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My Triple-Braided Cord from-- Proverbs 31 Ministries

All I can say this really touched me this morning when I read it and I know alot of us go through some of the same issues. So I thought I would share. 

 

My Triple-Braided Cord
Karen Ehman

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

I’ve been embattled in a knock-down, drag-out fight for over a quarter-century now. Sometimes, I feel the little daily battles that are part of this clash completely defeat me, leaving me helpless and hopeless. And I feel alone in my battle.

What is this battle that consumes me? It is one that many women face. My constant, decades-long skirmish is with food. Or rather with my desire for food. Bad foods. Wrong foods. Or just vast quantities of food.

A few years back, I felt I’d come to the end of my rope. Severely overweight and reeling from seven different medical conditions, I finally determined to do something decisive for fear I might wind up like my aunt. She died unexpectedly of a heart attack when she was only in her early forties. I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, was the same size my aunt had been, and shared many of her medical issues.

So one day with desperate determination, a pair of hand-me-down walking shoes, and my trusty calorie counter in hand, I set off to religiously follow a weight-loss and exercise regimen. And follow it I did — to the T! Eleven months later, I’d dropped over 100 pounds. All my health conditions disappeared without any medication and I felt better than I had in my twenties. I boldly determined that never, EVER again would I let that weight creep back on.

Fast forward three years. One snowy Christmas eve, my husband’s company gave him notice of a layoff. It lasted for nearly 9 months. Money was tight. The future looked bleak. I was worried and teetering on the brink of depression. I hate to admit that, sadly, I again turned to food instead of to God. I made it my comfort; my distraction; my friend.

However, this familiar “friend” quickly became my archenemy. Over the course of those 9 months, I gained back over a third of the weight I’d lost! Now entrenched in the thick of the battle again, I was weary and weak; embarrassed and embittered. However, one day God sent me today’s key verse. He whispered in my soul’s ear that I needed to stop fighting the battle alone. Time to call in the troops!

I phoned my friend Lysa and asked her if she would not only pray for me, but allow me to “weigh-in” with her once a month to let her know if I’d lost or gained. She too has fought the same battle and was gracious and willing to be my second strand, watching my back and enabling me to conquer.

Another friend, who also has fought weight issues, sensed how much my regain was bothering me. On one of my darkest days, she took my chin in her hand, looked me squarely in the eye, and told me I was beautiful and that I needed to stop allowing Satan to beat me up. Shari became my third strand. She committed to pray for me, and I started emailing her each month with a report from the front lines of my battlefield.

Knowing these “I’ve-been-there” sisters were both rooting, as well as praying, for me has made an immense difference.

Whether it is extra weight on our thighs or excess baggage in our souls, we women all face heated, hard battles. Our key verse today teaches us to decide not to wage war all alone.

God wants us to enlist another strand or two to strengthen one another in the fight to overcome strongholds and worship Him alone. Satan shudders when God’s gals band together, with Jesus at the forefront, to courageously face the battle before us.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I try to wage war alone. Guide me to someone who will come alongside of me and encourage me not to give up in my quest to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Proverbs 31 Ministries 

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

 I found this very helpful this morning, Thought I would share! 

 

 

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence
Renee Swope

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

One night I was cleaning our kitchen and found this little rubber thingy on our countertop. It wasn’t until after I threw it away that I realized it was the power button for our TV remote control. As I dug through the trash to find it, I regretted how quickly I’d thrown it away.

Then, as I reached to pull it out, I sensed God showing me that’s how easily I throw away my confidence—without recognizing it.

It’s usually very subtle. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me and whispers to my heart, You can’t do that. You’re not good enough. Out of the blue, I’ll just get that awful, insecure feeling.

Too many times in the past I’ve gone along with it, tossing my confidence into the trash without even thinking.

For years, I didn’t tell anyone about my lack of confidence because I figured if I told them all the reasons I doubted myself, they’d see my flaws and agree with me. Honestly, I was convinced I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

However, I didn’t call it doubt. Maybe you don’t either. Sometimes I called it worry—worry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.

Other times I’d call it fear—fear that I wouldn’t measure up, fear that I’d look stupid, fear that I’d look prideful thinking I could do something special for God. What I’ve realized over the past several years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt.

Looking back, I see a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.

As a child I thought I wasn’t worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park, because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, I thought I wasn’t smart enough. I avoided some great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.

Even as a young bride, I doubted my worth in my husband’s eyes. Although he gave me no reason to fear he’d ever leave me, our newlywed memories include a lot of arguments based on my insecurities.

What about you? Do you ever question your worth as a woman? How often do you agree with the whispers of self-doubt and throw away confidence that should be yours as a child of God?

I’ve learned to ask God to show me when I’m tempted to throw away my confidence and then depend on Him to help me throw away my insecurities instead. Want to join me? Let’s hold onto God’s promises and depend on His truth for the security we need and the confidence we long for:

• When self-doubt whispers, “I can’t do that. I’m going to fail and look foolish.” Throw away that lie away and hold onto this truth (even say it out loud): “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV 1984)

• When self-doubt whispers, “I’ll never change.” Throw away that lie away and claim this truth: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NASB)

• When self-doubt whispers, “This is too hard for me. I don’t have what it takes to…” Throw away that lie away and hold onto this truth: “No, in all these things [I am] more than a [conqueror] through him who loved [me].” (Romans 8:37, NIV)

Lord, I want to become a woman with a confident heart in Christ. Will you help me recognize when I throw away my confidence, and remind me to throw away my insecurities instead? I want to persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt or insecurity tells me I can’t do something, I will remember that all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

WOW GOD! :) have a wonderful day!!

