I’m Burning More Calories This Week

I just raised the number of calories I plan to actively burn each day this week.

Let me explain … I have an Apple Watch which I use to track my fitness regime. I’ve blogged about this here.

One of the categories I track is how many calories I burn in a day. I’m talking about active calories, not the calories we burn just breathing, eating, sitting and walking.

Active calories are the ones I burn by exercising and being active, by raising my heart rate above a certain level.

Today I realized when setting my goal for the week that I’m now planning on burning 520 calories per day this week.

That might not seem like a lot to you and, to be honest, I smash that goal most days. But what struck me was that, at this time last year, my goal was only 320 calories per day and I wasn’t hitting it every day.

In fact, back then I couldn’t see how I could consistently burn that many calories every day of the week. Some days, sure, but what about those days when I sat at my desk most of the day and didn’t have much time to exercise or do any activity?

You see, the goal isn’t a big deal for one particular day; the goal becomes a bigger deal when you consider you have to do it seven days in a row and not have a bad day where you miss exercising or miss just getting up and moving around a little bit.

A year ago I didn’t have a plan to ensure I could meet a goal like this.

But as I sought to up my calorie-burning goal, I developed a plan that would help me consistently reach that goal each day.

The plan took a while to come together, but by February of this year I had my plan and pattern set. Since that time, I’ve only missed my calorie goal once … and I missed it by 25 measly calories!

It was a mistake; I didn’t pay attention and I blew it. By the way, that was after 231 days in a row of making that goal. You can read about that here.

I realized this morning that I have grown my weekly goal from 320 to 520 in the last year by small increments.

Many weeks I didn’t increase my goal and sometimes I lowered it, but I kept going. Even through injury and sickness, I kept going.

Today I am much farther ahead than I ever imagined. And I did it just a little bit at a time.

It seemed like such a small thing but it has grown into something much bigger.

Here’s the thing: Do you have a spiritual goal, or aspirations for your relationship with God? Have you ever dreamed of what your relationship with God could be like? Well, don’t try to set some lofty goal or make a promise that is too large to keep. Do it in increments – little ones. If your goal is to establish a consistent quiet time, start with 5 minutes a day. If it’s to journal, begin by writing a quarter of a page a day. But just don’t settle there. Continue by increments when you feel you can take a little risk. Don’t try to be a spiritual giant in a day. You will surprise yourself by how far you’ll go if you just keep adding small increments.

That’s Life!


Question: What goal do you need to set or increase for this coming year? Leave your comments below.

I Can’t Believe I Broke My Streak

I knew there would come a day when my streak would come to an end; I just didn’t want it to be today.

Near the beginning of the year, I started a calorie burning streak that has lasted over seven months.

One of the things I’ve been doing this year to improve my health is to make sure I’ve hit three goals each day. The goals involve the amount of standing I do per day as opposed to sitting, exercising at least 30 minutes each day and burning a certain number of calories each day.

Since January 9th I’ve not missed my calorie burning goal. Along the way the goal has increased several times, yet I have not missed reaching it every day for the last 231 days.

But that all came to an end tonight.

What an awful feeling …

… like your favourite TV show went off the air for the last time: no more Flintstones; no more Seinfeld.

… like a dear friend has moved away or passed away; you won’t see them any more.

… like years ago when we were traveling from Alberta to start work in Kingston, Ontario. About 3 days into our journey, our 5 year old son said, “I want to go home.” His big sister who was trying to comfort him said, “Michael, we don’t have a home.”

It’s gone and it’s not coming back!

I now have to go the next 232 days just to beat that streak.

It’s not that I hadn’t almost broken the streak earlier in the year.

There were times when I was doing jumping jacks in my bedroom 2 minutes before midnight to try to reach the goal before the clock reset.

Each time I was able to squeak in under the wire and reach the goal.

But this time I just wasn’t thinking. I had already accomplished my standing goal for the day and had completed my exercise.

Normally after I’ve exercised, I’m really close to reaching my calorie goal as well. But I made a mistake at the start of the week and hit the submit button on my watch before I adjusted the suggested weekly calorie goal.

As a result, I still had lots of calories to burn after I had exercised, which meant I needed to stay active a little while longer.

But I was tired that night and decided I would go to bed a little earlier … and forgot all about my calorie goal!

In the morning, you can’t imagine how disappointed I was.

… like the time when I was a kid and I lost my iguana outside, about an hour before we were to leave on a two-week vacation.

I was very sad leaving the house, knowing that my pet was on the loose, that he probably wouldn’t survive the outdoors, especially at night.

I’m happy to say that my iguana did survive those two weeks. He was so cold he hadn’t moved the entire second week!

Unfortunately, I’m not getting this streak back. All I can do is start again.

Here’s the thing: The downside about sin is that you feel so rotten when it happens, you may feel that you let others down, yourself down, and God down. You might even experience guilt that prevents you from moving on. But when you seek God’s forgiveness, the good thing is you start again. And starting again IS a good thing.

That’s Life!


Question: How hard was it for you to get back after you broke a streak of some kind? Leave your comments below.

Who, Me? A Calorie Counter?

Three times in one day I heard the same message and, no, it wasn’t from my wife. I heard it on TV, on the radio and at the movies. The message was, “If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.”


The next morning I decided to check it out. For me, everything is better if there is an app for it … and you better believe there are apps for calorie counting! As I started checking it out, both Lily and my daughter, Karlie, got into it as well.

Karlie had used one before, it was free, and seemed like a good one. I downloaded it onto my phone and couldn’t wait to start eating for the day. The great thing about the app is that it gives you a sense of how much you should be eating in a day so you have some kind of a gauge.

What I don’t like is having to enter all the food I eat and, worse, the amounts I eat (like I can tell what 4 oz of meat looks like on a plate?!) … I started to vaguely remember a nutrition seminar from my cardiac rehab clinic.

I remember the nutritionist had everyone grab some food labels and read the nutrition information on them. As she explained what the information meant, I was looking at the pictures on the labels and thinking I’d like to eat those items right then.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much from the seminar. But now I need that information. Thankfully, my app can scan bar codes, adding the nutritional info right into the app for me.

I’m getting the hang of it. It’s like playing monopoly every day. You start with a bunch of cash (calories), and as you eat, it costs you, like landing on a chance square or that dreaded income tax spot. But, like in monopoly when you pass “Go” and get more cash, in the nutrition game, you get more calories to use up when you exercise.

Now this is where it gets a little fun: I had a breakfast that cost me 391 calories, but then I went on a bike ride that bought me 432 calories. So before lunch, I had more calories to spend than I started the day with. It was great!

It bugged the girls though. They couldn’t get over the fact that I got to eat so much and could buy calories so easily.

After we figured out what dinner cost us, I decided to go for a bike tour around the area. Oh, and I purchased a $2 app that calculates my calories when biking or walking and syncs with my calorie counter.

That little trip bought me another 380 calories. By 8:30 pm I still had over 1100 calories to spend! I decided to have just a few chips, and some licorice, because just like in monopoly, I felt like I had some calories stashed under the board for when times get tough.

Here’s the thing: When you have worked at saving calories during the day, you somehow gain strength to fight the temptation of eating all kinds of junk food. You have a desire to keep what you fought for. When you fight against sin, a similar thing happens that gives you strength to stand up to temptation the next time.

That’s Life!


Question: What success have you had that has given you more power over temptation? Leave your comment below.