Fitness, Fortitude, Nutrition, Uncategorized

7 Tips to Keep Your Healthy Living Journey From Falling Off the Rails

Many people have fallen off the train to physical fitness. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve been on the train (all aboard in January, right?) and fallen off multiple times. You are frustrated. It wasn’t your body that gave out on you though. Oh sure, you might have told yourself that your knee or back derailed your ride to fitness, but you know the truth: You chose to jump off the train. Maybe your results weren’t coming fast enough, maybe it was too hard, you were doing the wrong exercises, or other activities got in the way. There are a million excuses and yours is not new.


News Flash: Getting fit is hard. So is paying for medications, feeling stiff, weak, tired, and not being able to do the things you once did (or have always wanted to do). You choose. #toughlove

Getting fit (and staying fit) is a mental game more than a physical one. Most people approach fitness the wrong way, and it leads to failure. A mindset shift about fitness is required. Fitness isn’t a project with a defined start and end date. There is no “arrival.” There’s no retirement. Fitness is a process – a healthy living journey that never ends. Wrap your mind around the reality that you need to pursue a lifestyle of healthy habits and read on for more helpful tips to master the mental side of getting fit.

Set mindful goals

Set small reasonable goals and remember to focus on the process. Expect more internal negative feedback at the start than positive. You will be sore, and maybe hungry. You might get grumpy and want to quit. Health benefits are delayed for a while – longer than the instant gratification we all expect. Recognize that everyone struggles with new routine. Get used to being uncomfortable and know that it will be worth it if you don’t give up.

Don’t exercise – train

Exercising for the sake of exercising is terrible. We’re like a hamster on his wheel, mindlessly moving and loathing every minute of it. Kinda like how I feel about treadmills. Exercise on purpose. Train for something. Follow a plan or program. Sign up for a race or fitness event. When you finish, sign up for another one. Remember your driving force behind your fitness journey. Why are you really trying to get fit? How will you feel? What will you be able to do?

Be Social

Find other people to motivate you. Join a club or challenge group. Find a workout partner. Coach others. I have found the mutual accountability in helping others to be an awesome way to keep momentum in my healthy living journey. There is great power in being part of a group.

Change your Habits

Have you heard of Habit Stacking? It’s where you stack your new healthy habit on top of something you already do every day to help ensure you get it done. Plan ahead. Remove as much friction between you and the workout as possible. Set aside time in your calendar like any other meeting or appointment. Set your gear out the night before. Following a plan ensures you don’t show up to the gym with no idea how to maximize your results. We love working out at home because it eliminates so many of the common obstacles.

Define yourself

You are what you eat, you are what you do – not what you say you do. Talk to yourself and about yourself in a positive voice. “I am strong. I am healthy. I’m taking this time for me so I can be my best for everyone else.” You are a responsible person so you go to work every day. You don’t just skip work cuz you don’t feel like it. Same with your healthy habits. You are an active person, you are on a mission to be the best version of yourself, so you don’t ditch your program/ workout commitments.

Rest

Once you get on track, you love how you feel, you’re making progress, etc. you won’t want to stop. You still must listen to your body and rest. Give your body a chance to recover. But don’t use rest as an excuse to jump off the train. You can still eat right and do lower impact activity.

Change your routine as you age

Fitness isn’t a goal, it’s a lifelong process. It will change as you age. Adapt. Mix up your program. Avoid comparison with your younger self. Never quit. Find the activities that suit you. You may lose some speed and strength over time, but far slower than you would if you sat idle telling yourself you are too old or fat to do anything. Get moving. Conquer your mind. Do your thing. Press on!

faith, Personal Development

My 2018 Book List

I enjoy reading. I prefer to read to learn something versus reading for entertainment. I’m always on the lookout for a solid read from a respected author. I’m not one to plow through a book a week because some of what I read needs to be taken in small portions so I can digest it. See what I did there with the play on words?

So here is what I read in 2018 with a few notes about each one. I’m not saying you MUST read everything that I read, but if you are in the market for quality content to nourish your mind and soul, these have been impactful to me.

The Joy of Trusting God by Dr. Bill Bright

Real joy eludes most of us these days. There is so much negativity and terrible things reported in the news that it is extra hard to have real joy in our soul. This book helped me to adjust my focus to trust God through all that goes on around me and allow God to fill me with joy and peace.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This book surprised me big time. So good. I’m not a war history buff, but this is an amazing true story that grips you from page one. If you want to read about fortitude,courage, redemption, and get an insider’s view of WWII, this is it.

