Food File: January 19 2019

Audience: Evangelical Christians

I thought that once Christmas was over, I would get right back on track again. Actually, I did fairly well at Christmas. The week after Christmas at Weight Watchers or WW, as it is now called, I maintained. The next time I went to WW, which was two weeks later, I gained 3.6 pounds. This week, as in today, I didn’t make it there because of a snowstorm in southern Ontario that kept me off the roads. That being said, I have not regained my passion or drive for losing weight and becoming more healthy.
One reason that I know for sure is depression. I have always been a depression eater. When I am depressed I have little resistance to every craving. It started with donuts. I had this irresistible, well it felt irresistible, craving for donuts in Hamilton (about 30 minutes away). This one donut shop makes their own donuts onsite as opposed to Tim Horton’s. Donuts at Tim’s are premade and warmed up, and you can tell the difference. I was experiencing a deep pit of depression and isolating in my apartment. I had stopped going to the YMCA, which actually helps relieve the feelings of depression, but I couldn’t get myself out the door. I had literally run out of clean clothes to wear and didn’t even have a bag large enough to get them to the laundry across the street. Using the laundry in the building would have taken days to finish all my laundry, so I felt trapped. It was at that point that I figured that if I could motivate myself to get out of the house to get a couple of these awesome donuts, then I could get a hockey bag to put my laundry in and then I could do my laundry. I made the trip to Hamilton, had my donuts and eventually found the hockey bag I needed. By the time I got home, though, I was exhausted. I had no energy to do my laundry that day. The next day, I was also having trouble getting myself moving, so I decided another trip to Hamilton made sense. I drove to Hamilton, bought four donuts this time and coffee. I noticed a coin laundry next door, but it was closed for some reason. So, I had to travel back home to my usual laundry. At least I got it done.
A few days later I had another chore to do, so I needed more inspiration. Once again I drove to Hamilton to buy more donuts. This time, though, I forked over $14 for a dozen donuts and coffee. My destination this time was actually in Toronto, a good 45 minutes away from Hamilton. As I drove to Toronto I munched on a few donuts. The sugar high had not hit me yet. When I got to my destination, I offered some donuts to my host. Of course, I felt better because I was not going to eat the entire dozen myself. By the end of that binge, though, I realized I was in serious trouble.
I returned to the Y one day and felt so much better, but the next day I woke up stiff and in pain. I had a good workout but there was a cost. Instead of doing the sensible thing and returning to the Y, I froze emotionally, then physically and did not return. Then came the nachos and by that point, I realized I was in serious trouble.
At this point I have the desire to lose weight and establish a healthy lifestyle. The truth, though, is that I do feel deprived sometimes when I want a slice or two of pizza or I crave a sweet dessert. I know, though, that sweets, for me, are the same as just a small glass of beer or booze to an alcoholic. One will is too much and a thousand will never be enough.

Misconceived Leadership

Target Audience: Evangelical Christians, Conservative Christians

It has been my observation over a number of years that, in a number of churches and denominations, that strong leadership is characterized by the ability of people to control other people and outcomes. That statement is about as judgmental and general as it can get. It isn’t a judgment against any one person or group of people. Perhaps the concept of leadership in churches has always been characterized by strong, dominant, assertive or aggressive individuals who pilot agendas from beginning to end. I offer no evidence to support this claim or to contradict it. I have also never been to the Global Leadership Summit, or Leadercast, as it once was called, albeit a number of leaders in various churches have attempted to coax me into going. 

The fundamental misconception of leadership is that it has to be “strong”, or “assertive”, or “aggressive” and that its ultimate objective, in an ecclesiastical environment, is to “pilot” an agenda from beginning to end. I believe this concept of leadership is completely foreign to the New Testament concept of leaders being equippers of God’s people. 

320px-Cquote1_black.svg.png

The Apostle Paul writes:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for the works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

The one thing God asks of the offices listed above is that they equip his people for the works of service. Please note that he didn’t say the well-educated people, or the rich people, or the good looking people, or the successful people, or the experienced people. He just said that those in leadership in churches should equip God’s people for the works of service. I like the fact that “works” is plural and not singular. I have heard it so often used in the singular inferring that there is but one work in the ministry, but there are so many. 

