Friday, July 08, 2011

Accountability: Does our physical condition say anything about our relationship with God?

Okay, so that's an incredibly long title for a post.  So what?

Along with a couple of other guys from church, I've been putting off getting started with a small accountability group. You know how it is ... summer is busy for all of us and trying to find a time for four guys to meet on a regular basis is difficult (especially when one of them works the crazy hours that I do!).

One of the first things that we'll have to do is set some guidelines.  The main thing has to be confidentiality. Everybody is going to have to trust one another if we are going to be free to discuss things about our family life, spiritual life, work life, etc.  Our little group is pretty diverse. I come in at the oldest and my kids are grown.  A couple of the guys have small children and one is married but has no children (yet). We are certainly in different stages of our careers, marriages, and spiritual growth. I suspect that we have some pretty different political preferences and a variety of other personal likes and dislikes.

We'll need to decide if there is anything that is "off the table" or if every area of our life is open for this accountability group.  I suspect that there will be areas that are uncomfortable at first. It's pretty easy to say that we trust one another;  less easy to demonstrate that until there has been some type of proving ground.

In thinking about the discussions that are ahead of us, I began wondering if it is fair to say that our physical condition is a reflection of our relationship with God.  We can easily judge those that smoke, drink to excess or use harmful drugs as committing sins against their own bodies. We refrain from being judgmental about over-eating or eating unhealthy foods.  We choose to rant and rave against the evils of alcohol (even in moderation) but say nothing of gluttony which is listed as one of the seven deadly sins.  Is it because gluttony is our sin of choice?  If you Google "overweight pastors," you get 1,720,000 results and find study after study to show that obesity among preachers is far above the rate for the rest of the population. I guess that alone would make it difficult to talk about; never mind that it would offend many of the money giving members of the congregation.

The only reason that this comes to mind is because of the ongoing battle that I have with poor eating habits, limited activity, weight gain and all of the associated maladies that go with being 50 pounds (22.7 kg) overweight.  After my recent physical, I joked that I'm the healthiest fat guy that I know.  My blood pressure is okay. My cholesterol is good. My blood sugar is toward the high end of acceptable, but still within normal parameters.

But I look and feel like crap.

My knee bothers me on and off. My clothes are too tight. I get out of breath easily and an hour of (you pick the exercise) would probably kill me.  And I hate that I look like a typical overweight preacher when I stand before a group of kids or a congregation of adults.  It certainly doesn't say anything positive about the stewardship of healthful living and just plain taking care of the body that God has given us.

Even if the other guys don't want to address healthy habits in their lives, I think I'm going to ask them to keep me on track in my life.  After returning home from a Fourth of July weekend in Central Illinois, I stepped on the scale Tuesday (the 5th) morning and weighed in at a whopping 261.4 lbs. (118.6 kg).  That's pretty much my top weight -- ever!

And so, once again, I start to make some lifestyle changes that will bring the weight down and begin to correct the weight related maladies.  Obviously, the place to start is in assessing the foods I'm eating and the quantities of food that I'm eating.  I really believe that some pretty simple changes can make a big difference in this area. I'm really going to try to eliminate most processed foods immediately and then decide what I want to add back in and how much is acceptable.  So breads, pastas, and cereals are out.  Veggies and greens are good and I'll try to keep those to the fresh or frozen items (although the convenience of canned beans or other veggies is probably better than not getting enough of them).  I love milk and cheese, but will probably limit cheese to small amounts of sharp cheddar and eliminate milk except for the occasional half and half in my coffee.  I'm probably going to cut down on red meats and increase protein sources like legumes and nuts (including peanut butter!).

There are lots of mixed articles on the effects of aspartame on weight gain, so I'll also cut down on the diet sodas and drink more water and tea.  I'm going to give myself a cheat day every now and then so that I don't have to feel deprived of the goodies like Nutter Butter Extreme Cream (with a glass of milk) or an occasional bowl of ice cream -- but cheat days will be at least a week apart and only for a day.

When I think about it, I'll post my latest morning weight below my sign-off on days that I blog.  If it's missing, feel free to ask and bust my chops if it's climbing upwards.  I'm thinking that I'm not going to weigh on the day following a cheat day. I'll take a day off from the scale on those days.

And I need to get more active ... but I'll save that for another post.

John <><

1 comment:

Haven said...

Proud of you, John. It's difficult changing our lifestyles, but the rewards are tremendous!