Even before my foot hit the scale, I knew. If you have to ask your husband or a trusted friend if you look like you have gained weight, you already have your answer. The only real question; How much extra weight have I gained? The red digital number appeared to be pulsing as I stared down into the scale. For whatever reason, I just was not expecting THAT number.
Years ago I made a vow to never allow my weight to surge beyond THAT number. Most women understand this and have set similar number limits. THAT number was the enemy staring back at me! I knew that I had waited too long before going to battle. Those eight pounds, beyond my maximum weight, were suction cupped to my body and I knew if ignored, they would eventually take over my body. I thought “This is how people creep into obesity; one pound at a time.”
I asked myself, “How did I get to this weight?” The enemy didn’t move his camp in yesterday. I remember in my twenties, I could get away with careless eating as long as I worked out five days a week. In my thirties I had to add a three mile run to the five day workouts for freedom to eat anything I wanted. Monday through Friday my diet would be clean and my workouts would be hard. Then, junk food on the weekends. By my mid-thirties I decided to clear up my weekend junk food junkets and see what my physical body could do.
My regimen was good food, five days of hard workouts and running five miles minimum per day. Since I was running anyway, why not race? Very soon thereafter, it got a little crazy. I was racing and winning trophies nearly every weekend, but working out was consuming all my time and most of my life. Everything revolved around my working out. According to 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 from The Message, my priorities were out of whack, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs: one wins. Run to win. All athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”
But I digress and the question remains, “how did I get to this weight?” The first few pounds jumped on board six years ago when I gave up running before my morning class. Don’t get me wrong, running is a great cardiovascular workout and a terrific way to stay fit and manage your weight. It is hard work and I respect people who run. The problem for me was the pavement was pounding my knees and if I was going to be teaching into my nineties, running would need to be in the past.
Giving up running meant stepping up my workouts in class. Something had to burn all those calories running burned off, because I still wasn’t controlling and watching the things I was eating. I should have been watching. God even instructs us in 1st Corinthians 10:31 about our eating. “So if you eat or drink or whatever you do, do everything to honor God.”
Another year rolled around and I remember gaining a couple more pounds and thinking, “That’s not so bad, I can easily take that off. If worse comes to worse, I can start running again.” Then an injury to my knee removed running as an option. By this time four extra pounds were meshing with the rest of me. “After Christmas, those four pounds are gone, no problem.” Christmas came and went, and two more joined the four. I was working harder in my classes but I enjoyed Christmas WAY too much! Then l let my guard down and allowed life, stress and poor food choices, to sabotage living life to honor God. So you see a few pounds here and a few pounds there and suddenly I’m up eight pounds and feeling defeated by the enemy.
There are many who say “You can eat all you want with all the exercise you do.” There may have been a time when that was true but that was when I was jumping garbage cans, and the cans were made of metal. Teetering on the brink of fifty has taught me weight loss begins in the kitchen. There is no workout which will work you hard enough to repair the damage done by eating above your calorie limit.
So how do I shrink THAT number? The first thing to do is scale back caloric intake. The Fitness Pal app can help with calorie counting and keep you honest. It is free and easy to use, and available at home or on the go. If you haven’t been exercising, start. The exercise will increase metabolism and speed the progress. If you are already exercising, check out the foods and beverages you are ingesting. Remember, exercise and an appropriate diet work hand in hand.
Believe it or not Benjamin Franklin once penned the adage, “One should eat to live, not live to eat.” As a society we seem to be eating our way through the kitchen wall and into the gym. Recognizing the bad habits, and then taking action, prevents a big problem that will only get worse with time. When we demonstrate our desire to honor God with what we eat and drink, He will strengthen us. Our workouts can be times of worship when we offer our bodies for God’s purposes.
Remember with exercise it is better to be uncomfortable 30 to 60 minutes per day than to be uncomfortable all of your days.