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Bringing our faith and behavior together

For those of you that know me I have always struggled with weight loss.  My wife and I are on a new journey together.  We are attending a new life group at Coastal Community church, which is a 12 week Bod4God weight loss program.  I posted the following entry to my Myfitnesspal blog this morning and I thought I would share it with my friends here.

There are a LOT of nice gems in the Bod4God book.  One of them that I love is how we are to bring our faith and behavior together.  We confess Lord Jesus with our mouths.  We confess that we desire to be obedient to his word.  We confess that we want to die to ourselves and carry our cross daily.  There are days when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  Those are the moments when we need to cry out to God and ask him for his power and strength to bring our behavior into submission to our faith and his will for our lives.  

We know that eating garbage is turning our temple of God into garbage.  We know that it grieves the holy spiriit within us, when we do that.  God gave us our bodies so that we can be his glorious children.  We are to serve him and use the gifts within us to bring glory and honor to his kingdom.  

My prayer today for all of us that struggle with bringing our faith and behavior into perfect alignment is this.  

Dear Jesus, please forgive us for being slothful stewards of the temple you have given us.  I ask that you will put a burning desire within each of us to take small steps each day to live out our faith in obedience to your word.  Help us to love one another and not to judge one another.  Help us to encourage each other and to be examples one to another.  Help us to lift each other up when one of us is weak or struggling.  We believe that your word is true.  We believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  Help us to be the kingdom kids that you want us to be.  We ask you these things in your most precious and holy name.  Amen 

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No excuses for not losing weight

I will no longer fall victim to my own excuses for not losing weight.  In 2012 I have set a goal to lose another 50 lbs.  In the last year and a half, I lost 50 lbs., and then I went on a rollercoaster ride, of gaining some of it back, losing it, to gain some of it back again.  I have decided that in 2012 I am going to continue on the weight loss journey and work on my goal to get under 300 lbs.  I have 50 lbs. to go in order to meet this goal and I feel like if I do the right things that I can accomplish the goal.  My long term goal is 50 lbs.  My short term goal is 1 lb per week.  I want to lose 1 lb. per week and keep it off.  I do not want to continue down the rollercoaster ride that I was on in 2011.  

One of the ways I am going to lose 1 lb. per week is to go to Planet Fitness five days a week.  I am going to shorten my work outs to one hour and focus on aerobic exercise for half of that time and then circuit training for the rest of the time.  In the past I have been going three times per week and spending 90 min to 2 hours and then skipping a day in between work outs.  In 2012 I am going to step it up and do more focused work outs. 

One of the ways I am going to lose weight is by disciplining myself not to eat those things that I know will cause me to put on weight and not lose it.  I am going to do my best to stay away from breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, chocolate, sweets.  I am going to eat wraps instead of sandwiches on bread.  I am going to try to drink more water during the day and less Diet Dr. Pepper or Coke Zero Cherry.  It took me a year and a half to get away from the sugary soda pop so I have met a goal in that regard.  I also need to eliminate snacking late at night when I am on the Internet or watching the idiot box.  If I need to snack it will be sunflower seeds.  That is something that meets the psychological need to cram something in my mouth and is very low in calories. 

Exercise is work but it is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Love yourself by eating better and getting more exercise in 2012.  We all need encouragement to do better in this area.  I want to encourage you to make a commitment to yourself and to me to stop making excuses.  Start over in 2012 and do what you need to do to be a better, thinner and more healthier you.  You can do it!!

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Saturday at the gym

Good morning sports fans! Are you a fan of healthy living? Do you eat the correct foods and get enough exercise on a regular basis? Do you drink 8 glasses of water per day? Do you get enough sleep each day? Do you live a balanced life that is stress free? Is being stress free possible?

If you are like me, you are able to answer yes to some of those questions, and some of them are reminding you of areas of improvement. I believe that I struggle in some areas because I struggle with self discipline. It is not for the lack of knowledge that I struggle. I know what I must do. The hardest part of doing something is making a commitment and following through with it. Doing it no matter what. Having a “nothing will get between me and my goals so help me Jesus” attitude.

