Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pray It Off 10/28/10 Four Step Priority Plan and SELFNESS

Four Step Priority Plan by Dr. Phil

If you are stressed, mentally exhausted and out of balance, you aren't being fair to yourself or your family. You'll be a happier person — not to mention a better wife, mother and friend — once you stop putting your own needs last. Dr. Phil has advice for making yourself a

1. Get over the guilt.

• Don't feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It's not selfish to make yourself a priority.
• Redefine what it means to be a "good mother." Instead of using society's definition, create your own measure of success as a parent.
• A good mother is not one who only sacrifices; a good mother is also able to give of herself. If you don't have passion and happiness in your own life, you can't give it to your children.
• Give yourself permission to be more than half of a couple, more than "just" a mom.

2. Make yourself a priority.

• Don't confuse the quality and quantity of your time. They simply aren't the same things. Focus on the impact that your time does have, and give yourself the same attention you'd give someone else you love.
• Don't do everything for your children. They are able to do some tasks on their own. Take the time to teach them how to do things for themselves.
• Learn the art of saying no, the ability to delegate and the capacity to accept help without feeling guilty.

3. Discover your passions.

• Find something that you love to do. What gives you a sense of pride, accomplishment or enjoyment?
• Think back to when you last felt this sort of passion. Now, ask yourself: "What would it take to put that feeling back into my life? What can I do to recreate that feeling now?"
• When you've found your passion, make time for it in your regular schedule. Don't allow yourself to treat this "me time" as an option. It should be as important as anything else.

4. Gain the support of your family.

• This isn't always easy, but it can be done. Let your family know how and why you need to do things for yourself — so you can be a better mom and wife.
• Compromise with your family. Help them to understand that while things may change, you won't be abandoning them.

For Weight Loss Success, Make Yourself a Priority through Selfness

Moving from Selfish to Selfness

As women we are often taught to be unselfish, to take other people's needs and feelings into consideration. Frequently we give all our life juice to others in the process, leaving nothing for ourselves. Putting the other guy (or gal) first is the message we receive from our families of origin and also from our culture. Needless to say, that creates problems with weight loss success.

Now being selfish, that's another kettle of fish. When we're selfish, we can be rude or insensitive or bitchy. We look out for our own needs no matter what others want or need. Sometimes we feel justified in this position because we used to be unselfish, but got burnt out and decided we just couldn't keep doing the giving.

Enter Selfness

Selfness is thinking of our own wants and needs while taking someone else's needs into consideration.

The trick here is that often we don't even know what we want. For example, a friend asks if we'd like coffee or tea. For many of us, our knee jerk response is, "Whatever you are having." We hate to put her out if she wanted coffee and we wanted tea; we're being unselfish. We hate to say we really want tea; we see that as being selfish. Frequently we're so well trained to the response of "whatever you are having" that we honestly have no idea what we want.

Practicing a selfness reply is the place to start. So when the question "What would you like?" is asked, we can take a guess and say, "Coffee, please." When we sip our coffee, we may realize that our mouths would rather be sipping tea. But we gave it a try. With practice in small ways we can start to listen to ourselves, which is the first step to selfness.

Steps to Selfness for Weight Loss Success

Start to listen to you. It's hard to say what we want and consider others' feelings when we're not sure of what we desire. If you don't know what you want, take a guess. Sometimes you are right.

Use I statements. "I would be happy to drive if that would be more convenient for you." I statements help us to take ownership of our thoughts, feelings and words. It moves us from the back passenger's seat – "anything you want, anyway you want it -- to the driver's seat.

Practice out loud on your own when you are driving or at home alone. "This time you can decide what we are having for dinner, but next time it will be my turn."

Believe that your needs count. Use affirmations such as:

o " I count my own needs as I count others' needs."
o "It is okay for me to ask for what I want."
o "I can lead or I can follow."
o "I take care to listen to my body and not just go along with what my friends want to eat."

Embrace selfness. Know that balance is what we're looking for in all things and is particularly important for weight loss success. Balancing our needs along with our family's, balancing home and work, food and exercise. The process of selfness is riding the teeter-totter of life so that we don't always end up feeling depleted and unacknowledged. Balance: To give and to receive.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pray It Off 10/28/10 - How to Live in the Moment by Making Yourself a Priority

How to Live in the Moment by Making Yourself a Priority

Taking Me Time and Not Feeling Guilty
By Robert Bradley


• Live life from a position of offense not a position of defense.
• Take time for yourself or wither away under the burden of other's expectations
• Live in the moment by prioritizing your needs first

You know that you need to get some time to yourself. Other people have told you that you need to take some time for yourself. But every time that you try, you either feel guilty and think that you're being selfish
or your mind starts swimming with "all the things that you have to do." Sometimes, some of the same people that have told you that you need to take some time for yourself start coming up with things for you to do "to help them out."

So, what do you do? How do you put yourself first and not give in to the nagging voices, both inside and out? But before answering that question, have you stopped to wonder, why you actually have those thoughts and hear those voices? Do you know what you need to do to quiet those voices?

Are you doing things for others in order to gain approval and to make yourself feel better about yourself and feel accepted? Simply put, to quiet those voices you have to change the way that you see yourself and the reason that you do things for others. In short, you have to decide whether you are going to do what you do from a defensive posture or an offensive posture? Are you going to work from a place of looking for acceptance or a place of being accepted? To quote from the bible, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places... wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Eph.1:3-6 KJV)

There are several major differences. And while some would say, do what you can do, for whoever you can, by any means necessary, there are a few problems with that. First, there are problems that affect yourself known as burnout, resentment, and "hurry sickness." At the same time, there are problems that affect others, such as co-dependence, selfishness and laziness.

Not making time for yourself and always doing things for others, generally comes from a position of defense; seeking approval from others, or what may be rationalized as, "meeting felt needs." That demonstrates a sense of misplaced priorities and not understanding ones own importance. Yes, you are important and yes you are needed. But, if a person doesn't understand their own importance, they tend to get their priorities mixed up and seek to meet everyone else's "felt needs" and not their own. And it is usually to that person's detriment.

When you don't take time for yourself, it leads to people depending on you and sometimes not doing what they need to do for themselves to be whole independent persons. This in turn leads to a lack of growth in them and a slow withering death in you.

To use an old word that may bring up thoughts of the ten commandments or tenured college professors who want some time off, you may a need a sabbath or sabbatical. Basically, you may need some time away to rest and re-create. A book by Gordon MacDonald, entitled, Ordering Your Private World, describes this need to re-create with more depth and passion than can be written in a short article like this. But, it boils down to your need to take time to meditate and be alone with God in order to reestablish your priorities and understand your place in His family and His world.

For us common folk, taking a sabbatical doesn't have to be a long protracted time away from everything and everyone. Here are a few things that we can do in our daily lives to start taking some me time:

-In the morning or evening, spend some time outdoors. Whether it's just sitting or taking a walk with no real destination, get out and enjoy the world around you.

-Make a chart or diagram of your relationships and responsibilities and put yourself and/or your needs and desires at the top.

-Make a conscious decision to drive slower, even if that means getting behind someone who is driving slower than the speed you would normally go. Making that decision does wonders for your breathing and your outlook on getting to your destination.

-Choose to say no to a request that will intrude on what you know is best for you, even if doing what's best for you is just sitting quietly doing nothing in particular. Generally, we know what we need to do for our well being, but a lot of time we put our well being on the shelf and accept the intrusions of others.

-Choose to say yes to something that will help you to relax and re-create.

These are just a few small steps that you can take to start putting yourself first and taking some me time without being selfish. When you proceed from a place of offense and not defense, a place of knowing that you are already accepted and not a place of seeking acceptance and approval, it's easier to know and set your boundaries and make time for yourself.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hero by Abandon

Pray It Off 9/21/10 Are You Afraid To Be Thin?

