Don’t Diet

Don’t diet! You can go off a diet, you can “cheat” on a diet, dieting is not the answer.

Everyone talks about a lifestyle change, which is part of the answer, but the idea tends to be nebulous, what exactly is a life-change anyway?

So, what are you supposed to do? Eat toward your goals. Of course for this to work you have to have a goal, so get one!

If your goal right now is to lose 10 lbs, than eat in a way that will bring you toward your goal. If you goal is to gain muscle then eat in a way to reach your goal. If your goal is to cut out sugar than eat in a way to reach your goal. Humans are very goal-oriented, goals are your friend. In fact, it is quite difficult to lose weight if you don’t have a clear, defined goal (that is Skinny 4 Jesus 101). So whether you are starting a diet program or you have already been on one, reflect on your goals. If you don’t have one, find a goal. Then STOP dieting. Stop saying “I can’t eat that because I’m on a diet” and instead say “I’m choosing not to eat that because my goal is ____________ and I want to reach my goal.” Following a diet is fine, but living the “diet mentality” is not fine.

Think about it today, do you have a goal? If not, find one!

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Shakeology 2-Month Review

A lot of you know that I am a Beachbody coach. When I signed up to be a coach it was recommended that I start drinking Shakeology. I decided to give it a try. I’ve been using Shakeology daily (for the most part) for about 2 months now so I decided I’d give a 2 month review.

Keep in mind when you read this that I have been on most EVERY meal replacement shake at one time or another. Until now I’ve never recommended them to anybody. Slimfast made me hungry, Atkins made me hungry, the rest of them tasted awful. Shakeology is different because it was made by people who want to help other people be healthy. I’ve looked at a ton of Beachbody stuff and I know the “ins and outs” of how their system works and the only logical conclusion I’ve come to it that the company serious just wants to help people be healthier.

Shakeology is a meal replacement shake, but it is a lot more than that. It is packed with nutrients-rich superfoods, and even though it is very healthy for you it doesn’t taste healthy (anyone into health food knows what I’m talking about… food that has that disgusting “healthy” aftertaste). What I found impressive is that it comes in two vegan flavors, chocolate and tropical strawberry. If you follow me on Facebook or know me personally you know how I like to try to stick to as many vegan proteins as I can, so this works well in my diet (although they have non-vegan as well). It’s also very low calorie, and if you are on Weight Watcher’s it is only about 5 PPV (depending on how you prepare it). My personal favorite was the Tropical Strawberry flavor mixed with water, ice and chocolate PB 2. Don’t underestimate the Tropical Strawberry flavor, I know everyone loves chocolate, but the Tropical Strawberry gives Chocolate a run for it’s money! So, here are a few things I’ve noticed about Shakeology after using it for two months.

  • My weight loss improved (don’t ask me how, but it became more steady)
  • Any cravings for junk food decreased immensely
  • Increased energy
  • Increased endurance (for anyone who knows my exercise routine, you know that was a nice bonus!)
  • One serving is very large and keeps you full for a long time
  • My sinus problems decreased immensely
  • An increase is overall health

So those are the many benefits of Shakeology, now to get to the negative:

The price. It’s not particularly cheap, or so I thought anyway. The retail price for the vegan (which is $10 more than the non-vegan variety) is $129.95. I thought this was completely outrageous until I considered the value. First, it’s not exactly an added expense, it’s a meal replacement. I have it for breakfast so when I order a bag of Shakeology I’m really ordering an entire month of breakfast, so it just replaces what I would normally spend on breakfast (that is depending on how much you spend on breakfast of course). Plus, all of the ingredients are incredible. To buy everything separately would cost you a fortune.

I like Shakeology simply because in today’s world it is so hard to get a healthy meal. Shakeology is easy, you can get a Shakeology shaker and bring it with you and make it anywhere. It basically makes it so you have no excuse to get at least one healthy meal in a day. Especially if you are busy and on the run this is great because it takes no time to make. It makes life simple for me because I have to plan 3 meals and 3 snacks each day to fit into my diet plan and picking foods that help me meet my goals. With Shakeology there is one less meal I have to plan each day.

