A New Year’s Resolution Solution: It’s All in Your Head!

By Laurette Willis –

Does fitness begin by doing physical acrobatics or is it mental acrobatics that must come first? God gives us the answer in Romans 12:2 (NIV). “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

It’s what’s on your mind that counts! It’s estimated that we think about 60,000 thoughts per day at a speed of 600-800 words per minute.

Do you find your thoughts consistently running along positive paths or negative ones? When something bad happens do you think or say, “It figures. Nothing good ever happens to me.” Or do you say, “You know what? I’m not moved by this because God says in Psalm 34, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all,’ so I’m coming out of this one, too!”

Does God “tell it like it is”?

Why are people who quote God’s Word called extremists and fanatics while those who quote Murphy’s Law are considered realists who are just telling it like it is? Did you know God never told us to “tell it like it is?” In fact, if that were the way God operated, creation would not have happened.

Imagine if God had stepped out into the black void of space and said, “Hey, it sure is dark out here.” It would still be dark! God chose not to “tell it like it is.” Instead He “calls those things which do not exist as though they did”(Romans 4:17 KJV).

He used His Word and said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 NIV). And there was light. Since we’re made in the image of God and Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be “imitators of God as dear children,” doesn’t it make sense to say what God says instead of what the enemy and the world say?

Start Looking in a New Mirror

Thinking and speaking God’s words and thoughts will change you! Your faith will grow as you hear the Word of God. You will begin to see yourself in a new light with a new mirror: the Word of God. It will become easier for you to encourage and bring hope to others, for you’ll begin to know that the Lord can help them. Situations that used to baffle you will become easier to understand.

Health and fitness issues will also become easier to solve, for godly fitness is tied to what the Lord is telling you that you can and should do to take care of your body. Your health and fitness also depends on the development of the fruit of the Spirit–especially self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23)–more than any diet or exercise routine.

Look at yourself in the mirror of God’s Word today. You will LOVE the way you look..in Him!

Make Level Paths for Your Feet—in the Kitchen!

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!

Strength in Numbers

By Don Otis –

The Santa Rosa Plateau is a beautiful oak and Manzanita-strewn area hugging Riverside and San Diego Counties. The countless trails wind up and down canyons and provide views of 11,000’ peaks and Mt. Palomar Observatory to the south.

For the last three winters, I have made my way from Colorado to that beautiful spot. Two years ago I bumped into Rob, a chiropractor who happens to be a Christ-follower and avid mountain biker. While each of us ride alone most of the time, when we have company, we enjoy the experience even more.

Any time you start a new workout routine, having companionship can be the difference between success and falling back into old patterns of inactivity. The struggle for most of us is to find someone whose schedule meshes with our own. If this is the case for you, focus on the weekend where the time pressure is not a factor. For most of us, joining a gym may not be enough. Many gym memberships remain dormant shortly after a person signs up. Still, most gyms have programs or group activities–aerobics, spinning classes, or Silver Sneakers. If the energy from joining other “partners in pain” is helpful to you, then plan out your week or month to include some of the classes they offer.

There are some activities where partnership is important–not just for the motivational benefits, but also for safety. In North Idaho where I lived for fifteen years, my hikes in the Selkirk Mountains often included trailhead signs which read, “Beware! You are entering Grizzly habitat.” Since I often hike or climb alone, those signs caused me to think about what I was doing.

If you enjoy the outdoors, awareness of your surroundings is essential. Turn off the ear buds and focus on your environment. This applies equally for running, walking or biking in urban environments as well.

Team sports are another place to find camaraderie. You can participate in league sports though a gym or YMCA. Most areas also offer adult sports through Parks & Recreation. By joining others to work out, you gain not just a partner who keeps you accountable; you also push one another to improve.

In his book You Can Get There from Here, author Bob Knowling says, “People who don’t know what sports can do think of it as an endless collection of games with scores and stars and failures and winners and losers. For me, it was learning of lessons, hour by hour, that carried straight off the playing field and into my life.” i

Just as Bob Knowling discovered, we learn from sports, from teamwork, from being in the presence of others who share a common experience. I learned, as countless others have, that sports don’t have to stop in high school. Nor does one automatically have to get fat or out of shape at a certain age or stage of life. We have bought these lies that childbirth, turning 40, getting older, or becoming injured means we are washed up. This is simply untrue. We have also bought the lie that just because we were never an athlete in the past, we won’t be one in the future.

I want to encourage you this month to put aside the old stereotypes. Put aside the notion that you are “washed up” and can’t possibly get back to where you once were. I want to encourage you to find a workout partner or join a group activity that will keep you motivated even when you don’t feel like doing anything.

Comment below and let me know how it goes!

i Penguin, 2011, p. 38

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.

Live Long & Prosper: 10 Habits that can Add Years to Your Life

June 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

By the year 2050, the U.S. will have more than 600,000 people over the age of 100. This is more than ten times the number in 2010 (i). Moses lived to be 120, climbed to the top of a mountain (Mt. Nebo in present day Jordan) and died. Deuteronomy 34:7 (NIV) says, “His eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” I like that bit of detail because it tells us that Moses remained vibrant right up to the end.

While living to 100 may not be your greatest aspiration, the bigger question is “What factors determine how long you will live?” Perhaps the biggest factor is your family history or genetic makeup. Routine checkups and preemptive lifestyle choices can quash what might have been an early death sentence just a few decades ago. But here are ten other factors that lead to longevity.

A whopping 37 percent of men are sedentary (ii). Exercise is at the top of the list for those who live longer and healthier lives. The key is aerobic fitness which simply means getting your heart and lungs working through running, cycling, swimming, or hiking. One out of every two men will develop heart disease at some point in his life (slightly less for women). Aerobic exercise helps offset heart disease by increasing the flow of blood throughout the body.

A second and often neglected element of healthy living is how you deal with anger. Are you quick to hold grudges, scream at someone who cuts you off, or react to unpleasant or frustrating circumstances with a rush of anger-inducted adrenalin? Anger raises our blood pressure and places us at greater risk of having a stroke or incurring heart disease.

A third ingredient to longevity is maintaining good relationships. A healthy marriage and the love that goes with it is a major indicator of lasting health. This includes our relationships with children, grandchildren, co-workers and friends. A toxic relationship, especially a marriage, can create stress. This weakens our immune system, which makes us vulnerable to disease.

A forth factor that can shorten your life is stress. Perhaps you have heard the comment, “Stress kills.” The way we learn to deal with the difficulties of life can either add to or detract from our life expectancy. The greatest stressors are often those we have no control over (a prodigal child, the choices of our mate, etc). Learn to control the things you can in life and let God take care of the rest.

Fifth, be born female. Women live longer.

Sixth, have wealth. The more money you have, the better health care you can afford.

Seventh, pray. Prayer is a natural way to relieve stress.

Eighth, maintain a healthy weight. Too much weight, either due to lack or exercise or overeating, is lethal. Obesity will rob 13 years from your life.

Ninth, maintain healthy skin by protecting it from ultraviolet rays. When you are in the sun for extended periods of time, use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.

Finally, eat in a healthy way. This means limiting overall consumption and adding fruits, grains, and vegetables. Likewise, this also means limiting excessive alcohol intake.

Our bodies are marvelously designed. They are incredibly resilient machines but like all machines, they won’t last forever. Learn to be a good steward of the equipment God has given you. Treat it with respect and you will live longer and find more joy in living.

(i) “This Baby May Well Live to 100”, National Geographic, November 2011
(ii) Laura Roberson, “Your Healthiest Year Ever,” Men’s Health, January/February 2011

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