Jesus Is ___. By Judah Smith

Fill in the blank.Jesus is greatly revered, harshly criticized, and sorely misunderstood. Judah breaks down who Jesus is and explains to readers how understanding Jesus more fully will not only enrich their lives, but also give them meaning, as well as save them. Judah has a way of bringing well known Bible stories to life in a way that puts you in the story. Very impactful.

Invisible War by Chip Ingram

It might sound strange to you, but there is a spiritual war going on all around us that we cannot see with our eyes. This book uses the Bible to help us understand the evil in the world, how it works, and what we can do about it. It’s actually very helpful and encouraging. All is not lost people!

Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard

This book will challenge you to take a sober self-assessment. If we are honest with ourselves,there are attitudes, beliefs, fears, etc. that need to be addressed. This book provides some encouraging insight to help us take control of our heart rather than be steered by it.

A.D. 33: A Novel by Ted Dekker

The only fiction I read this year was this excellent story that shares the heart of Jesus. Dekker’s stories always move fast and keep you guessing. This is both entertaining and soul food.

Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away by Dr. Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman writes,“I believe that in every troubled marriage, one or both partners can take positive steps that have the potential for changing the emotional climate in their marriage.” This book was recommended to me by a dear friend because it has such practical application for ANY and all marriages. In fact, what you can learn in this book can apply to all relationships.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

This is a 365 day devotional book that can change your life. Written nearly 100 years ago, it’s amazing how piercing Oswald’s wisdom is for us today. I read it as part of my morning routine and have found it to be especially convicting and encouraging at the same time.

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

This is the most impactful book I’ve read this year. In fact, I’ve just finished reading it the 2nd time. I probably highlighted something on every page. It is so rich with wisdom and advice for thriving in the most important human relationship we have. This is a MUST read whether you are married or not.

The Heart of Christmas by Lucado, Maxwell, Hybels, Warren, Jeremiah, Hayford

I found this book in our box of Christmas decorations. It’s actually really good. Not only will this insightful book put you in the Christmas spirit, but it will encourage your soul as you think about what this holiday is really all about.

Fitness, Personal Development

Snooze Now, ConQuer Later

I can remember taking ‘power naps’ in college. At very random times of day, I would just lay down for a few minutes between classes. My posse back then often did the same. We’d say, “I need a 10.” It was our code for nap time. Just 10-20 minutes is all that was needed. I remember feeling so much better afterwards. Naps really work. I steal one every now and then these days, but its not my habit. Maybe it should be. A quick glance through history books reveals a long line of influential nappers. Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Thomas Edison were all known to take naps.

Their decision, it turns out, is backed by science.

Napping and productivity

The benefits of getting enough sleep are widely acknowledged, but why choose naps instead of catching more Zs at night? The simple answer is that it makes the second part of your day as productive as the first. About an hour after waking is considered our most productive time. Even if you consider yourself a night-owl, chances are your cognitive abilities are sharper after some shut-eye. It is more than common sense. It is science.

In a review of the many studies conducted on napping, Dr. Catherine Milner and Dr. Kimberly A. Cote find a host of productivity-related benefits. Napping improves reaction time, psychomotor speed, vigor, and vigilance. In one [study}(https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=7466161), participants saw their ability to complete additional tasks improve post-nap and in another, retirees saw improvements in episodic memory, visuospatial abilities, and general cognition. Yet another study on memory found that working-aged people were able to perform recall tasks better after a nap when compared to drinking coffee. The nap doesn’t need to be long: even a six-minute micro-nap improves declarative memory.

Napping and learning

Sleep is known to help consolidate memory and contribute to learning, but some scientists say the same benefits can be reaped from naps. Dr. Sara Mednick looks at how sleep impacts learning. In a 2003 study, she found that a 90-minute snooze is just about as good for learning perceptual skills as a full eight hours. Even better, the power of a nap adds to the learning potential experienced during regular sleeping hours.

Participants who napped in addition to their regular sleep schedule experienced “improvement, such that performance over 24 hours showed as much learning as is normally seen after twice that length of time.” The research suggests that if you’re struggling with complex learning tasks, a nap can help.

Napping and health

We know that getting enough sleep is important for overall health, but there is also evidence that napping, in particular, is a healthy habit. A 2016 study by the European Society of Cardiology compared the health of 386 patients with arterial hypertension to see how napping might impact their health.

Those that took mid-day naps had lower blood pressure and anatomical evidence of less blood pressure related damage. Napping was also associated with fewer medication prescriptions.

