We were talking with friends on Sunday about cycling on local trails. They prefer to take a more leisurely pace; hereas, we prefer to pump up our heart rates while taking in the scenery. The conversation ultimately landed on our Fitbits, how they show us what is happening throughout the day with our heart rates, sleep, etc. This seemed a bit of a concern to our friend because his job requires sitting at a computer most of the day. There is a common theme in our culture and in other countries. The waistlines are expanding and scales are groaning under the weight of an obesity epidemic. Pharmacies are filling an outrageous number of prescriptions for blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes medications. What is the answer to this problem?
Is your community health--conscious? When I lived in the Akron area, the offerings of healthy activities was great. I loved the bike trail system in the Cuyahoga Valley. It was absolutely awesome! There were a lot of fitness centers in the area, healthy restaurants, and activities that helped keep people active and healthy. Several churches in the community offered exercise classes and bible studies fostering healthy Christian living. Since I moved to Michigan, I've been extremely disappointed about the lack of healthy lifestyle options in our community. There is a mentality here that feeds the obesity. How? By a lack of encouragement to exercise, although there are some fitness centers around, but the bike trails are sparse. Most of the restaurants offer up a hefty food fare. Alcohol seems to be one of the many popular drugs of choice. Families don't seem to care about being healthy until someone contracts an illness forcing diet and exercise for treatment. If your community is a healthy, active community you have been blessed. If not, it's time to turn it around.
your church foster health, fitness, and wellness church-wide? If your church is like most churches, every activity is laden with food and sitting during social time. Some offer donuts with coffee to take away the excuse of "no time for breakfast" so more people will come. There is a movement in contemporary churches toward living healthy which is encouraging. Still there is the problem of the ever expanding waistline of congregation members. It's time to turn it around.
Does your family embrace a healthy active lifestyle? Maybe you've started losing weight through diet and exercise, but your family members roll their eyes at you while they toss a frozen mini pizza into the microwave. It started early in your family, like most families. When the kids came along, you smiled as the little ones savored foods you like. Maybe you even took lots of pictures as they smeared Spaghetti-os in their hair. You enjoyed the large family-sized popcorn with large sodas for all at the movie theater. Unhealthy lifestyles are cultural in nature. There are no quick fixes because this problem has been building over a very long time. It may be an uphill battle, but it's time to turn it around.
The answer to the obesity epidemic starts at home.
If you have begun eating healthy and exercising, you are off to a great start! It's going to be challenging to have a positive impact on your family, church, and community. Every change needs to be prayed over, then put into practice with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Be sensitive to the Lord's "Yes" , "No", and "Wait". Here are some ways you can help make a total paradigm shift:
Whatever you do, don't be that annoying "health nut" because people will tune you out. Always use love and grace to share your love of healthy living wherever you go. Invite others with similar concerns to join together with you to make some of these ideas a reality. Who knows? They may be able to brainstorm for even better, more acceptable ideas. May the Lord bless and guide you as you make a healthy impact in the people around you.