Saturday, April 30, 2011

Follow Pray it Off on Facebook and Twitter

I am announcing that you can follow Pray it Off on Twitter (for those of you who can't go a day without a healthy snippet from Pray it Off founder, Ellen M. McCauley) and Facebook!

The blog has received over 10,000 hits in a little over a year. WOW. I have started the Pray it Off book - look for it on a New York Times Best Seller list in the near future! How is that for positive thinking!!

PLUS, for those of you who aren't in Syracuse NY. You can join Pray it Off on-line for only $10.00 week and have that accountability, we all need, to get healthy and stay healthy!!

Spread the word about Pray it Off, and make God AND Ellen very happy!!



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Were You There? Sung by Tatiana

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Well, were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?

Pray It Off 04/07/11 Growing Your Faith and Losing Weight in a Culture of APATHY

How to grow your faith in a culture of apathy and entitlement*

“Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. A list of instructions where there once was conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship.” -Bono

Americans like big things, and we like them to come easy and convenient. 7-Eleven’s Super Big Gulp
just keeps getting bigger and bigger! Pretty soon, they’ll come in keg-size. At the same time, we want all of our news wrapped up in 3 minute sound-bites; just enough to keep us informed, but not enough to force us to think. We want our sitcoms and dramas polished up in a half hour to an hour, just enough to tug the heart, but not enough to move us to change. And if it’s not on the internet, why read anything at all? If I can’t hold it in the palm of my hand; it simply isn’t worth my time. Why work for anything when it’s all handed to me?

This culture of apathy and entitlement is the result of a corrupt form of the American Dream, and just as Americans have grown increasingly fat and lazy in caring for our minds and bodies, we have allowed this corruption to seep into our spiritual lives as well. While a few superstars with large followings existed in American Christianity the last half of the 20th Century, the new millennium brought on the advent of the mega-church. Churches with 1,000+ members have popped up all over the country while their leaders boast of the number of souls that are saved and contribute tithes to the ministry, but just as the super-mega-Big Gulp is full of empty calories and has no nutritional value, most of these churches produce little in the way of true converts because they are focused on numbers and membership rather than on crafting real discipleship for their members.

In fact, many modern American churches preach little of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in effort to “tickle men’s ears” and become “more seeker friendly.” What does this say of the God we worship if we have to sugarcoat who he is just to get people interested? Jesus himself said that we would be outcasts in the world, and we would have a cross to bear. How many hypocrites exist in the church because they haven’t really met Jesus yet? How many sincere people have fallen from their “faith” because they were promised a party, and when hard times hit, they had no guidance in how to use their faith to walk through? Jesus doesn’t promise us freedom from trials in this world; in fact, he openly tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but he adds, “cheer up! I have defeated the world” (John 16:33, CEV).

Make no mistake: If you align yourself with Christ; your faith will be challenged. From the beginning of this age God Almighty has had an enemy, a rebel angel, whose only real way of hurting Him is to hurt the ones He loves, mankind. Since Satan can’t fight God and win, he has set out to spread his seeds of lies, corruption and rebellion among us. Satan knew that God’s righteous justice would force him to condemn us in our sinful state. Just as he separated himself from God, his desire is to tempt every human being to rebel against God and so be separated with him in Hell.

The Apostle Paul tells us, “We are not fighting humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Ephesians 6:12, CEV). We humans, however, do have a choice on whose side we will fight. Stepping out of the battle is not an option. If you choose not to fight, you will get run down and flattened by Satan. The worst part is, you probably won’t even recognize it, he is such a fine manipulator and perverter of the truth, that he can make many people think they are on the side of good when they are actually being selfish. Yet, little by little, the selfish nature increases, and eventually these people end up empty and unfulfilled.

The Apostle James states, “We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead” (James 1-14-15, CEV). It seems like a losing battle, and if we stand alone, it is. Think of a tug of war. I once volunteered at a camp that had competitions between the different groups of kids. One was the tug of war. Each group would line up on the rope and struggle to pull it to their side. What if all the teen counselors competed against the campers? They might last a little while, but it won’t be long before they would be dragged away to their enemy’s side. It is like this with Satan’s temptations and our effort to pull away in our own strength. He knows our weaknesses and he plays against them.

So what’s the point? If it’s this hard to follow God, then why bother? Because he has promised and provided a way out, and that way is Jesus. We are born into sin, and that sin requires that God punish us in his righteous justice; however, Jesus took our punishment on the cross, and after dying for us, resurrected himself and gave us access to eternal life. Jesus says, “A thief comes only to rob, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in its fullest” (John 10:10, CEV). However, Jesus did not promise to just pull us from our troubles. What he has done, is promise to walk alongside us in them. Think of the tug of war again. We are like a young child camper, Satan is like a rebellious bratty teenager; we are getting the tarp beat out of us, until Jesus, a world class body builder, shows up and grabs the rope with us. It is a paradox in that he doesn’t take us out of the fight, but he handles the fight for us. Without him, we are lost. With him, we can do anything he allows us and calls us to do. But he expects us to fight, first defensively, and when we have learned skill in battle with the enemy, he sends us on the offensive. Why doesn’t Jesus just take us out of our troubles? Because, we would never learn to grow otherwise; we would spend the rest of eternity ignorant and trapped in our sinful mindset. We would be virtually useless for advancing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and bringing others into a saving knowledge of Christ.

Think about a child whose mother always gets him out of trouble; he never pays the consequences of his negative actions. What kind of adult will this young man become? A lazy drain on society at best, a criminal at worst, unless he comes to his senses when the bruises of life begin to beat him down. This is the mentality of American society, and the essence of our apathy and entitlement. We have had too many generations that have fed off the prosperity of the hard working Americans of the past, but not having experienced the opportunity to work for their own achievement, they become dependent on hand outs.

