All it takes is a little inspiration. One person to perform something and be successful that you know you are capable of doing yourself. My older brother posted a video of himself on Facebook one day before Christmas last year. The video was typical of him-goofy and witty. He was in a gym with gym clothes on standing in front of a barbell with a substantial amount of weight on it. After a few corny catch-phrases, he dead-lifts the bar with the weight several times. I remember watching, and saying “wow, go Ju Ju!” (His real name is Justin.)
I had been under conviction for a while about my eating habits; let alone the fact that my body represents how much I truly care for it when I look in the mirror. But as I would express repentance about it, I’d find myself making lame excuses, like, “You’re a stress-eater, that’s just your vice; everybody has one!” Or “One day, I’ll get back to where I was!”
I even remembered how I felt when I thought about the days I was running 3 times per week and practicing very strong bodily discipline as well as spiritual discipline. So, what happened? How did I get here? How do I get out?
GLUTTONY, THE SIN NOBODY LIKES TO CALL “SIN”
If I, as a pastor, were to be found in an inappropriate relationship with another woman, then I would immediately be placed in a position of immorality and lose my office of elder/pastor. If I were to be found drunk in a bar by someone that could prove it to the other leaders within the church, I’d be dismissed from my position as elder/pastor as a drunkard and lacking self-control. All of these are listed in 1 Timothy 3. But what about bodily discipline as it relates to food consumption and exercise? Why do we not place gluttony (the over-indulgence of food as a replacement of the contentment we should have with what God has supplied) in the same category of other passionate sins? After all, adultery is a lack of self-control. Drunkenness is a lack of self-control. So, just because everyone else can’t control their fork and knife, I’m justified in a lack of restraint with bread?I had to get real. I had to own my sin. I wasn’t eating food out of necessity and enjoyment. I was eating food out of arrogance and enjoyment. God created all things to be enjoyed, but not abused.Ezekiel’s prophecy included judgment on Israel for gluttony at the expense of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49). Paul verified the fact that gluttony goes along with other varieties os sin (Titus 1:12). It’s sin. That’s all there is to it.
DISCIPLINE, THE PRACTICE NOBODY LIKES TO CALL “NECESSARY”
I had to get disciplined. But how do you get disciplined?! Is it self-will? Is it deep resolve? It’s all of those things. But how is it obtained? Here it is:Prayer.Yes, prayer. I prayed diligently for nearly three months for God to give me prayer and working in repentance of gluttony. Through this, I started with a clean slate. I didn’t make a “new-year’s resolution” I made a simple promise to God that, depending on His grace, that I would practice self-control and seek to care for this body as His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). I promised to depend on Him and give Him the glory. Ever since that commitment in January of this year (2018), I have exercised and tracked my diet closely. As I’ve made progress, I think that my resolve is deeper than it has ever been. The prayer has been answered. How? God has overwhelmed me with a sense of gratitude and contentment with the food and shelter He has supplied (1 Timothy 6:8). At the risk of sounding ultra-spiritual, I have had an awakening to how dependent we are on His provision and also how gracious He is to not only feed me with my needs but also to give them taste and variety. I find myself saying to my wife, Krista “I can’t imagine what food is going to taste like in Heaven, if it tastes this good down here.”
SO, GET PRACTICAL- HERE’S WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I hate cardio. I’m a picky eater. I enjoy lifting and moving things. I enjoy doing things that have an objective. I also like to make informed decisions, therefore, I research things to death. So, here’s my plan:
1. BUDGET YOUR FOOD!
My Fitness Pal is a wonderful tool. It helps me keep track of my calories and also what’s in my calories (macro nutrients). It’s free, easy to use, and has all the information you ever need for keeping track of what you eat. If you budget money, you certainly can budget your diet.
2. ESTIMATE WHAT YOU NEED TO BE TAKING IN
I hate the name of this site, but it is by far the best calculator I’ve found yet. This helps you figure out a starting point. It answers the question “How many calories do I burn vs. how many do I need to eat? This was, and still is, groundbreaking for me. I wish I had discovered it sooner.
3. BE CONSISTENT IN TRAINING
Did I mention that I hate cardio? Praise our Lord, that He made our bodies to be able to respond to weight-training activities in more favorable ways than aimlessly running for miles and miles. According to my research, building muscle through strength training burns as much fat as typical cardio segments in less amounts of time. Trust me, solid weight lifting sessions are exhausting. But not only that, another benefit is that weight lifting prevents other problems like arthritis and osteoporosis. I’ll take it.
So, with that said. Pick a plan and stick with the plan. I work out 3 days a week for under an hour each time. I finish all my sessions with HIIT workouts that help me get the cardio I was unable to receive from weight lifting to help me burn more fat.
4. RESEARCH AND SEEK TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE BODY WORKS
I’m still being blown away by what little I actually knew about my body. It has opened my eyes to things I never knew. One, for instance, is that I can actually decrease my dependence on coffee by eating more oatmeal. And I hate oatmeal, but if I can be full and have energy all morning in the place of sorry food and 5 cups of coffee, I’ll do it. I’ve also avoided spending more money on fast food by cooking my own.
This blog is long enough, so I’ll end it here. Leave your comments below and let me know if you’d like more blogposts on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it if it helps you!