The Real Heart of Weight Loss by Dr. Matthew Anderson

Many of us use food to "kill" uncomfortable feelings. Instead of eating to kill these feelings, we can learn to identify, experience and work them through.
As we learn to manage our feelings, we change our relationship to food and to ourselves. We increase our self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-empowerment and often lose weight. Today I want to explore two very powerful emotions that many of us "eat to kill."


First we feel hope and/or expectation. Disappointment never occurs without one or the other. We may hope for or expect love, understanding, attention, recognition or affection. When these hopes or expectations are not realized, we feel powerful disappointment.

The reason the disappointment is so intense is that the things we hope for or expect are often significant to our well-being. We need them for emotional survival. But, sadly, many of us have lived our entire lives below the emotional poverty line. We hope that these wonderful gifts will arrive at the doorway of our hearts, but we live in constant disappointment -- it never quite happens.

Periodic disappointment is manageable. Chronic disappointment is overwhelming. So we eat to avoid the hollow, sinking feeling. We will eat anything to avoid its heart-wrenching effects. To those of you who are chronically disappointed with life, love and yourselves, and eat to manage it, I offer the following advice.

Make a disappointment list. Write down every disappointment you can remember. Leave nothing out. As you read it, let yourself feel. Breathe deeply and feel. Cry if you need to.

Then, make an action list. What were the disappointments about? What did you hope for? Make a list of new hopes and/or expectations you are willing to do something about. The key here is positive action. If you need attention, affection, recognition, admit it and go do something about it. Do something constructive. Act!


A client once told me she felt deprived every time she ate. She explained it like this. "When I cook a meal, I worry about not having enough food, so I buy more than I actually need. When I serve my plate, I feel a panic that I won’t take enough, so I take too much. I end up eating much more than I want or need because I feel so afraid that I will feel deprived. It’s so crazy. We weren’t poor growing up. We always had enough to eat, but I have these feelings every single meal. What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel so deprived all the time?"

Examining the underlying causes of your feelings, thoughts, and emotions will help you on your journey.

Are You Destined to Lose Weight?

Why have you failed to lose weight? You know by now that your journey will be full of triumphs and challenges. Obstacles will distract you at every turn. The question is - why have you failed to reach your goal? I think your failure may be related to your answers to these questions. Take an honest look and see what you think.

1. Do you want to lose weight enough to do what is hard?

2. Do you want to loss weight enough to make meaningful changes in your life?

3. Do you want to lose weight enough to face and heal your past?

4. Do you want to lose weight enough to end your toxic relationships?

5. Do you want to lose weight enough to change your opinion of who you think you are (from negative to positive)?

6. Do you want to lose weight enough to forgive yourself?

7. Do you want to lose weight enough to forgive others?

8. Do you want to lose weight enough to really get to know your deepest needs and wants?

9. Do you want to lose weight enough to really wake up and take charge of your life?

I imagine that you had at least some reaction to one or more of my questions. Which question really got to you? What do you think would happen in your life if you explored that question in depth? Think about it for a moment. Take an honest look and see what emerges. I am certain that something useful will appear.

Are You Afraid to Be Thin? By Dr. Matthew Anderson

All fat people say that they want to be thin. But research in the International Journal of Obesity shows that about 95 percent of overweight and obese people fail at weight loss. They do not fail because they are lazy and undisciplined. I believe they fail because many of them have a deep-seated fear of what will happen when and if they drop all those pounds.

Let’s assume for a few moments that you are one of these individuals. Here is a brief description of what occurs when you try to lose weight: The Gain-Lose-Gain Again Cycle.
You get sick of being overweight and decide to diet. For a while you drop pounds. Then without warning you lose control and begin to gain again. You feel possessed by a drive to eat and you cannot stop even though you know you are re-gaining all that weight you worked so hard to lose.

You hate and blame yourself and you may even feel a bit crazy. Eventually you get sick of being overweight and you begin the cycle all over again. The results are the same.

I have counseled hundreds of individuals who relate the same disturbing story. I have discovered that they share something in common: They all have a deep fear of being thin.

When their weight loss approaches a certain point they stop feeling fat. This is when their fear takes over and drives them to revert to fattening eating habits. The fear is often so strong that they have no way to productively manage themselves. This process continues until they gain enough to take away the fear.

Tragically, almost all diet programs have no understanding of this fear and provide no support, counseling or tools for discovering and managing it. Thus they make great claims about losing large amounts of weight, but never tell you that nearly all their weight-losers put it all back on in less than two years.

Is the situation hopeless? Are you doomed to be held hostage to your fear of thin? No. You can overcome fear if you identify it and then confront it with support.

The list below contains examples of fear I have collected from many of the weight-challenged people I have counseled. If you find even one item that applies to you, look more closely at yourself. Simply identifying a fear is a giant step on the way to overcoming it.

1. You may fear your sexual energy. Many individuals fear that they will lose control sexually if they lose weight.

2. You may have been raped and fat protects you from men: “If I stay obese men will not pursue me and I will be safe.”

3. Your self-esteem may be very low and you might actually feel undeserving of weight loss.

4. Your fat may be a way of resisting the growing-up process (baby fat), because adulthood seems frightening.

5. You may believe that losing weight might require you to make other scary or painful choices and changes (divorce, change jobs, lose friends).

6. Weight loss may require you to accept more challenges or responsibilities. Staying fat then becomes a form of safety.

7. You may fear being seen and therefore judged.

8. You may fear the loss of food as a drug and a hiding place from the difficulties of your life.

9. You may fear your own power: “Who and what will I be if I drop these pounds?”
Here’s a great exercise for exploring your fears of being thin. Write 25 different completions to this sentence:

“I am afraid to be thin because… ”

Don’t stop with five or 15. Do all 25. If you stop you may miss the best information. This technique will help you access your unconscious (your inner self), which contains the real reasons you cannot drop your excess weight. The first few responses to the unfinished sentence are usually superficial and obvious. Going to 25 will push you past the easy and often useless answers.

Once you begin to get deeper responses to this unfinished sentence you will see that your difficulties with weight loss are well founded. Many of my clients have said to me, “No wonder I had such trouble and failed so often. That fear is pretty intense.”

Identifying the source of the fear will give you valuable information. Then you can begin the inner work necessary to heal or manage it. Once you do this you will find the entire process of weight loss easier and your chances of success will increase greatly.

What might that inner work entail? If, for example, you were sexually abused as a child, you might fear losing weight because your new thinner body would attract men who will harm you. Once you discover this you could see a professional counselor to face and heal the pain and lose your fear of men. Then getting thinner would no longer pose a threat to your well-being.

Another example that is prevalent among women is the fear of power: “Who and what will I be if I drop these pounds?” If you do my exercise above and discover that you have this concern you can learn to explore and express your power in manageable steps and not get “out of control.” As you begin to see that your personal power is your friend and can produce positive results in your life, the fear will shrink — and often your body will do the same.

In every instance, whatever this exercise reveals can be faced, managed or healed. Then the fear that blocks your successful weight loss is diminished. As it lessens you will discover that the process of long-term, healthy weight loss becomes easier.

The central issue here is your willingness to find the true inner sources of your fear of being thin. Once you make this powerful discovery you will be on the way to a healthier life and a thinner body.

Strange Question: Are you afraid of being thin?

Even Stranger Answer: Yes, you very well may be and you will probably stay fat until you discover and confront the very good reasons that are behind this fear.

Okay, now that I have your full attention, I want to make some sense out of my provocative question. I know you really want to lose weight. I also assume that you have a history of losing and gaining and that you feel frustrated and possibly dejected about achieving long term weight loss. However, if I have come close to describing you then we definitely have something to talk about. I have some good news and some bad news and the bad is not really that terrible.