Don’t Eat Your Way Out of the Pit

This is from Lysa TerKeurst  book Made to Crave...  Such a great book for Christian women to read! This reached out to me today so I thought I would share it with you. :) 

 

Don’t Eat Your Way Out of the Pit
Lysa TerKeurst

“Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10b (NIV)

Have you ever been in a pit? Yesterday I was. And you know what pits make me feel besides frustrated and down? Hungry.

Usually my pit comes when circumstances roll into my life that I can’t control.

Circumstances that affect me, but that are beyond my control, make me want to find comfort in things I can control. And eating sure does feel like an easy to get comfort.

But, in these situations, what feels comforting going in my mouth often doesn’t settle well with my heart.

Overindulging in junk food makes me feel guilty. And once guilty joins me in my pit, it only compounds my issues. So, if we can’t eat our way out of a pit with junk food, what can we do?

If I’m truly hungry, I grab a healthy option. Then, I intentionally look for something for which to be thankful and get my mouth busy praising God.

Even though I may not feel like praising God in the midst of my pit, something starts to shift in my heart and in my attitude when I see blessings in the midst of burdens. Each thing for which I verbalize my thankfulness is like a stepping stone out of the pit.

And this isn’t just my idea. It’s biblical. Look what happened when Daniel took this approach to the pit he found himself in.

In Daniel 6:10, Daniel had just learned that if anyone was caught praying to anyone else besides King Darius, they would be thrown into the Lion’s Den. That’s a serious pit! But Daniel’s reaction is amazing.

He went home, threw his windows open, and prayed anyway. I’m not thinking he did this because he felt good. I’m imagining he felt like anyone would feel in overwhelming circumstances. But he rose above his feelings to make a choice.

And do you know what he chose to pray?

“God, save me!”

“God, it’s not fair!”

“God, this is too much!”

“God, smite my enemies and wipe them out!”

“God, You know I can’t handle this without extreme doses of chocolate!”

No. None of the above.

What Daniel prayed is a powerful lesson for me.

Daniel prayed, Thank You God. “Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10b, NIV)

Since Daniel’s response is so opposite of the way most of us would react, it makes me stop and ponder. Our initial responses are usually a by-product of the rituals we’ve established in our life. Daniel had made it his habit to be thankful.

Therefore, who God is and what God provides was front and center in Daniel’s heart — even in the midst of heartbreak.

I am so challenged and inspired by this. Where do I run when life presses in on me? Who or what am I really dependent on? Do I have a habit of inviting guilt to join me in my pit? What might happen if I stopped grabbing for comfort and instead embraced the perspective change of thanksgiving?

Yes, life will be full of pits. But, that doesn’t mean I have to be a pit dweller or a pit eater.

Dear Lord, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit. But we don’t have to stay there and we don’t have to try and eat our way out. Thank You for providing Your timeless Word to point to the way, the truth and the life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What happens to your weight/body when you have low or no estrogen?

Ok I read a blog earlier and it got me thinking about what having no ovaries or estrogen is doing to my body.. Is it helping or hindering my weight loss. I found a pretty cool write up about it, but first let me share some of my history with you. 

I had my oraries removed a year ago at the age of 31, I had what they call Endometrioma. Which comes from Endometriosis. I had a hystorectomy about 6 years ago because I had it so bad that I could hardly get out of bed most days. What they didnt tell me when they said you are so young we should leave your ovaries because they are healthy, is that I would more then likely have to have them removed because I would develope an endometrioma!  well not only did I get one, I had 2 one on each side. The right side was about 5 inches in diameter and the left about 4. so yeah they hurt alot!! So June of last year I had those babies removed!  and I would advise anyone who has to have a hystorectomy from endometriosis to remove them as well because its like a 90% chance you will have this problem later one! 

Now comes the sucky part... No I cant sleep, I have hot flashes hourly and I have night sweats. I am not talking about sweating like you do when you work out, I am talking waking up with the bed, blankets and my cloths soaking wet!! Now you would think I would be burning some major calories doing this, But I am afraid I am not burning as many as I would like. :)   My OB has put me on estrogen pills but they make me more cranky and  tired and feel like total crap on them. Plus upon research the chances of having high blood pressure is greater on the replacements and also the risk of cancer is as well. SO no thank you! I would rather sweat!  I do think though I am fixing to try getting in more soy and some other natural things and see if that will help. 

OK so now for the article...  it is long but it is wellworth the read for every woman because young or old we are all going to be here at one point in our lives.

 

WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT WHEN YOU’RE COPING WITH EARLY MENOPAUSE
[adapted from The Premature Menopause Book, by Kathryn Petras]

It’s summer -- and you’re going to the beach in your bathing suit...or wearing shorts and tank tops...or at least thinking about it. At this time of year more than any other, you’re more aware of your body.  Or it's the holidays -- and you want to look fabulous for those parties you're invited to.   Or it's just any day, and you want to look and feel wonderful.

