Thursday, February 21, 2008

Do not get weary...

For more on this topic, look in the sidebar under "gluttony" or "weight loss".

Many mornings, as I force myself to get out of bed and head off for my morning exercise, it is a huge struggle. Huge. I am weary. I am lazy. I want my bed. I want a life of easiness, indulgence, sloth...

So I remind myself of the healthy weight range for someone of my size and bone structure: 114-127 pounds. I'm not there. Yes, I could make all sorts of excuses. Those are just numbers on a scale! I'm athletic, and muscles weigh more. All the women in my family have thyroid problems (two have had to have thyroid surgery) and I'm sure my thyroid is probably out of whack, so who can blame me for extra pounds?

But the truth is right in front of me...and right behind me. I've indulged myself too much this past year in food and in laziness. The extra weight is there for a reason --- my gluttony and my sloth put it there.

I remind myself of my tiny bird bones and of how I don't want to end up with a broken hip in a few years. I can still add to my bone density, but it will take work. Hard work. But, at my age, should I really risk doing less than what it takes?

I remind myself of diabetes. I'm a ticking time bomb. I know what I need to do to make myself healthier and less at risk.

I remind myself of my children. None of them are married yet. Some are still quite young. I don't want to be one of those grandmas who is too feeble from years of unhealthy living to play an active role in the lives of my future grandchildren. I don't want to continue setting a bad example for my children. If I am someday dependent on them for care due to my own physical limitations, I don't want it to be for diseases and health conditions that I brought upon myself.

I remind myself of my husband. Yes, his example in this area is not one to follow. No, he doesn't support and encourage me in exercising good stewardship over the body God has given me. In his perfect world, I could be as gluttonous as the day is long and, without doing a thing, somehow be transformed into a delightful person who is fit and trim and movie-star-gorgeous. I know it will not happen. I also know, realistically, that at my age and with my looks, it is really not good for my marriage for me not to be in the best possible shape that I can. I can't be movie star gorgeous, even if I went to the best plastic surgeons of the bunch. Then there is my age --- I'm turning 50 next month. The best I can do is to age well and the best way that I can do that is to be healthy and fit. And that takes work. Constant work. But how can I do anything less for a husband who does so much for me and overlooks so many of my faults?

I remind myself of God. He made me. He gave me this body. Yes, he looks at my inward heart, and I don't think the numbers on the scale matter as much to Him as they do to me. But...if He looks at the inward heart...that means He sees my laziness, my gluttony, my desire to indulge my appetites, the way I've used food to avoid turning to Him...that is so much uglier than any amount of fat my body could possibly carry.

So I drag myself out of bed. I force myself to exercise. I pray for God's help in overcoming temptation. I keep track of what I eat. I do it so that I will be healthy and more energetic. I do it for the children I teach, so that I may lead by example. I do it for my own children. I do it for my husband. I do it for God.

But I still have to do it.


  1. This is a convicting and encouraging post!

    On the practical side of things, what do you do for exercise? How long? If you walk, how many miles for what length of time?

    I have found that I need to alternate between two exercises or else I find myself with shin splints, a throw back from all my years of running track and hurdles and playing tennis.

  2. During the holidays, I realized I had a choice:

    1. I could stop whining that I had no clothes that fit and buy all new clothes.

    2. I could stop whining that I had no clothes that fit and start exercising more and eating sensibly.

    What has worked for me in the past, and I've started doing again:

    1. I re-joined our local gym. It's actually not that expensive and it's very convenient. I try to go three mornings per week. I use the stationary bike (and the treadmill when I can overcome my boredom) and I do weight lifting. The weight training is especially important to me because of my high risk of osteoporosis. I've started listening to podcasts when I'm exercising at the gym, although I've discovered that I'm too distracted to listen to heavy theological ones!

    2. I'm still teaching martial arts. In some ways, teaching makes it much more difficult to train, because my time is limited. But I go into our dojo at least two mornings per week to work out, and I'm forcing myself to work out more seriously. I also try to fit in even just a few moments here and there between classes or after the last class of the evening.

