Category Archives: decisions

Simple changes promote healthy living

(Slipping a dollar bill into my exercise jar each time I work up a sweat provides impetus to regular workouts. When the jar is full, I decide on and purchase something new for my healthy lifestyle journey!) 

Making changes is often hard, but sometimes some simple changes we implement can have a profound effect on our well-being. In our First Place 4 Health meeting recently, I encouraged participants to think of three such changes they’d make during this twelve-week session. As they shared, I jotted them down on the board and later compiled the list. Here’s what we came up with:

·         Keep a food journal/diary

·         Eat on time

·         Remove junk food

·         Consume more fruits and veggies

·         Get plenty of rest

·         Prepare food ahead

·         Eat less processed food

·         Engage in regular exercise

·         Drink more water

·         Eat out less

·         Spend more time in prayer and Bible study

·         Remove (or lessen) stressors

·         Make a menu

·         Avoid buffets/fried foods

·         No late-night eating

·         Stay in touch with a friend/accountability partner


Weight loss is never a matter of the stomach only; in First Place, we realize we’re made up of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components, and each has a bearing on our wellness journey. Seeking balance under the lordship of Jesus Christ can provide real and lasting victory! 

As I looked over this list, I noticed these four life entities are addressed. I think I’ll print these reminders out and place them on my refrigerator!










Filed under Bible study, calorie reduction, Christian weight loss programs, decision-making, decisions, empowerment, fellowship with God, First Place 4 Health, freedom, God's purposes, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, physical fitness, prayer, right perspective, struggles, victory, Wisdom

The crawling swimmer – what an inspiration!

Went with my husband to the YMCA this evening; he hit the pool while I was doing my thing in the gym. When I came to the pool area, showered off my sweat and donned my bathing suit, he was in the whirlpool, but got out to swim again with me.

While catching my breath between laps, I noticed a very overweight middle-aged guy on hands and knees, crawling across the concrete surrounding the pool. Determined not to stare, I swam another lap. As I got back, I noticed he was reaching up and opening a certain door, through which he disappeared.

“Wonder what that was all about?” I asked my husband. He said the man didn’t have good use of his legs. He had seen him crawl out of the room (obviously a specially-equipped dressing area) and laboriously make his way to the end of the pool, where the life guard helped him with a special seat that lowered the man into the water. Once in the pool, he was able to do a form of swimming unassisted.

Chlorinated water was dripping from my wet head, but that wasn’t what burned hot in my eyes at that moment. I realized I was getting a great visual of someone who was going all out – doing whatever it took (no matter how little that may seem to others) – to get as fit as possible. The next time I want to whine (externally or internally) about what’s involved in my fitness routine, I hope this man’s “just do it” determination will quickly come to mind, giving me the needed impetus to follow his powerful example.

Just some thoughts from Slimvictory:)


Filed under abilities, contentment, decisions, example, mindset, perspective, victory

How to NOT Talk About Someone’s Weight Loss

Below, you’ll see a link to a blog written by a fellow WordPress blogger, “Goodbye, Mr. 300”. I thought it was so incredibly well-written, I had to share it with you. Whether you are trying to lose weight, are a maintainer, or are just watching from the sidelines, I think you’ll enjoy it!

Smiles from Slimvictory:)

How to NOT Talk About Someone’s Weight Loss.

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Filed under calorie reduction, decisions, food, healthy eating, making changes

When does 100 equal 10? (small changes matter)

You never know when you’re going to hear a brief tidbit of info that can be of significant importance. Recently, our local YMCA offered a program on healthy lifestyles with a focus on weight loss. As the dietician shared, I wrote down her info, much of which I already knew. One thing, however, stood out.

If we are overweight, most of us want to lose it quickly without much being required in the way of change, right? But if we’re honest, we could probably look back and see that our weight gain didn’t happen over a three-month period, or even a year’s time. You might notice that you added ten pounds every year or two, which didn’t make a noticeable change because it was so gradual (“Hmmm, these old pants are out of style anyway, I’ll go find some new ones that fit better”). Years ago, I came across a couple of my maternity outfits, and decided to try them on. To my chagrin, I couldn’t even zip up the back of the dress, and the pants wouldn’t fit over my thighs!

Ten pounds annually over a four to  five-year period…the simple math shows that to be a noticeable weight gain. But the truth is (as the dietician pointed out), we can easily lose ten pounds a year without any significant lifestyle change. How is that possible? Two ways: Cut 100 calories a day out of your food consumption or burn 100 extra calories daily through exercise (depending on your current weight that could be as little as a 15-minute walk at a decent pace).

100 calories is just about nothing! Serving sizes and calorie counts vary by brand, but here’s a rough estimate of items that are about 100 calories each: a piece of toast with spread, eight ounces of regular soft drink, ¾ ounce of a chocolate candy bar, two hot wings, ¼ cup ice cream, or (gasp!) ⅓ of a slice of pepperoni pizza.

So, since 3,500 calories equals a pound, if we do the math, subtracting this amount from our daily calorie intake will allow us to lose around 10 pounds in a year, or…adding these extra calories daily will make the scale show a 10 pound increase this time next year (and the next…). Just a little bit of time learning about calorie counts of your favorite foods can help you make wise decisions that’ll whittle the waistline; an easy-to-navigate site I often use is  What choices will you choose to implement this week?

Note from Slimvictory: if you’d like to receive new articles as they post, you can subscribe on my homepage. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, exercise, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, making changes, menu planning, nutrition data, physical fitness, snacks

Simple Steps to Weight Loss Success

Choosing foods you enjoy will improve your chances of weight-loss success (photo by Ann Maniscalco).

