Road Trip to Fitness

Julie Davis

Imagine that you are about to embark on a long road trip across
country. Do you just jump in the car and take off? No! You plan your
trip and pack accordingly to make sure you arrive at your chosen
destinations timely and safely. First, you get out the map and travel
books and plan your trip, including stops for food, rest and fun.

Second, have realistic expectations about where you’re going and what you are doing. For example, if you are headed over the Colorado Rockies during the winter, you can expect to run into to heavy snow. Finally, based on what you can expect about your trip you pack accordingly to ensure comfort and safety. You bring a road repair kit, snow chains, appropriate clothing and entertainment.


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If you don’t map out your journey,
You will never reach your destination!!
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When you embark on a road trip to fitness, the same steps apply. First, plan your trip: map out realistic short term and long term goals and connect them with structured activities that help you reach your destinations. If you don’t map out your journey, you will never reach your destination! Next, have realistic expectations about yourself and the fitness trip you have embarked on. Do you procrastinate? Do you get bored? Do you get injured easily? Do you move easier in the mornings? Do you have medical considerations? Do you quit when the going gets tough? Know what you can expect about yourself based on what you know to be true from past experience. This is based on reality, not fantasy! Take a honest look at past fitness journeys: what went right, what went wrong. Finally, once you have mapped out your fitness journey and have realistic expectations, ‘pack your bags’ with whatever is necessary to ensure that you reach your destinations. Join a support group, get a personal trainer, add variety to your fitness routine, get medical advice, find a friend to join you on your fitness journey.


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If you have unrealistic expectations,
You will get stuck and frustrated!
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If you take off on a road trip without planning, you will never reach your destination! If you plan, but have unrealistic expectations and/or don’t pack appropriately, you will get stuck and frustrated. If you don’t have the tools to ensure a comfortable and safe journey, you will probably never reach your fitness goals. So, take the time to plan your journey, consider what you can expect, and prepare accordingly, and you will have a much better chance at arriving at your fitness goals in a safe and timely manner.

The Other Side of 'The Father Wound'

Joe Dallas

Much has been said, in recovery circles, about the ‘Father Wound’ ‘ that is, the effect a poor relationship with Dad can have on a man’s future. On the one hand, I can say without hesitation it’s all true. If there is one single element I’ve found in common among the men I’ve counseled, it’s the proverbial ‘Father Wound.’ And yet, now that I’m facing the challenges inherent in fathering a son, I’m painfully aware of the other side of the story.

It was so easy, sixteen years ago when I married my wife and inherited a stepson, to talk about what fathers should or shouldn’t be. I was new to the game, the proud step-father of a lovably energetic five year old boy. Huge mistakes, mostly mine, hadn’t yet been made. His adolescence was years off, so our days were playful and I was his hero, snatching him up after school for bowling, football games and junk food. No wonder it was so easy for me to look critically at older fathers. I was determined never to become one.

Since then, the boy I loved has become the man who’s forgiven me. We jumped into the power struggles and mutual rage every father/son relationship is doomed to, and I careened from rigid strictness to cold fury to indifference, depending on which battle we were fighting. We weathered some tough years, re-bonded, and today I couldn’t be prouder of him, or of us, when I see the outcome.

Dad is that enormous figure
assigned to us
who will probably, for better or worse,
affect us more profoundly
than anyone else in life!

But happy ending or not, I know there are things I said and did to him that were damaging, and can’t be undone. To some degree, they’ll affect him and the way he sees life and people. So like all sons, he could write his own book, delivering a rather mixed report card to the old man. I know, too, that what I didn’t say or do, and should have said or done, can’t be compensated for. In short, I understand more than ever how difficulties between fathers and sons come about.

And more than ever, while I stress the need to examine our wounds and deal with whatever anger we may have towards Dad, I also see and stress the need for a forgiving heart.

There’s a time for anger, and I’ll wager you’ve been reluctant to recognize, much less legitimize, yours. I remember too well the first time I admitted to myself how enraged I was with my own father, and how blasphemous and childish I felt. But it was a crucial beginning. Dad is that enormous figure assigned to us who will probably, for better or worse, affect us more profoundly than anyone else in life. So your relationship with him may well play into what you’re dealing with now, including your anger. ‘Be angry, and sin not’, Paul advised. (Ephesians 4:26) It’s allowed. If you were wronged, you were hurt; if you were hurt, your anger is justified. So let it come.


Then, in due time, let it go. Because as surely as you need to express and resolve your anger, there’ll be someone else, someday, who’ll need to do the same with his anger towards you. And you, like all of us, are subject to the laws of sowing and reaping.