The Bad News: You have a hidden force inside you that is keeping you fat. It is this force that suddenly appears after you have begun to lose weight and drives you back to overeating and comfort foods. This force is located in what I call the Unconscious Mind and it has tremendous power over your eating habits. Most weight-challenged persons cannot lose weight and keep it off until they discover and heal or manage this inner force.

The Good News: This force can be identified and healed or managed (with a bit of inner work). Individuals who do this kind of inner work usually make much better progress on their weight loss journey. I lost 65 pounds this way and have kept it off for 5 years.

Question: How do you make contact with your Unconscious Mind and identify the reasons it want to keep you fat?

Answer: Do the exercises I have described below. Really do them. Take them seriously and they will produce some truly meaningful results. Each one will make a big difference.

Discovering why you are afraid to be thin

Do a Fat Time Line. Write down a history of your body. Start with a time that you were not fat. Then note when you began to gain. Describe the events that occurred in your life as you were beginning to gain weight. See if you can identify any incident or series of incidents that may have caused you significant pain. Explore the possible connection between your weight gain and then painful incidents. See if you can begin to understand why being fat might be a way of protecting you from any or all of the pain in your past.

Fear of Thin. Make a list of at least 5 uncomfortable things or situations that you will have to confront or handle if you become the weight you really want to be. Do not tell yourself that being thin will only bring you good things. Major life change always has its down side. Think about it. What kinds of potential difficulties will weight loss bring you? You may not consciously think about this but your Unconscious Mind has some concerns. If you identify them and take them seriously, you can change your reactions and handle your fears.

Weight loss may equal loss of excuses. If you lose weight you might lose some of the excuses you have used to hide from life. What if you have used your weight to hide from love or sex or being successful or being more visible or powerful or more outspoken? When the weight goes away, your excuses may also disappear. Take an honest look at your motivations and see how true this one is for you. Clue: This applies to almost all chronically overweight persons.

"Why You Want to be Fat"

Why do you find weight loss so difficult? You struggle to lose and then some hidden force pops up and takes control and makes you fat again. The fact is that you are being driven by 2 conflicting forces and one of them actually wants you to stay fat.

“Until we identify and manage the inner forces that fear and resist weight loss we will be doomed to stay fat. The good news is that this can actually be done with some serious and focused inner work! This kind of work really makes a difference to one’s body and one’s life in general.”

Dr. Matthew Anderson is an author (The Prayer Diet), counselor (35 years) and national columnist/expert on weight loss, motivation, self-management and relationships.

Fitting in fitness: Finding time for physical activity

Finding time for fitness can be tough. The key is making it convenient. Consider these practical suggestions. By Mayo Clinic staff

Are your days a blur of work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends? Setting aside enough time for sleep — let alone exercise — can be tough. Yet even the busiest people can find time for fitness. The key is to make it convenient.

Make the most of your time at home Time spent at home doesn't have to be "couch potato" time. To make fitness a priority at home:

Wake up early. Get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do and use the extra time to walk on your treadmill or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Some research suggests that people who exercise in the morning are more likely than are others to stick with it. If you're too stiff in the morning, however, wait to exercise until later in the day.

Make household chores count. Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub or do other housework at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping. Outdoor work counts, too. Mowing the lawn with a push mower is a great way to burn calories. Raking and hoeing strengthen your arms and back, and digging works your arms and legs.

Be active while watching TV. Use hand weights, ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine during your favorite shows. Get off the couch to change the channel or adjust the volume.

Involve the whole family. Take group walks before or after dinner. Play catch. Ride your bikes. It's best to build up to about 30 minutes of continuous activity, but you can exercise in shorter bursts, too.

Get your dog into the act. Take daily walks with Fido or Fluffy. If you don't have a dog, borrow one. An enthusiastic dog may give you the motivation you need to lace up your walking shoes.

Make it an escape Sometimes being at home can be a distraction. If you prefer to get your exercise away from home, you might:

Get social. You may do better with the encouragement of others. Try a dance club, hiking group or golf league.

Join a team. Sign up for a softball, soccer or volleyball team through your company or through your local parks and recreation department. Making a commitment to a team is a great motivator.

Join a fitness club. Sign up for a group exercise class at a
nearby fitness club. The cost may be an incentive to stick with it.

Plan active outings. Make a date with a friend to hike in a local park, or take a family trip to the zoo.

Be active while running errands. When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you're ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.

Work out at work To fit in more physical activity while you're on the job:

Make the most of your commute. Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.

Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs. Better yet, skip the elevator entirely.

Take fitness breaks. Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a short walk.

Start a lunchtime walking group with your co-workers. The regular routine and the support of your co-workers may help you stick with the program.

Schedule physical activity as you would any other appointment during the day Don't change your exercise plans for every interruption that comes along. Remind yourself that physical activity is important, too.

If you travel for work, plan ahead. Bring your jump-rope or choose a hotel that has fitness facilities. If you're stuck in an airport waiting for a plane, grab your bags and take a walk.

There's no single best way to fit physical activity into your day. Your lifestyle, job and family responsibilities will point to the most convenient time and place for fitness. Do what works for you — and make daily physical activity a habit you keep.


A savory custard enriched with the goodness of spinach
in a delicate pastry crust
Hands On: 15 minutes | Total: 1 hour 10 minutes | Makes: 6 servings (1 wedge each)


• 1 frozen deep dish pie crust (9-inch), thawed
• PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
• 1 medium onion, chopped (1 med = 1/2 cup)
• 1 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
• 1 cup Egg Beaters® Original (1 cup = 8 oz)
• 1 cup fat free milk
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
• 3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly prick side of pie crust with fork. Bake 5 minutes, or until lightly browned; set aside. Reduce oven to 350°F.
2. Spray medium skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat . Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 4 minutes, or until tender. Add spinach; mix well. Spoon into crust.
3. Combine Egg Beaters, milk, flour, basil and hot pepper sauce; pour over spinach mixture. Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent over browning.
4. Bake 50 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 6 slices to serve.

Calories 215 Sugars 5 g
Total fat 10 g Protein 8 g
Saturated fat 3 g Vitamin A 87%
Cholesterol 7 MG Vitamin C 3%
Sodium 267 MG Calcium 12%
Carbohydrate 24 g Iron 14%
Dietary fiber 1 g

Pray It Off 10/21/10 Dan 50 Pound Praise the Name of Jesus Award

Congratulations Dan! We are all so proud of you!! God Bless You!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pray It Off 10/21/10 Overcoming Food Addiction

Eating Healthy and Overcoming Food Addiction
An Interview with 'Dinner Diva' Leanne Ely, Co-author of "Body Clutter"
By Linda Lowen, Guide

Millions of men and women are interested in eating healthy but have a hard time doing so because they struggle with food addiction. If eating is simply a function of taste -- a sense we satisfy -- why are we ruled by food and food obsession? We want to eat this...but we know we should eat that. We beat ourselves up for eating something we think is 'bad.' We socialize, comfort, reward and punish ourselves with food. So how can we come to terms with what we eat?

One woman who's conquered her food issues is Leanne Ely. A certified nutrition counselor, cookbook author and columnist, she's also the Dinner Diva, offering tips through her website Ely co-authored the bestselling book Body Clutter which takes a unique approach to excess weight as clutter that crowds our lives. Ely spoke to about what it takes to physically and mentally resolve food issues, and how she lost 65 pounds as a result.

With alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, you go cold turkey and don't touch the stuff for the rest of your life. But you can't do that with food.

Ely: Baloney. Yes you can - you avoid the foods that are a problem for you. Fish and vegetables aren't the issue. Chocolate is. There's no way on earth that you have to eat a piece of chocolate. You eat it because you want to. You can abstain from chocolate and it's not going to hurt you. But if you say you have to abstain from fish and vegetables, I'd call you on it, because that's not the problem.

