Heart Choices: 2009-03-01

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How To Get Rid of Belly Fat


Getting rid of belly fat was not a concern for me until ...after menopause.

I realize that many women who read Heart Choices are much too young to know anything about belly fat after menopause. But I guess it's similar to belly fat after pregnancy. When you look down and see that extra roll of fat, it's not very pretty. And by the way, this is not a picture of me.

So, is there a secret formula to melt away the belly fat?

If I do 100 sit ups every day will that take care of the problem?

How about those pills that promise to be the magic bullet?

I hate to be the one to tell you this but ...it still comes down to the basics. You've got to cut back on the amount of calories you consume and get moving and ...get some exercise.

There are many reasons people gain weight in their belly. Here are a few:
  • Heredity

  • Hormonal changes

  • Too many calories

  • Not enough physical activity

  • Aging related weight gain

As you get older, your metabolism slows down and so the amount of fat in your body increases. And I can tell you the fat distribution seems to shift to the abdomen.

I always remember having a thin waist when I was younger but now I really have to work at keeping it. If I gain weight, guess where it goes? Right to my belly and ...I hate that.

Having excess belly fat isn't good for your health either. It increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some cancers.


OK, so what's the best way to lose belly fat?


  • Reduce the amount of calories you consume: Now, I'm talking about eating a healthy diet and not starving yourself. Increase the complex carbohydrates in your diet. This would include whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This adds fiber and creates a feeling of fullness. Lean meat, fish and poultry can be added. Consume less simple sugars. Junk food and soda contains lots of sugar. So, skip the sweets and fast food.


  • Regular exercise that includes cardio: This is the best way to lose weight, including belly fat. Going for a daily walk is one of the best exercises and can be done anywhere without any special equipment. So, no excuses. If it's raining, walk in the mall. (But you must keep moving and not stop to shop.)


  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Spot reducing doesn't work! But in addition to your cardio, firming up your abdominal muscles will help flatten your belly. On another post, I'll have to share the sit up routine I learned at Sheryl Cooper's dance studio. She's Alice Cooper, the rock star's wife. I continue to do this routine just about every day.


  • Strength training: Some research shows that incorporating strength training in your exercise routine can be helpful. As women age, we lose muscle. Less muscle accounts for why we burn fewer calories than men do. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and ...the more you can eat without gaining weight. Doesn't that sound good?

As you can see, there's no easy way to melt away that fat around the belly and keep it off without healthy eating and exercise.

I keep saying this but it's about adopting a healthy lifestyle. And it's got to be one you can live with for the long term. After all, it's about taking care of your body so you have the energy and stamina to do the things God has called you to do.

So, let's get going girls (and guys too)!

I'm linking to Sandy at God Speaks Today on this Fitness Friday. Last week, I got all messed up on my days and forgot to write a post. Hmm ...is it the age thing? By the way, Sandy wrote about the importance of rest. After all, it's important to have balance. Did you know that sleep is another key to losing weight? Be sure to check out Sandy's blog and make sure she's awake!

I hope you'll add your comments and let me know if you've had success with getting rid of belly fat ... or not. I think we can all help each other.

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Thankful Thursday ~ Wisdom



The theme for this Thankful Thursday is wisdom. Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage is our host today. You can link there to find other participating blogs.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10

I am so thankful that I live in a time and place where I am free to seek knowledge and wisdom. In some parts of the world, this isn't so.

I have so many books and Bibles at my disposal. And I love to read. But there's such a difference between knowledge and wisdom.

I can read as many books as I like but ...do I apply what I learn?

Wisdom takes time and experience. You may read to your child but it's take time and through experience that they begin to understand and apply this knowledge.

I'm the same way. I have a thankful list in regards to wisdom. I'm thankful for:

  • My early morning quiet time when I can read my Bible and pray seeking God's wisdom.
  • How my mom used to read to me as a child and helped me develop a love for reading
  • My Sunday morning small group Bible study
  • The Truth Project that our group is studying about understanding our world from a biblical worldview
  • Jill of Forever n Ever n Always who has gained such wisdom and loves to share it with others
  • Scott (who is Jill's husband). On his blog called Opening His Word Together, his Bible teachings are recorded. I've been so blessed by listening to Hebrews. I've gained such wisdom as I'm learning to apply what I learn.
  • The years of attending and being a children's leader in Bible Study Fellowship. They were invaluable in my understanding, growth and applying God's Word.

I am still a work in progress. After all, I want to be a life long learner. But in addition to gaining knowledge, I really want to gain wisdom so ...I will apply what I learn.

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Say it Foward ~ Meet Beth


Mom Blogs


I was recently thrilled to be the recipient of Say it Forward by Loni of Writing Canvas. Loni and I became instant friends because of her precious daughter Jessica. You see, Jessica had emergency open heart surgery not long ago.

As most of you already know, I was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery many years ago when I was seven years old. I know, that was sooo long ago!

When Loni wrote about Jessica, her words tugged at my heart and ...I simply had to add my comments. We established an instant connection. Since that time I've followed her blog and I'm getting to know her better each day. Thank you Loni!

I know that Say it Forward is supposed to be posted on Friday. But I have a conflict!

Friday to me means Fitness Friday. That's the day I link up to Sandy at God Speaks Today.

