Julius’ life dramatically changed after he received “The Daniel Plan” book as a gift. By learning to incorporate the five Essentials: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends into his life, he experienced life-changing transformation. His story is an inspiration to all who feel stuck, controlled by old habits and an unhealthy lifestyle.
A Precious Gift
In January 2014, two friends who attend Saddleback Church gave me “The Daniel Plan” book. At the beginning of my journey, I weighed 240 pounds and was not concerned with eating a healthy diet or working out. I started reading the book and learning about the five Essentials of the program, which are Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends. I also visited Saddleback Church and listened to the “Transformed” message series Pastor Rick Warren was teaching. This series was based on Romans 12:2, which made a strong impression on my faith and me in God, was strengthened.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
I realized deep inside that I was abusing the sacred body that God had given me. It was time to make a change.
In the spring, I joined an athletic club and started taking classes such as cycling and a cardio/weight training class. I was greatly encouraged and motivated by my trainers, who checked on my progress and gave me tips and advice. It was so important for me to surround myself with friends who held me accountable during my health journey. I also changed my diet. This was difficult in the beginning because of my cravings for junk food, rice and soda. However, this is where the Faith essential really helped me. When I prayed for strength or for temptations to be removed, my prayers were answered. I was also blessed to receive tremendous support in living a healthy lifestyle from my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jonas.
New Lifestyle Embraced
Through God’s grace The Daniel Plan has positively impacted my life. The Daniel Plan has rekindled my faith in God. I am now strong and confident in the Lord and determined as a child of God to strive for excellence in all that I do.
I have an unwavering desire to live a healthy lifestyle, by eating healthy foods and staying active. I know this is a continuous journey, but I firmly believe that with God and the people God has placed in my life, I will be able to overcome any obstacles that may arise.
I have lost over 50 pounds so far!
As a 10-year cancer survivor, I am grateful for the second chance God has given me. I believe that God led me to read The Daniel Plan so that I would begin taking care of his health.
I am grateful for the transformation that has occurred in my life. I plan to continue relying on the 5 Essentials of The Daniel Plan to help me balance my life and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
By Mareya Ibrahim
You get to work. No time to leave for lunch. Stomach starts to rumble. Get distracted. Feel incredibly lethargic all of a sudden. Start to yawn. Chug a bunch of coffee or energy drinks. Rub your eyes. Desperation hits. Grab a bag of chips from the vending machine. Reach into your desk drawer and fish out a bag of year-old Halloween candy you pillaged from your kids and proceed to go into a caffeinated sugar and salt coma in the middle of your manager’s meeting, then fall face first into your co-worker’s lunch. Or maybe, just bite his head off and chew slowly.
The hunger beast emerges.
How does the vicious cycle begin? The idea of three ‘square meals’ a day was engrained in us from day one. Snacks were something that would sabotage your diet and consisted of a lot of fried, sugary stuff. The real scenario plays out like this…you skip a meal, like, say breakfast or lunch, the snacking goes awry and your hunger dominoes like a pack of rabid wolves that will do anything for survival, including picking off of carcasses, donuts, fries and any other office meeting remnants or infinite shelf life, processed items that might present themselves from behind a vending window with lots of buttons. Willpower is not your wingman that shoulders you on to good health when a sugar-and-fried-food-fest feels a lot more like a party.
The body loves routine in what it eats and when. It wants to know it will receive energy on a regular basis to operate, just like a car. If you let the tank run dry and keep trying to drive, you’ll probably have to hitch a ride home no matter where you are. It just won’t go anymore. Plus, it takes a lot more energy to get it running in tip top shape again and don’t even think about giving it the cheap gas, unless you want to gunk up the engine.
White flour, refined sweeteners, chemical additives and processed foods are perfectly designed to gunk up your engine.
So, here’s my secret. The key to staving off hunger and managing blood sugar is to eat better, more often. Food affects our mood, energy level, how we handle stress, our ability to sleep, how we deal with relationships, and ultimately, governs our decisions. Have you ever seen the shirt that says ‘I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry?’
