Health = Motivation + Inspiration

Click Here For Article #1: Realistic spiritually-based steps and techniques for promoting healthier behaviors.

Click Here For Article #2: A look at the relationship between Cholesterol and heart disease.

Click Here For Article #3: “Don’t Let The Food Label Fool You”

Click Here For Article #4: Bone Health, Calcium & Physical Fitness

Click Here For Article #5: Identifying Carbohydrates

Click Here For Article #6: Scriptural Motivations For Healthy Life Choices

Installment #1 of Health = Information + Motivation

Health = Information + Motivation is the place for accurate up to date health-related information and discussions on realistic strategies for identifying and achieving health goals.

Most of us have at some point resolved to live a healthier life style. The easy part is identifying the results we want to see. The challenge is not only figuring out what we need to do and how to do it, but how to stick to it.

A commonly voiced goal is: “I want to lose weight, fit into a smaller clothing size, look great, and feel better.”

Name any health concern and there are books, classes, programs, diets, exercise techniques, stress reduction methods and more that offer solutions. Information is everywhere. The solutions that are most popular often claim to be both quick and easy.

Information is obviously not enough.

We already know basic actions that may decrease our risk for serious health problems. Examples of basic healthy actions include, eat a balanced diet, select healthier foods, exercise more and decrease stress. If we have information, why aren’t we moving towards our goals faster?

Motivation may be a major factor influencing successful goal attainment.

Together we will share information + motivation to help you to identify and accomplish realistic health goals that are right for your unique health situation.

Instead of starting with information, lets start by looking at our motivations for maintaining or improving our health. Your motivations, goals and the outcome of your actions will be influenced by and have an impact on your mind, body and spirit.

Motivation

Mind – Feel better,

Body – Feel better, Look Better

Spirit- Feel better, look better, and be available to be used by God

Getting Started

A printable form containing the “Getting Started” information that follows (with blank spaces for you to personalize your responses) is available by clicking on the button below:

 

As Christians, The bible provides the foundation for all that we do.
Think of at least one scripture that you could use as part of your motivation for identifying and achieving your health goal.

If you e-mail your selected scripture to



, I will post them in this column at a later date. (Note: no names will be used, only initials.)

Personal Goal Identification + Motivation

Step One (Goal Identification):
List one personal goal. (You may choose to list more but remember to be realistic. It is better to be successful with one goal than to fail to reach five goals). Don’t try to change everything at once. Often progress toward achieving one goal leads logically to the development of other goals. Make sure that your goal is reasonable and measurable.

Sample goal: I want to select healthier food choices for breakfast at least four days a week.

Step Two (Motivation):
List for yourself at least one benefit that you hope to gain if you achieve your health goal. Take some time to think about this. Try to list at least one benefit in each area: Mind Body and Spirit.

Sample Benefits/Motivations:
If I eat healthier Breakfasts four days a week, I hope to see at least one of the benefits listed below:

Mind:

  • Feel better because I am doing something to improve my health.
  • Feel good about setting a healthy example for my 8-year-old nephew.

Body:

  • Decrease my risk for heart disease.
  • Maintain my blood pressure in a healthy range.

Spirit:

  • Have increased energy to participate in activities that are important to me.

Step 3 (Take Action):
Identify one action that you can take consistently to help you reach your goal.

Sample action: If I am going to eat a healthier breakfast, one thing that I will try to do is include one serving of fruit with my breakfast four days a week.

 

Healthy Information Food for Thought

  • Health is more than attaining or maintaining the “perfect” weight
  • Not all information is good information
  • There are many instances where people look like the picture of health even though they may have serious health problems
  • Cardiovascular Diseases such as heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure are the Number one killer of American men and women. Persons with diabetes are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Health= Information + Motivation will share steps we can take that may decrease our risk for Cardiovascular disease and the related complications including disability and death.

For additional information

Visit the American Heart Association’s Web site: www.americanheart.org

February 6th is National Wear Red Day for Women. The purpose of wearing red is to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease- the number 1 killer of women (www.americanheart.org).

The American Heart Association has a free booklet: The Heart of Diabetes, that is available to people with Type 2 diabetes. There is also an opportunity to enroll in their Heart of Diabetes Program.

