Are You Out-Running Old Age or Allowing It to Catch Up with You?

By Julie Morris, R.N. –

I always said that exercising helped me to out-run old age, but now I am beginning to understand why!

News came out recently of a study by Dr. Beth Levine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is studying the health benefits of exercise on mice and discovered this important fact: exercising increases the body’s ability to get rid of trash.

All of us have trash caused by broken-down cells that needs to be removed. This trash-removal process is called autophagy (aw-TAH-fa-gee). Autophagy may also help protect us against cancer, infection and other diseases.

Just as your car gets dings and the tires wear out, the structures inside of our cells wear out and need to be replaced. Autophagy collects these worn-out pieces and wraps them in a membrane. Then it carries them to a tiny spot inside the cell, called a lysosome, where there are recycled and digested into reusable products. Bottom line: out with the old–on with the new.

Dr. Levine’s studies have concentrated on autophagy in mice, but it’s a good bet that this process is the same in humans. Let’s look at one of her test results.

She discovered that mice that were fed high-fat diets to create diabetes associated with obesity were able to reverse their diabetes when they exercised daily for eight weeks. She found that mice that exercised for 30 minutes on a treadmill increased their autophagy 40-50 percent. Those that ran 80 minutes increased their autophagy 100 percent. Those that didn’t exercise were not able to induce autophagy and were unable to reverse their diabetes.

Dr. Levine and other researchers feel that these results have implications beyond the effect of exercise on diabetes. They speculate that autophagy may represent a cellular mechanism that prolongs life and protects against disease.

If spending 30 minutes or more a day will make me healthier and help me to out-run old age, I’m going to do it! How about you?

How Do You Respond to Criticism?

March 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

There are three ways to respond to criticism—but only one leads to healthy living. We can respond as…

1. Victims—When Victims are criticized they say things like, “Poor me!” “I can’t help it!” and “I’m worthless!”
2. Vindictive—Vindictive people say, “It’s his fault!” “She’s a jerk!” and “I’ll get even!”
3. Victors—Victors say, “Is there truth to this criticism?” “I’ll learn from my mistakes!” and “I refuse to criticize them for criticizing me!”

Victims often hide from challenges; Vindictive people bully their way through them and Victors grow from them.

Victims are complainers (“Why me?”). Vindictive people are competitors (“I’m better than you!”) and Victors are cooperative (“What can I learn?”)

Victims are often passive or passive aggressive when challenged. (They either don’t respond or respond by gossiping.) Vindictive people are often aggressive when challenged. (They attack, insult or take revenge.) Victors are usually assertive. (They tell the truth in love and don’t respond to criticism out of fear. They have the courage to confront and the wisdom to do it diplomatically.)

In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV), Paul lets us in on how we, as Christians, can be Victors, no matter how hurtful people are to us.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;” We must remember that we  won’t be crushed by criticism if we look to the Lord for our identity.
“perplexed, but not in despair;” We may be perplexed and confused, but we don’t have to be in despair because we know that God loves us and will help us to learn from our mistakes.
“persecuted, but not abandoned;” We may be persecuted unfairly, but we can forgive our enemies, no matter what they have done because God tells us to—and He never tells us to do something that He doesn’t empower us to do.
“struck down, but not destroyed.” We may be temporarily struck down, but no matter how hurt we feel, we can get back up and try again because God is always there to help us.

In which of these three ways do you usually respond to criticism? Take this little test to see. Place a check next to each way you respond to criticism. Then look below to see which type has the most answers—Victim, Vindictive or Victor.

When criticized, I…

1. Tell the person off.
2. Complain about the person to someone else.
3. Tell his boss, spouse or friends about his bad qualities.
4. Feel ashamed.
5. Get mad, but don’t tell anyone.
6. Ask the person to discuss their complaints with me.
7. Deny any wrongdoing.
8. Blame someone else.
9. Try to ignore what the person said.
10. Apologize even if it’s not my fault.


