Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 1.29.14 – Some Thoughts on Diet and Exercise

This might not be what you think. Man it seems like there is a lot of stuff out there about what to eat, how to stay healthy, and how evil certain foods are. Here’s a less than thorough stab at things I try to live by.

1. The desire for good health is great!

We are currently not on a major company medical plan, but I did often wonder how much of my premium went to pay for people who absolutely trashed their body through poor decisions and care.

Scripture would certainly lead us to avoid abuse of alcohol and gluttony. Scripture would encourage exercise. So, on the surface these things are great.

2. Healthier lifestyles mean more energy for Jesus.

This should really go without saying, but if you stop and think about it, sickness really can take away from things we’d love to do for the Lord. We want to be ready to serve at any time we’re called, and doing our best to care for our bodies (yes, some things are out of our control) can make us more ready to serve with great passion and energy.

3. Here is what works for me when it comes to eating and exercising.

I train my body so I can eat. I’m not going to stop eating sugar and processed foods; neither am I going to over-indulge. For me, balance works well. We eat pasta, bread, chicken, tortillas, cereals, with plenty of servings of veggies (although probably not always fresh veggies).  I like eggs, pancakes, and meats like bacon, turkey, and pork chops. We eat out of boxes and cans, but not exclusively. About once or twice a week I’ll get a pizza, some fried chicken, or a fast food meal. I drink a lot of coffee (around 2-3 cups per day) and a handful of cans of pop in a week. I try to drink water every day. Over the course of a 52-week year I am exercising pretty intensely in around 40 of those weeks, casually the rest of the year.

So what does all this get me? Well, I lose very few days to sickness, more like a few evenings or some time in an afternoon if I slow down. I’d guess I have three or four multi-day stretches of feeling sick or drained in a calendar year. I feel like my energy is pretty high as my schedule can be demanding. Our family’s health is pretty close to mine. We try to keep our home clean and we’re sensible about being around sick people when we can avoid it.

This is just what works for us. It’s not the law by any stretch, but I think we’re balanced. We eat sensible portions and we stay active. Junk food is a treat, not a way of life. The biggest Biblical values here are self-control and discipline. Yes, it takes discipline to avoid over-eating and stay active, but it works.

And no, I don’t think there is any way to avoid some types of cancer or illness. Some things can strike at any time with little explanation. This is not about the big stuff, it’s about the day to day effort to keep energy as high as possible.

4. When it comes to eating and dieting programs, do what works, but . . . 

A lot of people engage in various food consumption/exercise programs that seem to work at varying levels. Many use the programs with great success. Great!

I think where my only level of concern comes is the industry that is often developed around these programs. The fitness and dieting industry in the U.S. is very lucrative – I’ll let you do your own research. When money is involved, motives can easily get blurred.

I’d simply ask people to be well informed and do what works for them. If this is an area of struggle, talk to people you know who’ve lost weight, taken healthy steps, and find out what works for them.

And, in all cases, stay within the guidelines of Scripture! That will always give you the best chance to make the most of life!

Think. Are there ways you’d like to improve your health?

Act. Pray and be sure being healthy isn’t an un-healthy fixation. Then, ask God to lead you in specific ways where you can make small, encouraging gains! Use your new-found energy to serve the Lord!


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