Tag Archives: diet

Are You Limiting Your Legacy?

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Ladies, let’s be honest. If you walk into a room full of women what are most of us eventually going to be talking about? The latest book we read on leadership principles? The newest scientific discovery? Economic principles? Political developments? No? How about proposals for community improvement? Educational theories? No? Well, maybe we are discussing truths from our recent Bible study? Discoveries of life principles? Or maybe about how we are planning to make a difference this week in the life of the family down the street?

No. We are most likely going to be discussing our latest diet, exercise and food restriction programs. We are most likely discussing our body image and our desire to lose some weight, get slimmer and fit into some arbitrary size that we feel will make us more acceptable to others. I know, this is a gross generalization, but even so it is not too far off the mark.

I’ve recently gotten to meet lots of women in various settings, of various ages and various educational levels. By no means has this been a homogenous group. Yet the common thread with each group was how quickly the conversation turned to weight loss, food restriction and a desire to be smaller.

I get it. There is a lot of pressure on us as women to meet an ideal and it’s hard not to get sucked in, even in the name of getting healthy. There are so many experts out there spouting off what is considered to be the most current understanding of healthy eating and weight. The cultural ideal of beauty assaults us in the grocery store, the gym, the doctor’s office, even the library. The pressure is everywhere and the reminders are constant.

As women we turn to each other for reassurance and support in this rough environment. By discussing our latest struggle, making self-deprecating comments about our ‘extra’ weight we disarm our critics before they can fire disapproval at us and we become part of the tribe. It’s not easy being a woman in a youth-obsessed, skinnier-is-better minded world.

“I so want to have a cupcake right now, but I’m over my calorie limit already today!”
“I have to get my workout in today because I had a slice of bread with my salad at lunch today.”
“I’m not buying any new clothes until I lose this extra weight and get back into size X clothes.”

I have been guilty of these comments, these conversations. I too have tried to be part of the tribe, to fit in (pun intended). I’ve apologized for my size, for eating when I was hungry. I’ve made excuses for having a slice of cake lovingly prepared for a celebration of a loved one’s life. I’ve been there. That’s why my heart aches.

Girls, is that all we are? Is this the legacy we want to leave our daughters? Our very actions tell our precious girls that despite all the dreams, hopes and imaginations within them, all they can truly look forward to is becoming experts on weight loss, calorie counting and food restriction. Whether we realize it or not, this is what our actions and girl-friend conversations tell our daughters!

Are we unknowingly restricting not food, but our potential to leave a mark on this world? Are we limiting our legacies? Short changing our potential by focusing so much time, energy and emotion on controlling our food intake?  Are we letting food control our lives?

For the vast majority of us, food is not something we worry about having enough of. No, in fact we worry instead about eating too much. We are not in fear of starving, but we are starving ourselves in fear of eating more than we deserve. I believe that Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke 12:23 when He said, “For life is more than food…” In the middle of teaching about greed, eternal life, spiritual choices, hoarding, generosity and trust Jesus tells His disciples not to be anxious or troubled about their lives, what they will eat (or wear). Jesus states that life is more than food (and clothes). In the Aramaic-English New Testament this passage is translated as the soul is greater than food.  The soul, that part that is our personality, our uniqueness, our identity. Jesus says that part of us is more important than the food we eat.

Who we are. Who we were created to be. All the potential placed within us has far more value than the ability to control our food intake. Our ability to plan, dream, create, design and implement was intended for far more than managing a food and exercise plan. We were meant to have an impact on this world.

Women are capable of wrestling with matters of greater consequence. We can tackle matters of great spiritual, intellectual, artistic, social and moral importance. We are capable of contributing far more to our homes, churches, work places and communities than just the latest weight loss plan. We are more than a number on a scale. More than a size on our clothing tags!

What could our friendships be like if we encouraged each other to develop and grow our  souls? What if we spent more mental and emotional energy on making a difference in our relationships? Our communities? Our children’s school? What if we were as determined and focused on developing interpersonal skills? Spiritual development? Work expertise?  How could we impact that world if we spent as much time becoming active students of the Bible as we do on implementing the latest weight-loss craze? Imagine how we could impact the world if the focus of our souls was on almost any other thing rather than restricting our food?