Be sure to sow forgiveness while you can. You will, unquestionably, be grateful it’s there to reap when you need it.

For help with forgiveness and anger please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

The Night Before Christmas: A Dieter's Style

Twas the night before Christmas and all around my hips

Were Fannie May candies that sneaked past my lips

Fudge brownies were stored in the freezer with care

In hopes that my thighs would forget they were there

While Mama in her girdle and I in chin straps

Had just settled down to sugar-borne naps

When out in the pantry there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter

Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash

Tore open the icebox then threw up the sash

The marshmallow look of the new-fallen snow

Sent thoughts of a binge to my body below

When what to my wandering eyes should appear:

A marzipan Santa with eight chocolate reindeer!

That huge chunk of candy so luscious and slick

I knew in a second that I’d wind up sick

The sweet-coated Santa, those sugared reindeer

I closed my eyes tightly but still I could hear

On Pritikin, on Stillman, on weak one, on TOPS

A Weight Watcher dropout from sugar detox

From the top of the scales to the top of the hall

Now dash away pounds now dash away all

Dressed up in Lane Bryant from head to nightdress

My clothes were all bulging from too much excess

My droll little mouth and my round little belly

They shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly

I spoke not a word but went straight to my work

Ate all of the candy then turned with a jerk

And laying a finger beside my heartburn

I gave a quick nod toward the bedroom I turned

I eased into bed, to the heavens I cry

If temptation’s removed I’ll get thin by and by

And I mumbled again as I turned for the night
In the morning
I’ll starve”til I take that first bite!

10 Holiday Commandments

Debbie James

1. When I write the holiday newsletter and obligatory Christmas cards, I shall remember to do 3 sets of touch’ squeezes.
(The key is 3 sets of 20 per 1/2 hour of sitting). I shall remind
myself that the roasted chestnuts around an open fire are good for
ones’ health but shall only be consumed in small handful amounts. I
shall think practical when eating, and remember that 1 lb. of goodies = 1 lb. of body fat.

2. Yea, though I walk through the mall gathering trinkets and treasures for loved ones, I shall not ride any escalator or elevator. I shall use only stairs in the malls, office and at home. I shall remember that burning approximately 200 calories per hour of shopping = 2 moderate size cookies. I shall remember to do the math.

3. When I bake the holiday goodies, I shall treat myself to only the slightly burnt ones that I would be embarrassed to give others. I shall try to understand that I will probably gain a couple of extra pounds over the holidays. It is the way of all flesh. I shall remind myself to get over it!!!

4. When I deck the halls and trim the trees, I shall try an exercise while I am placing one strand of tinsel at a time. (The key is to put the bunch on the floor and force oneself to do a ‘squat’ each time I bend down). In addition, while I am trimming the tree, I shall put on some upbeat Christian music and commit to trim while listening to one song and then dance to one song. I shall remember that active tree trimming is good for waist trimming.

5. When I am attending any Holiday gathering I shall remind myself to eat a small, well balanced meal before I attend. I shall remember that this will make my eyes not so big to consume every thing in sight. I shall remember to be careful not to be on a ‘See-food’ diet during the month of December. I shall also remember that circulating at the gathering with lots of festive and wisdom-filled conversation burns calories more than sitting around does.

6. When my child’s school or church gears up for another bake or craft sale, I shall agree to bring a craft instead of goodies. If I must consider donuts, I shall remember to eat only the holes.

7. When I am sitting down to do my holiday gift wrapping this year, I shall remember to consider doing this task standing up at the kitchen table or counter. By placing the paper in a corner, tape in the other and bows in another, I shall force myself to rotate around the table and burn more calories by standing upright.

8. When I am participating in the neighborhood or church caroling group in this ‘winter wonderland’ season, I shall remember to deck myself in layers of clothes to force myself to sweat more. And I shall remember to not agree to any sleigh rides or other modes transportation from house to house.

9. I shall remember the importance of offering some of my time and talents to those who are less fortunate than I am. Whether I am serving food at a local shelter or church, chasing ‘tiny tots’ around in the church Christmas production or choosing to gather unwanted items to distribute to those in need, I shall remind myself that I may be burning the calories but the best blessing shall be to those who receive.

10. I shall remember to forgive myself for not completing the first nine commandments. I shall remember that the best exercise is to take both hands and push myself away from the table. I shall remember to be kind to myself and know only God knows if I’ve been truly naughty or nice this year.

To Weigh or Not To Weigh?'''

