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Getting a Clue?

Now and then, it seems like some restaurants are getting a clue…  perhaps they’re actually listening to some of what is being said.

I know I hear more people paying attention to what they’re ordering, or being utterly shocked at how many calories are in (what they THOUGHT) was a “healthy salad”…

But oh my… we still have a LONG way to go to continue being educated.  We certainly can’t let the restaurants do the math, and assume they have our best interests at heart.  No, we have to consider what their objective is – for us to buy whatever it is they sell.  It’s not ultimately for us to be healthy.

But I’ll give them credit where it’s due, they’re at least TRYING.

One of our kid’s favorite places to eat when we’re traveling (and if they’re in the area), is Culver’s.  “Home of the Butterburgers”….  You can imagine how this sits with me.  I used to LOVE their Wisconsin patty melts.  (When I ate rye bread, slathered in butter… swiss cheese all melty and stuff.)  Some days I even ordered a “double”… 616 calories and 35 g. carbs.  Ouch on the calories especially.  Now I just get a double butter burger with lettuce and mustard only – and eat it (without the bun of course).  Sometimes I have a salad with it – no cheese, croutons or dressing of course…  it fits the bill for A LOT fewer calories and carbs.  Not the best choice – but much better for me.

I was a little surprised that with their “Mindful Choices” options, they failed to offer something less of a 4″ white-bread bun!  That’s 160 calories RIGHT THERE of no nutrition… Remember: Think! WHY am I eating this?  What’s the point?

Culver's "Mindful Choices" selections

Online Culver’s even has a “Nutritional Meal Builder” to give you the 4-1-1 on what you’re going to stuff on in, and pray it processes.  They also have an allergen “grid” for their products.  Very nice.  I think while their product offering is mostly of the “fast food” sort – they are trying to make better options available for their customers.  That’s more that I can say for a lot of other companies!  Just be more aware of what you’re eating.  Don’t just 500 calories is what YOU should be eating at a meal just because that is their smallest offering.  Most people need LESS than that.

“Share in suffering as  a good soldier of Christ Jesus.   No soldier  gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”  2 Timothy 2:3-4

 

I Wish I Had Time For…

I get lots of compliments when I take my salad places... don't have salad envy! You can make one too!

We’ve all said it before.

Perhaps we didn’t realize what we were really implying.  But, when I hear this… I sometimes think – people must think someone else has a boatload more time than they do, if they’re fitting in whatever it is that person is longing to do.

Guess what?  That’s not the truth.

You’re fitting everything in that is important, that needs to be done…. and if you’re not fitting it in, it’s not a priority.

Hey, I know sometimes it feels like you don’t have enough time – believe me, I feel it too.  When I’ve over scheduled… and under prioritized, and said yes to everyonebut my MAKER, and my family.  I fail and am miserable.

But honestly, think of how things go when someone passes away… and there are “emergencies” to be taken care of – and you rearrange your schedule, and you MAKE it fit, because that is just what people do.  They MAKE time for what is important to them.  We do this without a funeral too – EVERY. DAY.

Well, on a much lighter note – making a salad is important to me, EVERY lunch time.

I plan for it.  I make sure I have my supplies on hand… and lo and behold, it happens!  Crazy.

I’m not some guru, nor am I’m not trying really hard – I just make it a priority – so it’s not a pain, and it doesn’t take a lot of time!

So here’s the scoop!  Are you ready for this secret revealed??

I get several bunches of green leaf lettuce every week, along with a cucumber and a pepper or any other veggie I’m desiring that week.   [We are able to go to the grocery store mid-week also, so we are able to restock if we need to on the green leaf lettuce bunch.]

I clean my lettuce and cut it into big leaves – and put it in my crisper from Wal-Mart.  I put down 3-4 paper towels, then the cleaned lettuce leaves – and then more paper towels to soak up extra moisture and keep the lettuce fresh.  I them put my uncut veggies into a separate crisper just for smaller veggies  and I got it from Tupperware.  The rest of the things I always stock – low sodium, Sara Lee oven roasted chicken (shredded), sunflower seeds and cottage cheese.  Easy!  I just pull my items out at lunch, or pack it in the AM to take it with me.

My Tupperware crisper (blue) and salad crisper from Wal-Mart

Then I have no excuses… because it’s really NOT. THAT. HARD.  Would you agree?

Don’t tell me you “don’t have time” for a nice salad.  I won’t believe you.  God is worth it – plan ahead and get into some new routines that will help you have the RIGHT items on hand!  This will make it SO much easier to be healthy for Him!

“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Too Good To Be True?

You’ve heard it before… if it sounds too good to be true – it almost always is.

And yet…

We hope for some magical, awesome tasting goodness that is bottomless, that is 3 net carbs, contains no artificial anything and stays around 100 calories – yes?

