Like many of you I have spent too much of my life thinking about how much I weigh. My weight increased significantly about 8 years ago. I used food to celebrate and to escape. Food was my comfort. In my late 20’s, I took up aerobics exercise and jogging, and loved it. Back then, I erroneously thought I could eat anything; as long as I exercised. I didn’t pay attention to what I ate or how much I ate! Later, I learned that my excessive weight gain had more to do with what I was dealing with emotionally, what was eating at me! When I learned to value myself, and take time for me, it became easier for me to lose the excess weight and maintain a healthier weight and lifestyle.
The defining moment
On a visit to my hometown some years ago, my three sisters and I took a photo. Looking at the photo and comparing myself to them, made me realize how much weight I had gained! The dress I wore was 3 sizes larger than what I wear today. I did not like the way I looked or how I felt. After looking at the photo, I decided to research and educate myself of how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, from the inside out. I adjusted the way I dealt with life stressors, for me that was learning to trust the Lord for strength and wisdom, and to help me change my eating habits. I now eat to live healthy, not live to eat!
Five Life Lessons I have learned to be healthy:
1. Take up an exercise you love
I remember my first jog. It was awful. I could barely breathe. I’d jog for a bit and then walk. What surprised me is how quickly I built up endurance and stamina. Today, I jog several times a week and have added weight training to my regiment. You might enjoy Zumba, swimming or biking. Just move and enjoy it!
2. Hang around people who have similar goals
Surrounding myself with people who also wanted a healthier lifestyle kept me motivated to stay on target. Our associations really do impact our behavior. Find a family member or friends who enjoy working out. You may also consider joining an exercise group at one of the local gyms or community centers.
3. Tell yourself you can eat anything
Forget diets! Diets are about deprivation. If I told myself I couldn't have chocolate, do you know what I’d wanted the most? You guess it, chocolate. I now tell myself I can have whatever I want, just not all the time. This quieted the impulsiveness and over indulgence, now I only eat chocolate when I really want it. Moderation is the key in healthy eating.
4. Set rules you can follow
My guiding rule is to eat healthy most of the time. It’s an easy rule to follow. I center my meals around veggies and lean proteins. I keep water nearby all day, every day. I set a goal of a minimum of 3 times a week to work out. I plan healthier snacks for evening treats because that’s the time of day I like to snack the most. I relax my rules on the weekends.
5.I have learned to focus on a balanced lifestyle. A balanced life comprises who I am as a total person, being spirit, soul and body. I take time to feed my spirit with biblical truths, this also help me to keep my emotions (soul) in check. Balance is key to becoming healthy from the inside out. To quote a favorite scripture:“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”.
In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, I would like to say a special thanks to my father for being such a powerful godly influence in my life and to my husband, Mike, who is a wonderful godly father and grandfather to our children and grandchildren. And to all you fathers out there who may sometimes think that you don’t measure up, but rest assured you are very important to the health and welfare of your children by being present and involve in their lives.
I would like to share this research about a fathers’ love. I personally believe that our heavenly Father designed the role of earthly fathers to replicate and demonstrate His love to all man-kind, so science is catching up with the original plan of God for fathers.
Here’s the scientific study:
A father's love contributes as much -- and sometimes more -- to a child's development as does a mother's love. That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood.
"In our half-century of international research, we've not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood," says Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut. "Children and adults everywhere -- regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender -- tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures."
Looking at 36 studies from around the world that together involved more than 10,000 participants, Rohner and co-author Abdul Khaleque found that in response to rejection by their parents, children tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others. The pain of rejection -- especially when it occurs over a period of time in childhood -- tends to linger into adulthood, making it more difficult for adults who were rejected as children to form secure and trusting relationships with their intimate partners.
Moreover, Rohner says, emerging evidence from the past decade of research in psychology and neuroscience is revealing that the same parts of the brain are activated when people feel rejected as are activated when they experience physical pain. "Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years," Rohner says.
When it comes to the impact of a father's love versus that of a mother, results from more than 500 studies suggest that while children and adults often experience more or less the same level of acceptance or rejection from each parent, the influence of one parent's rejection -- oftentimes the father's -- can be much greater than the other's.
One important take-home message from all this research, Rohner says, is that fatherly love is critical to a person's development. The importance of a father's love should help motivate many men to become more involved in nurturing child care.
"The great emphasis on mothers and mothering in America has led to an inappropriate tendency to blame mothers for children's behavior problems and maladjustment when, in fact, fathers are often more implicated than mothers in the development of problems such as these”.