While church leaders today would be loathe to admit it, I believe there is a separation of “sheep and goats” when it comes to selecting leaders in churches. In my own church I have experienced this discrimination. I have been told that I am not “ready to lead”. I find that to be a most curious statement. What does it mean to be “ready to lead”? Does it mean that I still think too independently for the tastes or the comfort of the appointed church leadership? Do they think that I am not mature enough in my faith (after 45 years as a Christian)? Perhaps I am not. Merely being a Christian for decades does not necessarily mean one is mature in the faith. Who, then, is qualified to lead? How do they determine who is qualified and who is not qualified to lead? When I read passages like the one I quoted above, I am led to believe that God feels that all of His people are qualified to lead, otherwise He would not have given those in leadership the perpetual task of equipping His people for the works of ministry. I tend to think that the very word “leadership” or “leader” is so polluted by ungodly imagery that it may no longer be useful within churches.

Those in leadership may assert that I am sucking on sour grapes because I was not “chosen” or “selected” for a leadership position in my church. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I abhor the notion that leadership itself is something to be obtained or a goal, or that if you are in leadership, you have “arrived” at some lofty plateau of Christian excellence. In many, many cases people celebrate their ascension to leadership rather than approach it with a sober humility. In a recent chat with a leader at my church, I asked him why he picked the study questions for our Bible study each week. [Now I want to couch his response with all due respect and humility because he may have fired off a hurried response without taking time to think about it. I have been there many times and have always lived to regret it.] He responded that he selects the questions that he feels are most important and because of time constraints not everyone will be able to discuss questions that are relevant to them. Sadly, his response is very consistent with many other leaders in churches today. 

Picking the study questions in a youth Bible study or a study for young children is entirely appropriate as they may have not yet gained the intuitive abilities necessary to choose their own questions in a group. This leader, though, is leading a Bible study of well-educated and mature Christian adults. The notion that they are not capable of rationally choosing their own questions for discussion is offensive on the surface and leads to yet another question about liberty and legalism.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 NIV

The Greek word for freedom in this passage is eleutheria (ἐλευθερίᾳ) which can be translated freedom or liberty, in particular, liberty from slavery. That first sentence could accurately be translated, It is for liberty that Christ has set us free. Google defines “liberty” as: the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views, or: the power or scope to act as one pleases. Even within the restrictive context of the Bible, God creates a balance between liberty (the ability to choose) and order (see 1 Corinthians 14). Unfettered liberty is in itself a form of slavery as we become slaves to our own desires that will ultimately lead to fractured communities. Liberty within the context of a structured environment, though, produces freedom when people are offered the ability to make choices that result in growth and greater intimacy with God.

Leaders that seek to manipulate or control people and outcomes deny the liberty that is rightfully given to people by Christ. They are leading, but if their ultimate goal isn’t to equip all of God’s people for works of service, then what is the object of their leadership? If they are not leading in a manner that results in people being equipped to do their jobs, essentially putting them out of work, then how are they truly equipping God’s people? If leaders are selected by criteria that is a clever blend of worldly imagery and Biblical principles, how does that serve to bring people on the margins (and every church has them) into the full fellowship of the church? 

I believe the answers to these problems lie not in the blogosphere but in open and honest discussion within churches, including people who feel as if they are on the margins, those who may not be “ready to lead” or those who others may not see as leaders. I don’t think there is a simple answer because the world we live isn’t a simple place. Blogs such as this one and others can contribute ideas and thoughts to a discussion that needs to be ongoing in progressive churches that have an interest in growing, both numerically and in the sense of intimacy with Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food File: September 29 2018

Target Audience: Christians

There is a reason why I list “Christians” as my target audience and not overweight Christians, obese Christians or other kinds of unhealthy people. The reason is that it isn’t just overweight or obese Christians who are unhealthy and do not honor God with their food. In many ways, church leaders are enablers and facilitators with respect to dishonoring God with food and beverages. This blog post will not change the overwhelming majority of churches in North America in particular that serve high sugar, high fat, high sodium snacks and desserts to their members. Perhaps more appalling is they blithely comply with a culture of addiction to these cardiac killing desserts. Now I am aware that very few teenagers collapse with heart attacks or strokes due to too many desserts or too much sugary soda. That being said, it is standard fare at most churches. A case in point is The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario, the church I happen to attend. It is an awesome church and I love the ministry team and the teaching of the church. During the month of September, though, they greeted people coming into the building with large baskets of Timbits (small donut holes of various varieties). They were ubiquitous throughout the building each Sunday. I managed to avoid them every Sunday but the first one. My point is that we need to find other ways to celebrate than food. Perhaps they could have given everyone a pen with the name of the church on it, or some other non-food item. Is it wrong to celebrate with food? Not at all. I think as our society is among the unhealthiest in the world, though, we might rethink the kind of food we use to celebrate. More and more people are celebrating with creative fruit platters and veggie platters. In my mind, it doesn’t sound as appealing as Timbits or chocolate cake, but I am still almost 200 pounds overweight, so I wouldn’t put my weight into what I think.

