Too many times when we set out to lose weight and get in shape we go “full throttle.” We determine that we are going to get it right once-and-for-all, so we become militant. We abuse our bodies with an hour’s worth of excruciating exercise, decide to eat salads for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and promise ourselves that we will drink a gallon of water every single day.
That lasts about half a day and we decide we definitely can’t go through life eating like a rabbit and running to the bathroom every three minutes. Besides, we really “need” something salty and just one little Dorito would taste oh, so good! So we eat half the bag (okay, maybe that’s just me). Anyway, it starts the “feeling like a failure” cycle all over again because we totally blew it before we ever got off the ground.
Let’s end the cycle of failure today!
In order to succeed at anything, you have to establish good habits and slowly eliminate the bad ones. This takes time. The “experts” say it takes 21 days to establish a habit, therefore, you have to take it one day at a time. Make small, gradual changes each day and over time you will realize that you are living a much healthier lifestyle than before.
Thankfully, the Lord’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), so if on any given day you mess up, just receive His mercy and begin afresh the next day!
Let’s face it, flesh is flesh. Your body is going to rebel at anything that makes it hurt, feel deprived or uncomfortable. But if you will build your spirit up, then it can take charge of your body and make it do what it doesn’t want to do:
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT), I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
You, too, can discipline your body and train it to do what it should. But in order to do so, your spirit needs to be stronger than your flesh. It is vital that you nourish your spirit each day by feeding on the Word of God and spending time fellowshipping with the Lord through prayer. The development of your spirit must come before the development of your body.
If “first things” aren’t first in your life, then everything else will be out of whack. You won’t have the strength and fortitude to change something so unruly as your flesh. (If you need help or practical suggestions in this area, please read How to Study the Bible and How to Pray.)
Again, please don’t sabotage yourself before you get off the ground. If you’ve never established the habit of Bible study and prayer, then please start small (one Bible chapter and 10-15 minutes of prayer a day is a good starting place) then you can work up to reading and praying more. The Lord is not looking for quantity – He wants quality time with you!
Once you’ve established your spiritual foundation, you’ll be better equipped to work on your health foundation!
Before we go forward in this series, I want you to take out a sheet of paper (or open up a new document in your word processor program) and do some “soul searching.” This is very important to your health foundation.
I want you to think about two things:
#1: Determine Your “Why”
Why do you want to lose weight and/or get in shape?
Let me give you your very first “why”:
1 Cor 6:19-20 (AMP) says, Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
Your body belongs to the Lord. First and foremost, you must honor Him in it. To continually fill your body with worthless, processed and “junk” foods and never nourish it with whole, living foods; or to never exercise your body, but instead allow it to do what it wants does not bring glory to the Lord.
Make honoring and glorifying the One who purchased you with an expensive price be your first “why.”
Here are some other reasons “why” you may want to get in shape. Use them as a springboard for your own:
- To have energy and stamina
- To feel young and strong
- To be able to wear whatever style you want and not have to “hide” under big, baggy t-shirts and sweats
- To feel beautiful and desirable to your husband again
- To set an example of a healthy, vibrant mother for your children
- To be able to keep up with your toddlers and preschoolers
- To live longer and stronger
These are just suggestions. Some (or none at all) may pertain to you, but there are reasons that will keep you going when the going gets tough. You need to find those reasons. They are your “why.” Dig deep and be completely honest with yourself.
#2: If you were to accomplish your physical fitness dreams…
- What would you look like?
- What could you do that you can’t do now?
- How would you feel about yourself?
Once you’ve completed this assignment, put the paper in your Bible, purse, mirror, computer, or somewhere you can see it everyday. Keep it before you so that you will have it as a constant reminder — especially when it would be so much easier to quit.
But you’re not going to quit. You are going to establish a strong spiritual foundation that will help you build a strong foundation of health and fitness. You have broken the cycle of failure and are going to glorify God in your body.
And I’m going to help you!
Remember, You can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you! (Philippians 4:13)
This post is excerpted from my book, A Life That Flourishes. Click on image below to purchase.
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.