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Going Nuts at the Christmas Buffet

13 Dec

From Craig Wilson’s crazy list of holiday eating tips so you’ll be fat and happy. nutsatchristmasbuffet_lolwithgod_graphic-hickoryfarmsmixednuts

“Fill up on vegetable sticks, they say. Good grief. Is your favorite childhood memory of Christmas a carrot stick? … A carrot was something you left for Rudolph …

“About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately …

“If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. You can’t leave them behind. You’re not going to see them again ….”  *

LOL! Not exactly smart advice for those of us who WANT to eat healthy!

For me, it wasn’t Christmas cookies. And I didn’t go nuts over the carrots either.

I stood next to the Christmas buffet and chatted with friends. And I kept reaching for the big bowl of nuts. Over and over and over again. I was a party-time “nut glutton.”

Do you know how many calories are in just one handful of nuts!

(I didn’t, but a friendly nutritionist informed me … after the fact!)

So I gained a little weight and knew I needed to get back on track with healthy eating or I’d undo all the hard work of the previous 12 months to “learn obedience” in regard to my eating habits.

Here are some thoughts and decisions I’ve made since that Christmas buffet. Maybe my ideas will help you too.

1. PAUSE INSTEAD OF PANICKING

I’m not going to panic when I do eat too many empty calories.  Panicky thoughts will not contribute to wiser choices. 

When faced with a buffet or a plate of cookies or tray of fudge, I will pause and pray—asking the Lord for wisdom about whether or how much to “indulge.”

… when you are tempted, he (the Lord) will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13b)

2. PICK MY BATTLES

I know it’s not reasonable to say I won’t eat another Christmas cookie or go to a Christmas party, but I can decide what’s important on my calendar, choose my eating splurges wisely so “empty calorie damage” is minimal, and live in freedom—not guilt.

“I have the right to do anything… but no everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

3. PREPARE MY HEART AND MIND

I make sure I know my triggers. I anticipate obstacles. I set some boundaries (like, only one plate of food, or only having a dessert I truly love and in a wise amount, or graciously saying “no, thank you” or “not now, maybe later”).

But it’s crucial to be “mindful” and think with an eternal perspective. If I don’t think prepare my heart and mind to choose wisely (Psalm 90:12), I’ll likely make decisions in the “heat of the moment.”

4. PLAN CAREFULLY

There’s nothing wrong with making strategies for the holidays.

Mindless eating means I’m not using my mind to think about what I’m eating and why.

Smart eating during the holidays is like warfare. It can be tough! But “by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 24:6). My “guidance” for these battles is the truth of scripture and the wise counsel of others who are fighting the same battle.

Strategy is important. Good strategies (for me) include remembering people are more important than food, not going to an event too hungry, optimizing food choices (loading up on veggies, then protein or meat before considering other carbohydrates), and picking out one “special” treat. (I define treat as something I wouldn’t normally get to eat. Why eat a brownie if they’re available all the time?)

5. PRE-DETERMINE RESPONSES 

I try to find out what I’ll be facing. I want to be realistic! I can make some practical decisions ahead of time if I know I’ll face multiple eating “triggers.”

I’ve even been known to recruit a like-minded friend for support. I knew she was praying for me, and she checked up on me after the event. That friendly accountability gave me some extra motivation. She “sharpened” my resolve (Proverbs 27:17) and encouraged me (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

6. PURSUE THE BIG PICTURE

I’m learning to keep the big picture perspective in mind and aim for continuing progress. I want to maintain as many of my normal healthy-eating routines as possible.

When I remember what has helped me lose (or maintain) weight in the past—intentional healthy habits—I can choose to practice them most of the time during the holiday season. I can be diligent and not give up (Galatians 6:9).

7. PROGRESS FORWARD WHEN I FALL

Messing up isn’t the end of the world. It just means I have to be more intentional, plan better strategies, and seek the Lord in the face of temptations.

It’s not a matter of having more willpower, but rather of being a good student and leaning from my mistakes. It’s not a matter of punishing myself when I fall, but rather understanding what caused the mindlessness and addressing it so it’s not as likely to happen again.

