weight gain

Ready. Set...

"But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble." --Psalm 59:16

Read: Psalm 59 In honor of Boston, the London Marathon demonstrated the most appropriate gesture on Sunday. Did you see it? Tens of thousands of runners lined the streets. Shoes laced, bibs pinned, gear on. Then, at the sound of the whistle, they didn't move. Though eager to tackle the course, they stood still. Pausing, they offered 30 seconds of silent prayer in honor of those whose lives were lost and for a city in pain. The most important 30 seconds of the race came before they took one step.

That picture is what we encourage you to do each day before you begin yours. We know you're eager to tackle the course but first spend a few moments talking to the Lord, reading His word, seeking His will, laying down burdens, and lifting up friends and family -- just be with Him. We believe it's the most important time of the day.

You know, countless runners wore shirts, hats or banners revealing they were running for the people of Boston. First they prayed for them, then they ran for them. The most appropriate gesture.

--Jimmy Peña

FALSE START Did you hear about that one runner who ignored the honor and just started running? Wanting to get a head start, he dashed. His actions said, "I'm running for myself. I'll rely on my own ability. My tenacity is enough. Maybe I'll pause later." (Ok, maybe that didn't really happen). But I actually saw his face in my mirror this morning. Maybe you saw him in yours. Did you start your day without a quiet time? If so, you can begin again. False starts don't disqualify us from the race. Ready, set...

KEYS TO HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN

While weight loss is a popular theme here at PrayFit and other fitness websites, there is a population on the other end of the scale that needs help achieving a healthy weight. Those who are underweight are subject to a different set of problems including suppressed immunity, athletic performance deficiency and osteoporosis. In women, it can be an even greater concern since being underweight can result in the absence of menstruation, infertility or complications during pregnancy. In fact, mortality rates in underweight individuals is similar to that seen in morbidly obese populations. PrayFit contributing nutritionist, Christie Menna, MS, RD, says that there are a few easy strategies for those who struggle to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight.

>> Click here for the strategies!

The Key to Hitting

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." --Psalm 19:14

Read: Psalm 19

In a New York Times article, Ichiro Suzuki -- Hall of Fame-bound outfielder for the New York Yankees -- said that the key to hitting is having respect for the bat. Mind you, this was coming from arguably the best hitter in the majors since 2001. But for Ichiro, having respect for the bat wasn't always the case.

Back in 1999, while still playing in Japan, Ichiro returned to the dugout so mad about striking out that he demolished his beautiful, black Mizuno bat -- completely destroyed it for all the world to see. But as it turns out, Ichiro was so embarrassed about how he treated the lumber, he wrote a letter to the bat's maker and apologized. And to this day, no other player in Major League Baseball cares for his bats like Ichiro -- it's a reputation he's known for. Rather than merely dumping his bat into the bin like everyone else, Ichiro carefully places his best bats inside a shockproof, moisture-free black case that he keeps by his side at all times.

Now, whether or not you love baseball, the story obviously has special meaning, especially when we consider that Ichiro says that the key to his success on the field is caring for his bat. Not his batting stance, not his swing, not his hand-eye coordination, but the bat itself -- the instrument that's used to put the ball in play. And whether he succeeds or fails at the plate, his bat gets placed back in its place of care. When he mistreated the bat years ago, he apologized to its maker; actually reached out to him. Why? Because Ichiro learned the craftsman made each of his bats by hand, and he figured something so carefully made deserved better attention when placed in his own.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Uniquely handcrafted by the ultimate Artisan, perhaps our bodies deserve the same Ichiro-like reverence?

OBESITY: THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Our waistlines aren't just widening because we're eating more. Click here to learn what else is causing this global pandemic and what we can do to reverse the trend.

Are They Here Yet?

"They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." — Matthew 2:9

Read: Matthew 9

This week, many of you will arrive at the home of family and friends to celebrate Christmas. Do you have "going home" traditions? We do too. One tradition my parents actually started during my college years was hanging a "Welcome Home, Jimmy!" sign at the house. When I got married, they added "& Loretta". But if you happened to read yesterday's post, you know by now that my parents are coming to our home for Christmas for the first time; our turn to hold up the sign.

