Thursday, January 30, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - Confident Child of God

Confident child of God (Ephesians 3:12)

This is something I've struggled with off and on through my entire life so far.  I'm sure to some extent I always will.  But it's time to make my struggle with confidence a rare and unusual occurrence. 

Why?  Because GOD wants me to be confident - to believe in myself, because He made me to succeed and be the best me I can be.

He doesn't want me to second guess (or third guess) myself every time I go to do something.  He wants me to pray and take all things to Him, of course.  But if He has put something in my heart and given me the ability and talent to do it, then I shouldn't keep being afraid that it won't work out.  I should step out in faith and confidence that He will work it all out for my good and the good of others.

So that's my next step in this Bible study - to give all of the worry and anxiety to God and just go ahead and do the things He leads me to do.  This goes for fitness and health everything else I need to accomplish in life.

Doing this will lead me to the next step - victorious child of God.  (Romans 8:37).  Confidence leads to victory, and victories lead to more confidence...and so on.  It's a really good cycle to be on, and it starts NOW.

So here's to being a CONFIDENT and VICTORIOUS child of God!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - Permissible But Not Beneficial

"Everything is permissible...but not everything is beneficial."  (1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV)

This is the verse/statement that hit me the hardest so far in the Made To Crave Bible study.  So many times we go on diets that tell us what we're "allowed" to have, and what foods are "forbidden".  I've been on those diets, and all it makes me want to do is have the stuff they tell me I can't have.  It's as if they want to treat us like two-year-olds by telling us that certain things are no-nos.  And we all know how toddlers react when they are told no!

This verse brings everything around to free will.  We can do whatever we want - but there are consequences to our choices and decisions.  Sure, we can choose to eat a box of candy, pint of ice cream, or bag of chips if that's what we want.  But eating those things won't be beneficial to our health. 

Just as someone with any other type of addiction does, we have a choice.  It may not be easy, and we won't be able to do it all on our own.  We need support from others on the road to healthy living. 

Mot of all, we need God.  Struggling with food addiction - or anything else - requires focusing on God rather than the addiction...and when you feel you are about to lose control and give in, well, that's when it's especially important to pray and ask God for the strength you need to get through the craving without giving in - every single time.

I've been known to binge on junk food at times, especially anything filled with sugar.  I've bought a small sheet cake and eaten half of it at one time.  I've scarfed down two pints of ice cream when I'm stressed.  When I was younger, I even had such a bad sugar craving that I finished off a half-used tube of cake icing just to satisfy the urge for sweets.  Obviously, I didn't need permission from anyone to do these things.  I did it because I felt like it.

But of course, none of those items were beneficial to me in any way.  I only craved sugar more.  After the sugar high, the crash made me feel lethargic.  And of course my stomach was not happy trying to digest all of that sugar at one time. 

This is not to say you can never have a small treat.  The operative word here is SMALL.  A scoop of ice cream, a slice of cake, one piece of candy...on occasion these things can be fine.  This can also keep you from binging on unhealthy foods, because you know you can have a little bit once in a while.

The trick is to ask God to help you make the right choices:  when to have that small treat, when to pass it up, and how to keep from overdoing it and binging when you do decide to have a small amount.  This will require daily practice on our part, focusing on God and bringing these struggles to Him in prayer.  It has to be taken on with Him as the guide.

I'm getting back into the habit of taking the stress to God, so He can help me deal with it in better ways than eating whatever I feel like eating at the moment.  I want my choices to be beneficial - just as they should be!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Join Me in the "Made To Crave" Online Bible Study!

It's time to do this - full out.

I read Lysa TerKeurst's book Made To Crave about two years ago.  It made an impact on me then, as it helped me get in the right frame of mind to lose weight by giving the issue over to God.  I've lost over 30 pounds since then, but something is still off.

I have about 60 - 70 pounds yet to go, and I want to reach my goal.  I've discovered that I still slip into old habits of eating under stress, especially sugary foods.  I don't always remember to ask God for the help I need to get everything under control, especially in the last few months dealing with an unusual schedule - unusual for me, anyway.  In addition to writing, working on getting my first novel published, completing writing assignments while looking for more, and my family's activities, I took on a part-time retail job because we really need the money.  My schedule changes every week, so I'm trying to fit everything in without losing my mind, especially without being able to having a relatively set schedule.  Sometimes I eat at odd hours, at times eating healthy stuff yet also grabbing whatever on occasion (more occasions than I'd like to admit).  I fit in workouts when I can...and I really miss being able to make it to spin classes on a regular basis.  I also miss my Pilates sessions, even though I do some mat work at home.  I've been going through some major bouts of insomnia because of the schedule and the stress.  And the more stressed I become, the more often I hit a drive-thru so I don't have to cook at 10PM, or I grab junk just to get something into my stomach.

It's time for this cycle to STOP.  So when this opportunity to read Made To Crave again, in conjunction with a Proverbs 31 Ministries Bible Study, came up...well, I literally jumped at the chance.  The invitation to participate caused me to get up out of my office chair and thank God.  This is exactly what I need right now, to get me out of this anxious and depressed rut.  Since I read the book the first time without studying the corresponding Bible verses at the same time, I only got partial help from it.  I feel that doing this in its entirety will be just what I need to finally get it together and make all of the necessary changes in my life to get to where God wants me to be. 

If you feel this will help you as well, I invite you to join me and many others in this online Bible study.  You can find out more and sign up here.  Let's make 2014 the year we do everything we need to do to be our best.  I'm excited to start - and hope you'll do it with me!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Biggest Loser 15 - Getting Into The Olympic Spirit


This week the contestants get to do something most of us dream of - train with Olympians. 

After last week's weigh-in, the remaining players got packed and onto a plane to Park City, Utah, to work out at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.  The first thing they noticed when boarding their flight was that they could walk down the aisle without bumping into other people already seated.  The other big victory...not only finding that seat belt extenders weren't necessary, but that there was actually room to breathe after buckling into the regular belt!

Once in Utah, Dolvett introduced everyone to Apolo Ohno, who jumped right into training and motivating the contestants.  He noticed that Rachel's mental switch was turned back on and advised her to never let it shut off again.  He also told David that his old inner athlete was coming back.  Apolo gave excellent advice for all of us - never just go through the motions in life, tap into your mental capacity and fight for yourself.  I know that's something I need to be reminded of every now and then...I'm sure we all do.

Of course everyone was worried about the weigh-in due to the travel schedule and major changes in routine...especially Bob.  Rachel proved that she was thinking ahead by preparing food from the ranch and packing it for the trip, so she wouldn't have to worry about falling into old eating patterns.  Bobby had a binge night at the beginning of the week, so he worked hard to overcome that the rest of the week - but Bob was still nervous and had a long talk with him. Bob also gave everyone a breakfast lesson to get them back on track.  Those mini frittatas look awesome, and I like how Chelsea plans to make them at home and use them as an on-the-go option before work.

The first challenge of the week is brought to us courtesy of the Women's Curling Team. They give encouragement to the contestants by telling them how hard worked at their second chance to make the Olympic team, and then Ali assigns the challenge.  Each player needs to push 100 pound curling stones into a target and land them in the red bulls-eye.  There are two heats of four, and two from each heat make it into the finals by scoring 3 points.  The person in the final round scoring 3 points first wins $5000.  Bobby and Rachel win Heat 1, David and Chelsea win Heat 2.  Rachel wins the final, and she can feel the pressure of being the number one threat/target in the group.  Now, however, she feels she can handle the pressure.

Bob puts everyone through a grueling obstacle course, which includes players riding piggyback with each other.  Marie can't jump high enough to get on Bobby's back, so she has him get on HER back and she carries him all the way.  Now that's a strong woman - she's in it to win it!

We also get an update on Tumi, who went home last week.  She's lost 139 pounds so far and is enjoying herself trying on wedding dresses, which she didn't do before at her old weight.  It's wonderful to see her reunite with her sister again as well.

Dolvett has a talk with Rachel about her dad, since they had a strained relationship after she quit competitive swimming and her parents divorced.  She was happy to report that after she told him about Biggest Loser, he's been writing her and showing plenty of support. They're on their way to mending their relationship, since they are bonding over athletic endeavors again.

The second challenge involved the bobsled track.  The contestants met the women's team of Jasmine and Lolo (yes - Lolo Jones from track and field!)  and got another lesson in second chances.  Then they all had to race UP the bobsled track, over a mile long, to win a one pound advantage at the weigh-in.  The altitude got to some of them but they all finished.  It came down to Rachel and Jay, with Rachel winning the pound advantage.

At the last chance workout, Jillian worked with Jen on her box jumps.  Jen's fear took over again, but this time Jill was able to talk her through it and get her to perform them.  I can totally relate to the fear, so kudos to Jen for overcoming it!

The weigh-in was held outdoors at night, at the Nordic Ski Jump site.  Five players lost weight, pleasing the trainers who were worried about the scale this week.  Jen lost nothing, but still stayed above the yellow line because Jay gained one pound and Bobby gained two.  Everyone voted to send Jay home, and he was a class act all the way.  I can't wait to see how he looks at the finale, which is coming up in a few weeks.

Next week is - wait for it - MAKEOVER WEEK!  I know we all look forward to this every season, and this time it will be fun to see David once he finally shaves that beard.  Tune in next week with me to see the transformations!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Biggest Loser 15 - Yellow Line Is Back, A Former Contestant Returns

It seems like forever since we last checked in on our Season 15 contestants, even though it's only been three weeks. 

So Biggest Loser provided us with a recap of the season so far in the first few minutes of tonight's show.  But that's OK - since they also gave us a 2 hour episode tonight. Seems like old times!

There are other reasons that tonight feels like a blast from the past as well.  A Season 8 favorite comes by to talk to the current contestants, and someone who was eliminated gets to return to the game.  Oh yeah...and the yellow line is back!

After the recap, we jump right into Alison bringing the eliminated players to the scale, vying for a spot back on the ranch.  She also informs them about the yellow line, which means they'll need to vote on who goes home.  The person with the highest percentage of weight loss gets to rejoin the competition.  Hap and Matt, who had just been eliminated, have already weighed in.  It looks like Matt won't be going anywhere, until Bobby gets on the scale and posts over 27 percent weight loss and knocks him back out.  Bobby is back, and Bob is thrilled since he had just lost two of his favorites is back, someone who Bob thought wasn't quite ready to go home anyway.  They talk about Bobby's adventures since he was last on the ranch, then get back to work.

Bob also puts David through a tough circuit workout over and over again, and David responds by beating his time each round and showing great improvement. Bob asks him about his current wife, since so far most of the story had been about the first wife who passed away.  David talks about what a gift Melissa has been in his life for the past 9 years, and how strong she is coming into a grieving family, helping them move on while also allowing them to remember the wife and mom who is no longer here.  Bob arranges a video chat so David can tell Melissa how much he's learned on the ranch and how much he loves and appreciates her.  He vows to love her even better, since now he has really learned how to love himself so he can spread more love to his family.

Jillian works Tanya out, noticing how she always starts out strong in her workouts but waivers near the end.  Tanya tells Jill about her mom's abuse, and how her mom always pointed out what was "wrong" with her.  Jillian teaches her how to embrace her potential, and Tanya sees how she needs to "parent" herself instead of looking for approval from others. 

When we check in on Matt and Hap, we discover they've continued their friendship and support at home.  Hap travels a lot for work, so he shows us how he eats healthy on the road.  Hmm...I'm going to have to take a grill on the road with me as well.  It's such a great idea, and keeps you away from the greasy fast food when traveling.

Everyone meets Ali at the beach for the challenge.  They have to dig kettlebells out of the sand and carry them up the hill and hang them on a post. Each is worth one point, and the first to get to 10 wins a $25,000 home gym from Planet Fitness.  The person coming in last gets a one pound disadvantage at the weigh-in.  There is one golden kettlebell worth five points, which Marie finds, but it isn't enough to beat Jay for the top prize.  Tanya is last and receives the dreaded pound, but she vows to overcome it.

Season 8's Abby Rike comes to visit, and all of the contestants remember her story of losing her family in a car accident and struggling to find her way back.  She tells them not to compare their journey with anyone else's, and that it's necessary to deal with your own hurt to become whole again.  She has remarried and is approaching her 2nd wedding anniversary.  She also kept the weight off until suffering a back injury, and is working her way back to her previous fitness level with the help of the Biggest Loser Resort.  (I hope I can make a trip to one soon!)  She mentions how sweat and tears are healing waters...and David can definitely relate.

Dolvett takes the players to the race track, where they work out with driver Carl Edwards.  And what a surprise...they all have Subway for lunch!  The step workout looks brutal but they still all have fun doing it with Carl.  Back at the ranch, Rachel tries on her old size 8 jeans that her mom sent...and they fit!  As she celebrates her accomplishment, Marie meets with Jillian to let her know she's decided that she's in this competition to win it.  Jill promises to make her prove it - and delivers.

At the weigh-in, Tanya and Tumi fall below the yellow line.  Everyone votes to send Tumi home, since they consider her a bigger threat and feel she'll do well at home.

Next week the remaining contestants go to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Park City, Utah, where they'll train with Apolo Ohno and other athletes.  But will the scale be kind?  Tune in and find out!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Focus Word for 2014 - Believe

Happy New Year!  It's time once again to reveal my chosen word to focus on for the year, and the word of 2014 is BELIEVE.

Believing is truly something I need to set my mind to, as there are plenty of times when I let fear or discouragement derail my dreams and plans.  As much as I work on staying positive, I still spend too much time wondering just how things are going to get better or thinking about how far I still have to goal to reach my goals-in-progress.

So starting today and all through 2014, I am going to believe.  I BELIEVE God for the promises He has made to me, to give me hope and a future.  If I stay focused on Him instead of worrying about challenges, I will get where I need to go and find the joy I so desperately need in each and every day.  He is making things happen for me, and for my family and friends!

I also BELIEVE in myself...God gave me specific talents, gifts, and abilities, so I'm going to banish the doubt that creeps in at times - the false voice in my head that tries to tell me I'm not good enough or don't have what it takes.  I will be the me that He has created me to be.  I BELIEVE in what God gave me and will use all of it to the best of my ability.  It's time to move forward with confidence!

I wish you and our loved ones a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.  May we all and every day of the entire year!