Have you ever had a goal, one that shone brilliant and bright before you? You knew it was the right way, the right thing. But, making progress towards that goal felt something like trying to carry a ton of gold up a hill? I have a couple goals like that.
Today I wanted to be honest about where I am in my health and share my struggles.
When I was 21 I found out that I have incredibly high cholesterol with the overall number in the 300s and the bad cholesterol nearing 200 (that is the cholesterol numbers you would expect to find in a grizzly bear, not a young lady at a healthy weight). For a while I tried to eat healthy and was on medication. We got it down to a less alarming number. But, then I had kids and more or less put all thoughts about the physical condition of my heart on hold. My last checkup showed the cholesterol levels were worse than ever.
Time for change.
Change means cardio work-out, letting go of sweets and chips, and becoming as healthy as I possibly can. In theory I am totally on-board with the change and excited to become fit and disciplined. But the day-to-day reality is often disheartening. One little change in routine or a day of heightened frustration and I flippantly put all my good intentions on hold.
Lately I've done a lot of praying about and studying my Bible and have found these truths.
1. In my mind I am ready to give up. In my self-talk I do not build myself up, reminding myself that I can do it and that I don't need that chocolate or those salted peanuts. Instead I lament about how hard life is and how I deserve the smallest little thing that can take an edge off the difficulties of life.
The cure: Instead of telling myself that I need those unhealthy things, I should celebrate that I am able to take care of my body now, to cultivate a stronger me that is able to better deal with whatever comes. My self-talk needs to turn living healthy from a stress into a luxury.
2. I have no plan. For some reason I have expected the world to simply bring success to my doorstep. As if healthy eating options are going to be magically easier and more desirable to eat than the spoonfulls of peanutbutter my four year-old consumes. Lucky girl.
The cure: Plan week-long menus before I go grocery shopping so that I know what I can eat each day and will have it ready when hunger strikes.
3. Exercise has no priority. It doesn't. I say "I'm going to run today." or "I will do those ab exercises at some point." But I don't. There is just too much on my plate. From the moment my feet touch the bedroom floor it is just go, go, go until I am brushing my teeth for bed.
The cure: Give exercise a top spot on my list. I need to do it. It will feel luxurious to allow taking care of myself to become important. I remember, nobody wants me to break down right now, especially not me. So I need to take care of myself.
4. I have excluded God. This has become an area of my life that I have forgotten to invite God into. It feels so little, so trivial next to my concerns as a mother and a wife. But, God knows even better than I do that this body of mine must do His will and carry out His works.
The cure: I am praying about it. I am talking to God about how much I want to make a batch of no-bake cookies and how my low energy levels makes working out seem pretty impossible. Funny, but when I discuss it with my Heavenly Father I am given an accountability that makes my living choices simple.
In a world and society where fleshly pleasure surround us, it is no mystery why so many of us struggle with diet-related health issues. I am not going to let the world win. God in me is so much stronger than a Cambell's Soup ad.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
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"...and God was already there with me."