Greater Health

Keeping Christmas Eating Under Wraps

Need some healthy tips for holiday eating?  I’m bringing back this magazine article I wrote in 2004 because every single tip remains applicable and relevant.

* If the text is too small in the printed article, scroll down and you can read it below.

Gwinnett Lifestyle Article

Despite your attempts to cut the calories, count the carbs, and steer clear of the holiday food temptations, it would probably be safe to say that the turkey wasn’t the only thing that ended up stuffed on Thanksgiving…right?  With another holiday around the corner, we need to make sure to focus on the reason for the season, Jesus, rather than on food.

The holidays can conjure up many emotions and anxiety related to food.  Ask yourself this question:

“Do I even know when I am truly hungry?”

Unfortunately, many of us have ignored our hunger signals for so long that we have lost touch with our God-given cues.

Here are 12 tips to help keep Christmas eating under wraps:

  1. Eat when you are hungry…stop eating when you are full (www.NationalEatingDisorders.org). Sound too simple?  It’s not the Atkins diet plan or the low carb diet; it’s God’s plan for you.  He set two boundaries for our eating:  hunger and fullness.  Listen to your body!
  2. Do not plan to diet on January 1st. Rather than thinking “diet” think “eat smarter.”  After all, 95% of diets fail because DIETS DON’T WORK!
  3. Make a plan. Think about where you will be, who you will be with, what foods will be available, what foods are really special to you (that you really want to eat) vs. those that you could probably do without.  What are your personal triggers to overeat and how can you minimize them?
  4. Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties. It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished.  Not only are you more likely to overeat, but you are also less likely to resist the temptation of eating the higher fat and higher calorie foods.  Try eating a piece of fruit, a little yogurt, or string cheese before you go.
  5. Before you take a bite, ask yourself, “Am I truly hungry or am I confusing my emotions (loneliness, anger, boredom) as hunger?” So often we use food for comfort.
  6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Guilt can lead to depression which leads to more overeating.
  7. Go grocery shopping when you have a full stomach – it makes those apple pies less tempting.
  8. If you’re an emotional eater, try creating a list of things other than food that make you feel good. When you are on the verge of a breakdown binge, use that list to find another way to soothe yourself.
  9. If quantity is your problem, start by using smaller plates. Also slow down, focus on your food so you recognize when you’re full, and don’t preload your fork with the next bite while still chewing the last one.
  10. Eat Breakfast – Ninety-six percent of people who lose weight and keep it off eat breakfast every day, according to Ann McDermott, a nutrition scientist at the Tufts University.
  11. Don’t tempt yourself by keeping trigger foods or comfort foods around the house. If you have them, it certainly increases the likelihood you will overeat.  Susan Barr, Dietitian and Program Director for Weight Watchers says “The idea is out of sight…out of mouth.”
  12. Remember that your body is a temple…Therefore honor God with your body! [1 Cor 6:19-20]

As we celebrate Christ’s birth this year, I pray that you will turn to Him for acceptance, comfort, and companionship rather than to the refrigerator or cupboard.  Julie

 

Greater Purpose

Battling for life, one mom at a time

 

I rushed into the pregnancy center, ready to meet with my first patient for the day. My minimal training didn’t prepare me for what I was about to hear.

The office manager filled me in… Your first patient is in the military, a single mom, pregnant.  She doesn’t want to be pregnant, the military told her to “take care of it” and her boyfriend wants her to have an abortion. She’d like you to talk to her boyfriend too.  

Fear overcame me. How was I qualified to sit with her and share the words that would inspire life?  I instantly felt not only inadequate, but unprepared for this woman’s situation.  I had previously counseled with women with unexpected pregnancies or those facing the diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases, but this client carried a different burden, one that was extremely heavy.  Keep in mind, I’m a volunteer, a patient advocate, by title.  I’m not a professional counselor nor an expert in crisis management.  I’m just Julie.

I lead a Moms In Prayer group early every Tuesday morning and this was a Tuesday morning. That fact is significant because I was “prayed up” and ready to battle the enemy on behalf of this woman’s situation.  I just needed to remember who I was.

So, as I felt the fear rest strong upon my body… I chose faith!

It was a decision. I learned years ago that you have to speak to the fear and command it to leave, in the mighty name of Jesus. Fear is not of God, so it cannot be present where there is faith.  Therefore, you must choose which door you will walk through.

I stepped into the faith door, into who God called me to be – a bold warrior who is prepared for battle – with a lifetime of spiritual preparation – who can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

God promised to equip me with everything I could need as I met with this woman.  I would lean on His word and His power – and ask God to fill in the blanks.

As I walked into the room, my heart racing, I decided to exhale my fear and trust the scripture that tells me that in my weakness, He would be my strength.  I had to ask myself if I really believed His promises.  I did. And here’s what happened.

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I walked into the counseling room.

The lady sitting on the couch was not with her boyfriend, and to my surprise, sitting next to her was her little daughter.

Just us 3 ladies.

The magnitude of the moment hit me. God was entrusting me to offer hope and love to one of His favorite – a mother.  The daughter was too young to follow our conversations, but she could absorb the love and encouragement through smiles and prayers.

I asked her to share about her situation and how I could pray for her.  She opened up about how this baby was not wanted by her boyfriend.  She didn’t really believe in abortion, but it seemed to be the only option, especially considering her boyfriend’s fear of this pregnancy.  In her words, “The timing wasn’t right.”

