Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mental More Difficult Than Physical

I believe that most people can lose weight on a program like Weight Watchers, if they follow the plan, discipline themselves, and work toward the goal. Physically, the weight will drop at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week and that is a healthy expectation. Once I got into the process I felt that it was rather simple, but effective.

If you want to lose weight and tone up, you have entered a whole new level. It is not nearly as easy physically and is much harder mentally. I did not say that it could not be done, but it is taxing mentally. Allow me to show you what i mean.

I increased my caloric count this week up to an average of 1,911 per day. I burned an average of 1,245 calories a day. That put my net intake at 666 calories a day. I had plenty to eat. I consumed 114 grams of protein each day. Still trying to increase that figure, but gaining ground. I had 4 workouts in the past five days and did cardio on the treadmill twice a day.

Now, what does that previous paragraph mean to me? I lost 1.7 pounds, but am also strengthening my body. It is hard work. It is much harder than losing 1.7 pounds on Weight Watchers. It is not so hard physically--in fact I enjoy it, but it is mentally taxing. You have to take one day at a time!

What change have I noticed the most? My waist is getting smaller and I have biceps now that literally make me laugh. I've never had muscle like that. If I can make that kind of progress and lose, say a pound a week, next summer I'll be where I've been wanting to go. It will just have to be accomplished one day at a time.

Change does not take place overnight. We don't go to bed being overweight, wake up at the most healthy weight, and be more fit than any time in our lives. It takes time and patience. It is the same with our spiritual lives. When we come to Christ there is a change from "spiritual death to spiritual life". We then need to start growing spiritually. It would be awful to remain as a spiritual babe the rest of our lives!

In order to grow spiritually, we must begin the journey and it is a day by day pilgrimage. It is like losing weight, working out, and becoming physically fit. It becomes a way of life and we can experience the changes our lives are taking. More than that, others can see the changes taking place. They will encourage you. More next time...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Adjustments: A Necessary Part of Life

It has been a busy week. I have learned something over the years. You can have a plan for the week, but depending on what happens, a wise person adjusts to the circumstances. A sense of fulfillment will usually be the by-product of "going with the flow".

I finished a study on Hebrews at Trinity Oaks Retirement Community on Thursday and will start a new one on Judges next Monday. We have done a verse by verse study of 21 books of the Bible since I started at Trinity Oaks and that is very satisfying.

I must be one of the most fortunate pastors in Texas. I had the opportunity to teach the Bible for three years at Eagle Heights Christian Academy and now I continue to have the opportunity to teach five times a week at Trinity Oaks. I don't know another minister who has had that kind of opportunity. I am humbled and thankful.

This week I have spent time in hospitals from the Medical Center to Clear Lake and in between. I have had the opportunity to visit folks in Nursing Homes, as well as apartment visits. I love visiting with people who need pastoral care, even if they don't realize it.  I feel at home in the medical environment.

Also created a worship guide for our Sunday service at Trinity Oaks and a table top promo for each person in the dining rooms highlighting our Sunday worship experience. I wrote a sermon on the subject of Fear for this coming Sunday morning.

What have I done on my own time? I have worked out twice a day---usually at 5:30 each morning and then sometime 5:00-9:00 at night. My trainer suggested this week that I increase my calorie intake to 2,000 calories a day. It doesn't sound like much of a change, but when you are used to about 1,600, it seems like a lot more.

Tony, my trainer, suggested two breakfasts per day---one before my workout and a lighter one after the workout. He said he wanted me eating a minimum of three eggs a day. I love eggs, but that is a tall order. He said to eat my primary meal at lunch and taper off for dinner. Lots of calories at the beginning of the day and dropping off as the day goes on. I have accomplished it at a cost of gaining one pound this week. That goes against my grain, but I know that Tony knows what he is doing.

I had a good workout with my trainer this morning and then followed it up with my usual upper body workout and cardio on the treadmill. Tonight I did another 45 minutes on the treadmill. I spent 90 minutes on the workout this morning. Wish i had the time to do that every day. Just don't want to get up earlier than 5:00!

