By Anna Carter
I talk to people every day who want to lose weight, get fit and stay healthy. I meet people each week who have struggled and tried every diet and every new exercise fad. The exercise and nutrition markets vacillate so greatly that you can feel like a pinball inside of a machine rocketing you toward one program, which inevitably fails, and as you slide down in the despair of failure, the next fad hits the market sending you flying toward another promise of quick and easy results. In desperation to find the solution, we try anything and everything that will give us the results we want. Social media is wrought with promotions of products and programs “endorsed” by the rich and famous. Advertisements bombard television and magazines offering to help you feel great and lose weight.
We are always afforded a second chance, we call it tomorrow. However, your second chance won’t mean anything if you haven’t learned from your first mistake. So, we need to get to the bottom of why the previous attempts at diet and exercise haven’t worked for you. Ask yourself the following questions, so that you are prepared for your second chance.
1) Why is it important to me to change my eating habits and be more active?
Find your motivation for being healthy. Is it so that you feel better, so that you can play with your children, complete an event? Make sure your goal is intrinsic, not extrinsic – a goal that is centered on your appearance will not motivate you in the long term.
2) Is my environment (household, workplace, etc.) conducive to this change? How can I make it more conducive despite the ways that it challenges my success?
Are other members of your family on board? It is not necessary that they are; however, you will need to make a plan as to how you will still achieve your goal, despite their lack of buy in. Is your workplace conducive to this new goal? What will you do when a co-worker brings in donuts or cake for the office? Are you stronger than that? Is your goal bigger than the temptation?
3) Why have my attempts at changes failed in the past and how can I be aware and overcome those this time?
Identify two reasons your goals may have failed in the past and write them down, then write a way to avoid or overcome the pitfalls you have faced in the past. Recognize that Satan can play a part in your temptations and failures. If you succeed at this goal, you will be able to do more for the glory of God, you will feel better, avoid depression and sickness. This will make Satan mad; he will work against you. Be prepared. Pray for strength and perseverance toward this goal and for God’s protection against the Enemy.
I can remember shooting basketball with my dad in our yard and when I missed a shot and got my own rebound I can hear his voice saying, “Never blow a second chance.” He explained that while you may have missed the first time, you were fortunate to have received the ball back a second time. Learn from what you did wrong with the first shot and put this one in, make it count. No one takes a shot in basketball hoping it doesn’t go in the hoop. You want to score, you want to succeed, you want to win. Are you taking shots with your health and fitness with a half-hearted hope that the ball will go in? Are you shooting at the wrong goal? Do you need to review the rules of the game?
I dare you to try these three steps toward making changes in your fitness and nutrition.
Move. Move more today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today. Get a pedometer and track your steps each day. Log your steps each day and correlate the number of steps with your energy level and attitude each day.
Drink water. Water gives you energy, makes you feel full and allows the systems of the body to work effectively. Your goal should be 64 ounces of water each day.
Eat whole foods. If it doesn’t resemble a food that God created, don’t eat it. If it needs a commercial, don’t eat it. Eat fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Log your foods in an app or on a website so that you can learn more about the nutritional content of the foods you consume and so that you are accountable for your intake.
Take a few steps in the right direction. Progress encourages progress. Success breeds success. Be ready to fail, but don’t be afraid of it. Have a plan for how you will respond when you fail. How will you get back on the court, get your own rebound and make that next shot?