Is Your Body Trash or a Treasure?

SAY THANK YOUHave you ever given someone a gift and watched the person trash it or neglect it? I gave a gift to someone a while back, and returned to their house a year later and saw it still in the box unused. Not only did it hurt my feelings, I was sad they weren’t enjoying it. It was an expensive gift and it was a gift they needed and would have loved, but it needed putting together so it remained in the box on the floor.

In many ways, our life is like that. Our body is a gift, yet it needs work to put it together so it works well, and it will also require a lot of maintenance too. No matter what that person may have told me, or how much they tried to convince me they appreciated that gift, there was no way I’d believe them because it was just sitting on the floor collecting dust. Their actions told me exactly how much they valued that gift.

How often do we thank God for our life, yet just sit there and neglect or trash our body? How can we appreciate something without taking care of it or using it how it was intended? That person could have used that gift as a paper weight or a door stop, but that wasn’t what it was made for – and we are made for SO much more than just sitting and eating whatever we want. We are made to function well, and to LIVE with purpose. We can’t have energy to do what we are called to do if we aren’t maintaining our physical body. We can’t expect to be our best when our body isn’t its best.

We are living in a gift – a body.
What are you telling God by how you treat your gift?

“do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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I have been on the prowl for some really cool crazy-fun leggings, but some of the coolest designs have the poorest quality. Some leggings may look great as long as you are not moving, but as soon as you start to workout, you discover problems.

Common complaints with poorly made leggings:

see though leggings  • Leggings aren’t made for performance

  • Thin material doesn’t support the body

  • Material loses color as it’s stretches

  • Material becomes transparent as it stretches

  • Material snags easily

  • Material doesn’t stay put when you move

  • Color fades after washing

  • Material absorbs sweat and odor

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I should tell you I’m not getting paid to tell you how much I like these leggings. I’m not getting commission or one dollar from writing this post. They were too kind to send me some to try and I just genuinely really LOVED them and wanted to share my find with you. AND, I totally plan on getting more! I asked them if they had any discounts going on, or could offer a discount to you guys, and they told me about this kickstarter campaign they are doing to get in the national market and continue to grow. If you want to buy some leggings, you can support them on kickstarter and get product for a great deal – like these leggings for $60 instead of their normal price of $79.00!! (And trust me, they are worth it!)

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Marriage with More Muscle

boxing couple Many of you have seen changes in our marriage. Since I started sharing bits and pieces of our testimony on my social media, in hopes of encouraging others, I’ve had countless emails requesting help, asking us how “we did it” and wanting direction or prayers. Before I give you the whole story, I want to share WHY we are sharing our mess with the world – because until you can fully understand our testimony, you first have to understand the tests we were going through.

Marriage in the Toilet

Dirty toiletIf you have ever seen a commercial for a cleaner, there is always a ridiculously dirty before photo that looks almost impossible to clean. Everyone knows we really can’t appreciate how “clean” something is until we see just how dirty it once was. The same goes for our marriage. While we had a pretty good marriage for quite a while, neglect allowed dirt to pile up. Like a dirty toilet, you really don’t know just how messed up it is if you just keep a “lid on it”. But, eventually, you have to deal with it, and when you finally lift the lid, you realize you have a filthy mess that appears to be impossible to clean up.

“But, with God, all things are possible” , Matthew 19:26.

Our Marriage Make-over

It All Starts with a BANG!

Steve pfiester shotMany of you saw the posts in mid December in 2013 with news that Steve was a victim of an accidental firearm discharge. He was shot through both legs by a 40 caliber hollow point bullet. What you didn’t know is, this was perfectly orchestrated by God, down to the very second he was shot and what he was doing when he got shot. It was no accident. As soon as Steve realized he was shot, he knew God orchestrated the whole thing.

We had been really struggling the month before he was shot. He told me he didn’t love me anymore and believed in his heart that I would be better off without him, and he believed he would be happier without me. He tried to convince me of just how horrible of a husband he was, as well as how much he didn’t love me, by confessing everything possible. Years of lies, years of seeking his own pleasure as a result of years of unforgiveness and bitterness toward me.

Ironically, everything he perceived I had done to him over the years (neglect him, not love him and reject him), he was now actually doing to me. Granted, while I didn’t reject him or neglect him purposefully, Steve’s feelings of rejection and neglect were very real. I didn’t realize the level of his needs nor how neglected he really felt. I became quite a workaholic, and since I was working “for us” and we were working toward the same goals in many ways, working together, I didn’t realize how much I was neglecting him as my husband. I thought he knew how much I loved him and didn’t realize how much he needed reassurance, respect and intimacy. Bottom line, this wasn’t all his fault. I had a lot to learn, but by the time I realized it, the damage was already done.