My final thoughts? When I first started Shakeology I thought “Well, I’ll give it a try and just stop if I can’t afford it or decide I don’t like it.” Well, I found afford it wasn’t as hard as I thought since it just fits into my grocery bill, and I do plan to keep having it once a day because it makes life simple and it makes me feel good. Shakeology is not a miracle shake, you can’t take Shakeology once a day and then eat whatever you want the rest of the day while drinking beer and watching TV and expect to feel good and lose weight. However, it is a great aid for healthy living.

If you want to give it a try, click on the Shakeology banner below and sign up for it. I would recommend getting the HD (home delivery) option because you save $10 on shipping, and you can always cancel if you decide to. Also if you do decide you want to have Shakeology daily there is a way to sign up for a wholesale discount which I would gladly tell you about.

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Try Something Different Each Week

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Seems simple, doesn’t it? The key to getting Skinny 4 Jesus is to get out of your old rut and go places you’ve never been before. Living a life that is full and abundant! If we are in Christ, we are becoming new and old things have passed away. One problem though, we have to let go of the old dead thing so we can grab on to the new, living thing!

Not sure what I’m talking about? Try each week, or even each month to replace an old, negative habit with a new, positive one. It could be with your diet or your activity level, whichever you want to tackle. Maybe everyday at 3 pm you take a break from whatever you are doing and you have a mid-afternoon cookie snack. Maybe try replacing that cookie snack with peanut butter on crackers for a week, and then replace it with eating a piece or two of fruit or some veggies. The fruit and veggies will be more satisfying and more helpful to your waist line as well. Maybe you’re drinking whole milk and you want to lose the fat but also keep your food as “whole” as possible? Twitch to 2% milk for a week, and then try almond milk or coconut milk (personally I don’t have a problem with soy milk, but that’s up to you). Just be sure you get the unsweetened variety! Maybe you could pick up a new fruit or vegetable each week and experiment with having it and see if you’d like it. DO SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT!

Maybe you want to get more active! Try something new, try a new activity. Maybe bike riding, or rock climbing, dancing, kick-boxing.

You might not be at the fitness level to do the previous activities. Why not walk to the kitchen “just because” you can! Trust me, there are a lot of people who can’t. Try five minutes a day and just walk around the house. Can’t do five minutes? Try 4, 3, 2, 1 or even 30 seconds! Do whatever you can, just do what you haven’t been doing before!

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Understanding the Weight Gain and Weight Loss Cycles

This is just part of my observations on life and weight loss, not particularly a Bible study, but understanding what I’m about to talk about has helped me in weight loss dramatically.

Weight gain, this is something I’m very familiar with, and weight gain has a number of unhealthy effects. First it effects your health in various ways including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and can easily lead to pre-diabetes or even diabetes. Of course it doesn’t stop there, the list of side-effects from chronic weight gain go on and on, and in same cases can lead to death. One of the things we don’t really comprehend is that the more weight a person gains, the harder it is for them to move around and do things. The harder it is for them to move around and do thing, the more they stop doing things and become less active. The less active they are, the more they gain weight. Do you see where I’m going with this? Weight gain leads to less activity, which leads to more weight gain, which leads to less activity, and the vicious cycle continues. I call this the “Weight Gain Cycle.” I’m sure some fancy Doctor gave this scenario a real name, but I haven’t heard of it yet so I will just continue to call it the Weight Gain Cycle.

What can we understand from the Weight Gain Cycle?

  • Aches and pains caused by weight gain should not be responded to by being less active!
  • Chronic weight gain will eventually effect your mobility (lets just be honest here!)
  • To stop the cycle you have to stop responding to weight gain in the same way.

Now lets look at the Weight Loss Cycle. Think of it as the Weight Gain Cycle, but backwards. In this instance you lose weight, which makes you feel better, which makes you more active, which leads to you losing more weight. Unfortunately, the Weight Loss Cycle isn’t as easy to initiate as the Weight Gain Cycle!

This is more easily seen in the areas of exercise. Months ago I decided to truly had intense exercise to my daily routine, which I was successful. I was pretty out of shape, so it was very hard, but I kept at it. Soon I was feeling good enough that I could exercise harder, then not too long after that I was feeling good enough that I was looking forward to exercise and was even looking for more ways to be active. Being active made me feel good, so I wanted to be more active, being even more active made me feel even better. It’s the Weight Loss Cycle.

