“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."
~Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT)
Happy Wednesday !
I am sure when you read this passage of scripture you get the “the love the Lord your God” part and the “love your neighbor" part but did you notice that this scripture challenges us to love ourselves?
I know that is not how this passage is typically taught. I am often challenged on this statement. The argument most often is that we do not need to worry about loving ourselves because humans are inherently selfish. But here's the thing: selfishness is NOT self-love so when I say that this scripture is teaching us an important principle about self-love, I am not talking about being selfish.
Here is what I believe: Jesus wants us to love others in the same way that He does - an agape kind of love. From what I have studied, agape love is not about putting everyone else's needs ahead of yours to the point of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Nor is agape love is not about stroking egos, making people feel good or giving them everything they want (and feeling guilty when you don't or can't).
Agape love is the love that Christ demonstrated towards us, a love that prioritizes what is good for the person and their development, not what feels good. He does not always give us what we want and as my mom is famous for saying "He prioritizes our character over our comfort." If that is true, (I see countless examples in my life and I am sure you do too), then loving others properly - in a way that furthers God's plan for their life - requires that I learn to love myself in the same way. You see, we can only give what we have. If I have an unhealthy view of self-love (i.e. selfishness or completely selfless), the love I give to others will be unhealthy too.
Just like Algebra must precede Calculus, you must learn to love yourself before you can properly love others. That means learning to do what is in your ultimate best interest even when it does not feel good or is inconvenient. When you can do that, you will love others in that way and:
You see, having goals, speaking up for yourself, and knowing what you need to do to be successful is not selfish and always pushing your goals to the side for others is not healthy. In Christian circles, it is easy to deem selflessness as the ultimate form of kindness, but that is not what Jesus modeled for us.
So I challenge the assertion that in order to be a "good Christian" we have to run around like a chicken with our heads cut off meeting other people's needs and always sacrificing our own. Now, hopefully, you do too.
Again, I'm not here to throw shade. I am on a journey with God too. You pray for me and I'll pray for you.
Until next time,
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Short on time but want to get an effective workout in? Try this...
After a 3-5 minute warm-up, complete 3 Rounds of the following:
Now, finish it with 10 minute walk/jog.
You're done! Nice Work!
Holiday weekend cookouts and reunions are an inevitable part of life. Let's face it, you can't live in a bubble!
But you may be wondering, "how can I be social and engage with family and friends AND avoid ruining my diet?" I'm glad you asked!
Coach Tam's Top 10 Cookout and Reunion Survival Tips:
1. Bring a “sippy cup”. Show up to the cookout with a 32-oz. water bottle to sip on throughout the gathering. It will help you feel full and keep you hydrated.
2. Think before you drink. When you fix your plate, continue to sip on the water and skip the sweet tea, soda, etc. You'll save 150-400 calories per cup just by making this swap.
3. Use a salad plate. This will force you to make trade off decisions. “I only have room for 3 or 4 things on my plate…do I really want that?”
4. Have only a spoonful of potato salad or macaroni salad. Mayonnaise-based salads are high in fat and calories.
5. Skip the chips. Forego munchies like chips, pretzels, crackers, and any dips that may accompany them. Instead grill corn, peppers, zucchini, squash, asparagus, peppers to get a good dose of healthy carbs. If they are not on the menu, offer to bring them!
6. Go lean. Lean protein - fish, shrimp, chicken breast, turkey burgers, and/or 90% lean ground hamburgers - when seasoned well, taste good and are very filling.
7. Dress it up. Rather than leave your protein naked, pile on lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, salsa, relish. If you are a cheese lover, use a half of a slice of low fat cheese.
8. Eat your Wheaties. Skipping meals only hurts us in the long run, either by slowing our metabolism or leading you to overeat. Eat a healthy breakfast/snack before the cookout so that you aren't starving when you get there!
9. Practice portion control. Try to limit lean meats to the size of the palm of your hand and fill the rest of your plate with healthy veggies.
10. Enjoy fruit for dessert. Berries and watermelon make great summertime treats. If the dessert table is too enticing to resist, choose ONE item, take the smallest piece, walk away and savor every bite!
Remember, you cannot always control the temptations that will arise, but you can always choose how you will handle them.
Enjoy your time with family and friends!
Until next time,
Struggling to find time for exercise and healthy eating?
If that is true for you, you could be saying YES when you really need to say NO.
YES to constantly working past your scheduled hours (even though in your heart of hearts you know that you'll never "catch up").
YES to friends who sabotage your healthy eating plans by buying your favorite treats or making you feel guilty for making better decisions.
YES to your kid's emergencies that really amount to poor planning on their part and enabling on your part.