The Lies

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterI knew the man I was talking to was not the man I married. Scripture warns us about following our heart and I refused to believe the lies he was telling himself about not loving me. I knew good and well he loved me or he would have never gotten that hurt to begin with. He did indeed love me. He loved me SO much that it hurt him when he thought I didn’t love him the same way he loved me. He just didn’t recognize my love for him because it wasn’t packaged up in something he was familiar with. My love for him was that kind of agape love, the unconditional love. He never experienced unconditional love…until he heard my words that day saying, “I forgive you”.

I remember he looked at me after I spoke those words while I embraced him saying “I don’t understand that (kind of love)”. The truth is, he didn’t confess to save our marriage, he confessed because he thought I would release him and leave him. I wasn’t going to do that. I knew God wasn’t done with us yet. I knew the man that hurt me was just deceived by his own heart and selfishness. I knew for a fact God brought us together to begin with, and I fully believed God wanted to do a miracle in our marriage – not for just our benefit, but for everyone around us. I didn’t care what he had done, because honestly, he hadn’t been the man I married for several years. I knew that man was still there somewhere and I wasn’t giving up on him, because I wasn’t giving up on God.

Hearing the words “I don’t love you” are hard to hear. I had a decision to either believe it and get mad, or not believe it and believe he had not only deceived others, but himself. He needed to believe he didn’t love me in order to leave me. That’s the only way he could leave without guilt. I wasn’t going to give him that pleasure. I wasn’t going to release him, I wasn’t going to make it easy on him, and I was going to fight with all I had.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:13-17

The Search

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. ” Proverbs 28:26

Bible StudyLuckily, despite all of his confusion, he did know he shouldn’t make a final decision without God – so he started seeking, and seeking hard. He read and read and read scripture, looking for direction. He prayed and prayed and prayed, begging for relief and for answers. His first goal was to find peace. He had no peace living the way he had been living. It was making him so miserable that peace was all he really wanted.

The next thing he was searching for was release. He wanted to find somewhere in the Bible where it said it was OK to get divorced, but he kept coming up empty. After going away for a week to seek answers, he knew God wanted him to reconcile. The truth is, in his mind, he felt God’s request was for him to “try” to reconcile. He fully believed all God wanted him to do is try – and he also believed it would never work, but he wanted to be obedient so he could say he at least tried.

He came back thinking he’d get instant peace as he acted in obedience, but he was wrong. He was more miserable than ever. While he might have had obedient actions, he didn’t have an obedient heart – at least not yet. He made it real clear that my track record proved I could never be the woman he needed and that repairing our marriage would be impossible. That’s when I found this scripture and I posted it on the refrigerator:

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

The Battle

IMG_0185 FXI knew there was no way God would call him to be obedient without blessing his socks off. I knew as Steve continued to seek God’s will, and stay obedient (whether he wanted to or not), God would show off, and he did – but not right away.

A month went by while Steve’s spirit fought against his flesh. What I mean is, his desires of his heart, his selfishness was still at battle with submitting to the Lord and obeying him fully. Because he hadn’t fully surrendered, he remained in turmoil. This scripture explains why Christians can experience such turmoil and conflict in their heart like this.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:16-24

The Operation

Because of his turmoil, he decided he needed to move out to seek peace, thinking he needed “space”. Over a couple of weeks he was in and out, completely torn and confused. He believed he was trying and I knew he was resisting full obedience. Thursday, December 12th, was the day I told him not to come home until he got his act together and I told him he hadn’t fully surrendered to God. Friday, the 13th he was shot.

Most people would have thought that being shot would be his wake up call but it wasn’t’. It wasn’t until 2 days later when I went to the ER because of severe stomach pain. They discovered I had a tumor that appeared to be attached to my ovary. This is when things began to change.

I went in for surgery at midnight. It was supposed to be relatively quick but, while Steve waited with my family in the waiting room, they realized something wasn’t right. Surgery was taking too long. Unbeknownst to them, the gynecologist had to call in a general surgeon because the gynecologist discovered the tumor was not attached to the ovary, but was attached to the appendix, which was out of his surgical field. While Steve waited, emotions flooded him. It was the first time he really thought about losing me forever.

Despite moving out, God threw us in a hospital room together. We both could hardly walk. Both of us lying there “crippled” Steve tells me a story he heard right after he got shot about the straying lamb.

broken lambThe tale is about how a shepherd protects his sheep. When a lamb goes astray, the shepherd would break the lamb’s leg so he wouldn’t be able to run off and get killed. He’d break it in such a way it would heal well but he would have to fully rely on the shepherd to carry him. By the time the lamb healed, he would have gotten so close to his shepherd that he was know him, trust him, recognize his smell and his voice, and he would never leave his side. Steve realize that was what God was doing to us He was breaking us to save us.

