Saturday, December 29, 2007


In November 2006, I resolved to change my eating habits and was able to lose 5 lbs by January 2007…not bad considering that I began during the holiday season! I still enjoy my 'chips and dip' and other occasional indulgences, but overall, I have done pretty good. However, since I know that eating better is only half of it, I also resolved to become more consistent with exercise—especially cardio.

The most productive cardio exercise is a walking or jogging or running program. When I say productive, I mean all around—physically, psychologically, emotionally—everything.

Physically--I guess it's pretty obvious—healthier heart, burning calories, weight loss, better immune system, toning muscles, strengthening joints, etc. By the way, the most common excuse I hear for not walking or jogging or running is 'bad knees'. I understand if one has had major knee surgery or other very legitimate knee problem. But, for the average person, walking/jogging/running actually helps to strengthen joints! Not walking/jogging/running because of weak knees is like saying I can't lift weights because of weak muscles. Weak muscles are exactly why I need weight training! The key to overcoming weak knees (and other weak joints) is to avoid overuse in the beginning. But, over time, the joints will strengthen.

Emotionally--as some psychologists put it, "It resets your nervous system". For me, it gives me time to get away and think about everything. I am in my own little world and it's amazing how the brain works during these times. I sometimes run with my "Lil Monsta" (MP3 player), but usually, I don't...especially if there is a lot going on in my life. Some people, however, say using their MP3 player makes it even better. They can completely disconnect from their problems and totally get into the exercise and their music. (I prefer a sermon or teaching that I have downloaded from the web…most of the time...but sometimes, it's some good ole classic rock!) Afterwards, everything is 'reset' and one is better able to confront life.

Psychologically—It's everything. Knowing that you are doing something good for yourself. Feeling better overall. The sense of accomplishment…and so much more. I even noticed that my desire to eat right is greater the more that I exercise.

In December 2006, I resolved to be more consistent with cardio exercise. In the beginning, it was tough. Being overweight [and older], I quickly realized that I could not jog as far as I used to; and, it was really rough on my knees. So, I started a walking/jogging system. First, I set a total time of 30 minutes. Then, I would alternate walking/jogging according to how I felt. It did not matter how far I went, as long as it was as least 30 minutes. Sometimes, I walked the whole time. But as time went on, I began to jog more and more. And, no matter how sluggish or tired I felt before exercise, I always felt better afterwards…always.

The treadmill and elliptical machines at the gym were also helpful when I was able to go…but the main thing was to be consistent and disciplined. It was mindset change for me. My walking/jogging routine was changed from "when I get a chance" to "top priority"…right up there with brushing my teeth and putting on deodorant!

I had run a 5k (3.2 mi) race before; so, I made it my goal to be able to run 5k without stopping in under 30 minutes. It took six months, but I finally did it! Two months later, I entered the Macon Labor Day Road Race and ran 5k in less than 25 minutes! This, for me, was like breaking through a wall. At this point, I was closer to my ideal weight, so I was able to 'pick up the pace' some and go a little harder.

I used to think that I would never be able to jog 10k (6.2 mi) without stopping…it seemed like something that I could not even think about ever doing. However, recently, on Friday, December 21, 2007, I ran the 3.1 mi 'outdoor loop' on base...twice. I did two laps without stopping (6.2 mi) in 56 minutes flat! A major victory for me. (My hips were sore and I had to ice them later, but I did it…and the next day, I felt fine!)

A walking/jogging/running program is something I think everyone should commit to if they are physically able. The best thing about it is that everyone's program is going to be unique. The very experienced will be aiming to run 5k in under 20 minutes. Another might be aiming for a personal best 5k in 40 minutes. Others simply make it their goal to walk for 30 minutes at least 5 days/week. Some will always be trying to go farther and faster; and, others will just be glad they found the time squeeze a good walk into their hectic schedule! But, no matter what the goal is, when the goal is reached, all are winners!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weight a Minute!

I have never really had trouble with diet or weight. Growing up, I played outside most of the time, all of our meals were home cooked, and I was always involved in a sport of some kind. After marriage, I continued to be careful about what I ate; and I remained active by jogging (off and on) and playing with the kids. Plus, my job has always been somewhat physical...never a desk job.

