Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 6 - Reshaping it All

Reshaping it All ~ Day 6

Guest Writer, Olivia from Her Noble Character

Like many women, I often wonder how my idealistic desire to eat only nutritious, wholesome foods and get lots of exercise fits with my realistic desire to sit around and eat ice cream. I have no credentials as a nutritionist or a physical trainer, but I have made some observations about myself that have been helpful in building discipline and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I think women, myself included, need to recognize that our bodies are the Lord’s and that we need to treat them accordingly. At the same time, we shouldn’t devote so much of our attention to making them the best they can be that our end goal in life becomes perfect physical fitness rather than pursuing the fear, knowledge, and love of the God they belong to. Godliness has more value than physical training (1 Tim. 4:8), but making healthy choices does have value. Real joy is of the Lord and is based on unchanging truth, but unhealthy decisions can keep you from feeling your best. Here are eight things that have been useful for me to think about in my quest for a balanced, healthy life:
  1. Self-control is of the Lord. It’s one of the results of being connected to Him (Gal. 5:22-23). In Him we have access to everything we need to live godly lives (2 Pet. 1:3). To think that I am unable to be disciplined in what I eat is to believe a lie. I can’t fail to account for the supernatural power at work in me. In my own strength, maybe I couldn’t eat well or get any exercise. I might be able to; you don’t have to know the Lord to be in good shape. But for me as a Christian, with God’s enabling, I can accomplish anything He wants me to do for His glory- including caring for my body and not being mastered by its desires. And those are things He calls me to.

  2. When trying to start up a healthy habit, the first three days are the hardest. I’m still deciding if I’m really going to do it. I can cancel my plan without breaking any streak and try instead to just start one tomorrow. I’ve found that if I can make it through the first day of working at a particular goal, the second day is quite a bit easier. And the third is even easier. About a week into it, if I’m still at it, it’s probably going to last. When I was 13, I decided to try to not drink pop (soda, if you’re from the South) for a whole year. It was hard at first, but now- several years later- I don’t even miss it.

  3. Unhealthy choices are extremely short-term pleasures. Sometimes I can feel physically sick or emotionally down within minutes of eating something I regret. On the other hand, when I’ve been eating lots of nutritious foods and have gotten some exercise, I feel energized and happy. The only time I’m glad about eating something unhealthy is... when I’m eating it. Any other time, I wish I hadn’t.

  4. Healthy choices lead to healthy choices. Unless I over-do it, exercising tomorrow will be easier if I exercise today. Unhealthy choices make healthy choices later more difficult. I’ve often found this to be the case in all areas of discipline. When my things are clean and organized, my times in God’s Word are most consistent, and I’m on top of my schoolwork, I’m a lot more likely to eat fruit instead of cookies. If I throw self-control out the window in one area, I’m more laid back in others.

  5. Don’t let one unhealthy choice make you feel that all your healthy efforts were worthless. There have been so many days that I have eaten healthy foods, gotten a workout in, and felt like I was on a great track only to eat something unhealthy and quickly eat many other unhealthy things before the day was over. But there’s a big problem here. My underlying goal in this area is not “a day of healthy choice perfection.” My goal is to attain better health or maintain good health through nutritious foods and regular exercise and to avoid excessive indulgence. If I eat a bowl of ice cream one afternoon, I have the rest of the day to continue working toward reaching that goal. It would be silly to see myself as a failure and then proceed to finish the carton.

  6. Counting calories works. It really does. At least for me. I’ve kept track. If I eat more of them than my body burns, I should not be surprised when I gain weight. If I burn more than I eat, I’m going to lose weight. That’s it. Okay, maybe there’s some more to it than that, but this is completely my experience. If I think I can overeat without gaining weight, I’m in denial. That’s how it works.

  7. If you can’t have just one, don’t have any at all. This might sound like it conflicts with #5 when I suggested that it’s possible to move from an unhealthy choice to a healthy rest of the day. I think there are times, for me, when I can enjoy a reasonable amount of some unhealthy treat without over-indulging, and I think that it might help keep me from feeling too deprived. There are other times when, knowing myself, eating “just one” doesn’t realistically work very successfully. One of my weaknesses when it comes to over-indulging in sweets is ice cream. During my freshman year of college, I quickly realized that having access to all the ice cream I could eat at every meal had the potential to be a huge problem. A few weeks into the school year, I decided to try not to eat it for one whole week. As pathetic as that sounds, it was an unbelievable accomplishment to me. Then, I don’t know what got into me, but I decided to make it two weeks. Then a month. Then the rest of the school year. I credit my “freshman 1,” as opposed to a “freshman 15,” to this one uncharacteristic decision. Because I really, really like ice cream.

  8. Try to only eat things that fall into one or both of these categories: “I love it" or “This is healthy.” It’s easy to eat junk food just because it’s there. I’ve never been much of a chocolate lover (and should probably be more thankful for that), but when I’m spending time with friends, and there’s a platter of chocolate chip cookies in front of me, it’s amazing how much chocolate I can eat! While they might be great chocolate chip cookies, it doesn’t make that much sense to waste my appetite and calories on something that doesn’t give me very much enjoyment, whether for taste or even nutrition. I can better “afford” to enjoy the less-healthy foods I love when I haven’t filled up on empty calories I didn’t even really care for.
I hope at least one of these tips for myself is useful to you, too. I am definitely not perfect when it comes to making healthy choices and turning down unhealthy options, but with God’s help I am improving. Enjoy the grace that is at work in you to serve Him well!

Please visit our guest writer, Olivia at her blog:

Her Noble Character


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  1. What great advice. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tidbits that I will surely put into practice. Fortunately, some of them are what God has been revealing to me the past 6 weeks! Nothing like a super bad back to get you to smarten up I say!

    God bless

  2. Woohoo! 3 Cheers for Olivia - thank you for sharing your journey with us!!!
    Much Love,

  3. What a great post! Thank you for sharing some great tips!


  4. These were great thoughts that really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I really like the "Do I LOVE it" tip... makes me think of the fruit snacks I share with my kids in the car :)

  6. Olivia, I LOVE this post and agree with the other comments. You're upstaging me as a writer. LOL!! And I'm praising God for your talent and wisdom. You rock. Thank you for inspiring us. Press on, ladies!!!

    God is with us. Amen?

  7. I can relate to each and every point you made! Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging Olivia!

  8. Love this one! Thanks for the great tips. I can be hard on myself so it is good to know that I can start over and not feel like a failure when I eat something "bad" that I enjoy!