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Note From Carolyn: Our Summer Health Challenge and the summer calendar are moving right along! It’s not too late to join for the little messages and to download the information to help you end the summer on a healthy high, rather than caving in to all the sugary ice cream treats and overload of barbecue, potato salad, chips and party meals that August and vacation time bring. CLICK HERE to join us and over 500 Meridian Readers!

The first part of August is a time to treasure. The return to school and regular schedules are approaching, but there’s still time to savor these slower days. The only problem is that slow can mean trouble if it means lingering with a bag of chips or too many trips for ice cream treats with the family. I’ve found a very helpful 9-word scripture just for wrapping up the summer in a healthy, happy way:

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians: 5:21)

Now here’s a scripture to have a party with! We could explore all kinds of things in these nine meaty little words, i.e. the meaning of the word “prove” and the definition of the word “good.”

But it’s still summer! We’re relaxing! Let’s go for the easiest word here: fast. Even with this word, there are 14 definitions in the dictionary. In a scriptural context, the one that applies best is probably “not easily movedto be firmly locked, or fixed in place.” Of course, that defines exactly what healthy living and weight loss is all about, but I’m going for an even simpler “weight loss made easy” tactic: Let’s stretch it (and better to use and expand the scriptures than the elastic in our pants, don’t you think?!?) and take it with another dictionary definition: sheer speed!

Oh, not in terms of dropping the pounds, because we all know that anything more than two pounds per week is never permanent, but in terms of quickly and speedily responding to that which is good for our health and our bodies. If we’re not mindful, delays have a way of turning into detours that lead right back to the well-traveled road of bad habits and the past. Every minute counts!

Here’s how to apply the scripture effectively in a snap:

Fast! Find someone to talk to instead of eating more than you need at any social gathering;

Fast! Order first at the restaurant before you have a chance to change your mind to what
others may be ordering;

Fast! Put that knife or serving spoon into the sink! No “sniggling” edges and tastes of treats from the pan
while no one is looking;

Fast! Scoop those leftovers into containers and into the freezer without nibbling;

Fast! Get out of the kitchen when it’s not eating time;

Fast! Drink 16 ounces of water instead of eating between meals;

Fast! Tie on your shoes and do just 10-15 minutes of exercise (I promise – even 5 minutes into
it, enthusiasm and energy will kick in!)

Fast! Pop in a strong breath mint or sugarless gum while cooking in the kitchen;

Fast! Say to yourself “My body is not a trash can” while marching children’s leftovers to the
trash;

Fast! Get rid of treats that someone gave you to be nice; and

Fast! Jump into the pool! Splash, kick and do some laps rather than just lounging!

As every parent knows, it’s much kinder, wiser and easier in the long run to just rip that bandage off than to peel it off slowly. In the same way, we can quickly make so many health choices, which will then allow us to hold fast in the true scriptural sense of holding firm and steady.

Oh, it’s a lovely thing to ACT fast in order to HOLD fast to that which is good – whether it’s healthy eating and exercise, or the innumerable temptations, small and large, that present themselves in daily life.

Here’s to speedy, healthy choices in the slow, last days of summer!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years, providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999. She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE