Reboot Your Life

Today’s verse:  Job 17:9 the righteous shall move onward and forward; those with pure hearts shall become stronger and stronger.

Sometimes life doesn’t go as we plan.  We fall into old, bad habits.  Our health deteriorates.  Our addictions overwhelm us.  Our kids don’t do what we want them to do.  Our parents get old and need care.  We sometimes feel like such failures.

But we then must call on our inner strength.  We all have it, but we don’t always exercise it.  Sometimes we like to wallow in our misery for a while, and hope that everyone feels sorry for us.  But this is so unhealthy, and leads to a worse state of being.  So we need to dig up the inner strength and move forward.  But how???

What do we do when our computers or TVs or other gadgets fail us?  The answer is always the same – reboot!   And amazingly, it always seems to fix whatever the problem was.

So let’s reboot our life!  We can turn off the negativity, turn off the bad habits, turn off the addictions and start fresh. Even if it is our health or the health of a loved one that is failing, there are ways to re-boot and feel better. Exercise is a lifesaver, literally. Healthy eating habits are another. Affirmations that we are great, said every morning out loud, do wonders for our mental health. Taking one hour a day just for ourselves is also important.  Don’t dwell on the negative, but rather focus on the positive.  Pray without ceasing.  God always listens to our prayers, and our prayers should not only be for help, but also to give thanks.  We should never forget the source of all of our blessings.  With these actions, we are re-booted and working fine! It may take some effort on our part, but the end is worth the trip!   Blessings to all on your journey to a better life!

 

 

Your Body is a Temple – Exercise It!

Today’s verse:  1 Corinthians 6:  19-20  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.…”

We all know that exercise is supposed to be good for you. The known benefits from exercising include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease including lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol; reducing risks of diseases including diabetes, osteoporosis, and even some cancers; reducing weight and body fat and reducing incidence of obesity; increasing the mood by reducing stress, anxiety and depression; and improving self esteem.

So why do so few of us do it?    It has to be fun.  Exercise is like a curse to some people. They can’t even consider doing it.  But the truth is that even moderate movement, in 10 minute increments during the day, can be beneficial.  The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes per week, or 5 days of 30 minutes each day.  The 30 minutes can be done in 3 sets of 10 minutes.  So it becomes easier.   And what counts as exercise?  Moving!   Just move- park a little bit further out in the parking lot and walk.  Use the stairs instead of the elevator.  Clean your house.  Rake leaves.  Dance around your house.  Anything that increases your heart rate is exercise.   One of the best ways to do it is to walk.  Walk at a brisk pace for 10-30 minutes.

We all need to get off our butts and do something.  We are becoming an obese society, which brings tons of health issues.  God wants us to take care of our bodies, to keep them as the temple that he has given us.  We need to honor God with our bodies.  Allowing us to abuse ourselves is not a way to take care of what we have been entrusted with.  So let’s all get up and move and honor God.  The “high” that comes from exercise is better than any other high we might seek.  And the One on high will be happy 🙂   Praise be to God!  Blessings to all in our weight loss, healthy journey.   Read on for today’s recipe for health

Forgive Thyself

Today’s verse:  Colossians 1:13-14  “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”

We have all done things in life that we are not proud of.  If you are like me, this trend continues.  I’m talking really bad things that we do.  I think if I am honest with myself, I have to say that I have broken every one of the 10 commandments.  I have done some awful things that I have great difficulty accepting.

Sometimes it’s not the big things that I do that I feel bad and guilty about. Sometimes I make a promise to God that I won’t do something anymore (like smoking), but then I do it anyway.   I feel broken and depressed when this happens. Have you ever been there?

The best news is that God forgives us – all we have to do is ask and believe.  It’s that simple.  So why do we still ask forgiveness over and over for the same thing?  It’s not because God hasn’t forgiven us, it’s because we haven’t forgiven ourselves.    It took me a long time to realize this.   God is merciful and good, and His son died on the cross for us.  That’s all it took – with Jesus’s death came our forgiveness.  We are forgiven because He was forsaken.