As we were sitting in the hospital room together on the day I was to be released, Steve asked me, “what should we do now?” We both agreed it was obvious God didn’t want us to be apart. We didn’t know how God would fix us, but it was time to relax on our shepherd’s shoulders and just trust that he would carry us through this.

“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. “Job 5:17-18

The Healing

photo copyWe went to my parents house to heal for the rest of the week. My parents were also a picture of God’s unconditional love, as they embraced Steve and saw God was working in him, and in us.

As we healed physically, we worked to get healthy spiritually. We had a LOT of prayer time together, we studied the Word and did every Bible study we could do at church (Calvary Chapel Vero Beach) and took an in-depth marriage study called 2 Becoming 1. We knew the only way we could make good decisions is to make sure we were in God’s will. We had to focus less on us, and more on Him.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The Miracle

You + GodSteve realized that he didn’t have a marriage problem, he had a Christ problem. He had fallen away and he quit trusting the Lord several years ago. He trusted him with some things, but he was still holding on to a few things. He realized when things started going wrong is when he had given up on God and started trying to take control of his own life. The more he chased “happiness” the more unhappy he became. And now that he was chasing God, joy and peace flooded us both.

In many ways, like Christ’s resurrection, our marriage was resurrected. Our marriage died on Friday and rose 3 days later, a whole new marriage – a super natural, more powerful marriage. Honestly, we didn’t know what it would look like months down the road but we couldn’t deny God was at work. That’s when we found this scripture and on the tough days we’d remember this scripture and rest in knowing God was at work.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

5 Steps to a Happier Marriage

God is still in the miracle business. We are proof of that! Here are just a few things we have learned so far.

IMG_8148B FX1. God will deliver us. Steve learned the difference between surrender & deliverance. He came across this text, “God doesn’t want to remove from me the possibility of falling, he wants me to have the freedom to choose not to fall. I have been praying self-righteously all along “please God take it away (so I won’t have to give it up). There was belief in God without surrender, but that belief availed nothing.” That’s when he realized that was what he was doing. At that point (he read this the day before I went to the hospital), he had been telling God “I will do whatever you ask, but…”. God doesn’t like “buts”. Steve was wanting God to do all the work and Steve also had some stipulations. God was saying, “I’ll deliver you, but you have to be willing to surrender all”. As soon as he realized this, he finally surrendered fully and God immediately delivered him.

2. Nothing is wasted. Every hurt, every mistake and every failure could be used for God’s glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. God wanted to use our mess and turn it into a message. That is why we are sharing our story. We would have NEVER dreamed we’d be so happy, but just like that clean toilet, you’d never really fully appreciate our happiness, unless you knew just how messy we once were. God wants to clean up every marriage and every life. He did it for us, and we are living proof He can do it for you.

3. A happy marriage is a faith-based marriage. Most marriages are based on a 50/50 relationship. I do my 50% and he does his. This is a recipe for disappointment and disaster. No one can ever know if the other person is doing their share, and we always feel like we are doing more than our share. There’s really no way to accurately measure a 50/50 performance based marriage. However, a faith-based marriage is a marriage completely based on faith that God will do HIS share. I no longer put my faith in Steve to make me happy, I put my faith in God and that he will work through Steve and our marriage for His purposes. I no longer do things for Steve to please Steve, but because it’s pleasing to God. As a result, I don’t get disappointed if he doesn’t notice my efforts because I know God does, and Steve can also rest in knowing he is pleasing the Lord even if I seem unappreciative or oblivious to his efforts.

love note4. Marriage requires grace. Steve often says my forgiveness to him was an illustration of Christ’s forgiveness to us. We, like Steve, may not have been deserving of love and forgiveness, but that is a picture of grace. God extends us grace when we mess up and we are to extend each other grace when WE mess up. Sadly, we put too much faith in people. We treat our spouse like a Savior, expecting them to make us happy, fix all our problems and make our life right. That’s too much pressure to put on a person. We are human and we are going to let people down. How can we expect others to extend us grace if we refuse to extend others the same type of grace. The sooner we realize that, the easier marriage is. When Steve told me “if you mess up, it’s OK. I’m not going anywhere”, it was SO freeing to me! What an amazing feeling to know Steve was going to love me, and I was going to love him, even if we fail. That is grace.

5. Marriage was never designed to make us happy. This sounds depressing to someone who is searching for happiness, but God designed marriage to make us holy (pure). How? Easy! Think about it this way. No one knows how to push your buttons like your spouse. When alone, we may never discover the areas of our life and personality that need work. Our spouse is an instrument that God uses to expose our weaknesses and selfishness so that we can grow. If we run every time we don’t get our way, we are not letting God grow us in those areas. Marriage teaches us how to live to serve others, to love unconditionally, to control our tongue, to deny our own selfish desires, to work hard, to persevere and to trust God. There is no greater instrument than your spouse.