The Apostle Paul teaches us, “We also gave you the rule that if you don’t work, you don’t eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, CEV), but Jesus also encourages us, “This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light” (Matthew 11:30, CEV). The work that Lord requires of us is simple. He expects us to begin a relationship with him, and to walk with him on a journey that will challenge us and develop our characters into strong and faithful servants and soldiers in the heavenly realms, so we can eventually go out into our call of adventure he has planned for us since the beginning of time. But we must make the choice to take that journey. We cannot save ourselves, our salvation is in faith in Christ alone, and our strength for the journey only comes from believing and trusting him. We must trust him in order to be able to follow him into battle. A Christianity that is only two hours a week just won’t cut it, but there are some practical things we can do to put our faith into action.

The first thing you need to do is to pray.
You cannot have a relationship with someone unless there is active communication between the two of you. God always hears us and answers us in his time; however, hearing him often takes time and practice. How do we learn to do what he wants? How do we learn to recognize his character and voice when he speaks to us in the quiet of our souls? Read the Bible. The Bible is called God’s Word; it is his message to humans to teach us how to live in peace and joy because he loves us. However, understanding some parts of the Bible can be very difficult for new believers. What do we do when we don’t understand it, or when we are having a hard time following it? Find a mentor. This is where true discipleship comes in. Every Christian needs someone stronger in the faith, or at least equal to them, someone to lean on when struggles hit them as they surely will. You need someone who can answer your questions, you need someone to hold you accountable when you are struggling with sin, you need someone to help you with practical things like moving, you need friends to hang out with that will build you up and encourage you instead of dragging you down. How can you find these people?

You need to find a healthy church to fellowship in. Unfortunately, there are many churches that have watered down the gospel at best, and corrupted it into something false at worst, but you must find fellowship. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. You will eventually get shot down. You must trust that God is good and he will bring you to a good fellowship at some point on your journey. Your job is simply to keep walking it out with him. Christianity is a religion based on relationship, first to God, then to our brothers and sisters in the faith, and finally to the lost: those to whom we are called to be witnesses of the love and peace that our God offers to those willing to submit and take up their crosses in the training grounds of life. BY Peter L Richardson,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pray It Off 4/7/2011 Spiritual Apathy and Weight Loss

Apathy*By L. Fleming Fallon Jr., M.D.


Apathy can be defined as an absence or suppression of emotion, feeling, concern or passion. Further, apathy
is an indifference to things generally found to be exciting or moving.


A strong connection exists between apathy and mental disorders. Apathy is one of the hallmark symptoms of schizophrenia. Many people with schizophrenia express little interest in the events surrounding them. Apathy can also occur in depression and depressive disorders. For example, people who are depressed and have major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder often feel numb to events occurring around them, and do not derive pleasure from experiences that they once found enjoyable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as an optimal state of being that maximizes one's potential for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth. It does not confine health to physical parameters or measures. Passion, interest and action are needed for optimal mental and emotional health. Persons who are apathetic would seem to fall short of the WHO definition of health.

All people may experience periods of apathy. Disappointment and dejection are elements of life, and apathy is a normal way for humans to cope with such stresses— to be able to "shrug off" disappointments enables people to move forward and try other activities and achieve new goals. When the stresses pass, the apparent apathy also disappears. A period of apathy can also be viewed as a normal and transient phase through which many adolescents pass.

It is important to note, however, that long-term apathy and detachment are not normal.


Transient apathy can be overcome. Friends and professionals may be able to assist individuals to develop an interest in their surroundings. Attitude is important. Persons who desire to overcome apathy have much higher odds of succeeding than do persons lacking a positive attitude.

The treatment of more persistent apathy (in a depressive disorder, for example), or the apathy that is characteristic of schizophrenia, may respond to treatment for the primary disorder.


Why Is There Such Great Spiritual Apathy?*
By Reese Currie, Compass Distributors (Edited)

A reader asked us to comment on the problem of spiritual apathy. People who profess to be Christians today do suffer from spiritual apathy for a great number of reasons. I believe the problems to be fear of ridicule and hurt; lack of knowledge; excessive pride; secret disbelief; and laziness. I will cover these in order.

People think of this apathy as a modern phenomenon, but it is not. The Old Testament is shot through with the apathy of Israel. People who had actually seen the parting of the Red Sea incredibly failed to exercise faith. People who saw miracles and saw prophecies miraculously come true apathetically returned to the worship of false gods. As you will see from the scriptural examples in the following articles, apathy was rampant in the first century to the same degree it is today.

Fear of Ridicule and Hurt - A countless number of sources ridicule the Christian faith on a daily basis. The reasons are the same as they have been since the beginning of time. God said something and the Devil tried to claim it wasn't true (Genesis 3:1-5). As disturbing as this is to say, the vast majority of people's souls are firmly clenched in the Devil's hands.

Therefore, people who believe in God are thought of by the world at large as being stupid, silly, and inconveniently moral. They are ridiculed, and their faith is laughed at. It is no fun having people poke fun at you, and it is especially bad when they poke fun at your Savior.

So why proclaim the word of God? I will tell you the truth: It took more courage than you would imagine to start this web site, but it took a lot more courage for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to allow Himself to be crucified for me. It took a lot more courage for Peter, knowing he would be martyred eventually, to do his preaching work to ensure people knew what Jesus did for us. Paul was stoned, beaten, and eventually martyred for his preaching work, but he kept at it until the very end, even writing epistles from within the walls of prison.

At the judgment throne, I will be able to say, "Lord, in the easiest time in history to be a Christian, I risked getting some nasty e-mail by attempting to proclaim your Word on the Internet." It won't stack up very well compared to what the early Christians did, but at least I did something. In all seriousness, I thank God for this opportunity to help people come to Christ, because it is a great gift God has given me to be able to serve Him in this way.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven."

Jesus also said, in Matthew 5:10-12: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Lack of Knowledge - I am presently reading the Bible, cover to cover, for the third time, and I can tell you for a certainty that you learn more each time through. I don't know how many times I have read the New Testament, or any of the individual books of the Bible, but I know it is a fairly high number.