So we need to forgive ourselves.  God has already done so.   It is indeed very difficult to forgive ourselves, and we can carry guilt around like a heavy burden for years.  It’s time to let go of the burden, realize that we are right with God, and move forward. Take a step today and let go – don’t beat yourself up anymore over something you did in the past.  It is a freeing feeling and you will feel the love of God surrounding you.  Many blessings to all as you forgive thyself.  Read on for Today’s Healthy Living Recipe

Never Fear – You Can Have a “Do-Over”

Today’s Verse:  Isaiah 41: 10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Change is difficult.  Change is scary.  And change is hard – very hard.   We all have habits that we would like to break – overeating is my downfall, along with the occasionally foray into smoking.  I just can’t seem to stop these habits.  I go for a long while and behave, and then my cravings take over and I can’t seem to stop the backslide.

When we are tempted to fall back into our bad habits, or continue with our bad habits, we need to have courage and face the future.  We must never fear.  If something is bad for us, how scary can the future be, if we know we will be healthier?    Never fear the future.  We cannot know what God has in store for us, but we know that he will not lead us astray.  We know that he will help us and guide us.  We know that he has a plan for us, and his plan does not include destroying our health.

I often promise God things that I cannot really do alone – I promise to stay on my diet, I promise to never drink or smoke again.  And for some time, it works.  If I think about straying, I remember my promise to God and I don’t do it.  But slowly,  I fall back.  I think, “Well just once won’t hurt”.  And before you know it, I have forgotten my promise and fallen again.  But the great news is that God forgives me and lets me have another chance.   I get a “do-over”.   No matter how many times I fall, God will pick me up and save me.   His love is unending.

So don’t be afraid of change.  Don’t think that God will not lift you up, again and again. The great news of Jesus Christ is that He bore our sins, and we are free.  God will always be there, our strength and our rock.    A blessing to all (from Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young”):

May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you’re far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you’d have done to you

Read on for Today’s Healthy Living Recipe

The 6 Stages of Change

Today’s verse:  Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

I have recently decided, at my advanced age, that I want to become certified as a group fitness instructor. big armsI have noticed that many women my age go to the gym, but are unable to participate in many of the classes because our bodies just can’t keep up the way the used to.  So  I want to develop and teach a class for seniors, that allows us to stay fit and have fun.

In order to get certified, I must pass a course.  I have been reading the required text and came across an interesting chapter on changing behavior.  I thought it fit very well into the idea of this blog, as it addresses changing habits such as smoking, drinking, overeating, lack of exercise, etc.   So I am paraphrasing it below.  It is from “Fitness Theory and Practice, 5TH edition”.   The model is the Transtheoretical Model, developed by James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClementi in 1994.

There are basically six stages of readiness for change.  We all need to find our stage and try to move forward.  Read on and see where you fall in this model and maybe you can move up a stage to make a positive change in your life.

Stage 1:  Precontemplation:  People in this stage have no current intentions to change.  They may have tried in the past and it didn’t work, so they are demoralized and have given up.   This can be addressed by raising the consciousness of the person by reading literature on the subject (example – seeing pictures of diseased lungs) , attending lectures, or even if they have a health crisis (a wake-up call).  This can also be addressed by environmental control, such as staying in  no-smoking areas.

Stage 2:  Contemplation:  In this stage, people acknowledge that they have a problem and are willing to think about the need to change.  They are  usually unable to generate enough energy to change, and can stay in this stage for years.   In order to address this and move forward, you can look forward to the future by imagining your life after you have changed the problematic behavior.  Imagine how much more you could do as a non-smoker or non-drinker, or how much you could buy with the money you saved.  Or imagine yourself thin after a diet, or healthy after an eating disorder.  This is a very hard stage to get past.

Stage 3:  Preparation: People here are on the verge of action.  Maybe they have already made small changes.  They are more focused on possibilities of action rather than on the cause of their behavior.  In this stage you need to find some interpersonal support- someone that will listen to you and support you  without judgement or advice, but with concern and empathy.  You need to be your own judge and find the strength to change.  You have to really want it!

Stage 4 – Action:  People in this stage will be following the plan they made in step 3 for changing their behavior.  The more developed the plan, the more successful they will be.  People who have spent a long time in stage 2 and stage 3 are most successful.  In this stage, the plan is solidified and refined, so that it can become a routine.   In this stage, it is often helpful to make a commitment and publicly announce it.  It helps when others know your plan.

