Monday, January 24, 2011

Food Journal – Do I have to do this?

So I start reading the Lose It for Life book and I meet resistance right away. It wants me to keep a food journal. I’m supposed to write down everything I eat. It sounds like a lot of work so I put it on the back burner.

As I go through the workbook for the chapter, I am reminded of what I’m not doing. Okay, I’m not in charge anymore, I’ll do it. I get a small notebook and start. September 18, 2010 is the first entry. I have done this every day since. Everything that goes in my mouth gets written down.

The idea behind a food journal is to give an honest account of what one eats. It’s easy to fool yourself. We can forget all the things we consume through grazing – this and that as we pass through the kitchen, etc. It also helps with the why of eating. Am I hungry or am I bored? Am I hurting and hoping that food will soothe?

After two months of keeping this diary, I started thinking of calories. How many calories should I have each day and how many am I getting? I knew I was eating less but I was curious. I went to a bookstore and found an easy to use book that listed the calorie content of most foods. It’s called The Ultimate Calorie, Carb, & Fat Gram Counter. Now I was looking like a true fanatic. On October 19, I started writing down the calories of what was in my food diary. I found it very interesting and not too hard to do.

In mid-November I found a program for my Ipod Touch called MyFitnessPal. It automated the whole diary process and synced to a website called With over 660,000 foods in its database, it made entering food very easy and I could track my progress, exercise and get nutritional information as well. Available for Android also, it’s all free. You can use the online journal by itself too.

A food journal has helped immensely in my weight loss journey. Studies show that people who track their food lose twice as much as those who don’t and are more likely to keep it off. Another study showed that the best predictor of weight loss throughout the first year was the number of food records kept per week.

Another benefit to me is being able to budget my calories. If I am going to go out to dinner for example, I can cut back through the day so that at the end of the day I have not exceeded what I should have eaten. On New Year’s Eve I took my boys to Jim’s Burger Haven and we had giant double cheeseburgers and I had onion rings on the side. At the end of the day I hadn’t exceeded my calories, although as expected I was a little over on fat grams.

Here is a good example why it is good to know the calories of food choices. Two weeks ago I went to Applebee’s for dinner. As I looked through the menu I saw they had a section of entrees that were less than 550 calories. All of them looked very good. As I browsed the menu I saw a picture of Crispy Orange Chicken. It looked good! I looked it up and found it was 1550 calories. I settled on Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos which was 450 calories. I was saved 1100 calories by that choice. By the way, if I want to lose a pound per week my recommended calorie intake is 1550 per day. Here was an entrĂ©e with that many calories in one meal. I now understand one of the reasons why I was gaining weight. I also understand the way to lose weight.

I have learned a lot about various foods through this process and have a better idea of the ones that are healthier than others. My first objective on this journey is to be healthy. As I restrict calories I want to make sure I have a balanced diet. There are many foods I avoid but I don’t feel at all deprived. I enjoy finding better choices, eating in moderation and actually enjoying the things I am eating.

If you would like to see how this works, here is a link to my online diary. Use the password healthy. You can see my foods, exercise, weight loss, etc. It’s a great setup and very easy to use.

Well enough for now. Later I will tell you some of the other things I have learned and the benefits I have enjoyed.

Here is a link to posts about my weight loss journey.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Persistence in Prayer

I tell you, even though he doesn't want to get up and give him anything because he is his friend, he will get up and give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
Luke 11:8

I heard this verse in Church this morning. I wondered about the word persistence so I looked it up. It speaks of something much more that persistence. It’s very powerful; speaking of someone without modesty, someone who knows no shame, without a sense of what is proper, is reckless and with complete audacity.

And that is how God wants us to be with him; to come boldly and with abandon to his throne of grace. It’s beyond persistence. It’s a behavior that would annoy most of us. Someone acting crazy as they beat on the door, demanding to be heard, demanding an answer to their request.

