Weight loss can be frustrating. For example, six weeks ago my boys joined the swim team and I started exercising during their practices, five days a week. That was in addition to my normal exercising. I was also watching what I ate. Despite the extra effort for six weeks, the scale hasn’t budged and my clothes fit the same. I want to throw up my hands, yell “I quit!”, and play on my tablet during practice like the other moms instead of swimming laps or walking on the treadmill.
But I can’t do that. First of all, my boys will be embarrassed if I yell like a crazy woman in front of their friends, and second, I’ve got to believe all of this work is having a positive effect somewhere in my body. Somewhere, deep down, I have cells that look like they just won Biggest Loser. But I have to keep trying until those effects grow beyond the microscopic and become visible to my naked eye.
Weight loss takes faith. When I started losing weight three years ago, I knew it would take work, and I knew it would take resilience, but I never expected to need faith.
I have to have faith that the vegetables I eat, the sleep I snooze, and the exercise I do is making a difference until time has passed and I see evidence of that difference: I feel stronger, my cholesterol drops, I look trimmer, and so forth. I would love faithless weight loss. Eat a carrot and BOOM: one pound lighter. Lift a weight and BOOM: a bicep appears out of nowhere. SIGH.
But God designed our bodies to adapt to our behavior over time. (And thank God that He did! If a goldfish overate like I did, it wouldn’t store fat, it’d just die.) As it is, our bodies expand to accommodate extra food and shrink back when food is decreased. When we eat sugar and sit on our rears, our bodies crave sugar and tire easily, but when we eat plants and move our limbs, our bodies miss those things if we stop. We adapt and actually begin to crave what’s good for us.
Just like people who read the Bible every day don’t expect an angel choir mountain top super spiritual experience every time they read a verse, but notice changes over time in their relationship with God and others because of their Scripture reading, so too physical changes take time and perseverance to happen. Instead of faith in God, it’s faith in how God created our bodies to function.
Study after study has shown that the benefits of exercise and eating well start at the cellular level. There are many trillions of cells in the human body, so it takes a while for us to notice when a few million of them change.
Don’t give up. (Preaching to myself here.) Have faith that what you do for your health today will benefit you today and next week and next month, even if you don’t see results now.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:4 (NIV)
P.S. I wrote the rough draft of this post last week and this week I stepped onto the scale and there was visible progress! Not a whole heapin’ lot after 6 weeks, but I’ll take it! Hooray! “Never give up; never surrender!” (Galaxy Quest quote – great movie.)