I hope you have a great weekend. I am planning a trip to Lake Jackson for my grandchildren's soccer game and then watch some great college football on Saturday. Remember, be ready to adjust at a moment's notice. It will pay great dividends.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nutrition Basics That Nobody Told Me

Don't try to change your eating habits overnight.  It will lead to "cheating" and maybe even giving up your new plan. Take it in small steps over at least a three month period. I started off, as you know by now with Weight Watchers. When I mastered that plan I cut out sweets, cut way back on starches, added additional vegetables and fruits, and then went to mostly chicken and fish, with an occasional beef entree. If you can make these small changes, you will find yourself adding other changes as you move forward.

The Ideal goal of healthy eating is to develop a way of eating that you can do for the rest of your life. This took me way to many months to discover, but it is right on. I am not on a diet, I'm changing my lifestyle to something I can keep for the rest of this earthly existence.

We all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It would be great if you could track that statistic and I would highly recommend My Fitness Pal. I plot my weight, food intake, exercise, and review the carbs, protein, and fat, not to mention sugar and sodium. It is a great little app.

Don't eliminate the foods you really like. If you like bacon, eat it once a week. If you eat something that you like that cost you an additional number of calories, cut that number on what you eat the rest of the day. You won't miss what you cut back on and the total calorie count will be where you want it to be.

Smaller portions are probably a must for most of us. The world "super-sizes" everything. We have to change that kind of thinking for ourselves. I weigh my entree when I am home and shoot for 1/2 cup of any vegetable that I eat. My trainer says, "Pile on the vegetables, They are complex carbs and will digest slowly and make you feel full." I don't know about that, but sometimes I add an additional vegetable in place of cornbread and obviously, I come out ahead as you can imagine.

I believe in eating breakfast. I usually eat oatmeal one day, cereal the next day, and an egg the third day. I started out with an English Muffin, but cut it back to 1/2 muffin after a short period of time. I have tried turkey bacon and turkey sausage with an egg and it does make you feel like it is special.

I am learning to eat a mid-morning snack (like a banana), lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. It is like eating five small meals a day. Why do this? It keeps your energy and metabolism up.

I believe that green vegetables are a must for someone trying to change their eating habits. I like green beans, spinach, broccoli, but my favorite is lettuce, which is probably why I eat a lot of salad. I have been eating black-eyed peas and have recently added Great Northern Beans, pinto beans and just any other kind of bean that I can find.

Lastly, but not the least, reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming. I know you like sweet tea, you're from Texas, but try making the change. Sweeten it yourself. It will mean less sugar. Stop salting your food. That was difficult for me to do, but don't miss it anymore.

Good luck with your new way of eating. It will pay dividends over the next year and lifetime!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Eating Healthy Can Be Done

I didn't know what it meant to "eat healthy" for most of my life. My wife would say that in the past I lived to eat and she would eat to live. I guess she was more right than she was wrong. But, today I eat to live. Let me tell you how I did it with some tips to get you there if needed.

I always thought a person needed dessert as part of the primary meal of the day. I thought potatoes or rice was a staple with vegetables and bread----bread was the greatest from garlic toast to biscuits to cornbread. I didn't know what smaller quantities meant. I must have consumed 3,000 calories a day on my best days.

Then I got a handle on it in September of 2011. I went on Weight Watchers Online for Men and that helped shape what I would eat. I began dropping 1-1.5 pounds per week and had plenty to eat. After about six months I stopped and began gaining weight again. This went on for about a year. Then I got back on it seriously.

I cut out dessert almost completely and it doesn't bother me to see anyone else down a hot doughnut,  fancy piece of pie, or one of those homemade desserts that everybody's mouth waters over. I do eat a No Added Sugar Klondike Bar as a treat.

Then I drastically cut back on starches. I might have potatoes once a week. White rice has gone by the wayside. Mac & Cheese is a thing of the past. Casseroles have disappeared from my menu.  I have also cut out bread products after noon.

This morning I had cereal/milk, 1/2 an English muffin, 1/2 teaspoon of butter, and coffee. At lunch I had a salad with grilled chicken and a diet Pepsi. Tonight I plan on having a small salad, fish, and a vegetable. My protein comes from mostly fish and chicken, but occasionally I will have beef or pork. I usually weigh it when I am eating at home. The Klondike Bar usually comes into play after dinner (a throwback to my old days) and coffee. I know that I get plenty to eat and am satisfied.

What I have described has taken a while to put into place, but it is one of the best disciplines I have ever enacted. The other would be the exercise that I do. Together, they are making a stronger and leaner Mike.

