Seven Reasons to Give Thanks

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Blessings


Thanksgiving Day is a day of rest and time to reflect on our many blessings. I offer some food for thought on seven reasons to give thanks. May your day be full of joy as you contemplate the many reasons for an attitude of gratitude in your life!

The seven reasons (health, home, family, friendships, work, worship, and country), and these are not in any particular order of importance, are listed below with some reasons why they should be worthy of your gratitude.

Health – I always say “Your health is your wealth” when I try to explain to someone why they may need to consider a certain regimen in their health care. It is a much better quality of life when you can maintain health rather than work at trying to regain it! When you are sick, you may not feel well, lack energy and focus, feel anxious or depressed, have pain or limited mobility, and much more. When you recover, it is easy to feel a sense of gratitude for the renewed energy, etc. It is more difficult to remember to be thankful when you are feeling well but cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one way to help you stay healthy. Being grateful and giving thanks actually help boost your immune system and give you a sense of well-being, happiness, and joy. Your life is fuller! So give thanks for your good health! (And if your health is not so good give thanks anyway that you recognize this fact and then do all that is in your power to improve it.)

Home – Home is where the heart is! Your home is your haven. It is where you can rest, relax, enjoy family and friends, and so much more. Your home is your compass. It is the center of your existence. Without a home, you have no focal point from which to proceed. Your home environment helps to shape who you are. If you feel safe at home, you can proceed into the world with confidence. If your home provides shelter and a warm and loving atmosphere, you can thrive in whatever you do. I hope you can feel gratitude for your home and all that it provides for you.

Family – Your family provides the relationships that you need for your existence. No man is an island! Those relationships nurture you through love, affirmation, nurturing, mentoring, and other facets of relationship that are the glue of your being. These core aspects of relationship form who you are and prepare you for life outside of the home, in the work place and in society in general. May you find love, peace, and joy in your home and in your family and may you recognize them through gratitude in the way that you respond in your family relationships.

Friendships – Your friendships are the “icing on the cake” of interacting in the world. They are an added bond that brings you to a fuller realization of your worth. Positive interactions in these relationships help to propel you to generosity of heart that is so needed in the world. May your friendships bring you to the awareness of gratitude for those relationships in your life.

Work – While work can be hard, and at times can be a source of stress, work is actually a good thing. It provides for financial security. Work also brings structure to your life and satisfaction in a job well done and adds dignity and a sense of self worth. Just ask anyone who has lost their job and they will talk about depression, anxiety, and loss of self esteem. Through your work you not only help yourself and your dependents, you also provide goods and services that are needed in your community. Your work benefits others and this also brings wholeness to your life. So why wouldn’t you be grateful for employment?

Worship – We live in a country where we have freedom of religion! That is our sacred right! We were created with the instinct and attraction to the Divine so we can offer gratitude that we recognize this innate need and that we have the freedom to express that part of our being. Thank You, Lord God Almighty!

Country – We live in the greatest country in the world. We have freedom, security, wealth, and justice. While our county is not perfect, it was founded on sound principles and we are blessed to have a Constitution that affirms that we are endowed with inalienable rights. Gratitude is in order here!

May God bless you and may God bless America!

Feel free to post your reasons below for gratitude this Thanksgiving Day!


Overcoming Obstacles to Exercise

February 20, 2013

Air Cav infantry Soldiers compete in company challenge

We’ve almost completed two months of this new year! If you’re not on track with your exercise goals, here are some tips that you might consider.

If you aren’t reaching your goals, it could be because the goals are set too high, you can’t physically meet them, you aren’t emotionally prepared, you aren’t prioritizing your time, or you simply don’t want to succeed. There might also be other reasons or excuses. First determine which category you fall under. Really examine your motivations. Try to be as honest with yourself as you can. You might also want to solicit input from others. How do they see you in relation to your goals?

What to do if you have set your goals too high?

  • This is a common problem. At the beginning of the year, enthusiasm and hope tend to be high. We might overestimate our motivation for change.
  • Parceling goals into smaller sub-goals such as amount of time spent in exercise per day helps improve the odds of success. Try starting with only a few minutes, maybe only 5 minutes in the beginning, especially if you are physically de-conditioned or have physical challenges such as arthritis.
  • Stick with the same sub-goal until you have measured success before progressing on to more challenge. Success breeds success, so if you can feel some measure of success, this motivates you to continue.

