think this is so sad. Many of these people have tried to lose weight but have obviously failed and their only hope is to be picked for a reality TV show.

I know there are many people who struggle with weight issues, food addictions and body image. Actually, it’s probably rare not to struggle with one of these. But I truly believe there is help that is completely free, always there for us, and doesn’t require us to turn to things like reality TV. We can pray for help in every aspect of our lives. The Lord doesn’t care if it’s a little or a big problem. He wants to hear from us and He can and will help us.

We are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all of our care on the Lord because he cares for us. Whether we’re struggling to lose weight or trying not to allow our struggles with body image to rule our lives, the Lord can help us. I’ve found that it’s not enough to pray in the morning for help and then go on with my day. Maybe I’m just an extra hard case, but I need to turn to the Lord repeatedly throughout my day. Sometimes I pray for help that I won’t overeat. And sometimes I pray for help that I won’t compare myself to someone with skinny legs.

Whatever issues you face with living a healthy, productive, and faith-filled life, please turn to the One who loves you more than you can fathom. I testify that He loves you, will help you with every problem that you face and will carry you through all the trials of your life.

Time-Saving Fitness Tips

June 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts –

As a new year dawns, it’s important to make goals to fit in time for fitness, but with all we have on our to-do lists we don’t want to waste time. Following are a few fitness trends that are a waste of time. Below each you will discover effective things you can do instead:

1. Lifting too quickly or with weights that are too light.

You’re not doing anything to increase your muscle strength if the weights are so light you can cruise through more than twelve reps or if you’re bouncing through your reps. It’s better to do six to eight reps with good form–very slow and controlled–rather than do forty reps with two-pound dumbbells. Not only are you wasting your time but you could injure yourself.

Women will not bulk up from lifting heavier weights. In fact, it’s been proven that heavier weights (I recommend beginning with ten pound dumbbells and working up as your strength improves) will increase metabolism, burn more calories during and after the workout, and improve the density and tone of a muscle much quicker than light weights and high reps.

2. Ineffective cardio

Any kind of movement is going to burn calories and improve your health–helping to prevent a myriad of diseases and boost your mood and energy. There is a lot of proof that people who wear pedometers and move more than 10,000 steps a day improve their health without any formal exercise.

But if you are trying to lose weight, you have to challenge yourself with speed, duration, and intensity. You also need to vary your cardio. Your body adapts quickly to the demands placed upon it. Cross-training is key to combating that. If you normally run, try swimming. If you bike, go to a kickboxing class. If you climb on the Elliptical machine every day, rent a yoga video for a change.
Interval workouts are a brilliant way to challenge yourself. Basically you warm up, then alternate a high intensity for thirty to ninety seconds with a moderate intensity for two-three minutes. Repeat the cycle four to seven times before cooling down. Intervals have been proven to help people lose up to five times more weight.

3. Inner and outer thigh exercises

The TV commercials for those special machines that reduce your thighs make me want to scream! There is virtually no muscle on your inner or outer thighs. It is physiologically impossible to spot reduce (burn off fat by working a certain part of your body). Therefore inner and outer thigh exercises do nothing but make your legs burn. Just because something hurts or burns does not mean it’s effective. Doing fifty outer thigh lifts in aerobics class will build up lactic acid and hurt, but it won’t do anything to slim your thighs. Concentrate on lifting on the major muscle groups to improve strength and increase metabolism.

4. Abdominal Machines

The abdomen is a stabilizer muscle. You use your abs to hold your mid-section steady throughout your day. Because you use your abs so often it is hard to overload them and increase strength. Most of the ab machines you see on television are a waste of time and money.

The most effective ab workout is crunches on an exercise ball or the plank. As you work your abs, make sure they are tucked in flat. Never strain and push past your ability to hold the abdomen tight. When I go to Pilates, I quite often find myself letting my abs protrude because I’m trying to hold a certain pose. It’s not worth it! Promise me you won’t get prideful like me. Keep those abs in.
Another cheap, easy, and effective thing you can do for your abs is suck in and stand up straight and tall. Remind yourself throughout the day: tighten abdomen, tilt pelvis, and throw shoulders back. Your body will become accustomed to holding you that way and you will look ten pounds lighter.

