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Addicted to God

Addicted to God

I have been a personal trainer and health coach for over twenty-five years and by far the biggest challenge I see people facing is the struggle with emotional eating.  Eating for reasons other than hunger.  

The majority of my clients come to me with long standing patterns of making unhealthy lifestyle choices and a poor relationship with food.  The struggle is real.  It’s a pattern that can be changed, but takes a great deal of work, patience and persistence. 

There is no magic pill for making sustainable lifestyle changes.  Sure, we live in a culture where everyone is promising the 21 day program for ripped abs, 14 days to lose 14 pounds or add 10 pounds of muscle in 30 days. 

I am here to tell you those programs may work in the short-term, but they rarely if ever work over the long haul.  It just gives people false hope.  Until you learn to change your mind set, it’s going to be very challenging to make sustainable lifestyle changes.   You never hear about the year-long program to ultimate health and fitness, because we live in a microwave society that wants results NOW!

A big part of my purpose with starting Divine Wellness Ministries is to help people make SUSTAINBLE lifestyle changes through Christ-centered principles.  The journey isn’t about the weight loss, although that will be a healthy side effect, it’s more about developing your character to be more Christ like.  To learn how to love yourself unconditionally like God does.  To start to see yourself the way God sees you.  To grow spiritually in joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control.

God wants us to be health in mind, body and spirit.  Our thought life plays such a significant role in our overall health.    “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”  (Proverbs 4:23)  But yet, how many of us suffer from toxic thinking?  How many of us look in the mirror and can’t stand our reflection in the mirror?  It’s going to be really challenging to make lasting lifestyle changes until we have a mind and heart change.

It’s one thing to read scripture, it’s another thing to truly let it sink into our hearts and our souls.  Until we allow God’s words to transform our minds we will continually look for quick fixes, unhealthy habits and repetitive sin. 

“My son pay attention to what I say.  Turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22).

SIXTY THREE DAYS TO DEVELOP A HABIT

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I have been digging into a lot of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s work lately.  She is a neuroscientist that ties her research into Biblical principles.  It is very fascinating.  The book I am currently reading is called, “Think and Eat Yourself Smart.” 

She talks about how our mind controls our brain and that we aren’t victims of our circumstances.  We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our response to what happens to us.    It comes down to choices. 

One of the things I tell my clients all of the time is that every time you put something into your mouth you are either moving towards better health or disease.  When you choose a fruit or a vegetable over a sugar laden snack you are moving towards health.  When you decide to have that soda vs. a glass of water you are moving towards disease.  It’s your choice. 

What happens over time is that we develop long-standing habits that are hard to be broken.  Many of my clients have been eating unhealthy for years.  It takes hard work and persistence to start to make lifestyle changes.  I tell all of my clients to give themselves at least a full year to implement the changes they want and most importantly to make them “stick.”

It’s not a popular thing to tell them, but it’s the truth.  As their coach, I feel like I would be misleading them if I told them something different. 

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s work, over a period of 21 days a short term memory becomes a long term memory, but it takes another 42 days for it to become a habit.   Therefore, it takes a minimum of 63 days to form a habit, not 21.  The good news is that over the course of a year you can change six long-standing habits. 

FOCUS ON ONE CHANGE AT A TIME

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My suggestion to my clients is to only work on one habit at a time.  It can be overwhelming to try to make a complete lifestyle overhaul.   When you focus on making one change at a time you can be much more deliberate around that change and the likelihood for long term success is much greater. 

Dr. Leaf refers to this as the Quantum Zeno Effect.  This enables us to fully direct our attention, focus our reflections and rigorous effort to a particular issue which leads to true learning.  When we constantly focus on one thing and learn everything about it, it creates a genetic change and learning takes place.   These new thoughts and habits become entrenched and implanted into our minds. 

Now of course that can work against us too.  Think food marketing.  Food marketers put thoughts into our nonconscious mind.  If we aren’t deliberate about what we watch and listen to, it can easily seep into our mind, without us really being aware of the power that can have over us. 