A person has to put in time, research, and study, before they will be capable of anything but apathy! We rarely hear anything but the most simple doctrine from the pulpit. Additional study is required if you want to really know anything. As Christians, we need to be able to answer questions about our faith without any possibility of causing someone to stumble or leading anyone astray. To ensure this, we have to know our Bible inside and out, just like Jesus and the apostles did. That means every Christian, not just clergymen. It is a lot of work.

What do you do if you are asked a question about Jesus? If you're like most people, you say, "Talk to my minister; he knows all about that stuff." Well, the buck has to stop somewhere, Christian. Why not you? There is a reward in it for you!

James 5:20 says, "let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."

Pride - Some people are too proud to admit that they are hopeless sinners, in need of Jesus' salvation. If they don't understand their own need for salvation, how can they possibly help anyone else realize their need for salvation? They think they are so good, and sinless, that God will take them as they are. So, while they may go to a Christian church, and may even believe themselves to be Christians, they are not, and the Holy Spirit will not be in them. These people will be apathetic. 1 John 1:8 says this bluntly. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," James 4:6 concludes with, "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

Secret Disbelief - I'm afraid a lot of people in churches don't believe the Bible. They believe you should try to be nice to people, but they don't believe the entire doctrine of the Bible. Their faith runs neither hot nor cold; sticking with the middle ground, they believe they can get by without doing too much work. Revelation 3:15, 16 says, "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."

Other people go to church, listen to the preaching, and go home with their obligation to God satisfied for another week. James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."

Laziness - Speaking from experience, I must say that studying the Bible sure takes away a lot of time that could be unproductively spent lounging in front of the television. But some people are lovers of pleasures and not lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4), and these people will certainly be apathetic toward their studies.

In Conclusion – Remember there is little you can really do about the apathy of others. Jesus was here, on earth, and people were apathetic before and after. What we must do is take care never to be apathetic ourselves. As Jesus said, in Matthew 7:3-5, "And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

To be in a position to help others out of their apathy, we must not be afflicted with apathy ourselves. This is really the only thing we can do to help others in apathetic distress.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pray it Off 04/01/2011 Easter Novena and John Newton Quote



Through His Resurrection Jesus Christ was made known to us as God’s Son in power, for He was obedient unto death and exalted as Lord of all. God chose His Son to be the one to suffer and to die for our sins.
Because of His obedience He was raised up as Lord of all. By conquering death through His own power in His Resurrection, Jesus has shown Himself Master of life and death. Therefore He is true God and true Man, our Saviour.

By His Death and Resurrection Jesus redeemed mankind from slavery to sin and to the devil. In obedience to His Father’s Will He gave Himself for us in His Passion and arose from the dead that He might redeem us from sin and make us a people pleasing to the Father. He is the Messiah, God’s own Son. He often said that what He was doing was done that the Scriptures might be fulfilled because He saw His Father’s will in them.

We were slaves of the devil because of original sin and because of our personal sins. But Jesus made us free with the freedom of the children of God, for by His Resurrection He destroyed death and gave us the life of grace. Risen truly, the Lord gives us the Divine life of grace and pours out His Holy Spirit upon us.

Each of the Gospel episodes, as we read them during the Easter Season, centers on an all-important appearance to the Apostles in which they are commissioned for their future task, namely, to be witnesses of the Lord, Who is alive and will be with us until the end of the world (Mk 28:16-20). This is the Paschal message to all Christians.

Following the example of the Bible, Christians celebrate the mystery of our Lord’s Resurrection for fifty days. The Lord’s Ascension and Pentecost are the final memorial days. St Paul says, “Christ has become our Paschal sacrifice; let us feast with joy in the Lord.” (1 Cor 5:6-8)


“The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn Him to death. They will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be made sport of and flogged and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised up.” (Mt 20:17-19)

“In the time after His Suffering He showed them in many convincing ways that He was alive, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking to them about the Reign of God.” (Acts 1:3)

“I handed on to you first of all what I myself received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried and, in accordance with the Scriptures, rose on the third day; that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. After that He was seen by five hundred brothers at once.” (1 Cor 15:3-5)


Novena Prayer

Jesus, I believe that by Your own power You rose from death, as You promised, a glorious Victor. May this mystery strengthen my hope in another and better life after death, the resurrection of my body on the last day, and an eternity of happiness.

I firmly hope that You will keep Your promise to me and raise me up glorified. Through Your glorious Resurrection I hope that You will make my body like Your own in glory and life, and permit me to dwell with You in heaven for all eternity.

I believe that Your Resurrection is the crown of Your life and work as God-Man, because it is Your glorification. This is the beginning of the glorious life that was due to You as the Son of God. Your Resurrection is also the reward of Your life of suffering.

Jesus, my Risen Lord and King, I adore Your Sacred Humanity which receives this eternal Kingdom of honour, power, joy and glory. I rejoice with You, my Master, glorious, immortal and all-powerful.

Through the glorious mystery of Your Resurrection I ask You to help me to rise with You spiritually and to live a life free from sin, that I may be bent upon doing God’s Will in all things, and may be patient in suffering. Through the Sacraments may my soul be enriched evermore with sanctifying grace, the source of Divine life. I also ask that You grant me this special request: (Mention your request). May Your Will be done!

Prayer to the Risen Saviour

Jesus, Son of God, I thank You for accepting the Cross and freeing us from the power of the enemy. I believe that by Your Resurrection You conquered the power of death and opened for us the way to eternal life.

I thank You for having redeemed me and for making me a child of God.

Look upon me with love. Raise me up and renew my life by the Spirit You have given me. May I follow You in Your risen life.

Draw me to the life where Your Spirit makes all life complete.

May I come at last to share the glory of Your Resurrection in heaven.

Prayer for Faith in the Risen Lord

Father in heaven, in the Resurrection of Your Son we come to know the full depth of Your love. You have freed us from the darkness of error and sin.

Increase my understanding and my love of the riches You have revealed in Him Who is Lord forever. May the light of faith shine in my words and actions. Help me to cling to Your truths with fidelity.

May I, who have received your gift of faith, share in the new life of the Risen Christ. Keep me alive in Him, ever true to His teaching till Your glory is revealed in me.