But you step on the scale, and the little arrow is higher. Or you look in the mirror and don’t think you look as good as you used to. You feel heavier. You feel like you look different.

It’s a common problem for women like us going through early menopause.

You’ve gained a few pounds.. Your body looks different. You’re noticing a new, very annoying, roundness to your tummy. Your waistline seems to have disappeared. The scale is becoming your enemy...yet you’re not doing anything differently than you used to. What is going on?!?!

Let’s start with something that drives me -- and many other women in early or premature menopause -- crazy: Many books and articles insist that women put on weight during menopause because they’re older. It’s not a function of menopause, they argue. It’s a function of aging. Your metabolic rate drops as you age, which accounts for the weight gain. In addition, older women are often more inactive.

Well, maybe this applies to the average woman in menopause who is in her 50s . But what if you’re in your 20s or 30s -- and you start noticing the creeping weight gain and new thicker body contours? I know I did....and dozens of prematurely menopausal women I’ve spoken with have seen it happen to them as well. We’re not middle-aged. We’re still young. So, regardless of what the books say, it can’t be age that causes these changes. And it isn’t. It’s your hormones, plain and simple.

So there’s a good chance you’ll notice your weight going up -- even though there’s been no change in your diet or exercise habits. You might notice your body shape changing as well -- shifting from a "pear" shape to an "apple" -- as weight starts to accumulate more around your waist and abdomen instead of your hips, thighs and buttocks. You might notice your waistline disappearing, as your body becomes thicker through the middle. And, finally, you might notice that dreaded "buddha belly" -- a new rounder tummy, especially below your belly button, that just doesn’t want to go away.

Okay, so these changes aren’t life-threatening. . . but they do affect your ego at a time when you least need it. They also affect older women in menopause, of course. But, in truth, it’s often worse for women in premature menopause. The biggest difference? When you’re going through this in your 20s or 30s, the changes in your appearance are often more apparent than the changes an older woman in menopause goes through. (especially to you), simply because most other women your age aren’t experiencing the same thing. Other women in their 20s and 30s aren’t getting the so-called "middle-aged spread" that women in their 50s experience, but you are.

Why is this happening? As I said before, most of this is due to your hormone levels. Lower levels of estrogen may cause a variety of physical side effects. First, because estrogen is stored in fat, many researchers believe that, when you enter menopause -- whether naturally or through surgery, your body responds by holding on to fat cells in an effort to boost the lagging estrogen levels. The result? It’s tougher to lose fat and much easier to keep the pounds on.

Second, as estrogen levels drop, your level of androgens -- the so-called "male" hormones -- increases in relation to the estrogen. Unopposed by the higher levels of estrogen your body used to have, the androgens produce male characteristics -- in this case, the shift in body fat from your hips, thighs and buttocks to your midsection, resulting in the "apple" shape that is more common in men and in postmenopausal women (which, incidently, also increases your risk of heart disease.)

Third, low estrogen levels affect the production of collagen -- which results in drier. thinner skin, sagginess of tissue, and lack of muscle tone -- all of which contributes to a change in your body shape.

Low progesterone levels (in relation to estrogen -- which is popularly called "estrogen dominance") also cause a number of side effects. Among the more common ones: increased bloating and water retention -- which may not be actual fat, but makes you look heavier, and blood sugar fluctuations -- which can increase your appetite and slow your metabolism.

Finally, there’s the mood connection. As you know, declining hormone levels can cause mood swings, depression, anxiety. This is because the levels of serotonins and endorphins in your brain apparently drop in the face of fluctuating hormones. What raises serotonin levels in your brain? Certain foods, like chocolates. Often, when you go through premature menopause, you notice you have food cravings -- much like you did when you had PMS. But unlike PMS, your hormones don’t bounce back to regular levels, so you may have food cravings longer than in the past. . . and, unfortunately, cave in and eat more of the foods you shouldn’t, like fats, salty snacks and sweets.

Regardless of what some people have claimed, then, there does appear to be a biological basis for the changes in your body. It’s not in your mind. It’s in your hormones.

So that’s the bad news. But all is most definitely not lost! There are three very basic things you can do to help fight the changes in your body brought on by changing hormone levels:

1)  Boost your hormone levels through HRT or natural supplements.

2)  Eat correctly.

3)  Exercise regularly.

It’s a simple prescription to be sure -- but it’s one that can make a big difference!

This month, we’ll take a quick look at how replacing hormones can help (and when it doesn’t....), as well as some tips on how to eat right to help you lose the weight you might have gained....and keep it off!  Next month, we'll focus on exercise.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Will it Make Me Fatter....Or Fitter?

Since we often put weight on because our estrogen levels are low, usually we can keep that weight off -- or, at least, gain less -- by replacing estrogen. It makes sense, right? But then why do so many women say that they gain weight on HRT?

That’s the million dollar question -- but there’s actually a simple and logical answer.