What to do if you are physically unable to meet your exercise goals?

  • Determine what your physical challenges are and find ways around them.
  • Swimming, biking, and walking are easier on the joints than jogging.
  • If you have muscle weakness, you might try strengthening exercises. Even though these are not aerobic, the increase in muscle mass gained will help you burn more calories and lose weight. You will also feel more toned.
  • Warm up and cool down are always important to avoid injuries.
  • For more specific physical limitations, consult you healthcare provider to be sure that the exercise you want to attempt is safe.

What if you are emotionally unprepared?

  • There are a variety of reasons that this might be the case: anxiety, depression, stress, etc. Get medical treatment, if these emotions are robbing you of your ability to function in your daily activities.
  • Be aware that exercise helps improve your emotions so having that resolve to “just do it” is needed. For this, you might want to get an exercise partner that can help you stay motivated and encouraged.

What if you aren’t prioritizing your time?

  • There are many reasons for this, the most common is over-scheduling your day or over-committing yourself. It’s okay to say “no” when it is detrimental to your health!
  • For some it is easier to schedule the most important things earlier in the day to be sure that those get completed and scheduling the less important things later in the day when energy levels tend to be lower. Find what works for you and implement that in your scheduling.
  • There are many good books available that deal with time management. Coaching is also helpful.

What if you simply don’t want to succeed?

  • Knowing yourself is key here!
  • A common reason for self-sabotage is fear of success. Is this your reason? What are you afraid of? Dig deep and be honest with yourself. You might also want to solicit the help of someone that you trust and that you feel knows you well. Or maybe an impartial person who can help you to sort through your various reasons for lack of success.
  • Sometimes working with another person who is not succeeding is good because you can see the negative things in the other person that you tend to avoid seeing in yourself. As you reflect on these and are helping the other person overcome their challenges, you can begin to see how those challenges are also holding you back.

These are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you can think of more! Feel free to post your ideas below or to contact me with your questions.

You CAN succeed!

Anatomy and Physiology of A Nutrition Label

August 6, 2012

The anatomy of a nutrition label is fairly obvious – serving size, calories per serving, nutritional components with percent of daily allotment for each, and ingredients. The physiology (or what the label can do for you) is a little more tricky depending on your nutritional needs. While not all-inclusive, this blog will discuss some examples of how to get the most useful information for your specific needs from a nutrition label.

So how does a nutrition label work for you? Besides listing the serving size, nutritional components in terms of percent of daily allowance, and ingredients, the label can be a guide to helping you plan your diet. Most nutrition labels are based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Some will also list other daily allowances. You will need to determine your calorie allowance and adjust the serving size to meet your needs. You may also need to take into account specific medical conditions and the nutritional needs for those conditions when considering your meal choices.

Nutrition Label

BBQ Chicken California Pizza

The above is the label for a California Pizza (BBQ Chicken) and has daily values based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet but also gives some information for a 2,500 calorie diet. Additional nutritional information can be calculated as a fraction or percent of the 2,000 calorie diet.

I will use the example of a 1,500 calorie diet to evaluate the nutritional value of this slice of pizza. Since 1,500 is three-fourths or 75% of 2,000, the nutritional components in this label for fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber need to be multiplied by 0.75 to get the correct values for a 1,500 calorie diet.

If your diet is based on 1,500 calories per day, your intake of fat should be less than 48.75 grams of fat. How was this number derived? Since 1,500/2,000 = 0.75, you need to multiply 0.75 by 65 grams to get the number of grams of fat for your diet. This amount is 48.75. Since one serving of this pizza is only 10 grams it is not a bad choice for a meal since it will be 20.5% of your fat allotment for the day (10/48.75 = 20.5). Be aware, though, that even though this serving only provides 20.5% of your fat calories, it is still a high fat food because 90 calories of the 310 calories (90/310) or 29% is fat! Additionally, the saturated fat from one slice would be a little on the high side. On a 1,500 calorie diet, your allotment of saturated fat would be 0.75 x 20 or 15 grams per day. This serving provides one-third of your daily allotment of saturated fat (5/15 = 1/3) which means you would need to be more careful about eating any other sources of fat with this meal! Saturated fat needs to be modified beyond this amount in someone with heart disease or other circulatory conditions, so for those persons this slice of pizza might not be a good meal choice.

