Posted: June 15th, 2011 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: delight yourself in the Lord, diet, Difficulties, exercise, faith, Fitness, food, God's will, God's word, priorities, Relationships, seeking God | No Comments »
Diet tips. Diet plans. Diet pills. Diet foods.
Diets for men. Diets for women. Diets for children.
Bikini diet. Abs diet.
The South Beach diet. The Atkins diet. The Full Plate Diet. The Maker’s Diet.
Low-carb diet. Low-fat diet. Low-sodium diet.
Gluten-free diet. High-protein diet.
Liquid diet. Vegetarian diet. Kosher diet.
We spend a lot of time talking about diets, don’t we? At least in America we do. I’m not so sure the rest of the world is as crazy as we are. Or as unhealthy.
This map shows the percentage of obese people in each state, based on the Body Mass Index. (I have problems with the Body Mass Index calculation, but for our purposes here, it’ll do.)
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC
You’ll notice that Arkansas and all of our surrounding states (except Texas!) are leading the way in the percentage of obese people. Arkansas is usually near the bottom in most rankings. Too bad we picked the area of obesity to be a leader.
The word “diet” comes from the Greek word “diaita.” It means “a way of life, mode of living.”
Apparently, our way of life, our mode of living in this area of the country is to be overweight, out of shape and unhealthy. And as tragic as that is, I wonder if that description would also reflect our spiritual lives.
Before the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River to take possession of the land God had promised them, Moses spoke to the people and said:
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
One of the things God was accomplishing in the desert was teaching His people “that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
As food is to our body, God’s word is to our spirit.
So how is your spirit today? What have you been eating? What’s your diet like? Your way of life? Your mode of living?
Do you have a regular, daily intake of God’s word? Do you read it? Listen to it? Talk about it? Apply it?
If you missed a meal today, you’d feel it almost immediately, wouldn’t you? I know I would. As I write this, it’s almost lunch time and my stomach is letting me know it’s time to eat.
But do we ever feel hungry when we miss a meal of God’s word?
It’s like we’re being offered a five-course gourmet meal prepared by an award-winning chef, but we politely decline with, “No thank you, I’m not very hungry.”
Imagine how shocked our chef would be if we told him we weren’t hungry because we’d just filled up on a box of Twinkies and a 2-liter of Coke.
“But didn’t you know I was preparing this delicious meal for you?” he’d ask.
Yeah, we knew.
We fill up on work responsibilities, relationships, television, internet, games on our phones, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, hobbies and whatever else, then have no time or appetite for God’s word.
We’re spiritually obese.
If you tried to run a mile right now–how would you do? Could you make it? Would you have to walk most of it? Would we have to call for the paramedics?
Your performance would give us a pretty good picture of your fitness level.
But how about your spirit? What kind of shape is it in?
Is your spirit so out of shape that when a test or trial comes you’re unable to carry the load and you’re left gasping for spiritual breath?
We do not live on bread alone. We need God’s word to survive.
If you aren’t consuming generous portions of God’s word on a consistent basis–you need to know…you’re slowly killing yourself.
Do you know why most people fail on their diets? It’s because they never make it a way of life, a mode of living. They use it to try and compensate for years of unhealthy eating and then once they’ve shed a few pounds, they go right back to their poor diet, their poor way of life, their poor mode of living.
It’s time to eliminate the junk and start feasting on what God offers.
As food is to our body, God’s word is to our spirit.
If you need a little help getting started on a good diet of God’s word, check out my e-book. If you have a Kindle or iPhone, you can get it here. It’s a 40-day devotional to help you develop a healthy spiritual diet.
Posted: May 1st, 2010 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Fitness | Tags: diet, exercise, Fitness, health, worry | 1 Comment »
We’re going to press “pause” for today on the “Prayer God Always Answers” series. Instead, I’m going to address a topic of great worry and concern for many of us.
I know some of us are worked up about global warming, ah, I mean climate change. For others, it’s the current occupant of the White House. Maybe for you, it’s terrorism or the prospects of a nuclear Iran. If none of those issues are particularly upsetting, then you’re probably worried about the economy and whether or not you’ll have a job in six months.
What I want to talk about today though is even more worrisome, for some of you, than any of those major world issues. It’s something you’ve dreaded. It’s something that can cause a great deal of anxiety. For some, it can just about bring on a full blown panic attack.
What is it?
Yes, the baggy clothes of winter are gone. Spring is in full swing with it’s short sleeves and shorts. While it means we’re revealing much more of ourselves than we were in winter, we still haven’t let the world see the full leg (for women) or the stomach (for men).
But now it’s May 1st and we know it’s only a matter of weeks. Where I grew up in New Jersey–it’s almost time to head to the beach. Where I am now in Arkansas–some will start heading to the lake soon.
If the idea of putting on a swimsuit and parading around in front of your family and friends is only slightly more appealing than a root canal, then let me try to help. There isn’t much time, but you can still make some progress.
Before we start, let me say that if you’re more concerned with your body than your spirit, then you’ve got your priorities wrong. This body won’t last. Your spirit will. Sure, it’s good to have a healthy, fit body, but it’s even more important to have a healthy, fit spirit. Paul wrote:
“…train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7b-8
Godliness has value in this life and the life to come, but physical training or fitness does have value, so let’s take a quick look at how to lose some unwanted pounds and feel a little better about slipping into a swimsuit in the next few weeks.
First, the disclaimer: I’m not a registered dietician or health professional. I used to be a certified fitness professional, but I’m not now. I’m just going to tell you what works for this 47-year-old-fellow-swimsuit-wearer.
If you want to lose fat and build muscle (for women, you’ll just look more toned, not bulky), try this:
- Eat five or six small meals per day. This is much better than skipping meals or eating three big meals. Be sure to eat some protein at every meal.
- Eat lean meat, vegetables, salad, eggs, beans and nuts. If it’s not on that list, don’t eat it. If you want to add in a little cheese or a piece of fruit each day, then go ahead, but you will slow your progress.
- After about four weeks, add in some whole grains: brown rice, whole wheat and oatmeal. Also, try a little more fruit. Don’t overdue it on grains or fruit though. Too much will slow or even stop your progress. You’ll need to play it be ear and decide what works for you. The key is to find something you can live with long-term.
- Give yourself permission to cheat one or two meals per week. Not per day! You don’t want to feel deprived all week, so have something to look forward to: pizza, ice cream, cake or whatever.
- Drink mostly water. If you want some coffee, tea or a diet soda–go ahead, but absolutely no drinks that contain sugar or corn syrup. By the way, get in the habit of reading food labels. Sugar=bad.
- Do something five days a week to raise your heart rate. Walk, run, climb, swim, bike–I don’t care what it is. Just do it for 30 minutes. If there’s nothing you like to do, then at least find someone you can enjoy doing it with. Exercise to the point where you’re breathing harder than normal, but can sustain it for 30 minutes.
- Shape and tone your body by lifting weights three days a week. If you’re not sure what to do, then I highly suggest hiring a personal trainer for a month. If that’s not an option, then ask a friend who knows what they’re doing. This site also has some great information.
If you stick to it, you should easily lose a pound or two of fat per week. You’ll also be building some muscle, so don’t freak out if the scale isn’t moving as quickly as you thought it would. Pay attention to how your clothes fit, not the number on the scale.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Your question may help someone else, too.