Stage 5:  Maintenance:  This stage is arrived at when people have been continuously engaged in the changed behavior for at least 6 months.  They are still subject to relapse so they need to find someone to give them positive feedback and rewards.  You need to be strong when life stresses you out, so you don’t reach for that cigarette to comfort you.  You can get through this stage, and then it becomes a new way of life.  A strategy to help (also helps in Stage 4) is to find a substitute behavior to counter the urge when it hits.  For example, if you feel the urge to snack at night, counter this by going for a short walk, or doing some stretching.  You must control the internal reaction, and be aware when the urge arises and find a substitute behavior.  Here is a good place to pray or practice meditation.

Stage 6:  Termination:  In the stage, the new behavior has become an integral part of daily life, so much so that the likelihood or relapse in non-existent.  There are very few individuals that actually reach this stage, but we can do it!

Throughout all of the stages, pray hard and believe that God is with you.  He will help you in your times of trouble, and you will be stronger for  your efforts.  Never give up and never cease to pray for help.   Blessings to all as you go through the stages of change!

Keep reading for today’s Healthy Living Recipe

Motivation to Exercise

Today’s verse:  3 John 1:2  “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

We all know that in order to lose weight, we need to cut the calories that go into our bodies. The other half of the equation is to expend more calories than we take in. This is achieved by exercising. For some people, like my sister, just the word “exercise” makes them break out in hives. exerciseMany people think of exercise as pumping iron, or Crossfit style workouts, which will make you puke. But it doesn’t have to be so hard.   The trick is to find something that you enjoy and make it work for you.

In a world where we are living so unhealthily, exercising can help us to focus on ourselves and our health. It can be a powerful incentive to quit smoking, or not to start again.  It can help us to focus our minds so that we are not thinking about our next high, or our next low.  We can see results so we don’t want to ruin it by stuffing our face full of unhealthy, fattening foods.

In 1996, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report of Physical Activity and Health stated that by becoming more active, we can lower the risk of death, and slow development of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. This report is old, but the principles remain the same. The best part is that you don’t have to join a gym and work out so hard. Even moderate activity for 30 minutes a day is a bonus. And the 30 minutes can be broken up into smaller amounts of 10-15 minutes at a time.  Who can’t handle 10 minutes, 3 times a day of something that is fun?

So what activities are beneficial? Anything that makes you move: walking is best, but it can be dancing, gardening, raking leaves, going up and down stairs, swimming or water aerobics. Obviously the more you do, the better the benefits. But everyone has to start somewhere.  And I guarantee you that once you start seeing the benefits, you will be motivated to keep going and maybe even do more.

Another benefit to exercise is that it gives us time to pray, to commune with God. How can we not appreciate God when we are out for a walk and see His creation in all its glory?  How can we not thank Him for the magnificent way our bodies work?   We can spend 10 or 15 minutes praying for others that need His comfort and strength, His healing hand.  Sometimes we get so busy in our day that we have trouble finding time to set aside for God.  But during exercise, you can do it.  So reap the benefits of exercise and start living a healthy, prayerful life!   Blessings to all as you huff and puff your way to health! Read on for today’s Healthy Living Recipe

Count Your Blessings

Today’s verse:  Psalm 118: 1  “O give thanks unto the Lord: for he is good,because his mercy endures forever” 

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling inadequate?   Like the whole world is against you?  Do you feel overwhelmed by your problems or addictions, stuck in an unhealthy lifestyle?  We all have days like this, and some of us suffer more than others. There are many reasons for feeling down (I’m not talking about depression, which is a clinical issue) but just a feeling of blah.

It helps to count your blessings.   Sometimes it is hard to see our blessings, when we are depressed about our weight, or our over-eating, or our smoking, etc.  But let’s not take our blessings for granted.  Even though we feel unhealthy, we have:

  • Lungs that work well and steadily, even when we abuse them by smoking
  • Bones that protect our organs and muscles, even though they may be weak from lack of exercise
  • A disease fighting immune system, even though our drugs and diets fight back
  • A heart that doesn’t stop pumping, even when we don’t treat it well
  • Nerve cells that send messages to the other parts of the body, even the damaged parts.
  • A digestive system to nourish our bodies, even as we try to destroy it through bad food choices

Our bodies continually support us, no matter how we abuse them.  We need to be healthy and repay our bodies for taking good care of us.    And we need to remember to thank God in all of His glory for taking care of us.  He is always there for us. We need to continually praise Him for the goodness He shows us, even as we destroy what He has blessed us with.  Take time today to thank God for your many blessings and ask Him for strength to deliver us from the evil we are doing to ourselves. In His goodness He will hear our prayer. Blessings to all! Continue reading “Count Your Blessings”