Effective exercise will maximize the time you spend in the gym making you healthier and giving you more time and energy to focus on the most important things: serving and loving those around us.

Showing Love–the Right Way–During the Holidays

By Cami Checketts –

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year to me because of all the love that is shown. Love to neighbors, family, friends, and those in need at home or abroad. We all show that love in different ways. Most of us will make extra donations to those in need and reach out to neighbors we might not see often. We’ll enjoy spending more time with family and close friends.

My husband and I were both raised by wonderful parents who loved us and took very good care of us. It’s always so fun to go to Grandma’s house and get spoiled as they serve us a hearty meal and dessert, and then afterwards…when they start passing around the chocolate. While we love these parties (and the food), we’re grateful they are special occasions. Sometimes the love is shown through the sharing of food and it’s awfully hard to make healthy choices at such times. Has anyone else offended Grandma by saying no thanks to pumpkin pie?

None of us would knowingly hurt one of our children or other family members, but I’ve found myself showing love through food. The baby grins when I hand him a sucker. The older boys jump with joy when Daddy makes cookies. My husband gives me an extra kiss when his special black licorice appears in his drawer. I don’t believe any of these examples are a problem if they happen occasionally, but when the baby is eating suckers and cookies all the time, he’s not going to feel good or develop properly.

In Romans 13:10 (KJV), the Bible says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor….” The last thing we want to do is to show our love by doing something that harms others, but my husband and I are often guilty of showing love through food. My husband’s chocolate chip cookies are famous in our neighborhood. We often discuss how we can enjoy sharing treats with those we love while still modeling and offering mostly healthy choices. My husband’s thoughts: “If you truly love someone, you would encourage them, in a positive way, to make the healthiest choices possible because you know how great that is going to make them feel.”

I can’t imagine a sweet grandmother handing out her lemon pound cake is thinking, “Here you go, my darlings, clog up those arteries, get hyped up on empty sugars, and just deal with being overweight.” Of course, none of us thinks that way, but if we aren’t offering healthy foods (most of the time) to our family, we are essentially handing them problems.

My husband is still going to bake cookies and I’m still going to hide black licorice in his drawer, but I hope that both of us will be more conscious of how we show love and what we serve at those holiday parties. Having a happy, healthy family is worth being a bit more conscious about what we eat. Now if I can just wrestle the sucker out of my baby’s mouth!

Spice it Up

By Cami Checketts –

Our bodies are such an amazing gift from our Heavenly Father. Throughout history, humans have used their physical strength to provide for themselves and their families. They have had to work extremely hard. The human body adapts quickly to stresses placed upon it. This was a very good characteristic for our ancestors. Not so great for us stuck in a modern society of ease and convenience. Relatively few people have to eke out an existence by the sweat of their brows, which is one of the causes of an increase in obesity, heart problems, and many different health challenges.

Because our bodies are so amazing, we have to work harder and challenge ourselves differently to maintain optimum health and vigor. If we want to increase our fitness and health, we have to be willing to push ourselves and add some spice to our workout.

Variety is key when you’re trying to lose weight, get past a plateau, or become more fit. If you do the same cardio or weight routine over and over it will become easy. This is a good thing because it means you’re getting stronger, but it also means that you are burning fewer calories because your body is accustomed to the demands placed upon it.

You can fix this problem by upping the intensity, duration, and speed of your workout or by changing the type of workout you do—known as cross-training. Cross-training recruits different muscle groups, challenges your body in a new way, and will help you burn more calories.

How can you cross-train? If you always bike, try swimming or running. If you love the elliptical machine, try the Stairmaster. If you faithfully go to step aerobics, try hiking a nearby canyon or sample a yoga, Pilates, or kickboxing class. If you work out at home and need some variety, rent a new workout video, borrow one from the library or plan a girl’s night out at the gym.

Variety really is the spice of exercise. My challenge to you is to try something different this week. Please comment below and share which new activity you’re going to try.

 

 

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