“If The Son Sets You Free”

Good afternoon. We had a great Easter Blaster workout last Tuesday!  During the workout, I reflected on the devotion and proposed a challenge for the group which I am now expanding to the larger Cross Train community.  No, this is not Lent.  However, in our Tuesday devotion, we studied the passage of John 8:36:  “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”  Christ came to set the captives free.  This is exciting news.  In order to receive the good news, we have to be willing to look at the bad news.  We are all in bondage to something.  The question each of us has to ask ourselves — what is my bondage?  Is it busyness, food, alcohol, shopping, your children’s success or schedules, pain of your past, lies that the enemy has spoken over you (you are worthless, unloveable, fat, etc).  Bondages take all different forms in our lives.  Many times they are so familiar to us that they go unnoticed.  Or, we just accept them with the phrase:  “that is just how I am”.

Jesus understands our weaknesses and our tendency towards bondage.  That is why he spoke the words of John 8:36.  You can be free!  You were not made for bondage.  You are not stuck.  You may feel stuck, but the truth is that Christ longs to set you free.  The Lord desires to change you from the inside out and he can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Read that again.  You do not change yourself.  The Lord changes you through his power working in you.  In order to live free, you have to accept that power, activate it and live through it on a daily basis.

As an act of living free, Cross Train is issuing the challenge to give up sugar for one month.  This challenge will not only benefit our physical bodies but will also demonstrate that our flesh does not have mastery over us.  Instead, we can take control of the flesh and live in the Spirit.  As we discussed what it means to live free, it became very apparent that many of the women felt in bondage to sugar.

Will you join us for the one month challenge to give up sugar?  Do not replace artificial sugar for sugar.  Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our diets.  There are three questions we can take the Lord in prayer:

1.  What does it look like for me to give up sugar?
2.  What do you desire for my physical health?
3.  What would freedom look like in my life?

This challenge is not about legalism.  It is between you and God.  Please let me know if you will join us in this challenge.  I will send out devotions to support us on the journey!

May God bless you and set you free,

Brooke Holt
Certified Take Shape for Life Health Coach

We Do Not Lose Heart

So we do not lose heart.”                     2 Corinthian 4:16

One simple sentence but so often not the reality of our lives.  We do lose heart. If I am honest, I have been struggling with this a lot lately.  We put our house on the market 42 days ago.  It was not a decision we would have made had the Lord not moved us in a powerful way.  It was clear what we were called to do.  My husband and I immediately obeyed, worked fervently for 2 weeks, and had the house on the market 16 days after we felt the call.

42 days later our house is still on the market.  Lots of lookers but no buyers.  Bills are due and our finances are quickly depleting.  I start to lose heart over and over again.  Every morning, I get into my yellow chair to spend time with the Lord and remind myself that his mercies are new every day.  I start the time feeling discouraged then I read of His faithfulness.  Throughout Scripture, I learn about the God who loved me so much that he sent his only Son to live and die for me.  I read the promises of a God who provides for his people, even the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:28).  God tells us to make our requests to him.  I do that and have to then trust he will work his good and perfect will in our lives.

As I see the faithfulness of our God, I realize that I have a choice.  I can choose to believe in the promises of God even as there remains a house to sell and bills to pay or I can choose to listen to all my doubts, believing God’s promises are not true for me. The first choice brings peace and hope.  The second choice brings discouragement and a loss of heart.

These two choices are put before us every day.  All of our lives have trials and tribulation.  Your trials may not be selling your home, but they are just as real to you as selling this house is to me.  Like me, you have a choice — choose to believe God’s promises for you or choose to believe the doubts, the lies of the enemy.

Do not lose heart!  Make the choose to believe the truths of Scripture.  Replace the negative thoughts, the tendencies to discouragement and despair — take it all to the foot of the cross.  There you can look up at your Savior who gave his life that you may live.  In him, you not only have life but life abundant (John 10:10).

Psychological Barriers to Action – and How to Deal with Them

Let’s face it; weight loss and keeping it off is hard. We’ve all heard the statistics about weight regain and the grim numbers about the obesity epidemic we’re facing in this country. But what really makes it so difficult to lose weight and then maintain? Well, let’s first take a look at what we know. What we know to be true is that those individuals who do adhere to their weight loss and maintenance regimens achieve and sustain weight loss; pretty simple, right? If you stick to the plan, it works! However, many people struggle to do this. Now, the problem can present itself as being about lack of knowledge or lack of motivation or a lack of willpower but what it really comes down to is non-adherence to the plan; i.e. simply not sticking to it.

