In several previous posts (which can be read here, here, and here), I’ve talked about my own personal struggles with food, my growing commitment to health, and my goal of getting healthier year-by-year.
One of my lingering personal struggles is not seeing the day-to-day progress. In other words, it's hard to see how my health choices are changing me on a daily basis. Because, if I give into how it feels, it feels like nothing significant is happening.
But, things are happening. I am making improvements and slowly seeing success.
At the beginning of the year, I assessed my eating and started to eat according to my workout/exercise patterns.
My workouts are fairly demanding on my body, so I needed to make sure I was eating to fuel my body for the demand.
This was something new for me — eating for a reason other than pleasure or boredom. I began consciously evaluating the food going in on the basis of what I needed it for. In other words I began asking, “Is this food helping me do what I need to do?”
So, in January or February, I really upped my protein intake to meet my exercise demands. Lots of healthy proteins: Grilled chicken, eggs and egg whites (primarily), tuna, vegetarian protein shakes, and a variety of nuts along with healthy veggies.
And then, in March, I decided I wanted to kick my eating into high gear and shed some excess pounds that I’ve been carrying around for years.
So, with the help of some friends and some books, I modified my eating and began to eat for weight-loss.
I’m happy to report that since March 1, I am down 20 pounds on the scale. But, more than the number on the scale, I am really pleased with the physical changes taking place in my body. I can see visible differences, but I can also see the difference in the gym. I’m regaining particular bodily movements, and I’m able to do certain exercises that I have never been able to do (like handstand pushups!).
My goal is not to get to a certain weight (although I have goals) or body type, but to develop a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain for the duration.
What Keeps Me Going?
-There are a few things that keep me on track (and, not perfectly, I should say).
First, my body is a stewardship from God. It is part of my worship and obedience to Him. How I care for and treat my body directly reflects what I believe about my body. If I believe that God made it, that He gave it to me, that it was created with purpose and dignity, that it is affected positively and negatively by certain foods … if I believe all of that, then I will treat my body with respect. We can abuse our bodies in all kinds of ways: Most people initially think things like drugs and alcohol, but a huge method of abuse that often goes undiscussed and ignored is FOOD. We abuse our bodies with food: Sugar, salt, fats, and carbs in excess!
Second, my personal goals. My kids are young and high energy. I want to be able to enjoy life with them. Our family recently took a day trip to the NC Zoo in Ashebroro…and man is that place big! Lots of hills and lots of acres. And it was really nice to walk the hills and distance with no trouble and without even getting winded! My personal health not only affects me, it is a personal investment in my family.
Third, my own personal discipline. All of this rests on personal choice. I have to choose to eat healthy on purpose. I have to choose not to eat unhealthy things. I have to discipline myself to what I know I need to eat and what I need to avoid. For me, this takes planning. Most weeks, I’m preparing my lunches on Sunday afternoon for the week ahead. If not, I tempt myself to go wrong during the week. I get up early each day and cook a healthy breakfast. Our family meal plans so that we’re not caught off guard.
And yet, none of this stuff is foolproof, and none of it is written in stone. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. We have to be flexible in a hundred ways throughout the day. So, I’m not so rigid with my health that I can’t bend when I need to. But for the most part, I discipline myself to stay the course.
One of my favorite motivational speakers/writers says it this way: “Discipline is the Path to Freedom.”
I want to be free of bodily pain, shame, guilt, unhealthiness, and more.
I want to feel comfortable in my body, and be healthy. Discipline is the path to that freedom.
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul is speaking of sins against the body, specifically sexual sin against the body. His main point is we should not commit sexual sins, but the larger principle applies here: The body is a gift from God to be used for His purposes.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
My goal is to honor God in my body.