Beyond a doubt right now, celebration plans are almost ready in homes such as yours and of those you love. All the decorations have been hung, everyone's favorite dishes are being prepared and front room curtains are being impatiently pulled back to see if "they're here yet."

You know, I've often wondered if the star in the east was as much God's way to honor His son, as it was our way to find Him. Even though Jesus' time on earth was short, God knew how He'd be rejected, and of the cross that awaited him. So perhaps it was God's way to say, "I love you, Son" and in doing so said to us, "Here He is."

He loves us that much. And if we look forward to seeing loved ones, how much more does He? Because you see, someday God will send for us. And I like to think that after spreading the table for the great celebration and hanging the welcome-home banner across the door, the angels will pull back the curtain, peeking to see...are they here yet?

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: PREP FOR THE FEAST Knowing what to do before the first course is served can keep you from overindulging

A few people on our boards have expressed concern at the nutritional temptation that comes along with holidays like Christmas. After all, no one wants to completely erase the hard work they've been putting in at the gym, or to slide deeper into a quagmire of bad health. Here are four simple steps you can take to ensure that your feast is truly "fit" for a King.

1 Exercise early Before people start dishing up the ham, eggs and roast beast (thank you, Dr. Seuss), you can minimize the damage of the caloric tsunami by grabbing a quick workout. One of the best ways to do that is to sneak in a power workout. This will create a caloric deficit and a great window for muscle repair. This way, most of the calories to come are used to your benefit. Since travel time is usually a concern today, we suggest a quick bodyweight workout and a high-intensity interval cardio session. Try doing one round of bodyweight squats, push-ups and sit-ups, doing each exercise to failure (the point at which you can no longer complete any more reps). Then, immediately head into your interval workout, sprinting 20 seconds and walking or jogging for a minute, for a total of 10-15 minutes -- after a 1-2 minute speed walk. (Or try our new DVD).

2 Fill up on fiber & protein There's a lot to be said for satiety during the holidays. It can literally make or break you before the big get-together. Before the family meal, try filling up on high-fiber, calorie-friendly fruits and veggies and take in 20-40 grams of protein from a high-quality source like turkey breast or a whey protein shake. This will keep you fuller longer, helping you to avoid a second -- or third or fourth -- trip back to the dessert table.

3 Hydrate Drinking water -- lots of it -- will help you get a head start on leveling out your sodium levels. Most holiday food -- from the glazed ham to the turkey gravy -- are loaded with sodium. This can force you to retain water and add pounds to the scale that will cause alarm with some people. Strangely, one of the best ways to avoid water retention from sodium is to drink water. Try to get about 1/3 to 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day to keep your body in balance.

Me and My Drum...

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, working as unto the Lord, not for men." --Colossians 3:23

Read: Colossians 3 Turns out PrayFit has a theme song -- a song that sums up PrayFit perfectly. My wife and friends might guess it's a Rocky montage or the Gladiator theme song but alas, no. I have one better. The Little Drummer Boy. (Pa rum pum pum pum)...

"Come they told me, a newborn King to see. Our finest gifts we bring, to set before the King. Little baby, I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a King. Shall I play for you on my drum? Then He nodded... I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Him. Then He smiled at me. Me and my drum."

You and I are poor. Like the little boy, we have nothing to bring that's fit to give the King. But He's delighted when we come to Him. And it's music to His ears when we play our life to its fullest. And that's the basis of PrayFit. Giving our best effort to let health be a means of praise. I want to bring a smile to His face, don't you? The very idea of doing so brings one to mine; to me and my drum. Pa rum pum pum...pum.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What is your offering today? P.S. This entry was written while listening to "Little Drummer Boy" by The Vocal Majority on The Twelve Days of Christmas album; just in case you're inspired. I highly recommend it with closed eyes.

PRAYFIT POLL: Over the next few weeks, we want to conduct a series of polls to help our team serve you better. If you wouldn't mind, taking a second today or anytime you see this poll to give us your feedback. We'd be in your debt. Please leave your responses to this informal survey in the comments section below.