Program participants will receive:

  • A journal to track progress in managing your diabetes and reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease
  • A free 12- month subscription to Diabetes Positive magazine
  • Incentives throughout the year to help you stay motivated.
    www.americanheart.org/diabetes

Installment #2 of Health = Information + Motivation

A Look at Cholesterol and Heart Disease

This month we will look at the relationship between Cholesterol and heart disease. We will also explore how an increased understanding of cholesterol may be useful as we continue to take action to achieve our personal health goals.

Relationship between High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
The heart is a muscle. Arteries supply oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body, including the heart muscle. Excess cholesterol circulating in our blood stream sticks to the insides of our arteries. Cholesterol building up in the arteries contributes to narrowing of the arteries. As the arteries become narrower the amount of blood that flows to the heart muscle is decreased. When the supply of blood is decreased, the supply of oxygen to the heart is decreased or blocked. Without adequate oxygen the heart muscle will be damaged. The heart pumps blood to the heart muscle and all other parts of the body. If the heart muscle is damages, it cannot pump as effectively as a healthy heart muscle.

Cholesterol Numbers You Should Know

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels may reduce your risk of Cardiovascular disease such as heart attack or stroke.

Total Cholesterol-

Desirable Level – Less than 200 mg/dl
Borderline High – 200 to 239 mg/dl
High – 240 mg/dl

HDL – High density lipoproteins (HDL) also know as “Good Cholesterol

The higher your HDL the better
An HDL less than 40 mg/dl A major risk factor for heart disease
An HDL of 60mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease.

Your health care provider may also test your triglyceride level and LDL (Low density lipoprotein, LDL is also known as “Bad cholesterol”)

Personal Goal Identification + Motivation

Relating your actions to your Goal
Think about how taking steps to lower your cholesterol may help you to achieve your personal health goals.

Example: If your goal is to lose weight, many of the same actions that will help you with healthy weight loss will also help you to lower your cholesterol.

Remember or redefine your Motivation
What benefits will you gain related to achieving your health goal so that you will.
Feel better, look Better, and be as available as you can to be used by God

Take Action
Think of one action that you can take consistently to help you reach your cholesterol goal.

Sample action:
I will read food labels more often and use the information on the label to help me to select food lower in saturated fat.

Healthy Information Food for Thought

Not all information is good information

Not all good information is good for every individual. Discuss your health related goals with your health care provider. Involve your health care provider as a partner as you work toward you goals.

Controlling Cholesterol is important for all age groups.

Our body naturally makes all of the cholesterol that our body needs. It is not usually necessary to add cholesterol to our body by eating foods containing cholesterol.

Your blood cholesterol is affected by diet. It is also affected by how quickly your body makes bad cholesterol (LDL) and several other factors such as heredity, weight and physical activity.

Hints for lowering your total cholesterol, lowering your bad cholesterol and raising your good cholesterol

Two dietary changes may help to lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol.
1. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol that you eat
2. Including soluble fiber ( soluble fiber is found in whole grain foods such as oats) in your diet.

Depending on a combination of factors related to your individual health situation, your health care provider may recommend medication to help manage your cholesterol.

For additional information
Visit the websites below for additional information on Cholesterol.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institute of Health
http://nhlbisupport.com/chd1/why.htm

American Heart Association
www.americanheart.org

University of North Carolina – A research study done at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, suggest that steps to control cholesterol, High blood pressure and weight in children are important for preventing heart disease in the future. The study of third and fourth graders in North Carolina may have implications for children in other parts of the United States. 12.6 percent of the children studied had high cholesterol levels (above 200).

http://research.unc.edu/endeavors/win98/heart.html


Installment #3 of Health = Information + Motivation

Don’t Let The Food Label Fool You

Have you ever purchased a product labeled as low in sodium, fat, cholesterol or carbohydrates, then later discovered that the product is actually not as low as you thought is was?

Mastering the art of label reading can help you to reach your health related goals.

In the United States the requirements for food labels are regulated by the FDA. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and its amendments spell out the labeling requirements for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics.