Also, our marriage is a picture of our relationship with God. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) and “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” A healthy marriage teaches us just how much God loves us, and how we are to love each other. Ironically, the more you allow God to work in your life, the happier you get. So while marriage wasn’t designed to make us happy, it is a bi-product of a marriage striving for holiness.

I have so much more I’d love to share, but that would fill a book, so I’ll have to stop for now. What I’d like to leave you with is this. We didn’t have to go through what we went through to get where we are now. That was a choice. The same way the Israelites traveled in the wilderness for 40 years to do a trip that should have only taken 11 days, is the same reason it took us 7 years to get through our wilderness – we were not listening to God’s voice. “The Israelis traveled 40 years in the wilderness until the entire nation—that is, the warriors who had departed from Egypt—had perished because they hadn’t listened to the voice of the LORD” , Joshua 5:6. As SOON as we both started listening to God’s voice, the blessings started pouring in.

You Have 2 Choices

shot gun wedding“We have 2 choices when confronted by Christ. We can exhibit our understanding of the truth about sin and willingly give Him control of our lives, letting Him lead us to freedom. Or, we can ask Him to leave, thereby proving our ignorance of this truth and confirming our need for the kind of extreme consequences that are necessary to put us in a posture of readiness for change.” Bob Coy

Some people quickly respond to the Lord when he speaks to us, others have to get shot first. ;) Either way, God will bring you right back to the same place you started, faced with the same questions: Will you accept the truth about your sin and let Him lead you to freedom? Or, do you want to take another lap in the wilderness until he proves your ignorance and just confirms your need for extreme consequences necessary to get you ready for change? We pray you don’t have to learn the hard way like we did, but we do pray whatever your route is, you end on your knees before Jesus because that is the best pace to be – and that’s when all the excitement begins!

Our Testimony

Below is our live testimony we gave to a couples group locally. It goes much more in depth. I hope it really encourages you, touches your heart, and changes your life and marriage – no matter where you are! Please take some time to listen to this with your spouse. Whether you are going through a tough time now, or to prevent you from making some of our same mistakes. I pray it grows you closer to each other and the Lord. <3

I Survived McDonalds: 6 Fast Food Diet Tips

dieting aloneDieting Alone

As Steve tries to do gain weight, I’m trying to lose it as I prepare to lean out for an upcoming job. This is the FIRST time I have ever dieted alone. Every time I’m dieting, we both are dieting – and that makes dieting a LOT easier! Whether we are getting ready for a job, a shoot or a contest, we have always had each other’s support and eat the same foods. While Steve is supportive, there are things I’m facing (like picking him up high calorie food items for him), that make dieting more challenging.

After an hour of cardio on an empty stomach this morning, between weights, Steve asked me to go through McDonalds and get him a few things. As I am in line, I realize just how hungry I am. I realize I am about to drive up to a huge oversize menu to stare at, all while my stomach growls. (Some people like to call this stage “hangry”. This is when you are so hungry you are angry about it. ha!)

McDonald'sSo, I pull in and make his order. First, I have to say, it’s been years since I’ve been through a McDonald’s drive-thru window unless I was with someone else on a road trip. I actually had to ask Siri where the closest McDonald’s was. As I went through the drive-thru, (and I was shocked to discover they had TWO drive through lanes! That was new!) that’s when I notice McDonald’s has calories listed for every item! Wow! I was surprised.

No Excuses

mcdonalds-Egg-White-DelightSo, since I was about to lift weights and I haven’t eaten breakfast, I decided to order something if I could find something under 300 calories. I ordered the Egg White Delight which is the Egg McMuffin made with egg whites (for 250 calories). 250 calories was the perfect amount for breakfast. I didn’t know McDonalds even had such a thing. Then I checked out. Oh my gosh! No wonder so many people are overweight. McDonald’s food is SO CHEAP – and they make it so tempting to “make it a meal” for just a little more!

As I drove off, I have to admit, I actually reached into the bag and grabbed a pinch of Steve’s hashbrowns, but stopped myself before I actually broke off a piece. NO! I’m not going to do it! I’m going to have my Egg White Delight thingy-ma-job and that’s it! The fact is, there really is no excuse not to stay on your diet. There are low-calorie options everywhere and I am deterimined to have the will-power to say no to foods that tempt me (which are definitely hashbrowns, French fries and stuff like that). While fast food is never ideal, you can still stay on track when tempted or in a pinch as long as you use your brain, and not your stomach.