YES to Wednesday bible study, Thursday choir rehearsal, serving on the Usher Board, running errands throughout the week and serving all day Sunday every Sunday.
It's time to start checking your T.I.R.E.S. before you say YES to yourself and others.
Time: Is the time that I am being asked to do something open on my calendar? Hint: Before you can truly answer that, answer this: Do I have an up-to-date calendar with all of my work, family, ministry, and personal commitments for the month on them?
Interest: Am truly interested in being a part of this? Or am I tempted to respond out of obligation AKA people-pleasing behavior?
Relevance: How does the ask relate to my God given purpose, goals and aspirations? Does it bring me closer to the things that are truly important to me or take me further away? Have I consulted God on if this is the "highest and best use" of my time? Or should something else trump this?
Energy: Given all that I have on my plate do I or will I have the mental, emotional, and physical energy needed to fulfill this ask? Hint: In order to answer this question accurately, you must have an up-to-date calendar AND awareness of the mental, emotional, and physical impacts of participating in those activities.
Skill set: Does what I am being asked to do align with my strengths? Or is it going to take me twice as long to get this done because it is not my strong-suit? Do the developmental opportunities associated with the activity feel right intuitively (i.e. Are these things that God has been speaking to me about directly or through others)?
Until next time,
While many would have you believe that losing the weight and leaving it is about finding the perfect diet and exercise solution, I know better...
The extra pounds we carry have less to do with our taste buds and laziness and more to do with what is eating away at our Soul...
Feeling stuck in a job that we hate...
Living in a house that doesn’t feel like a home...
Having an exciting vision for the future but no motivation to pursue it...
Trying desperately to hold everything together on the outside while it feels like everything is falling apart on the inside...
No, it’s not that at the core of our being we don’t want to eat better or move more, it’s that our soul has been arrested and we don't feel empowered to break free...no matter how spiritual we seem to be.
Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be this way. There is an answer and it’s not what you think.
The answer is to invest your time.
The investment I am talking about doesn't just pertain to improving the physical body but also on identifying the real root of the problem and strengthening yourself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
When you invest in bringing your spirit, soul, and body into alignment, everything else falls into place.
Until next time,
“Are you losing weight?” You would think that those words would be music to any overweight person’s ears. Often it is quite the opposite.
Believe it or not I often purposely avoid sharing my decision to lose weight with you and it’s not because I don’t need the support. It’s because I am afraid - afraid of failure and at the same time afraid of success.
You see, when you have a long history of failed diet attempts like I do, attention is scary. It means I cease to be invisible. Yes, on one hand I like attention, but at the same time, I hate it because it means that I can no longer hide.
It’s like somehow the layer of fat covers up all of the sadness, guilt, and shame I sometimes feel. Sadness because I don’t feel good enough. Guilt because I allowed myself to get to this point. Shame because as strong as I claim to be, I can’t seem to find the courage and strength to turn this situation around and be consistent. I feel like a big fat failure and somehow, someway, carrying this protective layer allows me to hide that.
So please don’t make a big deal out of this! Recognize my progress but don’t give me too much attention. If you do I will subconsciously start sabotaging my progress so that I can become invisible again. You’re right it doesn’t make sense. But it doesn’t have too. It just needs to feel safe.
Again, don’t go on and on when you notice that I’ve lost a few pounds. If I say something to you about what I am trying to do, support and encourage me in a low-key way. Better yet, ask how you can help and listen, really listen. Don’t assume that what you would want is what I would want. What you think is helping may be hurting. Then pray.
Pray that I will not allow the voices in my head to win again. The ones that say this time will be like all the rest. Pray that this time, I win.
When Exercise Isn’t Enough
After 30 days of turning my life upside down to get in workouts 6 days a week, I just KNEW that I had lost at least 5 – 8 pounds. I wasn’t looking for a quick fix. I just wanted some encouragement. I took a deep breath and jumped on the scale. I was horrified by what I saw. Not one single pound. I was heartbroken.
At this point the “see, I told you this wouldn’t work” voice kicked in. I was reminded of all the other times I had tried and failed. According to the voice, this was just another notch on the belt. I was a hopeless cause. Being overweight was just meant to be.
Unfortunately, this voice and I had a long history. When I applied for jobs and didn’t get them, tried new things and struggled to “get it”, went to functions and didn’t immediately fit in, my self-critic instantly went to work. And sadly, more often than I would like to admit, I gave in.
But this time something welled up within me. I wanted this to work! I had come too far and given up too much! I will not quit! I would not be held hostage by my failures. I could do this! I just needed to face the music. My diet was NOT working.
If you are working out and not seeing results, your diet is the culprit. Learn how diet and exercise work together here:
Until next time,
coach tam's Blog
40-something who loves food, fitness, and fun!