Eating regularly seems like such an easy concept but one that’s not always given priority in our go, go, go lives. As a health coach, I hear it all the time. “I forgot to eat.” “I don’t always have time to go grocery shopping.” “I’m on a diet, so I’m skipping lunch.” The fact is, your body needs you to eat right, regularly. Not eating right will come back to bite you in the derriere. You won’t just gain fat, you’ll also drag down your system, and just like that car, you will break down.
You’re not only encouraged to eat often, choosing a combination of protein with slow burning carbohydrates and essential fatty acids can actually stoke your metabolic fire and help you burn more calories, even in your sleep. Clean foods + smaller portions at regular intervals = higher metabolism. If that doesn’t sound like a license to eat, I don’t know what more a fit foodie could ask for!
Quick meal ideas can help keep the hunger beast from rearing its ugly head. Eat a few each day:
- Nitrate-free turkey breast, arugula and tomato rolled in a whole grain tortilla
- Oatmeal made with old fashioned oats, flax meal, fresh fruit and unsweetened nut milk
- Sushi hand rolls made with toasted seaweed, vinegar-seasoned brown rice, avocado, seared tuna and cucumber
Smart snacks can also help you avoid a food emergency. Eat a couple each day:
- Protein shake made with high quality protein powder, spinach, coconut water and berries
- Sprouted toast topped with almond butter and sliced apples
- Homemade trail mix with unsalted cashews, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips
- Bell pepper, Jicama and cucumber sticks with avocado hummus
- Crunchy chickpeas, baked with cumin (see recipe below)
A little bit of planning goes a long way. Make sure you’ve got some meals prepped and snacks packed before heading into the week. I like to keep a bag in my car that travels with me, full of transportable snacks like raw cashews, packs of wild-caught albacore tuna, coconut water, low sugar bars and apples with individual packets of nut butter so that I’m never seduced by the blinking lights of the fast food drive through. I figure as long as I’m armed, I’ll never have to succumb to a food 911.
Try out this great, high protein snack that satiates your need to crunch.
Crunchy Cumin and Chili Chickpeas
4 cups garbanzo beans, canned, rinsed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground Chili powder
1/2-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients until evenly coated.
3. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Package in individual portion sizes in paper bags to keep crunchy.
Mareya Ibrahim is one of The Daniel Plan Signature Chefs and is best know as The Fit Foodie. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, television chef, author and inventor. She is also the CEO and founder of Grow Green Industries, Inc. and co-creator of eatCleaner, the premier lifestyle destination for fit food information. Her book “The Clean Eating Handbook” is touted as the ‘go-to’ guide for anyone looking to eat cleaner and get leaner. She is a featured chef on ABC’s Emmy-nominated cooking show Recipe Rehab, eHow.com, Livestrong and the food expert for San Diego’s Channel 6 News. She is also the creator of the Cleaner Plate Club – the only clean, balanced nutrition meal prep program that follows her proven formula for fat and weight loss.
By Dr. Mark Hyman
First, you have to prioritize sleep! I used to think that “MD” stood for “medical deity” and meant I didn’t have to follow the same sleep rules as every other human being. I stayed up late working long shifts in the emergency room, ignoring the demands of my body to rest. It wasn’t until I learned that shift work (like I did in when I worked in the emergency room) leads to a shortened life expectancy that I quit.
Unfortunately, our lives are infiltrated with stimuli – and we keep stimulated until the moment we get into bed. This is not the way to get restful sleep. Frankly, it’s no wonder we can’t sleep well when we eat late dinners, answer emails, surf the Internet, or do work, and then get right into bed and watch the evening news about all the disaster, pain, and suffering in the world.
Instead we must take a little “holiday” in the two hours before bed. Creating a sleep ritual – a special set of little things you do before bed to help ready your system physically and psychologically for sleep – can guide your body into a deep, healing sleep.
We all live with a little bit of post-traumatic stress syndrome (or, I should say, traumatic stress syndrome, because for many of us there is nothing “post” about it). Much research has been done on the effects of stress and traumatic experiences and images on sleep. If you follow my guidelines for restoring normal sleep below, your post-traumatic stress may become a thing of the past.
