Setting and Revising Your Goals

February 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

Warren and Julie are in their 60s, runners and professionals. It was not until after they climbed a peak with me in Colorado that I learned more about them. Both are attorneys. Julie is a judge. She would blast any stereotype you have of what a judge ought to be like. They are unassuming, dedicated, and focused on an interesting goal.

It was on a preliminary hike that Warren told me they plan to run a marathon in all 50 States. They will knock off two more this year in Kentucky and Maine. They have already done 35 states. While running in every state may not sound affordable or logical to you, I want to encourage you to think about what you can do. What kind of goals can you set for yourself? For Warren and Julie, their goal is big. It encompasses years of training and health. They aren’t racing to win, they are running to see new places, keep in shape, and eventually finish their goal.

In Colorado, one of the healthiest states in the nation, one out of every two people is overweight or obese. This should be a national emergency. The costs for medical care are exponentially higher for those who are sedentary. With so many distractions to keep us from healthy activity, it’s no wonder many of us gravitate to the couch after work. We compound our inactivity with poor eating or sleeping habits. When you choose a goal for yourself, there is a built-in self-accountability that helps keep you on track. As one of my clients said, “When I see how hard it has been to lose weight, I don’t want to eat anything that will counteract the work I’ve done.”

The biggest battle is in the mind. This is true for fitness as much as it is for spiritual and moral issues. Your mind is the battleground that leads to success or failure. And in any battle, there is an ebb and flow of winning and losing. We have setbacks. We make unwise decisions. Still, staying focused through establishing goals is one of the keys to success. A goal is established by making a decision. This is true for our spiritual life as well. We know, however, that simply making a decision to follow Christ is no more binding than making a decision to go on a diet or get in shape. It takes commitment, perseverance, and certainly a willingness to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gains.

It is no secret that many of us put on pounds during the winter months where cold and inactivity dominate. Where do you want to be in three months or next year? Any goal, large or small, takes dedication, a plan and some form of accountability. For Warren and Julie, they do their long runs together on the weekends and share the same goal. They have a built-in commitment to the goal, an accountability partner and the means to accomplish their goals.

There are setbacks in life–an injury, the loss or a job, or any number of other interruptions to reaching your goals. Rather than letting failure or inactivity define your life, find ways to creatively overcome these. This means maintaining your workouts in spite of losing your job or cross training (i.e., swimming instead of running) in the face of injury. We naturally find excuses when things don’t go exactly as planned in life. Yet when you come to expect the unexpected, it is easier to navigate toward your goals rather than to let circumstances prevail.

Control of Bodily Appetites

February 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts –

Summer is coming to an end and I’m depressed.

It’s hard to let the good times go. I love my boys being home with me, hiking, biking, swimming, just enjoying every minute with them. My only regret this summer is I’ve allowed my self-control to slip. It hasn’t just been an occasional ice cream cone on the front porch swing. Some days it’s been two ice cream cones and, to be quite honest, most of the time I’m the one instigating the treat.

I really have no problem with eating treats and I adore ice cream. My problem comes in feeling I am out of control. As a Christian, I am trying to emulate the Savior. To me that includes controlling my temper, being a moral, righteous person, and controlling all of my bodily appetites. I believe that we should enjoy delicious foods, but ice cream twice a day? Probably too much.

So how do I stay in control of my bodily appetites?

Jesus gives us the answer in John 15:5 (KJV), “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” He is telling us to stay close to him and we’ll experience His spiritual fruit—love, joy, peace…and self-control. And he warns us that without Him, we can do nothing! We can’t eat in a healthy way, exercise or do other important things to take care of our “temples” and stay in control of our appetites.

Another important thing that we need to do into order to control our bodily appetites is to take it a day at a time. Each day is a new day, another chance to be healthy. If I focus on one day at a time I don’t get so overwhelmed.

I also think it’s wise not to be too strict. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Healthy eating is important but we’re never going to be perfect. I love the 90/10 approach (or sometimes 80/20 when life is crazy). If I eat in a healthy way 90% of the time, I can enjoy a treat for the other 10%.

The best advice is to turn to the Lord. He really does care about every aspect of our lives. He’s there for us. Turn to Him when you’re struggling.

I pray we can all try to take a little better care of ourselves, when we feel good physically it makes it easier to get out and serve others and helps us stay strong spiritually.

Do You Have An Eating Disability or Eating Disorder?

January 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Tommy’s parents were so relieved.

This sweet, red-headed fourth-grader was doing terribly in school. His teacher said he wasn’t trying. Some of the kids in his class called him “stupid.” His parents were beginning to fear he was slow. That is, until they tested him and found that he has dyslexia. Tommy has a learning disability. It’s not that he won’t ever be able to read, he just has to be taught in a different way. It’s not his fault. It’s just a fact. Tommy is different, but with extra work, he’ll be fine. What a relief!

You may have an eating disability 

Just as it was a blessing for Tommy to find out why he was having problems reading, so it is for us to find out why we’ve had problems losing weight and keeping it off. No one likes to have a problem, but when we have one, we are relieved to find out what it is and what we can do about it.

Do you think that you might have an eating disability? Here’s my definition:

Anyone who can’t lose weight and keep it off has an eating disability.

Eating disabilities get more pronounced as time goes by. If they are ignored, they may turn into eating disorders.

Here’s my definition of an eating disorder:

Anyone who experiences serious health or emotional problems as a result of eating in a harmful way, yet continues that behavior, has an eating disorder.

When I found out that I had an eating disorder, I was relieved. (Since I alternated between bingeing and starving myself, I was classified as bulimic.) Now I could quit asking myself this question: 

“Why can’t I, a well-educated, in-control sort of person, quit overeating?