Information included on Food Nutrition Labels:

  • Amount per serving
  • Number of servings in the package
  • Information on nutrients
  • Percent Daily Value

Sample Label on a Single Serving Container of Reduced Fat Milk 2% milk fat  

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (236ml)

Servings Per Container 1

Amount per Serving

Calories 120 Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 5g 8%

    Saturated Fat 3g 15%

    Trans Fat 0g

Cholesterol 20mg 7%

Sodium 120mg 5%

Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%

    Dietary Fiber 0g 0%

    Sugar 11g

Protein 9g 17%

Vitamin A 10% ? Vitamin C 4%

Calcium 30% ? Iron 0% ? Vitamin D 25%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie

diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower

depending on your calorie needs.

Taking a Closer Look at Our Example
Using our example of Nutrition Facts for Reduced Fat Milk, if you are trying to make healthier food choices and reduce your daily intake of Cholesterol. You would benefit from paying attention to all of the information on the label.

Serving Size

  • Pay attention to the Serving Size and Number of Servings in the package. In this example, the container only has one serving.
  • One container is one serving and one serving has:
    • 120 calories,
    • 20mg of cholesterol
    • and 3g of Saturated fat
  • In addition to the amount of cholesterol in one serving, you should also note:
    • 20mg of cholesterol is considered to be 7% of the total amount of cholesterol that the “average” adult should allow in their daily meal planning for the day.

Calories

  • Total Calories in a serving is 120. The Calories from Fat in each serving is 45.
  • Often we think of Calories as “bad”. Calories are not bad, they are a necessary source of energy.
  • Calories are only a problem when we take in more calories than we need.
  • The number of calories that each individual needs is dependent on several factors such as age, current Body Mass Index, health status and activity level.
  • A person who sits all day will generally burn fewer calories than the person who stands or walks frequently during the day.
  • If you take in more calories than you burn off, the extra calories will eventually add weight.
  • Pay attention to the number of calories from fat. In our example, over one third of the total calories in one serving is from fat.
  • To achieve a healthier eating plan, work on decreasing the number of calories that come from fat.

Fat
Work on decreasing the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium in your diet.

Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to reading the label for nutrients that you want to limit. It is important to look for nutrients that you may need to work on increasing in your meal plans. Example: Many people do not take in enough calcium. In our milk example, one serving provides 30% of the recommended daily value. 30% is good. However, for most individuals the goal should be 100%. You will need to look at ways to get the other 70% of calcium that you need while avoiding excess fat.

Healthy Information Food for Thought

Make sure that the claim on the front of the package matches the nutrition facts on the food label on the back of the package.

Practice will help you improve your label reading skills.

Watch out for foods that are low in fat or cholesterol but high in sodium (salt).

Action Steps

  • Stay focused on your personal health goals and motivations.
  • Practice reading and comparing labels using food items that you already have in your home. What you find may surprise you.
Hot sauce (How much sodium is in one serving?)

Compare ½ % Milk to 2% milk (You may save enough on your intake of Saturated fat, calories and cholesterol to allow for a serving of something else).

Compare the amount of sodium in a can of vegetables with the amount of sodium in a package of frozen vegetables.

  • Customize your plan. There is no one plan that is best for everyone. Discuss your individual nutritional needs with your Health Care Provider.
  • Be honest with yourself

If the serving size is 2 tablespoons of salad dressing. If you decide to use a quarter cup of dressing then you are eating two serving of dressing, not one.

A quarter cup of dressing equals 4 tablespoons or two servings.

If you have a package of 12 cookies and there are 45 calories per serving and the serving size is 2 cookies then:

2 cookies are equal to 45 calories.
4 cookies is equal to 90 calories
And 12 cookies are equal to 270 calories.

Practical Examples

Example #1
You love cookies. You are in the store reading the front and back labels on the type of cookies that you like best. On Brand A the front of the package says Delicious, Low in saturated fat, no cholesterol, lower in calories. Brand Z sells the same type of cookie however; the front of the package does not make any claim other than that the cookie is Delicious.

Which package of cookies will you buy?
What additional information will you need to make the healthiest selection?