1. Are you able to enjoy the Prayfit Daily each weekday? Would it be more convenient if the devotion(s), tips and recipes came to you only once per week, or once per month? 2. What sort of information do you find most useful? The devotions? Workouts? Fitness tips? 3. What would you like to see more of in our health-related items? More workouts? More recipes? More stats and research? 4. Is there anything specific about our website that you would want us to improve upon in 2013?

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: As you work to keep winter weight gain at bay -- the average is about 0.8 pounds per holiday season -- we suggest the PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System. This highly-challenging workout can be done at home with some dumbbells and a workout mat and is guaranteed to provide a powerful stimulus for change. Whether you're looking to lose a few inches around the waist or simply shape-up specific bodyparts, this is the DVD for you. Click here to read more or to purchase one for yourself or a friend! (NOTE: As a reminder, once we reach 25 reviews on Amazon, we're offering one random reviewer a gift from the new PrayFit online store!)

In its first week of release, it has been in the Top 25 of Amazon's hot new releases in fitness & exercise. A quick click of the play button below will give you a glimpse at what this workout has to offer. The best part? It's just 33 minutes a day, honoring the One who gave us 33 years.

Playmakers

"The wicked flee though no one is pursuing them but the righteous are as bold as a lion." --Proverbs 28:1

Read: Proverbs 28

As I was watching the Miami Hurricanes dominate Georgia Tech recently in college football, one of the announcers referred to a player as "the playmaker." It gave me pause. What a compliment. What an honor. This player wasn’t just out there to fill in the gaps or run time off the play clock. He was "the playmaker" and everyone knew it. He was the heart of the team. All of those around him looked to him for direction and leadership and for what was coming next. Every single play, eyes on him, things were happening. There was action in the room.

When it comes to our faith, are we the real "playmakers" on the Father's team? Do we make the big plays every time the whistle blows or are we sometimes comfortable simply watching from the sidelines and cheering others on? Are we intentionally seeking to share God’s love and amazing grace with all of those around us, not only on game day, but every day?

I want to be bold. I want to be "the playmaker" for God in my own life and for those who would look to me for direction. Every single play, eyes on Him, there is action in the room.

--Allison Earnst

PrayFit's contributing writer, Allison Earnst, is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act." You can visit her blog by clicking here.

TRENDING IN...HEALTH

When was the last time you checked in on the rising epidemic of obesity in this country? If it's been a while, here's a heavy, disheartening update. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35.7 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children ages 2-19 are obese. And, if the trend continues, every state will see 44 percent of its population hit the obese category by 2030. Several states will hit 60 percent.

Despite the many causes of weight gain, the solutions are always simple: an increase an activity and changes to diet. A preponderance of resources on exercise and nutrition in the marketplace have failed to stem the rising tide of obesity and weight-related disease. Perhaps it's time for us to stop focusing so much on "the how" and start focusing more on "the why"?

By focusing on our health as a means of praise and seeing the need to be better stewards of our physical gifts, we can commit to serious, long-term change, honoring the One that created us.

"We don't strive to be healthy to be loved by God," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. "We strive to be healthy because we are."

For Discussion: Are you struggling with your own weight? What are the roadblocks to a healthier lifestyle? Do you think the Lord is pleased with the care that you have shown the body He gave you? Why or why not? Have you ever thought of your body as a divine gift that requires better upkeep?

Those Who Have Heard

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" --Romans 10:14

Read: Romans 10

Those of you who periodically stop in at the prayer requests section of the PrayFit forum may know that I struggle mightily with the plight of my younger brother.  At 30, his body is beginning to fail him. He is plagued by intestinal distress, some vision loss, dangerously high blood pressure and numerous other physical ailments, nearly all of which are the result of his own stubborn insistence on living the way he wants.

As both a big brother and someone who has made a career out of fitness, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to watch my brother destroy his body, one Big Gulp, one pack of cigarettes at a time. Over the years, I've discussed the gospel of health with him and have tried to be the kind of fitness witness he can mold himself after. Alas, he has heard the truth and still refuses to believe. Tragically, a slow and willful death is all that awaits. And for what? The comfort and ease of doing what feels good?