Note to Fathers:
Please consider the important role that you play in your family. Your daughters are forming views of themselves based on how you relate to them, and your sons are watching you to learn how to act as a man Allow the Lord to teach you how to be a godly father. If you are looking to Him for guidance, He will equip you to be the best dad that your children could ever have.
As Father’s Day approaches this weekend, take some time to thank your father. If your he has already gone on before you, take some time to recall memories of him. Share these memories with your family so that he will live on in your hearts. If you need to forgive your Dad of emotional wounds from the past, do so quickly to free yourself to become the person our heavenly Father created you to be.
There is a popular Proverbs that says “Life and death is in the power of the tongue”. Our words are so powerful they can either create life or destroy it. As a child, growing up, I would hear people say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but talk don’t bother me”. How far this is from the truth! The reality is that bones can heal and mend with medical attention and time. Hurtful and destructive words spoken to people can permanently damage their soul. The tongue is a small member of the body, but is a very powerful force used to give life or to destroy it.
Some may say, “Dot, but these are just words, I don’t really mean to destroy anyone!” Allow me to enlighten you. Words are a creative force. In the Bible, the writer states that God spoke the Universe into existence. “And God said let there be light and there was light”. We as humankind have in our DNA the same creative force, to speak words of encouragement, which bring light and life or to speak negative, hurtful words which creates gloom and doom and destructions.
In my coaching and teaching professions, I have worked with many people both young and old, who have been victimized and wounded by hurtful and negative words spoken by others. The most tragic, is to hear parents, teachers and caretakers, speak to and about children in a demeaning manner. They say things like: “You are a bad boy”, “You are so dumb, you can never do anything right!”, “Why can’t you be like….?”, “You are not as smart as your sister”, “You are too fat”, “You are too skinny”, “You will never amount to anything!”, “You are just like your no-good Daddy”! Even if these negative words are not directly spoken to a person, they are set in motion to have a lasting negative effect on a person’s earthly existence. We must speak life!
Of course, the destructive power of the tongue is just not relegated to the young; marriages are wrecked, business and professional organizations are ruined, and Nations are toppled. And the list goes on and on. The tongue has also been likened to a “burning fire”. A biblical reference quotes, “And the tongue is a fire! It can be compared to the sum total of wickednessand is the most dangerous part of our human body. It corrupts the entire body and is a hellish flame! It releases a fire that can burn throughout the course of human existence”. What a poignant but true description of the tongue’s ability to destroy human lives. As a small spark of fire left unquenched can destroy a great forest, the small tongue, uncontrolled can destroy many lives.
The tongue must be directed to steer clear of harm. Just as the Captain can steer a large vessel to avoid danger in the open seas and ocean, we must make every effort to discipline our spoken words. My mother would say, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, say nothing!”. In others words, if you cannot say anything good and encouraging, shut your mouth! Good advice Mom, for all of us.
To Your Health and Happiness
Dot High-Steed is a Life Coach and Public Speaker who has over 20 years of experience in health/wellness, business and education.
What if you had a bank that credited your account $86,400 at midnight every night, but cleared any remaining amount, that was not used by midnight the next day? This bank will not accept over drafts. Knowing this information about your bank, what decisions would you make regarding this account? Your most likely answers, “I would use it, or invest it; before the strike of 12 on the clock! Well friends we have been given such a bank, it’s called “TIME”. We each have 86,400 seconds each day to use and or invest. The goal is to focus on the important things in life and to live life to the fullest. Investing too much time on frivolous things, is lost time that cannot be regain.
I have personally experienced situations that I consider were poor investments of my time, such as too much television, excessive social media, too much time spent on empty chatter with people. Recently, I made a decision to change my attitude concerning this valuable commodity, time. As stated I have made some poor investments, but as I reflect, I have made some very valuable investments, such as time invested in growing my faith in Christ, investing time in my marriage, parenthood, and my education; earning a Bachelor and Masters Degree.
Here are six tips on how to live life to the fullest:
Take care of your body. Eat healthy when you can, get a good night’s sleep, and exercise. You can accomplish more in life with a healthy body. We only get one earth suit for the journey of life.
Take care of your mind. Stop feeding it a constant stream of junk. A little downtime is alright, but don’t dedicate every free hour you have to watching reality TV, watching gossip blogs, and doing other stuff that requires little mental energy. Even the news can deteriorate your brain with its constant barrage of negativity and biased sensationalism.
Live consciously. We all get into ruts and routines we use to get through the day, but we only have a limited number of days on this earth. Don’t put life on auto-pilot – live consciously. Always ask yourself – why am I doing this? If you wake up too many mornings in a row without a good answer, then it’s time to make a change.