You should note that this slice of pizza only has 1 gram of fiber which is extremely low if you want to meet your dietary guidelines. On a 1,500 calorie diet you need to eat 0.75 x 25 or 18.75 grams of fiber per day. This slice only provides 1/18.75 or 0.5% of you daily need! Fiber is an important nutrient for persons with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastrointestinal conditions.

Sodium is an important nutritional parameter to monitor especially if you have high blood pressure. Many doctors recommend less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which is not calorie-dependent. This slice of pizza has 810 milligrams or 34% (810/2,400) of your daily allotment of sodium! This is a poor choice for a person with hypertension!

Additional things to notice on this food label include the vitamins A and C. These are in very low amounts not providing much nutritional benefit. The amount of calcium in this slice of pizza is not bad at 25% of the daily allowance! Please note that children and pregnant and breastfeeding women need to eat higher amounts of calcium than those listed on the label. Also, most individuals eating less than 2,000 calories per day will need vitamin supplementation.

Vitamins and minerals such as calcium are based on a minimum daily requirement independent of the number of calories consumed so these values can be used directly from the label without additional calculations when meal planning.

These are just some examples of how a nutrition label can assist you in making food choices that are in line with your nutritional needs based on your specific health and medical conditions.

There are many sources on the Internet that can help you calculate your dietary needs. Seek the advice of your primary care provider for your nutrition prescription and a registered dietician or nutritionist to help you make food choices that are in line with that prescription!

Feel free to leave comments or questions. I will answer some questions below or if they require a lengthy response, I will address them in a future blog.

To your health!

The Four Rs of Balance

March 22, 2012

March 1, 2012

The Four Rs for Balance

Balance in life can be measured or segmented in many ways. My formula for balance involves the  four Rs. These are relationship, rest, recreation, and refreshment. See the diagram below for how these lend to balance. These are areas of the self that need our utmost attention. As these areas start to come into balance, other areas such as work, finances, etc. can be addressed, although commonly they are addressed simultaneously. This blog only addresses the self and balance.

I place relationship in the center of the triangle and make it the largest parameter because I think it is the most important. By relationship, I mean the primary relationship in our life which is God. We are all hard-wired for God and when that relationship is not on solid ground, all other relationships and areas of our life are out of balance. Everything we are and do flows from our relationship with God. Relationship with God is necessary for:
  • the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit which are vital to our character and development of virtue (I will not delve into this further because it would take a whole blog topic to cover how our relationship with God is vital to our survival.)

The next most important area for balance which is at the top of the triangle is rest. Without rest, things quickly fall apart. Recreation and refreshment have about equal weight in terms of balance. By recreation, I mean time spent recharging our batteries as well as time spent on exercise, so really two areas for the price of one R. With refreshment, I mean the food that sustains us, our nourishment. So these are the four Rs. Now I’ll delve into three Rs that make up the points of the triangle.

Rest is vital for many reasons. Rest of at least 7 hours per day of quality sleep is necessary for:

  • clarity of thought and mood stabilization
  • adequate energy levels
  • proper metabolism (Lack of quality sleep increases the risk of obesity and many other health problems.)

Recreation in the form of relaxation:

  • recharges our batteries
  • adds to the quality of life
  • reduces stress
  • increases satisfaction in other areas of our life

Recreation in the form of exercise improves many areas of our health:

  • improves brain function – alertness, concentration, and cognition
  • improves quality of sleep
  • stabilizes mood, reducing anxiety and depression
  • improves energy, stamina, flexibility, balance, strength, and coordination
  • improves circulation and heart health
  • strengthens lungs
  • improves digestion and bowel function
  • improves glucose metabolism
  • helps maintain a healthy weight
  • improves longevity

Refreshment in the form of nutrition is vital to health. Good nutrition:

  • maintain healthy weight
  • supplies energy
  • supports immune system
  • aids digestion and bowel function

Information on dietary guidelines can be found at

For a BMI calculator to determine your ideal body weight, please go to

Lack of balance with the four Rs can lead to problems with health, relationships, employment, etc. I will discuss how to regain balance in these four areas in my blog next month.

Please feel free to post your questions and comments below.


I will be writing a short blog post monthly beginning on March 1st. Please leave your suggestions below on topics that you would like to see covered on this blog.

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Please note: Information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and is not meant to treat any health conditions or to be a substitute for seeking care from your personal healthcare provider.

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