(This is a repeat, but a good reminder!)
I don’t remember which weight loss blog I read this on, but I’ll never forget the quote: “When you get a flat tire, you change it and keep driving; you don’t pop the other three tires”. Fabulous, right?
We all have times when we fall off the health wagon. Why did I eat that? Why did I eat ALL of that? Why did I stay up so late? Lifting sofa cushions to find the remote counts as exercise, right?
There are weeks when my butt is firmly seated in the health wagon and I’m buckled up and facing front. There are also weeks when I’m more like a little kid who’s hanging over the side trying to hit the wheel with a stick. I’m still in the wagon, but I’m being stupid. I reach a little too far and suddenly I’m eating dirt. (Low in calories, but not recommended. It tastes awful, even covered in chocolate… I mean broccoli.)
What do you do when you fall off the health wagon? You get back on. Make better choices starting now, but don’t beat yourself up about the ones you already made. If beating yourself up counted as exercise, I’d say “Knock yourself out!” But it’s not, and that was a great pun, wouldn’t you agree?
In ten years it won’t matter that you fell, it’ll matter that you didn’t stay down in the dirt. Is falling off the wagon frustrating? You bet. Painful? Sometimes. Embarrassing? Sure. But you still have three good tires. Each day is a new day and each morning you wake up on the wagon. And next time that little kid won’t lean out quite so far to hit the wheel with a stick. Perfection is not realistic, so we’re not aiming for perfect here, we’re aiming for not-stupid.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
How have you handled a fall from the health wagon? What helps you get back on or stay on?
Losing weight can be a mathematical headache. How many calories do I cut to equal one pound of weight loss? How many pounds per week before swimsuit season? If a train leaves the station at 10am and you race it…. The Weight Loss Bible walks you through pages of caloric math and then offers a simple alternative: eat your goal.
The concept is simple: if your goal weight is 140 pounds, then eat what a 140 pound woman eats. I love this idea! After all, the goal here is not only to lose the pounds, but to change your lifestyle; not only to reach your goal weight, but to maintain that weight for decades. So don’t play diet games. Eat like a thinner, healthier person and you will become one.
Look around you and take notice of the healthy people in your social sphere. Do the healthy people exercise? Then so should you. Do they eat vegetables? So should you. Do they drink water? Limit junk food? Sleep 7-8 hours per night? It’s so simple! Just move and eat and drink and sleep the way a person at your goal weight moves and eats and drinks and sleeps!
(A quick word of caution here: slim does not always mean healthy. Before you emulate a person’s lifestyle, observe them closely and critically. She may be thin, but does she eat? I’m talking healthy meals, not diet shakes. Is she overly obsessed with food or exercise? It’s possible for a perfect body to become the central priority of one’s life, but that’s not actually healthy.)
Eating your goal is simple, but I never said easy.
Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior and nutritional science says that we make an average of 200 food related choices each day, many of them subconsciously. Even if we’ve got it half right when we start our health improvement journey, that’s 100 choices to be made differently each day, and that’s potentially overwhelming.
So keep it simple in your mind. Picture yourself at your goal weight or your goal level of health. Act like that version of yourself starting today. Eat your goal. Drink your goal. Move your goal. If you focus on your goal, your subconscious will adapt and those 200 daily decisions will be made for your benefit.
If you need a cheerleader, wave your arms around a bit and chant along with me:
I choose to be
A healthy me!
I’m eating wise,
It’s my new role:
To eat my goal!
“So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” 2 Corinthians 5:9
Whether you’re new to cooking at home or have been doing it for decades, cooking can sometimes feel like a chore. We eat every day, so we can potentially cook every day. Just like we go to bed on time or exercise more often when we make it fun, we’ll cook more often if we make it enjoyable.
- Cook with your ears. Listen to an audio book while you cook or put on some music that’ll make your toes and your chopping knife tap together. If the audio book is a tear jerker, chop up a bag of onions and freeze the extra for later.
- Rise and reward. Rise early twice a week to prep your recipes: chop the veggies or measure spices and save them in a little container. Get your ingredients set so that when you’re tired and hungry and it’s time to cook dinner, all you have to do is heat the pan and throw it all together. Or, in the case of a casserole, throw it in the oven. Reward yourself for your early effort with a special coffee or a favorite fruit salad. For many moms, being able to cook in peace and quiet in the early hours is a reward unto itself. If you use a slow cooker, your meal can be ready and waiting when you walk in the door.
- This last suggestion is my favorite: host a Chop and Chat. Invite a friend over and cook together. Yes, you will have different tastes and styles, but you will learn from each other and the cooking is accomplished—that’s the point, after all. Make salad together, scrape and cut carrot sticks for snacking, make a batch of soup or a fruit salad. We get together with friends to talk, but why not make our hands as productive as our mouths?
Cooking from scratch at home takes extra time and effort, but it’s worth it and can be enjoyable. Figure out what works for you. My favorite part of home cooking? The thing that inspires me to cook day after day, meal after meal? I love to eat and it tastes so good!
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
For the Spirit God gave us gives us power—YES!—and love—YES!—and self-discipline—um, say what now?
Self-discipline or self-control is the Fruit of the Spirit I like to skim over. Love, joy, peace… I park it here and enjoy. Pour it on, Lord, these sound good. Forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness… I like these too, although it’ll take some work to exhibit them consistently. It’s not easy to always be kind and good and patient. I’ll need help, Lord. Self-control… I’m not a fan of this one. It sounds like work. It’s all on me: self-control, control of myself.
Or is it?
Wait, let me read those verses again. God has given us a Spirit of self-discipline. The Fruit of the Spirit is what the Holy Spirit produces in me. So it’s not all on me. I ask God to help me be patient and kind and loving, so why should self-control be any different?
God wants me to control my body. Self-discipline helps me say no to sin when I want to do what I know is wrong. Self-discipline helps me make time each day to pray and read the Bible when a thousand other ways to spend my time seem more urgent. And self-discipline helps me do what I need to do to get healthy.
Some days I’m focused on my goal and feel motivated to eat right, sleep long, and exercise. Other days I feel like doing anything else. Can’t I start tomorrow? Like a child I whine “do I have to? Can’t I start tomorrow?” I forget that I have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside me, ready to help me. So I pray.
I pray that the Holy Spirit, the same one God says gives us power and love, will help me be self-disciplined. I pray Lord, help me do what I need to do today to get healthy. Some days I pray Lord, help me want to do what I need to do today to get healthy, because I really want to jump off this wagon and bury my face in fudge.
Self-control is a beautiful thing, not a burden. I don’t want to be a slave to my flesh, so I need to take control of it so my flesh serves me and not vice versa. I have plans for my flesh and those plans include feeling comfortable in my own skin, feeling shameless in my tankini and swim shorts, and being mentally and physically active into my 90’s.
I’m not alone and it’s not all on me. The Holy Spirit gives me power, love, and self-discipline. Thank the Lord for all of the Fruits of the Spirit.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Images courtesy of: Pinterest (fruit tree), Verseoftheday.com (rock wall)
We don’t always do what we know we should, especially when it comes to eating healthy and exercising regularly. Today’s post is a friendly reminder that God’s love for us doesn’t change with our willpower.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)