Food, Exercise, and Struggle: A Personal Health Update - January 23'
I’ve been on a health journey for the past few years. I’ve written about it on the blog, so I won’t rehash everything here. But, it's definitely been a journey with ups and downs, success and failures, advancements and setbacks. But, that’s life.
And I’m learning what being healthy looks like.
Getting healthy is not a crash-diet or a short season of something different before returning to the old ways of living. Being healthy is an entirely new mindset about life, food, exercise, stress, the body, and more.
Some people may wonder why I write about my health, weight loss, food struggles, etc. and the answer includes several different reasons…
1 - I write about it because it's Biblical.
Being healthy is part of the Christian life. God calls us to steward our bodies for His glory, and I am learning to do that. I’m learning later in life than I might have hoped, but I’m learning. Also, not many Christians today connect food and worship. We do not often connect the way we eat, exercise, take medications, etc. to our responsibility of stewarding our bodies before God. It really does matter; it really is a part of our worship to God.
When we go into a grocery store, rather than thinking, “Is this stuff good for my body and my worship?” we are more likely thinking, “What looks good to me? What is desirable?” And, while not bad, we also live in a part of the world where food engineering and food scientists have done some pretty terrible things to food.
By and large, the food scientists that are employed by food producers have food myriad ways of dressing up non-foods, making them look pretty and taste incredible. But, because they are non-foods, they ultimately end up harming our bodies and our minds. We have become a nation of sugar-addicts. We are addicted to processed sugars and carbs, and we are severely unhealthy for it.
-When God made His world, He made it good. He made a world full of good foods that are good for our bodies. But, like with many other things, we can use food unto abuse; and in turn, abuse our bodies.
Eating is a stewardship. One that I struggle with.
2 - I write about my health because it provides me Accountability.
-When I write this stuff and publish it here on my blog, even if only a few people see it, it's public and I’m accountable for it.
-The Bible talks about the beauty of bringing things into the light. Our natural response to sin is to hide it away under the cover of darkness. There have been plenty of times in my life where I would have been incredibly embarrassed for others to know what I was eating, or how much of something I was eating. So, I would hide my eating.
Bringing it into the light of accountability is a God-given means of breaking strongholds and embarking on a new path.
3 - I write about my health because I want to Encourage others who are on a similar journey, or to encourage those contemplating getting started.
-It can seem daunting to stand at the beginning of a significant health change. And it is! No point in not being honest. Changing food habits, exercise habits, and more can be really, really challenging. But, if you find yourself in a similar place that I was (really unhealthy, overweight, body aches and pains, and unable to do much), then you will discover all kinds of benefits from taking that first step.
-Don’t hesitate; don’t give up. Get started. Go for a walk; join a gym; find a workout partner. Do something.
And while I’m no professional in the food and workout industries, if I can be of help to you, please reach out. I can share my workout plans, and my eating habits. And, if nothing else, hopefully just encourage you along the way.
I've come along way..one day at a time. There's a lot more to do, more distance to travel. One day, one meal, one decision at a time.
But, here’s where I am currently…The Update
I’m weighing in at approximately 245lbs, which for me, is the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I reached that weight early last year (2022). So, I've been able to maintain it…which is my long-term goal. Learning to be healthy for the long haul. When I began this health journey in late 2017 , I was roughly 330lbs and in my early 30’s. Now, doctors have repeatedly told me that my ideal weight for my height is 185ish lbs…in my dreams!
My ultimate goal is not to see a specific number of the scale (although, like many people, I do have a goal weight). My goal is to be healthy. And, for the most part, I’m achieving that goal. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m a long way from where I was.
I have been able to kick a lot of stress related bodily issues (because stress really does damage the body). I have also been able to remedy some long-standing aches and pains in my joints and low back. That has been really helpful and encouraging!
It's a slow process, but one of my mottos is, “Trust the process.”
So, overall, I am doing well, and for that I am pleased. But, I also have some Goals for 2023. And here they are…
1 - I want to lose another 15-20 pounds of fat that I’m carrying on my torso.
It's leftover from years of overeating and poor bodily stewardship. I want to lose that weight because…
Like many people, the excess weight causes me self-consciousness and embarrassment.
I’ve also learned that chest and belly fat in males particularly can negatively affect the heart. I’m in no imminent danger and I’m having no heart related issues (I have regular physicals and checkups), but I want to get the weight off as much as I can, especially as I continue to age.
-Slow and steady wins the race.
2 - I'm probably on the verge of giving up running for hiking…at least, for now. I tried to get back into a regular running routine in the fall of last year (2022), and was doing fairly well. I ran a 10k in October, and my annual Thanksgiving morning 5k with my sister…but I feel well-short of my goal to do a half-marathon in December. I signed up for the half-marathon thinking that paying the money would motivate me, but I was wrong! I think I was hanging on to the nostalgia of past running experiences and lacking real motivation. The many hours it takes to put in those long miles just doesn't fit easily into my life right now.
Hiking, on the other hand, is a great fit right now. And it's something the whole family can do together. Just this month, we’ve already hiked close to 30 miles as a family!
3 - Stay the Course.
-This is the biggest goal. I want to achieve the other goals, but more than anything I want to stay the course, remain disciplined, trust the process, and steward my body well.
The last few years have had their ups and downs, but through it all I’ve learned the value of discipline.
As one of my motivational heroes says, “Motivation is worthless. Discipline equals freedom.”
-There are times when I’m really motivated to workout, eat healthy, and go hard. And there are other times when I lose enthusiasm, my workouts aren’t as high-intensity, and my eating is less regulated. But, discipline is the key. Stay the course; trust the process.
That’s it for now. If you follow my instagram account (@bfrancis1), then you see my weekly gym posts. I workout five days a week, and I try to post my workouts as a means of accountability. #DisciplineEqualsFreedom is my motto. Motivation doesn’t work because motivation comes and goes. Discipline is what carries the day. Stay disciplined; do the work; reap the rewards.