Today, there are so many people who have heard and do not believe. There are those who know the consequences of physical inactivity, smoking and poor nutrition yet continue to dishonor their bodies. There are also those who would thumb their noses at news of the resurrection of Christ, forgiveness of sins and the heaven that awaits, all in the name of living a life without moral consequence or conviction. Both roads lead to death. Friends, the One that gives life wants you to choose Him, just as much as He wants for you to thrive physically.

Some people never get the chance to hear the good news. So consider yourself blessed! You have heard. Now what will you do?

--Eric Velazquez

WILLFUL DESTRUCTION A few eye-opening facts about the most troubling health problem in America

--The annual healthcare costs of obesity in this country are $147 billion a year. This could rise to as much as $344 billion by 2018, according to one major study.

--Obesity has become one of the most expensive health problems in America today, surpassing smoking, according to a study in Health Affairs.

--Two-thirds of Americans are overweight although 85% of Americans characterize their lifestyle as somewhat/very healthy.

--Obese employee sick days total approximately 39 million workdays and 63 million doctor visits yearly.

--12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight.

--Nearly a third of the children in this country are overweight and some experts believe up to one third of children will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

--For the first time in the history of our nation, some medical experts warn that this younger generation may be on track to have a shorter life span than their parents as a direct result of the obesity epidemic.

Source: CNBC's "One Nation, Overweight"

PREGNANT WITH PURPOSE

September 28, 2011Read: Luke 1

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb." --Luke 1:41

Though he couldn't yet see, he was already focused. And though he couldn't yet walk, he jumped. You see, Jesus was in the room, and John knew it. So, let's face it: Elizabeth was pregnant with purpose.

It's true...Jesus in a room makes all the difference. When it comes to our jobs, school and even our health, when our purpose walks in, we know it. Sure, someday we'll all bow, but until then, let's jump.

--J.P.

SPEED EATING EQUALS WEIGHT GAIN Study shows that slower eaters have more favorable body composition

How fast do you eat? If you've never considered the question, maybe it's time you should. New research out of New Zealand shows a strong correlation between how quickly you scarf down your dinner and how wide your waistline is.

Researchers mailed a survey to about 1,600 New Zealand women aged 40 to 50 years, asking them to rate themselves on how quickly they ate and also to provide their height, weight and other lifestyle and health factors. About half of the women described themselves as middle-of-the-road in terms of their speed of eating. Thirty two percent fell in the fast or very fast categories, and about 15 percent of women considered themselves slow or very slow eaters.

The women at the slowest end of the scale had the lowest body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of a person's weight relative to their height. For each step up the speed scale, the BMI rose by 2.8 percent. That translates to nearly six pounds for an average U.S. woman. Researchers suggest that rapid eating may simply lead to greater ingestion of calories.

>> For the full report, click here.

OPEN HOUSE

August, 11, 2011Read: Isaiah 1

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." --Isaiah 1:18

Walking Josey around the neighborhood this last weekend, I came across an open house sign. The arrow pointed us up the street, so...up we went. Interestingly, the closer we got to the house, the nicer things seemed. The manicured lawn looked like the greens of The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta. Smiling neighbors waved at the milkman. Kids played hopscotch. Josey chased cartoon animals across the street while Mr. Bluebird rested upon my shoulder. After all, it was an open house. And everything seems perfect at an open house.

Okay, maybe the cartoon animals were a little much, but as I stood watching the people going in and out, I could relate to the owner who had clearly taken great pains in preparing the house to make a good first impression. Before we let anyone in our lives, we hide the dirt. We sweep regrets under the rug, polish the pain and spit-shine the shame. We don't want anyone to see the proof under the roof.

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't need to clean ourselves up before we let Jesus in? We can stop scrubbing failures from the floor and just open the door. Besides, the asking price for our heart's home is way too high for anyone but Him, and He paid it in full.

--J.P.