Jennifer Cecil

There is a controversy in the weight-loss world regarding the practice
of weighing everyday. Some experts recommend weighing every day to
keep one accountable and on track, while others say that it
contributes to the obsession about weight–a struggle that overweight people
already have. Some advocate that it is not necessary to weigh
because if one is making good food choices, he/she will ‘feel’differently and notice that clothing begins to feel looser. There is also the concern that if one weighs everyday, it can lead to discouragement (and possibly a binge) if one is heavier that anticipated. Dieters have a hard time making adjustments for weight gain due to water-weight, hormonal fluctuations, or constipation. On the other hand, if weight has been lost, one might break into premature celebration and undo the good work that was just accomplished.

As a fellow struggler, (two pounds from my goal weight), I advocate weighing everyday for the following reasons:

1. We are masters of deception and denial. (Jeremiah 17: 9, ‘the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?’) We lie to ourselves, not only about the amount of food that we are consuming, but the link between overeating and weight gain. I have had many obese clients tell me that they have no idea why they are so heavy because they eat ‘healthily’ or ‘smaller portions’ than the rest of their family. They deny binge eating or compulsive eating.

2. We have a very difficult time with portion control. Many overweight people are eating healthy foods, just too much of it. Those people are discouraged because they are truly not binging and eating high calorie/high fat foods. Weighing everyday helps to expose the portion control variable that is missing from their weight-loss equation.

3. We are in need of consistent and continual encouragement. The scale can provide that for us on a day-to-day basis and help motivate us to make good food choices one day at a time. It can also teach us about our bodies and our patterns of weight-loss and weight-gain.

4. We need an immediate feedback loop so that we can quickly make adjustments to our weight-loss program. Because there are so many pieces to the weight-loss puzzle, if something is NOT working, the scale will reveal it. Conversely, if we have found a good program and all the variables line up, we will see the numbers on the scale go down. For those on a maintenance program, the scale tells us when we have put on a few pounds and that action must be taken immediately!

5. We need to be in the habit of weighing everyday for the times that we ‘fall off the wagon.’ We all reach times that we no longer care about our weight, the struggle seems too difficult, our vacation has derailed us, a crisis hits or the holidays have arrived and we will ‘start our diet again on January 1st.’ It is incredible how much damage we can do in such a short time if we become unconscious abut what we put into our mouths. How discouraging to ‘get back on the wagon’ weighing 10-20 pounds more that you did before you fell off the last time. How discouraging! Weighing everyday will prevent that disaster from occurring, I promise. You will stay conscious and at least pay attention to what you are doing to yourself.

Remember that as long as the earth spins on it’s axis, laws of sowing and reaping remain. (Genesis 8:22) The scale is the perfect instrument to gauge how we are doing on our journey. Please don’t underestimate the power of objective feedback in this struggle!


Redeeming the Thorns; Staying Close to Gods Heart

Victor Tarassov

Have you ever wondered why we sometimes just can’t seem to overcome our battles by shear will power? We do the same things over and over even though we don’t want to. I know I have been wrestling with that question. It is hard if not impossible to overcome or deal with a thorn by yourself. And I think I am finally coming to grips with the fact that the Christian’s life is totally impossible to live unless’ Keep reading.

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians in chapter 12:7-10, (NIV) describes the thorn that he has, asks the Lord to remove it three times, (how many times have we asked) and yet the answer Paul is given is, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” v.9 Hmm. That goes against every addict’s or persons thinking in recovery that wants to be self-sufficient or do it in their own way. Actually there is an implication here that says we may have thorns in our life, but the Lord may chose not to remove them but give us the grace to deal with them.

I have struggled with loneliness, depression and other difficulties. I have asked the Lord to remove them but what I am finding is that these thorns can be an invitation and gift from the Lord for intimacy and deep fellowship. I believe that this is true and when I don’t go to Him I lose life. Maybe some of us need to reconsider the thorns in our life and see them not as a curse but a gift to make us dependent on the Lord and a call to intimacy with Him. I know that I have had to come to this place even with all I know, my education, experience, etc. I still cannot overcome my pride and other issues by myself. My pride can kill my spiritual walk. Ask yourself how are you doing in this garden of thorns

We do the same things over and over
even though we don’t want to.

In John 15:5 Jesus says apart from Him we can do nothing. I think it is impossible to live the Christian life with out our complete radical dependence on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So this passage points out again that it can’t be done alone. We will have to choose whether we will move to numbing or escaping pain i.e. addictions and acting out which leads to death or dependence on the Lord, which leads to life. In the book of James chapter 1:2-4 we are told that we will not escape trials/temptation. But if we do stand up to them and make healthy choices that depend on the Lord for help we will receive a crown of life v.15. We need the Lord but we also need community/people to help us handle our thorns. We may have put the thorns in our life, but to be in recovery means I can’t do it alone I need the Lords and the Lords people to help me. I just want to make sure that no one thinks it’s just the Lord and me. God created community and gave us the church so we can heal and recover from the consequences of sin. This is done in fellowship with the body of Christ the church.