First, let’s look at the facts about HRT and weight: A widespread look at HRT, the PEPI trial -- as well as other smaller studies -- found that while women on HRT did often put on a few pounds, those women who weren’t on HRT gained more weight. In fact, some studies have shown that many women actually lose weight on HRT

One possible reason: When you’re in premature menopause, your estrogen levels drop -- so your body may try to up its fat content to store and produce as much estrogen as possible. When you go on HRT, you’re getting the estrogen your body expected to have, so it doesn’t need that extra fat any more. In addition, when your estrogen levels are low, you tend to put on weight in your middle -- more like a man. This accounts for the "disappearing waistline" that so many women in premature menopause experience. When you replace estrogen, your body reverts to its normal weight-distribution, which for most women means putting weight on in their hips, thighs and lower abdomen instead of the middle.

So why do some women say they think they’ve gained weight on HRT? To some degree, this might depend on the type you’re taking. Progestins tend to make you retain water and bloat more. Even if you haven’t actually gained fat, you may feel (and look) as though you have -- especially if you’re on cyclical progesterone, that is, taking it for only part of the month. Natural progesterone doesn’t seem to have this side effect as much; and often works as a diuretic instead, helping you lose water weight. Other women have found that lowering their dosage of estrogen or progesterone helps keep bloating down. Finally, others report good luck with patches instead of pills. You can read more about this in the discussion about the different forms of HRT.

But, all in all, weight gain isn’t something you should worry about when you consider going on HRT.

One side note, though (and I hate to say this....but I’ve noticed it in myself!): There is one area in which women on HRT do seem to gain inches: Compared to menopausal women who aren’t on HRT, women on HRT have shown in a number of studies to gain less weight in their arms and their middle...but there does appear a tendency towards adding inches in the hips and thighs. And, in truth, this is something I’ve noticed in myself...unfortunately! So, while my waistline is back and my midsection trimmer, there is a little added weight below my waist.

But, that said, all in all, overall HRT will help you keep your weight in line -- and reverse many of the changes you may have noticed in your body.

What if you can't -- or won't -- take hormones?  Well, there are still ways to boost your estrogen levels and help reverse that weight gain.  Phytoestrogens -- which are high in foods and supplements like soy and flaxseed -- can  help you raise your estrogen levels the natural way.  No, they're not as potent as replacing hormones.  But they still can make a difference.   Think about adding soy foods to your diet, putting ground flaxseed in salsad -- or taking the early route and getting supplements like flaxseed or red clover capsules from your health food store.

 

Eating Right for Early Menopause

Now on to something that’s easy for any of us to control: How we eat. Since weight gain is so prevalent when you go through early menopause, it’s vital to be sure you’re eating the best foods given this change in your body. And, happily, it’s really not that difficult.

Here are a few very simple tips that can help -- many of which are really obvious, but they definitely bear repeating!

  • Think low fat -- to keep your weight down and to cut down on the risk of disease.
  • This is one of the best things you can do for the overall health of your body. First, as you know, premature menopause increases your risk of heart disease. By cutting down on fat, you can help shift the odds in your favor and help prevent heart disease. Saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol level -- so a low fat diet will help you keep your cholesterol levels down. A low fat diet also appears to help prevent cancer. If you’re on HRT and concerned about breast cancer, this is particularly important, as studies have indicated that both breast and ovarian cancers are linked with a high-fat diet, particularly one high in fats from dairy foods, such as butter and whole milk products.

    As for weight control, cutting down on fat is a definite help. More often than not, high fat foods are also high calorie foods -- which certainly doesn’t help you keep your weight down. Typically one gram of fat has over twice the calories as a gram of protein. And not only is fat usually more caloric, it also coverts quickly and easily to body fat.

    But don’t think that you have to go crazy and cut all fats from your diet. Recent studies have indicated that an extremely low fat diet may actually be harmful to your health. Your best course of action? Be aware of fats; opt for lower fat foods; and cut saturated fat from your diet.

    • Keep your fiber intake up.
    • Fiber is your friend when it comes to healthy eating. It fills you up, keeps your digestive tract healthy, and helps you eliminate some of the fats you eat. In addition, it can help prevent certain types of cancer and lower your cholesterol. You need both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps keep your elimination regular and helps protect against cancers of your intestinal tract. Foods high in this include: whole grains; fruits and vegetables Whole grains are the "good" carbohydrate to eat. They combine slow metabolization, high fiber, and the good "mouth" feel of carbohydrates makes whole grains a wonderful choice when you’re in premature menopause. The fiber in whole grains can help you keep your weight down. It fills you up quickly and keeps you feeling satisfied for a longer amount of time than other foods -- which is a definite plus when you’re trying to avoid overeating. As for fruits and vegetables, they too can fill you up -- plus many of them are high in antioxidants -- which can help your heart and help fight cancer risks.

      Soluble fiber keeps your blood sugar levels stable, and is metabolized slowly -- a real help in keeping from overeating. Foods high in soluble fiber include: apples, barley; beans; flaxseed; prunes; rolled oats, oat bran.

      • Be sure to get as much (low fat) calcium as possible.
      • You already know that you’re at a great risk for osteoporosis -- so clearly calcium is a must in a good premature menopause diet. Low fat dairy products supply you with needed protein and keep your bones strong without adding too much fat. And calcium-rich vegetables, like broccoli, are another good source. .

        • Don’t forget protein -- for overall health and (a nice plus) weight loss.
        • Protein can help you build your body and burn calories -- quite an effective one-two punch! But all too often, especially recently, people tend to overlook the benefits of protein, especially as a way of keeping weight in check.

          In recent years, the emphasis has been on high-carbohydrate eating. Books and doctors extolled the virtues of carbs and claimed that a high carbo diet was the best thing for you. But the pendulum is shifting back, and more books have been coming out asserting that high protein/low carb is the way to go.

          Regardless of whom you believe, there is no question that protein is a necessity in your diet. It is made from amino acids, some of which your body makes -- and others of which you can only get by eating protein. It is, in one form or another, present in every cell of your body. It makes, maintains and repairs cells -- from muscle to other tissues. It is a crucial ingredient in everything from your bones to your hair; and makes up such vital substances as hormones (such as insulin) and disease-fighting antibodies.

          It’s clear, then, that protein is a must in anyone’s diet. But it’s especially important if you’re going through premature menopause -- and here’s the big reason why:

          You can actually jump-start your metabolism with protein. Protein’s thermic effect is higher than that of carbohydrates or fats. In other words, you burn more calories when you digest a high protein meal than one high in fats or carbs. So you’re getting more bang for your buck when you eat protein. One other big plus: because it is used in the manufacture of insulin, protein helps keep blood sugar levels stable -- a big plus when it comes to preventing both mood swings and food cravings.

          • Because it may be easier to add or keep weight on due to premature menopause, remember to keep an eye on calories.
          • For a while there, it seems as though everyone forgot about calories. Articles, books, and nutrition experts were focusing on low-fat eating as a way of keeping your weight down. Well, that is true to a large degree -- higher fat foods do usually help you pack on the pounds. . . especially because they’re usually higher in calories!

            It’s a simple scenario: Calories are , in effect, energy units. They’re what your body burns as fuel. But if you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight. It’s that simple. On the whole, it doesn’t matter if they’re "good" calories or "bad" (although some nutritionists believe it’s easier to pack on pounds if you eat too many carbohydrates -- because it affects your insulin levels.). But, on the simplest level, if you’re trying not to gain weight, you have to burn the calories you eat -- and, of course, be sure you don’t wind up with too many calories in the course of a day’s eating.

            How much is too much? It really depends on the individual -- your height and weight, your body build, your fitness level, and how active you are. But it’s good to keep in mind that only 3,500 calories add up to one pound of added weight -- and those 3,500 calories can add up over time, especially if you’re not exercising.

            So calories count. . . but (here’s the good news!) you don’t have to -- and frankly, shouldn’t -- count calories. If you follow the good eating guidelines included in this section, you’re well on your way to keeping your calorie intake in check painlessly.

            • Try to eat more before 5:00 PM -- and try not to eat anything after 8:00 PM.
            • Some studies have said it makes no difference -- that calories are calories, no matter when you eat. But other studies have shown you’re best off eating large meals earlier in the day. You’re more active, so you can burn off some of the calories you’ve taken in. In fact, to put it more scientifically, many studies have shown that it takes about four hours after eating for your blood-triglyceride levels to rise. So, if you have a large dinner at 7:00 or so, your triglycerides will hit their height at 11:00 -- right when you’re going to bed or lying on the couch watching television. . . which means you’ll probably wind up storing them as fat. In general, try to follow that old saying: "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a peasant."

              • Drink water whenever you can remember to -- and definitely before meals.
              • Water not only is good for your system, it also fills you up, so you’ll eat a little less.

                • Eat more soup!
                • It sounds like a no-brainer, but recent studies have found that people who eat soup before a meal eat less. It’s even better than water, since you’re getting nutrients.

                  • Finally, give in to your cravings . . . . a little.
                  • Eating well and healthily doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. You are going through premature menopause; you have a lot going on already; there’s no need to punish yourself. Often allowing yourself a little something you crave can help you keep eating properly.

                    For example, according to several surveys, chocolate is the number one food craved by women with PMS and women in menopause. A key reason? It increases the levels of serotonin and endorphins in your brain, making you feel better. So having a little chocolate may help you stabilize your moods and chase away the blues. . . which is well worth the small amount of fat and sugar you’re eating. Of course, you can’t overdo it, though!

 

Thank you fro reading sorry it is soooo long but it is good info! :)

 

 

 

 

 

Little Decisions Make a Big Difference

 This something I read today and wanted to share! 

 Little Decisions Make a Big Difference

25 Apr 2011

Glynnis Whitwer

“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise …” Ephesians 5:15 (NIV)

Devotion:
Do you ever get tired of making decisions? I do. Every day, decisions line up for my attention. I decide what I’m going to do, how I’ll spend my money, and what I’m going to say. Conversely, I make decisions about what I am NOT going to do, spend or say.

One of the biggest challenges I face right now has to do with what I eat. You see, I’m on Weight Watchers. For the past 19 years, I’ve battled to be at a healthy weight. Coincidentally, my oldest child is 19. I’m certainly not blaming him… but, I’m just saying…

The first week on the program I recorded a respectable loss of 1.5 pounds. The second week on the program, I lost nothing. I was shocked. It seemed I had exercised and sacrificed more that week than ever. But the scale told the truth.