The benefits extend into real-world results. In a longitudinal study of over 23,000 healthy people, nappers had a much lower rate of coronary mortality. Those who napped occasionally had a 12% lower coronary mortality rate, while those who napped often had a 37% percent lower rate.

Towards a culture of napping

Napping is becoming popular because it is easier to coordinate than a full eight hours of blissfully uninterrupted shut-eye at night. Work hours are long and time with our families is precious. A twenty-minute nap can be slotted in between meetings or a longer snooze can take place over lunch, leaving free time at home to be spent on hobbies or with loved ones.

In China, public napping is commonplace. “It’s nothing unusual,” Chinese journalist Lorraine Lu writes. “If you get tired, you just put a cushion or pillow on your desk, lay your head on it and rest for 15 minutes.”

Aside from the workplace, subways and even Ikea are fair game. The same is true of several other Asia countries, and the afternoon siesta is a time-honored condition in many Spanish-speaking nations.

Though the United States is yet to catch up, some companies are coming around to the idea of corporate nap time. A 2011 poll found that 34% of respondents were allowed to nap at work and hundreds of sleep pods are popping up in offices, hospitals, and schools around the country.

If you aren’t one of the Americans already taking naps, there is no time like the present.

*credit belongs to Erin Wildermuth and the team at michaelhyatt.com for doing the heavy lifting on this article

Family, Fortitude, Personal Development

Why Am I So Angry?

By Wanda Walborn

Violence levels are on the rise in our nation and world, and the Church is not exempt from its impact. As those who love God, how do we address anger as a natural part of our soul care and then help others diffuse the anger in their lives too? There are many forms of anger, so don’t be too quick to assume that you are not an angry person.

Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure and antagonism aroused by a sense of injury or wrong. Healthy anger can act as a powerful force for producing change in our lives at every level. It can be a gift that signals things are not OK.

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

There are three types of anger mentioned in Scripture. The first type includes a stewing or festering that brews just below the surface and doesn’t come out. The Greek word for this type of anger is parogismos used in Ephesians 6:4, exhorting fathers to not provoke their children to anger.

The second type of anger occurs when something important to you is threatened or damaged. The Greek word is orgizo used in Ephesians 4:26—“Be angry (orgizo), but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger (parogizo) and give no opportunity to the devil.” Paul is saying to feel the anger but not to sin by refusing to deal with the festering anger below the surface, which gives the devil a place in your life.

The third type of anger is what Galatians 5:20 refers to as “outbursts of anger” or “fits of rage.” The Greek word is thymos, or rage, which passionately erupts and then cools down quickly, whereas the orgizo is indignation that gradually builds and settles in.

Five Signs of Indirect Anger 

Many people don’t think they have a problem with anger but are sarcastic, passive aggressive, numb, depressed, or apathetic. Each of these expressions is an indication of indirect anger.

1. Sarcasm

The word sarcasm means “tearing of flesh.” It is intended to cut a person but is covered with a façade of humor.

2. Passive aggression

Passive-aggressive people pretend everything is fine. Then they say things to others, often acting like a victim, to get other people to confront or speak for them, because they can’t approach the person with whom they have a problem. This type of manipulation is calculated and driven by anger.

3. Depression

Depressed people turn their anger inward rather than choosing to express it outwardly. In an attempt to keep the peace, they push down all negative feelings to avoid hurting the people around them.

4. Numbness

People who feel numb have shut down emotionally to survive. Long-term chaotic or abusive situations cause them to close off emotionally to cope. They no longer feel joy or pain. They live in a constant state of numbness, and their anger has become frozen.

5. Apathy

Apathy is a sign that passion and hope are gone. Not caring is the only way a hurting person endures the pain. Apathy is a logical conclusion to an emotional issue. Rather than caring and feeling continual hurt, fear, or powerlessness, a person chooses not to care so he or she can function in everyday life.

angry_momImperfect Parent

In 1992 I became pregnant with our fourth child. My anger toward the other three children surpassed the usual irritations or annoyances of typical childish behavior, and I found myself overreacting to almost everything they did.

If they spilled their drinks at the table, I went into a rage. If they started whining at the grocery store, I would take them into the bathroom or car and spank them. They were just tired and needed compassion, but what they got was frustration and an anger that forced them into unhealthy obedience. I felt disrespected, humiliated, and exposed as a bad mother because they wouldn’t listen to me, and I used my power to make them pay.

