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It’s Not a Diet, It’s Self-Control

I'm not dietingPeople do NOT like the word diet. It’s like a bad 4-letter word that’s offensive in all countries. Everyone has a different definition of diet. I admit I use the word all the time, but I never think of it as a bad thing. To me, diet means results. It means healthy food, smart food. It means perfect portions, not overeating, not eating junk. It means practicing self-control and it means feeling great.

When did practicing self-control become so scary and bad? God ENCOURAGES us to practice self-control. There are countless scriptures on the importance of controlling our body, cravings and desires.

As you know, I like chips and salsa. I can’t eat it every day (but I WANT TO), but I do eat it. What if you let your kid eat whatever they wanted to eat every day? That’s a scary thought right? Well, it’s not too much worse than a grown adult eating whatever they want to eat every day. It might “look” healthier than PopTarts and Happy Meals, but it’s not much different when it comes to self-control.

Stop looking at dieting (or practicing self-control) as a horrible thing. Instead, look at it as empowering! Every time you resist your favorite cheat food, you are reminding yourself you are strong, you are one step closer to your goal, you are in control, you are not letting food rule your life, you are bettering yourself, you are doing the right and healthy thing. Every time you are eating healthy, you’re fueling your body with the foods it needs to help you reach your goals. Be proud, be excited!

Self-control requires sacrifice. Sacrifice requires being uncomfortable at first, but pleasure follows. Lack of self-control is the other way around. Pleasure first followed by discomfort that typically way outlasts the pleasure. Dieting (eating right, practicing self-control, managing calories) is investing in your future – and it’s SO worth it!!

Download the LoseIt app today and start taking control of your eating – and your body!

10 Scriptures about Food & Diet

Transformation Requires Surrender

FOOD - be the bossPeople love to learn what they can do to improve their life. They hunger for tips that are easy to apply, like read this devotional, attend this service, do this workout, take this supplement – but BOY do they NOT like to hear what they shouldn’t do, what they need to give up, what they need to CHANGE.

Most people are willing to work a little harder to get something, but most people are not willing to surrender. Surrender requires giving up something you like. Christianity requires giving up doing whatever you want. Fitness requires giving up eating whatever you want. The gain is worth it, but so many people resist surrender, holding on to what is really making them miserable to begin with.

That’s where the bondage comes in. We hold on to it, and it holds on to us – paralyzing us, and preventing us to be all we can be. In both cases, it’s not about doing, it’s about surrendering. Once we surrender, then and only then, can we experience real freedom. After we surrender, major life-changing transformation can begin.

God’s View

Healthy FoodLet’s establish one thing first. Food is good. Food is a gift from God. Food is to be enjoyed. Food becomes bad only when we abuse it. Excess food is damaging. Unhealthy food eaten often is damaging. When food begins to rule our life, reshape our body, destroy our self-esteem, control our thoughts, affect our health and slow us down – food is wrong. It’s sin. 

I know, harsh words from the skinny girl. Food is a big topic in our house. It’s a constant struggle for us too. We love food. We love to eat, but we can’t let it control our life.

healthy and happyDid you know God talks about food and gives specific commands and advice about it? Why? Why does he care what we eat and how much we eat? Simple! It’s not about giving a list of things to avoid, giving us more rules to be mean. He knows what it does to us. He knows we can’t be who He called us to be while we are fat, out of shape and miserable. He knows what’s BEST for us – and He wants us to have a flourishing, healthy, happy, long, vibrant life! He is not a God of rules, He is a God of love. The same way you want your loved ones to feel good and be healthy, He wants the same for His children. 

10 Scriptures Concerning Food & Our Body

Even if you don’t believe in God, there is not one person who can deny that every word written is for our benefit. That it is helpful and good. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.. Even if you just feel it’s a good self-help book, it’s words have great value and shouldn’t be taken lightly. And if you DO believe in God, then you REALLY want to take this even more seriously. Check it out…

#1 OVEREATING:
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16

How many people could we feed if we shared our food instead of kept it to ourself. It’s amazing how much we are not willing to share. I bet I could feed an entire family every single day with the leftovers I should be leaving behind. Instead, we prefer to eat until we are stuffed…eating more than we even need. 

