This morning, as I left on an early walk, my body resisted me for about the first five minutes. In fact, I was dragging so much before I got out of our cul-de-sac that I was thrown back to a point a little over two years ago. It was the first time that I, a woman of more than 260 pounds at the time, tried to take a walk. I had just joined Weight Watchers and I was determined. Nevertheless, I was panting before I got out of our cul-de-sac. I walked for about ten minutes that time, but I had to stop for frequent rests.
It was not always so. I spent 27 years in the Navy, most of them in top health or close to it. A bout of breast cancer in 2008 had led to chemotherapy, with steroids and weight gain. But, in all honesty, I could only lay 40 of my pounds to the account of the steroids. The rest had gradually crept on as I rolled through life as a foodie.
I am still a foodie, but by God’s grace I have learned to eat lots more fruits and vegetables and to greatly control my portions of the other things.
All that to say that I am on year three of a lifelong maintenance program. If I could say two things to my younger friends, they would be:
1) The body and the soul are intrinsically linked. When I could not get out of my cul-de-sac without panting, a lot of other disciplines in my life were lacking, too. You could be glib and say I was just lazy but I think I was double-pinned down by my weight. Not only did I have to move a lot more of me from Point A to Point B, but I think that my lack of good nutrition (lots of processed foods and shortcuts) kept my brain foggy and my energy so low I couldn’t find a way out of the weight trap.
2) Life is a gradual process that takes practice and putting one foot in front of the other for long periods of time. Unless something unusual intervenes, you will still be here in 30 years. Those could even be your best years, in fact! So it is best to not grow impatient with yourself if you are fighting any battles with your body. Don’t compare yourself to others. That is not fair. I hit 260 pounds when I was 52. Who would think I would today be at 145, lower than my high school weight and ever so healthy? God, that’s Who.
I spent that first year, 2012, just shedding pounds on Weight Watchers. I didn’t even exercise regularly. About once a week was average, but some weeks I didn’t exercise at all.
In 2013, I added three sessions of weekly exercise. If I hit more than that, bravo for me. But my goal was three times a week.
In 2014, I added morning Bible study before I do anything else. I now have the energy to do that!!! Well, on Saturday when we arrive at Weight Watchers at 7, I wait to do Bible study over breakfast, but you know what I mean . . .
It is only now that I see how my spirituality ties very intrinsically in to how my body is functioning. The Greeks got it wrong. The body is not a shell carrying around our soul/spirit. Our body is us. We need to include it in our total reckoning for life. We become more spiritual, not less, when we do.
After all, God made our bodies. Why would we think ourselves more spiritual for neglecting them?
I hope that encourages someone today for the long haul! We have nothing but time, so take it slowly and establish healthy habits you can live out for the rest of your life.