Sunday, Sep 27, 2020

Start Here: The Road to Good Health Begins with This One Thing

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Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD is a nutrition communications dietitian whose joy and passion is to empower women to live healthy, balanced lives that are fulfilling and free of guilt and shame. She loves sharing real-life strategies to choosing nourishing foods, fitting in fitness and looking beyond the mirror. Jennifer enjoys encouraging women on her blog, Healthy Inspiration, taking walks with her daughter, cooking with her husband and trying out different kinds of physical activity.

The Quest for Good Health

People always want to know the ‘one thing’ they can do to successfully reach their weight or good health goals. Is there a key to good health? A magic meal plan? A killer fitness routine?  A renowned supplement regimen? Do they need to drink a green shake every morning or never eat after a certain time at night?  

Do you want to know the answer?

Small, consistent steps.

Yep, that’s it!  Good ‘ole diligence, day in and day out.  

This may not sound monumental or life-altering, but this simple thing can change your life. It can alter your life path.  It can extend the quality of your years and length of your life. It can help you get from the size you are now to the size you want to be.  There are great rewards to be found in consistently taking small steps.

Why Not Consistent Big Steps?

big stepThe problem is that most people undervalue the power of a small step.  Instead, they want to take big steps to see big results quickly.  But, continuing to take the big steps gets tiring. Eventually, we give up – exhausted from the process.  But small steps? Those are manageable.

Diet books tend to ask individuals to take big steps.  They ask them to cut, restrict, add, do, shop, prepare, read and keep up all at once.  It usually works out okay in the beginning when the motivation is high, but once life sets in, the thought of keeping it up long term makes us want to run!  How do you follow it on vacation?  How do you keep up the plan when your in-laws are in town?  How do you follow through during your son’s football season?  All the rules, restrictions and must do’s begin to suffocate and overwhelm us. Naturally, we react by escaping back to our familiar, comfortable habits.

But, what if you decided to try a different method?  What if instead of revamping your entire nutrition and fitness plan, you began with 1 step?

“One” is a Great Place to Start

Years ago, I was attending a service at Eagle Mountain Church and heard Jeremy Pearsons speak a powerful word on the book of Jonah.  At the end of the message, he instructed the congregation to ask God to show us one change to make, that’s it.  

It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by all that we know we should change.  I could tell you at least 3 things I need to do differently to benefit my own health and wellness.  But what if we just asked God to share 1 thing with us?  What if instead of trying to channel your inner “superwoman” who you know doesn’t exist anyway – you asked God to impress upon you one change you can make today?  Not Monday, or when you get back from your vacation, or when “things settle down.”  One change to begin today.

And then do it again tomorrow and next week and when you are away for the weekend and when work gets busy and when you are on the field trip with your child.

What’s Your One Thing?

sugar intakeSmall steps can have a huge impact – when you are consistent.  

Did you know that by replacing a 12-ounce can of soda every day with water (try sparkling water!), you can reduce your calorie intake by 1,050 per week and lose potentially 15 pounds in a year?!

Could you imagine that taking a brisk walk on your lunch break 5 days per week could help you burn almost 500 calories per week – the equivalent of 7 or more pounds per year?

What about taking the simple step to double a recipe so that it provides dinner at home 2 nights instead of one?

Did you know that ordering your grande latte with skim milk instead of allowing them to make it traditionally with whole milk could save you almost 100 calories?

These small steps may not seem very significant, but when practiced diligently, can have a powerful impact, even if you do nothing else!  

Your Small Step is for YOU!

But, if you compare your small step to someone else’s achievement, you will always feel inadequate. They can’t be compared, they are not equal. Achievement is made up of LOTS of small, consistent steps.

When someone is running a marathon, they don’t take a bunch of leaps to reach the finish line.  Their journey is a bunch of consecutive steps again and again and again.  

At first, when someone begins training for a race, they may feel a bit clumsy and have difficulty finding a good pace. But, after some practice, they eventually get into a rhythm – their breathing normalizes and it is a bit easier to go further.  It doesn’t mean it’s not hard, but the more steps they take, the closer they get.  

Small changes will get you where you want to go.  I promise!  Commit to the process and refuse to throw in the towel.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew and instead choose a small step you feel confident you can tackle.  Own it.  Live it. Conquer it.  Then, add a new one.

So, what’s the play call?

If you have felt overwhelmed by all the changes you should make to your diet and lifestyle, submit all these frustrations to your Daddy.  Isaiah 26:3 gives us a beautiful promise:

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts and takes refuge in You.” (AMP)

Your Heavenly Father is the author of perfect peace.  He doesn’t give stress or condemnation.  He doesn’t call you to more than you can handle.  But He does call you to persevere.

Romans 5 reminds us that perseverance produces character.  It’s a process God allows to shape and mold us into powerful people who impact our world.  Good health is not just about food choices and exercising; it is about allowing this process of discipline, perseverance, and diligence to form us more into the image of Christ.

And, it all begins with one, small step.

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