The kind lady at the reception desk tried to help me think it through. “Maybe you aren’t eating enough,” she said. No, that wasn’t the problem. “Are you drinking enough water?” she asked. Yes. That wasn’t the problem either.

Then it hit me. The problem wasn’t what I was eating when I sat down for a meal, it was all the bites that led up to that meal. It was the French fry before dinner, and the bite of casserole as I put away the leftovers after dinner. It was the nibble of my son’s double cheeseburger, and the extra scoop of dip with my carrots.

It wasn’t the big decisions that kept me from seeing progress; it was all the little decisions.

Unfortunately, I had minimized in my mind the potential damage of all those little bites. Yet they added up to derail me from my goal of losing weight that week. The next week I took control of those BLTs (bites, licks, tastes and sips) and had a nice loss.

As I’ve pondered this reality, I’ve applied it to other areas of my life. I easily minimize the damage of daily unwise decisions. They aren’t sin issues, so I can dismiss them as unimportant. However, when added up, they have a big impact on achieving some of my personal goals.

For example, when I make a decision to not read my Bible for one day, there’s no noticeable impact. But when I neglect this important part of my spiritual growth repeatedly, I find myself lacking in godly wisdom and discernment.

If you find yourself on a plateau in a certain area of your life, perhaps this truth can apply to you as well. You may be making all the right big decisions, but the little ones are having a cumulative negative impact on you.

Not only that, but I believe God desires to do amazing things through us, and is continually testing us to see if we can handle bigger responsibilities. The truth is those little decisions that seem minor, and inconsequential, really do matter. They matter to me as I pursue personal goals, and they matter to God.

You see, it’s in the arena of little responsibilities that our true dependability is revealed.

My challenge today is to make every decision count. I ask myself, “Is this decision going to get me closer to my goal, or further from it? Is this decision going to show God I can be trusted with the little things?”

Sometimes I ask these questions every hour. Which is why I ate steamed vegetables for dinner, and my family had overstuffed burritos. (Not that it’s Monday night and I’m weighing in Tuesday morning or anything.)

Dear Lord, thank You for caring about every detail of my life. I know You have placed goals and dreams in my heart that will take diligence to carry out. Help me to look to You when faced with a decision, and I pray for Your wisdom as I make the right choice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Dear Bathroom Scale...

Read this today and I thought I would share it...
 
 
 
 
Dear Bathroom Scale...
Lysa TerKeurst

You are no longer my friend. There are two fundamental rules to being my friend and well ... you've officially messed things up.


First, you have been saying unkind things to me lately. I mean, hello?! ... I visit with you every morning. I invest time in our relationship. I'm quite considerate of you. I work out and watch what I eat ... kind of. All I need is a few words of encouragement. A few, I tell you ... is that too much to ask?


But no, during our last month of visits you just keep being rude and flashing numbers that quite simply bum me out.


Second, you can't seem to keep a secret to save your life. Those two brownies I ate yesterday ... okay, maybe more than two ... but I asked you to keep that a secret.


But noooooo, missy prissy, you just had to tell the whole bathroom this morning about the upward movement of the numbers.


I really wanted to like you. But, alas, I think we must break up. I 'm moving on to bigger and better things.

No, wait, not bigger ... smaller and better things.

Yes, and if I ever find them, maybe we can be friends again. From now on, instead of standing on you, I will stand on the truth of God.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them!” (Psalm 139: 13-17, NIV)


A note from Lysa…


Unfortunately, January has been tagged as the great weight loss month. Well, not like an official holiday or anything. But it is the month that women everywhere set great goals, hit the gym with a renewed passion and start standing on their scales with high hopes for low numbers.
None of this is bad. Goals are good. Getting in shape is good. Getting to a healthy weight is good. But take it from someone who has seen the scale go both up and down … our weight is only a measure of our outer shell. The scale can’t measure our worth.


No matter what you weigh, God sees you as valuable, lovely, significant and worthy.
And until we believe that we’ll never be satisfied. Even if we reach that ultimate weight and fit back into our skinny jeans. We’ll still feel restless and unsatisfied without Jesus’ truth being the only thing with which we measure ourselves.

Help!! I am so freaking tired!!!

 I am sooo tired all the time now days... I know alot of it is that I do NOT sleep well at all, I am doing good to get 5 hours a night. I have tried several OTCs and Rx drugs to help but none of them seem to work or if I do sleep well I feel drugged all the next day..

About 6 years ago I had to have a hysterectomy, My ovaries looked healthy and since I was only 26 they left them. Then June of this last year they had to remove them, and every since I am just so wore down and tired all the time. I can hardly sleep from all the night sweats and hot flashes no matter how cold I keep the house and with a fan blowing in my face.  It really takes all I have some days just to make it through the day, let alone try to work out.
Before I had my ovaries removed I was working out 1 -2 hours a day and doing P90x. I was healthy and toned and happy.and 121 pounds. But now I am losing the weight I have gained over the last 9 months (started MFP in Jan at 148 and now I am 135.4) but I cant get into working out like I use to because I have no energy :(  and I can tell you not working out for 7 months can cause you some major fat gain and muscle loss and it is not pretty!!
I am not taking my hormones because for one they can cause high blood pressure and also can make you gain weight.. And first and foremost chances of getting breast cancer are also higher.. So I feel the risk are too high for me personally. 

