On how to actually lose weight…

I feel slightly uncomfortable talking about this topic. I’m not a personal trainer or a doctor. I am however, really good and working out and eating well (thanks Celiac disease – NOT). And I don’t want to add fodder to body image issues that millions of people face.

However, in the last month I’ve gotten asked about weight loss by a few different folks. I do understand what it is like to be overweight. The year I graduated college I was pushing 200 pounds. Thankfully, for the last eight years I’ve maintained a consistent healthy weight. Without further ado… 5 things you can do to actually lose weight.

  • Recognize your patterns

Diets fail. Yes, nearly ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of them. AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of them.

By diet, I mean those crazy, gimmicky food plans where they tell you “just cut out X” or “only eat Y.”

They fail because they don’t fix long term unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Adkins – BULLSHIT.

Slim fast – BULLSHIT.

Clean Eating – WTF? Why is your food dirty?

Weight watchers – actually – they have a decent plan. I can get on board with Weight Watchers.

Yeah, I’m guessing you know one or two people that lost a few pounds five years ago. But are they still a healthy weight today? Highly unlikely.

People hate hearing this, but most people have a pattern. You likely wake up, skip breakfast, eat a massive lunch (you think you can because you skipped breakfast), scarf a massive dinner, and maybe mow down a late night snack.

And what do you do for exercise? Are you walking a mile or two? Or doing some push ups? Anything? Bueller…. Bueller…

You can’t break a pattern until you know what is it.

  • You need to set up for the LONG game plan

Let me guess – you just want to lose 60 pounds in three months. Sorry dude, that ain’t going to happen.

Diets fail because people only stick to them for a few weeks, lose a few pounds, and then return back to previous behaviors.

If you want to win, you need to set up to change your behaviors for better…. for the rest of your life. Yes, seriously. But is that so bad? Changing how you live so you’re healthy to age 80?

If you don’t change your mindset to a life change, you’re probably going to fail at losing weight.

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Frustrating. Isn’t it?
  • Eat Less

What we eat is the majority of losing weight.

But diets are bullshit and don’t work. So what do you do?

In a perfect world, you’d eat about 2,000-ish calories a day and get the proper proportion of veggies, fruit, carbs, and protein. But you’re probably not going to do that (although it would be good to).

After you’ve done step #1, and know your pattern of eating what you need to do is… just eat less.

What you put in your face is eat is ENTIRELY IN YOUR CONTROL. No one else is making you eat.

If you’re eating 3,000 calories a day, cut back to 2,800. Most people (present blogger included) can’t handle turning away food temptation after food temptation. Rather than giving in all the way and eating an entire cake – just eat a small slice. You’re not going to cut out ice cream – so just get less ice cream (1 scoop instead of 2).

(Side bar: If you have deep emotional issues causing you to eat, I’m sorry to hear that. I’d recommend seeking professional help to break that pattern.)

  • Exercise more

Most Americans do jack shit for exercise. 150 years ago when the population was bailing hay for a living not hitting the treadmill wasn’t a very big deal. But you should exercise because if you don’t your muscles, lungs, and heart are secretly wanting to kill you.

Most exercise plans fail.

P-90X – fail.

30 day shred – fail.

Sweating to the Oldies – fun, but fail.

They fail because people go all out crazy on day one thinking they’re Olympians, they sprain their back, and then stop exercising because they’re injured.

Instead of dropping $200 on some DVDs  and sacrificing your body to the sadist gods – just try exercising a little bit more. If you are doing nothing, walk one mile. If you were doing one mile- do two.

The five exercises most people can do are:

  1. Walk a mile (or two) a day
  2. Do some crunches/sits ups
  3. Try some push up (from your knees or whatever)
    • Or planks, try 10 seconds, then 20…
  4. Do some squats (google how to do these correctly or you’ll jack your knees)
    • Split squats may be a healthier alternative
  5. Do some arm curls with weights (just lift what you can do)

And no. There is no magic formula for this. Just try them for a bit, alternate – whatever.

If you get bored exercising, try putting on some music or putting on a tv show. While I’m on the elliptical I watch crappy tv (yes, the Kardashians), and when I’m lifting weights I listen to show tunes on Pandora.

  • Set realistic expectations

1% of the WORLD has the physique of Heidi Klum. The odds of you looking like her are slim (pun not intended) to none. Stop thinking you’re going to look like a model, and simply hope for a fit version of yourself. I bet the fit version of yourself is fucking awesome.

Losing five pounds a week is SUPER UNHEALTHY. I once saw a diet that advocated eating 1,200 calories a day. That diet is bullshit people – unless you’re a toddler.

Realistically, you should probably shoot for 2 to 5 pounds a month. If you shoot for more and don’t make it you’re going to beat yourself up.

Good luck. You can do this.

On why I marched…

Today, I marched with 10,000 other Michiganders in the state capital of Lansing.

For the last few months I’ve tried to remain fairly benign about politics on social media.

I have friends on every range of the political spectrum, and I don’t want to alienate relationships over political differences. I wrote two blog posts around the election: one advocating for the kingdom above politics, and another advocating relationships over politics.

But today, I marched. It was my first time marching, and there was a lot to take in. So, I took pictures of the thousands surrounding me. The capitol stands in the backdrop of people standing together in unity for women’s rights.

Before posting pictures on social media, I thought about it for an exceptionally long amount of time.

Will this alienate my friends? What will people think of me?

I was worried people would think I am no longer trusting God, but that is not true. And I find that rationale weird. Christ spoke out when he believed things were wrong, and that did not mean He lacked faith.

I was concerned people would think I want Donald Trump to fail, but I do not. I live in this country, wanting our President to fail would be damning myself.