#2 SELF-CONTROL:
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Philippians 3:19

In verse 18, Paul actually calls these people enemies of Christ. ouch! Could it be that our testimony is affected when we don’t practice self control and when we feed our fleshly desires in such a way we are more controlled by our stomach than we are by God? hmmmmm…

#3 SELF-DISCIPLINE:
make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14

The New International Version says “do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”. How often do we think of how much we want to indulge, planning our cheat meal, dreaming of food. We should be thinking of ways to resist it, practice control and think of things that are helpful to us and others.

#4 STUFFING YOURSELF:
When dining with a rich man, be on your guard and don’t stuff yourself, though it all tastes so good. Proverbs 23:1

Matthew Henry explains this verse, “The sin we are warned against is luxury and sensuality, and the indulgence of the appetite in eating and drinking, a sin that most easily besets us.” The next verse (vs 2) says “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Don’t freak! It’s not saying slit your throat here and just kill yourself if you can’t control yourself. Matthew Henry explains it beautifully saying, “We must alarm ourselves into temperance and moderation: “Put a knife to thy throat, that is, restrain thyself, as it were with a sword hanging over thy head, from all excess.” It is clear scripture takes this topic very seriously.

#5 CRAVINGS:
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. Psalm 78:18

The people were rebelling against God, being unappreciative. They wanted meat. This is when God sent down manna, but it wasn’t long before they were complaining about that too. Can you imagine? Complaining about God giving you a miracle of food falling from the sky. Ironically, we do it all the time. God has given us a miracle too. Each plant that sprouts up from the ground and delivers us a beautiful piece of fruit is a miracle, a gift. When did eating fruit and vegetables become such a bad thing? Do we demand the food we crave and have we become unappreciative of the food God has given us? What lengths are we willing to get it?

#6 FOOD ANXIETY
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25-34

How much do we stress about dieting, eating healthy, being around unhealthy food, dreaming about eating foods we love and anxious about eating healthy? I love this line: “Is not life more than food? Powerful!” 

#7 FOOD ADDICTION:
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Many are enslaved to food. We look at food like “we have the right to eat whatever we want. What scripture is saying is you “have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial” you “have a right to do anything, but do not be mastered/controlled by anything”. Sure, you have the right to eat a cookie, but does that cookie control you? Ouch again!

#8 GLUTTONY & ALCOHOLISM:
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep (laziness) clothes them in rags. Proverbs 23:20-21

This tells me 3 things. One, it’s wrong to drink and eat too much. Two, it’s wrong to be lazy and sleep too much. Three, we shouldn’t even hang out with people that eat and drink too much. Why? It’s not because we are too good for them or that they are bad necessarily. I think it’s because God knows it’s too tempting for us to join them.

#9 UNHEALTHY CHOICES:
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Eating too much and eating unhealthy foods destroys our body – plain and simple. We have an obligation to protect God’s temple, to protect our body.

#10 GOOD CHOICES: (Make God proud!)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

How wonderful to think I can honor God even in what I eat and drink. If we never thought he cares about what we eat or drink, this scripture corrects that. He does care, and He desires us to honor him even when we eat and drink. People are always watching what we do, and He knows we can even be a good example at the table. Awesome!

Please know I struggle with this too. You aren’t alone. I hope you were encouraged by these scriptures. I know some of these scriptures seem harsh, but if your kid jets out in traffic, do you think you’d be gentle and whisper? No! You’d yell and yank them back to safety in a heartbeat. God wants to yank you to safety! He cares about you – even what you eat and drink. What LOVE!  <3

This topic excites me SO much! I would love to write a book on this and a matching devotional! I pray someday I can do this!!!

 

Life’s Too Short to Not Live Healthy

mac cliftonI’m back from my uncle’s funeral in Virginia. I’ve been mostly silent this past week while away with family. Life is too short!! Sadly, we often put work, life, social obligations, community and just plain busy silliness in front of the most important things in life – like family, our own health and precious friends.