Here’s how restore your natural sleep rhythm. It may take weeks or months, but using these tools in a coordinated way will eventually reset your biological rhythms:
1. Practice the regular rhythms of sleep – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
2. Use your bed for sleep and romance only – not reading or television
3. Create an aesthetic environment that encourages sleep – use serene and restful colors and eliminate clutter and distraction
4. Create total darkness and quiet – consider using eyeshades and earplugs
5. Avoid caffeine – it may seem to help you stay awake but actually makes your sleep worse
6. Avoid alcohol – it helps you get to sleep but causes interruptions in sleep and poor-quality sleep
7. Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes daily – the light from the sun enters your eyes and triggers your brain to release specific chemicals and hormones like melatonin that are vital to healthy sleep, mood, and aging
8. Eat no later than three hours before bed – eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep
9. Don’t exercise vigorously after dinner – it excites the body and makes it more difficult to get to sleep
10. Write your worries down – one hour before bed, write down the things that are causing you anxiety and make plans for what you might have to do the next day to reduce your worry. It will free up your mind and energy to move into deep and restful sleep
11. Take a hot salt/soda aromatherapy bath – raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep. A hot bath also relaxes your muscles and reduces tension physically and psychically
12. By adding one-and-a-half to one cup of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and one-and-a-half to one cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to your bath, you will gain the benefits of magnesium absorbed through your skin and the alkaline-balancing effects of the baking soda, both of which help with sleep
13. Get a massage or stretch before bed – this helps relax the body making it easier to fall asleep
14. Warm your middle – this raises your core temperature and helps trigger the proper chemistry
for sleep. Either a hot water bottle, heating pad, or warm body can do the trick
15. Avoid medications that interfere with sleep – these include sedatives (these are used to treat insomnia, but ultimately lead to dependence and disruption of normal sleep rhythms and architecture), antihistamines, stimulants, cold medication, steroids, and headache medication that contains caffeine (such as Fioricet)
16. Use herbal therapies – try passionflower, or 320 mg to 480 mg of valerian (valeriana officinalis) root extract standardized to 0.2 percent valerenic acid one hour before bed
17. Take 200 to 400 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate before bed – this relaxes the nervous system and muscles.
18. Other supplements and herbs can be helpful in getting some shuteye – try calcium, theanine (an amino acid from green tea), GABA, 5-HTP, melatonin, and magnolia.
19. Try one to three mg of melatonin at night – melatonin helps stabilize your sleep rhythms.
20. Get a relaxation, meditation or guided imagery CD – any of these may help you get to sleep.
If you are still having trouble sleeping, you should be evaluated by your doctor for other problems that can interfere with sleep, including food sensitivities, thyroid problems, menopause, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heavy metal toxicity, and, of course, stress and depression. Also, consider getting tested for a sleep disorder.
BY RICK WARREN
“Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1 MSG)
The Daniel Plan integrates that which we tend to separate: food, friends, fitness, focus, and faith. Tackling the five essentials together actually makes them easier.
The Bible says to “take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him” (Romans 12:1 MSG).
In prayerful movements, our faith and fitness connect and strengthen one another, reminding us that in God, “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NIV). He is the giver of life and breath.
When you take a walk, think of what it means to walk with God. When you get up to take a break from sitting, make a mental list of your blessings, or pray for the people in your home or workplace. These prayerful movements will help you focus your everyday activities on God and what he has done for you through the Daniel Plan.
Talk It Over
- What are three prayerful movements that you will engage in today? There’s no wrong way to do this — any movement is the right one!
- What do you understand more fully or notice for the first time about yourself as you engage in prayerful movement?
- What do you understand more fully or notice for the first time about God as you engage in prayerful movement?
Pastor Rick Warren's radio teaching and daily devotional, Daily Hope, is offered across America and designed for your daily quiet time. Love, learn, and LIVE the Word everyday with Daily Hope! Subscribe to the free Daily Hope Devotional or listen to today’s radio broadcast!
Skip the fast food taco joints and make
tastier, healthier tacos at home. Tacos are the perfect use for leftover
shredded roast chicken. You could also use thinly sliced steak, small grilled
shrimp, even seasoned and cooked ground beef or turkey. Tacos are so versatile!
