Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

5 Reasons Why Bloomberg’s Obsession With Regulating Soda Won’t Work

posted by Linda Mintle

This week, a New York State judged overturned Bloomberg’s controversial ban on the consumption of large sugary drinks. Correction, Bloomberg calls it a “portion control measure”, not a ban. The ban was to go into effect on Tuesday of this week and and would have limited consumers of sugary beverages to less than 16 ounces.

Listen, I am glad Bloomberg’s is concerned about the childhood obesity problem. But his approach is wrong on so many levels. Here is a link to his remarks.

1) Arbitrary and capricious. Bloomberg is right when he observes that when people are presented with a big drink, they drink more. The same is true of food –the presence of never ending chips at Mexican restaurants, the all you can eat bread sticks at Olive Garden, how about the gallon of ice cream, or the dozen donuts that might cause you to overeat, etc. Are we now going to limit portions of food as well? And the proposed ban did not include  diet soda, coffee drinks, milk or milkshakes, fruit and vegetable juices or alcoholic beverages. Singling out one item is arbitrary and capacious-the reason the ban was overturned.

2) Promote healthy eating but don’t send the Twinkie Police. I do see a role for government when it comes to overseeing programs it pays for, promoting healthy eating and exercise. We should know what is in our food and be given education about food. But come on, sending the Twinkie Police to my house…go fight real crime!

3) Deprivation as a food strategy doesn’t work.  Even if we could be successful in getting carrot sticks in all school vending machines, this doesn’t mean kids will eat them. I’m not opposed to the idea, but think that the more you make a big deal about deprivation, the more people want it. When we are told we can’t have something, we want it all the more. Before the ban was overturned, I wouldn’t be surprised if people were stockpiling 2 liter bottles of soda!

4) Look at WHY we eat.  Most of us overeat and grab the unhealthy choice because we are tired, bored, happy, sad, or feeling any number of emotions. We eat to calm stress, to deal with rejection, to celebrate the job, etc. Getting at why we eat is part of the battle too.  When food works to calm us down or soothe us and we don’t have other ways to do those things, we probably aren’t going to make better choices. More education doesn’t fix emotional issues.

5) Obesity is a complicated fix. There are multiple contributors to this problem. Regulating sodas isn’t going to fix it. It’s going to take Hillary Clinton’s village again…We need the food industry to cooperate, schools to do better, parents to take responsibility, science to contribute to a better understanding of why some people struggle more than others, etc. There are so many pieces to this puzzle. Government can educate us and keep promote healthy habits, but we have to examine our own lives and decide what to do and what kind of help we need. Some people need support to lose weight, not a ban of sodas;  others need medical intervention, exercise programs, approaches for stress reduction, access to better foods, playgrounds that are safe, bike paths in their communities, etc.

Bottom Line: Give us the tools to make informed decisions, but don’t make them for us. 

So mayor, keep informing us, print the calories and keep the food regulators honest, but don’t overstep your reach.

6 Reasons Why Your Teen Should Rethink Tanning

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s that time when high schoolers decide to hit the tanning beds in preparation for prom, Spring banquets and more. But should they be tanning?

Here are my 6 reasons why teens should rethink tanning–an important conversation to have with your daughters.

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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)!

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!

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”

–        “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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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!

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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