I am thankful for this experience, as I learn how it feels to diet alone, and I can better understand what my clients experience when they are dieting and their spouse is not. Stay tuned for more on what i learn along this journey! Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

6 Tips to Survive the Drive-Thru

oh-you-ordered-a-diet-coke-with-your-supersized-mcdonalds-meal-you-must-be-watching-your-figure1. Decide NOT to get anything ahead of time. Most of the times I have picked something up for Steve, I have decided not to get anything at all before I even get in the car. Making a decision before I’m faced with more choices makes it easier to stay focused and get out of there unscathed.

2. Get an exact order before you go. If you are forced to pick up food for the family, or a friend, ask them for exact details on their order. Don’t let them tell you to just pick something. That would require you READING the menu. Instead, know what you have to order, speak it into the box and get out quick.

3. Don’t look at the menu. Menus are designed to entice you. Whether you are at a fast food restaurant or at a drive through, a dieter reading the menu is like an alcoholic shopping the beer aisle. It’s totally unnecessary and will set you up for failure. Looking at a menu is opening yourself up to temptation. It’s MUCH easier to stay on plan if you never even give the menu a chance to tempt your taste buds.

McDonald's Drive-Thru4. Don’t go hungry. Even if you can have a couple of bites of a bar before you go, you are less likely to order something last minute if your stomach isn’t screaming at you. Never go out to eat starving, and try to avoid drive through windows when you are hungry. Going hungry makes you think with your stomach and not your brain.

5. If you plan on eating yourself, make your decision ahead of time. The best way to stick to your diet plan is to look at a restaurant’s nutritional menu online before you even get to the restaurant. This gives you plenty of chance to compare calories and substrates without the pressure of someone else waiting on you to order. Better yet, make those decisions on a full stomach. For instance, if you know you have to eat out for lunch, make your selection while you eat breakfast, or at last while you are still full.

joker-eat-mcdonalds-ok-eat-clean-freak-out6. Plan ahead. If you know you will be around bad food, the best way to survive is to plan ahead. Packing a lunch or snack is the absolute best way to prevent diet failure. Food is never as tempting on a full stomach.

While some people may choose to make fun of your tupperwared food, you are quietly providing a good example. You are a constant reminder of how they should be eating too. Be proud of your tupperware! It shows discipline, self control, focus and success!!

Whether you are doing this alone, or doing it with your mate, there is someone out there with even more opposition getting results! So don’t feel sorry for yourself. Embrace your decision to stick to your plan, be proud of your commitment and strive toward your goal!! 

 

Diet Motivation: Tame the Tongue (and the Belly!)

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23

Food Will NOT Have MeIsn’t this verse the truth!! Of course it’s talking about our speech and the words we choose, but our tongue gets us in a lot more trouble than just our words. Our tongue leads us to tasty treats off our diet, overeating, unhealthy indulgences and the temptation of regular food and drink abuse.

Think about this. Have you ever had a cold so bad you couldn’t taste food. Were you hungry? Probably not. It’s hard to want to eat when nothing tastes good. Sadly, the opposite is true – but there are a lot of things that “feel” good that you don’t let your body convince you to do 5 times a day.

For instance, we like sleep but we know we shouldn’t sleep all day. We like to spend money and buy new things, but we know we can’t do it all the time either. There are restrictions on everything in life – even the stuff that’s not necessarily bad for us. My grandmother passed down a quote to me that said “Even something good can be bad if it keeps you from your best”. This could not be more true than with food. Food is good until it keeps you from your best.

“Even something good can be bad if it keeps you from your best”

Are you REALLY going to let something as small as a tongue tell you what to do? Are you really going to let it keep you from your goals and have control over you? Take control now! Tame your tongue like you tame your body, beating it under submission in the gym with every weight you lift and every drop of sweat you shed. If you can control all the other muscles in your body, surely you can control your tongue.

Of COURSE Satan doesn’t want you to control your tongue. He doesn’t want you to feel good and be happy and healthy. So next time you have a craving or feel like you may give in – don’t give him that pleasure! Take care of the body God gave you and whip that tongue into shape!!

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! James 3: 2-5

 

3 Healthy Looking Food Fails

scaleLet’s say you are starting a diet, but you really aren’t sure “how” to diet. Most people just start by making “healthier” choices. They eat less fried food and pick more fresh foods. They choose low fat items over the regular high fat item. When they go out, they start eating more salads and sandwiches rather than burgers and pizza. Over time, the person may feel better, but they don’t understand why they aren’t losing the weight faster – or maybe not at all.

Sadly, the problem with this approach is, the “healthier” version can be just as high in calories – and sometimes even MORE! Here are just a few examples of how someone can sabotage success even with the best intensions.

