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FIRST-PERSON: Overcoming pitfalls to healthy choices

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–You have heard about all the benefits of eating healthier, exercise and weight loss. You are ready to feel better and have more energy. You have every good intention to begin making healthier lifestyle choices. So, you commit to changing your habits.

But, without even noticing, “they” sneak in. Suddenly, those well-intentioned healthy choices are sabotaged and you feel forced to forego your plans. “They” are the pitfalls to making healthy choices.

If flashing lights and “danger ahead” signs were visible, maybe so many of us wouldn’t fall prey to these pitfalls, but we do. These pitfalls can distract, sidetrack or place unrealistic expectations so we lose focus.

Consider the following three pitfalls and how they shape your choices. Awareness is the first step toward sidestepping these traps and walking toward a healthier, God-honoring lifestyle.

1) Statistics show that 99 percent of American homes have at least one if not two or three televisions. This common part of life is a strong pitfall negatively influencing a healthy lifestyle. Television steals valuable time that could be spent more productively.

Many people say they are so busy and don’t have time to exercise, grow spiritually, help a neighbor or serve God. Yet the average American watches more than six hours of television per day. You may not watch that much, but even one minute of watching TV means you really did have time to make healthier choices and you chose not to.

TV can control your emotions, impact your attitude, give a false view of real life, and direct the way you think, believe and act based on what you see.

Studies have shown that television is a major contributing factor to childhood and adult obesity. When you watch TV, you are more likely to mindlessly eat empty calories and sit motionless, therefore lowering your metabolism (the rate at which your body uses calories for energy).

Avoid this pitfall by limiting or omitting television viewing from your daily routine. Choose wisely what you watch and be sure you are honoring God with your time.

2) Without even knowing it, the people in your life can negatively influence your choices and behaviors. Negative comments, pushy suggestions, offering unhealthy foods, and making demands of your time are all things that well-intending people do to sabotage your healthy lifestyle plan.

Be aware that the snide or joking comments about your health choices impact you emotionally. Remember, others may be convicted by your commitment to honor God with your health choices and will make comments to try to distract you. When this happens, resolve to continue your healthy choices and set a good example. Surround yourself with those who encourage, support and pray for you to combat the negative impact of this pitfall.

3) Your own thinking can be a pitfall in your commitment to better health. Negative thoughts about yourself and your value will impact your choices.

Thoughts about yourself that include words like “never,” “always,” “should” and “must” will lead to feelings of failure when you are not completely perfect. Ask God to reveal these negative thoughts to you and begin to replace them with positive thoughts that will lead toward progress on your wellness journey.

Remember that God loves and values you. Allow your health choices to honor that love relationship without thoughts of drudgery or “have to.”

Colossians 3:1-2 says to set or focus your heart and mind on things of Christ. Relying on God’s strength and focusing on him will help you avoid these pitfalls and make necessary changes to honor him with your health habits.
Polk is a certified personal trainer and Fit 4 coordinator at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn. For information about “Fit 4: A Christian Wellness Plan,” visit the www.fit4.com website.

    About the Author

  • Branda Polk