    3. Although I'm very hit and miss about it, I also walk the dog sometimes. If so, we try to go for a walk that is at least 2 miles long.

    4. I'd like to go on more bike rides. A few years ago, my husband and I bought recumbent bikes. He's lost his enthusiasm for riding them. For a while, he decided it was because he regretted buying his and liked mine better, so he would ride mine. Unfortunately, I'm too small to ride his, so that meant I couldn't go along. The last time we rode together, he complained about his the entire time, which made me feel guilty for riding a bike he's rather ride, and has made me reluctant to suggest another bike ride together. I really don't like riding alone. It's getting harder for me to get kids to go with me. They would rather jump with their BMX bikes or ride off road or do anything else but my sort of "boring ride".

    I also read something about introducing non-exercise movement into your life, such as doing all your email while walking slowly on a treadmill. We don't own a treadmill, and my husband would probably think I was crazy if I bought one and asked him to build me a special desk for my laptop. But I did buy a small pedal thingie called a "MagneTrainer". I can sit in a regular chair and pedal on it, and I've started doing that on and off during school or while we're watching a video. Yet another thing that no doubt makes my boys think that they have the strangest mother in the world!

  3. Rebecca, Great post. I'm so hit or miss with exercise--thanks for making me at least think about exercise! And I love your previous post as well. Isn't it interesting how few sermons are preached on gluttony as compared to...say...homosexuality. As though homosexuality is a "real" sin while gluttony is just a wee little overindulgence. And I say that as one who is guilty as heck of that overindulgence.

  4. Hi Rebecca,

    As always, you inspire. (and maybe prod a bit. :) )

    One thing I wanted to mention, even if you already know. Anyone with a family history of thyroid issues should get the thyroid function checked regularly. Get a full panel done, not just the TSH, which is often normal even when the T3 and T4 levels are very very out of whack. Looking for a possible cause is NOT the same as looking for an excuse.

    Good luck, I will be joining you in the early morning routine now that my son enjoys breakfast with Dad before the morning nurs-a-thon.


  5. Rebecca,

    Thanks for sharing some of the practical tips.

    I have been watching what I eat (not over-indulging, eating mindlessly out of boredom or what have you and not eating after 8 pm) and exercising for a little over 4 weeks now. I just got weighed and measured and I have lost over 11 pounds and 10 inches over all.

    Exercise is becoming something I want to do and that I have to do. It takes a while to develop that habit so that your body almost goes on auto-pilot and starts to really NEED it. I like when that stage kicks in.

    I joined Curves and I do that 3 mornings a week. I work the machines hard. I did this after my 9th baby and I lost 60 lbs (all of my baby weight and then some) and a LOT of inches. I love Curves because of the atmosphere and the way it gets me motivated. They always have a contest going and games to play and challenges. And they are very encouraging. Curves will probably not be challenging enough for the avid exerciser but it is good for those who want to get into a routine/habit and for people who are older, very overweight or have other health problems. I will probably stop going when I reach a certain weight and I need to add more to my workout. But, it is very effective if you work the machines and keep your heart-rate up. Some people use it more for the social aspect and they talk and lightly use the machines. They don't tend to lose much weight.

    If someone reading this needs the encouragement to exercise, Curves is a good option, especially for the busy mom!

    And then the other 3 days a week I get on the treadmill and do 3 miles. I challenge myself and set goals. It is amazing how fast we can work up to a goal if we just push ourselves a little bit. My newest goal is to be able to do the 3 miles in 40 minutes. That may sound like a piece of cake for a runner who does 7 minute miles but that is where I am right now. I walk for a few minutes and then jog for 5 and then repeat the cycle, increasing my speed as I go.

    Sundays I don't do anything planned but I will take a walk or do something fun.

    So, that is where I am right now. I need the accountability to keep me going and that is why I am telling you all of this!

    And thank you again for doing this series. It is very motivating.