No matter how hard I tried not to, I found myself eating too much. I constantly beat myself up for my lack of self-control. But when I finally began to understand the reasons for my actions, I was able to discard the “stupid” label–like Tommy did–and start doing what needed to be done to get better. 

Take this little quiz to see if you have an eating disability or disorder:

(Circle the answer that more accurately describes you.)

1. I have trouble sticking to a healthy food plan…

A. Even though I know I need to.

B. Even though my doctor or my medical symptoms say I need to.

2. Often I find myself overeating…

A. Though I feel guilty when I do.

B. Though I feel so ashamed of myself I don’t know what to do.

3. If certain foods are around, I…

A. Eat more of them than I intend to.

B. Eat them until they are gone or until I feel too uncomfortable to continue eating.

4. I overeat…

A. Two or three times a week when I’m busy or under stress.

B. Almost daily, no matter what’s going on in my life.

5. My health…

A. May someday be affected by my eating.

B. Is affected by my eating.

6. I am ashamed of the way I look…

A. But that doesn’t interfere with my activities much.

B. So I frequently don’t do things I’d do if I were thinner.

7. If I were thinner…

A. I would look more attractive.

B. I would be happier.

8.  When something is wrong…

A. I concentrate on fixing the problem, but I may be more tempted to overeat.

B. I am usually not able to face the problem without overeating. 

Count the number of “A” responses and then count “B” responses. If you had more “A” responses, you have an eating disability that has not progressed to an eating disorder yet.  If you have more “B” responses, you have an eating disorder–according to our definition–since eating has brought disorder to your life.

Don’t get upset if you recognize that you have an eating disability or disorder. It may be harder for you to lose weight, but you can do it! Reach out for help today!

When Fitness Is More than Physical

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

By Don Otis –

When 75-year old Phyllis signed up for a recent program we put on through the local gym, I was not sure what to do.

For the past six weeks, another trainer and I prepared a group of thirteen participants in a program called Peak Performance. The idea to climb Colorado’s 14,229’ Mt. Shavano included a program designed to help people get in shape to reach the summit.

We did two local hikes so we could assess the group. We included specific and targeted exercises to help the group reach their goal. Still, my major concern was Phyllis. I had mixed feelings; appreciating her tenacity and willingness to set such a large goal for herself and yet feeling that she was in over her head.

I half-jokingly say that I love the mountains because they are “stress therapy” for me and combine all the elements that I enjoy–-fitness, challenge, and God’s creation. We are each motivated to get in shape or to stay in shape for different reasons. The beauty is that we have many options to choose from. Yet, as I was talking with another trainer we agreed that training our physical bodies is only part of the fitness equation.

Everyone I work with has something more going on that drives them, troubles them, or infringes on their life in some way. In other words, we are far more complex than just the physical. We are spiritual and emotional beings as well. If something is out of balance in one area, it will impact the others.  So, like with Phyllis, I find myself working to encourage, inspire, and sometimes counsel people as much as develop specific programs for them.

What is your reason for working out? Is it to relieve stress, lose weight, look good, take care of God’s temple, have more energy, or work toward a goal? Maybe it combines all of these. Clearly, those who have goals fare better than those who do not.

While Phyllis did not make the summit, she did manage to reach 13,400’–-not bad for someone her age. Other participants included a woman with a pacemaker, a brother and sister who had just gone through a kidney transplant, and a 25-year year old who stopped smoking two weeks prior. We managed to see ten of the thirteen participants reach the summit, including my 24-year-old son who celebrated his birthday on top!

We can manufacture excuses not to get in shape or we can use our limitations or weaknesses to motivate us to reach a goal. I am inspired by those who don’t make excuses—trying to explain away why they won’t get in shape or stay in shape.

If you are overweight, under motivated, or lack direction, ask yourself what else is going on in your life that might be holding you back. Remind yourself that you can do all things through Christ who gives your strength. Keep your eyes fixed on a goal, whether it is climbing a mountain, running a local race, or losing fifteen pounds. Remind yourself that God wants you to be successful and will give you the strength to persevere. But God does not force you to get out of bed early, sacrifice a second helping, or establish your goals.

Discover Tasty Foods that Fight Fat

By Laurette Willis –

Want to lose some excess fat, eat REAL food (not make-believe “diet food”) and enjoy the journey? Here are some foods that are good for you, packed with nutrition and tasty enough for the whole family.

ALMONDS – These delicious nuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. Recent studies show that dieters who ate three ounces of almonds daily were able to cut down their weight and body mass by an amazing 18% compared to dieters who skipped eating almonds.

BERRIES – Want to burn up to 30% more fat? Strawberries, raspberries and other fruit high in Vitamin C can turbo-charge your workout, helping you to burn more fat.

CINNAMON – Try adding just ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to food to help prevent an insulin spike (can help keep your body from storing excess fat).

SOY BEANS – Soybeans are rich in choline, which appears to block the absorption of fat and also seems to break down fatty deposits.

SWEET POTATOES – Definitely better than starchy white potatoes, sweet potatoes contain a high fiber content which helps keep insulin levels steady. This means less fat stored by your body.

MUSTARD – The turmeric in mustard not only gives it a yellow color. Now scientists have determined that tumeric also seems to slow the growth of fat tissue. Put it on hot dogs—and more!

ORANGES – The flavones in oranges help fight fat. Studies reveal that women who ate the most flavones have a much lower increase in body fat as they age. Don’t make the mistake of drinking orange juice and thinking it has the same effect. One must eat the entire peeled orange. Undiluted orange juice also has too much concentrated fruit sugar, spiking blood sugar too quickly.

SWISS CHEESE – Calcium-rich foods reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase the breakdown of fat in the body. Swiss cheese contains more calcium than many of its cheesy sidekicks.

See if you can create a menu using all eight of the foods listed above in one meal (breakfast, lunch OR dinner).

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