Recently, I had the privilege of being a guest on the morning show of a local radio station. Having only briefly met the radio personality, his first on-air comment to me was, “You don’t look like a pastor…” Unsure of what a pastor was “supposed” to look like, I was a bit taken back. He proceeded to explain most pastors seem to be overweight and out of shape.
Though I know several “fit” pastors, I began to consider the number of clergy—and Christians in general—that live very unhealthy lifestyles. At one time, I taught that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, yet I abused mine with daily drive thru visits and an abundance of overly processed foods. How hypocritical it must seem to hear preaching against things like smoking and excess drinking, when those pointing the finger partake in constant gluttony, eating the unhealthiest cuisine available. May we first take the log out of our eye, before removing the spec in our brother’s!
Just over a year ago, with great conviction, I made drastic modifications to my eating plan. Words cannot express the positive changes I began to feel almost immediately in my spiritual, emotional, and physical health. I cannot tell you that these changes were easy, because they certainly were not! I was addicted to sweets and fried and processed foods; they brought me comfort in spite of the deleterious additives contained in them. A year later, even the thought of many of these foods makes me sick.
This post is not intended to be a research article, though there is a great deal of scientific evidence to validate the things I will share. I simply want to disclose what helped me on my journey to better health. If you have not read my previous post, I recommended doing so before moving on. Below are some of the specific changes that I made, and continue to follow.
1.) Avoid sugary and white, starchy foods- At the beginning of my journey, I completely cut out white bread, white rice, white potatoes, sugary snacks, potato chips, soda, and even sweet tea! This was an agonizing process for about two weeks; after that, my body stopped craving these things. Now, I can occasionally enjoy an Ale8 (our Kentucky Soda), and a sugary treat, without too many consequences. I try to keep these occasions to a minimum.
2.) Eat six balanced meals a day- Eating small, balanced meals every three to four hours, helps sustain me throughout the day, giving my body the nutrients it needs on a regulated basis. The beautiful part of the eating plan that I am on, is that I actually eat more than I did when I ate unhealthy—I just partake of better food. Each meal has a balance of complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein. All of these are essential to a balanced diet. I will discuss meal planning and preparation in a later post.
3.) Get ongoing professional help- Though there is an abundance of information online, I find it best to counsel with a nutritionist that knows my particular situation. Over the course of a year, I’ve had ongoing help through one of my doctors, and two nutritionists—one from my supplement store and one from my gym.
4.) Use natural vitamins and supplements- I have taken several supplements and vitamins over the last year. I am an advocate of protein powder, branch chain amino acids, fish oil, and multivitamins; I take these consistently. I recommend doing some research to find the cleanest supplements available (those that don’t have a lot of additives).
Transformation did not come overnight, but over the past year, I began to implement each one of the above steps. The more committed I became, the better I felt. It is important to think of this eating plan as a lifestyle rather than a diet. When I hear “diet,” I think of missing out. With this plan, I do not feel I miss out—I gain. I have found healthy ways to season my food, I have come to love unsweet tea, and meal preparation has become second nature.
This healthy lifestyle has greatly enhanced my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I eat more calories, yet I have seen a great decrease in body fat and an increase in muscle mass. Though these changes are not easy to make, it pays off in the end. Anything worth having is worth working for. I wish you the best on your journey! You CAN change!