Small decisions (steps) can add up to big results! Using the acronym SIMPLE STEPS, here are a few easy pointers that have helped countless folks shed excess weight:

  • S: Serving size – measuring your food before plating it will help you avoid portion-distortion.
  • I: Individualize – a plan that will work for Tom, Dick and Harry may not work for Mary! The only way to lasting change is finding a healthy-eating plan YOU can live with for life.
  • M: Meals – don’t skip them, especially breakfast. Eating at regular intervals will keep your metabolism revving.
  • P: Plan for indulgences – the mantra, “all things in moderation”, holds many dieters in good stead. Yes, you can eat cake; just work it  into your weekly plan.
  • L: Link with others for support. Being accountable to others – either online or in your community – will strengthen your resolve to stay the course.
  • E: Exercise – you’ll lose weight faster by combining exercise with eating better, and exercise will help you firm up your soon-to-be- sagging excess skin.
  • S: Start your meal with a glass of water. Since our stomachs hold about a quart, eight-ounces of H2O will help you become satisfied sooner.
  • T: Take your time. It requires about 20 minutes for your brain to get the satiety signal from your stomach, so eating slowly and savoring every bite will help you stop before you’ve over-indulged.
  • E: Entertain positive thoughts. Make up your mind to de-rail negative self-talk.  Your past failures do not define your present chance of success. Envision where you will be in 6 months or a year, and set intermediate goals and plans to arrive there.
  • P: Patience – you didn’t gain all your extra adipose tissue in a month or two, so don’t expect to say good-bye to it that quickly. Losing an average of two pounds a week can rid a person of about 25 pounds in just three months, and 100 pounds in a year’s time.
  • S: Step-by-step – most everyone falls off the wagon once in a while. Just shrug your shoulders and jump back on board at the next meal.

(A note from Slimvictory – if you want to receive new posts by e-mail, sign up at the top of my home page. And if you are helped by what you’ve read, please consider sharing my blog with others!)


Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, exercise, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, physical fitness

Weighing in on the new A&E show, “Heavy”

Eating healthy can be simple and tasty! (photo by Ann Maniscalco)

I’m thinking a lot of folks tuned in to watch “Heavy” last Monday night. This new program presented by A&E introduced us to two morbidly-obese patients from the Houston, Texas area: Tom and Jodi (the show can be seen at Six months of their lives and their struggle to lose weight and address issues that helped fuel their obesity were played out for us.

The show began with a bit of background detailing their weight-loss struggles. Their desperation was evident. After having their current health assessed by a physician, they were ushered away for a month in a controlled environment where they worked with personal trainers who pushed, prodded, and praised them. Both participants lost weight, but after they went back home, Tom, succumbing to the enablers he lived with, gained a considerable amount of weight back, and was brought back to the facility before returning home again. Jodi worked through some emotional issues, made some tough decisions, and continued her weight loss. At the end of six months, Tom and Jodi had lost an astonishing amount of poundage, trading bad habits and actions for a greatly-improved quality of life.

Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about the show:


  • The dangers of obesity were discussed
  • The necessity of permanent lifestyle change was shown
  • The value of support was made evident
  • The change in the participants, both physically and mentally, was well-portrayed
  • It wasn’t a competition


  • There was a lack of focus/explanation on the nutritional side
  • Not many of us have the option or desire to go to a controlled facility for a month or to pay for such an array of professionals
  • I would have liked to have seen more of their lifestyle changes after they arrived home

All in all, I think the show deserves a thumbs-up, as it offered hope and encouragement to those who need to lose weight (or lose weight again) without portraying the journey as an easy-to-fix scenario. As one who has struggled to lose weight before arriving at my goal weight (and is having to mindfully and regularly focus on maintenance), I plan to be a regular viewer of “Heavy”. Each week, two new participants will be featured. It’ll be interesting to compare the various journeys.

(A note from Slimvictory – if you’d like to receive an e-mail of my articles as they post, please sign up on my home page. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.)

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, food, healthy eating, making changes

“Weighing” the calorie trade-offs

All calories are not created equal! Consider the pictured packet of dressing: it contains 250 calories of delicious creaminess to enhance a sizeable salad. Now let’s say you’re looking for a quick lunch, and you stop in your workplace cafeteria, pick up a greens-based salad and a pack of dressing, and chow down. As tasty as it will be, how many hours of hunger-relief are you going to get? By mid-afternoon or earlier, will your stomach be rumbling, sending you down the hall to peruse the vending-machine offerings?

Probably so. But consider the other food choices in the photo. A cup of this hearty chicken-and-dumplings and a medium-sized apple would “weigh-in” at about the same calories. (Now, I’m not talking about the glycemic index here, only a calorie-comparable, filling meal, and one that could be conveniently brought from home and quickly-nuked.) This would likely keep many of us with an average appetite satisfied longer, especially if we had a substantial breakfast, which is always a good idea.

Let’s take it a step further. When figuring your daily food-intake “budget”, suppose you want to stay around the 1400-calorie range. Many restaurant meals (often just an entrée) will come close to or exceed that number. Since most of us get hungry at least three times a day, if we choose to indulge in one of these mega-calorie meals, we have two choices: stay hungry or exceed our goal-intake. Spending a little time learning calorie counts of your commonly-consumed foods/meals can help you get more bang for your calorie-buck!

 (Note from Slimvictory – if you’d like to receive new posts by e-mail, please sign-up on my home page. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.)

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, food, label-reading, making changes, meal preparation, menu planning, nutrition data