GF - 8 tacos
organic corn tortillas
finely shredded green or red cabbage (or dark lettuce leaves)
2 large roma
tomatoes, diced or slice thin
sliced into thin wedges
shredded roast chicken breast
shredded jalapeno-jack cheese (optional)
large limes cut into quarters
½ cup Creamy
Chipotle-Lime Sauce (page xx)
tortillas for about 30 seconds in the microwave wrapped in wax paper or in an
oven-safe tortilla warmer, until they are soft and pliable.
each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of sauce. Top with cabbage, tomato, avocado,
chicken, cheese, and cilantro. Squeeze lime over the top.
tacos sing with this fresh spicy sauce. It works well with any taco meat or
Makes ½ cup
¼ cup plain
organic or vegan mayonnaise
Kosher or sea salt
ground chipotle powder (or cayenne)
yogurt through chipotle powder in a small bowl until smooth.
on The Daniel Plan book, The Daniel Plan Cookbook: 40
Days to a Healthier Life is a beautiful four-color
cookbook filled with more than 100 delicious, Daniel Plan-approved recipes that
offer an abundance of options to bring nutritious cooking into your kitchen to
help transform your health in the best way imaginable—from the inside out.
(From The Daniel Plan – 40 Days to a Healthier Life)
If God’s responsibility is to provide life-changing truth, Holy Spirit power, and custom-made experiences to help you change and grow, then what is your responsibility for personal change? You must develop three spiritual habits that will deepen your faith and develop your spiritual strength.
Choose to Fill Your Mind with God’s Word Every Day
Change is a matter of choice. We can’t just passively sit around doing nothing and expect our lives to get better. We must make healthy choices to use the resources God gives us, and the first healthy choice is to carefully choose what we think about.
It is often said, “You’re not what you think you are, but what you think about, you are!” Did you get that? If you are going to change your life, you must first change the way you think—your perceptions about God, about yourself, about life, about food, about health, and about everything else. Change always begins with new thinking. We must change the patterns of our mind. (We will look at this more in chapter 6 on Focus.)
The biblical word for personal change is repentance. Most people completely misunderstand the term. The popular conception of repentance is “Stop sinning! Quit doing bad things!” But the word actually means to change your mind. It comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means to change your perspective, think in a different way, make a mental U-turn. Of course, if you change your mind, your behavior will follow, but repentance starts in the mind, not in actions.
Choosing to change your perspective and what you think about is your first responsibility in getting healthy. The Bible teaches that the way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change any behavior, you must start by challenging your unhealthy perspective on that subject. For example, if you have difficulty controlling your anger, don’t start with your actions; instead, begin with identifying and changing the thoughts that prompt you to anger. Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are not transformed by an act of our will, but by repentance—seeing everything from God’s perspective.
Imagine that you have a speedboat with an autopilot that is set to head east across a lake, and you suddenly decide that you want to go west, in the exact opposite direction. What would you do?
You would have two options: The hardest way would be to grab the steering wheel and physically force the boat to go in the opposite direction than it was programmed to go. By sheer willpower you could force the boat to make a 180-degree turn. As long as you held onto the steering wheel, the boat would head in the new direction. But the entire time, you would feel the tension in your arms and body because you were forcing the autopilot to go against its programmed nature. You would feel stressed and uptight, and eventually you would get tired and let go of the steering wheel. At that point, the boat’s autopilot would immediately return to heading east.
The simpler and easier way to change the direction of the boat is to change the autopilot. Then it will naturally head in the direction you want it to go.
For a similar reason, this is why diets, quit-smoking plans, and other self-help efforts based on willpower eventually fail. The entire time you are forcing yourself to change, you are under tension because your old thought patterns are unconsciously telling you to keep doing what you’ve always done. We get tired of doing what feels “unnatural” and soon quit exercising, or start smoking again, or return to our bad habits and destructive ways of relating to others. We are victims of our own autopilots that we have programmed by repetition.
