The Spirit Weighs In

Caring for the Temple of Me

I stepped on the scale the other day and it read:

Please get off of me, you fat bastard!

Somehow the scale that used
to read around 180 or 190 pounds has recently moved closer toward the 215 to 220 mark.

How did this happen? Where did forty pounds of unwanted flab around the mid-section on my six foot frame come from? Perhaps the answer lies not just in what’s on my plate but also within myself.

I’m generally a pretty lazy person who needs to be pushed at times. My wife has to ask me to do household chores, the laundry sometimes piles up, and my first drafts sometimes get handed in as articles unless someone prods me to work on them further.

What’s worse is that I do the same thing with the care of my body, the temple of me. I eat what’s readily available instead of what’s best for me. A hot dog from the vendor outside my door is much easier than getting up earlier to fix a healthy salad to take with me for lunch. Going out to eat a great steak always beats cooking some leaner chicken or fish at home. Grabbing a pizza is simply easier than planning menus and doing the food shopping. I used to produce a radio food show, so going out to dinner is often an exercise in finding out what’s best on the menu, even if it isn’t what’s most healthy.

Not now honey, I’m watching the game
I also work very hard all day at a job. When I arrive home, it’s often late and I just want to sit on the couch and “veg out.” Instead of working out for a half-hour, doing some household chores, or even just taking a walk with my wife to catch up on our day, I plop myself down on the couch and read, watch TV, surf the net, or play computer games.

Now I’m not a total slob. I do go to a yoga class once a week, and I play some softball in the summer months (although I haven’t found a new team for this season). But those activities aren’t burning the calories in record numbers. Somehow standing on the pitcher’s mound isn’t quite the workout the doctor was expecting.

So, I have resolved to do two things: exercise more and eat healthier. I bought a book with easy to use menus in it that I can tolerate, and a good exercise program in it. I’m going to start running again—even if it’s just on the treadmill.

I’ll bet you think this song is about you
I’m not just doing this out of vanity. Mostly, I worry that if I don’t start to take care of myself, I won’t be around to take care of my family. I want to be around for my wife in twenty-five years. I want to enjoy watching a child grow. I enjoy my work and want to do it for a long time.

I don’t want to die at forty.

The spirit is willing

Sometimes the physical can help us get to the spiritual too. Exercising also reminds me to shape up my spiritual self, and I tend to connect to God in prayer throughout my workout. Right now, it comes in the form of something like “Oh God, please let me do these last two sit-ups!” But mostly, it reminds me of the incarnate God who lived in my world and who faced similar obstacles but who gave up His body for me anyway.

Somehow, two more sit-ups don’t seem so hard anymore.