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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Guest Blogger Tammy Stauffer on the Lose it App for Weight Loss

posted by Linda Mintle

So, the other day I was listening as my petite, cute-as-a-pixie friend explained to me how she needs to get serious about losing weight and is using the Lose It App and actually lost a few pounds.

Before you run off and download it from the App store, hear me out as I confess my one day experience with the loser app.

I plugged in my current weight and put in a slightly ridiculous dream weight so the little app could calculate how many calories I was allowed to have in one day. It gave me a daily log to track what I’m eating, and even a way to track my exercise. For accountability and incentive, I could even share it with a friend and we could be accountable to one another as we watch what the other one is eating every day (not sure I would want her to know every time I pop a mini-Twix bar in my mouth)!

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The app will print daily or weekly reports about my calorie intake that can show me, complete with graphs and charts no less, how close to my goals I actually am…as if I need that extra mathematical stress in my life.

But I was ready. Surely, my normal daily intake wasn’t that far from what the app was telling me I could eat in order to enjoy life…and stay alive. My breakfast consisted of one piece of whole grain oatmeal toast, a banana with a tsp of peanut butter, a cup of soy chocolate milk, and two cups of coffee with creamer. 390 calories. Not bad; I was off to a fairly good start.

My mid-morning snack = 2/3 cup of blueberries at 56 calories. I deserve a Twinkie for that one.

Ah, finally lunchtime! My plate could barely hold my HALF of a turkey and cheese sandwich, with 8…okay 10, multi-grain Tostito chips, and 5, or was it 6?, olives, and a glass of tea. 570 calories. Wow, the calories were starting to add up and I was starting to get nervous because I could only have about 230 calories or so for the rest of the day!

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I made it to dinnertime without snacking, whew! If I wanted to lose 1 pound per week for six weeks, then this next meal needed to be reduced to a homemade protein chocolate-peanut-butter-banana smoothie (you should try one – they are the best!).

Well that yummy glass of frozen goodness put me 39 calories over my limit! And it was only 4:30 in the afternoon!! I was not going to make it to bed time unless I was willing to go over my calorie limit and completely derail the path that would lead me to my dream weight in six weeks.

At this point, my college-age son and daughter entered the scene. As soon as I began to mention the Lose It App, they both informed me: “it’s stupid!”

Their reasons?

–        “Counting calories is not a healthy way to lose weight, or even stay at your current weight, because it matters more what you eat, not how much you eat”

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–        “You will become obsessed with food and calorie counting and  pre-occupied typing into that thing every moment of your day and night”

–        “So, if you’re over your calorie limit and you’d like to eat an apple – because that is a healthy thing to do – but you won’t because it’s too many calories? That’s stupid!”

–        “Why do you think you need to lose weight? Who told you that you needed to? They’re stupid.”

I’ve decided that I’m deleting the Lose It app from my iPad after only one day of use.

Ultimately, the kind of time and energy spent counting calories will be better used basking in the presence of my Heavenly Father, who knit me together and tells me, in His eyes, I am simply perfect.

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In the image of God
You poured yourself into me
That ought to be enough
A beautiful reflection
of Heaven’s perfect love
When I look at me
Give me eyes to see
The image of God

~ ‘In the Image of God’ lyrics (offering hope and healing, for those struggling with body image issues and eating disorders, from our ‘Tell Me What You See’ CD).

Visit our “Tell Me” Facebook Page–Dr. Linda wrote a word in the inside cover!

Tammy Stauffer lives in Elizabethtown, PA with her husband and three college-age children who migrate in and out of their home.  She serves as Project Manager with Music for the Soul.

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Tebow, Wrestling With Principalities and Powers

posted by Linda Mintle

A year ago, I wrote a blog about why people hate Tim Tebow. One reason was because the Gospel offends. So this weekend, when Tebow is once again slated to speak at a private religious institution, am I surprised that he is being attacked ? No, this attack is spiritual and some of you reading this won’t understand.

But think about it.

Since when do private Christian universities or churches run their speaker lists by  gay rights activists for approval? This is ludicrous.

Since when does the First Amendment not support free speech and the right to have a religious position? A moral position based on your religious beliefs is a constitutional right.

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Since when do we restrict our religious freedom? Even though we live in a country where religious freedom is a right, Christians are the target of intolerance. I know many of you were upset at the Saturday Night Live skit making fun of Jesus, but in America, people can do this sort of thing. It’s bad taste, horrible to mock our Lord, but it is not illegal. Would the producers of SNL do the skit and mock Islam? No, because they would be afraid of the backlash. Making fun of anyone’s religion is inappropriate. These people will answer to God one day, not me or you.

Since when do we bully people to do what we want just because we don’t like something? We teach kids not to do this, how about if the adults model the behavior?

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Since when do we cry out for tolerance and then became extremely intolerant to the beliefs of people with whom we disagree? That’s called hypocrisy.