So, I hope nobody will mind but ...I have a special Say it Forward to give out to one of my favorite loyal commenters on Heart Choices.


Her name is Beth and she lives in North Carolina. Her blog is called I'm Heading Towards My Destiny. Many of you may already know Beth because she's a great commenter. She's all over the blogosphere. BTW, is that a word?

Beth describes herself as a worshipper, intercessor, daughter, wife, mother and friend. I can say a loud amen to the friend part because even though I've never met Beth face to face ...I love her like a friend I've known for years. People who don't blog may not be able to understand our bloggy relationships. But I've been so blessed to meet so many wonderful new friends like Beth.

After 15 years of marriage, Beth and her husband adopted their little girl who is now three and a half years old. I'm sure she keeps them plenty busy. Her photos look adorable! You can read about Beth's experience with the adoption here.

Beth has such a sense of humor. Every Monday she participates in something called Not Me Monday. She writes about some of the things she did that week that she'd rather not admit. I love how honest she is and I've found myself laughing out loud with her.

She and her husband have a mountain home where they can go with their daughter to get away for a time. Many of us were asking for more photos of this place and so she posted these gorgeous pictures. I can just imagine sitting on her porch with a cup of hot coffee checking out the views and having a girl chat with Beth; can't you?

Beth has also lost lots of weight and even posted her before and after pictures on her blog. She did a terrific job of losing the weight and looks fabulous. I love that she is health conscious too; a woman after my own heart. Wink, wink ...Heart Choices!

Beth participates in Thankful Thursday, Word Filled Wednesday, Fearless Friday and Then Sings My Soul Saturday. Every day of the week, I can always find something on her blog that is entertaining, thoughtful, insightful or down right funny!

I hope you'll take some time to visit Beth at I'm Heading Towards My Destiny.
I know you won't be disappointed.


So sweet Beth, don't forget to post your Loyal Commenter badge.
Congratulations!
You definitely deserve it!
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In Other Words Tuesday


Today I am joining in with "In Other Words Tuesdays". Miriam Pauline's Monologue is hosting this week so you can link there to find other participating blogs.


The quote for this week is:

"God does not speak simply to be heard. He speaks to be obeyed. Obedience is the Alpha and Omega of discerning God's voice."

by Priscilla Schirer from Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks.

In order to obey we must first listen. That reminds me. I just so happened to write a blog post yesterday asking you to consider how well you listen. You can link here to read that one, if you like.

Do you listen to God?

In order to listen, you need to read what He says. And you can find it in His Word, the Bible.

Many people are intimidated to read the Bible. I've heard some use the excuse that they have no Bible training or that they let the preachers tell them what it says.

But if you truly are a Christian, you already have the Holy Spirit living within you. It's like being plugged into the power supply; a supernatural power. In your 'self' you may not be able to understand, but the Holy Spirit will help you and interpret for you.

We may each be at different levels of understanding in our spiritual growth. But even new believers need to start somewhere.

Read what the Bible says about listening and obeying God.

In John14:21 Jesus says,

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who
loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

And Jesus continues in verse 23-24,

"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching."

Isn't it interesting to read that love and obedience go together?

When you talk to your children, you want them to listen. But what if all they did was listen and never obeyed? You talk to them and teach them because you love them.

God speaks to us through His Word. As we read and listen, if we love Him we will obey. He has our best interests at heart. Just like you have your children's best interests at heart.

It's a love relationship. I know that I can trust Him because He loves me.

I have to admit that I don't always obey. But my heart's desire is to grow in my relationship with the Lord. And the more I come to know Him, the more I learn to trust Him so then I want to listen ...and obey.

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Do You Really Listen?


Do you really listen?

Or do you find that you're already thinking of your response when someone else is talking?

Communication is a two way street. Expressing your thoughts, feelings and opinions is ...only one half of the equation.


The other half is listening and understanding what others communicate to you.

Making the choice to actively listen may take time, focus and conscious effort. But it can be such a gift to another, especially in this busy world in which we live.

Do you like to share your opinions? Do you think you're an expert and others should listen to you? How do others perceive you?
Do you find yourself tuning out someone while they're talking to you if they're ...taking too long?
Children can often take time to express themselves. But oh, how well worth the effort of listening to a child's heart! It can help to let them know how important they are to you.

Spending time in activities while actively listening with your entire being ...can be so rewarding.

Older people sometimes take longer to express themselves. It may be hard to have the patience to sit and listen. But it can truly be a gift to make the effort and ...actively listen.

Do you remember the time when you first fell in love? Wasn't it so easy to focus all of your attention on each other as you listened to each word?

Here are a few tips to help develop the skill of actively listening:

  • Pay attention: Give the other person your undivided attention and look at them.
  • Show that you're paying attention: Your body language says much to the other person.
  • Give feedback: Ask questions to clarify. Paraphrase back what they are saying so you aren't distorting it with your own assumptions.
  • Don't interrupt: Allow them to finish.
  • Respond to what's being said: Be open and honest in your response but be respectful and courteous.

I really believe that listening to another can be such a gift of your heart.

If we spoke less and listened more, maybe our relationships would actually improve.

I'm sure that many of you may have more suggestions or even frustrations when trying to listen to others. I would love to get your feedback.

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