How does one initiate the Weight Loss Cycle? First, you have to start doing what you don’t want to do. If you’re overweight then chances are you don’t want to be very active and you don’t want to exercise, instead you want to be sedentary. Here is the problem: being sedentary is what is going to keep you in the Gaining Cycle! So you have to get past the point of not doing things just because you don’t want to do them and instead doing things which are beneficial.

The second thing you have to do is start being active, even if you don’t like, or it doesn’t feel good. If you’ve been caught in the Gaining Cycle for a long period of time, being active might seem painful. It may seem like your body is fighting you, but it’s not. Your body is changing and adapting to your new lifestyle, give it time. I had to exercise 6 days a week for two months before I could wake up and enjoy my exercise, but those two months of soreness were worth it because I earned something you can’t buy: my life back!

I know a lot of people say you don’t need to exercise to lose weight. Which is true, I’ve met many people who didn’t need to be active to lose weight, however, they always gain the weight back. To be successful, you need to change your lifestyle, and that includes your activities. You need to start an activity that DEPENDS on your health and fitness that you LOVE (or will grow to love), so that you never want to go back to the place you were before. Plus, don’t just stop an activity because you’re not good at it. Activity is a skill, learn it, and love it! You will get better! When you do get better it’s time to start working harder!

That is all I have for today, I pray this helps you!

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Roasted Garlic Sweet Potato Hummus

I don’t know about any of you, but I LOVE hummus! I love it on crackers, baby carrots, sandwiches, any and EVERYTHING. One problem, hummus is usually loaded with fat, but not this one!

Oh yeah, baby, low fat, roasted garlic HUMMUS!!! Guilt-free and delicious! Wanna make some? Here’s what you need

  • 1 can low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 5 cloves roasted garlic (or less for the faint of heart)
  • 1 juiced lemon, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika to taste!

Put it all in the food processor and process until smooth, creamy and delicious!

Enjoy! I ate mine with a bunch of baby carrots. YUM!!!

Note: This makes a very large amount of hummus! This should definitely be portioned out!

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Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

This seems like a simple idea, but it can be hard to do. You might have changed your diet and are at a party with an amazing cheesecake. You’ve decided you want to spend your calories elsewhere, so why would you continue to look at it? I know I’ve done this in the past.

Maybe you’re starting an exercise routine, why would you dwell on the old “lazy” days and how you miss them? Lusting after food, lusting after laziness?

Do you remember Solomon? He definitely had a lust problem considering he has a multitude of wives and concubines. Also when you read the book of Proverbs it’s filled with warning of gluttonous eating and drinking too much alcohol. Take a look at this:

Proverbs 23:31-32 (NKJV)
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.

These verses talks about not even looking at the temptation! These verses show someone looking at wine and lusting after it, then describing the outcome of all the starring and the lusting: “At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.”

In short, don’t look at your temptation, the outcome is not pleasant.

This is a short blog today, but it’s worth being aware of! It’s a simple controllable action: Don’t look at the temptation, but it can be the difference between staying the course and falling off the wagon!


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Turbo Fire Review

For anyone who came to the 2012 Skinny 4 Jesus Bible study or has followed me on Facebook you know that around 90 days ago I started doing an exercise program called Turbo Fire. I promised you I was going to let you know all about it, so here is the info!

First, Turbo Fire has a lot of kickboxing style to it, which I loved. It also has HIIT training. Yes, I spelled that right, HIIT. It stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically those workouts are shorter and for about 1 minute you work as hard as you can and then you get the rest for one minute. I absolutely loved those work out because you GET TO REST. They actually have a set time for you to get a drink of water and wipe the sweat off of your glasses. Plus you only have to go as hard as you can for 1 minute, even I (not being in the best shape) could give 1 minute (of course after you rest you do it again)! There are also longer cardio video which are very kickboxing-like, and very enjoyable. One of the things that is AWESOME about this program is the music. The music drives you harder than you would have gone otherwise.

