With just a glance my way you can immediately see that I didn't spend much of my young adulthood taking care of my body. It was different when I was younger. Through high school and college I was very active and physically fit. But as I married, pursued a career, had a child and encountered health issues which limited my activity, taking care of myself kind of got put to the side.
As a Christian woman, wife of a minister and a mother, what is my responsibility to care for myself physically? Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own." If you look at the history of the Temple, you can see God required its upkeep. It's all about the maintenance.
We have the privilege to house God, through the Holy Spirit, within this fragile, flawed frame. Are we called to have a beach body or a six pack? No, but we are called to be good stewards of what God gave us. It is my responsibility, to the best of my ability, to maintain it, not to my glory, but to God's glory so I may serve him effectively and efficiently.
As I ventured into my fifties, I decided I would fight for my health instead of just letting it ride. This is what I've learned.
- Find a healthy meal plan that works for you, your timetable and your family. See how your body responds.
- You don't have to eat what your kids eat all the time. The best way to train up good eaters is to introduce new foods to them as their taste buds change. My chicken nugget only little boy now loves sushi as an adult.
- Variety is the spice of life. This is true in exercise and food. Get off the treadmill and do some exercise outdoors. Join a ballroom dance class with your husband. Try a new cuisine.
- Find a time to exercise that works for you. My time is 5 a.m. Yours may be late evening, at lunch or in the afternoon. Make an appointment to do it and don't schedule over it.
- Establish a plan that includes aerobic and light weight-lifting and core training. Women's muscles get longer and leaner and we don't bulk up without excess work. You also burn more calories during the day and you fight off osteoporosis and arthritis.
- Find a group to work out with that is safe and encouraging. I am fortunate to be in a group who cheers the walkers and the runners. The goal of the group should be individual improvement, not competition.
- Enlist others to support you. Be sure your husband knows this is for his benefit, as well as yours.
- Don't be afraid to sweat and get sore. They both go away.
- Don't quit if life interrupts your scheduled exercise or your eating plan. Go back as soon as you can, free of guilt.
- Ask God to help you make this a priority. There have been many times I know He wakes me up before my 4:30 alarm because I need the extra push.
I'm a long way from my goal weight, but the person you would see now is stronger, a better sleeper, has lower blood pressure and the ability to serve God more efficiently and effectively. It's all about the maintenance.
Cindy is the wife of Bruce Welch, Minster of Education for FBC Sulphur Springs. They have been married 29 years and have one 24-year-old son. Cindy works in the fine arts department of their school district and owns a custom bakery named Bright Star Baking Company.