Answer: You will need to read the nutrition labels on the two Brands carefully. Are the serving sizes the same? If the serving size for Brand A is “One cookie,” and the serving size for Brand Z is “Two cookies” you may have to do the math to figure out which one is actually lower in calories, fat or cholesterol. Remember to be honest with yourself. If you really love cookies and you know that you are going to eat a cookie, there will be times when you can allow yourself to eat your favorite cookie. (Notice that I did not make that plural and you certainly can’t eat the cookie of your dreams every day without paying a price.)

Example #2
You have decided to eat more fruits and vegetables. You make the decision to have a salad every day for lunch.
How many calories are in a serving of the salad dressing that you select?

Brand A has 115 calories per serving. Brand Z has 165 calories per serving. Which brand will you select? What additional information will be useful to you?

Answer: Check the serving size. If the serving size for brand A is “one tablespoon of dressing” and the serving size for Brand Z is “2 tablespoons of dressing,” then a tablespoon of Brand A has more calories than a tablespoon of Brand Z. One tablespoon of Brand A has 115 calories. One tablespoon of Brand B has less than 83 calories.

For additional information
Visit the websites below for additional information, examples and helpful hints on Reading Food Labels.
See the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition website for additional information.

For a variety of information on nutrition including information on food labels
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/

For detailed Information on reading food labels
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodlab.html


Installment #4 of Health = Information + Motivation

Bone Health, Calcium & Physical Activity

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and prevention Month. May is also Physical fitness and Sports month

This is a good time to take a look at how calcium in your diet and physical activity work together to prevent or treat Osteoporosis.

The human body needs a proper balance of nutrients including vitamins and minerals to develop and function properly. Calcium is an importance mineral. Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones, and healthy teeth. Calcium also has many other functions in the body such as helping to regulate heart rate.

What is Osteoporosis?

  • Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to be thin, weak and brittle.

  • Bones that are thin, weak or brittle break more easily than healthy bones. Example: a leg or hipbone may break even without a fall. Body weight alone may be enough to break a brittle bone.

Who is at risk?  

Risk factors for Osteoporosis include:

  • Advanced age
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Failure to include enough calcium in the diet
  • Medical conditions that prevent our bodies from absorbing enough calcium.

We can not change,our age, or family history.

We can change, our diet and behavior.

  • Take steps to assure adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D
  • Increase physical activity
  • Avoid tobacco or second hand smoke. If you smoke seek help to stop.

Healthy Information Food for Thought

  • Children require adequate amounts of calcium for their bones to develop properly. Provide healthy meal and snack choices.
  • Adults require adequate calcium to maintain strong health bones. Lack of the proper amount of the calcium is associated with osteoporosis.
  • Our Bodies do not make calcium. It is necessary to obtain the calcium that we need for dietary intake.
  • Calcium is found in many foods. (Examples of foods rich in calcium: Milk, yogurt, Dark green leafy vegetables such as a broccoli, spinach, turnip greens and collard greens, beans and nuts, many breakfast cereals)
  • Calcium alone is not enough. Our bodies need vitamin D in order to absorb and use the calcium that we take in. If you read the ingredients listed on the milk label you will notice that Milk and Vitamin D are listed. If a food or supplement contains calcium but does not contain any vitamin D, The calcium may not absorbed well by your body. If the calcium is not absorbed for use, it will be of no benefit to you. It will simply pass through the body and be eliminated in urine or feces.
  • Our bodies are capable of manufacturing small amounts of vitamin D. Sunlight promotes the manufacturing of Vitamin D. (Caution: Exposure to direct sunlight (Ultra violet light) is a risk factor for skin cancer and eye damage. Remember to limit exposure, wear sunscreen and sun shades with UV protection).
  • If you are unable to take in enough calcium in the foods that you eat, Calcium Supplements are available. Talk with your Health Care provider about whether or not a calcium supplement is right for you.
  • Excess calcium or other minerals may contribute to development of renal calculi (kidney stones). Remember to drink an adequate amount of water. Most people need 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Physical activity also helps to prevent osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercises help strengthen and maintain strong bones.

Motivation

  1. Including the recommended amount of calcium in your daily diet will help promote healthy bones and decrease your risk for osteoporosis.
  2. Strong bones help us to maintain good posture and good posture help organs to function properly. Consider how good posture allows the lungs to expand better when you breath.
  3. If your bones are strong you are less likely to break your hip or other bones.
  4. Strong bones and muscle are needed to walk straight and tall and for balance.
  5. Keeping our bones as healthy as possible will increase or opportunities to remain as active as possible and participate in activities that we enjoy.
  6. Any measure of health that we have is a gift from God.
  7. Think about your personal motivations for taking steps to keep your bones healthy and strong.