Before 2002, the only time that I had gained weight was when I hired on with Northrop (1992) and they sent me to California for on-the-job training. I was out there almost three months and ate authentic Mexican food almost every day…sometimes for every meal! I was about 15 lbs heavier by the time I got home. But, once I got back and got into my routine, the weight came off with no trouble.

Then, sometime around the year 2002, I noticed that I had gained about 5 lbs. (and, I was going to a gym somewhat regularly). No big deal, I thought. By the end of 2003, another 5 lbs. So, I tried to watch my diet and started jogging more…but this time the weight did not come off. 2004, 2005, 2006—five lbs each year.So, by the Fall season of 2006, I was about 25 lbs overweight. Looking at the obesity problem in the general public, gaining only 25 lbs is not too bad, I guess…except, I could not lose any of it, no matter how much I exercised. And, it was definitely affecting the way that I felt—physically and emotionally.

So, in October 2006, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup. Everything was fine; and, when he asked me if I had any questions, I told him about the weight gain and my frustration with not being able to lose it. So, after a little question and answer period, he told me that my blood sugar could be part of the problem.He assured me that I was not diabetic and in good health overall; but, he wanted to put me on a ‘diabetic diet’. (Which basically is the diet that we were taught in school—the pyramid thing.)

And, if I understand him right, he said that as I age, my insulin does not work like it used to. When I eat a lot at one sitting, or food high in sugars, starches, and/or carbs; my body simply cannot break it all down like it used to be able to…it is glycemic overload. What does not get broken down of course, gets stored as fat. (He spoke often about the‘glycemic index’ ( He said the key would be to keep my blood sugar from ‘spiking’. Reduce the fluctuations in my blood sugar, and I should see a difference. He gave me a handout explaining it all, and sent me on my way.

So, last November, I began by educating myself. I looked up as much as I could about all of this, and began reading food labels like never before. Plus (and this was key for me) cut my portions (often in half). If I wanted seconds, I had to wait at least two hours. (Like we have all be hearing for a while, eat less at one sitting, but more times throughout the day. Six small meals are better than 3 big meals; and it keeps the blood sugar from spiking too much.) By the end of January (three months), I had lost 5 lbs., mainly by just changing my overall eating habits. I tried hard to keep my calories between 1000-1500/day--giving myself a ‘free day’ on the weekends…sometimes both days! By January 07, I had already lost 5 lbs., and that was before I started exercising…

One bright spot for me is that I work at RAFB, and they encourage us to go to the gym on base. They also give us 3 hours each week to go if our schedule (supervisor) allows. I like to put one hour with my lunch break 2-3 times/week. That is just enough time to get to the gym, work out, shower, and get back. Because of our tight schedule at work, I don’t get to go during work as often as I would like; but, it has got me back into the habit of exercise. If I can’t go during lunch, I sometimes go right after work. But most often, a jog/walk around my neighborhood after I get home.

The main thing is that I have tried to keep up at least 30 minutes of cardio, a minimum of 3-4 times/week.By September 07, it had been 10 full months since starting all of this…and I had lost a solid 20 lbs. (that’s about 2 lbs per month, or almost ½ lb. per week.) I would like to lose another 5 or so if possible; however, I am very pleased to be where I am. I feel better than I have in a while physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It’s amazing what a difference it makes in life by taking control in this area.

It has now been one full year since my resolve to lead a better lifestyle concerning food and exercise; and, my body seems to have naturally ‘leveled out’ with a total weight loss of just over 20 lbs. But to me, the really cool part is the unexpected joy I get out of running.

Now, if I can resolve to keep my resolve, I should be all right…

Monday, December 17, 2007

Loss of Horror; pt 2

Take a moment to read Romans 1:21-28.

They knew God, but…
They did not glorify Him as God.
They were not thankful.
They became futile in their thoughts.

The result? “Their foolish hearts were darkened”. From there, it is a downward spiral. The worst part being that they thought they were wise, but in reality were horribly wrong.

