Bodily Exercise Profiteth Little and God Looketh on the Heart... So How Does Health Fit Into a Christian's Life?
For the past year and a half, I've worked as a Weight Watchers employee. I've recently said 'adieu' to this position, as the time constraints of homeschool are demanding my attention. It's been fascinating being on the other side of the desk, observing and counseling those who are trying to achieve a healthy weight. I would say that my lovely group was unique. These were people who really wanted to be healthier. They were not obsessed with 'sexy.' (And if you're from my old group, you are now laughing because you know what I mean.)
But the weight-loss / fitness industry is. If you're overweight, the clothing recommendations read like this: "Not ready to show off those gams yet? Cover them up with..." "Until your hard work pays off in flashing some summer skin, here's how to..." If you're working out, the fitness DVDs say, "You're looking great. This is going to help you rock that bikini" and "This is going to give you the tight buns you need for that outfit for the club."
I recently spent an evening on the University of Alabama's main campus in Tuscaloosa. I graduated from there in 2003. I noticed one big change, okay, two big changes. One, there was not a crowd of smokers around every entrance. Thank you!!! Two, all these gals were running around to class in workout clothes. Weird. They were actually more 'modest' I suppose than the tiny little shorts they used to wear when I was in school, but weird. (I stuck out like a sore thumb, even having a professor exclaim in front of 50 students when I walked in the door for a summer class, "Well! SOME people think they have to $!% dress from head to toe." BTW, if you're a parent thinking of sending your child to a public university, be aware that the environment is something for which they should be WELL PREPARED!) Back to topic, being a 'gym rat' is oh-so-chic right now, I guess.
Is our popular culture really obsessed with health? I don't think so. Why? Because the implied reason for taking care of one's body is so it will look good enough to really enjoy the one time ride that life offers. The same girls in workout gear are into the hook-up culture (casual sex, friends with benefits, whatever you want to call it) and going 'clubbing.' (which involves lots of alcohol and risky behaviors). What good are those hours in the gym if you're infected with some of these! My OB/GYN tells me the number of diseases he sees on the tables everyday are astounding. I say, "Go wash your hands AGAIN... in bleach!"
In a bit of a rambling side note: any opinions on getting one's children vaccinated against HPV? I really stood opposed until my Christian dr. said, "I don't want to vaccinate your children against sinful behavior. I think in this sick world, with the possibilities of sexual abuse/rape, I think of it as a small protection against the creeps out there." Now I don't know what I think...
So if you're reading this, and you want to be healthier. I say 'healthier' b/c I don't consider myself 'uber-healthy.' There are always a gazillion ways to improve. Take a mini-micro-baby step today. Here are a couple of ideas that I've implemented this year:
1. Keep a liter bottle of water in the fridge. Fill it up everyday, and try to get through it by the end of the day. (Keep the kids out of it, or you'll never know how much you're getting). And ALWAYS take it in the car- my easiest time to hydrate.
2. Pack a snack. Never leave the house without a healthy snack. 5 min. of prep will save you money! and time in a drive-thru with desperately starving children ;o). I usually have an apple and a drink at least for everybody.
3. Eat some dark chocolate. It feels like dessert, but it's healthy.
4. Try to eat a fruit or veggie with every meal and snack. (Harder than it sounds- I'm working on this one.)
5. Be a little less efficient. Park a little farther from the store. Take the laundry downstairs in 3 trips instead of one.
6. Insist on time. My kids have been taught that a mommy who is strong is a better mommy, and that I'll fix them breakfast after I finish. They get a snack and read a book, or... actually I have no idea what they do ;o) (just kidding) When they were little, I kept them with me if they were awake (of course.)
7. Be the mom. Kids survive if they don't get junk food at the store. Little Debbie's are either God's gift to man or the original fruit that hung on the tree that Eve ate- I'm not sure which. I just know if Swiss cake rolls enter this house, I will eat them. So they rarely come home. I'm just super-weak that way.
8. Pop a stick of gum. This is crucial for me when I'm baking (I really don't need to taste test the dough 20 times, now do I? But I will- I kid you not!) Also useful when I'm cleaning up after dinner. Yes, close my eyes tightly and throw that last bite away. Try not to think of starving children. Be OK with not being the family's garbage disposal.
If this topic makes you want to go eat an extra snack b/c it brings on pain, stress, or sadness, you're not alone. I never met a single person in the meeting room who didn't associate 'getting healthy' or 'losing weight' with guilt, shame or pain. Why do you think WW stocks Kleenex?! So cry a little. Look in the mirror at your FACE, and say, "I'm a precious treasure, worth more than the world, a person Christ died for. I am valuable. I want to feel better." And then make a tiny, teentsy change.