My question is.. Is anyone else in the same boat? or has been? what are some natural things I can take that may help this that have worked for you
?

Would love to hear what everyone else thinks!!
Thanks..


 

How Can God Bring Good from This?

 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Have you ever faced a personal struggle and wondered how God could possibly bring good out of it? How could Romans 8:28 apply to my hidden issues — the ones I don’t like to think about, deal with, or even admit I have?

If you would have told me 10 years ago that God could bring good out of my weight issues and food struggles, I would have seriously doubted you.I would have rolled my eyes and excused myself to the bathroom.

Bathroom stalls are great places to cry in secret.

When a soul is rubbed raw from years of trying and failing, you don’t want to hear, “eventually good will come from this.”

I wanted something to instantly fix my issues.

I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me.

I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.

I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.

I would have cared less about some elusive, eventual good. My jeans didn’t fit. Even my sweatpants didn’t fit. I felt horrible. I couldn’t stay committed to a healthy eating plan to save my life. And I saw no hope in sight.

It’s a terrible thing to scan the horizon and see no evidence of hope.

Maybe you’ve been there with some hidden issue. Maybe you’ve been there like me with food and weight struggles. Maybe you’re there today.

Whether your issues are the same as mine or not, all of us Jesus girls have struggles. We all fall short in some way. And we all need to know more about this “good” mentioned in Romans 8:28.

But instead of a three point sermonette, I want to share with you a letter I recently received. As I read it, the mercy gates of heaven split wide open and reigned down “this working of good.”It was heaven’s salve soothing deep places in me.

It is a picture of the reality of God’s Word being true. Always true. God does work for the good… in all things… every single thing... even our most raw and seemingly impossible things… but we must know it even when we don’t feel it.

“Just want to say thank you for sharing your struggles, Lysa. I’ve had an eating disorder since August,1978. Full blown anorexia, which led years down the road to bulimia.

I became a Christian in 2002, but never could fully surrender my eating disorder to our Lord. Through your story and the advice you shared the Holy Spirit is empowering me as I never knew possible. I’ve had 7 days of no binging or purging!!!

This may not seem like a high number to you, but after 33 full years with this binge/purge addiction, this is AMAZING. Hallelujah!!

You shed such new light on scriptures that I have read, but never knew how to interpret in my life especially with regards to eating. I’ll be honest I figured my eating disorder wasn’t that big a deal to our Lord. In fact I had told myself that He made me this way so it must just be the sin I was born to deal with; so glad to know that it isn’t, and that I matter to HIM."– Melissa P.

As I read this, my tears leaked free.We don’t have to figure out how God will bring good, we just have to stay on the journey with Him and watch Him work.

May this be a glimpse of hope in the midst of your struggles as well.

And we know (we know it even if we don’t feel it) that in all things (even the ones we can’t even fathom being used for good) God works for the good. (He works for the good. Our job is to walk with Him day by day. His job is to work the good.)

Dear Lord, thank You for this hope. Thank You that You don’t waste our tears, our struggles, or those places rubbed raw from years of trying and failing. Once we do what You’ve instructed us to do, You always do what only You can do. I know You will bring good even when I can’t see it or feel it. And what a comfort that is to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

by Lysa TerKeurst

Reflections:
God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. God comforts us to make us comfort-able. Able to comfort others with the same comfort we’ve received from Him. Is there someone in my sphere of influence who could benefit from hearing my story? Could this be some of the good God can bring from this?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

 

 

What a Great and wonder God we serve! God bless you all on your journey!

 

For Killer Abs, Try Some ... Push-Ups?

 I found this pretty interesting thought I would share.

 

Not many of us love the push-up. Sure, it’s relatively safe and effective, but let’s face it, it's kind of boring. It's something we did in P.E. class.

But what if you realized that the push-up would not only help you get a stronger upper body, but also a stronger midsection?

It's true. The push-up incorporates the stabilization muscles of your core, combining an upper-body pushing movement with a plank -- one of the best and most basic exercises for your midsection.

In fact, according to Nick Tumminello, trainer and owner and operator of the Performance University gym in Baltimore, Md., the push-up can effectively replace the sit-up.

“The push-up is basically a plank position," Tumminello says, "so it’s actually a great abdominal exercise and there’s no reason to do planks if you can do (a significant number of) push-ups."

Push-ups are a higher value plank. You’re not only strengthening your abdominals by holding them still while gravity’s trying to push your hips towards the ground, but you’re also strengthening your upper-body pushing muscles: your chest, shoulders and triceps.”

What else can a push-up do for you?

For many men, the bench press is a temptress -- the key to getting a big chest and, sometimes, an inflated ego.

“How much can you bench?” is ingrained in our fitness conversations because of the tangibility of numerous 45-lb. plates on the barbell. “How many push-ups can you do?” is not, however, even though push-ups are a much better indicator of relative strength, since you’re forced to push the mass of your body against the forces of gravity and stabilize your core.

For many women, a full push-up is a tease, a noble fitness goal that’s rarely achieved despite countless sets of knee pushups and other push-up variations.

