A Healthy Resolve: Part One

haf3Many of us may have made the resolution to be healthier this year. Several of us might have even decided on a certain number of pounds we want to lose. We may have decided to never eat desserts again, or to only eat one sweet per week (or month). Others of us may have promised ourselves that we’ll exercise for 45 minutes every single day. If those are your resolutions, I suggest changing them!

We’re told in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” While it’s important to stay healthy in order to avoid health issues, we do need to make sure to put our physical health in proper perspective. We need to make sure that we’re not focusing so much on our outward appearance that we neglect our spiritual selves.

In this three part series, we’ll discuss weighing ourselves (or not!), eating right without dieting, and the healthy way to exercise. This month, the topic of choice is the bathroom scale. While reading this article, keep in mind that since God’s not looking at our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), then I’m certain that he doesn’t care about a number on the bathroom scale, so we shouldn’t obsess about it either.

Scaling back

If we want to lose ten pounds in January, we have made an unhealthy and unrealistic resolution (averaging one pound per week is generally healthy and more easily maintained), and we will only feel discouraged if we don’t meet that extremely difficult goal. Some may disagree with me, but I really feel that a number on a scale should never be our goal! In fact, I often encourage people to throw their scale away. I gained 63 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter, and I lost 72 pounds within ten months of her birth (post-pregnancy is about the only time rapid weight loss can be healthy).  I got down to nine pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I did all of this without a magic number in my head, and without a scale on my bathroom floor, or anywhere else in my home.

haf1Scales do work for some, but a scale can often be our worst enemy when trying to become healthier, mainly because it can discourage us. If we exercise every day for a week, don’t eat any junk food or red meat, and snack only on carrot sticks without dip, we’d all expect the scale to say we weigh less, right? But if the number on the scale is the same, or (gasp!) more than it was at our last weigh-in, what happens most of the time? We become discouraged, and often comfort ourselves with sweets! This, of course, makes us gain weight, often causing us to eat more sweets to try to comfort ourselves even more.

The problem with our logic of eating less, exercising, and the scale numbers always going down is that weight fluctuates. If I weigh myself five times in a weekend, I’ll have a slightly different number on the scale each time. This is perfectly normal, but if I were on a diet and counting every ounce, I could easily become discouraged. The other flaw in this logic is that muscle weighs more than fat. In one month, you might lose two pounds of fat and gain three pounds of muscle, so even though you are healthier, look better, and feel better, the scale will tell you you’ve gained a pound!

When to weigh in

As much as I am against owning a scale, and using it often, I am, however, all for the occasional weigh-in. I get weighed at the doctor’s office, and I will also weigh myself when I’m visiting my mom (who does have a scale). These occasional weigh-ins keep me on track, and were a wonderful encouragement when I was losing my baby weight. I’d weigh myself, on average, about every six weeks, so I had no idea if I gained two pounds one week; but I did know that, overall, I was losing weight. The day-to-day weight fluctuations didn’t discourage me, because I was blissfully oblivious to them! This also works well in keeping us on track – if we weigh ourselves once every month or two, and we’ve gained five pounds, that’s a clue we need to watch our eating and exercise habits more closely until our next weigh-in.

Food of the month: Tilapia

haf2Tilapia is a mild white fish that’s native to Israel, but also raised in the United States. Low in mercury, fat, and sodium, and high in protein, tilapia is safe for pregnant women and young children, making it a healthy alternative to red meat at any family meal. This fish can be purchased fresh or frozen at most grocery stores. If you don’t usually enjoy seafood, I suggest giving this fish a try—it has only a very mild fish flavor, which can also be lessened by seasoning.

For a complete, well-balanced meal, try adding a little lemon pepper and seasoning salt to each side of the cleaned fish, and grill according to the instructions on the package (on those colder nights, try using the George Foreman, or baking the fish). The tilapia is ready once you insert a fork into the center, and the meat easily flakes off.

Once the fish is on the grill, boil some water on the stove, throw in broccoli, salt, pepper, and a small amount of butter. Boil for three to five minutes, then drain the water (you can pour the water on most plants to give them added nutrients), and place the cooked broccoli in a pretty serving dish. Add a few cheese slices on top of the broccoli, and cover to allow the cheese to melt.

Serve with whole grain rolls, a small fruit salad or whole fruit (pears are in season this month!), and a tall glass of milk, and you have a delicious, well balanced meal in minutes!

Coming up

Next month, we’ll discuss the non-diet, and healthy ways to lose weight. For now, try to forget about your magic number, consider throwing out (or at least having your mom hide) your scale, and practice gaging your health by healthy eating habits and exercise, because when we’re truly living a healthy lifestyle, a good number on the (occasional) scale will naturally follow.

By Davonne Parks

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