FUEL AND FAT

Like most Americans, you probably paid somewhere near $4.00 a gallon at the pump this week. But before you go and blame Middle East unrest, market instability or rapid inflation, you might want to consider the following statistic.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,  nearly one billion gallons of additional fuel per year can be attributed to the average weight gain between 1960 and 2002 of people living in the United States. This represents nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits, or approximately 0.7% of the total amount of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles annually. Moreover, it is estimated that over 39 million gallons of fuel are consumed annually for every one pound increase in average passenger weight.

In other words, the heavier we get, the harder our cars, trucks, trains and planes have to work to transport us from A to B.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

EMPTY-HANDED

July 27, 2011 Read: Matthew 19

"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man, this is impossible. with God, all things are possible." --Matthew 19:26

Yesterday, Eric and I were blessed to begin shooting a series of DVDs with Lionsgate Entertainment. To say we're humbled would be like saying that Mozart wrote music or that Monet dabbled in art. We'd both like to thank the community of PrayFit for your prayers and support, because today was not only for you, but it wouldn't be possible without you. Soon, countless more will be able to hear and "see" our fitness devotionals as a vehicle for abundant health.

Cool moment: When Eric and I were sharing how surreal the moment was to the make-up artist, she replied very matter-of-factly, "Oh, God's in control...even in Hollywood." Booyah. She was right. There's no reason to feel surreal in moments only He could have mastered. After all, one of the best ways for God to show us He's in control is to let us have it. And if our hands are full, surreal should be the least of our concerns.

Lord, may we be empty-handed in all we do. You're in control, and you get the praise. Help us be obedient in our walk, both physically and spiritually and leave the consequences to you.

--J.P.

KEYS TO HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN

While weight loss is a popular theme here at PrayFit and other fitness websites, there is a population on the other end of the scale that needs help achieving a healthy weight. Those who are underweight are subject to a different set of problems including suppressed immunity, athletic performance deficiency and osteoporosis. In women, it can be an even greater concern since being underweight can result in the absence of menstruation, infertility or complications during pregnancy. In fact, mortality rates in underweight individuals is similar to that seen in morbidly obese populations.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist, Christie Menna, MS, RD, says that there are a few easy strategies for those who struggle to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight.

"One thing about weight gain is you really have to be mindful about making eating a priority," says Menna. "I find often people think they are eating much more than they actually are when trying to gain weight. With that being said, it might be a good idea to keep a food log for a couple of weeks. You want to try to eat every 3-4 hours to allow for adequate calorie consumption without having to overdo it at any one meal. "

Menna adds that documenting your daily eating habits makes it easier to make minor, gradual adjustments rather than going on a hardcore, high-calorie weight-gain plan.

Here are three more tips for adding healthy weight:

1 EAT MORE PROTEIN: Strive to consume more protein each day. If you are very active, you can aim for 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, getting at least 20 grams upon waking and post-workout.

2 REST MORE: If you burn calories quickly, take more time between workouts to allow for greater recuperation. During rest periods, focus on getting enough food and sleep to fuel muscle recovery.

3 LIFT HEAVY: Using heavy weight triggers a greater release of your natural growth hormone (GH) and increases protein synthesis, or uptake, which makes you more efficient and building and repairing muscle.

UNDERWEIGHT: If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or less, you are considered to be underweight. To determine your BMI, click here.

Christie Menna, MS, RD, is a consumer safety officer with the Food and Drug Administration and personal nutrition coach based in Long Island, New York. For more on Christie, visit her at www.activeeatingnutrition.com.

 

THAT'S THE ONE

May 19, 2011Read: 1 Samuel 17

"Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the stream." --1 Samuel 17:40

Before David hurled the stone at his giant, I picture him down at the stream, tossing them one at a time in his hand. See, I have a feeling he measured a few before finding just the right one for his particular overgrown nuisance. Did you notice the verse? He "chose" five stones. He made decisions based on his needs and abilities. "Too light.” Toss. "Too small." Toss. "Ah, that’s the one!” After all, David knew what he was up against and planned accordingly.

