Need a good laugh? Who doesn’t? Find mirth and spiritual refreshment in Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul, featuring devotional readings drawn from fellow dieters. Seventy-five readings will make you laugh, chuckle, chortle, and snicker. And every reading points you to the heavenly Father who knows all about you—and loves you completely.
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Heavenly Humor for the Dieter's Soul
75 Low-Cal Inspirational Readings
By Michele Medlock Adams, Debora M. Coty, Laura Freudig, Janice Hanna Thompson, Ardythe Kolb, Tina Krause, Meredith LeBlanc, Shelley R. Lee, Valorie Quesenberry, Ramona Richards, Janet Rockey, Jo Russell, Melanie Stiles
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
The Fat's out of the Bag: Healthy Eating
The cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good, spit it out. Unknown
Those Sweet, or Bitter, Three Little Words
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Luke 12:2 KJV
Three little words take on a whole new meaning in middle age and beyond. For those of us past fifty, the exhilarating phrase is voiced in jubilation when we retrieve last year's jeans, button and zip them up, and can honestly say, "They still fit!"
No uncomfortable snugness. No tug-of-war with the zipper. No waistband that curls under a roll of flab or a button that digs into layers of lard. What could be sweeter than that? It's enough to reward oneself with an ice cream bar and a bag of cheese curls.
Unfortunately, on New Year's Day I choked out three other words instead: "They're too tight." The irony of it all is that last year my husband and I went on a weight-loss program. In four months, I lost fourteen pounds of fat and increased muscle, all without thrusting myself into martyrdom while nibbling on scraps of lettuce and dry rice cakes.
So how did I land on the high end of the scale one year later? Blame it on stress, or not enough time to eat properly and exercise, or ... Truth is, I suffer from a discipline deficit when it comes to food. We all have our weaknesses, and french fries are mine. So is candy, and did I mention homemade cookies? Especially the chewy kind. Yum.
After the holidays, I tried to ignore the fact that my clothes were shrinking again. "I need to remember to adjust the settings on the washer and dryer," I reasoned. Then I went to the doctor for my annual exam. Women hate those checkups, but what I detest most is stepping on the scale before the exam. In comparison, everything else is a cakewalk. (There I go thinking in terms of food again.)
So I instructed the nurse not to tell me my weight when—with clenched eyelids—I stepped on the scale. She, however, failed to pass on the instruction to my doctor. "Oh my, you gained twelve pounds since your last visit," the doctor announced as she walked into the room, reading my chart. Now the fat, I mean the cat, was out of the bag and my days of denial were over.
Often, I whisk through life guilty of overindulgence. I appear unscathed until junk food catches up with me, creating chunky fat formations on my body for everyone to see.
Yet all I need to do is confront my shortcomings. The doctor's visit exposed mine, well okay, one of mine. Since then I've concentrated less on squeezing into my jeans and more on fitting exercise and proper nutrition into my life. Not only for appearance's sake, but because I'dlike to live a long and healthy life to enjoy my family and watch my grandchildren grow up.
After all, "I love you" are the only three words sweeter than "They still fit." Well, maybe there are just three more: "They're too loose."
He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:25 NIV
Recently, I decided to board the diet boat to shed some pounds; however, something happened that caused me to jump ship. Scanning a book of little-known facts, I learned that in America, we have food observances for each month of the year. Neither Fourth of July picnics nor Thanksgiving banquets hold a hotdog or turkey leg to the plethora of monthly opportunities to justify munching on munchies.
As I read about these holidays, I gasped in breathless excitement, dropped my calorie counter, and dashed to grab my calendar to fill in the dates. Consider just a few of these food feast days: The New Year begins with a sweet-toothed bang on January 8's English Toffee Day, followed by Peanut Brittle Day on January 26. Besides providing every chocolate lover's celebration of Valentine's Day, February commemorates Solo Diners Eat Out Week (February 1–7), and the month ends with Chili
Day on the last Thursday in February. My personal favorite, however, is Eat What You Want Day on May 11, which gives me guilt-free license to down a vanilla shake with my Oreos. And get this—Turkey Lovers Month is actually in June!
Kids of every age can hoist a Tootsie Roll Pop to the official Lollipop Day on July 20, right on the heels of Gummi Worm Day (July 15). And before the month ends Ice Cream Day, aka Sundae Sunday, arrives every third Sunday of July.
Homemade Bread Day warms us on a cool November 17, and Chocolate Covered Anything Day (December 16) celebrates Ho-Hos, and I don't mean the kind that bellows from the chubby guy with flying reindeer.
I knew Americans loved food—let's face it, commercials flaunt edibles while restaurants occupy most street corners—but I never realized how much. After all, what other country but the good ole USA celebrates food days and weeks each and every month?