Everything Jesus ever said about prayer can be summed up in one word: ask. Be bold enough to ask in this way.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

SLED – How to persuasively present the prolife message

Here is a way to share the prolife message in a clear and compelling way:

Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you had no right to life then but you do now. Stephen Schwarz suggests the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:

  • Size: You were smaller as an embryo, but since when does your body size determine value? Large humans are not more valuable than small humans.
  • Level of Development: True, you were less developed as an embryo, but why is that decisive? Six-month olds are less developed than teenagers both physically and mentally, but we don’t think the former have less of a right to life.
  • Environment: Where you are has no bearing on what you are. How does a journey of eight inches down the birth canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from a being we can kill to one we can’t?
  • Degree of Dependency: Sure, you depended on your mother for survival, but since when does dependence on another human mean we can kill you? (Consider conjoined twins, for example.)

In short, humans are equal by nature not function. Although they differ immensely in their respective degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature made in the image of God.

The above comes from the article Clarity Not Gadgetry: Pro-Life Apologetics for the Next Generation by Scott Klusendorf.

Click to get Scott's Book The Case for Life.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lose It for Life

One of the first good things I did on my weight loss journey was to admit to a group of friends that I knew I needed to lose at least 50 pounds. I was out of the closet. Of course, anyone who looked at me knew I needed to lose weight but of course people don’t talk about those kind of things.

One of those friends asked if I wanted to borrow a weight loss program he had. I reluctantly said yes. I wondered what it would be. Was it some sort of psychological mess? Was it a weird diet?

The first thing I started to do after my admission to God and others that I needed to lose weight was to cut down on the amount of food I was eating. I tried to put less on my plate and didn’t get seconds. I also quit cleaning off the plates of the rest of the family when we had something I really liked. I wasn’t thinking about nutrition or healthy eating at this point. The first small change was eating less. It was something I could do and I could live with it.

I really did want to succeed in this new way of life. There was one time many years ago that I tried to lose weight. I did a lot of exercise and tried to cut down on food. I lost some weight but didn’t get too far. I kept the daily exercise going for about a year and a half and then a family crisis came along. The exercise stopped and over time the weight returned. As the years went by I kept adding. I was up to 211 when my journey backwards began.

So back to the program my friend gave me. It was called Lose It for Life by Stephen Arterburn. I looked it over and was pleasantly surprised. The book claimed it was the total solution – spiritual, emotional and physical - for permanent weight loss. It wasn’t a diet either. Instead it seemed against dieting and was for making healthy changes that will last.

There was a book, workbook, CD’s and DVD’s. I bought a copy of the workbook for myself and started going through it as I read the corresponding chapters in the book. I was amazed at what I was learning and how I was being challenged.

I started thinking about why I ate too much. Why did I choose quantity over quality? Why did I want to be stuffed at every meal? When did this behavior begin?

If you are interested in checking out the Lose It for Life program, here is a link to the whole package on Amazon. You can also get the book and workbook separately.

The changes that were happening in my life helped me lose weight but also helped me to develop healthier habits. I will talk more about the specifics later.

Here is a link to posts about my weight loss journey.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How’s That Working For Ya?

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Don’t we all do that at times? We have our way of doing things and keep doing it that way even if it’s not working.

When I began the journey to lose weight I didn’t know what was going to be involved. I took the first step of confessing to God, myself and others that I needed to lose weight and I knew the first action was to start eating less. Beyond that I didn’t have a plan.

I admitted to God that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the strength or willingness in myself. It was then that God put things together. He brought people and tools to me. I let all of my ideas go and accepted the wisdom of others.

It can be hard to admit that “my” way hasn’t worked. It can even be harder to have to do it someone else’s way. “I’ll do anything but that” is a common thing we tell ourselves. I think that many times God frustrates our own plans because he wants us to have to admit we need him and others to succeed.