Do work you love. Not everyone gets to play football or is in a musical band for a living, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something you love waking up in the morning for. Keep looking for it, and don’t give up until you find it. Life is too short to loathe Sunday evenings, anticipating the start of the work week. Personally, I can say “I have not worked a day in the past 20 years”, because I have chosen careers I really enjoy doing!
Don’t be jealous. Jealousy is a destructive emotion. It’s also a symptom that you’re not living your life to the fullest – people who are fulfilled can celebrate another person’s success. People who aren’t fulfilled, fill up their emotional void through negative emotions. Jealous is called the green-eyed monster for a reason.
Don’t chase money for the sake of money. Having money is important in life, but only because it gives us the freedom to pursue what we really want in life. Money gives us the freedom to help and bless others.
One of my favorite life mottos, “Success in life is not a destination, Enjoy the Journey”!
Research has revealed that people have more difficulty setting goals than they do accomplishing them once they are set. The hardest part is sitting down and actually thinking about what you want to do with your life. The fact is, many of us have difficulty with finding time just for thinking and planning our lives. A start is to assess where you are, assess your abilities and talents, where you want to go and why you want to go there. To get where you want to go you need a map, a plan! I cannot imagine anyone planning a trip to a distant location, where they have never traveled; without a map! The same holds true for achieving life goals, you need a written plan to navigate you to your desired destinations.
Goals are not just for professional people, but for everyone who dares to dream of a better life. At the start of new year, I want to encourage those of you who do not set goals, make this your year to do so, and write them down. A written plan is crucial to achieving your Big dreams of starting or expanding a business, starting or finishing school, becoming financial free, losing unwanted pounds, becoming healthier and fit or but not least, to become a better person.
Here are 6 easy steps to achieving your goals:
Visualize the end from the beginning. In other words, plan the end before you start. Stephen Covey states:” Begin with the end in mind”.A successful weight loss tip I have personally used to lose pounds and recommend to my clients, is to purchase the smaller size dress or pants they desire to wear (the smaller size may be in your closet), place them where they can be seen each morning. This technique works in conjunction with following a fitness routine and healthy eating plans.
Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. An example of a SMART goal: I will lose 20 pounds of body fat, not muscles, by July 1, 2019. This will be accomplished by incorporating exercise and following a healthy eating plan.
Plan and write goals in 6 areas of life: Spiritual, Relationships, Financial and Career, Physical and Health, Social and Cultural, Mental and Educational. Setting goals in each area will ensure a more balanced life.
Write your goals in the positive instead of the negative. The more positive the goal the more positive the results. Example: (Negative) I will not continue to drink 4 sodas per day. (Positive) I will reduce my soda intake to 1 per day starting January 7th.
Write down your goals, this is the most important step. Written goals create the roadmap to your success. Don’t just write them down and tuck them away. Your goals should be reviewed frequently. The more focused you are on your written goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them.
Your goals can be short term or long term. A short-term goalis a goalyou can achieve in 12 months or less. A long-term goal is something you will target to complete in more than 12 months. Remember, to Dream Big! Shoot for the Stars!
A favorite Bible verse of mine is, “Man plans his ways, but God does the execution”. Note: Man must plan! Your plans should be well thought out and the next step is to write them down.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on this beautiful journey called life. We all can attest to the fact that life can be enjoyable and painful based circumstances and events that comes our way. No one ever told us or promised that we could journey through life without problems, hurts and disappointments. Personally, I cannot count the number of times I have been down and disappointed due to unfortunate and or tragic situations that occurred to me or to a love one. But due to my trust in the Lord, I overcame, I did not go under. I am an overcomer!
If you are reading this article you will agree that life has it’s up and down, “stuff” will happen! But, here is the good news! You can overcome the “stuff”. It would be an illusion to think that we can journey through life without the lows, without the valleys. It’s in the valleys where the soil is very fertile, we can become stronger in the valley. The valleys of life help us appreciate the “mountain top” experiences. We are divinely created and equipped to withstand the storms of life. To quote Dr. Tony Evans,“As an overcomer, always keep this truth in mind: You are not fighting for victory, you are fighting from a position of victory”.
When in the valley, our goal is to stay focus on the “hills”. A favorite biblical quote of mine: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth”. Another, awesome biblical reference, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning”. I am blessed to hear my amazing 86 years old father, who lives in Georgia respond when I ask, “Dad how are you doing?” His response, “I have some good days and I have some bad days” but I am thankful to the “Old Master”, (the Lord).