Assuredly, some of the sought-after cuisines of other cultures—though foreign to our palates—are meal must-haves also. Consider black pudding, a British and Irish favorite that contains congealed pig blood; or, how about Sweden's lutefisk, a fish soaked in lye?
Mahalet, my adorable Ethiopian granddaughter, loves injera, a fermented spongy flatbread used to scoop up food. And my Hawaiian sister-in-law, Lena, enjoys poi, a boiled and mashed taro root that looks and tastes, like paste. Not surprisingly, none of these foods made the food-feast calendar.
James Beard said, "Food is our common ground, a universal experience." God, whose universal providence provides sustenance for every human being and living creature, accommodates us with varying tastes and cuisines. However, too much of a good thing is bad.
So I'm boarding the diet boat again, refusing to celebrate food feasts no matter how enticing. In fact, Peanut Butter Month (March) is merely a few days away. Before then, I hope to sail away from the portly port of too many "holidays." That's a departure date I can't afford to miss. Besides, I marked it on my calendar.
Little Changes, Big Results
Michelle Medlock Adams
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5–6 MSG
Spring break was only two months away, and our entire family began doubling up on cardio workouts and cutting back on calories in hopes of shedding a few more pounds and inches before we donned our bathing suits on the beach. My niece Autumn and I had been doing the same eating program all spring and had both seen great results. But I had sort of hit a plateau while she continued to lose at a steady pace. So, when we were all staying in the same condominium that week in Florida, I watched her like a hawk. I was in search of her secret—what was she doing to lose weight that I had neglected? What was the missing puzzle piece? After a few days of stalking her, I had my answer. While I consumed a few bottles of water daily, I also downed several cans of diet soda, topped off with a touch of regular soda to kill that awful aftertaste, whereas Autumn drank only water. I asked her about it, and she confessed she had given up all soda several weeks earlier. The more research I did about diet soda, the more I discovered how smart Autumn had been to give up that vice. Research shows that diet soda can actually trigger something in you that makes you crave sugar. Also, a 2005 study found a 41 percent increase in obesity risk associated with each serving of diet soda consumed daily. When I read that, I almost passed out. Are you kidding me? I go way back with my love affair of diet soda, consuming so much Tab in college that I stacked the pretty pink cans from floor to ceiling in my dorm room. I knew breaking the diet-soda habit would be difficult for me, and it was. But I have cut way back on my diet soda daily quota and increased my water intake. Now, like Autumn, I am seeing results. Isn't it amazing how small changes can equal big results?
It's the same way in our Christian walk. One small adjustment, one small change can mean big results in our spiritual lives. It might be that God is calling you to get up ten minutes earlier in the morning to pray for your children. It might be that you need to cut back on your time with a friend who is choosing to walk in darkness. It might be that God is asking you to listen to praise and worship music in your car instead of your favorite country music station. Whatever it is, no matter how small it may seem, if God is urging you to do it, just do it! You'll love the results ... I promise! And it won't leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth or add inches to your hips—woo-hoo!
Changing the World with Chocolate
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18–20 NIV
Teaching people in the world around you about eating healthier is like influencing others to know Jesus. All need to hear, even if only some listen.
I didn't think my coworkers noticed that, while they chugged energy drinks the size of pineapples, I drank water. While they tingled with delight at frosted cupcakes, candy bars, fries, and packaged cookies left over from the Vietnam War, I ate carrots, fruit, home-baked bread,
and casseroles. When a thief was on the loose in the lounge, many cried pitifully, "Someone stole my soda! Isn't that against the law?" But no one ever tried to steal my lunch.
At the retail warehouse where I work, we rival the Israelite workforce in Egypt, building pyramids. Ours aren't of stone, but cardboard boxes of supplies coming in on trucks nearly every night. While the rest of the town dozes, our team moves pallets and leaps tall buildings with a toilet under each arm. Hours later, we drag ourselves out of the place like overworked stone masons.
Energy is the answer! We all needed it. My heart was in the right place as I thought, Wouldn't it be a good thing to bring some of my "race cookies"?
I might as well have said to my coworkers, "Let's all eat a mealworm, grasshopper, and spinach casserole!"
My cookies mimic the ingredients of the popular energy bars but, to me, they taste better. Brown rice, molasses, oats and grains, dates and raisins, and pureed fruit turn into pure energy!
I made the bars, set them out in the employee break room, and waited. Most treats laced with marshmallows and chips disappeared within an hour. Mine lay there like a specimen in a petri dish, growing penicillin. No one touched them as the hours ticked by. Toward the end of the day, one row was gone. No one came back for seconds.
I remembered when, at a local cooking demonstration, Chef Sara quipped, "Cook for your audience! Remember what they like to eat!"
Hmm. That was easy. Chocolate!
I stirred up the second batch of race bars, using chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut, pureed bananas, more sugar, and no dates or raisins. An hour after setting them out in the break room, half of thetreats were gone. Then, sixty minutes later, there was nothing left but crumbs.