As I look back now, I realize I felt shame over their behavior. It makes no sense that I expected an 18-month-old, 2-year-old, and 4-year-old who were tired and hungry to handle a long day that ended at the grocery store without complaint. But I did. My parenting revolved around what other people would think and not about what my children needed.

This feeling of shame intimidated me into silence, and it wasn’t until I heard a sermon at church that it was OK not to be OK that I felt a dam burst inside of me. I finally determined to be honest about my feelings and seek the help I needed.

When I told my husband about my over-the-top behavior toward our children, he initially passed my anger off as just a reaction to a bad day. I continued to confess to him my actions toward the children when he wasn’t around to show him how bad it really was. Thankfully, he didn’t respond with more shame but encouraged me to talk with our senior pastor (the one who preached the sermon about not being OK), and I began to meet with him and his wife for the next four months to deal with the root of my anger instead of the symptoms.

The interesting part of the story is that my husband was the associate pastor of the same church. I was a pastor’s wife and treated my children that way. How shameful! I believed the lie that I should be perfect as the pastor’s wife; therefore, my children should be perfect too.

anger.is_.danger

What’s Under the Anger?

During my prayer counseling sessions, I learned of six emotional causes underlying anger. Anger is what presents itself to others, but the primary emotion is underneath the anger. Understanding these six causes helped me identify the hurt and deal with it.

1. You’re afraid.

Fear can be a strong emotion causing people to feel weak, vulnerable, and powerless, so they rise up in anger to push people away and regain a sense of control. The rush of adrenaline that accompanies anger makes a person feel strong and hides the hidden terror.

2. Your opinion is invalidated.

Everyone wants to be heard whether in a business meeting or at the dinner table. A person’s opinion is simply his or her viewpoint on a topic. To criticize someone’s viewpoint or, worse yet, ignore the person completely, can cause anger. This is often seen in autocratic homes where one parent is always right and children aren’t allowed to have different opinions.

3. Your way is blocked.

This attitude is where road rage stems from—“Get out of my way!” Whether a person’s car is cut off on the freeway, or the budget is cut dissolving the business plan, or a 2-year-old is told no, anger results. It is probably the most volatile of all the underlying causes because it erupts spontaneously.

4. You’re hurt.

When a person is hurt, the offense is either turned inward, leading to despair or depression, or turned outward, leading to anger and bitterness. When turned inward, the person seeks to contain the anger by taking it out on him/herself, and self-rejection and self-hatred results. Turning the hurt outward can lead to blame and seeking revenge toward the person who hurt you. The healthy response to hurt is to feel the sadness, loss, and pain of the wounding.

5. Your personhood is attacked.

Name calling and inappropriate comments about your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or beliefs fit this category. Oftentimes, these comments are made sarcastically or with a joking tone to get a laugh. Outwardly people might smile or play along, but inwardly the very core of the person has been touched, and it hurts.

6. Your expectations are unmet.

The angry person flies off the handle because of an unfulfilled expectation that is never spoken to the person receiving the anger. The angry person assumes the expectation is obvious, so he or she doesn’t need to communicate it directly. It should just be known. This happens in any relationship with assumptions and poor communication.

Anger leaves a wake of pain. The next time you get angry, pause for a moment and sift through these six areas to identify the underlying cause of your anger. It can help you communicate clearly and avoid many arguments and disagreements in your relationships.

How Do I Get Rid of My Anger?

We can’t rid ourselves of anger because it is an emotion; however, we can learn to appropriately deal with the real issue underlying the anger so it doesn’t fester or spew in unhealthy ways to hurt people around us. Here are five ways to self–check your anger level for your personal soul care.

1. Acknowledge the way in which anger generally surfaces in your life—aggression, passive-aggressiveness, sarcasm, numbness, apathy, depression, or rage.

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the underlying issue as the source: fear, invalidation, blocked goals, woundedness, attacks on your personhood, or unmet expectations.

3. Ask for help so you don’t suffer in silence. Telling a close friend, spouse, or counselor about your anger disarms its power in your mind.

4. Grieve the loss accompanying the pain to process all the feelings surrounding the incident.

5. Choose to forgive the offender. Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation for those who have hurt you and may not ever involve a conversation with the other person. Rather, forgiveness eliminates bitterness from forming in your heart to torment you and cut off intimacy with God and those you love. Satan is a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Let us not allow our unresolved anger to be the entry point of our destruction.

It’s been 24 years since I came clean with my husband and began to deal with my anger in a healthy way. I still feel anger, but it doesn’t control me as it once did. You too can be free from anger’s grip. Go beneath it and diffuse it.