Listening to all the stories about my uncle’s generosity, and of how he gave of himself, his money, his resources and his time really inspired me to be more giving and try to make the most out of this life of mine. It inspired me to want to live a life worth remembering – a life that makes a difference even more than ever. It also reminded me how healthy it is to take time off, even when we think we can’t afford it or feel guilty for doing it. God blesses our sacrifices and wants us to build quality relationships. He wants us to take care of our body, and our loved ones.

Oftentimes people leave this world too early because of their unhealthy choices earlier in life. While uncle Mac was a great steward over his money, he wasn’t as good at taking care of his health when he was younger. Even though he quit smoking, his tobacco abuse early on ultimately took his life – and we weren’t done with him yet!! My uncle had bi-pass surgery years ago, surely due to the tremendous amount of stress he endured while he built his businesses. It was only recently (just weeks ago) we discovered he had lung cancer, and just a few days later he was gone. I was just celebrating his birthday, and now we are mourning his life. 

We never know how much time left we have, but one thing we can do is make better decisions today – healthier decisions today. I urge you not to wait until your later years to lose weight, get healthy, mend relationships, spend more time with family or live a life more pleasing to the Lord. Tomorrow isn’t promised, and even if you have many more tomorrows, what you do today greatly impacts how healthy and happy your tomorrow is.

What are areas in your life that need improvement or prioritizing?

Here are a few things I feel I need work on.

  1. Live less selfishly, being more eager to give my time, money and resources.
  2. Quit putting work before God, spouse and family. 
  3. Invest in family and quality friends.
  4. Do more kind acts for loved ones – from writing letters, sending pictures, to cooking and serving them in any capacity I can.
  5. Take care of my body so I can be healthy enough, for long enough, to take care of others.
  6. Rest more. I’m no good tired. I can’t bless anyone if I’m constantly exhausted. 
  7. Live like I’m dying – because I am, eventually. This means I decide to spend my time, conversation and effort on things that are important and lasting. 
  8. Constantly strive to maintain balance. In this hectic world, it is easy to get out of balance. Maintaining balance takes a constant effort.
  9. Learn to say no. I don’t need to please everyone. I need to please God, my spouse, my family and then my friends (in that order). BUT 9 times out of 10, if I strive to please the Lord, I’ll be pleasing to so many more people just by default. And for the ones I can’t please, I wouldn’t be able to please both them and the Lord anyway. :)
  10. Simplify. I will find more time if I can simplify my life and not try to squeeze in every bit of entertainment, material item or extra work in every second. We have so much added stress that’s unnecessary and not worth the extra stress. By letting go, and doing less, we can do more of what matters. 

If Your Body Was a House Plant, Would you DIE or THRIVE?

wilted houseplantWe’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” but do you really believe it? I suppose we just don’t make the connection as clearly as we do other things in life.

If you look at plant life, there are several factors that greatly determine a plant’s health including nutrients from water, soil and sunlight. There are clear symptoms when a plant lacks nutrients, but sometimes our symptoms aren’t quite as obvious to us.

Water

watering plantIf only we wilted and turned brown when we needed water, maybe we’d drink more. Instead, our symptoms for dehydration can be a slightly wilted spirit, headaches, sleepiness, dizziness, dry skin, or just being a little thirsty. The problem is, many of these symptoms we chalk up to a hard day at work, stress, age or health issues.

If a plant can go from completely wilted to standing up strong and proud just after getting a little water, think of what it can do for humans. Just because we don’t wilt to the ground doesn’t mean we aren’t in severe need of water.

The more coffee, alcohol and sodas become staple beverages, the less room there is for water. At least bottle water give us a way to take water on the go fashionably. However, many people still have a hard time spending money on the clear tasteless liquid.

Food

Miracle GrowThen there is the issue of food. Although I’ve never seen an obese plant, certain nutrient deficiencies cause plants to change in appearance. In a similar way, our appearance is a reflection of how we are fed.

Like a sick plant, we too can become sick from the foods we eat. Sometimes our body rejects the food, but most often the symptoms are small enough we actually get used to them. Over extended lengths of time of constant abuse, feeling poorly becomes common.

I will never forget my sister’s experience after a couple weeks of eating healthy. She never knew just how awful she felt until she discovered how great eating healthy felt. She simply didn’t know what she was missing.