Food addictions are all about pasta, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese - things Oprah talks about on her show. You have to look at your own addictions.
You can eat what you want if you account for it.

If you truly can't live without chocolate, buy a bag of miniature Dove bars. When you need it, eat just one. But if it sets you off on an eating binge, then you need to avoid chocolate. Abstain from those foods that are problematic for you. It's that simple.

What's the worst food choice we make? Ely: We choose poor quality foods instead of the best quality foods. We don't eat because we're hungry. We're looking for mouth entertainment. We ask "What am I hungry for?" and nibble a little here and a little there, saying "No, this isn't it…no that's not it." We eat something sweet and follow it with something salty, looking for that one thing that satisfies us.

Food is fuel. It's not entertainment. We don't need entertainment every time we eat. If a meal is healthy, like grilled vegetables and chicken, we're eating quality foods that fuel us. If we fill ourselves up with the best quality foods, we're adding to our lives.

Women have this intense emotional connection to what we eat. Why is that so? It's the way we're raised. Our mothers consoled us with comfort foods. Family gatherings, birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, funerals – everything is centered on food. But we lose our grip on what's real when we eat this way every single time.

We approach food as if it holds greater meaning for us. It's not love - friendship - acceptance. It's an object. A bag of candy. The pleasure we get from it lasts less than a minute, but the after effects are forever.

Shift your thinking. Instead of you working for food, think of food working for you. Change your attitude and things will turn around. You'll get out of the downward spiral of not eating well. Good quality food cleans your body – they do for the inside what shampoo and soap do for the outside.

What do we think we know about nutrition and eating right that we've gotten all wrong?

Ely: We use nutrition information to pig out. Look at trans fat - we think if we don't eat trans fats, we're eating healthy. We're wrong. It's all about calories and simple math. If you eat more than you need, excess calories become fat. Yet we still think if it's healthy, we can just strap on the feedbag. It doesn't work. Counting calories works.

What triggers a woman to make changes in her eating habits and lifestyle?

Ely: It depends on the woman. Some will change for an upcoming event: a wedding or a class reunion. Usually it doesn't last. Lasting change happens because of a health scare or a moment of truth, like a photograph.

For me, it all came down to a conversation I had with a friend. I'd gained a lot of weight but didn't want to admit it, so I crammed myself into size 18 pants that were too tight. Then I saw a photo of myself and was horrified. I thought, "I can't believe I have these ginormous arms! We could eat off them for a week." I said to my friend, "I don't know who I am anymore. I'm not a 237 pound woman."

Since then, I've lost 65 pounds. I was wearing a size 18 and now I'm a size 8. But before I could begin to lose weight, I had to accept who I was and where I was in my life.

You mentioned Oprah earlier. Watching celebrities struggle with weight - how does that impact women's lives?

Ely: Oprah verbalizes the stuff we all worry about inside. Her programs understand where women live, as opposed to other people who don't get to the meat of the matter the way she does. Weight is a hard and painful burden, and when we see Oprah and other celebrities lose weight we get excited and think we can do it ourselves. It's easy to lose weight. The hard part is keeping it off.

In your book Body Clutter, you're very candid about your own struggles with food and weight. Why go down that road?

Ely: Here's why. When we bare our souls and open our kimonos, that's when we touch other women's hearts and souls. We show them a way out and a destination. But we have to have a place to start. We have to come to terms with where we are and make peace with ourselves. You can't start on a journey until you know where you begin.

We have to have a bit of adventure inside of us. We're shaping our bodies and sharpening our minds. Exercise isn't torture. It's a way of loving ourselves so that we can appreciate the body we're given. It's hard work, and I know there are women who don't want to hear that. We all want that easy button. But the flip side is that sense of accomplishmnent, that "hot damn, I did it!"

It all comes down to this: You just have to take care of yourself the very best that you can.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Pray It Off 10/21/10 Food Addiction

Food Addiction: The "Dis-Ease" Model of Obesity*

Definition of Food Addiction

Simply put, food addiction involves an unhealthy relationship, or "dis-ease," with food
that a person is unable to stop or control despite the immense pain, suffering and overall harm it is causing.

Symptoms of Food Addiction

--Obsessed with thoughts about food
--Compulsive overeating
--The feeling of being out of control when eating
--Eating until you feel sick
--Eating to relieve worry or stress
--Overeating simply because food is there
--Feelings of guilt, shame and remorse after eating
--Hiding food so you can eat it in secret
--Eating to ease painful emotions
--Eating extremely fast
--Eating to pass the time
--Eating everything on the plate even when you are full
--Awareness that eating patterns are abnormal
--History of many unsuccessful diets
--Preoccupation with weight
--Health problems because of weight
--Going on a food binge after dieting or trying to cut back
--Lying about your eating
--Self-loathing and self-hatred because of your eating and/or weight

Biopsychosocial/Spiritual Model of "Dis-ease"

A more complex understanding of food addiction must address a myriad of interconnected biological, psychological, social and spiritual factors that may be contributing to the "dis-ease." These factors include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

Biological Components of Food Addiction

--Genetic inheritance
--Reward Deficiency Syndrome
--Allergy-Addiction Syndrome
--Comorbid disease
--Insulin resistance
--Leptin resistance
--Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
--Thyroid dysfunction
--Adrenal insufficiency
--Neurotransmitter imbalances

Psychological Components of Food Addiction

--Emotional inheritance
--Critical self-appraisal
--Avoidance, denial, numbing of true feelings
--Repression of previous trauma
--Projection of blame
--Poor emotional self-regulation
--Pain intolerance
--Need for a "quick fix," or instant gratification

Social Components of Food Addiction

--Attachment disorders (unrelenting fear of being used, abused, rejected and ultimately abandoned)
--Inability to give and receive true unconditional love

Spiritual Components of Food Addiction

--Lack of belonging (feeling "a part from" rather than "a part of"; lost and longing to find way "back home")

Healing the "Dis-Ease" of Food Addiction

Because of its complexity, those who suffer from food addiction rarely find release from their "dis-ease" on their own. There is no one cause or simple solution. Recognizing you may have a problem is the first step. Reaching out for help is the next. The best place to start is by talking to a mental health professional that specializes in the treatment of food addiction. 12-Step programs like Overeaters Anonymous ( and those for eating disorders ( can also be very helpful.



Friday, October 22, 2010

Pray It Off 10/14/10 Judiann Cesta Yoga: Experiential Meditation Exercises

The Syracuse NY, Thursday night Pray It Off group was pleased to welcome Judiann Cesta, Certified Yoga Instructor to our October 14th meeting.

In this video Judiann shows us some Meditation Techniques.

She is the owner of East Street Yoga in Skaneateles NY and offers Private, Semi-Private and Group Classes for all levels. She can be reached at (315) 685-9096.

Thank You Judiann!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pray It Off 10/14/10 Judiann Cesta Yoga: Experiential Breathing Techniques

The Syracuse NY, Thursday night Pray It Off group was pleased to welcome Judiann Cesta, Certified Yoga Instructor to our October 14th meeting.

In this video Judiann discusses breathing
and shows us some Yoga breathing techniques

She is the owner of East Street Yoga in Skaneateles NY and offers Private, Semi-Private and Group Classes for all levels. She can be reached at (315) 685-9096.

Thank You Judiann!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pray it Off 10/14/10 Judiann Cesta Yoga: Prana Life Force - Sun, Water, Food and Breath

The Syracuse NY, Thursday night Pray It Off group was pleased to welcome Judiann Cesta, Certified Yoga Instructor to our October 14th meeting.

In this video Judiann talks about our Life Force or Prana;
Sun, Water, Food (that is photosynthesized)and Breath

She is the owner of East Street Yoga in Skaneateles NY and offers Private, Semi-Private and Group Classes for all levels. She can be reached at (315) 685-9096.