The good news is that God can change your mental autopilot far faster than you can. He specializes in giving you a new mind-set. That new mind-set will change the way you feel, which will change the way you act. I pointed out earlier that Jesus said the truth sets you free. When you begin to renew your mind with God’s Word, and you replace old lies, false ideas, and misconceptions with the truth, it will set you free from the habits and hang-ups that limit your life. Your actions will naturally begin to align with your new attitudes.
Choose to Depend on God’s Spirit Every Moment
Everyone who trusts Christ to save them receives his Holy Spirit in their lives, but few people experience the power of the Holy Spirit because they still depend on their own power instead. Learning to depend on God’s Spirit to guide you, strengthen you, empower you, and use you is the second habit you must develop for spiritual strength.
Jesus gives a beautiful illustration of this in John 15. He compares our spiritual life to a grapevine and its branches. Jesus said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me” (John 15:5 CEV).
No grape branch can produce fruit without staying connected to the main vine, and you cannot produce spiritual fruit while disconnected from God’s Spirit. The fruitfulness of your life will depend on how dependent you are on the Holy Spirit. Attempting to bear fruit (and making positive changes) on your own power is as foolish as tying apples on the branches of a dead apple tree. From a distance, it might look as if the tree is alive and fruitful, but on closer inspection, people would realize the fruitfulness is fake.
So how do you develop a vibrant, life-giving relationship to God? The same way you develop any other relationship! It takes time, it takes talking, and it takes trust. To develop a friendship with God, you have to be in continual conversation with him, listening to him through his Word and talking with him in prayer. If you are not talking to God throughout your day, you certainly aren’t depending on him. Prayer is far more than a once-a-day quiet time or a memorized blessing before each meal. God wants to have a running conversation with you!
Choose to Trust God in Every Circumstance
You cannot control everything that happens to you. In fact, most of what happens around you is completely out of your control. But you do have control over two important factors: You control your response, and you control how much you choose to trust God, regardless of your circumstances.
Viktor Frankl, a Jew, was sent to one of the Nazi death camps of World War II. In his powerful classic, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl wrote that while he was a prisoner at Dachau, the guards stripped him of everything he had. They took his identity. They took his wife and family. They took his clothes. They even took his wedding ring. But, he said, there was one thing that no one could take from him: his freedom to choose his response and attitude. He wrote, “They offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human the freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” No guards could take that away from Viktor Frankl. It was his choice.
None of us knows what will happen in the future, but we can control how we react and respond. We choose whether something will make us bitter or better. God gave us that freedom, and he is watching how we respond to events that don’t go our way. What matters in life is not so much what happens to us, but what happens in us.
Circumstances are the third tool God uses to change us, grow us, and make us more like Christ. Knowing this keeps us from becoming resentful or bitter. Romans 5:3–4 says, “We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope” (NCV).
We want you to remember a very important truth: God is not waiting for you to get physically healthy or spiritually mature before he starts loving you or enjoying you. He loves you right now, and he will be cheering you on at every stage of your growth and development. He is not waiting for you to cross the finish line first. He is smiling at you as you run the race.
For more, check out The Daniel Plan – 40 Days to a Healthier Life. The Daniel Plan is an innovative approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle where people get better together by optimizing their health in the key areas of faith, food, fitness, focus and friends. Here’s the secret sauce: The Daniel Plan is designed to be done in a supportive community relying on God’s instruction for living. Our research has revealed that people getting healthy together lose twice as much weight as those who do it alone. The Daniel Plan shows you how the powerful combination of faith, fitness, food, focus, and friends will change your health forever from the inside out.
Are you having trouble sticking with The Daniel Plan? Don't beat yourself up. The Daniel Plan is designed to help you rewire your brain so you can get thinner, smarter, and happier. But don't expect it to be as easy as flipping a switch.
Did you know that your brain is hardwired to resist change? The human brain likes to conserve energy and doing the same-old same-old doesn't require as much energy as trying something new and different. No wonder it can be so hard to change lifelong habits!
Be patient. It takes time to overwrite old neural pathways with new ones. But you can do it! The Daniel Plan is here to help you along the way. Here are 7 tips to help retrain your brain so you can continue making progress.
