Monday, July 15, 2013

Looking for change with your weight?

One of the highest national expenditures is for weight-loss products. Everyone wants a magical chemical or non-strenuous method to lose weight. It is supposed, erroneously I might add,  that it is possible to get something for nothing. (That's called a perpetual motion machine and dosn't exist!) Americans especially believe that they can eat any number of calorific and high fat foods and maintain their youthful weight. That thought flies in the face of reality!

Let's get technical first (don't let this stop you from reading on)!  Your body is a system. Physical scientific laws can be applied to your body. The "Law of Conservation of Energy" can be applied to your body just as it can be applied to a car engine or a air conditioner. You, my friend, are a machine! You are a consumer of fuel and your system's efficiency can be measured! Just  as your car's efficiency can be approximated by gas mileage, your own body's efficiency can also be measured.

First off, the "Law of Conservation of Energy" From McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia "The principle of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, although it can be changed from one form to another."  What this means to the casual observer is that you get nothing for free!  When you put food into your mouth (entry point of your system) that food is converted into energy and by-products. Whatever doesn't come out of your system exit point is used by your body in two ways: 1) You support your system with energy or 2) you store the energy for future use. You do sweat out some energy from the system, but most of that is due to system work.

It takes calories to exist. Calories are a measure of heat and the use of heat over time is energy. If you're sedentary (BMR-Basal Metabolic Rate) you burn about 1500 calories if you weight about 150 pounds.  If you do nothing all day you can lose weight if you eat less that 1500 calories in a day! Although, you need to eat enough to function my suggestion is without exercise, eat around 1100 calories to lose 2 pounds per week. (This is based on personal experience and is not a "study")

If a person with a BMR greater than 1500 calories eats, let's say, 2000 calories, the excess energy is converted into fat and stored. (My body's favorite storage place is my belly).  Our genetics determines to an extent where the favorite storage place may be. Look at your Mom and Dad. If one of them has big thighs, that may be your storage place. For most of us our "storage place" is the buttocks and/or belly, although some folks just spread it out all over!  Women with different hormones than men tend to store most prevalently in the buttocks. Men can put enough fat into their belly you'd swear that they are nine months pregnant! ( If it wasn't for a leather belt that storage would go who knows where!)

Hence, the "Law of Conservation of Energy" pretty much means that whatever you eat that you don't burn off makes you fat!  Well, you say, that skinny person eats all he wants and stays thin. Thanks to genetics some folks metabolism is higher. It takes more to maintain their system!

If you're Rubenesque (fleshy or voluptuous) you see that we have defined your problem (sic). (I intend to be nice during this discussion, hence the use of Rubenesque!). In Victorian times Rubenesque was sexually desirable and customary. With the advent of anorexic models and stars, those who like Rubenesque women (and men) has waned. Although no one wants or expects the average housewife to look like Twiggy, maintaining a slim and toned body is healthy, not only for yourself, but to maintain the libido of your spouse. A strong sexual relationship complements a good marriage! Yes, sex is important to a strong marriage and pleasing your spouse is one of the factors making a strong marriage.

People overuse the phrase "You must do it for yourself!" Maybe that's true indirectly, but I've found that I love my family more than I do myself, therefore breaking habits and being healthy is more for others than for myself! (Also, I want to live a long time so I can spend what others would inherit!)

Two practical choices exist: 1) Exercise more or 2) eat less fuel!  There are various exercise methods, but those which are fun are the easiest. I found that walking, running and bicycling are the fun ones for me for I can vary the rate to fit my abilties. Whereas, when one begins to cycle it may "hurt" after a half-mile, with increased increments the same person can easily bike 30 miles in a short time with little discomfort (outside of the butt). I have also found that cycling does tighten the belly since those muscles are used in pulling the handlebars when going uphill. Bicycling is an easy way to burn 600 calories per hour. That's enough to account for that large milk-shake you may have carelessly drank!

Eating less is also nearly painless if one doesn't go on "extreme" diets. Using the 1100 calorie number you will find that you can eat quite a bit of food and not even be hungry!  (One must not confuse desire with hunger!).  In my diet I came up with my own low calorie pizza and pasta (my two favorites) and kept a journal of calorie intake (no cheating).  Oftentimes at the end of the day I had eaten around 700 calories, was still not hungry, and would treat myself to a 400 calorie milkshake!  Without exercise I lost about 25 pounds in a few months and then with exercise I have lost and maintained a total of 42 pounds!

