When I've done fitness assessments for clients, it's always been a mystery to me why they blame heredity, age and other things for their health issues: type II diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. As they stand in front of me grossly overweight, they are walking time bombs. I think I actually told one that he was a walking time bomb to get him to wake up and take action. The doctor recommended they come to the gym for a reason.
When asked about their food intake, activities, and job, they reveal the truth about their conditions. Most of them eat for comfort or stress. Some don't know what healthy living healthy means. Others are "chained" to a desk or car seat for work. I hear, "I can't eat like I used to anymore." I usually respond, "You shouldn't have been eating like that at all." My intention is not to be mean or disrespectful, but to get straight to the point.The denial bubble must be broken.
Many of these clients are Christians, some of which are pastors. When that's the case, I give them this verse, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." I Corinthians 6:19-20. It boils down to taking care of the body God gave us, in which His Holy Spirit resides that we might serve Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Personal stewardship is an act of worship to God, a lovely offering to Him.
When my first husband was a pastor, potlucks were the focus of almost every gathering. In rural churches, the foods they shared would "stick to your ribs". Greasy fried chicken, rich fat-laden casseroles, and other high-calorie dishes abound! Some of these well-intentioned ladies thought I needed "some meat on my bones". But they didn't realize it wasn't "meat' but fat that would accumulate, with a generous side of plaque build-up in the arteries!
While talking with one woman, she thought it was normal to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol! I told her I had none of them; my hubby had high blood pressure from former poor food choices, but not the cholesterol issue. He learned these habits from his mother who loved her sausage biscuits and gravy. She had her arteries cleared from plaque build up and experienced strokes. I loved her dearly, but my husband was taking medications as a result of her old farmer's mentality. Back to the woman, though. Her husband, a very large man, died of a heart attack helping in a food booth at a local fair the church worked every year. His casket was extra large, so my husband had to remeove e front pews in the sanctuary for the funeral service in order to place the casket up front. That mentality does not have a "heredity" basis, rather they are learned from generations before them. I see the same cultural issues here where I live now. We no longer work sun up to sun down bailing hay by hand, milking the cows, plowing the fields or churning butter. When was the last time you took your rugs out to the clothes line to beat the dust and dirt out of them? It was important for farmers doing heavy manual labor for long hours to have those calories. We must change our ways in order to serve our risen Savior better and longer!
Getting physical activity into our lives 3-5 hours a week is important. Take the time to walk, workout, ride a bike, play outside with your children or grandchildren, or borrow a niece or nephew! It takes the combination of cardio and strength to be healthy. You will be able to:
1. Sleep better
2. Think more clearly
3. Problem solve better
4. Handle physical tasks more easily
5. Relieve pain
6. Digest food more readily
7. Stave off high blood pressure and other lifestyle illnesses
8. Improve your mood
9. Feel better overall
10. Gain better reception from others due to your physical appearance
All of these things are worth the effort! We also pass onto children activities that will be lost due to our techno-generation mentality.
But it can be even better! Eating healthy, less processed foods has fantastic benefits as well:
1. Improved brain function
2. Improved eye sight
3. Better thermal regulation (you will feel more comfortable temperature-wise)
4. Better reports at the doctor's office
5. Reduced chances of lifestyle related illnesses
6. Less thyroid damage! (the thyroid function can be damaged due to lack of certain nutrients)
7. Being satisfied after a meal
8. Better blood sugar regulation
9. Reduced risk of Alzheimers and dementia in old age
10. Clarity of the eyes and better appearance of the skin and hair
There are many more benefits than what I listed. Pick one thing in the activities and one thing in the foods to change at a time. Do each one for 2-4 weeks and add something new to change after that's accomplished. 1-2 pounds a week is healthy weight loss.
But I want to emphasize something else, as a former anorexic, anorexia and bulimia are as much a sin issue as over eating and lack of physical activity. God convicted me of this while I was in college at a bit under 90 pounds, bones showing through my clothing, and only consuming 500 calories a day. It was the passage I shared earlier that caught my attention. At a church where our college orchestra group performed, it was my turn to offer devotions. Not even a Christian yet, God led me to I Corinthians 6:19-20. I shared this passage with what I was doing to myself and asked for prayer. God answered, but I had to do my part as well. He didn't let me drop under 100 pounds no matter what I did. I did regress occasionally, but I was healed by the Lord and am healthy today. He may not work like that for you, but you must rely on His mercy and grace day by day. Any form of food addiction damages our bodies and consumes our thoughts. We cannot serve Him very well like that. If you are caught up in binge eating, anorexia, bulima, closet eating or any other eating disorder, seek help immediately! God will bless you abundantly if you will trust Him to take you through healing.
There are wonderful people who were in my gym and church in their 70's and 80's who don't look or behave as if they are in those age groups. They live vibrant, active lives giving of their time and talents daily. They are grateful to the Lord for every day they have and for every life they might touch. Let us look to those godly examples and honor the Lord in our body and in our spirit which are His!
May God bless you!