The first word that God placed on my heart was purpose. I shared how this baby already had a purpose and calling on his/her life. God created this precious baby by design and with a good plan.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 39:13), You are loved by God (John 3:16), and He has plans to prosper you , not to harm you, and plans for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I also knew I needed to discuss the obvious option – parenting. She was quick to respond with the fact that she currently didn’t have any help and to add another child would be too much.  Naturally, the topic of adoption came up next and I described the beautiful gift it is to a family in waiting.  Her first response was, “But I never could give my baby up for adoption!”  This phrase was one I’d been trained to speak truth over. I kindly shared, “We hear a lot of mothers express that same feeling and that’s because of the great love you innately have for your baby.  Your motherly instincts jump in and you can’t imagine placing your child in the arms of another; however, can you think about what you’re saying when you say, you would consider abortion – which is ending the life of the baby in your womb- the one that you can’t imagine giving up for adoption?”   My words were spoken in love, trusting God would do what only He can do.

I had to talk quietly and in code at times when the little ears were listening.  I shared about the women that come to our center because they are fighting the nightmares and depression they face because of an earlier abortion.  The consequences of abortion live on for a lifetime. The loss is multiplied because in addition to the act of ending a life, the motherhood line is also severed leaving a deeply wounded woman.  Simply put, abortion hurts women.

The conversation continued, and I watched God move to lean a heart to life.   After we closed in prayer, I walked them to the ultrasound room.  It was there that we got to witness the sight of her baby and the strong heartbeat.  There’s nothing like it.  I still get butterflies and my heart leaps with joy because it’s always a miracle.

As we walked back to the check out desk, the office coordinator walked up to the patient’s daughter and invited her to “shop” in the baby boutique, filled with donated baby items. “You can pick a special gift for the baby,” she offered the little girl.  With a smile, she confidently began shopping and selected a quilted blanket for the baby and a sand bucket & shovel for herself.

As I documented the visit, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness.  When we are obedient and care for those in dire need, we can count on watching the Holy Spirit move.

Galatians 6:2 reminds us

“Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

I like closure. I wanted to know that after our conversation and prayer, it would be settled and wrapped up with a pretty bow.  But that’s not how it works here on earth. We are called to do our part, to share the gospel, to encourage, to educate, to speak life, and then to trust.

Trust that He will do the heavy lifting and send his Holy Spirit to comfort and to change hearts. Sometimes we witness the heart transformation, but more often than not, we witness the softening of a heart.  And it’s that softened heart that will be malleable,  with greater discernment to the voices of truth. It’s also that softened heart that will hear things that were once covered by the noise of the enemy.  It is a softened heart that will hunger for GREATER. So today I choose to celebrate her softened heart.

I don’t know how this story will end, but I do know that good seeds were planted. My continued prayers will water those seeds. People God places in her path will also water the seeds.   And when we question, what choice the pregnant mom will make, we have to remind ourselves that we are asked to do our part and then trust that He. Is. God.

 

 

 

Greater Purpose

Is God Really Good?

“Everything happens for a reason.”  It’s the mantra of our culture. We hear it almost daily as if it’s truth.

The Bible doesn’t say it.

The world says it.

This five word proclamation is usually a response to answer the question of why a bad thing happened.  It’s often echoed to offer “comfort” to those facing an unexplained illness or other horrible news.

Here’s what I know.  God’s character is righteous and when we believe he causes unrighteous things to happen in our lives, then we are believing that He is not all the way good.  I’m protective of my God’s reputation because I know Him and want to proclaim the truth!

Join me at handsonhealingministries.com to read the rest of my guest post. Click here

Julie

Greater Health

This Can’t Be It…Exposing What’s Missing

So often our ministry is found where our misery has been.  My eating disorder began in high school and took deeper roots in college.  It was my misery.   My heart aches when I look back to the younger me and remember the pain, isolation, and hopelessness that encompassed those dark days.  After many years of treatment and learning to love myself again, the time came where I knew I had been commissioned to share my hope and story.  It’s my empathy and compassion for those with eating disorders that propels me to reach out to those in search of recovery.

In 2003,  I first became aware of my calling to help other women; I earnestly prayed for a platform – a place to start.   I was given the words, A Hunger for Something Greater as the answer to my questions of why we struggle with eating AND what do we do about it.

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If you’re battling an eating disorder, could it be that your food struggles are symptoms of a void?  You want more from this life and you turn to food as an answer.   Do you ever say to yourself, “This can’t be it!”

That emptiness, that yearning you have deep within; it’s there by design  – You have a hunger for something GREATERNot a physical hunger but a spiritual one – one that has never quite been satisfied.

Food only offers a temporary fix to a spiritual void.  This is good news because you have hope.  An eating disorder is not your identity.  You were made for a purpose – a divine purpose, created by a majestic creator.  Don’t settle anymore for empty places – invite God to begin filling up the voids.

Blaise Pascal said it perfectly,

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

For we know, that no matter what we go after to find fulfillment, the only thing {One} who will satisfy is JESUS!  

God’s will for you is to be a healthy servant who can witness of his healing power.  His freedom is for you!  The Hunger for GREATER  blog is the outlet where I will share my struggles and how God met me right there – in the middle of it all.

May God guide and direct your path to freedom!

**And if you know someone who in the trenches with an eating disorder, please point them in my direction. God is ABLE!