The decision to get healthy is simple; one day you say to yourself "I want to be healthy." There, done. The follow-through however, not so much. We decide to "get healthy" because we realize something is wrong, off. Our bodies grow sluggish, our skin dull, and our waistbands increasingly tighter. This is not the realization that "you could stand to lose a few pounds", or "pretty girls are more popular"—this has nothing to do with those lies. Instead it's the realization that your body truly is a gift, a temple of sorts. And if you keep going on the way you do now, one day the temple will crumble and you'll be left standing amidst the rubble wondering how to put yourself back together.
It wasn't until my senior year of college that I decided it was time to get healthy, but by then I was such a mess of bad habits that it was hard to know where to start.
What does it mean to eat healthy? Do I need to exercise everyday? How do I get healthy without becoming anorexic or obsessed with my body?
These questions constantly ran through my mind at the beginning of my journey to personal health. I consulted the internet, read through countless women's magazines, and even delved into a few 300+ page books on proper diet, nutrition, and exercise. I was surrounded by information, but stuck in indecisiveness. Afraid to make the wrong choices, I didn't really make any choices at all. Things stayed that way for a long time, until I realized two things.
God has promised me power over temptation and evil. 1 Corinthians 10:13
He promised take care of me, feeding and clothing me. Matthew 6:26-34
For some reason we don't seem to think about God when thinking about getting healthy, as if our bodies are tied to this earth and deserve no thought in heaven. But I think we forget that our bodies are gifts from God—they are capable of climbing mountains, swimming oceans, embracing loved ones and comforting one another. More importantly our bodies are our vessels in this world, meant to take us everywhere man can walk to spread a little piece of God’s love. Therefore by ignoring our bodies and treating them with little regard, we are literally trashing a gift from God.
The day I truly started getting healthy was the day I realized God had already given me everything I needed to succeed. Here's a tip: you don't need to know a whole lot about nutrition and diet to get healthy. Simply eat from the natural bounty that God has given us and you're well on your way to health.
Just by eating a diverse selection of fruits and veggies you are giving your body everything it needs to sustain and rebuild itself. Eat colorfully and live vibrantly, pick from the plethora of tastes and choices God has provided. It's amazing that everything you would ever need to survive God has put into his creations. An apple for example has no excess, every part of it is edible and nutritionally good: low in calories, high in fiber, and with no saturated fats or excess oils, you have nothing to worry about when eating an apple. That is how much God loves you, and just one example of how all he wants to give us is good.
The reason our bodies decay and grow weary is because we are putting into them things man has artificially created in a laboratory. Should you never eat cake again or indulge in the occasional freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie? Absolutely not—we were meant to live life fully and abundantly, not in deprivation and sadness. Cookies won't kill you and neither will the occasional Coca-Cola, but what is important to remember is that God has naturally provided everything you need. So live in his abundance, and choose to recognize the gift of health that God has given you, taking care of your body so that you can continue to do his work and take care of others.
"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."(Psalms 34:8)
How can you make a lifestyle change that will help you grow closer to God?
Ashley is a lover of Jesus and pop culture. She is trying to be a sassy, classy, woman of character in a 21st century society. An English teacher in South Korea by day, she moonlights as a lover of Dawson's creek by night. She's cooler than this bio makes her sound, which is why you should check out her personal blog boysareidots.com and her new website twentyandto.com, a guide to getting your life together in your 20s. She also tweets @itsashleyperez. In addition to writing for Wonderfully Made, Ashley has been featured on Hello Giggles, and regularly contributes to Darling Magazine, and Amanda de Cadenet's The Conversation.