Sorry all, it doesn’t exist.  I’ve looked.

My husband and I enjoyed some Orange Leaf yogurt, after our date night this weekend.

The thought of this made me recall the commentary I hear all too often about new frozen yogurt place in our area.  (Similar places are setting up all over the country… maybe you have one near you too!)  Ours is called Orange Leaf.  It sells yogurt that YOU dispense into a bowl, or a waffle bowl, or.. if you’re really feeling wacky – onto a brownie (although I don’t recommend this, I hear it turns the brownie into a frozen ROCK,  not to mention it throws out the “fat free” theory further out the window).

So you take your bowl of whatever flavor is your favorite (choose from about zillion combinations) and then scoop on whatever toppings you wish until you can no longer see anything resembling the ice-cream in your bowl.  (Give or take a spoonful!)

You get the concept?

Thankfully, because God opened my eyes to schemes like this one, I go in – fully aware of what I’m doing.  (Sure, I’ve filled my bowl too full on occasion, it’s very easy to over-estimate your smallish amount – but I’m sure to work that off too because I can calculate what that is going to do in my system.  Remember: Calories in, calories OUT!)

So I see the “7 carbs per ounce”, and I don’t immediately think, “This is good for me.”   I do the math that a 6-7 ounce dish is going to be 42-49 carbs, and about 300-400 calories, depending on what I’m putting on there.  Not quite as healthy as you were thinking huh?  (Especially considering their totals are for the yogurt ONLY).

BUT…
What is the first thing I hear MOST people say about this place?  Usually something like,  “Oh, it’s so great … because it’s FAT FREE, so it’s guilt free.”

First of all, not all yogurt is fat-free, and as we know – this is a marketing scheme and doesn’t mean good things, and it doesn’t mean that it’s harmless.  It should make you wonder what IS in it if it’s FREE of other things?  Secondly… that’s an easy way to get into BIG TROUBLE over consuming calories very quickly.

Maybe you didn’t want to read that… (we prefer NOT know – right?) 🙂  But the truth is… you need to be aware for the sake of being healthy for Him, and taking care of your body.  There is a reason why you don’t feel FULL when you consume it… it’s empty carbs, and it should be treated as a dessert or special TREAT.

Did I mention I’m thankful I don’t live closer to it?

Pray for opportunities to lovingly share with others about the myths out there you used to believe before God opened your mind to the Truth about your health.  As Mark Hall said at the Casting Crowns concert this summer,  we are the BODY of Christ – not the audience.  We don’t learn things to “sit back” and only soak in.  We need to encourage others, and spread the message of what He’s done for us! 🙂  (Don’t be hurt if people don’t immediately feel convicted that being healthy is for them.  Just plant the seed and let God do His best work.  In His time, for His glory alone.)

“Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me”. – Matthew 25:45

 

Diets Rated and Balance

My husband and I try to shop smart.  Years ago, I thought maybe he was a little crazy for his obsession with Consumer Reports before we made purchases for our home and life.

It didn’t take long for me to realize he was onto something… Consumer Reports has been a great resource for so many purchases over our married lifetime.   It rates products you consider purchasing based on how they really work (or don’t).

We went without it for a couple of years when things were tight, and we borrowed it from my Father-in-law because we just couldn’t live without it.

Well, a few months ago… Consumer Reports rated: DIETS.

June 2011 Issue of Consumer Reports

Yes.  You read that correctly.

I thought…”What?”  But I had to read on… you know how I loathe that word.

The facts are, people DO invest in diets… sometimes several different types of diets, trying to reach their goals or maintain a healthy weight.

And … throughout that process, people might even lose weight.  People may even show remarkable changes in how they eat… for a time.  But statistically so many people “drop out” before they get very far.

Why is that??

My guess would be the commitment (who is their commitment to?) and the goals (who are they trying to be healthy for?) aspect.  Often times access to the specific foods, or rigid rules wear people out and they go back to their old ways.  What they’re missing is NOT changing their lifestyle.  They think of the word diet, as a short-term goal to meet their short-term expectations for their life.

Well… Jenny Craig was the winner – with people weighing 8% less than when they started after 2 years.  Jenny Craig has specific “branded” meals to eat, and a weekly counselor to check in with (by phone or in person).  The other diets reviewed were Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers, Zone, Ornish, Atkins and Nutri-System.

All of this sounds great, right?  IF any of them were training you to be able to do this in the “real world”… on your “own” without their rules, meals and guidelines.

But that’s not what is going on here.

What these diets want to do, is sell you stuff… and keep you coming back for more.  Many people ride a roller coaster of gaining and losing weight over and over again… and that’s what they’re hoping for.

The problem is, these diets were focused on one thing – SELLING something.  Selling food, books, magazines, ideas… and they really didn’t care about YOU specifically, or your heart issues on food and exercise.