I’m learning to re-calibrate and adjust for long-term progress. “… I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me” (Philippians 3:13).

I may stumble over and over in the process, but I won’t let it stop my progress (Proverbs 24:16a).

8. PARTY IN MY HEART

I am going to celebrate every single small “victory” toward healthy eating during the holiday season.

Little decisions make a big impact. Little choices have consequences. And little victories are worth celebrating because they are actually HUGE! (I actually smile as I put only one cookie on my plate!)

I want to focus on my wins, not my mistakes.

And I want to praise the Lord, because it is my faithful God who enables lasting victories (Deuteronomy 20:4; 1 Corinthians 10:13)

I don’t have to go nuts at the buffet line ever again, but when I do, I know God’s grace is sufficient, and He will draw me back to truth.

– Dawn

 * Craig Wilson, USA Today, “Thou Shalt Not Skim Flavor from the Holidays,”
http://www.primepuzzle.com/leeslatest/eatingtipsfortheholidays.html

Graphic: Hickory Farms Mixed Nuts:

http://www.hickoryfarms.com/out-of-stock/our-finest-mixed-nuts-gift-tin-040600.html

 

The Mis-shelved Diet Book

26 Jul

I love children’s silly jokes. And I love food. Combine the two and you get some fun!

  • Why did the doughnut go to the dentist? It needed a chocolate filling.PizzaAndTomatoPaste2
  • What country did candy come from? Sweeten.
  • (and my favorite) How do you fix a broken pizza? With tomato paste!

I had a doctor once who called people who gave up on their diets “Desserters.” (And to look at him, he’d desserted many times!)

Dieting isn’t a laughing matter, though, to those who struggle.

A recent trip to my new doctor left me in tears. Besides all the allergy, asthma and other issues, I suddenly had a blood pressure problem. Me – a woman who’s always had “perfect” blood pressure. I couldn’t believe it. My doctor suggested I lose some weight, and see if that would help before she considered blood pressure medicine.

Tired of the this ‘n’ that of my medical issues, I cried all the way home. Almost all the way home. I stopped off at Walmart, and prayed as I walked down the aisles. I felt so desperate.

At one point, I said, “Lord, You know how hard it’s been for me to lose weight. I don’t know what else to do. PLEASE! Show me an answer.” I was going to head to the cookbook section of the book aisles, thinking there might be a diet book or two there. But right as I said the word “answer,” I glanced to my right and saw a book turned sideways in the middle of the romance shelves! (It stood out in the midst of smaller paperbacks.)

The title was The Virgin Diet. Maybe because a diet book with the word “Virgin” was mis-shelved in the romance section, I started to Book_TheVirginDiet_borderedsmile. OK, I chuckled out loud. And I stopped and picked it up.

What is a Virgin Diet? I wondered. The book turned out to be authored by a woman named J.J. Virgin. But as I glanced through the pages and read the back flyleaf, my eyes once again filled with tears. I knew this was God’s answer for me. [Note: I’m not endorsing the book … I’m just saying it was right for me at the time.]

Earlier in the year, another book titled Wheat Belly  showed me that food (in that case, wheat) might have a part in some of my health issues; but even then, I sensed there was something more. The Virgin Diet offered hope for those struggling with weight loss (and I was); but it also discussed food sensitivities. And the symptoms of those sensitivities sounded just like what I’d experienced for more than two years.

So I followed the 21 day diet, eliminating the seven things recommended by the author. To my surprise, I not only lost more than 20 pounds, I started to feel healthier and stronger than I had in a long, long time. My blood pressure went down too!

Because I reacted strongly to two of the seven foods, I still avoid them. Two others brought mild reactions. When I eat any of these foods, it doesn’t take long for my body to signal its displeasure!

I don’t want to focus on the diet. (Again, even though I show the book cover here, I neither endorse nor promote diet books. I’m only sharing my story. This was less about a “diet” for me, and more about exploring food sensitivities.)

No, this post isn’t about a diet as much as a prayer.

thank God that He heard me in my desperate moment. I know we don’t always get such immediate answers, but I still laugh to think how He used a mis-shelved book to answer my prayer right when I needed it most!

