Friday, July 22, 2011

Physically speaking

In keeping with the purported purpose of these posts (tongue twister), I have covered some aspect of spiritual, mental, and now for the Physical.  

Our physical body is incredible in its abilities and complexity.  It is the greatest gift or tool we will ever possess.  Do you view it that way?  

I have often said that the benefits of exercise cannot be overstated.  Science is continually finding out new advantages to exercise.  The 3 components of a man are all inter-related.  If one area suffers, the others do as well.  When you've got a cold, you're not very spiritual or mentally alert.  An ironic thing about exercise is that, although it expends energy, you ultimately have more energy when you do it.  I hear people say frequently that they don't have enough energy to exercise (or time, but that issue was covered in the last 2 posts).  Those people are on a downward spiral of decreasing results.  Less energy = less exercise = less energy.

Maybe your problem isn't exercise but, like me, you lack discipline with what you eat.  Food should be enjoyable, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing.  A couple of helpful phrases I've heard that come to mind are:  Food is for fuel (not just pleasure), eating is not an event (meals are often the most anticipated event of my day), hunger is OK (I think a stomach growl is an emergency).

Any other helpful tips?  I know a food log (much like what a spending log does for your budget) can be very helpful.  You may be surprised at how those 'little snacks' or seconds at the dinner table add up.  I've even heard that having a day to 'splurge' and have whatever you want can keep you on track for the rest of the week.

What do you think?


  1. Some great points. A few things come to mind.

    1. I've heard variations of your phrases about food as well: Eat for fuel not for fun and eat to live don't live to eat and my new fave Tony Horton phrase "Eat Clean, Snack Dirty"

    2. I think the food log is a' propos. And i think typical of why so many of us our a) out of shape b) broke c) both. The mathematics behind staying healthy is not difficult, eat less calories than you burn. Staying right side up with your finances is not difficult math either, spend less than what you earn. However, many people, as is your personal experience, lack the discipline to do these things.

    So i think the key is developing the discipline. We think this happens all at once and typically it doesn't. I lose stuff all the time. I used to kill myself thinking about putting everything back in its place so i can find it the next time. I've found one of the key things (compliments of Dr. Tacket) is to find discipline with one thing then move to the next when this becomes a habit. ie: after i've made putting my keys in the same place a habit that i always do, move on to putting my jacket in the same place until it also comes a habit....start small with the goal being 1 thing, 1 day at a time. Don't beat yourself up because you didn't work out an hour and half your first day. I didn't get fat and broke overnight and i'm not going to be fit and rich overnight either.

  2. Well said, Will. I think a post on discipline would be appropriate now. It's an issue that impacts all areas of life.

  3. One common theme that I see recurring more and more in my life is that when I "wing it"...when I just go into a situation unprepared and just "try to do the best I can" results are usually less than desirable, and often outright terrible.

    Th inverse of that is when I educate myself about the situation in question, and have some pre-planned strategies in place that I can turn to when the situation arises.

    This type of planning or non-planning can come into play in any different area of life. Having trouble with a difficult person at work? You can educate yourself from scripture about dealing with such folks, and have some pre-planned ideas on how you are going to respond to the next challenge you face from them

    Having trouble with your weight? You can educate yourself about food and devise any number of strategies that will still allow you to enjoy tasty food AND not go hungry...while keeping your weight in check. For example, through educating myself, I know what to order at Taco Bell and still escape with my waistline intact. The same for Subway. And Wendy's. And Quizno's. You get the idea. There's plenty of yummy food out there that WON'T increase your belt size...and finding those foods can be as simple as looking up the numbers online. Preparation, education.

    I'm finding more and more that I can live a better and more effective life by educating myself to find better responses to common situations, and then implementing those responses as situations dictate.

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  5. Steve, you should be the 'body' author/editor.

  6. This is helpful stuff guys. Rob thanks for inviting me on here. One of the areas I have been considering along these lines is the intersection of spiritual and physical discipline. I tend to think we have driven a wedge between these two things that does not belong. How do you guys understand and think about the overlap of the spiritual and physical? Can a physical discipline be a spiritual discipline and can a spiritual discipline be a physical discipline? What are your thoughts?

  7. Welcome aboard Kory. YOU should be telling US what's up with Body Theology.
    Does the body being the 'temple' of God mean that it should be ornate and beautiful, or simply that it houses His spirit? Even it it's the latter, how should that affect the way we behave physically? Paul seems to place a hierarchy on the relationship in 1 Tim. 4:8. He's not dismissing physical training in the process though. If there is a hierarchy, I would place the 'mental' or 'soul' aspects - mind, will, emotions - between the two. But as I said in the original post, I don't think that one aspect of our selves (spiritual) can be divorced from the others (physical, mental). A quadriplegic can function spiritually or mentally. And they may even be able to flourish mentally or spiritually with nothing but time to do so. But I think it would be very draining, difficult and depressing in many other ways to an individual who was so physically challenged.
    I also think the issue of discipline permeates all of this as a whole. You will probably tend to either be disciplined or undisciplined in all areas. I'm sure there are exceptions.

  8. I'm so glad you guys brought this up because as a person who places a high priority on eating right and staying in shape, I am often confronted by people who just tell me that "it doesn't matter" or "this is only our earthly body" and "God put this food here for me to eat it." It's good to see that other people care about God's "temples" and I do believe that physical and spiritual discipline go hand in hand. I am a much better servant of God when 'm healthy. Will asked me about that a while ago and I never finished my response, oops!