Ever since becoming a mom I have struggled to improve my eating and exercise habits.
But while I’ve worked to be more disciplined in my eating, I have struggled with the why of healthier eating and exercise. Maybe I’m alone in asking this, but why should I deny myself that chocolate chip cookie? Why should I find time to workout in the midst of busy days? What does God think about all this?
Maybe the answer is obvious to you, but it hasn’t been obvious to me when confronting a bag of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (it is okay to eat them by the handful, right??) or when faced with the prospect of going for a run with the jogging stroller while being peppered with questions like “Mommy, why did my friend cry?” “Huh?” “Huh?” over and over again.
Enter Gary Thomas’s book “Every Body Matters.” Some of you might recognize Gary’s name from his book “Sacred Marriage,” in which he encouraged readers to view marriage as a means to holiness, not just happiness. For me, Gary answered the “why” question of diet and exercise. Here are two things I took away from “Every Body Matters”
1) My body is an instrument for God’s purposes. I am blessed that the hands, feet, lungs, heart, and eyes He gave me are called to be used for His good works. Eating well and exercising help me function at my best now and also help guarantee that my body can be around for the long haul.* I want to do what I can to ensure that the instrument He gave me is functioning at its best so that I can fulfill the purposes for which He put me on this planet.
2) Self-discipline is a spiritual issue. If I give into every craving for Milk Duds or muffins, there are implications not just for my body but for my heart as well. God wants me to be satisfied in Him and not meet every craving for rest, relief, or happiness with a trip to the refrigerator. My lack of self-discipline is a symptom not of taste buds out of control but of a heart that needs to grow in self control.
How do you think about diet and exercise as a mom? What motivates you to choose the whole-grain pasta over the oh-so-tasty white flour pasta? More practically, how do you find time for healthy food choices and exercise?
*I am well aware from my own painful family experience that diet and exercise alone do not guarantee that I’ll live to be 100. But I know that they can help.