Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Weight Games and Switch-a-roo

I’ve recently been reading about Bob Harper’s (Biggest Loser) heart attack and new diet. I used to be a fan of the Biggest Loser during its first few seasons on television. I enjoyed watching the process of people working hard to achieve their weight loss dreams. Eventually I ceased watching the show after personally deciding the show promoted weight loss methods that were not healthy or manageable for the average overweight person.

I was happy to see the positive influence the show had on people who were trying to lose weight. The show encouraged people to exercise and diet their way to a healthy weight. What we now know is the majority of contestants did not keep off all the weight they lost during the competition and some even regained even more weight than they had lost while on the show.

It’s easy to believe that if we can find the perfect diet and do the right sweat inducing exercises, we will achieve weight loss perfection for the rest of our lives. We look towards personal trainers, nutritionists, registered dietitians, and celebrities for the answer. What I learned from reading Bob Harper’s story leading up to his heart attack, is that even some fitness and nutrition minded professionals don’t have the answer.

Bob Harper went from promoting his vegan lifestyle to promoting a paleo type diet. Now that he’s had a heart attack, he is promoting the Mediterranean diet. If a person who makes a living from physical fitness and dieting can’t make up his or her mind about which diet and exercise regimen is most successful, what chance do we as consumers and followers have in winning the weight loss and healthy lifestyle battle?

Fitness instructors encourage us to follow the latest cardio or strength training trend and add to that the constantly changing recommendations regarding what is and isn’t healthy for us to eat. I’ve always advocated for finding an activity you like and sticking to it. When you like something you are more likely to remain committed. As for eating habits, one of the simplest things to remember to keep processed foods at a minimum. When you reduce processed foods your only other option is to eat healthy, fresh foods. The consumption of healthy fats, whole grains, a modest amount of proteins, and fruits and vegetables will help you maintain a healthy diet. There is never a need to follow strict eating plans unless you have a medical condition.

As Christians it is important that we be discerning when it comes to the foods we consume and how we care for our body. Following restrictive trends and fads show how gullible we are.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10: 31-33

Thankfully what we eat has no influence on our salvation. But as believers it is important that we not encourage others to follow trends. By chasing fads we run the risk of not listening to the true needs of our individual bodies. You’ll also find yourself frequently moving from one method to another. Instead, find out what is best for your body and your lifestyle. Pray and ask God to reveal to you how to eat, what to eat, and how much exercise is good for your health. Let God be a part of your health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Will and Your Waistline

“… in general, it is God’s will that we ourselves should have a great part in determining our path through life. This does not mean that he is not with us. Far from it. God both develops and, for our good, tests our character by leaving us to decide. … God is preparing us for a life of initiative, so I know that God will be with me even when he does not tell me what to do. His presence is known in ways different from his specifying what he wants done.”  Dallas Willard, Hearing God.

I recently encountered someone who felt the need to determine God’s will regarding her health. This person was obese, had gained a considerable amount of weight in a short amount of time, needed a sleep apnea machine due to effects of her weight, and could barely walk a short distance without huffing and puffing. As I listened to this person speak, I wondered exactly what she thought God might say to her, “My dear child, remain intentionally unhealthy, it is my will for you that you not be able to breathe at night. It is my will that you eat your feelings instead of turning to me, your comforter.

When is it ever God’s will for us to self-harm? The answer is never. It hurts God to see us hurting. His love cannot stand to see his beautiful creation living with emotional pain.

I don’t believe God created us to be empty headed believers, lacking the ability to make sensible decisions. People tend to seek “God’s will” despite knowing what the sensible answer to their dilemma would be. Instead of seeking “God’s will”, I wish people would be more honest and admit that what they are actually seeking is God’s guidance and a sense of personal peace.

We are sometimes so desperate to have God approve decisions which we know are not good for us. We stall by engaging in what I refer to as spiritual procrastination. Spiritual procrastination involves engaging in honest spiritual disciplines without the right intentions. We pray knowing that we are asking for something that is against the will of God; we seek the advice of fellow Christians whom we know are not in a right relationship with God and who are likely to give us the answer we want; we start reading scripture with the hopes that after thousands of years, God’s commandments might have some how changed over night in favour of our dilemma; and we start quoting guilt scriptures such as, “thou shalt not judge”, “ye without sin cast the first stone.”

I didn’t want to be hard on the person seeking God’s will for her waistline. Sometimes we are not ready to hear or face the truth about our situations and how we got there. If I could say anything to her, I would say, it is never God’s will for us to harm ourselves. Seek God’s guidance on how to best care for one’s self. He will place people in your path to provide encouragement, guidance, and solid information. If you want to talk about God’s will for our lives, it is always God’s will that we listen to the messengers He sends us.

Questions and Reflections:

-What do you think God’s will is for yourself specifically and for all of humankind?

-When was the last time you sought “God’s Will”? What were you hoping to hear from God?

 

 

 

 

Spring/Summer Happiness

 

March is gone and April is here. There really is no big difference between the two months except for the change in daylight hours. It feels great to have longer hours of sunlight.

For me, slightly warmer days and more hours of sunlight often means dreaming and planning a new fitness regime. I suddenly go from planning nights of Netflixing to arranging evenings filled with physical activity.

