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Health Doesn't Come Naturally

"You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." –1 Corinthians 6:20

Read: 1 Corinthians 6

Running up the first steep hill of her half-marathon recently, my wife Loretta came up behind a man going maybe half her speed. But since hills are hills, they struggled up together, each at their own pace -- two warriors needing the same air to answer the call of the hill. Halfway up, Loretta passed him, but not before they gave each other verbal encouragement.

You know, we've received a number of heartfelt e-mails and messages lately from many of you in dire need of encouragement to exercise. You've expressed that, for whatever reason, you just don't feel motivated. Well friends, we're praying for you. But at the same time, truthfully, not feeling motivated to honor the body is like saying you're not motivated to be honest. Remember, just because something doesn't come naturally to you doesn't mean you're not called to do it.

So please be encouraged. And do what God has mandated by respecting your body as one of His valuable tools. And oh, yes, the man Loretta was running with on the hill? He had no legs. Using his arms alone, he slowly turned the wheels of his chair over and over and over. Why did he climb? Well, he probably had a few good reasons, but the fact that it came naturally probably wasn't one of them. But no matter what (or why), like you and me, He was simply in the race and the hill was in the way. Answering the call of the hill isn't easy, but because Jesus said yes to His, you can say yes to yours.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS Reality-show rapid may not be realistic, or sustainable

A generation of crash diets and miracle fitness programs have fed into our collective and undeniable need for instant gratification. The good news and bad news is that some of these gimmicks work -- if only for a time -- keeping our eyes fixed attentively on the scale. No decrease in weight today? Take heart. The small print says it all: "Results not typical." Healthy, sustained weight loss may not be as rapid as you'd like, despite whatever conceptions NBC's "The Biggest Loser" may have created.

"Usually when people lose a lot of weight quickly, it’s mostly water weight," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. And once the water weight is gone, the frustration tends to set in, she says. "The early weight loss creates false expectations about the rate of subsequent future weight loss. A weight loss rate of 0.5-2.0 pounds per week is more likely to mean that your weight loss is from fat tissue. It also usually means that the weight loss is more likely to be maintained over time.

If you're striving to lose a few pounds, commit to making solid, sustainable lifestyle changes that can help you be a better steward of the body you have been given.

>> 8 WAYS TO EAT BETTER...FOREVER: What changes should you make if you're struggling to lose weight? Here are eight simple strategies anyone can start using today to start melting away inches and pounds.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

LEAVING HIM BEHIND

June 8, 2011 Most people, Christian or not, are familiar with the Footprints story. The end stanza where the Lord tells the author why there was only one set of footprints during the hard times puts a lump in the throat of even those with the most hardened of hearts.

"The time when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you."

This week, amidst a storm of work tasks and family obligations, I also found myself alone on the beach. As I chatted to the Lord about all of my stresses -- the deadlines, the bills, my overcrowded daytimer -- I was stopped in my tracks, not by his response but by His silence. Hurt and agitated -- as I would be with any friend -- by the apparent indifference to my woes, I turned to look at Him. Seeing that He was no longer by my side, I looked back. There He was -- quickening His stride to hear what I was saying.

He never stopped caring about my problems. I had just become so consumed with stress that I didn't realize that I'd left Him behind. In just a few days, I seem to have outpaced my Maker, the distance between us filled with my own neglect.

Sometimes, as we struggle to navigate the chaos of life, we forget that God wants us to walk with Him. He still carries us through the tough times but we'd do well to remember to stay close by His side because He died to hear every word.

--E.V.

CARBS: FUEL NOT FOE The simple truth about carbs and fitness

There are scores of books and mounds of literature on the consumption of carbohydrates and how this macronutrient relates to performance and body composition. But the bottom line is that your body needs carbohydrate to fuel any number of basic processes. Carbs are the preferred fuel source of the cell, so going totally without them in hopes of shedding a few pounds can end up working against you. To keep things simple, try to focus first on the types of carbs you're consuming daily and when you're consuming them.

Complex carbohydrates, referred to as "good" carbs, are slower-digesting in nature and thus have less of an effect on blood sugar. They provide a steady stream of fuel for your work day and for your active lifestyle while having a minimal impact on your waistline. Examples of these good carbs include oatmeal, vegetables, wheat bread and other whole grain products.

Simple carbohydrates, or "bad" carbs, are digested rapidly in the body causing huge swings in blood sugar and spikes in the hormone insulin which can signal for your body to store fat. White bread, white tortillas, sugary snacks and beverages can be detrimental to your energy and overall health if consumed in excess.

STRATEGIZE: Most of the day, make sure that your carb sources are of the complex variety. The only exceptions to this rule are first thing in the morning or after a hard workout, when your body actually needs a rapid refuel of sugars to fuel recovery.

>> FAD DIETS: Have you ever tried a brand diet like Atkins, South Beach or Paleo? Do you rely on microwave diet meals to keep you in balance? Tell us your experience with diets in the comments section below, being sure to mention your successes and stumbles.

>> VIDEO: Check out PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena talking faith and fitness during his recent appearance on 100 Huntley Street Full Circle.

>> SHOP: Looking for a good Father’s Day gift? Visit PrayFit’s online store to pick up a hat, shirt, wristband or book for the dads in your life!