Even when gaining weight, it’s easy to get used to our new size. Then when we’re finally sick of it, we want results overnight. It would be unfair to expect a few drops of miracle grow to fix a dying plant in a short time so we shouldn’t expect to drizzle a few healthy ingredients in our life and get an instant miracle either.

Environment

Peach treeLastly, there is the importance of the right environment. Where I’m from, peach trees were everywhere. However, I know good and well I can’t plant a peach tree in my back hard and expect great things here in South Florida. Honestly, even if I planted an orange tree, I’m not sure how successful I’d be with the soil I have in my yard.

The fact is, just like plants, we can all thrive in the right environment. If we truly want to blossom, we need to plant ourselves in the right gym, and around the right people. Just like a plant needs strong roots, we need strong roots into our fitness community so we can take a hit when a storm comes.

LadyInFlowersBelieve me, I’ve had experience trying to revive a dying plant too many times to count. Once the damage is done, sometimes it can take weeks or months to get the plant healthy again. After years of abuse and neglect we must expect it will take time to reverse the damage.

Like a dying plant, as long as there is a little life in you left, it’s not too late to start taking care of yourself.

Isn’t your time to blossom!

Eating Healthy Isn’t Enough

Healthy-EatingIf I had a nickel for everyone struggling with their weight who responds with “I eat really healthy” when I ask them how many calories they eat. What that means is – they have no clue how many calories they are eating.  But they want me to know how clean they eat and how hard they work in the gym, so they can try to convince me they are the exception to the rule and that they are just unable to lose weight like everyone else. This is when the Red Flag Goes Up.

Listen, I’m not saying everyone has to count calories. I’m also not saying eating healthy is wrong. Gosh no! Eating healthy is AMAZING – and can change your life. BUTTTTTT… what I AM saying is, if you have no idea how many calories you are eating, there is no way you can expect to lose weight. Guessing just doesn’t work. Eating clean alone probably won’t change the scale much. Eating organic can be super healthy, but not affect your waistline. Going on the next fad diet won’t always work either. Working out like a maniac alone won’t cut it either. (again, I’m not saying it NEVER works – some people will luck out and lose weight by just making healthier choices, but most people will not be as lucky)

When it comes to weight loss, most people can’t get results just on making healthier choices alone. The only way weight loss works is when you eat fewer calories than you are burning. You can either just HOPE you are eating less than you are burning, or you can count calories and KNOW you are eating less than you are burning.

Balanced-DietIf you can’t tell me how many calories you are eating every day, don’t tell me how healthy you eat, don’t tell me you never eat fried food or sweets, don’t tell me how much protein you consume, don’t tell me how you don’t eat carbs or how you’ve gone Paleo. While all of those things are great, and I bet your next doctor’s visit will be a good one, they tell me nothing when it comes to whether you should expect to lose weight or not.

How Much Did You Spend?

target-shoppingHere’s an example: Let’s say I just come home from shopping. I bring all my bags in the house and Steve’s eyeballs pop out of his head and he says “How much did you spend?” and my response was, “I shopped at Target. All the items I got were on sale. I didn’t buy anything outrageously expensive. I didn’t get anything frivolous – everything I bought I really needed and was very practical. I made a lot of smart choices.” I can tell you right now, Steve’s response would still be “so, how much did you spend?” 

You see, Steve doesn’t care what I bought, he wants to know how much I bought ($$$$). He doesn’t care how how much stuff was on sale. Our check will bounce whether it was a smart choice or a dumb one. We either have the money or we don’t – whether I needed the items or not. All my bank account cares about is what’s coming in and what’s going out – it doesn’t care what I am spending the money on or how hard I work for the deposits.
checkbook

This is how your body works. While healthy food will help your body look and feel better, your weight is your body’s account balance. You can either afford items, or not. If you can’t afford the extra calories (whether it’s in Snickers bars or grilled chicken and rice), you will gain weight.