Ephesians 6:12 gives us insight into the Tebow controversy: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

Scripture tells us we are in a battle; we wrestle with powers of darkness trying to extinguish the light of the Gospel. So we shouldn’t be surprised when attacks are aimed at us. Does that mean we like them. Absolutely not. But what is important is how we  Christians respond to those attacks.

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We look to the life and words of Jesus. When he was persecuted on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those people because they didn’t really understand what they were doing. Because they refused Him, they were blinded to the spiritual war in which they took part. When Jesus met someone who was in sin, he responded, “Neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more.” Then, in the most radical of all teachings, Jesus instructs us, You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Jesus further tells us to bless those who curse us. So for all the horrific comments on blogs I have read towards anyone homosexual, I apologize. Christ wanted us to be known by our love. Calling people names, wishing them ill and so on is not a mark of following Christ. And for that I am deeply sorry. Those people don’t represent!

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Look, Tebow is not out railing against gay rights, he is not anti-gay and he is not a threat to gay people. He simply talks about his life as a follower of Christ. Thus, it makes no rational sense that a good guy is such a target of hate and bullying  unless you factor in the spiritual dimension. So take all this controversy with a grain of salt. The attack against Tim Tebow is a spiritual one. And whatever decision he makes now and in future in terms of appearances, I pray he is led by the Spirit in his decision making. In the meantime, our job is to pray for him. He’s a target just because he is a Christ follower.

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Complaints About Your Spouse? Tend Your Own Garden!

posted by Linda Mintle

 “I can’t live with this man. He makes me crazy. I constantly have to remind him of even the simplest things. He’s like having another child.”

“She would make anyone insane. She always tells me what to do. All she does is nag. I feel like an idiot who lives with his mother.”  

Have you ever said this or something similar? Here is your chance to insert your favorite reason why your spouse drives you nuts and keeps you from living the blissful life you know is possible. OK now get ready to be corrected!

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Husbands and wives spend too much time pulling weeds from each other’s gardens. What am I talking about for those of you who hate gardening and never pull anything out of ground? I’m talking about our tendency to complain and criticize the other person so we don’t have to look at our own problems (weeds).

We all have a garden inside of us. Our bodies are fertile soil. We sow all kinds of seeds in our gardens–good seeds like kindness, patience, praise, etc. or bad seeds like lust, control, criticism, etc. The more good seed you put in your garden, the more good harvest you get. The more bad seed you plant, the more weeds will crop up and choke any potential harvest (This is Basic Farming 101).

Husbands and wives like to poke around in the gardens of their spouses. They are quick to spot the weeds and spend a great deal of time pulling at them. As a result, they don’t tend the seed in their own gardens and allow things to creep in that aren’t good (anger, bitterness, frustration, disappointment, etc.). Then, they grow weeds in both places and neither one is attending to their own stuff. They ‘d rather pull the obvious weeds from the spouse’s garden and ignore what’s growing in theirs.

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Spend time tending, watering and guarding your own garden and your relationship will be better. If you are responsible for your issues and attend to them, you will improve your relationship.

Couples come to therapy all the time with complaints about the other spouse. I try to get each one to stop complaining and address his or her part of the problem. When they do attend to their own stuff, the other person is less defensive and more likely to do some work. And I can actually help each person pull his/her own weeds. So the next time you attempt to pull weeds in your spouse’s garden, check your own first. Deal with your ground clutter and wait for the beautiful harvest to come.

 

 

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Do Peers Make Teens Stupid?

posted by Linda Mintle

Why do teens do things with their friends that they would never do by themselves?

A part of the answer might have to do with the developing brain of a teen. Specifically, adolescents are wired in ways that lend to risk taking when in the presence of their friends.

Researchers at Temple University tested the brains of adults and teens by attaching them to brain scan machines while simulating a driving game. What they found was that when teens were not observed by friends, they drove basically the same as the adults in the study. However, when teens had friends observing them, something interesting happened. A part of the brain associated with reward lit up and the teens took more risks. They had more crashes and reckless driving behavior.

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This study lends credence to the idea of teens doing stupid things together that they would not do alone. The psychologist who ran the experiment, Laurence Steinberg, a national expert on adolescent development, thinks this finding may be applied to other areas of teen life like bullying. Maybe, the peer approval and possible social advancement associated with bullying is enough to light up the reward centers in the brains of teens who bully. He suggests that the short-term pleasure of the moment with peers may override judgement. This also means that giving teens more information on bullying or any other negative behavior is not going to prevent much. In these cases, knowledge is not power. It takes maturation to make good decisions.

Instead, it would be better to limit opportunities for immature judgement that could harm others. For example, I didn’t allow my teens to drive with other teens in the car when they first started driving. I limited the opportunity, knowing that the risk taking increases when other teens are present. In the case of bullying, working on the peer group to approach bullying as a negative and not a peer enhancing activity would change the context. When teens come together to advance kindness and empathy, we may have an effective strategy. And those values are usually taught at home.

 

Source: Steinberg, L. (2007). Risk-taking in adolescence: New perspectives from brain and behavioral science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), pp. 55-59.

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