Action Steps

Read labels. Make a conscious effort to make sure that your diet includes the recommended daily allowance of calcium.

Encourage family members and friends to participate in weight bearing activities such as walking. Walking is an excellent activity to strengthen lower body muscles and bones.
(Remember strong muscles help provide support and protection for our bones.). There are also a variety of stretches and exercises to strengthen the upper body. You don’t have to have expensive or specialized equipment. Use what you have.

For additional information:

Visit the websites below for additional information:

Examples and helpful hints about Calcium and osteoporosis
http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/osteoporosis_month.htm

Tip for girls
http://www.cdc.gov/powerfulbones/stayingstrong/calcium_cool.html

Recommended Daily requirements
http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/health/az1042.pdf


Installment #5 of Health = Information + Motivation

Identifying Carbohydrates

Overview

Facts about carbohydrates
      What is a Carbohydrate?
      What do carbohydrates do for the human body?

Healthy Information Food for Thought

Motivation

Action Steps

For Additional Information

We Want To Hear From You

Overview
Identifying Carbohydrates
Are you watching your carbohydrates? Lately information about carbohydrates is all around us. It is hard to get through a day without hearing someone talking about Carbohydrates. Supermarkets signs, restaurant menus, food labels, and media, advertise “Low carbohydrate” meal choices. The messages suggest that “Low Carb” foods are always good for us and “High Carb” Foods are to be avoided.

The truth is:

  1. Carbohydrates are important nutrients.
  2. Carbohydrates should be included as part of a balanced diet.
  3. Some carbohydrate foods provide more nutritional value than others
  4. Eating a variety of foods is one of the best ways to assure that your body gets essential nutrients.
  5. Everything that is labeled low carb is not automatically “good” or “bad”. The label “Low Carb” may not provide enough information for you to make the best healthy choice. More information is needed.

Important facts about carbohydrates.

What is a Carbohydrate?

  • What comes to mind when you think of carbohydrates?
  • Carbohydrates are essential Nutrients. Other essential nutrients include protein, fat, certain vitamins, minerals and water.
  • The word carbohydrate refers to the fact that most carbohydrates are composed of carbon and water, a combination of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen.
  • There are hundreds of carbohydrates found in nature.
  • Carbohydrates include sugars, starch and fiber.
  • Generally speaking complex carbohydrates usually add more fiber, vitamins and minerals to the diet than simple carbohydrates. Some foods contain both simple and complex carbohydrates.

Examples of carbohydrates:

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Vegetables, Fruits, grains
  • Simple Carbohydrates: Sugars such as table sugar, corn syrup, and fructose

Approximate Carbohydrate and calorie content of select foods:

Food Amount / Size

Carbohydrate Content
Grams (g)

Calories
Strawberries (Raw, fresh, without sugar added) ½ cup 21 g 84
Pear (Raw, Fresh) 1 medium 26 g 96
Potato (baked, salt added) 1 medium 37 g 173
Lettuce Romaine (before adding dressing) Small salad size 4 g 20
Rice (White, long grain, cooked, plain) ½ cup 23 g 103
Macaroni (cook, plain) ½ cup 20 g 100

What do carbohydrates do for the human body?

Carbohydrates provide energy, essential nutrients other nutrients and fiber.

  • Our daily diet should supply our bodies with essential nutrients.
  • The body needs all of the essential nutrients including carbohydrates to grow develop and function properly.
  • Every cell in our body needs nourishment.
  • Human cells require water, energy, vitamins and minerals.
  • Soluble fiber has been shown to decrease cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
  • Insoluble fiber helps with digestion, helps to prevent constipation and may help to protect against certain cancers.

ENERGY

  • The Carbohydrates in the food we eat are a source of calories. Calories supply energy.
  • Three primary groups of food supply calories (energy) for the cells in our body.

    Carbohydrates
    Amino Acid (Protein)
    Fat

ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
Carbohydrates supply many other essential Nutrients.

