It crept up on me a little. I knew I was a bit overweight and had been for a while and then in the middle of the pandemic I stood on the scales and discovered that I was not only several stone over my ideal weight but also that I was a couple of stone up on where I had been for some time. A lack of regular exercise and a diet of pizza, pies and milkshakes had taken its toll.
So, over the past few months I’ve been working hard on two things. The first is about getting out of bad habits. Gone are the weekly pizzas, milkshakes, visits to McDonalds and the regular grazing on biscuits and sweets. It’s not that I don’t think you shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy such things but I’d realised that they’d become far too dominant a part in my life. The second change was that there were things I needed to include more, things I needed to start doing. This meant more salad, vegetables and fruit in my diet and it meant more exercise too. I used to joke that I was doing the couch to 5k challenge and had completed stage one (I’d got to the couch). I doubt you will catch me running 5k anytime soon but a regular walk proves good for my physical and emotional health.
What I’ve discovered over these past few months is two things. First of all, I’ve discovered that it takes time to build up those healthy routines, to get into the habit and to do more and more of something. Secondly it has hit home that I don’t need those snacks and junk food meals. Indeed, the less I eat such things, the less I want them because sadly much junk food is designed to be addictive.
Now, I’m not about to introduce the Dave Williams fitness plan and I’m not claiming to have got this thing sorted. However, these lessons have reminded me of some spiritual truths too. The first is that it is easy to get slack in terms of spiritual discipline, to get out of the habit of regular prayer, spending time in God’s Word, fellowship with others and witness. Keep an eye on your spiritual health because these things can creep up on us. Secondly, it takes time and persistence to build a spiritually healthy life.
Thirdly, just like the junk food, there’s a lot of rubbish out there which becomes addictive and that we learn to believe we need. In this category I would include sinful desires but I would also include the junk food that masquerades as spiritual food in terms of unhealthy preaching, worship etc. A good example of this is the Prosperity Gospel. It sucks people in and they become addicted to it, needing more and more of its rituals, superstitions, experiential highs and false promises as time progresses.
Stepping on the scales was a wake up call for me in terms of my physical health. However, far more important for all of us might be the spiritual wake up call that we need.
 I’m aware that talk about food and weight will be challenging for many who read the blog. So I want to be clear at this stage that my concern here was about the affect on my health. It’s important to emphasise that our value and our beauty is not in our size or shape, in body image.