Saturday, May 02, 2009
Air is important. If we don't breathe we will die. But air itself is not the point of breathing, living is. In the same way, eating well and exercising and caring for our emotional and spiritual needs are important, but these things are not ends in themselves. They are designed to prepare us for a greater purpose, namely, to live for the glory of God and the good of others which will produce immense joy for our souls. "You [God] make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures evermore" (Psalm 16:11).
So, as I sit here preparing to write my sermon for this Sunday, I am giving thanks to God for leading me to give so much attention to healthy living over the last six weeks because my mind is clear, my body has energy, I feel better than I have in a long time. But it's obvious to me that healthy living, as much joy as I find in it, is not the end I seek but a means to the end of God Himself--my Creator and Sustainer and Redeemer.
May God bless you in Christ this day.
Friday, May 01, 2009
"Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger!" That's what I kept telling myself as I pedaled my bike straight into a 15-25 mph wind for about 40 miles. It's hard to explain just how much harder this kind of wind makes riding, but let me put it this way: I took this same ride two weeks ago and finished 40 minutes earlier!
I'm beat this morning, but I'm sure that eventually that ride will make me stronger!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I've been training for a 110 mile ride I plan to take on May 19 in Palm Springs, CA, and today I'm scheduled to do an 80 miler. Two weeks ago I did 67 and felt great at the end, today I hope to finish strong as well. They key to finishing strong is fueling well on the bike so I'll be consuming about 350 cals per hour for a total of 2100. That's as much as I normally consume in a day but I'll also be burning an extra 5,000 or so!
So, I'm off to have a great breakfast, put some things together and hit the road!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I must admit that I enjoy loosing weight. But past experience tells me that if I focus on that I will most likely fail in the long-run and my mood will fluctuate wildly in the short-run depending on what the scale says each day. Not a physically or emotionally healthy way of living.
I'm a slow learner, but after 17 years of struggling with weight related issues I've finally come to see that the real joy is in the act of building a healthy lifestyle. It is its own reward because it gets back to the core of life: loving the Lord God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength (Mark 12:28-34).
Here's how I come to this thought: God Almighty created me--I did not create myself. He graciously gave me food and drink to sustain this body so that it could operate to its full capacity for the glory of His name and the good of others and the joy of my soul. Even if my body has physical limitations due to natural causes or disease, it still has a max capacity of its own that can be reached. To steward this body well, then, is to honor my Creator and display my love for Him with more than just words. It is to prepare myself to serve others well over time. It is to know the joy of obedience and humility and service. (Not to mention the joy of experiencing the great variety of tastes and textures that God has provided for us!)
In light of these things, focusing on the weight itself just seems so superficial and unhelpful to me now. I don't know why it's taken me so long to see this. Be that as it may, I'm clear now that weight loss in and of itself is not the joy I seek: glad and grateful obedience to God through Jesus Christ is. And when I do shed a pound here or there, I will give thanks to God for this external symbol of a deep and lasting internal change.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In late March I signed on for the "Lose 10 lbs in April Challenge" but soon I began to doubt that I could do it, and furthermore I began to question the wisdom of trying. I have learned from Spark People that attempting too much too soon will most likely land you among the 95% of dieters who fail in the long run, and I didn't want to be among them--again.
So, I decided to keep my name in the game but not to focus on weight loss. Instead I would focus on doing the right things and letting my weight land wherever it lands. The "right things" are (1) eating a proper balance of foods each day, (2) staying within my cal limits each day, (3) exercising at least 30 minutes 5-6 days per week, (4) engaging with a positive group of people like Spark People each day, and (5) learning to take my joy from living a healthy lifestyle and not from superficial things like current weight, clothing size, etc.
For the most part, I have succeeded in keeping my eyes on these key things and to my great surprise I also lost 10 lbs in April. Wow! Honestly, I don't think my overall joy would be so high if I had obsessed with the weight itself. It does feel good to be lighter (especially when I'm riding my bike up hills) but it feels even better to be enjoying a new way of thinking and living. With each pound lost it is tempting to shift my thinking toward superficial things, but with the Lord's help I'm going to keep striving to focus on the right things because i think that this is where the real joy is in the long run.
I'll say more about that tomorrow--bye for now and praise be to God!
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