Many Foods that contain carbohydrates also contain many other essential nutrients such as certain vitamins and minerals.

FIBER

  • Some foods that have a relatively high carbohydrate content also contain high fiber content.
  • Soluble fiber has been shown to decrease cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
  • Insoluble fiber helps with digestion and helps to prevent constipation and may help to protect against certain cancers.

Healthy Information Food for Thought

  • There is currently no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) established for carbohydrates. However it is clear that the body requires some carbohydrates for health.
  • If you are following a low carbohydrate diet. Make sure that you include foods that will supply necessary nutrients and not just empty calories.
  • Don’t be misled by advertising. Evaluate the food item or meal based on you individual dietary needs.

Example: I recently saw a restaurant advertisement for a “ low Carb” Ham sandwich. If you like ham and you are trying to lose weight by following a “low carb” diet plan, the ad for a low Carb ham sandwich may sound good to you. Ham is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Whether or not this ham sandwich is a good low carbohydrate choice for you will depend on several factors

Test yourself:
What additional information or choices will be needed to make sure that your Ham Sandwich is actually “low Carb” AND will provide some essential nutrients AND will fit into your plan to lose weight?

Things to consider:

  • Most meats, poultry and fish are low in carbohydrate content and high in protein so the “Low Carb” label does not provide much really helpful information.
  • The Ham is not the item on the sandwich that will add carbohydrates to your meal, it is the other factors and items that may go into making the sandwich that may add both carbohydrates and calories.
  • If you are trying to lose weight, you will need to pay attention to your daily intake of calories.
  • Most of the calories from the ham will come from the protein and fat content of the ham.
  • How was the ham prepared? (Baked, Honey or sugar added, Fried).
  • Number of slices
  • Type of bread
  • Condiments such as mayonnaise or dressing, relish, cheese sauce.
  • Lettuce, tomatoes

Even with all of the above items on the ham sandwich, it may indeed still be low in carbohydrate content but the total calories in the sandwich may be high.

Remember, if the calories that you take in daily are more than you need for the energy that you use each day, the extra calories will contribute to weight gain.

Motivation
Think about your motivation for watching your intake of carbohydrates.

If your goal is to lose weight so that you will feel better, you will want to make sure that you don’t deprive yourself of other essential nutrients.

Action Steps

  • Read the list of ingredients on food labels. If a food is labeled “low carb” make sure that the food also contains other nutrients that are beneficial to you.
  • Also, try to select foods that will help you to reach your goal. There is no one plan that that is best for every one.

For Additional Information
Visit the website below for additional information, examples and helpful hints about carbohydrates:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/carbohydrates.html#nutrition

Let us hear from you:

  • Encourage others.
  • E-Mail Wanda (



    ) about your health related goals, your motivations and action steps and your success stories.
  • What topics would you like more information about?

Have you identified at least one scripture that inspires you to take steps to improve your health? Share your special scripture and tell us how the scripture has inspired you.

E-mail Wanda Edwards at:




Installment #6 of Health = Information + Motivation

Scriptural Motivations For Healthy Life Choices

Overview

Thoughts on Health and Scripture
      What Health Is
      What health Is Not
      Traps To Avoid

Healthy Information Food for Thought

Motivation

Action Steps

For Additional Information

Overview

As Christians, the scriptures provide the guidance for all that we should do. All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). There are many scriptures that provide instruction and inspiration for making healthier life choices. We asked readers to send us some of their favorite scriptures along with comments about how those scriptures may inspire us to make healthier life choices. Your responses are listed in this edition along with a few additional scriptures for you to think about as you continue to take steps toward achieving your best health.

We will provide some thoughts on the meaning of “Health” and look at some of the relationships between our spiritual walk and the level of responsibility that we choose to accept for our own health.

Thoughts on Health and Scripture

As Christians we are encouraged to strive, with the help of the Holy Spirit to follow the example set by Christ. We are not perfect but if we desire to glorify God with our lives, it benefits us to examine all aspects of our lives to identify areas where we need to devote extra attention.

Relationship between Our Spiritual Walk & Healthier Choices

Like our spiritual walk, our efforts to live healthier lives are multidimensional. Our overall health is affected by how we feed, exercise and care for our Spirit, Mind and Body. All three work together all of the time.