In the days since, God’s Word has fortified me to stay disciplined – most of the time – and to give me wisdom for the choices I need to make each day. I’m thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning, because I sure need them!

Let me encourage you today. God hears each prayer. He knows what you’re going through. He wants you and me to trust and wait on Him (Psalm 25:4-5; 40:1; Proverbs 3:5-7; Isaiah 26:3; 40:31). He has a sovereign plan for each one of us, and He will accomplish it in His time and way. He might even give you some clues in the middle of Walmart.

Has God ever used something unusual to remind you of His love, give you wisdom, or encourage you along your journey? I’d love to hear YOUR story!

– Dawn

Re-energize before Christmas

19 Dec

“Three phrases that sum up Christmas are:  Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not included.” ~ author unknown

“I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, ‘Toys not included.'” ~ Bernard Manning (1)

Ever feel like you need a new set of batteries to keep running?

This is about the time of the Christmas season that I (Dawn) start wearing down, so I took time to think about Fifteen Ways to Re-Energize before Christmas. Maybe this will help you, too.

  1. Connect with friends and family members spontaneously ~ no expectations ~ and chat about some fun holiday memories.
  2. Schedule some play time that doesn’t require a lot of planning. (Holiday preparations can get so intense, they feel like work; so allow yourself some down time. Think like a child.)
  3. Look at your “to do list” and determine whether what you are doing right now absolutely has to be done right now. Is there something you can put off until after Christmas? Something you can delegate? Something you might decide isn’t worth doing at all? Learn when to say “no.”
  4. Think legacy and impact to determine what is important. What will last? How do you want people to remember you? What counts for eternity? What builds people up?
  5. Use “now-time” wisely. Plan for long-term goals, but take just one step at a time. Don’t fret over tomorrow’s responsibilities.
  6. Eat healthy ~ a balance of protein and good carbs.
  7. Drink more water!
  8. Exercise. Yes, that sounds counter-productive, but daily exercise will help, especially if you can get some sunshine outside at the same time to beat winter blues. At the very least, do some slow stretches ~ get every muscle group involved. Reach high… bend low… twist gently.
  9. Breathe deeply … breathe out for as long as you can through your mouth, and then breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold your breath.  Repeat. Repeat.
  10. Simplify housekeeping. Keeping the “clutter” down and wiping down surfaces is all that’s really necessary, if you’ve been keeping your home in shape. Don’t think that your ChristmasNaphouse has to be “immaculate” for guests.
  11. Take a power nap in the middle of the day… it’s better for you than an extra half hour in the morning. (A friend reminded me that it’s not a nap if I’m still holding a cell phone or have my hands on a keyboard!)
  12. Smell good stuff ~ the aromas of your Christmas tree, tangerines, rosemary, etc.
  13. Enjoy light and warmth. Sit by a glowing fireplace, or light candles.
  14. Sing Carols out loud in your home, or listen to Christmas music as you work.
  15. Turn over all of your cares to God.

What I’m talking about here is how to get back a feeling of energy … powering up. These are things, actually, that we can do any time we feel like our batteries have run down.

One of the most “draining” things we can do during the holiday season is to fret and worry about all that we have to do. That’s why I especially like #15 on that list.

The Bible says, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (1 Peter 5:7, Amplified). God says we can cast our cares on Him, and He will sustain us (Psalm 55:22).

We “cast our cares” by handing them over to God. Envision that you have your hands full … because you do! And then hand those things over to God for safe-keeping.

We don’t need to worry about tomorrow’s “to do list” (Matthew 6:34), but only consider what God wants us to do today. Can you feel the “aaaaah” in that?

So, the way we power up to face the stresses of the holidays is really by powering down … or rather, surrendering to God’s power. We recognize that we can’t do it all, but we CAN do all that God wants us to do, by His grace, in His power, with His strength and help.

Relax. Think about what’s really important in this special season, and then ~ cast your cares on the One who has promised to sustain you, and allow Him to recharge your batteries.

(1) http://www.quotegarden.com/christmas.html

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