Now, if setting goals and trying hard to achieve them were enough to ensure success, the task of achieving Optimal Health would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, when it comes to making positive life changes many people will encounter psychological barriers to sticking to the plan. The most common are summarized, most appropriately, by the acronym FEAR:

F = Fusion with Unhelpful Thoughts. This basically means that we’re so caught up in our thoughts that we aren’t even aware that we’re thinking and then those thoughts dictate our behavior. It’s like we’re being pushed around by our thoughts or allowing our thoughts to tell us what to do. When a person sets out to make a change, it’s normal for their mind to generate “unhelpful” thoughts like: I’m too busy, I can’t do it, I’ll fail, It’s too hard, and so on which can prevent them from moving forward. It’s a common misconception that our thoughts control our behaviors. They certainly influence our behaviors but ultimately we have a choice. However, when we get all entangled, caught up, or carried off by these thoughts they dominate our attention and we can’t focus on what is truly important to us. Becoming ‘fused’ with unhelpful thoughts throws us off-track.

E = Excessive Goals. If a person’s goals exceed their resources, they’ll either give up or fail. Necessary resources could include a person’s skills, ability, social support, time, money, and physical health. Setting goals that are too difficult or impossible will only result in frustration and abandonment of their weight loss and maintenance plans.

A = Avoidance of Discomfort. The practice of new way of eating and living can be difficult and tedious for some; and the pursuit of goals that pull us out of the “comfort zone” almost always generates significant anxiety. This discomfort is inevitable when it comes to lifestyle changes. So, if we are unwilling to make room for that discomfort, then we will not take action.

R = Remoteness from Values. If a person loses touch with their values that underlie their goals – if it doesn’t seem meaningful or important to them – then they will lose motivation. Values can provide a deep motivation that helps to sustain the practice of new skills, or the pursuit of challenging goals, even when it’s difficult, tedious or anxiety-provoking. The practice of using Structural Tension Charts can be a big help to realize and set goals with Primary and Secondary Choices and action steps to follow. This is found in the first few chapters in “Dr. A’s Habits of Health” as well as “Discover Your Optimal health” and the Workbook.

So, how do we address these barriers? Well, the antidote to FEAR is DARE:

D = Defusion from Unhelpful Thoughts. The mind is a reason-giving machine, and as soon as we think about doing something that pulls us out of our comfort zone, it cranks out all the reasons why we can’t do it, shouldn’t do it, or shouldn’t have to do it. And if we wait until the day when our mind stops reason-giving before we do the things that really matter in life… we’ll never get started. So, if fusion with reason-giving is a major barrier to action, then naturally we target it with defusion. This means separating or distancing ourselves from unhelpful thoughts, letting them come and go instead of being caught up in them. In other words, defusion means looking at thoughts, rather than from thoughts; noticing thoughts rather than being caught up in thoughts; and letting thoughts come and go rather than holding on to them. One of the simplest ways of separating from thoughts is to write them down. This helps a person to take a step back and see the thoughts for what they are: a string of words. Nothing more, nothing less.

A = Acceptance of Discomfort. This means making room for painful thoughts and feelings, not because they like them or want them, but so they can do what matters. So, we can ask ourselves “Am I willing to feel some discomfort, in order to do what matters most to me?” If a person is unwilling to make room for the inevitable discomfort, they may need to clarify and connect with their values or set easier goals. Both of which we will discuss next.

R = Realistic Goals. If a person’s goals exceed their resources then they need to create a new goal to acquire those resources if possible, or accept the limitations of their reality and change their goal to adapt in the best way possible. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So, if a goal seems to big, make it smaller. If walking for 30 minutes is too much, cut it back to ten. If doing it daily is unrealistic, do it every other day. Ask yourself: “On a scale from zero to ten, where ten is ‘I’ll definitely do this no matter what’ and zero is ‘There is absolutely no change I’ll ever do this’ – then how likely are you to actually do this?” If you score less than seven, best change the goal to something smaller and easier.

E = Embracing Values. If a person is lacking motivation, then they need to reflect on why they’re doing this. What’s important and meaningful about this action? Does it truly matter? If so, why? Ask yourself: “Is this really important to me? Which of my values underlie this action? How would doing this make a positive difference in my life and the lives of others?” If we can link our new behaviors to something personally meaningful, we’re far more likely to do it!