Bear Naked Granola

granola cerealSome of the decisions you may start making is trading donuts, breakfast pastries and cereals for healthier sounding choices like granola. Granola’s “healthy” right? So you pour a cup of your new high-protein Bear Naked® Original Cinnamon Protein Granola with some Vanilla Almond milk – another healthy choice you read about in the magazines. A few spoonfuls later, you have consumed double the amount of calories you really should when on a diet for weight loss. The granola by itself is over 500 calories and packed with sugar and fat. If you want whole grains, grab some steal cut oatmeal instead.

Try this: 6 ounces Plain Greek Yogurt, 3 tablespoons Bear Naked Protein Granola and 4 tablespoons blueberries for only 226 calories.

Arby’s Double Rachel

TurkeyRachelSo, you are in a pinch and you decide to hit the healthiest fast food drive-through you can think of. You remember that Arby’s has market fresh sandwiches so you head there. As you look at the menu, you see the new Rachel sandwich and think “perfect! A turkey sandwich!”. This has to be better than the Roast Beef topped with cheddar sauce right? Then you see you can make it a double, and since you’re trying to get more protein, you decide to double the turkey with a diet coke and skip those yummy Curly Fries you like so much.

Ironically, your “healthy” choice has DOUBLE the calories of the popular Roast Beef and Cheddar or even the French Dip & Swiss/Au Jus. You could have had the Junior Roast beef with Curly Fries and SAVED 360 CALORIES! This 810 calorie harmless looking “healthy” sandwich has 330 MORE calories than the Grand Turkey Club with that evil greasy Bacon everyone is so scared to eat! Your good intensions failed.

Try this: Grand Turkey Club (and take off one piece of bread for approximately 380 calories)

Grilled Shrimp ‘N Spinach Salad

Grilled Shrimp N Spinach Salad_579x441Let’s look at another scenario. Maybe you are with some colleagues and they all want to go to Applebee’s after work. While everyone else orders ribs, wings and quesadillas, you choose a salad. SInce the Oriental salad has fried chicken on it, you skip over that salad and choose the Grilled Shrimp ‘N Spinach Salad. While you are correct on the Oriental Chicken Salad having even MORE calories, you still are choosing a 1,000 calorie salad. You could have ordered the Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs- half rack, Sweet Asian Chile Sauce for the same amount of calories. Sadly, another fail.

Try this: Thai Shrimp Salad (390 calories) or the Pepper-Crusted Sirloin & Whole Grains (340 calories.

While eating healthier foods is fantastic and better for our body, the only way you can really know if you are making a right choice is to look up the calories. Checking labels on food is like checking price tags on clothes. You can never really know what you can afford until you know the cost. Don’t diet. Eat smart!

Have you ever made these mistakes? What high-calorie “healthy” foods have you discovered?

eat smart

Top 20 Ab Exercises

It’s easy to get in a rut of just banging out a few crunches and leg lifts, but there are SO many more exercise to tighten and tone the abs. Here is our list of top 20 ab exercises.

To turn these exercises into a full workout, choose 3 exercises (making sure to get 1 exercise for the lower abs and 1 for the obliques). Do 3-4 sets of 15-20 if weighted, or 20-25 if non-weighted. Non-weighted abs can be done daily, but you need to let your body rest and recover after weighted crunches just like regular weight training. Have fun!

20 Terrific Tummy Tightening Exercises

Click on the link to watch video instruction

  1. absCrunch
  2. Sit-up
  3. Reverse Crunch
  4. Cable Crunch or Kneeling Band Crunch
  5. Plate Crunch
  6. Bicycle Crunch
  7. Flutter Kick
  8. Oblique Crunch
  9.  Snowboarder Crunch
  10. Crunch And Punch
  11. Toes to Bar
  12. Take It Or Leave It Abdominal Crunch
  13. Snow Angel
  14. V-up
  15. Side V-up
  16. Knee Raise or Hanging Knee Raise
  17. Plank
  18. Side Plank
  19. Pulse Side Plank
  20. 2-Point Stance

Here is the cool matching graphic for Pinteresters and Instagrammers! :) Have fun!!

Top 20 Ab Exercises

 

Women’s Best Gym Bag Is On SALE!

The Paris Pink Collection from Fivesse is now on SALE!!! Get the Home Gym Home Bag now for ONLY $69.30!!!!! While they do make the cutest gym bags around, this is also the bag I travel with a lot too. It’s so darn cute, and the small Fivess bag (the Home Gym Home Bag) looks like a purse! What I love most about it is the pockets (click here to see my product review!).

Basically, anything that you may want in a fitness bag has its specific place and holder with convenient labels, even a secret pocket for valuables and a place for dirty clothes. There is also a matching garment bag that is available to attach to the back of the larger Home Gym Work Bag (which is now on sale for ONLY $86.80) to avoid wrinkling your work clothes.

I use this bag every time I go down south for our LiveExercise shows. I pack several workout outfits, normally 2-3 pairs of shoes, a hair dryer, makeup bag, casual change of clothes, brush, toiletries and much more! I even put my laptop in the large side pocket. (You can see what I put in the bag below!) Seriously ladies, this is a fantastic find!