Thank You Judiann!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Pray it Off 10/14/10 Judiann Cesta Yoga: Kundalini,Enlightenment & Unconditional Love

The Syracuse NY, Thursday night Pray It Off group was pleased to welcome Judiann Cesta, Certified Yoga Instructor to our October 14th meeting.

In this video Judiann delves into Kundalini,
Unconditional Love, Enlightenment and the purpose of Yoga - happiness.

She is the owner of East Street Yoga in Skaneateles NY and offers Private, Semi-Private and Group Classes for all levels. She can be reached at (315) 685-9096.

Thank You Judiann!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pray It Off 10/14/10 Judiann Cesta Introduction to YOGA

The Syracuse NY, Thursday night Pray It Off group was pleased to welcome Judiann Cesta, Certified Yoga Instructor to our October 14th meeting.

In this video Judiann gives us some personal background as well as an introduction to Yoga.

She is the owner of East Street Yoga in Skaneateles NY and offers Private, Semi-Private and Group Classes for all levels. She can be reached at (315) 685-9096.

Thank You Judiann!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Above All by Paul Baloche

Above All by Paul Baloche

Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure what You're worth

Laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And you thought of me
Above all
Thank you Lord

Repeat All

Thank you Lord
You thought of me and you gave Your life for me
That’s how I want to be Lord
To keep you first in my heart Lord
Above all

Pray It Off 10/07/10 Self-Control is Exhaustible, Faith, Hope and Love, Dr. Oz Tips, Chicken Fajita Wrap

Why Change Is So Hard: Self-Control Is Exhaustible By: Dan Heath

You hear something a lot about change: People won’t change because they’re too lazy. Well, I’m here to stick up for the lazy people. In fact, I want to argue that what looks like laziness is actually exhaustion. The proof comes from a psychology study that is absolutely fascinating.

So picture this: Students come into a lab. It smells amazing—someone has just baked chocolate-chip cookies. On a table in front of them, there are two bowls. One has the fresh-baked cookies. The other has a bunch of radishes. Some of the students are asked to eat some cookies but no radishes. Others are told to eat radishes but no cookies, and while they sit there, nibbling on rabbit food, the researchers leave the room – which is intended to tempt them and is frankly kind of sadistic. But in the study none of the radish-eaters slipped – they showed admirable self-control. And meanwhile, it probably goes without saying that the people gorging on cookies didn’t experience much temptation.

Then, the two groups are asked to do a second, seemingly unrelated task—basically a kind of logic puzzle where they have to trace out a complicated geometric pattern without raising their pencil. Unbeknownst to them, the puzzle can’t be solved. The scientists are curious how long they’ll persist at a difficult task. So the cookie-eaters try again and again, for an average of 19 minutes, before they give up. But the radish-eaters—they only last an average of 8 minutes. What gives?

The answer may surprise you: They ran out of self-control. Psychologists have discovered that self-control is an exhaustible resource. And I don’t mean self-control only in the sense of turning down cookies or alcohol, I mean a broader sense of self-supervision—any time you’re paying close attention to your actions, like when you’re having a tough conversation or trying to stay focused on a paper you’re writing. This helps to explain why, after a long hard day at the office, we’re more likely to snap at our spouses or have one drink too many—we’ve depleted our self-control.

And here’s why this matters for change: In almost all change situations, you’re substituting new, unfamiliar behaviors for old, comfortable ones, and that burns self-control. Let’s say I present a new morning routine to you that specifies how you’ll shower and brush your teeth. You’ll understand it and you might even agree with my process. But to pull it off, you’ll have to supervise yourself very carefully. Every fiber of your being will want to go back to the old way of doing things. Inevitably, you’ll slip. And if I were uncharitable, I’d see you going back to the old way and I’d say, You’re so lazy. Why can’t you just change?

This brings us back to the point I promised I’d make: That what looks like laziness is often exhaustion. Change wears people out—even well-intentioned people will simply run out of fuel.


So WHY did Paul, given the chance to speak to a king about Jesus, decide in the Spirit to speak to Felix of “righteousness, SELF CONTROL, and the Judgment to come”? (Acts 24:25)

What does “SELF CONTROL” have to do with anything—other than losing weight or other forms of difficult restraint? Surely we “buffet our bodies daily” and we “make our bodies our slaves” to the praise of His Glory. But, what is SO significant about SELF CONTROL that Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, would use such a limited and rare opportunity before the nations and its kings to speak of SELF CONTROL?

Self Control is far from some isolated “good character attribute” of athletes and Pharisees.

The truth is SELF CONTROL, in its essence, is really all about FAITH, and HOPE, and LOVE. And nothing could be more profound and practical than that. SELF CONTROL is a statement before God that YOU CAN by His Spirit and Life, AND WILL for His Glory, RESTRAIN AND REFUSE “instant gratification” of your flesh. You will “CONTROL SELF” and “deny your very self” as Christ taught us—by FAITH, for the HOPE of what is to come, and for the LOVE of the One who is Coming.

OF COURSE God’s Heart regarding “self control” is that it is always “for” and “in” Christ—not a prideful or man-pleasing exhibition of self-life or vanity.
SELF CONTROL—we willingly restrain and deprive sensual indulgence of the eyes and flesh. We withhold immediate satiation of our own appetites, desires, and preferences of flesh—for the sake of Jesus and FUTURE Reward. Self Control involves what we are called to DO (yet do not desire), as well as the “desirable” things we are called to withhold from ourselves. THIS is Biblical “self control.”

Self Control is clearly an outward expression of an INNER “FAITH, and HOPE, and LOVE.” We choose to do what pleases HIM and so “for the joy set before us, endure the cross.” Self Control is an upward-looking choice, day by day, situation by situation, connected to the Head, and abiding in the Vine. We choose to act upon, to do or not do, what our flesh or desires or ambitions would not normally desire to choose. And we do it for His sake, for the greater Call beyond “immediate pleasure” or “immediate satisfaction” or “personal desires.” Delayed gratification, intentionally, for Jesus—that is SELF CONTROL. As Father therefore described it, self control is a “fruit of the Spirit”.

“From Him and through Him and to Him are all things!”

“Righteousness, SELF CONTROL, and the Judgment to Come.” Good News and Life that is Truly Life.

Self Control is but an outward expression and reality joined to Him… of FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE. Self Control, delayed gratification in Faith, for Him and others, and for the sake of the Blessed Hope.

For the Lamb of God who was slain, who rose from the dead triumphantly, and who is Coming again to claim those who are His.

Dr. Oz's Longevity Plan For the 50-Plus by Vanessa Voltolina

Dr. Oz is certainly not lacking in enthusiastic followers of his healthy living and lifestyle advice. But recently, the favorite physician focused on a new market by teaming up with AARP Magazine and creating a six-month plan for increasing longevity.

Oz, who himself is on the verge of turning the big 5-0, provided the publication, which focuses on the 50-year-old-plus population, with a regimen that features 18 stretching, strength and balance exercises, most of which can be done at home, according to Reuters. Oz also provided dietary guidelines and checklists to the magazine. The staple of the plan is a daily, 30-minute walk.

"This six month plan is designed to be a gradual process that will put you on the road to a longer, healthier life," Dr. Oz told AARP. "Consider it as a long journey in a car with a friendly GPS system. You might make a wrong turn along the way, but you simply take the next available U-turn to correct your course. It is meant to allow you to 'recalibrate' without judgment."

Here's a preview of a few of Dr. Oz's exercise tips from the May/June 2010 issue of AARP (these steps are found in month three of the plan):

Week 1: Boost your aerobic activity by stepping up the pace of your walking -- you should be breathing fairly hard -- and by adding 3,000 more steps each day.

Week 2: Add a short, 10-minute strength-training program to your routine. Start with scissor legs, then add exercises to strengthen your shoulders, arms and legs.

