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5/31/12 9:33 P

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This team follows a 4 week self-guided challenge that teaches the basics of mindful eating with a focus on allowing God to transform our minds that we may have the mind of Christ in our healthy lifestyle practices.

Do one challenge a week and post about your experience in the current discussion thread in this Forum. There are other challenge threads in this forum that give us thought and encouragement to progress forward in our journey. I will work to encourage and challenge our journey throughout each month.

Following are some guidelines for each week as adapted from that of the mindfulness group based on Middle Eastern principles. These are adapted to express our Christian ideals as we seek to work our Christ-mindfulness muscles and make them strong again. God bless you as you press forward to the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Week One’s Focus: Slow down and become aware and alert to what you are doing and experiencing while you are eating.

It helps to narrate to yourself what you are doing while you are doing it, praying for God to help you be truly aware of the goodness of His supply. (Ex., "I am eating an apple, it is sweet") Too often we eat mindlessly without even realizing what we are doing, often eating too fast to enjoy it.

To further exercise these spiritual muscles, try to incorporate simple mindfulness exercises into your day, such as realizing how you are breathing while deliberately practicing good breathing techniques. Add to this a Spiritual practice of exhaling worry, inhaling faith; exhale praise, inhale glory; etc. Few of us breathe the way we should, so becoming aware of the things we do and don’t do helps us change by seeking the Spirit for awareness to life habits that effect health and wellbeing.

Practicing mindfulness throughout the day in every area of life where we need to be alert and aware works that spiritual muscle, strengthening its proper function, possibly for the first time in our lives.

Week Two's Focus: Before eating, become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and energy levels, all of which affect your eating.

Ask yourself questions such as, "What is my emotional state right now? Am I rested in the Lord?" "Am I eating just because I'm tired? Do I really need a nap?" "Did I choose this food because it's nutritionally valuable, or because I'm craving it? Am I feeding my true craving, or is it time with the Lord or with a friend that I really need?"

Christ-mindfulness realizes when our eating is feeding our true need or when it is feeding our emotions, stress, loneliness, or any other thing. So stop before you bite and check in with God for the reason you are about to partake of His bounty.

Grabbing a clean notebook to journal these findings will be a helpful tool if you don't already do so, or use your food tracker, or your intro page here. Share with us your successes and struggles.

Week Three's Focus: Learn to assess your satiety level accurately to defuse emotional eating or mindless eating. Is this true hunger, temptation calling; or are emotions or surroundings making me want to eat? I've been eating awhile, am I full yet?

Allow your Christ-centered mindfulness – awareness of God and the truth of your emotional state and physical surroundings – to be your own personal sounding board to your decision making process.

"Do I really want a larger portion?"
"Is my stress causing me to crave this food?"
Or "Am I making an informed decision that I will not regret?"
How about, "Am I only eating this because this is a social gathering and I feel obligated or tempted?"

Allow Christ-centered mindfulness to become a tool for insight into the difficulties you're having in life, taking a breath and giving the Spirit time to give insight into your true motives and condition. Stop, think, pray, then move with assurance, hope, faith and conviction. This is always a good principle to apply.

Week Four and beyond: Take what you've learned and apply it to other areas of your life.

Try Mindful grocery shopping. Strengthen your spiritual mindfulness skills you've already started over the last three weeks—just like pretty much everything else in life, mindfulness and alertness to the Spirit’s nudge and to truth has to be practiced. For example, I am currently doing the "Tame Your Sweet Tooth" challenge and am at the point of cleaning out the pantry and replacing sugar laden foods with healthy choices. When I go to the store, I will need the help of the Spirit to break lifelong habits and make better food choices. I will need the Spirit's discipline to help me with the challenge of reading labels and knowing what is in the food I buy.

Mindfulness a simple and useful tool, but it must be sharpened in order to stay effective. Too easily we fall back to the flesh if we are not constantly and deliberately aware of the Spirit-call and our state of mind and heart.

Thus we begin…

“Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.” (Amplified version: read Colossians 3)

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 3:1-3, NASB)

You are in our prayers as your press forward to victory. Realize that though this is set up to be a four week challenge, you – as an individual with a lifetime of habits to consider – may need more time on any given part of the challenge. Give yourself and God that time. If you take 12 dozen weeks to do the challenge and make it a lifestyle practice, that is great! The only failure is to quit trying, so take the time you need to win. Once you have completed the challenge, let us know so we can celebrate with you.

At the end of the challenge, though you may want to leave the group and go on to other pursuits, you are more than welcome to stay on indefinitely to continue to be encouraged in your efforts and to help encourage and train others. Take the time needed to succeed, then comfort others with the comfort with which you too are comforted.

You can do this, "For nothing shall be impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)

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Edited by: D-ABBY at: 9/3/2012 (00:02)
May we run in such a way that we may win. Think strong. Be strong. Finish strong. (1 Cor. 9:24).

Darlene D-Abby
Jehovah-Nissi, Abigail!

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