The issue of exercise and health is an important one, and one that I think Christians should be thinking about. Yes, I know I’m the king of bacon and bad eating, but as much as I talk about loving bacon and other processed meats, I really do want to try to exercise on a regular basis and eat a healthy diet. This is why I asked Trillia Newbell, who is both a passionate Christian and a certified fitness expert, to share some thoughts on how Christians can be more healthy. Here’s what she had to say:
Itís three oíclock in the afternoon and your stomach begins to growl like a lion ready to devour itsí prey. You look around slowly searching for anything to satisfy your cravings. Tearing open your cupboard you find a bag of potato chips and some devils food cakes. Your mouth begins to water, your palms begin to sweat and then it dawns one you, youíre on a diet! You curse at your diet, rip open the bag and begin to shove food in like a savage beast. You slowly walk to your living room, a piece a chocolate dangles off your bottom lip, plop down on your sofa and with defeat in your eyes and comfort in your belly you crack open your Diet Coke and try to figure out where you went wrong.
I relate to the comical story above, donít you? In order to maintain any fitness program or general healthy eating lifestyle takes planning. Notice I didnít title it ďA PlanĒ but ďPlanĒ. I have not set out to put you on a plan but I want to give you only a few tips and then direct your attention to a book that I believe will encourage you in the area of planning.
Why is this even important? Well, the truth is, it isnít of first importance. Manís chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We are to run the Christian race like athletes knowing that we have an imperishable wreath. And though godliness is of ďvalue in every wayĒ God does say that bodily training is of some value! If God says something is of value, even if only of ďsomeĒ I want to know about it and how I might put His Word into action.
Tips and Suggestions for Planning for Fitness and Nutrition:
Plan your meals:
Sit down once a week and plan out a menu. This will allow you to see how you can add fruits and vegetables to your diet and ensure that they are actually in your home or at your work desk for you to eat.
Plan your workouts:
Set aside a time during the day for your exercise whether itís a walk around the block with your kids or a ten minute dumbbell routine. I can assure you that if itís not in your schedule to do, you will most likely push it aside. It takes planning to exercise. This is most likely the hardest to plan for especially with children. Iíll give you some creative ways to incorporate exercise while spending time with your children and not neglecting your home below.
Plan to plan:
If you donít plan to plan you wonít plan. Wow, thatís redundant. But itís true! Set a day and time when you can consistently plan out your week.
If you drink sodas six times a day donít try to drop it cold turkey. Like a baby who is being weaned from nursing, you too must be weaned! If you drop cold turkey and then ďfailĒ youíll go straight back to drinking your cola for breakfast! Plan to break habits slowly.
The same applies to exercise. If you have not been exercising, now might not be the time to decide to run an ultra-marathon (any road race over 42 miles) next month. Set realistic goals such as running or walking a 5K four or six months from today.
Last Tip: Learn how to plan beyond fitness:
The Ladies at the GirlTalk Blog wrote a book called Shopping For Time: How to Do It All and NOT be Overwhelmed. The book provides biblical wisdom to practical tips. I think this book will help you learn to plan for good nutrition and fitness too! Why? Because as youíve seen above, good nutrition and fitness takes time.
C.J. Mahaney, President of Sovereign Grace Ministries did a series on Time Management that is very helpful. It takes planning deeper and gets to the heart of our planning problems. Follow the link to learn more and download the entire series via PDF.
Iím busy! Need quick tips to fit it in?
There are so many demands on our lives (home, children, school, work,) and now Iím asking you to think about fitness and nutrition- health! There are two main reasons I have the energy and stamina to get through my day: 1) Godís grace and His strength enables me 2) I exercise regularly and eat generally a balanced healthy diet. Here are some practical ways to incorporate exercise:
- Build a small home gym (dumbbells, exercise videos, mat) and put them to use during down times such as naps, Sesame Street, kids rest time, bedtime, lunch break, etc.
- Incorporate exercise during date night. If you have a regularly night when you and your spouse go out, maybe instead of having dinner take a brisk walk.
- Ask for help. If you are in a position, join a gym, find a trainer or find a fitness pal and get some help. Having a partner is a wonderful motivation and accountability for working out.
- Try these exercises. I wrote an article on Livestrong.com with 30-minute circuit ideas for women but men you too could benefit from it. Here is a link to the article.
- Incorporate fitness into your kids lives by leading your own P.E. class. Instead of just giving them exercises and games to do; join in!
- Take advantage of family outings. Go to a park, take walks together, ride bikes. Take advantage of play dates with friends. While the kids play take a brisk walk around the park or put in a fitness video such as P90X which is suitable for† both men and women.
Trillia Newbell writes freelance for “The Knoxville News-Sentinel”, Livestrong.com and several fitness magazines and journals. Newbell is Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified and holds five Les Mills certifications. She is a Les Mills BODYPUMPô Assessor and an AFAA Presenter and Examiner. Newbell lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband Thern and their two kids Weston and Sydney. They attend Cornerstone Church of Knoxville.