I was worried people would think my signs mean I love Hillary Clinton, and although she received my vote I have serious concerns about some of Hillary’s decisions.

I was worried people would think I was a crazy liberal, but I refuse to defend that because the accusation is so insulting it doesn’t deserve a real defense.

The more I thought about it, I disliked how defensive I felt.

I marched for two reasons: 1) I believe women deserve rights and 2) I believe the President of the United States should not be using Twitter to insult or shame people. Women are sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused at astounding rates, and I would like those rates to decline. The man that is now President has made terrible remarks about women. I believe that not acknowledging that those remarks are disrespectful and wrong makes it seems like there were okay to say, but they are not – especially by the leader of a country.

Then, the more I thought about it I felt angry. I’m angry that I feel like I need to defend myself when I have done nothing wrong. I held a sign in a crowd. I didn’t burn down a building or harm personal property. I didn’t personally attack Donald Trump or his family. I have not started believing anything I find contradictory to my faith.

We are fortunate to live in a country where we can peacefully protest. I have the right to state my opinion, and other people are allowed to disagree with me.

Today, I stand with the thousands of women who believe we deserve the right to be heard. My head is held high, and I am grateful for this opportunity.

Peace, love, and blessings to you all.

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On the heroin epidemic…

When I was a little girl, someone close to me went to prison for selling heroin.

I was seven.

When you look at the things that are on the list of childhood traumas, one of them is someone close to you going to prison.

It was traumatic.

When you’re a little child, the world is explained to you in simple terms.

“Drugs are bad. Bad people use drugs.”

If that is true, then this person I loved must be bad, right?

How do you reconcile that as a seven-year-old.

I had to ask myself questions that are beyond what a seven-year-old should ask.

Is this person I love “bad”? I love this person, so how can someone I love do something bad?

Over time, this issue reconciled itself into an answer I think many people that love drug addicts must say: I love this person, but they made (any many continue to make) a bad choice.

At work I was asked to look at data on the heroin epidemic.

In case you haven’t heard, there is a heroin epidemic across the United States. This isn’t happening in other cities, or just big cities. This is happening in your city, and it is happening in my city.

What makes this epidemic unique is that its increase spans across every demographic. Rich, poor, men, women, young and old. And it is killing people.

Forty-year-old mothers with children are dying. Twenty-year-old children are making funeral plans for their parents.

It’s easy just to label all drug addicts as idiots or stupid or just “bad” people. I mean, they are making the choice, right?

But if you know anything about addiction, you understand that addiction is incredibly complex.

People that are addicts are first and foremost people. They have families. They are mothers and daughters and sisters are brothers. They are not “other” people, they are people we know and care about.

Loving someone that is an addict is not easy. Most addicts don’t change overnight, and they make poor decisions that hurt a lot of people.

Yet the question remains, how are we going to make this better?

I don’t have any easy answers.

We need to cut the drug supply down. We need doctors to stop prescribing unnecessary pain medication, which is often the start of a future heroin addiction. We need to provide first responders with Narcan so we can stop people from dying. We need better interventions for folks once they come into the Emergency room, so we can give them treatment. We need better treatment for mental health patients, because mental health funding keeps getting cut everywhere. Addicts need to see that they have a problem, which is impacting their life and the lives of people they love. If you’re an addict, please find help.

And we need compassion and empathy.

These are not bad people. These are people we love that are making a bad choice. And if we refuse to help, and get help, its going to get worse.

Is it a hill worth dying on?…

The church picks the strangest hills to die on. I’ve fallen victim to those battles, disagreeing with people over guitar solos and politics. But I always wonder why we are picking these battles?

A few years ago our small group at church read Brian McLaren’s book “A Generous Orthodoxy.”

Our hope in reading the book was to understand different denominations and how Christian denominations have evolved over time. Our group would read a chapter, and then discuss it.

Each chapter of the book is broken down like this:

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To those entrenched in the church, the books is divisive. But to many folks, the reading is simply a book for churchy people. I understand the different perceptions of the book.

Our small group is a mixed bag of my favorite people in the world. We have a pastor’s kid with degrees in ministry, we have folks that have attended church most of their lives, and we have folks that are newer to church.

A few chapters into the book our group started having a heated discussion over denomination X.

The pastor’s kid, who is well versed in theology and the history of the church, started a long explanation of how the denomination came to be. The explanation went on to say how one denomination started a fight with another denomination because they disagreed over church pews. That went into how two other denominations split off because they disagreed about music style. Then there were more splits, and more splits, and then another split…

After hearing the long explanation of denomination splits, the member that was newest to church said perhaps my favorite sentence I’ve ever heard in small group. He interrupted to say quite passionately, “Who gives a fuck?  We’re all fighting over the dumbest shit. Aren’t we here for Jesus?”

The room shut down.

After a few moments of silence, laughter erupted for a simple truth had been uttered.

The church picks the strangest hills to die on. I’ve fallen victim to those battles, disagreeing with people over guitar solos and politics. But I always wonder why we are picking these battles?

If all we do is fight over how to get there, then I doubt we’re ever going to get there. I’ve brought this up before.

Matthew tells us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

If that is the essence of a church, then perhaps all of our fighting is just over complicating what is incredibly simple. Fights tend to divide people, not unite them. How will we ever unite people around Christ if we’re fighting over church pews?

And what is worth fighting over within our Church?

Communion styles? Music styles? The seating? To have a screen or not have a screen?

I’m not saying we should not ask questions. The Bible is FULL of folks asking incredibly important questions.

Books are written by theologians far smarter than I will ever be. But sometimes I read these books and feel like they miss what only the newest folks are brave enough to utter: Aren’t we all here for Jesus?

Only in our unity can we win this battle. And when we fight amongst ourselves, we create unnecessary division. Some hills are worth dying on, but most are not.