Many times it can be like our attitude towards prayer; it’s the last thing we do when all else fails. How much better to start with humility - I can’t do it; I need help, is what God loves to hear. You may be surprised how much other people can help too.

So, how’s that working for ya?

Here is a link to posts about my weight loss journey.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

I lost the sack of cement

I use this cement on a regular basis, mostly for setting fence posts. I usually have to carry it to the backyard – something I dislike doing very much. Each sack weighs 50 pounds.

One day I realized that I was carrying the sack with me everywhere I went. You see, I was at least 50 pounds overweight. I had thought about that before but this day was different.

So, two things had to happen. I had to admit it to God and I had to admit it to other people. I was scared. I loved food and lots of it. Did I really want to give that up? Could I even do that? I couldn’t.

I admitted to God what was going on in my life. Food occupied a place that was way too big. I was powerless. I needed His help. I needed more than help, I needed power. I admitted the same to a group of friends and to my wife.

This all began towards the end of July. I had no plan. I would start by eating less. I didn’t want to just lose weight; I needed a life change that could last for life. I wasn’t interested in a diet.

I started small: less on the plate and I tried to eat slower. I realized that my eating was quantity over quality. I wanted to be stuffed at the end of a meal. Most of the time I didn’t even taste what I was eating; it was like a feeding frenzy. Seconds would pass and the food was gone.

God was working on my behalf. My desires began to change. I started feeling a little different about food. He brought tools across my path that would make all the difference.

This week the scale brought the good news: the cement sack was gone. I was 51 pounds lighter than last July. I felt like I had gone through a miracle transformation. I still have somewhere around 10 pounds to go before I reach an ideal weight. I know God made this possible. He did what I couldn’t do. He made the changes in my heart that no amount of self-determination or discipline could. I’m glad to admit that I am weak. I’m glad to see His strength on display.

Later I will tell you about some of the things I have learned and how they came about. There were no quick-fix diets or miracle weight loss potions or obsessive exercise routines. I am living a different life than before. I still love making and eating good food but it is different now. I am enjoying quality over quantity. Food is starting to find its right place in my life.

I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels not to be carrying that 50 pound sack around.

Here is a link to posts about my weight loss journey.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why marijuana shouldn’t be legal

Marijuana makes you lazy and stupid – at least that was my experience. I’ve seen the same effect in many other people too. Do we really want more of that?

Colorado legislators are back in session and for many, one of their goals is to further liberalize the marijuana law on the way to full legalization.

Their guise this year is tying up loose ends and fixing the law from last year. What a joke. The only fixing going on is making it easier to get marijuana or to be one of the dealers.

I know some of my friends argue that the war on drugs like marijuana is a lost cause. I think the same could be said of many other laws such as the ones forbidding underage drinking. Just because a law is hard to enforce or expensive to enforce is not a reason to give up – at least that is what I think.

It now looks like a result of the liberalizing of “medical marijuana” is an increase in adolescent usage. That is bad on many levels. Aside from my concern of what that does for their motivation, there are studies showing a detrimental effect on their developing brain. As a society we are going to suffer some serious consequences in the future.

We probably need to come up with some better ideas of what to do to deter marijuana use – especially in youth and what to do when users violate drug laws but legalization would have a far higher price than the so called war on drugs has.

Another story in the news today is of a Jefferson County high school cafeteria manager who was arrested for supplying marijuana to her daughter’s friends and other children. This “cool-mom” had a medical-marijuana license – no surprise.

Maybe this explains why so many kids were asking for seconds on the brownies. We’ll see if her defense in court was that she was trying to do her part to alleviate the pain and suffering in the world. Hopefully this high school will not be so high after her arrest.


Friday, January 14, 2011


Why is it that even though we want things to change in our life, when presented with the very tools to bring about that change, we become resistant? "That is not what I had in mind." "I want change but not in that way."

Maybe this shows our stubbornness. Even though our way hasn't worked, we bristle at another way - especially someone else's way - or maybe... God's way. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

I’m doing this for me

“I’m doing this for me” can be an act of selfishness or of self-control.