God created community
and gave us the church
so we can heal!

May we see our thorns, whatever they may be as a gift to grow closer to the risen Lord and experience His grace?
Some action steps:

1. Admit we have them and identify them.

2. Talk with the Lord about them; we can ask Him to remove them but if they are there let’s see them as opportunity to deepen our dependence on Christ.

3. Share with others in a small group or support group setting as well as a close friend or pastor.

4. Allow for time with Gods grace to begin to strengthen and change your character you so you can respond in new healthy way that leads to life and not death.

5. Prayer as a constant chat with the Lord and a constant connection to Him in your mind.

6. Clean out our garden where there are thorns. What do we watch on TV? Where do we go with our free time? Clean house.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and pray that the thorns in your life will drive you to the passion that brought Christ (Emanuel) on earth for us.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 5

Steve Arterburn

The fear and food addictive relationship cycle spins in the following order:

‘ Denial

‘ Emotional Pain

‘ Food fuels the process

‘ The cost (weight gain and other costs)

‘ Self-loathing, followed by:

‘ More denial

‘ More pain

‘ More food (and the cycle repeats itself on and on)

Do these steps sound frighteningly familiar? Do you have a sense that this cycle is true for you, but you don’t want to think about it right now? That’s understandable, but it’s these tendencies that give the cycle energy. If you want to ever really stop or get off, you have to pay attention to the whole cycle. In the next few articles I will talk about five steps that will help you get off this addictive wheel.

STEP FIVE – Admit the Self-Loathing

As fear drives people from guilt to shame, it also affects the way they see themselves. In contrast to self-respect, overeaters develop self-hate. Although they may not be aware of the fact, they have started functioning in a highly self-destructive manner. Bulimic purging is one way to get rid of the fearful aspects of their lives. One bulimic patient kept vomiting throughout her marriage; she was symbolically trying to rid herself of her emotional feelings about her controlling, abusive husband. Once she finally divorced her unfaithful, physically and sexually abusive husband, the vomiting stopped.

Binges and purging are also ways that bulimics are destroying themselves. As bizarre as this repressed logic may be, millions of people do not face the self-hate that is causing their problems.

Of course, despising themselves enlarges the emotional emptiness they have been feeling for so long. Love hunger deepens, forcing the addictive cycle forward. These sufferers are helplessly entangled in a terrible process that can destroy their lives. Even though they make promises to adjust their eating behavior, nothing changes because they have failed to see the whole cycle for what it is ‘ a process!

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Surviving the Holidays by Eating Well!

Janet Carr

The holidays are a time of joy and happiness, family and friends. In
addition, they are undoubtedly the most food-intensive time of the
year, since most holiday activities and events do center around food.
Remember, food is just one component of the holidays, so try not to
become food focused. Remain balanced and moderate this season so you don’t have an upward battle in the New Year.

But is it possible to eat well during the holidays? Absolutely!

‘ First and foremost, remain consistent.
Continue to follow a healthy food plan.

‘ Eat only when you are hungry and remember the importance of balance: protein, carbohydrates and fat.

‘ Though you may choose to eat lighter, do not skip meals because of a holiday event you plan to attend later that day.
Not only will this cause your metabolism to slow, but you will probably overeat at the event as a result of extreme hunger.

‘ Also, be aware of serving size, especially if enjoying a buffet. Take small portions; only eat the food you truly like.

‘ Continue to drink plenty of water. Remember that alcoholic beverages contain many empty calories. Avoid consuming alcohol on an empty stomach. This may impair your judgment and lead to poor food choices and overeating.

‘ Try not to rely on food to meet other needs. If you feel shy or awkward in a social situation, don’t rely on eating to avoid interaction. It is far better to simply leave an uncomfortable social situation, then remain and consume unneeded food.

Do the holidays bring increased stress or sadness to your life? For some encouragement, please see our New Life Perspectives CDs.

Get Busy Living

Sam Fraser

From what movie is this quote?
‘If you’re not busy living, you’re busy dying.’

Answer: Shawshank Redemption.

Spiritually, we are busy dying when we continue to feed our sexual addiction. You know that. And we can easily testify up close and personally, it is the nature of the flesh to war against the things of the Spirit. We know that God intended us for relationships. God has ordained us for love and passion. Lust is the perversion of that God intended desire. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, lust of the world. Lust becomes the substitute for not having that legitimate God-given desire fulfilled. It is the counterfeit for what God intended and becomes overpowering when we haven’t found a way for God to meet us at our deepest needs.

