How are you doing on your fitness resolutions? Yeah, right. If you’re at all like me, nothing was accomplished yesterday. But today’s a new day. The best part of every morning is the opportunity to start over. And even if you only put one foot forward today, it’s progress. We all have to start somewhere. It’s in the keeping going that success is found.
Nutrition is the first step to achieving overall health, although it is often overlooked. Just like with a car, junk fuel means junk performance. A steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew doesn’t translate to having the competitive edge at the next 5K. Aim for less sugar and junk carbs while pushing more colorful vegetables into your main meals. That’s it. No wild diets or crash programs that run you into the ground faster than last year’s Bikini Body program. Eat Smart, Move More is a good, workable philosophy.
But let’s be realistic. Accept that we will all make regrettable food choices, most likely today. There will be office and tailgate parties where “imitation food product” is the only option. So have a backup plan for when the judicious chef’s salad can’t fend off the hot fudge marshmallow banana split chasing it down. Running all those calories off before bedtime isn’t really feasible. Smart planning, ahead of time, is the ticket to long-term health. Plan what you will eat at the next meal – before you’re hungry for it – and put exercise onto the calendar to keep any splurges in check.
So many people think exercise must mean running. It doesn’t. Physical fitness is a combination of cardiovascular strength, muscular strength, and flexibility. 6-pack abs look amazing, but they won’t help much when trying to keep up with toddlers for an entire afternoon or washing your back in the shower. It takes all three to be truly fit. Focus on endurance one day, muscle tone the next, and stretch out the kinks on Day 3 to achieve a comprehensive fitness program with the added benefit of keeping up interest over the long haul.
Getting your head in the game will be a huge asset. It is much easier to actually move off the bed each morning if there’s something fun to do. “Let’s go pump iron” sounds like work. Dogs are great exercise buddies since they have to go out in the morning anyway. Grab the leash and go find some bunnies together! Going farther or faster – or both – is more realistic once you’re out the door. Look for what inspires you to choose health, whether it’s not ruining a good workout with junk food or a buying a new outfit to reinforce improved eating and exercise habits. Small strides in all these areas will add up and synergy will begin to work for you.
But that’s just physical stuff. You and I are made of more than just flesh and bone. We are made in the image of God; our bodies are His temple and His Spirit (should) reside in us. Spiritual nutrition and exercise are necessary for health on this third plane. Just like food for our bodies, the Bible contains the essential elements for fueling a healthy life.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
There are few people who will say the Bible is an easy read. It must be chewed thoroughly, frequently, and in its totality (no spitting out the onions!) before being put into practice. Real life exercise of Biblical principles is essential to full incorporation. This is harder work still. But no pain, no gain, right? If we are to remodel ourselves and approach total wellness, all the aspects must be part of the program. The Apostle Paul said, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8)
We are not just getting ready for the high school reunion. Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). The food of Scripture and the blood of His life must so completely infuse us that the exercise of total wellness overflows into our surroundings. And the ripples from that could make a big impact over time.