This morning I did the treadmill for 40 minutes at 15 degrees at 3.0-3.7 mph. I also did an upper body workout for 45 minutes. I plan to go back to the gym tonight and do another 48 minutes on the treadmill. Sixty minutes on the treadmill and the body workout is a minimum for me. You have to custom design a regiment for yourself that will take you where you want to go. Don't be afraid to experiment.

I will wait until the next installment to talk about 'Tips on Healthy Eating" I rambled on too much as I got into this one. Start doing something for yourself this weekend. There has to be s starting point!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How Important Is A Number?

Many people today know their Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, Triglycerides and many other bodily functions that notify us when something is irregular, or is within acceptable levels. Those trying to lose weight may need another reading in their inventory that they may not be aware of right now.

One's Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR is important. Why? Your BMR measures the energy used no matter what you are doing, even if you are in a coma and lying in bed. Your body needs a minimum number of calories to sustain itself. 

Every year it becomes harder to eat what you want because this BMR indicator decreases with age. This is one of the reasons that some people put on weight as they get older. They believe that they can continue to consume the same calories that they have always taken into their bodies. Some dieters deprive themselves in hope of losing weight. This lowers your BMR and what you thought was the right thing to do actually works in reverse. You either plateau or gain weight.

If you are interested in finding out your BMR, google BMR and it will give you multiple sites to look at. The formula is simple -- all you need is your height, weight,sex,and age. My BMR is 1,788 calories. That figure will sustain my weight if I don't do anything else. You can also determine what your body needs based on your level of activity. Just follow the information that will take you to another link. When I am not working out, I have a sedentary lifestyle, so I would multiply the 1,788 (BMR) times 1.2 and this gives me what my body usually needs, which in my case is 2,146 calories. If you want to lose weight, you can make it really simple by subtracting 15-20% from that larger figure. It brings me down to 1,717 and I should be able to lose some weight by following that intake.

NOTE: 3,500 calories is 1 pound of fat. Reduce intake and increase "burn off" and you will lose over a period of time. Try out what I've posted here today. I am experimenting with it myself. Last week I increased my calorie consumption to 2000-2100 and I showed an incremental weight gain each day. I cut it back since Tuesday to an average of 1,850 and I've lost incrementally each day. I suspect that it will come out to 1.0-1.5 pounds by next Tuesday.

Yesterday's Results: Consumed 1,732 calories; burned off 954 calories with 60 minutes on the treadmill and a 45 minute lower body workout; leaving a net caloric intake of 778 calories. It showed up as a loss on the scales this morning, but I had to have gained muscle as well. Good luck to you through this weekend!

Next Blog Subject: Food (The idea is in my head, but don't know yet where I am going to go with it)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We All Make Spiritual Choices

Tuesday, October 1

Today's Results:  Consumed 1,885 calories, burned 1,460 calories = a net caloric intake of 425

Getting fit and losing weight is a lot like the Christian life.  People make a decision to lose weight, or do strenuous workouts to tone their bodies. They make this a priority in their lives. Likewise, people choose to grow spiritually and they go about doing it. It is all about choices!

First, if a person takes in more nourishment than their body needs, they will gain weight. Their body will store what they don't need as fat until they do need it. Second, if one exercises their body, it will add muscle, burn further calories and make them lean and strong.

Far too many Christians try to live like the world and fail to take in the spiritual nutrients they need because they are busy living a worldly life. They are good people, just living like their friends during the week and trying to catch up one day of the week. They do not make time to read their Bible, so they lack the spiritual nutrition that can give them. They fail to pray because they do not think about it. This is another failure to pick up what their lives need.

My trainer told me about the first cavemen. They hunted for their food and eating took place whenever they were successful on their hunt. They might go days or even a week before they would find food. Their bodies stored fat because it did not know when the body would be fed again. Some Christians are the same way--they store the "fat" of the world because they are so into it and don't know when the next course will be available. Therefore, they become "spiritually flabby" over a short period of time.

Far too many believers do not work out, so they do not add muscle, the body eats on the muscle and then the stored fat and they fail to gain spiritual strength. They remain at a "spiritual stand-still" for extended periods of time an are surprised when they look around and see others pass them by spiritually speaking.

The next time you are out walking or working out with weights, stop and think about what you are doing for the benefit of your body. The body is the physical "tent" that you are living in for an average of 78-83 years. What are you doing for your spiritual life? Are you feeding it properly? Are you exercising it so you can get the most out of it?