Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coming Soon! A New Website!

Announcing the coming of my new website!

 Also announcing the coming out of hiding from behind my comfy fake internet names!

 Special thanks to those who have helped make this possible!  They include but aren't necessarily limited to: Heidi, Val, Nick, and Chris!

-Raymond Cool    aka  Norm   aka John Smith

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Abundant Eating: Exploring Our Spiritual Relationship With Food

Introducing a class I'll be teaching starting this Sunday at my church!   Anyone in the Tacoma area who'd like to attend, dates, times, and location is listed at the end.

Abundant Eating: Exploring Our Spiritual Relationship With Food

We have a spiritual relationship with the food that we eat. We recognize one aspect of this when we pause to ask a blessing at meal time. We often consider the spiritual implications of the relationships we have with people, places, and things in our lives, but many of us seldom, if ever, consider the spiritual implications of the food we eat. This five part series of lessons will explore the connection between the food we eat and our spiritual walk with God, and how our food choices can better honor Him.

Lesson One: Genesis Three. The Fall, Original Sin, and Food Choices

We not only have a spiritual connection with food, but we wage a spiritual battle with it as well. Food played a major role in our fall from grace. What did Adam and Eve do? They ate the forbidden fruit!

We know that the forbidden fruit was:

    Good for food
    Pleasing to the eye
    Desirable to gain wisdom
    Placed right in the middle of the garden

But we also know the forbidden fruit was OFF LIMITS!!

God created man and placed him above all other creatures. To man he give free will. But free will to do what? The “test” for man wasn't just whether he'd accept or reject God. It involved more than that. For Adam and Eve, obedience to God meant saying no to themselves.
Why did the knowledge of good and evil come in the form of a forbidden food? Why not a forbidden book? A forbidden place? A forbidden activity? God could have chosen ANYTHING. So why food? Because of all of man's physical wants and needs, none is more basic than his need and desire for food. In lesson one we explore these connections and set the stage for the lessons to follow.

Lesson Two: Healthy Appetites – Too Much Is Never Enough

God has given man different appetites. We have appetites for food, sex, power, money, control, pleasure, entertainment, etc. With each of these appetites we can choose to be content with “enough”, or we can seek “more”. Without exception, when it comes to these various appetites, “too much is never enough”. That is, whenever we have enough but still seek more we can turn a healthy appetite into an unhealthy one, and find ourselves chasing and never catching the satisfaction we seek. This is true in every area of human life and for every kind of appetite man has.
In Lesson Two we will learn about the nature of a healthy appetite for food by comparing it to other appetites that we, as Christians, have paid much better attention to. The main example being our appetite for sexual gratification. As Christians we have a good grasp on the importance of limiting our sexual activities to one mate, within the confines of marriage. We understand that by so limiting ourselves we actually find the greatest level of joy and happiness. We find this arrangement to be both physically satisfying and spiritually uplifting. But we know that when we chase “more” we do not find it, but rather, only find pain, misery, and a spiritual deadening. This is true when instead of “enough” we seek “more” money, or power, or any other thing we can think of. This is true when we allow ourselves to develop unhealthy appetites such as addictions to alcohol, drugs, or any other thing. In this lesson we discuss how these same principles apply to our food choices, and will give examples of healthy and unhealthy food appetites.

Lesson Three: Examples of Biblical Eating

Genesis makes pretty clear that Adam and Eve were vegetarians. God did not give permission for man to eat meat until Noah's time. Later came the Old Testament Dietary Laws. In lesson three we're going to compare the diet Adam and Eve ate to what God later permits man to eat and then compare those two things to what we typically eat today. As New Testament Christians we have more freedom in our diets than Adam and Eve did. But like Adam and Eve, there are consequences for us when we eat the wrong things. We'll learn about Daniel's diet. We'll learn about the connection between the ever increasing number of chronic diseases we suffer in modern life and their connection to the food we eat.