ADDICTED TO GOD

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So how do we overcome our propensity to eat emotionally and become addicted to food as the food industry thrives on?  My suggested is that we become addicted to God instead of addicted to food.  God gave us the power of free will.  We get to choose what we eat.  We get to choose what we think about.  We get to choose if we want to live a healthy lifestyle or not.  We are not victims, we are given a spirit that doesn’t make us afraid, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). 

What if we became addicted to God?  What would your life be like if you let the Word of God sink into your heart instead of reaching for food that isn’t health sustaining.  What if you followed this scripture daily “My son pay attention to what I say.  Turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22).

Try becoming addicted to God and not food.  Focus on your thought life, allow time to be your friend when it comes to making sustainable lifestyle changes.  And finally, don’ try to do this alone.  Making sustainable lifestyle changes is one of the hardest thing you will do.    I specialize in helping people make lasting lifestyle changes based on Christ-centered principles.  I promise no quick-fixes, but I do promise results over time. 

Please send me an e-mail to troy@troyismir.com if you are ready to make lasting changes in your life.

Troy Ismir, MS

Personal Trainer and Health Coach

Divine Wellness Ministries 

 

Who's the Nut?

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Who's the Nut?

I first started to develop my passion for nutrition when I was in college.  I took my first nutrition class while attending the University of North Dakota.   As an athlete I realized that I had no clue about nutrition and that my high school and college coaches knew even less than me.   I know from personal experience how we fuel our body has a major impact on how we look, feel and perform better.  

When I was in high school I was one of the top hurdlers in the state of North Dakota.  My goal was to win the state championship in the 110 meter high hurdles as a senior.  I had bulked up over the off season because I was dedicating more time in the weight room to getting stronger for football.  As I came into the track season my coaches told me I was too big to compete at a high level and they told me to cut some weight.   They gave me no guidance on how to lose the weight and I had no idea where to even start.  

At the time, I figured the best way to lose weight was just to restrict calories.   Instead of eating a normal lunch, I would have a diet coke and a small bag of chips.  It worked, from a weight loss perspective, but it was a disaster on the track.    Running the hurdles is very precise and it got so bad I couldn’t even finish a race because my muscle coordination was off.   As the track season progressed I just got worse.  My coaches couldn’t figure it out.  They thought I was overtraining. 

As I look back now, my poor performance was 100% due to the inadequate nutrition I was putting into my body.   This was my first exposure to how fueling my body can make a huge difference not only in performance, but also in my health.

I have become a student of nutrition and have been learning more and more about how we can live our best life through what we fuel our body with.   As I continue to learn more about nutrition, the more passionate I become because I know good nutrition can solve the majority of the health problems our world faces.   In fact, I have become so passionate about nutrition, I often times am labeled as a health nut because of the way I eat.  

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It’s not unusual for people to ostracize me for what I choose to eat or choose not to eat.   It has been something I have had to deal with for over 20 years.    Instead of encouraging and supporting people who take good care of their health with ideal nutrition and regular exercise, people label them as health nuts and disparage them for being extreme. 

So here is a question I want to ask you.  Who really is the nut?  I am the nut for wanting to put foods into my body that makes me feel good?  Am I the nut because I choose to love to eat foods that will love me back?   Or is a person a nut because they choose to eat foods that make them sick, have type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and forfeit their health because of a toxic diet.    Eating processed and fast foods causes physical and mental sickness.  Look at the world around us and how sick we have become.  I think that is nuts.   Your health is your life.

So if being healthy means that I am nuts, than I will wear that label proudly.   So if you are wondering if you qualify as a health nut.  Here are 10 ways to know if you are a health nut.

·         You eat kale and broccoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner

·         You know what seitan, tempeh and kombucha is

·         You get goose bumps when you walk into a health food store

·         You think eating processed foods should be a punishable crime

·         Your fridge is 90% fruits and vegetables

·         At dinner parties you show up with gluten free crackers and homemade hummus

·         Get up every morning at 4:30 to make sure you have time to work out.

·         You would rather stick your hand in your blender than eat fast food

·         It takes hours to grocery shop because you read every label before you buy it.

·         You spend as much money on food as you do your mortgage. 

