Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Recommendation: "Why We Get Fat"

Normally I try not to use my blog as a platform to promote products, or other commercial interests.  If any of my readers are like me, they get tired of hearing commercials all the time, and just want a nice, hopefully funny, relaxing read.  Today is an exception. 

Friday night at church, my pastor recommended a book.  Now, any of you avid churchgoers understand, that when your pastor recommends something, you should at least consider it.  I know pastors aren't perfect, but by willingly submitting to their authority, we can be blessed.

Those who know me personally know that I'm not grotesquely overweight, but that I've been frustrated with dieting over the past years.  I don't have a ton of weight to lose, but I don't like the fact that I'm tired all the time, grossly out of shape, and seem to have no control over my sugar addiction at times. 

Several months ago I gave up.  I was sick of wasting all my mental energy counting calories and trying to make sure that I was getting the proper amount of cardio and weight training.  I was disillusioned by the whole diet industry.  I knew there had to be a better explanation as to why I was getting fat. 

Common knowledge from nutrition education that was available to me basically told me that if I couldn't lose weight and keep it off, then I must be either a glutton, or a sloth.  I knew from other areas of my life, and from feedback I received from trusted friends and mentors that I was neither.  I could lose weight if I really put all my time and energy into it, but I would hit a wall at a certain weight and couldn't seem to get past that point. 

As I said before, my pastor recommended the book on Friday and his success thus far in utilizing the information it contained.  I knew that this was something I should at least look into, and so I bought the book.  It took me a day and a half to read it.  Not that it was a small book.  It was simply so logical, and spoke to my struggles so exactly that I couldn't put it down. 

Now to explain why I'm recommending it here.  Years ago if I read a life changing book I would shout it from the rooftops, telling everyone I came into contact with that they should read this book.  Through the years I have learned that if God is speaking to me through a book it doesn't necessarily mean that He has the same message for every one of my friends.  I have since learned to read books and internalize them and I only recommend them if one of my friends specifically mentions a struggle with that particular issue. 

As I think of my friends and family I know that the majority of them struggle with their weight and are frustrated with the inability to maintain weight loss.  If you're not one of those people and you've read this far, you can probably think of several of your friends who would benefit from this information, even if it is unnecessary to you.  My friends and family who would benefit from the information include everyone from those who are obese and cannot seem to take the weight off, no matter how hard they try, to those with gout, to those who seem to be maintaining their weight but not without considerable effort and semi-starvation, to those who are skinny, and wish they could put on a few pounds. 

As you can see I highly recommend this book.  I won't get any money from the sale of this book.  I simply recommend it, because I care about my friends and want them to live a victorious life.  So please, take a chance and read the book "Why We Get Fat; and What to Do About It."

One Caveat:  I believe in a literal 7 day creation as the origin of the universe.  The author of this book believes that man evolved over millions of years.  While the majority of the book focuses on case studies and scientific research done over the past 150-200 years, he does mention hunter-gatherer diet in a positive light.  I simply ignored his explanation and inserted my own understanding of our human past.  After the flood, when the waters above the firmament had broken up, and the earth was recovering from a complete change in atmospheric conditions, God told Noah and his sons that they could eat animals for food.  I believe it was at this point that the information in this book became valid for mankind. 

P.S.  If you're interested in other books I recommend that haven't made it to my blog, Check here.  (Pinterest Account Required)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Strong-willed Child

I've been on a rampage emotionally the last few days.  I'm on a mental battlefront, and the odd thing is, I'm not really having any problems with my own strong-willed child.  It started with this status update from a friend on Facebook (comment edited slightly):

   "SWCs...If you don't have one, then don't try to tell me how to deal with mine!"

Over the past couple of weeks I've run into several moms who are dealing with similar situations.  I finally clued in and thought I should probably write an encouraging post.  

Now, as my friend already noted, if you don't have a strong-willed child, then you cannot possibly understand the mental and emotional (and when they're little, physical) calisthenics we parents go through.  Picture, if you will, the annoying, screaming child in the grocery store, and the seemingly oblivious mom, who does nothing about the situation.  Before I had my SWC, I would look down on this situation with scathing judgement, declaring the mother incompetent and unloving.  Now, I look with pity on the poor woman who is just trying to get her shopping done without losing her mind.  

Now, to those of you who are in the thick of it with your SWC (or possibly two or three of them) here are my top 10 things to keep in mind.  

#10 Sometimes it's food related.  This seems bogus to some, but I have to attest to the fact that sometimes food can actually cause them to behave differently.  Just as comfort food can create a calm feeling, their minds and bodies react to foods in numerous way.  As a first course of action you might want to get them tested for sensitivities (not necessarily allergies).  You just might find that they're a bit more reasonable when they don't have those trigger foods coursing through their veins.  

#9  They are incredibly smart.  Even though it may be tough to deal with their constant arguing with every rule you try to put down, SWC's are usually smarter than the average kid.  Just watch out that they don't outsmart you.  Indulge their curiosity when you know they are genuine.  When they're playing lawyer and trying to talk you out of something, it's best to just say, "Because I said so."

#8    If you keep at it, it does get easier from time to time.  As with every child, the SWC will go through phases of development that will give you a break.  Look for tiny areas of improvement and be sure to compliment when you see them.  Of course, since it's in their nature to take control, be ready for new tactics as they outgrow old patterns of thought.

#7  They will help you become more assertive.  Sometimes, as parents we focus so much on training our kids that we lose sight of the fact that God is training us as well.  It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't truly going to make my child happy if I gave in all the time.  It wasn't fun at first, but I learned that I can say no to other people as well as my children.  Now I'm much more confident about who and what I'm willing to donate time and energy to.  

#6  They help you appreciate your other children.  If you happen to have more than one child, then you might notice how nice it is that they aren't all strong willed.  Well, I guess this only works if the others aren't strong willed.  Of course, no two children are alike, so perhaps even if they are all strong willed, you can appreciate that they aren't all strong willed in the same areas.

#5  You never have to wonder what they're thinking.  My quiet, compliant daughter is so much harder to read at times, but my son tells me what he's thinking all the time.  I never have to guess if he's happy or upset.  Of course, sometimes I wish he'd make it a little harder to figure out.

#4  You won't have to worry about peer pressure.  Most SWCs lead their friends.  Once in a while they might finally accept what you've been trying to tell them about being kind and well mannered, but they usually won't go too far.  

#3  You can be confident that they will be able to stand on their own two feet when they get into the real world.  Because they aren't swayed by their peers, you can bet they aren't going to kowtow to an overbearing boss, or bend to societies pressures to give up their core values.  

#2  They will eventually grow up and move out.  Even if you struggle every single day they're in your house, at least you know that at some point they will move out on their own.  Their independence from you will drive them to it eventually, and you shouldn't have to worry about failure to launch.  

#1  You'll have some incredibly embarrassing stories to tell their children someday.  At the end of it all, you will look back to this time and realize the store of wonderful memories you can share with their children.  You can become your strong-willed grandchild's number one source of tactical information on how to thwart their parent's every rule.  Ok, so perhaps that last one isn't a great idea, but maybe you can smile in satisfaction when they finally break down and call you to ask for advice on how to handle their own SWC.