Having a positive mental attitude and believing you can do it goes a long way. Setting reasonable goals that are achievable is important. Understanding our limits and pushing ourselves to excel past those limits will keep us motivated. Losing weight, building stamina and strength are all important things to consider.

My goal today is to lose 26 pounds by the end of this year. I know I can do it because I have been working hard at the list of questions I asked earlier. I am learning how to make adjustments in my life so I can enjoy healthy living. One baby step at a time. One good decision at a time. I must commit to a lifestyle change.

What are your healthy living goals and what obstacles are standing in your way? You may be surprised to find out that all of us share in these obstacles. Together we can push past the obstacles, get back into the battle and find victory as we work towards our goals. You CAN DO IT!!

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Healthy living – making better food choices in 2011

In one of my last posts in 2010 “ A Beautiful Day” I made the following statement.   “Healthy living means good eating habits, regular exercise and balanced living”.  In 2011 I would like to dig into these three items and see if I can relate to them in a way that will be helpful to all of us.

How many of us want to be unhealthy?  How many of us struggle with health issues?  I would dare say that most people I know struggle with at least one health issue if not multiple health issues.  Some of those health issues are inherited through the gene pool and some of them happen because of poor life choices.

I have high blood pressure.  I am adopted from an orphanage in Germany so I have no clue what my biological health history is.  Maybe my biological family had high blood pressure and I just inherited it.   Maybe, and this is more likely, I have high blood pressure because I am over weight and out of shape.  In 2009 I made a decision to do something about being over weight and being out of shape.  I believe that through regular exercise, blood pressure medicine and healthy food choices that I can lower my blood pressure.   I have proven that to be true over the last two years.

The first item on the “healthy living” list is “good eating habits”.  When I was a teenager I could eat everything in sight and never gain an ounce.  I will need to dig out a picture of me when I was a teenager, you won’t believe that I was skinny as a rail.  At some point in adult life, I let myself go, my metabolism slowed down, and then I woke up to the image of “Muffin Man”.  That process was a gradual process that happened over a period of years. The only way to learn how to develop good eating habits is to gain knowledge in that area and finding out what the experts have to say about it.

A dear friend of mine paid for me to go see a nutritionist and to take a fitness exam.  This was back in 2008 before I made the decision to be more healthy and lose weight.   I took the fitness test and it was confirmed that I was horribly out of shape, and that if I did not make some radical changes and soon, that my only option was an early death. In other words, with my weight and blood pressure issues, I was a candidate for a heart attack or stroke.

At the time that I took the fitness test I was eating a 1500 calorie diet, and I was not losing an ounce.  The nutritionist gave me a strict list of what I could eat and things I absolutely should not eat.  He also told me that by eating a low calorie diet, that my body was storing fat because it thought I was starving myself.  He told me that for my weight, and life style , that he recommended that I eat a 3500 calorie diet. That consists of lots of vegetables, lean meats , some fruit and lots of water. It also required lots of aerobic exercise to help start burning calories.

Even though I have not followed the strict diet suggestions from the nutritionist, here is a list of things that I know I should stay away from.   Most of these items can be listed under the category of  “processed foods”.

  • cheeseburgers
  • French fries
  • Fried foods of any type
  • mashed potatoes
  • white rice
  • bread (especially white)
  • sugar
  • candy and sweet soda pop drinks
  • sweet tea
  • red meat
  • ice cream
  • pastas
  • cookies and pastry
  • cheese

As you can see this is not an all inclusive list.  Everything on that list however, I love to eat.  In order for me to lose weight I have to make healthier choices and not eat as much of those items as possible.    Here is a list  of substitutes that I am trying to consume instead.

  • lean meat
  • fish
  • whole wheat wraps
  • Splenda instead of sugar
  • un sweet tea
  • Diet Dr Pepper (with moderation)
  • more water every day
  • fat reduced ice cream (on occasion)
  • lots and lots of vegetables (steamed if possible)
  • whole wheat bread ( when I must have a sandwich)
  • fruit for breakfast
  • oatmeal
  • 8  80z glasses of water or more (very important)
  • Crystal light to flavor the water
  • tuna fish

I guess you could say that I have been following a very loose Atkins diet for the most part.  Once a week I have a cheeseburger and fries.  I do my best to eat healthy and I also do not think of this as a diet.   Diets are meant to be broken and once you fall off the diet bandwagon you can put the weight back on.  The whole idea is that there has to be a life style change. The food choices have to be made for the right reasons and it has to be something that you stick with over a long period of time.

