Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Time for a Spiritual Checkup

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message…

I have struggled with weight issues since I was a little girl. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I hate exercise, take medications that cause weight gain, enjoy eating, and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet and reward.

I was a young adult and living on my own before I realized that part of the creation process included green things called vegetables. The motto in our family was, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t right.” Gravy was a condiment and potatoes a staple at every meal. No bread? How can you have a meal without bread? And dessert was a necessity. Get the picture?

Over the years, I have tried just about every diet I could find. I could always lose weight. I just could not keep it off. The day came when I threw in the towel.

My name is Mary, and I am a Carboholic.

I was done. I was burned out on diets and quick fixes. I didn’t want to be a certain size. I just wanted to feel good and to be as healthy as I could possibly be at this point in my life.

I went to a highly-recommended Christian nutritionist who asked me to complete a packet of 500 questions (not kidding), did an EKG, ran more blood tests than I have ever had run in my life, and introduced me to the coolest machine that measures fat and muscle in the body. After all the tests were in, Dr. Tague smiled at me and calmly said, “Mary, you are a malnourished woman.”

My mouth literally fell open in shock. At the time, I was at least 50 pounds overweight and ate pretty much everything in sight whenever I felt the slightest twinge of hunger. How could I possibly be malnourished?

The doctor went on to explain that I was indeed eating … but I was eating all the wrong things … at all the wrong times. In fact, I was dangerously low in several key vitamins and minerals. He handed me a small paper cup filled with a mixture of those vitamins and minerals to take before leaving his office and said, “If you were my patient in the hospital, I would not release you until some of these levels came up.” Now he had my undivided attention.

God often works the same way.

I spend more time working on ministry checklists than I spend in God’s Word.

Prayer is more often a drive-through event than the sit-down-at-His-feet experience it should be.

I give God the leftovers of my day when I should purposefully plan my time with Him.

Rather than investing time in relationships, I follow friends on Facebook or text them to ease my guilt.

I choose what is easiest and more convenient in ministry instead of choosing the best part of ministry, which is often messy and inconvenient.

I often allow the hedges of protection to go untended, resulting in a lack of boundaries and margins in my life.

I allow myself to become a malnourished Christian.

God then lovingly but unquestionably gets my attention in several ways – a crisis that knocks every prop but Him out from under me, or an illness that rips every choice out of my hands and really makes me stop. I can then get the spiritual nourishment that really feeds my soul. Nourishment like sustaining time in the Word of God … significant, life-giving time in prayer … nurturing time with encouraging friends … opportunities to give myself away in service.

After following the carefully laid out plan of my nutritionist for two years, I have lost 65 pounds, but that is not the best or most important news. I feel better than I have felt in many years! My blood work, EKGs, and BMI (body mass index) are all perfect. And the doctor has now pronounced me a well-nourished woman.

I want to be a well-nourished Christian. I am taking the next year to get my spiritual ducks in a row. I am seeking God on what I should and should not do. I am setting boundaries and asking my husband and accountability group to hold my feet to the fire in keeping those boundaries firmly in place. I am practicing saying “no.” I am bringing order to any areas of chaos. I am resting beside the still waters. And I know He will restore my soul just as He has restored my body in so many ways.

How about you? Are you a malnourished Christian? Today is the day to take a step toward spiritual health!

Have a blessed day!

Weigh to Goal

Simple Tips To Get Healthy and Keep The Weight Off 

scale2Today is all about simple tips to get healthy and keep (or lose) the weight.  In just a few short weeks, summer will be gone, the kids will be back to school AND we will be thinking about the holiday season.  No, I am not trying to rush it BUT it does creep up faster than we want sometimes.

We have all heard that it is “just a matter of eating a little more healthily and moving a little bit more’.  I don’t know about you but that doesn’t always work for me.  Hubby would say that I eat like a rabbit – lots of healthy stuff but I still struggle with my weight.

So, if you are like me, here is quick guide to some foods that might just offer a helping hand when it comes to tackling health and weight in a simple and manageable way.

UnknownAvocado: Use it for: High Cholesterol.  A recent study showed that  consuming an avocado a day (as part of a moderate fat diet) could actually help to reduce your cholesterol.  Yes, they are high in fat, BUT most of their fat content is  ‘good’ fat, that helps to lower cholesterol, reduce risk of stroke and heart attack, and improve heart health in general.

imagesOily Fish: Use it for: Reduced Risk of Arthritis.
Did you know that you can reduce the risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis by eating just one serving of oily fish every week, according to  the Annals of Rheumatoid Diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes swelling, inflammation and stiffness in our joints, and is most common among the over 50s.

almonds-in-a-bowl-on-wooden-table-maxAlmonds: Use it for: High Blood Pressure and heart disease.  We all know that nuts can be a great source of protein and “good” fats, but many people steer clear of them because of their high calorie content. Believe it or not, almonds actually have one of the lowest calorie contents of most nuts.  Eating just 50g of almonds a day could help to reduce blood pressure, and improve blood flow, and as a result could reduce your risk of heart disease too.  They are a great source of protein too so they will help you stay full longer and give you some energy (or at least it works for me).

UnknownBowl of Oatmeal Use it for: Reduced risk of diabetes
I LOVE oatmeal.  I will admit that I didn’t eat it as a child but now it is part of my weekly menu.  It is a rich source of fiber, and oats have been found to help in stabilising our blood sugar levels, which prevents that mid-morning slump. Oats are also a great source of magnesium – a mineral that helps to regulate our insulin and glucose levels.  I love to use Almond Milk and fresh fruit in mine.  No time?  Don’t use the microwave oatmeal with lots of “chemicals” try overnight oats.  Place 1/2 cup oats with cinnamon, all spice 1 tablespoon of flax seed, 1 chopped apple and 1 cup of almond milk in a plastic container.  I leave this in the fridge over night, the next morning I put it in the microwave for 4 minutes.  YUMMY oatmeal that has a hint of “apple pie”.  I also use blueberries or strawberries.  If I am running late, I pack it in my thermal and eat it at work.  8542580A0000What are some of YOUR best tips for eating healthy and keeping the weight off? Share them with us, we would love to hear from YOU!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!