Eating with a friend, a family member, or even an acquaintance is an experience that deepens relationships and enriches community. This is positive and enjoyable. It should be! Sharing a table with someone is special and meaningful.
Yet, we need to know ourselves well enough that we practice self-control and self-discipline in what we eat. This is so important not only in regard to the amount of food, but also in the kind of food we consume. For example, I am a snacker. I love to go to the pantry, wander through, grab an item or two . . . or three . . . and consume them. There are many days I would rather do this than have something healthy and more substantial. If there were no such thing as chips, cookies, sweets, ice cream, and chocolate, I could eat healthy foods easily and faithfully.
I know myself very well. Therefore, I walk through many seasons in a year when I really pull back from certain kinds of food in order to eat healthy. I live knowing my own weaknesses and try to surround myself with less or no temptation regarding food.
One thing I have learned through fasting is that restraining myself is good. In fact, it deepens my commitment to live better and eat healthy when I finish the fast.
While writing Living Fit, I practiced a zero-sugar diet. Why would I do this? There are several reasons, but I felt like I needed to put some kind of action into my life that called me to an awareness of ongoing physical fitness.
The next time you feel you are out of control with your eating habits, do not think you will gain control by easing into it, but understand a break needs to happen in your present pattern of eating. Establish a future pattern to be pursued, at least for the next season of your life. Only you know where you are and where you need to be in your life.
While others may encourage and motivate you in your fitness, in eating, health, and physical exercise, ultimately it will be up to you. No one else has the power to determine what you do about where you are.
Feeling guilty does not result in change. Being ashamed does not result in change. Only you can make a lifestyle change in relationship to your physical fitness. Oftentimes, following a medical procedure or challenge someone has experienced, their doctor will encourage them to change their lifestyle. Fear motivates them for a while, but ultimately many return to the way things were in their previous status. Eventually, it all catches up to them, leading to an immobilized life or seeing their life decline faster than they imagined, and possibly end sooner than expected. There is something about the human persona that convinces us that we are exempt from certain things and will not pay the consequences. This is just not true.
We reap what we sow. We become what we eat. If we do not even consider a daily walk around the block, we will live to regret our lack of physical activity.
A sedentary life will lead to struggles with weight. This is happening today to children, the elderly, and everyone in between. Our challenges in American healthcare are caused by several things, but, let’s not underestimate how a sedentary lifestyle has contributed to our culture’s weight problems.
Any time I have lived out of control with eating and my weight, I did not like living, feeling, or looking the way I did. Thousands of people I have met through the years who have experienced some of the same issues would agree with my assessment and have felt the same way. But herein lies the problem: We each must take action and personally own the need to make a change that will improve our physical fitness.
For me, it took finally understanding that any lack of physical fitness linked to eating and exercise is a spiritual issue. God wants me to live and operate my life with self-control. This fruit of the Holy Spirit is needed continually in my life. For me—and I am only speaking for me—I see it all as a spiritual issue.
I know that if I see it as a spiritual issue, I will call upon God in prayer and He will empower me to work through it and lead me toward a healthy solution. For me personally, exercise itself is such a mental cleansing. My greatest struggle is mostly in regard to eating moderately and wisely.
How well do you know yourself and your practices? I want to encourage you to live knowingly.
In 1990, at a very young age, my wife, Jeana, was diagnosed with cancer. Through surgery, radiation, extreme chemotherapy, and prayer, God healed Jeana. With two very young boys, this jolted our lives in a major way.
During this experience and the years following, Jeana provided counsel and encouragement to many people located all over America who were dealing with cancer. I heard her say so many times to others what she learned through her own challenging experience. She stated, “No one knows your body more than you, so listen to your body.”
This is not just important for those who are going through physical illness and treatment. This is true for each of us, whether we are committed to living fit physically or not. But in all reality, it is even more true for those who are focusing on a proper commitment to physical fitness. Be wise and be reasonable. As you exercise and commit to fitness, live knowingly.
Excerpted with permission from Living Fit by Ronnie Floyd. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.