(Slipping a dollar bill into my exercise jar each time I work up a sweat provides impetus to regular workouts. When the jar is full, I decide on and purchase something new for my healthy lifestyle journey!)
Making changes is often hard, but sometimes some simple changes we implement can have a profound effect on our well-being. In our First Place 4 Health meeting recently, I encouraged participants to think of three such changes they’d make during this twelve-week session. As they shared, I jotted them down on the board and later compiled the list. Here’s what we came up with:
· Keep a food journal/diary
· Eat on time
· Remove junk food
· Consume more fruits and veggies
· Get plenty of rest
· Prepare food ahead
· Eat less processed food
· Engage in regular exercise
· Drink more water
· Eat out less
· Spend more time in prayer and Bible study
· Remove (or lessen) stressors
· Make a menu
· Avoid buffets/fried foods
· No late-night eating
· Stay in touch with a friend/accountability partner
Weight loss is never a matter of the stomach only; in First Place, we realize we’re made up of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components, and each has a bearing on our wellness journey. Seeking balance under the lordship of Jesus Christ can provide real and lasting victory!
As I looked over this list, I noticed these four life entities are addressed. I think I’ll print these reminders out and place them on my refrigerator!
Filed under Bible study, calorie reduction, Christian weight loss programs, decision-making, decisions, empowerment, fellowship with God, First Place 4 Health, freedom, God's purposes, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, physical fitness, prayer, right perspective, struggles, victory, Wisdom
Are you a visual learner? Sometimes, what we see has more of an impact that what we read. Case in point: After almost two months of not eating as well as I should and not exercising as much as I had been, my weight has incrementally crept up a few pounds above my goal. After working so hard to reach my goal, I’m back on track…the walking track, among other calorie-burning workouts! Another track I plan to implement again is the food-tracker. Knowing if it goes in my mouth, it goes on my chart makes me better able to say “no” to less-than-the-best choices.
Now, back to the visuals: For Christmas, I bought myself a pair of five-pound weights. They are pretty diminutive to look at, but when I pick them up, I have to brace my arms and shoulders for the extra stress. And just that ten pounds puts extra pressure on my legs as well. But another visual today really hit home. Our local store had ground chuck on sale, and as I looked at the “family packs”, most of which were three pounds or more, I saw a lumpy glop of meat about the size of what I’ve regained. Visualizing that on my backside has helped steel my resolve.
If you’re carrying excess weight, it may help to get some visuals in your mind; not only what you need or want to lose, but of smaller weights as well. Next time you’re shopping, pick up a five-pound roast or a ten-pound sack of sugar. Feel the weight in your hands. Then set a short-term goal to lose that five or ten pounds. Later, as you handle the comparable object again, you will be excited and encouraged that, just as you can put down that bag of sugar, you’ve put off that much weight!
I hope you’ll join me in looking forward to (and planning for) a new year of becoming healthier, not only physically, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally. More to come on these thoughts in upcoming days!
>(I am recuperating from surgery, and can’t sit long, so I’m offering some of my devos from the past. Hope this fave helps you face trials with expectation and faith! This was part of a submission package that led to my being accepted as a writer for WMU’s Missions Mosaic magazine several years ago.)
The cell was cold and damp, which made the shackles binding their feet much more intolerable. Their lacerated backs screamed with pain from the beating they had endured. Paul and Silas could have complained to God for allowing such revolting consequences as a result of their obedience to his leading (Acts 16:9-10). Instead, they remained confident that God had led them to this very place:
“About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25
There was another who surely listened as they sang the first century version of “Amazing Grace”. As a mighty earthquake shook the prison, the doors flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains were loosed. The jailer was about to kill himself, thinking his charges had probably escaped. But as Paul shouted “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” the shackler had his sin shackles removed as he fell trembling before the two, asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (verse 30).
This joyous midnight worship service led the jailer to Jesus, causing him to be “filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family” (verse 34).
Lord, in your word, you said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Thank you that we can experience your joy, regardless of our circumstances. May the way your joy shines through us in the midst of difficulties glorify you, and point others to your salvation!
For further study: 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4-7, Acts 5:25-41, Romans 12:9-14,