Lesson Four:What Went Wrong With Our Food – A History Of Modern Food Production

The food we eat today is not the same as the food we ate just 50 years ago, and the food we ate 50 years ago wasn't the same as the food we ate 100 years ago. Truth is, we've been processing foods in unhealthy ways for thousands of years, but this trend really started to pick up steam in the 1850's and by the 1950's was well under way, and has only gotten worse and worse since then. We have learned ways to process foods to maximize the attributes that our tongues desire. As a result our food is higher in calories and lower in nutrition than ever before. Too many of these processed foods trigger food addictions we find hard to resist. But because so much of our food is void of nutrition our bodies cry out for more nutrition even though we've already consumed too many calories. The result is an unhealthy appetite and we crave more and more food and find ourselves in worse and worse health.
In lesson four we learn about the history of food, and more specifically, the history of what we've done wrong with our food.

Lesson Five: Putting It All Together

In the preceding lessons we've learned a lot and some of us may be wanting to try making some changes to our diets. But how to go about that? After all, “dieting” is painful, right? It is when we do it the same way we've always done it and using man's logic! But it need not be painful or difficult.
In Lesson five we will learn some simple and effective tools that will make dietary change simple and painless. We'll learn why most “diets” fail and what to do instead. Jesus said “My yoke is easy, and my burden light.” A diet that honors Him is also one that satisfies our wants and needs better than our typical Western Diet of “more”. In this lesson I'll share some of my personal testimony regarding my own journey towards better health.

Class Times: 9:30am-10:15am
Class Dates: July 14th, 21st, 28th, August 4th, 11th.
Location: Evergreen Presbyterian Church, 10118 249th Street East, Graham, WA

Sunday worship services will follow this class and while everyone is welcome to stay, it is understood that not all can. Since worship is in a different part of the building, nobody will notice a discreet exit towards the door during the transition.

I'd love to meet any of you there!   If you might attend, let me know ahead of time so I know to look for you! My email is

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weight-Loss / Life Update: July 1st, 2013

Greetings!   An update is overdue so here it is!   I have been a busy man!   Things I've been doing:

  • Exercise, specifically PT prescribed Core Strengthening
  • Working on my upcoming class titled: Spiritual Food - Exploring Our Spiritual Relationship With The Food We Eat which I'll be teaching at my church starting July 14th. (I expect to expand this into a much larger ministry)
  • Summertime projects around the house (I'll never get caught up)
  • Preparing for a camping trip!  I leave Tuesday!

Weight:   Here is a graph of my Current/10/20/30 day averages for the past 90 days.

The numbers are:  Today:  196.5 and my 10/20/30 day averages are: 198.3, 198.22, and 197.65.

One could conclude that I've stalled badly with 20+ pounds to go.  I do not believe that is the case.   I am down to those last stubborn pounds and while my actual weight is on a very slight upward trend my measurements are on a shrinking trend.  All the core strengthening exercise is paying off and I'm bulking up on much needed muscle mass, offsetting the slowish trend in fat burning.  But I am continuing to burn off fat.

Clothes:  I can fit into my "skinny" size 36 jeans, though the legs are a bit tight.  I still have a LOT of excess skin/fat on my thighs.  I believe that eventually I'll be able to go down to 34's.  My waist will get there much sooner than my legs will.   I can wear a sized Large t-shirt but they're snug in the shoulders.  Considering that I'm very bony up there and there is nothing left to lose there I know I'll never get smaller than that.  And if I put on enough muscle mass I may have to go back up to size XL.   

Food:   My transition to Dr. McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss guidelines is going slower than I'd hoped.   I find myself getting antsy, irritated, and frustrated when I restrict myself from my comfort foods like CHOCOLATE, dried fruits, nuts, and the occasional bread.   Excuses?  Maybe.  I'm not going to sweat it.  I am going to park where I'm at which is midway between where I was and full MWL compliance.   As long as I'm making progress I am content and want to focus more on enjoying life than pushing too hard for something that's coming at it's own pace anyway.   

 Future Plans:   I am very excited about my upcoming class I'll be teaching at my church!  I gave a presentation on it yesterday to the congregation and hopefully stirred up interest in it!    
   There is also an article about my weight loss journey coming out in one of the small local papers soon.  I'm excited about that and hope it goes well!
 I am continuing to look into making a website and have been blessed to have received some money toward that!  I am stepping out of faith with this venture and expect that God will provide as he sees fit.

 That is all for now!!   I must go pack for a camping trip now!

 -Norm    aka  John Smith    aka   ???  :)