A couple years ago, my husband Chris and I thought that we were following God’s plan for our life. We were both saved. We were sold out believers. We were happily plugged into a local church. We loved each other and were in a very comfortable pattern of life. Yet God shook us up completely. Studying the Bible, we stumbled upon a verse that we were both familiar with. The verse?
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” ~ I Corinthians 6:19
We knew this verse. We lived this verse. We understood that because God lived inside of us, our bodies became his house, his temple. We totally got it, and We honored our temples by avoiding the obvious vices. No alcohol, no cigarettes, no drugs, no sex outside of marriage. The temple was good, but God didn’t let it go. He impressed a thought upon my husband and me. What if our temple was holding us back from true service to God? What if the lack of care we took with out temples caused others to miss out on the kingdom of God.
These questions led us to pursue a healthier lifestyle. The goal was not weight loss. The goal was to get fit and better serve God. Yet, here we are two years later and 50 pounds lighter. Do we feel better? Yes! So are we more active? Yes! Do we serve God more? Yes!
It’s really very simple. We made ten changes and transformed our lives.
1) Cut out sugar. It doesn’t do anything but slow us down and keep us feeling sluggish. If we “need” something sweet, we eat fruit or natural sweetener (like honey).
2) Give up processed food. If we cannot make it ourselves, it’s probably not a food. Chips for example are not really food and our bodies don’t need them. We take this so far as to say we won’t even eat processed, canned vegetables. What factories use to preserve the food strips it of nutrients and raises sodium. It’s not worth it, so we buy fresh and cook and store.
3) Make it yourself. If there is something that we want to eat, we learn how to make it ourselves. we still eat bread, pizza dough, and pitas. But now I make them, and I know what is in them.
4) Limit the number of times you eat out. We’ve gone from quantity eating out to quality eating out. We try to pick restaurants that bring in fresh, higher grades of meat.
5) Eat when you are hungry. Don’t just eat because you think it should be dinner time. Pay attention to your body and eat when your body says you are hungry.
6) Exercise. For us, we charted a four mile walking route. It has plenty of turns and hills (both uphill and downhill) so that we can keep our heart rate up. We have found that we would rather walk and talk together than sit in front of the TV. The walk brings us closer together and forces us to pay more attention to each other without allowing distractions to interfere.
7) Engage a few friends. On the days when you are down, tired, or simply not feeling well, your friends can keep you motivated. They can keep you eating healthy and push you to exercise more. Our friend is 20, and some days it’s really hard to match her speed!
8) Avoid the stresses that cause binge eating. I do not like parties. They stress me out. When I’m worrying about going, I worry eat. When I get there, I eat more because it would be rude not to. When I’m free and back home, I relief eat. I’m better off not going to the party but simply meeting with whoever later in a fashion that better fits my introverted personality.
9) Give grace. No one is perfect, and we are going to fail. When we do, we don’t wallow in it creating a three or four day binge. Instead we think about how we went wrong and get right back up on the wagon. We give ourselves some grace.
10) Get plenty of rest. You won’t stay committed to healthy eating and exercise if you are exhausted. Being well rested allows me to calmly choose the things that are better for me so that I don’t get caught up in emotions and emotional eating.
As I said, our goal was not weight loss. It was pursuing a healthier lifestyle so we would have more energy and could better serve God. That has happened for us, but we’ve also lost weight. At this point, I’ve lost 50 lbs and counting …
What’s your favorite health trick? How has living healthier changed your life?