Have you ever had a moment where you go to your closet and pull out what you thought was your favorite pair of shorts and when you try them on you realize your dryer developed a serious overheating extreme-drying/clothes shrinkage problem? What to do? Call an appliance repair company or take a cold hard look at lifestyle habits? Hmmm. I call this the “day of reckoning”. The day where you are 100% honest with yourself that maybe, just maybe, you have let a few (or a lot) of healthy habits fall by the wayside. The day where you admit that the one or two chips at the BBQ turned into a half a bag. The day where you step on the scale and don’t blame the pounds on that time of the month. The day where you pray, “Not my will, but thine be done....as long as it means I didn’t really gain weight but I am just retaining water or it was the dryer’s fault, or I think the summer heat is making me bloated…” Or my personal most-often used one, “maybe my clothes are tight because I’ve been building so much muscle from working out”. I mean, this could be true, but for me, usually it’s an excuse. The day of reckoning is a day where you decide to stop the slide before it turns into an avalanche.
Straight up nutrition facts inform us that it takes creating a deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound of fat. The converse is true, scientifically, in regards to weight gain. However, weight loss and weight gain are so much more than a mathematical equation! 1500 calories of a cheeseburger, fries, and a soda, is not the same nutritionally as 1500 calories of day’s worth of vegetables, fruit, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, kombucha, kefir, nuts and a side of farro. Obviously! When we do bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) on Luminaries Retreat guests, we find out roughly what the individual’s unique caloric needs are for a day of sedentary life – mostly this is based off of muscle mass, body fat mass, and even gender. Once we know this caloric “starting point” it helps me determine what a daily calorie goal is for someone who wants to lose body fat, increase muscle mass, or even gain weight in some cases. If your particular calorie goal is 1400 a day and you blow this on ice cream, pie, and the like, you will be very hungry and malnourished to boot. However, if you go through the sometimes-arduous process of determining what foods are going to give you the most bang for your buck calorically and nutritionally, you will be more likely to enjoy your eating and drinking habits! And people who enjoy their habits will stick with them longer than those who feel they are living in a state of depravation. In other words, if you actually enjoy the nutrient-dense food you eat every day, you will be more likely to eat every day, for a lifetime, rather than for a quick-fix or for a “diet”. If you actually enjoy the physical activities you engage in – if it moves beyond duty to delight, you will begin to identify as an athletic and fit person and you will make daily choices which coincide with your healthy identity. You might find yourself saying, “I could do _____, but I choose not to”. Or, “I used to do this ____, but now I do ______ with my time.”
Nevertheless, the above statements are really only half the battle. As soon as you determine the day of reckoning has come and you are propelled to do something with that knowledge, all manner of forces will likely rise up against you to discourage you. Some of this is all in your head, but some of this is a real, deep, spiritual and emotional battle. Some of it is also practical realities which shouldn’t be discounted in the fight to regain your health – for example, the busyness of life, children, jobs, etc, is a reality that many of you won’t be able to whisk away just because you will it to be so. Sometimes pre-existing health conditions, medicines, addictions, and mental health troubles can be the tiger roaring to get out of the cage to devour you. Sometimes our best intentions never take off and soar because we expect immediate results and when we don’t see it, we become discouraged, bored, or rebellious to the healthy lifestyle choices.
Remember, every day we have a choice what to do with our bodies and what to put in them. I view health and wellness choices like getting dressed in the morning. I am going to wear something. Now, what will be most appropriate for my lifestyle choices today? If I’m going to a wedding, I’m not going to wear a tank top and running shoes – that wouldn’t be appropriate. However, if I’m hoping to squeeze in a workout during my busy morning, then getting dressed in a tank top and running shoes is most definitely appropriate. If I want to regain health, lose weight, gain muscle, and nourish my body with foods that God has graciously provided for proper nutrition, well then I better not go through a fast food drive through too often (or never)! If I want to be fit then I better not sit on the couch on summer evenings when it finally cools down, I better get myself out that door and walk, at least! Daily choices = daily victories. Real change happens in the minutiae of life.
If your day of reckoning has come, then I want to encourage you to use your faith in the fight against the enemies of good which will present themselves to you in various ways. I find encouragement in certain Scripture passages that have blessed me in my past weight loss and wellness journey. As I was having a mini day of reckoning today (yes, the first paragraph of this blog was written as an autobiography!) I went to this passage: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. Food temptations and laziness temptations will come and go, but God will be my rock to help me overcome sloth and gluttony in this journey of life.
It takes faith to believe that the small daily choices for health and wellness will yield the results you are hoping for. Sometimes those are very slow in coming. Sometimes you get bored and want to get off the bandwagon. Sometimes people you love will make fun of you and put obstacles in your way. It is worth it, friends, let your day of reckoning be today, and strengthen your soul in the love of God. You are loved no matter whether you are healthy or not, overweight or not, fit or not. Period. God will not love you more if you put healthy lifestyle changes in motion, or love you less if you do not. However, when you have made a decision to get on a healthy path, don’t forget God’s grace in sustaining you and helping you make these changes. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
If your reading this and you think to yourself, “I’ve started so many times and stopped. What’s the use of starting again and not sticking with it?” Well, I can honestly say, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” (Voltaire). Meaning, you do not need to do healthy living “perfectly” (there is no such thing) to see benefit and improve some areas of your life. Rather than being paralyzed by regretting yesterday’s choices, focus on the new day before you and do something no matter how small it seems!
A quick plug for locals to join us for a September Wellness Challenge – program kick-off will be September 4th and will run through September 29th. Cost is $200 for the month and will include 3-4 seminars per week, several cooking classes/meals, a number of outdoor excursion options, and a binder full of nutrition information with recipes, meal plan, articles, etc to help you on your journey. We are also offering a short August 21-25 retreat week option (no lodging available, however) and a