God does.

Be aware.  WHO is it that you want to be healthy FOR?  If your goals are to be healthy for Him… then with His strength, you should be able to make the most sensible choices in any situation because your eyes are on the Lord.

So, while countless “health experts” and workout coaches have some great info to share, and products to sell… don’t be duped into following it like a religion.  Use His standard to figure out what the Truth is.

Does God doesn’t want you to be micromanaging your calorie intake for the rest of your life or working out to the point of it being an idol.  (He made variety for a reason!)  He wants you to live freely, but use wisdom in your choices.

Balance.

God isn’t looking for perfection from me or you… He’s looking for us to draw our strength from Him in all things…  even in HEALTH.

 “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4

Nothing is Off Limits!

Have you tried these WASA brand crispbreads? They are cracker like and very tasty! A great add on when you have an all protein/veggie meal.

Yep.

You read correctly.  NOTHING is off-limits.

Isn’t that freeing?

Once you realize that you’re not bound to being legalistic about food… and you have the education to back your decisions… you can can breathe again.

What if someone told you could NEVER have birthday cake…  Ever again.

How would you feel?

Would you start thinking about birthday cake….?  About how much you LIKE birthday cake… and how you were hoping to share some cake at your son/daughter’s birthday party, or your anniversary, or a wedding celebration and NOW you can NEVER…

Have it.

AGAIN.

I’ll tell you what.  I’m not perfect.

I’m thankful God doesn’t expect perfection – even in eating.  BUT…That also isn’t a “get out of jail free card” either.   When I go on vacation, my convictions from God, on health, go with me… they STICK with me at all times.  I don’t suddenly hit a day where I eat “anything I want” and stuff myself crazy full.  I just never desire what some might consider a “free day” like that.  God did that.

What God does want is our best… every day.

When Danna Demetre (Scale Down) mentioned that “no food is forbidden” it was freeing.  What happened when Eve was told the fruit on the tree of knowledge was forbidden?

If we think something is forbidden, we start a cycle of potential idol worship and suddenly food has control over us.  We can become fearful of eating the wrong things… to the point that it consumes us!

As Christians, we are not full of fear.  We are FULL of faith!  Everyday is a free day.  YOU are free in Christ!!

If no food is forbidden, then suddenly it was MY choice to say no to the foods that weren’t good for me. I saw what foods with poor nutritional value  did to my body, and I felt it.  It was not some “list of rules” that made me feel bound and gagged.  I was driven by my accountability to God, and my desire is to please Him.

If there are things you’re consuming that aren’t God’s best… then you need to lay them at His feet.  Pray for Him to help free you from the bondage of whatever that vise may be.  It’s between YOU and Him.

Education is the key to helping you make better choices… don’t use ignorance, to what is in food, as an excuse to consume whatever you want… “because you’re going to die anyway…”   Instead, enjoy the freedom that we can have treats and eat in real life without guilt.  Strive to do better each day, eating the things HE has made for you to enjoy!

Glorify God in the body… in all ways that you can.  It all matters – to Him.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2

Burn, Baby Burn…

Time to put on those shoes and feel the burn! I can't help but break into the Disco Inferno song! Burn baby burn... (picture from retro-cafe.com)

I love a good burn.

No.  Not a sunburn, although I do that quite easily…(Thank you very little age spots!)

I’m talking about AFTERburn.  The calorie burnin’ benefit you get after you exercise that sticks with you!

What is actually going on in your body, is that your increased heart rate from exercising is requiring your body to need more oxygen for a longer period of time and burns double the fat.  AND not only THAT, but depending on the type and intensity of exercise you do,  the afterburn can benefit you up to 40 hours after your work out!!  How awesome is that??

So you don’t need to feel like you “have to” work out an hour each day.  You are actually getting a great benefit for working out 20-40 minutes each day, rather than 1 hour 2-3 times a week!  Now it’s true, the longer you work out, especially after the 30 minute mark, you ARE going to burn more of that stored energy (FAT)… So if you CAN work out longer a few days a week…. then make that a priority and make that happen!

When you turn muscle into fat through purposeful exercise, you end up with more lean muscle… and muscle burns more calories each day in your body…

Not to mention that aerobic exercise helps with…

– lowering body/belly fat

– increasing your cardiovascular strength

– helping your immunity

– speeding up your metabolism and energy levels

– helping you to release GOOD hormones. (AWESOME – yes?)

Who doesn’t want all of those benefits??

ME TOO!!

God certainly made us to MOVE!

When you work out multiple days in a row, your calorie burning machine is soaring and all of the benefits I mentioned before continuing to do your body good!  You want to keep that metabolism ramped up, and continue feeling as good as possible, for as long as possible!

