Friday, September 27, 2013

Calorie Counter

I am skeptical of calorie counting.  I understand the premise, but doubt the practicality.

The premise makes sense. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume.  Numerous programs will tell you how many calories a person of your weight and gender should consume.  Simply count your calories, make sure you eat less than you are supposed to eat.  Then you will lose weight.

I skeptical because I don't know how to figure out how many calories I actually consume.  Some things are simple.  I eat some instant oatmeal for breakfast and the box says the packet is 130 calories.  I eat a can of soup for lunch and the can says it is 200 calories.  The problem is that most items are not so easy.  When I eat pizza for lunch at the local restaurant, I don't know how many calories are in it.  It's kind of hard to check a chart.  There are too many variables such as the size of the slice and ingredients.  Harder yet is dinner.  My wife makes great succulent dinners but there are numerous ingredients in them.  How many calories are there?  Plus, how much am I eating?  I don't know.  Therefore, the calorie counting does not work.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to lose 25 pounds.  I ate smaller portions, less desserts, and less snacking, combined with a return to running.  Initially, I made progress.  Within three months, I lost 15 pounds.

But then the weight lose stalled.  For months, I stayed the same weight.  The good news - I was not gaining weight.  The bad news - I was not losing any more weight.  I remained 10 pounds short of my goal.

Last week, my wife talked me into trying a calorie counting app.  For many foods, I can scan the bar code and it calculates the calories.  I can review the ingredients, scan them, and estimate how much I am eating.  It figures out the calories.  If there is no bar code, like for my pizza, it searches a database and I can choose a close match.  The app keeps track of how many calories I am allowed to eat, how many I have eaten, and how many I have left for the day.  If I run, I tell it how many calories I ran and it adjusts my allowable intake. 

In many ways, it seems easy and it may work.  But, I am still skeptical.  Does it work?

I have only been using for one week, so I don't know for sure.  But, in one week, I have lost 3 pounds.  I finally got past the 15 pound mark.  Despite my skepticism, I think I will keep using the calorie counter . . . At least for a while.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harmonious Living

With eight or nine people living in our house, including a two year old, a four year old, and two nine year olds, there is a lot of conflict in our house.  As a parent, I am always trying to douse a fire and maintain peace.

This Sunday, our pastor, Vince MacDonald, preached from 1 Peter 3:8.  The first few words jumped off the page.  "All of you, be harmonious" (NASB).  This is what I want my kids to get.  Of course, I can probably use some of it too, especially after a long day at work or dealing with unruly kids.

So, how do we live harmoniously? 

I equate it with some other concepts I have been trying to instill in my children, such as "peacemaking" and simply getting along with each other.  To do this, they should often just ignore the behavior of someone else.  "He is calling me names," one child yells.  "He's taking my toy," another accuses.  "She's singing too loud," someone complains.  Yes, the child who is hitting, taking toys, singing too loud,  or whatever is wrong.  But, you can still make peace and get along.  How?  By ignoring it.  Just ignore them and do something else.  It's not that big of a deal.  Just let it go.  Plus, once you ignore them, they will get tired of calling you names, playing with your toy, and singing loudly.

I had a chance to live this out the other night and I used it as an example for my children.  We were at a rodeo and our seats were behind a fence.  I wanted some good action pictures, but could not get them because of the fence.  So, I moved up above the fence.  I carefully chose my spot between some bleachers; I would not obstruct someone's view.  After taking a few shots, another photographer stepped right in front of me.  He rudely got in my way and the way of other people.

This guy is rude.  He's a jerk.  I was here first.  I am the polite guy; I'm not in anyone's way.  I have the right to be here and he should get out of my way.  I could nicely approach him and ask him to move.  If I am nice, he might get out of my way.  He may also continue to be a jerk and cause a scene. 

But, I can be a peacemaker.  I can choose peace.  I simply walked down the path to another section.  I stood between the bleachers and took my pictures.  No reason to confront the jerk.  No reason to risk a scene.  Just move.  That is peacemaking.

Often, we just need to forget about our rights, or being right, and just ignore a problem.  Be a big enough person to solve it without conflict.  Make peace.  This is what I am trying to teach my children.  If I can learn it too, then we all might be peacemakers and live harmoniously.  After all, blessed are the peacemakers.