“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.