For the yogi out there, the Home Gym Work Bag contains straps on the bag to secure your yoga mat. This way you aren’t lugging around multiple belongings and everything is in one place.

The bags are designed with a feminine touch to combine fashion with fitness and with function – which I just LOVE. I don’t want an ugly typical blocky gym bag that looks like it belongs in a high school gym locker room. I want something that fits ME – and Fivesse bags do just that!! It’s the perfect gym bag for any woman!!

ATTENTION MEN! Mother’s Day is Only 7 Weeks Away!!!
WOMEN, it’s time to put in your requests!!

Fivesse’s Paris Pink Collection Colors

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See What I Put In My Fivesse Home Gym Work Bag

  • Fivesse Home-Gym-Work BagSocks
  • Shoes
  • 5 tanks
  • 3 long sleeve shirts
  • 3 bra tops
  • 1 pair of workout tights
  • Laptop
  • Power supply
  • iPad
  • Phone chargers
  • Armpocket Armband for my iPhone
  • Headphones
  • 2 brushes
  • Hairdryer
  • Make up bag
  • 2 cans of hairspray
  • 2 protein bars
  • Business cards
  • Body Lotion
  • Mouth wash
  • Curling iron
  • Beanie (to keep my Floridian noggin warm)
  • Ball Cap
  • 3 pair fresh undies
  • and a partridge in a pear tree (OK, maybe not that) lol

Follow Fivesse!

WOMEN: What do YOU look for in a gym bag???

Comment below! I’d love to learn more about what people want!

3 Reasons You Can’t Run Off the Fat

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Runners Beware: 4 Things You Need to Know” while sitting on a plane headed to New York for a GNC event with FitFluential. Later that day I logged on to check my blog and discovered a HUGE spike in views. This obviously was a hot topic!

The 4 points I discussed in that blog were:

1. Running Can Make You Skinny Fat.
2. Running Can Cause Your Metabolism To Slow Down
3. Running Can Make Cellulite More Noticeable.
4. Running Can Hurt Your Body.

runningWith that said, I am a runner. I run regularly – but it’s not all I do, and that is the difference. Today, I want to talk about why so many “runners” you see at 5Ks or half marathons seem to still look out of shape or overweight. Sure, there are plenty of fit and trim bodies running, but there is a LOT more to being fit and trim than just lacing up and hitting the pavement. Here’s what I mean.

While running is great for getting you healthy, as it improves cardiovascular health and improves mobility, it might not be an answer to weight loss. Sadly, there is often a good reason why people run a lot. They eat a lot. Since many people really enjoy running, or at least it’s not completely unbearable (like doing burpees!), many people use running for “weight management”. Granted, even though running can definitely help burn excess calories, you really can’t compete with what you eat. In the end, you can end up one very fit, but still overweight, runner.

3 Reasons Running Isn’t Taking It Off

1. We eat more calories than we think.

calories in vs outMost people aren’t tracking calories. People are busy, and tracking calories takes work. Even though there are so many great calorie tracking devices like the LoseIt app, most people are not tracking calories consistently or accurately.

To really know how many calories you are eating, you have to weigh and measure food. Sadly, most people rely on their best guesses. Also, many online calorie count databases are filled with bogus data inputed by consumers making the same type of guesses. Lastly, people forget to input foods. Whether they forgot to log the handful of almonds they took from the pantry while cooking dinner, or they didn’t add their condiments, unless you add everything right when you eat it, you will likely forget to add it at all – or add it correctly.

—> DID YOU KNOW? Applebees’ Fiesta Lime Chicken has 1310 calories and 77gms of fat.

2. Running makes us think we can afford to eat more. 

run off foodHow many times have you heard someone say they are carb-loading for a run? Sometimes I think running is just an excuse to eat. Unfortunately, being a runner myself, it’s easy to think “I ran today so I can afford to eat that”. Do you know how quickly you can erase your run? You literally can swig a coffee and a low-calorie protein bar and you’ve replaced all the calories you just burned off in a matter of minutes.

If you are running to get in shape and lose weight, you have to be very careful you do not replace the calories you are burning on your runs. You have to be very protective over your hard work and stick to a caloric budget if you want to get the best results. Sure, you might have been able to run off some of your weight initially if you had a lot to lose, but eventually you will plateau unless you work as hard on your diet as you do on your exercise.

—> DID YOU KNOW? The average calories burned for a 150lb person running at 5 miles per hour is 113 calories per mile.