My hope is that this article will spur you on to finding out what works for you.  We are all made differently and not everything will work for everyone.  The key is to eat better and more healthy foods.  Do the research and start your healthy choices at the grocery store the next time you go to shop.  If you know you should not eat it, don’t buy it.  If the junk is in the house then you will be tempted to eat it.  Use a menu system and plan out your meals.  You can visit Heather Solos at Home Ec101 for help in that area.

As much as possible make your meals and take them with you to work and stay away from fast food restaurants as much as possible.   If you are forced to go to McDonalds get a chicken wrap or a salad instead of a greasy cheeseburger and fries. Get a diet soft drink instead of a regular soft drink or un sweet tea.

One tool that you can use to help yourself stay accountable is to find an online support web site that can help you track your progress and count calories. I will list a couple that I have found to be helpful.

SparkPeople

Calorie Counter

My Fitness Pal

Weight Watchers

If you can educate yourself as to the right choices to make on what you eat then your body can start to mend itself over time.  I would highly recommend a trip to your family doctor and getting a full physical done so they can do blood work and make sure that changing your diet will not impact your health in a negative way.   Your decision to eat right, get plenty of exercise and live a balanced life has to be a permanent life style change.  You can do it!

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A beautiful day

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If you are like me you have had some days that were just horrible.  The kind of day that made you want to crawl into bed into a fetal position and just die.  I am happy to say that the good days like I am having today seems to make those days pale in comparison.  I am having an awesome day today and I thought that I would share some of the sunshine with the rest of you.  No, they did not increase my medications and the only meds I am on is blood pressure medicine so that is not the reason.

I am having such a beautiful day because I am somehow in touch with the many things I have in my life that is such a blessing.  I was just thinking a moment ago about how nice it is to have a job on a resort island.  How many people get to drive to a resort island every single day of the week?  How many people can go for a walk down to the beach during lunch and experience the crashing waves coming on shore?  How many people can step out of their office and see deer, raccoons and hear the waves crashing on shore behind their office?

It is hard to believe that 2010 will be in the history books in 2 more days.   This year has been somewhat difficult for us financially thanks to the downturn of the economy and me being the only one working.  The positive part of the economy and our budget is that we have been forced to redefine what our wants are and our needs and budget accordingly and live with less.  In our society and especially in the western world it can be very difficult to live frugally when you are tempted at every nook and corner to buy this or that new gizmo.  The marketing ads are very successful in driving people to separate from their hard earned cash.

This is a beautiful day not because I have lots of cool stuff from Santa Claus or lots of money.  This is a beautiful day because there is a lot of beautiful sunshine outside and because some of that sunshine has leaked into my heart.  This is a beautiful day because I have an awesome family who loves me and who I try to love back every single day.  It is a beautiful day because of my church family both online and offline and all of my friends as well.   This is a beautiful day because I am alive and my family is relatively healthy and we have a place to live and food to eat and clothes to wear.  I have to remind myself that no matter how bad we may think we have it there are folks right here in our own city who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  There are folks in our city all around us that are fighting with depression or are in prison or the hospital.

This is a beautiful day because I survived one more year of living and might even get to live another year in 2011.  I will have an opportunity to look back at 2010 and learn from my mistakes and set achievable goals for 2011 and work towards them.  My goals for 2011 are very simple.   I want to continue to go to the gym three to four times per week and get myself into shape and lose weight.   I started my healthy living routine in earnest back in June of 2010 and I have seen some very good results.  I want to use that as a spring board in 2011 to continue seeing results.   There is no better present to oneself or ones family than healthy living.  When I say healthy living I mean good eating habits, regular exercise and balanced living.  I could probably write a book just on that last sentence and maybe in 2011 I will try to break all of that down and blog about it more.