Week 3: This week, start each day with a 10-minute stretching session. Flexibility is key to ensuring that you don't injure yourself as you increase your physical activity. You'll want to stretch your chest, back, abdominals, hips and hamstrings.

Week 4: Our sense of balance is coordinated by three things -- our proprioception (which is our brain telling us where we are in space), our vision and our hearing. As we age, our ability to integrate the signals from these three systems declines. But it takes only a few minutes a day to fine-tune it.

Walk 30 minutes: Working out has benefits for your heart, weight, even your sex life. It may also help stave off Alzheimer's, new research finds.

Brush and floss: Brushing removes only about 60 percent of the germs from between your teeth.

Drink two cups of green tea: Green tea may lessen the risk of some cancers, plus it lowers cholesterol levels.

Take 400mg of DHA omega-3s, 1,000 IU vitamin D, and 1,000mg calcium: Omega-3s diminish cognitive decline; calcium and vitamin D boost bone density.

Sleep seven to eight hours a night: Our bodies use downtime to repair cells, process information, and raise growth hormone levels, which can up bone density and decrease body fat.

Meditate for five minutes: Yoga, prayer, meditation -- they're all key to reducing stress and finding purpose (more on these in Months 4 and 5).

Chicken Fajita Wraps*

Servings Per Recipe: 2 servings

Calories 299.0
Total Fat 7.0g
Saturated Fat 1.0g
Cholesterol 66.0mg
Sodium 529.0mg
Total Carbs 29.0g
Dietary Fiber 3.0g
Protein 28.0g


• 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast , trimmed of fat
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt , divided
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
• Several dashes of hot sauce to taste
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 each small onion , thinly sliced
• 2 each whole-wheat tortillas , heated (see Tip)
• 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
• 1 each plum tomato , thinly sliced

• Preheat broiler.
• Place chicken in a shallow dish and sprinkle with lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
• Whisk sour cream, cilantro, hot sauce, cumin and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
• Place the chicken and onion on a lightly oiled baking sheet and broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and stir the onion. Broil until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thin slices.
• To assemble wraps: Place the tortillas on a work surface or plate. Top each with half of the chicken, onion, lettuce and tomato. Top each with half of the sour cream mixture and roll into wraps. Serve immediately.



Pray It Off 10/07/10 Absolute Willpower

Absolute Willpower by Angela Hynes

You can turn weak, underutilized self-control into strong, tough resolve that will help you meet your fitness and weight-loss goal.

The ad that used to challenge "Bet you can't eat just one" had your number: That first potato chip inevitably leads to a near-empty bag. It only takes the aroma of cookies baking for your determination to eat fewer sweets to become as soggy as a dunked biscotti. And your resolve to walk three mornings a week was a goner the first time it rained and the urge to snuggle in bed for another half-hour was too powerful to resist. You know what to do to lose weight and be healthy; you just seem to lack the willpower to do it. However, research reveals that you can train and strengthen your willpower much as you would your muscles.

But should you even try? In some circles, willpower has become almost a dirty word. For example, TV shrink Phil McGraw, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Phil) has flatly stated that willpower is a myth and will not help you change anything. According to weight-loss expert Howard J. Rankin, Ph.D., a consulting clinical psychologist at the Hilton Head Institute in Hilton Head, S.C., and the author of The TOPS Way to Weight Loss (Hay House, 2004), however, you can learn to resist temptation. But doing so requires meeting it head-on.

At first, that might seem counterintuitive. "Most people think that the only way of dealing with [temptation] is by avoiding it, but that simply reinforces their powerlessness," Rankin says. "Self-control and self-discipline are the most important things we need to live an effective life."

Lack of willpower (or "self-control strength," as researchers call it) is implicated in a number of personal and societal problems, agrees Megan Oaten, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who is conducting cutting-edge studies on self-control. "If you think about the overconsumption of unhealthy foods, lack of exercise, gambling and drugs, then self-control could be one of the most important medicines for our time," she says. "It's very positive, and it's available to everyone."

Practice makes perfect. Ah, you say, but you already know you just don't have much willpower. According to Oaten, there are individual differences in our capacity for self-control, and you may indeed have been born with less potential in this area. But Oaten's studies have shown that practice levels the playing field. "While we find initial differences in people's self-control abilities, once they start exercising it the benefits apply equally to all," she says. If you picture self-control as functioning like a muscle, she adds, "we have a short- and long-term effect from exercising it."

In the short term, your willpower can "hurt" much like your muscles do the first time you subject them to a good workout. This is especially true if you overdo it. Imagine going to the gym for the first time and trying to do a step class, a Spinning class, a Pilates class and a strength-training workout all on the same day! You might be so sore and tired that you'd never go back. That's what you are doing to your willpower when you make New Year's resolutions to eat less fat and more fiber, exercise regularly, cut out alcohol, get more sleep, be on time for appointments and write in your journal daily. "With the best intentions, you can overload your self-control strength, and it can't possibly cope with all those demands," Oaten says. "In that case we can predict a failure."

However, if you start out sensibly, taking on one task at a time, pushing through the initial discomfort, improving your performance and sticking with it no matter what, just as a muscle strengthens, so will your willpower. "That's the long-term effect," Oaten says.

The willpower workout. Rankin, who did seminal studies on self-control at the University of London in the 1970s, has devised tried-and-tested exercises that you do sequentially to power up your willpower. "This technique does not require you to do anything you haven't done already," he says. For example, you occasionally resist dessert; you just don't do it often enough to make a difference, or with the awareness that each time you do it you are strengthening your willpower. The following exercises can help you systematically and mindfully deal with food-related temptations.

Step 1: Visualize yourself resisting temptation. One proven method used by athletes, actors and musicians is visualization. "Visualization is practice," Rankin says. That's because you use the same neural pathways to imagine an activity as you do when you actually engage in it. A basketball player, for example, can "practice" making free throws without being on the court. Similarly, by means of visualization you can practice resisting temptation without having food anywhere near you, so there is no risk of giving in to it. "If you can't imagine yourself doing something," Rankin says, "the chance of your actually doing it is pretty remote."

Visualization exercise Find a quiet place, close your eyes and take some deep belly breaths to relax. Now picture yourself successfully resisting the food that regularly entices you. Say your downfall is noshing on ice cream while watching television. Imagine that it's 9:15 p.m., you're engrossed in Desperate Housewives, and you become distracted by the carton of Rocky Road in the freezer. See yourself going to the freezer, taking it out, then putting it back without having any. Imagine the whole scenario in detail: The more vivid it is, the more successful it's likely to be. Always conclude with a positive outcome. Practice until you're able to do this, then move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Have close encounters. The key here is to be around foods that tempt you without responding in your usual way. In other words, face temptation but don't yield to it. "Temptation is out there," Rankin says, "and it's empowering to know you can deal with it rather than feeling you're always walking a tightrope."

Rankin illustrates this concept with a former patient, an obese woman who lived in New York City. She would go into her favorite bakery a couple of times a day, and each time she'd eat a croissant or two and a muffin. "So we did the visualization, then went to the bakery, looked in the window and left," Rankin says. The woman then practiced this by herself a few times. Next, they went together into the bakery, with all its tempting aromas. "We looked at the stuff, then left," he says. Last, the woman practiced doing that herself, gradually working up to the point that she could sit in the bakery for 15-20 minutes and just have coffee. "She wrote to me a year or so later and said she had lost 100 pounds," Rankin says. "This was the pivotal technique that made her feel she had some control."

Close-encounter exercise - Try the same procedure with any food that customarily is your downfall. Enlist the help of a supportive friend, as in the example above. When you can successfully be alone around a "binge food" without falling prey, go on to Step 3.