So, next time you want to feel sorry for yourself for eating so clean, but not losing weight, it’s time you start managing your body’s account like you manage your checkbook. :)

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Not everyone needs to count calories. Some people are lucky enough to be able to make smart choices (because they really enjoy eating low-calorie foods) and do well managing their weight naturally. Some people are able to make healthier choices simply because they don’t struggle with some of the temptations others struggle with. HOWEVER, if you battle overeating, binging, sweets, carbs, laziness or yo-yo dieting, I believe you should count your calories to help you stay accountable and manage portions, high-calorie items and exercise. Remember, it’s not something you have to do forever – but it will teach you SO much!

If you have tried eating better, eating smaller portions, working out more, etc but you’ve reached a plateau, maybe it’s time you start counting calories. You’ll be AMAZED with the results! Believe me, I’ve seen this time and time again – and I’ve watched people who have worked insanely hard not get results until they started counting calories. Are you ready to start moving that scale?! Commit to counting calories for 30 days. Unsure you can do it? Start with 14 days of calorie counting and then decide if you can do another 14 days then. I bet you surprise yourself!

count calories

Visit www.LoseIt.com today and download their app on your smartphone. I promise, it can change your life forever.

20 Tips to Prevent College Weight Gain

john-belushi-collegeIt’s not uncommon for kids to go off to college and gain weight. Parents aren’t there to buy healthy food, fast food becomes an easy quick fix for hunger, and new freedoms with less accountability typically doesn’t end very well.

I know when I moved out, Ramon Noodles were a staple food in my apartment. Luckily, I worked out and ran so I also was aware of eating healthier than most.

If you have a kid or friend in college, here are some helpful ways to encourage healthy habits – and if YOU are the college kid, I have tips for you too. First the parents…

10 Tips for Parents

college kid1. Help them join a gym (or take a tour of the school gym together). The sooner they get in the gym the better.

2. Purchase some Protein Powder so they can supplement if they are not getting enough protein from whole foods.

3. Send an occasional gift card to a fast food place that is a healthier option, like a Sub or Salad shop vs McDonalds, instead of just sending money.

4. Ask them what they ate today. Accountability is a powerful thing. If they know you are going to ask them how they are eating, they may make better choices when ordering food.

college kid's fridge5. Help them grocery shop. Some college kids have never seriously grocery shopped. They may have gone for a few items, but they may need your pointers on how to shop smart. Teach them what to shop for and what to look at (calories, prices, etc).

6. Teach them how to manage their money. If they can’t manage their money, they won’t be able to replenish food with healthy choices. Instead, they’ll turn to cheap options.

7. Don’t just hand out money like it’s going out of style. Kids would often rather go spend money on partying or new clothes than spend it on healthy food. Give your college kid a gift card to their neighborhood grocery store so they aren’t tempted to spend it on frivolous things.

8. Track their activity and sleep with the UP band by jawbone. This is a great way to see how active they are – and how much sleep they are getting. Anyone who joins your “team” (a group of friends and family using the UP band) can see each other’s activity.

college-mom9. Set some healthy rules. Even if your kid is all grown up, if you are paying for college, there should be some rules. Whether it’s a maintaining certain GPA, or a budget, accountability is important – especially when someone is on their own for the first time. While they may be in college now, they have zero experience being an adult. Your years of experience can save your child from making unnecessary mistakes.

10. Reward you college kid with things that support a healthy lifestyle. Clothes and money are great, but what about rewarding your child with personal training, a membership to a yoga studio, new running shoes, box of protein bars, fruit basket or small workout accessories like a gym bag, iphone arm band, etc. The healthier your kid is, the better he or she will perform in school – and the more confidence he or she will have on campus.

Ok, so YOU are the student and you want to know what you can do to not be another statistic of one more college kid that gets fat at college?

10 Healthy Tips for College Kids

college exercise1. Burn if off. If you admit you eat poorly, or you just eat too much, make the time to burn it off. It doesn’t require a lot of money to go for a power walk or jog. It will help you relieve stress, as well as keep you in good shape.

2. Go to the gym. If you have a school gym, USE IT! You will meet like-minded people there who can help support your goals.