This is not meant to be a guilt-inducing lecture lovely. No, I do not want to replace the legalism of weight-loss and food restriction with a different set of rules about the time you spend reading your Bible, or the number of seminars you attend, hours you volunteer or any other program. No my lovely it’s quite the opposite! I would love to see us break free from the gravitational pull our size- and food-obsessed society has created and truly be free to live in the fulness and joy we were meant to have.

When Jesus said that He came to give us a full life (John 10:10) I don’t see an asterisk that says, “Except for women. You women will have to forever contend with watching your weight and restricting your food.” It does NOT say that because Jesus never intended for us to live like that!

Yes we are to develop self-discipline. Yes, we need to take good care of our bodies. Yes gluttony is a sin and yes it can cut our lives short. But so can obsessing over our weight and restricting the food we need to stay healthy and strong. The amount of obsessing, restricting and talking about our food we do says, “God, I just can’t trust You to meet my needs. I’m afraid if I don’t worry about it, You may forget me.”

The One who knew you before you were conceived can not forget you!

Lovely, please listen to my heart. I so hope for your sake that you can move beyond letting your food and your weight determine your legacy. I pray you’ll give up the need to always be on top of every morsel that crosses your lips and instead you’ll learn to eat with gratitude. Eat to fuel your body so that you have the energy to live in the fullness of your purpose and passions. Let go of your need to hit a magic number on the scale or on the clothing tag and instead explore your calling!

I pray you’ll discover the depths of the legacy you are called to leave as you develop and grow in fullness in every part of your being. I pray you catch a vision of what is possible and the difference you can make in this world. I pray as you explore the fulness of the life God has in store for you other women will rise up and join you and find the same freedom!

May our conversations become life-giving, purpose-affirming, joy-multiplying, legacy-creating, sources of encouragement. May we become women of wisdom, courage, strength and beauty. May we be examples of health, peace, unity and passion. May we live on purpose!

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Forever Young

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If I am the least bit honest with myself I will admit that I am very good at looking at myself through wishful thinking lenses. When I look in the mirror I don’t see what I look like, I see myself as I imagine I look. No, I’m not pretending to be younger, I just feel younger and maybe even think younger in some ways. It seems I am not the only one guilty of wishful thinking.

Baby Boomers have been rewriting the rules from the moment they appeared on the scene so it is no surprise that they want to feel younger, live longer and have more energy throughout their retirement years. A positive outlook can serve us in our lives, but when it comes to health it turns out Boomers may just need to work harder at it then they thought. According to this Vancouver Sun article baby boomers may not be as healthy as they think they are and their dreams of healthy, long lives enjoying travel and basking in their freedom may be threatened. And they’re probably not the only ones.

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of overestimating our health and fitness.  So what can we do?

Make sure you get a realistic assessment of your health and then take active steps to improve it.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. No, not the perfect figure or number on a scale, but a healthy weight for your body frame. This reduces the risk for a number of diseases that may not show up until later in life. A better way to track your weight is by waist size. Experts recommend women have a waist no larger than 35 inches, aiming for 32.5 inches or less. Men you want to be under 40 inches in waist size, aiming for 37.5 inches or less.Waist size of over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men is associated with higher risk for things like Type 2 Diabetes.*

2. Get nourished. Eat well balanced meals and snacks to feed your cells the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong for a long life. Avoid fad diets and eat enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, yes FATS! Your body needs them all. You don’t need a PhD in nutrition and you don’t need to break the bank. A simple rule of thumb: shop the outside aisles of the grocery store and avoid the middle. The less processed the food the better.

3. Supplement wisely. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts. It would be great if we could get all our needs met through our food, but in a world where food is rarely allowed to ripen on the vine before it is picked, shipped and sold supplementing may be the only way to ensure you get everything you need. Choose the supplements wisely. Many bargain brands are not bargains when you realize the supplements do not break down in your digestive tract before they are eliminated. In other words you may as well place them directly in the bowl and flush! I recently did an experiment on my calcium supplements and placed a pill in a cold glass of water. To my surprise bubbles began to appear within seconds and within 10 minutes the pill was completely dissolved. That’s one supplement I know is being absorbed in my body! I highly recommend Arbonne’s vegan certified Essentials line for supplementing. If you’re going to spend money on supplements make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Water does a body good. Unless you landed in the western hemisphere today you’ve probably heard the 8 glasses of water rule. Truth is that a hard and fast rule may not serve everyone well. Make sure you drink enough to not feel thirsty and then probably add one or two glasses. Unsweetened tea counts. Avoid sugary drinks, drinks with artificial sweeteners and anything that has more calories than your meal. A great rule of thumb is don’t drink your day’s worth of calories, eat them!