I can think of countless situations where people have used “for me” as the preamble to the explanation of their next selfish act. I’m breaking my marriage vows. I’m leaving my family. I’m buying this thing. We’re moving. I’m getting an abortion. It’s for me and I really don’t care that it’s going to hurt you.

On the other hand, there are times we need to leave the crowd and do what’s right. I know of several families where church attendance is sporadic or non-existent because one of the partners doesn’t want to go. Spiritual disciplines are always good no matter what your spouse or family think or do. Needed weight loss? If you don’t do it for you, it probably won’t last. Job excellence? Do it for you no matter what other employees do.

I find that I lean heavily towards selfishness and laziness. The things I do “for me”, are not always the best for all involved. Also, laziness pushes me to not do the things that are good for me. I may use the inaction of others as an excuse for my own.

Left to ourselves, I think we all slide toward the bad. What we need are good people in our lives who can help us see what our true motivations are or maybe we need a kick in the butt to get us going. Good friends can help bring out the best in us. Bad friends will help plan the next disaster.

May you be blessed with good friends.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My mouth – what goes in and what comes out

My biggest problem at this point in my life is my mouth – what goes in and what comes out. I am making some improvements on both but still have a long way to go. I will speak to the first in a later post.

As far as what comes out of my mouth, it’s very easy for me to notice the negative and to comment on it. Instead of pointing out the good people do, I usually focus on their failings. This is particularly bad for my family.

I also get involved in things where what I have to say doesn’t do any good in making a situation better. I’m learning that there are times where it is just better to be silent.

Here are some words from James 3:2-10 that talk about the problem tongue:

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
(James 3:2-10 ESV)
I so identify with these verses. It seems sometimes that my tongue will never be tamed. I am encouraged to know that it is a common enough problem that it is addressed here. Can you imagine one of the Apostles having to apologize for an inappropriate comment? I can see Peter having to do that.

I know there isn’t anything too difficult for God so I know that He will help me in this area. Later I will tell you of the changes that are happening with what is going into my mouth.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Who is Using Medical Marijuana?

Shops selling marijuana in Denver outnumber all of the Starbucks in Colorado. Politicians have liberalized state marijuana laws in the guise of helping sick people. We were led to believe that it would be the dying cancer patient or someone with a debilitating medical condition who would be using medical marijuana.

With no surprise to many, it’s young guys who represent most of the card carrying medical marijuana users. In a recent letter-to-the-editor in the Denver Post, Dr. Jeffrey Sippel points out that “Seventy percent of registered users are males between the ages of 25 and 34, not coincidentally society’s demographic with the highest substance abuse rate.” He goes on to say that “Ninety percent of cards have been issued for a diagnosis of severe chronic pain, yet no mechanism exists to document that such patients have had appropriate conventional treatment, including non-pharmacological modalities such as physical therapy.” Here is a link to his letter and another good one.

So basically we are being scammed and young people are going to suffer for it.

I took the above picture today in front on one of the pot shops in my neighborhood. I’m not surprised that the guy they have waving the sign is the demographic of their usual customer.

I hope something is done to slow down this scam before we reap the whirlwind from it.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Teen Marijuana Use Getting Higher

Is it any surprise that the “medical marijuana” scam has caused young people to view the drug as harmless? Also, many daily users are getting their supply from marijuana "patients."

An article in Saturday’s Denver Post reports the concern among drug abuse counselors with the rise. Here is a link.

A big problem with adolescent usage is the changes in the brain that happen with marijuana use. An article in USA Today cites a recent study that shows that “people who start using marijuana at a young age have more cognitive shortfalls. Also, the more marijuana a person used in adolescence, the more trouble they had with focus and attention.” Here is a link.

We are going to have to pay a high price for this in the future. Too bad the marijuana legalization advocates don’t care in their own quest for a buzz.