As far as my weight loss is concerned, things have been going fairly well. I went to Weight Watchers today (about to be rebranded Wellness that Works) and was up .8 of a pound. That happens. This past week has been difficult, but not totally unmanageable. Last Saturday night my family took me out to a restaurant for my birthday dinner. While I enjoyed the salmon dinner, which should have been a low point dinner, restaurants are notorious for hiding things like sodium, fat and other additives that can turn a seemingly healthy meal into one that is not. Then last night I met with some of my university buddies. We go out to a pub two or three times a year. I don’t drink but a couple of the others like their beer or ale. Anyway, I had treated myself to a steak dinner before I left home but found myself curiously hungry when I got to the restaurant and saw a salad that one of my friends had ordered. I ordered the same salad and it was good, but I wasn’t aware of the Ramen noodles in it, or the amount of oil they used as dressing. Everything else about the salad was good and healthy. Had I asked for dressing on the side and for them to leave out the Ramen noodles I might have been fine. 

This journey is more than just shedding 200 pounds, although that is a main motivator for me. It is about adopting a permanent lifestyle change of healthy eating, exercise and a mindset that shatters the connection between food and emotion. Dr Phil McGraw, a noted psychologist, commented in his book on weight loss that until you divorce your emotions from your eating you will never be truly successful. I will freely admit that I am an emotional eater. I have been ever since childhood when my parents medicated my moods with food. If I was unhappy, it was time for cookies. If I was celebrating something, cake or pie, if I lost a job and was feeling like a failure, a dish of ice cream would pick me up. It isn’t my parent’s fault, by the way. Long after their influence ended, I carried on this tradition in my own life, when I lived independently. If I was feeling apathetic, then tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream would be an easy “meal” or two or perhaps even three. If I didn’t feel like cooking and just wanted to veg in front of my computer, a frozen pizza was on the menu for lunch or supper. 

This journey is also about how I feel. I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that I am walking easier. Yesterday and today I left my apartment without my walker for the first time in a long time. Now the walker is an excellent “cart” when I have 30 pounds of groceries to haul up to my apartment from my car, but when I am not going shopping I have now started leaving the walker in the apartment because I don’t need it. 

My goal for this coming week is to try a couple of new meals and to move more. The weather is getting cooler and it is easier for me to walk, which is precisely what I need to be doing. The Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend and while I have opted not to join my family (a 2 hour drive each way) for their meal, I will be celebrating with one of my university buddies and his wife and friends at their condo. The goal: honor God with my food.

Food File: September 8 2018

Target Audience: Christians

So far this month I have lost just over 7 pounds. This week was somewhat disappointing because I lost a mere 1.7  pounds. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it back, but I always hope that I can do better. My actual goal is between 3 – 5 pounds per week consistently. In order for me to achieve that level of weight loss I will have to become much more active that I am now. I am older now, almost 64, and not nearly as mobile as I used to be. Even with my walker and a cane occasionally, I have trouble walking. Standing can be extremely painful, which means the faster I lose the weight the better. In balance, though, I want to avoid costly fad methods of losing weight or doing things that may work in the short term but will bite me later. 

This week I have decided to go “breadless” for at least one week. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I must confess I add it to meals, like breakfast, where it isn’t really necessary. My usual breakfast is low-sodium bacon (2 strips), 2 large eggs, with some egg whites added in. I have been adding two slices of bread or toast under the scrambled eggs. It just adds carbs to a rather good breakfast. In time, I will likely substitute ham for bacon, or perhaps peameal bacon. 