One odd note. I am a musician and singer/songwriter (for those of you who didn’t know) and I respect how music and lyrics effects you mind and body. There is one song which is so catchy is sticks in your mind all day. One problem, the lyrics aren’t exactly what I would call glorifying God. So, being the lyricist I am, I rewrote it. The lyrics were “I’m a bad girl, break my like the law” which I changed to “I’m a good girl, working for the Lord.” I know, I’m bizarre, but I refuse to call myself a bad girl. It’s Skinny 4 Jesus 101: You are what you say you are (AKA Week 3 in the Bible study).

There is also strength training with resistance bands as well as a core workout and a yoga workout. I will be honest and say I hated the yoga workout but I did it anyway. I may have hated the workout, but my body loved it, and the body gets what the body wants.

In my opinion this workout would be great for people who:

  • Get bored with exercise easily (I can raise my hand for that one)
  • Has hit a cardio plateau
  • Is serious about getting into shape FAST
  • From moderate to advanced exercise levels
  • Interested in boxing or martial arts
  • Are tired of feeling weak (nothing makes you feel strong than a jab, a cross and a roundhouse!)
  • Want to incorporate consistent exercise into their lifestyle

With that said, this workout is horrible for people who:

  • Have serious, limiting shoulder injuries (there is A LOT of shoulder work)
  • Make excuses
  • Don’t want to work hard
  • Don’t want to change their daily life and thought processes (you won’t be able to finish the 90 challenge without changing you life and your thoughts!)

I will answer the question right now because I know it will come up. What about people with bad knees? If you follow her instructions you shouldn’t have a problem. The trainer, Chalene Johnson, is very considerate about people’s knees and instructs you on proper form for keeping your knees healthy.

Also, don’t be too afraid that you aren’t fit enough to do this program. You can moderate the exercises as you need too so you don’t have to do the jumping, jumping jax and burpees the way you are accustomed to. There is even someone to follow if you want to modify any of the moves. Obviously you have to be in shape enough to move around but so many times we think that in order to do fitness programs we have to be fit first… but doing exercise programs is how we get fit.

So, what are my final thoughts? God used this program to help my immensely! Every morning I would wake up and pray that God would pull me through, and He did. He used it to build my faith, further understand what it means to be adopted as Sons, and much more. I can remember the trainer said at one point when you’re punching to get angry (the trainer is great, this is probably the only negative thing she said during all the workouts), so I got angry. It was the next day when I was doing the workout and getting angry while pretending I was punching the devil I felt God speak and say “Are you doing this because you hate him, or because you love Me?” I answered “Because I love you.” God’s reply “Then why are you letting hate for him motivate you instead of love for Me?” That led me down an interesting journey and I ended up writing a play called “The Greatest Power” to help other understand why love is more powerful than hate. In other words, God taught me a lot in this workout!

If anyone is interested in the program, feel free to contact me. I enjoyed it so much I became a Beachbody coach so I could help guide people through the same process that God guided me through! Just make sure you contact me first because if you order it off the website I have no control over who is assigned as your coach! I’m not sure what my next Blog will be about, feel free to leave me suggestions!

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Fear, Itself

Fear, what is it? Where does it come from? I’ve been tormented by fear a lot in my life and it has kept me from doing a lot of things. We can say someone has a “healthy fear” of something, but what about fear is healthy? One of my favorite quotes on fear is from the Big Bang Theory, said by the infamous Sheldon Cooper: “A fear of heights is illogical. A fear of falling, however, is prudent and evolutionary.” In his case I guess you could say that fear is in the eye of the beholder, a certain fear is specific to that person. But for what reason, where does it come from?

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The word for fear in this verse means “timidy” or “timid.” It’s funny, when we think of fear we think of scary, shakey, sweaty, about to faint, going-out-of-your-mind fear. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, or even a spirit of the timid! Fear doesn’t come from God, it comes from the other guy. Yep, the devil himself, that wiley minx who lost this war 2,000 years ago at Calvary.

Romans 8:15 (NKJV)
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Again, this shows God hasn’t give us a spirit of fear! Or a spirit of bondage to fear. Being overweight and healthy is bondage. It’s bondage to fear, food, unhealthy habit and unhealthy self-image. So, we’ve been set free from this, right? But why does it still come up? How do we let the enemy give us fear, and why does he attack us in some areas greatly? Lets take a look back to 2 Timothy, but lets look at the verse above it as well to give it some context.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Paul is telling Timothy to stir up the gift of God. This is a gift that was give through the laying on of hands, and then follows it up with saying God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. Why talk about fear after talking about gifts? Simple, the devil doesn’t want you to use your gift. He wants to keep you overweight and unhealthy so you don’t even have a chance to spread the amazing gift that God has given you. That is where fear comes in. Fear of the unknown, fear of change (which was the last Blog I wrote about), fear of failure, fear of success, basically just fear itself.