So, there you go. Those are the most common psychological barriers to someone taking action to change their lifestyle and the most effective ways to target and overcome those barriers.

BY: Nick Frye

TSFL Walking Tips

The Walking Cure
October is our favorite month for walking. Depending on where you live, fall’s brilliant color, cool temperatures, and fresh air provide the perfect conditions for outdoor exercise. And whether you’re walking before or after work, the autumn skies seem to produce the most dazzling sunrises and sunsets.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, and in this month alone, hundreds of walks have been scheduled across the country—and even overseas—to support research into finding a cure.
Though being a part of thousands of warm, able bodies exercising for a cause is exhilarating and powerful, you don’t have to join a group. Walking is the best exercise for all fitness levels, and it can be a meditative experience—the cure for cubicle blues. And you can still contribute money for breast cancer research, if the cause moves you.
But signing up for any local 5K race gives you a commitment to fitness that can help inspire you to get out of your chair and walk right now—and for the days to come. When race day arrives, you’ll be conditioned to complete the 3.1 miles without injury and feeling great. (And—bonus—most 5Ks offer a t-shirt just for showing up on race day!) Before making a change in your exercise routine, check with your health care provider—especially if you have been sedentary or have health concerns. When you have the all clear, try these tips.
Gear Up.
You don’t need anything more special than comfortable clothing that’s suited to the weather and moves with you. But don’t skimp on the shoes. Invest in a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes that fit you well. They should be flexible and supportive. (You can get a professional fitting free at specialty running stores, and although the shoes are a little more expensive, you’ll get personal service.) Replace your shoes every 500 miles.
Get Form-al.
Practicing good form when you walk will help you get the most out of your workouts and keep you free of injury.
Try these tips:
  • Stand up straight and tall without arching your back, relax your shoulders, tuck in your tummy and behind, and look straight ahead.
  • Bend your arms at a 90 degree angle, and curl your fists loosely. Swing your arms lightly, right arm with left leg, forward and back. Don’t pump your arms or swing them out diagonally from your body. They should propel you gently forward, not make you look like a chicken.
  • Strike the ground with your heel; roll forward to the toe.
  • Take small steps, rather than long strides.
  • Stretch after warming up or after walking or both, but never stretch cold muscles. You can find lots of great stretching tips online. Calf, quadriceps, and hip stretches are recommended.
  • Finish your walk with a slow five minutes to cool your body and bring your heart rate back to normal.
Find a trail.
Don’t know where to walk? Check out the links below. Be safe, wear reflective gear, and be careful with headphones when sharing roads with motor vehicles. Take a friend for more fun and added accountability.
Most important, enjoy your walk. Moderate exercise is good for your heart, your brain, your digestion, your mood, and your family! A less-stressed, more-fit you makes everybody around you feel good.

Making Little Changes for Weight Loss

Weight loss can feel overwhelming. With big goals, it can seem like you aren’t making the progress you want, which leads to diminished motivation. So let’s try to make small goals– making little lifestyle changes really add up to the bigger goals you want to achieve. Try these today.

1. Eat protein at breakfast– like eggs! Protein keeps you fuller longer than that bagel or blueberry muffin. You’ll be less likely to eat more later on.

2. Eat more fresh fruit and veggies… skip the canned version for a healthier choice.

3. Park your car far away so you’ll walk more steps and burn more calories (or walk instead of drive!)

4. Switch to 100% whole grains… who needs white bread when you have so many whole grain options?

5. Get more fiber. It also keeps you fuller and helps with digestion.

6. Drink at least 8 classes of water. You’ll eat less and feel better.

7. No more soda and sugary fruit juice… and that’s final!

8. Drink light beer instead of regular beer, choose a low cal cocktail made with club soda over the ones made with soda & fruit juice, limit your wine portions.

9. Don’t eat in front of the TV. You’ll be more likely to eat mindlessly.

10. Cook with heart healthy olive oil not butter or other fats.

11. Start with soup or salad– you’ll eat less of your entree.

12. Keep a little dark chocolate on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth– so you won’t dig into that pint of ice cream.

13. No more fast food. No excuses.

14. That goes for processed foods too!

15. Add strength training to your exercise regimen. More muscle=more calories burned all day long.

16. Use a pedometer, try to walk more steps every day!

17. Log your calories in the food and fitness journal to stay accountable.

18. Put your workouts on your calendar. you’ll be more likely to do them.

19. Choose skim, soy, almond, or rice milk over full fat milk and cream.

20. Move more– take the stairs, do squats while you’re watching TV, stand at your desk, do toe raises while you brush your teeth.