What about you? In the area of health, you might be facing some big issues. Is it your diet? Your training consistency? Maybe you can’t find the right routine? Well, whatever the case, take a stroll down to the stream with David. Kneel down with him and gather some ammo. If the pebbles you’ve been flinging at your giant-size goals aren’t making a dent, then reload. You know what you’re up against. The key is to do like David did and find it. Remember, His fight was worth it and so is yours.

--J.P.

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM What are the main causes of the obesity epidemic?

Weight gain occurs when people eat too much food and get too little physical activity.

Societal and community changes have accompanied the rise in obesity.

Some Americans have less access to stores and markets that provide healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, minority and lower-income neighborhoods. Restaurants, snack shops, and vending machines provide food that is often higher in calories and fat than food made at home.

There is too much sugar in our diet. Six out of 10 adults drink at least 1 sugary drink per day.

It is often easier and cheaper to get less healthy foods and beverages.

Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt are highly advertised and marketed.

Many communities are built in ways that make it difficult or unsafe to be physically active.

Access to parks and recreation centers may be difficult or lacking and public transportation may not available.

Safe routes for walking or biking to school, work, or play may not exist.Too few students get quality, daily physical education in school.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

WHAT PLAN B?

December 3, 2010Read: Joshua 1

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." --Joshua 1:9

Chances are good that you've heard the expression, "Burn the boats!" They say Cortez was the first to make that announcement when he arrived in the new world. Upon reaching land, setting the ships ablaze sent a message to his men and his enemies that retreat never was an option -- that whatever the odds, a fight was coming.

Do you believe Christians should be the example of honesty in the workplace? Of course. Would you also agree that Christians should be best at showing love to neighbors? Without a doubt. So why are we so reluctant to take a stand on the subject of better health? Shouldn't Christians strive to be some of the most health conscious people on earth? Some might argue, "Well, Jimmy, the Lord looks at the heart." True, but doesn't that mean it's the effort that matters? And to be honest, not caring for the body that carries the soul just might be a heart issue after all.

So if this is an uncomfortable subject, mark it down. Because this will become an increasingly sensitive topic the bigger and bigger we get. But I believe it's the church's responsibility to lead the fight. A fight that we are losing. Where's Cortez when you need him?

Lord, we love you. Help us as believers become better stewards of our bodies. Help us learn to make better choices in what we eat and what we do. Help us commit to taking care of ourselves, not only so we can serve you better, but to be examples for the rest of the world. Amen.

--J.P.

FIT IT IN A few things to ask yourself as you work toward a healthier you

In what ways are you making positive change in the area of food choices? How have you been able to modify your meals to accommodate your goals? What are some ways that you're not winning the battle? Any specific struggles? What time of day is the most convenient for you to train? Are you making it a habit to fill that time with exercise? What's most important to you, eating right or exercising? If you could only do one, which would you do?

DID YOU KNOW? Eating late at night won't automatically make you gain weight. If you have not exceeded your recommended daily caloric intake and you've kept your daily expenditure high, eating right before bed will not cause weight gain.

>> NEW! Check out our new fitness and nutrition pages, then be on the lookout for more updates to our homepage this weekend.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL!

September 14, 2010Read: Phillipians 4

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." --Phillipians 4:6-7

Do you ever feel like a contestant on Let's Make a Deal? Well, that's me today. I've been hit with door Nos. 1, 2 and 3, each with something behind it that I may exchange for what's already valuable to me. Truly, all I need is a life-size deck of cards to poke my face through, and it's game on, Monty.

Decisions, decisions. Our lives are chock full of them, right? From the little ones we dealt with yesterday to the bigger versions around today's corners -- which way do we go?

As believers, isn't it good to know that if we're praying, seeking wisdom and trusting in the Lord that we can go boldly into life's choices with the utmost courage? We can decide in peace, knowing that we've prayed about it and we've placed that particular burden at the cross. But if we don't (and haven't we all been there?) -- if we don't pray daily and seek His will, decision time is anything but peaceful. We end up second guessing, fretting and regretting.

So today, if you're faced with the smallest of choices or even decisions that are life and death, let's present our choices to the One who conquered both. He's been around the bend and because of Him, the coast is clear. Truly, the only door we want to pick is the one He opens.