His comments resonate in my soul a truth that life is a precious gift from the Lord and we are to be thankful and grateful for His “gift”, not just on the “good” days.
Mandisa, a popular contemporary Christian artist, recent song, “You are an Overcomer, puts it this way. “You're an overcomer, stay in the fight ‘til the final round. You're not going under because God is holding you right now you might be down for a moment feeling like it's hopeless; that's when He reminds you that you're an overcomer.
In summary, enjoy your life every moment of everyday! In the movie Forrest Gump, the lead character, Tom Hanks stated it this way “My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” As one who loves eating a moderate amount of chocolate, I can relate! Life is like a box of chocolates, so enjoy every bite.
Dot High-Steed is a Life Coach and Public Speaker who has over 20 years of experience in health/wellness, business and education.
If I had to contrast the love of a Mother to any other earthly love, there is no greater love. As a mother, I have experienced the beauty of carrying my children in my womb, then in arms, on my hip, now and forever; I carry them in my heart. As we approach Mother’s Day this Sunday, let’s remember and honor motherhood. I am so blessed to have my mother still here on this side of heaven. My mother has been and is my ROCK, she helped shaped me to be the strong godly woman I am today, for this I am forever grateful! Thank you, Mom! Love you dearly!
The sacrifice and love of a mother is limitless, mothers go without to provide for their children, we give up our own dreams and careers to provide the care our young children need. Our focus is to become the catalyst to help our children dreams comes true. As mothers, we counsel and advise as our children as they grow older. I remember the many talks and advise my mother has given me. There’s an old rhythm and blues song that reminisce in my mind that says, “Mama said there will be days like this, there will be days like this, my mama said.”
It is a wonderful privilege to be a mother today. I have the joy of being a new grandmother and love watching the mothers of my grandchildren experience the beauty of being new mothers. A miraculous transformation happens when a young woman becomes a mother, she is no longer concerned about herself but the welfare of her children. The mother child bonding starts in the womb and does not end! Yes, as a mother our ultimate goal is to love, nurture and train our children to grow into thriving, healthy independent adults, who will continue our legacies.
A favorite Proverb mine: She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all”.
Your mother’s voice is the first voice you ever hear – even before you are born. Even as a newborn baby, you know your mother and prefer her above anyone else. Cherish your mother and be sure she knows you appreciate everything she does for you. The days are short, love your mother before time is gone. If your mother has already gone on before you, take some time to recall memories of her. Share these memories with your family so that she will live on in your hearts.
Whether you are an Eagles’ fan or not, you have to admire their tenacity and determination to will win Super Bowl LLII. Within a few hours on last Sunday, the Eagles went from the “underdogs” to “Super Eagles Champions, surprising and upsetting Patriots fans. Here is my take on how the Eagles were able to overcome a negative team image and to prove themselves deserving Champions:
1. The team spoke of themselves as a team destined to win the Super Bowl, their quote: “We are a team of destiny”. Until last Sunday night the team had not won a Super Bowl in the history of their franchise! But they had seen themselves as Super Bowl winners several years to prior to last Sunday night. The Eagles demonstrated a success key of visualizing and verbalizing themselves as champions before they were! I believe this was paramount to their Super Bowl victory.
2. The team re-branded themselves to become a strong team of faith and unity. The Philadelphia Eagles had a reputation of being rowdy and uncouth; a bunch of street “thugs” from the city of “Brotherly Love”. Personally, I had not followed too much football during the season since my darling Cowboys did not make the playoffs. On the other hand, my husband, sons and daughters are dire heart Eagles fans; they “bleed green”. My husband is originally from the Philadelphia area and has remained a faithful fan, even in Cowboy territory! I was inspired through the media to witness the strong bond and positive attitude the Eagles had developed through their faith in Christ and their faith /belief in each other.
3. The team went into the playoff without their regular quarterback, he was injured in an earlier game, but this did not deter them from staying focused on their win. The coaches and team members had confidence in the back-up quarter back, that he could lead them to victory. You see the success of any organization or institution cannot be dependent of one or a few people. There is power and strength in numbers! The Eagles team demonstrated the power of synergy. The dictionary defines synergy as collaboration, cooperation, combined effect and concerted effort. “Team work makes the dream work”.
In summary, the Eagles had lost three games leading up to the Super Bowl, a life lesson we can learn or be reminded is that it’s not how we start, it’s how we finish! Keep your eyes on your dreams and goals. There will be obstacles and opportunities to be discouraged or give up! We can all have an “eagle mentality” to fly higher than we can ever image. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint”. Isaiah 40:31. Never, Never Ever Give Up!