Tonight I am having my homemade chili made with ground chicken. On Weight Watchers, this is a zero point meal, until I add parmesan cheese at the table. There is a danger with zero point foods. Weight Watchers zeroed out chicken and fish, all fruit and all vegetables. While that can be a good thing, it can also tempt people like me, when I make something that is particularly good or tasty to eat more than I should. The Free Style program at Weight Watchers (WW) is good and I am enjoying it, but portion control is still essential to losing weight, even with zero point foods. So, I will have two cups (measured) of my chili tonight. I buy Jello Fat-Free, Sugar-Free puddings. They have been a food savior for me in the past because they are very low calorie and low point value. I can eat half the serving for 2 points in the evening, which makes a sweet snack without triggering my urge for real sweet desserts. 

I also learned this week that Timbits, a Canadian favorite, are not my friends. At church last weekend they were giving away these caloric bombs. I figured they were probably 2 points each, so I had five of them. When I checked only the plain ones were 2 points. Others were as high as 5 points. The worst catastrophe of the week happened on Wednesday night. I had my usual bacon and eggs breakfast that morning, but decided to have a really light at lunch and only had two cobs of corn. That was zero points except for the margarine. Then at dinner I decided to make a salad adding tuna for my meat. Except for the parmesan cheese and the salad dressing, that too was a zero point meal. I went to my Wednesday night Bible study and had two cups of coffee. When I got home, though, I realized I was ravenous. I had acquired a package of Italian salami at a food bank this past week. I didn’t eat the whole package, but I ate most of it while watching TV. I tracked the points to the best of my ability and racked up 80 points for that day alone. 

I share those hiccups in my weight loss journey because losing weight can be a very lonely experience, even if you are part of an organization like WW. There will be days when you are on top of the world and everything is just flying by. Then there will be days when you do things, like I did this past week, that I knew were wrong for me, but I still ate the salami and the Timbits. If you are on this journey too, I have a nugget of wisdom that I got from a man much wiser than me. The last meal that you ate means nothing now. You can’t do anything about it, nor should you try. It is history, in the past, and will be nothing more than a bad memory. The meal that matters the most is the one ahead of you because you can do something about that. Weekends can be treacherous times, because that is when Friday nights happen, Saturday dinners with friends, and whatever  other places of temptation we encounter that don’t happen during the week. It does get better.

Hatred Wrapped as Love

Target Audience: Conservatives, Evangelical Christians, Fundamentalist Christians

God is Love (1John 4:8)

What happens when we blend the definition of love with our political ideologies? An ideology is a set of beliefs commonly held by people within a certain group. For example, conservatives have beliefs that are distinctive to them. The same is true for liberals and other political ideologies. Everyone has an ideology of some kind. All of us align ourselves with one community or another, often several different communities intersect our lives. So our worldview is often a blend of various different ideologies and systems of belief. 

Those of us who identify as followers of Jesus, though, have agreed to align our worldview with a much higher standard — the principles of the kingdom of God, which Jesus Himself ushered in when He was on earth. As such, we commit to a new way of seeing other people. 

Recently, I had a conversation with a young Christian. He told me that while he doesn’t offer much original content on his Facebook page, his friends have no doubt about where he stands on God and issues such as LGBTQ. When I dug a bit deeper I discovered that his idea of “standing for God” was to tell people within the LGBTQ community that they are living in sin and their lifestyle would ultimately destroy them. In his opinion, this was the best way to communicate and show them the love of God. He went on to tell me that he did not have “time for theological discussions”. Sadly, he is symbolic of many right-wing, conservative Christians who tend to highlight the wrath, the judgment, the anger of God as opposed to His love, forgiveness, and His mercy. I was not privy to his conversations with the LGBTQ people to which he referred, but I doubt any of them asked if they could go to church with him to hear more about his vengeful God. 

Like so many [conservative] Christians these days, he focused on a person’s issues — note I did not use the word sin — instead of doing what Jesus really asked us to do, point them to Himself that they may know His love. Sin robs all humanity of the moral high ground. None of us have the right to think of ourselves as better than anyone else or to sit in judgment of another person. That alone is Christ’s role. 

When we wrap prejudice, hatred, and bigotry up and call it love we betray God and the essence of the gospel by which we were saved. I have often felt that the people who feel they have the moral high ground and look down on others tend to feel that it didn’t take quite as much of Jesus’ blood to cleanse them as it does the real perverts, like people in the LGBTQ community. 