Steering my coworkers toward healthier eating is like reaching out to tell people about Jesus. To some, the news is immediately great! Others need a second helping or more to hear. Some will listen, learn, and believe. Some won't. Keep on telling your story, even if you do it with chocolate!
No Foolin' with a Faux Meatloaf
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If we only had meat to eat!We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" Numbers 11:4–6 NIV
When a mother goes on a diet, she brings all family members in on the experience whether they like it or not. However, some things we try do not bring applause.
The Israelites had everything they needed in manna, but complained bitterly. They were ready to trade their freedom for slavery just to have fish seasoned with garlic. That can be the same in a family.
I tried vegetarian cooking. A thin, athletic friend suggested it is healthier and less expensive. I started with ordinary things like cheese enchiladas. My teen sons didn't seem to notice there was less or no meat. Then I got braver.
One evening, I placed an especially good-looking meatloaf on the table. It was decorated with so much skill it belonged on the cover of a cooking magazine!
Each of my teen twin sons took a portion the size of a small ham and had a knife and fork ready. The meat cut easily, too easily! It was soft, not firm.
One took a bite. The other tried his.
The look on their faces should have been grateful. This vegetarian food has been around for thousands of years.
Instead, the young men stared at me with looks that would wipe out an army.
I felt like two machine guns were pointed at me.
"What is this?" both demanded at the same time.
"Why, this is a lentil meatloaf!" I announced.
They made faces and rolled their eyes. "We can't eat this!"
Then and there it was obvious my sons were counting the days until they were eighteen, could move out on their own, and eat herds of cows, one real meatloaf and six steaks at a time.
"When are we going to get something decent to eat around here?"
Without another bite, both stomped to their room to use the phone. Surely, someone in this town would have sympathy for them and offer meat!
A short time later, friends picked my sons up for "real food" courtesy of their buddies' mom and dad. I ate by myself, contemplating my flat belly and the lentil loaf. In the months ahead before my sons moved out on their own, I had to find common ground. It couldn't be lentils. Otherwise, I'd never see them again.
I went back to cooking what my sons were used to, so they stayed home for meals. When they moved out, I missed the time we shared. One thing none of us missed was the lentil loaf.
The Israelites wanted to trade their freedom for food they liked. I remember that when my sons and friends visit. How about baked salmon, scallops, or Cajun rice and black beans? God gives us lots of tasty choices!
Debora M. Coty
The wise in heart are called discerning. Proverbs 16:21 NIV
For lack of table space, I used the floor of my home office to lay out all the fixings for eight gift baskets ... flavored tea bags, floral stationery, various writing supplies, and a ceramic fall mug filled with chocolate Kisses, Godiva Gems, Baby Ruths, Nestle Crunches, Butterfingers, Dove dark chocolate-caramel nuggets, and Tootsie Rolls. Imagine how excited the drawing winners at my writing retreat will be when they receive these prizes! I assembled all the goodies into wicker baskets and had just begun to wrap the first with clear cellophane when I noticed the time.
Yikes! I'm late for church! I'll have to finish when I come home. Without another thought, I dropped my scissors and coils of colorful curling ribbon, grabbed my Bible, and rushed out to the car.
When I returned home two hours later, the first hint that something was amiss assaulted me in the form of a crumpled Godiva wrapper peeking out from beneath the couch. Now where did that come from?
I was clued in by one glance at my miniature poodle, Fenway, skulking away with a candy bar protruding like a cigar from his mouth. "Fenway! You bad dog! Did you get into my gift baskets?" Of course he had. The little choco-dickens. A chip off the old semi-sweet baking block. (Don't worry, he was okay!) The extraordinary thing was that Fenway, who normally employs a dinnertime feeding frenzy not unlike a famished shark, had carefully nosed his way through the smorgasbord of ever-so-sweet options laid conveniently out before him and ferreted out only the best. Just the Godiva and Dove bars were missing.
Excerpted from Heavenly Humor for the Dieter's Soul by Michele Medlock Adams, Debora M. Coty, Laura Freudig, Janice Hanna Thompson, Ardythe Kolb, Tina Krause, Meredith LeBlanc, Shelley R. Lee, Valorie Quesenberry, Ramona Richards, Janet Rockey, Jo Russell, Melanie Stiles. Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsSection 1—The Fat's Out of the Bag: Healthy Eating,
Section 2—Food for Thought: God's Word,
Section 3—Dieting Is No Cakewalk: Temptation,
Section 4—Calming The Milkshakes: Peace in the Process,
Section 5—Mind Over Platter: Self-Discipline,
Section 6—Visions of Sugarplums: Perspective,
Section 7—Maintaining The Feed Limit: Perseverance,
Section 8—Craving Ho-Ho's: Humor,
Section 9—Fudging Figures: Balance,
Section 10—Working Off the Tootsie Rolls: Exercise,