Check out the list of sins that they were engaged in as a result of “not retaining God in their knowledge”: (Rom 1:29-32)

A few of them are:
sexual immorality, covetousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;

What a list! (And there are more lists, one of which is found in 1 Cor 6:9-10 [and from there some cross-references can be viewed])

Back to Romans, where verse 32 is the worst: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

I am not sure what the perfect answer is, but I am praying that I, and the rest of the Body of Christ, will begin to see the horror of sin as God sees it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Loss of Horror; pt 1

I have spent a lot of time thinking on and journaling about Psalm 1:1-2. I think the reason that it’s taking so long is that I am realizing how far off that I am. I need to have a lifestyle of saying “no” to ungodly communication of any kind (especially in my thoughts), walk away from sin, the appearance of sin, and those who are willfully and regularly choosing to sin. Part of the problem here; however, seems to be a lack of knowledge.
What is sin? And how can I stay away from it if I don’t know what it is? The general feeling today is, "It does not really long as it does not hurt anybody else. Besides, I am under Grace."
It seems to me that we have drifted really far away from the Biblical concept of sin.

A lack of knowledge of what constitutes sin is only part of the problem. It seems that we have also lost the understanding of how bad sin really is. I have been browsing through some of John Piper’s stuff online. He notes that we have “lost the horror at offending the majesty of God's holiness through sin.
[Start Piper:]
“Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, and delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? . . . Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and taken the wife of Uriah." (2 Samuel 12:7–10)

Leaders are under so much pressure to make people happy (lest they lose their crowds) that they forsake the message of God's holiness and sin's horror, with the result that they gradually turn the gospel of grace into leniency and then license and then believe it themselves and act on it—"Grace will abound, so this one sin will not matter that much."

Perfectly innocent and good things may need to be sacrificed for the sake of vigilance against sin. But this will not happen where we have lost his horror at offending the holiness of God through sin. [end Piper]
I think this is huge problem with many Christians today, including me. We have lost the horror at offending God when we sin. We usually know it’s wrong, (or at least sense it) but it’s like going 5mph over the speed limit. It’s no big deal because, as a general rule, the patrolman will give us up to 10mph over.

A few years ago, I heard a pastor begin to use profanity occasionally. When asked about it, he said it’s not the words we say, but what’s in our heart that matters. Yes, it is very true that our heart is the main thing, but why look for an excuse to use words that the world uses every day for very profane, ungodly things?

But, I make similar excuses when I want to watch a TV show that I should not watch, or partake of a conversation that I shouldn’t, or…well, the list goes on.

Maybe this is the beginning of a renewed sensitivity to sin and the horror of offending God…

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Radical Stuff; pt 2

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Radical Appropriation
Appropriation: to take to, or for, oneself; take possession of

The Necessity: Take in God’s Word by every available means so that we might treasure it in our hearts and live it out in our lives. This means the purposeful and continual receiving of the nourishment of God’s Word and assimilating it into our lives so that it becomes a part of who we are. God’s Word, and Jesus himself, is often compared to food. Even the concept of meditation is best compared to certain animals eating their food and ‘chewing the cud’.

So, I wonder what would happen if we actually took this seriously? What if God’s Word was as important to us as our daily meals?

Around our house, one of the most frequent questions is, “What’s for supper tonight?” But, I rarely hear, “What are we reading from the Bible tonight?” Or, “Listen to what I read in the Bible today.”

We all know and say God’s Word is important, but our actions seem to prove otherwise.

Have you noticed that we will even plan our daily schedules around meal times? But, if we plan our lives around reading the Bible, we might be called ‘legalistic’? What if, throughout the day, we refused to eat our food until we read or meditated on something from the Bible? It may seem a little extreme, but God is calling for this type of ‘radical appropriation.’ (Well, we call it radical, but to God, it should be the norm for our lives.)

Psalm 1:2 is a clear description of radical appropriation. In this verse, appropriation is stated as "delighting in God’s law" (taking in God’s Word) and "meditating on it" (thinking on it, discussing it with others, studying its depths, etc). And the radical part is shown as the one who delights in and meditates on God’s Word "day and night," in other words, continually.

Again, I’ve got a long way to go…