God our Father, by raising Christ Your Son you conquered the power of death and opened for us the way to eternal life. Let our celebration of Easter raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.

You wash away our sins in water, give us new birth in the Spirit, and redeem us in the Blood of Christ.

May we look forward with hope to our Resurrection, for You have made us Your sons and daughters and restored the joy of our youth.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.


I Am Not the Person I Used To Be

“I am not what I ought to be — ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be — I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be — soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle (Paul), and acknowledge, "By the grace of God I am what I am. (And His grace in me has not been fruitless.)”

Often paraphrased as “I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be, and I am not the man I hope to be, but by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be."'

John Newton


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pray It off 04/01/2011 Ten Weight Loss Topics To Talk About

April 1, 2011 Pray It Off

Ten To Talk About

1. Prayer Intentions.

2. One minute testimony from those who have lost 50 pounds, or more, and kept it off.

3. One tip for weight loss success from anyone.

4. Number one lesson learned at PIO.

5. My greatest weight loss challenge is. . .

6. What I want to share about exercise is. . .

7. The single best product I have discovered that has helped me lose weight is. . .

8. I can help the Pray it Off Group by . . .

9. The biggest problem in my life right now is. . .

10. I think God wants me to. . .

Pray it Off 04/01/2011 The PIO Group's Topics of Discussion

The Pray it Off Group’s Topics of Discussion

1. Cooking with herbs.

2. Creative recipes.

3. Hearing people present on their successes. How they finally “got it”.

4. Brainstorming different products like “Skinnny Cow”, Hummus, Greek Yogurt.

5. Restaurant choices.

6. Speaker from the American Heart Association.

7. Guest Speakers on exercise, diabetes, nutrition.

8. Someone from Nature-Tyme to discuss vitamins and supplements.

9. Self-awareness – why we overeat.

10. More diabetes information.

11. Eat this, not that – substitutions.

12. Staying on track during difficult times in our lives.

13. Time management – time to eat healthy and exercise.

14. Water retention/sodium intake.

15. Table weight loss goals.

16. Table recipe swap.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pray it Off 04/01/2011 The PIO Group's Weight Loss Affirmations

Our group in Syracuse NY, meets each Thursday night and we are divided into nine tables. A while back, each table, wrote down ideas for Weight Loss Affirmations.

These are statements
that can be used as mantras to help us as we journey to wellness.

We'd like to share them with you in this blog.

The Pray It Off Group’s
Weight Loss Affirmations

1. I will slow down when I eat.

2. I will pick and choose my battles.

3. I will measure my food portions.

4. I will try new foods, like apple chips.

5. I will strive for five servings of fruits and veggies a day.

6. I will drink more water.

7. I will eliminate soda from my diet.

8. I will either join a gym or walk more.

9. I will watch carefully what I eat and then in time I will wonder why it’s so easy.
Then I will treat myself, every once in a while, once I have maintained my weight loss for

10. I will read the Bible and pray more, more than I normally would as I believe it helps in more ways than one.

11. I will be patient. If the going gets rough I will just ask Jesus and his Blessed Mother for help. I know it really works.

12. I will buy a pedometer and use it daily.

13. I will be consistent with my walking and exercise regime.

14. I will stay motivated to change my lifestyle.

15. I will bring in healthy recipes to share with the PIO group.

16. I will email and telephone other PIO members to offer support and brainstorm ideas.

17. I will add ten minutes of exercise to each day.

18. I will plan my meals and prepare the foods when I have time and freeze them when I

19. I will use a smaller plate.

20. I will find a substitute for the foods that are trigger foods for me. For example I will use dijonnaise instead of mayonnaise an apple chips instead of potato chips.

21. I will make the food log a priority and fill it out in detail.

22. I will make copies of the food log and use it to plan my menu for the next week.

23. I will follow-through on my goals to eat less, move more an pray.

24. I will watch my sodium intake.

25. I will cut back on sugar in my diet.

26. I will try new foods and experiment with things I have never eaten before and report back to the group.

27. I will eat smaller meals and have 6-7 of them a day.

28. I will get out my measuring cups, measuring spoons and scale so I watch my portion sizes.

29. I will try to attend every PIO meeting, making myself a priority, for once in my life.

30. I will have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack such as carrot sticks or prunes to ward off overeating at mealtime.

31. I will write how much I am eating on the food log.

32. I will write my calorie intake on the food log.

33. I will write how I feel on the food log.

34. I will read the labels on everything I eat or drink.

35. I will say the Pray it Off prayer several times a day.

36. I will thank God for the fuel to do His work and not look at food like entertainment.

37. I will read books and study how to live a healthier life and share ideas with the group.

38. I will ask for help when I need it – from my family, my friends, my PIO Table or Ellen.

39. I will pray for strength and God’s grace to change.

40. I will share my successes with the PIO group.

41. I will remember self-doubt with the confidence that comes from the resurrected Christ.

42. When I eat out, I will bring half the meal home to eat the next day. I will do this ahead of time by asking the food server to bring it to me, boxed up already.

43. I will not eat after 7 at night.

44. I won’t skip breakfast.

45. I will drink water before every meal.

46. I will experiment with different fish dishes.

47. I will try different vegetables and go to the farmer’s market to get fresh ones whenever I can.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pray It Off 04/01/11 Letting Go Affirmations

We talk a lot at Pray it Off, about "Letting Go." So much of our overeating is based on hanging on to the past or on to present situations that we should be turning over to God.

Our group in Syracuse NY, meets each Thursday night and we are divided into nine tables. A while back, each table, wrote down their ideas for
"Letting Go Affirmations". These are statements we can use as mantras to help us in our weight loss journey. We'd like to share them with you in this blog.

The Pray it Off Group Shares Their
Letting Go Affirmations

1. I refuse to dream of the future before I start living in the present.

2. I refuse to live with my old habits.

3. I will not worry about something I can do nothing about.

4. I will try to remember to surrender when life becomes too hard to handle, even if I have to go to a special place to surrender.