1. Vindictive
2. Victim
3. Vindictive or Victim
4. Victim
5. Victim
6. Victor
7. Victim or Vindictive
8. Vindictive
9. Victim
10. Victim

Let’s learn how to respond to criticism as Victors in Christ—learning from our mistakes, forgiving those who criticize us, rejoicing that the Lord loves us just the way we are and will help us to become the people we want to be.

Help Your Kids to Lose Weight

February 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Here’s a scary statistic: Over one-third of our children are overweight or obese. This number has tripled in the last two decades! Here are some practical ways to help them to lose weight:

When they are teens or older, don’t focus on their weight or what they eat. Instead, focus on yourself as you…
1. Eat in a healthy way and start exercising daily for 30 minutes.
2. Write down what you eat.
3. Get the junk food out of our houses (even if this is unpopular).
4. Cook in a healthy way (even if others don’t like it at first).
5. Encourage family meals almost every night—where you sit down together to eat.
6. Provide lots of green vegetables and fruits so that no one will be hungry.
7. Don’t lecture overweight kids about their weight or preach to them about healthy eating.
8. Journal your feelings and have a daily Quiet Time with the Lord. Don’t hide the fact that you do, but don’t brag about it either.
9. Invite your kids on fun activities that encourage exercise such as hikes in the woods, walks in the park, swimming, skating, golf or bowling. Do other not-so-fun things with them such as gardening, washing the car, parking far away from the store, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking briskly in the mall.
10. Pray for your children to have a desire to lose weight and make other healthy lifestyle changes. And pray that as they see you lose weight and feel better, they will want to join you.

When your overweight children are young, you have more control over them, so also do some of these things:
1. Teach them how to read labels and make healthy choices. Whether they’re eating out or at home, make a game of finding food “bargains.”
2. Teach them how to have a brief Quiet Time almost every day. If they can’t write yet, help them to draw pictures of their prayers and Bible verses. Help them also to journal their feelings by drawing pictures of things that upset them.
3. Give them non-food rewards when they do something good. Don’t reward by giving them their favorite foods, punish them by taking favorite foods away or calm them with food.
4. When having family celebrations, focus on the fun of fellowship instead of food.
5. Teach them how to cook in a healthy way, but never put them on a diet or force them to eat something they don’t like.
6. Limit their TV, computer or video-game time. One good rule (but not very popular at first) might be to allow them an hour of TV, computer or video games for each hour they spend doing sports, riding their bikes, or playing outside.
7. Don’t tell them that they can never have sugar or other junk food, but limit it. Supply yummy substitutes instead.
8. If they say that they’re hungry between meals, offer low calorie snacks; for example, small packs of raisins, fruits, baby carrots, individual packages of low-fat cheese and yogurt.
9. Never shame them for overeating, gaining weight or making unhealthy choices. Give them lots of hugs and compliments and let them know that you love them.
10. Don’t focus too much on food, diets and weight. Let healthy eating and exercise be a normal part of every day.

The difference these changes can make in your life and the lives of your children will amaze you! Place checks next to the items that you want to try and start making some changes today!

Adapted from Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! by Julie Morris and Sarah Morris Cherry.

Make Level Paths for Your Feet—in the Kitchen!

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

“That’s lame!”

Evan, my five-year-old grandson, loves to say “That’s lame!” to show his disapproval. He says it when I cut off his favorite cartoon after he’s watched TV too long or when his mom offers him a healthy choice rather than the candy he is asking for. We often hear “That’s lame!” from this precious little guy. Evan knows that being lame is not fun…and so do I. My weakness with food is definitely lame.

In Hebrews 12:13 (NIV), God talks about people who are lame, and tells us what to do if we are one of them: ‘“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
I’m normally not lame when I walk, but before I started “making level paths for my feet,” I would often get tripped up when I walked in my kitchen. I would have wonderful intensions in mind, but at certain times, like when I baked cookies or started eating chips out of the bag, I’d stumble over my good intensions and fall into overeating.

