Resolved; this is a word we hear much about during the end and beginning of each new year. Many people attempt a new look or new health for the wrong reasons and when they cannot live up to the promise they made to themselves, the guilt of failure is turned into a Krispy Kreme® donut party. But before we delve into a few reasons and solutions to this dilemma, let me be honest with you. I have personally made the transformation from 260 pounds to 190. Sure, it has taken time, but being resolved keeps me focused. So, I know you can do what I suggest because I’ve done it. So, let’s look at a few true/false scenarios:
(1) True or False? “I can’t get in shape because I have no one to get in shape with.” False. While this excuse is used frequently, a lifestyle change must occur with you. Case in point, last May, Gallup conducted a survey of our nation and my city, Richmond, Virginia, was ranked second “Fattest” in the land. Did the fact that the place where I live deter my eating and exercise habits—certainly not. While I could have used this example as an excuse to say, “Everyone is overweight where I live,” I was more determined to stay fit. Just like evangelism and faith, the overall obedience must come from you alone—no one will make you eat a donut, lift a barbell, or go walking. However, someone will certainly ride with you in an ambulance when you have the coronary from being undisciplined (taking into consideration that neglect of health is the reason—please don’t write me hate mail).
(2) True or False. God doesn’t care about what I do with my body. False. Paul tells the Corinthian church that they need to acknowledge that their bodies are the temple of God—where the Holy Spirit dwells. Not only does this apply to sexual immorality and purity, but to how we take care of the vessels He gave us. One of my favorite books is from Archibald Hart, called The Anxiety Cure, he sums up that the body and brain respond to tranquility in the same manner, being designed to recuperate while resting. Too much stress and no exercise drain the brain of natural tranquilizers (5). The problem with modern Western society is its worldview of adrenaline-laden prosperity and lack of personal time. With the aspects of Twitter®, Facebook®, iPhones®, and social media keeping a perpetual track of humanity, the time for rest and getting back to “camel travel” (vi), necessitates making significant life changes (vii).
Hart states that we were created for camel time; meaning, we were meant to walk everywhere, not ride at 70 m.p.h. This is one of the reasons people are so stressed, blood pressure is so high, and chemical imbalances are off the chart. The Sun produces a natural vitamin D when it comes in contact with the skin and walking, or any exercise, helps stimulate natural tranquilizers to help us sleep better and for overall function. While cars are good—they are an invention of humanity—we were created to walk. If you look at history—only nobility were obese because they didn’t walk or do manual labor. Work and exercise are good for us.
(3) True or False. “In as little as fifteen minutes a day and menu planning I can lose significant weight.” True. Diet and exercise work in tandem and speed up the metabolism; increasing energy output and muscle growth. As well, think about this, if a person lost just one pound per week, in one year a total of fifty-two pounds would be lost—believe me—it can happen! How? Devote at least fifteen (15) minutes per day to some type of heart increased exercise (if you’re worried, see your doctor and ask). The right stretching will loosen tight muscles and also help blood flow. Don’t have weights? Try 12 or 16 oz. soup cans, lift them over your head, out at your sides, curl them, or while watching TV, do leg raises. Another good way, start out with push-ups, a great technique to work your shoulders, core, and legs—begin with one—remember—each walk begins with the first step. Last year I couldn’t do three wide arm pull ups, now I have no idea how many I do as I stop at doing 3 reps of 10—the point, everyone starts somewhere. Do not allow excuses to be excuses.
Also, what most people miss entirely is diet. When I say diet I don’t mean some fad. I mean a lifestyle change of eating. I like to prepare my main staples on Sunday night: roasted chicken breasts, turkey breast, brown rice, etc. When I prepare them ahead of time, it cuts down on snacking junk; baby carrots and Greek yogurt is a fabulous snack food and fantastic for high protein with no fat or carbs. Also, watch out for sodium—this is a weight killer and will bloat you. Find foods with low sodium. Here’s a tip, avoid the center of supermarkets where the processed foods are kept, shop only on the outside aisles where dairy, produce, poultry, beef, seafood, and breads are located. One last tip here, give yourself a real cheat day, a day that you splurge—it makes your eating habits become realistic and a lifestyle, not a “diet.” Obviously, you don’t go overboard, but pizza and a hamburger won’t be too hard to work off during the week.
(4) True or False. Losing weight and getting in shape is good for marriages. True. Let’s begin by saying, anything in moderation—do not allow exercise to become your next idol, or the body you are re-shaping; however, remember when you dated your spouse and the way it took you extra time to look your best during your dating period? When did that change? Was it only a ploy, a bait-and-switch tactic? I’m jesting, but you remember the walks hand in hand, the time well spent—those days sparked the love that God placed in your hearts for one another. Walking and talking is wonderful for healthy communication and investing in your relationship. Also, exercise helps increase intimacy—which God created for marriage. Granted, we don’t marry people for looks and should not be that shallow, but besides the inner soul that we are connected with, exercise helps us maintain a positive outlook and feeling more secure about ourselves and spouse. Plus, when both exercise at the same time—it’s bonding and encouragement.
(5) True or False. There are wrong reasons for exercising. True. There are wrong reasons for everything. As stated in the first paragraph, there are wrong reasons for choosing to exercise. Some of these include self-centeredness, egotism, or trying to create a “new me”. For instance, perhaps a significant event has occurred in your life—per se—a spouse leaving. I see this frequently, and the one left behind hits the gym to mold, shape, and sculpt a new body—to be a better looking person. Is this wrong? The motive is wrong. Keep in mind, the Gospel does not make a better person out of you, it shows you your failure and helps you be more like Christ and less like your flesh.
However, exercise and proper diet are ways to place the Spirit in control of the flesh—learning self-control. Going to the gym to look better is ok, as long as your goal is not to stare in the mirror for hours on end (this is not the same as viewing the good results or seeing where you need improvement—vanity is falling in love with self, and idolatry). The motivation should be that you want to take care of what God has given to you, the best that you can, and in the healthiest way you can. God has given you one life, what will you do with it?
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV)
 Avellino, Kelly, WWBT:NBC12, Gallup Survey http://www.nbc12.com/story/18237485/richmond-ranks-2nd-most-obese-city-in-us (Accessed January 9, 2014).
 Hart, Archibald, D. (1999). The anxiety cure: You can find emotional tranquility and wholeness. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.