Spirit Mind Body
Through Jesus Christ we have Salvation. We are saved by Grace not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). As believers who are saved by grace, we are called to offer a portion of our resources (time, talent and goods) to worship, study and works (James 2: 17-26). We are instructed on the benefits of keeping our thoughts focused on God (Isaiah 26: 3). We are also instructed to guard our minds and think on positive things as much as possible (Philippians 4:8). We are challenged to be careful about the images, information and activities that we expose ourselves to. Our thoughts affect our spiritual, emotional and physical health. Body – Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are to Glorify God with our body (1 Corinthians 6:20). We have a responsibility to make an effort to take care of our bodies. We also have a responsibility to discipline ourselves (1 Peter 2:11). Paul often compares the Christian to an athlete (2 Timothy 2:5). Caring for our body by making healthier choices helps us to be spiritually, mentally and physically fit for whatever God calls us to do. We want to be fit to do the work of our ministry and respond to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19 –20).

Health: What Health Is

Health is:

  • More than the absence of illness or chronic disease such as Heart Disease, Diabetes or Cancer.
  • More than reaching or maintaining our desired weight.
  • More than looking good and feeling good.
  • Health is to be cherished. Whatever level of health you have is a gift. Make the best of your personal situation. If you have a health condition, there are steps that you can take to be an active participant with your health care provider to best manage the condition and avoid having the condition manage you.
  • Health is best viewed on a continuum. Imagine that you could plot your current level of health on a line ranging from “perfect” health to terminal illness.

Where would you fit? Obviously the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle. As we go through life our position on the line will move back and forth. There is evidence that our food choices, activity patterns, daily behaviors and thought patterns can increase the odds of our health moving either toward a healthier direction or moving toward decline.

Health: What Health Is Not

  • Health is not measured only by the presence or absence of illness or chronic disease such as Heart Disease, Diabetes or Cancer. No matter what your current health status is, small changes may help you to maintain or improve your current health and prevent or slow down the development of additional health problems or disabilities.
  • Health is not measured only by our weight or outer appearance.
  • Health is not guaranteed. Life and our health are precious gifts. None of us know how long we will live. Nor do we fully understand Gods reasons for our length of years or all of the health conditions we may face.
  • Health is not to be taken for granted.

Neither life nor health is guaranteed from day to day. We have all heard stories of people who died at a young age or who died suddenly even though they thought they were perfectly healthy and “looked like the picture of health.”

We have also heard of the extreme situations where someone lived a long life and had no known health problems after they spent their life practicing a wide range of “bad Health Habits,” and someone else who became very ill at a young age even though they followed every healthy practice known to man.

In spite of these extreme cases, there is evidence that our food choices, activity patterns, daily behaviors and thought patterns can increase the odds of our health moving either toward a healthier direction or moving toward decline.

Healthy practices help to decrease our risks for serious illness and disabilities, and improve our chances for attaining and maintaining our healthy personal best.

Traps To Avoid

As you study the scriptures and meditate on some of the scriptural motivations for making healthier choices, be careful to avoid feeling either guilty or self-righteous. Remember we are all imperfect. In all that we do, we are to do our best with the help of the Holy Spirit, who is able to help us as we strive to walk according to the example of Christ (Romans 15:16).

  • It is counterproductive for us to carry the burden of guilt and beat ourselves up if we fall short of our health goals. Put your best effort forward. If you are not immediately successful consider adjusting the goal and trying again.
  • Avoid Guilt: It is easy to start feeling guilty if we set a goal and then meet obstacles that hinder rapid progression toward the goal. Don’t give in. Stay encouraged.
  • Avoid feeling self-righteous: It is also easy to be tempted to feel self-righteous if we feel that we are doing a good job of caring for our bodies. Congratulate yourself, encourage other, set new goals and continue to move forward giving all glory to God.