--J.P.

HEAVY IS THE BURDEN A few more facts about weight gain in America

--Obesity affects over one-third of the adult American population. That's approximately 72,000,000 people.

--200,000,000 adult Americans are classified as overweight or obese.

--American adults are one inch taller and 25 pounds heavier today than they were in 1960.

--In 1963, the average 10-year-old boy weighed 74.2 pounds. Today, the average boy weighs 85 pounds -- an increase of 14.5%.

Source: The Obesity Society

WHAT PLAN B?

August 11, 2010Read: Joshua 1

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." --Joshua 1:9

Chances are good that you've heard the expression, "Burn the boats!" They say Cortez was the first to make that announcement when he arrived in the new world. Upon reaching land, setting the ships ablaze sent a message to his men and his enemies that retreat never was an option -- that whatever the odds, a fight was coming.

Do you believe Christians should be the example of honesty in the workplace? Of course. Would you also agree that Christians should be best at showing love to neighbors? Without a doubt. So why are we so reluctant to take a stand on the subject of better health? Shouldn't Christians be the most health conscious people on earth? Some might argue, "Well, Jimmy, the Lord looks at the heart." True, but doesn't that mean it's the effort that matters? And to be honest, not caring for the body that carries the soul just might be a heart issue after all.

So if this is an uncomfortable subject, mark it down. Because this will become an increasingly sensitive topic the bigger and bigger we get. But I believe it's the church's responsibility to lead the fight. A fight that we are losing. Where's Cortez when you need him?

Lord, we love you. Help us as believers become better stewards of our bodies. Help us learn to make better choices in what we eat and what we do. Help us commit to taking care of ourselves, not only so we can serve you better, but to be examples for the rest of the world. Amen.

--J.P.

FIT IT IN A few things to ask yourself as you work toward your healthiest body ever

  1. In what ways are you making positive change in the area of food choices?
  2. How have you been able to modify your meals to accommodate your goals?
  3. What are some ways that you're not winning the battle? Any specific struggles?
  4. What time of day is the most convenient for you to train? Are you making it a habit to fill that time with exercise?
  5. What's most important to you, eating right or exercising? If you could only do one, which would you do?

DID YOU KNOW?: Eating late at night won't automatically make you fat. If you have not exceeded your recommended daily caloric intake and you've kept your daily expenditure high, eating right before bed will not cause weight gain.

PRAYER REQUESTS: First and foremost, we are a community of believers. Stop in here to make your prayer requests or just read up and pray for others.

ALL TO HIM WE OWE

August 3, 2010Read: Mark 12 "Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more to the treasury than all the others." --Mark 12:43

Clive didn't really start living until he gave his heart to Jesus. Nine days after he and a writing buddy went for a long walk, Clive -- a known agnostic -- accepted God's grace and used the rest of his life as an offering to the Lord. Two thousand years earlier, Jesus watched a poor widow offer her life's savings -- two copper coins (worth about half a penny) -- into the church plate.

Two people that changed our world with one offering. Their offering of all.

Who's world would change if you asked God to help you give your best to your health? Your spouse? Kids? Remember, it's not about perfection, but diligence.  We're called to care for the body that carries the soul.  After all, "We don't have souls, we are souls. We have bodies." Clive said that. But you know him better as C.S Lewis.

--J.P.

OBESITY BY THE NUMBERS

In a 2007 study cited by The Obesity Society, the alarming trend of weight gain was made clear. Of the respondents in a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) analysis...

--25.6% were obese.

--26.4% of men and 24.8% of women were obese.

--the obesity prevalence ranged from 19.1% for men and women aged 18--29 years to 31.7% and 30.2%, respectively, for men and women aged 50--59 years.

--by race/ethnicity and sex the obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (39.0%) followed by non-Hispanic black men (32.1%).

--The obesity prevalence was higher in the South (27.3%) and Midwest (26.5%) and lower in the Northeast (24.4%) and West (23.1%).

A separate but related survey showed that approximately 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.

Sources: ReligiousTolerance.org, The Obesity Society