Week 5

FAITH

God Loves You Just As You Are

Everyone has in them the need to be loved. Everyone has a hole in their heart that only God can fill.

I know I have days where I don’t feel so lovable, but I still want to be loved.  One thing I want you to get is that God loves you. Even when you behave in a way that you know goes against God’s desires … He still loves you.

The Bible tells you over and over that God loves you. We have probably all heard this verse before … but really let the words come into your heart “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Can you imagine this?

Jesus died a painful death on the cross for YOU. He knew all that you would do that would go against His plan for your life and He still gladly went to the cross for you. He died so you could be saved. He died so that you could truly live. That just blows me away – that’s an amazing kind of love.  That’s God’s love.

God knew you would make mistakes (sin) that would separate you from Him so He sent Jesus to die so you could be made perfect. God is perfect and heaven is perfect… so for you to be with Him, you need to be made perfect and that’s why Jesus came.  In the song “You are my King” they sing,

“Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my King, would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
It’s my joy to honor you…”

God wants you to feel His love right now … you don’t need to fix something about yourself before He will love you. Sometimes people say to me, “I can’t come to your workouts I have to get in shape first.” I tell them, “That’s not how it works. Just come and I’ll help you.”

I know there are also people out there who think they need to fix themselves – they need to stop drinking, they need to be kinder, they need to stop eating so much, they need to start exercising, they need give money to their church… before they can ask God to be in their lives. Well, just like you don’t need to be in shape before you can begin the Faithful Workouts’ program, you don’t need to fix yourself before God will love you.

In John 4:19 it says, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” He loved you before you loved Him.

Remember, God forgives all sins when you truly try to turn away from that sinful behavior. Your sin does not make you unlovable to God. God loves you so much that He promises to never leave you.

Some of the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples were, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” In another verse God promises, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10).

I don’t know about you, but these verses sure make me feel loved and cared for!  

**Is there anything you have done that makes it hard for you to believe that God really loves you? What does the Bible say about forgiveness of sins? 

**Do you have any un-confessed sins in your life or sins you have confessed but are having a hard time turning away from? Tell God about your challenges with these sins and He will help you.

**Have you experienced God’s love for you? If so how did it feel? What would have to happen for you to feel His love more often?  

 

FOOD

Sugar

A bowl of cereal for breakfast, a cup of fruit yogurt for a snack, and a scoop of sherbet for dessert: you've just had more than 20 teaspoons of sugar without opening the sugar jar.

Sugar is a short-term source of both energy and pleasure. Sugar is being added to more of our foods. On average we are consuming 170 lbs. of sugar a year – is that crazy? At a time when sugar is everywhere, it's time to ask some important questions. What are the dangers of sugars? And how much is too much?

According to the World Health Organization, no more than 10 percent of calories should come from sugar. This advice lines up with the USDA which says a maximum of 12 teaspoons daily based on a 2,200 calorie diet. 

You might think, “There is no way I consume 170 lbs. of sugar a year or even eat 12 teaspoons a day”. Even if you don't eat sweets, the amount of refined sugar you may be consuming would no doubt shock you. Over two-thirds of the refined sugar used in this country is added to processed foods. For instance, did you know that a tablespoon of ketchup contains a full teaspoon of sugar? Think about that, 1/3 of Ketchup is sugar. Foods like breads, soups, cereals, cured meats, hotdogs, lunch meat, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, crackers, mayonnaise, peanut butter, pickles, frozen pizza, canned fruits and vegetables, tomato juice, and lots of other products all contain sugar. This doesn't even take into account the obvious sugary products like candies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, doughnuts, and soda.

It can be challenging to limit the amount of sugar you eat. One thing that will help you track how much you consume is to know that 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. Even if you are careful about reading labels, it's difficult to know if you are eating added sugar because of the different names used for refined sugar. Terms like sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltos and lactose are really just names for sugar.

Dangers of Sugar

The more we learn about the effects of sugar on our body the more we realize how bad it is for us. Although, the USDA says you can have a Maximum of 12 teaspoons a day, I and other dietitians, highly recommend keeping your intake under 24 grams of 6 teaspoons. If I know something is bad for me, I want to avoid it as much as possible.

Sugar found naturally in fruit and vegetables is different than high fructose corn syrup and other added sweeteners. When I say to limit sugar to 24 grams I am not including the sugar in fresh fruit and vegetables. I do recommend having only small quantities of 100% juice. When we drink juice we eliminate the fiber and the fiber slows down the absorption of the sugar. I don't want to get to technical but just limit your juice portion. If I juice I do about 2 ounces every few hours throughout the day rather than drinking a big glass all at once. 

If you're counting calories, you want every calorie to count. And that's where added sugars fall short: They offer calories but have no lasting benefits. The sugar in a muffin or yogurt will take a big chunk out of your calorie quota for the day without moving you closer to your daily goals for minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. If you eat too much of the sweet stuff, you'll have trouble getting enough healthy nutrients without going overboard on calories.

Extra weight isn't the only possible consequence of too much sugar. Sugary drinks and snacks can set the stage for cavities, especially in children. Another danger of sugar is that diets high in sugar can quickly boost triglycerides, fats in the blood that can clog the arteries which can lead to a heart attack. 

Sugar is thought by many scientists to be addictive. (I agree with this.) We have enough scientific evidence now to tell us that we can train ourselves to crave, to build tolerance and to experience withdrawal when we ingest a lot of refined sugar. These are the hallmarks of addiction: craving, tolerance and withdrawal.

The more we learn about how sugar effects our health, the more we realize we need to turn away from it. Some studies show it increases the production of cancer cells, negatively affects the heart, causes diabetes, increases anxiety, decreases the brain’s ability to function... just to name a few. One site listed “146 reasons why sugar is ruining your health”.

You know sugar is not good for you but for some it’s so hard to control. Here are a few of me recommendations to help you cut back:

1. Read your food labels and keep track of the sugar you are consuming. 

2. If you are craving something sweet go for fresh or dried fruit or one small square of dark chocolate (buy high quality dark chocolate and check to be sure your dried fruit doesn’t have added sugar)

3.If you are a soda drinker cut way back, or better yet, quit. If you mix 3⁄4 cup sparkling water with 1⁄4 cup 100% fruit juice it’s a great alternative to soda.

4. Instead of fruit yogurt mix plain yogurt with some of your favorite fruit.

5. Don’t bring it in the house. If you know you can’t control yourself when there’s cookies in the house, don’t bring them in the house. If you are not the main shopper, ask the person who is to help you with this. If they insist on bringing home cookies, ask them to hide them so you won’t be tempted. I often hear from moms who say they “have” to have them in the house for their kids - REALLY??? Why, do you feel the need to create an addiction in your kids that you struggle with. I’m not saying don’t have any snacks in the house but your kids don’t “need” sugary snacks any more then you do.

**Are you motivated to reduce your sugar intake? If so what is something you can do starting today? If you have your sugar cravings under control what can you do to help others. Overconsumption of sugar is a world wide epidemic - help is needed.

Weekly Goals

Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals.  Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results. 

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