5. I will meditate on the natural beauty of the world around me.

6. I will let go of the frustration I feel when other people try to control me.

7. I will let go of past memories that bring regrets.

8. I will stop reliving mistakes, trying to change them in my mind.

9. I will succeed. I will succeed. I will SUCCEED!

10. I don’t need that salt-filled snack. I choose not to have it.

11. I don’t need that fatty food. I choose not to eat it.

12. I am at peace.

13. I let go of my fears of not being perfect.

14. I say good-bye to “stinkin’ thinkin’!

15. I let go of unrealistic expectations.

16. I will not sweat the small stuff.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nothing Compares by Third Day

Pray It Off 03/24/11 Spring Cleaning Calorie Burn & Vegetarian Chili

Spring Cleaning Calorie BurnShape up while you clean up*

WebMD Feature

The messy kids, the hair-shedding pets, the chip-munching spouse, the sleet-splattered windows -- it's spring cleaning time again! If only there were some redeeming virtue to housework (other than a cleaner house, of course).

But wait, there is: Like any physical activity, chores you do around the house
and garden can burn calories and stretch and tone muscles -- if you do them correctly.

Forget the old "No pain, no gain" mantra. Doctors now believe that even short bouts of relatively mild exercise can help improve your fitness level -- especially for people who are just getting started with exercise. Though it's not likely to give you the body of a swimsuit model, doing some sort of moderate activity for 30 minutes every day can bring real health benefits.

And if you add 30 minutes of chores to a 30-minute session of a more traditional fitness activity (like walking or biking), you end up with a full hour of exercise -- the amount experts recommend for people trying to lose weight. That can be easier on your schedule than trying to fit in a 60-minute workout all at once.

"If it doesn't take additional time, people are more likely to do it," says Joel Press, MD, a physiatrist with the Center for Spine, Sports, and Occupational Rehabilitation of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Spring Cleaning Workout

As you might have guessed, you don't get exercise benefits by strolling around with a feather duster.

"Intensity is the key," says Debbie Mandel, MA, a trainer and author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul. "I always say gyms should have classes where women are pushing a vacuum cleaner or wiping down the mirrors!"

It's also important to work quickly. "To get more benefit, speed up the time in which you do something," says Mary Findley, a former professional housecleaner who now owns Mary Moppins, a mop-manufacturing company in Eugene, Ore.

But here's one case where efficiency is not a good thing. More steps and more movements are what you're after. So forget that cleaning-product caddy organizer people always recommend you carry around. If you have to walk extra steps to get the broom, that's golden.
Here are some other tips for making housework a workout:

• Put on some fast music -- rock and roll, salsa, whatever you like. This helps you pick up speed, Findley says. A bathroom should only take 20 minutes to clean, she says. So get moving!
• Whenever you're doing chores, tighten your abs. This prevents you from slouching.
• Stretch extra-high to knock down those cobwebs or prune that limb. You should feel it along your side.
• Strive for large up-and-down movements. When cleaning a shower door, for example, make big circles. "I am a trainer and I feel like my arm is about to fall off!" exclaims Mandel.
• Carry heavy baskets of laundry or supplies up from the basement, if your conditioning allows.
• Climb on a stepladder every chance you get. "What's the difference between this and a step class?" Mandel asks.
• Scrub floors on your hands and knees. And get on your hands and knees to pull out all that dust and clutter hiding under the bed.
• Do lunges while vacuuming (keep toes pointed straight ahead, and don't bend your knees further than 90 degrees). You'll feel it in your thighs.
• When putting away dishes, face forward and twist to reach the cabinets.
• In the garden, lunge toward weeds. "Some of them have roots 5 feet long," Mandel says. "Those'll give you a workout!"
• Pruning requires forearm strength (and helps develop it). It also requires reaching on your toes -- like a calf raise, Mandel says. So volunteer for this chore, and don't be afraid of thicker or higher branches.
• Pouring mulch or fertilizer from a heavy bag requires a squat. Remember to use your legs, not your back.
• Wielding a weed-eater is like fencing, almost. Pull in those abs and pay attention to your form.
• If you have area rugs, beat them using a clean broom rather than vacuuming. This means more steps to get outside and more exercise for your arm muscles.

Gain Without Pain

If you're not a big fan of housework now, you will be really cranky if you pull something. No one advises doing elaborate stretches before you start cleaning house, but there are right and wrong ways to do things:

• When you vacuum, use your legs, Findley advises. "Most people vacuum using their arms and shoulders. That is hard on the neck and upper back. Instead of standing in one place and pushing the vacuum around, walk from one end of the room to the other, then start a second 'row,' like mowing a lawn."
• Mop with your hand on top of the handle. This keeps your back straight, Findley points out. Also, make sure you get a mop that extends to suit your height. For those with carpal tunnel syndrome, some mops come with handgrips.
• Use your legs to mop, as well. Put one leg in front of the other and lunge on each stroke.
• Never lift anything by leaning over! Bend your knees instead. Never lean over to clean a toilet, either, Findley says. "Squat or kneel on one knee."

What You Will Burn

Not everyone is convinced that chores will do much to help you shape up. Gabe Mirkin, MD, the former radio talk-show health expert, cites a British study that showed many women who did heavy housework and slow walking were unfit and overweight, while those who walked 2.5 hours a week were slimmer.

But another study, at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, found that participants who fit more physical activity into their daily routines made long-term fitness gains similar to those made by people who did traditional gym exercises like stair-climbing and jogging.

For its part, the American Heart Association counts housework as moderate exercise. "You'd have to do four hours a day of it if you were training for a marathon," jokes Press.

No one disputes that doing chores can burn calories. How many you burn will depend on your fitness level, your weight, and the time you spend cleaning or gardening. But here are some estimates, based on a person weighing 150 pounds doing 30 minutes of chores:

• General cleaning: 127 calories
• Cooking: 92 calories
• Trimming shrubs: 157 calories
• Laundry: 133 calories
• Vacuuming: 123 calories

Compare these counts with walking for 30 minutes (at 3 mph), which burns 155 calories.