Do you see why I’m more focused on what I can do EACH day, instead of trying to figure out which days I’m taking off?  Why wouldn’t I want to maximize my efforts?  It’s ALWAYS easier to figure out a day to take off, then to justify squeezing in a workout at 10pm or after…   Yet if 11pm is all I have, and I’ve made that commitment to work out – I follow through.  My commitment is to God.

That said, don’t feel badly if you can’t workout everyday… you have to do what works for your schedule, but it’s KEY to make its a priority or it isn’t going to happen.  Some people are morning people.  I am not.

BUT…  I read that we MAKE TIME for what is important to us…  (and that goes for ALL areas of our life!)  Be HONEST.  With yourself and with God!  Make your health a priority and a worship to Him!

One comment I hear a lot is, “Buuuut I don’t want to get BULKY!”  Honestly, don’t get super concerned with getting too bulky.  This was a main concern of mine too early on (especially in my arms and upper legs), but what may at FIRST seem like “bigger” legs and arms, is only going to help you burn more fat and calories in the long run…  so it could happen short-term, for a long-term benefit.  (and it’s not a good excuse to not move!)  So just use lighter weights, do more reps, and lay off the muscle enhancer shakes – and you won’t look like a body builder!  We can’t spot remove fat… we have to burn overall body fat, and whittle away at the areas that need toning.

Sorry.  I know.  But that’s just the way it works!

Something that helped me after I got a handle on my BMI and recommended calories through that, are equating how much exercise would burn off a certain amount of calories.  In my mind, it was what something was “worth”… and then *I* would decide if a food was worth it before I consumed it.  So be sure you’re getting educated on everything you’re putting in and allow that afterburn to benefit you for the long haul!

” I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  – Psalm 139:14

Calorie School Basics – Your RMR

How in the world do I figure out how many calories I burn every day?

I didn’t know where to start.  I *thought* I lived a pretty active life style.  I might have been a little generous thinking I moved more than I did…

I moved around a lot – changed a lot of diapers, picked up a lot of toys, ran up and down a TON of stairs.  I even did walking and light workouts several days a week.  Surely I burned a lot of calories – right?

BUT how much did all of that really equate into and what is the difference in calorie burn between moving around and truly getting your heart rate up and keeping it up there to get a good cardio workout?  Hmmm…

When I read Scale Down, by Danna Demetre, she mentioned something I hadn’t ever heard of in regards to your daily total calorie burn: your RMR, or resting metabolic rate.  I mean, I knew I had a RMR – but I guess I didn’t think about it in regards to how it was burning calories all of the time.  (Even while I slept – YES!)  It was definitely making more sense on how God created my body to need a steady intake of food throughout the day.

Your RMR is your normal rate of burning calories.  I mentioned previously that we DO NOT want to cut too many calories too quickly, and this is why.  Your body NEEDS a certain amount of calories to function at it’s best.  When you cut calories too quickly…

It actually kills your metabolism!!!   The quality of calories you’re putting in can also kill your metabolism.  You can also burn through muscle vs. fat … this is the last thing you want!!

Our RMR decreases as we age, so if you’re middle-aged (like me) – now is the perfect time to get a handle on things, but it’s never too early or late to more aware of what you’re doing to your body and help it to perform at it’s best.

Around the time we turn 30, our RMR begins to slow down.  Awesome huh?  What is it with that “magical” falling apart number?  I’m not sure but…  that decrease almost doubles by the time we turn 40, and continues on a rapid decline as we age, and our activity level decreases…

Ugh!

Yep – that was a punch in my gut too.  I didn’t want to continue feeling poorly, frustrated and tired.

Here's picture of my CalTrack monitor. It's very simple to operate, and holds a weath of information.

I  mentioned that I bought a CalTrack monitor from Amazon.com, but I realize that isn’t always practical for some people.  There are several estimates of what someone for your height, weight and gender should be, so check that out online (Google RMR) for an estimate or get yourself a medium priced calorie monitor and see where you compare for your activity level at your height and weight from your daily movement.

I  mentioned that I ended up buying a CalTrack monitor from Amazon.com, but I didn’t have it to start with – I used it as a fine tuning tool.  Through that device, I learned my RMR is about 1700 calories daily, and I’m also able to monitor how many calories I’m burning in different workouts I do (anywhere from 350-600)!  Good to know!

Remember this isn’t an event.  It’s not a race.  You’re in a process to be the healthiest you can be for Him.  Take your time.  If this is over whelming to you, slow down – focus on the steps you can make each day.  Don’t become so focused on the little things and get short-sighted.  If you can only become more aware of a few things, that’s better than nothing – start there!

Thank God for the awesome body He gave you, take great care of it EACH DAY.   Make sure to move it while you are able – it’s gift we often take for granted!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

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