21. Plan active outdoor activities instead of watching TV or seeing a movie.

22. Skip the sugar in your coffee or cereal.

23. Snack smart– choose fruit, low fat yogurt, nuts, or veggies and hummus to stay satisfied.

24. Take a walk after dinner.

25. Order salad dressing on the side and add a little bit on your fork when you want some flavor.

26. Chew minty gum to ward off cravings.

27. If you go out to dinner, choose a cocktail or dessert, but not both.

28. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Being tired makes you more likely to eat more.

29. Flavor your food with spices and herbs instead of salt and sugar.

30. Bring your own lunch. You’ll know exactly what’s in it!

31.Consider a plan like Take Shape for Life to provide you with a plan and support

Run For Your Life

By Dr. Wayne Anderson

Joggers have a 40-percent lower risk of dying at an early age than people who don’t jog regularly, according to Stanford University researchers. Runners are less likely to have cardiovascular problems or develop disabilities as they age. Motivate yourself to become fit by training for a 5K.

Runners live longer

Dr. Wayne Andersen | June 2, 2013 | 1 Comment
Joggers have a 40-percent lower risk of dying at an early age than people who don’t jog regularly, according to Stanford University researchers. Runners are less likely to have cardiovascular problems or develop disabilities as they age. Motivate yourself to become fit by training for a 5K.

Spring Fever by Dr. Wayne Anderson

 | April 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

iStock_000016885158SmallThe beginning of the spring season just passed us on the 20th of March. Can you feel the “fever” in the air? Are you excited and anxious about the weather warming up and being able to spend some time outside? Are you looking forward to all the wonderful fresh vegetables that are awaiting us? How are you doing with that “New Year’s Resolution” to get healthy?

I really recommend everyone take some time to revisit their “why.” What do you want to create by following the Take Shape For Life program?

Well, here are some pointers to take a look at as we refocus on what we want to create and move into the new, fresh, spring season!

Exercise: What a great time to get moving! The temperature is warming up. Things are growing and budding and blooming! You can have a start fresh too.

Like most other adults, people who are obese or overweight can benefit from a quality exercise program designed to manage their weight, increase aerobic endurance, lower blood pressure and make positive changes to their health. However, unlike others who are already hovering around their ideal weight, obese individuals have special needs, needs that are important to address to avoid physical injuries and medical mishaps.

If you’re obese or overweight, the first step you should take before beginning an exercise program is to make an appointment with your physician for a complete physical examination.

Choosing the Best Exercise: Obese and overweight individuals have special needs. They carry additional weight on their bodies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year that places extraordinary demands on their musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. For many, the best place to start a fitness program is in the pool. The water works with the natural buoyancy of our body’s fat to help relieve stress from the ankles, knees and hips. If the thought of swimming laps turns you off, look into water aerobics classes at your gym. The pool is a great place to begin an exercise program.

Other good exercise choices are none weight-bearing activities like bicycling. Look for activities that are gentle on the muscles but demanding on the lungs.

After your first month in your exercise program, discuss alternative modes of exercise with your health coach, a TSFL trainer or your own personal trainer. It’s a good idea to have several things you can do — indoors or outdoors. Look for things you can do while traveling. Don’t let business travel or your vacation derail your exercise program.

Regardless of what exercises you choose, you’ll approach them the same way. Start slowly, progress slowly and stay consistent.

Begin by exercising 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If you can manage more, all the better. Listen to your body and avoid putting undue stress on your musculoskeletal system, especially in the beginning.

After you’ve passed the first hurdle of sticking with a consistent aerobic exercise program for several months, start adding 10 to 15 minutes of weight training to your routine several times a week. Weight training will not only burn more calories while you exercise, it will also build more metabolically active muscle tissue that will help you to shed the extra pounds.

Vegetables: Another great thing that happens in the spring is the arrival of fresh vegetables. Let’s discuss a few spring time vegetables that are allowed on the Take Shape For Life 5&1 weight loss program.