Healthy Information Food for Thought

  • Our Health is influenced by our family history, current health status and the choices that we make each day.
  • Our Eating and exercise habits have the potential to affect the current and future health of our children and the health of future generations.
  • In the United States, 15% of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight. That is more than double the percentage of children considered overweight 20 years ago. The examples that we set and the choices that we provide will affect our children’s health.
  • A recently published study conducted at the US Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that poor diet and physical inactivity are on the verge of passing tobacco as the leading preventable cause of death in America.
  • We want to be hearers and doers of the word in all areas of our lives. Our Spiritual self is not independent of our mind and our body.

Motivation

Think about your motivations for wanting to make healthier choices.

  • Examine the scriptures
  • Consider ways to be good stewards of your health and glorify God with your body.
  • Consider your plans and dreams for the future.
  • Think of how preventable health problems may make it difficult to follow through with your plans.
  • Consider this: No matter what your current health status is, small changes may help you to maintain or improve your current health and prevent or slow down the development of additional health problems or disabilities.

Action Steps

  • Pray. Ask God for direction as you set your health related goals (Proverbs 6:3).
  • Identify one health related goal.
  • List at least one benefit of achieving the health goal. (Consider Healthy Mind, Healthy Body and Healthy Spirit.)
  • Take Action. Identify one consistent action that could help you to reach your identified goal.
  • Set short-term, achievable goals. Making healthier choices does not mean that you can never have anything you like.

Examples of short-term, achievable goals

Example #1: Suppose you love cookies

Don’t Say: “I will never eat another cookie.”

Do: Honestly evaluate how frequently you eat cookies, how many cookies you eat and how big the cookies are. Set a goal to decrease the number of cookies that you eat at one time. Decrease the number of times during the week that you select cookies as a dessert, snack or meal choice.

Example #2: Suppose you desire to lose weight

Don’t Say: “I want to lose 100 pound so I am going to follow the latest diet fad. I will lose 7 – 10 pounds a week for 13 weeks. “

Do: Take an honest look at your current eating and activity pattern. Then commit to change one food choice or behavior and one activity behavior.
(1) Decrease the portion size of food eaten at lunch or dinner, and/or choose water in place of one beverage that you usually consume every day.
(2) Start or add one simple activity such as walking during the last five minutes of your lunchtime.

If you are overweight, these two changes followed consistently will help you to lose about one pound a week. You may realistically expect to lose 15 to 20 pounds in six months. A slow, steady weight loss is healthier and the weight is less likely to return than when rapid, extreme weight loss occurs.

For Additional Information

1. See Health = Information + Motivation Installments 1-5 for tips on healthy habits and informative websites.

2. Examine the scriptures

Scriptural* Motivations for Making Healthier Choices

*Note: Scriptural references are quoted from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2: 15

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul; – 1Peter 2:11

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrew 12:1

Inspirational Scriptures and Comments From Visitors to Detroit Gospel

Psalms 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Comments on Psalms 139

  • “We should not worry about how we look because God knew what he was doing when he created us in his own image and with his own hands. So anytime you feel low and down, just remember these words. ‘I am wonderfully and beautifully made by God, and I am the works of his hands….’ We are all beautiful and unique in God’s eyes.” – Marilyn -Tower Bridge. United Kingdom
  • Psalms 139:14. “The scripture that states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe that fitness and changing our lifestyles starts with knowing yourself and what the word says first.” – TaQuinda Roseville Michigan
  • “We are beautifully and wonderfully made.” – Valencia, Mount Clemens Michigan

Proverbs 6:6
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.

Comments on Proverb 6:6

  • “Learn to do what’s right to prepare for other seasons in life. A season may come when you might need your health and strength.” – Dwonne, Detroit MI

Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s Mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual act of worship.

Comments on Romans 12

  • “Romans 12 tells us that our job is to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy unto God.” – Jervis, Atlanta Georgia
  • “Romans 12:1” – Andrea, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Romans 12:1 – Nicole, Detroit Michigan

1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Comment on 1 Corinthians 6:19

  • “If your body isn’t healthy, you’re of no good to anyone!”
    Nicole, Detroit, MI

Ephesians 2:14-22
2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
2:22. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

· Cassandra, Ypsilanti MI

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV)

Comment on Philippians 4:13

  • “I’ll definitely share that, having had the experience of having to lose weight via the Atkins Diet (I gain weight back and forth because of the medication I’m taking), the scripture people should put in their heart is Philippians 4:13” – Saru, Albany, NY

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