3. We rely on running to erase our mistakes.

Honestly, running makes us feel like we work very hard. It gives us a false sense of security – like a weapon we can use for damage control. We get this mentality that if we cheat, we can run it off. The problem is, we often only make a dent in the damage done. If we go out to eat and splurge on a meal, and go for a 5 mile run the next day to make up for it, sometimes that only burns a fraction of the calories we consumed. But, in our head, we are making good choices and balancing out our lack of discipline in the kitchen with the disciplined lifestyle of running.

For instance, below is a list of modest food choices and the average distance you would have to run them off. This is based on the average 150lb person running a 10-minute mile. (Find your approximate average using this calculator.)

  • 1 Cup of Bear Naked Granola with a cup of milk = 6-mile run
  • Einstein’s Everything Bagel with Plain Cream Cheese = 4-mile run
  • Subway’s Tuna 6″ Sub = 4.5-mile run
  • Arby’s Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich = 8-mile run
  • Olive Garden’s Lunch Lighter Fare Garden Primevera  = 5.5-mile run
  • Personal Pan Pizza From Pizza Hut = 6-mile run
  • 10 Buffalo Wild Wings without Blue Cheese = 7-mile run
  • Subway’s Tuna 6″ Sub = 4.5-mile run
  • Arby;s Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich = 8-mile run
  • 2 craft beers = 4-mile run
  • 1 Cup of Ben & Gerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream = 5.5-mile run
  • Starbucks Grande White Chocolate Mocha Latte = 4-mile run
  • Medium AMC Popcorn = 10-mile run (CLICK HERE to read CBS News Report)

Are you guilty of running for food? Maybe today is the day you decide to be as disciplined in the kitchen as you are in your running shoes!

Can you relate? Comment your experience below and encourage other readers!

Top 20 Most Effective (& Most Hated) Exercises

Some Exercises Are Really A Chore

chores

Seriously, I’d be lying if I told you I love every exercise. People need to be realistic. You may like a clean home, but that doesn’t mean you enjoy cleaning toilets. While you might not mind wiping down the counters, there will be some things you don’t like to do – but you sure are glad when they are done. In the same way, everyone has that exercise they really would prefer to skip, but you don’t want to skip the results.

No! Anything but THAT!

For most of us, it’s the exercise that takes the most work we hate the most. If only we could spray ourselves down with bleach to melt the fat away. Nope, it’s going to take some elbow grease I’m afraid! The fact is, if it’s an easy exercise, it probably isn’t as effective as the tougher ones.

Fitness requires going out of your comfort zone. This means you will have a love/hate relationship with some exercises. You will hate to do them, but you will love what they do for you! 

box jumpsIf you want an effective exercise, you will probably need the exercise that works you where you need it most (normally working your weakest areas). It will be that dreaded exercise that gets your heart pounding out of your chest to the point you think your heart is going to explode. Or, maybe it’s the exercise that burns so much you are convinced your muscles are going to spontaneously bust out in flames. You probably are already thinking of a few exercises that fit this category. It’s OK, we all have a secret list of most-hated exercises. We don’t have to love every exercise we do. We can just love the results!

As I pondered the most hated (and secretly loved) exercises, I decided to set out and find what other people HATE to do, but LOVE the results. Since we all have different strengths and weaknesses, I fully expected different opinions. At the same time, I also knew there would be a few top picks that almost everyone would agree on. The comments were awesome! Here is the result of my search.

Top 20 Most-Hated (But Very Effective) Exercises

Below, are the top 20 responses – from awful to worst
TIP: Click on the link to view video instruction.

20. Thrusters
19. Jump Squats
18. Rope Climb
17. Manmakers
16. Double Unders
15. Pistol Squat (Single Leg Squat)
14. Wall Ups
13. The Gauntlet (Step Mill)
12. Tuck Jumps
11. Wall Sits
10. Pull Ups
9. Stomps
8. Mary Catherines (Plyo split lunges)
7. Push Ups
6. Planks & Side Planks
5. Running
4. Lunges (all types of lunges!)
3. Big Ax Jacks (minus the football stomps in the video)
2. Mountain Climbers
1. Burpees

?? DID I LEAVE ANYTHING OUT? COMMENT BELOW TO ADD TO THE DREAD LIST! ??

 10 Best Burpee Memes & Quotes

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Add Your Most-Dreaded to the List!

What is your nemesis? What exercise do YOU hate to do, but love the results? Comment below!

live exerciseWANT MORE? Join us for some killer conditioning workouts on BCx Boot Camp on LiveExercise and learn how to incorporate these exercises in your workout. Steve and I lead a cross training workout show each week where we use some of the most hated (and loved) exercises to get you the results you want. We’d love to have you!! Click on the LIVE logo and get workout with us for 2 weeks free! We have 67 workouts you can do, plus over 4,000 other workouts to try too including kickboxing, yoga, chiseled bands, chiseled cardio, dumbbells, toning and more!

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