Asparagus: Although asparagus’s peak season is considered to run from April to May, in warmer climes, the green spears can appear as early as February. In addition to being easy to prepare – steamed, grilled, oven roasted… the choice is yours! – asparagus packs a whopping 114% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) per 1 cup serving of vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and nearly 66% RDA of folate, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Mustard Greens: Great for infusing a little flavor into your salad or as a side dish all on their lonesome, mustard greens – whose season runs through the end of April – are perhaps most prized for their high vitamin K, A and C content. Like the three musketeers, these vitamins team up to fight free radicals and protect the body against the types of cell damage that could leave it susceptible to health conditions. In addition, mustard greens contain numerous nutrients that can contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system, including beta-carotene, vitamin B6, folic acid and magnesium. For the ladies, mustard greens also provide calcium to boost bone strength and may also help temper some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and sleep interruptions.

Radishes: Although available year-round in the supermarket, we include radishes simply because they won’t be around when the temperature soars and we think you need to get ‘em while the getting’s good! What’s so great about radishes? Well, the little red and white bulbs pack a hefty dose of vitamin C, which serves as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and also serves as an excellent source of potassium, which is important for kidney and blood health.

Fennel: When selecting, look for bulbs, with short, tight, overlapping celery-like stalks with feathery leaves. Choose fairly large, bright white bulbs on which the edges appear fresh. Bulb should be compact, not spreading. Flavor is similar to anise or licorice, becoming milder when cooked. Can be braised, grilled, roasted, steamed and even served raw. Fennel is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium.

Okra: When selecting okra, choose short, less than 3 inch long pods with a velvety feel. No bruises or discoloration. Best used in Creole or Cajun-style dishes to thicken and add flavor. Complements tomatoes and peppers. Okra is an Excellent source of vitamin C and folate. Good source of fiber.

Spinach: Look for Firm, fresh, crisp deep green leaves. Should be no blemishes, insect damage, or wilting. Use small raw spinach leaves in salads with mushrooms, red onion. Steam, using only the water that clings to the leaves after washing. Season with shallots, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. Good source of potassium, magnesium and iron.

God will never leave you nor forsake you

“I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, ESV).

Truth:  God will never leave you

There is only One who can make such a promise to us.  People make promises; spouses make vows.  However, even with the best intentions, people fail us; people sin; people die.  God is not like people.  His promises are never broken.  When God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us, it is a promise of His constant presence.

God speaks these words to Joshua as Joshua is being commissioned to take Moses’ leadership.  Right after making this promise, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous.  We also must be strong and courageous to live lives of faithfulness — to raise our children, to love our spouses, to fulfill our unique calling in this world.  The promise to Joshua and the promise to us is God’s presence throughout our lives.  We do not have to be strong on our own; we can and will be strong in the Lord.  His strength will never fail.

Do you live your life knowing that God is always with you?  Do you trust in His presence and rely on His strength?  In Psalm 23 David writes, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”(verse 4).  God’s presence dispels fear.

Rest, ladies, rest in God’s perfect presence.  With His perfect presence is perfect love.  Our God will walk every step of life with us casting out fear and empowering us to be all that He calls us to be.  God’s promise enables us to walk courageously through life as His beloved child.

You Are Desperate For God

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, ESV).

Truth:  You are desperate for God

I know this is a different truth than I have been conveying throughout this Lenten season.  As you know, my goal has been that we give up negative thinking based on the lies of the enemy and accept God’s truth about us.  I pray that you have been built up in God’s truth and that your mindset reflects more of His thinking.

The fact that we are desperate for God can sound negative or harsh; however, it is life giving for us if we accept it and allow God to meet the need He created within us.  We are made to be in relationship with God.  It is our most basic need and that need cannot be met by anything or anyone else.  We are desperate for Him!

In Psalm 63, David recognizes his need and cries out to the Lord.  David compares his need for God to his need for food and water.  Why do we deny this desperation in our own lives?  We hide it or fill it with busyness, people pleasing, alcohol, shopping, etc.  There is something in us that does not want to need anything or anyone with such desperation.  Ironically, not admitting our need creates a greater void within us.  There is nothing that can fill the need within us for relationship with the Lord.  Nothing!  Not a great husband, a great job, a healthy body or finances, wonderful friends.  All those are gifts to be enjoyed but they will never fill the void within us.

Can you admit your deepest need today is for the Lord?  He longs to be in relationship with you.  He longs to fill you with all of Him.  If you do not admit your need and ask Him to meet it, the hunger and thirst will remain and will drive you to other less than satisfying things.  You are desperate for Him and He is desperate for you.  Take your deepest longings to God today:  “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You.”