Step 3: Take a taste test. This exercise involves eating a small amount of your favorite food, then stopping. Why subject yourself to that kind of temptation? Many people claim they can occasionally indulge in something without getting out of control, Rankin explains. "You need to know if you really can do that or if you are deluding yourself." There may be some foods that you should avoid completely. If, in fact, you can't ever "eat just one," then use the first two steps to train yourself not to eat that first one at all. On the other hand, it's extremely encouraging to discover that you can stop after a couple of spoonfuls of chocolate mousse.

Taste-test exercise Try having a bite of cake at a birthday party or just one of your co-worker's cookies. Take advantage of whatever opportunities arise. "It's up to any one person on any one day to tackle what they feel they can manage," Rankin says. "Don't give up because what you could do yesterday was not possible today. The important point is to successfully do it enough times to strengthen your willpower by flexing it."

Experiencing good results with food can give you confidence to try the technique with other behaviors, like quitting smoking or starting to exercise. As Rankin says, "Whenever you successfully resist temptation, you are developing self-control."

You might find that mastering self-control in one area of your life affects others, so that you achieve other goals without even focusing on them. In an Australian study, people who hadn't taken part in any regular physical activity for at least 12 months undertook to discipline themselves to exercise regularly. During the two-month program, they also reported less stress, smoking and alcohol consumption. But healthy eating, emotional control, maintenance of household chores, adherence to commitments, monitoring of spending and improvements in study habits increased.

The same techniques that can help you learn to resist your favorite binge foods can help you build your will to exercise.

Visualize exercising. Picture yourself lacing up your walking shoes or putting on your workout clothes. Now imagine the sensation of striding along with the fresh air on your skin: Picture the route, the sights and the people you'll encounter. If it's more appealing, feel yourself gently working your muscles in a stretch or yoga class.

Have close encounters. Wear your workout clothes around the house until you feel at ease in them. Then go spend time at the park, pool or gym without working out until you feel comfortable and get inspired by observing people who are exercising there. According to weight-loss expert Howard J. Rankin, Ph.D., what we see others doing is perhaps the biggest influence on our behavior.

Take a "taste test." Pick an activity you think you'll enjoy and commit to trying it for 10 minutes. Progress to making longer "exercise dates" with yourself, and mark them on your calendar. The more dates you keep, the more you will be strengthening your willpower to do longer and more frequent workouts.

Angela Hynes is a writer in Los Angeles who mustered all her willpower to write this story instead of going to the beach.


Pray It Off 10/07/10 Self-Discipline vs Self-Control

Self Discipline vs. Self Control - G. Chris Pastoral Counselor

“Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. Colossians 2:21-23

Self-discipline seems like such a good idea. I wish we were all able to genuinely produce whatever type of change we wanted to see in ourselves. I was recently asked what the difference between self-discipline and self-control was.

I said self-discipline is pushing ourselves or putting pressure on ourselves to change. This pressure is often maintained through goals or rules. The emphasis is generally on working and doing as the means to change. If we change as a result of self-discipline we feel proud of what we have accomplished. This type of pride is busy and noisy and the opposite of the gratefulness and awe the Lord wants to grow in us.

Self-control, on the other hand is a fruit of the spirit. It is something God does in and for us. The way we grow self-control is to admit we lack it, long for it to change and wait for God to work in us. Self-control grows by admitting, longing and waiting. The 'work' we do in this way of changing is being honest about our failures and limitations, allowing ourselves to feel pain as we long for more and standing up to the condemnation from evil that says God will never show up for us.

I believe that 'work' is actually harder than doing something. We are often fooled that activity and self-inflicted pressure leads to change more than truth, desire and relationship. In fact, in Christian circles we often think desire is bad or gets us in to trouble. However, it says "Blessed are those who hunger or thirst for righteousness for they will be filled" (Matt 5:6).

In a more 'Gospel centered' process of change we may use a 'means of grace'. There are many examples of a means of grace. We might not have dessert in the home to help with self-indulgence or use Covenant Eyes to help with lust, or have a friend we talk to about our tendency to gossip. We then pray and wait for the change to happen because the absence of dessert or the exposure of what we are doing through Covenant Eyes or the honesty of a God relationship might help us to say no to indulgence, lust or gossip but that doesn't mean we have actually changed.

The freedom to genuinely say no comes not from removing the obstacle but is something God does in us. Perhaps you have heard the term 'a dry drunk.' This is someone who has stopped drinking but underlying problems that contributed to the drinking have not changed. Removing the alcohol and being part of a group that helps you to say no is a means to grace. It helps you do what you want to do but it doesn't mean you have changed. Alcohol might be the particular idol and it’s good for the idol to be removed but it doesn't mean the false worship has been replaced with genuine worship. That takes time.

So in any case I think we are quieter when we aim for inner change through truth, desire and relationship with the living God and employ a means of grace as necessary. Devotion, pious self-denial and severe bodily discipline are not ways to genuinely experience life giving and God-breathed change. So as a reminder...

Self-discpline we work, push and fret
Self-control we admit, long and wait


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There is a God by 33 Miles

There Is A God by 33 Miles

There's a beauty to the dawn, a rhythm to the rain
A silence in the soul that I just can't explain
There's a breath of life I breathe, a beating in my heart
A magnificence, a scary sense of what lies past the stars
Beyond what we can see behind the mystery
I know that it could only be

There is a God; this is the proof
That all around the evidence is speaking the truth
From the center of my soul to the edge of the universe
Creation is crying out believe it or not
There is a God

There's a debt that has been paid, a grace that I've been shown
A hope that I've been given that I have never known
There's a love that conquers darkness a peace alive in me
There's a life that's not just here and now but for eternity
Beyond what we can see behind the mystery
I know that it could only be that


I believe it; I believe it
There is a God
I can feel it; I can feel it
There is a God
And the more I find the less I need to see
I've never been so sure, so sure of anything


Pray It Off 9/30/10 15 Energy Zappers & Green Bean Salad

15 Energy Zappers Depleting Your Zest For Life*

"Energy is the power that drives every human being. It is not lost by exertion but maintained by it." Germaine Greer

If you don't feel up for the kids, are annoyed at every demand, and you're living for the weekend, than it is time to fix what's zapping your energy. We can compare our energy levels to, let's say, an air in a car tire. If the tire has no holes, it can keep the air inside for years. If the tire has a hole, even a tiny one, it will deflate with time and all your efforts to pump it up will be useless until you plug that hole.

The same applies to your energy level. Before deciding where to begin to increase it, I would recommend looking at your energy zappers first. No matter how strenuously energy boosting you do, the energy will just continue to drain until you plug your "holes". Check out these energy zappers and see how many apply to you.

1. Lack of sleep. Sleep is a time for repairing and restoring and it is the true source of our energy. I believe poor night sleep is the biggest and fastest energy zapper in most people's lives. One bad night can ruin the next 24-48 hours. When it comes to sleep, both quantity and quality matter. Lack of sleep, disrupted sleep, and irregular sleep patterns have a dire effect on energy levels, creativity, mental alertness, general wellbeing and health. People who are unable to sleep properly at night tend to be weary most of the time and lack the ability to concentrate.

What to do? Simply trying to go to bed earlier will usually fail. If you go to bed when you are not enough sleepy it takes a long time to fall asleep. The very attempt to force yourself to sleep actually awakes you, making it more difficult to sleep.

Go to bed when you are sleepy and get up at the same time every morning. If you got not enough sleep one night, you will feel drowsy earlier and get more sleep the next night. If you are full of energy and aren't exhausted, you may need somewhat less sleep hours.

2. Weekend oversleep. Do you look forward to the weekend to sleep yourself out? Carrying a sleep debt throughout the week with the hopes of paying it off on the weekend is a bad strategy. Studies have found sleeping longer than usual on weekends can disrupt your body's natural sleep schedule.

What to do? I think the key here is to establish your sleep schedule and have a will-power to follow it on weekends.