Tonight I will bask in the joy of this being a beautiful day because I will be meeting up with some of my social media peeps in North Charleston as we help the HugTrain get started out of Charleston.  According to the website “The HugTrain is a rail trip organized by Arie Moyal, taking him around the USA spreading holiday cheer and raising funds & awareness about mental health one hug at a time.”

I was not aware of this until Andra Watkins wrote about this on her blog and my wife and I have decided we want to support this cause in our own small way.  I am hoping that each of us can donate whatever we are able to donate and get this HugTrain started across the country with a bang.   I understand that with this economy that most of us can not give much.  The important thing is that we give something if only our support this evening by giving and receiving hugs in North Charleston at  the Madra Rua Irish Pub in North Charleston starting at 7 pm.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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Weight loss and where do you start?

I have been struggling with weight loss for at least 10 years now. I did not wake up one morning and I was fat.  It was a slow gradual process, sort of like putting the frog in a pan of cold water and slowly turning up the heat until one shocking moment arrives and the frog realizes he is dinner. I think that is the way it is for us. Time goes on and we grow older and the weight just creeps up on us.  When I was in my 20’s I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about it.  When I was in grade school and high school I was very active.  I played basketball for 5 years in school, ran 10 miles a day and lifted weights.  I was very athletic and in shape.  As I entered into adult life my priorities changed and I found myself having to focus on working and paying bills and surviving in the real world.  At some point exercise and wellness became a thing of the past and it did not occur to me that in order to stay well exercise and eating healthy needed to be a life long life skill.  

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A picture of me in 2008

In September or October of last year a friend of mine at work turned me on to Take Shape for Life.  This is a wellness program that helps you to make a radical change in your eating habits.  I do not believe that regular exercise is an integral part of the program but I am sure that they encourage it if you are physically able to. Take Shape for Life to me was like taking a smoker and one day removing all cigarettes from them and telling them you will never smoke again.  I walked around angry for about 2 weeks because I had committed to removing the foods I loved to eat from my diet.  I hate the word diet so we can substitute eating habits if you like.  No matter how hard I tried I just could not convince myself that the food substitutes that they provide for you tastes like real food.  There were a couple of snack items that they provided that were not that bad but all in all my success with the program failed hopelessly.

I did learn some things from Take Shape for Life however.  Here are a couple of things that I learned.

A. I have to want to lose weight for me and no one else.

B. I should want to lose weight because I want to have a normal healthy life

C. I should want to lose weight because I want to feel better and look better

D. I should want to lose weight because I want to live longer

E. I should want to lose weight because I do not want to live through the consequences of obesity

 

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Picture of me in Sept of 2010

The hardest thing for me was to come to the reality of not doing something about the weight problem. I came to the realization that if I wanted to lose weight that I had to want it bad enough.  No one else is going to be more motivated than me to lose weight.   In other words I could not depend on someone else’s motivation to make the decision to do it. I had (still have) a monkey on my back and the only person that is going to get rid of it is me. I can lean on friends and family for encouragement and help but ultimately it is going to me that has to do the work.  

Take Shape for Life was not the program for me however it did help me to shock the system for two weeks and during that time I noticed a couple of things.  I did lose about 25 pounds and I felt so much better.  I did not lose 25 lbs in two weeks but that came off over a period of about 6 weeks.  I transitioned myself off of Take Shape for Life to a modified Adkins eating plan where I cut out as many carbs as I could. Here are some things that I stopped eating on a regular basis and sometimes not at all.

A. potatoes

B. pastas

C. white bread

D. sugary soda pops

E. sweet tea

F. regular ice cream

G. white rice

H. sweets such as candy, cakes, pies etc.

That is a very basic list of things that I cut out of my diet and with some regular walking I started to see some more weight fall off of me.  Between November of last year and about January or March of 2010 I started having major problems with my left knee to the point that I needed a walker to just get around.  That meant that I was unable to walk in our neighborhood and that was depressing to me because I knew that I needed to walk. 

One day I got sick and tired of being depressed about my weight problem and decided to switch doctors and go to a doctor that one of my co workers referred me to.  I had a full physical expecting some of the results to come back with bad results.  The doctor and I were amazed at the fact that there was nothing wrong with any of the blood tests.  Everything was in perfect order when it comes to blood sugar and cholesterol.  The doctor told me that I would be around a long time and he also agreed with me that I need to lose some weight. I realized and was reinforced with the fact that if I continued to let the weight stay where it was that I was a candidate for a stroke or heart attack.  One of the side affects of obesity is high blood pressure and I have been on meds for that for several years now.