- Don't try to change everything at once. If you have come to the decision that you want to make changes in your life, you probably want them to happen NOW! But after nearly 30 years of helping patients navigate the change process, I have learned that taking a gradual approach is the surest way to success.
So many people try to change all at once, but this almost inevitably invites disappointment and failure. You don't have to change dozens of behaviors at once. Start with a few vital behaviors—the ones that will have the biggest immediate impact—and go from there.
- Believe you can do it. If you don't believe in yourself, you will never achieve your goals. Lean on others in your small group for support and encouragement. When others believe in you, it can help you learn to believe in yourself.
- Focus on your successes. Rather than dwelling on the habits you haven't managed to change yet, focus on the positive steps you have made. Are you drinking more water? Terrific! Are you eating more veggies? Excellent! Are you walking with your small group? Fantastic! Celebrating even the smallest successes can help keep you motivated.
- Don't swap one bad habit for another. If you've got a sweet tooth, you may think that kicking your sugar habit is the ultimate goal. So instead of chomping on chocolate in the afternoon, you start sipping a diet soda or a café latte. Yes, it isn't chocolate, but it still isn't good for your brain or your weight-loss efforts. I see this so many times with my patients who quit one bad habit only to acquire another one in its place.
Some people even turn to illicit drugs. At the 2010 meeting of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, researchers presented evidence that some people who have bariatric surgery replace their food addiction with drug or alcohol addiction. A survey of post-bariatric surgery patients in substance abuse programs revealed that 85 percent of them put some of the blame on "addiction substitution" and 75 percent thought "unresolved psychological issues" played a role in their substance abuse.
This doesn't surprise me because, as I like to say, stapling your stomach may be working on the wrong organ. There may be underlying biological, psychological, social, or spiritual causes for your overeating. If you get rid of your problem foods or have surgery to shrink your stomach but do NOT address these underlying problems, you won't make any progress. You will simply look for other ways to self-medicate. To be your best self, you need to kick your bad habits and replace them with healthy habits.
- Get back on track—setbacks don't mean failure. The road to change is not a one-way street. The steps to change are not static. I frequently tell my patients that their journey will be like going up and down a staircase. They will go up several steps, feel like they've made progress, then go back down a few steps when difficult situations arise. They will make several more steps of progress, then slip back a few, but usually not as many as before. Usually, the slope of progress is in an upward, positive direction.
If you aren't expecting to encounter setbacks, it can derail your efforts. Let's say you've been doing a great job sticking to your daily calorie limit and have lost 5 pounds after a few weeks. But then you go to your parents' house for the holidays where you overindulge and end up gaining 2 pounds in a week. Then you feel like you've blown it, so you continue overeating after you return home and then you give up entirely on changing.
Understanding that setbacks are part of the process and planning how to deal with them makes them easier to handle. So you ate more than you should during the holidays and gained a couple pounds—just get back onto your program the next day. Remember, losing weight is not a race, and faster is not necessarily better. Slow and steady is the healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off.
- If you hit a plateau, change things up a bit. Hitting a plateau can be one of the most frustrating challenges in your weight-loss journey. A plateau is when your scale seems to get stuck on a certain number and just won't budge even though you haven't veered away from your new brain healthy habits. Rest assured that this is a common scenario.
First, ask yourself, is it really a plateau? Even if the number on the scale is stuck, your body composition might still be improving. So don't automatically get discouraged if the number on the scale isn't changing fast enough for you. We often get so hung up on a specific number that we lose sight of our real goal, which is to look slimmer, feel happier and more energetic, and be smarter.
If you really have hit a plateau, then it is probably time to add more intensity to your workout routine or adjust your calorie intake.
- Remember that change never stops. Our bodies and lives are in a constant state of change. Marriages, divorces, job transfers, pregnancies, injuries, illnesses, and hormonal transitions are just some of the many things that keep us in flux.
Because of this, as you reach your initial goals, you may decide that you want even greater results. Or unexpected things might happen in your life that make you reevaluate your original benchmarks and downshift your expectations. Just know that with every change that comes into your life, you have the power to be in control of the way you handle that change.
by Rick Warren
“We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV)
Here’s the secret to temptation: Don’t fight it. Just refocus. Whatever you resist persists.