But many years ago I learned what I could do to make level paths for my feet so that I could stop all of this lame behavior and be healed of my uncontrollable cravings.

I’m excited to tell you that God’s promise in Hebrews 12:13 is true. I know because I lost my harmful extra pounds 30 years ago (!) by making healthy paths for my feet—especially in the kitchen. And I am no longer disabled by out-of-control blood pressure, fatigue and other incapacitating things my overeating caused.

Here are some things that I do to make level paths for my feet:

1. I pray daily that God will help me to make healthy choices.
2. I use a well-balanced food plan similar to the Food Pyramid.
3. I write down what I eat each day.
4. I meet weekly with my accountability partner Tish, and am honest with her about how I have eaten and exercised, as well as other goals I have decided on.
5. I let go of negative emotions because I know that resentments are fattening, pouting puts pounds on and worries widen hips.
6. I don’t go to the grocery store when I’m starving or stressed.
7. When I’m going to a party or out to dinner late, I eat a light snack so I won’t be too hungry.
8. I limit foods that trigger my cravings because the few seconds of eating are not worth the hours (or days) of cravings that are sure to follow.
9. I seldom bake sweets.
10. I take it one day at a time.

If you are disabled because of overeating, I pray that you will make your own list of things that you can do to make level paths for your feet.

Comment below and I will help you personally to learn what you can do to stop being lame!

Beat the Bah-Humbugs!

December 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Do you have the Bah-Humbugs? Do you even know what it is? “Bah” is an old fashioned word that means that you dislike something, and “Humbug” means that you think that something is a fake.

Do you have a “Bah-Humbug” attitude when people talk about peace and joy at Christmas? Or, do you have the Bah-Humbugs all of the time, not just at Christmas? Do you say things like, “Everyone has it better than me,” “I give up. There’s no hope that things will change”?

If you have the Bah-Hubugs, you’re not alone. Do you know the first guy who had the Bah-Humbugs? It was stingy old Ebenezer Scrooge—the meanest man in London. Charles Dickens wrote the book A Christmas Carol in 1843, and Ebenezer is the main character. You may have read it or seen it on TV.

Ebenezer is a businessman who thinks only of making money. For him Christmas is, humbug—a fake. On Christmas Eve he has a dream about three ghosts. Let’s look at some of the things Ebenezer Scrooge learns from the three ghosts in his nightmare on Christmas Eve.

The Ghost of Christmas Past.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past makes Scrooge look back at his childhood, he sees how much he had been hurt, and he gets angry all over again. It’s true, though, that hurting people hurt people, and that’s what Scrooge had done. Instead of dealing with his hurts, he had carried them with him his whole life. We can learn from Ebenezer and deal with our hurts—forgive those who hurt us–so we don’t have to continue to live in the Bah-Humbugs.

The Ghost of Christmas Present.

When the Ghost of Christmas Present makes Ebenezer look at how others are enjoying their lives even though some of them have many overwhelming problems, Ebenezer is jealous and he wants what they have.

Many of us can understand because we have felt the same way—stuck in the Bah Humbugs because others have it better than we do. But there is something we can do to get rid of those negative thoughts. Replace them with positive ones so can get free of the Bah Humbugs.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

After the Ghost of Christmas Present finishes with him, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes him look ahead—at his funeral! It is then that Scrooge realizes how empty and meaningless his life has been and he feels tremendous regret.

Like Scrooge, do you feel regret when you examine your life? If you do, discover the life-changing message that Scrooge learns: joy doesn’t come from having what you want when you want it; it comes from loving and sharing and being thankful. And it comes from overcoming problems with God’s help and then helping others to be overcomers too.

Do you remember how Scrooge feels when he wakes up from his nightmare? He is overcome with relief because he still has time to change! He still has time to have the joyful life he has always wanted—and he beats the Bah-humbugs. Will you?

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