·         When you are stressed you emotionally eat broccoli.

Obviously, you don’t have to be that extreme to be healthy.   All you really have to do is toss the junk food out of your kitchen and replace it with real whole foods.   You need to find a way to run, bike, swim or lift weights.  Just move and sweat every day.

I don’t know about you guys, but I love to feel good.  Here are some of the benefits of being a health nut:

·         I rarely if ever get tired

·         I maintain a healthy body weight

·         I get by on less sleep and have tons of energy

·         I have excellent mental clarity and focus

·         I have a sense of well-being and fulfillment

·         Eating healthy makes me feel invincible

·         Improves digestion and improves my quality of sleep

·         Makes me feel good

·         It makes me happy.

The choice is yours.  Come join me as a health nut.  You will truly discover what real health looks and feels like.  You will realize how good your body is supposed to feel.  We must be the change we want to see in the world.  By changing the way you eat and exercise you will achieve the health and body of your dreams.   Come on, let’s get nuts!

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

Health Coach and Personal Trainer

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Three Keys to Leading Like Jesus

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Three Keys to Leading Like Jesus

I have always admired the quiet leaders such as Tony Dungy and Bud Grant.  I loved their stoicism on the sidelines.  They never lost their cool and always stayed even keeled regardless if they were winning or losing.  I understand we all have different personalities.  Some people wear their emotions on their sleeves and others you can’t tell if they are ahead by 20 points or down by 20 points. 

I have always considered myself a lead by example kind of a guy.  I am not a big rah rah get in your face, give me two more reps fitness professional.  Don’t get me wrong, I will get the most out of you and push you out of your comfort zone, but I will do it in a way that shows compassion. 

I think great leaders use love as our weapon.  All of my clients know I deeply care about them as human beings first and foremost.  I not only want them to get healthier physically, but spiritually and mentally as well. 

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In my faith and fitness class I teach at a local church I had a participant who shared with me some real difficult personal issues he was dealing with.   We have been able to talk before and after class as he shared some of the personal battles he is going through.  I have built trust with this person as he has shared some of his darkest struggles with me. 

As I was talking to him after class the other day he shared with me that the only reason he was coming to my class, was because of my leadership and compassion for people.  The physical workout was more of a side note.  That comment really blew me away.  I was simply leading my class and investing my time in listening and getting to know each and every one of my participants.   He said he always feels listened to and encouraged.  

Whether we know it or not, as leaders, and as in this case as fitness professionals, we can have a huge impact on people’s lives.  As faith-centered fitness professionals we can have an even greater impact on transforming people’s lives all for the glory of God. 

I have been doing a great deal of praying and meditating lately.  The biggest prayer that I have been asking God for is to work in me and through me so people can see the love of Jesus in me.  My prayer is that I can be the type of leader that Jesus was. 

THREE KEYS TO LEADING LIKE JESUS

First and foremost we have to be spiritually fed ourselves.  Matthew 6:33 is one of my favorite verses.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” If we neglect our own quiet time, time in the Word and prayer, we will be spiritually starving ourselves.  If we aren’t in a good place spiritually, it will be really challenging to be there to encourage and inspire others. 

But seek first his kingdom and his rightousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
— Matthew 6:33

My morning always start with time in the Word.  I don’t care how early I have to get up.  Often times it is between 4am-5am.  I try to get at least an hour in every morning of prayer and Bible reading, but that doesn’t always happen.   Even if you can spend 10 minutes alone with God every morning that will change the trajectory of your day. 

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The second key is to walk the walk.  To lead with integrity.  To practice what you preach.  Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”  That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, it means that we have to be honest with people and sometimes be very vulnerable with them.  Let people know we don’t have it all figured out, but that we are doing our best.   People respect us when we are authentic and real. 

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
— Proverbs 10:9

The third key is to submit yourself to the Lord.  Allow Him to work through you.  If you try to lead under your own strength and power, it will only lead to exhaustion and stress overload.  Trust me I know.  I am really good at that.   When I am exhausted and overwhelmed, I know I am trying to do things under my own strength and that never turns out good.

