Depression and matters of the heart…

“Out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak” Prov. 4:23

I recently read a post on Facebook that was particularly painful to me. A young person was struggling with difficult feelings and harsh criticism. This hit particularly close to home due to my own struggles with depression and my own daily internal dialogue.

I find that I latch easily onto the things that degrade and minimize me. This is a result of my natural propensity to deflect any praise or encouragement. My assumption is usually that praise is not merited except that the other person wants me to do something or they are just being polite. Therefore, to reference the Five Love Languages, my tank stays empty. So, when criticism is given or failure encountered I naturally latch onto that as reality and worthy of particular attention and merit. I see this across all facets of my life from my spiritual walk, thought life, relationships, parenting, friendships, work, weightloss, etc.

As you can imagine this is a DANGEROUS way to live. Several years ago this life approach lead me to a difficult and serious cycle of self inflicted mental/spiritual wounds. Thankfully, my wife discerned my situation and confronted me about where I was. Through that realization and God opening doors professionally to remove me from a difficult work environment and my over commitments at church. I avoided completely alienating friends, family, and church.

Then began the difficult task of restoring my relationship to God, my wife, my kids, and importantly correcting my internal dialogue. I needed to fill my heart with Good and Positive things so my mouth (both internal and physical) would speak abundant life and truth.

As I am currently tracking my weightloss goals I would like to address this impact on my diet change. This has been critical, when I allow negative thoughts to dominate my mind I start loosing ground and lose site of my goal. Negative thought is far more distracting and time consuming to manage and will consume your life if you let it. This negative thought will get you so far off track that you will miss God’s blessings in your life. Realizing that your family genuinely wants you to succeed and help you succeed was key for me, realizing God loves me without strings attached was huge.

I want to leave you with this statement: Accept encouragement and give encouragement!

Lastly, look at the photo!!!! 4 more lbs.!!!!

What’s next?

I haven’t quite met my goal yet, but at 216 lbs I feel like I am well on my way to my goal weight of 210. It has been a long journey since Thanksgiving 2013 through today July 15, 2014. Although, I must say it hasn’t taken as long as I thought. Cravings still come, like my sweet tooth last night, I ate a half bag of animal crackers…. In my mind that was better than eating the miniature candy bar bag in the pantry. Right or wrong these cravings come and go, sometimes I win and sometimes the craving wins. I am just thankful that the cravings win less now than they did 8 months ago!

So, I was thinking today, what comes next? It may be premature to think about this when I haven’t met my first goal, but I feel somehow that I need to look forward. I have come up with a list and I would like to know what you think;

1) Maintain my goal weight (thats an obvious one in my opinion)
2) Do 100 push ups (lofty goal indeed, tried to upload a video…don’t have premium sorry!)
3) Do 100 crunches (pretty sure I couldn’t break 15 right now)
4) Whats your suggestion? Leave it in the comments, I might just give it a shot!

This is a short post for sure, but my arms are still burning from the pushups I did 10 minutes ago. Leave your suggestion, PLEASE!!!!

For Now,

Steven

These are a few of my favorite things…..

This post will be off of my usual track of healthy eating and weight loss. I have been thinking a lot lately about being a father. Not in the since of wanting to have children, I already have 4 beautiful sons (screaming on que as I write that!). I am also not contemplating more children, see previous statement about screaming in the background. More in the since of what does it take to be a true father to my boys. What do I need to pass on to them for success in their lives? A recent Father’s Day message really hit me between the eyes when they said, ” fathers provide identity and purpose.”

This post will not delve into my soul searching on this matter entirely, but more so into my thoughts on what things I do with my boys. Also how I perceive those activities. I find many times that things I am “supposed” to do with my kids are not the things I am naturally drawn to doing. Does this make me a bad father, I don’t think so, but perception of the broader public might be inclined to.

First, how do I determine my favorite things to do with and for my children? I gave this a lot of thought and came to this conclusion, if I don’t mind doing it and it involves a lot of effort on my part it must be at the top of the list! This list is not a reflection of frequency or enjoyment of my children, but a reflection of how much I enjoy doing these things. By extension I find that my kids enjoy doing these activities also!

1) Canoeing – anyone who knows me will understand why this is on top of the list. I don’t get to go nearly often enough, but we always have fun and are completely worn out when we get home.

2) Camping – while we only go once or twice a year it is always a great time.

3) Soccer – I am able to coach one of my kids each season and always have a blast doing it. It has it’s challenges dealing with parents and kids, but the fun wins out in the end. This is something I wish I did more with my boys when it isn’t soccer season.

4) Building trains – Geotrax are awesome. This is something I don’t do nearly often enough, but I always enjoy the boys responses when I do!

5) Wrestling – I enjoy wrestling around on the floor. The challenge is not to hurt anyone or get hurt. It usually ends with me trying to calm them down so they don’t break anyone or anything! Still a good time.

6) Family Vacation – the time, effort, and money are crazy. But I have not regretted a vacation yet. Please make time for this in your schedule and room in your budget. Where you go and what you do isn’t as important as the dedicated time with your family.

7) Hunting – my boys love being able to go. I am not as excited about it, but never regret taking them. Especially when we actually see some wildlife. My oldest son said it best after a difficult and fruitless hunt, “at least we got to see some pretty birds and some squirrels!”

Take some time and think about what you do with your kids and plan some time to start something new! My wife is always looking ahead and planning times to be intentional parents! Love your kids!

For Now,
Steven

My name is bob, my favorite color is clear….

I’m not sure where that quote is from, but I remember from the late 80’s. Seems like it may have come from a Howie Mandel act. This whole discussion is completely irrelevant to my post today, but I would be curious to know the actual source!

The reason for the title is this, I was thinking about the “dieting” world of food. It is generally difficult to find good tasting, nutritious, and healthy “diet food”. It may be more accurate to say the above in reference to CHEAP, healthy food. So we often get stuck on boring, bland, dull food.

I have found in large part that I can, go just about anywhere and find something somewhat healthy to eat. Some places are harder than others and many times those choices become mundane. For example the fast food place that has a token salad choice that is pre-prepared sitting in a fridge, yum! So what do you do, eat subway every single day of your life? Bring your lunch every day? Both are excellent choices, especially bringing your lunch, subway gets old and fast.

I say go for authentic Mexican food. There are many places in just about every city you go these days. If you stay away from the beef, cheese, and tortillas almost everything else is grilled meat and vegetables and they season the food very well. So, if you are in a rut and need a break try out your local Mexican fare! Japanese is also a good choice, but is not usually as accessible or inexpensive. I would caution against eating Mexican every day unless you are making your own, it is just a good way to vary your eating experience while keeping your choices healthy! Enjoy eating and being healthy!

For now,
Steven