When your diet is over... it's not over. Sensible eating and exercise must become a lifestyle! I still eat high calorie pizza, but I go ride my bicycle enough to burn that pizza fat off. It's a matter of self-control and perserverence! That's where God comes into play!

God will never give you more than you can bear. With faith all things are possible. Scripture tells me that and you need to believe what God says!  Few of us were born obese so God's plan for us was a healthy body!  Why would God even care? He loves you and something else:

1 Corinthians 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

In Old Testament times God was pleased to live in a tent. Later Solomon built for Him a temple. With the death of Christ and your belief in Jesus, the temple curtain was torn asunder, and now you are the temple. God lives within each of his born again-children! Just as Solomon gave God a fitting place to dwell we need to do the same. Solomon provided the beautiful cedars of Lebanon and gold and silver. We don't have to do that. We are to provide ourselves "presentable" to Him!

Romans 12:1 (NKJV) 12 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."

You are to present "your bodies a living sacrifice".  Yes, your flesh is your offering to God. It's your praise ofering and your sin offering. What types of offering does God demand? He demands the "prime cuts". He demands a healthy offering!

Leviticus 4:3 "If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering.

The bull was to be "young" inplying healthy and robust. The bull was to have no physical health problems. Other scriptures point out that it was to be the most healthy cuts as well. Just as God demanded appropriate sacrifices of bulls in the Old Testament he demands that you present yourself as a living sacrifice with the same qualities he expected from the patriarchs. Yes, for the animals a fattened cut was desirable for God loved the aroma, but not a piece of meat overly fattened. No, we not expected to be perfect, just the best that we can be! We should be ashamed as Christians to bring a body to God for his dwelling place when we don't even care for it ourselves!

"That's unreasonable!" you say. Nope! Scripture says "which is your reasonable service". You owe that to God!  It requires self-control and diligence to please God.
2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV) 5 But also for this very reason (growth in faith), giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,  6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love."
Diligence is steady earnest effort and being persistent with the effort. Diligence is what's required to be self-controlled. You are the master of your fate. God allows you to make choices. Self-control is when a Christian puts away the desires of the flesh and works on the desires of God which is incidentally, in your best interests as well. Yes, it takes effort! Yes, it takes motivation!  That's your reasonable service to God!  God likes effort. He hates laziness. Not being self-controlled is lazy!
I'm writing this as if obesity is sinful. Is it?
Matthew wrote that Jesus was likened into a despicable glutton!  Proverbs equivacates a glutton to a drunkard in two different verses.! Paul in his letter to Titus refers to "lazy gluttons" thus recognizing the relationship discussed in the "Law of Conservation of Energy". Gluttony is merely having an inordinate desire for food, consuming more than is needed to function.

That hurts! I went from a nice expression "Rubenesque" to "glutton" all in a few paragraphs.  Let's be honest. We can't spruce it up. I was and still am a glutton for pizza, pasta, and bread. I love my carbohydrates. I am a glutton, albeit one who has now reached a healthy weight. I still have to daily have the same self-control that I did when losing the weight. However, it gets to be a routine. It gets easy! God helps us to be "self-controlled" through our faith! If we're breaking habits for the right reasons, Jesus will help! I wasn't losing weight to be vain. I was being pragmatic. I'm getting near the end of life and I want to extend those minutes on earth, those days, and those years. I want to be healthy until the end! My sacrifice to Jesus is not only for Him, but for my own egotistical desires. I want to live longer!

"One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus" is how we are to be self-controlled and lose weight. When I'm jogging, I don't look up the hill, but at the step right in front of me. I take "One Step at a Time, Sweet Jesus!". Likewise, in my dieting, I take it one hour at a time. "One Hour at a Time, Sweet Jesus!". Prayer and Scripture will encourage you and God will reward your efforts.

Height appropriate weight will give you new confidence. You have now suceeded, whereas before you failed!  If you have faith in any amount, faith allows you to change things. By faith in God I have met my goal! It is a privilege to give God the credit for my success and now since I have succeeded I give God the credit! He is with me in ALL things!

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