3. Party, but don’t always drink. Most kids don’t want to feel like they are missing out so they hit every party they can. I’m not saying you can’t go have fun and socialize, but you don’t have to consume loads of alcohol calories every single time you go out. NOTE: Most people feel better holding a something (like a drink) when meeting people and are in new surroundings. Like a baby has a pacifier, have a go-to drink option that pacifies you, like a really cool water bottle or your favorite seltzer water.

noodles4. Beware of carbs. Carbs are cheap and yummy, but too many carbs can go right to your waistline if you aren’t careful. Make sure you are getting enough protein at every meal.

5. Snack, Snack and Snack some more! The college life is a fast paced life. You are on the go a lot and if you aren’t prepared, you’ll end up STARVING and making poor choices. To avoid temporary hunger retardation (when you get so hungry you make really dumb mistakes), always keep snacks close, like almonds, protein bars, fruit, low-fat cheese sticks and greek yogurt.

6. Trade going to the club, for going to the fitness club. Gyms can be a great place to socialize and hang out. It’s a lot healthier than going to bars. If you don’t hesitate to pay a cover fee at a night club, then you shouldn’t hesitate to pay a day fee at a local gym. Trying different gyms around town can not only be fun, but it can help you learn what gym you like most (and which one has the cutest boys). Hey, don’t laugh, I may be old, but I still remember what it was like to be college age!

college activity7. Stay active. It will be tempting to sleep the weekends away, but it’s super important to stay in some kind of healthy routine. While sleep is also important (and if you need it, of course catch up on it!) however, sleeping until 1pm and lazying around the apartment isn’t smart either. Make plans to go to the beach, go to the pool or play a game of ultimate frisbee or volley ball. The more you stay cooped up in the house, the more tempted you are to eat – as well as hide your growing belly. NOTE: The more you are in a bikini, the more likely you are to be careful what to eat. And, if you are in a northern college where it’s cooler, you can still stay active and accountable in other ways.

8. Weigh yourself. Out of site, often leads to out of mind. If you have a healthy outlook on your weight, weighing yourself can help you catch weight gain before it’s too late. Otherwise, you may just think you are a bad laundry person and shrinking all your clothes. :) Sometimes seeing your weight in big digital numbers is enough to keep you on track.

sub sandwich9. Eat smaller portions. If you are on a broke college girl (or boy) budget, and all you eat is fast food, at least eat less of it. Divide meals in half and stretch each meal out. Not only will you feel better, but your money will go further too.

10. Get good sleep. College kids are often sleep deprived – normally just because kids would rather party, they have full schedules, or they just don’t manage time well.  Force yourself to go to bed early when you can. If you can’t fall asleep, try taking Sleepy Time tea to help you get tired so you can get the rest your body and mind needs.

college eating habits

Strong Muscles, Weak Faith

Faith MusclesThe only way to get our muscles to grow is to USE them. It requires effort. If we want to gain muscle mass it requires us lifting HEAVIER things, working HARDER than we currently are. Over time, the things that once seemed impossible & challenging are much easier.

The same goes with our faith. Whether it’s faith in people or faith in God, faith is like a muscle. It only grows if we use it. Once we use it, test it, challenge it and grow it, daily struggles, questions, stress, doubt, all the heavy weights in our life, feel light because of our ever-growing stronger faith.

Weak Faith

faithToday I write on faith, because faith is an important part of our spiritual health. Before you tune me out, continue to read and take what you want from this. Even if you apply it in everyday life with your loved ones. I think there is a message here for anyone – whether you believe in God or not.

Think about it, how healthy can we be if we are fit on the outside, but broken down, insecure and weak on the inside. Even people who don’t believe in God, have a deep desire to have faith in something or someone. They may put their faith in money, a job, a diploma, a spouse, a friend, science, teachers, bosses, politicians or their own physical abilities or taent, but humans are born to want to have faith in something.

paying-off-debtThink of it this way. How often have we said “once I just graduate, or when we can get everything paid off, everything will be much better” That’s faith, faith those things will improve your life. So much so, you will continue to go to school even if it kills you, and you will try to paid down those bills even when you are dying to spend more money. You also have faith your car will stop when you apply the breaks. You trust your debit card will work when you swipe it through the card reader. Why do you have faith in such things? Because you practice it, you’ve tested it over and over again. So, you practice faith already, but it’s time for you to pick up the Big Boy faith weights.

