Honoring God By Getting Healthy

Honoring God By Getting Healthy

Posted on May 21, 2017

BY BROOKE CARNES, SMALL GROUPS FOR 2ND - 5TH GRADE AT 146TH STREET

I grew up in the Midwest, where dinners had mashed potatoes slathered in gravy, and corn was the veggie of choice. In our house, we had to clean our plates and it was rude to not have seconds. My dad could eat 3 giant helpings of momís delicious meals and stay trim. My sisters were both blessed with his metabolism. Mom and I, we were not so lucky. Mom loved to cook and bake and I was her favorite taste tester! We were known in the neighborhood as the house that had all the good stuff. Full sized candy bars at Halloween and a freezer in the garage fully stocked with ice cream treats and other goodies. I also learned from my mom that when things got hard, food was a great comforter. Bad day at school? Eat a bag of Oreos. Didnít get invited to that sleepover? Eat a whole pizza and a large Blizzard from DQ. Nobody was helping me make good eating decisions and my family wasnít exactly active.

By the time that I was 9 years old, I was a chubby and inactive little girl. My mom signed me up to play soccer with some kids in the neighborhood and after one season my hip slipped out of the socket so I had to have 2 pins put into my leg. After several months of traction and very limited mobility, I had major restrictions. The main restriction was that I couldnít fall. This was in place until I was 16! This became my excuse for being sedentary. I didnít run, didnít roller skate. To this day I have never skied or gone sledding. I lived in fear of falling, and letís be honest, I got used to being lazy. By the time I graduated high school I was 180lbs. My habits continued to grow worse for the next 12 years. I worked long days and ate what I could when I could and as fast as I could. The stresses of life continued to build the more adult I became, and food was still my go to comforter in times of need. I would eat more food than my body needed and felt guilty about my gluttony. I was then eating more out of shame. It was a vicious cycle.

When I was 30 years old, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Her doctors told her that her unhealthy food habits and lack of physical activity played large roles in her cancer diagnosis. I have always been told that I am just like my mom, so this news frightened me as my mom and I were both clinically obese. I decided then and there that I did not want to be diagnosed with cancer in my 50ís because I had bad habits. Bad habits were factors that I could manage. I could choose to make healthy choices and make an effort to extend my life in doing so. At that point my weight had reached its highest, 230lbs.

I began my weight loss journey by getting a gym membership and a personal trainer who would also help me with nutrition. It was not easy. I was embarrassed by my lack of fitness ability Ė I hadnít even run a mile in my life. Group fitness classes were terrifying at the beginning (I just had a flash back at my first attempt at a bear crawl - YIKES). I had to retrain my mind. I didnít need to have something sweet after every meal. I didnít have to clean my plate. I could actually stop eating once I began to feel full! I didnít have to fully stock my cabinets and fridge. Buying what I needed for a few days at a time was ok. Meal planning was essential. Fresh foods that didnít have a long shelf life were a must.

The hardest part overall though was learning that food could not be my go to when I was happy, sad, mad or numb. Learning that foods full of nutrients and natural ingredients were what my body needed was so important. But when food is your go to when life gets hard, itís a constant struggle to change your ways, at least it was for me. One day while reading scripture I came across the verse 1 Corinthians 6:19. Suddenly I realized that the harmful things I had been doing to my body I was doing to a body that did not belong to me. My body is on loan from God. I personalized the verse and hung it everywhere in my home, car and work space.

ďDonít you realize, Brooke, that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, Brooke, for God bought you with a high price. So, Brooke, you must honor God with your whole body.Ē

I am not honoring the God that I love so dearly by not being a good steward over what He has given me. This verse and many others have inspired me along the way. I am truly convinced that I cannot complete the journey that God designed for me if I do not take care of the body, mind, and spirit that He has given me. I work out every day and track what I eat in MyFitness Pal. I belong to a monthly accountability group to help me stay motivated and accountable to the goals that I set. My goals are not about losing weight, but about challenging my body to do new things that will make me stronger. This June I will celebrate my 43rd birthday by doing 43 pushups ALL on my toes! I also set goals for my spiritual development and my overall mental health. I have replaced the need to comfort myself with food with other healthy outlets Ė working out, journaling, talking with trusted friends and most importantly drawing near to God.

Your Turn!

What are you waiting for? Don't sit back and watch while other people change and get healthy. Jump in. You can do it! And, I want to encourage you to start now. Join a fitness group at Grace or learn how to cook healthy meals. Visit gracechurch.us/struggle for more tips and resources.

Comments

Beautifully written and so honest. I love how you didn't make excuses or shift blame. You just got to work on it. Thanks for sharing. A08

Posted by Kim Ingraham on May 23, 2017 @ 1:43 pm