Lifestyle Changes that Last
In previous posts, we focused on navigating the confusing and conflicting messages regarding our health and we explored what it means to embrace our health and lifestyle choices as a joyful response to our Creator. When we allow our health to be formed as a part of our spiritual journey our results will be dramatically different. How do I know this to be true? He knows us. He created us.
A few weeks ago, I was running a race in the mountains of Idaho. It was very remote, very challenge and very long. I had been running for a few hours and sprained my ankle – not severely, just enough to swell up and cause negative feedback each time I took a step. I still had a long way to go. I didn’t know if I could make it. But I did know that I could take another step followed by another, and eventually made it to the finish line.
The same is true for your spiritual journey of health. The most effective and beneficial way forward is taking one step at a time! Why is this simple approach so important?
Our western diet is killing us. The consequences have never been higher. If you typically eat a lot of junk food, fast food, packaged food and refined “food like” products then it is safe to say that your body is inching (pun intended) toward diseases common to our affluent culture. This is not how God created us to glorify him with our bodies. When you replace processed “food like” products with high quality whole food straight from the earth, you dramatically improve your health.
Try this experiment. Write down one thing you would like to start doing because you know it’s good for you, OR one thing you would like to stop doing, because you know it’s harmful to you. Keep it simple. For example, instead of saying I will stop eating refined sugar, pick something less daunting, like choosing to stop drinking soda or limiting chocolate and candy to one square of 85% dark chocolate after dinner. You can choose any habit to start your journey. Do not continue reading until you select one habit to work on.
When you tackle your spiritual journey of health, one step at a time, you will increase the simplicity of your approach and the likelihood of continuing. These small incremental steps forward, one habit at a time, will literally and swiftly change how you feel, the clarity of your mind and possibly even the longevity of your life. Trying to overhaul your diet has been proven to be ineffective. The road to lasting health is developing lifelong habits.
You don’t have to be legalistic or perfect about what you eat. However, you do need to focus on what you eat most of the time. If a significant portion of your nutrition comes from what God created for us to eat, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans) and a small amount of lean meat, then the occasional indulgence will not be “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
The incredible news about forming one new habit, followed by another, is the distance you can travel in a relatively short period of time! If you are concerned about having to take certain medications, sick often, or fear one of the major diseases common to our affluent culture, this incremental approach will safely move you towards your desired goal. The body can protect itself and the body can heal itself. This is how God created us!
If your habits and lifestyle choices created the problem, new habits and lifestyle choices can heal the problem. Developing a simple plan to implement transformational habits that help you reach your desired goal is the focus of the next post.