Personal Trainer funnyThe same way a client thinks “there is NO WAY I can lift that” and then they lift it anyway, if we want our faith to get stronger, we have to start trusting God with bigger things. We need to constantly challenge our faith muscles like we do our skeletal muscles. Why does it matter? Many studies have proven people who have faith are healthier. Part of that is a no-brainer. I mean, people who are trying to improve their spiritual life are less likely to destroy their body with drugs or stupidity. They are (should be) more obedient citizens and they are more disciplined. I also believe a lot of the added health benefits is from having more faith.

trustMore faith means less stress. For instance, have you ever had a boyfriend you couldn’t trust? How unhealthy was that relationship for you? I bet you were more stressed, insecure, tired, full of constant doubt, skeptical, thinking the worst all the time, and maybe even downright depressed. However, take the same you in a different relationship where you trust your boyfriend. You feel loved, confident and stress-free….you are relaxed, healthy, rested and at peace. 

What is Faith?

Faith is not a religion. Faith is an action based on what you believe. Faith is defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing. Complete trust.”

BibleStudyWe have faith in the people who we get to know and love – and that know and love us back. We don’t put much faith in strangers, so how can anyone expect to trust God if He is a stranger to them. A simple fix is to spend more time getting to know our God, and give him the opportunity to prove He is trustworthy – which is proven over time. (God says “…test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malacai 3:10)

As a man in love desires to prove his love to his bride, God desires to show how much he loves us and He can’t do that if we don’t give him a chance and trust Him or get to know him. Once He has won our heart, we will trust Him more – and the more we trust Him (and build those faith muscles), the more our faith will continue to grow stronger.

Doubt, the Faith Killer

doubt-fearBelieve me, we all have our moments of doubt. I know I do, and we do the same things with our loved ones too. We can easily let a window of doubt slip into our thoughts where we wonder if they are trustworthy, or we wonder if they will let us down. That’s normal because we are human. Yet, the only way to truly find out is to continue to trust them and get to know them better.

Unfortunately, this is where we go wrong with God. As soon as we have doubts, we quit. We not only quit trusting Him, but we quit the whole relationship. Can you imagine how crappy our marriages and friendships were if we quit every time we had a doubt or fear? Well, we’d have no friends or marriage for one, but life would also be very lonely and hopeless. 

I challenge you to start training your faith muscles. If you lack faith or don’t believe in God, maybe it’s because God is a stranger. No one can expect you to trust and believe in the unknown.  Take time to get to know Him and trust him more – and watch your faith muscles begin to bulge!  You will not only benefit spiritually, but your body will thank you too!  

Faith Workout

Today Joyce Meyer talked about when she first started working out with what she called little “dog-bone” 3lb weights, and how heavy they felt (this is a pic from her video of her making fun of herself struggling). Yet, now, she lifts 20-25lbs dumbbells (GO JOYCE!) and laughs at how hard those lighter weights once were. 

joyce meyer

As our faith grows, things in life that were once difficult to have faith through are like those dog-bone weights. You will be able to carry heavy loads in life with ease and enjoy the victory of experiencing strength in the Lord. CLICK HERE to watch her awesome teaching on faith. 

“I can do all things in Christ who STRENGTHENS me.” Philippians 4:13

Don’t you want to be STRONGER – inside AND out? I know I do!

Today’s matching motivational image:

Build Your Faith Muscles

Vitamins & Supplements: Are You Forgetting Something?

fish oilI recently started giving my dog my GNC fish oil to improve his coat and skin. Then I realized something. Ok, I realized a couple of things.

#1: I thought it was silly that I don’t take fish oil, but I’m making sure my dog takes it. Of course if it’s THAT good for him, it would be THAT good for me too. Duh!

#2: I am HORRIBLE with taking vitamins. I believe in them, but struggle to remember to take them. YET, I haven’t forgotten to give Marley his supplements once since I started. How ironic is that? So, I can remember to take care of my dog but I forget about my own health? How messed up is that?!