3. Clutter, mess and disorganization. Our cluttered, disorganized and unpleasant surroundings can drain us of more energy than we realize. According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced items! Looking for lost or misplaced stuff is a huge physical drain. Being long looking for necessary thing adds emotional drain. And trying to remember where all things are is a big mental drain. Just being in a cluttered room makes a person tired. A cluttered environment tends to clutter your mind.

What to do? Clean your clutter and organize your environment. Give everything a storage place. Throw out items you no longer need or love. Some areas you might consider giving a clean-up: work-place, home, wardrobe, computer.

4. Procrastination: unfinished tasks and projects. Everything undone, incomplete or unresolved in your personal or professional life drains your energy. As long as affairs are left unfinished they continue to distract you. Procrastination is quite toxic. I have noticed if there is something I have left undone it keeps running through my mind until it is done. This causes needless energy spending.

What to do? Try outsourcing your life. See which tasks can be eliminated or delegated. Decide what you aren't going to do. Focus on what is really important and can actually be done. Also, don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

5. Anger. Anger can be a powerful destructive force. It drains your energy and makes you waste your time in negative thinking. Most people have some difficulty handling their anger. The problem is usually not the anger itself but the ways in which it is expressed. Some people express their anger in aggressive ways, such as breaking things, lashing out at others, exploding in rage, intimidating and offending. Others express it indirectly, in passive-aggressive ways like sarcasm, nagging or silence and withdrawal. All of these ways are destructive and simply don't work, since they just keep you stuck in the anger and drain your emotional, physical, and mental energy.

What to do? Of course there are exceptions: some people redirect anger towards building success for themselves, but on the whole anger is draining rather than invigorating. When you find yourself engaged in anger, change the focus.

6. Living beyond your means: Overspending. Living beyond your means is a persistent energy zapper. Trying to keep up with co-workers and friends who have a larger financial resource than you will certainly create financial trouble.

What to do? Sticking to the budget that fits your level of income can help prevent your energy from being zapped by worry how to pay bills each month. Know exactly how much you have to spend and use money wisely. When going out for shopping keep a list of items which you "really" need to buy and stick to your list. Develop plan for financial future and try to increase your source of income.

Having freedom from financial worry can certainly lead to the freedom to achieve success in many areas of life as well.

7. Information overload & addiction. Do you feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that enters your life in the form of media, books, magazines and e-mail? The information glut drains your time and your emotional energy. Worse, perhaps, it dulls your ability to think. Just because we have access to all the information in the world doesn't mean we can process it all. Do you like blogs, e-mail and social networking sites to get the latest news and keep in touch? But that love can quickly turn into an obsession if you aren't careful.

What to do? You have to decide which information is important enough to read, watch, or pay attention to.

William Van Winkle observed, "Data is like food. A good meal is served in reasonably sized portions from several food groups. It leaves you satisfied but not stuffed. Likewise with information, we're best served when we can partake of reasonable, useful portions, exercising discretion in what data we digest and how often we seek it out."

8. Resentment: taking offence. Resentment drags you down and keeps you grasped by your past. In most cases where resentment takes place, the only person who suffers is the victim of the incident.

What to do? The only way the sufferer can get rid of the burden of resentment is forgiveness. Yea, this can be very difficult to achieve! But for as long as you continue to resent your offender, he or she will sap your joy for living and haunt your dreams at night.

9. Worrying & Control issues. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to control everything that goes on around us: events, people and situations. Some people feel an urge to fix every problem that comes up but it is impossible to create a perfect world. Constant worrying drains your brain of energy and focusing power, and it is a waste of your precious time. This is one of the most difficult to get rid of since worrying is completely irrational, yet something so inherently human.

What to do? When you find yourself getting into the worry mode, ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" Though usually the worst doesn't happen, this switches the power from worry and empowers you to come up with a plan. The energy waste is reduced, turning your force into a creative power.

Let go off things you can't control and focus on what you can! Ask yourself if there is some action you need to take. If there is no action you need to take, then say to yourself: "There is nothing I need to do about this right now, so there's no point in focusing on it." and switch your attention elsewhere.

10. Gossiping. People waste so much time, and create a negative environment by gossiping. It is a real energy drain to discuss others negatively. In fact, next time you gossip, take notice how your energy is lower than before you gossiped.

What to do? If you find yourself in a conversation with a gossip, although you may have no other choice but to listen, do not engage. When there is a break in conversation try to change the subject.

11. "Energy vampires". Did you ever talk to someone and felt tired, drained, depressed and exhausted afterwards? We often call such persons "Toxic people" or "Energy vampires". They suck positive energy out of you and leave feeling so mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically drained. Toxic people are those who complain or grumble all the time, constantly in need for help, advice, sympathy, or confidence-boosting. They always expect the worse to happen. They encourage you to have feelings of guilt, inadequacy or inferiority. They blame others, spoil for a fight, and provoke quarrels. However, there are other, more subtle toxic people. Deliberate "energy vampires" may be very appealing, charming, highly inventive or compellingly persuasive.

What to do? One of the first things to do is to be aware of who the energy vampires are in your life. Try to avoid toxic people if possible or limit time with them. Whenever the negative talk starts just smile and don't say anything. The less you pay attention to them, the less they'll affect you.

12. Poor diet. When fast food and processed food is your main diet your body is not provided with enough vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and essential fatty acids. You simply don't get what you need. Low levels of B-vitamins, potassium, iron, and iodine contribute to fatigue. Sugary food may promise a quick rush of energy but are followed by an energy crash. These foods trigger a large output of insulin, which lowers blood sugar and leaves you feeling sluggish. Too much food is just as dangerous for your energy as too little food. Too many calories will leave you lethargic. Too few and you're deserting without the fuel and nutrients you need. Waiting too long between meals can also sap your energy. If you skip meals, your body slows the metabolic rate and starts conserving energy because it lacks nutrients.

What to do? Eat healthy! Reduce the amount of processed foods. Focus on increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low fat dairy products and lean meats.

13. Overwork. Being chronically overworked can seriously drain energy reserves. When your job extends over working hours, the things that could recharge your energy battery suffer as well. You get less sleep, less rest, and load up on caffeine.

What to do? It's important to seek a proper work-life balance in order to maintain energy levels. Work to live, don't live to work.

14. Endless "to-do" list. Too many commitments is extremely exhausting. Often, just thinking about what you have to do is draining. In addition to the physical force that chores like cleaning the house, cooking, and grocery store shopping demand from you, they drain your time and energy without giving much joy.

What to do? Simplify your to-do list up to the few essential tasks. Organize your list - prioritize which ones you think should be done first. If something can be delegated to someone else, then do it. Also, make sure that once you complete the task, it's done properly. This helps to avoid going back and re-do anything.

15. Lack of exercise

Lack of exercise = lack of energy. It's a downward cycle: If you don't exercise, you can’' be fit, and if you're not fit, you won't have the energy to exercise.
Exercise causes release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These chemicals give you a feeling of happiness and positively affect your overall sense of well-being.

What to do? Even though it seems like exercise might deplete your last remaining energy reserves, it's actually the best way to beat fatigue and feel refreshed.


Balsamic Green Bean Salad –


1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut in thirds
1/4 small red onion, peeled, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
6 Tbsp Wegmans Basting Oil
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Add All Ingredients to List

1. Heat pan of salted water to boiling on HIGH heat. Add beans; blanch until crisp-tender, 2-3 min. Drain and shock by placing in ice water (to stop cooking process); drain well.

2. Combine beans with red onion in medium-size bowl.

3. Whisk together basting oil, zest, juice, and vinegar in small bowl. Pour over vegetables; season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss; garnish with sesame seed.

Calories: 160

Nutrition Info: Each serving (1 cup) contains 160 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, (5 g fiber), 3 g protein, 11 g fat, (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, and 200 mg sodium