I saw a quote the other day that says, “Your work is to relax and allow.  To relax and allow.  No matter what.”  Doesn’t that take the pressure off of us?  Let Jesus work in us and through us.  That’s what makes a powerful leader.    John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  That is such a powerful image and a great one to live by as leaders. 

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I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5

Of course leading like Jesus is no easy task.  It takes a great deal of energy, selflessness, compassion and time alone to get our own cup re-filled.  But when you realize all of the potential people we can impact through this leadership style, it is worth investing every ounce of ourselves into leading like Jesus. 

Imagine the possibilities as fitness professionals if we all moved towards leading like Jesus.  Not only would our clients get physically fit, but more importantly they would get more spiritually fit.   My prayer is that as leaders we seek first the kingdom of God, lead with integrity and allow God to work through us.  The world will be transformed one client at time. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

Health Coach and Personal Trainer

 

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Sweet Surrender

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Sweet Surrender

Surrender.  That word keeps popping up in my life whether I want it to or not.  I hear it on the podcast sermons I listen to.  I hear it in the Christian songs I listen to.  I even heard it in the movie, Bruce Almighty inadvertently, when I was trying to change the channel to football, it got stuck on TBS during the part where Bruce (Jim Carrey) was screaming out I don’t want to play God any more, I surrender.   That was definitely a God thing trying to get my attention. 

You see, I am really good at trying to control things, to try and make them happen so to speak.  I am a driver and a striver.  It can be a good thing when you are trying to get things done and do I ever try to get things done. 

Last week I was completely overwhelmed.  I was trying to complete a chapter in my upcoming book to get it ready to send out to a publisher.  I had two big podcasts that I was preparing for having the opportunity to interview the producer and lead actor for the soon to be premiering movie Samson.  I have an article due in Faith in Fitness magazine and I had four new clients start in a week.   I am also preparing for an upcoming talk at a church where my Dad used to do some preaching.  No pressure there, right?

All of those things are all super amazing blessings, but I was completely overwhelmed with all I had to do, and honestly I didn’t handle it well.  I was stressed, exhausted from lack of sleep and an on-going battle with insomnia and terrible allergies.   My go to when I am overwhelmed is to go into deep analytical mode combined with some isolation.  I try to think my way through things and I usually do this by myself.  Probably not the best combination. 

I am currently reading a book called Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  The book is talking about praying big audacious prayers.  Prayers that scare you, prayers that take you out of your comfort zone, prayers that take your breath away.  I have been praying big prayers lately.  Prayers for abundance.  Prayers for my new kingdom building business to make a huge impact.  Prayers to get more clients and for opportunities that will make me lean into my edge. 

This is what Mark Batterson has to say about God’s blessings.  “You need to come to terms with this two-sided truth:  The blessings of God won’t just bless you; they will also complicate your life.  Sin will complicate your life in negative ways.  The blessings of God will complicate your life in positive ways.   Blessings will complicate your life, but they will complicate your life the way God wants it complicated.” 

Mark challenges us to courageously pray this prayer, “Lord, complicate my life.”

Well it has certainly worked for me.  My life has definitely gotten more complicated and that was followed by a complete feeling of being overwhelmed.  But then I realized why I was feeling so overwhelmed.  I was trying to do everything under my own strength.   That never turns out good, by the way. 

As I took a couple of days to step back, I realized once again that God wants us to  lean on his strength, not our own.  To surrender complete control to Him.  That God will equip me for this fitness ministry that he has put on my heart.  He will use me even in my brokenness. 

A scripture that I leaned into during this time of overwhelm was 1 Peter 5:6-7.  “Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.   Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”   When I meditated on this scripture I completely relaxed and let everything go.  I knew that God’s got this.  That God is in control and he knows what is best. 

Surrender.  Sweet surrender.  It feels so good, but why do we fight it?   I decided to surrender every part of my business to God.  You know what happened?  The podcasts went off without a hitch.  I have been blessed with four amazing new clients that I am super-pumped to work with.  A great friend of mine and talented writer agreed to write the article for Faith and Fitness Magazine and I was able to spend time this past weekend writing my speech with the words just flowing from me.  God’s got this.  He has got me.  And he has you too, just surrender. 