While even the most intensely calorie-burning chores can't replace structured exercise completely, every little bit of activity helps. And along with the fitness benefits come added dividends: A cleaner house, a beautiful yard, and a sense of satisfaction.

"In the garden or house you can see the fruits of your labors immediately," Mandel says, "That's nice. And gardeners lose track of time. People in the gym hardly ever do."


The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World*

The photo is an actual photo of the chili, made by my beloved hubbie Bob, last Sunday. It was GREAT but not for the faint of heart - S-P-I-C-Y - but we loved it.

Prep Time: 15 Min Cook Time: 1 Hr Ready In:1 Hr 15 Min

Original Recipe Yield 8 servings


• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 medium onion, chopped
• 2 bay leaves - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 green bell peppers, chopped
• 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
• 2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
• 3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
• 1/4 cup chili powder
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
• 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
• 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.

2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information Amount Per Serving Calories: 342 | Total Fat: 7.7g |


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pray it Off 03/24/11 Emotional Weight Loss and Clutter

Emotional Weight Loss and Clutter*
By Ronald Wayman

Clutter can be so damaging to any lifestyle.
It can weigh down the mind, heart, body and soul. When a person addicted to keeping clutter is asked to clean house, they will often cringe because each item kept has a purpose, a reason, a safety feeling. Clutter is a buffer against the unknown. Clutter is a protector. But this does not have to be so. Clutter in reality is not truly safe and not truly a protector against the unknown. It just may seem so.

Excess weight on and in the body is a mirror of the clutter in most overweight individuals. I have noted that many people who have cleaned up their life start losing weight. They act out what they feel around them in their environment. And if they clean up their environment, subconsciously they are cleaning up internal sabotages to weight loss.

I received this email from my client Suzie about clutter and weight loss:

"Hey Ronaldo! I did get your letter. Thanks. I think you pretty much nailed it down on everything. Basically my whole focus right now is on losing this excess weight. It's just so frustrating! And when I look around at all the things I have to do it makes me crazy and with all the junk I'm hanging on to I could just scream. And yet when I go to clean or organize it, it's like I don't know where to put everything or how to organize it and some days it feels like I'm going slower than tar. I don't know what things to keep of my children's and I'm afraid if I get rid of something I might need it again. I know this is just a big hang up, but there are a lot of people like me out there with the same problem. My neighbor said it was hard for her to throw some things out, too."

My reply: "Hi Suzie, Thank you for your email. You say in your email that your focus is on weight loss but it seems to be on "the clutter" and getting rid of it. The great part is - getting rid of clutter is one the key areas of weight loss both physical and emotional/mental. The problem might be the focus that you apply to the all that clutter in your home. That focus makes the clutter even more negative. Every time you feel guilty and blame yourself when you see the clutter you will lose more personal power to those stacks."

Start seeing the clutter as a subconscious message from inside that you want to clean up the junk inside but your body is having a hard time knowing what to do with it once it is up. Take the clutter as messages of deeper unorganized stuff that can now be cleared. Most who do this stop blaming themselves and change their focus to cleaning up their life, body, and home with a positive opportunistic attitude.

So, Suzie I want you to do some writing. Sit down, take a deep breath and answer some of the following questions: So why do you keep focusing on the clutter?
Why are you "safer" keeping the clutter than throwing it away?

It could be a childhood trauma or simply conditioning from parents.

I want you to try to throw some clutter away and write about the feelings you have.
I want you to try to throw out some junk food out of your diet and write about those feelings.

In regards to my statement in earlier email:

"The more we become aligned and have integrity with our inner values such that they are automatic the more likely we will create what we want in our life."
I notice that I receive and give that which I value most. If my values are conflicting then the results of my life will be conflicting. If my values are non-conflicting then my life creates peace, joy, and fun. So that is why I want you to become clear on you and your inner values.

Reply to the questions above and also prioritize your values for me. Thank you

What are the parts of clutter: I just asked my wife this question and she replied "Oh PLEASE!" So I asked my teenager, what are the parts of Clutter?

Maybe clutter is like a prepositional phrase, An English teacher told my teenager that a prepositional phrase is like - "anything that a squirrel can do to a tree Over, under, around, through." Clutter can be everywhere. Where is the Clutter in your life?

Here are many examples:


On the Body: excess weight

In the Body: eating too much, eating in clutter fashion (whatever is in the refrigerator goes in)

On the counter: excess papers, to do lists, magnets all over the fridge, leftovers,in and on the refrigerator: leftovers, magnets all over the fridge, papers on top, salad dressing bottles all used and then ignored for a century, vegetables bought and then stashed away in some bin.

In the Garage/Basement/Attic: boxes leftover from your last 3 moves, homework assignments kept from yours or your children's classes, financial records and stubs from 14 years ago in a box near the other boxes of precious things.


In the Heart: Feelings buried alive, worries, anxieties, frustrations, resentments about things that happened long ago but still pumping energy through the heart and body.


In the Mind: Beliefs of "not good enough," not enough of anything - money, sex, love, food, etc., beliefs of "I don't deserve" and other similar cluttering beliefs.


In Soulfulness: Trying to do too much and scattering yourself with too many projects and aspirations, Letting everyone else dictate what you are to be doing, Resenting lack of control, fearing more than trusting.

Write about what physical and nutritional Clutter that could be affecting your path to weight loss in the body and clarity in the mind, heart and home.


How Clearing Clutter Can Help You Lose Weight By Peter Walsh

Clear clutter,
lose weight: Living a richer life with less stuff
- Four years ago I became the organizational expert on a television show called Clean Sweep. The premise of the show was very simple. A team of experts – including me, a designer, a carpenter, and a crew that assisted in the painting and redesign plans – was given two days to help a family dig out from under their overwhelming clutter.