That brings me to The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. While I can agree on a few points in this document, most of the points, specifically referring to race, sexual orientation, and women are abhorrent to the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This statement places men above women, and in fact subjugates women to men in a marriage relationship rather than making them equal partners with their husbands. A proscription found in the Pauline epistles prohibiting women from teaching in church or even speaking in church has been elevated to transcendent doctrine instead of being identified as a cultural practice. In Paul’s time men were usually educated and women were taught by men. Hence, women were not equipped to teach or speak in churches in that day. That doesn’t make them unequal with men. That is merely a cultural norm that does not need to be carried over into the 21st century. 

Women were not their only targets. People within the LGBTQ community also felt their hatred and scorn. Instead of welcoming people from that community into churches as full members of the body, worshipping alongside all others, The Statement declares them to be sinful merely because of their identity and their lifestyle. Far too many Christians have misread and misunderstood the New Testament with respect to homosexuality. Even worse, they have demonized homosexual men and women, making it a far greater issue than it ever was in the Bible. I have long believed this hatred and bigotry is borne of insecurity among heterosexual leaders in churches that they have successfully inculcated in their flocks over generations. It is now accepted as transcendent doctrine on the level of the deity of Christ, blood redemption, or the virgin birth, when in fact it is error that went to seed.

Jesus said: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. (John 13:34-35). The authors of the Statement got it wrong. It is the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin. In their smugness, highlighting the errors of other sinners for which Christ died, they inadvertently violated another instruction that Christ gave: take the plank out of your own eye before you worry about the speck in another person’s eye. The hatred and bigotry that shone through so brightly, not the love of God for all creation, is nothing more than a blight against evangelical Christianity. Instead of drawing people to Christ, many, I am sure, will flee as fast as possible. Who wants to be around a vengeful, hateful god like that?

A much more positive and progressive read is this one: Statement on God’s Justice

Food File: August 29 2018

Target Audience: Evangelical Christians, Overweight People

I haven’t updated this file in quite some time. When I created it, I had planned on doing weekly updates about food, my weight, and my health overall. In my defense, I have Attention Deficit Disorder and I rarely do things consistently, even those things that I enjoy doing. That being said, a week ago Saturday I started a new chapter in my weight journey. I rejoined Weight Watchers for perhaps the eighth or ninth time in 30 years. I tipped the scale at 368.7 pounds. I am 5’7″.

This summer has not been kind to me in a few ways. I live in southern Ontario, in Canada, and we have had one of the hottest summers I can remember. It isn’t so much the heat as it is the humidity that bothers me. I am much more acclimated to cold weather than to hot weather. When the temperature hovers around 40C, that is too hot for me and I find myself confined to my air conditioned apartment. I have a bachelor’s apartment in a senior’s building, which has a number of wonderful advantages for me. Unfortunately, in hot weather, I can’t get out much and exercise is extremely limited. So while I wanted to start walking the streets this summer, the weather was simply too hot, even in the evenings. 

The sad reality about walking is that I have been inactive for so long I can barely walk from my apartment to my truck. Even walking around food stores is stressful and exhausting. Most of the time I shop at Costco, Walmart, or Loblaws, not because they have the best deals or are the closest to me, but because they have scooters that I can drive around the store and I don’t have to stand in line. At this point, it is more the standing in line that is the issue more than the walking. There are days when I can do the walking but I just can’t stand in line. 

There are other problems as well. Moving itself is sometimes a battle. From having to sit on a shower stool to take a shower to sitting in the kitchen while I prepare food, I have lost much of my physical stamina that I had even three or four years ago. I have arthritis, and that can be debilitating for anyone, even people who are not obese or even overweight, but I can’t use arthritis as an excuse most days. 

I attend a large church and there are many volunteer opportunities, but most of them are only open to people who are physically fit, not because the church discriminates, but because the work can only be done if a person is in reasonable physical condition. I finally reached the point that I want to do more at my church, but in order to do more I have to be able to do more. 