What area of your life haven’t you surrendered yet?  We usually hold on to the area the hardest where we need to surrender the most.  Is it your finances?  Surrender it!  Is it your relationships?  Surrender it!  Is it your health?  Surrender it!  Is it your career?  Surrender it!

The result of surrender is a complete feeling of freedom, lightness, peace and joy.  Who doesn’t want that?  Control is just an illusion anyway.  Trust God in all areas of your life.  Pray this courageous prayer of making your life more complicated and then get ready to surrender to all of the complicated blessings God will bring your way. 

If you are struggling with surrender and need someone to coach you, I would love to partner with you and be a part of your tribe.  You can reach out to me at troy@troyismir.com for a complimentary coaching session.  I would love to hear how God is making your life more complicated. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

Personal Trainer and Health Coach 

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3 Ways to Unlimited Energy

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3 Ways to Unlimited Energy

We only have 24 hours in a day.  So much to do, but so little time.  My question to you is how efficient are you with that time?  It’s not about doing more with your time, it’s about being more effective with your time.  One of the biggest barriers and challenges I hear from my clients as a fitness professional is a lack of energy and honestly, something I struggle with from time to time.   Many of us are just trying to survive the day and not thrive.

Think back to a day where you felt well rested and full of energy.  What was that day like for you?  I am guessing it was enjoyable and you felt very productive.  Now think back to a day, and that day may be today where you are exhausted and just trying to survive the day.  What was that day like for you?

I know for me, when I am rested and full of energy I can take on the world.  My challenges don’t seem so big and my purpose and vision for my life is much clearer.   On days when I am exhausted and don’t have much energy, that is often times when my thoughts are negative and self-destructive.  I find myself questioning my purpose and self-doubt and fear creeps in.

Of course we are all going to have days that our energy level is low, that’s just part of life.  But how would your life be different if the majority of your days were full of energy and your stamina was through the roof? 

Here are three strategies that can significantly improve your stamina that will allow you to be more efficient and effective each and every day of your life. 

Start each and every day with some type of movement:  Our bodies were created to move.  When we are sedentary, it creates fatigue in our muscles and our minds.  By getting the blood flowing first thing in the morning it sets the tone for a positive and energetic day. 

I know what you are thinking, I don’t have time in the morning to go to the gym and workout for an hour.  I totally understand.  My question to you is, do you have 10-15 minutes to move?  It’s more about setting the tone for the day that you did something healthy for yourself to increase your energy levels.  It’s amazing how good you can feel after just 10-15 minutes of movement. 

Try doing this basic body weight circuit first thing in the morning:

·         20 reps of push-ups

·         20 reps of body weight squats

·         60 second plank

Repeat this circuit three times.  This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.  You will be surprised how energizing this can be. 

Write down 5 things you are grateful for every morning:  When you write down every day what you are grateful, study after study has shown that it makes you feel happier.  When we are happy and grateful our energy levels naturally increase.  We feel less stress and our body’s neurochemistry actually changes in a positive and helpful way.  Instead of producing cortisol which is a stress hormone it produces oxytocin with is the “happy hormone.”

Read scripture every morning:  Even if it is for only 5-10 minutes there is no better way to start the day than spending some quiet time with God.  It sets the day up to be connected to God.  Without his guidance and strength it is easy to try and control everything on our own.  That can be exhausting.  Ask for God’s guidance for your day and allow Him to direct your path.  This will ease your tension and allow your energy level to flow naturally. 

One of my favorite scripture passages is from Matthew 11:28 which states, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest.”  This is a powerful promise. 

Our energy level often dictates the quality of our life.  By starting to incorporate some stamina boosting habits into our life, we can have a more productive, efficient and joyful life.  Setting aside 15-20 minutes a day to move, be grateful and study God’s word can be life changing. 

If you are looking for some inspiration to get you started on your journey of Divine Wellness, please send me an e-mail at troy@troyismir.com or give me a call at 407-963-9645.  I would love to partner with you on your journey of improved energy and stamina. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

Personal Trainer and Health Coach

 

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