What started out as a program to help people deal with clutter quickly morphed into something very different. It became obvious that the clutter represented something much deeper going on in many of the people's lives and relationships. For those people, and many of the clients I work with, a shift had taken place – almost without them realizing it. They no longer owned their stuff; their stuff owned them. For some, it went even further. Their "stuff" was the way they defined themselves – "I am what I own." They were unable or unwilling to separate themselves from what they owned to the point that their living spaces became partially – or in some cases totally – unusable. To break this pattern is an intense challenge. It's not just about putting things in garbage bags or finding the right photo boxes. I help people confront and redefine their relationships with what they own.

Each of us has one life. You. Me. Our friends and family. But I have to ask: Is it the life you want? It may be unexpected, but this is the question I always start with when helping people declutter and organize their homes – and ultimately their lives. What is the vision you have of the life you want to live? Are you living the life you want?

The transformations I have seen are speedy and amazing. As soon as people have space to breathe, their spirits lift. They have new energy and hope. At the end of the process, almost without exception, people tell me, "This has changed my life." Those are amazing and gratifying words to hear. By helping my readers and viewers and clients redefine their relationships to what they own, I have some small part in helping them look differently at their lives. Not in a superficial way, but at a level that has altered their relationships with everyone and to everything around them.
With all my work decluttering homes and watching the resulting transformations came two critical revelations:

1. It's not about the stuff - The first step in helping people deal with clutter is to get them to look at things other than the clutter itself. I know this sounds strange, but if you are struggling with the things you own, and focus exclusively on these things, you will never tame them. Believe me, it's rarely about "the stuff." Clutter is about fear of losing memories, or worry about the future, or a sense that something bad is going to happen. It's a way of dealing with loss, or even a way of masking the pain of some past trauma. The woman who couldn't let go of family memorabilia because of the sudden and tragic death of her brother, the father who hoarded all of his children's schoolwork because it represented what he felt were the years he was closest to his sons and daughter, or the couple whose home was overflowing with personal paperwork because they were so fearful of identity theft.

Looking beyond the clutter for answers means addressing the underlying issues. I learned long ago that if you focus on the stuff, you will never conquer the clutter and deal with the fat and excess that fills your home. This revelation is the key to the success I've had in helping people reframe the way they look at what they own. It is fundamental to helping people overcome years of clutter and disorganization in their lives.

2. Your home reflects your life - Your home is a reflection of you. Not in some airy-fairy way, but in a real and tangible sense. It's no accident that at the same time we are struggling with the "epidemic of obesity," we are also living in homes weighted down with clutter and filled with "stuff."

Dealing with clutter and regaining a sense of harmony and organization in their homes touched many people I worked with in ways that I don't think anyone foresaw. Suddenly "clutter" meant so much more than an overstuffed closet or garage. For most, changing their relationship to their stuff became the first step in a larger process of adjusting the other relationships in their lives. Couples reassessed their relationships and removed the hurdles that had cluttered up their emotional lives. A few couples went their separate ways. Others realized that major changes were needed if the relationships were to continue. People lost weight, changed careers, reassessed the way they spent their time, and reorganized their priorities. Removing the clutter from people's lives was more than just clearing a desk of unwanted paperwork or getting all that junk out of the garage. Decluttering and organizing had an impact on every aspect of the lives of the people I worked with.

Clutter and fat -- they're not so different - Now I want to work with you on a different relationship, another relationship that we lose track of when we're overwhelmed by the pressures and demands of busy lives. Another relationship that is intense, even potentially life threatening, and, when redefined, has the power to change your life. In our culture, the relationship most people have with their bodies hinges on size. And the size of your body is where my expertise as a declutterer comes in. Your relationship to food is complex. If you're fat, your problems are real, and there are no miracles. Changing is going to take some straight talk and I'm here to give it.

The person for whom clutter is not a problem is extremely rare. So many of my clients seem to have lost focus in their lives and live with a nagging but poorly defined yearning for something they can't quite grasp. In accumulating more and more stuff or eating more and more food, they are attempting to meet the need for "something more." No matter how much more they accumulate, however, the need remains. For others, there is an element of boredom combined with a simmering sense of frustration, even anger. Again, it's something that many find hard to put a finger on, yet whatever it is lies behind their need to fill their lives with things. The hope is that material things will bring meaning and fulfillment. It never works.

All of us deal constantly with the urge to consume more. They're just not very different – clutter and fat: I see it. I want it. I'll have it. Consumption is king. We spend too much, we buy too much, and we eat too much. In the same way that we surround ourselves with so much clutter, we overwhelm our bodies with caloric clutter consisting mainly of sugar and fat. Almost all of us are carrying extra pounds that we just can't seem to shake. The stuff in our homes becomes too overwhelming to deal with, but we keep shopping. Similarly, the increasing weight of our bodies becomes more than we are able to handle, but we keep indulging. I'm not saying that if you're struggling with clutter you'll be fat or that a weight problem automatically means there is clutter in your home. It's not that simple. What is clear, however, is that we have a weight problem in this country and it is killing us. Look around -- in all of those fat houses, fat malls, and fat cars are fat people. Clutter and fat -- one is a reflection of the other. If you hope to deal with either, you need to change the way you look at things.

It's not about the food - As I learned in cluttered houses across the country, when you've collected too much of anything, including fat, you can't get rid of it without facing the underlying issues. To lose weight, to achieve the body and look you desire, you have to consider the many aspects of where and how you live. You have to consider the life you want to live. You have to look at your body the way you look at your house and say, "Do I honor and respect this body? Does it reflect who I am?" If your goals aren't clear and your thinking isn't focused, you can't break the habits that stand in your way.

Clutter or weight? Weight or clutter? What is the solution? We have to take a step back and look at the total picture. It's a huge mistake to draw arbitrary lines and to put different parts of your life into separate little boxes. Your food. Your career. Your relationships. Your schedule. Your buying habits. Your diet. Consider for a moment that where you live, what you own, how you interact with others, what you eat, and how you spend your time are all intimately linked. You can't change one piece without affecting all the others.