Did you know that in the Bible, not once are you told to resist temptation? We are told to resist the Devil, and that’s a whole different issue. But the key to overcoming temptation is not to push back. It’s to change your focus.
Whatever gets your attention gets you. The battle for sin always starts in the mind. That’s why the Bible says in Psalm 119:6, “Thinking about your commands will keep me from doing some foolish thing” (CEV). Why? Because if you’re thinking about God’s truth, you’re not thinking about the dumb stuff you could be doing.
Have you ever looked over a cliff and felt like you were being drawn to jump off? Not like a temptation, but like there was this force that was pulling you. It’s because whatever you focus on pulls you.
It’s true in every single area of life — good or bad. If you focus on godly things, it’s going to pull you that direction. If you focus on the stuff that’s at the movies and in magazines, it’s going to pull you that direction. Whatever you focus on gets your attention. Whatever gets your attention is going to get you.
The key is to just change your mind.
Temptation always follows a predictable pattern: attention, arousal, and action. Your mind gets hooked, your mind kicks in, and then you act on it.
So you don’t fight a temptation; you just turn your mind to something else. “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV).
The thing is, we’re not very good at capturing every thought and turning it to Christ, because it takes lots of practice. You can’t always control your circumstances, and you can’t even always control the way you feel. But you can control what you think about. That’s always your choice. And if you change the way you think, it changes the way you feel, and that will change the way you act.
Talk It Over
- What do you spend your time thinking about? Where does your mind wander when you’re not focused on something specific?
- How can you train yourself so that it is more natural for you to focus on God’s Word and truths instead of the things of this world?
Pastor Rick Warren's radio teaching and daily devotional, Daily Hope, is offered across America and designed for your daily quiet time. Love, learn, and LIVE the Word everyday with Daily Hope! Subscribe to the free Daily Hope Devotional or listen to today’s radio broadcast!
By Daniel Plan Signature Chef Jenny Ross
This smoothie, from Jenny’s new cookbook Healing with Raw Foods, balances plant-based proteins, amino acids, and essential minerals in a fortifying liquid meal to be enjoyed alone or alongside other foods. Incorporated for endurance, the chia seeds add sweetness akin to poppy seeds to this rich, creamy smoothie.
6 ounces fresh berries or frozen wild blueberries
1 cup raw apple juice or coconut water
½ cup young Thai coconut flesh or 2 tablespoons coconut butter
1 medium-size pear, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon maca root
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (optional, for energy)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)
In a blender, combine the berries, raw apple juice, Thai coconut flesh, pear, chia seeds, maca root, raw cacao powder and vanilla paste. Blend until well combined. Enjoy within 1 hour.
Note: Because the chia seeds also serve as a thickener, this recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and enjoyed as a yogurt in a parfait.
Jenny Ross is the internationally recognized chef, author, educator and force behind Jenny Ross Living Foods, including the raw food restaurants 118 Degrees; the popular Raw Basics detox meal programs and nationwide grocery product line 118 Degrees. She has been an early pioneer of the raw movement, coaching clients about the healing power of living foods, while motivating them to adopt a more vibrant, healthy lifestyle. She has a degree in holistic nutrition and certificates as a health and life coach. Be sure to check out Jenny new cookbook Healing with Raw Foods.
BY MARK HYMAN, MD
It’s time to change the way you think about fat. For 30 years well-meaning diet gurus have preached that eating fat makes you fat.
I’m here to tell you that fat, in and of itself, is not what is making you fat. Instead, it’s eating too much of the wrong kinds of fat. After all, all fats are not created equal. But, if you are like 90 percent of Americans, you are eating the wrong kind of fat most of the time. Time for an oil change!
What is Fat?
Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. The average person is between 15 and 30 percent fat! Of all of the types of fats in our diets, the body only REALLY needs two—omega-3 and omega-6.
What is an omega fat? The omega numbers (in this case 3 and 6) refer to where the hydrogen atom joins the fat molecule. Remember, the name is just basic chemistry lingo. What is important is to understand the impact of different fats on the body.