Fear doesn’t mean stop, in my experience fear means go. Fear means that the devil is afraid of what you can accomplish, and when the devil is afraid then things are about to get awesome IF you do’t give into the fear. Fear doesn’t last, it is temporary, the less attention you give it the less hold it will have on you. Don’t be afraid of your new life, instead go for it!

John 10:10 (NKJV)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

God wants you to have an awesome and amazingly abundant life, the devil wants to take it away. Part of experiencing that abundant life is to ignore the devil. Don’t fear what your new, Skinny 4 Jesus life will be, embrace it and love it, because it is abundant and filled with adventure.

So, in short, don’t give in to the devil’s trick. Stir up the gift that is in you, don’t let the devil take away your health so you won’t have to ability to share your gift! I strongly believe that inside of every overweight person is a warrior, a fighter just waiting to come out, they’ve just been hidden by fear for so long we forget they were there. You are a warrior, you are a fighter, you are a dangerous soldier for the kingdom of God, and don’t you ever forget it, because even if you forget, the devil won’t. It’s time to turn fear into faith, it’s time to FIGHT!

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Redefine Yourself

I’ve been thinking about the life-change lately. One thing I’ve noticed is that successful people are always changing and improving themselves. Whether they are successful in weight loss, business, fitness, it doesn’t matter. Successful people take on the change process, embrace it, and use it to their advantage. Unsuccessful people do not embrace change.

I hate change for such a huge part of my life. I wanted everything to stay the same, and when life changed around me I was constantly trying to go back to where I used to be. This led to me being over-weight, unhappy, and incredibly unhealthy. Instead of embracing change, I ignored it, I kept trying to go “backwards” while the world around me was going forwards! Not embracing change kept me in the same place, and that led to me being defined in an unhealthy way. I was defined by what I couldn’t do. I couldn’t go rock climbing with my friends, I couldn’t go to any store to find a wedding dress, I couldn’t go to any stores to find close, I couldn’t feel healthy (because I wasn’t healthy), I couldn’t do a lot! But of the life change process is to redefine yourself, first in your mind and then the body will follow.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Transform! Renew your mind, EMBRACE the change (without change, you can’t renew!). It is not God’s perfect will for you to be lacking and be defined by what you can’t do. We are HIS children! We should be defined by what we are! By what we CAN do!

Taking the weight loss journey is an amazing one. You will learn A LOT about yourself, other people, and your new life. I find myself amazed recently because my life is truly being defined by what I can do. I won’t lie to you, it has taken me a while to get to this point. Not because change happened so slowly but more because I was FAT IN THE HEAD than anything else. Three years ago I could barely walk through the mall, now I’ve completed a 5K! I’ve completed a 90 Fitness challenge! I’m even signing up for the Warrior Dash this summer! I’m not the person who has this huge list of “Things I Wish I Could Do”, instead I have a list of things I’ve done, combined with a list of “Things I’m Doing” and “Things I’m Going to Do.”

Don’t let change stop you, let change motivate you. Eating whatever you want and sitting all day is only going to lead to an early death, except it’s taking the SLOW, PAINFUL way to suicide. Embrace change, live life, do something you haven’t done before. Don’t make excuses, just do it! You’ll be glad you did!

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What to Expect

Hello all you S4J peeps out there! For my first officially post I wanted to let you know about what you can expect from the new Skinny 4 Jesus site and blog.

First, you can expect a blog! I’m going to blog about various different subjects. I may blog about different products that are helpful to your new journey, different struggles and how to overcome them, and I’ll also be answering any questions you might have about diet, weight loss, exercise, the Bible, relationship with God, or anything else you might want to know!

You can also expect to be updating on all of the latest Skinny 4 Jesus Bible studies, materials, or anything else you might be interested in. Please feel free to comment below on any thoughts of ideas you might have.

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