Sexual lust is one of the most destructive forms of the garden varieties of lust. For sure, it has been the week of weeds in my garden! It is destructive and can end up controlling our lives. The personal pain, shame and humiliation, and the devastation it causes ourselves and our loved ones is a tragic reality.

The more we succumb to this activity, the weaker and more defeated we feel. The sense of hopelessness and despair from this sin can be crushing. That has led to more than one brother, myself included, to such a sense of despair that it seemed easier to give up and quit than to keep going. I even had thoughts of walking away from the Lord altogether. To chuck this Christian gig and concede defeat, to quit and accept spiritual death. Enough said. That was then, this is now.

O.K., so now you have read the book Every Man\’s Battle, you’ve been working the program, and you are beginning to experience some periods of sobriety. There are days and maybe even breakthroughs and you are gaining victory over this area of your life. There are some breakthroughs and you are feeling that maybe overcoming this activity that was ruining life is a possibility. Sexual purity becomes a happening thing. The tools from the book and if you went to the workshop the action plan developed are beginning to translate into a lifestyle that is leading to sexual purity and a sense of self-respect that is gaining momentum. So now what? How to go to the next level.


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There is more
to sexual sobriety
than not acting out.
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As you are beginning to move through the stages of recovery, it becomes more evident that there is more to sexual purity than just turning away from the old sin; you need to replace it with something more fulfilling and truer to God’s original design. There is more to sexual sobriety than not acting out.

Now that you are gaining some momentum, you may be ready to start looking towards the hills and mountains of God’s kingdom again and need to redirect.

Let me ask you a question. Do you know what God’s purpose and calling is in your life? What is God’s path for you now, at this time? What adventure has God set before you?

This is a common theme of many of the men that I have worked with and been a part of my break-out groups at EMB. Once the sexual sin has taken hold and the destruction takes place, if you have a sense of calling, of dreams that God has placed in your heart they’re can be shattered, becoming a casualty from the lost battle.

Even though the destruction has occurred, the war has already been won by our Lord so do not despair. There will come a time, maybe now, when it is indeed time to renew this important piece of our lives again. It may be that this brokenness and reconciliation is all a part of God’s larger plan and a major piece in your calling from here forward.

It certainly has been true for me.

After my fall, I was certain that God would not use me again. I thought I would have to resign myself, that I had blown it sufficiently enough that I would have to be content with the back of the line, in the basement of the Kingdom. No more Christian goodies for me, only menial tasks like taking out the garbage or changing toilet paper rolls for the body of Christ. I had blown it. I had ruined God’s perfect plan for my life. God would never trust me again with anything important ‘ so I thought. I had lost sight that God uses everything, nothing gets lost, nothing is wasted. So do not give up hope. God can use this weakness to make you strong. What we view as failure can be used mightily by Him. That is His job you know!

So pick up your cross, get back into the mix. Talk to the Man, check it out. God, where do you want to take me with this from here? Which way to the mountains. You might be surprised. Get busy living!

If you haven’t already attended Every Man\’s Battle, what’s keeping you? See Every Man\’s Battle and register for the next weekend!

Defeating the Metabolism Myth

Janet Carr

Many of those who diet seek to regulate or control their metabolism,
believing that a faster metabolism will help achieve the desired weight
loss. Indeed, many vitamins and supplements currently on the market
claim to speed up a person’s metabolism. Often these claims have little
basis in the truth.

First, what is metabolism? Simply put, it is the rate at which your body burns energy.

Second, you can impact your metabolism through the following:

‘ Cut out yo-yo dieting. Frequently in this situation, you gain then lose, gain then lose. What is being gained and lost is muscle mass, which is what burns energy in the human body. The long term goal is to achieve a stable weight, which means in time you will gain more muscle, decrease body fat and you will have a faster metabolism.

‘ Eat regularly and consistently. With an eye toward moderation, eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
 
‘ Exercise appropriately. It is recommended that you exercise 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week. Daily exercise is not advocated, since your muscles need time to rest and repair.

‘ Good sleep and less stress. Important hormone activity occurs as you sleep. In fact, sleep studies now suggest that inadequate sleep slows the metabolism. Similarly, ongoing stress may interrupt hormone levels and also lead to a slower metabolism.

A faster metabolism is not found in a pill or powder. Simply following these guidelines will help you to achieve the desired end.

Please join our Lose It For Life group at our next New Life Weekend.