2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
As a Christian, I think that it’s important for us to stop trying to do things on our own (especially when it comes to bettering our health) and listen to what God speaks to us. We have an entire book that gives us instruction for almost everything in life, yet we ignore it and search the internet for the latest diet and workout information from science. It’s time to give it all to God and trust that He knows what He’s doing in His own timing.
Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When we try to do things our own way, it can lead to unhealthy practices and mindsets that set us back further in our health or wellness. So, I think when we eat and move we should pay attention to the signals our body sends us.
God blessed us with these amazing bodies that are actually very intelligent. Our bodies can grow, heal, and survive all of the stress we put it through (up to a point). This is our gift from God that we borrow while we are here. We need to care for our bodies and do the best we can to listen to them as they scream at us to stop abusing them. If we continue to ignore their cries, this is where we could end up:
Learn to listen to your body.
If you are eating your meal, eat to the point you are satisfied. Don’t push yourself to feel your stomach stretched to discomfort or feel heavy and weighed down. Push your plate away to signal to your brain that you are done or put it out of sight. Distract yourself by conversing with someone or doing something different for 20 minutes and see if you still think you are hungry.
Dinstinguish between physical hunger and emotional/psychological hunger. Why do you want food? Do you feel your stomach churning because it is empty? Are you bored? Are you stressed or upset? Is it just habit or the time of day? Learn to tell when you actually need to refuel your body versus eating out of habit or emotion.
Same goes for exercise. If you are in pain due to a pulled muscle or are overly fatigued, then don’t push yourself to do a hard, difficult workout. You risk injury which is causing your body (His temple) more harm than good. Tune into your body. Do you have extra energy that you could jog or do some sort of cardio to dispense? Do you feel like lifting weights? Do you need to stretch?
It’s also important to learn the difference between true fatigue and just being out of shape. If you are not used to doing physical activity then take baby steps. Start out walking and work your way up.
For example, when I was working up to jogging/running I started out doing walk/jog intervals. I would warm up with brisk walking to make sure all of my muscles and ligaments were primed and ready to go. Then jog/run until I felt I needed to slow down. Then I’d walk long enough to catch my breath. I just repeated this over and over until I hit a certain mile marker or time.
Some people like a 5 minute warm up walk. Jog 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Jog 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. They repeat until they have hit their goal and then cool down with a 5 minute walk. Bonus is that interval training is great for your metabolism and cardiovascular!
I’ve been guilty myself of pushing my body past its limits way too many times during a workout only to suffer an injury. I love lifting weights and have injured myself by lifting too heavy or pushing too far. This is another point I want to address.
Pay attention! If you are feeling pain, like sharp, stabbing pain –then STOP! Muscles will burn when used, yes. But you should NOT be feeling pain! Many people have the misconception “No pain, no gain.” Such a lie.
It’s okay to push yourself, but pay attention and make sure you are treating your body well, not tearing it apart. Mobility exercises and stretching are often forgotten, but are the most important things you can do. Also, if you don’t like working out then just KEEP MOVING!!! Walk, dance, whatever it is just move.
Next week, I’ll post STEP 2!
Pray to God to grant you wisdom as you fuel your body and exercise. Be sure to listen to the signals your body is sending you.