5. Move your body. Our bodies were designed for motion. They don’t like being inactive and begin to seize up and stiffen when we don’t move. Use it or lose it couldn’t be truer. You don’t need to sign up for the latest class, commit to a gym membership or buy expensive equipment. Just add brisk walking to your day and you’re on your way to improving your health. If you need a measuring stick then choose 30 minutes of brisk activity, or 10,000 steps (use a pedometer) or start simply by parking farther away from the entrance, using the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around while you are on the phone.  Activity does not have to be complicated to benefit your health.

Start with one of the above and once you’ve mastered it and made it a habit move on and add another. Experts say it takes either 21 consecutive days to create a new habit while others say it takes 40 days. Whichever it is it takes a conscious effort before it becomes a habit. So don’t give up. With a little bit of effort you really can make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy the plans and dreams you are making for your future.

Your turn: I’d love to know if you’re taking steps to live a healthy life no matter your age. What is your one big tip for staying healthy for life?

* Source: I Can Do This Diet, Don Colbert, MD, 2010 Published by Siloam, A Strang Company, Florida

 

Waiting for the Magic Bullet

So this morning I came across a book review of Dr. Don Colbert’s “I Can Do This Diet” book. The reviewer’s basic gripe was the book talked about sensible eating, eliminating foods that were high on the glycemic index but low in nutritional value and regular activity for balance, but Dr. Colbert didn’t have anything new to say. So what was the reviewer expecting? A top secret magic bullet to solve the weight issue without having to live a healthy life?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, a few pounds or a ton (figuratively of course) you know that it takes dedication, work and there simply are no short cuts. Even if you seem to find a quick way to lose the weight it comes back on just as quickly because there really is no way around having to change your lifestyle from being solution oriented (go on a diet to lose some weight) to one of being results oriented (eat better, exercise more, become healthier resulting in weight loss).

As a child I never struggled with weight because I was active and food just provided fuel for my activities. But in the tween years food became a means of numbing pain and the added weight a buffer between me and the source of pain. That’s another blog at another time. The effect of that period of my life was that as an adult maintaining my healthy weight has been challenging at times, especially after having two babies within 18 months in my mid 30’s.

Believe me when I say I’ve looked for the magic bullet, the quick fix, the easy to follow system that didn’t take too long and wouldn’t be too complicated. I’ve tried a lot of things. And yes some of them seemed to work quickly but as soon as I stopped following the plan the weight came back on and brought an extra friend or two for good measure.  Deep down I knew that what needed addressing was my using food to soothe myself and a commitment to eating healthy, exercising regularly and choosing health.

At the end of the day I realized no magic bullet exists and never will. There never will really be anything other than healthy eating and regular physical activity – in other words a healthy and active lifestyle. Yet our generation seems determined to find a magic bullet for weight loss and everything else. Fad diets come and go and get recycled under new names. There’s the ketone-, the liquid-, low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, high-protein-, chips & salsa- (I kid you not), detox-, soup- diet and they all work for a little while but when we go back to eating the way we did in order to gain the weight in the first place the results are predictable. As I’ve said before if we focus on solving problems rather than outcomes from the process we end up in this predictable cycle of gain and loss and gain some more.

You know people who keep looking for the magic weight loss bullet. They keep hoping they can have their cake and eat it too. There’s also people looking for the magic debt reduction bullet, the wealth creation bullet, the great relationship bullet, the parenting bullet, the fame and fortune bullet. We all want to snap our fingers and have all our dreams come true without the effort. Guess what, it just doesn’t happen that way. Ask those who have won the lottery in the past. How many of them kept the wealth? Life just doesn’t happen that way. There are no magic bullets but anything is possible if you are willing to work at it, learn, change and grow.

So are you looking for any magic bullets?