Declutter your mind, declutter your home, declutter your relationship to food. Then watch the ripple effect this has on every aspect of the way you live. Clear out the junk, and in doing so clear out the patterns of thought and behavior that prevent you from living the life you want. If you try to clear the clutter by focusing on the stuff, you will fail to get organized. It's not about the stuff. If you try to lose weight by focusing on the food, you'll never change your body for good. It's not about the food. First define the life you want to live. Acknowledge the issues that clutter that vision. Clean up your priorities. Create a world where those priorities can thrive. Learn how to honor and respect yourself. When you do, the ability to take control of your body will follow.

Look at your life. If you and your family don't mind the consequences of your weight or if you have a clean bill of health, maybe you should stop harping about those extra ten pounds and enjoy your life. I don't believe in weight loss for the sake of weight loss. I believe in living a life that makes you happy. However, if your butt looks fat and you don't like it, it's time to get rid of it.

7 Ways to Prevent

3 Reasons Why Getting Organized
is Like Losing Weight

1. Crash dieting doesn’t work, and neither does “crash organizing.” It’s great if you tackle a few huge projects one weekend and get some areas really organized, but unless you change the habits that got you disorganized in the first place, you will soon find the space a mess again. Both weight loss and organization require permanent changes in your habits and routines.

2. “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” The basic idea to lose weight is to eat less and move more. Clutter must be managed by preventing bringing it into the home whenever possible and by regularly processing your items and getting rid of what is not needed. Both weight loss and organization require a program of prevention, reduction, and regular maintenance.

3. Getting in shape can improve confidence. When you are disorganized, you feel out of control. You feel you can’t have friends over, and you may get embarrassed by not showing up on time to appointments or keeping your promises to others. Both weight loss and organization can reduce stress and increase confidence.

Cut Your Clutter Calories!

Just like cutting down on your candy consumption, preventing clutter from being created is the first step toward reducing your organizational “weight gain.” Here are a few tips to help you cut those clutter calories:

1. Control your “clutter cravings.” People often seem to have an appetite for purchasing certain things, but just like food cravings, you really can overcome your urge to collect. Get comfortable with the concept of “enough.” Avoid the places that encourage your particular collecting behavior, and if you must go, have a targeted approach to something you’ve planned ahead to buy. You may even need to bring a friend to “talk you down.” Here are some examples of places that are the clutter calorie equivalent of going to Krispy Kreme:

• Garage sales
• Flea markets
• Souvenir shops
• Discount stores
• Used bookstores
• Shoe stores

2. Deal with things as they come. Mail, dishes, and laundry are continuous sources of clutter. You can probably think of a few more examples of “continuous clutter” yourself. These processes are not going to stop, and accepting that is the first step in dealing with the problem.

To battle clutter, you must have systems and routines for dealing with it, usually on a daily basis. Can you imagine if the post office let letters and packages stack up, and at the end of the week the workers acted really surprised and panicked about delivering all of it? Of course not! They know it’s their business to deliver mail, and they have systems and routines in place to make that happen--daily. Our homes are no different. We need to accept the fact that we are also in the business of processing mail--and laundry and dishes-- and deal with these things as they come each day. No more ignoring these items and acting surprised when they have stacked up!

3. Stop extra postal mail, unsolicited phone calls, and junk e-mails. Junk communications are clutter too, and they cost you time and energy. Each communication represents little decisions you have to make every day. Should I talk to this salesperson? Should I read this catalog? Should I open this junk mail?

First, do not make it easy for them! Do not provide your personal contact information without asking yourself if it’s really necessary, and always be clear on the privacy policies of the company who is receiving this information. Sending in sweepstakes applications and warranty cards often put you on mailing lists, and these activities should be avoided.

Any time you receive an unsolicited sales call, have a response ready to end the call quickly. It’s very effective to say that you simply “have a policy” against purchasing from telemarketers. Always make sure you ask to be removed from their list so you won’t receive any future calls.

Ask your e-mail hosting provider or your IT service person to help you reduce your spam problem. There are many tools and services available to filter your mail, and they will be able to tell you the right tool for your particular configuration.

• Postal Mail Reduction Tips:
• Direct Marketing Association:
• Opting Out of Credit Card Offers:
• National Do-Not-Call Registry:
• State Do-Not-Call Lists:
• Federal Trade Commission Spam Information:

4. Plan before you buy. People create a lot of clutter by simply buying the wrong thing and not returning it. Take measurements, bring color swatches, and know sizes and quantities before you go out. Also, make a list of exactly what you need before you shop. If you are buying many things for your home, you can create a shopping notebook for your car that contains swatches of fabric, paint, and wallpaper, along with measurements of your rooms and furniture. Planning your purchases will help you save money, too!

5. Think before you buy. When you are about to buy something impulsively, ask yourself these crucial purchasing questions:

• Who can I borrow this from or share this with?
• What do I already have that is like this item?
• Where will I store this item?
• When will I have time to use it and maintain it?
• Why do I need this item?

Before you purchase something, mentally decide exactly where you are going to store this item when you get it home, and consider the time the item requires to maintain or use. If you are considering subscribing to a magazine or newspaper, ask yourself if you truly have time to read it each time it arrives. Are there already stacks of other magazines you are not reading? It may be better to buy a copy as a treat at the newsstand rather than subscribe and get into a clutter trap.

6. Don't always accept freebies. What a nifty glow-in-the-dark golf visor! But after the novelty wears off, what is going to happen to it? Don't take home everything you are offered from a party, a trade show or a conference, and don't bring home hotel soaps, samples, or other things you won’t use. When you are traveling, take five minutes while you are packing to leave to throw away anything that doesn’t truly belong in your home. And if a friend offers to give you something she doesn't use, don't accept it if you won't use it.

7. Ask for the gifts you want. It doesn't always come up, but if it does, be ready to tell people some great gift ideas for you. Otherwise you risk getting things you don't want and won’t use, which means clutter! And if you are truly the “person who has everything,” let everyone know you no longer want gifts but would rather have a donation in your name to a favorite charity.

Like dieters always say, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” Preventing the clutter from entering your home in the first place means that you’ll have less of it to “work off” later!