Important Steps to Take Control of Your Health

Important Steps to Take Control of Your Health

In today’s media-driven world, many advertisers target people who are overweight. Commercials boast of the next great solution to weight loss. However, the effects of weight gain go beyond the scale numbers targeted in advertisements. Being overweight puts us at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The amount of exercise a person gets throughout the day and the glass number of glasses of water they drink contribute significantly to overall health, no “next great solutions” needed.

Growing up, my mom had a lot of health issues and died of a sudden heart attack. Genetically, I must work doubly hard to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen. So while some of it is genetic, some of it is simply making better choices. For many years I’ve obsessed over the number on my scale. Despite many efforts to diet and exercise, nothing seemed to help. As I prayed about this, I felt God nudging my spirit to let go of the number on the scale and take care of my overall health. Although I had been vigilant about my weight in the past, I wasn’t worried enough about my increased risks for many physical ailments. Although my weight is not fixed, I am trying to focus more on my blood work numbers than the number on the scale. Here are some things I’m doing to take control of my health:

Let expectations go.

First, I had to let go of my expectations. I considered reducing pant sizes or looking like I did ten years ago. But as we age, our bodies change. No matter what we do, they will not look the same as they did once before. So instead of starving myself or eating the wrong kinds of foods, I sought the help of a nutritionist to help me figure out how much and what to eat. After a few days on the nutrition plan, I felt lighter, and I lost inches in my belly. Although it didn’t help to reduce my blood work numbers, I knew I was taking the right step because I was eating better and avoiding genetically modified foods that would wreak havoc on my digestive system. Letting my expectations go in one area of my physical health allowed me to begin a practical journey toward the healthiest version of myself.

Resist the temptation to control results.

Second, I had to learn to let go of my control. Stepping on the scale each morning, it would either be the highlight of my day if I lost weight or a bad start if I didn’t. Instead of running to the Lord to listen to what he thought of me, I depended on the scale to bolster my self-worth. What God says about us and our ability to work and serve the Lord should always trump how we look. He wants us to live full, happy, and healthy lives. When we obey his lead, we’ll find the way that’s right for us. As long as I am doing my best to eat healthier and improve my blood work, I can be proud of my progress toward a healthier life.

Accept every age and stage.

Third, I accepted my aging body. As we age, our metabolism slows down, making it more difficult to lose weight. Simply cutting carbs or reducing my calories was not going to help. Instead, I had to balance my hormones into a complete metabolic panel to see what might be out of balance. My doctor learned my hormones were out of balance and needed to be controlled. Although it was a tough process, my perseverance for better health revealed the root of my weight gain. I no longer had to resort to diet plans or fasting to lose the extra pounds. With every new era of life comes a new set of physical changes. Though it can be frustrating to adjust to and accept, we can trust that God no less loves us and is capable of living a healthy and productive life.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Fourth, I had to learn to stop comparing myself to others, and being around women who were thinner than I was made me yearn to be thinner like them. I quickly gave in to the temptation to compare myself. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap and even more challenging to get out of it. It’s important to learn how to see ourselves as God sees us. He created us uniquely for a reason. If we were all to look the same – if that was the plan – we would. But it isn’t the plan. Everyone is beautifully unique. The faster we accept ourselves as God does, the better equipped we will be to resist comparison and control our health.

Implement healthy rewards.

Fifth, I stopped using food as a reward. Many people emotionally eat when they feel sadness, fear, or anger. I tended not to run to food for those reasons, but I did use food as a reward if I accomplished a big goal or had a good week. Although I did not habitually eat desserts and other high-calorie foods, I did have the occasional pie on a holiday or a cake for a birthday. Although it’s not wrong to eat dessert now and again, those extra calories did add up. I had to learn to stop using food as a reward and use the food for fuel and energy for my body. This meant I had to restrict what I ate and go without sweets.

Consider quitting caffeine.

Sixth, I gave up coffee. As much as I love the taste of coffee and enjoy having it first thing in the morning, I noticed I felt better when I gave it up. I also noticed my sleep was better, and felt more rested in the morning without consuming caffeine. I did not need a cup of coffee to wake me up. Any drug—including coffee—can get addictive if we’re not careful. Giving up coffee helped with jitters and extra anxiety. Although it was not wrong to drink coffee, I had to do what was right for my body.

Accept reality.

Seventh, I had to accept the reality that I may never lose weight. My nutritionist showed me that I was eating too little and the body was storing food as fat, so I didn’t go into starvation mode. Instead, I had to learn how to enjoy food, eat junk food sparingly, and eat for my health. When I eat better, I am less tired throughout the day and have more energy to complete the tasks needed to be accomplished. As difficult as it has been, it helps me to know I’m taking the right steps toward a long and healthy life.

Losing weight is not easy, and though there is much more to good health than our diet, it was the best place for me to start. However, when we take steps to eat whole organic food rather than processed junk, our bodies will thank us for it. Additionally, it allows us to be a good stewards of our bodies and to demonstrate we are ready to serve the Lord.