We moved to West Ashley in June of 2010 and I am now about 7 minutes from Citadel Mall. My son and I went to the mall one day doing some exploring and I found Planet Fitness. The sign on the outside of Planet Fitness said membership is 10.00 per month with no contract.  I looked at Justin and told him that I had no excuse not to join with the cost being as low as it is and my being so close to the mall. I have been going to Planet Fitness now since the end of June. I go three to four times per week and when I go I do not play games.  I get on the elliptical trainer and I run for 30 to 40 minutes at a very brisk pace.  I get my heart rate up to 145 to 155 bpm which is in the 80 to 90% fitness range for my age.  I am 48 years old and I weigh 328 lbs as of today.  I am of the opinion that if I can do this anyone can.  Most folks I know are no where near as obese as I am so that means to me that it will be e
asier for them to do this physically than it is for me. 

When folks look at me they figure me at about 270 lbs but I am very big boned and I carry the weight well. When I started this journey last year I was close to 366 pounds. I was at a size 58 pants and I had resorted to wearing shirts that I could wear on the outside of my pants so I could mask the weight issue. I felt bad, my knee and feet hurt me to the point that I needed a walker to get around. My self image was in the basement and I was not really happy with myself.  Put all of that together and all I was able to do was to go back and forth to work and church and that was about it.  I was too self conscious about how I looked to bother going out into public because I was just too embarrassed about how I looked. 

In the last month I have taken 5 pairs of pants to the cleaners and had them taken in 2.5 inches.  The pants are at size 54 and they are starting to get loose on me already.  I am looking forward to having them taken in some more between now and January 1st 2011. I have said this before and I will say it again.  Losing weight is a lot of hard work. My weight loss was jump started by regular aerobic exercise.  I realize that not everyone is as obese as I am and therefore maybe they do not need to be as extreme with their work out habits. We are all on our own unique individual journeys and that will require an honest assessment of where we are and to set some goals.  My goal is to lose 110 lbs between June of 2010 and June of 2011.  That means I have a lot of work to do and I have to change my eating habits in a radical way.  I have a good head start and I have seen some improvement which makes me happy and it is motivating me to keep on keeping on with what I am doing and to improve upon it. 

Most, if not all of the battle to lose weight is in your mind and heart. Your flesh is not going to want to get on an elliptical trainer or do circuit training with weights. Trust me when I tell you this, if you listen to your body its natural tendencies will be to whine and moan and complain that it wants to stay at home in bed or in the recliner or couch with a bag of potato chips or a bowl of ice cream and do nothing.  You have to decide that you are sick of being the way you are and be determined to make some life changes.  We all get to that point differently and we all need different types of motivation and encouragement.  The important thing for you to understand is that you can do it.  You have the ability within yourself to do whatever it takes.  One of the first steps to making these life changes is to educate yourself on what changes that need to be made.  If you are struggling within yourself on making those changes then you may need to ask God to help you. Every single day when I am on the elliptical trainer I quote Philippians 4:13 that says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”.

I have faith that God in me can give me the strength to keep going and to do the exercise even though my body is screaming that it wants to stop and go find that bowl of ice cream.  I will tell you that the longer that you do regular exercise the easier it does get.  I have found that my body is slowly but surely responding to the exercise and now I am looking forward to going to the gym and starting my day off with a good work out. You will be very happy in how much better you feel and how much energy you will get because of it. 

In my next “Wellness” blog posts I am going to try and focus on specifics. You know my story now and I am hopeful that it will help you to jump start what you need to do to get motivated. I would encourage you to respond via the comment section of my blog and let me know how you feel or where you are at in your wellness program or let me know you need encouragement to just get started.  My desire is to share my journey with as many people as possible so that others like me can find success now and in the future.  This journey is not a part time effort or only for a season, it is for life.  We can do this if we take it one day at a time, one prayer at a time, one decision at a time. 

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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