It is interesting how much control we can really have over our bodies when we put our mind and will to it. We actually have the ability to gain, lose and maintain the weight of our physique, and we don’t need a miracle pill to help us. I think we struggle with not being able to move our weight according to our desire is two reasons: knowledge and self-control.
For those of you who don’t know, bulking, cutting and maintaining are bodybuilding terms. Bulking means gaining weight, cutting means losing weight and maintaining means keeping your weight steady (plus or minus a few pounds).
Obtaining fitness and nutritional knowledge is easy if we make time to do it. Just like anything in life, there is an element of science and logic to managing our bodies. Even in relationships (a more abstract concept) the basic truth that if you work at it, the relationship will thrive makes sense (assuming both people are doing their part). You can’t completely ignore a relationship and expect it to do well. The same it true for our bodies. Once we gain the physical and nutritional information we need, managing our weight should be doable and the sacrifices required will make sense because we better understand the process.
The self-control part gets a little tricky, especially if you live in a prosperous and blessed nation like America. God designed our bodies with the feast and famine principle in mind. During the Bible times, the people would experience times of feasting and times of famine regularly. A drought would hit, and the people would not have enough food to eat. But then the crops would come in and God commanded His people to feast! The rest of the time, people would maintain weight– food was eaten to give people the necessary energy they needed to achieve their daily activities.
God calls all His children to times when they must fast (assert self-control over their food intake) and feast (celebrate God’s blessings by eating richly), and the rest of the time we simply maintain. The problem today is we do too much feasting and not enough fasting. We eat like kings every day and forget what Proverbs says about eating too much from the king’s table.
“When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.”
– Proverbs 23.1-2 (NIV)
Jesus told His disciples that “…everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12.48 NIV). What does this mean for us living in a prosperous nation? We have God’s hand of blessing on us. As of now, we have an abundance of all kinds of food at our disposal. The burden of that blessing is that we need to have stellar self-control.
I believe if we understand that it is okay to experience times of drought in our lives, especially when we realize that an area like food consumption has gotten the better of us, the sacrifice required to abstain from indulging will be managable. It is okay to say, “I will not go out to eat for a month” or “I will only have dessert once a week” or “I will cut my portions in half.” In fact, if we do assert some self-discipline, the times we do go out to eat, indulge in a dessert or eat a little too much will be more of a celebration!
Along with allowing ourselves to dabble in a little self-control, we can also find and receive fitness and nutritional knowledge and guidance. I love the process of self-study. You don’t need a degree to tell you that you are capable of living a healthy lifestyle–your knowledge will be evident in your life and the lives of your family. We live in a day and age where information is everywhere. There are blogs, books, articles, instructors and even you tube tutorials that can lay a firm foundation on your road to healthy living.
God wants His children to have healthy lifestyles, so they can be lights to a lost world. This doesn’t mean we are supposed to attain the images that today’s entertainment industry splats all over movies screens, billboards and magazines. We need to find what is healthy and doable for us. We need to find that “sweet spot” in our own lives where we feel good in our own skin and we have the energy to complete the tasks that God gives us each day. Comparison is deadly because it will stop us before we even begin.
Leaving comparisons aside, we can take time to seek out the fitness and nutritional knowledge and start implementing a little self-control over the king’s table. This way we can stop focusing on our weight and start focusing on all the amazing things that God has for us!
* Some people do have emotional struggles and scars that have created havoc in their bodies, so they will need to seek professional guidance with a therapist and the Holy Spirit.