The higher-quality the fat, the better your body will function. That’s because the body uses the fat you eat to build cell walls. You have more than 100 trillion cells in your body, and every single one of them needs high-quality fat.
How do you know if your cells are getting the fats they need? Your body sends signals when it’s not getting enough good fats. It’s up to you to recognize the warning signs:
- Dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin
- Soft, cracked, or brittle nails
- Hard earwax
- Tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or torso
- Achy, stiff joints
Why does the type of fat matter? Building your body from the inside out is just like building a house. You can frame the house with the cheapest stuff you can find or you can invest in quality materials that are going to be energy-efficient and last a long time.
Which Fats to Eat and Which to Avoid
If you want to settle for cheap and easy, stick with a diet of processed foods. Most processed foods are made with poor-quality omega-6 fats because they are abundant and cheap. Plus, fat makes food taste good and improves its texture.
Take a look at the ingredients of your favorite packaged food. If the list includes oils made from corn, soy, or safflower you are getting a sub-par fat. When the body puts these cheap fats to work, the cell walls are also sub-par. That means instead of flexible and responsive, cell walls are stiff and rigid. The more rigid the wall, the slower the cell functions and the more vulnerable it is to inflammation.
To ensure your body has the fats it needs to construct high-quality cell walls, you need to eat more omega-3 fats. For starters, cell walls made from omega-3 fats are flexible, allowing cells to respond more quickly to messages. Secondly, these “good” fats help the body churn out prostaglandins, hormones that put the kibosh on inflammation. The best places to find omega-3 fats include cold-water fish, organic canola oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and sea vegetables.
Your body is designed to run on high-quality fats. Scientists suspect that early humans ate almost equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats (back then most people got their omega-6 fats from seeds and nuts). But, as people began to refine oils from plants, the ratio became skewed more toward omega-6.
As a result of fats being out of balance in the modern diet, our bodies are more vulnerable to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. After all, when the human diet contained a balanced number of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, heart disease was almost nonexistent. Now cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the developed world.
The more omega-3 fats you eat, the easier your body cools itself. A cool body is a less inflamed body. And inflammation is at the root of nearly every chronic disease, especially those impacting the brain and the heart.
Of all the body parts dependent on high-quality fat, the brain is uniquely vulnerable. That’s because the brain is made up of 60 percent fat, the biggest portion of which is an omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA for short). Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
After the brain, it’s the heart that will thank you for eating more omega-3s .(4) The heart is a direct beneficiary of omega-3 fats. They tamp down cholesterol by reducing levels of bad fats (triglycerides). Meanwhile, they raise levels of good fats (HDL) in the blood. Part of their magic is that omega-3 fats make blood more slippery, which reduces the likelihood of artery disease. (5)
Beyond the heart and brain, eating the right fat also helps you shed fat. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. Ironically, it’s not eating fat that makes you gain weight it’s eating the WRONG types of fat.
3 Ways to Change Your Oil
The process of rebuilding all the walls of your cells can take up to a year, so there’s no time to lose. Here are three ways to change your body’s oil:
- Eat more wild or sustainably raised cold-water fish. Aim for two servings a week. The best sources of omega-3s are wild salmon, sardines, herring, or small halibut. Of course, everyone is concerned about the sustainability and safety of fish. It’s important to know where your catch comes from.
- Buy omega-3 rich eggs. These are one of the few animal products that are low in toxins and high in quality fats that balance blood sugar. These eggs supply the body with DHA and don’t raise your cholesterol; just the opposite. Enjoy up to eight of these eggs a week.
- For good measure, take an omega-3 supplement twice a day with breakfast and dinner. Look for a reputable supplement maker that certifies its products are free of mercury and other contaminants (for more information, see The Healthy Living Store). Choose a supplement with 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fats (a ratio of roughly 300 EPA and 200 DHA is ideal).
Of course, it is understandable that people who try to lose weight do so by eliminating fat from their diets. But remember there is no such thing as a healthy fat-free diet. Fat is essential for good health. The key is knowing how to maximize good fats and reduce bad fats to keep your body protected and to rebuild itself every day from the inside out!
Mark Hyman, MD believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. He is a practicing family physician, an eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine and a medical editor of The Huffington Post.