Fit to Serve

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The 200 lbs mark on the scale swooshed past sometime in my late teens. I don’t remember when. And I haven’t seen it since. Sure, weight isn’t such a great metric to gauge health, but for me that was mostly an excuse to not do anything about it. “I can outrun plenty of skinny people!”, I thought. And I could, especially in a sprint. But health isn’t a comparison game, and eventually bad habits catch up with you.

In December of last year I decided to get more serious about my health. I had been cycling quite a bit (over 4000 km since 2018) and running occasionally, especially before COVID, but never enough to lose significant weight. That should have been obvious, because, as the proverb goes: “You get fit in the gym, but you lose weight in the kitchen.” My underlying issue is gluttony: Valuing food more than God (in the moment), often eating more than my body needs, even if it’s mostly whole, plant-based goodness. It is one of those sins we don’t talk a lot about, maybe because it is hidden and not just about eating too much.

With more discipline and much prayer, I started to build the habit of eating less. I also went running more often. Then, right before Christmas, I was diagnosed with gout and somehow also hurt my foot, putting an end to running and giving me plenty of time to evaluate my health. Gout? I am way too young for that! Oh, it most commonly starts in men age 30-50. Well, I will be 40 this year. The diagnosis produced additional resolve to finally change my eating habits and treat food more like fuel than a source of comfort on a bad day, all while still enjoying it (no danger there).

What does all this have to do with theology? Our bodies are temples of God and we are called to serve God to the point of laying down our lives. How will I praise God if my soul goes to Sheol (Psalm 6:5)? Yes, to live is Christ and to die is gain, but come on! I want to serve God long and well. He chooses when to take me home, but I don’t want to do anything to hasten that by my sin and lack of discipline. I want to be fit to serve as best I can.

You can help! Please pray for me! Hold me accountable. Check up on my progress. Encourage me. I have come up with a training plan that includes weights and running (and, once it gets warmer, cycling), but much of my progress will happen at home, in the kitchen (or, at least for a while, far from it!). My ultimate goal is to be more healthy to serve, but since that is difficult to quantify, my first metric is getting to 199 lbs by summer, likely for the first time in 20+ years. We’ll see how things look then, though I am pretty sure there will be room for more improvements.

Photo by Eduardo Cano Photo Co. on Unsplash