Spring To-do List:

Train for a marathon, check.

Start P90X again, check.

Loose 110 pounds by the end of summer, check.

Go Paleo, check.

My Pinterest board becomes active again with me posting any and every article that promises to help me become the fittest, trimmest, and fastest version of myself.

My fridge is suddenly filled with superfoods: spinach, collard greens, avocados, bell peppers, and anything that can be thrown into a smoothie.

The truth is this excitement rarely lasts into the second week of April. It only takes a few days of missed workout sessions, vegetables that were left to rot due to a preference for microwavable foods, and a reminder that I have a deep-seated hatred for long distance running.

Are you a Spring and Summer time fitness dreamer? Do you make grand plans to lose weight, get fit, eat better, and then accomplish none of those dreams? I don’t have a magic solution, but I will say this. If you know you’re a Spring/Summer dreamer, be realistic. Set your goals so they are about enjoying the things you do to stay active.

Why plan for a foot race when you know you are not likely to commit to the training; instead, make a goal of getting outdoors more often. Make a goal of watching less television in the evenings and you’ll suddenly find yourself with more time to be outdoors. What you choose to do outdoors is up to you. Go for a walk, toss a frisbee or football around, or play a sport. The goal is to pick something you will enjoy doing.

A strict meal plan might not be something you care to do, especially knowing you aren’t going to stick with it. Instead, aim to eat more fruits and vegetables. When BBQ season arrives, try grilling fruit and vegetables. Chop up some fruit and keep them in the fridge instead of eating foods from the cupboard.

I wish I was the only one who makes a habit of setting unrealistic goals, but I’m not. During the summer I stay active and eat healthy meals. Not because of a strict meal plan or rigorous exercise, but because I stay true to myself.  I choose to do things that I enjoy.

My wish for you this Spring and Summer is that you will also stay true to yourself. Do you enjoy long distance running, power yoga, or jogging up and down hundreds of stairs, great. Keep doing it. If not, find another way to keep yourself fit during the most visually beautiful and warm months of the year.

Are you happy with your diet related meals and strict eating plans, good, then stick with it; if not, then make the changes that will lead you to consuming healthy foods you actually enjoy.

Moving and feeding your body should not be something that brings unhappiness to your life. You can be healthy and happy. Taking care of your body isn’t about punishment or strict regiments.

 

Reflection and Questions:

-Do you associate healthiness with unhappiness?

-What is your personal definition of ‘happy and healthy’?

-Do you believe that a person can be happy while trying to achieve a fitness or health goal?

 

 

 

 

Lent and Fitness

Lent Fitness 2015

Yes, it’s that season again, the one where Christians have chosen something to eliminate from their lives starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday in order to make themselves miserable. Then there are those who partake in the season of Lent. Lent, in English simply means Spring, it’s a word which derived from German origins. In Latin it means “fortieth” and derives from the word Quadragesima.

During Lent we engage in more intensified and focused acts of prayer (God), fasting (Self), and Almsgiving (Others).

Lent was never intended to be a time of emotional self-flagellation. Over the span of Lent we are called to intentionally and consciously draw closer to Christ in the desert, remembering his battle against temptation and rejoice with him in the victory when Easter Sunday arrives. It is a period of actively  remembering that we can win any spiritual battle that is brought before us. There is no need for self-hatred during Lent because we know that Jesus’ time in the desert was in obedience to our Father God and for our benefit. Jesus won the battle in that desert knowing that God was with him and that his calling was to save us from ourselves. Today we do the same thing. We join millions of other believers across the world in defeating the stronghold that luxuries can and sometimes do have over our lives. Dear brothers and sisters, don’t let anything in the mundane cause separation between you and the holy trinity.

In the desert Jesus said “no” to the temptations of the enemy and “yes” to the calling the LORD had placed on his life. I have had to join Jesus many times in that desert as I learn what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to in accordance with God’s teachings.

defeat fast food 1

 

Health and Fitness is my year round struggle of temptation. I’m still on that journey of learning that in order to be healthy I must say ‘no’ to things that are good, but not good for me. I have had to learn the discipline of getting my butt out of bed and doing some form of cardio exercise in order to prevent myself from gaining any more weight. I’ve had to learn that God must be included in my journey into the desert or else I will not defeat the never ending temptations that are thrown my way each day. The sweat and trembling that comes from strength training reminds me not to give up because dedication and commitment to doing what is difficult but necessary is what leads to increased strength.

In the moment, in the midst of my frustrations, I want that plate of poutine, an entire pizza, or a creamy bowl of pasta, but I know that immediate gratification is never a good reward. It’s the slower results of prayers, mindfulness, and working through temptations that allow us to have victory over the cross.

God does nothing in a hurry, He never has, and I believe He never will.

So… my goal in writing this post today is to encourage you to join Jesus in the desert, and alongside our Saviour meet with God in this intensified season of prayer (God), fasting (Self), and almsgiving (Others). There is victory of the cross, but in order to do so we must be willing to do the work. May this period of Lent be one of drawing closer to God, walking with Jesus to the cross, and rejoicing with him over the defeated cross and empty tomb on Easter Sunday. God Bless!