Okay. You did it. You ate the pie, the cake, the dressing and the candy. Me too. But Christmas has passed, the New Year dawns, and the time to make the annual mental trip to exercise mecca nears. At the same time, you set new goals for spiritual growth (one of those for me [...]
Okay. You did it. You ate the pie, the cake, the dressing and the candy. Me too. But Christmas has passed, the New Year dawns, and the time to make the annual mental trip to exercise mecca nears. At the same time, you set new goals for spiritual growth (one of those for me is to read the Bible through again in 2013). How to get started? What to do?
Here are a few simple ideas primarily aimed at physical fitness and for a reason. Discipline begets discipline, and focusing on physical goals can also help you attain spiritual goals. Warning: don’t overdo it with goals for either area. A few ideas can be helpful, but too many can be debilitating and can actually give you one more reason to quit. So let’s try simple. Here we go with my BIG THREE for fitness:
- Start tracking calories. Get a calorie counting app. If you have a smart phone get yourself a www.loseit.com or some other free app. These apps will set you up with your current and goal weights and tell you how many calories you can eat daily. If you have never done this before, you are about to get a helpful education. Be honest, learn, and keep counting. If you need to lose 15 pounds or more and have never used this, here is my challenge: count calories daily for 90 days. If you don’t do anything else but this and you fail to lose at least ten pounds, the first one who sends me your schedule will get a free 50 dollar gift card to the restaurant of your choice. But I am not worried, because if you do this consistently you will lose weight.
- Start moving. Do something, some form of exercise. Check with the Doctor if you are woefully out of shape (that would be most of you). You don’t have to jump into P90X, but you need to move. There are so many helpful apps for this. Here is one I just got that I have used 3 times and it is killer: power20. It costs 2.99 and is worth it. You need no weights and only 20 minutes (well, a few more to warm up and cool down). It offers three levels and three different workouts and timed according to the HIIT (High Intensity Integral Training) approach. I promise you that in 20 minutes you will be a pool of sweat. I now have no excuse for failing to workout at least 20 minutes 5-6 days a week, no matter how busy my schedule or where I am on the globe. If you got P90X or Insanity or something brutal like that for Christmas, DO it. Don’t be a liar. You said you would so go for it. It is perfectly fine to modify, and to shorten it at first. But do it. And you will be happy. If you need to work out with someone, get a buddy. If you can do it alone, go for it. I’ve been working hard for almost four years now so I am joining the Y this spring for a little change of pace. But get moving and do so consistently.
- Eat better. Shop mostly in the outer circle of the grocery store where the food God made is found. When you eat out, ask for a box up front and put half the meal in it. I heard of a dancer from South America who was very petite. She came to the U.S. and gained 20 pounds in a year because of our massive portion sizes. Eat meals no bigger than your hand, eat less bread and more lean meat, fresh fruits and veggies. You do not have to hand prepare every single meal, just make simple changes. I
Okay, those are really it. Just do these and you will see change. But in case you want more, here are a few others:
- Weigh once a week, same time, same clothing. Don’t weigh daily as it will drive you mad.
- Shoot for lifestyle changes over the long haul versus a quick fix to drop a size. It’s fine and helpful to make some short-term goals. I have a specific plan just for January that I could not maintain all year. But the ultimate goal is lifestyle change.
- Tie your fitness to your spiritual growth. They are not mutually exclusive (Luke 2:52). Discipline begets discipline.
- Ok one more: if you really want to be bold, comment here with your specific goal for this year. Be accountable. It is a beautiful thing.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” -Karen Lamb