My husband just turned 40. In about a week I’ll be 39 and it’s giving me a lot to think about. My husband comes from a long line of nonagenarians. I come from a long line of heart disease and cancer. So, naturally, this has me thinking of changes I can make to my lifestyle to keep me thriving right beside him for the next 50 years.

So, here’s the plan. Housework will no longer count as “exercise”. Sure it helps me get those steps in, but it certainly doesn’t give my heart an adequate cardiovascular workout. I’m careful to monitor toxins in my environment and I read labels carefully. But sometimes that isn’t enough. I’m finding myself for the first time in 12 years struggling to drop the extra pounds. It was so nice being able to eat whatever I wanted when I was nursing my babies! That luxury has passed and it’s time to quit making excuses.

Here’s a common misconception: just because you wear a size 6 does NOT mean you are in prime health. A person can be lean and look good, but that doesn’t equate to longevity or having a strong heart.  So, while there may be some of you rolling your eyes at the thought of me needing to “get fit”. Know that I’m not “dieting” but I’m making lifestyle changes that will benefit me and my family for years to come.

I’ve always felt that diets and get-fit-quick plans were gimmicks; and from what I’ve observed, they may work quickly, but they don’t help you stay lean in the long term. It’s about getting active, getting off the couch and up from your computer to actually exercise. It’s about choosing fruit over cookies and hummus & cucumbers over chips.

Every decision has ramifications for our health and for those around us. My kids are watching. I had a big eye opener when my pre-reader children could find a Dr. Pepper for me in the checkout line when we were grocery shopping. I joked that it was my “Mommy Fuel”. However, I’m “Dr. Pepper sober” for 20 months now and I much prefer them asking, “Mom, do you want a Kombucha?” over “Mom, do you need a Dr. Pepper?” I want them to learn to make the healthy choices. But even more than that, I want to be here for them for a long time. I want to live a long full life that isn’t cut short by disease.

There are a lot of things that are out of my control, but THIS is something I can control. I can make a choice each day to eat foods that are life giving rather than disease inducing. This passage in 1 Corinthians 6 is referring to sexual immorality, but I think it applies to more than that.

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
We honor God by keeping ourselves sexually pure, but I believe we also honor Him when we choose to live a lifestyle that promotes health and wellness. James 4:17 says “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
So tell me this, when you know that making different food choices and exercising is good for your health, what does it mean when you don’t do it?
It’s time for believers in Christ to not just honor God with our words and songs, but to honor Him with our entire bodies. It is time for us to use the tools that God has given us to fuel our health instead of fueling our bodies with junk and then praying for Him to heal us of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Studies have proven that these are diseases that can be controlled by diet and exercise. I know from my family history that I am at risk for these. But I refuse to just give in and blame it on genetics. I will take responsibility for my health. I will honor God with my body, not just in word, but in deed. Who’s with me?