As I said above, I have tried Weight Watchers in the past. I have also tried Overeaters Anonymous, high protein/low carb diets, Sparkpeople.com, My Fitness Pal, among other diet schemes that I came up with on my own. All of them are good programs and many people have lost weight on all of the programs I mentioned above. Recently, at a Celebrate Recovery Step Study meeting we talked about accountability. As I drove home from the meeting I realized that I had always tried to lose weight on my own. I thought that stepping on the scale each week at Weight Watchers was my moment of accountability. For some it might be, but for me, it was too easy to rationalize why I gained weight or maintained when I should have lost weight. I needed people to hold me accountable, but not in a judgmental or negative way. I have enough shame, guilt and remorse over being overweight to last the rest of my life. No one has to add to it. 

What I needed was a group of people, a small group of people, who I saw on a regular basis, people who are part of my life, preferably from my church, who would ask me about the past week, did I lose weight, what challenges am I having, how can they pray for me, how can they encourage me. I am still trying to build that small group of people who can positively hold me accountable on a weekly basis and support me when times get tough. 

The tough times are when I experience emotional upheaval in my life, when I am depressed or discouraged, lonely, or feel isolated from the people at my church. Right now all small groups are on hiatus until the middle of September. Small groups are a critical emotional and psychological anchor for me, as well as being an important anchor spiritually. Three weeks may not seem like a long time to some and this is one of the busiest times of the year for people with kids, but I still need a small group. So, I suggested meeting for coffee at a local coffee shop with a few people from my Wednesday night Bible study. Tonight will be the first of three meetings until our regular Wednesday night group resumes in September.

I have started a journey with Weight Watchers that could last two years to lose the roughly 200 pounds to get to my goal weight. Round One ends in February 2019 and I hope to lose between 40 and 60 pounds in that time. I have done it in the past, but then I was younger in the past and more capable physically. 

I will try to post weekly if nothing else to recount my previous week and update my weight loss. So far, I have lost 2.6 pounds, and that was with minimal exercise.

 

Food File: March 13 2018

Target Audience: Evangelical Christians

At the end of February I reset my food sobriety with Celebrate Recovery.  It wasn’t a binge that ended almost 7 months of sobriety. It was the realization that I had begun to manipulate boundaries to the extent they were meaningless. This journey continues.

In the middle of May I will be attending a 50th wedding anniversary celebration and have determined to lose at least 25 pounds by then. This is a good and reasonable goal, but I needed a diet plan that I could follow that was manageable. I have never been attracted to, nor had any faith in, fad diets.

For me, the easiest and simplest diet program has always been the Weight Watcher point system. While I have found in recent years Weight Watchers has commercialized (my opinion) their program to the extent that people who need to lose serious weight have trouble because there is almost no way you can screw up. I am not entirely sure why they messed around with their original point system, but it is that system, the original one, which they used from 2002 to 2010, that I found most useful.

Last week, I dropped by my doctor’s office to get weighed and have my blood pressure taken. I am 5’7″ and tipped the scales at 367 pounds. My blood pressure was slightly high, but acceptable. So, according to the old scale at Weight Watchers (WW), I have 36 points per day. When I was actually going to WW, I found that using a range for points was more successful than trying to hit the 36 mark every day. Some days I will eat 32 points while other days I might eat 41 points. In the end, it will usually average out.

What is most important is that I am once again doing something about my weight. Exercise will be a challenge until I drop 25 or 30 pounds, but even at my weight, once I start eating properly, I will have more energy to do routine tasks that will count as exercise. The Daniel Plan, another diet program quite similar in some ways to WW, considers exercise any activity that you do in addition to your current routine. So, if you are extremely sedentary, meaning you move only when necessary, anything you do that is above your normal routine would be considered exercise.

As I begin yet another journey, one of the more significant challenges is fighting phantom hunger. In the first world, I don’t think many people really experience true hunger, as it is known in the third world. I have found that often after I eat a meal, within an hour I think I am hungry again. When I am not on a diet regimen of some kind, I merely reach for a snack. The truth about phantom hunger is that it will go away within about an hour. Often drinking water can help, or just being distracted so my mind is not focused on how I feel at that moment in time.

A few weeks ago I promised a Bible study group that I would stop eating sugary desserts. On that particular day, I had a cinnamon ring for breakfast, a large pizza for lunch, and a box of Timbits for supper. At the Bible study, I ignored the baby carrots and hummus in favor of mini Halloween chocolate bars, and chocolate covered raisins. I am happy to announce that I have not indulged in sugary desserts since that evening.

The battle continues …