by Marty Copeland
I once read that “commitment is the igniter of momentum.”
That’s especially true in obtaining health and fitness goals. And, Psalm 37:5 tells us essentially the same thing when it says: “Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass” (The Amplified Bible).
When you and I commit our way—our goals, our desires—to the Lord, He will bring them to pass. In other words, He provides the momentum.
One definition of the word commit is: “To give in trust; to put into the hands or power of another; to entrust.” That is so fitting when it comes to achieving success in your health and fitness goals. The first step is to put your goals into God’s hands.
That’s the spiritual step in making a commitment, and it provides momentum!
A Course of Conduct
Another definition of the word commit gives us insight into the practical steps of commitment. Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language says to commit means, “…to commit one’s self is to do some act, or make some declaration which may bind the person in honor, good faith, or consistency, to pursue a certain course of conduct, or to adhere to the tenor of that declaration.”
Commitment means having a plan of action that you stick to with honor and in good faith. That plan should include: Making a binding declaration (firmly establishing your goal); and adhering in good faith to a consistent course of conduct (following specific objectives) to achieve the declaration (or goal).
Making a Declaration
Let’s talk about what it takes to formulate and make a binding declaration.
For one thing, it means writing down goals and praying over them with the sincere intention of reaching them. It also means investing the time to come up with a specific course of action to help achieve those goals.
Habakkuk 2:2 instructs us to “write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” A written plan of action will help you stay focused and moving toward your goal. When you associate God’s Word with your goals, that makes success a sure thing, because His Word and presence have the power to change you.
Now, making a declaration also means declaring or speaking your goal. As you hear yourself declaring your goal, you’ll become more persuaded and determined to reach that goal.
Let’s talk a moment about what your health and fitness goals might be.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a goal every person should have. This goal should include a healthy eating plan and a fitness plan. The best strategy for you depends on many factors such as: your present weight, how much weight you need to lose, your activity level, the condition of your health, etc.
If weight loss needs to be part of your goal to live healthy, a realistic weight-loss goal would be to lose one to two pounds a week. While we each have a unique body type and metabolism, a great way for most people to begin losing weight is for them to subtract 250 calories from their daily calorie intake and begin burning an extra 250-500 calories per day through exercise.
How many calories you need to consume is dependent on those many factors I mentioned previously. Fewer than 1200 calories a day for women and 1400 calories for men is not typically recommended. And not eating enough not only will deprive your body of needed nutrition, it also can cause your body to go into “starvation mode” which slows down your metabolism. This in turn slows your ability to lose weight. So, please visit your doctor before beginning any weight-loss program or fitness routine. He or she can help you decide on a plan that will work best for you.
Healthy Eating Tips
One thing I’ve discovered is that making small yet significant adjustments can make all the difference in our goal to live healthy.
Let’s face it, most of us would be hard-pressed to make all the dietary changes we should make at one time. But, we can begin “doing the dos” and the “don’ts” will eventually disappear. For instance, the more healthy foods we eat, the healthier we’ll want to eat—eventually. Then, before we know it, the do of eating healthy becomes a lifestyle change.
Hebrews 5:14 says it this way “…even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” By reason of use, our senses are trained to prefer what is good.
Making simple adjustments in our diets can help us train our senses and yield big results. Here are a few “healthy eating” suggestions that are easy to do!
- Begin each day with a healthy breakfast.
Among other things it is proven to help with weight loss. Adding a high-fiber cereal to your diet is a great diet strategy. It will help you eat about 130 fewer calories per day. If you don’t like high-fiber cereals, add a little of a high-fiber variety to your regular cereal. Add berries and you’ve included a portion of your fruit for the day!
- Drink water.
It is vital to good health! At least 64 ounces of water each day is recommended. That may seem like a lot if you usually drink four colas each day and no water. Trying to omit all colas from your diet might set you up for failure. However, if the first week you determine to drink only two 12-ounce colas per day rather than four and drink water to replace those two colas, you’ve accomplished two things: You’ve reduced your calorie intake by 280 calories (140 calories per cola) and you’ve also added 24 ounces of water to your diet. The next week, drink three 12-ounce glasses of water and omit one more cola. As you begin drinking water, your body will develop a thirst for it. By “doing the do” of drinking water, eventually colas and the calories that go along with them will be omitted from your diet.
- Add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
The USDA recommends eating five servings, so if presently you are eating only two pieces of fruit per day, add one vegetable serving per day this week, and perhaps an additional piece of fruit per day the next.
- Fast the fast food.
If you are eating fast food four times a week, cut back to once or twice a week. Most fast food is high in fat, sodium and calories and low in nutrition. For instance, according to the McDonald’s U.S.A. Web site, a Big Mac has 560 calories and 30 grams of fat! Add to that a large order of fries (520 calories with 25 grams of fat) and a large cola (210 calories), and you may have exceeded your daily recommended calorie and fat intake in one meal.
Remember if you want to reach your goals, you must write them down with a specific course of action to help you reach those goals. Taking the above suggestions into account, your “week-one eating plan” to support healthy living and a weight-loss goal might include specifics such as, I will:
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Drink two 12-ounce glasses of water and omit two colas.
- Eat two to four servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Run fast, run far when I am tempted to drive through for fast food!
Add to Healthy Eating… Exercise!
Next, consider a specific exercise plan to help you achieve your fitness goal. Write that down as well. Keep in mind the best fitness plan includes both aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, etc., and anaerobic exercise which is weight or resistance training. Aerobic exercise burns fat. And building muscle not only helps you look toned and fit, one pound of muscle also burns about 35 calories a day, whereas one pound of fat burns only two calories. When you do the math it’s easy to see how beneficial it is to gain muscle.
A generic plan such as “I will exercise this week” won’t be sufficient. You must have a specific plan. It could be something like: Monday, Wednesday, Friday—walk 30 minutes; Tuesday, Thursday—30-minute gym workout.
Exercising actually can be fun when you find something you like to do, and at the very least it is rewarding and will help you feel better emotionally, mentally and physically.
Now Do It!
As we’ve discussed, three main elements necessary for you to achieve a healthy lifestyle are to:
- Commit your plan to the Lord.
- Write down your health and fitness goals in the form of a binding declaration.
- Develop a plan to achieve those goals.
Making and keeping a commitment to achieve a healthier lifestyle is not the impossible dream, but rather a very achievable goal.
So, why not make this the week you get started? “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3, New International Version). Why not make this the week you gain momentum to begin living a healthier lifestyle?
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