“I have seen women who can hammer out forty plus kneeling push-ups who still can’t do one regular push-up," Tumminello says. "I’ve never trained a female who can bang out forty plus or even ten plus incline push-ups at about a bench height and not be able to hammer out at least one or two pushups from the floor."

So what's the best way for both men and women to perfect the push-up? Here are some tips -- no As-Seen-On-TV equipment needed:

-- If you can only do a handful of push-ups, start with your hands on a bench and your body in a straight line from your head to your feet. As the number of push-ups you can do with your hands on a bench improves, you can move to an aerobic step and decrease the height of the step.

-- If you find your midsection sagging towards the floor before your upper body gets tired, Tumminello recommends focusing on plank and other core stability exercises to help you stay stable.

-- When doing push-ups, either from the floor or from a bench or step, don’t try to form a “T” with your upper arms. Tuck your elbows towards your midsection at roughly a 45-degree angle. “Not only does (having your elbows flared to 90 degrees) make the exercise significantly tougher on you," Tumminello says, "but it can be a lot tougher on your shoulder and your elbow joints as well."

-- At all times, keep your wrists should directly underneath your elbows. Your forearm should be perpendicular to the ground at all times, like a table leg.

-- Open your hands up and angle your fingers slightly outward. “If you turn your hands outwards," Tumminello says, "it actually starts to incorporate your lat muscles and some more muscles in your shoulders. So not only do you have more horsepower behind the push-up, which helps increase your push-up strength, but now you actually have more muscles working to stabilize your joints as well."

For most of us, push-ups are a last resort -- what we do when we can't get to the gym. But maybe the last resort should actually be first.

Written by: Nick Bromberg
Also here is a link for a video on how to do the perfect push-up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwRLWMcOdwI&feature=player_embedded

All of God’s Girls Have Issues.....

All of God’s Girls Have Issues

Lysa TerKeurst

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 (NIV)

Two years ago, I lost 25 pounds and for the first time in my life, I’ve kept it off.

However, my real celebration isn’t over the smaller clothing size and reduced numbers on the scale. My real celebration is over the spiritual insights I gained while losing the weight and maintaining my healthy progress.

For me, this has been a spiritual journey—a significant spiritual journey with great physical benefits. I had been overweight physically and underweight spiritually and finally tying those two things together was life-changing.

One of the richest lessons has been realizing the amount of mental and spiritual energy I wasted for years just wishing things would change. All the while, I was beating myself up for not having the discipline for making those changes.

If you have an issue with weight and food, you know what I mean. But no matter what issue you are currently dealing with, can I offer a bit of encouragement? Jesus wants to help you with that issue. He really does. But you’ve got to stop beating yourself up about it and determine to follow His lead.

Have you ever looked at other people and thought to yourself, “How does everyone else have it all together? And why is it I seem to have so many issues?”

We like to identify our shortcomings, form them into a club, and beat the tar out of ourselves mentally. Over and over and over again. We label ourselves and soon lose our real identity to the beaten and bruised fragility we call “me.”

We compare, we assume, we assess, we measure and most times walk away shaking our head at how woefully short our “me” falls compared to everyone else. How dangerous it is to hold up the intimate knowledge of our imperfections against the outside packaging of others.

If there is one thing that living 40-plus years has taught me it’s this… all God’s girls have issues. Every single one of us.

Now, hear me out.

Having issues isn’t the absence of victory in our lives. It’s simply a call to action reminding us victory is right around the corner.

I can make the choice to identify my shortcomings and instead of using them against myself, hand them over to Jesus and let Him chisel my rough places. The grace-filled way Jesus chisels is so vastly different than the way I mentally beat myself up. My mental scripts can so often be full of exaggerated lies that defeat. His chiseling is full of truth that sets me free.

Oh what a difference.

Jesus doesn’t compare.

Jesus doesn’t condemn.

Jesus doesn’t exaggerate.

He simply says, “Hey, I love you. I love you just how you are. But, I love you too much to leave you stuck in this. So, let’s work on it together. You can do this.”

There is something so powerful in really believing that with Jesus’ help you can do this.  Say it with me, “I can.” In my new book, Made to Crave, I wrote, “I can is a powerful little twist for a girl feeling deprived and defeated.”

I can helps me walk into the dinner party and find the conversation more appealing than the food table. I can helps me stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresher, healthier selections abound and smile that I know this. I can helps me reach for my water bottle and find satisfaction in its refreshment.

I can helps me look at the drive-thru menu and order a fruit tray without even giving a thought to the fried foods I used to snack on. I can reminds me to look up a restaurant’s nutritional information on the internet before going out, insuring wiser choices. I can reminds me no food will ever taste as sweet as victory does.

I’ll say it again, having issues isn’t the absence of victory in our lives. It’s simply a call to action reminding us victory is right around the corner. Today is a great day to start believing you were made to walk in victory and to say to Jesus, “Yes, with Your truth as my guide, I can.”

Dear Lord, help me to see myself the way You see me. Please help me to remove the lies that defeat me more often than I want to acknowledge. You have set me free. Help me to live like I truly believe that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Power Verse:
Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV)

 

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!! 

another great one I had to share with you all...

I KNOW I CAN!!!

God bless you all!!

 

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