Solution: I decided to put MY supplements with HIS supplements and every time I give him his fish oil, I’ll take my supplements too. It’s a simple solution for a girl like me!

4 Healthy Rules to Follow:

1. Treat your body as good as you treat your kids (or furry kids) and loved ones. You aren’t going to be very helpful to either one if your health deteriorates.

2 Take it right when you think of it, even if it’s not ideal timing. The truth is, taking something when you think about it is better than nothing. If you are like me, you may put it off to take it when you aren’t drinking coffee or when you are eating a meal, etc as suggested. Sometimes you just have to take it when you think about, or you may not take it at all.

2. Find a trigger to help you remember to take your supplements and/or medications. Whether it’s feeding the dog, like me, brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, if there is a good pattern in your life that you never miss, add your nutrition ritual to it.

3. Find the perfect place for your supplements. If you are a neat freak like me, you probably like all your supplements tucked away and hidden. Well, unfortunately, out of site, often means out of mind. Try to find a place where your supplements can be seen on a daily basis – as well as convenient.

Click HERE to get Doggie Diet Tips: The trick to improving your poosh’s good looks.

15 Ways Fido Keeps You Fit

Marley Mantel Great DaneSome of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my Facebook and Instagram friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.

He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!

Steve Pfiester & TankLast fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.

Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!

Pet Perks

Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my Jawbone UP band (activity tracker) had even increased.

Great Dane

Bonnie Pfiester

This past Saturday I took him to dog training at Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming (pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley) and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my Jawbone UP and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!

So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!

15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners

  1. Great Dane MantelThey increase activity. One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
  2. They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
  3. They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
  4. They help children’s development. Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
  5. They help boost children’s immune systems. WebMD says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies– 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
  6. Great DaneThey are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
  7. They are calming. In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
  8. They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  9. great daneThey speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
  10. They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
  11. great dane in tubThey make you laugh. Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff (like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
  12. They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
  13. They can detect cancer. Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a malignant melanoma. Another dog correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
  14. They help prevent diabetic crashes and seizures. Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack. (learn more about Diabetes Alert Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs)
  15. They have healing powers for the elderly. Pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone. They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! :)

Funny Video: Who Got in the Trash?

Awesome video: And God Made a Dog

Small Deeds Trumps Great Plans

Gym Motivation

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” Peter Drucker

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen

How many times have you gone for a run, or workout, and thought “that stunk!” If you’re like me, it’s happened countless times. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up, but we need to focus on our consistency and following through – no matter how crappy we feel like our attempt was.

Julia TannerBefore my grandmother died, she gave me a hand-written book of all her favorite sayings, stories and scriptures (Priceless right?!). I keep it out and read from of it on a regular basis. Today, I turned to this page (pictured here with pictures of the book and my grandmother). The saying was from Dr. Peter Marshall, a preacher and Chaplain of the United States Senate in 1947.

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”

This quote got me thinking about all the great things I’ve wanted to do but didn’t do because I was putting it off for a “better time” – as if a better time will ever come.

Are you planning or doing?

A great example of this pattern is people who need to lose weight and get in shape. SO many people make the best plans. They choose a diet, join a gym, buy the perfect running shoes, get the best supplements – and then something gets in the way or the wait to get started. Unfortunately, most people don’t do anything at all if they can’t do it 100% but this little quote has a powerful punch, and reminds us that a little something done is better than anything you had planned but aren’t doing.

busy-calendarThe same way I’ve heard people say there is no good time to have kids, there is no perfect time to start a diet or begin working out. The only right time to start is now. You will always be busy. Stuff will always come up. It will always be challenging, and it will never be any easier. If you have been putting stuff off because you didn’t feel you could give it 100%, don’t fool yourself into thinking doing nothing is better than doing something. Nothing is never better than something.

Whether you apply this to your personal life, spiritual life or physical body – it’s time to start doing what you can with the time you have now. If you don’t have the time to do what you want, then start thinking about what you CAN do – because nine times out of 10, you CAN do SOMETHING.

15-Minute Workout

If you can’t do a full workout, do this quick (but intense) 15-minute full body conditioning BCx workout with Steve:

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